Sunday, May 02, 2021

Movie Ads of the Week: SAMURAI SPY (1965-1999)


Masahiro Shinoda's IBUN SARUTOBI SASUKE (1965), currently showing on the Criterion Channel and still available from the Criterion Collection in their Rebel Samurai DVD box set as SAMURAI SPY, first played the U.S. at the Kabuki Theatre in Los Angeles on October 18, 1965. Four months later...
...on February 23, 1966 it arrived at the Nippon Theatre in Honolulu under the title SARUTOBI THE SECRET AGENT.
Under the SAMURAI SPY title, it played the Park Theatre in Fresno, CA during the weekend of June 30-July 2, 1972.
As the first half of a Shinoda double bill, it closed the second month-long Films of Japan festival at the Nuart in August-September 1972.
UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive programmed it as part of a Shinoda film fest in March 1973.
The Kokusai Theatre (formerly the Toho Theatre) in San Francisco ran it in July '73
Under the title SASUKE AGAINST THE WIND it played the Bijou (the former Toho Cinema) in New York on September 5, 1973.
It returned to New York on June 5-6, 1974 as part of the landmark ten-week Cinema East festival at the Regency Theatre.
Here it is paired with Masaki Kobayashi's HARAKIRI at the Park Square Moviehouse in Boston in February 1977...
...and at the Cento Cedar Cinema in San Francisco in September of that year, with Kurosawa's THE HIDDEN FORTRESS as part of the Samurai Festival V.
Back in Boston in December '78, this time at the Coolidge Corner with Kurosawa's IKIRU.
Again with THE HIDDEN FORTRESS, this time at the New Loft in Tucson, AZ in February 1981.
As part of a Shinoda double bill with ASSASSINATION at the Vinegar Hill Theatre in Charlottesville, VA in January '82.
As part of a samurai film fest at the Robson Square Center in Vancouver in August 1982.
The Rialto in South Pasadena screened it with SAMURAI REBELLION as part of their "Movies in Cinemascope" series in September 1987.
On a Shinoda double bill with PALE FLOWER, this time at The Screen in Santa Fe, NM in August 1999.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: THE BAD AND THE BLOODY (1980)

THE BAD AND THE BLOODY, which Temple of Schlock investigator Mike MacCollum caught at the Skyline Drive-In back in 2015 and identified as DA XIAO TONG CHI / WIN THEM ALL (1973), opened at the St. Francis in San Francisco on January 11, 1980. Lo Lieh is not the star, but he does appear in the second half of this Condor Films double feature, BLACK HORNET, which is BO MING (1977) a.k.a. BATTLE OF SHAOLIN, THE DAMNED, and BANDITS, PROSTITUTES AND SILVER (The title of Xenon Entertainment's video release has been scrubbed from the IMDb, so here's the Worldcat entry: WU TANG HOE'S, THUGS AND SCRILLA).

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: KAIJU JAKUMA NO MOSHU w/ GYAKUSHU AMANO HASHIDATE (1961)

Two 60-minute, black-and-white Toei productions -- KAIJU JAKUMA NO MOSHU (a.k.a. STRIKE OF THE JAGUMA) and its sequel, GYAKUSHU AMANO HASHIDATE -- opened on a double bill at the Toyo Theatre in Honolulu on December 22, 1961. Set in 16th century Japan, the films tell the story of the legendary samurai Iwami Jutaro, who is best known in folklore for defeating a white-haired ape-like monster known as the hihi. This confrontation is depicted in the first movie, in which the hihi (someone in a white gorilla suit) runs interference for the dreaded Jakuma and his (its?) band of thieving ninjas in demon masks as they move from village to village ripping off the chiefs and kidnapping their daughters. Good stuff! The sequel, which isn't available, sounds more routine in that it deals with Iwami pursuing the traitors who killed his father, the chief investigator on the Jakuma case. Iwami is played by Kôtarô Satomi, before he really hit his stride in films like 17 NINJA (1963), THE THIRD NINJA (1964), HONOR AMONG BROTHERS 2 (1966), RED PEONY GAMBLER 5 (1969) and the Eiichi Kudo classics 13 ASSASSINS (1963), THE GREAT KILLING (1964), and 11 SAMURAI (1967).

