#273 Fantastic Voyage

Watched: July 27 2020

Director: Richard Fleischer

Starring: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasence, Edmond O’Brien, Arthur O’Connelly, William Redfield, Arthur Kennedy, Jean Del Val

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 40min

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During the cold war, an important scientist is nearly assassinated, and ends up in a coma.

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Then, to add insult to injury, someone glued a bunch of numbers and letters on his head. For shits and giggles. At least they’re all responsibly wearing masks.

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Surgery to repair the trauma to his brain proves to be too dangerous, and his knowledge is invaluable (if he still retains it), so naturally they come up with the only possible solution: shrink a crew of surgeons, captains, security people etc., and send them into the scientist’s blood stream in a submarine. With a possible traitor. And a laser.

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Why on earth didn’t they just send the surgeon in with the crew who went in to install all the lighting? Would have saved them hours.

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Inside the comatose man (sounds slightly illegal..?), Grant, Cora, the doctors and the rest of the crew encounter many obstacles. Chief among them being antibodies, arteriovenous fistula (learned a new word!), sabotage and sound. Not to mention cobwebs…

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Behold: the consequence of all the spiders you have accidentally consumed throughout your life!

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Fantastic Voyage is a fun and thrilling adventure film which has spawned many a spoof, parody and tribute. We loved the ’60s aesthetics, the disclaimer and title sequence, the lava lamp blood stream, generally everything to do with the design.

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Journey to the Centre of the Lava Lamp

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The plot was also intriguing and exciting, though we did unfortunately peg the traitor from the beginning. We were hoping for a double bluff, but alas!

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Spoiler alert: the saboteur is somewhere in this picture…

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Is it scientifically accurate? Probably not. We’re not physicians or physicists, but our basic understanding of human biology informs us that some artistic liberties may have been taken. However, it is very entertaining and just a tiny bit silly. Definitely worth a watch.

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Then, imagine these guys swimming inside of you. Among the cobwebs…

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What we learned: Humanity has NOT focused enough energy on the development of shrinking technology. Get your priorities straight, science people!

Next time: Gambit (1966)

#272 Daisies

Watched: July 15 2020

Director: Věra Chytilová

Starring: Jitka Cerhová, Ivana Karbanová

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 14min

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Two young women, Marie I and Marie II (Cerhová and Karbanová), decide that since the world is going bad, they will get down with the badness and no longer live up to the female ideal of temperance.

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This isn’t even from the film. This is just us on a regular Tuesday.

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After eating apples (Symbolism Alert!), they go on an indulgence spree, eating, drinking and generally helping themselves to everything life has to offer, consequences be damned!

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Even when the consequences include decapitation

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Daisies is hard to describe, it needs to be experienced. And you should. The protagonists are wonderful, and there is still, 50+ years later, something unusually freeing about watching two young women gorge themselves on food and drinks the way they do.

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Our rational, practical, Norwegian brains are still worried about ants in the bed though

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We absolutely loved this – it is strange and surreal, and the costumes and sets are fantastic in every way.

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Sometimes the set even bleeds into the costumes. It’s a whole thing.

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Interestingly, after initial good reviews, the film was pretty much banned in its native Czechoslovakia by the communist regime for “depicting the wanton.” However, it is now generally regarded as one of the great Czechoslovak movies of all time.

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To be fair, what could ever possibly top this?

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Excellent comedy with a message! What’s not to love?

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This will be you as you watch. Trust and believe!

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What we learned: Everyone needs nourishment. And sometimes you have to break the rules.

Next time: Fantastic Voyage (1966)

#271 Cul-De-Sac

Watched: June 29 2020

Director: Roman Polanski

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 52min

For our thoughts on Polanski in general, read this.

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Two injured gangsters, Dickie (Stander) and Albie (MacGowran), come upon a castle on a tidal island where they are stranded due to the tide. The castle’s inhabitants, George (Pleasence) and Teresa (Dorléac) are taken hostage and pulled into a powerplay with Dickie.

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“We may be in a hostage situation, but it’s important to make time for bathing and bonding in between the threats of violence.”

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We were very excited about the concept of this, and it was definitely beautifully shot. We loved parts of it and other parts were a bit meh. For instance, we loved the opening credits, George’s bad paintings (they were supposed to be bad, right..?), the horrible Horace who came to visit, that one clearly fake seagull, Donald Pleasence, and the setting.

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“I sure hope no hardened criminals decide to invade us while we’re playing dress up. Like my wife, they will never take me seriously as a man.”

