BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA
(MGM Home Entertainment DVD retail) “COO
In the autumn of 1973. teetering dramatically on the verge of mental and physical breakdown. Sam Peckinpah began principal photography on his tenth feature.
Set in Mexico and described variously as 'a repulsive nightmare' and ‘the grimmest. most horrifying of his films'. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia can now be appreciated as one of the director's most uncompromisingly bleak meditation on masculinity.
Bennie. a washed-up bar-room pianist (underrated Peckinpah stalwart Warren Oates) leaps at the chance to pick up 810.000 by hunting down Alfredo Garcia. a former henchman of powerful mob boss El Jefe (Emilio Fernandez) whose daughter Garcia has left pregnant.
Along with a handful of films such as Jerry Schatzberg‘s 1973 effOrt Scarecrow. . . .A/fredo Garcia remains one of the great. most sorely under-appreciated classics of New American Cinema. Wrapped up in a surreal. dream-like aura of fatalism. it is essential. unmissable Peckinpah. Minimal extras. (Pasquale lannone)
SCREWBALL COMEDY HAIL THE CONOUERING HERO
(U) 101 min (Llniversal Pictures Video DVD retail) 0...
The great Preston Sturges is at his most satiric with this blustery
1944 farce about an improbably named Marine. Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (played by rubber-faced Eddie Bracken). who suffers the ignominy of being mustered out of the corp before ever seeing service because of his hay fever. When a group of Marines take pity on the poor fella. Truesmith finds himself talked — unwillingly, mind — into feigning “jungle fever‘ and returning to his hometown a war hero. As the stakes are raised. first by a warm welcome home. then with a statue erected in his honour and finally by him being pressured to run for mayor. the whole escapade becomes too much for the ill-named Truesmith. A superb comic turn from Bracken holds this (typically for Sturges) madcap movie together. But there's great support. too. from a cast of fine character actors. They really don't make ‘em like this no more. (Miles Fielder)
THE LADY EVE (U) 97min
(Universal Pictures Video DVD retail)
(2“): ﬁx. 5“} m .3,.. Henry Fonda plays the former. Charles ‘Hopsie‘ Pike. just back from a year up the Amazon studying snakes; Barbara Stanwyck plays the latter. Jean Harrington. on the same boat as Hopsie and looking to marry herself into his family fortune.
Fonda makes a
credible job of playing it dull-as-ditchwater. while Stanwyck's a knockout. particularly when she adopts a plummy British accent and starts winding her prey around her finger. Amazingly. for a film written and directed by a three-time divorcee. romance triumphs in one of being Sturges' finest.
SPOOF ESPIONAGE THRILLER SADISTEROTICA (18) 75min
(Anchor Bay UK DVD retail) .0.
More Our Man F/i'nt than James Bond. Jess Vampyros Lesbos Franco's spoof spy movie eschews the gaudy sexploitation of most of his oeuvre for a silly espionage-tinged romp.
Diana (Janine Reynaud) and Regina (Rosanna Yanni) are spies known as ‘The Red Lips'. investigating the disappearance of models and dancers in an unnamed European resort. When painter and sculptor Klaus Thiller (Adrian Hoven) starts to exhibit art that resembles the missing girls. the duo begin to keep him under surveillance.
Flirtatious chemistry between the leads and the camp tone — at one point Yanni beckons the camera to zoom in and spare her blushes — make this throwaway fun. with the score. a mix of Mediterranean jazz and spooky Theremin. pleasurany kitsch too.
Although woeful dubbing and a very slight plot can make it feel like a feature length episode of Eurotrash. this remains one of Franco's more intelligible contributions to what he perceived as mainstream cinema. Extras include theatrical trailers and director biography. (Dave Martin)
CRIME DRAMA MEDIUM BBC1, Tue 6 Sep, 11.05pm 000
If there‘s one thing that Patricia Arquette can do well it's pertraying blank bamboozlement. That sounds like a criticism and. well. maybe it is. But her career is riddled with unsmiley types caught in a whirlwind of circumstances. none of which are her own doing and which leave her looking bamboozled. And blank. 80. when the makers of this drama series about the real-life medium Allison Dubois were at the casting stage. there could only have been one name on the shortlist for the lead role. In the opening episode. she has a dream which bears an uncanny resemblance to a bizarre murder case involving a 17-year-old suspect. Naturally. there is some disapproving contempt from the police authorities in Texas when she strides into their COunty following her psychic instincts. It‘s all a bit X- Fi/es meets Dukes of Hazzard but there is enough creepiness going on to sustain some kind of interest in the story. (Brian Donaldson)
LOCH NESS MONSTER: THE ULTIMATE EXPERIMENT Five, Sun 28 Aug, 7pm
Sometimes you see a television programme which really makes you wonder. what in hell's teeth was the point of
that? And it's certainly the case here. because this heur-Iong dOCumentary should barely even have made it to the dravving board. let alone onto Our screens. The makers challenged a bunch of aniinatronic nerds to build a fake NeSSie. then take it to Loch Ness and fool some t0urists. Hello? These are Nessie spotters we're talking about: you COuld tie two tyres to a plank and they'd believe it's a dinosaur. That's why they're there.
Anyway. the thing they build is rubbish (only 15 feet for a kick off). tied to an old submarine. and it succeeds in getting a few tourists vaguely excited from a long. long way away. With no tension, no likeable Characters. no Charm and no inSight into anything whatsoever. this is ludicroust worthless IGICVISIOn. (Doug Johnstone)
IAN FLEMING: BONDMAKER
BBC1, Sun 28 Aug, 10.45pm 0000
In this dramatisation of the life and works of the celebrated James Bond creator, restaged interViews and readings from his literature are presented alongside events that shaped the man. the writer and the inimitable womanising. dangernun1007. Enorn‘ous fun has been had in the retelling of Fleming's life of temperance and excess. apparently not least by Ben Dawes and Emin Woof. who present Mr and Mrs Fleming as priVileged. daring and larger than life characters. turning on the drama when required. It all makes for a somehow less obtruswe examination of the man's influences. actors. rather than friends and fan‘in making the assertions about his motives. No doubt Fleming \.'.'oti|d have approved of this depiction of his life as a risk-taker. a cad. a mere mortal James Bond. He may well have wished he (:0uid have lived the life of his infamous creation. but I weiild settle for Fleming's. i’Mark Edmundsoni
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