Dino De Laurentiis movie double feature

To honour Dino De Laurentiis, a man who helped create some incredible movies in his time I present the Dino De Laurentis double feature – perfect to celebrate the man who produced over 500 movies. The Italian died last week, aged 95,

Dino De Laurentiis film credits as producer stretch over 60 years featuring a variety of genres and show a man willing to take risks and work outside the studio system.

To start with we’ll go for one of his classics.

Serpico (1973) is a classic gangster film staring Al Pacino and directed by Sidney Lumet. Based on the true story of New York cop Frank Serpico. A minor classic of the genre it ws nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Al Pacino) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Pacino won his first Golden Globe award for Best Actor in 1974 for his performance in the film.

On to our trailers and here’s where things can get a little crazy. The variety of films he made is incredible, we’ve already mentioned Danger: Diabolik in this Movie Double Feature but, there is plenty of other insanity.

For example, or perhaps this

Or well before Peter Jackson had the idea there was this from Dino De Laurentiis

On to or second feature and I’ve decided to go high camp. I could have included a host of great movies , Manhunter, Blue Velvet, Dead Zone. But instead I’ve picked a film that is loved and maligned in equal measure from Dino De Laurentiis, but features one of the best soundtracks around.

Flash Gordon (1980) took an ageing franchise and injected it with plenty of cheese. The old black and white serials were serious shows but, because of this film, the character will always be touched by a degree of irony now.

It’s also incredibly quotable and fun. Repeat after me “GORDON’S ALIVE!???!!”

Dino De Laurentiis would be proud.

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The Blaxploitation movie double feature

ALL TRAILERS IN THIS POST ARE NSFW

The blaxploitation genre is an incredible example of how an idea can happen in cinema, explode in popularity and then disappear quick. It was a corny idea in the first place, really. Built on clichés such as drug dealers, pimp and pros and featuring as many negative white stereotypes as black ones the blaxploitation film is a classic example of how an exploitation genre can explode before trailing away fast under its own weight.

Despite this there is plenty to be said for the genre, which is worth watching just for the style if anything else. Shaft, for example, is one of the prototypes for the genre and still one of the coolest films.

Shaft (1971) features an amazing theme song from Issac Hayes, plenty of tough talk and the seedy side of Harlem life. It also features Richard Roundtree aching with cool as he plays the private detective looking for a gangster’s daughter.

After that let’s take a look at some of the sillier iterations of the genre. It wasn’t all crime, for  example.

The trailers were all classic exploitation fodder. One of my favourites is this one

On to our final feature and this is another classic. Pam Grier was a queen of the blaxploitation genre and made many great B Movies. But it’s here that she really showed the world how cool she could be.

Coffy (1973) story is of a woman who works as a nurse during the day and a vigilante at night, cleaning up corrupt cops and mafia members as she goes. With a funk soundtrack and a strong central performance it is an example of a movie that is more than just style.

After five years the genre was already ebbing away, although there is still a lot to be said for anything this cool.



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The Hammer double feature

I’m off to the Jameson’s Cult Film Club on Thursday night to soak up some atmosphere in St George’s Hall and enjoy some old fashioned British horror. Incidentally, before we start Mark Gatiss has an excellent documentary on this subject  which is available for a week and a half from here.

So, let us begin with a classic of Gothic Horror cinema.

Dracula (1958), the film I’m off to see this week, featured a tall and handsome Christopher Lee in an early role as the Count. He had already begun to make a name for himself as the Monster in Frankenstein but here, with blood dripping down from his fangs, he created a vampire who was as sexual and suave as he is violent and animal-like.

Hammer can be tarnished with the brush of being quite cheesy but here, in these early films, it’s all about dark shocks and burning sexuality.

On to the trailers and it’s important to mix things up a little to show some of the things Hammer is renowned for. Heaving chests is a good start.

Then mental sequels spring to mind too

And also, finally for our intermission trailers one of my favourite Hammer horrors.

On to our second feature and I’m going for something a little different to the gothic horrors.

Quatermass Xperiment (1955), a remake of the live BBC series, ramped up the scares and proved their was a market for X rated fantasy, which led on to the horror production line Hammer became. It was a film proud to show off it’s adults only credentials, as the poster above shows.

It’s also a great example of how Hammer was able to repackage its work and sell it to different markets, Below is the US trailer, which looks like it’s from a different film. Also, who wouldn’t want to see a film called The Creeping Unknown.

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