The Trap

“I’ll tell you how it is. The organization, well, it’s like a big UNIVAC machine, only nobody knows all the parts except me. When I stop, the machine stops. That makes for great loyalty.”

A very big mobster muscles into a very small town to use the airport for a trip to Mexico ahead of the law. There’s even cash in it for some poor sap, and quite a story.

“It is not in the high tradition,” said Bosley Crowther of the New York Times. Likewise Halliwell’s Film Guide, “reasonably tense” etc.

“We’re on the dark side of the moon, just us and the little green men.”


The Road to Hong Kong

“A sprawling dragon nestled on the soft underbelly of China.”

How Turner & Babcock, “ex-vaudevillians”, went round the moon, courtesy of the Third Echelon.

“It all started in Calcutta...”

Fahrenheit 451 at a lamasery in the Kohlrabi Mountains, memorious from an herb, remembering the Russian rocket fuel formula.

Jack Hildyard is the cinematographer, Gerry Fisher the camera operator. The 39 Steps is indicated amidst the gags.

Property of Tibet, the funny-sounding herb like something you get from “a bad audience.”

Modern Times meets Planet of the Apes during the voyage through outer space, with bananas.

The moon, mother of memories.

Méliès for the return. “Well, it sure beats being kissed by Khrushchev.”

Herroes of the Third Echelon, “I don’t like human sacrifice any more than Dr. Zorbb, do you, Zorbb.”

“On the whole I dislike it, Sir.”

“You see.”

Diagnosed, a case of “moonomania”.

The jump on James Bond, six months before Dr. No.

Nothingville, South Dakota”, the Plutonian final destination.

Wally Veevers, special effects (made at Shepperton Studios, Syd Cain et al.).

“Hilarious adventures” (Variety, which couldn’t quite take it all in).

“Curious,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide, “slightly dismal-looking... all very tired by now.”


How to Commit Marriage

The monstrous poetry of the diatribe against the theme lands the thing just past the quarter-hour mark. “The world spins on its axis and what have we got? War, famine, pestilence, peek-a-boo bras, filter cigarettes, computer dating, diet cola, air pollution, the Pentagon, zip codes, digit dialing, and they’re all married, they’re all married.”

The rock promoter’s son goes for “that classical drag”, the real estate man’s daughter thinks her parents are happily married, it’s a quandary.

The Baba Ziba, guru to the promoter’s stable (The Brainblowers of today become The Frozen Fish Shticks of tomorrow).

“A child dreams in the garden,” sing The Comfortable Chair, “dreaming lullabies...”

The plateaus of the Baba Ziba, “Ineffable Sublimation” is one.

“This is what they’re buying,” the promoter tells his son, whose music makes the real estate man say, “I never thought I’d miss The Beatles.”

The Comfortable Chair are a smash. The real estate man, a divorcé in Nehru jacket and toupee, brings the blonde to see them at Club Nowhere on the Strip, the son and the daughter (both music majors) swell the touring ensemble and live together. The ex-wife and her new broker turn up. Of course, the promoter is there in black tie with his live-in mistress and album cover girl, living it up.

A very amusing representation. Question of letting the child be adopted.

The divorced couple rent a beach house for baby and keep up an exhausting subterfuge.

Signed by the promoter “for five big ones”, The Great Baba, deus ex machina, he of the yes men in turbans.

“It is written, when the most humble enjoy the fruits of wealth, then the wealthy become richer in the pool of poverty, giving indigence to those who sublime the attitude with all the benevolence upon which tranquility is based, and therefore to substantiate tranquility gives them the omnipotence wherefore we provide, then the development of those who retrogress feel that the umbilicals upon those who tranquilitize, and therefore, many times over!”

“Superior wisdom, from a superior mind.”

The ending is comparable to Buñuel & Dali (Un Chien Andalou) and Samuel Beckett (Happy Days).

Professor Irwin Corey’s swami antedates Larry Storch in S.O.B. (dir. Blake Edwards) by a decade.

Canby cocked a snook, lectured Hope and refused to find any sense or meaning in the film, “the rest is insult—and silence” (New York Times).

“Dire... bogged down... much ado... few laughs on offer” (Tom Milne, Time Out Film Guide).

Halliwell’s Film Guide, “tiresome”.