Friday, October 19, 2012

They Died in September 2012, Part III

Follow the following link for They Died in September 2012, Part I
Follow this link for They Died in September 2012, Part II
One day you, too, are going to die... but the following people, both known and unknown, have beaten you to it. (Darn.) Will you leave half as much behind, or have you a wasted life?
In any event, the list is hardly 100% complete, but may they all rest in peace.
And in their honor, yet another version of a poem we learned as a child and presented in Part 1, this time around from one "C.M." of Lawrenceburg, IN:
"The worms go in, the worms go out
The worms play pinochle on your snout
The pus comes out like whipping cream
And me without a spoon!"

Leigh Hamilton
20 December 1949 – 8 September 2012
New Zealand-born gallerist Leigh Hamilton died at the age of 63 on Sept 8, 2012 at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica. Hamilton, a former actress, opened Hamilton Galleries, currently located on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, in 1994 when she left the film business. During the 21-odd years that she appeared on the small and silver screen, she appeared primarily in small supporting parts. Survivors include her four brothers, her husband of 19 years, Warren Long, and her daughter Tallulah.

Forced Vengeance
(1982, dir. James Fargo)
Leigh Hamilton plays a character with a name "Sally Tennant" in this Chuck Norris vehicle. Plot, from imdb: "A casino security guard is forced into violence when the Hong Kong mob threatens his friends." So guess who plays the "casino security guard."

(1988, dir. Stuart Margolin)
Plot from Wikipedia: "When this group of rowdy and raunchy, laid-back medics are transferred from their cushy uptown district to the rough south-end, they find plenty of trouble when they discover the tough guys are playing a 'corpses-for-dollars' scam and they want to crack the case." Leigh Hamilton plays the dispatcher, a character with no name.

Hocus Pocus
(1993, Kenny Ortega)
Bitte Midler sings I Put A Spell On You:
Leigh Hamilton's last acting role: she plays "[a] Cop's Girlfriend." This horror-lite comedy from Disney is supposedly one of star Bette Midler's favorite roles. Plot, according to Steve Derby at imdb: "More than 300 years ago, three witches were sentenced to die in Salem, Massachusetts, and a boy was turned into a cat (a black cat, naturally). Now it's Halloween, and the witches (who fly on [I kid you not] vacuum cleaners) are back. This time, they've got their eyes on immortal life and have turned their wrath on trick-or-treaters and it's up to the 300-year-old cat to save the day."

Vondell Darr
18 April 1919 – 10 September 2012
Born on April 18, 1919 in Los Angeles, California, Vondell Darr (Wilson) was a child actress who started her career at the age of five in silents and continued acting, usually in tiny roles without screen credit, up until she married her high-school sweetheart Fred C. Wilson on July 8, 1941 in Catalina. She gave up her career for her husband and family, to which she was devoted. Here are a few of her projects.

The City That Never Sleeps
(1924, dir. James Cruze)
At All Movie, Pierre Gendron explains the plot: "When kindly saloon keeper Tim O'Day (Ben Hendricks) is killed by a thug, his wife (Louise Dresser) takes over the business. Because she feels that a saloon is not the best place to raise her little girl Molly (Vondell Darr), she hands the child over to be raised by Mrs. Kendall, a society matron (Kathlyn Williams). When prohibition comes in, Mother O'Day's saloon becomes a fancy cabaret. In the meantime, Molly (now played by Virginia Lee Corbin) has grown up to be a frivolous, self-centered flapper who gets involved with the criminally-minded Mark Roth (Ricardo Cortez). Even though Molly scorns her mother, whom she does not remember, Mother O'Day is determined to put Roth behind bars. Roth becomes involved in a shooting at the cabaret. Molly is there, and it brings back the distant memory of her father's murder. She now remembers her mother, and is reunited with Cliff Kelley, her childhood sweetheart."

