A REFLECTION OF FEAR -- Robert Shaw, Sally Kellerman, Sondra Locke
Following the moderate success of his first directorial venture (1970’s MONTE WALSH), former cinematographer William A. Fraker was signed by Columbia Pictures to direct one of the company’s major projects for 1971. Under the working title of “Autumn Child,” Fraker and producer Howard Jaffe assembled a cast starring Robert Shaw, Sally Kellerman, and Mary Ure. Also appearing, in just her fourth film, was Sondra Locke. Robert Shaw and Mary Ure were married in real life at the time, and the film ultimately marked Ure’s final feature film appearance before her death in 1975.
Working with a script by Edward Hume and Lewis John Carlino, based on the novel Go To Thy Deathbed by Stanton Forbes, Fraker began production on what was then called “Labyrinth” in late January 1971. The film concerned a beautiful girl (Locke) who becomes the crucial link in a chain of violence and murder. (Writer Carlino would later write and direct THE GREAT SANTINI in 1980.) Famed cinematographer Laslo Kovacs shot the feature. Production continued through late March 1971, without any apparent issues.
But the film had severe post-production problems, with extensive editing and re-editing. At one point, this Psycho-type shocker was shelved by Columbia. Finally, after nearly 2 years had elapsed since completion of principal photography, a drastically shortened version (cut from 95 minutes to 89 minutes, apparently to qualify for a PG rating) and now titled A REFLECTION OF FEAR, opened in San Francisco in November 1972. When it finally arrived in New York on 9 February 1973, it was given a quick unpublicized playoff on double bills.
Despite the high caliber of its cast, the few critics who saw the film unanimously panned its lack of suspense. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Paine Knickerbocker found the script to be “badly flawed,” adding that “Director Fraker does not appear to be in control.” Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times found the film to be “a tedious, excruciatingly slow exercise in morbidity.” And Variety’s “Rino” called A REFLECTION OF FEAR a “stale, yawn-producing psychodrama” that “doesn’t work.” The New York critics were no kinder. The New York Times’ Roger Greenspun called it “ponderous” and a “failure.” And Cue’s William Wolf saw “a star cast wasting their talents” in a “chiller” ruined by “a boring script” and “pretentious direction.”
A REFLECTION OF FEAR was released on tape by RCA/Columbia in 1987, and has gotten new life as a made-on-demand DVD from Sony, released in March 2011.
KENNY AND COMPANY -- Dan McCann, A. Michael Baldwin, Jeff Roth, Ralph Richmond, Reggie Bannister
Before horror-fantasy director Don Coscarelli hit it big with 1978’s PHANTASM, he directed two PG-rated family-oriented films in 1976: JIM THE WORLD’S GREATEST (aka STORY OF A TEENAGER) and KENNY & CO. The latter was a little-seen film about several days in the life of Kenny, a typical 12-year-old, and his friends, all of which leads up to Halloween night. The unknown cast starred Dan McCann as “Kenny,” Michael Baldwin, and Jeff Roth. For McCann (who was discovered at a school carnival by Coscarelli) and Roth, KENNY & CO. was their only film appearance. Baldwin, on the other hand, went on to star in Coscarelli’s PHANTASM, its three sequels, and other occasional films.
Reggie Bannister plays a teacher in KENNY & CO. Says Coscarelli: “He was in JIM THE WORLD’S GREATEST, and he was recommended to me as an interesting actor and personality. I went and met him at a beer bar where he was performing and playing guitar. He was just so impressive in person. I was 18, and he bought me a beer — we were friends for life after that.”
KENNY & Co. was essentially a one-man project for Coscarelli. In addition to producing and directing the film, he wrote the screenplay, photographed it, and edited the final film. Coscarelli’s mother Kate is credited with the film’s art direction and also had a small acting role. It was filmed over the 1975 summer vacation in and around Coscarelli's childhood home in Long Beach, CA. Since Coscarelli's budget wouldn't allow for licensing actual hit songs of the day, Fred Myrow, provided a light score for the film (Myrow would also score PHANTASM). The music was issued on a Japanese LP by King Records, which included dialogue from the film. Here’s a track from that LP:
The film has voiceover, which sometimes is a sign that a film isn’t working and needs the shoring up of a narrator. When asked about this, Coscarelli said “I planned the voiceover from the beginning, and the script was written with the narration. It was my first attempt in exploring that and believe me, since that time I got that same criticism. Not so much from KENNY & Co., but with other projects, whenever I’ve wanted to go to voiceover, everybody rags on it. People tend to criticize narration, especially if you’re in a script conference and people go, ‘See it, don’t say it!’ And yet, I love a movie with a good narration. It’s refreshing.”
