The Happy Mutant's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion

A thread to share and discuss obscure films from the past as well as new ones that are easily overlooked next to the highly publicised blockbusters. You get the idea.

(The title is obviously a nod to Halliwell’s. I still keep my copy of the 9th edition within easy reach.)

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I haven’t seen it, but it looks worthwhile.

Funny - when I read your topic description, my first thought was for a film of the same year as Colossus that I watched a couple of weeks ago after seeing it as a teenager on late-night TV. It shares the “ special glasses to see aliens” trope* with “They Live”, but isn’t as schlocky. Great performance from Angie Dickinson.

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I feel like Brian de Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise is prime for a resurrection as a Broadway musical.

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i don’t know whether this can be considered an obscure film, but it is not commonly shown and it is enormously powerful–

during the course of a running time of over 9 hours, there are no bodies shown onscreen, no stock footage, no animations of hell on earth. instead, through hearing the words of survivors, of witnesses, and of participants, one understand the horror within the painful corridors of one’s own mind. there is truly no movie about the holocaust to match it.

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An overlooked film about an overlooked musician whose songs you already know.

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The Harry Palmer trilogy:


The working-class anti-Bond, at a time when Bond really took off, and by the same producer.
Not as complex as the book, but
a) 90 minutes is enough
b) everything that needs to be there is there
c) Harry Saltzman wouldn’t give Harry Palmer a bigger budget than James Bond to include the neutron bomb test in the Pacific anyway (he did hire Ken Adam though, always a good decision)
 



More straightforward/conventional than IPCRESS, but it has Oscar Homolka and Paul Hubschmid as a baddie, which is unusual.
Also, very much a time capsule. All the Berlin exteriors were shot on location 5 years after the wall went up, a lot of this footage is quite documentary.
With exceptions like the Europa Center, West Berlin didn’t look that different from East Berlin, especially Kreuzberg or Moabit. Trivia: you can tell that the scenes that supposedly take place outdoors in East Berlin were shot in the West by the streetlights, but very little else.
I do have an issue with the music. While good in itself, it is far too much ‘Late 1920ies/early 1930ies decadent Berlin’, like for something by Brecht.
 



Pretty conventional for a Ken Russell film, but you can sense where he would go in his later works.
Karl Malden at his most crooked. Also, again, Oscar Homolka and the 1960ies/1970ies sinister standby, Vladek Sheybal.
Sadly, the last film of Françoise Dorléac who was killed in a car crash when her rental car flipped and burned on a roadway in Nice, France on June 26, 1967.
The computer centre shown is mostly state-of-the-art Honeywell gear and a treat for punch card wranglers.
The General Midwinter character and his fanatic followers seem oddly prescient seen from today.

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I plan to look some of these up.

Recently I was able to rewatch a movie that I hadn’t seen since I was a kid in the early 70s. It held up better than I expected, and I accurately remembered more than I thought I would.

I just wish there was a widescreen version available somewhere. Pan & Scan is the work of the devil.


Another surprise (for me at least) was discovering that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a remake of a David Niven/Marlon Brando movie:

It also held up quite well, and a surprising amount of the original made it into the remake. The ending is different though.


I found both movies on YouTube, if anyone is interested in watching them.

I haven’t found a legitimate way to buy Arrivederci, Baby! but I did locate a couple shady places selling it for around $10. My guess is they are just packaged versions of the YouTube video.

Bedtime Story can be bought on Amazon for $22.20, but it requires you to either be in Region 2, or have a multi region DVD player. Neither option works for me.

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Two films you can only watch once but totally worth it:

If you thought Bambi’s mother’s fate was bad

Cannibal gore flick as social commentary (Eli Roth ripped this one off shamelessly recently)

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There is no way to properly warn people of how devastating “Grave of the Fireflies” is. Suffice it to say that Roger Ebert stated he believed it to be the most powerful anti-war movie he’d ever seen. Somehow the fact that it’s anime makes it more potent and emotional, not less.

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This review might help give someone the heads-up

https://web.archive.org/web/20090812042603/http://www.mutantreviewers.com/rfireflies.html

Sue’s Rating: GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
Sue’s Review: Okay, okay, sheesh! I take it all back, Disney! Go ahead and kill all the mommies and daddies you want! Shoot 'em, toss 'em off cliffs, throw 'em to the sharks, let 'em disappear in mysterious and unexplained pre-prologue circumstances! I won’t say another word about it! All I ask, and it’s a little thing really, no trouble on your part, is to make sure their offspring are plucky and resourceful and SURVIVE to live Happily Ever After. Okay? Please?

I am NEVER going to put myself through a movie like this again. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!

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My memory is that this one is more conventional than Ipcress by which I mean it feels more like other spy works of the era, but I don’t know about straightforward. I think it’s plot is more convoluted. May be misremembering, it’s been years since I last saw it.

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Well, straightforward as in ‘everybody’s motives are pretty clear’, it’s just that there are at least seven parties with different motivations, so there is a lot of double-, triple- and possibly quadruplecrossing going on.

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Well, it has a young Jean-Paul Belmondo, a young Françoise Dorléac and Adolfo Celi not as a baddie for a change, what more do you want?

Philippe de Broca has the formula nailed down pretty neat: a transcontinental cops and robbers yarn, sympathetic leads, a sinister mad scientist, exotic locations that were far beyond the reach of the average movie patron at the time. Not much of a plot, but fun to watch.

Bonus bit for fans of Oscar Niemeyer: a lengthy sequence is set at half-finished Brasília. Enthusiastic use of freeze-frame will let you see vistas you won’t even see in 1960ies coffee table books and give a good idea of what Niemayer had in mind.

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Probably not very obscure but i never seem to find someone else who has seen it. The ending is just magnificent…

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Simply a joy to watch. Not the thigh-slapping, rolling-on-the-floor type of comedy, but very funny all the same, and very, very true.

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Simply the best take on Cinderella there is.

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Hacking and computer crime 1960ies style with a great cast. Fun to watch.

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While the hardware is mostly real the computery stuff is ridiculous - but the social engineering is spot on.
What I maybe like most about the plot: in 1968 you couldn’t show a criminal1) getting away with it as such - but in the end he does, thanks to Patty.

1) “Stealing? Anyone can steal. Everybody does a bit. I’ve been embezzling!”

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