Category Archives: 1967

DVD/Blu-Ray News #397: Space Monster Wangmagwi (1967).

Directed by Kwon Hyeok-jin

The South Korean Kaiju movie Space Monster Wangmagwi (1967) has never been shown outside of South Korea — and was even considered lost.

But it recently played a few film festivals in its home country — and SRS Cinema has announced a Stateside video release for August or September. Can’t wait to see this thing!

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Filed under 1967, DVD/Blu-ray News, Film Preservation, Kaiju Movies

Robert Bellissimo At The Movies: Bonnie And Clyde (1967).

It’s always fun to go on Robert Bellissimo’s podcast and talk about movies, and the other day we discussed Bonnie And Clyde (1967).

I also got to talk a bit about the book I hope to write about it.

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Filed under 1967, Arthur Penn, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Gene Wilder, Podcasts, Warner Bros., Warren Beatty

Coming Soon.

I’ll be a guest (again) on the podcast Robert Bellissimo At The Movies in a few days discussing one of my favorites, Bonnie And Clyde (1967).

Will post a link when it’s available.

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Filed under 1967, Arthur Penn, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Gene Wilder, Podcasts, Warner Bros., Warren Beatty

Blu-Ray News #380: The Films Of Michael Reeves (1964-68).

Screenbound in the UK has announced a cool Blu-Ray set: The Films Of Michael Reeves. Many see Reeves’ death at just 25 as a huge blow to British cinema. His last film, Witchfinder General (1968, AKA The Conqueror Worm in the States), was terrific and showed that he had incredible potential.

From the press release: “This ultimate Blu-Ray collection includes both of his iconic works (Witchfinder General and 1967’s The Sorcerers), along with the first-ever Blu-Ray release of The Castle Of The Living Dead, where he was part of the scriptwriting team… completing this stunning collection is the brand new feature-length documentary The Young General, featuring Ian Ogilvy.”

Reeves’ The She-Beast (1966) is already available on Blu-Ray 

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Filed under 1964, 1967, 1968, AIP, Boris Karloff, DVD/Blu-ray News, Michael Reeves, Vincent Price

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

It’d been years since I’d seen an episode of The Prisoner. Happened upon one the other night, and not only was it even better than I remembered, but it now seems downright prophetic.

From constant surveillance to being afraid of saying the wrong thing to the horrors of bureaucracy, McGoohan and company had a creepy, cryptic feel for where we were headed. This isn’t meant to be political, just an observation.

Can’t wait to revisit the rest. Be seeing you, Number Six!

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Filed under 1967, Patrick McGoohan, Television

RIP, Sidney Potier.

Sidney Poitier
February 20, 1927 – January 7, 2022

Sidney Poitier has passed away at 94. His film career was a very distinguished one, with lots of awards along the way. But the movies were just part of all he accomplished.

In The Heat Of The Night (1967) is one of those rare movies that makes its point without sacrificing its obligation to entertain the audience. It also gets better each and every time you see it. Poitier’s performance, along with his overall coolness, is a big part of the picture’s success. If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, go find it. 

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Filed under 1967

54 Years Ago.

Nobody who went that night had any idea what they were in for.

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Filed under 1967, Angie Dickinson, John Boorman, Lee Marvin, MGM

Blu-Ray News #355: She-Freak (1967).

Directed by Byron Mabe
Written and produced by David F. Friedman
Starring Claire Brennen, Lee Raymond, Lynn Courtney, Bill McKinney, Claude Smith, Felix Silla

The American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) is bringing She Freak (1967) to Blu-Ray in late August. This remake of Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) has to be seen to be believed. And with it getting a 4K restoration, you can be certain it’ll look better than ever before — and remember, it’s “all the more appalling in COLOR.”

It’s great to see films like this get the A+ treatment on Blu-Ray.

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Filed under 1967, DVD/Blu-ray News

Blu-Ray News #354: The Harry Palmer Collection (1965-1967).

