Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Best & The Worst: Treasure of Silver Lake

Quite a few years ago, I was watching the Encore Westerns channel and just happened upon a heretofore unknown film called Treasure of Silver Lake (1962.) I had no idea what I was in for and it was an almost surreal experience (being a German-made western set in America, but filmed in Yugoslavia and Croatia, and with dubbed voices for all.) Once I adjusted my mindset a bit, I found myself becoming highly invested in the adventurous story and loving what I was seeing. I later sought out as many of the films in this ongoing series as I could, and I enjoyed them too, but Silver Lake remains my favorite. Recently I got to see a gorgeously-restored widescreen version of it (now on Blu-Ray) and it was even better than I remembered!

The original German title.
Blue-eyed Frenchman Pierre Brice made a cottage industry of playing the Apache chief Winnetou in many films and even on stage. Lex Barker, a former Tarzan, played Old Shatterhand in several films.
The unusual terrain is highlighted by the gorgeous widescreen cinematography.
The "worst" for me is the sometimes questionable dubbing (and for some reason in these and countless other dubbed European films, there is always loud, boisterous laughter going on for no apparent reason.) Also, this character, played by Eddi Arent, is part of a triad of comic relief roles who - depending on one's tolerance - a viewer may need relief from! This foppish lord stumbles into the story line in search of a rare butterfly!
The other two characters with the potential to grate are the dark-haired one - who speaks only in rhymes - and the bewigged one who was once attacked by an Indian and occasionally takes off his "hair" to itch what's left of his scalp! The rhyming one is by far my least favorite of the three.
More to my taste is the glowing, deliriously handsome Götz George who plays the son of a landowner who has discovered the treasure of the title. If he seems at all familiar, it's because I gave him a brief tribute when he passed away a couple of years ago.
Another example of the striking scenery.
George's vivid red shirt against the painterly (and real!) mountains and sky.
Bronzed Lex Barker starts off the movie with a thick, blond beard, but soon shaves it off.
Directly after shaving it, shots pour in from the window, forcing Barker and George into a clinch. I like to finish up my shaving habits this way, too, but rarely do...
Chief villainy comes in the form of Herbert Lom. Few people could cast as direct or as threatening a gaze as Mr. Lom when he wanted to.
Needless to say, among the best in this film is the searingly beautiful George and his crystalline eyes!
There's a fairly resourceful female (Marianne Hoppe), too, who helps hold off a horde of bad guys at a fort.
There is true grandeur in the sequence, with a huge, two-story house surrounded by tall fencing. The bad guys use large rolling bales to hide behind as they approach with flaming torches.
Forty-three year-old Sexy Lexy, who'd found a new, wildly-successful career in Europe, was still looking good. Sadly, he would be dead of a heart attack just eleven years later. 
I was just gobsmacked that George was doing what appeared to be every single one of his own stunts, from hopping aboard a team of runaway horses pulling a stagecoach to jumping from a moving horse in this scene to drag Lom to the ground!
Their fight scene is quite rugged, but hilariously choreographed with George sending Lom tumbling into the air, Lom burying his face in George's ass and then George catching Lom's head between his legs...! (Is it getting warm in here?)
It ends with George picking Lom up by the balls and then cupping his hand over Lom's crotch before tossing him into the dirt!
The film's heroine is played by pretty Karin Dor, who Hitchcock fans may recall from Topaz (1969.) She's the one who sank to the floor as her voluminous gown spread out below her. Here, her primary act is to be held hostage THREE different times...!
The film would be a pretty serious affair were it not for the continued presence of these three "amusing" tag-alongs. Somehow, during my last viewing, they didn't bother me as much as they once did, but I'm not much on broad comic relief.
The film's participants are subjected to incident after incident, from a tense arrow-filled ambush at a burnt-out Indian village...
...to a knock-down drag-out battle between Barker and one of the tribes hulking warriors (who's given a hysterically sonorous voice in the English dub.)
When we finally do arrive at Silver Lake, it is indeed breathtaking, with teeming waterfalls and, as seen here, a natural rainbow.
Silver Lake.
But once more, Dor has been captured by Lom. George (not shown) is as well.
If you're going to play a guard who is knocked out and has his gun stolen, there are worse ways for it to be done that to have a shirtless Götz George slither across your face as he's reaching for your pistol...!
But the freedom doesn't last long. Can I just - again - point out how George's beauty jumps from the screen?!
I should think fans of bondage would like this segment. Some folks may have focused in on Dor's pouting breasts, but George's beefy pec was all I could take in by this point!
George was either convinced to shave his chest for this part or else wanted to (I presume the former), though in future roles he would show off a hairy physique.
I can't say enough about the gorgeous location filming, the almost endless series of adventures and the finale inside the cave near Silver Lake, which looks as if it could easily have inspired George Lucas when he was making Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989.)
The stars are lovingly photographed throughout. Barker and Brice were extremely popular in these roles, which remain lesser known to many U.S. film fans.
And, I'm sorry, but there are few young male leads as invigorating as George. To see him in the movie, in perpetual motion, literally hurling himself from one spot to the next, doing all sorts of crazy stunts while also looking like this... Sigh. You may see this film for yourself here if you wish. Try to watch it on as large a screen as you can.
Bonus Pic: George and Barker re-teamed (shown here with costar Uschi Glas during leisure time) on Winnetou and the Crossbreed (1966) by which time his chest hair was back in full flower (as were his swim trunks!)
Bonus Pic: By this 1978 TV appearance (on the German series Derrick), hair was "in."
Sweet dreams, folks...

  * * * ALSO - If you recall the very first installment of The Best & The Worst, there was a question regarding the exposure of Jeff Bridges in the 1979 film Winter Kills. I have updated the post with some revealing information at the bottom of the page.  * * * Till next time!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Circling the Drain

You know, after having done SO many bathtub posts over the years, it gets harder and harder to cough up more photographic evidence of movie and TV stars taking the plunge. But I keep plugging (get it?) along, attempting to find more. It starts to become like getting to the buffet table late and all the good bits of food are already taken (but at least there are archives here in which you can take a tip if you wish to!) You may see something that floats your rubber-ducky. We'll see! And, apart from today's cover boy, Charlie Chaplin, they aren't fully dressed at least.

This old still looks to be a gag shot of W.C. Fields. Is it me or does his head seem to be superimposed on someone else's body (thank Jesus!) I question whether he'd have been limber enough to achieve the pose in the portrait. LOL
Here we find 1930s & '40s actor Bruce Cabot combining his bath with a shave. (This was fairly common practice, though I don't know about having all those little bits of snipped beard in my bathwater!)
Victor Maddern (of 1957's Barnacle Bill) is, like many people in this post, bathing in the company of others.
In this shot, Robert Cummings' bath is interrupted by Lucille Ball. I believe this is from The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, a 1959 episode called "The Ricardos Go to Japan."
Again performing double duty, bathing and - in this case - rehearsing, we see Rossano Brazzi. Though Brazzi could sing a bit, he was dubbed by Giorgio Tozzi in his most famous role of Emile de Becque in South Pacific (1958.)
Henry Fonda, who could be found in the tub in many of his movies, takes an outdoorsy bath in The Rounders (1965.) I might point out the cock sitting up at the end of his tub? Ha ha!
Early in his film career, Fonda had starred in the first Technicolor British film Wings of the Morning (1937) in which Annabella, disguised as a boy, observes him bathing!
They are shown to better advantage in the insets here. It would be interesting to see Fonda's bath in the (beautifully restored) print quality of the insets rather than the blurry rendition I was able to come up with. Fonda looks great in color.
Oscar-winning friend of The Underword George Chakiris is enjoying a Japanese-style bath in Flight from Ashiya (1964.) Out of frame is a female attendant bearing more hot water.
This isn't a traditional "bath," but - hello - I'm not going to quibble when it's dreamy muscleman Richard Harrison washing himself off in Revolt of the Praetorians (1964.)
Sean Connery is reading up on the latest Las Vegas news in Diamonds Are Forever (1971.)
Peter O'Toole is shown operating an interesting mechanism for adding water to the bath and/or rinsing off in Becket (1964), in which he played King Henry II.
Some viewers detected a homoerotic vibe in the film, which costarred Richard Burton as Thomas Becket, especially when Burton gave the King some help drying off.
Steve McQueen is seen here with Tuesday Weld in The Cincinnati Kid (1965.)
This is a rather rare angle of the scene, though it's too blurry (and sudsy) for us to see anything.
Word has it that during this scene in Camelot (1967), Richard Harris opted to lighten the mood for Vanessa Redgrave by emerging from backstage to film the bathing scene while sporting an erection! Good luck trying a prank like that today...!
Famed designer Giorgio Armani uses mirrors to double his fun while enjoying a bubble bath.
Richard Lewis (as Prince John in 1993's Robin Hood: Men in Tights) has discovered a whole new level of bathing with this breath-driven jacuzzi!
Austin Peck, best known for his role of Austin Brady on Days of Our Lives, gets comfy in a claw-foot tub for a photo shoot.
Moving on now to some sequences. Good ol' Pa Ingalls (Michael Landon) of Little House on the Prairie is gearing up for a bath in this shot.
Don't quote me on this, but I thought that the reason behind it was an encounter with a skunk.
Anyway, his wife Caroline douses his whole head with more water...
...which hopefully wound up doing the trick.
Dennis Weaver (perhaps best known as McCloud) is shown here in a fateful moment from Don't Go to Sleep, a 1982 TV-movie thriller.
While he enjoys a bath and a (pitcher of!) martini, his daughter comes in to use his hair dryer.
Weaver is annoyed because he can't hear the radio, perched on the side of the tub, over the noise of the hair dryer... you know this did not end well!
Located in this ornately detailed tub is one Mick Jagger during the 1970s film Performance.
There's already one gal in the tub with him when another joins the fun. Check out the phallus-like loofah in his hand!
