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February 28, 2015

Secondhand Smut #4

Do you remember when I announced the closure of the Secondhand Smut column? Well, here I am again. With nothing secondhand but certainly Smut. I’ll explain.

I had plans for the fourth installment to cover my findings from August, September, October and November 2014, but this simply wasn’t meant to be. So, here I am, reviewing some Smut that I recently got my dirty hands on.

Sweet & Sour (1974)

The male lead is a photographer (of mainly pornographic stills) and he just found his muse off the streets who is a musician. Together they will experience sexual acts that are moving this film in a very conventional way; that is, until the violent outburst of the ending which makes the whole journey worthy.

There’s no telling how much of a Lloyd Kaufman fan I am. He’s mostly known for his independent ‘70s and ‘80s flicks, but I’m more in love with his ‘90s and ‘00s masterpieces. Sweet & Sour (1974) is an early pornographic film of his. The copy I have is in terrible condition and I pray that someday Vinegar Syndrome will release a good restoration on disc.

Hardgore (1976)

Maria [Dianne Galke from Teenage Runaway (1975)] is a nymphomaniac with masochistic tendencies as we learn, and so she is locked in a nuthouse. She should suspect that this institution for mental patients has something to hide though because the nurse who’s showing her into her room is teasing her and soon the two of them get to have some hot lesbian action. Later Maria will find a couple of dildos in her room too; professional help, right?

A nurse will have her throat slashed and this is the movie’s turning point. From then on everything seems to be lit in a horror movie way. Just when you thought you’d get scared though you see a dildo attached to a medical machine providing pleasure to the female lead, and just when you thought you’d get horny you see a dick chopped off.

The female lead is kidnapped by some people who force her into ceremonial group sex (there are several black magic symbols here on display, or maybe they are Satanic, or both, or I don’t really know). There is a man in a Devil mask that is conducting most of these orgies. And there are a few flying penises that are shooting insane amount of semen, resulting in a bukkake scene. You can’t call it bukkake per se because the term was first used for post-1980 Japanese films, but I don’t know what else to call that scene.

There are some more bloody scenes here, in the form of murders, or ‘forced accidents’, and the whole thing reminded me a lot of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ best moments even though it works mostly as a Slasher film. It didn’t seem to be very popular back then, but this combination of hardcore pornography with hardcore splatter seem to be attracting many new fans nowadays as this film has finally its cult following and is mentioned way too often online.

Mona: The Virgin Nymph (1970)

The oxymoron of the title is explained pretty early on when we learn that the star Mona [Fifi Watson from Pinocchio (1971)] is indeed a virgin (vaginally at least, because she’s waiting for her marriage) but she is addicted to oral sex (she is sucking both men and women). Luckily for her cuckold husband he’s getting some extra pussy from her mother [Judy Angel from Southern Comforts (1971)].

This three-day wonder is regarded to be the first fiction pornographic feature length film to be widely distributed theatrically in the U.S. and that in itself is a huge achievement. It is surely important enough to make you forgive all the awful tight close-ups of hairy bums and the noisy vibrator scene with the Eastern music in the background.

The Fireworks Woman (1975)

The titular character [Jennifer Jordan from Abigail Lesley Is Back in Town (1975)] has a romantic and sexual incestuous relationship with her brother [Eric Edwards from Great Sexpectations (1984)]. The performers in this film are gorgeous, but you will focus to the extraordinary scenes that include some S&M, a threesome, and a gruesome rape. This rape scene and the film as a whole are the ‘missing link’ between director Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Please Vinegar Syndrome release this on BD!

Wet Rainbow (1974)

The titular character [Valerie Marron from The Image (1975)] is a liberal art student and she becomes the “third person” when her tutor Jonathan [Harry Reems] and his wife Valerie [Georgina Spelvin] will use her first as a fantasy and then as the object of desire. This film is undoubtedly one of the most serious from porn’s golden era come to think of the storyline and the character development, but it also happens to be one of my least favourites.

Forced Entry (1973)

“You got my prick all full of shit!”

