Saturday, January 31, 2009

Antonioni's Blow-up

A photographer in swinging London thinks he's accidentally photographed a murder.

Achingly groovy, Blow-up features David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, and the beautiful Jane Birkin, later Mrs. Serge Gainsbourg, in an absolute rave-up of a film.

This film inspired Brian DePalma's 1978 film Blow Out with John Travolta and Nancy Allen.
The soundtrack is fantastic. Featuring a groovy score by Herbie Hancock and a couple tracks from The Yardbirds. 

The clip below is quite possibly the grooviest ever committed to celluloid (note Jeff Beck's Townsend inspired performance, Antonioni wanted The Who, and see if you can spot Monty Python's Michael Palin):

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Edwige Fenech

French born actress Edwige Fenech is 1000% groovy. Whether getting naked in comedies, or getting naked in horror films, or getting naked in giallos, she is indubitably...naked! er...I!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All This and World War II

Wanna hear a groovy idea for a movie?

"Take the Music of the Beatles!"
"Say, that is groovy!"
"Have some of the top talent of the day record covers of Beatles songs!"
"Hey, alright man, that's out of sight!"
"Wait! There's more! Take archival footage from World War II."
"Mix in some vintage films from the same era."
"Far out.?"

If you're like me then you'll love the new movie from 20th Century Fox. Love Helen Reddy? Then imagine Helen Reddy singing The Fool on the Hill. Love The Four Seasons? Then imagine The Four Seasons singing We Can Work it Out. Love Leo Sayer? Then imagine Leo Sayer singing Let it Be AND The Long and Winding Road AND I Am the Walrus!! Love Frankie Valli? Then imagine Frankie Valli singing A Day in the Life. Love Richard Cocciante? Now hold on! Love Richard Cocciante? Love Richard Who?

Released theatrically for 1 week in 1976 its...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wild in the Streets

Wild in the Streets is an absolutely essential piece of counter culture, anti-establishment fimmaking from the 60's.

Max Frost, pop music superstar, gets elected president when the voting age is lowered, through some trickery on Max and his cronies part, to 14.

Once elected Max decrees that all people over the age of 35 be kept in camps and supplied with a never ending supply of LSD.
Sounds groovy!!

Starring Christopher Jones, Hal Holbrook, Shelley Winters(hilarious as usual as Max's mother), and Richard Pryor, Wild in the Streets is essential cult fare.

The soundtrack, which I own on vinyl, has never been, as far as I know, released on CD. What a shame!! It is fantastic. From the title track to the hit single Shape of Things to Come to Sally Leroy to my favorite track Listen to the Music, Wild in the Streets is...three o's Grooovy!

Watch Shape of Things to Come:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vasily Vereschagin

One of my not so ephemeral obsessions is with Russian history, literature, and art, particularly from the 19th Century.

One of my favorites from this period is Vasily Vereschagin (1842-1904). Vereschagin's work mainly focused on war. Vereschagin, who saw firsthand the horrors or war, was controversial in his day for the graphic depictions of battle, and his paintings unglamorous attitude towards war and its effect on the men who fought.

During the First Sino-Japanese War Vereschagin was aboard the Russian flagship the Petropavlovsk which, while entering the Yellow Sea struck a mine and nearly everyone on board, including Vereschagin, went down.

Here are a couple of my favorite paintings of his:

To see more check out this great art site:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Patrick McGoohan The Prisoner In Memorium

I was saddened last week to see that Number Six had died.

Patrick McGoohan not only played the enigmatic secret agent in the classic television series The Prisoner, he also created, produced, and wrote the show.

If you have never seen The Prisoner you are missing out. A secret agent, fed up and ready to step down, quits. His employers?, the enemy?, somebody?, however, not convinced he is quitting for a more sinister or subversive reason, kidnap him and place him in The Village, a quaint seaside village populated by other "ex-agents", most of whom appear quite happy in The Village. The run of the series, 17 episodes, deal with McGoohan, or Number Six, attempting to determine his location and the mysterious identity of Number One. Enigmatic and groovy, The Prisoner, along with Gilligan's Island, is probably my favorite TV show of all time, and definitely(thanks ModNeeds) the only one I own.

