Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Ice Cold in Alex

 “Worth waiting for”

This is classic Sunday afternoon film fare. Made in 1958 the film portrays the exploits of the crew of an allied army ambulance separated from the rest of their company during the evacuation of Tobruk in North Africa in 1942. The crew is made up of an emotionally exhausted Captain (played by John Mills) a nurse, a sergeant and a South African officer they pick up on the way – and who they quickly suspect may not owe his allegiance to the Allies. They must travail minefields, quicksand and over 600 miles of desert with only the faint hope of finding safety and the promise of an ice-cold beer in Alexandria to sustain them.

Continue reading Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Paperback covers #2: Frank Frazetta

Conan The Adventurer

A series looking at some of my favourite book
covers and cover artists, mostly taken from my own collection.

#2 Frank Frazetta’s covers for the Robert E. Howards’ Conan novels published by Lancer in the 1960’s

Texan author Robert E. Howard’s first published Conan story appeared in the December 1932 issue of the pulp science fiction magazine Weird Tales. Howard, a prolific writer responsible for hundreds of short stories, had previously experienced minor success selling to the pulps but it was his creation of a Cimmerian barbarian that struck a cord with readers. Continue reading Paperback covers #2: Frank Frazetta

Blue Velvet (1986)

 

Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet
Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet

 “I’m seeing something that was always hidden.
I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret”

After spending the other evening immersed in the seedy underbelly of 1960’s London (thanks to ‘Peeping Tom’) it’s time for a change of pace. Tonight it’s Blue Velvet, a look at the seedy underbelly of 1980’s small town America. Hmmm… there definitely seems to be a theme developing here. Continue reading Blue Velvet (1986)

Peeping Tom (1959)

peeping-tom-large

Whatever I photograph I always lose”

Michael Powell’s 1959 study of a serial murderer who films his victims last moments is as much a tour-de-force as his better known films, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus to name a few. At it’s core the film depicts Mark Lewis, a psychologically damaged photographer (played with real compassion by german actor Carl Boehm) as he murders a string of London prostitutes and glamour models, filming their dying moments so he can watch their last moments again and again. But the film is so much more than than the study of a murderer and as the film progresses it becomes a carefully crafted essay on the voyeuristic nature of cinema. Continue reading Peeping Tom (1959)

Paperback covers #1: Chris Foss

The Stars Like Dust

The first in a series looking at some of my favourite book covers and cover artists, mostly taken from my own collection.

#1 Chris Foss’ covers for the Isaac Asimov novels published by Panther Science Fiction, circa late 1970’s.

It will probably come as no surprise to visitors to this site that as a child my main literary interest lay with comics. Marvel comics were my main staple but DC, 2000AD or any of the cartoon weeklies (Buster, Cheeky, Whizzer and Chips, etc) were all fair game. It’s hardly surprising that with such a diet of fantasy, adventure and heroics I then graduated to myths and legends – the greek and norse myths being particular favourites – and after that I made the natural progression to Science Fiction and Fantasy. I dipped my toe into some of the greats, Clarke, Bradbury etc, but found them all a little dry and I eventually settled on the John Christopher Tripods novels and early David Eddings, to name a few.  Continue reading Paperback covers #1: Chris Foss