KENNY & CO. has no overt pop-culture references and very little slang. That may or may not have been a conscious effort on Coscarelli’s part. “We of course made it in the 70s but I was, in some ways, trying to reflect the 60s. That’s probably why it has [a timelessness],” he said. “I grew up in the late 60s, and that’s what I was drawing on when I directed the movie in my early 20s.”
Coscarelli mused about how the film reflects a more innocent time for kids: “Things really have changed since then. One of the things that I noticed recently was that back then… ‘back then...’ [laughs] during my childhood, after school we wouldn’t go play video games or watch television. We would run in packs on the street and get into interesting and funny activities. It’s a little different now. Kids are more constrained by our society. Kids can’t even walk to school alone anymore. My mom never accompanied me to and from school.”
In recounting the film’s distribution in September 1976, DVDVerdict.com says: “20th Century Fox, who agreed to purchase distribution rights from Coscarelli, didn't understand the film and didn't know how to market it. While it did well in California test screenings, Fox pitched it as a sort of thrilling skateboarding picture (what with street surfers turning in their clay wheels and stiff trucks for the superior polyurethane stoker wheels and fast bushings that would herald the skateboard craze of the decade). While there is some decent boarding going on (with a young and talented boarder stunting for Michael Baldwin), that's just a small portion of the proceedings, and, having missed the target audience (Coscarelli claims he pictured it as a nostalgic nod the twenty-somethings of the day would appreciate), Fox summarily shelved the picture. A year later the film was picked up by Toho-Towa, Japan's premier international distributorship, and it skyrocketed to fame with the Japanese audiences, who clamored for a peek into Western lifestyle and who marveled at the amazingly and amusingly disrespectful Doug (the picture would propel Michael Baldwin to reach the Number 7 spot on the country's list of most popular male actors, above Dustin Hoffman and Sylvester Stallone)”
One indication of how obscure the film is: Leonard Maltin doesn’t even include it in his Movie Guide. Nor does Tony Thomas in his book The Films of 20th Century Fox. Still, the film is appreciated by those who have seen it. Variety said “Modest in the best sense of the word, KENNY AND CO. unfolds simply and enjoyably as a series of believable incidents in the lives of its young characters.” The Motion Picture Guide calls it “a nice homage to kids.” And the Blockbuster Entertainment Guide to Movies and Videos says it is “sweet and sensitively handled.” DVD Verdict.com called it an “almost lost jewel of a film.” The film was retitled BOYS BOYS for its Japanese engagements, which began in March 1978.
Here’s a television spot for the film:
As noted above, KENNY & CO. was released on DVD by Anchor Bay in 2005. When Coscarelli was putting together a commentary track for the DVD, he had trouble tracking down the cast. “It was a little challenging getting everyone together,” he explained. “Michael Baldwin isn’t based in Los Angeles, so he flew out for this, and basically I’ve stayed friends with these people all these years. I genuinely like and respect all of them. The only person I couldn’t find was Dan McCann, who played Kenny. I did everything I could — I called… I didn’t realize, first off, what a popular name Dan McCann is! [laughs] I called at least 50 Dan McCanns in southern California and central California and never found the right one. It was very frustrating. I even tried calling up his mom, but couldn’t find her because she’d remarried so I couldn’t check under that name. I just couldn’t find him anywhere.”
Thank you all a millions times -- especially for the KENNY AND COMPANY information which has given me things to look for that I did not know existed. I've seen all of these films exactly once -- and something about all of them has just stayed with me for years.
I believe that I have a VCR recording of "The Haunting of M" -- recorded from a now defunct Time Warner pay cable service in the 1980's. I shall have to look for it!
