Monthly Archives: January 2021

NICK CARTER IN PRAGUE (1978): MOVIE REVIEW

Nick Carter in PragueNICK CARTER IN PRAGUE (1978) – This film seems to like to hide from the millions of Nick Carter fans in the world by also going under titles like Adele Has Not Had Her Dinner or Dinner With Adele. I originally planned to review this movie last year but the passing of actor Robert Conrad prompted me to review his telefilm The Adventures of Nick Carter instead.

Created in 1886, Nick Carter was technically a private detective in New York City but really he was less of a sleuth and more of a forerunner of crime-fighting paragons like Doc Savage and Batman. Nick lasted through the end of the Dime Novel era and well into the age of Pulp Magazines, yet by the 1970s he was a much more popular character in Europe than in his homeland. Even before Nick Carter in Prague was released there had been a French-Italian animated series about Nick’s adventures.

This Czech film was directed by Oldrich Lipsky and starred Michal Docolomansky as Nick Carter. If you want a glib “pitch-meeting” style description of this movie think of it as a tongue-in-cheek effort like Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy but directed by Tim Burton and with a surreal, European arthouse feel.

Michal as Nick CarterThe approach is wry and knowing but without stooping to the overdone camp of 1975’s Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, starring Ron Ely. Nick Carter in Prague is often labeled a comedy but don’t go into it expecting laughs, just lots of smiles like during Dick Tracy or Tim Burton’s Batman. It’s more “comedy” as in whimsical fantasy touches, not hard belly laughs.

The film is set around 1905 judging by the automobiles, and the opening minutes provide a nice introduction to Nick Carter. He’s a world-famous detective/ crime fighter whose exploits earn him plenty of headlines. Police departments and Secret Services around the world bombard him with requests for help and he survives multiple attempts on his life by a variety of enemies as part of his daily routine at his office.

Nick has so many pleas for his services that he selects who he’ll help next at random. The “winner” is Countess Thun (Kveta Fiolova) of Prague, so our hero is off to then-Czechoslovakia. The countess has a lot of pull with her government and Carter is given a hero’s welcome. The tubby Commissar Ledvina (Rudolf Hrusinsky) is assigned to help Nick in every way. Continue reading

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Filed under opinion, Pulp Heroes

DEMOCRAT SLOGANS: YESTERDAY’S JOKES ARE TODAY’S REALITY

democrat republican or awakeRemember when the following Democrat slogans were intended by me as humor? Well, the Democrats are proving they’re worse than any of us imagined. WE NEED THIRD PARTIES!

DEMOCRATS: YOU PEASANTS ARE ONLY AS FREE AS THE MOST INTOLERANT DEMOCRAT LETS YOU BE!

DEMOCRATS: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SIMPLE-MINDED FASCISTS IN LARGE NUMBERS!

DEMOCRATS: THIS DREADFUL DONALD TRUMP PERSON HAS FILLED THE WORKING CLASS RABBLE WITH THOUGHTS ABOVE THEIR STATION IN LIFE!

DEMOCRATS: WE NEED TO SAVAGELY BEAT ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED TRUMP SUPPORTERS BECAUSE THEIR MERE EXISTENCE MAKES US FEEL “UNSAFE.”

DEMOCRATS: THE CAMPAIGN NEVER ENDS … AND NEITHER WILL OUR DISCOVERY OF BOXES FULL OF “UNCOUNTED” VOTES! 

DEMOCRATS: ALL OF OUR OPINIONS SHOULD CARRY THE FORCE OF LAW!

DEMOCRATS: WE OVERUSED THE WORD “RACIST” TO THE POINT OF MEANINGLESSNESS. NOW WE’RE DOING THE SAME WITH “WHITE SUPREMACIST.”

DEMOCRATS: A LOYALTY OATH TO OUR PARTY SHOULD BE NECESSARY TO QUALIFY FOR HEALTH CARE.