Here in the States, the Harry Palmer films are available on Blu-Ray from two different companies (Kino Lorber has two, Warner Archive has one) — each film was originally released through a different studio. The folks at Imprint out of Australia have managed to scoop ’em all up and put them in a single package. But however you pack these things, they’re essential.

The Ipcress File (1965)
Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Starring Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Stanley Meadows

Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman gave us an anti-Bond with Harry Palmer, based on Len Deighton’s novels. Michael Caine was perfectly cast as the sarcastic spy — caught up in a scheme to kidnap and brainwash noted scientists.

I was 10 and had just gotten my first pair of eyeglasses when I came across The Ipcress File, and a smartass secret agent with glasses and a machine gun (and Sue Lloyd) gave me hope. Maybe it was going to be OK after all. I love this film. But don’t take it from me, the BFI named it one of the 100 best British films of the 20th century.

Funeral In Berlin (1966)
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Starring Michael Caine, Paul Hubschmid, Oskar Homolka, Eva Renzi, Guy Doleman

Palmer is sent to Germany to arrange the defection of a Russian intelligence officer. Things get weird. This one was directed by Guy Hamilton, who’d just done Goldfinger (1964). Given the different tones of the two films, you’d never know. 

Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
Directed by Ken Russell
Starring Michael Caine, Karl Malden, Ed Begley, Oskar Homolka, Françoise Dorléac, Guy Doleman 

A half-dozen eggs containing a deadly virus are stolen from a British research facility. Palmer, no longer part of MI5, is hired to bring them back. Before long, he’s back in MI5 and trying to bring down a supercomputer while recovering the eggs. The great Andre de Toth worked on this one as an executive producer; he’d later direct Caine in the underrated Play Dirty (1968).

Of course, Imprint is giving these their usual wealth of extras, from commentaries and interviews to trailers, stills and more. Even isolated tracks for the scores. Have all three together, and with all this extra stuff, is a really big deal. Coming in September. Can’t wait!

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Filed under 1965, 1966, 1967, Andre de Toth, DVD/Blu-ray News, Guy Hamilton, Harry Palmer, Imprint Films, Ken Russell, Michael Caine, Sidney J. Furie

Blu-Ray News #330: The Matt Helm Movies (1966-69).

Dean’s Martin’s Matt Helm series of James Bond spoofs, based on Donald Hamilton’s hard-boiled spy novels, is coming to Blu-Ray in the UK, thanks to Mediumrare Entertainment. The set’s called The Matt Helm Lounge, the same name Columbia called the set they released on DVD in the US.

In 1966, it seems that the only way to compete with the James Bond juggernaut was to spoof it, as these films, the Derek Flint pictures and countless one-offs show. The lone exception might be the Harry Palmer films, starting with The Ipcress File (1965). 

The Helms bear almost no resemblance to the novels, aside from Helm’s name the the book titles. (Actually, The Silencers borrows a couple things from Hamilton’s Death Of A Citizen.) Love ’em or hate ’em, the Matt Helm films are exactly what you’d expect from James Bond spoofs starring Dean Martin. While the Helm pictures were meant to make fun of the James Bond films (and cash in on the spy craze), the Bond pictures themselves would eventually adopt the tone of spoofs like these. 

The Silencers (1966)
Directed by Phil Karlson
Starring Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Daliah Lavi, Victor Buono, Arthur O’Connell, Robert Webber, James Gregory, Nancy Kovack, Beverly Adams

Opening around the same time as Martin’s TV show, The Silencers was a huge hit. Believe it or not, at one point it was going to be a serious film, with a screenplay by Oscar Saul. It was director Phil Karlson’s idea to go for the tongue-in-cheek approach, and Saul’s script was rewritten by Herbert Baker, who was writing for The Dean Martin Show. Baker does not get credit. By the way, Baker wrote the incredible The Girl Can’t Help It (1956).

Dean Martin, Nancy Kovack and Phil Karlson.

Stella Stevens is terrific as Gail Hendricks, a bumbling agent Matt gets stuck with. She shows a real flair for comedy. It’s a shame Ms. Stevens was never recognized as the talent she was.

