February 25, 2017

The Man Within (1947)

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Released in the United States as “The Smugglers,” “The Man Within” is the story of a young man who loses his father while he is away at a boy's boarding school and is taken in by a man who shares the same line of work as his father: that of a smuggler. Constantly surrounded by people who either bully him or attempt to drag him down to their level, Francis Andrews knows that he has a problem hanging on to his naivete as a child, reticent about growing up into a man, which to him thinks it means … [Read more...]

Joanna (1968)

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I’ll get straight to the point: it’s difficult to know what to make of Joanna. Now, anyone who has read my reviews before knows full well (it’s just outside Teddington, I believe) that I’m an avowed lover of all things Swinging 60s, Swinging London, and psychedelic. They comprise about 50 percent of my very raison d’etre. However, there are still certain other things a film has to contain other than just brightly-coloured clothing, medium-length hair, flared trousers and aerial shots of St … [Read more...]

The Next of Kin (1942)

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Most military propaganda films are restricted for private use by military branches, but “Next of Kin” was a rare exception in that the plot involves civilians, the loved ones who are usually the first to get the bad news that a soldier in their family was killed during combat. It was for this reason that Winston Churchill initially attempted to ban the film from the movie going public on grounds that it would demoralize civilians, but director Thorold Dickinson believed that it should be … [Read more...]

The Fiend (1972)

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“I have sinned, dear Father, I have sinned, And I know what my punishment must be, I have sinned with every breath and my punishment is Death…” Some films make you happy and fill your heart with bright, colourful images. Others make you miserable and are full to the brim with grey-green-brown decaying bleakness. Then there are the third group, which make you happy because they’re miserable and full of bleakness, but do it in such a way that they completely capture the spirit of an era. The … [Read more...]

Private Road (1971)

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“Can you tell me where I’m travelling, I do not want to go…” The hippie dream had to end sometime, I suppose. And we in the UK, being the last man in, were almost certainly the first man out. In America, it dragged on, despite Altamont, the Manson cult murders and the Chicago Conspiracy trials, until the late 70s: over here, though remnants persisted throughout the early to mid-70s, and the aesthetics remained (thankfully) ingrained in our fashions and architecture until long after punk had … [Read more...]

The City of the Dead (1960)

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“City of the Dead” is no “gore for the sake of gore” movie even though there is no shortage of human and animal blood being spilled in it. Directed by John Lewellyn Moxey, “City of the Dead” has all the elements of what a modern horror movie should be: atmosphere, suspense, something left for the viewer to ask, and a handful of human sacrifices. Released in the United States as “Horror Hotel” this movie stands up so well due not only to the aforementioned, but also for the superior usage of … [Read more...]

Duffer (1971) and Moon Over the Alley (1976)

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Dir: Joseph “Chuck” Despins & William Dumaresq 1971/1975 I think it’s fair to say that I approached this dual-film release, which stands as BFI Flipside’s most unusual and obscurest offering to date, with a certain amount of trepidation and caution. Not that I’m a cautious film-viewer: I speak as someone who will sit through either any old trash, the most pretentious art wank, or the most deeply violent and transgressive shock material ever, with an open mind. But although the online … [Read more...]