Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Now Playing: DECEMBER 5,1962

Opening wide today is a picture I saw a few weeks ago on Turner Classic Movies. Here's an ad from Eugene OR.

And here's one from Miami.

Etienne Perier's picture is an old-school swashbuckler -- the term also applies to its star, Stewart Granger -- set in Spanish-occupied Italy in the 16th century. Like many films from this period when the Europeans were aping American genre conventions instead of finding their own ways to express them, Swordsman suffers from a certain stodginess. Working in Europe was a step down for Granger, who would soon be starring in German westerns, but he delivers what's expected of him as a roguish English soldier of fortune. In its original French version this was called The Mercenary, but as I've noted elsewhere Americans seemed uncomfortable with the M-word until around the 1970s. Whatever you call it, the movie's tale of conspiracy and insurrection builds to a climax tied to Siena's famous annual Palio horse race, though Perier stages a rather pallid imitation of the actual event. It's a rather uninspired film but better than many similar Euro-swashbucklers from the period imported by U.S. exhibitors -- and none of them hold a candle to the more thoroughly Euro Cartouche, made in France this same year but not seen in America until 1964.

Here's the M-G-M trailer for Swordsman, from the TCM website.

Also opening wide is an UA double-bill, topped by Roger Corman and Vincent Price wandering off the AIP rez.  Here they are in Baltimore.

And, more equitably, in Reading PA.

Here's what's perhaps now a better-known double bill, thanks to the wonders of public domain and MST3K, opening in Toledo.

And here's a "twisted" triple-bill in Charleston.

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