The Pony Express
(1925, dir. James Cruze)
In an unexpected casting, 6-year old Vondell Darr plays a very young child! Alt Film Guide says: "The Pony Express is a rousing James Cruze Western depicting the founding of the Pony Express with a backdrop of political ambitions concerning a senator's plans to get California to secede from the United States so he can build his own empire." The forgotten director and actor James Cruze, by the way, was a former Mormon and snake-oil salesman whose life story changed each time he told it; among others, The Pony Express features his then-wife (the second of three), the forgotten leading lady Betty Compson. James Cruze's best known film is probably The Great Gabbo (1929), an early crazed ventriloquist film starring Erich von Stroheim and Betty Compson. The existing public domain version – presented below – runs 68 minutes to the film's original length of 92 minutes and is missing the (lost) color segments. We couldn't find any film material online of The Pony Express...
The Great Gabbo (1929):

Border Vengeance
(1925, dir. Harry S. Webb)
Vondell Darr plays "Bumps Jackson." All Movies explains the plot: "Wes Channing (Jack Perrin) owns a ranch with Buck Littleton (Bud Osborne), a nice man who drinks and gambles too much. Littleton loses the ranch to Flash Denby, a gambler (Leonard Clapman), and Channing makes a fierce attempt to hang onto the land. Old Rufe Sims (Hugh Saxon) has a mining claim near the ranch, and Channing rescues him when he prematurely sets off a load of dynamite. The sheriff's men come to seize the ranch, and Channing is forced to flee across the border. The crafty Denby tricks Sims granddaughter, Mary (Josephine Hill), into signing the mine over to him. Just as she is putting her pen to the document, Channing reappears and gives Denby the thrashing he deserves." Harry S. Webb was one of the early jack-of-all-trades men of Hollywood; his last known job was as assistant director for Adrian Weiss's infamous film The Bride and the Beast (1959), which was written by the great Ed Wood, Jr. We couldn't find any film material online of Border Vengence, so here is the...
Trailer to The Bride and the Beast (1959):

On Trial
(1928, dir. Archie Mayo)
The above photo of (we assume) Vondell playing cute as "Doris Strickland" comes from the Pauline Frederick Website. Archie Mayo, who has a star on Hollywood Blvd., also directed Night after Night (1932 / trailer), the film debut (in a supporting role) of Mae West; Mayo's second-to-last film before retiring was the Marx Brothers' A Night in Casablanca (1946 / trailer). On Trial is a semi-lost film, existing only in fragments now; it is/was the first "all-talking" film to come from Warner Brothers, and is said to have been a technical fiasco.
The silent trailer to On Trial:

Scouts to the Rescue
(1939, dir. Alan James & Ray Taylor)
Vondell appears as "Mary Scanlon" in this 12-episode serial aimed squarely at the kids. At YouTube, where the trailer below comes from, it says: "Lengthy, theatrical trailer for the 1939 serial, Scouts to the Rescue, starring Jackie Cooper. Filmed in the picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountains, this red-blooded tale feels like it was right out of BOYS' LIFE magazine. It told the tale of a Boy Scout troop [that], while searching for a lost treasure, come across a lost Inca tribe (—whose strange language was achieved by running the soundtrack backward—) and a band of counterfeiters. Wonderful Saturday matinee thrills for Scouts of any age!!" Co-director Alan James also directed the "old dark house" horror film The Phantom (1931 / full film).

John Moffatt
24 September 1922 –10 September 2012
British actor John Moffatt died just 14 days short of his 90th birthday. Moffatt made his stage debut in 1944, his first TV appearance in 1953, and then went on to appear on stage and on both the large and small screen for the decades to come. Moffatt was a confirmed bachelor and is survived by a sister.

