Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Short Film: Curious Alice (USA, 1971)



"Remember what the Dormouse said: Feed your head…"
Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit

Needless to say, that classic rock song from 1967 is not an anti-drug song. But whereas songstress Grace Slick took Alice in Wonderland, that classic fantasy by the girl-loving Lewis Carroll aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 Jan 1832 – 14 Jan 1898), to extol the experiences to be had with pills, smoke and mushrooms, some four years later, in 1971, the National Institute of Mental Health turned to the tale to produce what was ostentatiously an anti-drug short film for kids. One assumes that they must have been stoned when they greenlighted the project, for it could well be that there is no other anti-drug film in the world that makes drugs look as much fun as the resultant short film,  Curious Alice (1971). Thus, it is hardly surprising that not long after the short came out, "the National Coordinating Council on Drug Education slammed the movie, calling it confusing and counterproductive" [Open Culture].
Over at the National Archives' Unwritten Record blog, film preservationist Audrey Amidon insightfully explains what goes wrong with the short: "In Curious Alice (1971), a film intended for eight to ten year olds, our young Alice falls asleep while reading a book. She encounters cigarettes, liquor, and medicines, and realizes that they are all types of drugs. When she sees the 'Drink Me' bottle, she understands that it contains something like a drug, yet after a half-second's consideration, she drinks the entire bottle and enters a fantasy world. In Drug Wonderland, Alice learns about the hard stuff from her new friends the Mad Hatter (LSD), the March Hare (amphetamines), the Dormouse (barbiturates), and the King of Hearts (heroin). The events of Curious Alice play out as an expression of Alice's drug trip. Unfortunately, the trip is kind of fun and effectively cancels out the film's anti-drug message.
"The psychedelic Monty Python-style animation in Wonderland is one of the best things about Curious Alice. It's also one of the biggest reasons that the film is an overall misfire. If one listens closely, Alice is saying plenty about why drugs are bad, but the imagery is so mesmerizing that it's hard to pay attention to the film's message. Further, the drug users are cartoon characters with no connection to real people or real drug problems. Why take the March Hare's drug problem seriously when you know that Wile E. Coyote falls off a cliff and is always back for the next gag?"* 
* At Open Culture, a comment by a former child who saw the film at school ("CEH in NJ") indicates that the short may have been more effective than is credited: "Images and how we view images have changed significantly over time, as exposure to images has changed. Remember this film was produced prior to the video games and internet. To a child of the 1970s (e.g. myself), the disjoint presentation and cartoon overlay techniques were disorienting and vaguely disturbing, leaving my class silent and uneasy when reel ended. We were very happy to be excused for recess."
Little is actually known about the production of the short, as not only do all surviving copies lack credits but there currently seems to be no known existing documentation of the production. Over at the often unreliable imdb, they offer some credits that are at best neither fish nor fowl — where's the documentation? — but which nevertheless are spread without question. They supposedly know the real names of both Alice (Elizabeth Jones) and her cat (Sparky), and even offer the mildly plausible claim that the great educational film propagandist Sid Davis  (1 April 1916 – 16 Oct 2006) — see a wasted life's short film(s) of the month for Sept 2017, Seduction of the Innocent (1961), and Sept 2013, Boys Beware (1961) — was Curious Alice's executive producer. Odder is the writing credit given to DJ Dave Dixon, whom the imdb also inexplicitly claims as an uncredited co-writer of Mickey Mouse in Vietnam (1968), our short film for August 2018.
All things considered, when it comes to Curious Alice, we think all production credits are unknown, and currently circulating ones (thanks to the imdb) are bogus. (Sorry, Sparky.)
But the film is not. Enjoy this truly wild animation for what it is: a fun trip.


Now, should you need more Alice-inspired craziness, take a gander of our short film for March 2009, the truly disturbing animated acid trip that is Malice in Wonderland (1982), by Vince Collins.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

R.I.P. Dick Miller, Part III (1968-73)


25 Dec 1928 – 30 Jan 2019

The American thespian treasure known as Dick Miller, one of our all-time favorite character actors, entered the Great Nothingness on January 30th, 2019.
A Bronx-born Christmas Day present to the world, Miller entered the film biz doing redface back in 1956 in the Roger Corman western Apache Woman (trailer). He quickly became a Corman regular and, as a result, became a favorite face for an inordinate amount of modern and contemporary movie directors, particularly those weaned and teethed in Corman productions. (Miller, for example, appears in every movie Joe Dante has made to date.) 
A working thespian to the end, Miller's last film, the independent horror movie Hanukkah (trailer), starring fellow low culture thespian treasure Sid Haig, just finished production. In it, as in many of Miller's films, his character is named Walter Paisley in homage to his first truly great lead role, that of the loser killer artist/busboy Walter Paisley in Roger Corman's classic black comedy, A Bucket of Blood (1959). 
What follows is a multi-part career review in which we undertake a meandering, unfocused look at the films of Dick Miller. The films are not necessarily looked at in the order of their release... and if we missed one, let us know. 

Go here for
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part I (1955-60) 
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part II (1961-67)


The Legend of Lylah Clare
(1968, dir. Robert Aldrich)
The way the cookie sometimes crumbles: director Robert Aldrich followed up one of his biggest hits, The Dirty Dozen (1967, see Part II), with one of his biggest flops, this big budget exercise in Hollywood imitation Eurotrash artiness that has since achieved minor cult status… but then, every flop does, eventually. ("This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson's book The Official Razzie® Movie Guide. [imdb]") Dick Miller is there again somewhere in an uncredited blink-and-you-miss-him part as a "Reporter at Press Party".
Trailer to
The Legend of Lylah Clare:
Aldrich's The Legend of Lylah Clare is based on a teleplay of the same name that originally aired on The DuPont Show of the Week (1961-64) on 19 May 1963. Interestingly enough, in 1980 the material was given a pornographic spin by the pseudonymously named Lewis Brothers of Detroit as The Blonde (NSFW film).
"The Legend of Lylah Clare, in which Kim Novak plays both a fictional dead silent-film star named Lylah Clare and Elsa Brinkmann, a young actress who looks remarkably like her, was made just as the studio system and its watchdog, the Production Code Administration, were crumbling. The new DVD of Lylah Clare is likely to be significant primarily for Novak fans and as an artifact that demonstrates the shallowness and sensationalism with which Hollywood interpreted its new freedom. With childish bravado, this film breathlessly produces for the audience some formerly forbidden themes and situations, which it embellishes with a sophomoric attempt at homages to classic Hollywood, primarily to Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Marlene Dietrich. Still, it is a great-looking movie. And it ends on a strikingly auteuristic note, as director Aldrich boldly repudiates his own film as drivel. [Cineaste]"
The plot, as found at DVD Beaver and All Movie, the latter of which credits it to Hal Erickson: "Film star Lylah Clare is dead, but her legend lives on. Movie-producer Barney Sheean (Ernest Borgnine [24 Jan 1917 – 8 July 2012], of The Last Match [1991 / trailer]) hires Elsa Brinkmann (Kim Novak), the living image of the late Lylah, to star in a film based on Ms. Clare's life. Barney hires director Lewis Zarkan (Peter Finch [28 Sept 1916 – 14 Jan 1977]), Lylah's former husband, to transform the talentless Elsa into a facsimile of the deceased screen queen. Elsa not only learns to imitate Lylah but, at crucial junctures, becomes the dead woman. While re-staging the accident that killed Lylah, the obsessed Zarkan deliberately drives Elsa to her doom — and in so doing reveals his complicity in the death of his wife. The film ends with Lylah's onetime housekeeper (Rosella Falk [10 Nov 1926 – 5 May 2013]), gun in hand, lying in wait for Zarkan to return home while her TV blasts forth a grotesque (and possibly symbolic) dog-food commercial. A trash masterpiece, Legend of Lylah Claire works so hard at vilifying the Old Hollywood (there's even a vicious Hedda Hopper caricature) that it's a wonder the actors could keep a straight face."
"The Legend of Lylah Clare is a thudding dud whose melodramatic navel gazing at the ugly people who inhabit the film industry fails to even rise to the level of enjoyable camp due to a lack of likable characters, a lack of anything remotely interesting happening, and only intermittent outbreaks of moments that provide anything approaching unintentional chuckles. [Monster Hunter]"
Rosella Falk, Lylah/Elsa's lesbian love interest and the revenging angel of the movie, is found in better Eurotrash than this pale Hollywood imitation, including Umberto Lenzi's Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972 / trailer) and Paolo Cavara's Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971 / trailer). Ditto for Italo stud Gabriele Tinti (22 Aug 1932 – 12 Nov 1991), whose resume of Eurotrash classics and non-classics is longer than that of the woman he left a widow, Laura Gemser, with whom he also occasionally worked. Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977 / trailer below), anyone? Or how about Black Cobra Woman (1976 / trailer), in which his character is killed when the live snake inserted in his anus eats its way out of him.
NSFW Trailer to
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals:


