Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roger Moore & Martha Hyer in Crossplot (1969)

This rather silly thriller is saved by a truly gorgeous Roger Moore, a glamorous 60's London setting and some great retro visuals - for the most part. The plot concerns agitators, international intrigue and a nest of spys that suck an ad man (Moore) and a Hungarian beauty (Claudie Lang) into the fray. The action and characters remind one of North by Northwest (1959) and the whole film comes off in hind sight as Moore's audition for James Bond.
This is a film to watch if you're fond of swinging London, the Mods, glamorous clothes and settings and you don't mind a somewhat derivative plot and extremely bad process screen sequences. There are a number of scenes that are pure comedy because of the green screen effects. Look for Bernard Lee, "M" from the Bond series, in a small role.

Crossplot is available on DVD and can be watched instantly on Netflix. The trailer is above, uploaded to YouTube by britflix.

Obscurity factor: 8 (not well remembered, available on DVD and Netflix instant)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lana Turner, Cliff Robertson & Stefanie Powers in Love Has Many Faces (1966)

In this, the last of Lana Turner's super soapers, she plays an heiress, ex pat living in Acapulco with a beautiful trophy husband (Robertson). When we meet her, one of her boy-toys has committed suicide and the police are investigating. The seamier side of the tropical paradise is on full display in this glamorous, if highly overdramatic tome. Hugh O'Brian is the beach's ruling giglio and he hooks Ruth Roman. Meanwhile, Stefanie Powers (looking very strange and pixie-like in perky short hairdos) has come to see about the death of her former fiance, the aforementioned boy-toy.
Though not as well known as Lana's other starring vehicles like Imitation of Life (1959) or Madame X (1966), this film is fun to watch for several reasons. It's thick with manufactured drama that can be and is spread on toast on a regular basis. It also has a delightful theme song, sung by the incomparable Nancy Wilson, and Lana Turner's wardrobe, designed by Edith Head has its own, deserved starring role. Look for an absurd climax featuring bull fighters.
This film is available on DVD, and can be rented to watch instantly at It's hard to find footage online. Above is a clip from the beginning of the film from TCM's website.

Obscurity factor: 8 (on DVD and, not as well remembered as other Lana Turner epics)