Category Archives: D — VIEWING


(Wal­lace 1982) Hal­loween 3: Sea­son of the Witch
(Roeg 1971) Walk­a­bout
(Laugh­land 2016) Mid­somer Mur­ders: Ep.111 ― The Vil­lage That Rose from the Dead
(Zeman 1958) The Dead­ly Inven­tion [Vynález zkázy] [aka The Fab­u­lous World of Jules Verne]
(Argen­to 2012) Drac­u­la 3D
(Tenold 2019) Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews: Drac­u­la 3D
(Waters 2008) The Spi­der­wick Chron­i­cles
(Jonze 2009) Where the Wild Things Are
(Abra­hams, Zuck­er & Zuck­er 1980) Air­plane!
(Forsyth 1980) Gregory’s Girl
(Hayes 2019) Rick and Morty: Ep.32 ― Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rick­peat
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(Find­lay 1988) Prime Evil
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (375) Prime Evil
(Burns 2012) Bravest War­riors: Ep.1 ― Time Slime
(Stevens 1959) The Twi­light Zone: Ep.1 ― Where Is Every­body?
(Kier­sch 1987) Gor
(de Chomón 1906) Ah! La barbe! [A Fun­ny Shave]
(1964) Woody Allen Dic­tates a Love Let­ter on Can­did Cam­era [TV show frag­ment]
(1964) Woody Allen’s Una­time Wel­come on Can­did Cam­era [TV show frag­ment]
(Margher­i­ti 1983) Yor, the Hunter From the Future
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (376) Gor & Yor
(Groen­ing / Avanzi­no 1999) Futu­ra­ma: Ep.2 ― The Series Has Land­ed
(Per­sichet­ti & Ram­sey) Spi­der-Man: Into the Spi­der-Verse
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(Crow­ley 2007) Boy A
(Carter 2016) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.108 ― A Dying Art
(1896–1900) Vic­to­ri­an Era Footage from Around the World
(Méliès 1897) Après le bal
(White 1900) Why Mrs. Jones Got a Divorce
(Urban 1903) Cheese Mites [aka What the Pro­fes­sor Found in the Cheese]
(Urban 1906) The Streets of Lon­don
(White 1896) A Morn­ing Bath
(White 1896) Her­ald Square
(White 1896) Pas­sa­ic Falls, New Jer­sey
(White 1896) Amer­i­can Falls from Above, Amer­i­can Side
(Heise 1896) Amy Muller
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(Blair 1961) The Adven­tures of Super­boy [unsold TV series pilot]
(Tut­tle 1929) The Stu­dio Mur­der Mys­tery
(Lang­dale 1995) Earth­worm Jim: Ep.1 ― Side­kicked
(Rob­bins 1978) Corvette Sum­mer
(Kin­caid 1986) Robot Holo­caust
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (365) Robot Holo­caust
(Kin­caid 1986) Robot Holo­caust [Mys­tery Sci­ence The­atre ver­sion]
(Rear­don 1994) The Simp­sons: Ep.109 ― Tree­house of Hor­ror V
(Price 1974) The Tomor­row Peo­ple: Ep.23 ― The Dooms­day Men, Part 1: Dressed to Kill
(Price 1974) The Tomor­row Peo­ple: Ep.24 ― The Dooms­day Men, Part 2: The Burn­ing Sword
(Price 1974) The Tomor­row Peo­ple: Ep.25 ― The Dooms­day Men, Part 3: Run Rab­bit Run
(Price 1974) The Tomor­row Peo­ple: Ep.26 ― The Dooms­day Men, Part 4: The Shut­tle­cock
(Pil­lai 2016) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.105 ― Habeas Cor­pus
(Vasquez 2001) Invad­er Zim: Ep.1 ― The Night­mare Begins
(Rose 2012) Max von Sydow on Ing­mar Bergman
(Schus­ter 1952) Kid Monk Baroni
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(Hawks 1955) Land of the Pharaohs
(Irv­ing 1968) Colum­bo: Ep.1 ― Pre­scrip­tion: Mur­der
(Zuck­er 1991) The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
(Mahon 1965) The Beast That Killed Women
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (360) The Beast That Killed Women
(Palmer 2015) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.102 ― Mur­der by Mag­ic