DEMOCRATS: WE ARE THE FASCISTS WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

DEMOCRATS: IF THE COUNTRY IS SPLIT ALMOST 50-50 THAT MEANS THAT ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH US ARE BEING “DIVISIVE” … NEVER US!

DEMOCRATS: WE RUINED LIBERALISM! WE RUINED THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM! WE RUINED THE COURT SYSTEM AND UNDERMINED THE ELECTORAL PROCESS ITSELF! PLEASE DON’T STOP US NOW!

DEMOCRATS: IT’S EASIER TO JUST CONSTANTLY TELL EVERYONE HOW COMPASSIONATE AND TOLERANT YOU THINK YOU ARE THAN IT IS TO ACTUALLY BE COMPASSIONATE AND TOLERANT!

ONLY THOSE PEOPLE OF COLOR WHO AGREE WITH US WHITE DEMOCRATS ARE AUTHENTIC. THE REST MUST BE HOUNDED FROM PUBLIC LIFE OR RECANT.

DEMOCRATS: FILING COMPLAINTS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO SAY SOMETHING WE DISAGREE WITH IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF ACTIVISM!

Continue reading

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DUCKWORTH DREW: RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1973)

rivals of sherlockFor Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the very first episode of this 1971-1973 series about London by Gaslight detectives from both the Victorian and Edwardian Ages you can simply click HERE

Duckworth DrewEpisode: THE SECRET OF THE FOXHUNTER (February 3rd, 1973)

Detective: Duckworth Drew of the Foreign Office, created by William Le Queux. The first Duckworth Drew story was published in 1903. Apparently the creative team on the television show found “Duckworth” to be too silly sounding so they instead gave the character the first name of his creator, William. 

Comment: In Drew’s adventures he wasn’t so much a rival of Sherlock Holmes as a detective, but more in terms of the handful of Holmes stories in which he served as a spy. Duckworth, or “Ducky” as he’s called by intimate friends, is the archetypal British spy whose diplomatic titles are just a cover for his espionage antics. Derek Jacobi shines as the intelligence operative.

Drew is often cited as one of the many, many supposed influences on Ian Fleming’s much later character James Bond. He does periodically use Q-style devices (Was Q a subtle nod to Le Queux?) like drugged cigars and drugged pins that can render people unconscious or paralyzed.

Duckworth Drew againSomething I found interesting about the Duckworth Drew spy stories was the way that, despite their national chauvinism in which it is just assumed that Great Britain is “the good guy,” the rival powers of Germany, Russia and France are not depicted as devils incarnate. Certainly they’re never presented in truly sympathetic ways but since these stories were written before the World Wars and the Cold War, they’re comparatively restrained in dealing with Drew’s opposition.     

That restraint is typical of the relative maturity of the stories. England would often adjust its policies to court support from one or two of those powers against the others. Therefore, it wouldn’t do to hysterically demonize those other nations since HMG is sometimes in league with each of them in turn. And – another refreshing element – it is taken in stride by Drew and his superiors that Germany, Russia and France do the same thing. There’s almost an air of the Mario Puzo attitude “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Continue reading

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ISLAND OF THE LOST (1967): MOVIE REVIEW

Island of the LostISLAND OF THE LOST (1967) – Directed by John Florea and written by Richard Carlson and Ivan Tors, this family adventure movie starred Richard Greene, known for playing Robin Hood in the 1950s television series and for playing Sir Denis Nayland Smith in a few of the Fu Manchu movies from the 1960s.

In addition to Greene, Island of the Lost provides additional cultural kitsch appeal: You’ve got producer Ivan Tors of Flipper fame dragging along Luke Halpin, the boy star of that series. Ivan also seems to have brought along a LOT of Flipper stock footage for the underwater scenes. Jose de Vega from Blue Hawaii is also in the cast as are soap opera queen Robin Mattson and the ubiquitous Irene Tsu. Plus the screenwriter is THE Richard Carlson, star of many b-movies.

