Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seven Obscure Movies That I Curiously Remember (Volume 3)

1. Johnny Nobody (1961) - In a small Irish village, a ranting atheist dares God to strike him dead--at which point, a mysterious stranger shoots and kills the man. The killer identifies himself as "nobody" and claims that God directed his actions. That becomes his defense when he is brought to trial. I haven't seen this film since the early 1970s, but the premise alone left a lasting impression. Hey, TCM, if you have this one in your vaults, let's get it on the air!

2. The Southern Star (1969) - Set in Africa in 1912, this lighthearted tale concerns a huge diamond, which is stolen soon after its discovery. Adventurer George Segal, diamond miner's daughter Ursula Andress, security chief Ian Hendry, and portly villain Orson Welles all seek the missing stone. This one pops up on TV occasionally because of the cast. For some inexplicable reason, the scene I remember best is a chess game involving liqueur-filled glasses.

Ursula Andress looking groovy!
3. The 10th Victim (1965) - In the future, a television show called The Big Hunt pits participants--known as Hunters and Victims--against each other in multiple rounds of murder with the big winner gaining international fame. In this pop-art vision of the future, hunter Ursula Andress tracks down victim Marcello Mastrianni as they flirt with one another and wear stylish clothes. The 10th Victim is a bizarre film, but has its share of passionate fans. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was frequently shown on television (probably due to Ursula's popularity). These days, it's a rarity.

4. Shoot Loud, Louder...I Don't Understand (1966) - Such was Raquel Welch's fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s that most of her films were shown on U.S. network television--even this Italian-made oddity. Marcello Mastrianni (again!) stars as a sculptor who dreams that his neighbor, a notorious gangster, has been murdered. As in , Mastrianni's character has trouble distinguishing between dreams and reality--but, rest assured, this is no Fellini masterpiece.

Angel Tompkins.
5. The Teacher (1974) - What did Jay North do after the Dennis the Menace TV series? Well, one of his few starring roles was in this drive-in picture notable for featuring cult movie favorite Angel Tompkins. Jay plays a high school student who has an affair with an attractive teacher (Angel). This situation doesn't sit well with another young man who has been stalking her--and accidentally causes his young brother's death. The Teacher is not very good, but don't tell that to any of Angel's fans!

6. Paul and Michelle (1974) - One of the surprise hits of 1971 was Friends, a romance about two teens who run away together and have a baby. It was directed by 007 veteran Lewis Gilbert and featured songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. This belated sequel picks up the story with Paul, now in prep school, searching for Michelle and then competing with a rival for her affections. It's pretty bland, but, hey, most people don't even know there was a sequel to Friends. Now, you do! So, if you're a Jeopardy winner because of this, you ethically owe a portion of your winnings to us.

7. The Strange Door (1951) - Charles Laughton's 1950s films were a hodgepodge, ranging from excellent (Witness for the Prosecution) to awful (Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd). The Strange Door falls closer to the latter with Laughton as a vengeance-minded nobleman who plans to force his niece to marry a cad (as if locking up her father for 20 years and not telling her wasn't bad enough). The title door has no latch on the inside--so once a visitor enters Laughton's abode, they cannot escape.


  1. 10th Victim's selling point(s) the machine gun bra.

    1. Ah, so that's where Mike Myers got the Fembot idea for Austin Powers.

  2. Well, we got to the last movie before we hit on one I not only recognized, but have seen. I have this habit of collecting anything with Boris Karloff.

    Nonetheless, I found the other films fascinating to read about. Your mind certainly does work in mysterious ways! And we're all glad of that.

  3. I love the premise of the Johnny Nobody film. I'm really keen to see it now that I've read your quick review.

  4. Well Rick, I can't say that I've seen any of these winners. And if I had I forgot them - but wait, with Raquel and Ursula and Angel Tompkins I should have remembered. Thanks for bringing them back to life though.

  5. Nope, I haven't seen any of these but am intrigued by the plot and title of "Johnny Nobody".

  6. I'll certainly seek out those first two films ( I'm going through a Yvonne Mitchell phase right now anyway ). That tv premise from The 10th Victim sounds like a reality show we'd see today....actually, it brings to mind the episode "The Superlative Seven" from The Avengers. No machine-gun bras in that one, however.