(King 1930) Shad­ow Ranch
(Smith 2001) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.16 — The Elec­tric Vendet­ta
(Guð­munds­son 1981) Out­law: The Saga of Gis­li [Útlaginn]
(Milosavel­je­vich 2018) How Long Have Peo­ple Lived In Amer­i­ca?
(2016) The Ark Before Noah: A Great Adven­ture [Irv­ing Finkel lec­ture]
(Griss­mer 1987) Blood Rage
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (361) Blood Rage
(Gowarik­er 2016) Mohen­jo Daro
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(Lantz 1930) Spooks [Oswald the Lucky Rab­bit car­toon]
(Lantz 1930) Snap­py Sales­man [Oswald the Lucky Rab­bit car­toon]
(Lantz 1928) Ozzie of the Mount­ed [Oswald the Lucky Rab­bit car­toon]
(Cooke 2018) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.121 ― Till Death Do Us Part
(Arm­strong 2000) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.13 — Beyond the Grave
(Yapp 2007) The Secret Life of Bri­an
(Jex 2008) Black­ad­der Exclu­sive: The Whole Rot­ten Saga
(Jex 2009) Fawl­ty Tow­ers: Re-Opened
(del Toro 2017) The Shape of Water
(Pil­lai 2014) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.97 ― Let Us Prey
(del Toro 2017) The Shape of Water
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(Don­ner 1978) Super­man
(Annakin 1960) Swiss Fam­i­ly Robin­son
(Mar­ti­no 1978) Slave of the Can­ni­bal God [aka Moun­tain of the Can­ni­bal God]
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (353) Star Wars: The Road to Men­ace, Part 1
(Frow 2018) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.119 ― Draw­ing Dead
(Band & Band 1992) Doc­tor Mor­drid
(Tenold 2019) Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews: Doc­tor Mor­drid
(Hay 2013) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.95 ― Schooled in Mur­der
(Neu­mann 1958) The Fly
(Ware­ing 1989) Doc­tor Who: Ep.686 ― Ghost Light, Part 1
(Ware­ing 1989) Doc­tor Who: Ep.687 ― Ghost Light, Part 2
(Ware­ing 1989) Doc­tor Who: Ep.688 ― Ghost Light, Part 3
(Smith 2000) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.11 — Blue Her­rings
(Kel­ly & Donen 1952) Sin­gin’ in the Rain
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(Trelfer 2016) Dark Cor­ners Review: (100) Fiend With­out a Face
(di Chiera 2009) Death of the Megabeasts
(Fried­kin 1970) The Boys in the Band
(Fried­man 1989) Phan­tom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (349) Phan­tom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge
(Sas­dy 1985) The Secret Diary of Adri­an Mole: Ep.1
(Winther 2004) The Librar­i­an: Quest for the Spear
(Schu­mach­er 1994) The Client
(Miike 2001) The Hap­pi­ness of the Katakuris [カタクリ家の幸福 ; Katakuri-ke no Kōfuku]
(Trelfer 2019) Dark Cor­ners Review: (350) The Hor­ror Films of F. W. Mur­nau
(Oliv­er 2008) On the Oth­er Hand, Death
(1928) Ear­ly Sound Footage: Unit­ed States
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(Joffe 2017) Tin Star: Ep.1 ― Fun and (S)Laughter
(Rye 2011) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.91 ― Mur­der of Inno­cence
(Sil­ber­ston 1998) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.3 — Death of a Hol­low Man
(Rye 2012) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.92 ― Writ­ten in the Stars
(Tay­lor 1998) Mid­Somer Mur­ders: Ep.4 — Faith­ful Unto Death
(McNaughton 1974) Mon­ty Python’s Fly­ing Cir­cus: Ep.41 ― Michael Ellis
(Moore 1976) Mur­der By Death
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(Richardson 1965) The Loved One

