James Bond Month – You Only Live Twice (1967)

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Writer: Roald Dahl (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsure Tanba, Teru Shumada, Karin Dor, Donald Pleasence

 

Plot: Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.


Tagline – You Only Live Twice…and “TWICE” is the only way to live!

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cheesy and Fun

 

Story: You Only Live Twice starts with James Bond (Connery) faking his death to take the heat off him, on his latest mission James is sent to Japan to investigate a missing America space rocket that was landed near Japan, joining with the Japanese intelligence agent Aki (Wakabayashi) who helps him navigate Tokyo.

Bond believing SPECTRE have returned and are behind the events, he starts looking at a small fishing island and with a limited time frame, can he uncover the truth before Russia or America set off on their next space mission?

 

Thoughts on You Only Live Twice

 

Characters – James Bond has been gaining a lot of heat from his missions, now he must fake his own death to go underground. His latest mission takes him to Japan where he must uncover the truth about mission rockets, he is the same womaniser we know this being his biggest weakness, however we do learn how skilled he is when he can jump into any vehicle and know how to operate it and handle himself in any fight. Aki is the Bond girl here, she helps him around Tokyo meeting his connections and turning up just in time to rescue him from danger. Kissy is the fake wife that James must take while searching the island, could easily be considered one of the Bond girls in the movie. Blofeld is the cat stroking leader of SPECTRE Bond suspects he is involved and this will be the first meeting between the two.

PerformancesSean Connery is still good in this role, we continues to make this role the iconic on we all know and remember. Donald Pleasence in his role becomes the most iconic of all the Bond villains which is what we need this far into the franchise. When it comes to the Bond girls we get the beautiful women that don’t get too much to do other than to look great next to Bond.

StoryThe story here follow James Bond on his latest mission after faking his death which takes him into battle against SPECTRE once again, by having a returning villainous threat is good for this franchise because we don’t need to keep establishing a new villain which does take time for any film, with the returning villain we can focus on Bond and just how difficult it is to keep his identity secret from the threats to the world. the story does follow the usual movements as we follow Bond meet allies, defeat enemies and save the world from potential world war three. This is one story that is the one I always remember with the final battle which happens to be my favourite for the whole franchise.

Action/AdventureThe action is mostly Bond battle enemies, be in hand to hand, helicopter to make shift helicopter, right down to the mass final battle which is one of the biggest in the franchise. The adventure does take Bond across the world again to Japan on his latest mission.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we always see Bond in new locations and this takes him to Japan, the amount of small islands there helps add mystery to everything which is all we want as fans of the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
Base battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me She is sexiful, like this is a word.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of my favourite Bond films, it is one I grew up watching the most, it does have flaws but we can’t help that, otherwise this is one you can enjoy and gets better as we go along.

 

Overall: One of the most fun Bond films.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Q – Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Writer: Nigel Kneale (Screenplay)

Starring: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, Duncan Lamont, Bryan Marshall

 

Plot: A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.


Tagline – Force more powerful than 1,000 H-Bombs unleashed to devastate Earth! World in panic! Cities in flames!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Filled Sci-Fi Horror

 

Story: Quatermass and the Pit starts when a construction team in London discovery dead bodies, which leads to Dr Roney (Donald), Professor Quatermass (Keir) and Colonel Breen (Glover) all being bought in to investigate the mysterious discovery, each with their own field of expertise for the unknown object.

Once inside there are only more questions to be asked and the strange effects happening to the people investigating adds to the mystery.

 

Thoughts on Quatermass and the Pit

 

Characters – Dr Mathew Roney is one of the team that is set to investigate the discovery, he takes and scientific approach to everything working with the historian to put the pieces together. Professor Bernard Quatermass brings the historical point of view to the table, wanting to study the discovery and using previous historical discoveries to help figure out the truth. Colonel Breen brings the military point of view often looking to use the quick answer over the smart answer. Barbara Judd is a reporter that is trying to put together a story for the public who believe this is an unexploded bomb.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast is great throughout, we believe the scientific figures, the military ones and the reporter looking for a story. the four main stars of the film know how to make the most of their scenes where their character needs to be the larger focus.