The Silent Enemy
(1958, dir. William Fairchild)
John Moffatt is there somewhere, in his first credited role in a feature film, the "Diving Volunteer." Wikipedia says: "The Silent Enemy is a 1958 action film [that stars] Laurence Harvey as Lionel "Buster" Crabb and describes his exploits during World War II. Based on Marshall Pugh's book Commander Crabb, it was made following the publicity created by Crabb's mysterious disappearance and likely death during a Cold War incident a year earlier. The film depicts events in Gibraltar harbor during the World War II Italian frogman and manned torpedo attacks, although the film's depiction of those events is highly fictionalized." They speak such bloody proper English in this film that it almost sounds like a satire.
A scene from the film:

Tom Jones 
(1963, dir. Tony Richardson)
John Moffatt plays "Mr. Square" in this famed version of Henry Fielding's classic novel; Mr. Square is one of the two tutors to join Blifil (David Warner, in his film debut) and convince the squire that Tom (Albert Finney) is a villain, thus leading to his expulsion into the world.

Murder on the Orient Express 
(1974, dir. Sidney Lumet)
John Moffatt appears as the "Chief Attendant" in a film so over-laden with famous faces that it becomes hard to accept any of them as their characters, not that it makes the film any less enjoyable. The movie was nominated for a slew of Oscars and is said to be the only film adaptation of a book of hers that Agatha Christie liked. Plot: Asshole big businessman (Richard Widmark) gets stabbed to death aboard the Orient Express – can the fop Belgium master detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney again) figure out who killed him? Preposterous, entertaining fun with a budget well spent. 

Prick Up Your Ears 
(1987, dir. Stephen Frears)
John Moffatt appears in a small role as a wigmaker in a film from Frears's vintage period. The true story of playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman), whom we all know died at the hands of his lover Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina), is based on the biography Prick Up Your Ears – the title a reference to a play Orton was working on at the time of his death – by John Lahr. Over at One Line Reviews, Iain Stott's line is as follows: "Providing cinematic career highs for Oldman, Molina, and Frears, this brilliant, acerbically funny biopic – chronicling the turbulent 16-year relationship between acclaimed playwright Joe Orton and his emotionally fragile lover, Kenneth Halliwell – convincingly captures the people, the time, and the sexual politics that continue to make this tragic story so compelling." 

Lance LeGault  
2 May 1935 – 10 September 2012 
Character actor Lance LeGualt, who died at the age of 77 on September 10th in Los Angeles, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to the impoverished couple Mary Jean (née Kovachevich) and Ernest Legault; during the time between his father's death and his mother's new marriage, he lived in an orphanage. Graduating from Chillicothe Township High School in 1955, he later earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Municipal University of Wichita, Kansas. He entered the film industry as Elvis Presley's stunt double (for Girls! Girls! Girls! [1962], Kissin' Cousins [1964 / trailer], and Viva Las Vegas [1964 / trailer]) before finally having his film credit debut in The Swinger (1966). His career spanned almost fifty years, and he appeared in his last film, Stuntmen (trailer), in 2009.

The Swinger
(1966, dir. George Sidney)
A "hip" comedy from George Sidney, the director of the short Murder in 3-D (1941 / film). Lance LeGault's first credited appearance, as "Warren." TV Guide says: "Ann-Margret plays a naive girl from Minnesota who wants to become a writer. The editors at the publication she sends her stories to, Girl-Lure Magazine, don't think her material is up to their standards of excitement and sexual exploitation. So Ann-Margret writes a story that will please publishers Franciosa and Coote. She lifts lines out of other girlie publications and claims that they describe her own lifestyle. To prove it, she stages an orgy and has her neighbor, a cop, make a bust to heighten the luridness of the situation. This makes Franciosa believe it his duty to reform Ann-Margret. When he tries to do so, he discovers her true background. This film is a humorous satire against overly sex-oriented culture. Ann-Margret is good in a role that takes advantage of her bombshell image. The script also satirizes what that image represents."
Ann-Margret sings the title song during The Swinger's pre-credit sequence:

The Young Runaways
(1968, dir. Arthur Dreifuss)
The final film of director Arthur Dreifuss, a German-born director who emigrated in 1928 and became a prolific-if-forgotten director of B-films including Riot on Sunset Strip (1967 / trailer); Lance LeGault appears as "Curly," a tertiary character who, alongside the runaway Deannie (Patty McCormack), is beaten to death by the musician Loch (Ken Del Conte). TV Guide doesn't like the film: "Unrealistic nonsense that tries to explain the turbulent youth of the 1960s but results in an overdramatized and preposterous story. Bundy, Coughlin, and McCormack run away from their homes around the country and head for Chicago to see what that city will offer. There they discover the usual perils of dope dealing, prostitution, and poverty that all lead to the conclusion presented long ago in The Wizard of Oz (1939 / trailer): there's no place like home." The sadly overlooked B-film star Lynn Bari (of, among many films, Trauma [1962 / full film] and The Amazing Mr. X [1948 / full film]) made her final film appearance in this flick as Deannie's mother, Mrs. Donford. 