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: A FIST FOR A FIST (1981)

The Taiwanese martial arts movie LANG ZI DI SHI SAN (1980) a.k.a. TRIUMPH BY TWO KUNG FU ARTS, was released in the U.S. by Unifilm International as A FIST FOR A FIST beginning in 1981.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: THE MEATEATER (1979)

THE MEATEATER, filmed in and around the dilapidated Crest Theatre in Monrovia, CA in 1977 by indie filmmaker Derek Savage, opened in two theaters in Fresno, CA on March 14, 1979. Chris Poggiali and William Wilson's interview with Mr. Savage about the making of THE MEATEATER will be published in the next issue of Deep Red, due later this year!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A CONVERSATION WITH TONY ANTHONY - This Saturday at 7:00 PM (EST)

Hey everyone! Don't miss the special Zoom event A CONVERSATION WITH TONY ANTHONY this Saturday, March 20, at 7 PM (EST). Included in the program is a "A Long Journey," a 70+ minute audio interview that librarians Phil Poggiali (Yonkers Public Library) and Chris Poggiali (New Rochelle Public Library) conducted with actor/producer/writer Tony Anthony (The STRANGER trilogy, GET MEAN, COMIN' AT YA!). Also, Jay Michaels Communications has put together a series of readings from Tony's new book, Anthony's Quotes & Thoughts Collection That Might Touch a Nerve. Please join us!

Zoom info: https://zoom.us/j/94117200022
Meeting ID: 941 1720 0022
Passcode: 515622
or call 1-929-205-6099 (ID# 941 1720 0022)

This event is co-sponsored by Jay Michaels Communications, The New Rochelle Public Library, The Friends of Crestwood Library, Penzero Productions. Special thanks to Lisa Petrucci/Something Weird Video

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: NINJA STRIKES BACK (1981)

The Hong Kong production QI QIAO FENG HUANG BI YU DAO (1979) a.k.a. BRUCE TUAN'S 7 PROMISES was released to U.S. theaters by Unifilm International beginning in 1981 as NINJA STRIKES BACK, and is not to be confused with the Dick Randall production XIONG ZHONG, starring Bruce Le, which is also known as THE NINJA STRIKES BACK.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Mystery Movies: DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA (1981) and THE JACKY CHAN CONNECTION (1983)

When DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA was first issued on videotape in March 1986 by Master Arts Video, "The finest in martial arts entertainment," it was revealed to be the Shaw Brothers production SHAOLIN PRINCE with the opening credits lopped off. Since Shaw already had a distribution deal with World Northal, which released SHAOLIN PRINCE to theaters as IRON FINGERS OF DEATH in 1984 (and then sold it to television under the same title as part of their Black Belt Theater 4 package), we're pretty sure whatever movie premiered at the Cine 42 on June 12, 1981 under the title DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA was not SHAOLIN PRINCE (which didn't open in Hong Kong until 1983). Besides, our pal Shawn Johns tells us that he saw DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA at the sleazy Westdale 4 multiplex in Phoenix in October '84, and although he can't remember what movie was actually shown that day, he does know that it definitely wasn't SHAOLIN PRINCE. So the question is, what the hell movie did get released to theaters as DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA?

Utilizing photos from THE YOUNG MASTER and SPIRITUAL KUNG FU in their deceptive ad campaign, Ivory League Pictures (run by the late Ivory Lee Harris, former print controller for World Northal) premiered something called THE JACKY CHAN CONNECTION at the Times Square theater on December 30, 1983 and then proceeded to play it all over the U.S. for the next two and a half years -- yet no one seems to know what Chan movie was really being peddled under this title. In the book Dying for Action: The Life and Films of Jackie Chan, author Renée Witterstaetter states that it's TO KILL WITH INTRIGUE, but other sources claim it's SHAOLIN WOODEN MEN. Does anyone know the true identity of THE JACKY CHAN CONNECTION?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Endangered List (Case File #169)

BANDITS ON THE WIND (1961)
a.k.a. YATO KAZE NO NAKA O HASHIRU

Starring
Yôsuke Natsuki (Taro)
Makoto Satô (Gale)
Somegorô Ichikawa (Gen)
Izumi Yukimura (Kayo)
Chishû Ryû (Village Priest)
Akiko Wakabayashi (Sawa)
Kôshirô Matsumoto (Tasaka)
Nami Tamura (Sato)
with
Mannosuke Nakamura
Jun Tatara
Tadao Nakamaru
Chusha Ichikawa
Akira Tani

Directed by
Hiroshi Inagaki

Written by
Masato Ide
Hiroshi Inagaki
Takeshi Kimura

Produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka

Cinematography by
Kazuo Yamada

Music by
Kan Ishii
Running time: 111 minutes

A Toho production

Honolulu premiere: February 14, 1962
Los Angeles premiere: September 14, 1962
New York premiere: January 14, 1964
The Honolulu Advertiser - February 16, 1962

Los Angeles Times - September 19, 1962

South China Morning Post - October 24, 1963

Daily News - January 15, 1964

New York Times - January 15, 1964


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Movie Play Ad of the Week: SECTION 8 (1971)

