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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Watched Robin and the 7 Hoods, because I'm trying to watch famous movies that I never watched before. It was nothing I'd watch a second time, or really enjoyed, but i had some thoughts that I'll share:

  • It was great seeing "My Kind of Town" sung for the first time on screen, and just where it got famous. That's like Americana, or something. Gave me chills.
  • I don't really understand the Rat Pack. My parents said things about them that were contradictory, so I don't really have a clue what their place was in pop culture. I don't get them, myself. They just seemed like barflies to me, some of whom could sing. But they must have been important somehow.
  • It was kinda interesting seeing Sinatra/Martin duets -- did they do them anywhere else? -- and then Bing Crosby joined them for the typical Crosby song/dance routine, where Crosby kinda sways in lieu of actual dancing.That was an interesting thing to watch, just because of Who They Are.
  • All of the main actors had individual personalizations, even when they were dancing in unison. One would cock a head this way, another would toss a hand that way, something. It was obvious that all of these actors considered themselves Stars, whether they were THE star of this particular picture. It was telling, in some way I can't articulate. Actors like Peter Falk didn't do that.
  • I didn't look up the chick who played Marian, so I don't know anything about her. But it was eye-opening how, uh, not hot she was. Small-breasted, roll of fat around the middle, not young, big ass. Was that sexy back then? In the context of the movie, all men fell all over themselves falling for her sexy act. But, boy, I don't see anything sexy about her. She was a cow.
  • I don't know what "star power" is, but I will say that Crosby, Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. had it, and Peter Falk did not. His scenes were like watching a high schooler doing a schtick. Watching the others was like watching pros do what they do best.
  • Might as well also say that virtually all of the supporting hoods went on to TV careers playing hoods. I don't know their names, but I know their faces. Some of them were doing ersatz Jimmy Cagney or Edward G. Robinson that they would perfect later as The Thing That They Do that got them jobs for years.
  • There were also some older character actors doing what they had done for years. I always appreciate their presence, even in schlock like this.
  • Also, I had no idea that Falk was a contemporary of the Rat Pack. Live and learn.
  • Also, Victor Buono. Wow, he did exactly the same thing in everything he was in, didn't he? Robin and the 7 Hoods, King Tut, whatever.
  • Crosby played a character whose erudite diction left everyone gape-mouthed. He did, in fact, use a lot of big words. But, oddly, he mispronounced a lot of them. I guess nobody used the word "bizarre" in those days, because nobody noticed that he didn't know how to say it.
  • There is, of course, a Robin Hood metaphor going on in this movie, but I don't know why. It doesn't stick very well, and feels kinda forced. And it doesn't go anywhere.
  • Man, the Rat Packers really treated Sammy Davis as a flunky. Let me say it: A black flunky. Maybe that was normal then. In 2020, it makes my gorge rise. I guess he got rich doing it, though, and a lot of black actors/dancers/singers in those days died poor.
  • I've seen all of these Packers actually act. Sinatra in From Here to Eternity, Martin in Rio Bravo, etc. Not here. Maybe being in a musical means you don't have to act, and just get to mug your way through it? 
  • I'm no judge, but if I had to pick the best singer in this movie, it would be Dean Martin. Yes, yes, I know, Sinatra lovers. And, in general, I agree. But he does a better job here than Frank does.

OK, I'm done. Your turn!

Marian = Barbara Rush = Nora Clavicle from Batman

Thanks, Baron. As it turnS out, i started watching some other old movie yesterday with her in it, and recognized her. It took me a minute, because even though she was only like 7 years younger (I looked it up), she was a lot more attractive. I guess she must have had a few babies in between.

Also watched Captain Blood. It was a lot of fun! Even though Errol Flynn's acting style was basically to pose and smile, it was a heroic romp that used everything I loved about that era’s adventure stories. And Olivia DeHavilland was a babe! There were a lot of cliches, but I realize that these movies invented them. Also they did them really well. When Basil Rathbone showed up, doing a bad French accent and schtick that Christopher Lee would steal 30 years later, i was sold.