This film kicks-off with a newspaper clipping and a psychiatrist quotation, both about the post-Vietnam syndrome that many of that war’s soldiers faced after its end. We are then introduced to a gas station attendant (Harry Reems) who is picking up the addresses of young girls. The female customers provided these either because they were looking for directions or to confirm a credit card’s ownership. Then the male lead is wandering in the seedy back then streets of New York and he gets visions from the battlefield in Vietnam. The parallel and the editing are astonishing. He does some Peeping Tom business and then he rapes and kills the innocent victims.

This is one of the greatest porn films of all time, but not because it is enjoyable, but rather due to how disturbing it is. Shaun Costello directed this so well that it often seems like a ‘regular’ movie in which there happens to be some (necessary to the screenplay) sex scenes. There are only the credits here to remind you that this was indeed made by the golden era of adult films’ usual suspects. In the first sex scene the sound of the film camera grabs you by the throat and makes the result so realistic that you’ll feel guilt for watching this movie. They really don’t make them like this anymore.

Baby Rosemary (1976)

Okay, I didn’t understand much about his film’s plot (written by Ruth Price and Virgil Rome), but I liked it a lot. The whole thing is very disturbing. Does it work? Hell yes it does. Mainly thanks to John Hayes excellent work at directing it. There are even some references to Universal Horror classics (in the manner of, their posters hanging from a wall).

The most interesting things about it are the scene in which the female lead is forced to sex at a knifepoint by a couple, the magic ceremonies that come along with religious chants and sex, and the horror-like ending [which reminded me of Rosemary’s Baby (1968)]. It is occasionally very rough, especially considering how convincing it is, and for this we have to thank the great performers that were in front of the camera (they even made a bitch-slap seem so realistic).

Sexual Freedom in Denmark (1970)

The ‘Shockumentaries’ are one of my favourite genres and I am on a mission to collect all of them. The reason this particular one is part of this list is that it is featuring scenes of penetration in close-up (and that makes it qualify as an ‘adult’ film). In fact, it was one of the first films to show such shots to be released widely in U.S. theatres.

Oh it starts innocently enough with Adam and Eve (although since they have been always naked I’m not sure how they managed to have tan-lines). It even goes on to show us innocent ‘nudie-cutie’ material in which people play volleyball in the nude (although we get to see them in full-frontal manner here). There is even hippie music! And nude photo-shoots! But once you see the birth of two babies in close-up you will be for sure turned off.

The commentary on this sounds more liberal than exploiting in comparison to the other documentaries of its kind, and is in fact one of the best ‘Mondo’ (for lack of a better term) films ever. It does so much to convince us of the Sexual Freedom in Denmark that it makes me wonder how many Americans were convinced of going to Scandinavia permanently. This was the era of Free Love, so why would people pay for it?

February 24, 2015

Camm Harston Needs Your Help!

On February 21, our friend and brother Camm Harston suffered from a heart attack. He has congestive heart failure, and was admitted to the VA hospital in Portland two days before the attack.

His path to recovery will be difficult. This fund is set up to assist him with expenses as he works his way back to health.

Please donate what you can, even if you think it may be insignificant. Everything helps. Share this as often as you can. Your assistance and support are greatly appreciated.

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Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - The One I Love

Kevin Moyers reviews an interesting love story with a three person cast as well as his new piece of audio equipment.

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February 20, 2015

The Many Faces of Emmanuelle: A NSFW Photographic Journey

I love erotic fiction. One of my all time favourite novels is Emmanuelle (or Emmanuelle: the Joys of a Woman). Most believe that it was written by Emmanuelle Arsan (real name: Marayat Rollet-Andriane) but there are plenty of rumours of it being written by her husband (Jacques Rollet-Andriane).

The reader is experiencing the story through the point of view of the title’s character, which has sex with a variety of people. It was originally published in its country of origin in 1967 and in English a few years later (it was first published anonymously in 1959, but it didn’t became the phenomenon that it meant to be in the ‘60s and ‘70s.), just when the first wave of commercial adult films was thriving and that shouldn’t be too surprising as the novel’s structure works like one.

The book was adapted by director Just Jaeckin into a film, Emmanuelle (1974), with Sylvia Kristel in the starring role, and was met with enormous success both in its production country (France) and internationally. It led the way for numerous erotic films to flood the market [Jaeckin also made Histoire D'o (1975) which was also based upon a provocative novel], and it was only a matter of time before various sequels materialized (official and unofficial). And then there was the Black Emanuelle (note the difference in the spelling). And so the legendary character was played by many attractive young actresses. This article is about them, the performers that brought Emmanuelle to the big screen.