Catch My Soul 
(1974, dir. Patrick McGoohan)
To present an edited version of what we here at A Wasted Life said about this movie over at our career review of the cult actress Susan Tyrrell (March 18, 1945 – June 16, 2012): "Catch My Soul is a forgotten example of that woebegotten genre, the rock opera. [...] The only full-length movie that actor Patrick McGoohan ever directed, [...] the title Catch My Soul comes from Act III, Scene III of Shakespeare's play Othello, in which the titular character declares his love for Desdemona: 'Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee; and when I love thee not, chaos is come again.' [...] A select few, like TV Guide, like it: 'Odd rock adaptation of Othello [that] somehow works. Havens is Othello, an itinerant preacher who wanders into LeGault's desert commune. He marries Hubley and is slowly driven by jealous LeGault to murder. This film could easily have degenerated into bad camp, but McGoohan's direction keeps it on line with good performances all around.' Most, however, seem to be more of the opinion of Craig Butler at All Movie, who cedes that Catch My Soul is 'emblematic of the decade [the 70s], which encouraged a remarkable freedom of expression from its filmmakers,' but that 'the re-setting is ham-handed and ridiculous, and the mixture of direct quotes from the play with contemporary slang is laughable. Laughable also describes every dramatic performance, as do horrible and unbelievable.' Patrick McGoohan himself was not happy with the film, for as he is quoted on Wikipedia: 'Unhappily, in the process of making the film, he [the producer, Jack Gold] got religion.... Catholicism. He became a convert; he took the film and re-cut it. The editor warned me, I asked that my name be taken off it, and, unhappily, that was not done. The result is a disaster. What's more, he added 18 minutes of religious stuff. Ridiculous. But the music was good.' The film was rereleased in the drive-in circuit at one point as Santa Fe Satan, but now it is considered a lost film – the soundtrack, however, still pops up on eBay on occasion."
Tony Joe White – Working On A Building from Catch My Soul:

French Quarter
(1978, dir. Dennis Kane)
This forgotten exploiter seems to be the only known full-length film by Dennis Kane, who had previously directed a few episodes of the 1969 season of Dark Shadows. The film has been hard to get for a long time, and floats around in two versions; the 26-minute shorter version lacks all the sex of the longer one. DVD Drive-In says: "Whoo boy, this is a weird one! French Quarter will likely be a polarizing film. Some will be anxious to follow the bizarre path it leads, and others will feel it's too rushed and nonsensical. [...] While the film has many totally unexpected moments and is a marvelous mix of fairy tale wonder and exploitative thrills, it also drags [...] and the last 10 minutes have an improvised and hurried feel to them that comes close to destroying the film's effectiveness. But the entire film is a unique wonder unlike any other. Most of the exploitation elements feel thrown in as an afterthought, including a random lesbian encounter between Icebox Josie (Laura Misch Owens) and Coke-Eyed Laura (Ann Michelle) and a comic interlude between Big Butt Annie (Lindsay Bloom) and an elderly male client in a rocking chair. [...] And what is classic Hollywood star Virginia Mayo doing in this?" At Flixstar, Sandra Brennan explains the plot: "The strange tale is set in the notorious Storyville red-light district of New Orleans and begins in the early 1900s as it chronicles the life of a young prostitute and her co-workers. The tale is simultaneously paralleled in a modern-day story featuring the reincarnated forms of the same characters, all of whom are somehow connected with a voodoo curse." Depending on the timeline, LeGault plays Tom and/or Burt.