The Wild Racers
(1968, dir. Daniel Haller & Roger Corman [uncredited]) 
The third film by Daniel Haller, whose directorial debut is the entertaining Boris Karloff horror, Die, Monster, Die! (1965 / trailer).

The screenplay is credited to "Max House", but over at Wikipedia they quote main director Daniel Haller as saying, "[The Wild Racers] began when Roger asked me to develop the script with Chuck Griffith. That meant I drove Chuck to Santa Barbara in my car and wouldn't let him out of the hotel room until he had a certain amount of pages done. Then we went to Palm Springs and he'd dry out there. We finally ended up in La Jolla writing for a day or so there. After a week, we came back with the finished script."
Long ago (21 Aug 2013), when asked by F1SocialDiary what his favorite racing movie is, Quentin Tarantino said, "But I guess my favorite racing film is [...] a terrific picture called The Wild Racers. It's with Fabian and Mimsy Farmer and directed by a guy named Daniel Haller. In it, Fabian plays a famous stock car hotshot who comes across to Europe to make it as a Formula One driver. It's shot like an Antonioni movie, with very little dialogue, most of which is voice-over. And no shot in the movie lasts more than twenty seconds. The quick edits keep you on the edge of your seat. It's very avant-garde, but it still delivers a proper racing movie. Classy."
The Sidewalk Sounds (a.k.a. Davie Allan and The Arrows) do
The Wild Racers theme:
All Movie, obviously, would disagree: "[...] This dull feature [is] plagued by a general feeling of boredom from the cast and crew. The film relies heavily on stock footage of races to pad the thin plot." The Wild Racers is the feature-film debut of Talia Coppola, otherwise known as Talia Shire, later also found in director Haller's follow-up film, The Dunwich Horror (1970 / trailer), and The Landlady (1998 / trailer).
We haven't seen The Wild Racers, but online sources cannot decide whether Dick Miller shows up playing a pit crew mechanic and later ended up looping all of Warwick Sims' dialogue, or whether Dick Miller only loops the dialogue and isn't actually in the movie. Anyone know?
The plot, from TV Guide: "This meager auto racing picture relies heavily on stock footage to tell its story, that of racer Jo-Jo Quillico (Fabian, of And Then There Were None [1965] and Kiss Daddy Goodbye [1981 / scene]), who is hired by an auto tycoon to do some driving. His real talent is with the girls, however, and he chalks up conquests faster than laps. Mimsy Farmer (of Lucio Fulci's Black Cat [1981 / trailer] and Ruggero Deodato's Body Count [1986 / trailer], with David Hess) is his favorite — until she mentions marriage, whereupon he drops her like a hot radiator cap and finds someone else with no desire for commitment."
From The Wild Racers
The Sidewalk Sounds (a.k.a. Davie Allan and The Arrows) do
The Bedroom Theme:
In his book American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography, Rob Craig, who thinks that "this thrilling and highly original treatise on the world of road racing is light years ahead of similar AIP offerings", writes: "[...] The viewer is left is left with the humbling notion that fools such as Fabian are little better than the hapless animals whom we've witnessed getting slaughtered at the Spanish Bullfights: 'brave but dumb.' Fabian is actually quite good here as a self-absorbed heel, whose chance fame goes directly to his head. Rather than contriving an unlikely happy end, The Wild Racers just ends, like jumping off a cliff, with our antihero learning nothing about his self-destructive ways or the misery he has left behind." That's Fabian below, by the way, but not from the movie.
"Being completely Poe-addled at the time, after, basically, randomly thumbing through the famed author's collected works, American International Pictures added the somewhat nonsensical title [The Conqueror Worm] for Michael Reeves' The Witchfinder General (1968). Whatever title you see it under, the film is as creepy and hair-raising as the artwork would imply and is definitely worth checking out. And, to be frank, with no trace of the usual ham, I think the portrayal of the dastardly inquisitor, Matthew Hopkins, is one of the most arresting performances of Vincent Price's storied career. As was also AIP's modus operandi back then, The Conqueror Worm was sent out as a double-bill. And keeping up with the nonsensical approach, it was released with the Fabian-fueled stock car epic, The Wild Racers. [Scenes from the Morgue]"


Targets
(1968, writ. & dir. Peter Bogdanovich)

A flop when released, Targets, the directorial debut of Peter Bogdanovich, has since gained the kind of reputation that gets it listed in books like Steven Jay Schneider's 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
  
Trailers from Hell on
Targets:
Targets features two disparate story lines that tie into a knot in the final moments: the actions of the salt-of-the-earth NRA member modeled after buzz-cut Charles Whitman (24 June 1941 – 1 Aug 1966), aka the "Texas Tower Sniper", seen further below, and the live appearance of an aged horror star named Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) at a drive-in screening an older film of his.
As succinctly pointed out at Wikipedia, "In the film's finale at a drive-in theater, Orlok — the old-fashioned, traditional screen monster who always obeyed the rules — confronts the new, realistic, nihilistic late-1960s 'monster' in the shape of a clean-cut, unassuming multiple murderer." That's Whitman directly below.
Dick Miller does not really appear in Targets, but he is seen for a second or two here and there in the film-in-the-film being shown at the drive-in (the Reseda Drive-In Theatre in Reseda, CA), the classic non-classic The Terror (1963).
The name of Karloff's character in Targets, Byron Orlok, is of course an obvious reference to one of the great granddaddies of all horror movies, F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). In that film, as you might remember, the bloodsucker is named Graf Orlok.
Nosferatu (1922),
the full film:


