Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A perfect mid-'60s double bill...

I remember going to see these releases at my local cinema in 1965 - I was 19 and devouring movies every week...we enjoyed going to see big movies like these with lots of names [both of these feature Lilli Palmer and Richard Johnson!]. Ponti's OPERATION CROSSBOW is still good entertainment today, beginning with the German high command trying to perfect their bombs to drop on London as the British boffins and scientists try to infiltrate their operations by recruiting secret agents; nice to see all the British war movie stalwarts [Richard Todd, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms] in supporting roles; we then shift to that hotel in Amsterdam where George Peppard and Tom Courtenay arrive posing as German engineeers, and Sophia Loren - looking every inch the '60s superstar, with no concession to '40s fashions or hairstyles - walks in looking for her husband (ie Peppard) - this naturally causes problems for hotelier/agent Lilli Palmer who is very determined the mission succeeds. The final section then is the standard lets-blow-up-the-bomb-factory heroics as directed by stalwart [THE DAM BUSTERS etc] Michael Anderson.

MOLL FLANDERS was obviously following in TOM JONES' footsteps but is good-humoured fun as Terence Young directs a good cast and practically every British comedian and character actor of the era. There is that terrific star quartet of Angela Lansbury and Vittorio De Sica having fun as impoverished aristocrats, Lilli Palmer as leader of the criminal underworld, and George Sanders as Moll's first husband. Kim was so iconic in the '50s [PICNIC, EDDIE DUCHIN STORY, VERTIGO, BELL BOOK AND CANDLE, STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET etc] but - rather like Carroll Baker - she seems diminished in the '60s as items like BOYS NIGHT OUT, OF HUMAN BONDAGE etc did her no favours. She plays along gamely here ...

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