Category Archives: TV and Film

Forgotten Filmcast Episode 133: Avanti!

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On the latest episode of the Forgotten Filmcast, Todd is joined by William Garver from It Came from the Bottom Shelf to discuss the 1972 Billy Wilder comedy Avanti!

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Your Listen

Show Notes:
It Came from the Bottom Shelf
Garv on Twitter

Movies Discussed:
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
There’s Nothing Out There

“Protofunk” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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The Renegade Ranger

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One thing that is fun about looking at forgotten films is those times when you see iconic film stars in some not-so-iconic films. 1938’s The Renegade Ranger was a vehicle for popular B-western star George O’Brien. Appearing with him, though, was a young man named Tim Holt, who would go on to star in many of his own RKO westerns in the years to come. But overshadowing both of these big-screen cowboys is the film’s female lead; an actress would achieve sex symbol status that few others ever reach…one Rita Hayworth.

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O’Brien plays Captain Jack Steele, a straight-arrow Texas Ranger who is given the task of arresting the lovely Judith Alvarez (Hayworth), a land-owner accused of murder and assembling a band of marauders who have been causing trouble for some slimey local politicians. The local tax man, Ben Sanderson (William Royle) even has a $2,000 reward out for the capture of Alvarez.

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When Steele comes to town, he happens to encounter Judith and her gang in the act of trying to snatch some dough (which was rightfully hers in the first place) from Sanderson’s office. Of course, Steele suspects Sanderson is crooked, which he is, and ends up assisting Judith with her escape. I mean, if you had the chance to share a saddle with Rita Hayworth, wouldn’t you?

Steele is injured in the escape and is nursed back to health by Judith herself. He then proceeds to embed himself in Judith’s gang. This is complicated, though, by the presence of Larry Corwin (Holt), a former ranger with a grudge against Steele. Somehow, Steele must be true to his duty, though he is confident Judith is innocent of the crimes she is accused of.

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B-westerns like The Renegade Ranger often make for fun, compact little bits of escapism. They usually clock in at just about an hour long and have plenty of action. I can understand why kids loved these movies. This one begins with a barroom brawl where the fists fly at a dizzying pace. Though I’m sure there was a degree of choreography employed in staging this sequence, there is something raw and haphazard about it that is just a joy to behold. I also love the way the actors bury their punches in their opponent’s faces. There’s no swinging past the chin here. These fists stay stuck in place as if the bad guys had faces made of quick-drying rubber cement. Later in the film there is a shootout on horseback that has an alarming amount of bullets being fired at incredibly close range. Yet, few of these bullets actually seem to make contact with anyone. it’s hard to aim while on horseback, even from three feet away, i guess. Regardless, these types of sequences are what brought kids back week after week and are still fun today.

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Even with some crazy action moments, those don’t end up being the most memorable thing about the film. I mean seriously, folks, Rita Hayworth is in this thing. You expect us to be mot impressed by the fisticuffs? The star potential of Hayworth, just twenty years old at the time this was made, is on full display here. From the moment she first appears on the screen the movie is now officially hers. O’Brien and Holt don’t stand a chance. She pulls off being both tough and sympathetic. The movie really lives or dies on her performance. Don’t get me wrong, though, O’Brien and Holt both are in fine form, but there are some extenuating circumstances at play here. Not many a kiddie cowboy star had to compete with the likes of Hayworth.

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If the film does suffer a bit, it’s in the villain department. William Royle’s Sanderson has the potential to be a classic kind of mustache-twirling meanie. Literally, in fact, as he does have a slightly epic stache. Sanderson lacks gusto as a bad guy, though. We never really get to see him doing much beyond just being a royal jerk. Opportunities to see his villainous ways in action are missed.

As a simple little western, there’s really nothing all the revolutionary about The Renegade Ranger. However, the presence of a future cinema icon certainly does elevate the proceedings. Without Rita Hayworth, the film has enough western goodness to keep the kiddies entertained. With her, though, the film has an extra spark that was more than welcome.

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Forgotten Filmcast Episode 132: The Distinguished Gentleman

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.


On the new episode of the Forgotten Filmcast, Todd is joined by Mike DeKalb from Out of Touchstone to discuss Eddie Murphy in the 1992 comedy The Distinguished Gentleman.