Which Way to the Front?
(1970, dir. Jerry Lewis)

The mind boggles — or at least ours does: Richard "Dick" Miller receives a "Story" credit alongside screenplay scribes Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso (7 April 1929 – 27 May 2012) on a Jerry Lewis (16 March 1926 – 20 Aug 2017) movie.
A scene:
According to imdb, "Dick Miller sold the script to the studio, but claimed it was re-written (originally it was set in the Pacific and was moved to Nazi Germany). He called the experience a 'sore spot', but said it was fine for a Jerry Lewis vehicle." In a sense, Miller was obviously influenced by The Dirty Dozen (1967, see Part II), as the plot to this comedy also involves one man putting together a group of misfits to conduct a mission behind enemy lines. A subtle (?) reference to the influence can be seen in how, much as in The Dirty Dozen, the opening credits of Which Way to the Front? play about 18 minutes after the film starts.
The general response to this movie tends to be that as nutshelled at At-A-Glance Film Reviews, which says "This may well be Jerry Lewis' worst film. There's a lot of gags, slapstick, and Lewis-style screaming, but not a laugh among the bunch. Extremely tiresome."
And the plot? The NY Times has it: Which Way to the Front? has "Lewis as a millionaire tycoon classified 4-F during World War II. He airily bands together a group of fellow rejects into a small private 'army,' floats the boys overseas on his yacht and sneaks them into the Italian mountain lair of some key Nazi officers. The idea is for Lewis to impersonate a German bigwig and somehow turn the tide of the war."
Could it be that it was actually Which Way to the Front? that inspired Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009 / trailer) and not The Dirty Dozen?


Four Rode Out
(1970, dir. John Peyser)

Richard "Dick" Miller sells another "original story" to be adapted for the screen by Paul Harrison and then written for the screen by Don Balluck (25 June 1929 – 7 April 2000). For Balluck, the job proved to be his only credited feature film screenplay, but Harrison eventually wrote, directed and produced the schlocky horror flick, The House of Seven Corpses (1974 / trailer). Director Peyser (10 Aug 1916 – 15 Aug 2002), primarily a TV director but capable of more, went on to direct one of the grindhouse anti-classics of the seventies, The Centerfold Girls (1974), starring Andrew Prine (see Part I).
The full film —
Four Rode Out:
An American film project filmed in Spain, this obscure western has a reputation as being somewhat slow and actionless; long unavailable, it found itself on one of those ubiquitous 50-movie packets once found at dollar stores.
Plot: "In a small western town Myra Polsen (Sue Lyon) hides her lover Frenando Nunez (Julián Mateos [15 Jan 1938 – 27 Dec 1996] of Ann och Eve — de erotiska [1970 / trailer] and Amando de Ossorio's The Possessed [1975 / full movie]), a wanted fugitive, from the law. When Myra's father catches them in bed together Frenando beats him up then escapes. Whereupon the old man vents his frustration on poor Myra, calling her names and slapping her silly before shooting himself. After the funeral Myra is approached by grizzled but principled U.S. Marshall Ross (Pernell Roberts [18 May 1928 – 24 Jan 2010]). He tells her Frenando is wanted for bank robbery and murder, something she refuses to believe. Ross promptly ventures into the harsh desert to track down Frenando, accompanied by Mr. Brown (Leslie Nielsen [11 Feb 1926 – 28 Nov 2010] of Day of the Animals [1977]), a sleazy and none too trustworthy Pinkerton Agency detective who seems strangely eager to kill the fugitive on sight. To the surprise of both men, Myra joins the search. She insists she can convince Frenando to surrender provided Ross swears he will bring him back alive. [The Spinning Image]"
"Four Rode Out is kinda by the numbers, but the interaction and mistrust between Roberts and Nielsen keeps it interesting. While it isn't always successful, there are still enough oddball moments (like the impromptu wedding in the desert) to make it watchable. The solid performances by the three leads certainly help. Nielsen is especially good as the lecherous weasel of a lawman. I could've done without Janis Ian's character though. She plays a folk singer whose songs act like a Greek Chorus. Not only are the songs mostly terrible, they're just there to act as filler during the transition scenes. [Video Vacuum]"
The most interesting name of the cast is, of course, Sue Lyon, seen above not from the film, forever famous for playing the title character of Kubrick's Lolita (1962 / trailer). Four Rode Out can arguably be seen as the beginning of her professional decline, whence she moved onto headlining Eurotrash projects like Tarot (1973 / music) and To Love, Perhaps to Die (1973 / trailer) before sinking to totally fun trash like The Astral Factor (1978 / German trailer) and Z-auteur John Hayes' End of the World (1977 / trailer). She left the biz after a small part as a news reporter in the cult favorite Alligator (1980) and now shuns publicity and make-up.
Back in the day when bad publicity was still bad publicity, however, she got a lot with her marriages, especially her third: "On Nov. 4, 1973, she married Gary 'Cotton' Adamson, a convicted murderer. The nuptials took place at the Colorado State Penitentiary. Lyon and Adamson had become acquainted in 1972 through a mutual friend who once had been jailed with Adamson in Los Angeles. The romance was fostered through letters and prison visits. By November 1974, Lyon was filing for divorce. But by January 1975, she seemingly had changed her mind completely and told a reporter, 'Getting a divorce wasn't something I wanted to do — it was something Hollywood wanted me to do' to save her film career. [Des Moines Register]"
In a rare interview, she once said: "I defy any pretty girl who is rocketed to world stardom at 15 in a sex-nymphet role to stay on that level path thereafter. [Pop Matters]"


The Andersonville Trial
(1970, dir. George C. Scott)

Actor George C. Scott made his directorial debut with this PBS adaptation of the 1959 Broadway play by Saul Levitt. Scott had played the prosecutor Norton Parker Chipman (7 March 1834 – 1 Feb 1924) in the original production; in his TV version, William Shatner plays the part. Dick Miller is in there in a rather inconsequential part as the court sketch artist, one of many familiar faces found populating the rolls of this "two-and-a-half hours of middle-aged white men talking in a room."
"Swiss-born Henry Wirz (Richard Basehart [31 Aug 1914 – 17 Sept 1984] of He Walked by Night [1948 / trailer] and Mansion of the Doomed [1976 / trailer]) is on trial in 1865 for atrocities that occurred while he was the ruling commandant of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp near Andersonville, Georgia. More than 40,000 Union prisoners were crowded into an area meant to hold less than half that, and were not provided adequate food, water, shelter or medical care. Prisoners were forced to drink from the same swampy stream that their bodily waste was emptied into. They slept year round on bare ground without a roof over their heads. Food was so scarce that some of the men resorted to cannibalism. [Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot]"


The Grissom Gang
(1971, dir. Robert Aldrich)
 
More than one website (aveleyman, for example, but not imdb) lists this Robert Aldrich flop as a project involving Dick Miller, though none say in what manner. If he is there, he's uncredited and lost in the crowd — or maybe ended up on the cutting room floor. But for the benefit of a doubt, we list the film here as a "maybe".
Trailer to
The Grissom Gang:
The Grissom Gang is the second feature film adaptation of James Hadley Chase's novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish, and like the first adaptation, the British noir No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948 / trailer), it was ripped apart by the critics and has since enjoyed critical re-evaluation. Today, The Grissom Gang can be found five spaces lower (at #12) than Roger Corman's The St Valentine's Day Massacre (1967, see Part II) on Empire magazine's list of "The 20 Greatest Gangster Movies You've Probably Never Seen". (Have you seen it? We haven't.)
One of the five films Aldrich made as an independent director after the success of The Dirty Dozen (1967, see Part II) gave him the financial clout to open his own studio, it was, just like the preceding The Killing of Sister George (1968 / trailer), The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) and Too Late the Hero (1970 / trailer), a box-office flop. By 1971, Aldrich sold his studio and was once again a director for hire.

