Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hey Film Buffs! Look What Turner Classic Movies Is Offering!

My colleague Catherine Tynes pointed out this terrific site offered by the cable station Turner Classic Movies . Basically, TCM has a collection of downloadable film clips and original "coming attraction" trailers of most of the classic movies they carry in their catalogue. You can "pick your video" and watch on your email, blog, etc. (Please note: As Catherine pointed out to me, there's a hidden code that allows you to embed the video clips on the link. If you hover your mouse on the right side of the screen, you can see how to copy or embed the link you want to watch and/or share.)

The site also carries a widget where you can download clips and photos. It can be found here.

Now, in honor of TCM's upcoming "48 Hours Of Horror" marathon, beginning Thursday, October 30 and continuing through Halloween(the posted schedule of films to be shown those days can be seen here ), and because I'm a perverse son-of-a-gun, here's an embedded trailer for 1963's The Haunted Palace , starring Vincent Price and directed by Roger Corman . It's supposedly based on a work by Edgar Allan Poe , but takes only its' title (and a few lines) from one of the author's poems. (The film is actually based on H.P.Lovecraft's novella, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", a neat little shocker.) But the film, while not quite up to its source material, is still entertaining. (Price's outrageously hammy performance carries the film, especially when he's required to play two different characters!) Anyway, here's the trailer:

Happy Halloween! -Ed

The Single By R.E.M. That Came Out This Year & Should've Been A Hit!

'Nuff said! -Ed

Friday, October 24, 2008

The "New" Novel By Burroughs and Kerouac!

In August, 1944, Lucien Carr, a young Columbia University student, murdered David Kammerer, a older man who had been stalking him, due to circumstances still being debated. (Self-defense? Premeditated murder?) Somehow, as recounted here, Carr managed to involve both Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs in helping him try (unsuccessfully) to cover up the killing. (More details here .) (It should be noted that Carr was instrumental in introducing Kerouac, Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, the three principal figures of the "Beat Movement", to each other.)

(Burroughs and Kerouac.)

A year later, Burroughs & Kerouac, having (barely) escaped prison for their part in the killing, decided to collaborate on a mystery novel loosely based on the Carr-Kemmerer incident. For various reasons, the book was never published during the principals' lifetimes. Now however, as noted in this article, the novel, And The Hippos Were Broiled In Their Tanks will finally be published on November 1st. An excerpt of it can be read here . Should be interesting. -Ed

(And how did Burroughs & Kerouac come up with that bizarre title? Wikipedia explains all.)

Reading (Braille) Is Fundamental!

Some well meaning advocates for the disabled recently informed me that seeing-impaired persons really don't need to read braille books since they can just listen to them on audiocassette and/or compact disc. They meant well, but, as I'm looking into getting some braille books (novels & non-fiction)for the collection, I don't agree. And neither does William M. Raeder, former president of the National Braille Press :

Braille is the only means by which blind people can truly read the written language. It is certainly true that for easy reading materials such as novels, audio intake using the recorded human voice, or the electronically synthesized mimicking of the human voice, is not only satisfactory but sometimes preferred by blind people, just as it is by sighted people. By the same token, just as sighted people have by no means given up the written language in favor of audio only, so blind people should not be expected to give up their written language.

You can read Mr. Raeder's compelling arguement (which can also be cited for recommending reading to sighted people) further here . The NBR makes a good case too.

(A student using Braille.)


Related links: How Useful is Braille? ; Why Is Braille Important?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Ginsberg & Beat Fellows" & Gordon Ball

(Gordon Ball at the library's Meeting Room on Tuesday, October 7th.)

Beat historian, underground filmmaker and author Gordon Ball came to speak at the Greenwich Library on Tuesday night, October 7th, in the Meeting Room. Mr. Ball, who currently teaches English at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, read from his memoirs '66 Frames (1999), Dark Hill (2006) and Scenes From East Hill Farm: Seasons With Allen Ginsberg (2007), and showed a slide presentation of his program on the Beats, Ginsberg & Beat Fellows: Writings & Photographs by Gordon Ball , coincidentally the title of that night's program.

Mr. Ball read from his books about his first meeting with Ginsberg, how the poet talked him into overseeing his farm in upstate New York and how he met such Beat (and Beat-related figures) as Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley , Peter Oslosky and Anne Waldman . Ginsberg had hoped the farm he bought in 1968 would be a haven for his fellow artists to "cleanse" themselves (like Corso and Oslosky, who had major chemical dependence problems) and held out the ultimately futile dream that old friend Jack Kerouac (already a full-blown alcoholic by that time)would come by for that purpose. Needless to say, that never happened.

