What's Good for the Goose (1969)

Genre: British Sex Comedy

Norman Wisdom is a British comedian whose films would regularly be shown on 1970's Saturday afternoon TV – films such as Trouble in Store (1953), The Square Peg (1959) or A Stitch in Time (1963). These slapstick comedies would be punctuated with his lop-sided grin, falling over, being unable to complete a joke without bursting into laughter or shouting his trademark "MR GRIMSDALE!!!” This would be the staple Saturday afternoon diet for most 1970’s kids like me, along with Birds Eye Fish Fingers and Smash, the instant mash potato with the advertising catchphrase 'For Mash Get Smash'.
If you also had grown-up watching these Norman Wisdom films, you might be surprised – even shocked - to know that there is one film he made where you can see him dressed in the grooviest of psychedelic clothes as well as one scene of him naked from behind with the beautiful Sally Geeson. To see this, you are going to have to move further ahead in time from his 1950’s/early 60’s output to his final starring role in the 1969 film, What's Good for the Goose.
 After a rousing catchy song over the credits sung by Norman himself, we are taken to the large headquarters of a London city bank. Run with military precision, all the employers walk past the boss in single file, saying their ‘goodbyes’ whilst all wearing matching bowler hats. Timothy Bartlett (Norman Wisdom) is one of them.

Middle-aged and bored, Timothy Bartlett’s life is as predictable as his job – feed the fish, say ‘hello’ to the kids, greet his wife who is dressed in curlers. But things are about to change when Timothy’s boss has a heart-attack and tells Timothy that he must go instead of him to a banking executive's conference in the seaside town of Southport.

With his pajamas and sandwiches packed, Timothy drives off to the conference, but on the way he sees two pretty hippy chicks beside the road thumbing for a lift and so stops to pick them up. They are Nikki (Sally Geeson) and Meg (Sarah Atkinson), and it isn’t long before the two girls are teasing and flirting with the shy Timothy.

At the conference Timothy is out of his depth with the pompousness and cliqueyness of the other attendees and so goes out that evening alone. Wandering around the streets, he finds a hip-swinging nightclub and enters. The place is swinging to a psychedelic band, The Pretty Things and everyone is dressed in their finest psychedelic wardrobe. The middle-aged Timothy is out of place until he spies Nikki and joins her. In her company again he is driven to ecstasy as he freaks-out to the band and when all has finished, Nikki blatantly asks if she can return to his hotel room for some sex.

What follows is a number of gags as he tries to smuggle her into the hotel and his room. From there on a relationship begins to develop as Timothy forgets his family and his middle-age life and bursts forth with excitement for free love with Nikki.

Nikki’s friend Meg warns Timothy to not fall in love with Meg because eventually she will move on, which eventually does happen, but not before Timothy has restyled himself in the latest psychedelic outfits. All the while the attendees at the conference watch in bewilderment as this transformation with Timothy takes effect.

With Meg gone, the heart-broken Timothy calls his wife and tells her to get on a plane to join him. In next to no time he helps her to break free of her middle-aged confines and the two relive their youth with free abandonment, but will it last?

This is a good film if you can put up with the occasional lame jokes and slapstick. It stars the young Sally Geeson, who would go on to become a star during the 70’s and early 80’s. Here she is very cute, and it should be noted that there were two versions of this film. The UK version, which I saw, has Sally stripped down to her bra, and then there’s the racier European version, which has supposedly never been released in English language, where she appears topless. Also of note is some great footage of the underrated British band The Pretty Things who do some great songs in the psychedelic nightclub scenes, as well as appearing briefly, although not performing, in one party scene.

Norman Wisdom is on top form here and is great in the conference scenes where his mind is completely side-tracked by his new love before returning totally restyled in his new outfit and full of confidence. The scenes in the nightclub are great, too, when he is literally writhing with ecstasy to the psychedelic sounds and the happening young crowed around him – and this without taking any drugs. Also the scenes where he frolics with Nikki amongst the sand dunes make these scenes quite endearing. The scene in the sand dunes is repeated again when his wife joins him as the two shake off their shackles of middle-age. There are also some serious moments in this film and one thing that can be said about Norman Wisdom after watching this is that he would have made a great straight actor.

Yes, this film has it’s faults, but if you can over-look them, this is a great little film firmly set in the 60‘s love generation psyche which gives it an innocence which couldn’t be repeated now.