"Like Mr. Hoover said, prosperity's just around the corner."
Doc Grissom (Don Keefer)

Script scribe Leon Griffiths (15 Feb 1928 – 10 June 1992), by the way, had previously co-written the "underrated, creepy and atmospheric historical thriller", The Flesh and the Fiends (1960/ trailer), a film well worth checking out.
For The Grissom Gang, Griffiths and Aldrich reversed a driving plot point of the novel: instead of the girl falling for her kidnapper, the kidnapper falls for the girl. The setting and characters was also changed to Depression Era white trash. "One of myriad post-Bonnie and Clyde (1967 / trailer) gangster pictures set during the Depression, the movie concerns a group of Midwestern thugs who kidnap an heiress for ransom. Although slow-witted and violent-tempered Slim Grissom (Scott Wilson [29 March 1942 – 6 Oct 2018] of Way of the Gun [2000]) is ostensibly the leader of the group, the real power behind the gang is his monster of a mother, Ma Grissom (Irene Dailey [12 Sept 1920 – 24 Sept 2008] of The Amityville Horror [1979 / trailer]). So when Slim takes a liking to the heiress, Barbara Blandish (Kim Darby), Ma endangers the whole group by agreeing to a change in plans. Instead of killing the girl after collecting ransom, thereby protecting the anonymity of the crooks, Ma 'gives' Barbara to Slim as a playmate. Then, once Barbara figures out that Slim is the only person keeping her alive, she feigns affection — only to later develop genuine feelings for her brutal lummox of a captor. Sprinkled in between scenes of infighting among the gang members are vignettes that advance tedious subplots involving Dave Fenner (Robert Lansing [5 June 1928 – 23 Oct 1994] of Thirty Dangerous Seconds [1973 / full film], Island Claws [1980 / scene], 4D Man [1959 / trailer], Empire of the Ants [1977 / trailer] and The Nest [1988 / trailer]), a private detective hired to act on behalf of the heiress' rich father, and Anne Borg (Connie Stevens, seen below not from the film), a showgirl who dates one of the gang members. [Every '70s Movie]"
"In the years since Aldrich's death in 1983, Ulzanna's Raid (1972) at least has gained a reputation as an underrated masterpiece. And though I wouldn't use such a strong word for The Grissom Gang, it's certainly a wonderfully entertaining and well-crafted movie that plays perhaps better today than it did in 1971. [Combustible Celluloid]"
TV Guide, perhaps as to be expected, would disagree: "Many scenes may have been intended as comedy relief to the bloodbath sequences, but they fall flat. Aldrich had a way of blending the macabre and humor […], but we're not sure what he meant to accomplish here. The film features good camera work by Biroc, sharp editing by veteran Luciano, and lots of money spent on the period sets. Weird supporting characters tend to divert our attention. It's a remake of No Orchids for Miss Blandish, which is one of the worst gangster films ever made. The Grissom Gang is slightly better, but not much."


Private Duty Nurses
(1971, writ. & dir. George Armitage)
 
The directorial debut of George Armitage, Private Duty Nurses is the second nursesploitation film to come from Roger Corman's film factory. Although generally not listed on any Dick Miller filmographies, at least one website that knows who Dick Miller is says he's there. Furthermore, Corman's dictum to Jonathan Kaplan as explained further below in Night Call Nurses [1972] would indicate that Miller should be found here, too, if not in Corman's first nurse film, The Student Nurses [1970, trailer] as well.
Credit sequence of
Private Duty Nurses:
In any event, at Inside Pulse, Joe Corey has the plot: "There are three nurses with issues that get explored as separate storylines, but they come together at the end of the film to help each other. Spring (Katharine Cannon of The Hidden [1987 / trailer]) gives her private duties to Domino (Dennis Redfield). The guy is rushed into the hospital after a nasty motorcycle wreck. Lynn (Pegi Boucher) hangs out with her ecological boyfriend as he fights to clean up the oceans. They spend a lot of time by the beach getting naked together. Lola (Joyce Williams, seen in the background of Soylent Green [1973]… and nude below, not from any film) is a black nurse who wants to give back to her community after a tragic death. Dick Miller plays a cop. [Italics ours.] This isn't the most exciting of entries."
"[Private Duty Nurses is] dull, downbeat, unnecessarily grim and almost completely lacking in humor, making it one of the least-entertaining drive-in exploitation films to come off the Corman assembly line. […] Armitage's script is going for insight but comes off as heavy-handed as he tries to shoehorn in too much social commentary, be it in the form of civil rights, feminism, pollution, or Vietnam, instead of what he should be doing, plus he bogs things down with a drug smuggling subplot and one of the nurses being violently raped late in the film. I thought these were supposed to be 'fun.' There's the requisite T&A, but Armitage tries to make the sex scenes all arty with various show-offy camera techniques. [Good Efficient Butchery]"
Indeed, there are probably few exploitation films out there which include a "let-down sex scene" like that early in Private Duty Nurses when Nurse Lynn (Pegi Boucher) hooks up with Dewey (Paul Hampton of Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966 / trailer) and Shivers aka They Came from Within [1975 / trailer]), who turns out to be a lousy lay. That alone is too close to the bone for most guys, which make up the core audience of exploitation films, can deal with. Worse for Nurse Lynn, however: she later gets raped by a Chicano junkie and then gets to watch her ecology-minded, drug-dealing doctor boyfriend get shot dead by a narcotics agent.
Pegi Boucher,
forgotten actress, forgotten singer (image above):


Ulzana's Raid
(1972, dir. Robert Aldrich)