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However, we didn’t quite get the humour in this comedy… Which probably says more about us than the film itself, but there it is. The dinner party and the grave digging were fun scenes, and Pleasence was a joy to watch, but otherwise we weren’t that into it.

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Alas, poor Albie. We didn’t know him well.

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We also found Teresa a bit confusing as a character. First off, what woman who’s a victim of a home invasion will proceed to sleep naked when the (male) invaders are still in the house? In addition, we’re very much over women in movies/books/etc. who cry rape the minute a prank or seduction goes wrong. Considering the director as well, it left a bad taste.

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Pictured: perfectly normal behaviour for a woman captured in a bad marriage and an ACTUAL HOSTAGE SITUATION! Not gratuitous at all.

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It’s a great concept and beautifully shot in black and white. There are also good performances by all the principal players. But we don’t think this one will stay with us the way many other movies have done. To us, it became a bit forgettable. Perhaps we’re just too biased against Polanski to really enjoy his work..?

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It’s pretty to look at though. So we guess that’s something.

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What we learned: Dames! Also, if you want to come visit, have the courtesy to telephone in advance. Especially if you’re bringing your brat…

Next time: Daisies (1966)

#270 Blow-Up

Watched: June 13 2020

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, David Hemmings, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Verushka, Jane Birkin, Peter Bowles, Gillian Hills

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 51min

Disclaimer: You may experience some unscheduled breaks between blog posts. This is perfectly normal and nothing to panic about. The delays may be due to the fact that Trondheim is finally sunny and thus blogging sisters must spend as much time as possible outdoors before the temperature drops again (and it will). Other delays may happen because of Sister the Youngest’s fancy new job which she started this month. Please be patient, and we’ll be back to normal in no time at all. Or in a while. Who knows?

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Thomas (Hemmings) is a self-centred asshole fashion photographer in swinging London. He is also, as spoiled, rich people often are in movies, bored and disillusioned.

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“Do I objectify women? Of course not! I open my shirt while I’m working and have them squirm half naked underneath me because it’s the professional thing to do.”

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After stalking a couple in a park and ignoring the woman’s request that he stops taking her picture, he is surprised to find the same woman (Redgrave) at his studio. She has come to ask for her pictures back, even going so far as to offer sexual favours for their return.

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“I might consider giving you the film if you get half naked and squirm a bit…”

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He eventually gives her a film roll, but not the one she’s after. Instead, when she leaves he develops the pictures. But what he finds is unexpected: did he acidentally capture a murder on film?

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“Oh no! A white blob! Must be murder.”

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Our favourite scene in Blow-Up was the titular one: where Thomas develops the photos and gradually blows up parts of the images to reveal what was hidden in the background. It’s very well done and exciting to watch.

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Pictured: our second favourite scene and coincidentally our new summer wardrobe.

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We also enjoyed the mystery of what really happened in the park and who the woman was. However, if you’re looking for a mystery which neatly wraps up in the end, stay away! You will find no resolution here.

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Although, according to some sources, you will find the pubic hair of one of these lovely ladies. So if that’s your fetish, enjoy!

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What you will find are such things as excellent mod fashion, great (occasionally stressful) music, gratuitous nudity, an asshole protagonist (who is also a clear inspiration for Austin Powers, but without the charm), beautiful photography, a very Norwegian rock concert audience (no one moves!), an amazing old antiques-dealer who reminded us a bit of Rebecca Femm (“Can’t have landscapes!”), and existential crises.

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Oh, and there are mimes. But don’t let that put you off. It’s actually very tastefully done.

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Overall, we enjoyed this movie. We HATED the protagonist, and the fact that no one seems to have a name (except Ron) made it confusing to take notes as we were watching (yes, we take notes. We are that nerdy…), but it is beautiful to look at and intriguing to watch.

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Life lesson: don’t be like creepy Thomas. Don’t take photos of strangers and then refuse to stop when they ask you to. Have we mentioned that Thomas sucks? ‘Cause he does!

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What we learned: If you find a dead body, try calling the police BEFORE you go partying.

Next time: Cul-De-Sac (1966)

#269 Batman

Watched: May 27 2020

Director: Leslie H. Martinson

Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 45min

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Today we bring you the peak of cinematic history: 1966’s Batman. It’s the perfect movie and we defy you to find anything better. Bruce Wayne (West) and his youthful ward Dick Grayson (Ward) live double lives as caped crusaders Batman and Robin in Gotham city. But their daily crime fighting routine is disrupted when their main enemies band together to kidnap the United World’s Security Council by dehydrating them.

