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, 28 February 2013

Showpeople: Young Hollywood dating habits ...

An occasional series (see label) highlighting the camp glamour side of show-business and those who toil therein,  featuring lots of our favourite people ...
Amusing looking back at the '50s fan magazines on the dating habits of young Hollywood then - surely it is a whole lot different today, or is it ? Here we see Tab and Tony on their various double-dates with those obliging gals Venetia Stevenson, Natalie Wood, Terry Moore and the other girls who knew the score and how to get publicity ... the boys seem a bit bored with it all though, such are the perils of being a teen heart-throb. 

They also of course tried their hand at singing, Tab in particular having several hits, like "Young Love". I liked his 2 movies with Natalie, capturing that mid-'50s teen period perfectly, after James Dean, but before Elvis and Sandra Dee.
Perkins probaby had the better career, I remember first reading about in him a fan magazine "Screen Album" when he was doing LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL on Broadway, and was an interesting intense new actor, and we liked him in FRIENDLY PERSUASION and the others (like my favourite THE SEA WALL in '58, as label), and then working not only with Hitch but also all those European ladies in the '60s (see Perkins label for GOODBYE AGAIN with Ingrid). He died aged 60 in 1992, he had married Berry Berenson (who perished in the 9/11 attacks) and they had 2 sons;  but Tab is still here and looking good in his mid '80s (as per that new 'Vanity Fair' photograph) ... his biography was a good read too on Hollywood back then ... The boys must have been photographed together almost as many times as pals and frequent co-stars Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter; or Guy Madison and Rory Calhoun, or Cary Grant and Randoloph Scott back in the '30s.
They also too both starred with Italian import Sophia Loren in her early American films: Perkins with her in DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS in 1958, rather risible now, as per review at label - and in 1962's FIVE MILES TO MIDNIGHT, a routinely effective thriller. Tab was the marine falling for her in Lumet's 1959 THAT KIND OF WOMAN, where our old pal George Sanders (see last 2 posts below) was her rich protector! It was a find recently. 
Tony visits Sophia & John Wayne on LEGEND OF THE LOST.  Could he look gayer?

Grand larceny

Philandering Commander Max Easton, now desk-bound and under-worked in the Admiralty, finds he suddenly needs to make some money when he falls for American Virginia Killain. When he hatches a plot to disappear in circumstances that suggest he has defected and then return to sue the papers, Virginia doesn't take much notice - at least at first.

How nice to discover a pleasant comedy that takes 3 players one likes and gives them a decent script and amusing situations. A TOUCH OF LARCENY is an amusing souffle that got rather lost among that great year 1959's big hitters.  James Mason, Vera Miles and George Sanders had been toiling throughout the 50s and earlier, often in routine movies, so nice to see them having fun here, Vera gets glammed up too as the ritzy American both the men are trying to catch. Sanders is the pompous bore she is engaged to but Mason is not rich enough to keep her in the luxury she is used to, so he hatches up a plot to be seen to disappear from his sensitive job in security, while he lies low on a remote Scottish island and can then return to sue the papers for suggesting he has defected to "the other side" (this was still the cold war era...).  How this plays out is amusingly done in Guy Hamilton's nifty comedy with some good supporting players too: dependables Harry Andrews, Robert Flemyng, Duncan Lamont and little Martin Stephens.

These were the stars' busy years, going from film to film, doing several a year. Mason still had Kubrick's LOLITA ahead and that good career of supporting roles as the '60s progressed, Sanders kept working too and Vera was soon back with John Ford in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE. Now retired in her 80s she keeps silent on that long career but her 2 for both Ford and Hitchcock will always be in circulation - she was of course under contract to Hitch (the only actress who was, apart from Tippi Hedren) who was grooming her for VERTIGO but she famously got pregnant (and by Tarzan, no less - her husband Gordon Scott!), Hitch though put her in the smaller role of Marion Crane's sister Lila in PSYCHO in 1960, where she wears that unsuitable wig as her hair had not grown back from being shorn in that De Laurentiis war film FIVE BRANDED WOMEN (Silvana Mangano label). She was of course out west numerous times (not least in THE SEARCHERS, Westerns label) so good to see her ramping up the glamour here, while those two sardonic gents James and George relished having a decent script to play with.
There is a lot on James Mason here, including on the time I saw him at the London BFI NFT in the 70s, see label - I particularly rate his A STAR IS BORN, PANDORA & THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I grew up on George's '50s costumers in KING RICHARD & THE CRUSADERS, MOONFLEET, THE KING'S THIEF, SOLOMON & SHEBA, and THAT KIND OF WOMAN, I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE, CALL ME MADAM, JUPITER'S DARLING etc, not to mention ALL ABOUT EVE and his '40s cad in SON OF FURY, among so many others, before his suicide in 1972. Soon: George and that eclectic cast in Huston's THE KREMLIN LETTER, 1969.
George with Sophia, left - and with Gina as Sheba, right.