Dean/Matt has a tricked-out station wagon, complete with a bed and a bar, and a pistol that shoots backwards. The picture was shot by the great Burnett Guffey, a year before he’d head to Texas to shoot Bonnie And Clyde (1967). Elmer Bernstein provides a great score, that somehow mixes a little Rat Pack swing with the appropriate secret agent feel.

Murderers’ Row (1966)
Directed by Henry Levin
Starring Dean Martin, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Camilla Sparv, James Gregory, Beverly Adams

Oscar Saul wrote a draft or two for this one, too, and Herbert Baker rewrote that. The credits are the reverse of the last one; this time, Saul is not credited.

Murderers’ Row was supposed to be shot on location, but Dean Martin refused to go to Europe, and being that he was a co-producer, he got his way. Ann-Margret is a real firecracker, as always, and Karl Malden looks like he’s having fun. James Gregory and Beverly Adams are back from ICE HQ. The gadgets this time include a cigarette that launches a tiny missile, something that would turn up in the next Bond film, You Only Live Twice (1967).

The score this time comes from Lalo Schifrin, and it’s a good one. The group Dino, Desi & Billy (Dino is Dean Paul Martin, Dean’s son) appear in a discotheque scene.

The Ambushers (1967)

Directed by Henry Levin
Starring Dean Martin, Senta Berger, Janice Rule, James Gregory, Albert Salmi, Beverly Adams

Every series has a low point, a weak link, and in the Matt Helm movies, The Ambushers is it. Again written by Herbert Baker, it doesn’t have quite the sense of fun of the previous two. Doesn’t have much of a plot, either. As Roger Ebert put it in his review back in ’67, “Dean plays Matt Helm again, and goes to Acapulco, and drives up and down scenic highways with ravishing beauties, and occasionally gets shot at.” There’s a UFO, by the way.

This time, Hugo Montenegro composed the score. There was no soundtrack album, unfortunately. The music’s the best thing in the movie.

The Wrecking Crew (1969)
Directed by Phil Karlson
Starring Dean Martin, Elke Sommer, Sharon Tate, Nancy Kwan, Nigel Green, Tina Louise

Getting Phil Karlson back as director was a good idea, as The Wrecking Crew is easily the best in the series, except for maybe The Silencers. A new writer was brought in, William P. McGivern, who wrote the stories that became The Big Heat (1953) and Shield For Murder (1954) and the script for William Castle’s I Saw What You Did (1965). He also wrote a couple of episodes of Adam-12.

There’s some other interesting casting. James Gregory is replaced as MacDonald by John Larch. Bruce Lee provided choreography for the martial arts scenes. And Chuck Norris appears as a henchman in a scene or two.

Bruce Lee trains Nancy Kwan and Sharon Tate train for thier fight scene.

The film’s claim to fame today is that it the last Sharon Tate released in her lifetime. She was murdered by the Manson family in August of 1969. She’s very good here as an incompetent aide to Helm similar to Stella Stevens in the first one. There were plans to make a fifth Matt Helm picture, The Ravagers, with Tate back as Miss Carlson. Some say The Ravagers was cancelled due to lackluster grosses for The Wrecking Crew, but after Sharon’s murder, Dean Martin pulled the plug on it.

I remember sitting in the back seat of the family Chevrolet and seeing this trailer for The Wrecking Crew at The Hi-Way Drive-In in Thomasville, Georgia. I was five. Funny, but I don’t remember what movie we saw, just this trailer.

Bright and breezy with great modern architecture and furniture, these films will look terrific in high definition when they arrive in April. They were originally 1.85. Not sure what the set’s region status will be, but it comes highly recommended anyway.

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Filed under 1966, 1967, 1969, Ann-Margret, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Columbia, Dean Martin, DVD/Blu-ray News, Henry Levin, James Gregory, Phil Karlson, Senta Berger, Sharon Tate, Stella Stevens