The Site is Now Complete!

Seven years ago, it became apparent to me that the site that contained my movie reviews wasn’t going to survive the advance of technology without a major overhaul. So I decided to create a WordPress website and began populating it with the 4700 reviews I had at that time. Since then, I’ve worked towards completing the move, and in the interim I added another 1300 or so reviews. Finally, today, I have finished; the website is complete.

From here on out, only new reviews will be added here when I write them. This is the single most complete list on the internet of all my reviews.

Thanks to all of you who visit this site and enjoy the reviews! I hope there are many more to come!

Dave Sindelar

Scrappy’s Side Show (1939)

Scrappy’s Side Show (1939)
Article 5983 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-16-2021
Directed by Arthur Davis
Voice cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Scrappy cartoon

Scrappy tries to make some money by putting on a homemade side show, but a mischievous little girl interferes with his acts.

I wasn’t sure whether to give this one a review or not, but I decided to for two reasons. The side show was one of the sources of horror content in the early days of cinema (consider FREAKS and some other Tod Browning movies), and this one has a couple of non-existent exotic (albeit faked) animals, such as a turtle dog (a real dog wearing an umbrella top). Scrappy was a regular cartoon character at Columbia during the thirties who at least didn’t come across like a Mickey Mouse imitation, though he really doesn’t have much of a character (though the picture of him in the opening segment of the cartoon makes him resemble Peter Lorre a bit). The cartoon is fitfully amusing, with my favorite moment coming early on when the little girl digs herself into the side show only to find herself on exhibit as an animal. This one is okay, but nothing special.

The Scared Crows (1939)

The Scared Crows (1939)
Article 5982 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-13-2021
Directed by Dave Fleischer and Dave Tendlar
Featuring the voice of Margie Hines
Country: USA
What it is: Betty Boop cartoon

Betty and her dog Pudgy are planting crops on their farm only to discover that the seeds are being eaten by crows. Will their scarecrow get rid of the pests?

To my understanding, a scarecrow would keep the crows away not by necessarily being scary, but rather by making it appear there was a human being in the field, thus making it less likely that the birds would invade. Such is not the case here; the crows have no fear of either Betty Boop or Pudgy the Dog and only flee when a scary-looking scarecrow is pulled out. This explains why this cartoon qualifies for my reviews; a scarecrow as a scary manifestation makes the cartoon move a little into the realm of horror, especially near the end when Betty dons the costume to frighten the birds. On its own merits, this is one of the lame cartoons from near the end of the Betty Boop series; she is so removed from her sexy flapper image here that she spends the whole cartoon wearing farming clothes. In general, you can guess the quality of a Betty Boop by taking a look at which secondary character is emphasized, and Pudgy was only used after Betty was effectively rid of her early bawdy image. This is one of the weaker cartoons from the Fleischer era.

Satan’s Waitin’ (1954)

Satan’s Waitin’ (1954)
Article 5981 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-11-2021
Directed by Friz Freleng
Featuring the voice of Mel Blanc
Country: USA
What it is: Tweety and Sylvester cartoon

Sylvester ends up dead after an unsuccessful attempt to capture Tweety and finds himself in hell which is run by a devil dog. Fortunately, he has eight more lives, but how long will that last, especially with the dog egging him on?

Truth to tell, I was pleasantly surprised by this one, largely because I had originally mistaken it for a different cartoon (whose name eludes me at the moment) in which a character’s descent to hell is the framing story for a bunch of footage from earlier cartoons, meaning I would end up having another opportunity to grouse about recycling footage, which I never enjoy. Still, this isn’t really one of the better Tweety and Sylvester cartoons, largely because it makes very poor use of Tweety, who is really little more than the prey of the cat here. Perhaps is no surprise that my favorite moment here is a Tweety one, in which he mistakes Sylvester’s frantic flapping of two feathers as a generous attempt to return them to the bird. To my mind, the funniest thing about this particular series is how Tweety generally proves more than a match for Sylvester.

Sandokan, Pirate of Malaysia (1964)

Sandokan, Pirate of Malaysia (1964)
Article 5980 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-6-2021
Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Featuring Steve Reeves, Jacqueline Sessard, Mimmo Palmara
Country: Italy / Spain / West Germany / France
What it is: Historical action

Pirate Sandokan aids a rebellious faction in an Asian country to save them from being taken over by British invaders.

Despite the presence of Steve Reeves and its presence in the Mill Creek “Warriors” megapack, this is not a sword and sandal movie; it’s historical action/adventure in a time much closer to the present. Nor would I bother reviewing it if it weren’t listed in the Walt Lee guide; its sole fantastic content is the presence of one of those drugs which cause a man to feign death until given the antidote, a device which drives the plot in the middle of the movie. As for the movie itself, it’s a passable example of the genre, but my viewing is marred by the fact that my copy seems underlit; many of the scenes are so dark it’s difficult to tell one person from another, and that makes it very difficult to appreciate the action sequences. If better copies exist, those seeking to view the movie would be better off waiting for those to show up.

Salvage (1979)

Salvage (1979)
Article 5979 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-5-2021
Directed by Lee Philips
Featuring Andy Griffith, Joel Higgins, Trish Stewart
Country: USA
What it is: Successful TV series pilot

An ambitious junkman conceives of a plan to retrieve salvage from the moon. Can he make his plan become reality?

