Me and my great good friend Mark Jordan Legan continue to get together every week and watch movies. Mark realized it’s like our poker night – except we watch weird cinema instead of losing money. Lately, we’ve been joined by my daughter Celia and her boyfriend Geoffrey.
We start each night with some cartoons. It’s the law. We’ve been exploring the Hanna-Barbera TV shows lately. Some of them are very weak. THE SPACE KIDETTES was one. The other was YOUNG SAMSON AND GOLIATH, about a teen-ager and his dog who, with the help of magic bracelets turn into, well Young Samson (a muscle bound Sword and Sandal type) and his pet Lion. Who can also shoot laser out of his cat eyes. The animation is the type where there is as little movement as is narratively possible to keep down costs.
Following the cartoons, we watched CAPTAIN MILKSHAKE, a little seen counter-culture movie from 1970. An experimental film. Scenes of Vietnam in vibrant color, intercut with scenes from Home in black-and-white. It’s like looking through a window at the real world of “hippies.” Genuine and heart-felt. Weird, wild and worth a look. Kudos to Andrea Cagan.
Next, BLACK LEGION a truly bizarre film made in 1937. It’s about Humphrey Bogart joining a white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan in all but name. Really. Bogart wasn’t a star yet (THE MALTESE FALCON was four years away), but he plays the lead with utter confidence and absolutely no vanity. He is a truly loathsome figure, a man who blames all his troubles on “foreigners who are taking our jobs.” Sound familiar?
Yes, it’s a movie about Bogart joining the Tea Party. The scene where he vows allegiance to the black robed members of the Legion is chilling. The scene in which the Black Legion breaks into the house of the “foreigner” and burns it to the ground is terrifying. Unfortunately, the DVD stopped working half way through, so we couldn’t see the conclusion. Or perhaps Netflix didn’t want us to!
Finally, we watched EURO CRIME, a documentary made by Mike Malloy about European Crime movies (“poliziotteschi”) of the ‘70s. One of the last undiscovered genres of action movies, these Italian and French movies mostly starred Franco Nero and Franco Nero-look-alikes. The documentary is fast-paced and entertaining, full of interviews with the stars and directors of the era, mostly looking damn handsome in their old age. Recommended.
Until next week…