Live performances of SECTION 8, Andy Milligan's stage play about homosexuality in the military (written under his Gerald Jackson pseudonym), began on May 25th, 1971 at the Jewel Theatre, one of Chelly Wilson's all-male porn cinemas.
Although SECTION 8 ran for several weeks, Wilson wasn't interested in letting Milligan stage another show in her 3rd Avenue movie house, so the following year his next explicit production, COCTEAU, was mounted at the Players Theatre. Film versions of that and also BLACK MIRROR, a play by Welsh actress Jackie Skarvellis (THE BODY BENEATH, THE RATS ARE COMING - THE WEREWOLVES ARE HERE) that Milligan directed at Bastiano's Studio around the same time, were announced in Back Stage but there's no evidence that either show was ever captured on film.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Endangered List updates!

We have several new Endangered List entries that have been waiting in the wings for a while, but before we post those we thought we'd better do a quick recap of last year's finds.
Vinegar Syndrome's Black Friday 2020 sale unveiled a double feature Blu-ray from AGFA pairing THE DIRTY DOLLS and THINGS TO COME, two films on our Endangered List which we also screened in Austin as part of the Endangered Fest (March 23, 2013) and Endangered Fest II (February 20, 2015), respectively.
In fact, it was during that first Endangered Fest that we introduced contemporary audiences to Craig S. Denney's THE ASTROLOGER, and the big surprise of the second Fest was finding out that THINGS TO COME is partly comprised of softcore footage from the Austin-shot SEXUAL FANTASIES U.S.A. (1973).
Ten years ago this week we did an Endangered List post about TOWING, and we followed it with a Movie Ad of the Week entry seven years later. The so-called comedy is now available to view on Amazon Prime.
Case File #43, EDEN CRIED, was filmed in 1965 but premiered on June 7, 1967 at the Ritz Theater in Newburgh, NY, the hometown of co-star Carole Holland. A release through the Walter Reade Organization didn't happen, and by the time the film was submitted for an MPAA rating in summer 1971 it had been re-edited and updated with smartass narration by a Jack Nicholson soundalike who makes fun of the movie. A 16mm print of this version is now available from Sinister Cinema.
Gary Kent's SECRET PLACES, SECRET THINGS was found a few years ago, but we finally got around to watching it in '20. It's a good, episodic softcore drama (with some humor) that its producer, Mike MacFarland, remade a decade later as PINK MOTEL.
We followed that up with WATCH OUT FOR THE BUMMER, a warning we unfortunately didn't heed. The less said about this bummer, the better.
We weren't at the Pandemonium Picture Show at the Skyline Drive-In in Shelbyville, IN last September, but TOS contributor Marc Edward Heuck made it out for that event and reported that one reel of HAPPILY EVER AFTER (Case File #149) was shown in the dead of night, along with a collection of rare soft-X trailers, "after most of the less hardy souls had gone home."
More news from Indiana: our friend Don Zessin called one night with a full report on AIN'T THAT JUST LIKE A HONKEY, which he described as one of the worst movies he's ever sat through. We were under the impression this was a Wildman Steve standup comedy performance film, since the ads referred to it as "the party record movie," but even as grim as that sounds, the truth is much, much worse. This is actually a black-and-white, Florida-shot nudie first released in 1968 as CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL...
...the CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL in the ad above, not the one below...
...which is a 1966 reissue of LOLA'S MISTAKE, the adults-only version of THIS REBEL BREED (1960) with the added nudie footage. We know of at least two other titles for that, but CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL was a new alias to us and - as of tonight - not filed with the IMDb. Anyway, we'll clean up that mess another time, perhaps as a Movie Ad of the Week (unless another Newspapers.com subscriber gets to it first). Now back to that other CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL, the subject of this Variety article from May 15, 1968...
...the one that did big business, earned great grosses and was held over in New York, Miami and Providence, according to this ad...
Eight years after it was made, with midnight movies all the rage, there was an attempt to turn CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL into a "spoof" as detailed in this Boxoffice item from Apr 28, 1975...
Apparently that version failed to catch on with the cult crowd, because the lone booking we were able to find was in Blytheville, Arkansas in February 1976...
...so producer/director Charles Harder turned his attention toward black filmgoers next, hiring Miami-based comedian and radio personality "Wildman Steve" Gallon to appear in comical interruptions that were then sprinkled throughout this moth-eaten sex "spoof"...
...or "sort of black-humor laugh-in" as it's referred to in the above Boxoffice article from June 28, 1976...
...and voila! - "Laff riot of the year!"