Monday, 25 February 2013

B-movie heaven (1)

Away from the arthouse and the blockbusters and the current releases and interesting revivals, we also like an enjoyable B-movie, either something trashy or so bad its good or just one of those interesting movies from that late-'50s/early-'60s era, where cheap production values and/or an interesting cast make for a fascinating view. Here are a few recent ones, from a session of swops with IMDB pal Jerry ast week ...

BLUEBEARD'S 10 HONEYMOONS, 1960 - The Bluebeard story has also been fascinating and has fascinated the movies. Chaplin's MONSIEUR VERDOUX in 1947 may be the best. I reviewed the 1963 French version, LANDRU by Chabrol, a while back (French label), where he polishes off a mixed bag of French ladies including Danielle Darrieux, Juliette Mayniel and Michele Morgan. His stove at his lonely house in the woods, where he always bought a single ticket for the ladies, was working overtime! So it is in this 1960 British version, ploddingly directed by W. Lee Wilder (a brother of Billy Wilder!). This is deliciously downbeat as George Sanders is ideally cast as the penny-pinching murderer who is obsessed over worthless and faithless chanteause Corinne Calvet, whose career was also on the slide here.
A bevy of British B girls also head out to that lonely house in the woods ... Jean Kent, Maxine Audley, Patricia Roc, Greta Gynt .... George is suitably sardonic throughout, and like the Chabrol, it ends in a prefunctory guillotine scene. Both are immensely superior to the dreadful Richard Burton version from 1972, review at Burton label. I really must do an "appreciation" on George soon, I like so many of his movies from classics to '50s costume dramas and some good '60s ones too; whether sparring with Susan Hayward or Anne Baxter, toying with Sophia or Gina, or being condesending to Tony Hancock or Peter Sellers or in drag in Huston's THE KREMLIN LETTER (one to review), George is perfection, and not only as Addison de Witt!

SHE WALKS BY NIGHT - A rather good expolitation movie about a real-life call girl murder that rocked Germany in the '50s the way the Profumo affair did Britain almost a decade later. There was also a German version THE GIRL ROSEMARIE with Nadja Tiller which was more of a commentary on the booming German industrial scene of the time - this version by Rudolph Jugert (?) sticks to the routine story of the call girl, Rosemarie Nitbritt - her rise and fall. Rather like the English BITTER HARVEST in 1963 (also Trash label) it shows the emptiness at the heart of the heroine's existance. The reason for watching this though is another terrific performance by Belinda Lee, that Rank Organisation starlet of British movies, who became a peplum goddess in Europe (APHRODITE, MESSALINA etc) before her untimely death in a car crash in 1961. (See Belinda label for more appreciations on her).

