Saturday, June 30, 2012

FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966) – ‘Do you ever read the books you burn?’

Greg Goodsell here. With the recent passing of author Ray Bradbury at the ripe old age of 91, it seemed very timely than ever to dig out FAHRENHEIT 451 from 1966! This one has significant historical importance as it was the first sci-fi film to be directed by an important international film director, Francois Truffaut, perhaps best known for his 1961 classic JULES AND JIM! You’re in for a treat aurally as the score is by the great Bernard Herrman, which, IMHO, is his best score ever! It’s akin to spooning ice cream directly into your ears!

Bradbury was proudest of FAHRENHEIT 451, declaring it his “only work of science-fiction” – all his other stories and books, he maintained were fantasy. He had a special tombstone made prior to his death, which simply read RAY BRADBURY – AUTHOR OF FAHRENHEIT 451.

The story is a simple one – in a nightmarish dystopian future world, all books are banned, and the “firemen” in this world START fires, specifically burning books! FAHRENHEIT 451 is the temperature to which paper burns. One fireman, Montag, is asked by a girl on his monorail commute, “Do you ever read the books you burn?” The question sets him off on a journey of self-discovery!

Here’s something you didn’t know: Ray Bradbury DETESTED the fact that documentary filmmaker Michael Moore appropriated the title of FAHRENHEIT 9/11. Bradbury was adamant that Moore’s anti-American creed was little more than Cold War paranoia turned inwards, and was forthright in denouncing Moore as an “asshole!”

One thing never adequately explained: Since this is a post-literate future, with even labels on boxes of cereal reduced to numbers, how does Montag suddenly start reading? Here, the Goon Squad is set to incinerate some moldy old paperbacks!

One sees hesitation in Montag's eyes as he scorches another personal library. "Who am I to deny someone their right to read what they wish?" This question is lost on some very important people still operating in the world today, alas.

After a hard day of work, Working Joe Montag takes the monorail home to the suburbs, and into the arms of his drug-addicted, TV watching fish wife!

Austrian Oskar Werner, ne Oskar Josef Schliessmayer was a hot-shot international star in the Fifties and Sixties. He plays the lead as Montag, the fireman with a hidden intellect. Oskar's last film was VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED in 1976, and he passed away far too young at the age of 61 in 1984.

The beautiful Julie Christie plays dual roles in this film, Clarisse, the book-loving underground intellectual (pixie cut) and Montag's wife, Linda (long hair)! Is this Truffaut's clever way of saying that the thoughtful, intelligent Clarisse and the selfish, pill-gobbling Linda are the two sides of the same coin? Or that all women are alike? Julie is still working today -- she had a plum role in the Johnny Depp vehicle FINDING NEVERLAND as recently as 2004!

Back at home to watch a little telly. The one thing filmmakers did get right about the future was those giant TV screens in the walls!

In his production diary, director Francois Truffaut said he was displeased with the art direction in the film, in particular the one in Montag's flat. He said he wanted a chilling contrast between the ultra-modern and the antique, and what he got was mostly Swedish Modern looking stuff with carefully applied kitsch here and there, like those retro-telephones on the wall!

Like most jobs, the firemen are great gossips moving up the corporate ladder. Some things never change, even in dystopian futures, do they? On the left is top fireman Cyril Cusack who plays The Captain.

The firemen make a "book sweep." With their fashion sense borrowed freely from Benito Mussolini, coupled their stern, Reichstag German accents, the firemen provide a visual and aural reminder that such things HAD happened on the European continent previously.

Raiding an old lady's flat, the Captain and Montag find an extensive library of books ripe for burning! It is here that the Captain makes some powerful arguments AGAINST literacy -- philosophy, after all posits that the author is right and everyone else is wrong! "Tom Sawyer" offended the blacks; Nietzsche’s philosophies offended the Jews, and let’s not forget a shocking little booklet called "Mein Kampf." READING IS BAD.

Tired of a husband who can read, Julie "shops" Montag to the book-burning authorities! Gotta love that Technicolor Red!

