Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

The Sword and the Lute (1967)

The Sword and the Lute [琴劍恩仇] (1967)

Starring Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Lo Lieh, Chin Ping,  Jimmy Wang Yu, Ivy Ling Po, Yueh Hua, Cheng Miu, Lily Ho Li Li, Margaret Hsing Hui, Wu Ma, Ku Feng, Lee Wan Chung, Lau Leung Wa, Kao Pao Shu

Directed by Sui Jang Hung

Expectations: High, after how much I enjoyed The Twin Swords.


The Red Lotus Temple has been burned to the ground and the twin swords of Chin Ping and Jimmy Wang Yu have been entrusted with the beautiful but lethal Phoenix Lute. The lute is more than a simple musical instrument, it is capable of shooting hundreds of needles at once; crippling, killing and maiming anyone in its path. They must take it back to the Jin family, where it is to be destroyed by the Fish Intestine Sword (or the less-fun translation, Invincible Sword).

Continue reading

Advertisements

December 15, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Twin Swords (1965)

The Twin Swords [鴛鴦劍俠] (1965)

Starring Chin Ping, Jimmy Wang Yu, Ivy Ling Po, Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Lo Lieh, Tien Feng, Cheng Miu, Wu Ma, Ku Feng, Lau Leung Wa, Chen Hung Lieh, Chiu Ming, Feng Yi, Kao Pao Shu, Lam Jing, Lee Wan Chung, Wong Ching Ho, Wong Yeuk Ping

Directed by Sui Jang Hung

Expectations: Low. The first film was OK, I don’t expect this will be too much different. I have heard it is better though.


This is more like it. I hope you like martial arts fantasy movies, because The Twin Swords packs lots of imaginative fun into its compact runtime. Starting off with the final scene from Temple of the Red Lotus, our heroes Jimmy Wang Yu and Chin Ping battle through the villainous scoundrels of the Red Lotus clan. They are once again saved by the quick darts of the Scarlet Maid, but the forces of evil are not known for resting on their laurels. They quickly concoct a plan to lure our heroes and their twin swords straight into the Red Lotus temple, which has been newly retrofitted with tons of lethal traps!

Continue reading

December 8, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Fantasy, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Temple of the Red Lotus (1965)

Temple of the Red Lotus [江湖奇俠] (1965)
AKA “The Red Lotus Monastery”

Starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Chin Ping, Ivy Ling Po, Lo Lieh, Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Tien Feng, Ku Feng, Wu Ma, Kao Pao Shu, Lau Leung Wa, Chen Hung Lieh, Chiu Ming, Feng Yi, Ko Lo Chuen, Kok Lee Yan, Lam Jing

Directed by Sui Jang-Hung

Expectations: Moderate, as this is such an early Shaw and it’s bound to be rough, but I’ve been building a lot of mind-hype for this over the past few months.


It all had to start someplace, and for the Shaw Studios, this is evidently the first of their films to include martial arts sequences. It fared very well at the box office, spawned two sequels (which I will be looking at in the coming weeks), and launched an entire genre. While Come Drink With Me and The One-Armed Swordsman may be more well-known films from this early period in Shaw history, Temple of the Red Lotus was their first color martial arts film and is notable for that if nothing else.

Continue reading

December 3, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Las Vampiras (1969)

Las Vampiras (1969)

Starring Mil Máscaras, John Carradine, María Duval, Maura Monti, Marta Romero, Pedro Armendáriz Jr.

Directed By Federico Curiel


 

Boy, oh boy. If there’s anything I’ve always thought my lucha films were sorely lacking in, it’s impotent vampires and John Carradine. Thankfully Las Vampiras came just in the nick of time to remedy that situation. A famous character actor, hand picked out of John Ford’s legendary stock company and plopped right into the middle of the wacky world of Lucha Libre is enough to raise quite a few eyebrows. Unfortunately, the result is by far one of the worst genre offerings I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.

Sorry folks, I really was hoping for a better introduction to the films of Mil Máscaras, the final piece of the lucha holy trinity, than Las Vampiras provided me with. This movie is so careless and jumbled in terms of narrative and atmosphere that it insults the intelligence of even the most devoted follower of lucha cinema. I literally felt my brain cells popping off one by one like a bubbling vat of simmering frijoles.