While you are in the mood check out Sea Hawk, another great Errol Flynn adventure.

Captain Comics said:

Also watched Captain Blood. It was a lot of fun! Even though Errol Flynns acting style was basically to pose and smile, it was a heroic romp that used everything i loved about that era’s adventure stories. And Olivia DeHavilland was a babe! There were a lot of cliches, but i realize that these movies invented them. Also they did them really well. When Basil Rathbone showed up, doing a bad French accent and schtick that Christopher Lee would steal 30 years later, i was sold.

I am going to watch Sea Hawk, as soon as my wife can watch it with me. She caught the second half of Captain Blood, and she wants to see more.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to clear out my DVR. I recorded Up Periscope because of the cast: Edmond O'Brien, James Garner, Alan Hale Jr., and so forth. I mean, there are a lot of really good WWII submarine movies, right?

This not one of them. (And it's from 1959, anyway.) I sure hope Captain Benson reads this thread, so he can explain just how awful the chain of command stuff is, how bad the crew interaction is, how bad the "we hate the captain because he let a man die because he followed orders" stuff is, and so forth.

Then there are the submarine cliches, of sweaty men scared of the big boom coming down from on high when ... the sets are really too big for that to be an issue. Jesus, they're all in a Hyatt.

Also: Bad tech. They have a sonar that STOPS WHEN IT HITS SOMETHING. You have to see this to understand how weird it is. Sonar displays show a beam moving in a circle. It hits a blip. But it keeps moving. We all know this, from a thousand movies. Not in this one. When THIS sonar hits something, it STOPS. "Oh, look, skipper ..."

James Garner is a special ops guy, who is trying to steal Japanese code. You know, the one we broke in 1942. And this is, like, 1944. He has a miniature camera, smoke grenades and other James Bond items that didn't exist in World War II. But, hey, it's James Garner! Maverick can do anything!

Anyway, the whole movie is a walking anachronism, with a sub crew who should all be court-martialed, and a plot that is so preposterous that I'm sorry I even brought it up.

Also, I forgot to mention this about Robin and the 7 Hoods: It was weird watching a '60s director try to deal with TWO actors who had glass eyes (Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Falk) in the same movie.

And while we're on the subject: How does an actor with a glass eye get major roles? What director wants that? I get it with Sammy Davis Jr. -- he could dance, sing, act, had powerful friends, etc. -- but Peter Falk? What th-?

Columbo notwithstanding -- and I LOVE Columbo -- Falk was really a character actor, not a leading man. Quirky looks and mannerisms can be assets for character actors (provided they have the chops, which Falk did).

I don't think Peter Falk (who I agree was great) had much physical stuff to do. But Sammy Davis Jr? How do you dance the way he did with no depth perception?

Davis was already a star before he lost his eye in a car accident. Falk lost his to illness as a small child, but he played baseball and basketball in high school.

It's my understanding that our eyes also perceive depth by focus. I think the convergence effect only matters at short distances. The Polite Dissent website had a post discussing convergence of Superman's super-vision rays. It argued the rays should converge at short distances and not at long ones, and showed cases where the artists had it the wrong way around.

3D movies are a special case. The screen is at a distance, but our eyes get distinct images because of the glasses.

When watching baseball on TV, the one-eyed camera makes it look like players are close together when they aren't.

Captain Blood is set 1685-1689. The rebellion at the start is Monmouth's Rebellion, and Blood is condemned by Judge Jeffreys in the course of the Bloody Assizes. The conclusion takes place after the Glorious Revolution in Nov. 1688.

The book is a fix-up novel from a series of linked short stories. The movie follows it pretty faithfully, which is why it has that sequence in it where Blood teams up with Basil Rathbone's Levasseur and they quickly fall out.

The novel had previously been filmed in the silent era. Sabatini wrote further Captain Blood stories, collected in two more books.

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