Montag gets sick and tired of the captain's shit and lets him have it! YEAH! We've all felt that way at some point in our lives.

The word gets out about the murderous fireman and the police take to the streets with loudspeaker-equipped cars. Little boxes made of ticky tacky, Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same. There's a green one and a pink one. And a blue one and a yellow one, and they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Evading the clutches of his nefarious totalitarian state, Montag is killed by proxy on state TV for the benefit of the cowed populace!

Montag high-tails it to the outskirts of the city, where a whole hippie commune dedicates themselves to memorizing books in order to preserve the world's literary heritage!

Montag meets Clarisse once again, and finds a new purpose in life, in which he preserves -- rather than destroys, individual thought.

Ending on a note of fairy tale beauty, FAHRENHEIT 451 is a timeless story about intellectual freedom that needs to be rigorously protected -- regardless on which side of the political, religious or social side of the coin its adversaries spring from. One final factoid: while this is a film on very important subjects, Truffaut said he wanted to replicate the silly escapist fun of his childhood favorite DR. CYCLOPS (1940) with this title! In either case, this movie needs to be revisited.

Monday, June 25, 2012

We Need About A Week Off For Damage Control!

Sorry kids, but Tabonga couldn't make it tonight, he's busy moving files back into position, so, since we very rarely take a break, we're going to shut down for a week, and see how much damage control we can take care of! This is some very tedious busy work, but we've almost got all the pictures for 2012 back in place, the archives are going to take a while longer, and some might be out of commission for a weeks or months, but eventually, we'll get it all patched up again! We'll return on this coming Saturday with a new review from Greg Goodsell, his homage to the recently deceased Ray Bradbury, and then we'll try and get back on our regular schedule again, so stay turned on and tuned in, but don't drop out!!! We'll be back before you have a chance to miss us!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Don't Get A Smart Phone If You're Too Stupid To Operate It!!!

Okay Folks, here's what's happening! Don't get a Smart Phone if you're as stupid as me! I never wanted a phone, but I got one for Father's Day, okay, pretty cool! All these 1000's of pictures showed up in my gallery when the phone linked up on it's own with my Picasa account where Google stores all our photos, and so I deleted a couple thousand of them off my phone because I didn't want it to become constipated before I figured out that it was actually deleting them off the web site! The mess that you now see that used to be our blog is the result! You can't talk to anybody at Google or Picasa, and as far as I can tell, there is no chance for restoration, so we are slowly and tediously replacing all the photos, except one other problem is there's like some kind of time delay, and now some are gone that were there yesterday! We might have to take some time off because this is going to take days or maybe weeks to fix, like we really didn't have anything better to do! There is a very real possibility that this site is cursed!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

LL PLENILUNIO DELLE VERGINI - "The Devil's Wedding Night" Hosted by Elvira!

I'd never seen "Devil's Wedding Night" before (Imagine that), so after adding the poster to the last rendition of our splash header, I was really looking forward to it, but honestly, this film is so bad, I had actually decided not to do it until I remembered it was an Elvira hosted flick, and then suddenly it all seemed worthwhile!

I'd have to say that after Zacherley, Elvira is my favourite horror host of all time, and and if you don't dig Elvira, then you must really be some kind of freak!! Here's just a little taste of why........

Mark (THERE IS NO 13) Damon does double duty as two brothers! That's always a money saver!

Here's a little clue as to why "Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini" or as it would read in a literal translation "The Full Moon Of The Virgins," doesn't really make that much sense!

Rosalba (LADY FRANKENSTEIN) Neri as La Contessa Dolingen de Vries faces off with Mark Damon!

These two faces are almost a perfect puzzle match!

There's plenty of steamin' sex going on, but not a whole lot of much else! Definitely not a film for the kiddies!

It's hard to conceive of, but Cassandra Petersen as Elvira is even better looking without the makeup! Here she ponders why this film was even made!

I really do like this shot! My biggest gripe is I'd like to know who the brainbat was that came up with the horribly misleading title of "The Devil's Wedding Night!" This is not a movie about Satan or The Devil, it's a movie about vampires!!