She was born on the 28th of 1952 in Utrecht, Netherlands and began modelling before she was 18 (she won the Miss TV Europe award). Emmanuelle (1974) may not be her first part, but it was the one that sky-rocketed her career in film. The next year she reprised her role in Emmanuelle II (1975). Then she collaborated with legendary Avant-Garde director Walerian Borowczyk in The Margin (1976) and Art-House auteur Claude Chabrol in Alice or the Last Escapade (1977). Her natural features were once again explored in Goodbye Emmanuelle (1978). In the late ‘70s he worked with famous actors such as Alain Delon [in The Concorde Airport ’79 (1979)] and Ursula Andress [in The Fifth Musketeer (1979)].

Just Jaeckin directed her again in another erotic novel adaptation, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1981). Emmanuelle IV (1984), Red Heat (1985) with Linda Blair, and Bert Gordon’s The Big Bet (1985) kept her busy in the mid-‘80s. In the late ‘80s she was the female lead in Christopher Coppola’s Dracula’s Widow (1988).

Movie Review: 2 Girls 1 Cup (2007)

As you probably already know, I like porn. Backroom Casting Couch is one of my favourite online series of videos, and I love them because the fantasy is great and the performers are usually gorgeous. But this is an example of ‘regular’ porn that ‘regular’ Joes tend to watch. But, people with fetishes have their own porn too.

Something like a decade ago, I came across a Max Hardcore video or two. I don’t remember which ones, but it doesn’t really matter as they all are very similar, as is often the case with gonzo porn. I watched attractive girls doing filthy things with this dirty old man; and vomit was involved. That’s the kind of fetishist porn I was talking about above. Such is the case of the title that I am about to review here.

Max Hardcore may be American, and he even did time in jail, but this kind of porn is more often booming in countries such as Brazil. And 2 Girls 1 Cup was made in Brazil by Marco Fiorito who specializes in porn involving piss, scat, and vomit. But what is it about this video in particular that made it the most famous disgusting piece of viral madness ever unleashed on the internet? First let’s talk a little bit about what’s on screen...

An opening credits sequence involving z-grade animation is introducing us to the title’s female leads: Karla who is blonde and chubby, and Latifa who is brunette and skinny. The only sexy thing about this pair is Latifa’s tattoos, and even those, not very much so. Said performers enter a kitchen and they start kissing passionately. And they lick each other’s pussies and assholes. They actually seem to be into each other.

February 18, 2015

Arrow Films US May releases to include Retaliation, Society, and Island of Death all via MVD Entertainment Group

MVD Entertainment Group furthers the distribution of Arrow Video in the US with a strong schedule of May titles...

Retaliation - Limited Edition Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD

In 1969 future sexploitation specialist Yasuharu Hasebe (Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter) teamed up with the inimitable Jô Shishido (Tokyo Drifter, Branded to Kill) for a follow up to their yakuza hit Massacre Gun.

A tale of gang warfare that features a raft of the period's most iconic stars, Akira Kobayashi (Battles Without Honor and Humanity, The Flowers and the Angry Waves) is a yakuza lieutenant who emerges from jail to find his gang dispersed and his aging boss in his sickbed. Shishido is the rival waiting to kill him and a young Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood) is the girl caught in the crossfire.

Gritty and cynical, Retaliation is a hardboiled precursor to Kinji Fukasaku's revisionist yakuza pictures of the 1970s.

February 17, 2015

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Better Call Saul Premier

Kevin Moyers reviews he premier episode of the much anticipated Breaking Bad prequel. To view episodes, head to

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Riff Raff (1991) and Raining Stones (1993) Movie Reviews

Honestly, fellas, I don’t know how well I can review these two movies. For one, they aren’t typically what I enjoy watching. Sure, a human interest/drama/comedy film can be interesting or at least, entertaining (like Philomena or Lizzie Borden Took an Axe). But for another reason, I couldn’t understand 98% of what these fookers were going on about in the films. The heavy cockney British accents DO NOT make for easy listening. So I gleaned what I could from every 100th word I caught and the accompanying acting. Here goes nothing.