(Gordon Ball and friends at Ginsberg's East Hill Farm, appx. 1969.)

Below is a picture from Mr. Ball's Beat Fellows presentation: a picture he took of Ginsberg and fellow Beat (and all-around scary guy) Herbert Huncke :

More of Mr. Ball's pictures can be found on his web site here . If you click on a photo, you'll see both a larger image and a description of the picture and what led up to that particular moment. (Lots of good stuff!) This picture below taken by Mr. Ball is a favorite of mine:

Mr. Ball graciously gave us a copy of his '66 Frames memoir and expressed hope that a longer version of Scenes From East Hill Farm (which he's completed) will see the light of day soon. -Ed

See also: Bill Morgan's I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg (which can be found here and Mr. Morgan's collection, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg .

Friday, September 12, 2008

The 2008 HOWL! Festival (Part Two)

Above, you can see the "temperance" arch where festival personnel encoraged people attending to partake in giving "spontaneous" poems and commentaries. Nearly every one I heard dealt with the joys of alcolhol. ("Oh Miller! Oh Budweiser! Oh Heiniken!" ). Go figure. -Ed

Related link: (one of the festival vendors)

The 2008 HOWL! Festival (Part One)

I managed to attend the 2008 HOWL Festival last Sunday (09/07/08) in Tompkins Square Park. Above, you can see people watching one of the bands that were playing that day. -Ed

Related links:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan Are Related To Each Other?!? (No, Really!)

When I first read Philip Jose Farmer's Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (a "biography" of Doc, based on the 181 pulp novels by "Kenneth Robeson"/Lester Dent) in 1975, there was a chapter and family tree linking Doc to "cousins" like Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu (the family "black sheep" ?), Philip Marlowe, The Shadow, Captain Nemo and James Bond 007, among others.

Farmer had originally posited this idea in his similar "fictional biography", 1972's Tarzan Alive (yes, Tarzan, AKA Lord Greystoke, is a member). In a nutshell, a meteor crashed in Wold Newton, England, in 1795, and its radiation somehow affected the people and their eventual descendants genetically. The descendants of the people of Wold Newton (according to Farmer) developed various above-average intellect and skills and the drive to do good (or evil) deeds.

Here's Farmer discussing how he "met" the real Tarzan when doing research for Tarzan Alive :

It's a goofy idea, but a fun one. Farmer himself wrote some short stories & novels such as 1976's The Adventures of the Peerless Peer, which teamed up Holmes & Tarzan (here called "Lord Greystoke" to keep the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate licenseholders happy) in 1916 Africa, and 1991's Escape To Loki, a WWI-set "prequel" to the Doc Savage novels, in which he continued to link all these characters to each other.

PJF fan and writer Win Scott Eckert took it upon himself to expand upon Farmer's "family tree" of fictional adventure characters and began a site devoted to the "Wold Newton Universe", which you can find here . Well, Eckert published a collection of essays by him, Farmer & others in 2005 called Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe, which I just got via the library & will start reading ASAP.

In addition to the aformentioned characters, Eckert, Farmer & others link other fictional icons (like Zorro, Charlie Chan and even Henry Higgins -!- from Pygmalion/My Fair Lady) to said "family". Looks like a good read. Can I find 'em or what? -Ed

Related links: The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe ; The Lester Dent Museum ; The Official Tarzan Web Site

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Stamford Advocate Touts The Kurzweil

Actually they just reprinted last week's Greenwich Time article. But anything that helps get the word out is okay by me! -Ed

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Greenwich Time Covers The Kurzweil 3000!

You can find the article here . Many thanks to Kate Petrov! -Ed

Monday, July 21, 2008

Coming To Greenwich Library July 23rd: Free TV

Well, it's kinda free. Courtesy of AOL, the In2TV site offers episodes of various classic television shows (and Godzilla movies!) with about 2 minutes of commericials. But considering some of these programs are either not being shown or are otherwise unavailable on DVD, In2TV is a great source for catching shows like The Adventures of Superman, F Troop , I Spy and (choke) Gilligan's Island . There are also animated cartoons and some really obscure stuff as well.

Below is an episode of F Troop in its entirety (appx. 25 minutes):

On Wednesday, July 23 at 11 a.m., I'll be giving a session in the Technology Training Center on how people can download and enjoy In2TV. It'll be open to the public and staff.

