"Well, most people like it and I like it, and I'm working hard and trying to keep the cost down"

J. Russell Finch CEO & President
The Pacific Edible Seaweed Company
Fresno, CA.

Thursday, July 30, 2015



    Directed by Jacques Deray this strangely seductive French production (original French title is UN HOMME EST MORT) was shot in Los Angeles and with the exception of the lead it features a cast of familiar American faces. Combing a 70's American crime film vibe with the low key coolness (by way of Jean Pierre Melville) Gallic style production its one of those films that in spite of its stellar cast has fallen off the radar through the years. With its off kilter plot maybe adding to its cult status, its seems like a movie that would be ripe for re-discovery as a cult film .
    French hit man Lucien Bellon (Jean-Louise Trintignant) arrives in Los Angeles to kill an American gangster (film noir staple Ted de Corsia in his last role). Dully carrying out his assignment as the gangsters wife (Angie Dickinson) and son stand mutely by and watch, he returns to his hotel and finds his passport and luggage missing with another hit man (Roy Scheider) gunning for him. The pair then play a cat mouse game through the sun baked seediness of early 70's Los Angeles.
    Along the way Trintignant hooks up with a hardened topless bar manager (played with a tough as nails brassiness by Ann Margaret) as he attempts to navigate through a totally alien world where he doesn't even speak the language. Director Deray uses the city as almost a main character with its endless freeways, concrete lined streets and intrusive modern technology including TV's that drone away in the back ground at every possible moment. The film is reminiscent somewhat of John Boorman's excellent L.A. based neo noir POINT BLANK with its detached protagonist wondering through a cold mechanized world.

    Thom Anderson is his excellent documentary L.A. PLAYS ITSELF calls THE OUTSIDE MAN "the most precise portrait of the city there is". Among the films highlights are a shoot out at a dreary looking Venice Beach, a confrontation at a funeral home with Ted De Corsia's embalmed corpse front and center and Georgia Engel (THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW) who along with her son (Jackie Earle Haley in his first role) are taken hostage by Bellon. Upon its surface the film has a lackadaisical meandering rhythm to its plot as even a car chase is filmed as though its an afterthought with it's characters wondering through the proceedings with little or no dialogue - all of which add to sense of isolation and detachment.
    The entire cast is excellent (this probably Ann Margaret's best role) and Scheider with about five lines of dialogue seems to having a great time with his role. Coming off the previous year's THE FRENCH CONNECTION he gets the central image in the promotional artwork. THE OUTSIDE MAN in available on DVD from MGM through their on demand service, but this really deserves a nice blu-ray release.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Adolfo Celi


    A very special  Birthday remembrance  goes out today for Bond villain and character actor extraordinaire Adolfo Celi. Born in Sicily on this day in 1922, he passed away on Feb. 19 1986.  He played on the more unforgettable (and one of the more sadistic) Bond villains in 1966's THUNDERBALL and in the next year was in OPERATION KID BROTHER - a Bond knock-off starring Sean Connery's younger brother Neil. He also appeared in VON RYAN"S EXPRESS (1965) and Mario Bava's DANGER DIABOLIK in 1968.
   Over the ensuing decades he carved out a solid career in euro thrillers, spy and crime movies with his commanding presence looming over them and becoming one of the more recognizable faces in Italian cinema.

Alex Rocco Feb. 29 1936 - July 18 2015

    A bit late with this as this past week ago Sat. we lost the wonderful character actor Alex Rocco. Probably best known as Moe Green from THE GODFATHER, he also made a fine series of appearances in the several low budget exploitation moves of the 70's including Arthur Marks's BONNIE'S KIDS ("Thank God She Only Had Two !") from 1973 and in a rare leading role for him in 1973's excellent police thriller DETROIT 9000.
   He also made memorable appearances in SLITHER from 1973, along with 1974's FREEBIE AND THE BEAN (both starring James Cann and both well worth seeking out) and the great THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973 - man, he was busy that year !) with Robert Mitchum and the sorely under seen HEARTS OF THE WEST from 1975. He will be greatly missed.

Saturday, July 4, 2015



     Coming Aug. 11 on blu-ray is this 1968 John Wayne adventure actioner from Universal. Anytime Universal releases a catalog title on blu-ray, its a cause for celebration and in addition with it being a John Wayne vehicle, its cause for a double hip hip hooray.  A "G" rated rough & tumble action spectacle, this is one of Wayne's best "popcorn" movies and has pretty much everything you want in a later period "Duke" movie - John Wayne being John Wayne while surrounded by a bunch of his buddies including Bruce Cabot, Vera Miles, J.C. Flippen and Batjac stalwart Edward Faulkner.
    Wayne and co. operate an oil well fire blowout company (based upon the real life Red Adair) all while juggling various romantic and family issues - including Vera Miles as Wayne's sorta ex-wife, Katherine Ross as his estranged daughter and Jim Hutton as Wayne's cohort and love interest for Ross.
    Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen it combines a bit of his & Wayne & previous collaboration (MCLINTOCK from 1963) and Wayne's Howard Hawks directed HATARI ! from 1962 with its touch of light comedy, fistfights, semi-comedic love and/or marriage problems and initially unwelcome female characters intruding on Wayne's male dominated world. With its explosions, billowing fires and bright red fireman's jumpsuits this should look beautiful on blu-ray.