THE HAUNTING OF M. concerns an Eastern European family who finds itself haunted by the spirit of a dead suitor. It was written, produced, and directed by Anna Thomas in 1979. Born in 1948 in Stuttgart, Germany, Anna Thomas was a writer who first attained recognition by authoring the classic vegetarian cookbook The Vegetarian Epicure, which was published in 1972. In 1973, Thomas worked with fellow film student Gregory Nava, writing his master's thesis film at the University of California, Los Angeles. The film was a dramatic feature set in the Middle Ages, THE CONFESSION OF AMANS. It was the beginning of a writing collaboration that has spanned more than two decades. The two married in 1975. THE HAUNTING OF M. was Thomas’ second script, and her only turn in the director’s chair. She would go on to write scripts for EL NORTE (1983) and FRIDA (2002). She wrote the first four films that Gregory Nava directed, including A TIME OF DESTINY and MY FAMILY. Nava was the cinematographer for THE HAUNTING OF M.
Anna Thomas directed THE HAUNTING OF M. for her master’s thesis at UCLA (she financed the film with the royalties from her cookbook). This explains its rough-edges (and its lack of sponsorship by the type of culture council entities one sees in the credits of so many UK and European productions). THE HAUNTING OF M was shot in Scotland and starred Sheelegh Gilbey and Nini Pitt (both in their only feature film). Third-billed Evie Garratt, on the other hand, had been in UK productions since the mid-1960s, and over a 40-year career had over 50 TV series and films to her credit. The “M’ of the title stands for “Marianna”, the character played by Gilbey.
THE HAUNTING OF M. was shown at film festivals, had some cable airings, and may have had a brief commercial release in the U.S by Nu Image Films in 1981. At the Chicago International Film Festival in November 1979, it was met with such enthusiasm that it was called back for a second showing. THE HAUNTING OF M. seems to have had only one video release, in the UK from Temple Video. That tape seems to have spawned a thousand copies on shady download sites and from “gray market” DVD purveyors. There has been no U.S. video release.
The film has been mostly praised by those who have seen it. Roger Ebert called it “one of my favorite films from 1979.” The Motion Picture Guide calls it “An engrossing retelling of a gothic haunting.” The New York Times website calls it a “slow-paced but impeccably stylish ghost story” which “is an involving and intellectual mystery for the Masterpiece Theatre set.” CultMovieForums.com, was more negative, saying that the film “lacks the technical polish and familiar presences of a UK TV genre production (it also feels more personal than the UK TV’s technical and creative division of labor sometimes allows for).” And John Stanley’s Creature Features Movie Guide called it a “Stylistic period piece (set in 1906)’ that “has the flavor of a Henry James ghost story and is steeped in subtlety. Gregory Nava’s photography is exquisite and his wife, Anna Thomas, is a good director with a detail for character nuances.” But Stanley also noted that “Be forewarned, the pacing is slow and the supernatural thrills almost nonexistent.”
In 1996, Anna Thomas wrote The New Vegetarian Epicure, a menu-based cookbook with a new collection of recipes. As of 2010, Thomas was a senior lecturer in screenwriting at the American Film Institute.
To Bob- So CBS Network actually did show The todd killings on Network TV[must have had alot of editing done on it], my how did i miss that, well in 85 i was busy making my first feature lenght film, THANKS for that info, cable does not touch it in recent history.
Would just like to add a few more things to our man Bob expertise on films, A reflection of fear-73- was shown on local TV in the 70's in America, for one[WABC TV IN NEW YORK] late at night, has been pretty much ignored on cable for a long time. Kenny and co-75- get some very rare TV showing over the years. Haunting of M- is also a non existent item on cable[calling TCM underground] Road to Salina-71- was shown in syndication in the 70's and beyond[WOR -TV-NEW YORK CH-9] for one, however not much if not at all on cable in years.
MARK OF THE DEVIL NO 2-74-This was the sequel to the very popular horror film Mark of the devil-67/71-starring Herbert Lom, Udo Keir, etc, this effort pretty much played for just a week or so on a double bill in some markets in America with The house that vanished,This time Anton Diffring helps with the carnage, like the original it at times has a nice pretty musical score and also like the original has plenty of violence and gore to spread around, however unlike the original, which was put into syndication, on video often and DVD, seems to be a hard find, i don't think it ever pop up on TV[Free or cable in America] on DVD?, saw it on video way back in the 80's. any comments?