StoryThe story follows an object being discovered in London while digger to make the underground larger, we follow how the investigation to learn what this could be from different perspectives which shows how this would be handled in real life. We do have twists which comes from the discoveries going on, but for the most part this keeps things simple, with an air of mystery about what could be happening around the object.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror surrounding this movie comes from what could come from the object, it could bring horrific consequences, this plays into the mystery as we are left with the mystery behind what could be behind it. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the explanation to what could be behind the object and the potential of space being involved.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the underground, this is always a tight compact location which will add to suspense and horror in anything.

Special EffectsThis film was released in the 1960s, the special effects for the time were great, while we might look down on them now, it showed us just what was capable for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act which we are built up to nicely.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact they just look like grasshoppers and no one says this.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best hammer horror mystery sci-fi horror films out there, it keeps you guessing before letting everything out in the final act instead of giving away too much too early.

 

Overall: Must watch Hammer Horror

Rating

 

 

El Dorado (1967)

Director: Howard Hawks

Writer: Leigh Brackett (Screenplay) Harry Brown (Novel)

Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey

 

Plot: Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.


Tagline – Range War! A lawless time when no man dares turn his back… even to a friend!

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Western

 

Story: El Dorado starts when Sheriff Harrah (Mitchum) turns to his former gunslinger partner Cole Thornton (Wayne) for assistance against a ruthless rancher Bart Jason (Asner) who wants to force another rancher off their land.

Cole meets a young man Mississippi (Caan) that proves he can handle himself in a fight, which sees him continue to build a team to take down Bart Jason once and for all.

 

Thoughts on El Dorado

 

Characters – Cole Thornton is the gunslinger for hire, he doesn’t mind which side of the law he works as long as he gets paid, his loyalty comes back to show that sometimes he doesn’t get bought, when his old friend comes asking for help, he will help people he does believe are getting into trouble for the right reasons and will fight for the people next to the people he trusts the most. Sheriff J.P. Harrah turns to his old friend for help, only to see him turn to the bottle after failing to help on the levels he most requires. Mississippi is the young bounty hunter that is deadly with a knife, he will need to use a gun if he is to work with Cole, who he wants to learn from.

PerformancesJohn Wayne is one of the most famous actors for westerns, he really is a commanding presence on screen even if he doesn’t always hit up the most realistic acting. Robert Mitchum gives us a performance that gets laughs at time and easily goes through the biggest arc through the film. James Caan does well when he gets his time to shine, though he does get overshadowed in places.

StoryThe story follows two men from either sides of the law that team up to take down a rancher and his men that are causing problems in the town. When it comes to westerns nearly every single story is the same, the law makers and reluctant gun for hire joins forces to take on a troublesome group of ranchers or outlaws or something, this is everything we have seen before without needing to offer anything new to the mix. We get a time jump which does come randomly which does disappoint too. We do have a mentor like position which ends up falling short in the way everything pans out.

Romance/WesternThere is meant to be a romance angle in this film which doesn’t seem very interesting in anyway, the western side of the film is everything you are expecting it to be without taking away any of the normal western traits.

SettingsThe film is set in the normal western towns which feels like the sets most likely were used in other films too.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunk J.P.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just like every other western.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book western, it is easy to follow with stronger performances, but just offers nothing new to the genre.

 

Overall: Simple Western.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – I – In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Director: Norman Jewison

Writer: Stirling Silliphant (Screenplay) John Ball (Novel)

Starring: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Larry Gates, James Patterson William Schallert

 

Plot: An African-American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.


Tagline – They’re going to pin something on that smart cop from Philidelphia . . . maybe a medal . . . maybe a murder!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Greatest Crime Films of All Time

 

Story: In the Heat of the Night starts in a small Southern town of Sparta in America, deputy Sam Wood (Oates) discovers a dead body and the department goes in search of suspects, chief Gillespie (Steiger) is running the investigation. Sam arrests the first black man he sees with that being Virgil Tibbs (Poitier).

Virgil just so happens to be Philadelphia’s best homicide detective and once the problem between the two sides get eased, Virgil is forced to help with the murder investigation with Gillespie needing to put aside his racist ways for advice. This case will become one of Virgil’s most difficult not just because of the case, but because of the backwards racist nature of the certain locals.

