Julian’s Column

Hello dears. I thought I would do something a little different in this issue and have a go at including a few other topics in my regular featurette. It doesn’t mean to say that I have deserted the little Bio, it’s just that the programme there for the next fortnight isn’t very exciting. The goodies that are showing I will mention at the end of my other review.

To begin with though I would like to say a few words about the Larry Grayson album that has been sent me. Then I’d like to describe some of the treats from the Royal Variety Performance that the BBC showed the other week.

Biograph Review

As I said earlier, not much on at the Bio over the next two weeks. But there are a few films worth recommending to you.

On Thursday 16th November, for three days, Borsalino is being shown. Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo get on very well together and make this super re-construction of an old time gangster movie well worth catching.

Best double bill of the fortnight comes on Thursday 23rd November for three days. The totally gripping Honeymoon Killers is showing with the really scary The House That Dripped Blood. That one, the last time I saw it, scared me so much it almost made my whatnots curdle. The former stars Shirley Stoler and Tony La Bianco, whilst the latter boasts the cream of the British horror brigade, Peter Cushing and Christopher ‘Shut That Church Door’ Lee.

A nice weepie for three days starts on Monday 27th November. Jean Simmons and dishy Leonard Whiting star in Say Hello to Yesterday. I’m sure you will all be interested to know that some of the new location scenes were shot next door to where I live. You could have blown me over with a whisper the morning I came out and found a bus stop had been erected overnight outside my front door, and parked alongside it was a double decker bus. It wasn’t much good to me though, it only went to Regents Park. Oh, I don’t know though. Primrose Hill can be very interesting at times. Anyway the man in the paper shop over the road put me right about what was going on, and saved me from rushing off to have a scream at someone at the local council offices about new bus routes lowering the tone of the neighbourhood.

Remember I was saying in the last issue to watch out for ‘Lily Law’ and her wandering at the Bio. Well, she seems to have got bored and is keeping herself busy somewhere else. Now you can get on with your relaxation without any interference, apart from that silly usherette man who still can’t keep his hands off his flasher. I hope that the batteries of his torch run out soon.

Take care of yourselves, you should have your woolly vests on by now. If you catch a cold now you’ll have it all winter. Bye all.

Everard and All

WHAT A GAY DAYLarry (Shut That Door) Grayson — York Records MYK 602

No doubt you all know about Larry Grayson and the considerable amount of success he has had this year. Firstly there’s that television series of his, and if you believe the television ratings, he’s doing very nicely. Secondly, he had a single record out called, you guessed it, Shut That Door. That too was very popular.

Now he’s brought out a 12” LP record called What A Gay Day. All the old favourites are included, such as Slack Alice, Apricot Lil, Everard, Candlewick Kate, Non-Stick Nell, and Once-A-Week Nora. I’ve met a few ‘slack alices’ in my time so I can sympathise, but Everard sounds devine! There is always room for you at my place, Ev, if that Larry gets on at you too much.

Compared to Mark Fleming, Larry is a little tame. And his album certainly is not going to shock anyone, but if you like his type of humour, this is sure to please.

The Marrow is a bit naughty, although what he’s getting at is fairly obvious. That Larry is a greedy boy.

He also sings a couple of standards – Second Hand Rose and Only A Glass Of Champagne – in his own inimitable way. Stories about all his ills and pains also appear, as well as descriptions of little adventures he’s had. Shut That Door turns up here and there, as well as him doing the original song version.

With Christmas coming up a lot of people will be buying this for their parties and festivities. Larry never goes too far, so Mums, Dads, Aunt Flo’s and the rest are not going to be outraged too much.

Have a listen, you will get a few laughs if you are in the right mood. You wait until I make my record. I’ll show that ‘Gay Day’ Larry a thing or two.

Queens at the Palladium

Well loves, did you see it? Wasn’t it a gorgeous gay event? All the stars were there, and there wasn’t just one queen there either. Apart from HM Queen Elizabeth and The Queen Mother, lovely ladies both of them, there were those pianist lads – Liberace and Elton John – and Danny La Rue looking more fetching than ever. Such stunning gowns he wears!

Liberace’s wardrobe was as fabulous as ever and he was changing his creations every two minutes. Someone forgot to light his candles though. He had a little competition from Elton, who seemed bent on showing from where he gets his fashion inspirations.

Danny was up to his usual standard and he did some sexy numbers with the chorus boys.

Of the rest of the stars Jack Jones and comedienne Carol Channing were superb, and Carol’s little piece with Liberace was very amusing. The Jackson Five were delightful. I couldn’t keep my eyes off that boy Michael Jackson. Knows his showbiz that kid. Particularly of note was Roy Hull and his Emu, who kept me in stitches throughout his act.

A very enjoyable show and such a regal evening.

Menace Merchants

Three different horror films from three separate distributors recently opened in London on the same day, meaning there are three cinemas one third full. They are:

  • Dracula AD 1972, directed by Alan Gibson; starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Distributed by Columbia-Warner.
  • Dr Phibes Rises Again, starring Vincent Price; directed by Robert Fuest. An AIP release, distributed by Anglo-EMI.
  • Tales From The Crypt, starring Peter Cushing, Sir Ralph Richardson, Barbara Murray et al; directed by Freddie Francis, Released by Cinerama Releasing (UK).