ESCAPE FROM THE DARK was the British title of a Disney film that was released in the U.S. as THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES. The film concerned a group of children who attempt to rescue a herd of ponies that work in an English coal mine when the horses are threatened with slaughter because they are being replaced by machines. The film starred an all-English cast headed by Alistair Sim, along with Peter Barkworth and Maurice Colbourne. THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES would prove to be Alistair Sims’ last film. The 75-year-old British actor died of cancer in a London hospital on 19 August 1976. He was perhaps best known in the U.S. for his performance as Scrooge in the 1951 film version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES was directed by Charles Jarrott, best known for directing ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS (1969) and MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (1971). This was Jarrott’s first film for Disney. He later directed other projects for Disney including THE LAST FLIGHT OF NOAH’S ARK (1980) and CONDORMAN (1981). The screenplay was by Rosemary Anne Sisson, who wrote for the "Irish RM" series, as well as some Walt Disney projects including RIDE A WILD PONY. The screenplay was based on a short story by Burt Kennedy. Under the working title "Pit Ponies," location scenes for the film were shot mainly in Yorkshire, England, including Langthwaite Village, Ripley Castle, the Oakley Railways Station, Thorpe-Hesley Colliery, and the Yorkshire moors. Interiors (including a full scale re-creation of an underground coal mine) were filmed at Pinewood Studios in London.
The film’s score was by Ron Goodwin. Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times wrote in his review of THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES that “One of the movie’s lovely touches is the musical score by the very talented Ron Goodwin. It is played by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band (which I think we also see on parade). It was a brilliantly appropriate choice of sound, and those brass sonorities, the lyrical altos and the melancholy cornets, catch the period and the village better than choirs of strings could have.” The score was issued on a 17-track LP from EMI, which sadly has never been issued on CD.
ESCAPE FROM THE DARK opened in Britain in May 1976. Its New York opening, as THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES, occurred on 31 March 1977. In general, the film was warmly received by the American critics. The New York Times’ Vincent Canby said that ‘in its own unpushy way, THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES manages to be as intelligent about miners’ rights and social caste as it is about beneficial rights.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Jean Hoelscher described it as “definitely not one of the more typical recent Disney hilarious-chase films” (“this film is more sad than happy, more touching than fun”). And Charles Champlin continued his praise from the score to the picture. To him, the film was “fresh, ambitious, richly atmospheric, beautifully photographed with a naturalism which is quite different from the well-lit make-believes of the Burbank studio product, and sensitively acted by a generally unfamiliar but gifted cast.”
There were a few dissenters, like the New York Daily News’ Ann Guarino, who called THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES “a bland outing.” And the Washington Post’s Gary Arnold faulted the film for suggesting “darker, sadder possibilities than the Disney studio is inclined to contemplate.” For Arnold, the upbeat conclusion to the film “mocks every aspect of the story worth respecting.” But in the end, the majority of critics sided with Cue’s William Wolf, who lauded the film for offering “a charming, entertaining story that fulfills traditional requirements but adds dimension.”
THE LITTLEST HORSE THIEVES was released on both tape and DVD in 1999 by Anchor Bay, and reissued by them on DVD in 2003. It is currently available on a Disney DVD and rentable as a streaming video.
UNKNOWN ISLAND-48- Wonderful little genre film with Virginia Grey, Richard Denning and Barton Maclane, fast pace, never boring, sharp dialogue, no budget effects, but always fun to watch. Was shown to death on local stations in America in the 60's and 70's then vanished from the airwaves since, hard find on Video- DVD folks?, and man, what a death scene for Barton.
UNKOWN ISLAND was a fantasy-adventure film released by Film Classics, Inc. in 1948. Film Classics, Inc. was a small film distributor most active from 1948 to 1950 when it released about 30 films. Among them was 1950’s FLYING SAUCER, the first feature film to deal with that phenomenon (and a term that hadn’t been coined until 1947). The producer of UNKNOWN ISLAND, Albert J. Cohen, had been a producer since 1940, turning out low-budget films primarily for Republic Pictures. UNKNOWN ISLAND was his only film for Film Classics and the only one for his own production company, Albert Jay Cohn Productions, Inc. Cohen would later produce one of Universal’s early CinemaScope films, 1954’s SIGN OF THE PAGAN, with Jeff Chandler and Jack Palance.