 

Thoughts on In the Heat of the Night

 

Characters – Virgil Tibbs is one of the best homicide detectives in his home city, he has earnt this position with hard work and higher education. He finds himself stuck in a racial divided town that does require his help, but doesn’t want to accept it. Virgil is strong and creates some of the most iconic scenes in film history. Gillespie is the chief that must reluctantly accept Virgil’s help, he is racist, but knows he needs Virgil’s help when it comes to solving this case, he must learn to be accepting of Virgil while being put under pressure by the supremacist that live in he area to rid the town of Virgil. Sam is the deputy that takes an instant dislike to Virgil, but he is mostly just a lowlife cop that gets past doing the basics of the job. The cast is filled the generic racist characters that don’t want to accept a black man helping with the investigation.

PerformancesSidney Poitier gives us one of the most memorable and powerful performances in any crime film, one that has iconic scenes that will forever stand the test of time. Rod Steiger is brilliant to, he shows us just how conflicted his character is to do the right thing and to keep his backwards mind on racial differences. When we look at the rest of the performances, we see good work from the whole cast.

StoryThe story here follows a black detective forced into helping solve a murder in Mississippi while the racial hate between the two whites and blacks still comes off strong. There is two ways to look at this story, first we see how crime takes place and must get solved, which is interesting to keep us guessing throughout because of the large number of potential suspects. That however, isn’t the main story here, the racial divide between the people of town makes this more interesting because seeing how different characters interact with Virgil, some with open smiles, some with gritted smiles and some with pure hate. This shows us how we must witness how America was still filled racial hate in certain states that can point fingers before solving the crimes.

Crime/MysteryThe crime in this movie is murder, though trying to solve this opens up plenty of smaller crimes and deals with the racial hate still going on at the time in Mississippi, the mystery keeps us guessing to just who was the one the committed the crime in the first place.

SettingsThe film takes place in Mississippi which for the time was still facing the divide between black and whites, this ups the tension for Virgil trying to solve the crime while also showing us the smaller crimes going on through the town.


Scene of the Movie –
They call me Mister.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The locals can feel too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest crime movies you will ever see, it keeps you guessing from start to finish and deals with the racial hatred that was still going strong in the 1960s America.

 

Overall: Must watch crime mystery.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Writer: Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Donn Pearce (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet

 

Plot: A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.


Tagline – Sometimes, “Nothing” can be a really Cool Hand

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Classic We Know

 

Story: Cool Hand Luke starts as war veteran Newman) is sent to a rural prison for cutting the heads of parking metres. Wanting to keep to himself it isn’t long before he starts befriending the leader of the men in the prison Dragline (Kennedy) as they start to pass the times with bets and fights.

As Luke’s two year sentence runs, life catches up with him as he must deal with the consequences of his actions, moments in life that he will miss, forcing him to want to break the rules of the prison.

 

Thoughts on Cool Hand Luke

 

Characters – Luke is the war veteran who in a drunken state destroys parking metres, he is calm while set to prison and knows how to improve his standing with the prisoners, as he plans his own escape from the prison, he misses out on big moments of life, but it is clear he is dealing with the effects of war. Dragline runs the prisoner side of the inmates, if he likes you, you get anything, he keeps the people calm while dealing with the struggles they are facing, he befriends Luke during the time in the prison. We have a large amount of inmates in the prison each with their own characters, we have the strict wardens and owner of the prison who keep the men in line, while befriending them if they follow the rules.

PerformancesPaul Newman shines here giving us one of the best performances of any acting career, we completely understand the troubles he has been facing as the man who needed help from the world. George Kennedy in the supporting role is fantastic while the rest of the cast fill their roles well letting Newman shine.

StoryThe story here follows Luke in his time in prison, he has been sent there because of a minor crime and his problems are clear for all to see, he is a war veteran facing the consequences that had yet to be truly healed when returning home. We see how he tries to escape from the prison as he is ready to try and go against the rules of life which shows us just how broken this man was, we would get a lot more support in the modern era. The bond between the prisoners is strong in the story telling showing how they can become like one to help pass the time, with the wardens and guards even showing moments of sympathy towards the prisoners.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us just where a minor criminal will end up, how they must get through the prison routine even if they want to escape.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison, it shows us how isolated this location is, meaning running isn’t going to be the option.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bloodhounds seem mistreated.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films, it is one that does stand the test of time and shows just how Paul Newman was one of the greatest actors of all time.

 

Overall: Must watch classic film.

Rating