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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, cold, dark, early nights mean moar movies for ol’ Robbo, so here are some thumbnail sketches of what has floated across the Port Swiller screen this week.  (None of these are part of my Hollywood History of the World project, by the bye, just mostly what was already in the ol’ Netflix queue.)

Oh, and once again I apologize because my WordPress linky button still doesn’t seem to be working.  Go figure.

Nonetheless, here we go:

Operation Petticoat” (1959) – In 1941, a damaged American submarine has to clear out of the Philippines ahead of the oncoming Japanese invasion.  In the course of her scramble, she picks up a set of a half-dozen female nurses.  Hy-larity ensues, up to and including the need  to paint the sub pink.  A perfectly harmless comedy.  Cary Grant, as the sub commander, would be entertaining just sitting on an empty stage reading names out of a phone book.  On the other hand, Tony Curtis plays his XO.  Ol’ Robbo has never understood the appeal of Tony Curtis, especially when he tries to play pretty-boy sophisticates.  (Here, he is a REMF whose experience to date has been nothing but vamping officers’ wives.)  I think it was Mark Steyn who somewhere mocked Curtis’s ridiculous accent in such roles by quoting, from what I don’t know,  “Yonduh is duh castle of muh fadduh, duh Emperuh.”  All I know is that I howl with laughter at his line from “Spartacus” where he tells Olivier, “I also teach duh Classics.” (BTW, IMDB tells me he also had a bit part in “Winchester ’73“, one of Ol’ Robbo’s favorites.  I’ve never noticed before. I’ll have to look next time.)

I’d never seen this film before, but it brought back to mind the fact that back in my misspent yoot I had watched the teevee series (1977-79) based on it, starring John “I’ll do anything” Astin as the skipper and, ironically, Jamie Lee Curtis as one of the lady crew.  I also immediately recognized, because of the kind of flotsam and jetsam strewed across the Robbo braims, that the series had simply borrowed a good bit of stock footage from the film.  (I’m thinking particularly of the torpedo that hits the truck on the beach, which I think was in the teevee show opening credits.)

Objective, Burma!” (1945) – Another new-to-me film.  A special paratrooper corps jumps into Burma to take out a large Japanese radar installation, but has to hack its way out on foot when air support can’t extricate it.  Errol Flynn – fifteen years older and about fifteen pounds heavier than in his early 30’s swashbuckling days – leads the troops.  Eh, it was okay, if a highly romanticized version of the actual conditions of ground combat in Burma as relayed by George MacDonald Fraser, who was a sniper-scout in the British XIV Army there, in his autobiographical Quartered Safe Out Here.

I think I actually have this one in my queue as part of my Hollywood History project, but in fact I  watched it on Turner Classic Movies this week as part of their Rehabilitating Communism series marking the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.  One of the writers of the film, Lester Cole, was part of the “Hollywood Ten” and was black-listed.  The fellah who MC’s the TCM films these days noted this, and was quick to explain that the Red Scare was nothing more than the gratuitous lashings out of a bunch of close-minded, knuckle-dragging, Bible-thumping, sister-loving, Unpeople of Jesusland and totally without merit.  In this day and age, after all we’ve learned about Hollywood, the Media, Academia, and the Deep State, ol’ Robbo is gob-smacked that these people still have the chutzpah to push that line.

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense” (1984) – What, you think Ol’ Robbo can’t be hip? (Stop laughing.) I watch this concert film every now and again just because I happen to like the Talking Heads (I am sure I’ve told the story here before about the time I listened to their album “More Songs About Buildings And Food” for nearly seven straight hours because it was the only tape I had in my car)  and because I enjoy the pure energy here.  This time, I found myself wondering idly how many calories David Byrne, ah, burned every time he did that show.

Live And Let Die” (1973) – The first of the Roger Moore Bond films, of course.  I hadn’t seen it in years, and was immediately struck, in terms of pacing and story, at how much more like the old Connery films had been, as opposed to the more, eh, frivolous and gimmicky direction the later Moore editions took.  Of course, I was also struck by the lovely and talented Jane Seymour, who I believe debuted here.  My stars, though, I’ll bet the Socialist Juicebox Wankers scream “Raaaaaayciiiiiist!!!!” over this one at the top of their Pajama-Boy voices these days.

So there you have it.  Feel free to add your own opinions, observations, comments, reflections, recommendations, etc.

In the meantime, I’m off to watch “Damn the Defiant” (1962) – Alec Guinness plays the captain of one of His Majesty’s Ships during the Napoleonic Wars trying to keep his sadistic Number One, played by Dirk Bogarde, from driving his crew to mutiny.  I’ve only seen this movie once before and retain a generally positive memory, but we will see what a return viewing produces.


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November 2017