Multiple sites online list this Corman movie as a project involving Dick Miller. But none say in what manner — and since we ourselves have yet to see the movie, we can only offer the benefit of a doubt and include it here with a "maybe".
Ulzana's Raid:
The plot, as found at Moviescene: "After Apache leader Ulzana (Joaquín Martínez [5 Nov 1930 – 3 Jan 2012] of Pedro Páramo (1967 / full movie]) and a small group of men leave the reservation the US Cavalry assign naive young officer Lt. Garnett DeBuin (Bruce Davison of Willard [1971 / trailer]) to lead a small group of men to bring Ulzana back. Assisting DeBuin is the experience scout McIntosh (Burt Lancaster [2 Nov 1913 – 20 Oct 1994]) and assisting him is his old friend and Indian scout Ke-Ni-Tay (Jorge Luke [1942 – 4 Aug 2012] of Treasure of the Amazon [1985 / trailer]). As they follow Ulzana's trail they find a path of destruction and murder, shocking DeBuin who struggles to understand how anyone can be so brutal and vicious but also forcing him to tackle his weaknesses and hidden prejudices in order to catch Ulzana."
In White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century, Clare Vernon McKanna points out that "[...] In Ulzana's Raid, film director Robert Aldrich used a remarkable historical event, completely rewrote the story, and turned it into a series of stereotypes that cast Apaches as ruthless villains."
In real life, actually, the Calvary not only didn't win, but Ulzana escaped into Mexico... but had that been the story, the film probably would be considered anti-American or something or as well-liked as it generally now is. At the time it was released, however, Ulzana's Raid was not a commercial success. It is available in two main edits, the Burt Lancaster cut and the Robert Aldrich cut. We heard-tell that Aldrich's in longer...
Blue-ray.com is a bit more of the ol' "resistance is futile" attitude: "The characterizations [in Ulzana's Raid] are just as unglamorous and as a result the entire film basically becomes a repudiation of the popular notion that one of the two rivaling sides in the West — the white settlers — is to be exclusively blamed for the carnages that occurred as the natives were gradually forced to choose between assimilation and extermination. Aldrich offers a different explanation, which is that the culture of the settlers and the culture of the natives were so incompatible that violence and death were quite simply unavoidable. [...]. The entire conflict of course is downsized, simplified and then framed within the chase that the film chronicles for easier digestion."
On the other hand, "Ulzana's Raid (1972) is frequently cited as an allegory for US involvement in South East Asia, and it's hard to argue with that inexperienced soldiers battling a largely faceless foe in hostile and unforgiving territory, exposing strengths and weaknesses, prejudices and virtues in the process. [Riding the High Country]"


Night Call Nurses
(1972, dir. Jonathan Kaplan)

A few years earlier, Roger Corman began a wave of nurseploitation film when he gave Stephanie Rothman the go to write and direct The Student Nurses (1970 / trailer / poster below), "a canny bait-and-switch: People came for the cleavage promised in the poster, and walked out having watched a film that defiantly engaged with feminist politics in a way not seen in a major motion picture at the time. [Broadly]"
The Student Nurses movie was successful enough for Corman to approve further nurse movies, henceforth all directed and written by men and with continually less bait-and-switch. Student Nurses was followed first by Private Duty Nurses (1971 / opening credits), written and directed by George Armitage, and then this film, Night Call Nurses, with a script also credited to Armitage but rewritten, and then directed, by newbie Jonathan Kaplan, who got the job thanks to Martin Scorsese's recommendation to Roger Corman.
Trailers from Hell on
Night Call Nurses:
As Kaplan explains in Chris Nashawaty's Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B Movies, "He [Corman] laid out the formula. I had to find a role for Dick Miller [Italics ours], show a Bulova watch, and use a Jensen automobile in the film. And he explained that there would be three nurses: a blonde, a brunette, and a nurse of color; that the nurse of color would be involved in a political subplot, the brunette would be involved in the kinky subplot, and the blonde would be the comedy subplot. The last thing he said was, 'There will be nudity from the waist up, total nudity from behind, and no pubic hair — now get to work!'"
The plot: "Night Call Nurses follows the exploits of three beautiful caregivers, all of whom work in their hospital's crisis center. The first is Barbara (Patty Byrne, nude scene below), who, along with her boyfriend Zach (Christopher Law), attends a therapy group in her spare time. When she overhears its instructor talking about her to the others, Barbara experiences a level of paranoia that sets her mind to spinning, and before long she's acting in ways she never dreamed possible. Janis (Alana Hamilton) develops a crush on a patient named Kyle Toby (Richard Young of Cocaine Cowboys [1979 / trailer], Friday the 13th: A New Beginning [1985 / trailer] and Lords of the Deep [1989 / trailer]), a long-distance truck driver who became addicted to speed while on the job. Once Kyle is cured, Janis begins to see him socially, and the two fall in love. Sandra (Mitti Lawrence), an African-American, is approached by Jude (Felton Perry of Robocop [1987 / trailer]), a former convict and current militant, who wants her to help spring a radical named Sampson (Stack Pierce [15 June 1933 – 1 March 2016] of A Rage in Harlem [1991 / trailer] and Psychic Killer [1975 / trailer]) from the hospital. A prisoner who, according to official reports, attempted suicide, Sampson is being held in a secure ward, and is under the watchful eye of the prison's bigoted warden (Bobby Hall of Bloodlust! [1961]), so getting him out isn't going to be easy. What these beauties don't realize is that, as they're dealing with their personal issues, someone is watching them, and sending the occasional threatening note (written in lipstick) their way. None of the girls take this potential threat seriously, but is it really the work of a practical joker (as they believe), or a disturbed psychopath hell-bent on doing them harm? [2,500 Movie Challenge]"

"As with all of the sexy-nurse movies, Night Call Nurses is padded with empty spectacle. In addition to a dull skydiving sequence, there's an endless scene of young women stripping during a group-therapy session, ostensibly to throw off their inhibitions. Amid the repetitive nonsense, however, are some enjoyable moments. Once in a while, for instance, Armitage inserts some of his signature offbeat humor. Kyle, the wigged-out trucker, courts Janis by pointing to the name tag on her uniform. 'Janis — is that your name or the name of your left tittie?' Giggling, she replies, 'That's my name — the name of my left tittie's Irene.' Sophisticated? Hardly. Droll by comparison with the rest of the movie? Sure. There's also a somewhat amusing scene in which a sleazy drug salesman tries to peddle unnecessary medication, only to be stymied by a nurse who brings up the pesky issue of medical ethics. The movie takes an abrupt left turn into pure Corman territory toward the end, climaxing with an escape, a car chase, and a bloody shootout. One suspects the people at New World realized the novelty of nurses providing carnal TLC wasn't enough to sustain interest across multiple movies, hence the choice to throw in random exploitation elements, whether they fit or not. [Every '70s Movie]"
"Kaplan is good with his cast. He gets a distinctive performance from each of his three female leads: Byrne does some nice method-style emoting as the troubled nurse, Collins gives a laid-back but witty performance as the 'cool' one, and Lawrence does the most subtle work as the nurse who becomes a accomplice to a breakout. Colorful turns from the male cast help flesh it out: Young gives a charismatic performance as the trucker, Clint Kimbrough [8 March 1933 – 9 April 1996] is menacing in a cool way as the doctor who runs the encounter group, and Perry offers a fiery turn as the radical plotting his leader's escape. Look also for a fun cameo from Dick Miller as a hapless motorist who picks up Barbara. [Italics ours] Simply put, Night Call Nurses is an engaging example of the Corman nurse-film formula that doubles as a worthy debut for Kaplan. [Schlockmania]"


Fly Me
(1973, dir. Cirio H. Santiago)
"Stewardesses wear uniforms and are stereotypically friendly, good-looking and slim-bodied (due to enforced weight and dress-size requirements). In the late 1960s and early '70s many airlines outfitted their attendants in tight-fitting suits and revealing mini-skirts. Television and print ads promoted the stewardess as sexy, subservient, and seemingly 'available' in order to entice a mostly male, business-class clientele. This image led to stewardesses becoming fetishized objects of fantasy similar to teachers, waitresses, secretaries, nurses, maids and other female professionals. [Spanking Art]" As such, they were a popular subject of yesterday's pre-#metoo-generation pulp erotica, with great literature like:
 
Fly Girl (Beacon, 1961) 
by "Matt Harding",
pseudonym used by author Lee Floren.

Fly Girl (reprint, MacFadden-Bartell, 1970) 
by "Matt Harding",
pseudonym used by author Lee Floren.

Flight Hostess Rogers (Midwood, 1962) 
by Mike Avallone. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

Airborne Passions (Epic Books, 1962)
by Dale Koby

Sin Hostess (Midnight Reader / Greenleaf Classics, 1963)
by Andrew Shaw (aka Lawrence Block and others)
Orgy in the Sky (Bee-Line, 1970)
by Dave Vance
  
Hot Pants Stewardesses (Bee-Line, 1971)
by Peter Long
 
Sex and The Stewardess (1969)
by John Warren Wells (aka Lawrence Block)

The Stewardess and Sergeant (Liverpool Library, 1975)
by Jon Reskind
 
The Young Stewardess (1997)
by Grace Jones

Wild Stewardess (Liverpool Library, 1978)
by Grant Roberts

Hostage Stewardess (Chelsea Library, 1974) 
by Jacqueline Bourdeaux
 
Two-Way Stewardess (Companion Books, 1972)
by Joe Foss
 
Or how about a man's take, for a change?
Stewardess with the Moustache (Perimeter Press, 1980)
by Justin Tayler (aka Charles Shepard)
In 1967, sexually active sexy stewardesses went mainstream with the mildly erotic mainstream best seller above that led to innumerable sequels, Coffee, Tea or Me? — the "true" but humorous "memoirs" of two stewardesses, Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones, but which was actually written by an airline public relations man named Donald Bain (March 6, 1935 – October 21, 2017). (A hilariously dated book once easily found at thrift stores, Coffee, Tea or Me? was made into a somewhat trepid TV movie in 1973 [full movie], the same year as Fly Me.)
Trailer to
Fly Me:
One wonders, then, why it took Roger Corman so long to finally do a stewardessploitation film, especially since the 1969 3D stewardessploitation The Stewardesses (trailer), which was eventually released in four different cuts over a period of two years, grossed $25 million in 1970 alone. ("In budget-relative terms, it remains among the most profitable theatrical films ever produced." [Wikipedia]) By the time Roger Corman finally produced his first stewardess flick, Cirio H. Santiago's mile-high exploiter Fly Me, he was indeed a bit late in line and already been preceded by any number of feature-film flotsam and fun, ranging from the Harry Alan Towers' production 24 Hours to Kill (1965, with Maria Rohm) and the Jerry Lewis flick Boeing, Boeing (1965 / trailer) to the roughie Fly Now, Pay Later (1969 / full movie) and other fine sex-heavy to less sex-heavy titles like Spread Eagles (1968 – "They were flying high and laying low"), Bedroom Stewardesses (1968 / radio advert / poster below), The Daisy Chain (1969), The Stewardesses (1969 /mentioned above) and its eventual sequel Supersonic SuperGirls aka International Stewardesses (1973 / trailer), Stewardesses Report a.k.a. Naked Stewardesses, The Swingin' Stewardesses (Switzerland, 1971 / full movie in German), The Air Stewardess (Greece, 1971), Swedish Fly Girls (Denmark, 1971 / opening), and more.
In 1971, the now long-gone National Airlines (1934 to 1980) began their famous, and overt, "Fly Me" campaign, an example of which is found directly below — the obvious inspirational source behind the title of this Cirio H. Santiago (18 Jan 1936 – 26 Sept 2008) movie. (One wonders who was getting the free advertising, Corman or National.) Like all Santiago exploitation movies — or at least the ones we've seen — Fly Me mixes strong women and kung fu with a lot of naked T&A. It also has a bit more scenery filler than his better efforts, and at best can be described as mildly entertaining when served with a joint and six-pack.
"Fly Me gets off to a wild start: even before the opening credits, Toby (Pat Anderson of Dirty O'Neil [1974 / trailer] & Cover Girl Models [1975 / scene]) runs out of the ocean and into the back of Dick Miller's cab, where she changes from her bikini into her uniform, causing a distracted Miller to crash the car. [AV Club]" A scene reportedly filmed by Curtis Hanson (24 March 1945 – 20 Sept 2016), who one went on to direct LA Confidential (1997 / trailer).
"In Fly Me, newly transplanted from the Midwest stewardess Toby (Pat Anderson) has just started a job with an international airline, and her first flight is to Hong Kong with two other more seasoned stewardesses: Andrea (Leonore Kasdorf of Starship Troopers [1997 / trailer]) and Sherry (Lyllah Torena of And When She Was Bad [1973 / walkin']). Klutzy Toby manages to meet cute with handsome bone specialist David (Richard Young), but then she is shocked to discover that her mother (Naomi Stevens [29 Nov 1925 – 13 Jan 2018]) has booked a round-trip to keep an eye on her daughter (and her daughter's virginity) on her first trip out of the country. Once they land in Hong Kong, Andrea heads to the apartment building where she has been living with her boyfriend Donald (Ken Metcalfe of The Twilight People [1972 / fabulous trailer]) for more than a year (actually, with only two trips a month to Hong Kong, she realizes that she's only lived with him for about six weeks) only to find new tenants. She visits his office and learns that no one has seen Donald in three weeks, and planned clandestine meetings with him often end in Andrea doing battle with kung fu henchmen. She finds a sympathetic ear in importer Rick Shaw (an uncredited Leo Martinez, of Aswang [1992 / trailer] and Vampire Hookers [1978 / trailer]), but there's more to him than meets the eye. Meanwhile, David finds himself constantly cock-blocked by Toby's mother and bed-hopping Sherry finds herself abducted by yacht-owning playboy Bill (Cole Mallard) to be utilized as a sex slave in a side venture of drug-running Donald. [DVD Drive-in]"
"The three stories intertwine as the movie plays out and it all sort of resolves itself by the time that the movie is over. Along the way a ten-year-old kid will try to get one of the stewardesses to watch him get a hard-on, a couple will join the mile-high club, chicks will get bound and beaten and you'll be witness to more stock footage of planes taking off and landing than you'll ever want to see again. This is all done with the same erratic sense of pacing and complete lack of narrative logic that has made so many of Santiago's movies the cult classics that they are. No one will ever accuse Fly Me of being a ‘good' movie but when there's this much wanton nudity, obvious stunt doubling, fake ass kung fu and bad comedy thrown into the movie you can't help but be amused and entertained by it all. A fun way to kill seventy-two minutes without regret, and hey, Vic Diaz shows up here too. [Rock! Pop! Shock!]"
"Another gem from Philippine auteur Cirio H. Santiago, who also filmed the [trash masterpieces] Firecracker (1981 / trailer) and Naked Vengeance (1985 / trailer). [Women in Prison Films]"
That said, Good Efficient Butchery sees the film differently: "A badly-jumbled mix of action, kung-fu, sexploitation, grim sex-trade drama, and broad comedy, Fly Me runs just 72 minutes but feels twice as long. The worst element is Anderson's overprotective Italian-American mother (Naomi Stevens), who tags along on her daughter's flight and keeps cockblocking a doctor's (Richard Young) attempts to get in Anderson's pants, and shouting 'Mamma mia!' at the slightest provocation."
For whatever reason, Fly Me proved to be Roger Corman's only straight stewardessploitation flick. For fans of stewardesses, the genre continued a decade or so with sporadic mile-high exploiters like The Naughty Stewardesses (1974 / trailer), Superchick (1973 / trailer), Blazing Stewardesses (1975 / trailer), Kokusai-sen stewardess: kanno hiko (Japan, 1976), and Stewardess School (1986 / scene) and more.