This is the kind of film that should be seen by hap­pen­stance. A delib­er­ate view­ing can’t match the deli­cious plea­sure of stum­bling upon it by chance. I real­ly shouldn’t even be telling you about it.

In 1947, the British nov­el­ist Eve­lyn Waugh was approached by Hol­ly­wood for a pos­si­ble film­ing of his nov­el Brideshead Revis­it­ed. The book’s two essen­tial com­po­nents were a heavy dose of the mys­ti­cal upper-class Catholi­sism which exists only in Eng­land and bears no resem­blance to Catholi­cism any­where else, and a steamy homo­sex­u­al yearn­ing that man­ages to nev­er men­tion homo­sex­u­al­i­ty. The idea that this would have been made into a film even vague­ly resem­bling the orig­i­nal was ludi­crous, but Waugh was hap­py to let Hol­ly­wood give him an all-expense-paid trip to Los Ange­les to hag­gle. Waugh had no inten­tion of going through with the deal. Waugh was a snob — he was revolt­ed that “low­er-class” ser­vice peo­ple spoke to him as an equal, detest­ed Amer­i­can infor­mal­i­ty, and com­plained about every­thing. But snobs often write the best satire (think Thack­er­ay), as they have no com­punc­tions about hurt­ing people’s feel­ings. Hol­ly­wood is a bizarre, arti­fi­cial, and goofy place even for Amer­i­cans, and Waugh found plen­ty of mate­r­i­al for his next satir­i­cal nov­el, The Loved One, which appeared in 1948. He was par­tic­u­lar­ly fas­ci­nat­ed by Amer­i­cans’ pecu­liar atti­tudes towards death and (to a Brit) weird funer­al cus­toms. The plot is sim­ple: A young Eng­lish­man with a posh edu­ca­tion but no par­tic­u­lar ambi­tion wins a trip to Hol­ly­wood, and stays with an Uncle who is a stal­wart in the expat British com­mu­ni­ty in the film stu­dios. His host com­mits sui­cide, leav­ing him to fend for him­self on this alien plan­et. Attend­ing to his uncle’s funer­al, he becomes involved with Aimée Thanatogenos, an embalmer work­ing at Whis­per­ing Glades Ceme­tery, a spec­tac­u­lar­ly vul­gar Dis­ney­land of Death cre­at­ed by the mega­lo­ma­ni­ac Blessed Rev­erend Glen­wor­thy. He encoun­ters an assort­ment of lunatics, all of them dis­play­ing extreme ver­sions of Amer­i­can cul­ture that Waugh found offen­sive and laugh­able. As in many of Waugh’s books, and many of the same ilk, the “hero” dis­plays no notice­able virtues oth­er than not being one of the loonies. 

Tony Richard­son, a British direc­tor who had scored big with crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed and finan­cial­ly suc­cess­ful films (Look Back in Anger; The Enter­tain­er; A Taste of Hon­ey; The Lone­li­ness of the Long Dis­tance Run­ner; Tom Jones) filmed the book in 1965. The script was writ­ten by the wild­ly unlike­ly com­bi­na­tion of Ter­ry South­ern and Christo­pher Ish­er­wood. South­ern is not much read now, but in 1965 he was in lit­er­ary vogue, and usu­al­ly paired with Kurt Von­negut as a satirist. Ish­er­wood was a gay play­wright and nov­el­ist who had chron­i­cled the sex­u­al under­ground of Weimar Ger­many, and would lat­er reach a wide audi­ence with Cabaret. Waugh had vicious­ly car­i­ca­tured Ish­er­wood in one of his nov­els, but in that cat­ty lit­er­ary crowd such things appar­ent­ly did not mat­ter much. The film script sticks fair­ly close to the book, but adds a some scenes that make it fit in bet­ter with 1965. These addi­tions would, I sus­pect, have been fine with Waugh. Visu­al­ly, the film is a feast. Every shot fills the eye with details just as fun­ny as the sit­u­a­tions and the dia­log. Every cut serves a satir­ic pur­pose. But the real bonan­za is the cast­ing. Aimée Thanatogenos is played to per­fec­tion by Anjanette Cormer, whose remark­able tal­ent was nev­er well-used by Hol­ly­wood. The Eng­lish hero is played by Robert Morse, one of the few Amer­i­can actors at the time who could con­vinc­ing­ly play an Eng­lish­man — while the vul­gar Amer­i­can film mogul is played by Rod­dy Mac­Dowall, then still best known as a for­mer Eng­lish child star. Lib­er­ace turns in a hilar­i­ous per­for­mance as a funer­al direc­tor — he real­ly missed a chance to be a great com­ic film actor. Jonathan Win­ters plays both the Rev­erend Glen­wor­thy and his incom­pe­tent twin broth­er, mak­ing each char­ac­ter a gem. Rod Steiger chews the scenery with the moth­er-obsessed and near­ly psy­chot­ic Mr. Joy­boy. Paul Williams is a child rock­et sci­en­tist. The actu­al Hol­ly­wood Eng­lish Con­tin­gent (reg­u­lar­ly cast as “Lords and but­lers”) essen­tial­ly play them­selves: John Giel­gud, Robert Mor­ley, Alan Napi­er. Mil­ton Berle, James Coburn, Mar­garet Leighton, Bar­bara Nichols, Lionel Stander, and Bernie Kopell do well-craft­ed bits. There are numer­ous Hol­ly­wood in-jokes that the audi­ence could hard­ly have been expect­ed to catch. For exam­ple, the cow­boy film star who is being absurd­ly voice-coached by the stu­dio to play an Eng­lish Lord is played by Robert Eas­t­on. Eas­t­on was him­self a voice coach, and one of the worlds great­est author­i­ties on Eng­lish dialects. Many in the cast were clos­et­ed gays. Tab Hunter plays a tour guide! 

It’s extra­or­di­nary that this satir­i­cal film, made 54 years ago, based on a book writ­ten 71 years ago, remains rel­e­vant and bit­ing­ly fun­ny.