Continue reading

October 14, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo in the Wax Museum (1963)

Santo in the Wax Museum [Santo en el Museo de Cera] (1963)

Starring Santo, Claudio Brook, Norma Mora, Rubén Rojo, Roxana Bellini, José Luis Jiménez, Víctor Velázquez

Directed by Alfonso Corona Blake


 

There are certain expectations I have when viewing a Santo film. I expect to see Santo locking horns with famous Hollywood monsters, I expect to see voluptuous heinas desperately trying to seduce our hero, and I expect kitschy special effects that look like they were thrown together by some goofy employees in the stock room of Spencer’s Gifts. To my surprise, not only do we get very little of that in this film, but the film reaches stellar heights never before achieved in the Santoverse despite lacking these expected quirks. I never thought it was possible, but Santo in the Wax Museum is the cerebral, thinking man’s Santo film. Don’t worry… You’ll still get your action, bizarre monsters, and silly props. But there is a layer of unexpected subtext here that delves a little deeper than the usual cold-war era “Man’s evil in developing nuclear weapons will cause his eventual downfall” stuff typically rattled off in-between wrestling matches with vampires in these films.

Continue reading

October 7, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo vs. the Vampire Women (1962)

Santo vs. the Vampire Women [Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro] (1962)

Starring Santo, Lorena Velázquez, Jaime Fernández, Augusto Benedico, María Duval, Javier Loya, Ofelia Montesco

Directed By Alfonso Corona Blake


Santo vs. the Vampire Women holds the distinction of being the Santo film that you may have actually heard of… maybe. This is the one that somehow managed to earn itself theatrical runs outside of Mexico and christened Santo with the much less cooler moniker of Samson here in the states. The film lays fine groundwork for the rest of the series, establishing Santo’s mythos and superhero status rather nicely, but in order to build up anticipation, The Man in the Silver Mask isn’t introduced until halfway through the film! I have to imagine this worked to great effect for Mexican audiences dying to see their hero up on the silver screen, but it probably had the exact opposite effect on foreign audiences unfamiliar with the finer points of lucha libre. They must have asked themselves, Why are there dudes wrestling in the middle of my vampire movie?

The film is shot with such style and is brimming with a creepy atmosphere that harkens back to the glory days when Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff were creeping around the back lots of Universal, defining the horror film as we know it. Lighting and sets are amazing, rivaling the best work of those aforementioned classics. The black and white cinematography is beautiful, casting lots of deep shadows and setting the mood for some truly spooky imagery. To put it plainly, this is a straight-up great B horror film until Santo shows up on the scene and takes it to that next level of  greatness.

Continue reading

October 4, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo vs. the Martian Invasion (1967)

Santo vs. the Martian Invasion [Santo vs. La Invasión de los Marcianos] (1967)

Starring Santo, Wolf Ruvinskis, El Nazi, Beny Galán, Ham Lee, Eduardo Bonada, Antonio Montoro, Maura Monti, Eva Norvind, Belinda Corel, Manuel Zozaya

Directed By Alfredo B. Crevenna


It’s been a few months since we last followed our pal Santo, The Man in the Silver Mask on another lucha libre fightin’, convertible cruisin’ adventure down those mean streets of Mexico. While Santo vs. the Martian Invasion doesn’t reach the bizarre, hair-raising spectacle of Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters, it comes pretty damn close. It is fairly faithful to the traditional formula as far as these films go, with its steady stream of ambushes and ridiculous scenarios to coax the bad guys into the ring. But this is Santo we’re dealing with here, and you probably wouldn’t be interested if things were any different.

The Martian invasion of the film’s title isn’t so much an invasion as it is a loose get-together. The Invaders are a paltry group of four shirtless guys decked out in silver capes and screaming-blonde Fabio wigs and four curvy Latina sex-bombs in matching silver corsages. Driven by their extraterrestrial Marxist agenda and out of fear of mankind’s tinkering with the atomic bomb they sabotage prime-time television and broadcast their commands for human beings to make peace with one another, or face a sudden, mass disintegration by the Astral Eye.

