The Pink Chiquitas (1987)

The Pink Chiquitas (1987)
Article 5709 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-26-2020
Directed by Tony Currie
Featuring Frank Stallone, Bruce Pirrie, Elizabeth Edwards
Country: Canada
What it is: An endurance test

A pink meteor crashes on Earth. It causes women to become nymphomaniacs and endows them with superpowers.

Let’s face it; with a title like that and a plot as stated above, we’re deep in exploitation territory here. However, with a PG-13 rating, we’re not deep enough in exploitation territory to satisfy that crowd. Which means that this movie lives or dies on the strength of its comedy, and once you get a sampling of the latter (especially when you consider the smarmy mayor and the Barney-Fife wannabe sheriff), I wouldn’t blame you for reading the last rites for this one. Me, I’ll just pretend that this never existed and go my merry way. Only for fans of Sylvester Stallone’s brother or people who want to hear Eartha Kitt’s voice.

Passion in the Sun (1964)

Passion in the Sun (1964)
aka The Girl and the Geek
Article 5674 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-12-2019
Directed by Dale Berry
Featuring Dale Berry, Mike Butts, Dee Dent
Country: USA
What it is: Nudie

A woman is kidnapped by two criminals and leads the cops on a chase. Also, a geek escapes from a carnival.

Usually, when Something Weird Video would put two movies on a DVD, it would be billed as a double feature of sorts. This one is not announced on the cover of the DVD for GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS, and was buried in the extras section, which certainly doesn’t make a case for its cinematic significance. I could argue how the plot is unbelievable and ridiculous, but if I did, I would be missing the point; the movie is a nudie, and any scene that doesn’t involve naked women should probably be considered as filler. The fantastic content is the geek, who looks like a man in very tacky makeup. For those not focused on the pulchritude on display, the highlight of the movie is how the geek’s incredible stupidity causes his own death. Not essential viewing.

The Portrait of the Lady Anne (1912)

The Portrait of the Lady Anne (1912)
Article 5666 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-17-2019
Directed by Lloyd Lonergan
Featuring Florence La Badie, Justin D. Barnes, William Russell
Country: USA
What it is: Ancestral spirit story

In the eighteenth century, a woman breaks up an engagement in a fit of jealousy, and marries another man. She lives to regret it and dies of grief. Many years later, a descendant of hers is about to make the same mistake. Can her spirit save her descendant?

I’ve been going through movies in a roughly chronological order lately, and I’ve definitely noticed that the second decade of the twentieth century marked a definite shift from the first decade; there’s less wild experimentation with trick photography and a concentration on story-telling and making the tricks fit the story. The main trick effect here is the spirit emerging from her portrait. The trick is nothing new, but here it is part and parcel of the story; in fact, the portrait with the missing person proves to be a clue to the descendant as to what’s going on. Florence La Badie seems to have been a star of the era; I’ve seen her name pop up a lot, and here she has a dual role, as both ancestor and descendant. The story is merely okay, but it’s well done and moderately entertaining.

Le papillon fantastique (1909)

Le papillon fantastique (1909)
Article 5657 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-26-2019
Directed Georges Melies
Featuring Georges Melies
Country: France
What it is: Magic short fragment

A magician performs magic involving a giant butterfly and a spider creature.

Apparently, all that is left of this short is a two-minute fragment, but given that it’s a magic trick short, I’m guessing all I’m missing is a few tricks. The best thing about this is its switch of mood halfway through; the sequence with the butterfly is all bright and cheery, but things turn dark and ominous when the spider shows up. Outside of that, it looks like your typical Melies magic trick short – entertaining, but hardly essential.

Przygoda w paski (1960)

Przygoda w paski (1960)
aka An Adventure in Stripes
Article 5625 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-22-2019
Directed by Alina Maliszewska
No cast
Country: Poland
What it is: Animated short

A lonely female striped elephant is rejected by the herd of white elephants she follows. Meanwhile, a lonely male striped elephant is rejected by the herd of black elephants he follows. What will happen when these two striped elephants meet?

I think most anyone could make a guess as to what would happen when these two elephants meet, so I can’t exactly say that unpredictability plays a big role in this animated short. Fortunately, it’s the character touches that lift this one up. The hunger of two elephants for love and their affinity for dealing with children (elephants) in a positive way make you feel their yearning for love and companionship. And there is at least one plot point that isn’t easily predictable. I’m not sure if this is the first Polish animated short I’ve encountered for this series, but I found this one fairly entertaining and likable.

Pencil Mania (1932)

Pencil Mania (1932)
Article 5609 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-27-2018
Directed by John Foster and Vernon Stallings
Featuring the voice of Margie Hines
Country: USA
What it is: Tom and Jerry (you know who they’re not) cartoon

Tom has a magic pencil that can create things that come to life… or is it Jerry who has the pencil..?