In terms of horror, the most convincing and chilling is Dracula, in which the celebrated Count is brought back to life, amidst a present day Kings Road, Chelsea setting. The Dracula blood sucking scenes are as erotic and eerie as ever, while the Kings Road background enables the film to make some cynical comments on the plastic Chelsea scene.

Tales From The Crypt is composed of several short tales involving the evil thoughts of five very English, bourgeois people trapped with a shaking Sir Ralph (dressed in monk’s habit) in an underground crypt. The evil people are all very obviously money mad, wealthy and establishmentarian, and the film is really an attack on these values. In a way the philosophical ideas are so subtle that they might in fact escape the average cinemagoer, and this is really the reason for the introduction of the horror sequences, which are nearly all irrelevant to the ideas of the story, and grossly over-edited. A good film if you can quietly absorb its leftish ideas which are very subtly transmitted.

Dr Phibes Rises Again is a veritable farago of very camp 1930s pastiche, art-deco sets, trippy colours and eccentric characters, all of whom land up in and around Egyptian mummies, searching for the elixir of life. Sarcastic and very entertaining.

Real horror and reality returns with a jolt in Johnny Got His Gun, starring Jeff Bridges and Donald Sutherland; written and directed by Dalton Trumbo (one of the ten Hollywood writers blacklisted by McCarthy) and distributed by the Rank Organisation. A stern, bleak and very upsetting anti-war film about a young American who while fighting somewhere in the trenches in Europe during the first world war, loses his legs, arms, sight, hearing and the parts of his brain which help him to speak. A maniac doctor decides to keep him alive as a kind of scientific curiosity, and locks him up in a small dark room. But he hasn’t lost his feelings or his memory, and he spends his time thinking back to his life in small town America, which seems as futile as war and the vegetable it has made him. He eventually manages to communicate with one of the nurses by tapping his head on a pillow in morse code. The words “Kill me. kill me.”

A sad poignantly, horrific film. Not to be missed.

AAAARRRGGH!

19720901-10ASYLUM (X) Starring Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lorn, Patrick Magee, Richard Todd. Written by Robert Bloch. Directed by Roy Ward Baker. Distributed by Cinema International Corporation.

Standard horror atmosphere! Six people locked up in an isolated rural mental hospital, presided over by a wizened wheel-chaired Patrick Magee, who gives a young doctor the task of guessing which of the four inmates is the former doctor who went insane. So he goes into each of the four rooms and interviews each of the four patients who give their versions of how they got there. There is then a flashback and we are shown the predictably gory episode which has put them there.

For me the attraction of horror movies is that they are a total fantasy in a realistic setting, which makes them utterly believable, while at the same time being entertaining, and frightening in their excursions into the supernatural. Plunging me into this realistic fantasy provides me with a delightful ninety minutes of escapism, and this latest piece is as brilliantly directed, ham-acted, enjoyably frightening as usual, and is highly recommended to all addicts.

‘Someone So Beautiful’

04-197208XX 10“STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING” starring Rita Tushingham, Shane Briant, Tom Bell. Colour, directed by Peter Collinson. A Hammer Production from Anglo E.M.I. released by MGM-E.M.I.

“Straight on till Morning” is something of a departure for Hammer, not being a horror film in the usual sense of the word, but a kind of anti heterosexual, anti swinging London, anti plastic relationship film. Plain looking Brenda (Rita Tushingham) leaves Mum in an industrial Northern town to come to London, in search of a man who’s going to love her and give her a baby. She arrives and wanders through Earls Court bewildered by the frightening, rushing horror of London. She answers an ad., goes to work in a boutique run by a girl crazy, sterotype, boring het., and after a few non events goes to share a flat with the het’s girlfriend, who spends her time unemotionally screwing and throwing parties. Not Brenda’s scene she’s the awkward emotional type who’s awful at trendy parties, so she gets really cheesed off after one of them, and rushes through the streets crying. She finds a dog, an extremely scruffy one, takes it home and next morning goes round to the address on its collar. The door is answered by a very pretty blonde young man (Shane Briant), who much to Brenda’s surprise, asks her to come and live in his house and look after him. You see the poor boy is so tired of pretty women only wanting him for his body, that he’s murdered two such ladies, and he murders the dog too, because Brenda has washed it and made it look beautiful. He wants emotional love and he thinks an ugly girl can give it to him, and Peter Collinson the director really quite credibly shows the agony of someone who is so beautiful, they can never trust their love to anyone, because the other is always likely to only want their body. Unfortunately Brenda goes and gets a face lift and a fancy hair style, so our pretty little murderer, goes and does her in too.

The whole thing must sound quite wierd to the humble reader, but I must implore each and everyone of you to see the film. Peter Collinson manages to make it really eerie and thought provoking:- The sad futility of the straight Kings Road scene, and for the first time in any film I’ve seen, an attempt is made to be anti sexist. Sexism is the love and worship of physical beauty alone, without regard to the inner person.

Playing with “Straight on till Morning” in this double bill is a much more regulation Hammer horror, “Fear in the Night”, with Peter Cushing, and Judy Geeson. Strange, mysterious and entertaining goings on in a boy’s public school. Trouble is no boys, and that phrase is relevant to the film.