Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Endangered List (Case File #170)


Anne Linden (Betty)
Mary Kahn (Ann)
Peter Burns (Bob)
Steven Harrison (Alan)
Claudia Bach (Judy)
Robert Raymond (Harold)
Hector Elizondo (Inspector)

Directed by
Harvey Cort

Produced by
Sande N. Johnsen

Written by
Harvey Cort
Al Rosati

Cinematography by
Harry Petricek

Edited by
Pat Follmer


Trio Films

Released by
International Film Artists Ltd.
New York opening: February 25, 1969

Released by
Stratford Pictures Corporation
(a subsidiary of Allied Artists)
New York opening: December 10, 1969

Running time: 82 minutes


The following is an excerpt from “Bumping the Grinds” by Judith Crist
(New York, March 10, 1969, p.54-55)

THE VIXENS is in the “grind” movie category because it happened to cost about $30,000 to make, has no name actors (though they are professionals, even with off-Broadway credits) and is concerned with wife-swapping, amour à trois and lesbianism, and it’s rare enough to have a plot, and a suspenseful one at that, an accidental death that might be murder.

THE VIXENS was directed and co-authored by Harvey Cort, a chap long involved in film who decided that “educational” films were getting him nowhere so he’d change it with an exploitation movie, since this is the order of our day. It was made up at Candlewood Lake, with part of friends’ homes providing the sets, and at the Croton Dam, which plays a part in the suspense-death theme. And, oddly, he and his actors have managed to say something relevant about our upper-middle-class morality, where wife-swapping and minor orgying is just swell from the male viewpoint, but let the wives take a lingering look at each other and the fellas will have none of it. It also says something about the Hollywood rating-morality too, nicht wahr? Unlike the routine grind film, this one deals with exurbanites, with the commuter husbands and the dissatisfied wives and with what, oddly enough, does go on as the aftermath of a lot more sunny-Sunday social hours and let’s-get-together-for-cocktails interludes than most exurbanites are willing to confess to. A “grind” movie? Yes; the Cort camera doesn’t shy away from the action and exploits our penchant for voyeurism or erotic empathy to the full. But his people talk like people and behave in recognizable human fashion and the moral of his tale is about as amoral as life is for a good part of the time.

I kid you not into thinking THE VIXENS is a work of art; it’s spotty and it’s grind and it’s obviously low budget – but it is, more often than not, for real.

“There is one thing to be said for THE VIXENS. It's plainly a sexploitation film, and director Harvey Cort works with skillful dedication to arouse fans of the genre.” - William Wolf, CUE (March 15, 1969)

The Award Books paperback novelization by Liz Marsh [Joan Blair].

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Movie Ad of the Week: PENITENTIARY (1979)

World Premiere - Wednesday, November 21, 1979 - Detroit, MI

Jamaa Fanaka's PENITENTIARY, starring Leon Isaac Kennedy and Badja Djola, premiered at the Palms Theatre in Detroit on November 21, 1979. Check out Paracinema #20 for Paul Talbot's excellent article, "The Making of the PENITENTIARY Movies."

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


This is the first of several yakuza pics by Kinji Fukasaku that bridged the ninkyo eiga he seemed to eschew in the '60s with the jitsuroku that put him on the map during the '70s. Since I prefer the former while admiring his trailblazing contributions to the latter, I find these transitional films his most interesting. Originally titled KAISAN SHIKI [DISSOLUTION CEREMONY], it opened in Honolulu on June 5, 1967 as FALLING OUT and was booked a few times at the Toei-owned Linda Lea Theater in downtown L.A. in the early to mid '70s, but has been one of Fukasaku's more sought-after films in recent years. The English-subbed version that turned up on YouTube over the summer carries the title CEREMONY OF DISBANDING.

Kimono-clad Sawaki (Koji Tsuruta) emerges from prison eight years after killing the head of a rival clan over a land dispute to find his group disbanded and all of the chiefs now wearing suits and pretending to be legitimate businessmen. Kubo (Kyosuke Machida), for example, runs a so-called talent agency that gets its clients - naive young women who want to be singers - hooked on junk so they can work off their debts stripping and hooking in Okinawa dive bars. The landfill Sawaki killed for now houses an oil complex and factories that billow pollution into the air, a deal that only benefited his friend Shimumura (Fumio Watanabe), whose construction company is presently at odds with another former yakuza chief, Sakamura (Hosei Komatsu), and a corrupt congressman (Nobuo Kaneko) over a similarly shady land deal. One of the soon-to-be-displaced tenants is Sawaki's ex-wife Mie (Misako Watanabe), who wants nothing to do with him and has kept the existence of their son a secret. Another is Dr. Omachi, who runs a free clinic on the land and once saved Shimamura's life, but is now caught between the two opposing groups.

Into this typically busy plot saunters Sakai (Tetsuro Tamba), another chivalrous sandals-and-kimono man from another era, who's out to settle the score with Sawaki for chopping off his arm during that pivotal raid eight years earlier.

“A showdown?” Sawaki says, genuinely surprised when Sakai tosses a tanto to him along with the challenge. “I haven't heard that word in a long time. I thought all the yakuza had moved on to other jobs. I didn't think there were any left.”

“I guess I'm old-fashioned,” Sakai responds, “unfortunately for you.”

