1960’s

[5.5] Joseph Bottoms (The Black Hole) stars as a blind man who receives experimental surgery allowing him to ‘see’ sonar images with help from a device. As he’s getting used to being blind and using the new machine, a taxicab-driving serial killer is on the prowl, picking up young women and cutting them open with a surgical knife while they’re still alive. Eventually, the blind …

[7.0] Marlon Brando stars in Sydney Lumet’s adaptation of Tennessee Williams Orpheus Descending. (Williams co-wrote the screenplay with Meade Roberts.) Brando plays a young man trying to shed his criminal background and start a new life in a new town. But the new town has three women in it who all find Brando alluring. Joanne Woodward plays the reckless party animal, Maureen Stapleton plays the …

[4.0] Cher gives her first dramatic performance in Chastity, produced by then-husband and singing partner Sonny Bono. You could call the film experimental, an American hippie spin on the French New Wave of filmmaking. Or you could call it a largely plotless series of improvised vignettes and montages. Either way, the movie didn’t work for me. Cher plays Chastity, a young woman we first meet …

[6.0] Rory Calhoun, or proto-George Clooney as I like to call him, stars in this kinda silly but kinda fun sword-and-sandals flick that earned Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars, Once Upon a Time in America) his first major directing credit. Calhoun plays a visiting war hero on the island of Rhodes who gets tangled in a rebel uprising and a Phoenician conquest. He also …

[8.0] Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine co-star as women running their own private girls’ school in The Children’s Hour. Hepburn’s character is about to get married to James Garner and MacLaine’s character is pretty melancholy about it. But all their lives are turned upside down when one of their young students, a particularly nasty little girl played with villainous spite by Karen Balkin, accuses the …

[7.0] Malcolm McDowell stars in Lindsay Anderson’s tale of schoolyard rebellion. If…. caught the zeitgeist when it was released in 1968 and took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes for its allegorical look at the class system and social upheaval. It also received notoriety for its nudity and bloodshed. McDowell plays one of three outcast ‘troublemakers’ in a British private school. When the self-righteous student …

[7.0] John Wayne and Robert Mitchum headline this Howard Hawks western about a gunfighter-for-hire (Wayne) who teams up with a drunk sheriff (Mitchum) to help a family protect their land from a rival rancher. The plot to El Dorado was a little hard for me to follow. So many characters are introduced in the first half hour and the way allegiances are formed is a …

[6.0] Paranoiac is a┬ámystery thriller from Hammer Films that keeps the plot twists coming. Members of the Ashby estate await their inheritance as a mysterious figure shows up on their doorstep. He claims to be the youngest son, who left a suicide note eight years ago and was presumed dead. Everyone has their suspicions, but the truth isn’t fully revealed until the end of the …

[5.5] Hammer Film’s loose adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s story focuses on revenge and doesn’t really touch upon the subversive romantic potential between the Phantom (Herbert Lom) and Christine (Heather Sears). Since that’s kind of the whole point, the film largely misses the mark. But as usual with Hammer Films, I like the production design and general atmosphere — especially the Phantom’s underground lair. Herbert Lom …

[7.0] In the third Bond film, agent 007 (Sean Connery) is trying to stop a nefarious gold tycoon from breaking into Fort Knox. Goldfinger is still one of the most popular entries in the franchise because it has everything we’ve come to expect in a Bond flick. Goldfinger himself is the quintessential Bond villain. He knows it’s not enough just to have a wicked plan. …

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