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V.D. (1961)
Campy But Entertaining Warning Film, 27 April 2017

V.D. (1961)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Jim (Mory Schollhouse) is one of the coolest guys in his high school. He's cute, has a cool car, dates the beautiful Judy (Charlotte Stewart) and he's a star on the track team. One day he and some buddies go out, have a few too many beers and end up banging some hookers. Jim feels guilty but he moves on but before long he notices a spot on his you know what.

Warning pictures like this one had been around since the silent era but it's a little surprising to see a feature this late in the game. By 1961 the majority of exploitation features were over yet here's one that sneaked onto movie screens with pretty much everything you'd expect from the genre.

For starters, if you're looking for a quality movie then you're simply in the wrong genre. I'm really not sure if any of these "warning" pictures ever led to an actual good film but many of them did have a great amount of entertainment and I'd say this one falls into that group. The performances are what you'd expect from a low- budget movie like this and naturally a lot of the dialogue is extremely silly.

Those silly and campy moments are the reason people watch films like this and there are some really funny things scattered throughout. I'd have to say the highlight for me was the scene after the hookers when the four boys are sitting around a campfire and discussing why they feel guilty. Pure laugh-riot. The film also goes the exploitation route towards the end as we see an actual V.D. short where we see the results of untreated syphilis. Yes, it'll make your skin crawl.

V.D. isn't a masterpiece or even a well-made film but I must admit that it kept me entertained. I actually liked all of the characters in the film and I thought their story was interesting enough o hold my attention throughout.

Fun Featurette, 26 April 2017

From the Ashes: William F. Nolan on 'Burnt Offerings' (2015)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

This here is a very good and entertaining interview with writer William F. Nolan who discusses working on BURNT OFFERINGS. He starts off talking about how he got into screen writing and from here we get into the production of the film. He shares a lot of great stories about issues happening on and off the set including a very funny bit about Bette Davis hating Oliver Reed and Reed making sure to drive her crazy any chance he got. We also get some great stories about the other cast members as well as what Dan Curtis was like as a director. Nolan also goes off on the critics who attacked the film and talks about why he feels the film is so popular today. If you're a fan of the film then you're going to really enjoy the stories that are being told here. Nolan is certainly interesting to listen to and he makes this a very entertaining featurette.

Great Look Back at the Legends, 26 April 2017

Blood Ties: Lee Montgomery on 'Burnt Offerings' (2015)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Highly entertaining interview with Lee Montgomery has the actor talking about his work on the 1976 cult film BURNT OFFERINGS. The great thing about this interview is that Montgomery has several memories about the making of the film and he's even got his screenplay from the movie, which was signed by many of the legendary actors in the picture. He talks about a few of the stunts as well as what it was like working as a child actor but the main focus is on his legendary co-stars. We get some terrific stories about Bette Davis, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith and of course Karen Black. These stories are certainly the most fascinating thing about the interview and especially since Montgomery has such a good memory of it all. Often time child actors can't remember too many details but that's certainly not the case here because we're given some great stories and especially about Reed and his style of acting.

Excellent Interview with James, 26 April 2017

Anthony James: Acting His Face (2015)

**** (out of 4)

This here is an excellent featurette, which has character actor Anthony James discussing his career including his work on films like IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, BURNT OFFERINGS and UNFORGIVEN. This 17-minute interview is a bonus feature on the BURNT OFFERINGS release so that film gets a lot of talk and we get a terrific story about how Betty Davis helped James. We also get some great stories about being on the set of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and a lot of the stories here center around his mother, which leads to a good and touching story dealing with him memoir. If you're a fan of James then you'll certainly want to check out this interview as he's certainly a great storyteller and we get some great bits of information on the films I mentioned. The story with Eastwood and UNFORGIVEN was great but then again so was pretty much every other story told here.

R-rated Version, 26 April 2017

A Touch of Genie (1974)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Melvin (Douglas Stone) is a rather weird man who works in an antique store. When he's not working he's putting on a funny facial costume and heading to the local porno theater where he watches the movies. One day he masturbates into a vase and out pops a genie (Chris Jordan) who grants him five wishes.

A TOUCH OF GENIE is out there in two different versions. One of them is a full XXX porno while the other one, clocking in at 69-minutes, is a R-rated cut. It's the shorter version that is on review here so if you're wanting comments on the porno version then I can't offer any. As far as this version goes, I must say that it really didn't work too well with me. Director Joseph W. Sarno made some decent comedy films like THE SWITCH and he also made some awful ones like DEEP THROAT PART II. This one here falls into the middle of them but for the most part it's not all that memorable.

Again, perhaps the porn brought more out of the film but as it stands, this version is rather flat, although the cast members are certainly giving it their all. I thought both Stone and Jordan were good in their parts. We've also got a lot of famous porn stars playing themselves including Harry Reems. The problem I had with the movie was the fact that the comedy just wasn't funny and especially the Jewish humor.

