In this microcast, I look at the unofficial Bond movie, Never Say Never Again (Irvin Kershner), that came off second best at the box office against the EON produced Octopussy (John Glen), when they were both released in 1983. Despite it’s generally low ranking reputation, I look at some of the elements I enjoy, including Bond’s fashion, the shark scenes, and the witty and playful script by Lorenzo Semple Jr (with uncredited rewrites by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais from the British comedy Porridge).
In the latest episode of my podcast, Newton Talks, author Austin Fisher joins me to talk about his book, Blood in the Streets, which looks at Italian crime films cycles of the 1970s, such as the police thriller, vigilante movies, mafia narratives, and the giallo, and how they responded to the violent political turmoil happening in Italian cities at the time.
We discuss the use of locations, how cyclical film production in the 70s relied upon repetition, and how these films reflected the ‘Years of Lead’, an extraordinary period of political violence that lasted the decade.
In my latest Newton Talks podcast, Dr Joseph Oldham, author of Paranoid Visions: Spies, Conspiracies and the Secret State in British Television Drama, joins me to discuss British TV spy shows such as Callan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Night Manager, and Spooks, among others. We discuss the small screen aesthetics of the spy drama, how social class is at the forefront of the genre, and how they deal with the ethical dilemmas involved with the subject.
In this micro-podcast, I talk about one of the definitive cult films of the 1980s, Alex Cox’s debut feature, Repo Man (1984). As well as being a filmmaker, Cox was also presenter of the BBC series Moviedrome, which has an important place in the perception of cult cinema. Listen to my podcast about one of the great anti-authoritarian films here;
In this episode of my podcast, Dr Johnny Walker joins me to talk about the book he is writing about the video rental boom of the 1970s and 1980s in Britain. We talk about how home video impacted the film industry in terms of new market opportunities, influencing future filmmakers, and also its effect on Britain’s working class and South Asian communities.
In this latest episode, journalist and James Bond aficionado Lee Kenny joins me to discuss the BBC radio play adaptations of Ian Fleming’s 007 novels. The first was broadcast in 2008, the most recent in 2020, and they all feature Toby Stephens as Bond, as well as other recurring cast. We talk about how they capture the overall strangeness of atmosphere present in Fleming’s stories, and how they provide a counterpoint to both the books and the more famous film series.
What more is there to say about Robin Hardy’s folk horror masterpiece The Wicker Man (1973)? Not too much. But nevertheless, in this very short microcast, I share a few thoughts on the director’s cut, the remake, and Hardy’s belated 2011 sequel/follow up The Wicker Tree.
In this podcast, television historian Amanda Reyes joins me to talk about the American TV movie of the 1960s up until the 1990s. We discuss its relationship to cinematic genres, and in particular how they often mimicked the subjects of exploitation films, resulting in TV movie versions of rape-revenge, horror, women in prison, among others. Like much of exploitation cinema their narratives also frequently dealt with topical subjects, and they were made on often meagre shooting schedules and with low budgets.
Amanda’s book on the subject, Are You in the House Alone, is published by Headpress, and her Made for TV Mayhem podcast is available here: https://tvmayhempodcast.wordpress.com
In this episode of my Cult Film Microcast series, I look at Perry Henzell’s 1972 Jamaican film, The Harder They Come. The poster above is from the American New World Pictures release, and makes a clear attempt to market the film as a blaxploitation crime picture. Like many films of the blaxploitation cycle, it has an anti-authoritarian ethos, and the music and soundtrack is a vital component in generating its mood.
In this recording, I focus on the stylistic techniques, the performance by reggae star Jimmy Cliff as Ivanoe Martin, and the famous scene set in the Rialto cinema in Kingston, where Martin goes to watch a performance of the spaghetti western Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966).
In this series of micro-podcasts I look at individual cult films. In this episode I focus on James Glickenhaus’ often maligned The Exterminator (1980). A sleazy and very violent exploitation movie set in New York, The Exterminator features a traumatised Vietnam veteran avenging an attack on his friend, as well as the mobsters extorting local businesses. While nowhere near as respected as superficially similar New York vigilante movies like Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) or Winner’s Death Wish (1974), it has enough moments of significance that make it worthy of attention in its own right. Note, for example, how it juxtaposes the hellish jungles of Vietnam with a City in economic and moral decline, and how its lead character identifies with both victims and victimisers. Listen to more of my thoughts on the movie here;