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Holy Convoluted Plot, Batman!

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The Joker (Romero), Catwoman (Meriwether), The Riddler (Gorshin) and The Penguin (Meredith) have kidnapped an inventor and stolen his dehydrator. With it, they can reduce people to a fine powder and then bring them back by adding water. Science!

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Holy Evil Science School, Batman!

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However, The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder will not let them get away with their nefarious plans! They will POW! BLURP! THWACK! BIFF! and SPLA-AT! the council members to freedom and the villains to their doom.

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Holy KAPOW! Batman!

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You have probably gathered how we feel about this movie from the opening line. It’s been a favourite ever since we used to watch the TV-show as kids, and it has aged oh so well. It may not be the most sophisticated piece of cinematic history, but it’s silly, campy fun which works for all ages.

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Holy Sardine, Batman!

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What’s not to love? The opening credits, the narrator, the bat gadgets (batgets..?), the quintessential Batmusic, the riddle solving and jumping to conclusions, the insane dedication to putting batwings on stuff, and the superhero physique we can all aspire to and actually achieve (I think we can all agree that this is more within our reach than becoming Chris Hemsworth) – they’re all brilliant and very cartoony.

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Holy Marathon, Batman!

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Our favourites are the Shark Repellent Bat Spray and Robin’s endless supply of holiness. But the cheap costumes and the fact that Romero couldn’t even be bothered to shave off his mustache for the role are also part of what makes this movie special. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favour asap.

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Holy Complete Television Show, Batman!

What we learned: Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.

Next time: Blow-Up (1966)

Bonus: Dr Terror’s House of Horrors

Watched: April 25 2020

Director: Freddie Francis

Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Neil McCallum, Alan Freeman, Bernard Lee, Roy Castle, Michael Gough, Donald Sutherland, Max Adrian, Ursula Howells

Year: 1965

Runtime: 1h 38min

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Six people from different walks of life (and by that we mean 6 middle class white men) meet in a train carriage. One of them, the aptly named Dr Schreck, is a tarot card practitioner and volunteers to read all their fortunes. This goes about as well as you’d expect in a horror film, and all five passengers learn of the terrible fates about to befall them. Should they live long enough to experience it, that is…

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“Let’s play Five Original Ways to Die!”

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Could it be werewolves?

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Or perhaps killer plants?

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How about some voodoo? Always a fun and original way to go!

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Or perhaps you’re looking for something more along the lines of a disembodied hand looking for revenge?

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I know! Let a future Watcher take you on a vampire hunt. Nothing says classic horror like bloodthirsty fiends lurking in the night sucking the life force from the young and vital.

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This horror anthology is clearly inspired by Dead of Night, and while it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, it is very fun and entertaining. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are wonderful as always, and Donald Sutherland looks very much like his son (who Sister the Oldest may or may not have had a huge crush on in the early nineties… Think Lost Boys/Young Guns era).

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Sure, the look might be somewhat dated now, but it certainly worked in 1987! (And in 1992 which was probably around the time the movie [and the style] reached Norway.)

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An excellent little place holder while we wait for access to the rest of the list!

What we learned: Dr Terror sure had an impressively detailed and specific deck of tarot cards!

Next time: Batman (1966)

#268 The Knack… And How to Get It

Watched: April 24 2020

Director: Richard Lester

Starring: Rita Tushingham, Ray Brooks, Michael Crawford, Donal Donnelly

Year: 1965

Runtime: 1h 25min

First off, we do apologize for the sporadic posting – it’s partly to stall for time until we can get our hands on the next movies on the list (apparently, some are on their way!), but also partly because working from home actually turned out to be more time consuming than going into work, so we’re sort of a bit swamped… We will do our best though, and hope you all can be patient with us in these strange times.

Now, for The Knack… And How to Get It.

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Basically, an incel (Crawford) and a sleezy philanderer (and potential rapist) (Brooks) live in the same building, the former being driven a bit cray-cray by the latter’s long line of conquests. And also by the young girls in the school he works in who play netball in short skirts. The harlots!

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Philanderer sure has a type. And a sweet ride and a sweet tie. But nothing else to recommend him. Well, maybe the cool hair.

