Skip to main content

Posts

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

  One of John Ford's last films, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is an exploration of some of the myths and mythologising of the old West and the relationship between historical fact and legend.  Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) is a respected US Senator who arrives unexpectedly with his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) one day in the small western town of Shinbone, the place where Stoddard had first made his name. When the local newspaper editor learns he is there, he senses a story. Stoddard explains that he is in town for the funeral of an old friend, Tom Donophin (John Wayne). When pressed further, Stoddard reluctantly decides that it's time to finally tell the tale of his friendship with Donophin and the true story behind his famed shootout with outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). When Stoddard first arrived in Shinbone as a young lawyer, the local area was being terrorised by Valance and his men. Stoddard himself was on a stagecoach held up by the gang on his first trip into Sh
Recent posts

Classic TV: Red Dwarf - The Early Years (Series I & II)

The adventures of a man, a cat and a hologram (and later on an android),  Red Dwarf  is one of the world's longest-running sitcoms and the world's second longest-running sci-fi series, after the BBC's venerable Doctor Who . It's also a series with a strong cult following and a legion of fans who have stuck with it through its many ups and downs over the decades. Although based on a small cast of (usually) four characters, the show has undergone many changes and much evolution - a lot of it positive, although not all of it - since it was first broadcast in 1988. The basis of Red Dwarf was originally to look at the sci-fi space epic from an unusual angle; that is, from the point of view of the lowliest people in outer space. This was a view of the sci-fi genre from the perspective of the grunts, the equivalent of the people who empty the bins on the Death Star. In its early years, the series was essentially an antagonistic odd couple sitcom set in a  Star Trek  type world

6 Films from 6 Decades

This year's blogathon from the Classic Film & TV Cafe is 6 Films - 6 Decades . Originally Rick asked people to choose six favourite films from each decade from the 1920s to the 1970s. But he took pity on those of us who aren't that big on silent cinema and allowed us to make it one each from the 1930s to the 1980s. There are plenty of films I like from the 1920s, but nothing I could really call a favourite. So, for that reason, I've gone for the cheat's option on this one. The 39 Steps (1935)

Book Review: Once a Saint - An Actor's Memoir, by Ian Ogilvy

For a while, Ian Ogilvy was very famous indeed, a household name and recognised just about everywhere he went. That was when he played Simon Templar in the 1970s revival of The Saint on television. For the rest of his acting career, he has mostly been a busy and familiar presence, working steadily in film, theatre and television in a variety of roles and genres, with varying degrees of success. His career has ranged from murder mysteries and Noel Coward plays to farces, sitcoms and horror films.

The Assassination Bureau Limited (1968)

This black comedy from the 1960s stars Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg, the latter in her first film starring role. Rigg plays Sonya Winter, an aspiring journalist in Edwardian England, who has uncovered the existence of a secret criminal organisation, The Assassination Bureau.  This, in fact, is Sonya's first story and she approaches the newspaper of Lord Bostwick (Telly Savalas) with a proposal to infiltrate this organisation. Bostwick is intrigued by the idea and can see the possibility of an excellent story. He has great faith in her and is willing to put his newspaper's considerable resources behind her. So Sonya makes contact with the Assassination Bureau and contracts them to carry out a murder. When she meets the head of the Bureau, Ivan Dragomiloff (Oliver Reed), a young Englishman of Russian extraction, he explains that they only carry out assassinations of those who are truly deserving. What are the sins of her intended victim?

Zeppelin (1971)

  Zeppelin is an adventure film set during the height of the Zeppelin menace in World War I. The giant new German airships float over London at 9000 feet, dropping bombs on the city while flying far out of range of the British fighters or anti-aircraft guns.

Coogan's Bluff (1968)

By the late 1960s Clint Eastwood had become a bona fide film star. But he was still specifically a western star - that guy from Rawhide and A Fistful of Dollars . Dirty Harry , an orangutan called Clyde and success as an Oscar-winning director were all in the future. Having become a star in Italian-made westerns, Eastwood was lured back to Hollywood for another cowboy film Hang 'Em High in 1967. The year after that he branched out, making a rare war film Where Eagles Dare , playing second fiddle to Richard Burton, and a crime thriller  Coogan's Bluff .  Coogan's Bluff can be seen as a transitional film in Clint Eastwood's career, transferring his early western stardom into the crime film genre. It casts him as a laconic Deputy Sheriff from Arizona, who is usually referred to in the film by just his surname, Coogan. When asked his first name, he typically replies: "How about just Coogan?"