The Arts

As I’m now only a short distance from the Mayan complex of Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan it occasions me to forget the astonishing history of this lost civilisation and recall instead the truly hideous 1970 TV special ‘Raquel!’ which featured Ms Welch singing and posing her way through different world locations with Tom Jones and John Wayne. Here, the Mexican authorities allow a TV crew to clamber all over the national monument in order to create a medley from ‘Hair’. Be appalled.


32 comments on “Raquel!”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    No, not even to see glimpses of Chichen Itza will I watch this.

  2. Paul D Graham says:

    Blimey, that Aires is a bit Denis Wheatley!

  3. Gary Hart says:

    My Eyes! They Burn! Why? Why would you do this?

  4. Jo W says:

    Awful!! Don’t you like us anymore,Chris? 🙁

  5. Brooke says:

    Is it the water, the heat or are you just tired? When I asked for photos of your trip, this is not what I meant. Boo hiss.

  6. Martin Tolley says:

    OK, gonna lose friends here. Just saying there are some of us men of a certain age; (we who had to lie about how old we were to get into the cinema to see Jane Fonda as Barbarella), for whom Raquel Welch in a white flimsy and wearing white boots is just about the best thing we could ever imagine, and we don’t care where it happened, we are just grateful that it did.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Being honest is a good thing, Martin, & I imagine there are many like you out there. If my husband weren’t in hospital I’d be showing it to him, to his great pleasure no doubt.

  8. Ian Luck says:

    I’m with Martin here. I saw Hammer’s daft, but wonderful, ‘One Million Years BC’ (a remake of a 1941 movie starring Carole Lombard, Victor Mature, and Lon Chaney Jr.), and, even as a nine or ten year old, could not take my eyes off Raquel Welch, in that tiny chamois bikini. Not long after, ‘Fantastic Voyage’ was on TV, and again, I was smitten. She had a waxwork in Madame Tussaud’s, and on a birthday treat visit, I could have forgone the other exhibits just to look at her in her costume, which, if memory serves, was from her very odd and campy spy movie, ‘Fathom’. Yes, I was a fan. And why not? Most of the females on TV at the time, other than Diana Rigg in ‘The Avengers’ were (to me, at least), rather dull. There was squeaky voiced Aimi MacDonald, who I never ‘got’, but my father was fond of, and I recently saw why, after seeing her on the proto Monty Python ‘At Last The 1948 Show’, where she appeared wearing some very fetching (and skimpy) black lace underpinnings. Raquel Welch was very beautiful and indeed, sexy, but never in a way that people could find offence with, a trait that is sadly lacking these days.

  9. Brian Evans says:

    I was a confused lad. I went to see “One Million Years BC” solely for Ray Harryhausen’s special effects, but thought the entire point of the “The Avengers” was to see Diana Rigg.

    After seeing the original “One Million BC” with Victor Mature and Carole Lombard, Groucho Marx (allegedly) said: “That’s the first time I’ve seen a film where the leading man has bigger tits than the leading lady.”

  10. Ian Luck says:

    I’ve also seen a comment about Victor Mature, that said something to the effect of: “He has two expressions, bored, and even more bored.”

  11. Peter Dixon says:

    Pure art!.Looks like a 70’s SF book jacket.
    Speaking of skimpy costumes, does anyone remember Sean Connery in Zardoz?

  12. Brian Evans says:

    Yes, I do Peter, unfortunately. He looked more like Raquel Welch in “One million….” than Sean Connery.

    Actually, he came up with a good quote on Michael Parkinson’s show once. When asked how it felt to be playing Harrison Ford’s father in an “Indiana Jones” film he said: “For what they are paying me, I’d play his bloody mother.”

  13. Peter Tromans says:

    Diana Rigg’s only failing was that she wasn’t Honor Blackman.

  14. Ian Luck says:

    Peter – your comment amused me, as it was exactly the same as a comment made in the pub once that resulted in a pagga outside. Ah, the 1980’s!

