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The Spy Who Loved Me

1977, UK/USA, Lewis Gilbert

The Spy Who Loved Me is by far the most popular of the Roger Moore Bond movies in terms of fan adoration and critical response. Let me assure you then that it is not without qualms that I confess to finding it somewhat disappointing on repeat viewings. Since Ian Fleming gave […]

The Ninth Configuration

1980, USA, William Peter Blatty

Sometimes you see a film which is completely unique. The Ninth Configuration is one of those films, which is both its strength and its weakness. It’s based on the novel Twinkle Twinkle ‘Killer’ Kane by William Peter Blatty, which, despite his rather stodgy prose, is very interesting.
The plot of the film […]

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

1969, UK/USA, Peter Hunt
It is with some caution that I admit that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is my favourite Bond film, one which I have seen and enjoyed more times than I care to mention. It’s been shockingly underrated for the simple reason of casting, and its merits took time to become apparent. In terms […]

Short Takes: The Mind Benders

1962, UK, Basil Dearden
Now here’s a fascinating oddity; a British science fiction film from the early 1960s which not only reflects the contemporary scientific and political interests of the time but also points forward to the later work of its star, Dirk Bogarde. Like Victim, it’s a production by Basil Dearden and Michael Relph, […]

You Only Live Twice

1967, USA/UK, Lewis Gilbert
The huge financial success of Thunderball meant that the James Bond franchise had to go some if it was to keep the initiative. Several imitation series were now appearing, such as the Matt Helm and Flint films, and Bond was no longer the novelty that he was back in the first half […]


1998, Canada, David Cronenberg 
eXistenZ - the spelling is important - occupies a similar place in David Cronenberg’s career as Raising Cain does in Brian De Palma’s. Both films are playfully self-reflexive, acting as compendiums of the personal obsessions of their respective directors. The key difference is that while De Palma’s film is little more than an […]


1965, USA/UK, Terence Young
Thunderball marks a significant turning-point for the Bond films. Building on the larger-than-life style of Goldfinger, the film is less a spy thriller than a lavish action movie in which the plot is a secondary consideration. It is, therefore, surprising that so much of this fourth Bond film is concerned with setting […]

The Horrorwood Ten: Happy Halloween!

As the great Forry Ackerman used to say, “Hooray For Horrorwood!” Mindful of the coming season of witches, ghouls, goblins and other things that go bump in the night, I have devoted this week’s Hollywood Ten to movies that send a chill down my spine. Sometimes it’s a pleasurable frisson and occasionally it’s a full […]

Psycho 2

1983, USA, Richard Franklin

It took 23 years for a sequel to Psycho to appear in cinemas. The critical reaction when it came out tended to be one of relief that it wasn’t as bad as everyone had feared. Looked at now, Psycho 2 does about a good a job as could be wished of not […]

The Hollywood Ten: Alternative Lumet

This week on The Hollywood Ten I want to take a sideways look at the career of one of America’s finest directors. Sidney Lumet has been rightly honoured for his many popular and critical successes: 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Prince Of The City and suchlike. But his career is interesting for […]

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