(1987, dir. Howard Avedis)
In this movie, LeGault worked not only with the dishy cult actress Barbara Crampton (in her youthful prime), but also with a fellow great cult character actor, Charles Napier (12 April 1936 – 5 October 2011), who appears briefly as a man in uniform, Lt. O'Bryan. LeGault plays Victor Nardi. To re-use what we wrote in Napier's RIP entry: "Ed Sutton at imdb says: 'Sisters Bonnie (Barbara Crampton) and Debbie (Kim Evenson) visit San Diego on Debbie's sixteenth birthday. After telling a sleazy pickup artist to take a hike, he follows them to the zoo and has Debbie kidnapped on behalf of his sleazy boss in order to shoot her full of dope and make her perform in porno films. Despite admonitions from the abductors, Bonnie teams up with detective Vince McCarthy (David Naughton), and together they try to infiltrate the porno industry in order to rescue Debbie." This is the final film of the great unsung exploitation director Avedis, who unleashed numerous under-appreciated trashpectacles onto the world, including Mortuary (1983 / trailer), The Fifth Floor (1978 / trailer), Scorchy (1976 / trailer), the Edy Williams vehicle Dr. Minx (1975 / trailer) and The Teacher (1974 / trailer).

Nightmare Beach
(1989, dir. Umberto Lenzi)
(Spoilers.) Aka Welcome to Spring Break. Body count, 10: 4 Female, 6 Male. Mondo Bizarre Cinema says "This movie is pretty damn stupid." But, hell! It's from Umberto Lenzi, the director of Nightmare City (1980) and, less laudable, La Casa 3 (1988). LeGault plays Rev. Bates – every great character actor has to play a reverend in a horror film at least once in his life, and a psycho reverend is even better! Video Vacuum says: "An innocent biker is sentenced to the electric chair and vows to get revenge on the people who set him up. Meanwhile a deranged killer wearing a motorcycle helmet is running around electrocuting teenagers during Spring Break. A studly quarterback and a homely bartender team up to solve the murders and stop the killer. [...] Lenzi filmed this back to back with Hitcher in the Dark (1989 / trailer), which utilizes many of the same locations (and the same Winnebago). Welcome to Spring Break is curiously lacking the same sleazy spirit as that flick and as a result, it's not nearly as much fun." 

Dark Breed
(1996, dir. Richard Pepin)
The great website Ninja Dixon – why are we not surprised? – likes this film, saying: "PM Entertainment Group produced hundreds of movies over the years, and one of the best and the silliest is Dark Breed. A shameless combination of Aliens, Predator, Species 2 and Lifeforce – but with car chases, BIG explosions and Jack Scalia doing what he can best: stare. I'm really serious, this is one of heck of an entertaining movie. It's so filled with fun stuff that it's impossible to even count the great things about it. Story? Yeah, something about some astronauts crashing down to earth, but now their bodies is hosts to some evil, evil aliens that want to rule the world. Jack Scalia had some experience with evil aliens before and is sent out to take them down. But guess what? There's a conspiracy behind it all, and soon Scalia is hunted himself by the government!" LeGault is on hand as "Cutter" – you see him in the trailer.

The Silencers
(1996, dir. Richard Pepin)
Either director Richard Pepin had a two-for-one deal with LeGualt in 1996 or simply liked working with him, cause he promptly put him in two, Dark Breed (see above) and this PM Entertainment Group flick here, to... Jack Scalia is also back in the lead role. LeGault is on hand as "Kirby" – you don't see him in the trailer. The plot, as explained by the blogspot Cool Target: "This nutty sci-fi action flick sees Jack Scalia [...] as a maverick secret service agent charged with transporting a top-secret alien cargo from Los Angeles to some place out in the desert. He's also dealing with having let the senator he was guarding die (seen in the first massive action scene that opens the film), a divorce, his issues with authority and the fact he doesn't believe in little green men. Well he soon does when said transport gets attacked by up-to-no good alien types and the cargo being transported is in fact an alien dude: in the form of ridiculously haired Dennis Christopher (who is hilariously named Comdor!!). The two become buddies, go on the run, try to stop the evil alien dudes opening some kind of portal which will bring on the enslavement of earth and cause much (much) vehicular mayhem and gun-blazing destruction."

