Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Hell's Hinges, The Terror of Tiny Town, The Phantom Empire, Les Petroleuses

We had our annual Summer meeting of the Finnish Western Society last Saturday. We (seven guys) were at a log cabin in Karkkila, a small town somewhere near Helsinki, and watched at least three western films in the whole. One we watched in part, and one we took a look at.

The best of films was no doubt William S. Hart's silent western, Hell's Hinges (1916). It's a solemn religious drama, in which Hart is a heartless killer who falls in love with a young woman and says goodbye to his past. Hart is very believable as a ruthless assassin. Despite being in black and white and silent, this was the only film that held our interest throughout its whole run. (Well, not everyone's. Someone said: "Next one will have to be a colour film!") I'd really love to see more of Hart's films.

The cult favourites, The Terror of Tiny Town and The Phantom Empire, however wore us out. The first one, famous for its all-midget cast, was way too traditional. Replace the midgets with grown-ups, and I'm sure not many would remember the film, let alone watch it. The Phantom Empire we couldn't make ourselves to watch through. It's just not suited to watch in entirety. I'm sure it would work better with a 20-minute episode every week, just as it was meant to be screened. Both films are better as ideas than as finished products.

The French film, Les Petroleuses/Frenchie King from the early seventies, has the advantage of sporting two very beautiful women in the lead, namely Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale. We couldn't come to an agreement which one is more beautiful. But the film is sadly a spectacle of disjointed events, some very colourful and mildly funny. There's just no coherence to it, which goes on to show that the French prefer spectacle to story-telling. Still, Bardot is very hot in her black outfit, and Cardinale is very, very lovely.

We also took a glimpse at an abysmally bad The Wackiest Wagon Train in the West that was put together from the episodes of Dusty's Trail. That's a TV show I'll never want to see. We lasted about 15 minutes.

I don't know if Todd Mason is making his usual round-up, since there's only one guest post in his blog here. Maybe there's more to come.


Todd Mason said...

You betcha, Red Ryder. I could've warned you about DUSTY'S TRAIL, famously one of the worst products of Canadian-American television ever (an even dimmer replay of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND on a wagon train, with Bob Denver yet again the eponymous boob)(and he once the surf Nazi of FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG...)(yes, I know about Krebs).

Todd Mason said...

Oh, and Claudia Cardinale. Though not by Too much.

Juri said...

Yeah, I might go along with Claudia too.

The Dusty's Trail movie was on DVD a friend had lent me, it had THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN on it plus two other films and I had no prior knowledge about the other films. Testing the DVD player I just put the film on. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.