There are three volumes of music that have been released from the Prisoner and each one contains the excellent theme song along with a variety of music from the show and excerpts of dialogue, as well. You're not going to love all of the music on these three CDs but there is enough to please any soundtrack fan.

Watch the show opening below. It sets up the show and does so with an absolutely groovy theme song!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alan Price O Lucky Man!

In 1968 director Lindsay Anderson made the classic If.. with Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, a disaffected schoolboy who leads the ultimate schoolyard rebellion. If you have never seen it, you must!

In 1973 he made O Lucky Man with Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, a young man trying to find his way in the world. This film, which features the beautiful Helen Mirren, while not a sequel, I think, is even better than If...

The soundtrack is amazing! The songs were wriiten and performed by Alan Price, formerly of The Animals, and are featured strongly in the film in the form of interludes which show Price and his band performing live in the studio.

I only own this on vinyl, but it has been finally issued on CD in the last couple years. I absolutely love this album, which I discovered upon viewing the film for the first time when I worked for a video rental outlet in the late 1980's.

The songs are heartfelt and melodic and fit so well with the film. I had a real hard time choosing one to display here, Poor People, Sell Sell, Look Over Your Shoulder, they are all great. If you like go to Youtube and view them all. Even better, find the film and enjoy it with the music in the format it was designed for. Groovy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I bought this scrumptuously wicked soundtrack at Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard around Christmas time in 2005.

The premise of the film is pure genius. Get this, a group of bikers learns the secret of returning from death, makes a pact, commits suicide, and sure enough, return to wreak havoc as the undead!

The music, composed by John Cameron, and played by the band Frog, is haunting, moody, funky, stark, with an acid-drenched wah wah. There is a hippie-ish folk ballad a la The Wicker Man, and there is even a recurring theme that rocks! It would find a home in any biker movie(Rebel Rousers, Wild Angels, you name it), let alone one that features zombies!

Far out said it...groovy!

Check it out

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Robbi, Tobbi, und das Fliewatüüt

I picked up this little gem back in the summer of '07 and it hasn't been far from my disc player ever since. This is the soundtrack to a German television show for kids about a boy(Tobbi), a robot(Robbi), and the Fliewatüüt(invented by Tobbi, built by Robbi), a vehicle that can fly, swim and drive.

Looking something like a Teutonic Rankin-Bass production, the two have adventures in the Fliewatüüt and solve difficult tasks.

All this fun is set to some dynamic music composed by Ingfried Hoffmann, Germany's top organist in the 70's. Many themes are reused so cleverly it took me many listens to realize they were the same.

It swings, it uplifts, it brings a tear to the eye, and oh's groovy!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Warren Oates

The landscape of American cinema is littered with forgotten faces. Here is a tribute to one actor I will never forget. Long a lover of the "character actor" I want to devote a few words to one of the greatest: Warren Oates!
Dead way too soon, Oates is best remembered for his associations with two great icons of American film: Sam Peckinpah and Monte Hellman. 
If it has been awhile go back and renew your love with The Wild Bunch and Two Lane Blacktop. Then delve a little deeper with Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. 
There is no denying! Oates is groovy!

Piero Piccioni

Of all the great Italian film composers, from Morricone to Nicolai, Alessandroni to Umiliani, Cipriani to Micalizzi, my favorite has to be Piero Piccioni. Equally at home and evocative in crime jazz, funky beats, sleazy rhythms, swinging lounge, or sweeping orchestral themes Piccioni's music never fails to groove.

Recommended listening:
Camille 2000
Colpo Rovente
I Giovani Tigri
Puppet on a Chain
any volume of the Easy Tempo series