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Things change when artist Tom (Donnelly) moves into their spare room, and Female Character/Object Nancy (Tushingham) arrives in town. Tom and Colin (incel-dude) meet Nancy while she’s looking for the YWCA and bring her home to be victimized by Tolan (rapey-dude). However, after some really weird stuff goes down, she decides she’s attracted to Colin instead.

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Personally, we would have left them all way behind! Well, Tom seems sort of alright. Apart from his obsession with painting everything white. OK, you have a problem with brown, but white??? You can do better, Tom!

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Don’t get us wrong, there were things about this which we liked. The bed moving sequence is epic, we loved all the gags with doors opening and closing, and we really enjoyed to pace of the dialogue and the Greek choir of judgy people in the background commenting on everything that happened.

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Very Jules et Jim, with hints of Bande À Part

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We also kind of have a little sort of girl crush on Rita Tushingham. But we were a bit let down by her character. When she was first introduced, we thought she might be at least slightly sharp – the way she saw through the shop clerk and mocked his insincere flattery. However, once she started actually falling for Tolan’s crap even after she was CLEARLY very uncomfortable with his attention, we gave up. She wasn’t a person after all.

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And we had such high hopes for you and your crazy eyes!

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That being said, the scene with them in the white room was very good, if only because the interaction between Nancy and Tolan was so very, very uncomfortable and rapey. Not that Colin is much better. Tolan and Colin are just misogynistic in different ways – none of them seemed to see women as people, just objects to be desired and earned.

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Note to all: this is not the expression of someone who enjoys your attention. And if that’s not evident, you might want to work on your people skills.

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Overall, this gave the impression of being set in some weird fantasy world, the rules of which we were not informed. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we tend to enjoy being thrown into those worlds. It’s just that this one didn’t engage us. There are good gags and a good pace, but otherwise this struck us as a bit rapey, incely, and dated. Is it possible we misread it? Of course! But we’re still not sold…

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Lots of good gags involving doors (or lack thereof) though.

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What we learned: Mods and rockers. Also, why don’t “friends” call douches like Tolan on their crap??? “No one is raped unless they want it” my ass!

Next time: Batman (1966) if the postal gods are merciful. Or possibly a bonus: Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965). Time (and the postal service) will tell.

#267 The Ipcress File

Watched: April 15 2019

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Starring: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Frank Gatliff, Freda Bamford

Year: 1965

Runtime: 1h 49min

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Dr Radcliff boards the 7.55 to Nottingham and then promptly disappears – the last in a long line of misplaced scientist working for the British government.

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Pro tip: if scientists are disappearing at an alarming rate, try diversifying your reading material when in public.

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After a long and strange morning ritual (who goes through all that trouble to grind beans and make French press coffee and then NOT let it steep??? You’re basically drinking beige water at that point), Sergeant Harry Palmer (Caine) of the Ministry of Defence goes into work and is given a new mission recovering the misplaced scientific equipment.

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“He’s about yea high, grey hair, glasses, sort of sciency-looking..? Yeah, we keep losing him, so give us a call if someone turns him in, ok?”

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The “insubordinate trickster” Palmer starts to track down the main suspect, Albanian scientist-stealer “Bluejay” (Gatliff), alongside fellow spies and officers, including love interest Jean Courtney (Lloyd). However, it becomes clearer and clearer that there is a mole inside the British Army. Who can it be?

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In real life, our money would be on the guy with the obviously fake glasses.

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Can you do better than The Ipcress File if you’re in the mood for an espionage thriller with brainwashed scientists, sexual tension, double crossing weasels, cheeky yet charming scoundrels, and some sort of cooking fetish? Possibly. But you can certainly do a hell of a lot worse!

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We think this picture speaks for itself

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Michael Caine is more likable than he has any right to be, and we enjoyed the bureaucracy of espionage – you never see a single L101 in a Bond-film! We also loved the exchange in the parking garage, the library (we want one!), the bowler hats, all the lamps, the shot composition, and the sort of jazzy/noiry music.

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So many lamps. We kind of regret not counting them. Hit us up if you are bored enough to do that very thing! #coronahobbies

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Double this with The Manchurian Candidate for the perfect cold war/paranoia/science-gone-wild/brainwashing thriller evening. And kids? Stay home. Stay safe. Wash your hands and watch excellent movies.

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Make yourself a pot of stronger coffee than Harry and have yourself a marathon!

