Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - Larry Karaszewski ""

Friday, January 5, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Larry Karaszewski

The past five years, I have had the honor of being able to post a Film Discoveries list from Larry Karaszewski. Karaszewski is one of my favorite screenwriters and a true cinephile's cinephile. He and Scott Alexander have collaborated on many memorable screenplays including one of my personal favorites, Tim Burton's movie ED WOOD. Larry and Scott' also worked the Golden Globe-winning FX series AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON and are currently writing a new script based on Patty Hearst that will be directed by James Mangold.

Larry spreads his love for cinema the whole year round via his Trailer's From Hell commentaries - all of which are recommended:

Check out Larry's 2017 Discoveries below!

These are not all gems. Just some stuff I’ve missed until now. The odder, the better.
Claudine (1974; John Berry)
When people talk about black films of the 1970s everything gets lumped in as Blaxploitation. So all that gets discussed is the pimps and hos cinema of Superfly, Coffy, and the Mack. Now don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff… but there were gentler, more nuanced black films that have fallen through the cracks. One such movie is the delightful “Claudine” from 1974 staring an Oscar nominated Diahann Carroll with a score by Curtis Mayfield.
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Keep Off My Grass! (1975; Shelley Berman)
Monkee Micky Dolenz as a virgin weed grower in a counter culture comedy directed by comic Shelly Berman from a script co-written by WGA kingpin Irma Kalish (Family Affair, The Flying Nun, Maude... and almost every sitcom of the 1970s)
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Flap (1970; Carol Reed)
Anthony Quinn plays Zorba the alcoholic Indian. Claude Akins in red makeup too. Trying to be woke, but fast asleep. Great hard to find song by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. The movie Third Man director Carol Reed made after winning Best Picture for Oliver!
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Irma Vep (1997; Olivier Assayas)
Olivier Assayas is one of my favorite filmmakers but never saw this one until now. Day For Night with cooler songs and the great Maggie Cheung
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I Married a Witch (1942; Rene Clair)
Perfection. Veronica Lake couldn’t be better.
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The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972; Waris Hussein)
The Exorcist before The Exorcist. A miss. But so lovely to watch Shirley MacLaine from 1971. And dirty old New York City.
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Curse of the Werewolf (1961; Terence Fisher)
Went on a Hammer Studios binge this year. This one is strange because it takes forever to get to wolfman Oliver Reed making his film debut. There is an hour of backstories and prologues. But it’s all pretty wonderful.
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The Zodiac Killer (1971; Tom Hanson)
The “making of” is crazy on this one. Apparently filmed as a trap to catch the real Zodiac Killer. The director thought there was no way the real killer wouldn’t show up to see a movie about his deeds when it played in the Bay Area. Plus Doodles Weaver in an embarrassing cameo.
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The Big Mouth (1967; Jerry Lewis)
One of Jerry’s more surreal epics. Gangsters, diamonds, doppelgängers. I kinda loved it.
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Once a Thief (1965; Ralph Nelson)
Ann Margaret and Alain Delon in a stylish black and white early 60s crime film. Nothing wrong with that.
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The Smiling Lieutenant (1931; Ernst Lubitsch)
I love Maurice Chevalier so much in Love Me Tonight that I had to have more. Wonderful. There was such a thing as the Lubitsch Touch.
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Sweet Love, Bitter (1967; Herbert Danska)
Also known as It Won’t Rub Off Baby. Based on the jazz novel “Night Song.” Dick Gregory’s staring vehicle - but lacking Dicks comedy chops. Gritty American indie.
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The Idol (1966; Daniel Petrie)
Michael Parks and Jennifer Jones star in this art school love triangle pic rescued from obscurity by the New Beverly.

The Chapman Report (1962; George Cukor)
George Cukor’s take on the Kinsey Report and sex in the suburbs. Claire Bloom and young Jane Fonda stand out.
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A Rage to Live (1965; Walter Grauman)
Suzanne Pleshette knocks it out of the park as what was then looked down on as a nymphomaniac but today would pass as a healthy appetite.
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The Serpents Egg (1977; Ingmar Bergman)
One of Bergman’s few English language films. Produced by Dino de Laurentiis chasing respectability. David Carradine and Liv Ullmann star but Glynn Turman steals every scene he’s in.
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The April Fools (1969; Stuart Rosenberg)
Groovy sets, party sequences and a bouncy score - plus Catherine Deneuve at her prettiest. From the writer of Sssssss.
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Viva Zapata! (1952; Elia Kazan)
Brando and Kazan and Steinbeck. Can’t believe it took me this long to watch. Damn
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Quatermass and the Pit (1967; Roy Ward Baker)
Also known as “Five Million Years To Earth”. One of the few films in Danny Peary’s Cult Movies Book that I never got around to... until now. Slow going at first, then super trippy. Caught in that 1967 no mans land of half traditional British sci-fi and half mind fuck weirdness.
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Coup de Torchon (1981; Bertrand Tavernier)
Impeccably directed by Bertrand Tavernier. French African noir with an amazing performance from Philippe Noiret. Probably the best new old film I saw all year.
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