Riff Raff and Raining Stones are two films from Ken Loach. Apparently, he’s well known for creating movies about the poor/working class and their struggles with every day life, particularly during political change.

Riff  Raff focuses on Stevie (a very young Robert Carlysle whose Scottish brogue is near impossible to translate), a drifter who finds work at a construction site. He squats in a nearby empty apartment, with the help of a few of his coworkers. The construction site has appalling safety conditions: read none at all. Anyone who brings that up is immediately sacked. 

Stevie meets Susan, a lacking in talent singer but they hit it off. After moving in with him, he learns she’s a druggie. Maybe something you could have learned if you knew each other AT ALL before moving in together. After that relationship falls apart, one of Stevie’s coworkers dies on site. The obvious reaction to that is for Stevie and his buddy to burn the location down.


Raining Stones is about Bob, a poor guy with a wife and daughter to clothe and feed. And wouldn’t you know it? His daughter has her first communion coming up and she just has to have a brand new expensive dress for the occasion. He doesn’t have a steady job so he’ll do whatever is necessary to earn that money. He steals local sheep to sell at market or the local bar -whatever; goes door to door clearing drains; works security at a local club; landscaping (read: stealing sod from a local sports club).

Eventually we find out Bob’s borrowed money from a loan shark and when the collection date comes due, Bob’s family is threatened. That’s the last straw for a desperate Bob and he goes after the shark, at very very very high risk to his family and his own life. But there’s only so much one man can take. 

Of the two movies, I only had two emotional reactions during Raining Stones. First when the loan shark came and threatened Bob’s family. Bob is an idiot. I didn’t feel sorry for him and I couldn’t understand him either, despite his obvious religious and fatherly devotion. I did feel terrible for his wife and daughter being subjected to that thug. If Bob just let go of his pride...but then there wouldn’t have been a movie, would there? The second was when another character, Tommy, ended up taking money from his daughter because he couldn’t find work. He silently weeps alone, his strong father figure image shattered in a moment of weakness.

In Riff Raff, rats are referenced or in actual scenes as a metaphor, I’m sure, for the working class. However, at one point, one of the workers stomps on a hairless baby rat. And I’m pretty fucking sure it wasn’t special f/x. Ken Loach actually had one of the actors squash a baby rat to make a point. I almost turned off the movie because I thought I was going to throw up.

Both films are a giant lift ups for the little guy, the one who can’t even make ends meet in a society that considers disposable people acceptable, or at least invisible. Loach kind of punches us in the face with the whole “the hardworking man is crying out for justice” meme but I think that’s his thing.

If there’s anyone else out there that’s watched Loach’s films, or other films like this, you might be better judges of their quality and entertainment. But since I couldn’t understand what the actors were saying, it makes it difficult for me to rate them. So I’ll have to give these a couple of shrugs and suggest you watch them for yourselves.

February 6, 2015

Movie Review: The Texas Vibrator Massacre (2004)

A few years ago I read somewhere that this XXX remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) was outright banned in the UK by the BBFC, supposedly because among other things it contains incest scenes – not for real, it’s staged among the unrelated in real life performers. Now it’s not news for a prudish (criminal dare I say) organization such as the BBFC to censor a film, so that in itself is not an outstanding achievement, but it is a reason enough for me to want to watch it. After all if Thatcher-worshipping idiots watch a film and then decide that you should not, then you want to own them on disc even more than you normally would.

A bunch of friends are lost in the middle of nowhere, and they pick up a hitch-hiker who’d help them with directions if he wasn’t planning to stab two of them. The remaining three escape and they end up in a house, where they get fucked, tortured, and eventually killed, all by the tenants.

During the first scene I couldn’t help but notice the fly that was interrupting the filming. Other than that the film is great. It’s not like you’ll see anything that you haven’t seen before (when it comes to sex and violence), but even the titles appear to scream ‘genuine movie’! I mean, if you can make porn like that, why would you want to move to ‘normal’ cinema? This is my first encounter (pardon the pun) with a Rob Rotten movie, so I’m not an expert, but believe me; I liked it so much that I’ll be coming back for more.

The performers are heavily tattooed, hence very hot, but I could not masturbate because I was focusing to the film as a whole. Leatherface is genuinely creepy too; even though he’s acting more like Michael Myers. Some moments (especially the torture ones) are even scarier than some of the original franchise’s sequels. Oh, and there actually is a vibrator here, which is attached to a chainsaw machine, which is used to penetrate a female performer.