White Sun of the Desert (1970)

Genre: Russian "Eastern"

Set in the desert beside the Caspain Sea during the Russian Civil War, a lone Red Army soldier called Fyodor Sukhov (Anatoli Kuznetsov) walks through the desert comforted by the image of his beautiful wife back home amongst the fields in Russia who he is soon going to join after many years away. Suddenly amongst the desolate sand dunes he finds a man buried up to his head in the sand. His name is Sayid (Spartak Mishulin) and he had been buried there by a group of bandits led by Abdulla (Kakhi Kavsadze).
Fyodor digs Sayid out of the sand leaving Sayid indebted to him, and the two proceed on together until they come to a village. In the village Fyodor is entrusted by some fellow Red Soldier “comrades” to take care of nine veiled girls who were part of Abdulla’s harem. Because his harem had slowed his escape from the authorities, Abdulla had killed some of them, but these nine were luckily spared. Now under the care of Fyodor they are marched through the desert to a customs post beside the sea.
Fyodor and Sayid are joined by a young naïve soldier called Petrukha (Nikolai Godovikov) who falls for the youngest member of the harem and continually pleads for her hand in marriage and to lift her veil, but it's all in vein. The girls only show their faces to Fyodor, believing he is there new owner, but Fyodor’s mind is only on his wife back home.
It isn’t long before Abdulla returns with his bandits and wants his harem back. The three friends are able to temporarily repel the bandits, but knowing the bandits will return, they need to ask for the help of the drunken customs officer.
With a ship moored off the coast primed to explode and plenty of oil stored by the seashore the small group of comrades and the harem under their care await the return of Abdulla and his band of cutthroats… all the while Fyodor continues to dream of returning home to his wife.
This is such a good film and works on many levels with some absolutely stunning imagery. Based on the popular American “Westerns”, the Russian produced their own hybrid called “Easterns” or “Osterns” as they are known in Russia. This is very much like a spaghetti western with Fyodor being the Clint Eastwood character. The Mexican bandits have been replaced with what looks like members of the Taliban. Parts of this film reminded me of the later 1971 spaghetti western Blindman where the blind lead character has to transport a “cargo” of fifty mail-order brides to their miner husbands deep in the Wild West.
The film is punctuated throughout with letters from Fyodor to his wife, who although beautiful, I’m sure encapsulates want is believed to be the perfect wife of the old Soviet Russia - strong and child-baring, blonde with blue eyes in traditional dress out in the fields with her fellow workers.
 All the cast in this are great, as well as the minor roles, too, with a real attention paid to detail and nuances. This film is hugely culturally significant for Russians and most of the characters have since become heroes of numerous jokes in Russia and have now become part of the national folklore. In Russia, almost every line in this film is a celebrated catch-phrase and especially well-known is the line said by Fyodor to the young Petrukha:

"The East is a delicate matter"

Since the ill-fated Russian Afghan campaign in the early 80's, this line has always stayed on the national political agenda.

Like everything else in this film, the music is excellent with a typical Russian flare and will stay in the mind with the films imagery long after the film has finished. The theme song Vashe Blagorodiye, Gospozha Udacha (You Honor, Lady Luck) became an instant hit and its fame has only grown as time has passed.

This film is exciting, brutal, humorous and captivating and should be on anyone’s recommended film list.

Weather Woman (1996)

Genre: Delirious Saucy Japanese Comedy

Weather Woman is a piece of delirious Japanese entertainment that only the Japanese could do. Based on a Manga cartoon, Weather Woman opens with Keiko Nakadai (Kei Mizutani) standing on the roof of a tower block showing off her panties. On a roof just below is fellow student Yamagishi (Takashi Sumida), who has a crush on the pretty Keiko. She tells him to follow her and she jumps off the roof (this a live action Manga so no one gets hurt), but Yamagishi is too afraid to jump.

We move ahead in time and Keiko is a secretary for a TV station. When she’s not working, she can be found in the restroom masturbating. Actually, she seems to spend a lot of her time masturbating.

One day the TV station’s weather girl is sick, so Keiko steps in to present it. When she concludes the weather report, she flashes her panties. The bosses of the TV station are furious, but the public love it and Keiko becomes are star and the station ratings are boosted. With her new found stardom comes arrogance and she demands her own penthouse suite with the corridor leading to it lined with men only dressed in tight underpants. Instead of walking Keiko somersaults like a gymnast down the corridor and also into the bosses of the TV station's boardroom.