UNKNOWN ISLAND was directed by Jack Bernhard, a director of low-budget quickies, who directed five films in 1948. Bernhard’s name also came up in connection with 1957’s BABY FACE NELSON (see that posting in this thread). UNKNOWN ISLAND starred Virginia Grey, Philip Reed, Richard Denning, and Barton MacLane in a story about an adventure-seeker who has convinced his fiancée to finance his expedition to an uncharted South Pacific island supposedly populated with dinosaurs.
Under the title “The Unknown Continent,” the film went before the cameras in late May of 1948 at General Service Studios (now Hollywood Center Studios). The film was produced in the two-color Cinecolor process. Special effects for the film were provided by Howard A. Anderson, who had been doing special effects since Howard Hawks’ 1932 film SCARFACE. Anderson would personally be involved with effects on films until the mid-1960s (most notably on JACK THE GIANT KILLER). His company would go on to do numerous effects for the “Star Trek” television series, and is still active today on films such as TERMINATOR 3. Although some contemporary sources claim that the monsters in UNKNOWN ISLAND were miniatures animated by single-frame photography, they were actually portrayed by actors in costumes. Actor and stunt man Ray "Crash" Corrigan, who frequently wore ape costumes onscreen, was inside one of the monster's costumes.
Filming continued through early June 1948. All the footage of the principal actors was shot on sound stages at the studio. Only the second unit filming the dinosaurs and a sloth were on location, in Palmdale and Corriganville, CA. All shots of the actors and monsters in the same shot were achieved with rear projection effects. In a 6 June 1948 New York Times news item, producer Cohen claimed that the film's budget was $450,000 and that about 35% of that figure had been spent on creating and photographing the prehistoric monsters. At some point during production, the film’s working title was changed to “The Unbelievable.”
The film was scored by Raoul Kraushaar, under his frequently used pseudonym of “Ralph Stanley.” The film was released in November 1948, under the title UNKNOWN ISLAND. This dialogue-less trailer, with French subtitles, gives you an idea of the film’s production values:
Critically, I don’t know how UNKNOWN ISLAND was initially received, but modern reviews of the film have not been kind. Videohound’s Golden Movie Retriever rates the film with one-and-a-half stars and says it has “Bogus dinosaurs and a cliché script.” The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film cites its “hilarious man-in-a-suit dinosaurs walking around a desert.” John Stanley’s Creature Feature Movie Guide says that UNKNOWN ISLAND is a “paleological potboiler, straight out of a pulp magazine” whose “threat factor is zero.” “There’s also a ridiculous gorilla that battles a dinosaur—one of the most ludicrous moments in the history of lost-island movies.” But Douglas Pratt of the DVD Newsletter was more forgiving, saying that “The special effects are ridiculous, but the 1948 film, shot in yellow-less Cinecolor, is a gas. . . . The tensions among the adventurers provide plenty of drama, and the special effects are so outlandishly archaic they are spellbinding.”
Apparently, the film did well at the boxoffice. According to a 20 April 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item, UNKNOWN ISLAND “looms as the highest grosser in Film Classics history, and may make record film marks compared to budget. Brought in at around $150,000 by director Jack Bernhard, the film is expected to bring to F-C and its production company a total of $850,000, more than five times its cost." (There’s no explanation for the difference in budget figures between the NYT and HR articles. Curiously, the $150,000 cited by HR is about equal to the 35% of $450,000 that the NYT article says was spent on special effects.)
UNKNOWN ISLAND was released on DVD in 1999 by Image Entertainment. It is also available to rent or purchase as a download.
Upon its 1968 release, Michael Reeves' British horror / historical film WITCHFINDER GENERAL, starring Vincent Price, caused cinematic interest in the topic of witch-hunts, which led to a wave of films that are sometimes referred to as "Hexploitation." The most important of these films was the shocking MARK OF THE DEVIL, which first hit U.S. screens in 1972. Notoriously advertised as “The First Film Rated V for Violence,” the controversial original MARK OF THE DEVIL delivered a more-than-disturbing, uncompromising portrayal of the madness of witch-hunts. Its boxoffice success resulted in the inevitable sequel, Adrian Hoven's MARK OF THE DEVIL PART II. This film had the actual explicit German title of "Hexen Geschändet und zu Tode gequält" (i.e.,"Witches Violated And Tortured To Death"). As may be gleaned from that title, the film concerned a tribunal that interrogates, tortures, and murders "witches" and "heretics" during the Inquisition. Although sold as a sequel, the film has no real connection to the first film outside of a similar time period and instances of gratuitous torture.