January 31, 2015

Interracial Sex Havoc #8: 1980 - 1984

The Interracial Sex Havoc project is trying to catalog as many films as possible that contain at least one interracial sex scene. Not all films included here are pornographic, but they had to have at least one interracial sex scene in order to qualify. This chapter is about movies released from 1980 to 1984 and I present you a couple of musicals (one soft-core and one hardcore). So, enjoy!

Divine Emanuelle (1981)

I’m a big fan of Black Emanuelle, and I even published a short article covering most of them with short reviews (I don’t provide you with a link here because it’s in Greek). These were so successful that many other (mostly and usually) unrelated films featuring Laura Gemser were released or (mainly) re-released using the franchise’s name, which was an Emmanuelle rip-off to begin with anyway. That was pretty much the same story with the Django title. Such is also the case with the present film.

US Senator Benneman [Bob Burrows in his last film part] is landing in Cyprus along with his beautiful daughter [Simone Brahmann from La via della prostituzione (1978)]. Very soon she comes across and charmed by Dorian [writer/producer/composer/director Christian Anders] who is the leader of Children of Light, which is a hippie cult that resides at Camp of Love.

The people of this cult are preaching love, but they make their money by having their female members turning tricks for the locals. They call the money they receive “donations”, but last time I checked this is pretty much the same with a whorehouse. Well, I saw that coming because very early on in the film there is a shot of some old guy swearing anti-gay crap in Greek. Homophobia and misogynist horse-shit usually go together.

January 30, 2015

Movie Review: La Bamba (1987; Columbia/Twilight Time)

...considering the historical events associated with the previous film, which this viewer partook of and reviewed, a while back, it is sort of ironic that the year 1959...closely associated anti-establishment movement, initiated by political warfare guerrilla Che Guavara...would also be the same year, which bore a headline of great tragedy, of equal & headline-wise...and the subject of this viewer's next review... line, circa 1959.....Cuban President Fulgencio Batista is forced from power, and in his place, Fidel Castro becomes the reigning Cuban Premier.....Television viewers were taken to strange, surreal and sometimes horrific places, which lay 'somewhere between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge', with the premiere of "The Twilight Zone".....the Xerox company introduces their very first copier.....The epic film, "Ben Hur" holds it's star-studded gala premiere, in New York City.....And disaster strikes down a small, single-engined 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza plane, one fateful winter's evening, on the outskirts of Clear Lake, Iowa...the fiery crash, claiming the lives of famed rock-n-roll musicians Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (...aka 'The Big Bopper'), and 17-year-old Richard Stevens Valenzuela, also known as Ritchie Valens.....

January 20, 2015

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - To Be Takei

Kevin Moyers reviews a documentary about a pop culture icon.

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January 15, 2015


Executive Produced By Zach Braff, Video Games: The Movie Features Gamer And Geek Icons Chris Hardwick, Donald Faison, Wil Wheaton, And More!

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Entertainment and Amplify present Jeremy Snead’s VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE, the fascinating chronicle of the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry.  Executive produced by Zach Braff (Garden State, “Scrubs”) and narrated by Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), the documentary features in-depth interviews with some of the industry’s biggest gamer and geek icons.  A celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, as well as an eye-opening look at what lies ahead, VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE will be available on DVD on February 3, 2015 for an SRP of $22.98.

VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE features interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, including Nolan Bushnell (Atari, Inc.), Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist Podcast), Donald Faison (Kick-Ass 2, “Scrubs”), Cliff Bleszinski (“Gears of War,” “Unreal”), Warren Spector (“Deus Ex,” “System Shock”), Hiroyuki Kobayashi (“Resident Evil”), Clare Grant (Danger Maiden Productions, Team Unicorn), Doug Tennapel (“Earthworm Jim”), Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift), Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), and Alison Haislip (“Attack of the Show”).  The documentary made its way to the big screen via a successfully-funded Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $100,000 in just 35 days.

January 14, 2015

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Peggy Christie reviews of one of the more boring horror films she's ever seen.