Georgia Bitner
(2 April 1926 – 10 September 2012)
For a lack of a better word for it, Georgia Bitner, who died at the age of 86 at her home Studio City, California, on September 10, was a professional extra. Which is why, as is said in her Wikipedia entry, "Despite her extensive resume her family is still trying to create a page for her on the Internet Movie Database for it is hard for her to be linked to specific actors and directors due in part that most of her extensive work was done without proper credit in title and or closing sequences." Born Georgia Rose Bitner in Atlanta, Georgia, on 2 April 1926, she moved to Los Angeles twenty years later in 1946 and, by the time of her retirement, had appeared in the background or at the sidelines of 38 movies and 87 television shows. A few of the films in which she made un-credited appearances and in which you don't notice her include the following.

Out of the Past
(1947, dir. Jacques Tourneur)
A.k.a. Build My Gallows High, after the novel by Daniel Mainwaring that the movie is based on. Out of the Past was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1991 – makes you wonder what took them so long. One of the great masterpieces of film noir; the great blogspot Film Noir of the Week even goes so far as to say "the greatest film noir ever made." Plot, to quote imdb: "A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames." Out of the Past is just one of many great films directed by the master Jacques Tourneur, a lesser film of which would be the great The Leopard Man (1943).
Fan-made trailer:

The File on Thelma Jordon
(1949, dir. Robert Siodmak)
Another film noir by one of the innovators of the genre, Robert Siodmak, who among other films also directed Phantom Lady (1944) and The Killers (1946). This is one of his lesser-known projects, long in the public domain, but those who have seen it tend to like it; as the ever-intelligent blog Film Noir of the Week bemoans, "Director Robert Siodmak completed his amazing run of American noir classics with this underrated and currently grossly ignored gem." A synopsis, taken from Film Fanatic: "An unhappily married assistant D.A. (Wendell Corey) falls in love with a mysterious woman (Barbara Stanwyck) who shows up in his office one night. When Thelma Jordon (Stanwyck) is put on trial for killing her wealthy aunt (Gertrude Hoffman), Corey does everything he can to save her but is she really worth the effort?"
Full public domain film:

The Asphalt Jungle
(1950, dir. John Huston)
Nowadays normally called a Marilyn Monroe film, she was so unknown at the time the movie was made that she wasn't even listed on the posters, though she was prominently displayed; she plays Emmerich's blond moll who, in the end, just isn't up to doing what she should. The Asphalt Jungle has been remade a couple of times, most recently as the Blaxploitation flick Cool Breeze (1972 / trailer), which features the film debut of Pam Grier (or at least of her breasts). Watch Classics explains the plot: "Doc (Sam Jaffe) is fresh out of the pen with a foolproof plan to knock off a jewellery store, one last big score before he retires to chase pretty girls in Mexico. He recruits a small group of low-life criminals to help with the job: Gus (James Whitmore) as driver; Louis (Anthony Caruso) to crack the safe; and Dix (Sterling Hayden) for muscle. With 'the goods' secured, Doc and Dix make their rendezvous with Mr. Emmerich (Louis Calhern), the financier and fence, whose attempt to double-cross the thieves sends things spiraling out of control."