Meanwhile, the original weather girl, Kaori Shimamori (Yasuyo Shirashima), has now lost her job to Keiko, who continues to flash her panties on air and looks to how she can get her job back. In the meantime she has been assigned as a roving reporter and has to report on an enema fetishist with unexpected results. Help is at hand because the station’s top female announcer returns from Paris and vows to get rid of Keiko. Her name is Michiko Kawai (Saori Taira) and she is the daughter of one of the station’s bosses. She hatches a plan to publicly discredit Keiko. The plan is to send in Kaori as Keiko’s topless maid and secretly film Keiko making Kaori lick the bath soup suds off her naked body.

In the meantime, Keiko’s ex-student admirer sees her on TV and is desperately trying to meet her again.

The film culminates in a Manga style battle between Keiko and Michiko where they both use their special powers to harness the weather to do battle with each other.

This film is so crazy, it’s worth watching. There is quite a lot of skin on display and Saori Taira’s claim to fame is that she is one of the first models to insure her breasts for $1 million.

This was directed by Tomoaki Hosoyama, who likes to refer to himself as the Japanese John Waters. There was a follow-up movie made the same year called Weather Woman Returns (1996), but this one wasn’t helmed by Tomoaki and I’ve yet to see it. In the meantime, if you want to see something completely over-the-top, don’t look any further than Weather Woman.

As a side note, I watched a compilation of Japanese TV clips from the 1990’s on the excellent Japanarama! Psycho TV From Japan: Volume 2 (nothing to do with the Jonathan Ross TV program of the same name) which had a pretty girl in a metallic bunny outfit who regularly goes out in public places to present the weather report. When she’s finished the report she pops open pieces of her costume to reveal her naked body to the titillation of confused bystanders… only in Japan!


The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962)

Genre: Italian Horror 

In Victorian era London, the accomplished Dr Hichcock (Robert Flemyng) excels in his profession where he is developing new medicine and surgical procedures, but he has a dark side – and it is a very dark side - for Dr Hichcock enjoys practicing necrophilia.

At home in his large mansion he creeps down stairs at night and enters a locked room. There, his beautiful wife lies waiting looking weak and frail. He kisses and caresses her body and then injects her with a serum. She reacts badly to it and convulses and dies. Heart-broken, Dr Hichcock leaves his long standing career at the hospital and movies away from London, leaving his house in the hands of his maid.

Ten years pass and Dr Hichcock arrives back in London and returns to his new home. The ten years have been kind to him and he has with him a new wife - the beautiful Cynthia (Barbara Steele). Dr Hichcock returns to his job at the hospital and now you would think everything would be fine again, but that is not so.

Strange things are afoot in the house and Cynthia fears that the ghost of his previous wife walks its corridors. To make matters worse she can not escape her presence because the previous wife's pictures adorn the walls and her pet black cat is never far away, and on top of that, Dr Hichcock has begun to change for the worse.

Cynthia befriends her husband’s colleague, the young Dr. Kurt Lowe (Silvano Tranquilli), and tells him of her concerns. He, too, has noticed a change in Dr Hichcock which is exasperated by Dr Hichcock regularly being caught in the mortuary acting suspiciously with the bodies of newly deceased beautiful girls.

Cynthia’s health begins to deteriorate, and Dr Hichcock attributes it to stress and so prescribes her medication. After she has taken it she ends up in a drugged state and isn’t able to distinguish between reality and hallucinations. At one point she finds herself strapped into a cot with Dr Hichcock approaching from out of the darkness with his face horribly deformed.

Suspecting that her problems are maybe not stress related, but caused by the medication, Cynthia pretends to drink the medication, but instead hides the liquid and is able to pass it on to Dr Lowe, who takes it to the hospital for tests. The test results show that the dosage was more than enough to kill Cynthia. Soon it becomes a race for time for Dr Lowe to save Cynthia’s life as she is taken captive by the mad doctor who is threatening to cut her throat. All the while, the ghost of the dead wife continues to appear.

This is a really good Italin horror movie and is beautifully produced with great camera work. As with many Italian horror movies of this type, it is steeped in atmosphere with dark catacombs leading to crypts full of old dusty coffins.

Barbara Steele is absolutely stunning in this movie and this is one of her best performances. British actor, Robert Flemyng, is excellent as the Dr Hitchock as he successfully presents the air of professionalism to his colleagues in the medical profession while secretly lusting over the corpse of a beautiful young girl.

Director Riccardo Freda has been called a director "who brings some style to exploitation pictures" and he was one of the originators of horror fantasy in Italian cinema beginning with his Lust of the Vampire (1956). This led to a renaissance in Italian horror films which has resulted in them having the cult following that they have today

Riccardo Freda would also dabble in other genres such as peplum, espionage and even a spaghetti western.

