Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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We are adding a new series to our Godzilla, Elvis and MST3K viewing: Alfred Hitchcock. I decided to shy away from the "obvious" ones (such as Psycho and The Birds) and opted to start with...

SPELLBOUND: This one stars Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, was nominated for six Academy Awards (and won one for original score), features a dream sequence by Salvador Dali, and has a great MacGuffin. Bergman plays Dr. Constance Peterson who works at the Green Manors Mental Asylum (undoubtedly the most unethical hospital ever) where she specializes in psychoanalysis. Gregory Peck is the new head of the facility, but it soon becomes apparent that [SPOILERS FOLLOW] he is a paranoid amnesiac.

MACGUFFIN: The crux of the movie seems to be the revelation of Peck's identity, but no sooner is it revealed than he is accused of murder. 

Several "edge of your seat" moments. Recommended.

Francois Truffaut published a book-length interview with Hitchcock in which they talked about all his films. Hitchcock sums up Spellbound as "just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis".

It's my understanding the producer, David Selznick, was a strong believer in psychoanalysis, and wanted to do the film. My recollection is Hitchcock said the book was more exotic: Edwardes has the cross tattooed on the soles of his feet so he'll be profaning it at ever step. My impression was he had his reservations about it.

There was a fad for psychoanalysis in the period. There's one film - The Dark Past - where Lee Cobb is a psychoanalyst who's taken prisoner, along with his family, by gangsters led by William Holden, whose character is a notorious killer. He spot psychoanalyses Holden, uncovering a childhood trauma, and when Holden tries to shoot it out with the police he can't, because he can't kill anymore.

My father had a copy of a novel called The Fool Killer by Helen Eustis. The authors' bio on the back cover says something like "She regards psychoanalysis as the wave of the future and has been psychoanalysed."

The dream sequence was worked on by Salvador Dali.

At the movie's climax, where the hand with the gun is in the foreground, the hand was a giant model for focus reasons.

Some number of Hitchcock's earliest, British films seem to be in the public domain. My recollection is he did direct some episodes of Alfred's Hitchcock Presents.

"Hitchcock sums up Spellbound as 'just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis'."

That's a fair assessment. The extent of my knowledge of psychoanalysis is a couple of psych classes in college and the run of the EC "New Direction" title. The Green Manors Mental Asylum truly is unethical, by today's or any standards, an unprofessional as well. I'd love to hear a professional psychologist pick this movie apart. I disagree with Hitch that it's "just another manhunt story," however; it is an Alfred Hitchcock manhunt story. the book it's based on sounds interesting.

Re-watched  Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker (2019).  It's not bad, although part of me wishes that these sequel pictures could have been made while Ford, Fisher and Hamill  were still relatively spry.

GIRL HAPPY: Another still-shrinkwrapped VHS tape I bought in the '90s, but this one I definitely saw as a kid. Gary Crosby is in Elvis' band, and he fakes playing the guitar even worse than Elvis does. The guy who fakes playing the sax doesn't even bother putting the reed in his mouth half the time. And when the drummer gets up to prance around the stage with the others, the drums keep playing. Elvis plays a singer who is hired to chaperone his boss's daughter. This is Elvis' 17th film and introduced the dance "The Clam."

LOVE INTEREST: Shelley Fabares (who I knew first from One Day at a Time) in the first of her three Elvis movies.

SONGS: Twelve tunes including "Spring Fever," "Wolf Call," "Do the Clam," "Puppet on a String" and the title track. 

CAVE DWELLERS (MST3K): The second of three MST3Ks I have on pre-recorded VHS. I have no idea why I bought this one. I know I have watched the tape before because I remember the host segments, but I have no recollections of the movie's so-called "plot." Man, is it bad! 

THE COURT JESTER: Tracy is a big fan of Danny Kaye (she used to watch his movies with her father), and The Court Jester is her favorite. One of the jokes from Cave Dwellers was a riff on The Court Jester, and that was enough to put her in the mood to watch it again. 

Cave Dwellers was a sequel to Ator, the Fighting Eagle, which featured in Show 1206 in Jonah's era.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

CAVE DWELLERS (MST3K): The second of three MST3Ks I have on pre-recorded VHS. I have no idea why I bought this one. I know I have watched the tape before because I remember the host segments, but I have no recollections of the movie's so-called "plot." Man, is it bad! 

Oh, I've seen all the Jonah ones but I didn't realize Cave Dwellers was a sequel.

No wonder I couldn't follow it! ;)

GHIDORAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER: In addition to Ghidora, this one throws Rodan into the mix, which reminds me I wanted to re-watch the original Rodan first. I also wanted to watch Godzilla: 1985 after Godzilla Raids Again. Oh, well. I'm committed now. I'll work those in later. My plans are nothing if not fluid. How come there's only one Mothra larva in this movie? Did one eat the other for dominance? The official (well, unofficial, I guess) drink of this movie is a Blue Mountain, which is a mixture of rum, vodka, kalua and orange juice. Sounds tasty. Potent, too. 

That's a common fan theory.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

GHIDORAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER: How come there's only one Mothra larva in this movie? Did one eat the other for dominance? 

In the end, there can be only one ...

NOTORIUS: A 1946 film noir starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains. As a spy thriller, it is quite similar to an early Ian Fleming James Bond novel. The first time I saw it, there was one scene in particular that had ne on the edge of my seat. It didn't affect me this time because I knew what was going to happen, but there was another scene which similarly had me on the edge of my seat which I didn't remember. It's probably a better spy film than Spellbound was a film about psychoanalysis. 

Slightly off topic: remember Cloris Leachman's "Frau Blucher" from Young Frankenstein? there's really no counterpart in Universal's "Frankenstein" series, but (I never noticed this before) I'm now convinced Leachman based her performance on Leopoldine Konstantin's performance of Mme. Sebastian, the mother of Claude Rains' character. 

Hitchcock cameo: This movie has no real Macguffin, but Hitchcock appears as a man helping himself to champagne in the party scene. (Tracy misses the cameos because she's always got her nose buried in her phone. I point them out, but by the time she looks up they are over. 

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