Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Twelve Of The Most Forgotten Films

Cine enthusiasts have much to rejoice over these days. Some fine films are being presented locally. The most recent is on exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Unnatural History (4969 Puesta del Bunghol), in the Margerine Auditorium. The current series is entitled "Twelve of the Most Forgotten Films." Much care has been taken to present a comprehensive series of forgotten classics, ranging from the '30s to the '70s. The movies will begin next Sunday for 12 days, with a different film each night. Here is a list of the complete program.

Dead Man Don't Tango (1944) George Zucco (pictured) stars as a concert pianist who loses both of his hands in a freak auto accident. The hands of a dead proctologist are sewn on in their place, with unexpected results.

Amore Ina Casa Sheet Blanco (Love In The House Of White Sheets) (1972) An Italian Suicide film by Luchiano Dumconti. The story focuses in on Marcello String Quartet's discovery that his society wife is actually the daughter of a Milano washing machine repairman. Endless scenes of separating colors from whites before the inevitable tragedy.

Hell Bent For Onion Dip (1939) Unsuccessful attempt to merge Noel Coward in an Old West setting. Audie Murphy fails as the urbane nightgowned sheriff.

Gidget Gets An IUD (1965) Shelly Fabres in the final, adult-themed episode in the popular Gidget series. Controversial for its time, Gidget is outfitted with the birth control device, only to fall in love with a Uri Geller type psychic. His mind bending passions render the device useless, with a series of wacky results. Film made popular the song," Put Your Head On My Bladder."

The Buena Park Trash Compacter Massacre (1971) Typical psycho yarn about a damaged Viet vet who goes on a wild Orange County killing spree. Aldo Ray appears as a wearied Fullerton cop.

Hercules Unhinged (1959) Massimo Groins, Mr. Italian Expressway of 1958, made his simultaneous film debut and retirement in this spaghetti muscleman epic. Film includes the memorable sequence in which Hercules, drugged by the goddess Messalina, eats the entire Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The Bowery Boys In Drag (1950) Unreleased feature with the Dead End Kids. Huntz Hall performs the first home vasectomy with an office stapler, in an attempt to swear off girls. Leo Gorcey and the rest of the East Side Gang dress up as Girl Scouts in an attempt to bring their pal back to sanity.

Nice Legs Of '35 (1935) "More legs than a warehouse of pianos!" shouted the posters for this thirties musical. True enough, the quantity of gams makes up for the lack of plot in this story of Detroit chorus girl who makes good in Broadway show. Dick Powell sings "High Heels and Calves Make Me Crazy."

Terror Of The Thongs (1960) Christopher Lee stars in this film from the Hammer Studios of England. An Oriental Mastermind starts a shoe wars in turn of the century Chinatown. This horror epic is undistinguished except for the remark by Lee, "Two whites don't make a Wong," to actress Heather Buxom.

Never Trust A Blonde Mexican (1967) Classic spaghetti western depicting story of The Man With No Name But A Lot Of Balls. Sports car racer Jackie Off Stewart is unbelievable in title role. Horrible dubbing and obligatory soundtrack of whistling, bells, female choir and ricochets is nearly unbearable except to those with impaired hearing.

Machiavellian Melody (1954) Hard pressed for musicals, MGM attempted to adapt "The Prince" with Mario Lanza in the title role. Results are lackluster, though Virginia Mayo charms with "Control Me" and in the duet "Republican Rhapsody." Mischa Auer is also amusing with his number, "Fascists Fandango."

Mr. Moto Picks Lettuce (1943) Unreleased film in the Mr. Moto series finds Peter Lorre tracking down a blackmailer, only to be interred in a California concentration camp. Obvious World War II propaganda film is only of interest in its early footage of Orange groves in Anaheim and Santa Ana.

As an extra bonus to film lovers, a chapter of the forties serial "Lost Planet Trashmen" will be shown each evening at 8:30pm, prior to the main feature. If the series is successful, a second will be scheduled in the Fall.

[Originally published in 1980]