Remember when I mentioned the obscure stuff that IN2TV carries? Here's an episode of the (deservedly) short-lived 1966-67 Girl From U.N.C.L.E. (fifty minutes):

(And for equal time, here's an installment of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with some surprising guest stars from 1964. Here's a hint: two of the said guest stars went on to co-star together in a still-popular science fiction series that began in 1966 and spawned several films and spin-offs.)


(And in case you thought I was kidding about Godzilla, click here . )

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July Is Disability Pride Month

(Above: Last year's Disability Pride Parade in Michigan.)

Kathi Wolfe notes that this month is Disability Pride Month and that those with disabilitiies have something to celebrate, namely the ADA Amendments Act. Read all about it here .


Thursday, July 10, 2008

William S. Burroughs Meets Joy Division

(Joy Division , with Ian Curtis , second from right . Click on the picture to learn more about the band.)

Writer Jon Savage has an interesting article on the literary influences of the late Ian Curtis (1956-1980), the creative force behind the legendary band Joy Division at the Guardian . Among Curtis' heroes (which included J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick ) was William S. Burroughs and the two actually got to meet. Very briefly.

(William S. Burroughs .)

The whole sad tale is recounted here . Curtis died in 1980 and his life was recently the focus of a very good film, Control , released last year, that may interest people. -Ed

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jack Kerouac: King Of The Beats

From Google Video. A 72 minute podcast of a documentary on the author of On The Road . Enjoy. -Ed

From CNN: Charities Feel Gas Pinch

(Meals On Wheels: The latest charity to be hit by increasing gas prices.)

A follow up to recent posts I've done on how the gas crunch has affected services to the elderly can be found, with video, at CNN. -Ed

Update: Looks like rising gas prices are causing other problems, according to MSNBC:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Classic Science Fiction Just Out On DVD: The Invaders and Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun

(Right: Roy Thinnes on the run from The Invaders ; cover art for the just released first season DVD set.)

Actor Roy Thinnes was quite the busy actor when it came to science fiction television and movies in 1967-69. First he starred in the cult classic series The Invaders , which ran on ABC from January '67 to August '68. This series, about an archtect who discovers that the Earth has been invaded by aliens from a dying planet but can't get anybody to believe him, was created by Larry Cohen (writer/director of such quirky cult films as It's Alive ; God Told Me To ; The Stuff ) and produced by Quinn Martin (The Untouchables; The Fugitive ; Cannon and too many other well-known television programs to mention here). It ran for 43 episodes before getting cancelled due to low ratings, but the majority of episodes were taunt, suspenseful thrillers that were masterpieces of paranoia. Thinnes's David Vincent never knew who he could trust and although he'd always managed to thwart the aliens' various plots (kidnapping scientists; assassinating & replacing political leaders; attempted biological warfare), often wound up right back where he started from at story's end. Here's the opening of one particular episode that sets up the show's premise.

(Ad from the 1960's promoting The Invaders .)

Now CBS Paramount has put out the first season episodes (seventeen in all, plus an expanded version of the pilot episode and an interview with the still-active Thinnes) on a five disc DVD set. Though most of the shows hold up dramatically -boy, could Thinnes's Vincent really get into people's faces when he had to- , one or two look like they were taken from dupey elements. The DVD Talk site, while going in more detail about the disc quality, gives an otherwise positive review of the DVD set. Having remembered watching the show as a kid (plus building & owning the cool Aurora model of the aliens' spaceship), I'm glad to report that the series still delivers the goods.

(Cover of the DVD release of 1969's Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun , also starring Roy Thinnes .)

Just after The Invaders ceased production in 1968, Roy Thinnes went on to star in the 1969 British SF film Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun , also just released on DVD (from Universal). Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (both created/produced such classic British TV shows as Stingray ; Thunderbirds ; Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons ; Joe 90 ; UFO and -whew!- Space:1999 )from their original story and directed by Robert Parrish , the film was completed in late 1968, but released a year later in October, 1969, just three months after man landed on the Moon. Set in the year 2069 (although "Cape Kennedy" is mentioned as still being in existance), the film revolves around the discovery of another planet located on the other side of the Sun and Earth's attempts to reach it. Thinnes leads a strong cast and the special effects and overall production values (set design, etc.) are terrific, but the story's big reveal (which I won't give away here; see DVD Talk's review for a hint and more background of the film itself) left me wanting a little more meat on my plate. (And hey, Universal: what's with not offering chapter selection options on the DVD menu screen? Bad enough there aren't any extras on the disc like trailers and interviews with the still living Andersons and Thinnes...) -Ed

(Roy Thinnes rescues fellow astronaut Ian Hendry after they crash land from their Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun .)