This rather forlorn memorial (right, click to enlarge) is her final resting place in a cemetry in Rome (left) - appropriate as she was part of the Italian La Dolce Vita crowd of the time, late 50s/early-'60s. It is a vivid performance by Belinda, rather in Anita Ekberg mode here with that mane of hair; Belinda also excelled in that recent re-discovery of mine THE LONG NIGHT OF '43, a stunning Italian drama by Vancini. SHE WALKS BY NIGHT has that deliciously sleazy late '50s look in spades as Rosemarie rises from walking the streets (below) to good time girl but who can she really trust .... we do not see her final visitor, but it is someone she knows ...
LOOK IN ANY WINDOW - I really liked this one, with a good role for Ruth Roman, looking great here in 1961. Ruth was a '50s gal*, (perhaps a 'B' Susan Hayward?) at home in routine westerns and jungle fare like TANGANYIKA - some good main roles were in Hitch's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and with Burton in Ray's BITTER VICTORY. Here she is the bored dissatisfied wife of a heavy drinking salesman, and their sulky teenage son is pop star Paul Anka. The title refers to Paul's habit of being a peeping tom, scaring the neighbours in his mask as he spies on them. It is all really a variation on that 1957 drama NO DOWN PAYMENT (Jeff Hunter label), showing suburban living with pool parties, and bored couples with various problems, not least infidelity. Paul gets it on with nice Gigi Perreau next door, whose parents are on the point of separating. Father is Jack Cassidy, slimy as ever, as mother gets involved with nice widower George Dolenz (fathers of 2 future pop stars: David Cassidy, and Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees). The police are on the case though and closing in on the peeping tom as things get out of hand at the annual pool party.
Ruth is excellent here, in a selection of numbers for lounging by the pool while drinking a lot - I like her too in the 1966 Lana Turner classic LOVE HAS MANY FACES, as that ritzy dame in Acapulco paying for her pleasures ... Anka though is the drawback here - he does not radiate much personality, Elvis and Pat Boone got better films, and Fabian and Ricky Nelson had more going for them in the looks department .... but he kind of suits the role of the lonely troubled teen. It all tries to be hip and shocking (cue sax and bongo drums, and lots of drinking) like others of the era like A COLD WIND IN AUGUST, SOMETHING WILD or LADY IN A CAGE. Director is one William Alland.
(* Ruth's rivals included Virginia Mayo, Yvonne de Carlo, Dorothy Malone, Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl, Linda Darnell)

ENCHANTED ISLAND - back to the South Seas for this turgid 1958 adventure, from Herman Melville if you please, his "Typee".  The selling point here is the poster: "He dared to love a cannibal princess". My friend Jerry loved that! The flick though does not live up to it, directed by Allan Dwan on an off day,  mind you he is lumbered with a too-old Dana Andrews and Jane Powell (yes, that Jane Powell, who began the '50s with Fred Astaire in ROYAL WEDDING, and went on to SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, and was fun in the 1948  A DATE WITH JUDY before ending her movie career with this and that delicious trash classic THE FEMALE ANIMAL in 1957 (Jane Powell label). Jane is made up to look south seas island maiden but does not have too much to do and the cannibal angle is played down for too long as Dana and his pal leave their ship and settle among the natives .... Matinee or drive-in audiences must have got restless. I certainly did ....

KINGS OF THE SUN - not a B-movie as such, it must have cost quite a bit, but this laughable saga has been out of sight for far too long. When I first arrived in London (11 April 1964) aged 18, the first thing I saw at the London railway station was a poster for KINGS OF THE SUN, then on general release. Who I wonder at the Mirisch Corporation thought that this mini-epic about the Mayans (one of the most mysterious civilisations ever) and their conflict with Native Americans would make an interesting movie? It features some of the best-known non-actors of the time, as George Chakiris and Shirley Anne Field remain expressionless throughout, even as King George witnesses a human sacrifice at the beginning - perhaps the Mayans did not express any emotions?. It looks good in Scope and Colour with those odd custumes but the story is banal in the extreme as our good Mayans flee from the bad ones across the gulf of Mexico and set upon building a new village and a (rather small) pyramid. Enter Yul Brynner perfecting his noble savage act as the leader of the natives whom the Mayans kidnap and keep for human sacrifice to ensure they have a good harvest. Mayan girl Shirley Anne – seemingly the only female among the Mayans – and Yul develop feelings for each other. Will the human sacrifice go ahead? Will the bad Mayans turn up? Will the native Americans defend the village? This is all resolved to Elmer Bernstein’s generic western score – the final battle-scene is rather a mish-mash. This was surprisingly directed by old action hand J. Lee Thompson but I imagine he was having an off day here …. A fascinating oddity to see now though, Richard Basehart as the sacrificing priest wears an amusing hairstyle ...


