Movie Diary 10/31/2018

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (Val Guest, 1961). Two atomic bomb tests knock the Earth off its axis, with ensuing problems. Good stuff throughout this prescient sci-fi offering, in which climate change becomes reality and water more precious than oil. Who said anything about fiction? Distinguished by its relentless banter and a certain amount of leering chauvinism, mostly set in newspaper offices, with Edward Judd as the stolid yet womanizing hero, Janet Munro as the inspiration for his non-journalistic energies, and Leo McKern as a veteran reporter. The ending, which parallels a Citizen Kane newspaper gag, is just what you want.

Legend of Witches (Malcolm Leigh, 1970). It was on Talking Pictures TV and it was Halloween, so … worth a shot, maybe? Or maybe not. Somewhere between Haxan and a Mondo film, this pseudo-documentary begins with some questionable history of witchcraft and quickly turns into a series of alleged witchy rituals interrupted by more dubious history including a visit to a witch museum in Cornwall. The rituals have lots of full-frontal nudity, all allowable here by virtue of their social and educational value, undoubtedly. Lots of hugger-mugger about Lucifer the Sun and Diana the Moon.

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