Download the Show:
Your Listen

Show Notes:
Out of Touchstone
Mike on Twitter

Movies Discussed:
The Distinguished Gentleman
Dolemite is My Name

“Protofunk” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Go to Source – Forgotten Films

Jupiter’s Darling

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When it comes to Roman epics, I usually figure they are going to be big productions full of battles and bloodshed. Underwater musical numbers are not usually on the docket. However, for the 1955 Cinemascope spectacle Jupiter’s Darling, the star is Esther Williams. She’s gonna get we at some point. Heck, she could’ve starred in a film that took place in the middle of the desert and still there would be a reason to get her underwater. Needless to say, this is not the same ancient Rome I remember studying in my high school history class.

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Williams plays the lovely Amytis, who is engaged to Roman general Fabius Maximus (George Sanders). She’s not really that into Maximus, though; putting off their nuptials for years. However, she does find herself, shall we say, curious about this manly man known as Hannibal (Howard Keel) who is about to storm into the city with his huge army of soldiers and elephants. So, she decides to head off with her slave girl Meta (Marge Champion) to sneak a look at Hannibal for herself. Of course, the two are captured as spies.

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Naturally, Hannibal soon finds himself quite taken with Amytis, who he does not suspect is betrothed to the leader of his enemy’s army. In fact, he becomes so smitten with her that he keeps postponing the attack in favor of…well…what do you think Howard Keel and Esther Williams would be doing in a private tent all day? Of course, they do interrupt those activities to burst into song from time to time.

I’m not going to sit here and say that Jupiter’s Darling is a particularly good film. However, it is one of the more delightfully campy films I’ve seen in quite some time. You know you’re in for a strange ride when one of the first big musical numbers features a character singing about how happy is to be a slave. Of course, that’s because he’s just been purchased to be someone’s love slave, so maybe that’s understandable. If that number doesn’t freak you out enough, though, you need only wait a few minutes to hear Howard Keel belt out a tune called “I Never Trust a Woman.” Simply put, this is a weird bunch of songs.

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Weirder, though, are  the production numbers themselves. As stated earlier, our headliner is Esther Williams, so underwater action is a given. Her first big number has her performing a tune called “I Have a Dream” while fondling a bunch of statues that come to life and frolic around in the pool with her. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Williams’ aquatic abilities. She was an amazing talent, and I admit she’s one of my classic movie crushes. As captivating as the sequence is, though, it’s nuttier than the Planter’s peanut factory. Speaking of peanuts, there’s also music number in this flick that features dancing elephants. Again, a charming sequence, but one that makes the viewer question their own senses. “Am I really seeing this, or is this one of those Pink Elephants on Parade things?”

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The camp factor extends beyond the musical numbers, though. Many sequences are all about playful banter between Williams and Keel, and the script does have some funny moments. This would be the last of three films Williams and Keel would star in together. They had a degree of chemistry, but there is no attempt to portray that subtly here. One scene in particular has Keel describing to Williams how a general needs to put his armies into the right “position” as she reclines and allows pieces of her garment to fall away. Both actors are pretty cartoonish in how they approach the scene, and yet it still manages to be steamy in a bizarre sort of way.

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I definitely had fun with many aspects of Jupiter’s Darling, but it’s a film that struggles a lot. It wants to have elements of both a Roman epic and a light-hearted musical romp, but doesn’t quite strike a good balance between the two. The scenes that really try to go for the epic feel seem constricted, even when there are tons of extras and elephants marching around. The film does not make good use of Cinemascope. However the smaller moments, where our two leads get to flirt with each other are charming and playful. Jupiter’s Darling is a film that does manage to entertain, just so long as you’re in the mood for something kind of strange and cooky.

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For The Love Of Sci-fi 2019

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Monopoly Events Presents ‘For the Love of Sci-fi 2019’

The world’s biggest Sci-Fi fan convention is BACK and bigger than ever! Join the party as FTLOSF celebrates its 5th birthday with its army of loyal fans and celebrity guests at Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Longbridge Rd, Stretford, Manchester M17 1EH, on the 7th and 8th of December 2019 (with a special opening concert on the evening of Friday 6th.)

