Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '66 - Samuel B. Prime ""

Friday, September 9, 2016

Underrated '66 - Samuel B. Prime

Samuel B. Prime is a writer, film curator, and archivist based in Los Angeles. He deeply admires Dick Cavett's savoir faire and his favorite Sonny Chiba film is Kazuhiko Yamaguchi's perpetually unavailable WOLFGUY: ENRAGED LYCANTHROPE (1975). Find him online at for essays and free streaming movies.

Check out his Underrated '96, '86 & '76 lists here:
THE CUT UPS (Anthony Balch, 1966)
Gysin. Burroughs. Introduces a floating sensation within the viewer that is unlike anything else.

MURDERERS' ROW (Henry Levin, 1966)
The second in the glorious Matt Helm spy spoof series and (maybe?) the best. I mean, Dean Martin (as Matt Helm) throws an exploding white dress at a picture of Frank Sinatra. It really doesn't get much better than that. Oh, wait! Yes, it does!!! Ann-Margret shakes her tuchus like there is no tomorrow. Plus, everybody goes home happy with a glass of scotch - not bourbon!

THE GOLDEN BAT (Hajime Sato, 1966)
Previously, I included this unrepentantly cheap, unquestionably wacky, and yet unfairly underrated tokusatsu gem on my Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 list, but its plentiful virtues bear repeating again and again (as often as possible). What's not to love about a 73-minute marvel about a skull-headed superhero who emerges from depths of Atlantis to save the world from a bipedal donkey? Throw in the inimitable, usually clean-shaven Sonny Chiba with some healthy scruff on his chin and you have a striking black-and-white movie that is the perfect length for popcorn fluff. It also happens to be the perfect counterpoint to the seemingly endless summer barrage of over-budgeted superhero movie refuse. You will know him by his maniacal laughter!!!

CHAFED ELBOWS (Robert Downey Sr., 1966)
DOWNEY IS A PRINCE. ALL HAIL DOWNEY. AN IDIOSYNCRATIC CINEMA OF IDEAS. On a more personal note, this film validates ideas I have had about cinema - and, broadly speaking, the act of "making movies" - since adolescence. The only rule within this movie is: NO RULES.

Film history's first (and possibly only?) example of "Godardsploitation." French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bastid is responsible for this sadistic piece of cinematic nastiness rather cheekily attributed to "Jean-Loup Grosdard," an obviously fake pseudonym meant to evoke the director who only a year earlier released ALPHAVILLE and PIERROT LE FOU. This film is sort of like those two actual Jean-Luc Godard movies thrown into a blender. A satirical send-up of art house movies of the era realized with a straight-face, the inattentive viewer might mistake this for something genuinely pretentious. But this movie is not for the lazy-eyed casual moviegoer. MASSACRE OF PLEASURE is not even fit for human consumption. Self-identifying perverts only.

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