Continue reading

August 16, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mini-Review: I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968)

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968)

Starring Peter Sellers, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joyce Van Patten, David Arkin

Directed by Hy Averback

Expectations: None at all.


The film opens with some hippie guru saying stuff like, “Do you know who you are? You must know a flower before you can know yourself.” Cut to: Peter Sellers driving a car through the downtown city. Sellers plays a Woody Allen type of character, a slightly neurotic normal man who has all kinds of extraordinary circumstances surrounding him. Generally in a Woody Allen film this is funny, but this film isn’t so much. Sellers does the best he can with the material, but this kind of counter-culture film just isn’t going to play well forty-two years later.

There’s some jokes about how this Mexican family is trying to pull some insurance fraud when someone rear-ended their car carrying eleven people and some chickens. The family walks into Sellers’ office all wearing neck braces. Maybe I’m twisted, but I laughed when I saw the kids wearing neck braces. The whole scene was surprising though, as you don’t see many of these blatant stereotypes in films nowadays. There weren’t that many jokes that still worked, but I did enjoy the part with the hearse drivers being on strike.

The opening of the film isn’t bad and has promise, but it slowly slides into pointless hippie drivel when a girl makes pot brownies for Sellers, after which he decides to leave his current self behind and live the free and uninhibited hippie way. If you’re a big Peter Sellers fan, you might give this one a look, but don’t expect too much. It hasn’t aged well.

July 23, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Comedy, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Jasper reviews: Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967)

Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! [Se Sei Vivo Spara] (1967)
AKA “Django Kill”

Starring Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock, Piero Lulli, Milo Quesada, Roberto Camardiel, Marilu Tolo, Miguel Serrano, Angel Silva

Directed By Giulio Questi


What better way to end our Fistful of Djangos film festival than with a film that has absolutely nothing to do with the original or its many rip-offs? Django Kill is a Django film in title only. Although far from perfect, it is a welcome change of pace as we feel Django fatigue beginning to set in over here at Silver Emulsion.

Django Kill is without a doubt the most graphically violent and flat-out bizarre spaghetti western I have ever seen. Initially it conjures up a supernatural tone much like that of Django the Bastard, but soon becomes so saturated in surreal imagery and dreamlike symbolism that it manages to transcend definition. Our hero, a half-breed Mexican who is only referred to as “The Stranger,” is double crossed by his outlaw cohorts during a gold heist. He is ordered at gunpoint to dig his own grave and is shot dead. Later that night he literally rises from his grave and is taken in by a couple of Indian mystics, who come to revere him as a deity, claiming that he has been one of the few who have managed to visit the land of the dead and return to our land of the living. They make him a collection of gold bullets to strike down his enemies with and accompany him to the next town, which they refer to only as “The Unhappy Place”.

Continue reading

July 15, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Special Features, Uncle Jasper Reviews, Western | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

$10,000 Blood Money (1967)

$10,000 Blood Money [10.000 dollari per un massacro] (1967)
AKA “Guns of Violence” & “$10,000 Dollars for a Massacre”

Starring Gianni Garko (billed as Gary Hudson), Fidel Gonzáles, Loredana Nusciak, Adriana Ambesi, Pinuccio Ardia, Fernando Sancho, Claudio Camaso, Franco Lantieri

Directed by Romolo Guerrieri

Expectations: Moderate. I had heard this was good, but I am treading lightly.


Finally, I get to review a Django clone film that actually has its own complete identity. This is truly a great spaghetti western and while it doesn’t approach the same caliber as Leone or Corbucci, it’s still on the short list of spaghetti westerns that might be enjoyed by a general audience.

The thing that really sets this film apart from the other Django clones is the characters. The focus is on the relationship between Django, a bounty hunter who has no problems working on both sides of the law, and Manuel, a true criminal who terrorizes those that stand in his way. Both characters have a level of depth that makes them likeable, hateable and just downright interesting all at the same time. At its heart this Western is not an action picture, as a lot of the other Django clones are trying to be. The story is character driven and a lot of its entertainment value comes from the constant back and forth play between Django and Manuel. On top of that are some good gun battles that counterpoint the character drama with some fun action.

Continue reading

July 14, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 Stars, Special Features, Western | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments