Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Other People’s Pulps: Lassiter (1984)

51QCMFGb+bLThere’s a movie I’ve been planning to cover on this blog for a while now, and finally two days back I mentioned it on Derrick Ferguson’s blog post I shared.
The movie is called Lassiter, and it’s from 1984, a time when Hollywood (or thereabouts) rediscovered the old pulp genre. Blame it on Indiana Jones.

 

A straightforward caper movie with an espionage twist, Lassiter is set in London, 1939.
American cat burglar/cracksman Nick Lassiter (Tom Selleck) is blackmailed by the Yard and the FBI into burglarizing the German embassy, in order to retrieve 10 millions in uncut diamonds.
Add t the mix Lassiter’s ballerina girlfriend (Jane Seymour), a seductive and debauched Nazi femme fatale (Lauren Hutton), and a Scotland Yard inspector (Bob Hoskins) hell bent on seeing Lassiter in the can no matter what, and the whole set-up suddenly gets very complicated. Continue reading


2 Comments

Other people’s pulps: Roco Vargas

I mentioned The Adventures of Roco Vargas as one of my influences in a post back in 2013, a post I closed saying I’d have to write something about the series.
Well, better late than never, right?

Spanish comic book artist Daniel Torres started writing Roco Vargas in 1983. A specialist in “retrofuturist” settings and stories, Torres referenced streamlined design, Bell Geddes architecture and 1940s-1950s style in his stories.

daniel_NoticiaAmpliada

Roco Vargas, the star of the eponymous series, is a science fiction writer, night-club owner, former space pilot and ladies’ man based in the city of Puerto Bahia. Modeled on classic pulp adventurers, Vargas has a mysterious past, snippets of which we discover throughout the series: he was part of a team of science adventurers, together with Saxxon and Panama Kid, working for professor Kowalski, and they were known as the Space Kids. Continue reading


Leave a comment

More Mummy

Something has been nagging at the back of my mind since I posted my non-review of The Mummy, and finally this afternoon – possibly inspired by the Egyptian-desert-grade heat here where I live – I finally got it.
Because there was something –  the new mummy movie featuring Tom Cruise is actually closer to a “reboot” of the 1971 Hammer classic Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb than than any Universal Mummy film.

We get the lot: the cursed, evil Egyptian queen, the resurrection/reincarnation bit, and the world shattering plot.
Nice and smooth. Continue reading


6 Comments

Curse of the Mummy

I do not usually do negative reviews – because I think it’s much better to just talk about the good things.
Good things are what we want to suggest to our friends – not bore them with how much we hated the last movie we saw, right?

Well, let’s try and be positive.

I’ll start by showing my age and say that my first mummy was the one in the Jonny Quest episode The Curse of Anubis.

MummyPan03

Which probably explains why my all-time favorite mummy movie is the 1959 Hammer horror The Mummy, featuring (who else?) Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
There’s a bad guy in a fez – just likein the Jonny Quest cartoon… and the added bonus of there not being an insufferable dog as comedy relief.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Comedy & Espionage: Q Planes (1939)

In the BBC radio program about The Avengers that I linked the other day, Brian Clemens1 mentioned the 1939 movie Q Planes as a film in which the prototype of John Steed first appeared.
So I went and watched the movie.
Because, John Steed.

That, in this specific case, is called Major Hammond, and is played as a suave upper class twit by Ralph Richardson.
Only he’s no twit at all, of course, being a tough and smart operative in the British intelligence.

The plot in a nutshell: German2 agents are using a sort of “death ray” to capture experimental aircraft and appropriate the top-secret technology. An ace pilot is caught up in the plot, and joins forces with a spy and a plucky journalist.

Here’s the first eight minutes – and a perfect introduction to the Richardson character…

 

Continue reading


1 Comment

A little hype: Shanmei’s “The Waiting Game”

I just delivered the translation of my friend Shanmei’s short story The Waiting Game, and I guess the ebook will be available as soon as the cover is ready.

Meanwhile, why not start with a little publicity?
Here is the blurb…

Peking, 1902

In the cosmopolitan China of the early 20th century, following the violence and horror of the Boxer Rebellion, lieutenant Luigi Bianchi, serving in Huang Tsun, is involved in the investigation of the death of a wealthy French merchant, poisoned while dining at the Golden Phoenix restaurant.
A Chinese waiter has been arrested for the murder, but is he really the killer?
And why the Japanese embassy seems to hide some details?

A short colonial mystery, with a dash of spy story, the first in a series set between 1900 and 1905, featuring an Italian soldier with a knack for investigations.

Would you buy it?
(I would, but being the translator, I get my copy for free)


4 Comments

A Few Evenings in Skartaris

The Hollow Earth.
Dinosaurs and Quaternary Megafaunas.
Atlantean technology and swords.
Beautiful women and evil sorcerers.
Beastmen.
What more could a guy ask to spend some free time after dinner?

grellwarlord10pgs8-9dps-136050

A friend, knowing my appreciation of Mike Grell’s Green Arrow, handed me a big collection of Warlord comics, and now I am happy.
After all, I had heard for ages about this series, and now I’m finally able to read it.
And I must say I am impressed, and I did not expect anything less. Continue reading