Island of the Lost 2Richard Greene AND Richard Carlson? You know that with a couple of Dicks like them around we are in for some campiness and lame special effects that might have been acceptable in the 1950s … in black & white, not color. 

Greene portrays Professor Josh MacRae, a scholar who is convinced that there are undiscovered islands in the Pacific Ocean, islands on which live creatures long thought extinct. Like so many movie professors, he organizes his own expedition to try to prove his theory. And if he dies in the attempt he plans to take his whole family down with him! Continue reading

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DYSTOPIA NATION – TECHNO TYRANTS

mascot sword and gun pic

BALLADEER’S BLOG

Here at Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog, I can’t help but reflect on how less than three full years ago when this blog post used America’s increasingly totalitarian Big Tech fascists as examples for dystopian literature, it seemed like the dire possibilities explored might come within a decade or just under.

Unfortunately, in less than those three years that I mentioned we’ve seen privileged white male one-percenters like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg EXCEED many of the abuses I wrote about in what was then (2018) fiction.

If you enjoy the article below, HERE is a link to a 2018 article about AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL pointing out how Google and Facebook threaten human rights. And HERE is a link to another such article. The lesson being “Don’t try to say that Big Tech won’t abuse their money and power after all that we’ve seen.”

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THE TECHNO-TYRANTS OF SILICON VALLEY (2018) – The modern-day versions of the disgusting old Robber Barons might well be the corporate fascists aka techno-fascists in assorted tech industries, not just regarding Silicon Valley but also privacy-violating rich pigs at Facebook and elsewhere.

In fact, you could make the case that people like Mark “Skippy” Zuckerberg and his fellow corporate fascists are even worse since I don’t recall bloated rich pigs like E.H. Harriman or Cornelius Vanderbilt trying to police other people’s every thought, word and deed. The invasive and ever-expanding tentacular reach of techno-fascists or in this fictional case Techno-Tyrants would make these villains a very credible threat to political freedom and freedom of expression. Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

MY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP (1902): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Thank you to all of you who have expressed condolences over recent family events. You people are the greatest! 

My Cousin's AirshipMY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP, A TALE OF 1950 (1902) – Written by W.F. Alexander. Though written in 1902 this story is set in a fictional 1950 which has seen incredible scientific advances.

The action begins in England, where our narrator lives with his true love Margaret. His cousin Stephen Rankin – a former rival for Margaret’s affections – is a nasty mean-spirited mad scientist figure.

Stephen has invented a new type of aerocar which can travel 45 miles per hour, which we readers are told makes it the fastest aircraft of 1950. (!) As a peace-making gesture the inventor invites our narrator along for a joyride in the airship. Continue reading

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FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST – LOST FLASHMAN PAPERS

For Flashman Down Under, Flashman in the Opium War & Flashman and the Kings click HERE   For Flashman of Arabia click HERE Balladeer’s Blog now moves on to another Harry Flashman adventure referred to but never completed before George MacDonald Fraser’s death. FOR MY COUNTDOWN OF THE TOP FIVE FLASHMAN NOVELS CLICK HERE.

elmina castleProjected Title: FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST

Time Period: Third Ashanti War (1873-1874)

The Setup: Queen Victoria’s Empire – specifically the British Gold Coast – bought the Dutch Gold Coast from Holland in 1871. The nearby Ashanti People of Africa had been at peace with the Dutch for over 200 years but were wary of their “new neighbors” and were protective of their enormous wealth in gold. They invaded the British Gold Coast in May, 1873.  

flashman shieldIn June the advance of the Ashanti was halted at Elmina and back in England Her Majesty’s Government made plans to send additional troops to the Gold Coast to deal with the situation. By August 13th General Garnet Wolseley was chosen to lead the army.