  15. Ian Luck says:

    Peter Dixon – I’ve watched ‘Zardoz’ several times, and I’m still not sure what’s going on. I like the utterly barking ‘flying stone head’ idea, and wince every time the rifles spill from it’s mouth, after which, some might, at a push pass muster at a fairground shooting gallery, but I reckon they’d all be ruined. Sean Connery in a ponytail and nappy? Nope. What was John Boorman thinking when he made this? God only knows. What I do know, is that like ‘Avatar’, it’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back, and, like ‘Avatar’, if I had paid good money to watch it, I’d be royally pissed off.

  16. Wayne Mook says:

    Wow Taurus has the biggest prince Albert ever. A splendid piece of surreal fun. Which one is Virgo do you think?

    Zardoz is a sight to behold, SF at it’s grandest.


  17. Ian Luck says:

    I apologise, humbly, and deeply – I used the wrong Carole in ‘One Million BC’. It should have been Carole Landis, who killed herself in 1948. I was going through an old external drive and I have a copy (crappy) of the movie, and decided to have a laugh at Victor Mature. I then realised my mistake. I consoled myself with a watch of Stewart Grainger in ‘Scaramouche’. The kids these days who say that they’ll never watch an old movie, are soooooo wrong. When I was a kid, old movies were on TV all the time, and it doesn’t take much exposure, even as a kid, to realise that these old films were good fun, and you start to notice people you like to watch. Burt Lancaster. James Stewart, Stewart Grainger. John Wayne. Humphrey Bogart – many years ago, I got my younger brother to watch ‘The African Queen’, and he loved it. He’d been a bit anti old movies, but that blew him away, as did ‘The Flight Of The Phoenix’, which he thought was astonishing, and he suddenly saw why I watched so many old movies, and he thought ‘Casablanca’ was possibly one of the coolest movies he’d ever seen. (Is the right answer). Old movies ARE COOL.

  18. Helen Martin says:

    Of course you’re right, Ian. How could anyone not love The African Queen, in spite of her brain drilling voice. And Bogart was supposedly playing a Canadian! (The Canadian connection again.)

  19. Helen Martin says:

    (That actress, not the boat, of course.)

  20. Ian Luck says:

    Is Katherine Hepburn the name you’re looking for, Helen? Yes, it was an odd voice she used, and the odd thing is that that kind of voice is the one used by the late, great Carrie Fisher for the voice of Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’ (1977), especially when she is being rude to Grand Moff Tarkin (the late, and very great Peter Cushing). I did read in an interview with Carrie Fisher that she found it extremely difficult to be nasty towards Peter Cushing, as he was such a gentle and nice man. And there’s another thing – all the classic horror movie stars, sadly all gone now, were basically nice blokes – Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price (my favourite film star, period), Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing. How is that? Conversely, some of the people who make ‘nice’ movies, are anything but in real life.

  21. Brian Evans says:

    Ian, can we agree to differ? “Casablanca” is the second best film of all time……and the winner is, Will Hay, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffat in “Oh! Mr Porter” the priceless 1937 comedy classic..

    I think Katherine Hepburn was a one off. I like her, esp in “Bringing Up Baby” but she was an acquired taste-to the point that she was, for a while, considered “box-office poison.” I wonder if Elaine Stritch modelled herself on her. Ms Hepburn was once in a film (“Love Amongst the Ruins”) with, of all people, heavy smoker Joan Sims who asked her if she minded if she smoked.. The reply was: “It’s not my problem if you want to kill yourself, dear”

    The horror stars mentioned above also had a reputation for being gentlemen of the old school. I hope Admin, who has worked with a lot of actors doesn’t shatter any allusions with, words to the effect: “Ah yes-it’s funny you should say that but……!”

  22. Ian Luck says:

    I didn’t actually say it was the best movie – I like far too many movies to enter into any ‘the best’. My all time favourite movie is 1957’s ‘Night Of The Demon’. It still works on many levels.

  23. Brian Evans says:

    Yes, Ian-me too. I think “Night of the Demon” is a terrific film.