The Projectionist (1971)

Genre: Surreal Comedy

The New York cinema projectionist (Chuck McCann) enjoys his solitary existence in his projection booth; occasionally breaking out of one of his many daydreams to cue the next reel of film. When he’s not daydreaming of being in one of the many film he’s seen, he’s looking at the photos on his wall of the Hollywood greats and impersonating their characters.

His solitude is only occasionally broken by a quick visit from his friendly usher friend (Harry Hurwitz) and they enjoy a cigarette together. The projectionist recounts to the usher a surprise meeting with a beautiful girl (Ina Balin) in the street, but he is never able to finish his story because Renaldi (Rodney Dangerfield), the manager, enters.

Renaldi is an unkind disciplinarian who makes his ushers stand to attention before giving them a verbal dressing-down. He tells the friendly usher to get out of the booth and not go back in there, but the projectionist is safe from Renaldi because of his union membership.

The projectionist returns to his daydreams where he is Captain Flash as he battles to protect the girl he had earlier met from the evil Renaldi. Renaldi has now become the arch-criminal known as The Bat.

Another friend in the cinema is the elderly Czechoslovakian candy man who is ordered by Renaldi to keep all the candies in the display case in order. The candy man tells the projectionist of his younger days in Czechoslovakia when he was a movie star in the 1930’s. He is played by Jára Kohout who was a real life Czechoslovakian film star of those times. He recounts how he was able to escape to the West dressed as a chicken.

After the cinema has closed for the evening, the projectionist walks the downtown New York streets, meets acquaintances and looks through the magazines in an adult shop – always fueling his daydreams and fantasies.

This daydreams become more a battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as he becomes more engrossed with saving the girl from the evil clutches of The Bat. These dreams become inter-cut with real life harrowing footage of war atrocities.

As dawn breaks the projectionist returns to his ridiculously small apartment, which is plastered with movie posters. He lies down on his sofa-bed to watch the TV and gets lost in his thoughts of an advertisement for torture equipment.

At dusk, he leaves his apartment to return to the solitude of his projection booth, still fantasizing about the girl and battling the evil Renaldi The Bat.

This is a great film, especially for movie buffs as it incorporates real clips from films such as noirs, silent movies, old science fictions, and movie trailers. The clips of Captain Flash and the projectionist as a film noir character are interlaced amongst these original clips in such away that they are perfectly matched.

Chuck McCann as the projectionist is excellent at imitating the characters from the different genres, as well as his vocal imitations of the stars in the photos on the projection booth wall. McGann is a great actor, and it would be of no surprise that he has gone on to having a successful career including having his own show. With his talent for voices, he has done voice-overs for many cartoons.

One movie great Chuck McCann is excellent at mimicking is Oliver Hardy, which led to him appearing as him for the Standard Oil commercials of the 1970’s. As an avid Laurel and Hardy fan, he was one of the co-founders for the appreciation society devoted to their memory known as The Sons of the Desert.

They are all great actors in this film, but another one who stands out is Rodney Dangerfield as Renaldi / The Bat. He would go on to have a successful career as a comedian and would later discover Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, and Roseanne amongst others.

Directed by Harry Hurwitz, who would make a number of low budget, but entertaining underground films. He was a huge fan of Charles Chaplain and there is one great scene in The Projectionist where the projectionist first courts the girl on a park bench and then later walks off with her arm in arm. Chuck McCann has the movements of Chaplain done perfectly for both these scenes.

It’s not surprising when watching this that Hurwitz was a professor of film. These days with DVD and video, researching the material is so easy, but back in the early 70’s you would have to be extremely lucky to have access to such a large selection of material. Many of Hurwitz’s films have dealt with film and cinema.


The First Nudie Musical (1976)

Genre: Nudie Musical Comedy

Schechter film studios have fallen upon hard times, and the young owner Harry Schechter struggles to keep it afloat. Gone are the glory days when the studio produced fabulous musicals and now the studio has resorted to producing porn. Harold has to desperately keep this quiet from his aged father who first started the studio.

In a ‘Eureka’ moment, the desperate Harry has an idea to make the first porno musical called Come… Come, Now. His crooked backers are enthusiastic to the idea and it finally looks as though Schechter studios will survive and everyone breaks into a song and dance routine to celebrate, but for Harry, these celebrations are short lived as his backers give him a set of demands.