Friday, 22 February 2013


Its Oscars weekend and the hype is increasing - even the quality papers get in on the act with their "who should win - who will win" nominations, and among the more popular rags all the speculation on who will wear what on the red carpet, and who got it right and who got it wrong .... It is all hype of course, as this extract from attests:

The Oscars are nothing more than 1). a marketing device to generate box-office revenue and, once TV got into the act, advertising revenue; and 2). an ego trip and potential future negotiating tool for the winners and the people who campaign successfully for the awards (e.g. Weinstein).
What's comical is that on some level many of the best in the business know it's all bullshit (I'm thinking of people like Streep, Day-Lewis, Spielberg), but they still have that craving for collecting the status symbols.
The oscars in recent years have become blatantly campaign driven by irritating PR firms and hungry stars looking for a career boost. It's become obnoxious and a major turn off.

It was ever so, ever since the first days of the Oscars when they were an industry trade event, and they still seemed important when I was young in the '50s - then of course they became a major tv and fashion event, driven by all the PR people. But now it seems anybody can win an Oscar and can you even remember who won a year or two ago? In the '50s and '60s and '70s it was fascinating seeing the nominations and who won, now less so when every Hollywood personage gets their turn, and any actor who directs a film is a shoo-in (Costner, Beatty, Redford etc) and who's turn is it this year, viz: Billy Wilder cleaned up in 1960 with THE APARTMENT as his SOME LIKE IT HOT had been swamped by BEN-HUR the previous year).
The man who has not been nominated this year is Jean-Louis Trintignant, that major French actor, now retired. His return in Haneke's AMOUR has turned out to be the arthouse sleeper and crossover hit of the year [and my film of the year, as per recent post], his co-star Emmanuele Riva is gaining momentum as Best Actress. It is a shame Trintignant was not also nominated, but maybe for the best, as a French actor won last year - for the now rather insubstantial THE ARTIST - another French actor, no matter how deserving, would hardly get the votes this year ...and an English actor (Colin Firth) won the previous year, so expect the Best Actor to return to America tomorrow (Daniel Day Lewis may not be technically American, but LINCOLN certainly is!) - but I don't want to sound too mean-spirited about the whole Oscar circus, lets enjoy the show and the fashion parade, and who turns up .... then thankfully the Award Season is over for another year.
As Terence Stamp said last week, Trintignant was so beautiful when he was young - we liked him in AND GOD CREATED WOMAN with Bardot in the '50s, and he has been working ever since - like Belmondo and Delon and Ronet and Sorel .... Here are some of the moments we like here (and I still have several of his with Romy Schneider to watch and review...), among his other successes in that long career are Rohmer's MY NIGHT WITH MAUD, Truffaut's FINALLY SUNDAY, THAT NIGHT IN VARENNES, COMPARTIMENT TUEURS, Jeanne Moreau's MATA HARI in '63, and that A MAN AND A WOMAN, 20 YEARS LATER...


Richard Briers (1934-2013), one of England's best light comedy actors, died at 79, after years of smoking .... The hit BBC series THE GOOD LIFE which ran from 1975 to 1978 featured him (left) as the hapless Tom Good who retires from the business grind at 40 and decides to become self-sufficient. This series caught the 70s perfectly as Tom and Barbara (Felicity Kendal) and their posh neighbours the Leadbeaters, Margo (Penelope Keith) and Jerry (Paul Eddington) find lots of fun with their contrasted lifestyles, particuarly that marvellous Christmas episode, which we enjoy every year. 
Briars was also the Laird in the 2000-2005 Scottish series MONARCH OF THE GLEN, teamed with Susan Hampshire and Julian (DOWNTON ABBEY) Fellowes, and in other popular series like EVER DECREASING CIRCLES. On stage he excelled in Alan Ayckbourn productions - I remember seeing him and Lynn Redgrave being blissfully funny playing several characters between them in THE TWO OF US in the '70s.  He also appeared in several Kenneth Branagh films including Polonius in HAMLET.

John Kerr (1931-2013), actor. Kerr was never the most charistmatic of actors, but had a few good roles, before he later took up law. His best known film must be SOUTH PACIFIC in 1958, as Lieut. Cable. He was also in Minnelli's TEA AND SYMPATHY, and THE COBWEB. He was also in THE CROWDED SKY, GIRL OF THE NIGHT and the juvenile in the Vincent Price Poe THE PIT AND THE PENDELUM. among lots of television work.

Merry Anders (1934-2012), a pleasant blonde starlet, who had some movie roles in the '50s - a model in the 1953 HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, the girl interested in Rock Hudson in ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, one of Katharine Hepburn's DESK SET, and on the plane in AIRPORT, in a long career of small parts and television roles. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Glenda as Sarah !