Between the endless clutter, the overcrowding and the cigarette smoke, it doesn't exactly come off as the most pleasant, or even sexy, bath. Perhaps it's the ratio of men vs women. LOL
One would think that the often-outrageous Jagger would be less modest, but he shows little...
He does, however, offer up a sort of bony flank which one of his galpals slaps a note of British money (which has fallen into the tub) on!
He's fairly wallpapered with money as he gets out...!
With apologies to his legions of fans, even on his best day I never had more than a skosh of interest in the man, but I include him for the sake of others.
More my speed is James Fox (also in Performance) who gets his own bath, yet still has company during it.
He's recovering from a terrible beating at this stage. In reality, Fox was so disturbed by a series of things during and around the filming of Performance that he had a nervous breakdown and left acting for nearly a decade.
Here we go with the communal bathing again...
This sequence is from the low-budget flick Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976), which starred Marjoe Gortner and a young Lynda Carter (joined on the left by Belinda Balaski and José Toledo.)
Gortner and Carter are on the run, Bonnie & Clyde-style...
...but do occasionally take the time to make love, enjoy a swim/bath and chew on some hallucinogenic mushrooms!
I've shown pics from this scene before, but these are clearer. Leonard Nimoy (looking about as ruggedly handsome as he likely ever did) is bathing in the western Catlow (1971) when Yul Brynner bursts in.
He manages to grab a gun and bolts from his bathwater!
This leads to a knock-down, drag-out fight between the men with Nimoy still wet from his bath.
He wasn't completely naked as this dim shot of him in a moleskin coverlet shows, but he almost was. Eventually, Brynner is shoved into the still full tub as the fight continues, but by the end Nimoy is face down on the floor with a broken piece of pottery rammed into his throat!
Now on to a more recent discovery of mine. Having avoided it for fourteen years, I was recently coerced into watching season one of Desperate Housewives and have enjoyed seeing Jesse Metcalfe (who I knew from Dallas) as the hunky high-school-aged gardener who is carrying on a wild affair with the wife of his client. This cozy bath is interrupted when the husband comes home early...
...causing Metcalfe to hurl out the window half-dressed - literally - wherein he peers back inside to indicate to the husband that it's business as usual in the yard!
Later, the adulterous pair are at it again, this time by candlelight.
Costar Eva Longoria tells him how much she loves baths, especially with him (but who wouldn't?!) Again they are interrupted, though...
Metcalfe springs from the tub, making a soapy mess all over the bathroom tile. (And, uh, his feet & toes are far from his best features...!)
In this snippet (and the inset showing the mirror's reflection) we find that Metcalfe was wearing some flesh-toned briefs during the sequence.
But the one who really suffers is the cable guy, played by one-time TV Superboy John Haymes Newton, who slips and falls, severely injuring himself!
Many of you will find this one obscure, but I discovered it and enjoyed it a lot. The German comedy Regular Guys (1996) has this heterosexual gent, Christoph M. Orht, losing his apartment and having to move in with a virtual stranger who he may or may not have had sex with while in a drunken stupor.
During Orht's bath, the gay roommate (Tim Bergmann) comes in and looks as if he's ready to take a dip as well!
And he does!
"Awkward...!"
Orht becomes aggravated and leaves the tub.
A bit of sniping follows, with the men arguing about their newfound association and the implications of it.
Bergmann offers to get out himself, albeit with a few choice words of admonishment.
In the end, however, Orht chills out and gets back in. I love a happy ending...
We're pretty much to the ending of this post, too, and it's a happy ending for me because it features one of our favorite current leading men. See him peeking out of the eerily blue water?
This is Chris Pine essaying the iconic role of Steve Trevor in 2017's Wonder Woman. Having survived a plane crash on Paradise Island, he is being helped with healing by this mineral bath.
The hair... the eyes... the lips!
I'm sayin'.....!
Anyway, Gal Gadot (who will soon emerge as Wonder Woman) comes in to check on him just as he's rising from the bath.
He's the only man on Paradise Island, so he is stunned when she looks him up and down and then says...
"What's that...?" He thinks she means something else, but she's actually referring to his watch, which is lying beside the pool! Ha ha!  As a man-made timepiece, she's never seen one (of those) before (either!)
Word on the street is that Pine has a (very) brief frontal scene in his latest offering Outlaw King (2018.) He may get me out of my house and into a theater again!
And, with that, Leonard Nimoy and I bid you:  The End!