First they will give him 50% of the money and loan him the other 50%. If the movie doesn’t make any money, they’ll take his studio. The second demand is that the director of the movie has to be the young nephew of one of the backers. The nephew’s name is John Smithee. For those of you who don’t know the story behind the name John Smithee, it’s a film industry inside joke, if you could call it that, that whenever a director makes a film he is unhappy with and wants to disown it he would have the name John Smithee placed on the credits instead of his own. Thirdly, the film has to be completed in two weeks.

The despondent Harry calls an audition and we have a mixture of different people try for it. One girl strips nude and demonstrates an orgasm on the floor in front of the panel; another guy who is in love with himself hits upon all the girls there; a Mexican girl sings terribly and has a boyfriend (played by Frank Doubleday who was the gang member who shoots the little girl in Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)) who thinks he’s one of the gang members in West Side Story and tells her that no one must touch her and turns up intermittently to threaten different members of the cast; there's an innocent nearly arrived wanna-be-a star girl arrives from somewhere in the Mid-west and sings really well; and finally there is Miss Mary La Rue, who is a famous actress and demands her own dressing room away from the “people”. As part of the audition, there is a song performed nude entitled “I’m Not Gay”. Needless to say, everyone is offered the part.

Next, John Smithee, the director arrives. He is a 23 year old virgin who’s very timid about sex and has very little knowledge of it. The pianist is a sleazy looking black guy wearing ray-bands and smoking a cigarette. He more or less writes the songs as they go along - and what a collection of songs they are.

Obviously things don't go according to plan, partly due to John Smithee, so to get rid of him they have to continually send him out to buy doughnuts while they shoot the film behind his back.

We are then treated to a series of short vignettes as they shoot different scenes. We have one where the male performer in a love scene with Miss Mary La Rue can’t get it up and so they have to call in a ‘stunt cock’. This guy is a real pro and spends eight hours a day with an erection performing in blue movies. There is a bizarre scene entitled “Dancing Dildos” which involves a song and dance routine where Miss Mary La Rue performs with a chorus line of naked girls and men dressed as dildos, a scene entitled “Lesbian Butch Dyke” which includes a lesbian song and dance routine, and another scene where the Mexican girl sings seductively about perversions, this is capped off with the Busby Berkeley style “Let Me Eat You” with the classic lines:

"Let 'em eat cake, but let me eat you,"

While all of this is taking place, there is a romantic relationship between Harry Schechter and his assistant, but their relationship becomes strained when Miss Mary La Rue begins to blackmail Harry and Harry is caught kissing her behind his girlfriend's back.

With only a few days to go until the film is completed, John Smithee more or less wrecks it, Miss Mary La Rue gets fired and the lead actor gets robbed and beaten outside his apartment block resulting in a huge black eye. Now it looks as though Harry will lose his studio - but then they have a plan.

This film, although low budget and with its limitations, was great fun and was a great satire about the film industry. Written and directed by Bruce Kimmel, who also played John Smithee, this movie is full of rude jokes, full frontal male and female nudity, but nothing hardcore, and bizarre song and dance routines.

Diana Canova who plays the Mexican Juanita and Cindy Williams who plays Harry’s assistant went on to make it big in their careers causing Paramount Pictures to have to put a hold on this film after it’s release. It’s a shame because even with it’s constraints it’s a fun film which even though it has nudity, doesn’t come across in a shocking way. Also, look out for a very brief cameo with a Happy Days Ron Howard saying a few words. I hasten to add that all these people kept their clothes on.

This film has actually been released as a special edition DVD.

The Elevator (1974)

Genre: Made-for-TV Disaster Movie

After watching made-for-TV disaster movies in the late 70’s/early 80’s, such as Hanging by a Thread (1979), I was more or less put off by them. Hanging By a Thread and a few others I saw followed the same premise of a group of people stuck in a situation where there was no escape. In Hanging By a Thread, the unlucky people were trapped in a cable car, dangling high above the ground. If my memory serves me correctly, I think there was also one where a similar group of people were also trapped in a cave. I maybe wrong.