Here is a look at the 2019 Guest line up so far:

  1. Karl Urban – is a New Zealand actor. Karl is known for Judge Dredd, Vaako in the Riddick film series, Lord of the Rings and Amazons television series The Boys.
  2. Jon Bernthal – is an American actor. Jon is known for his roles as Frank Castle in Punisher, Daredevil, The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury, Sicario, The Accountant, Baby Driver, Wind River, and Widows.
  3. Peter Weller – The original Robocop himself! Peter has appeared in more than 70 films and television series, including turns as the title character in RoboCop (1987) and its sequel RoboCop 2 (1990).
  4. Dolph Lundgren –  is a Swedish actor best known for his roles of Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, and Andrew Scott in Universal Soldier. He also appeared in over 40 other movies. He is the ultimate SciFi/action legend!
  5. Ron Pearlman – is an American actor and voice actor best known for playing the part of Hellboy in Hellboy 1 and 2 and Clay Morrow in the hit TV series Sons of Anarchy.
  6. Danny Glover – is an American actor, film director, and political activist. He is known for his lead role as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film series, Predator 2, Angels in the outfield and Operation Dumbo drop.
  7. Charlie Heaton – is a British actor and musician, best known for his role of Jonathan Byers, the older brother of Will Byers and son of Joyce Byers, in the Netflix hit TV show, Stranger Things.
  8. Natalie Dyer –  is an American actress best known for her part of Nancy Wheeler, the elder sister of Mike Wheeler in the Netflix smash hit Stranger Things.
  9. Ray Park – is a Scottish born actor who is easily most recognisable as Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I as well as Snake Eyes in the G.I. Joe films.
  10. Brian Blessed OBE – is an English actor, writer and presenter. He is known for his booming voice and his roles in Z-Cars, I, Claudius, Blackadder, and Flash Gordon.
  11. Sam Jones – ‘Flash ah-ah’ – is an American actor. He is best known for having played the title character in the 1980 film Flash Gordon and The Highwayman (1987–1988).
  12. Ray Wise –  is an American actor best known for his roles in Swamp Thing, RoboCop, Twin Peaks, Jeepers Creepers 2 and his role as The Devil in Reaper.
  13. Al Leong – is an American stuntman and actor. Best known for his role as Genghis Khan in Bill and Ted and his memorable roles as a henchman in many popular action films.
  14. Mark Dodson –  is an American actor who is known for being the voice of Salacious B. Crumb in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and various Gremlins in Gremlins 1 & 2.


    • Live Q&As
    • Full-scale movie prop and set recreations – T-70 X-Wing – Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper – Tie Fighter – Batwing – Tardis – Power Loader – A-Team Van – KITT & FLAG mobile unit – Vigo & Slimer – Stranger Things Alphabet Wall & Couch – Simpsons Lounge – Gremlins Kitchen Set with Gremlins – E.T Forest Set with E.T.
    • Attractions (FREE PHOTO OPS) Screen used Lawmaster from, Judge Dredd, Robocop ED-209, original armour suite and Beretta 93R Gun from Robocop. Flash Gordan’s Rocket Cycle Built for our guest Sam J Jones aka Flash Gordan – HERE
    • Star Wars Cantina with Props a full bar and cool free photos opportunities a Star Wars fan dream!
    • Friday night opening concert with Blues Harvest playing all the iconic sci-fi tunes LIVE – HERE
    • Pro Cosplay Sci-fi Guests – HERE
    • Cosplay competitions – HERE – 1st Place is £250!
    • Trading village
    • Live art
    • Sci-fi Afterparty in our special Star Wars Cantina – Tickets: HERE


Grab your tickets now at –

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Purple People Eater

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purple-people-eaterThis was a game in which you had to remove little plastic people from the mouth of a gelatinous purple people eater. It worked in much the same way as Operation, in that you used metal pliers to extract people from the monsters metal-lined mouth.

In a way this is most 80s boys dream, getting gory with a pet monster. As well as playing it the traditional way and extracting the small plastic people one by one, I also spent a good few hours slowly feeding it the same people I had saved. I suppose it was a weird thing to do, but I though of it as payback. I’d saved them all and not a single one of them had thanked me, so they all had to systematically die one by one. In retrospect this will have been because their mouths were plastic, so my actions may have been deemed a little harsh.

If the prongs touched the metal monster mouth, the buzz the monster gave off really was quite substantial. I remember I had this and played it quite a bit, but after a few days it was decided by my parents that it should be kept at my grandads house, due to the fact that after playing it for extended periods of time it gave me really bad nightmares.

So just to recap, my parents, upon noticing that I was no longer sleeping peacefully at night, decided to NOT throw it away completely, but just control my access to it. Sort of in a “break him in gently” tactic in the same way doctors introduce therapy. All that happened was that I no longer feared going to bed at night, but feared going to Grandads instead.

Come to think of it I had this toy at my Grandads, along with Jaws and the Dusty Bin game. I wish I still had them. They were some ace games.


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