Is this not the weirdest transition shot you've ever seen? Eye in the nose? Blame Cinematographer Joe D'Amato I guess!!

You don't want to forget about these guys, or the International Black Hood Society is going to be banging at the door demanding equal time!

When I watched this, I was just as perplexed as Elvira as to what was going on, then at some point you just give up even caring!

It's no wonder that the Mr. Potato Head vampire's last name is Papas, the same as the Spanish word for potatoes!

"Those cuts were fast as lightning, everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting!" Hi..Yaahhh!

In this shot, it really looks like Elvira is going to completely open up her top, but she doesn't! Elvira has very rarely ever appeared unclothed!!

This big ring is what all the excitement's about, but if you really want excitement, watch any of the other 1400 plus films we've written about instead!

Then in one of the worst green screen scenes ever, La Contessa Dolingen turns into a giant bat!!

Meanwhile, Elvira shows off her vast array of talent, after another character, known as her Auntie Virus is introduced into the scene!

Enza Sbordone as Tanya the Innkeeper's Daughter gets in the last word! Must have been a pretty embarrassing experience, because it seems like nobody except Mark Damon and Esmeralda Barros were working under their real names on this movie, Enza was credited as Francesca Romana Davila, Rosalba Neri was credited as Sara Bay, and the Innkeeper Carlo Gentili was credited as Mort Baxter!

Elvira is really the only reason to get this movie from Netflix, but one reason is one better than none at all!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG In Color / Argosy Pictures - 1949

It's Friday Night wif' Tabonga, here at The Dungeon!.. Our special feature is a colorized version of the last giant ape flick from the producers of KING KONG and SON OF KONG. Stop-motion animators Ray Harryhausen and Pete Peterson both worked on this production, Pete went on to be the special effects designer and creator of the creature in THE GIANT BEHEMOTH, and, we all know what Ray went on to do.

Eegah!! gave us a soundclip to listen to, sooooo, you can push the big red 'GO' button over there, NOW, Rufus The Gnat! Here's some sounds from... MIGHTY JOE YOUNG In Color!

Here's an awesome look at Tanzania, Africa, home of our hero, Mr. Joseph Young...

Some cowboys show up from an expedition there capturing wild animals to take back to America, and, Joe just don't take that kindly to them!

Hollywood promoter Max O'Hara offers to make Joe and his owner famous by taking them to star in an African-themed club show. Robert Armstrong plays O'Hara and Terry Moore plays Joe's owner, Jill Young. Robert played Carl Denham in both Kong movies, Fay Wray's bro in THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME for RKO and was part of the "Warner Brothers Stock Company."

Jill half-heartedly takes Max up on his offer, so, it's off to America they go...

The club interior is insane, twirling costumed natives, lions behind glass in the bar and lots of well-to-do lushes doing what they do best, being obnoxious twits!

Joe and Jill's performances are spectacular to say the least, Jill plays the piano as Joe lifts her stage over his head!

The muscle men show the audience their feats of strength!

Joe wins the tug-o-war contest against the strongman crew.

A cute twist on the old organ grinder routine!

And, speaking of obnoxious twits, here are Douglas (CATWOMEN OF THE MOON) Fowley, Nestor (THE MOLE PEOPLE) Paiva and Paul (SPACE PATROL) Guilfoyle playing three royal jack-asses! Here they are harrassing the cigarette girl, what else.

Nestor and his pals get Joe drunk after the show, so, Joe goes wild and destroys the place, allowing all the wild animals to escape! Oh boy, what a mess...

The authorities are threatening to lock Joe up for good so Max, Jill and Gregg, played by Ben Johnson, pack up Joe in a van and make for the port where a boat is there waiting to help them escape and get back to Africa.

But, on the way there, Joe helps rescue some children from a fire, proving that he is nothing but a super hero!!

Everything turns out fine, the gang all make it back to the place they belong and Joe is a happy camper once again!

A special signature ending from the big guy!

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??