Produced by the same company, Hi-Fi Stereo 70-KG Filmproduktion of Munich, that made the original film, MARK OF THE DEVIL PART II was filmed in Saltzburg, Austria, at Castle Finstergruen and Castle Moosham. While the original film had a good horror cast (Herbert Lom, Udo Kier), the sequel starred Erica Blanc and Anton Diffring, who plays the head prosecutor of witches. The only actors who were carried over from the first part were the weird-looking Reggie Nalder, possibly one of the ugliest actors ever, and Johannes Buzalski. They played different characters than in the first film, however.
Adrian Hoven, who had produced the first film, took over the directing duties for the sequel, replacing Michael Armstrong. Hoven, who is credited with directing seven films (occasionally under a pseudonym), was primarily an actor. In a career spanning more than 30 years, he would act in more than 100 films and television productions. The film’s score was by Michael Holm, who had scored the original film, along with John Scott, and Don Banks. The soundtracks to both films were released on a 2001 German CD by Diggler Records:
The film was released in Germany in January 1973. Under its U.S. title MARK OF THE DEVIL PART II, an English-dubbed version was released in the U.S. in May 1974 by Hallmark Releasing, a subsidiary of American International. The film’s U.S. advertising screamed “Banned in 19 Countries!” (As one wag put it, “Show me a list.”) What’s indisputable, however, is that because of its sexual and violent content, the film was censored to one degree or another in most countries, and it is unclear as to whether any “complete’ version exists.
Here’s an extended English-language trailer for the film, just called WITCHES, in this print.
And here is the original Hallmark trailer with the MARK OF THE DEVEL PART II title, mainly using different footage from the one above. Notice the emphasis on “exorcism” in the trailer and in the print ad below, to capitalize on the popularity of the film THE EXORCIST which had just been released in the U.S. 5 months earlier.
MARK OF THE DEVIL PART II was released on tape in 1995 by Artemis Entertainment, but has not been on Region 1 DVD.
Here's an obscure film that I've been interested in seeing, just out of curiosity. The only time I ever saw it playing anywhere was in the early 1970s on the bottom half of a double bill with 1969's LAST SUMMER.
COMETOGETHER was a U.S.-Italian co-production that was released in the U.S. by Allied Artists in 1971. This romantic drama starred Tony Anthony, who was best known to American audiences as the star of “The Stranger” series of Italian westerns. The background of his character in this current film was that of a stuntman, Tony Girome, who works on “spaghetti” westerns. The plot had Anthony and his primary co-stars (Luciana Paluzzi and Rosemary Dexter) involved in a ménage a trios.
Tony Anthony was the primary driving force behind COMETOGETHER. Along with director Saul Swimmer, Anthony co-wrote and co-produced the film. Saul Swimmer had a varied career, and had worked with Anthony since 1959 when they did a short children’s film together which won a film festival award. Swimmer would go on to write and direct documentaries, direct the 1968 Herman Hermit’s film MRS. BROWN, YOU’VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER and in 1972 direct George Harrison’s THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH.
COMETOGETHER was inspired by the Beatles song (and was originally titled) “Come Together.” The film was produced by ABKCO Films, a company owned by Allen Klein, a talent agent who began representing the Beatles in 1969. COMETOGETHER uses flashbacks and flashforwards in a surrealistic account of Anthony’s affair with two women. The film was shot from early June through early October 1970 in Rome, Venice, Naples, and Pompeii. The Italian beach at Ostia was transformed to look like a South Vietnam jungle for a flashback sequence establishing "Tony Girome"'s capture by Viet Cong soldiers. The soldiers were portrayed by a group of unnamed South Vietnamese students studying at the University of Rome.
