The Forgotten Films Of Youth (Part 1…. maybe)

I’ve been thinking of the films of my childhood recently, specifically pictures I haven’t seen since the age of about 13 or before. These aren’t the prominent, cool movies that most say they watched as kids but the movies I remember my younger sister watching, or my mother was a fan of, or movies we rented on VHS on a Saturday night to watch whilst eating Pot Noodle after playing a 6 hour football match. The catalyst for these thoughts was seeing Harold Lloyd’s NEVER WEAKEN again during the shooting of THE INAUDIBLE CRIMES OF JASPER PIDGEON. Harold Lloyd always used to come on TV just before bed time, and as I remember it, usually on a school night. I realised I hadn’t seen any of his stuff since then! (Aged 8 )

Harold Lloyd aka 1 sleep till school.

I was sceptical about revisiting any of these pictures as I was worried they’d dated, or for the simple reason I thought they were pretty awful at the time but have stuck in my mind through being force fed to me. I wanted the memories to remain fond, unspoiled by adult eyes as these pictures were maybe not as enduring as Lloyd’s. As usual, Matt Etheridge (my workplace Jiminy Cricket) countered with the point that these films may not have lost any their charm and that my cynicism may be unfounded. So here we go, in no particular order……

CONVOY, Sam Peckinpah (1978)

Now THIS is a decent place to start. Watching Sam Peckinpah pictures at 7?! What a great start in life. This is apparently a certificate 15 so it’s great to know my old man was upholding moral standards, even back then. AND WHAT A POSTER!! Kris Kristofferson looks positively superhuman.

The only thing I remember about this picture is lots of trucks (obviously) Rubber Duck, the hilarious CB conversations, Kristofferson and Ernest Borgnine, who was just tremendous. Ali McGraw is nowhere in my recollection despite her leading lady status. I’ve just found this clip, has anyone noticed youtube’s new “wide screen” format? Very impressive no?

I seem to remember being a man’s movie, a movie for men, made by men and starring men…. With some women thrown in for decoration. So don’t watch it unless you’re willing to get into a punch up outside some seedy bar playing country and western music ok??!

SILVER BULLET, Daniel Attias (1985)

This is a big poster, it was a big moment in my movie watching career. This is the first picture I ever saw that made me want to keep the lights on after seeing it. It was also the first time I’d seen a Steven King novel adapted for the screen and one of the few times I’d be impressed. My cousin and I got a hold of it not long after it came out, I was ten at the time. We sneakily watched the film downstairs in a VCR resembling a full sized coffin after my Aunt and Uncle had gone to bed. The feeling I had as I watched Corey Haim (remember him?) running (or wheeling) from the werewolf stays with me to this day. I can’t remember much about the plot at all but it’s a werewolf movie, there wasn’t much diversion from the core premise in this genre. I do however recall a fine performance from Gary Busey as “Uncle Red” and I do remember being scared witless by the werewolf. I also remember the reverend being fingered…. for being the werewolf that is, not for anything too improper. This was Daniel Attias’s first film and it was to be a springboard to a great career in TV. Here’s the trailer. It’s the first time I’ve seen a frame of this film since I was ten and to be honest, it looks pretty shit.

Ok, I’m gonna be honest here…. This is a picture that was forced on me constantly…. Honest.

BENJI, Joe Camp (1974)

Before you start ripping into me for even having seen this film (It was my sister’s favourite) have a look at what this IMDB punter has to say about the picture!

“In a way, the film that “Benji” most closely resembles is Buster Keaton’s magnificent silent classic, “The General.” The slow, repetitious set-up of Keaton with his train and Higgins with his rounds about town, the focused realism, the slightly down-at-the-heels outsiderness of the heroes, the hint of love about to blossom if only the hero can provide for his beloved, the insistently lengthy attention paid to the immediacy of ultra-mundane cause and effect — these are the same in both films.”

Is this guy on drugs?…….. Probably. I don’t recall it being anything other that a doggy schmaltz fest. Maybe this is a picture ready for revisiting……

BENJI was Joe Camp’s directorial debut, he would go on to make nine films in his career, seven of them would star a dog.


2 responses to “The Forgotten Films Of Youth (Part 1…. maybe)

  1. Harold Lloyd, eh? I remember that show well: they’d edited together clips from his films, added a VERY catchy theme tune (it must be almost three decades since I heard it, but I can still have a go at humming it), and a narrator. They did the same thing with Laurel and Hardy and the Keystone cops, I think, though I remember seeing quite a lot of L&H shorts on TV when I was little. I can’t imagine British TV giving prime time slots to 70 year-old slapstick comedy shows any more. It’s been years since I saw a silent movie of any kind on terrestrial TV…

  2. That theme tune stays with you for life! Revisit the joy here with some rather odd recreation work from the guy who posted it:

    It’d be nice to see some of the silent clowns on terrestrial but they seem relegated to only getting airings in a documentary capacity, Paul Merton’s series was really interesting. My daughter is 9 and loves Keaton and Chaplin so it’s not like the humour would be lost on our X Factor generation. Like you say though, I can’t see it.

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