Not a Classic But It's Entertaining, 26 April 2017

The Switch or How to Alter Your Ego (1974)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Dr. Shirley Jekyll (Mary Mendum) is a rather big nerd who does nothing but work on her experiments. She has no social life and certainly no love life. All of that changes when she creates a potion and tries it on herself. Before long she is transformed into the sexy Sherry Hyde and goes out for some hot passion.

This sexploitation comedy was directed by the one and only Joseph W. Sarno and I must admit that I really wasn't sure what to expect from it. After all, Sarno had directed the comedy DEEP THROAT PART II and it was a downright awful movie so I was thinking that perhaps comedy just wasn't his thing. Well, this here turned out to be an entertaining, if not all together funny, movie that perfectly spoofs the Jekyll and Hyde theme while pleasing the male viewers looking for nudity.

A lot of the credit for the film's charm must go to Mendum who is simply very fun in the role of Jekyll and especially Hyde. I thought her comic timing was pretty good playing the rather silly and straight Jekyll character. She was also very seductive when it came time to play the wilder side. The actress was obviously very beautiful so that's a major plus in a film like this. The supporting players fits their roles nicely, although no one really stands out.

One shouldn't really go into this film expecting some sort of horror-comedy. The main goal of this picture was to play on 42nd Street and bring in male viewers who were wanting to see nudity. There are a bunch of comic sex scenes throughout including a massive orgy at the end. As I said, I really didn't think the comedy worked as well as it could have but the film remains entertaining throughout.

Entertaining "Educational" Short, 25 April 2017

How to Undress in Front of Your Man (1970)

*** (out of 4)

This ten-minute short tries to pass itself off as being educational but we all know that the producer's main goal was to show off some nudity and lure men into the theater. The short starts off with a man getting into bed while his wife (Carol Vaughn) tries to get him to have sex with her. He prefers to sleep so the narrator tells us what she should do to turn him on. Of course, we also see what she does. This is a really, really silly short but at the same time it has some sort of weird charm that actually makes it quite entertaining. I guess you could say that it has a certainly sweet nature about it and this just rubs off on the viewer. It certainly doesn't hurt that the actress is extremely cute so it's easy to watch her do her thing.

Know Your Enemy - Japan, 25 April 2017

Know Your Enemy - Japan (1945)

*** (out of 4)

This WWII documentary was part of the "Why We Fight" series and this one here was co-directed by the one and only Frank Capra. With added narration by Walter Huston, John Beal, Knox Manning and Howard Duff, this documentary tries to explain to Americans who exactly Japan is.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY - JAPAN is pretty much what you'd expect from a propaganda film of this era. Obviously America was deep into the war so countless documentaries were made to try and explain to the people at home what was going on, why we were fighting and, in this case, who we were fighting. Obviously there's a lot of material here that might not pass the truthful test but when viewing something like this it's important to remember when and why it was made.

As you'd expect, there's some pretty brutal war footage shown here including various scenes showing the horror of war, which means dead bodies. Some people might just want to skip this film and the series because of this footage and that would be understandable. I'm sure some might object to how this film shows Japanese people but, again, this was a propaganda film trying to rally support for the war so that is to be expected.

There's certainly nothing here that is greatly made and it's certainly not one of the greatest documentaries ever made. With that said, as a history piece it's quite interesting and well worth watching if you're interested in the subject.

James Dean and Me (1995) (TV)
Some Good Interviews Here, 25 April 2017

James Dean & Me (1995)

*** (out of 4)

Rod Steiger, Dennis Hopper, Leonard Maltin, Sheila Benson, Martin Landau, Liz Sheridan, Eartha Kitt, Steve Allen and Dick Van Pattern are just some of the people interviewed for this 51-minute documentary that takes a look at the young life of James Dean.

At such a short running time there's no question that this isn't the most detailed documentary that you're going to see but what makes this one worth watching is the fact that we're given interviews with people who actually knew him and worked with him. Hopper shares some great stories of working with him as does Landau who was close friends with Dean. We also have interviews with a couple former girlfriends who share their thoughts on his fast life and sudden death.

There's certainly nothing ground-breaking here and it was all paced together on an obvious low-budget. It has a somewhat cheap feel and look to it but at the same time if you're a fan of the actor then you're going to enjoy hearing these stories.

The Fans Will Enjoy, 25 April 2017

Happy Days: 30th Anniversary Reunion (2005)

*** (out of 4)

Garry Marshall hosts this reunion special, which has interviews with various cast members as well as countless clips from the show Happy Days. Towards the end we get to the actual reunion, which features Ron Howard, Erin Moran, Scott Baio, Tom Bosley, Don Most, Marion Ross, Anson Williams and of course Henry Winkler. A couple surprise guests also appear.

There was a previous reunion special done in 1992 but that one there didn't feature Eric Moran so this one here is a bit more complete as far as the original cast members go. If you're a fan of the show then you'll obviously enjoy this special even though it's certainly nothing special. The clips selected are pretty much the same ones shown in the earlier special and the cast members pretty much tell the same stories. There is a small Q&A section, which was good.

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