COMETOGETHER opened in New York City on 24 September 1971. The film was shown in an English-dubbed version, although it included some occasional Italian dialogue with English subtitles. The few critics who caught the film agreed with the N.Y. Daily News’ Ann Guarino that the picture was simply a “trashy love story.” In her one-star review, Guarino also charged that the R-rated film “left nothing to the imagination” and was “just a step above an out-and-out skin flick.” The dubbing came in for criticism from the Variety critic, “Robe,” who noted that the “outspoken dialogue sounds far worse in English (only adequately dubbed) than it would in Italian.” Nevertheless, “Robe” felt that the movie offered “plenty of entertainment for the average filmgoer” thanks to its “action, two really beautiful females, and some stunningly photographed Italian scenery.”
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times was the most positive about the film He found COMETOGETHER to be “uncommonly honest and deeply personal at the core” and claimed that “at no time does it ever descend to cheap sexploitation.” Thomas was in the distinct minority, however. Vincent Canby of the New York Times deemed COMETOGETHER “an empty-headed romantic movie,” William Wolf of Cue magazine proclaimed that “banalities and vulgarities collide with each other in this pretentious, vapid story,” and Newsday’s Jerry Parker just found it to be “absolute tedium.”
As with another Italian film, THE ANONYMOUS VENETIAN (see this thread, above), it was COMETOGETHER’s score, by Stelvio Cipriani, that is best remembered. In the film, however, much of the music consisted of pop songs, which Newsday’s Jerry Parker claimed were largely “out-of-date, out-of-it pop hits.” A 32-minute LP was issued on Apple Records, which was about equally split between score and songs, but this LP has never been issued on CD. The film itself may have been issued on cassette at one time, but no additional information on this has been found.
This obscure film is a personal search NIGHT OF THE WITCHES-70- saw this film at the 110 DRIVE IN , IN LONG ISLAND NEW YORK as a kid, never seen it since, never saw it on free TV or Cable, never could find it on Video or at revival houses, any DVD?where did it go?, it stars Keith Larson.
NIGHT OF THE WITCHES was a comedy/horror/sex film released in 1970 by Medford Films Corporation. Medford Films was a short-lived distributor which released all five of its films in 1970. There was DR. FRANKENSTEIN ON CAMPUS (which was on the bottom-half of a double bill with NIGHT OF THE WITCHES), IT’S YOUR THING, the initially X-rated HOW TO SUCCEED WITH SEX, and probably the most well-known of the five, THE PSYCHO LOVER (which also may have initially been X-rated).
NIGHT OF THE WITCHES starred Keith Larsen, who was billed as Keith Erik Burt. Larsen was pretty much a one-man film studio on this film, as he also directed, co-produced, and co-wrote the film, as well as starring in it. Larsen had been a TV and film actor going back to the early 1950s. He had played Bat Masterson in the Joel McCrea film WICHITA, and co-starred in the 1966 film WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET. The film was also the motion picture debut of Kathryn Loder. Although Loder would go on to make several exploitation films during the 1970s (THE BIG DOLL HOUSE, FOXY BROWN), she was first and foremost a stage actress, who had acted in Shakespearean productions and regional and off-Broadway shows. She would die in 1978 at the age of 38 from complications due to diabetes. The quite-melodic score was by Sean Bonniwell, who also wrote two songs, "Me and God and You" and "Man of Many Pleasures," which were sung by The Baby.
The script of this Canadian production (filmed in Agoura, California) concerned an itinerant preacher/rapist who matches wits with a coven of witches. The earliest confirmed showing of NIGHT OF THE WITCHES was in Scranton, PA, on 26 August 1970. I don’t know if any mainstream critics reviewed the film, but the few modern reviewers that have seen it have not looked favorably upon it. The Motion Picture Guide gives “this Charles Manson-inspired film” zero stars. And John Stanley’s Creature Feature Movie Guide says that the “production has moments of light-heartedness, but tedium finally prevails.”
NIGHT OF THE WITCHES doesn't seem to be on video, but it's currently available for free on YouTube, and you can stream it on a Roku channel called Drive-In Classics. But be warned, there it breaks into 1 minute of commercials every 5-8 minutes.
WHITE DOG- 82- Sam Fuller directed this controversial film about a man who trains a dog to attack dark skinned people[not kidding] subject matter was a bit hot. even though the film is not done in bad taste or in anyway defending any acts. after some brief exposure it seems to have vanished the past decades, any comments?