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What we learned: Don’t slouch like a pregnant camel. Also, Sister the Youngest learned the advantages of a revolver vs. an automatic for when you want to get away with a crime. Sister the Oldest has known for a very long time…

Next time: The Knack… And How to Get It (1965)

#266 The Hill

Watched: April 5 2019

Director: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Ossie Davis, Ian Hendry, Alfred Lynch, Roy Kinnear, Jack Watson, Michael Redgrave, Norman Bird

Year: 1965

Runtime: 2h 3min

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Hey kids! Are you stuck at home? Feeling increasingly bored, frustrated and lonely? Longing for society to return to normal? Well then, have we got the perfect uplifting movie for you!

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“All right boys! Ready to make a comedic romp reminiscent of M*A*S*H? (which curiously hasn’t been produced yet, but I’ll still reference it because that’s the sort of oddball character I am!)”

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The Hill has it all: sadism, inhumanity, madness, cruelty, injustice and an overhanging sense of impending doom.

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Oh, but there’s young, sexy Sean Connery, so it’s got that going for it which is nice.

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Sure, it might leave you depressed and disillusioned, but it could also put your own situation into perspective.

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Pro tip: if you pay attention to the background, you’ll get a bunch of good ideas for home workouts you can do while socially distancing. You’ll also feel very sorry for the poor extras…

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Seriously though, The Hill is horrible and great and disturbing. It’s one of those movies we would never watch again (too frustrating!) but that we’re very grateful we’ve seen. And we’ll never stop encouraging others to watch it (although we’re not really selling it, are we..?). You can feel, smell and taste it. It is extremely intense, but worth watching, if only just once.

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If you’re looking for horrible characters to direct your hatred and frustrations towards, then look no further! We’ve got you covered.

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What we learned: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Also, no one wins…

Next time: The Ipcress File (1965)

#265 The Collector

Watched: March 19 2019

Director: William Wyler

Starring: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar

Year: 1965

Runtime: 1h 59min

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Freddie Clegg (Stamp) is a socially awkward butterfly collector who’s convinced that the only reason he can’t get a date is because women won’t take the time to get to know him. Then one day he wins a large sum of money, buys a remote farmhouse, and decides to test his theory by kidnapping Miranda Grey (Eggar) – an art student he’s been stalking for a while.

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“Stop..!. struggling..! I am a nice.. *hnng* ..guy – I’m doing this for your own good.”

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After the initial shock of having been drugged and taken by a psychopath, Miranda decides the only way she’ll leave the house alive is if she plays along with her deranged “host.” She agrees to stay for four weeks, during which time Freddie believes he can Beauty-and-the-Beast her into falling in love with him.

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“Oh, you’ll be quite happy here in this cold, damp cellar prison I made you. You’ll have a bed, clothes, art supplies – everything a young woman could possibly need! Now love me. “

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The Collector may be from 1965 (based on a 1963 novel) but the parallels to certain contemporary movements are impossible to ignore. Freddie definitely doesn’t see himself as a bad guy (he’s a Nice Guy, you see – just misunderstood), but he also doesn’t see Miranda as human. She is only there to fulfill his needs – she has none of her own. And when she fails to act the way he wants her to, she has no more value to him.

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Trying to flood the house to get the attention of a neighbour when your host is finally letting you have a bath? Where were you raised???

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We absolutely loved this one, and were on the edge of our seat throughout. Terence Stamp was amazing as the psychopathic Freddie – his physicality as well as his sudden and chilly shifts in mood and attitude were fascinating to watch.

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The switches between childlike, innocent happiness and icy calculation are very creepy

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Samantha Eggar is similarly engaging as Miranda – she never loses her defiance despite having to negotiate and play along with her kidnapper. She, like us, never quite loses hope that she might eventually escape this hell.

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Despite her fear, Miranda tries to connect with and manipulate Freddie – anything to regain her freedom

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If you’re a fan of psychological horror and/or serial killers, The Collector is a classic and you simply must check it out. And what better time to watch a movie about someone being held against their will in a remote house than in the midst of a pandemic in which we’re being forced to stay inside our houses? If nothing else it will put your own isolation into perspective. (We hope you’re doing well though, and that you’re not too lonely, wherever you are. Stay inside and stay safe!)

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And even if you’re stuck inside, it’s still nice to occasionally dress up for dinner. Especially if you’re alone and not with the psychopath who abducted you… If that is the case, eat in your PJs. You deserve it.

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What we learned: NEVER hit them once and then try to run. You keep hitting until there’s nothing left but splattered brain matter (theoretically of course. Please do not organize a raid on our apartments. Or search our basement).

Next time: The Hill (1965)