BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA
1986, 20th Century Fox, 99 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Ultra-colorful adventure in the grand tradition of 1930s serials, starring Kurt Russell as a cocky truck driver who finds himself battling ancient Chinese warlords and hideous demons to save feisty Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City"). A great guilty pleasure, and one of Carpenter’s most purely entertaining genre films.


ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE
1969, Park Circus/MGM, 140 min, UK, Dir: Peter Hunt

When Sean Connery decided to take a hiatus from the role of Bond, producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to former male model George Lazenby to play Ian Fleming’s super-spy - and wound up with one of the most satisfying (and underrated) of the 1960s Bond films. Lovely Diana Rigg proves more than Bond’s match as the two team up to topple scar-faced Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas) in the Swiss Alps.


THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924)
1924, Warner Bros., 155 min, USA, Dir: Raoul Walsh

Raoul Walsh performs a high-wire act as director and comes out the winner in this magical melange of fantasy and fun. Working with his good friend, actor-producer Douglas Fairbanks, proved a match made in Hollywood heaven. Walsh's fine, realistic tone keeps Fairbanks in check as the actor tries again and again to go for physical hijinks and enough balletic action to take the audience's breath away. There are special effects galore, some of them straight from Walsh's imagination. Production design by the great William Cameron Menzies adds just the right zing to Fairbanks' and Walsh's vision in this tale about a clever thief named Ahmed who steals the heart of a princess and must win her love in the end. It's an Arabian Nights fantasy that Walsh infuses with gusto and bravado. The sets are sumptuous and the characters deliciously entertaining in this landmark silent film, one of the highlights of Walsh's earlier career. Also featuring the seductive Anna May Wong and a beautiful Julanne Johnston. Originally premiered at the Egyptian Theatre!


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