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!