  24. Helen Martin says:

    I’ve never heard of Yes, Mr. Porter, so I’ll have to take your word for it, Brian, and I’ve never seen Night of the Demon either so I’ll have to take you gentlemen’s word for that too. Yes, it was Katherine Hepburn I meant; my mind froze temporarily. That was an interesting comparison of Miss Hepburn & Miss Fisher’s voices. I’ll have to run that early Star Wars and listen closely. I assume you are referring to voice production techniques. I’ve tried to do Hepburn but get a pain in the back of my nose so I assume I’m doing it incorrectly, besides it not sounding like her.

  25. Brian Evans says:

    I’ve never seen a “Star Wars” film! “Night of the Demon” is a 1957 film version of M.R. James’s “Casting the Runes” It differs from the book in that it has a contemporary setting and not set at the time it was written.

  26. Brian Evans says:

    PS. It was released in the USA as “Curse of the Demon”. I’m afraid I don’t know what title it was given in Canada.

  27. Ian Luck says:

    Princess Leia’s line: “I thought I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.”
    That’s the one I’m thinking of. And, looking at that line written down, I can see where Harrison Ford was coming from when he said to George Lucas: “You can type this dialogue, George, but you sure can’t say it.”
    Helen, you should try and find a copy of Night/Curse Of The Demon – it’s beautifully made and acted. There are a lot of arguments about actually seeing the Demon; Director Jacques Tourneur didn’t want it seen, but producer Hal E. Chester went over his head, and had a demon maquette made, and used in important sequences. I think Chester was wrong – but that demon model is beautifully unpleasant. In other parts of the film, it’s prescence is shown by smoking footprints, or, best of all, a rattling, coruscating ball of smoke and sparks. Once seen, never forgotten. Other treats are a genuinely creepy seance, and a jump-out-of-your-skin autodefenestration.

  28. Brian Evans says:

    Ian, I read somewhere that it has been revealed that the appearance of the demon was in the original shooting script, and Tourneur was happy to go along with it, then tried to pin the blame on Hal C Chester for its clumsiness.

    Actually, I don’t have a problem with it, and the film starts and finishes with a bang rather than a whimper. And as you say, there are so many atmospheric touches to it. Also, I think Niall MacGinnis gives a career beat as devil-worshipping Karswell.

  29. Ian Luck says:

    Brian – I must have watched it 20 or 30 times – but still jump when Brian Wilde screams straight into the camera, after coming to in a very similar manner to Conrad Veidt, playing Cesare the Somnambulist in 1919’s ‘The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari’ (another favourite movie of mine, and possibly the first to use the ‘unreliable narrator’ device). ‘Night Of The Demon’ also looks menacing, the brilliant lighting and cinematography creating a monochrome palette that unconsciously adds to the atmosphere of the movie. The very best example of lighting and camera work to add a layer of cold menace and fear to a movie, has to be Hammer’s Quatermass 2 (also 1957), where simple things like a refinery, new roads, and the sky, are rendered terrifying. And Sid James is superb in a (too short) straight role.

  30. Brian Evans says:

    I’ve never seen “Caligari” and must rectify this. Your description of the lighting is very nicely put. There is something magical in certain films that are down to the fact that they are shot in monochrome with brilliant lighting. The early Universal horrors come to mind, and then their series of Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone-esp “The Scarlet Claw.”

    The 2 “Quatermass” are good for the same reason. I think Val Guest is rather underrated, perhaps because he was Jack of all Trades and never found a niche. I’m sure you have seen “Hell is a City”-a great film.It’s a pity Hammer didn’t make the 3rd-“Quatermass and the Pit” in B and W. However, their use of colour and their sets are often spectacular as well. They are very eye-catching and belie their shoe-string budgets. One of my favourites is “The Devil Rides Out”-indeed one of my faves period. It’s so visual and I think it works so well as Chris Lee plays-I think as a one off-the goodie. Another fave of mine is Lee in “City of the Dead” AKA in the States as “Horror Hotel” B & W in 1960. When they get away from the hotel the lighting is a bit overdone, but I like it as it has, to me, the best big finish to any horror film

    And as for your fave, Vincent Price, what about “Witchfinder General?” I could go on all night about its merits. My 2nd fave Price film has to be “Dragonwick”

