I’m not sure this was one of my better ideas for a selection theme but I did it anyhow.
As a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s early work (haven’t seen more than a half hour of both Kill Bills, haven’t seen Inglorious Bastards or Django Unchained) I had long known that Tarantino would frequently put in snippets of dialogue from his favorite obscure B films. I decided to investigate this and watch some of the films that were given tribute throughout Pulp Fiction.
The first film on the list was the source of Samuel Jackson’s famous misquoting of Ezekiel 25:17; “The Bodyguard” (also known as Chiba the Bodyguard or in the original Japanese cut, Karate Chiba) Sonny Chiba plays… well… Sonny Chiba, a master martial artist, declares a one-man war on the drug trade by hiring himself out as a bodyguard to anyone who is willing to confront the mob. A mysterious woman who claims to have information to use against the mob and that’s where the action begins hires him and that’s where the action begins.
For all I know this movie was okay in the original Japanese cut of it but the American version I watched was painfully bad. Lousy writing, no acting, gratuitous nudity and violence (even by the standards of a seventies action and the fakest fake blood I ever did see (I swear it was almost crimson) On top of that for all his being bad ass Chiba was a pretty lousy bodyguard. Most of the times he had to rescue people from harm it was because they had let them get through in the first place
The second film the source of the “blowtorch and needle nose pliers quote Charley Varrick was much better. A tense crime thriller, it is the story of a small time bank robber played by Walter Matthau who robs a mob bank by mistake and what happens afterwards. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen Matthau in a serious role and he plays Charley as a cold intelligent professional willing to do what it takes to escape both from the police and the mob. We watch him go conduct his plan and at first we think he’s stupid (especially when several people drop a dime on him) but as the movie we realize he’s just setting bait for the final trap.