The Bad and the Beautiful
(1952, dir. Vincente Minnelli)
A star-studded melodrama. Ironically enough, in this flick Lana Turner plays a star whose career started as a movie extra, which is true of Turner, too. One of Turner's very early and un-credited jobs, by the way, was as an extra in the 1937 version of A Star Is Born – Georgia Bitner was an un-credited extra in the 1954 version. Wow. Over at imdb, garykmcd explains the plot to this entertaining piece of camp "Three successful movie industry people – an actress (Lana Turner), a writer (Dick Powell) and a director (Barry Sullivan) – are invited to a major studio to hear a pitch from Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), an out of work movie producer to whom they all owe their success. In flashbacks, we learn how and why each of them has come to hate him completely. Fred Amiel, the director, was an assistant director until Shields gave him his big break; when he hires someone else to direct Amiel's dream project, it's the end. For Georgia Lorrison, an actress, Shields made her into a major star. When he pursues other women, it also marks the end of their professional relationship. For the writer, James Lee Bartlow, Shields plucked him out of some sleepy southern college town and turned one of his novels into a hit movie. Once again, Shields steps over the line when he arranges for a famous Latin movie star (Gilbert Roland, of Sam Cooper's Gold [1966 / trailer]) to squire Mrs. Bartlow around and tragedy ensues.

Peyton Place
(1957, dir. Mark Robson)
The name Peyton Place once was US vernacular as the description of a place filled with salacious secrets and lies – is it still? This star-studded melodrama is the Hollywood movie of the tacky book that went on to spawn a TV soap. Director Mark Robson, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on this piece of ham, started his career directing four classic Val Lewton horror films: Bedlam (1946), Isle of the Dead (1945 / trailer), The Ghost Ship (1943) and The Seventh Victim (1943 / trailer). He died of a heart attack in 1978 while making Avalanche Express (trailer). The plot, taken from Wikipedia: "The [...] lives and loves of the residents of a small New England mill town, where scandal, homicide, suicide, incest, and moral hypocrisy hide behind a tranquil façade in the years immediately preceding and following World War II. At the core of its plot are three women. Constance MacKenzie (Lana Turner) is a prim and proper sexually repressed woman who had an affair with a married New York City businessman and bore him a child out of wedlock. She has struggled to shield her daughter Allison (Diane Varsi), a high school senior and aspiring author, from her tarnished past, leading her to believe she returned to Peyton Place with her newborn baby after her husband died. Selena Cross (Hope Lange), Allison's best friend, is a good girl living on the wrong side of the tracks. Her alcoholic step-father, Lucas Cross (Arthur Kennedy), terrorizes the family, abusing his wife and child behind closed doors."

(1978, dir. John Carpenter)
Does anything really need to be said about this film? Do you live under a rock? The film was recently remade by Rob Zombie, the director of House of 1,000 Corpses (2008 / trailer).

Tomas Evjen
10 October 1972 – 11 September 2012
39-year-old Norwegian "editor, media personality and film producer" Tomas Evjen was found dead in the Mediegården in Bodø on September 11th, 2012. Among other projects he participated in, he acted as producer for Tommy Wirkola's extremely fun Nazi zombie flick, Dead Snow (2009). To read A Wasted Life's opinion about Dead Snow, read the review here.

(2009, dir. Tommy Wirkola)

Johnny Perez
1943 – 11 September 2012
Sir Douglas Quintet singing She's About a Mover (1965):
Johnny Perez, the original drummer of the Sir Douglas Quintet, died at the age of 69 from cirrhosis of the liver on Tuesday, 11 September 2012, at a Topanga, California, hospital. Perez, the owner of Topanga Skyline Studios, was a former Golden Gloves amateur boxer of the early 60s and the "wild child" of the Sir Douglas Quintet. Known to his friends simply as "J.P.", he moved to California with the rest of the San Antonio, Texas, band after a drug bust in Corpus Christi in the mid-60s. Among their best known songs are She's about a Mover (1965), Mendocino (1968) Can You Dig My Vibrations? (1968) and Dynamite Woman (1969). The photo above shows the Sir Douglas Quintet; Johnny Perez is in the back row at the right. Courtesy Photo courtesy the South Texas Popular Culture Center. Johnny Perez is known to have appeared in one film...