The Story: Wolseley, personally familiar with Flashman from the Crimean War and the Great Mutiny, would draft the reluctant Colonel-on-Half-Pay into his campaign. Sir Harry’s knack for picking up languages and his years of experience as a colonial officer would convince Wolseley of our hero’s fitness for this type of warfare, no matter what excuses Flashman would try to use.  Continue reading

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DENNIS QUAID FILM FESTIVAL

dennis quaidDennis Quaid aka Furious DQ is the subject of this list of brief film reviews. Ignore Buzzfeed reports that Dairy Queen (DQ) is partnering with Balladeer’s Blog to sponsor a Dennis Quaid Film Festival in Rio. In fact, you should just ignore ALL Buzzfeed reports, period, at this point.

Let’s dive into this look at some of the films of Ed Miller himself from The Long Riders: Dennis Quaid. NOTE: These will be films in which Dennis was the male lead, hence no Right Stuff, Wyatt Earp, etc. Quaid should have been made the new Indiana Jones right after Harrison Ford’s Last Crusade in 1989. Magnificent missed opportunity.

big easyTHE BIG EASY (1986)

Role: Police Detective Remy McSwain

Female Lead: Ellen Barkin

Comment: One of the most underrated films of the 1980s. Think of The Big Easy as Cajun-blackened Film Noir, which, of course, makes it colorful and upbeat Film Noir with kickass music.

Set in New Orleans (known as the Big Easy for you overseas readers) this hardboiled mystery features Assistant DA Anne Osborne (Barkin) clashing, bickering, flirting with and falling for Quaid as Lt Remy McSwain. Remy is investigating Wiseguy murders that hint at an impending gangster war while Anne is probing police corruption.

The sparks fly between McSwain and Osborne but we viewers wonder if he’s playing her because he has too much to hide or if she’s playing him A Taxing Woman style. We also wonder if the omerta practiced by Remy and his police colleagues is simply because of the casual graft they’re into or if they’ve graduated from being crooked cops to being outright soldiers of organized crime.

Ned Beatty, Grace Zabriskie and John Goodman are in supporting roles in this enjoyable mystery/ rom-com/ travelogue for New Orleans.

great balls of fireGREAT BALLS OF FIRE (1989)

Role: Jerry Lee Lewis

Female Lead: Winona Ryder

Comment: What The Buddy Holly Story was to Gary Busey, this movie was to Dennis Quaid. Hollywood bio-pic rules apply so the emphasis is on old-school rock music and a rip-roaring good time instead of accuracy. The movie plays its story so lightly and entertainingly that the approach works. Continue reading

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DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO LET THE REST OF US GET ON WITH OUR LIVES

Consider this an abbreviated version of my recurring Transgress With Me feature.

mascot donkey and republican heads*** I WAS PLANNING ON GOING TWO OR THREE WEEKS WITHOUT MAKING A BLOG POST ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES BUT THE DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO STOP WITH THEIR HATE-FILLED AND DIVISIVE ANTICS. Yet, being Democrats, they simultaneously make with hypocritical lectures about “unity.”

*** THAT’S BECAUSE DEMOCRATS ARE SUCH EMPTY PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE NO IDENTITY OUTSIDE OF THEIR POLITICAL OPINIONS. They feel that espousing those opinions makes them safe within the fascist mobs they call “home.” They certainly have no individual strength.

*** One of the reasons Democrats seem so desperate to act quickly against President Trump is because they just had 4 years of crying wolf against Trump and though they’re crying wolf AGAIN they hope that they can ram through some extreme foolishness before the passions they’ve inflamed have a chance to cool down … as happened with “Russian Collusion” and all their other lies up to and including their previous failed Impeachment Trial. Democrats and Republicans alike are terrified that a post-White House Trump may upset the corrupt apple cart of the two-party/ uniparty/ Republicrat system that lets them grift all kinds of money from the Federal Treasury.

*** Career Democrat politicians, apparently terrified that there are still people in the U.S. expressing opinions that they disagree with, are more determined than ever to push for a totalitarian system under which anyone who strays from the Democrat Party line must be eliminated.