Another slice of deliriously awful '70s trash: the truly dreadful costume film: THE INCREDIBLE SARAH with Glenda Jackson as French actress Sarah Bernhardt.  The first thing we see though is the Readers Digest logo, as this is a Readers Digest film .... Then there is this message: "Sarah Bernhardt was one of the greatest actresses who ever lived. ... This motion picture is a free portrayal of events in her tempestuous early career." So, we know what to expect ...

I don't think too many people saw THE INCREDIBLE SARAH back in 1976 - I had no interest in it and there are only 2 comments on it at IMDB. I remember Pauline Kael being annoyed in her review, that she would  now have a mental image of Glenda Jackson whenever Bernhardt was mentioned! 

As the reviewer at IMDB says: Bernhardt was French. She performed in French. When she was on tour in Britain, in America, in Russia - no matter where she was, she performed in French. Her tumultuous emotion was so intense, it bypassed any language barrier. Here though everything is in English, so we get no idea of what other nationalities made of her performances.
This was the era when biopics were not held in high regard and so it is here (Vanessa as ISADORA was the exception) as sets are garishly overlit (in this era of gas lights) and the costumes all look as though they have never been worn before. A considerable cast is wasted: the great Yvonne Mitchell has nothing to do as Sarah's maid, (it was Mitchell's last film),. Daniel Massey plays Sardou just like his Noel Coward in STAR! and is also the heroine's friend and confidant as various men come and go: John Castle, Simon Williams, Douglas Wilmer and others. Every cliche is lovingly burnished as young Sarah goes to her first audition, demands to be the greatest actress of all, stomps all over everyone and is an absolute pain in the neck, what with her resting in her coffin and other annoying habits. Glenda - so excellent when reined in as in Schlesinger's SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, is given free rein here to indulge in all her mannerisms and soon begins to grate.

SARAH can be dismissed and laughed at as hopeless trash - it omits a lot of The Divine Sarah's life and does not end, it just mercifully stops after her Joan of Arc performance as we are back to those Art Nouveau Alphonse Mucha posters of Bernhardt. We see none of the later Sarah after her legs were amputated, no mention of Oscar Wilde or others she knew. A particularly amusing moment has her arriving by train at a station titled 'London' - surely even The Readers Digest knows that there is no 'London' station in London - London stations have names like Victoria or Waterloo, but hey lets keep it simple. Richard Fleischer directed this farrago - after his great run in the '50s with films like THE VIKINGS, COMPULSION, BARABBAS, his later 70s ones were undistinguished items like this and that dreadful PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, ASHANTI, MANDINGO, THE JAZZ SINGER ...

Its been a bit of a Glenda festival though. as I also enjoyed re-runs of NASTY HABITS, TRIPLE ECHO, and RETURN OF THE SOLDIER, which I may review some other time.  The '70s was Jackson's great era with those movies for Ken Russell, Losey and others. She also did a lot of stuff that also bypassed me as I had no interest in her comedies with George Segal or Walter Matthau, or routine fare like TURTLE DIARY. How she won a second Oscar for a routine comedy I had no interest in seeing, was surprising at the time. She played Patricia Neal for tv in THE PATRICIA NEAL STORY with Dirk Bogarde. I particularly liked her very touching STEVIE as the poet Stevie Smith, another one to re-see, as is her great television series ELIZABETH R whom she also played in MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. A very varied career then. She ran for parliament and became an MP in 1992, retiring from acting.
That recent set of interviews BRITISH LEGENDS OF STAGE AND SCREEN has a new interview with her, commenting on her career. I have not seen her section yet, I wonder if she mentions THE INCREDIBLE SARAH !

I saw her on stage twice, in 1967 in THE THREE SISTERS, right,  at the Royal Court, as mentioned before, Theatre label, where Marianne Faithfull was a luminous Irina, and in THE MAIDS in the '70s with Susannah York, which was also filmed.  
She was blissfully funny in her often-repeated appearances on the BBC Morcambe & Wise shows, particularly that one where she was Cleopatra, which apparantly led to her comedy roles. All together now: "All men are fools and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got".!.and she was very funny in that cameo in Ken's THE BOYFRIEND.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

2 kinds of trash ....

