Tag Archives: Canada

Westworld

Directed by Michael Crichton
Produced by Paul Lazarus III
Written by Michael Crichton
Starring Yul Brynner
Richard Benjamin
James Brolin
Music by Fred Karlin
Cinematography Gene Polito
Editing by David Bretherton
Distributed by MGM
Release date November 21, 1973
Running time 88 min. (theatrical)
Country US
Language English

Westworld was a film that scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. I had nightmares of an out of control robot Yul Brynner chasing me and he couldn’t be killed, which is basically the plot of this movie.The Simpsons parodied the film in the Itchy & Scratchy Land episode.

It’s an enjoyable film to watch but not as scary as I thought it was when I was a kid. It’s an interesting concept of having a theme park full of robots that run amok due to a computer virus. Of course the film (and book it was based on) was made before everyone had a home computer so the idea of computer viruses was virtually unknown. I like some of the little things that Yul does that remind us that he is not human but a robot, such as the way in which he walks while stalking the hero Richard Benjamin.

I notice that Westworld is set to be remade with Russell Crowe in the lead role. I don’t see the point of a remake of what is a great film but if that is the case hopefully it is better than the remake of Robin Hood. It seems that Hollywood has run out of original ideas as now there are so many mediocre remakes or sequals to earlier films. This may be a topic for another time but how many crappy remakes have their been in the last decade?

Advertisements

Poppy

Directed byA. Edward Sutherland
Writing credits Waldemar Young and Virginia Van Upp (screenplay)
Based on a play by Dorothy Donnelly

Cast (in credits order)

W.C. Fields … Prof. Eustace McGargle
Rochelle Hudson … Poppy
Richard Cromwell … Billy Farnsworth
Catherine Doucet … Countess Maggi Tubbs DePuizzi
Lynne Overman … Attorney Whiffen
Granville Bates … Mayor Farnsworth
Maude Eburne … Sarah Tucker
Bill Wolfe … Egmont
Adrian Morris … Constable Bowman
Rosalind Keith … Frances Parker
Ralph Remley … Carnival Manager

Poppy seems a bit different to the other W. C. Fields films that I have seen. It seems to be a typical 1930s comedy featuring Fields rather than a film that was built around him. It’s a lot more melodramatic than other Fields films, although it does feature enough of his weird and wonderful comedy to be worthy of a look.

Fields of course performed in the broadway version of Poppy over a decade earlier. He also played the part of Professor Eustace McGargle in the 1925 silent film Sally of the Sawdust.

Poppy is a part of the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection Volume 2 with The Man On The Flying Trapeze, You’re Telling Me, The Old Fashioned Way and Never Give A Sucker An Even Break. This DVD box set is available from Amazon for $43.99. You can purchase it by clicking here…


Ride ‘Em Cowboy

Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by Alex Gottlieb
Written by True Boardman & John Grant
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Dick Foran
Anne Gwynne
Ella Fitzgerald
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography John W. Boyle
Editing by Philip Cahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date February 20, 1942
Running time 86 minutes
Language English

Ride ‘Em Cowboy is a 1942 Abbott & Costello comedy that is funny in places but it does feel some boring musical pieces. One bright spot is the number featuring Ella Fitzgerald. I wish that she had of been given a bigger role than just being relegated to the background and singing one number, as well as the duet with the Merry Macs.

Abbott & Costello are quite funny in this, although there are a number of jokes involving native American Indians that today would be considered politically incorrect. Lou Costello is not as annoying as he was in Hold That Ghost, which came out a year earlier, and is funnier. The abuse that Bud gives Lou has also been toned down a lot since that earlier movie.


The Devil at Your Heels

Directed by Robert Fortier Produced by Bill Brind, Robert Fortier, Barrie Howells and Adam Symansky Narrated by Gordon Pinsent Starring Ken Carter Distributed by Visionsmiths, Inc. Release date 1981 Running time 1 hr 43 minutes Language English
I think like most Australians I first saw this film in the early 1990s when it was presented by the D-Generation on the ABC. I taped it and watched this film several times but I think that someone eventually recorded over it, so I hadn’t seen this for a bout fifteen years.I have been looking for this ever since and finally acquired another copy of it.
The film is about Ken Carter, a stuntman who dreams of flying a rocket powered car across the St. Lawrence Seaway from Canada to the United States. For five years he tries to make his dream into reality but unfortunately for Ken, while he may have the ambition he does not have the money, resources or talent to do this, but that does not stop him from trying, although when it actually comes time for him to make the jump he loses his nerve.
Ken is a likeable sort of guy and unlike Evel Knievel is someone you’d actually like to have a beer with. Sure, he does seem to have a very high opinion of himself despite the fact that he never achieves even a fraction of what he sets out to do, but unlike the impression I got of Knievel in the Richard Hammond documentary Ken seems like a nice, eccentric guy. The documentary could have treated Ken as a fool but it at least gives him some dignity despite the fact that he does come off as a buffoon with some of what he says. Ken makes the film funny because he doesn’t know his limitations and despite the fact that even a blind man could see that he would not make the jump, Ken just cannot see it himself. Ken and everyone around him are too inept to make this a reality.Ken wasn’t even the one who attempted the jump as he lost his nerve and the backers got Ken’s friend Kenny Powers to do it with disastrous results.
It is a funny film about an awesomely eccentric but very inept guy.