I’ve seen quite a few TV-Movies intended as pilots for series that never made the grade, but this is one of the exceptions; it did become a series, albeit one that had a very short run. Somehow, I’m not surprised; the premise here is rather far-fetched and I’m not sure a series based on this would work in the long run. On the plus side, the characters are fun, there’s a genuine wit to the proceedings, and it’s rather likable. The first part of the movie is involved with the implementation of the plan and gathering the necessary talent to pull it off; the second mostly plays for suspense and is far more familiar, as it concentrates with the various dangers and setbacks of the voyage to the moon itself. All in all, I rather like it, and I’m glad it was given a chance as a series.

The Sadistic Hypnotist (1969)

The Sadistic Hypnotist (1969)
aka Wanda
Article 5978 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-2-2021
Directed by Greg Corarito
Featuring Katherine Shubeck, Richard Compton, Janine Sweet
Country: USA
What it is: Nudies discover sex, drugs, and stupidity.

A man goes to a sleazy theater and watches a movie in which the male survivor of a car crash is kept prisoner by a sadistic female hypnotist and her gaggle of girls who have their way with him. Can he be rescued by a maniac from the fun-nee farm? And what will happen when they all take drugs?

It’s been a little while since my last review because none of my recent viewings had any of the necessary fantastic content. It certainly doesn’t bode well that this idiotic little feature (which serves as a link between nudies and full-blown porn) is the one that brings me back to the reviews. Between having a whip-wielding maniac, a woman with hypnotic powers, and a framing story with a very common final twist, there’s enough fantastic content to get by. For the record, it seems to be trying to be a comedy,(though it’s really just for the usual exploitation crowd), so I’ll give it a point for it’s best joke, which is how the guys raiding the kitchen find which jar has the LSD in it.

Reve de singe (1978)

Reve de singe (1978)’
aka Ciao maschio, Bye Bye Monkey
Article 5977 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-16-2021
Directed by Marco Ferreri
Featuring Gerard Depardieu, Marcello Mastroianni, James Coco
Country: Italy / France
What it is: Art film

An employee at a wax museum decides to raise a chimpanzee found in the hand of the corpse of King Kong.

I’m not really sure what the reality of this film is. Is the corpse of King Kong really what it is, or is it a work of art? Is the chimp the son of Kong or just a chimp? There are lots of other ambiguities as well that are never really resolved. Some scenes involve the main character’s work with a feminist theatre, his relationship with the manager of a wax museum dedicated to ancient Rome who has been blackmailed by the government to change the faces of his figures to those of modern politicians, his love affair with an actress, and his friendship with a group of people, one of which is a lonely asthmatic played by Marcello Mastroianni. The French title translates as “The Monkey Dream”, and the Italian title translates as “Goodbye to Macho”. I suspect the true center of the film is caught in the Italian title; it certainly points to an obvious symbolic value to the corpse of King Kong, nor does it indicate a positive fate for the chimpanzee in the film. Nevertheless, I can’t say I really felt satisfied with this one, though I like some of Ferreri’s other works.

Return of the Wolf Man (1957)

Return of the Wolf Man (1957)
Article 5976 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-15-2021
Directed by Donald F. Glut
Featuring Donald F. Glut
Country: USA
What it is: Amateur classic monster mayhem

A thief in a basement accidentally revives Dracula, who then returns to his experiments and revives the Frankenstein monster. Then the Wolf Man shows up. Who will win this monster showdown?

We’re back in amateur movie-making mode with this one; Donald F. Glut was 13 years old when he made this one. It’s fun, like the other amateur films I’ve seen from him, but once again it shouldn’t be compared to a professional production. Which is not to say that no interesting observations can’t be made from doing so; for the record, I found the story here much more coherent than the professional martial arts movie I watched earlier today (RETURN OF THE KUNG FU DRAGON). Still, part of the fun of this one is figuring out how he did his special effects; I do see some creative use of record turntables here, for example.

The Return of the Kung Fu Dragon (1976)

The Return of the Kung Fu Dragon (1976)
aka Ju ma pao
Article 5975 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-15-2021
Directed by Chi-Lien Yu and Kang Yu
Featuring Polly Ling-Feng Shang-Kuan, Chung Chien Li, Sing Chen
Country: Taiwan
What it is: Where choreographers and Foley Artists rule.

The Golden City is taken over by a usurper with the help of a sorcerer. Nineteen years later, descendants of the original generals decide to take the city back.

This is one of those martial arts films that takes place in a fantasy world, thus ensuring it a review here. As for the story line… well, I lost track of it shortly after the opening monologue set up the situation, but I was able to pick up the thread again when the ending monologue explained how the situation was resolved. In between we have the results of an intense collaboration between fight choreographers and the sound effects department. The presence of a female martial arts practitioner as the main hero is the most striking aspect of this one; her cocky attitude and comic bits are the best things about this movie. We also get a strange imp-like character and a sorcerer whose beard is so long he has a personal valet to keep track of it. The rest is pretty much just what you’d expect from this type of movie. So… onward.