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The most "Moorcockesque" movie ever?

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  • The most "Moorcockesque" movie ever?

    Hi all,

    This is a little out of left field, but I watched a DVD last night that could have been scripted by Mike in his more adventurous, Western-inflected persona. It's not a well-known movie at all, but is book-ended by two famous movies.

    In 1968, Sergio Leone made the first of the famous bookends: "Once Upon a Time in the West," with Henry Fonda and Claudia Cardinale. 16 years later, in 84, he released "Once Upon a Time in America." What's less well known is that there was a middle movie in this loose trilogy: "Once Upon a Time During the Revolution," or "A Fistful of Dynamite," or my favorite title: "Duck, You Sucker." (1971)

    It's an absolutely great movie, my favorite Leone film, but really fell through the cracks compared to his Spaghetti Westerns, which it's really not. It takes place during the Mexican Revolution, has strong anarchic overtones, and features motorbikes and tanks, a real departure from his other work. But the twisted good vs. evil (who's good and who's evil?) theme in the movie is so typical of the Law and Chaos ideas of MM. James Coburn's IRA agent-on-the-run plays a scalliwag in the finest Blood tradition, with perhaps even a non-urban nod to Jerry Cornelius to be found. The evil, tank-driving German is a dead ringer for Prince Gaynor, plus there's a perfect Colonel Pyat character in the mix. Given Leone's greatest blind spot--women characters--there's not Una Persson, et. al., to be found, but it's still like a roll-call of the Moorcock archetypes.

    And of course it's all brought together by Rod Steiger, who looks uncannily like Mike, especially the cartoon avatar Mike used for so long here!

    If you get a chance to rent it, you'll not be sorry. I love when that kind of accidental, unintentional cross-pollination happens, where I see one artist's work and it happily brings me in the world of another's.

    Any other accidentally Moorcockian movies out there?


  • #2
    I mentioned in the House of Flying Daggers thread a japanese horror/suspense movie called "Audition". The style the director uses reminds me a lot of some of Mike's tricks (especially the stuff in the middle section of the Cornelius quartet) in terms of blending different (past/present/future) aspects of the characters and events into something that kind of gives a more complete (though not necessarily easy to digest) impression of the whole. I liked it a lot, but a warning to anyone choosing to take my recommendation: it's going to freak you out. The last 40 minutes or so are very disturbing. It also starts very slowly. For the first hour or so it's all character development. Didn't bother me, but I thought I'd add the warning for people for whom that's a turn-off.


    • #3
      Modesty Blaise for Cornelian stuff.

      Krull for fantasy stuff.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Suilebhain
        Krull for fantasy stuff.
        Krull Moocockesque? Surely not?



        • #5
          Sorry kids. I still believe that, Performance (1969), has just got to be the ultimate, 'Moorcockesque' film, ever. Only, I don't believe that the resemblance is purely coincidental!

          Jagger as Cornelius, Pallenberg as Brunner, Fox as Frank.

          'nuff said! :D


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ant
            Originally posted by Suilebhain
            Krull for fantasy stuff.
            Krull Moocockesque? Surely not?
            Well, here is my reasoning....

            First of all, nothing has come out that even vaguely gives me the feel of Mike's fantasy. His worlds are deep and dark, his heroes tormented, his supporting characters like figures from a fever dream. I have seen probably every major fantasy film created in the last fifty years and a few minor ones, as well. I suppose Sorceror or Conan the Destroyer might have captured a small element of Mike's work, but both lacked the element of the bizarre that makes his stuff stand head and shoulders above almost all else and shoulder to shoulder with the rest.

            In Krull, I saw very odd characters in an equally odd landscape. Sure, the hero was not like anything in his work, but the supporting characters were very much so. The cyclops that knew the moment of his death, for example, and the blind wizard. even the foolish mage had a little of the feel of some of his lighter characters. The Beast was very much like a Chaos Lord, and his effect like that of the spreading of Chaos.


            • #7
              Krull?? Do you mean Kull?

              Ken Boorman
              Purveyor of the Runestaff and Stormbringer Legends


              • #8
                I assume he means this film: Krull

                Personally I prefer Hawk the Slayer, but that's not what this thread is about, so I don't know why I even mentioned that. ;)
                _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."


                • #9

                  Indeed, Performance is the ultimate Cornelius film. I'm listening to "Memo from Turner" on the iPod as I write this, in fact.



                  • #10
                    Re: The most "Moorcockesque" movie ever?

                    Originally posted by RussellB
                    This is a little out of left field, but I watched a DVD last night "A Fistful of Dynamite," or my favorite title: "Duck, You Sucker." (1971)
                    Now there's a coincidence - this was on TV at the weekend! I didn't spot the Moorcock link myself, but it is a good film.

                    I think if Mike had written it, though, he'd have done the same as with 'Gloriana' and excised the rape scene at the beginning.

                    I'm with 'Performance' by the way.
                    \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell


                    • #11
                      There have been way too many posts in this thread without a "land that time forgot" reference. But since no one else has, I will also refrain.

                      For some reason, I think Memento would fit, with its unusual structuring and darkly ironic edges.
                      Time Bandits was sort of a spiritual cousin to Oswald Bastable.
                      And I just saw Ihearthuckabees. The sort of irreverent duality paradigm was fairly reminscent of Moorcockian situation.

                      I don't think any of these three are the most Moorcockian, but all three have elements, I think.


                      • #12
                        Performance has the right location too.


                        • #13
                          Beineix's The Moon in the Gutter/La Lune dans le Caniveau from the early 1980s seems to fit the bill, Depardieu's film brother is Frank and his Sister Catherine who's he in love with is raped and killed!!! Sound familiar? The first time I saw it, I let out a whoop when their names were revealed.

                          Also, David Warner is very pan-Cornelius-like in Peter Hall's Perfect Friday bank heist flim with Urusla Andress and Stanley Baker from the early 1970s. Campy, cool flick.
                          "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER