Author Archives: Keith

Asia-Pol

Despite secret lairs and spy gadgets, Asia-pol plays things straight where other Shaw Bros. espionage efforts reveled in the most outlandish sci-fi aspects of spy films.

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Fighting the Unknown

As the series begins, Quatermass and his team are in a quandary after their most recent manned space flight vanishes without a trace, only to turn up later when it crashes into a farmer’s field. Rushing to the site, Quatermass is baffled to discover that of the three astronauts launched into orbit, only one is still in the ship.

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Rome, Open City

Although one certainly cannot dismiss the impact of World War II on the United States, it’s an order of magnitude more shocking to witness the devastation  wrought across Europe. For all our suffering, we could come home to a country that remained largely untouched by large-scale conflict. Those in Europe, however, were already home.

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A Dandy in Aspic

A double agent operating in London dreams of retiring, but his life is complicated when he is assigned to assassinate a traitor: himself. With one foot in the pop art fantasy of James Bond and another in the grim world of John Le Carre, A Dandy in Aspic never quite succeeds at being either.

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Revolver

Testi plays Milo, a small-time hood who, when the film opens is lugging his wounded buddy through a field after a heist that has apparently gone rather poorly. His friend dies, and Testi buries him in the field before getting arrested and ending up in a jail run by Oliver Reed’s Vito Cipriani.

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Spectre

Spectre’s obsession with mythology building and referencing previous films results in a tangled mess that, despite being over two hours, still feels like an hour of the film is missing.

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James Bond vs. the ’80s

We are increasingly left with a sort of bland guy who just happens to be named James Bond — which, in a way, might be bringing the character back around to how Fleming originally imagined him, as an anonymous blunt instrument into whom a reader could pour his or her own identity; a characterless cypher of a man who might not be interesting but to whom interesting things happened. But honestly, by the middle of the 1980s, with decades of suave, awesome James Bond under our belts, did anyone really want an anonymous 007?

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Eyes Without a Face

A fan of silent serials and a precursor to the French Nouvelle Vague, Georges Franju was inspired by the early thrillers of Louis Feuillade when he made the haunting, at times shocking, story of a disfigured woman, a driven scientist, and the horror of physical beauty.

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The Great Beauty

Italy’s Berlusconi era was characterized by the decadence and corruption of the country’s prime minister. Director Paolo Sorrentino admits that while the decadence was fun, it created a cultural stagnation from which, perhaps, it’s time to emerge.

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