So I seem to still be on a Lost World kick and I realize I’ve never written about the entertaining 1969 movie The Valley of Gwangi. Let’s fix that.
Set in the early 1900s, The Valley of Gwangi follows a travelling cowboy show run by T.J. Breckenridge (Gila Golan) that performs in Mexico. T.J.’s ex-boyfriend, Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus), has come back to buy her out. T.J. refuses—she’s got a new attraction that will be bring in the money: a miniature horse. But when Tuck shows Professor Bromley (Laurence Naismith) the tiny thing, Bromley claims it’s an extinct Eohippus. Whoa. Could there be other prehistoric wonders out there?
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Edgar Rice Burroughs had dabbled in the lost world genre before he wrote his classic The Land That Time Forgot in 1918. The first film adaptation didn’t occur until 1975 with legendary fantasy writer Michael Moorcock writing the screenplay.
Set during WWI a British boat has been torpedoed by a German u-boat. The survivors manage to get aboard the u-boat and take it over. The Germans manage to sabotage the navigation and the u-boat ends up in the south Atlantic where they come across a lost continent called Caprona.
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Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Hammer Studios found success with a steady stream of cavewoman movies. Starting with One Million Years B.C. in 1966 Hammer followed it up with the weaker Prehistoric Women which had a blondes versus brunettes plot. The third film they made was 1970’s When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
Directed by Hammer veteran Val Guest (The Quatermass Xperiment) and with the Oscar nominated stop motion effects by the underrated Jim Danforth this is another of Hollywood’s anachronistical movies where dinosaurs and humans live together at the same time.
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Today’s Sunday Matinee is a apocalyptic disaster film from 1933 Deluge. The movie was a modest hit when it was released but it after it’s special effects footage was reused in a couple of Republic serials the movie became one of the unfortunate lost films. In 1981 an Italian dubbed version was found and that is how it’s been viewed since until now.
Kino Lorber is releasing a brand new 2K restored print on Blu-ray February 21. This new print was discovered in the archives of the Centre National du Cinéma et de L’Image Animée in France. The print was restored and the movie was given a limited theatrical release (as usual no where near here) and now folks can finally see the movie the way it was originally 84 years ago.
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Director Michael Mann has only made 11 movies over his forty year career and arguably his best is this 1995 crime heist thriller.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were both in The Godfather Part II but they never shared screen time. De Niro played a young version of Pacino’s father Vito in the film so when Heat first appeared in theatres there was lots of hype for their big face off. Director Mann kept that on screen time to a minimum but works.
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Continuing January’s movies on train theme (which wasn’t original planned it just sort of happened) today’s Sunday Matinee is the excellent 1952 crime thriller/film noir The Narrow Margin.
Det. Sgt. Walter Brown (Charles McGraw) is assigned to escort a late mob boss’ wife by train from Chicago to L.A. so she can testify to the Grand Jury in a case. The widow Mrs. Frankie Neall (Marie Windsor) is attacked before they get to the train and Brown’s partner is killed. The hitman Densel (Peter Virgo) escapes. Brown is ticked but continues with the job. On the train he meets the lovely Ann Sinclair (Jacqueline White) and her son. Meanwhile two more assassins have boarded the train and looking to finish the job.
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I’m always interested in seeing other countries and cultures take on more American pop culture. The current zombie genre was first started way back with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead but it seen spread to other countries. Train to Busan is a South Korean horror/thriller from animation director Sang-ho Yeon.
This is Sang-ho Yeon’s first live action movie, his previous two were both animated features the excellent King of Pigs and The Fake.
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Writer William Peter Blatty passed away on January 12 this year at the age of 89. Blatty’s biggest acclaim was his novel and the subsequent movie adaptation The Exorcist.
Before Blatty became successful with The Exorcist he started out writing comedic novels John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1963),I, Billy Shakespeare (1965) and Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane (1966). Blatty also starting writing screenplays. His first The Man from the Diners’ Club starred Danny Kaye would lead him to working with writer/director Blake Edwards.
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This might sound familiar. Tetsuo Okita (Ken Takakura) is desperate for money and has teamed up with an activist Masaru Koga (Kei Yamamoto) and a former employee and has planted a bomb on a bullet train that will go off if the train slows down below 80 km/h.
The Bullet Train was made in 1975 and yes has a plot that “inspired” the 1994 movie Speed or as Homer Simpson called it “the bus that couldn’t slow down”.
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Happy New Year and welcome to the first Sunday Matinee of 2017. Let’s start the year off with the end of the world.
Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) wakes up to find that he can’t get any radio signals. Zac was working on a special energy project and soon discovers that there’s wreckage everywhere but there doesn’t seem to be any bodies. In fact there isn’t anybody around except him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Zac discovers that the second the project went online everyone on Earth has vanished except him.
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