For this weeks Rhapsody we have the Romanian Rhapsody by Jean Absil.
Continuing the theme of films that are of the season but not seasonal, I watched some thrillers.
This Bond film has a slower pace than most focusing on the romance Bond and the Contessa Treresa di Vincenzo, Played by Diana Rigg (though that doesn’t stop him from going after every other character in a skirt (other than Bloeeld’s right hand woman Frau Irma Bunt)) After that I’t all about Bond trying to infiltrate Blofeld’s (this time played by Telly Savalis) lair disguised as a genealogist in order to prevent Bloefeld’s latest convoluted blackmail scheme to threaten the world, this time using a bioweapon transported by brainwashed fashion models.
All of this leads to some entertaining action scenes and high speed chases on skis and bobsleds but all in good fun. For the most part this was a nice piece of fluff. I’m not sure completely what I thought of Lazenby as Bond… to a certain extent not being familiar with him had his disguise work on me when he first appears as the genealogist… But otherwise I don’t think I had a problem with him.
I find it interesting the number of films I first heard of in a collection of Mad Magazine Parodies by Jack Davis growing up. So for years all I knew about The French Connection was an exaggerated portrayal of Gene Hackman’s performance of Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle playing up every bit of loudmouthed racism the character has. Mind you the character is no saint and it’s almost a tribute to Hackman’s art that he’s nearly impossible to like.
Loosely based on a true story about one of the greatest drug busts in American History, the plot starts with Doyle and “Cloudy” Russo played by Roy Schneider stumbling over a huge smuggling operation based in Marseilles France. From there we have them bulldozing their way through the case finally breaking it wide open (even though nearly everyone gets away or off in the end)
This was an incredible film to watch that I seriously doubt could be made today. The Hackman’s Doyle is one of the great antihero’s in American film, bombastic, slovenly,racist but perversely charming. I found myself frequently cringing over some of the things he does as a seventies “cowboy cop” even though he miraculously succeeding by the end of the film.
All in all I found myself fascinated all the way through with it’s wonderful portrayal of the underside of seventies New York contrasted with the old world charm of Marseilles.
Happy Santa Lucia Day everybody (Albeit a day late) that’s St’ Lucy to all you english speakers.
I was making a point to bring up Santa Lucia Day this year and finish this picture for it. Only to realize on the day I’d forgotten it yet again. Ah well better late than never.
I have fond memories of Santa Lucia Day from my year in Uppsala Sweden and wished I’d have the opportunity to use it in the strip as it serves as an amusing bit of childhood embarrassment for Kate. Regrettably the annual Christmas story gets in the way and it doesn’t make sense to bring it up out of season.
I was also sing it as an opportunity to start teaching myself to paint with Photoshop. The learning curve is coming along nicely but I still have a way to go.
Anyway here’s a picture of Kate at age eight in full Lucia regalia. (Regrettably for her, her parents have many similar pictures)
To start the holiday season I decided to go with films that were of the season but not actually seasonal. This led to a rather interesting selection of two films that have absolutely nothing in common.
This was fun though I kept feeling it could have been a lot better. The witch community is hinted at enough that it seems disappointing that other than showing us a only slightly hidden apothecary and another witch’s house all we see in any detail is the night club that all of the witches hang out at. Novak is wonderful as a sultry powerful Gillian, it feels a shame that she falls into a more traditional submissive role in the end. (and her siamese cat familiar is adorable) Jimmy Stewart’s reputation as the most mundane, mayonnaise American is played up for all it’s worth. Jack Lemmon, Elsa Lanchester and Ernie Kovach fill their supporting roles wonderfully (having only ever seen Lancaster as the Bride of Frankenstein there is something wonderfully surprising seeing her play Gillian’s cuddly old aunt.
While I certainly knew of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang starring Robert Downy Jr. And Val Kilmar. For some reason I thought it was one of Guy Ritchie‘s as opposed to Shane Black, (must have been the name) Downey plays Harry Lockhart, a middling crook who by sheer luck escaping from an extremely botched robbery finds himself in LA auditioning for a role in a detective story. From their he runs into a childhood crush and from there finds himself involved in a murder mystery from there things get weird.
This is all narrated by Downey in a very sarcastic manner getting his facts wrong and editorializing all the way thorough. Giving the film a wonderful cynical and eccentric feel.