The Young Nurses
 (1973, dir. Clint Kimbrough)

A.k.a. Nightingale and Young L.A. Nurses. Dick Miller shows up in a small role as a cop. Showing up in an even smaller (and unaccredited) role, his last ever: Mantan Moreland (3 Sept 1902 – 28 Sept 1973). Other unexpected faces: Samuel Fuller (12 Aug 1912 – 30 Oct 1997) as the (Spoiler!) film's heavy and, for all of a few seconds from the side, a young and unknown and uncredited Robert Ulrich (to the right in the photo below).
[Louis] Clinton Kimbrough (8 March 1933 – 9 April 1996), who played the duplicitous Dr. Bramlett heading the encounter group in the Jonathan Kaplan-directed Night Call Nurses (1972, see further above), took on the direction of this, the fourth film in the five-film series. The only film Kimbrough — or "Clinton Kimbro", as he is credited — ever directed, The Young Nurses is also generally seen as one of the fluffier and weaker and less "feminist" of the series, despite the fact that it basically follows the traditional three-hair-color and three-story formula. (Ever notice that although all five of Corman's nurse films follow this three-woman formula, the posters to all five films also always feature four women?)
This time around, screenplay duties were handled by Howard R. Cohen (12 Aug 1942 – 3 April 1999), the future director of Saturday the 14th (1981 / trailer) and Space Raiders (1983) and scribe of such deathless non-classics as Deathstalker (1983 / trailer) and Barbarian Queen (1985 / trailer).
 Trailer to
The Young Nurses:
In any event, at Inside Pulse, Joe Corey has the plot: "Angela Elayne Gibbs [Nurse Michelle] goes on a crusade against drug dealers. Jeane Manson [Nurse Kitty] hangs out at boat races. Ashley Porter [Nurse Joanne] practices medicine without a license to help others who can't afford a doctor. Dick Miller returns in a cop role."
 
"More amorous nurses, more stilted dialogue, more bad acting and more cheap production values in this the fourth edition of the Roger Corman-produced series. The formula is starting to become old and outside of some scenic ocean beach scenery and a bouncy opening tune there is very little to recommend. […] There is of course the expected nudity with this one having a bit more than the ones in the past. Unlike the first three this one shows full frontal nudity particularly with [Jeane] Manson [Playboy Playmate of the Month August 1974, centerfold below, and seen in The Barn of the Naked Dead [1974 / theme song]) who goes dancing along the beach naked and even into the ocean. The segment involving one of them hallucinating about a sex orgy at a black nightclub is somewhat provocative as is the vaginal self-examination booth. However, unlike the past films of the series not all of the three leads are seen sans clothes. Although she comes close Angela Gibbs is never seen nude, but at least makes up for it by giving the best acting performance. Ashley Porter is seen nude and looks good, but her acting is terrible and possibly the worst performance of the entire series. She says her lines in a robotic fashion that quickly becomes irritating. [Scopophilia]"
Varied Celluloid disagrees, proclaiming: "The Young Nurses turns out to be a middle-of-the-road nurse movie, but it is certainly a title that lies further on the 'good' side of the road than the 'bad.' As it turns out, it is one of the movies within the subgenre that actually seems to get the memo in terms of what manages to make these sex comedies work so well. The comedy is an integral part of the formula and when that is downplayed in favor of drama, these movies do indeed suffer. Thankfully, the cast of The Young Nurses all seem to get the comedy that is at work in this picture. […] Despite their unfamiliar faces, the majority of the cast members are fairly decent in their roles. The only performer who I didn't feel had the same charisma going was probably Angela Elayne Gibbs, who played Michelle, as she seemed a little dry in this early performance."


Executive Action
 (1973, dir. David Miller [28 Nov 1909 – 14 April 1992])
The classic of all modern (vs. historic or contemporary) American conspiracies: the Man killed Kennedy. For a change, the Man doesn't seem to be the Jews or the Masons or the Illuminati. No, this movie firmly believes it was the Texans. We could believe that, too — Texans be evil, and what is the life of one president when it comes to saving the white man's patriarchy?
In any event, long before Oliver Stone's JFK (1991 / trailer), there was David Miller's Executive Action, "the first film to openly question the veracity of the Warren Commission's report into the death of John F. Kennedy". And if you never heard of the movie, it's because the Man had it pulled from release soon after it came out and managed to bury it until the late 80s, about the time no one cared anymore who killed Kennedy because, well, the fluoride in our water had begun to turn us all gay.
Dick Miller is seen in this white, manly-man star-studded flick (e.g., Burt Lancaster [2 Nov 1913 – 20 Oct 1994], below, not from the film, and Robert Ryan [11 Nov 1909 – 11 July 1973]) as "Rifleman – Team B". That's a young Lancaster below, not from the film, and DickMiller above, to the left in a screenshot to the film.
Through a Shattered Lens, which calls the movie "a disturbingly plausible film", has the plot: "As the film opens in 1963, we see a group of very rich men talking about the future of America. Ferguson (Will Geer [9 Marcch 1902 – 22 April 1978] of Dear Dead Delilah [1972 / trailer]) and Foster (Ryan) are concerned that President Kennedy's policies are going to destroy America. Foster is worried that Kennedy is planning on cutting back on military spending. Ferguson is upset by Kennedy's support of the Civil Rights movement. (In one memorable scene, we see Martin Luther King delivering his Dream speech on TV before the camera pulls back to reveal Ferguson watching in disgust.) Their associate, the shadowy Farrington (Lancaster), argues that the only way to stop Kennedy is to assassinate him and put the blame on a lone gunman. With the support of Ferguson and Foster, Farrington recruits a group of gunmen (led by Ed Lauter [30 Oct 1938 – 16 Oct 2013, of The Prometheus Project (2010)] and including Roger Corman regular Dick Miller) and works to set up the perfect patsy. A man (James MacColl) goes around Dallas, acting obnoxious and telling anyone who will listen that his name is Lee Oswald. At Ferguson's insistence, a picture is doctored to make it appear as if Lee Harvey Oswald is posing in his backyard with a rifle. As all of this goes on, the date of November 22nd steadily approaches…"
"Unfortunately, Executive Action is only sparingly as nail-biting […]. The assassination scene itself is startling and perfectly edited with punch and verve. Mostly, though, the film has these conspirators standing around giving lectures, pep talks, criticisms of Kennedy and so on. It is all talk and far too little action (although Lancaster and the always gruff personality of Robert Ryam give it a lift), spending an inordinate amount of time with newsreel stock footage. As directed by David Miller and scripted by Dalton Trumbo, the movie never quite dramatizes the action — it merely states it without giving us much of a narrative. [Jerry Saravia]."
Based somewhat loosely on the book, Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane and Donald Freed, this was supposedly one of Jim Jones' favorite films.
Used in the movie —
the Orville Nix (16.04.11 – 17.01.72) JFK assassination film:


