Here is Balladeer’s Blog second look at some of the films I have thus far not been able to find and review. Any help anyone could offer would be appreciated. For the first list of five click HERE.
ONCE (1973) – Written and directed by Morton Heilig, Once is a 100 minute experimental film with no dialogue, just pantomime performances by the lone three actors. Chris Mitchum of all people portrays Creation, Jim Malinda plays Destruction and Marta Kristen co-stars as Humanity. Some may describe the movie as a Biblical parable but actually it reflects concepts from Zoroastrianism, Iroquois myths and other belief systems in addition to Christianity and Judaism.
The story is set on what is supposed to be a desert island as Creation washes ashore and begins creating increasingly sophisticated life-forms. Destruction attempts to create life of its own but fails, so out of envy and spite it brings destruction on the life brought into being by Creation.
Eventually, Creation crafts Humanity, beautiful but hubristic. When Creation has to step in to check Humanity’s behavior, Destruction woos Humanity to its side. Destruction nearly causes the annihilation of not just Humanity but also of Creation and itself. Creation is forced to use violence against Destruction and Humanity returns to Creation’s side.
All three performers wear loincloths and less. This film sounds like it would either be impressive or hilariously bad.
JAZZMANIA (1923) – Regular readers here at Balladeer’s Blog will remember that I’m a big fan of Silent Movies. Jazzmania is often categorized as a drama but it sounds more like a fantasy or romantic comedy. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starring his wife Mae Murray, this film features Mae as Queen Ninon, the ruler of the fictional country called Jazzmania, where life is all about partying and dancing.
When Queen Ninon refuses to marry the influential Count Otto (Jean Hersholt), he launches a rebellion against her. Mae Murray’s regal character flees to Monte Carlo and then the United States. Amid many gown changes and what sounds like Mae’s usual “dancing” performances she falls in love with American reporter Jerry Langdon (Rod La Rocque).
In the end Queen Ninon returns to Jazzmania where she defeats Count Otto, transforms the country into a republic instead of a hereditary monarchy, and marries Jerry Langdon.
PLAYING WITH FIRE (1985) – The one and only Gary Coleman starred in this telefilm that has been hailed as the Reefer Madness of arson awareness. I haven’t seen it so I can’t be sure. In addition, I don’t know what was up with Gary Coleman and fire safety videos because in 1986 he hosted For Safety’s Sake, which addressed safety in the home with fire as one of the topics.
Coleman’s character David Phillips is struggling in school and feels unloved at home so he starts fires because he craves affection. If this movie is as bad as it has been described I will not rest until I can see it for myself. When people compare something to The Star Wars Holiday Special it would hopefully live up to at least PART of that designation.
Cicely Tyson plays the neglectful mother and Ron O’Neal, Youngblood Priest from Superfly, portrays David’s equally clueless father. Fire Chief Yaphet Kotto knows what’s up and at the end of the flick Gary Coleman breaks the Fourth Wall to address the audience about arson.