Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Recently I was up in the Chicago area, and watched some DVDs I rented from Odd Obsession Movies. Here are brief reviews of two of them; more perhaps to follow.

"Turkish Young Frankenstein": This film is one of a number of Turkish rip-offs of famous American movies which have become notorious among connoisseurs of cult and/or bad movies. The "Turkish Young Frankenstein" (whose real title is Sevimli Frankestayn) is virtually a scene-by-scene remake of the Mel Brooks classic. As I was watching it, I got the feeling that Nejat Saydam, who wrote and directed it, didn't realize that the original film was a comedy. Adding weight to this suspicion, the film reproduces several of Brooks's routines, but with the comic payoffs omitted. If Saydam did intend the film to be a comedy, then the Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman parts were woefully miscast, while the "monster" looks like a heavyset man with a few facial scars. Unfortunately, for the most part the film is funnier to read about than to watch: I stopped watching after about fifty minutes, which was about a half-hour after the joke, such as it was, had worn thin. Odd Obsession's copy is in Turkish without subtitles.

Sexy Line (Sekushii Chitai): Not a pink or etchi film despite its title, this is a Japanese black-and-white crime drama directed by Teruo Ishii (who also directed Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf, which I reviewed here, along with many other films). It's about a young salaryman who, framed for the murder of his girlfriend, investigates the murder himself and discovers that she was involved in a shady prostitution ring. The film has most of the accoutrements of film noir, but the noir atmosphere is spoiled by Yoko Mihara, who steals the show as an irrepressively vivacious female pickpocket who joins forces with the salaryman for the thrill of it. Actually, Mihara's performance is the main reason to watch what is otherwise a fairly routine film.

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