A look of relief passes over Sawaki's face as he prepares to unsheathe the blade. “No – I haven't felt this happy since I got out of jail.”

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: VICIOUS CONNECTION (1973)

The Toho production HANGYAKU NO HŌSHŪ opened in Honolulu on June 29, 1973 under the title VICIOUS CONNECTION. The Honolulu Advertiser wrote: "VICIOUS CONNECTION, dealing with dope traffic from Vietnam to Tokyo and Okinawa, is the new movie at the Toho Theatre. Tetsuya Watari plays a photographer who uses his camera as a blackmail weapon. He is on the trail of a narcotics smuggler (Mikio Narita) and his beautiful contact (Haruko Wanibuchi). Watari meets a former gangster (Yujiro Ishihara) who is seeking revenge against Narita, his former partner. Watari and Ishihara become allies and hijack the dope shipment. But Narita threatens the life of Haruko, who turns out to be Ishihara's sister, and demands the dope in return for the girl."

Co-billed with ZATOICHI'S CONSPIRACY, it hit the Toho La Brea in Los Angeles on October 20, 1973...
...and the Kokusai in San Francisco on December 26, 1973.
The IMDb lists it as REBELLION REWARD. Anyone know where to get a copy?

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: THE TOURNAMENT (1973)

For those of you who read my article for the Deuce's Mubi Notebook last week, The Samurai Cinema Slaughter of '74, here's an interesting footnote: Before he made wide release action movies like DEATH MACHINES, WEAPONS OF DEATH and OMEGA COP, filmmaker Paul Kyriazi shot a handful of color 16mm karate/swordplay shorts such as BLADE OF DOOM and TRAPPED that were contemporary remakes of SWORD OF DOOM and THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI.  The last of these was THE TOURNAMENT, an hour-long period samurai movie that Kyriazi filmed in 35mm black-and-white Techniscope with a cast that includes Jennifer Ashley, later seen in THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS, BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, INSEMINOID and others. There were screenings, including the four in this ad for the Gemini Cinema in Lompoc, CA in September 1973, before the film was picked up by a non-theatrical distribution company called Threshold Films and converted to 16mm for the college circuit. Only a 3/4-inch copy of THE TOURNAMENT survives today, and it was included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray release of Kyriazi's NINJA BUSTERS from Garagehouse Films.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: WALKING THE EDGE and GHOULIES (both 1985)

The first two releases from Charles Band's Empire Pictures opened on the same day (January 18, 1985) on opposite coasts: WALKING THE EDGE in the New York tri-state area and GHOULIES in the Los Angeles area.
And don't forget, WALKING THE EDGE is now available on Blu-ray from Fun City Editions, fully loaded with exciting and informative extras including an audio commentary by Temple of Schlock's Chris Poggiali and KING COHEN producer Matt Verboys!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Mystery Movies Solved! The Kung Fu Edition Pt. II

In the past year we've identified a number of martial arts movies that played in the U.S. under alternate titles, but the last time we did one of these 10-title Mystery Movie posts was back in 2018. Here's another 10-pack to hold you over until These Fists Break Bricks by Grady Hendrix & Chris Poggiali hits the streets this September!

HUANG SE SHA SHOU (1972) a.k.a. THE YELLOW KILLER and FROM BANGKOK WITH ORDERS TO KILL, was first released in the U.S. by Joseph Green Pictures as KUNG FU-RY. It resurfaced on the action track as MAD DOG DRAGON in 1983.

CHUNG KUO REN (1972) a.k.a. THE CHINESE, was released twice by Howard Mahler Films in the '70s, as THE DRAGON'S VENGEANCE and THE DRAGON'S EXECUTIONER. Unifilm International put it out in the '80s as THE IRON-FIST REBEL, with this poster that recycles photos of Barry Chan from Unifilm's MEAN STREETS OF KUNG FU poster.

GOLDEN RAIDERS OF KUNG FU is another Unifilm release, this one titled BU BU ZHUI ZONG (1974) a.k.a. CHASE STEP BY STEP.

HEI BAO (1973) a.k.a. THE BLACK PANTHER was released in the late '70s by Cinema Shares as BLACK CAT OF KUNG-FU.


DO REN TOU (1975) a.k.a. GAMBLING FOR HEAD, was released as SAVAGE BARBARIAN soon after the box-office and home video success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

We're pretty sure BRUCE VS. HIS BLOOD BROTHER is ZHEN JIA GONG FU (1977) a.k.a. THE INSTANT KUNG FU MAN, starring John Liu and Hwang Jang-lee.

YU QING TING (1978) a.k.a. MURDER OF MURDERS, was first released by Ark Films circa 1979 as RETURN OF THE 5 FINGERS OF DEATH. Unifilm International reissued it as JADE-WINGED DRAGON in 1984.

THE SHAOLIN FIGHTERS (1978) a.k.a. PA-CHUN MARTIAL ARTS and THE 7 DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN, was unleashed to action theaters in 1984 as MAGNIFICENT SEVEN OF KUNG FU.

And finally, since OCTOPUSSY did bang-up bucks at the box-office in the summer of 1983, someone at L&T/Ark thought OCTOFIST would be a good title for the U.S. release of XIE QI BIAN (1982) a.k.a. THE BLOODY MISSION.