Tag Archives: American cinema

RIP Allen Garfield (1939 – 2020)

Allen Garfield was an American actor.

Garfield at 2:52

In my book he is noted for playing a smut peddler in no less than two early Brian De Palma films: Greetings (1968) and Hi Mom! (1968).

In Greetings Garfield praises the imaginary book The Horney Headmaster by Richard P. Long (“beautiful book, tremendous insights!”) to Robert de Niro.

In The Conversation, that masterpiece of paranoia, he is the one to describe Hackman as “the best bugger on the West Coast.”

The true jewel of the three films I mention here, is the film Hi Mom! for its ‘black experience’ episode (but to be honest, Garfield is not in that segment).

Trailer to Cry Uncle!, Garfield is throughout

While researching this death, I stumble upon Cry Uncle! (1971), judging from the trailer, I gather this is an amusing film.

Au revoir John. I suspect you were lots of fun.

RIP Stuart Gordon (1947 – 2020)

Incredibly Strange Film Show on Stuart Gordon (part one)

Stuart Gordon is a film director is best-known for his Re-Animator (1985), based on H. P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West—Reanimator” (1922).

Incredibly Strange Film Show on Stuart Gordon (part two)

The story starts with these lines ominous lines, in keeping with Lovecraft’s sinister oeuvre:

“Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham. While he was with me, the wonder and diabolism of his experiments fascinated me utterly, and I was his closest companion. Now that he is gone and the spell is broken, the actual fear is greater. Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities.”

H. P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West—Reanimator” (1922)

The television documentary series Incredibly Strange Film Show did a special on Gordon in 1989 where they interviewed him in the La Brea Tar Pits

RIP Monique van Vooren (1927 – 2020)

Fearless Frank  (1967 featuring Van Vooren as Plethora. This is the beginning of the film with a voice over of cult favorite Ken Nordine.

Monique van Vooren was a Belgian-born American actress and dancer, perhaps best-known for her part in Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (1973), also known as Flesh for Frankenstein.

In that film she is baroness Frankenstein, wife and sister of baron Frankenstein (Udo Kier). The film’s pretty awful but the gore is marked by high production values and it features Van Vooren nude in a duo with Joe Dallesandro with some ridiculously loud armpit slurping.

RIP Sonny ‘french connection’ Grosso (1930 – 2020)

The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing ‘The French Connection’ (2000)

Sonny Grosso was a New York City police detective turned movie and television producer, noted for his role in the “French Connection” heroin bust immortalized in the The French Connection (1971), directed by William Friedkin.

The BBC documentary The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing ‘The French Connection’ (2000) [above] features him extensively.

After being an adviser on The French Connection, Grosso went on to play a part in the film Cruising (1980), also directed by William Friedkin.

The History of Cruising (2007),

This film is also the subject of a documentary (above).

RIP Sue ‘Lolita’ Lyon (1946 – 2019)

Lolita (1962)


Sue Lyon was an American actress best-known as the nymphet of Lolita (1962).


My film bible Cult Movie Stars has this:

“Amid much publicity stating she was too young even to see the film, an unknown blonde was cast in the title role in Lolita.”

Lyon’s final film role was in the mildly amusing Alligator (1980).

RIP Danny Aiello (1933 – 2019)

Danny Aiello was an American actor, often characterized as a character actor.

The Stuff (1985), full film, Mr Aiello can be seen from 15:40 onwards.

Aiello played in The Stuff (1985) by Larry Cohen. In that film he is Mr. Vickers, a man who works for the FDA and approved ‘the stuff’. He is later eaten by his dog who was being fed ‘the stuff’ too. They were both addicted to ‘the stuff’.

The Stuff is a typical Cohen film, at once critical of society and sensationalist.

It belongs to a small category of Hollywood films with an anti-consumerist message. Another important film in that category is They Live (1988).

Perhaps these are the two only films in that category.

RIP Peter “Easy Rider” Fonda (1940 – 2019)

Peter Fonda was American actor.

The Hired Hand (1971)

Everyone knows Peter Fonda from the film Easy Rider (1969) a cult film which is so well-known that it is actually a mainstream film.

I saw the film somewhere in the 1990s but hardly remember anything about it. Given the choice — knowing what I know now — between watching Easy Rider and its predecessor The Wild Angels (1966) I’d watch the latter, being that it is as hilarious as it is historiographical (in the sense that Wild Angels tells us more about the sixties zeitgeist than Easy Rider, I refer specifically to the speech featuring “We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man!”)

But now Fonda is dead and despite the dictum “de mortuis nisi nihil bonum“, a few things need to be said before the praise can begin:

“[Peter Fonda] had nowhere near the talent of his father Henry Fonda or sister Jane Fonda, but he was popular with young audiences from the early sixties to early seventies because he was good-looking, knew how to ride a motorcycle, made “hip” pictures with drug-related themes, and, to hide his acting limitations, smartly played characters who were tight-lipped, unemotional, and often wore shades.” —Cult Movie Stars (1991) by Danny Peary

Now for the praise.

Upon the death of an actor or director, I check YouTube for films featuring the corpse in question. And so it happened that I stumbled upon The Hired Hand (1971). Never heard of it before. Started reading about it. Appeared to be a revisionist western. Interesting category. Started watching. Liked the music. The story is that of a man who is tired of drifting the Wild West and returns home to the wife and child he left seven years earlier. She accepts him, not as a husband, but as a hired hand.

That same Danny Peary who called Fonda not a good actor calls The Hired Hand a “feminist western”.

Why?

Because the film pays lots of attention to the abandoned woman and her sexual needs during the departure of her husband. A sort of Penelope vs. Odysseus.

On two occasions Hannah (the abandoned wife) ruminates about her lust for sex. These dialogues are extremely interesting and the second scene, in which Oates touches the ankle of Bloom, is actually quite sexy.

The first conversation of her sex life is with returned husband (Fonda) who has heard rumors in town of her sexual escapades [47:00]:

“You hired men to sleep with,” says he.

She responds:

“Sometimes I’d have him or he’d have me whatever suits you.”

And in a second scene she says to Arch Harris (Oates) [54:00]:

“You probably think I’m pretty hot … Well I am … don’t wannabe but I am … I don’t know how many nights I set on the porch … watching the shed … hoping whoever was in there would come out … hoping and terrified in case he did … wouldn’t really matter whether it was you or him tonight.”

Anyway, above is the complete film.

I loved it.