Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco E. Prosperi, best-known for the groundbreaking shockumentary Mondo Cane, directed this bizarre and shocking look at slavery in America. Set in the deep South prior to the Civil War, Zio Tom finds Jacopetti and Prosperi travelling back in time aboard a helicopter to investigate the nuts and bolts of slavery as it happened in the United States prior to abolition. Along the way, the filmmakers go aboard a slave ship as frightened Africans are brought to America under inhuman conditions; they witness the dangerous and degrading process by which slaves were made ready for market; and they visit a “breeding farm” for slaves after laws prohibit the importation of slaves from abroad. Also included is a sermon from a preacher who argues for the moral and spiritual necessity of slavery (while another man speaks out against it strictly on grounds of economics and practicality); the contrasting thoughts of men and women on the matter of miscegenation; and an interview with an educated slave who feels his circumstances are better for him than conventional employment. Also shown is the brutal torture and punishment of slaves for any number of real or imagined grievances. Re-creating both the opulence and the ugliness of the Old South on a grand scale, Zio Tom concludes with present-day African-Americans reading The Confession of Nat Turner and contemplating violent overthrow of the white-dominated culture. Understandably controversial, Zio Tom received a very brief theatrical release in the United States under the title Farewell Uncle Tom, where it received an X rating from the MPAA despite being trimmed by approximately 20 minutes from its original Italian running time. Continue reading
An outrageously funny spoof on the Western film, Lonesome Cowboys is a synthesis of Warhol’s sorties into the New York underworld, but much more humorous and with closer adherence to a nonsensical plot. The film was photographed in Arizona, in a ghost town where (somehow) two of Warhol’s superstars are discovered. The incongruous montebanks happen to be Viva, as chic and sarcastic as she was in Bike Boy and resembling a displaced model for Hound and Horn, and Taylor Mead. Mr. Mead is the zany of our time, and when five mysterious cowhands saunter into town, the hilarity commences. The cowboys are an odd assortment, a bit androgynous and city-wise, and they interact with the two in varying attitudes of lust and indifference in set-pieces of inspired film comedy. Often, Lonesome Cowboys reaches the ultimate in surrealist imagery: cowboy-deputy Mead performing the Lupe Velez Twist, his own choreographic distortion; or one of the cowboys performing ballet exercises at the hitching post. Viva’s langorous seduction of the most innocent-looking among the cowboys is actually a satirical comment on sexual artifice. This erotic, sagebrush comedy has its cruel edge, and one feels that Andy Warhol attempts to make some statement about the nature of brotherly love and the impossibility of virtue rewarded in these times of fallen idols. Select just about any Warhol film from the mid-sixties and you’ll find a scandal tucked away. Lonesome Cowboys’s most notable run-in with the law was in Atlanta where it was seized after replacing Gone with the Wind in a mall theater. Continue reading
Dustin (Tom Sullivan) is the leader of a rock band on the brink of super-stardom. Until now they have juggled their music career with cocaine smuggling. The musicians, and their manager Raf (Jack Palance), wish to sever ties with organized-crime, leave the drug world behind and concentrate on music. However they are coerced into doing one last job for the Mob. They lose the $2 million of cocaine, and find themselves marked men unless they can fulfill their obligations. Continue reading
After hubby Ted goes to work, Ellen putters around the apartment in her nightgown cleaning up. When she takes the trash out, the janitor forces her into his apartment and rapes her. When he tries to rape her again, she dispatches him and then hits the road, a fugitive from injustice. She goes to the Big City and encounters a string of situations where she gets used and abused. When she finally finds a nice woman to rent from, the woman’s son turns out to be a detective, which threatens her newly found identity and peace of mind. Continue reading
Screenwriter Bruce Robinson made his directorial debut with this British comedy. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) is an unsuccessful, pill-popping actor; “I”, or Marwood (Paul McGann), is Withnail’s roommate and another equally underemployed actor. The time is 1969: Withnail is fast becoming a burned-out relic of the sixties, while Marwood is trying to reassimilate into society. The two take a trip to the country in hopes of rejuvenating themselves, but things go from worse to even worse. Given the intimacy and insight of the screenplay and dialogue, one shouldn’t be surprised that Bruce Robinson (who adapted the film from his own novel) based Withnail and I on his own experiences.
The film proves that certain “Age of Aquarius” types were just as bollixed-up in Britain as they were in America.
All Movie Guide Continue reading
New Grenada is a planned community set in the desert where there is nothing for the kids to do, save for a rec center – which closes at 6 PM. The parents, in their zeal to attract industry to their town, have all but neglected their children. As a result, the kids begin to create their own entertainment, which involves vandalism, theft, and general hooliganism. During an incident when one of the kids brandishes an unloaded gun at town cop Ed Doberman, he is shot and killed. When the parents gather the next night to discuss the killing and the level of lawlessness among the youth, they soon find out that their kids have had all they can take. Continue reading
The most authentic movie about Hamburg in 1970’s – Rock’n’roll, sex, drugs, 1970’s lifestyle, 1970’s hairstyle, murder, prostitution, Santana, bikers, Reeperbahn, and St. Pauli provide the basis for the story featuring Gerd and Modschiedler, the ill-assorted couple (if at all amateur actors, who act themselves) of this fantastic movie.
The most outstanding characteristic is the idiom of the 1970’s – as a German native speaker you will have lots of fun watching this movie. From my perspective the funny but very authentic dialogs are the key highlights – not only of the movie but also of the 1970’s. Continue reading