Update: Here's a good online article on the making of The Invaders by Stephen Bowie.

How The Gas Price Crisis Is Affecting The Elderly

Homebound and disabled elderly citizens are also feeling the heat by higher gas prices. See this article from the New York Times for details. -Ed

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Here's Another Demo Video On The Kurzweil 3000

Courtesy of YouTube:

And here's the previous video I put up in a post last week:

These should assist staffers in using the Kurzweil 3000 software. -Ed

Sunday, June 15, 2008

From The Stamford Advocate: The Avon Theatre's Cult Classics Film Series

The Avon Theatre in Stamford will be running a series devoted to offbeat "cult" films called Cult Classics every Thursday night this summer. The Stamford Advocate discusses the series here . More info can be found at the theatre's web site there .

This is the one I want to see. (It's playing in August.) -Ed

(Thanks to Kate Petrow for letting me know about this.)

Dario Argento's Mother Of Tears!

Italian thriller director Dario Argento came through again with his latest release, Mother of Tears , the very belated sequel to his previous films, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980). I saw the film last Thursday night in Soho's Sunshine Landmark Cinema (where the surrounding neighborhood at night looks just like the kind you'd find in an Argento movie) at the 8:20 showing, just before the movie gets "bumped" to "midnight showing only" status. AND I LOVED IT!!!!

(Star Asia Argento goes through a lot for her father's film.)

This film is totally over the top. There are so many bizarre but grandly (and bloody; this is NOT a film for children) staged scenes of killings and other acts of violence that a viewer is liable to feel dizzy in a punch-drunk way afterwards. The photography and direction is first rate, and the cast, led by the director's daughter Asia Argento (Land of the Dead; Marie Antoinette), more than make up for the script's various plot holes. (At one point -read the links I put on this post for an explaination why- Asia's character discovers her parents were good witches and she inherited their powers. Trying to elude the cops, she discovers she can make herself invisible, right in front of people, just like Lamont Cranston.) And of course, it wouldn't be an Argento film without some awkwardly written translated-into-English lines ("There's more here than meets the eye", one cop says after finding the brutally murdered body of a colleague), but the dubbing is otherwise quite good. It's not for all tastes, but Mother Of Tears is entertaining and NEVER dull!

Reviews and plot summaries can be found at , the New York Times ,Entertainment Weekly , and even Wikipedia , which goes into the background of the film's gestation. The DVD Planet website has a September 23rd release date for the film's Region One DVD. You BET I'm going to see it again!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stuff I'll Be Looking At On My Vacation

(Left: Philip Jose Farmer's Venus On The Half- Shell and Others collection.)

One of my favorite science fiction writers, Philip Jose Farmer, has just gotten his 1975 sf spoof novel Venus On The Half-Shell republished, along with other humorous takeoffs in a new collection from Subterranean Press, the details of which can be found here . This is one of the items I'll be looking at during my vacation. (You have your way to relax, I have mine.) Yep, I'll be ordering a copy for the library.

Another book I'll be checking out, from Fatagraphics Press , is Blake Bell's Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko , which officially comes out later this month, but I managed to get my greedy little hands on a pre-publication copy. The book can be ordered here and the author, who has his own site on Ditko , is interviewed here . Mr. Ditko is perhaps best known as the co-creator of the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man .

Tim Lucas, the editor of Video Watchdog , spent thirty years researching the life and career of Italian horror director Mario Bava (1914-1980), and the magnificient result of his efforts can be found in his self-published Mario Bava: All The Colors Of The Dark , which I got for half price quite a while ago. The tome, which is over a thousand pages, also discusses Bava's various films, including the 1960 Gothic classic Black Sunday . Lucas's blog on the book can be found here . And here's the coming attractions trailer for Black Sunday . (Yep, we carry Bava's films! )

In 1975, to promote his then-latest solo album, No Other , former Byrds member Gene Clark (1944-1991), with his hastily-put together backing band, embarked on a grueling concert tour. Highlights from one of those shows can be found on the Silverado '75-Live and Unreleased CD, from Collector's Choice Music . Here's a clip of Clark performing one of the songs from his set.