*** The Republicans in office? Well, they’re too clueless, timid and impotent to do or say anything until they see which way the winds are blowing. Sometime around October of 2022 maybe they’ll release a terse message saying “Hey, c’mon now!” to the Democrats.

Democrat rat

DEMOCRAT PARTY

*** Career criminal HILLARY CLINTON of all people, proved to be utterly lacking in self-awareness by saying the Republicans should publicly say that senile groper Joe Biden won the election. This after Hillary and her supporters STILL claim she really won the 2016 election. And Democrat Stacey Abrams still calls for violence by claiming she really won the Georgia governor’s race.

*** AS LATE AS MAY 16th 2017 NANCY PELOSI TWEETED THIS ABOUT THE 2016 ELECTION –

Nancy Pelosi
@SpeakerPelosi
Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts.    12:44 PM · May 16, 2017

*** AND REMEMBER, DEMOCRATS STILL CONSIDER IT OKAY TO POINT OUT THAT THE AWFUL GEORGE W BUSH STOLE THE YEAR 2000 ELECTION. They still make remarks like “Bush only won ONCE” when clueless Bush supporters say he was elected President twice. Obviously it does not result in “insurrection” to make such statements.

*** THE DEMOCRATS CONTINUE TO PRETEND THEY CARE ABOUT AMERICAN LANDMARKS LIKE THE CAPITOL BUILDING AFTER DECADES OF TELLING US IT WAS THE SEAT OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND SYSTEMIC RACISM. Prior to January 6th they always acted like people were patriotic hicks if they revered such “symbolic” institutions while they put on faux “intellectual” (LMAO) airs of contempt toward the U.S. government, claiming it was the greatest menace/ terrorist threat in the world.

*** Even worse, Democrats pretend to embrace the “symbolic” value of the Capitol Building after trashing it themselves in 2018. And they dare to lecture the rest of us about that symbolism while real people were killed and lost their livelihoods during the MONTHS-LONG JOE BIDEN RIOTS OF 2020.

*** IT ISN’T JUST THE SOCIAL MEDIA TOTALITARIANS LIKE JACK DORSEY WHO PROVE THAT DEMOCRATS LOVE CORPORATE FASCISM. THE NFL, NBA AND MLB WERE TAKING A PUBLIC RELATIONS BEATING OVER PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE YEARS AGO.

                     MAGICALLY, ONCE THEY MADE THEIR LEAGUES MOUTHPIECES AND CASH COWS FOR DEMOCRAT TALKING POINTS AND ORGANIZATIONS THE FASCIST CORPORATE MEDIA STOPPED COVERING THEIR BEATING AND RAPING OF WOMEN, THEIR CHEATING AND THEIR P.E.D. USE. Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

FREE-SPEECH “GAB” GAINS 600,000 NEW USERS IN ONE DAY

gabMany times over the years, Balladeer’s Blog has recommended Gab for people tired of the heavy-handed abuses by Techno-Fascists like privileged white male Jack Dorsey and his ilk.

Be sure to join all the daring, iconoclastic and free-thinking adults at Gab.com / Gab Social

Speak truth to the fascist power of the modern Robber Barons, some of whom are trying to land Pentagon IT contracts by pandering to political partisans. 

Freedom of expression amnesty international

techno fascists attack libertyAnd, if you haven’t had enough laughs so far from Democrats – yes, DEMOCRATS (LMAO) pretending they care if the U.S. government got overthrown after five decades of telling us the U.S. government is the greatest menace/ terrorist threat in the world, below is a great bit yesterday from Gab about TWITTER LOSING 4 BILLION DOLLARS IN ONE DAY.twitter lost 4 billion

(Although, I grant you, under the Corporate Fascism embraced by the Democrats no company that supports their politics will ever again truly lose money. If worse comes to worst the Democrats will conjure up excuses for a bailout of their cronies. Just like they did recently with Hollywood rich pigs getting Covid relief money but not small theater chains, who can’t open back up because of Democrats’ Covid regulations.)

 

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