    Oh, dear, we do seem to have wandered off topic. So, back to Raquel Welch……

  31. Ian Luck says:

    Witchfinder General – had Director Michael Reeves had his way, Hopkins would have been played by Donald Pleasence – definitely a superb actor, but I find it hard to see him as Hopkins (his best horror film appearance, in my opinion, is in the ‘medal’ segment of Amicus’ ‘From Beyond The Grave’). Reeves always considered himself ‘saddled’ with Price, whom he felt would give the movie a lightness of touch it did not require. Price, however, plays the role absolutely straight, and as such, is simply terrifying – a sociopath who enjoys his work too much. He tones his voice down, and rarely raises it, which adds menace (although very few, if any, people from Manningtree have ever sounded like him). The movie was shot near where I live, and I know all the locations very well. Interestingly, Hopkins is still seen as a bogeyman in parts of Suffolk, where people have big families, long memories, and can trace their ancestors back many generations – I can well imagine some family trees round these parts having gaps. Gaps due to the work of Matthew Hopkins. Saying that, I’d have a hard time picking my favourite Vincent Price movie – I think the first time I ever saw him in a film was probably the cheap as chips A.I.P. movie ‘The Master Of The World’ (which I still love, even now), on TV when I was a kid. About the same time, and people never believe me, he had a cookery show, ‘Cooking Price Wise’ on TV. I love all the daft campy 60’s movies he made – ‘Doctor Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine’ for example, and, of course, the Poe movies (with added Lovecraft) he made for Roger Corman. What I love about his movies is the sense of utter glee he gives a lot of his roles, three especially, and they’re the three I’d recommend to anyone who had never seen Vincent Price, other than in the beautiful ‘Edward Scissorhands’ (where his frailty is so apparent, and always makes me feel sad), have to be ‘The Abominable Doctor Phibes’ (1970) ‘Doctor Phibes Rises Again’ (1972), and ‘Theatre Of Blood’ (1973). All full of proper, nasty deaths, and yet, very, very funny. Vincent Price at the top of his game, and enjoying himself immensely, as is everybody else. Peter Cushing turns up in the second ‘Phibes’ movie in a cameo role – I read somewhere that he was at the studio, just having finished something, when he was seen, and asked if he’d like to shoot a couple of small scenes. “In what?” he asked, and when told it was the new Vincent Price movie, he agreed at once (Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price were good friends for a great many years). ‘Theatre Of Blood’ also starred his wife, Coral Browne, whose character is killed extremely unpleasantly by Price’s character, Edward Lionheart, in a disguise which caused Browne to ‘corpse’ (giggle uncontrollably) when they came to shoot the scene. Vincent Price was a man of many parts, though – Cordon Bleu chef, Theatre historian, Wine expert, to name a few. But I like the fact that he could bring you out in goosebumps just with a few choice words said in that silky voice.

  32. Brian Evans says:

    Actually, I can see Donald Pleasence as Hopkins. He had those piercing eyes and stillness, though he may have been a little short in stature. They were both too old though, as Hopkins was only 29 when he died. Radio 4 did a play about 5 years ago about the filming of “Witchfinder General”. It wasn’t the big Hollywood star play the “Great I Am” on a film-it was rather the other way round-a young inexperienced director “Carrying On.” However, V Price, after watching the first rushes was very pleasantly surprised and agreed Reeves was right. He is brilliant. And it’s not so much a violent film, but a film about violence, and as to how power corrupts, and how “civilised behaviour” is only skin deep. I have two books about Hopkins-“Witchfinders, A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy” by Malcolm Gaskill; and “Witchfinder General, The Biography of Matthew Hopkins” by Craig Cabell. I have read the former and can highly recommend it.

    Manningtree (the smallest town in England ) is rather a nice place, though oddly the building fronts face away from the estuary rather than face it. Mistley is also pleasant. I have visited them both as a result of the film and story.

    Some years ago I saw a very good stage version of “Theatre of Blood” with Jim Broadbent playing the lead. It was great fun, and so was he. It was done by the National Theatre.

    I remember the cookery show!

Comments are closed.