Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '76 - Brandon Smith ""

Monday, August 8, 2016

Underrated '76 - Brandon Smith


Brandon Smith is an avid collector of films that is on a never ending quest for more shelf space. Chef by trade, one the the few, the proud, the AGFA interns, and plans to one day be able to train his cats to sit. New to Letterboxd with three followers at Bsmith8168.
On Twitter @Bsmith8168.
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The Tenant (1976; Roman Polanski)
Not necessarily underrated, but should be more highly praised and discussed is Roman Polanski's The Tenant. When a sheepish young man moves into an apartment that has recently went on the market the previous day due to the former tenant jumping out the window, he begins to wonder why. Along the way he meets all the peculiar neighbors and residents in the area and visits the suicidal victim in the hospital. After several more strange incidents and run ins with his neighbors, the lead played by Polanski begins to think that a devious plot is being conspired against or is he just starting to lose his wits? So much to love in this film, it is overdo for some sort of remaster and a deluxe release, one of my all time favorites and debatably Polanski's best.

Assault! Jack the Ripper (1976; Yasuharu Hasebe)
Whew! Where do you start with a film like this? Yasuharu Hasebe's insanity knows no bounds in this film from Nikkatsu's Violent Pink line. When two restaurant employees accidentally pick up a crazy woman that ends with her death, they discover that through violence they become crazed lovers they then decide to push their new found excitement to the limit. Endless murders and an ending that will leave you with the most exasperated "Huh?" will make you want more. The style is on par with any of it's Giallo counterparts of it's time and mixed with that special brand of crazy Japanese Pink sex make for one of the oddest films to come out of '70s Japan.

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976; John Badham)
I've never been too big of a fan of baseball, but the weirdest thing is I'm a huge fan of baseball films and Bingo Long is one of the finest. Telling the story of a negro league player that decided to branch off from his team to form his own team in the league and all the drama and hijinks that went along with it. Loaded with top shelf actors including a great duo of Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones, Bingo Long has only gotten better with age. Equal parts comedy and drama this film will never give you a dull moment.

Once Upon a Girl... (1976; Don Jurwich/Jack Condrad)
Don't judge me on this entry, but Once Upon a Girl has to be seen to be believed. Part live action and mostly animation the film is about a trial that has Mother Goose ( Hal Smith in drag) on the stand telling the "true" versions of various fairy tales. The three animated segments are these fairy tale retellings which include Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. Ahead of it's time not a classic by any means, but more of a strange curio from a different time when the adult film industry was flourishing. The animation is on the crude side as is the humor, not for children by any means. Available from Severn Films.

Brotherhood of Death (1976; Bill Berry)
More than forgotten is Brotherhood of Death which strongly deserves a larger cult status. When a group of African American Vietnam vets return home from the war they find out that they are not welcome by a group of KKK members. One thing leads to another and before you know it, it's all out war! Zany dialogue and some surprisingly good action sequences make this one not to be missed. Available from Code Red.

The Big Racket (1976; Enzo G. Castellari)
The film market in Italy in the '70s was flooded by crime films that were rip offs of The Godfather, Dirty Harry, and The French Connection and I love it! Who doesn't want to watch these films that usually tend to get batshit crazy at least once or twice a film. Enzo G. Castellari is a titan of Italian exploitation and has served time in about every sub-genre, The Big Racket is what I consider his most hidden gem. The story of a city plagued by a crime syndicate that forces all business owners to have to pay for protection. Not everyone wants to play along and after a slew of raping and murders the situation has escalated to armageddon like proportions. With a blazing soundtrack to accompany the epic gunfights it'll be hard to forget this.

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