The Student Teachers
(1973, dir. Jonathan Kaplan)
 
A.k.a. College Coeds and Self-Service Schoolgirls (the poster below might be to the movie; neither name on it seem to be real or at least neither "star" ever made another movie).

Kaplan's second directorial project, once again a Corman production — a Julie Corman production, that is. It would seem that after nurse T&A, the time seemed right for teacher T&A. Dick Miller has a relatively major/important part as "the penultimate dumb" and chauvinist Coach Harris. (Major spoiler: He turns out to be the rapist!)
As Kaplan explains in Chris Nashawaty's Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B Movies "After Night Call Nurses was done, I didn't talk to him [Corman] again for a while. Then Julie [Corman] called me and said, 'We're a big hit in Tallahassee! Roger wants you to come out and make the same movie, but with teachers instead of nurses.' That's how I got The Student Teachers."
The Student Teachers:
As an exploitation franchise, teacherploitation didn't last all that long: the Corman Mafia only made one unofficial "sequel", Summer School Teachers (1974 / trailer), and aside from the later cheapie The Teacher (1974 / trailer) and the far cheaper and more violent exploiter Trip with the Teacher (1975 / trailer, with Zalman King) — the latter a semi-remake of the even cheaper and sleazier Harry Novak production, Convicts Women a.k.a. Bust Out (1970, with Candy Samples) that was later semi-remade as Delinquent School Girls (1975 / trailer, Roberta Pedon) — and the Italo sex farces Substitute Teacher aka La supplente (1975, poster below) and School Days a.k.a. La professoressa di scienze naturali (1976 / full movie in Italian), we can't really remember that many female teacher-centric sexploiters out there.
The screenplay was by Danny Opatoshu, one of the less prolific screenwriters of the Corman factory of the 70s. Plot and opinion from B&S About Movie: "Rachel (Susan Damante of Blood Sabbath [1972, with an uncredited Uschi Digard] and The Photographer [1974 / trailer]) who wants to teach the good parts of sex education after school (that is, birth control and that sex isn't this alien, frightening thing); Tracey (Brooke Mills of The Big Doll House [1971 / trailer]) dates an art teacher who cheats on her [and gets involved in nude photography]; and Jody (Brenda Sutton of the WTF biker flick J.C. [1972 / WTF?]) works with an inner-city education effort but also gets involved in selling drugs. [...] To say this movie is dated is an understatement. That said, it's packed with the earnestness of the end of the 1970s and the feeling that young people would change the world. They all ended up repeating the same cycle as their parents by the early 80s. But for now, they would be the student teachers."
"An early film [...] from the days when New World Pictures was Hollywood's hottest training ground for new talent (1973). The plot, a rape mystery, is an ugly, exploitative downer, but Kaplan puts some infectious high spirits into the incidental action. Everyone is having so much fun that it seems a shame when the film is forced to stop every 10 or 15 minutes so the three lead actresses can take off their shirts. [The Chicago Reader]"
Chuck Norris has no lines in his first [short] appearance in a US movie in The Student Teachers as a karate instructor. And as one sees by the advert below, at least at the Grand Island Drive-in Theatre, The Student Teachers was once on a double bill with the WIP/nursesploitation Corman production, The Hot Box (1972).
Trailer to
The Hot Box:


The Slams
(1973, dir. Jonathan Kaplan)

This flick here is a Gene Corman production. Written by TV scribe Richard DeLong Adams (as Richard L. Adams), who scribed the Roger Corman-produced Jim Brown vehicle of the same year, I Escaped from Devil's Island (scene), which co-starred Christopher George (25 Feb 1931 – 28 Nov 1983). George, who isn't in The Slams, like Brown did a Playgirl centerfold in the 70s — that's it directly below. Dick Miller makes his trademark short appearance in The Slams, Kaplan's third directorial project, as a cab driver.
Brown in very much an anti-hero in this one: he steals, his kills, but he doesn't deal drugs. And, of course, he busts faces and kicks ass. The plot: "Brown is a small time criminal looking to jump into the big leagues by making off with a cool $1.5 million in cash plus heroin over seven dead Mafia bodies. Correctly sensing a double-cross afterwards, Brown dispatches his attackers but is wounded in the process. Brown still manages to stash the booty before he is arrested, making him a person of much interest after his incarceration. There's a price on his head and the Feds, corrupt guard Harris [also found in Voodoo Dawn (1998)], and imprisoned mafia enforcer DeKova [of Teenage Caveman (1958 / trailer)] all want to know where he's keeping the ill-gotten gains. Facing only a short sentence for the provable charges, Brown turns a deaf ear to all offers of protection [...] but develops a greater sense of urgency when he learns his hiding spot is scheduled for demolition. [The Horn Section]"
The Slams:
Shameless Self Expression, which points out that in the film there is a "cute cameo by cult fave Miller as a cabbie Brown encounters at one pivotal point in the film", thinks that The Slams is a "watchable 1973 Jonathan Kaplan [...] blaxploitation-tinged prison escape movie [that] boasts a few good performances (notably the imposing and sadistic Cassidy [...] and slimy Bob Harris, while Pace is her usual blank self), and passes the time quite acceptably so long as you don't think about it much ([Frank] DeKova's imprisoned mobster character is pretty silly)."
The babe of the movie, Judy Pace, made her film debut as one of the title characters in William Castle's 13 Frightened Girls (1963 / trailer). Amongst her limited output of feature films: Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970 / trailer) and Cool Breeze (1972 / trailer). Ted Cassidy (31 July 1932 – 16 Jan 1979), fondly remembered as Lurch from the original Addams Family TV show (1964-66 / credits), is also found in the trash (to use the word loosely) "classics" Poor Pretty Eddie (1975 / trailer) and The Intruder (1975 / trailer).
The Slams was shot on location mostly at the former Lincoln Heights Prison in Los Angeles, which stop operating as a jail in 1965. Somewhat more recently (2009), the site was used for scenes in the fab video to Lady Gaga's single Telephone.
Music video to
Lady Gaga's Telephone:

More to follow... eventually.
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