Anyway, I would settle down in front of the TV for what I was expecting to be some great cliff-hanger viewing on a par with the The Towering Inferno (1974) or The Poseidon Adventure (1972), but my young hopes were soon dashed. The characters in the plot would all be connected to each other in some way and in the middle of all the suspense, one of the characters would start thinking about an event which happened in their past and how they have the connection to one of the others trapped. It would be something like a secret love affair or being two-timed by their partner. These little melodramatic vignettes would take place for each character through the entire film's running time and any action was only secondary. Once these irritating characters were rescued they would have come to terms successfully with their past. This was smultsy insipid TV at it’s worst and would only have appealed to the bored Thursday afternoon housewife who’d just had her prescription renewed for valium, had finished her housework, and wanted a rest from reading her Mills & Boon.
 There was a short satire of one of these scenes during the comedy disaster movie Airplane! (1980). For me, being so badly cheated out of some great disaster movie entertainment caused me to stay clear of any 1970’s made-for-TV disaster movies from then on… That is, until now.

The Elevator is different. It’s actually worth watching - and it’s good!

Made with a cast of old movie stars and good character actors, The Eevator begins with a security guard entering a tower block carrying a brief case containing cash. A very dignified elederly lady, Amanda Kenyon (Myrna Loy), also enters the tower block. They both climb in side the elevator.
 Mrs Kenyon arrives at the office of Marvin Ellis (Roddy McDowall), whose job it is is to find new residents for the newly completed, or should I say still in the stages of completion, tower block.

Mrs Kenyon has come to look at a penthouse suite for her son, so Marvin takes her up to the top floor in the elevator. Meanwhile, the security guard delivers the briefcase of cash to a wealthy business executive who is also on one of the top floors.
 Marvin wants to show Mrs Kenyon an already completed fully-furbished apartment, so he takes her to see one which is owned Dr. Stuart Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds uses his as his psychiatric consulting room. While his wife is in the other room, Dr Reynolds kisses his nurse/receptionist. He is obviously having a secret love affair. Meanwhile, out in the hallway a mother and her late teen’s son argue. The boy is spoilt brat.

In the basement arrives a car carrying Eddie Holcomb (James Farentino), his girlfriend Wendy (Arlene Golonka) and Pete Howarth (Don Stroud). They know about the arrival of money at the business exec’s office and are on their way to rob it.

Eddie and Pete enter the elevator and make their way to the top of the building. Eddie struggles with his claustrophobia.

On entering the office of the businessman, Pete shoots dead the exec and they both leave hurriedly with Eddie carrying the briefcase of money. Eddie enters the elevator with all the other characters and some workmen, except that is, Pete, who can’t get in and has to take the other elevator.

The elevator stops a few floors down and the workmen wheel out the heavy box they were carrying as the elevator shudders from the weight. Cut to the elevator pulley systems loosening themselves from the ceiling of the elevator shaft.

The elevator’s doors close and it begins its descent, when suddenly it grinds to a holt. There is concern amongst those inside and their calls for help go unanswered. This is mainly because the elevator hasn’t had the emergency phone fitted and also because the tower block is emptying for the exra-long holiday weekend. Only a few security guards will be left on patrol.

This all becomes too much for the claustrophobic Eddie, who begins to freak-out and lose control. Eddie ends up waving the briefcase around as Dr Reynolds tries to subdue him. It isn’t long before the briefcase opens and the contents falls out. Everyone realizes that Eddie has stolen it and to make matters worse the un-controllable Eddie gets his gun out.

Meanwhile in the basement Pete and Wendy realize something is wrong because Eddie hasn’t arrived, but they are told to leave by the security guard because the tower block is about to be closed-up.

Returning undercover that evening, the trigger-happy Pete realizes the elevator is jammed and goes up to rescue Eddie and the money. Without hesitation he kills a security guard, but not before the security guard has notified the police of the murder of the business man.

Now it’s a race for time for Pete to rescue Eddie, who is becoming more and more unstable in the elevator. Also every minute or sudden movement of the elevator brings the elevator closer to hurtling down the elevator shaft.

At only 65 minutes running time, this movie is short and sweet. It builds nicely from the beginning as we are introduced to each character and the scenes inside the trapped elevator are tense with the claustrophobic Eddie lashing out in the confined space at those around him. Things get worse when he pulls out his gun and starts making demands. This is all performed well by James Farentino.

Don Stroud is good as his psychopathic character shoots his victims without remorse. Is he interested in helping his friend Eddie or does he just want the money at any cost? One cost being that there is an elevator full of witnesses to the stolen money and they can’t be allowed to live.

Roddy McDowall is great as always. In the beginning he’s the typical salesman, but once trapped in the elevator and facing certain death he confesses that the tower block has been built on the cheap and is riddled with problems.

This film is a real time-piece from the 1970’s, with it fashions and attitudes, but nevertheless it is an entertaining way to spend 65 minutes.

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