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Movie Review: "Che!" (1969; 20th Century Fox/Twilight Time), admittedly and...well, more than a little embarrassingly (...considering that I often make claim to being a respectably knowledgeable history buff), in going into this film for the very first time, recently, this reviewer quite literally knew nothing about the main protagonist herein...this (...squinting through reading glasses, at the disc's film's capsule synopsis) Che Guevara...though I do recall his artistically poignant impact on pop culture visuals, as well as his subsequent impact on the establishment-bashing youth of the time, without really knowing who he was. If anything, at that very young age, I the very least...dimly aware of, and inundated with the media inklings and breaking news broadcasts of what was happening, as well as what had happened, in Cuba's rather torrent and controversial history, from the early sixties, up through the dawn of the '70's decade; at least I had something to go on...something, in an attempt to match the historical person depicted, with the history associated with him...

...and so, in preparing to examine the film, presented before this reviewer...first things, first. And as a certain other pop culture icon recently 'suggested', albeit a humorously diabolical one..."...git' yourself a Trapper Keeper and some loose leaf, 'cause you're about to get schooled, son!!"
...spinning short, the history of Che Guevara...that is, as it is herein presented in the particular filmed rendition of the story, which we are gathered here opposed to than the rather extensive textbook reflection on the person ( anyone venturing the pages of an 'every-man' contributing Wikipedia, might be well prepared to encounter), here's the short-form 'skinny': In the warfare-violent throes of the Cuban Revolution, circa mid-to-late '50's, Che Guevara, a young and ambitious Argentine field doctor quickly and charismatically finds himself thrust up through the ranks of the warfare campaign, and as such, gains the respect of not only the fighters of his assigned patrol, but eventually, the attention of Fidel Castro, himself, who in having been impressed with Che's charisma, sense of discipline and suggestive tactics, unprecedentedly makes him his chief military advisor...
...driven by ever-increasing, egotistic ambition and vision, Che manages to effect influential, behind-the-scenes tactics, in Castro's determined campaign towards the defeat and overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, the then-reigning president of Cuba. So influential and charismatic was Che's effect, during the on-going Revolution, that Castro himself, often times, found himself almost dependent upon Che. And in considering this dependence, coupled with a sense of inner paranoia and a growing sense that such dependence would be construed as weakness, Castro instills a measure of disillusionment in Che, who in turn chooses to leave Cuba, after Castro makes the monumental decision to back down on his posture, during the famed Cuban Missile Crisis...
...making his way to Bolivia, amidst his disillusionment...convinced that Castro had become a way-too easily wielded 'puppet' of the Soviet Union...Che, believing that his influence would be better applied to that of directing blind visionary, world-wide peasant revolt, instead finds his power waning, in the light of those whom progressively refuse to fight and die for his 'cause'...a cause which in Che's eyes, they had failed to see, though in truth, all they wanted to be, is left alone. And defiant to the last...quite literally...Che is driven from his self-imposed post, and pursued into exile, by the Bolivian forces, whom he had hoped to influence...

...and as compelling, as well as interesting as this character study presents itself as, the overall affect of the film, is surprisingly enough, one of exceptional lacking, and at the same time, that of pure and unadulterated exploitation. For the former, considering the renowned pedigree of writer's prowess involved...namely that of screenplay writer Michael Wilson, of "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Sandpiper" is discerning to see the life of such a charismatic and influential character, such as Che Guevara, covered so lightly, so matter-of-fact, and so fleeting. Most assuredly, an interesting character in world history, one can't help, upon viewing this incarnation of history, in wanting ever-so-much to know more about him; most viewers may well find themselves very much short-changed, in this respect, and ultimately would have to wait just short of 40 years, for an even more compelling, complex and thorough telling of Che's story (...circa, director Steven Soderbergh's 2008's "Che", starring Benicio del Toro in the title role)...