We  have mentioned before the different kinds of trashy movies we sometimes dip into - classic trash, campy trash, delirious trash ... today its bad trash and porn trash ...

SCORPIO: Cross is an old hand at the CIA, in charge of assassinating high-ranking foreign personalities who are an obstacle to the policies of the USA. He often teams up with Frenchman Jean Laurier, alias "Scorpio", a gifted free-lance operative. One day, the CIA orders Scorpio to eliminate Cross -- and leaves him no choice but to obey. Scorpio is cold-blooded and very systematic; however, as a veteran agent, Cross knows many tricks. He can also rely upon a network of unusual personal contacts, some dating back to the troubled years preceding WWII. A lethal game of hide-and-seek is programmed, but what are the true motives of every single player? 

We highlighted some top-notch Alain Delon thrillers here, like Melville's 1967 LE SAMOURAI and LE CERCLE ROUGE, and Vernueil's MELODIE EN SOUS-SOL from 1963 teaming Delon and Gabin (Delon label). Then a decade later in 1973 Michael Winner delivers SCORPIO where Delon is another lone assassin, and fascinatingly re-teams him with Burt Lancaster, from Visconti's THE LEOPARD, one of our key movies, from 1963. They are both a long way from Visconti here, and its painful seeing Burt particuarly, maybe a bit too old here for all the running around he has to do. At least he had a few good later roles, like in Malle's ATLANTIC CITY and Forsyth's LOCAL HERO. No-one emerges with any credit from SCORPIO, another of those confusing cold war thrillers with everyone double-crossing each other (Dirk Bogarde's PERMISSION TO KILL in 1977 is another, as per Bogarde label). The real classic '70s thrillers are items like Pakula's THE PARALLAX VIEW or Pollack's THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR which I really must look at again. 
Lancaster,  Cardinale,  Delon, THE LEOPARD, 1963

I like some of Winner's 1960s movies like THE SYSTEM and reviewed I'LL NEVER FORGET WHATS'IS'NAME recently (Oliver Reed label), where he caught that '60s vibe nicely. In the '70s he moved on to international thrillers with big names but of very variable quality. I still have to see his Loren one, FIREPOWER ... don't even mention the dreck that is his Dunaway starrer, THE WICKED LADY - or those 70s disasters like WON TON TON or THE SENTINEL. ! SCORPIO is an ugly-looking film, drab, very tatty '70s. Lancaster and Delon have no chemistry here, Alain seems on autopilot - this particular assassin likes kittens. Paul Scofield the other great actor involved has less to do and does it splendidly,. He was also terrific with Lancaster in Frankenheimer's 1964 THE TRAINSCORPIO though is a mess with incomprehensible plotting, people are on the move all the time, getting on and off planes and chasing each other all over he place, all to no avail. This was a cheap dvd which I tossed in the rubbish bin after viewing - certainly not deserving house-room ! 

Another kind of trash I do not bother with is torture porn, or the latest breed of horror film. I remember people being amused by 2010's PIRANHA which was in 3D. It turned up on television and I had a look. I am still laughing at some of it while being horrified too. Its a horror comic then....

After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents.

This is a comic gorefest, by Alexandre Aja, as hundreds of teenagers gathering for a spring break, fall victim to the all conquering pirhanas. The central carnage sequence goes on and on as they fall from the collapsing rigging into the raging ocean.
The kids are all dumb, we don't care about them, nor the rest of the leads - apart from the lovely Kelly Brook., Kelly looks terrific here, in just a bikini, and gamely plays along with the director's skinflick and lesbo fantasies - we want her to survive, and she does till the climax - so - SPOILER - it is both hilarious and horrific to see her too fall from the rescue rope as the fish devour her.  It all starts with that JAWS survivor Richard Dreyfuss, but only for the first few minutes as the fish emerge into the sea ... various other characters like the sleazy porn merchant are finished off in amusing ways, flying cables slice nubile babes in two, a ponytail gets caught in a propellor, and that other girl swimming underwater with Kelly also has a grisly end; there is a neat payoff line as well. Does today's audience really go for this kind of stuff?  Surely it is disturbing that there's an audience out there for films that mix graphic violence and explicit female nudity .... at least there are 350 outraged reviews of it at the International Movie Database (IMDB).