You know, I just realized that after sitting through several of these cartoons, I don’t know which of the characters is Tom and which is Jerry. Not that it matters; in terms of personalities, they’re nonentities, and only exist as catalysts for the gags. The magic pencil is the extra level of fantastic content here, making this cartoon a bit more on the level of a “Felix the Cat” cartoon, which is a marked improvement of the proceedings; in fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it’s the best of the T&J cartoons I’ve seen so far. The second half of the cartoon is mostly a parody of mellerdrammers, though things do get pretty surreal, especially with a train that vanishes into the Twilight Zone. If you’re really curious about this series, this is the one to catch.

Plane Dumb (1932)

Plane Dumb (1932)
Article 5607 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-26-2018
Directed by John Foster and George Rufle
Featuring the voices of Aubrey Lyle and F.E. Miller
Country: USA
What it is: Tom and Jerry (NOT the cat and mouse) cartoon

Tom and Jerry take a plane trip to Africa, and plan to blend in by disguising themselves as natives.

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, these early Tom and Jerrys are not the famous cat and mouse, but a pair of humans, one tall and thin, the other short and fat. And, as you might have gleaned from the plot description, this cartoon is far from politically correct as they disguise themselves in blackface. As if that wasn’t bad enough, their having done so makes them feel it is necessary to talk like Amos ‘n’ Andy. If this didn’t make you want to skip the cartoon, then the fact that it’s another dose of subpar lowbrow slapstick should give you another reason to keep away. The fantastic content includes an encounter with a giant octopus, several monsters (I think they’re supposed to be wild animals, but they look like nothing I’ve ever seen), and a scene in a creepy cave that has a giant bat and some singing skeletons.

Prelude (1927)

Prelude (1927)
Article 5580 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-28-2018
Directed by Castleton Knight
Featuring Castleton Knight
Country: UK
What it is: Early music video

To the strains of Rachmoninoff’s Prelude, a man imagines he’s being buried alive.

This is, for all practical reasons, an early music video. It visually interprets Rachmoninoff’s Prelude as the story of a man who, upon reading the Edgar Allan Poe story “The Premature Burial”, falls asleep and dreams he has been buried alive. It’s a visually rich short with a few horror touches. My favorite is that we see the coffin turn partially transparent (the lines of the wood grain remain visible) and we see the trapped man struggling in terror. It’s very efficient and very well done. I have only one minor complaint; given his fame, you would have hoped they would have made sure that Poe’s name would have been spelled correctly.

Peter Pan (1924)

Peter Pan (1924)
Article 5560 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-7-2018
Directed by Herbert Brenon
Featuring Betty Bronson, Ernest Torrance, George Ali
Country: USA
What it is: Fantasy

A flying boy who never wants to grow up meets a girl and takes her to Never Never Land to be a mother to the Lost Boys. However, Never Never Land is also a world of pirates…

I’ve never read or seen the original play by J.M. Barrie, so I can’t say how closely the various versions of the story hone to the original story. All I can say is that of the various versions I’ve seen, this one is my favorite (and, yes, that means I like it better than the Disney version). It manages to avoid feeling like a photographed stage play while retaining some of the crucial elements that would make a viewing of the stage play a magical experience; I love the fact that both Nana the dog and the crocodile are played by actors in costume. For me, the story in this one feels more complete and unified; the other versions I’ve seen feel more episodic. A couple of odd elements stand out. The movie breaks the fourth wall on one occasion by exhorting audience members to clap their hands in order to save Tinkerbell’s life (which I suspect is from the original play), and for some odd reason, there’s a streak of American patriotism in this version; given that J.M. Barrie is Scottish and this is primarily an English story, this nationalism feels a bit forced.

Prichozi z temnot (1921)

Prichozi z temnot (1921)
Article 5554 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-13-2018
Directed by Jan S. Kolar
Featuring Theodor Pistek, Anny Ondra, Josef Svab-Malostransky
Country: Czechoslovakia
What it is: Strange horror film

A landowner must find a way to protect his wife from two predators; one his neighbor and the other an ancestor of his who has gained eternal life with the help of an alchemist.

I found the plot of this movie very confusing, but for a very good reason; only forty minutes of this one hour movie are still extant, and given that some of the story is told through nested flashbacks, it doesn’t take too much footage to be missing before the plot thread is lost. Fortunately, things start to settle down a bit during the second half, and I was able to more or less follow it at that time. Visually, it’s an enjoyable movie, and certain of the plot elements bear a resemblance to the various mummy movies over the year, only without a shambling wrapped creature. Still, I don’t feel I can fully evaluate the movie without the missing footage, and though I found it interesting enough, the jury is out until a more complete version manifests itself.