...however, where this particular "Che!" seems to succeed foremost, is in the unconventional reveling and exploitation of the character, which at the time of the film's release, such uplifting of character, might not have been so unconventionally marked, as the mid-to-late '90's was replant with a social embrace...especially that of impressionable youth...of anti-heroic characters and symbols, who historically had managed to stand out in the sense that they were rebelliously bucking the 'system' or 'establishment, who was alternately determined to demonize the man...a reciprocative concept that is wholly reflected in "Che!", by the titular character. And as often happens with such embraceably charismatic and compellingly outspoken persons, such as Che Guevara, such revelry of character becomes indelibly stamped in social and pop culture. And as prevalent as such imagery appeared...especially with the splashy-colored, Warhol-ish, pop art visage of Che, which was damn near inescapable, at the time...the film itself, with opportunist fervor, gleefully capitalized on the social appeal of the character, with this film...
...and said opportunist approach to the film, clearly seems to make it's mark, even in the film's casting...especially for the role of Che, as portrayed by actor Omar Sharif...whose uncanny resemblance to to the character appears more than the point of being almost gimmicky. Unfortunately, given the character's embarrassingly spoken retory...very much unbecoming of someone, the caliber of actor only in appearance, where the sense of similarity comes to...well, not so much a screeching halt, but enough to instill into viewers, moments of "...wh-wh-what??" Not that the spoken dialogue doesn't necessarily associate with the characters; it is the actual interaction between characters, which elicits sometimes campy, sometimes offensive, and often times chuckle-inducing un-realism...especially when Che engages conversation with the unusually restrained Jack Palance's mis-interpretation of Castro (...for a high profile character like this, you want to see the character, not the actor playing the this case, one doesn't see Castro, but instead sees Jack Palance AS Castro)...the whole of which is reduced to, and equates to something not unlike that of a Hispanic 'Odd Couple'...not unlike that of a constantly bickering married couple... with many of director Richard Fliescher's productions (...Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", "Soylent Green", "Fantastic Voyage" and "The Jazz Singer" hardly begins to list his renowned work), , the film is very rich and thick in scenic atmosphere and land-sweeping visuals; the harshness, intensity and instability of the Cuban Revolution conflict is strikingly envisioned, herein...though admittedly, at time, more than a bit cliched and stereotyped. This observation couldn't possibly be more evident, with the addition of brief eyewitness moments, proceeding each beat-by-choreographed-beat of Che's contributrive events in the Revolution conflict...some, praising him...some, hatefully critical...some, with indifference...but often, appearing as 'fake' as the typical forced-smiling used car salesman...
...despite how compellingly negligible "Che!" might well be perceived and almost forgotten, Twilight Time still manages to procure a rather beautiful print of the film...exuding the bravura intent and feel of the film's moment in time, alas which ultimately proved for naught, in what culminated into a rather embarrassing depiction of political history, as seen by critics and general audiences alike, upon initial release. Playing up the more exploitative aspects of the film, a behind-the-scenes short, as well as a provided movie trailer totes Che Guevara as alternately, the anti-hero and a sort of 'establishment'-monikered 'gangster', who's juxstapositioned place in history, had him subsequently marked with sole responsibility for the anti-war revelry, which pretty much ran parallel during the time of the Cuban Revolution, as well as the simultaneous Vietnam War... engaging and reflecting upon "Che!", this viewer cannot help but be reminded of a poignant line spoken by actor Christopher Walken, in 1993's "True Romance", where he says, "...what we got here is a little game of show and tell. You don't wanna tell me nothin', but you're showin' me everything..." Reaching back to a reminiscent lump in the back of my head, I also fondly recall the countless times my high school teacher thunked me resoundly, back there, after finding out that I had 'cheated' on some literature, by reading the Cliff Notes, rather than the actual, much more extensive and informative literary work. "Che!" seems to work a lot like that, in the sense that it shows a lot...the scenery, the atmosphere, the characters...but it really doesn't say much, in the long run...basically, an example of the bare-bones-basic cinematic equivalent of Cliff Notes...and for such a compellingly stand-out, anti-heroic, charismatic, though self-misguided character, such as Che Guevara...well, let's just say that after viewing 1969's "Che!", most people will find that the character is assuredly deserving of more than this, that the dramatic proceedings are rather lacking, and as such, leave most wanting more. However, as an exercise in the type of exploitation, which was beginning to assume prevalence, around this time, "Che!" definitely satisfies, in that respect...

...going in, it all depends upon what one is looking for, herein...the harsh reality, or the pure and unadulterated sensationalism. For the former, one would probably be best in checking out the 2008 Soderbergh production, instead (...or perhaps, even the acclaimed 2004 production, "The Motorcycle Diaries"); for the latter, however...well, how about that?? You, my friends, just happen to be in the right place.....