Finally, I'm going to be checking out a DVD collection of four 1960s Hammer films, three of which star Christopher Lee , called Icons Of Adventure, put out by Sony. DVD Talk has a pretty good review of it posted.

These should keep me out of the pool halls for the next two weeks.


Thursday, June 12, 2008


(The late Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86 for CONTROL, from the classic 1965-70 TV series Get Smart .)

One of the all-time best TV comedies ever devised was the 1965-70 series Get Smart , created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry . Starring Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, CONTROL agent 86, plus Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 and Edward C. Platt as "The Chief" , the show was a hilarious takeoff on the 60's James Bond Spy Craze . Every week, Max & 99 would foil some nutty scheme by the rival spy organization KAOS to conquer the world.

Nearly two years ago, Time Life put out the entire five season run on DVD, which you can order from here . (Visitors to this blog may remember another classic 60s spy series available on DVD from Time Life.) Below is a scene from a 1965 episode:

I'm focusing on Get Smart due to the upcoming new movie version which opens June 20 in theatres. Here's a trailer for the new film. I'll reserve comment on the new film until when (more likely if ) I see it. -Ed

(Don Adams and Barbara Feldon as Max & 99 with their classic shoe phones, although I don't remember 99 having one in the series....)

Update: Here's an online site devoted to the original show, complete with episode guide and interviews!

Here Comes The NEW, IMPROVED Kurzweil 3000!

(Above: The Kurzweil 3000 in action.)

I'm very happy to announce that, thanks to the Tech Department, Greenwich Library now has available the new, updated (and much improved) Kurzweil 3000 software for the visually and hearing impaired community. Computers with the software can be located on the first and third floors.

The software allows patrons to read from the computer screen using audio options and screen magnification when wanting to read a hard copy or online document. Attached to the computer is a scanner that can scan (in color now!) books, documents and flyers, allowing them to be shown on the computer screen to be read (or, using the audio function, "reads" them out loud) by the patron. Instructions to operate the K3000 can be found here .

What's great about the new software is that, unlike the previous Kurzweil 1000 that we had, the K3000 offers better picture and sound clarity, as well as less disorientating magnification options. (The old ZoomText function on the K1000 had a tendency to make the viewer dizzy and sometimes even nauseous.)

Here's a nice instructional video highlighting the K3000's functions. It runs for about six minutes. For any further questions, feel free to contact me at (203) 622-7918 or at .


Friday, June 6, 2008

The Jack Kirby Museum

(Cover to Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133, October, 1970; Kirby's first issue of the title.)

(Jack Kirby)

An online site to the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center devoted to the classic comics artist and visionary can be found here .


Followup: Puppies Behind Bars

Here's a link to the "Puppies Behind Bars" site. I had mentioned the program in my last post. -Ed

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

FOUR Recent Articles of Interest From Last Sunday's NY Times

The Arts Section of last Sunday's New York Times (June 1st, 2008) featured two articles of interest. On page 19, there was a full page piece on Italian movie thriller director Dario Argento , whose long awaited Mother of Tears (the belated sequel to two of his previous films, 1977's Suspiria , and 1980's Inferno ) will be premiering this week in New York. I've been a big fan of Argento's, and I'm glad his latest work is getting such attention. His directorial style has influenced dozens of current American films & TV shows (like CSI and its spinoffs) and I hope this'll mean more recognition from the critics. (The library carries several of his films; I recommend the aforementioned Suspiria and especially 1982's Tenebrae .)

Harking back to the topic of a previous post on this blog, the NYT Arts Section, beginning on page one, ran a pretty good story on the new James Bond 007 novel Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks , as well as offering a critical overview of the original Ian Fleming novels and, of course, the long-running (forty six years!) movie series. Of course, you can find these books & films here at the library also. (BTW That shot of Roger Moore in the gun barrel sight is actually from 1973's Live And Let Die . Who says I don't know my Bond?)

AND The NYT Book Review contained this nice article by The Daily Show 's John Hodgman on the influence that the late comic book illustrator Jack Kirby (1917-1994) had on the genre. (My review of Mark Evanier's Kirby: King of Comics , which we also carry, of course, can be found here .)

FINALLY, the Times' Connecticut Section had this informative and touching article on "Puppies Behind Bars" (yes, that's actually what it's called!), a program at several prisons in the Tri-State area where inmates train dogs to assist the disabled.