Cisco Pike
(1972, dir. Bill L. Norton)
Johnny Perez's only known feature film appearance is his un-credited (and lineless) appearance in this forgotten film as a musician named "Drums." Cisco Pike is the directorial debut of Bill L. Norton, a TV director who went on to make Gargoyles (1972 / first 5 minutes) and the flop known as More American Graffiti (1979 / trailer); he also supplied the scripts for the hixploitation flicks Convoy (1978 / German trailer) and Outlaw Blues (1977 / trailer). To quote TV Guide: "Cisco Pike is Kristofferson's film debut; he does a credible job as the rock star who has vowed to go straight after his release from prison for drug dealing but is blackmailed by policeman Gene Hackman into selling marijuana. An interesting film, it died at the box office [...]. Of course, Kristofferson sings." (In fact, that's him singing below.) Interesting cast: aside from Kristofferson and Hackman, there's also the forgotten former actress Joy Bang, Viva, Harry Dean Stanton and Karen Black.
From the movie: Kris Kristofferson – The Pilgrim, Chapter 33:

Jon "Finno" Finlayson
23 March 1938 – 12 September 2012

Australian actor and writer Jon "Finno" Finlayson died of cancer at the age of 74 on 12 September 2012. A well-known television actor, his reputation seems to have been contained to Down Under, where he had been busy in the business since the age of eight. A hospitable and friendly man, "his Sunday soirees, when he entertained visiting and local show-biz folk, were legendary." Below are a few projects that we of A Wasted Life found of interest. 

The Sex Therapist
(1973, dir. Tim Burstall)
Aka (down under) Alvin Purple. Film Fanatic, which calls the film "a mildly amusing romp," gives the plot as follows:  "An oversexed young man named Alvin Purple (Graeme Blundell) is advised by his platonic girlfriend (Elli Maclure) to go to a therapist (Penne Hackforth-Jones) for help. Soon he finds himself hired by another doctor (George Whaley) as a 'sex therapist' for frigid women, with unexpected consequences." This "classic" of Ozploitation remained Australia's most successful film from 1971 to 1977, and has since become "one of fifty Australian films selected for preservation as part of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's Kodak / Atlab Cinema Collection Restoration Project." Jon Finlayson appears as the lawyer of Dr. Liz Sort (Hackforth-Jones). Followed by Alvin Rides Again, and Again! And Again! And Again! in 1974 and, 13 years later in 1987, Melvin, Son of Alvin (trailer).

Alvin Rides Again, and Again! And Again! And Again!
(1974, dir. David Bilcock & Robin Copping)
The sequel to Alvin Purple (aka The Sex Therapist). Jon Finlayson appears as the Magician. The plot, according to the Australian film site Urban Cinefile: "Heading north for a change of pace and to escape his amorous women devotees, Alvin and his best mate Spike Dooley (Alan Finney) run into Alvin's exact double, an American gangster named Balls McGee (Graeme Blundell). After an accident sees McGee killed, Alvin must take over his persona and help a gang of crooks rob a casino." The film doesn't seem to enjoy as much of a reputation as its predecessor.

Mad Dog Morgan
(1976, dir. Philippe Mora)
Jon Finlayson does little in this film about fake beards; he is merely an extra in the background – probably wearing a fake beard. Director Philippe Mora is an artist turned filmmaker who made it to the USA on the power of this film starring Dennis Hopper which, contrary to popular opinion and what we previously thought – and incorrectly stated in our career review of RG Armstrong – is not his debut feature-length, non-documentary film (that would be the unknown Trouble in Molopolis from 1969, which was financed by Eric Clapton and set/made in London and seems to be generally unavailable today). Mad Dog Morgan, aside from presenting all the obviously fake beards, was a very well-received international success that told the true story of the Australian legend, Mad Dog Morgan. As TV Guide says: "An intelligent, extremely violent western set in the Australian outback of the mid-1800s. Hopper is a prospector who can't make a living at gold hunting, so he turns to crime. He's captured and spends six years in prison. Upon his release he meets Billy (David Gulpilil), a young Aborigine, and together they become infamous outlaws in New South Wales. Hopper slowly descends into self-destructive ways and finally walks into a hail of bullets after realizing that his hideout is surrounded. His performance is excellent, showing disturbing character changes with great subtlety. The direction captures the contrast between the hatefulness of the man and the beauty of the vast landscape..."


Follow the link for They Died in September, Part IV.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...