East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


500 movies per year

I was talking movies with some friends, a few nights back, and one of them asked how come it looks like I have seen every movie out there, twice. And so I had to explain that, first, I am cursed with this memory, that works 110% when it comes to remember movies or other useless things, and really sucks at everything really important (like faces, phone numbers, passwords etc.). And that second, I was born fifteen years before he did, and so I grew up in a different world.

Continue reading


Tits & Sand: Arabian Nights, 1942

Arabiannights1Shot well before the tits & sand label was coined, Arabian Nights, directed by John Rawlins has all it needs to be listed in the genre.
Yes, there’s lots of sand, and star Maria Montez does show her graces in a number of lavish costumes.

A pity the story is so flimsy.
But we’ll get there.

Arabian Nights is one of the exotic movies featuring John Hall and Maria Montez poroduced in the ’40s by Universal pictures.
The first Technicolor feature produced by Universal in over a decade, the movie was designed to cash-in on the success of The Thief of Bagdad in 1940.
Both movies feature Sabu in a key role as the sidekick of the male lead. Continue reading

Leave a comment

My poor elephants have nowhere to go

give-us-the-moon-val-guest-1944-L-Mof3d6Forgotten wonders from the past.
Let’s say you’re a film-maker and you’ve got a great story – about a bunch of eccentrics that decide that working for a living’s a waste of time, it’s much better to live for unspecified kicks, trying to improvise a living.
Good idea for a comedy caper movie.
But there’s a catch – it’s 1944, and there’s a war going on – and the Censorship commission would never approve a movie about people unwilling to be valuable members of society.

What do you do?
Simple – you set your movie in the future, after the war is over.

A bona-fide science fiction film (hey, it’s set in the future, right?) Give us the Moon is a strange movie, with machine-gun witty dialogues and a strange prophetic value – the “White Elephants Society” is an uncanny parody of the existentialist and beat crowds that were, at the time of filming, at least 5 years in the future.

The sparkling lady is gorgeous Margaret Lockwood, the twittering girl is future superstar Jean Simmons.
The movie was directed by legendary director Val Guest, based on a novel by Caryl Brahms and S.J. Simon, called The Elephant is White.
For interested parties, getting the movie is a little easier than finding a good copy of the book.