All of these articles can be found in hard copy form from our Periodicals section or online via the New York Times (in case you don't want to register for an online subscription).


Friday, May 30, 2008

Double Feature (Sort Of) On Monday, June 2

(Entry from the online Biography Resource Center.)

Yours Truly will be presenting two programs this upcoming Monday, June 2. At 2:00 pm in the Technology Training Center, I'll be giving a half-hour session to the public (and staff) on the online Biography Resource Center . Info about this program can be found here . I've found the site quite useful and I intend to demostrate the great advantages of this resource.

(Number Six (Patrick McGooohan) runs for office in "Free For All" a 1967 episode of The Prisoner. )

Then, later that evening at 7:00 pm, as part of the library's Classic & Cult Television program, I'll be running one or more episodes of the British Tv series, The Prisoner , which first aired in England in the Fall of 1967 and made its American debut (as a summer replacement series for The Jackie Gleason Show ) on CBS 40 years ago this June 1st! The show was created, produced, written & directed (most of the time) by Patrick McGoohan (Secret Agent) and was a brillant mix of the espionage and science fiction (by way of George Orwell) genres. Information on this still powerful series can be found here and at Wikipedia and the fan sites Six Of One and The Unmutual . And here's the opening credit sequence from the first episode that sets up the show's premise (an agent resigns from British Intelligence and gets kidnapped and taken to "The Village" because he knows too much):

As they say in the Village: "Be Seeing You!" -Ed

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A New James Bond Novel!

Ignoring the novels written by John Gardner and Raymond Benson from 1981-2001 (not to mention Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun book from 1968), author Sebastian Faulks has written a new James Bond 007 novel, Devil May Care . The new tome has just been released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Bond creator Ian Fleming's birth. Reviews and news of the book can be found at The Times (UK) , USA Today and The Guardian .

(Sebastian Faulks )

The novel's set in 1967, keeping Bond in the Cold War atmosphere he came from (although things were less tense between the East and the West at that time than in Bond's literary heyday of the fifties). Faulks (credited as "writing as Ian Fleming") says this'll be a one shot, but you never know.

Meanwhile, a new 007 film is due this November in theatres. Here's a (slightly frothy) BBC TV News report from earlier this year on the film:


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Recent DVD Releases (The First in a Series)

Here are two recent DVD releases that might be of interest to the public. Particularly if you're into exploitation films made after 1960.

(DVD cover of 1964's The Secret Invasion .)

The Secret Invasion (1964; Fox/MGM.) Infamous tight-fisted (with a budget) director Roger Corman (The Fall of the House of Usher; The Intruder .) came up with the idea for a World War II adventure film while at his dentist's office. Shot on location in and around Croatia and the former Yugoslavia, the film revolves around a British Major (Stewart Granger )and the six convicts (including Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, Henry Silva and Mickey Rooney )he leads to rescue a Italian General in 1943 from the Nazis, but unforseen events confront them at every turn. Though the acting is fine, Corman's direction is somewhat draggy and there's a plot twist involving Silva's character (who's ultimately redeemed) that may turn some viewers off. Note that the similar, bigger-budgeted Dirty Dozen would come out three years later. (95 min./Color)

Navajo Joe (1966;Fox/MGM.) For years, star Burt Reynolds put down this film, claiming at various times it was the worst movie he'd ever made. (This from the guy who starred in such classics as Hustle , Stroker Ace and Cop and a Half .) Don't believe him.

Directed by Sergio Corbucci (Django ; The Hellbenders ), Navajo Joe has a involving plot, some great stunts (many by Reynolds himself), a strong supporting performance by spaghetti western vet Aldo Sambrell as the Indian scalping head villain and a pace that never lets up. Plus there's a typically rousing music score by Ennio Morricone (billed as "Leo Nichols") that adds to the tone of the movie. The ending may be seen as a little downbeat to some, but the response of the audience I saw this with at NYC's Film Forum over a year ago was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Take that Burt! (92 min./Color)

Here's the trailer for Navajo Joe. Note the lack of dialogue scenes:

Update: Here are online reviews of Secret Invasion and Navajo Joe that go more in depth.

Monday, May 12, 2008

David Amram at Greenwich Library - 05/12/08

(David Amram at the library's Cole Auditorium on May 12.)

We got fifteen people to attend Mr. Amram's program on May 12. This was probably one of the best (and certainly the happiest) "Beat Generation" program I've done. No small thanks to Mr. Amram, who's still full of enthusiasm about his life and work after all these years!