Did I dream this movie, or...?
August 3, 2007 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Did I dream this movie, or...? Surreal neo-noir probably from the '70s, featuring scary Batman-style villains and brutal murder -- anybody know it?

This movie has haunted me for twenty-plus years, provided it really exists at all. I blogged about it last year -- to an audience comprised almost entirely of sf/fantasy/horror geeks -- and not one of them could place it. And they've had eight months to do it. I don't think it's gonna happen. I begin to lose hope. Anyway, of the film in question I wrote the following, way back in December '06 (take a deep breath...this is long):

First of all, I figure it was made in the '70s; it was on TV, and this was probably '82 or '83. It may have been in black and white (but all my memories of movies I saw then are in black and white, because we didn't have a color set). The movie is kind of a noir pastiche thing, I'm guessing set in the '30s. The main guy is this cop or PI or something. It's all very hardboiled, and while it's over the top, it isn't (or anyway, it didn't seem to be) campy. Far from it. Somehow this ridiculous thing was played straight, and at least to a ten-year-old, it worked. Basically, this guy has got enemies -- like Batman enemies. There's a montage that shows you the enemies (all gangster types) and one of them is, I kid you not, a dude with a long and pointy schnozz that he makes more pointy by sticking it in a pencil sharpener and turning the crank. I don't remember the other bad guys, but I'm sure they were all similarly fucked up. In any event, dude faces off against these guys. And they tommygun him. Like, right in the street. Graphically. Guy falls down dead. Super fucked up guys walk away laughing. Night falls, guy continues to be dead. Lying in a pool of cold blood. Then it rains. Something happens -- I don't remember what exactly, but he's found by good guys, who declare him dead. REAL dead. I think...I'm not sure, and I may be mixing this up with one of the bad guys' bizarre ass backstories...that they have to give him a full blood transfusion, and maybe do plastic surgery to his face? I dunno. That's where it starts to get kinda murky, and about where I had to leave -- NEVER TO SEE THE FILM AGAIN!

Sooooooooo...anybody?
posted by kittens for breakfast to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you certain this was an American movie? Foreign? Was this on TV or cable? Could it have been a tv show? Or a comic book?

What year did you see it? We dont know when you were 10 years old.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2007


Like I said above, I saw it in probably '82 or '83. It was definitely a movie (it was shown as part of a Saturday Matinee type deal on a local UHF station), though it could have been a repackaged pilot for some obscure TV show or another. I wouldn't be surprised to learn it was based on a comic, but it's not one I'm familiar with. Could have been a dubbed foreign film, I suppose.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:29 PM on August 3, 2007


OP said '82 or '83 - I was all ready to say Dick Tracey in the first couple of sentences. But seemingly not.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:33 PM on August 3, 2007


The nose in the pencil sharpener sounds vaguely familiar, so maybe you're not the ONLY one who saw it...

It also sounds vaguely Dick Tracy-ish. There was an old B&W movie serial, and the people who made the 60's Batman and Green Hornet shows also made a Dick Tracy pilot. Maybe you saw that?
posted by bartleby at 12:35 PM on August 3, 2007


Mayyyyy-be...it does sound like Dick Tracy, but nothing on IMDB sounds very much like what I remember seeing. The pilot was only half an hour, for one thing, so that couldn't have been it...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2007


I'll put in suggestion for some sort of Dick Tracy serial patched together into a full length showing.
posted by malaprohibita at 12:46 PM on August 3, 2007


This probably wasn't it, but: 99 and 44/100% Dead?
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:02 PM on August 3, 2007


Damn...actually, I think that almost has to be it...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2007




Nobody in the Frankenheimer movie pencil sharpens their nose and it isn't a supervillain movie.
posted by A189Nut at 1:33 PM on August 3, 2007


...Hurm.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2007


However... if he sharpened his claw not his nose...

Plot description from Amazon

Undoubtedly one of the director's strangest projects, this film has garnered something of a cult following over the years. In a dystopian future where the laws of reality have been suspended, Harry Crown (Richard Harris) is a hit man who's been hired by aged Mafia don Uncle Frank (Edmond O'Brien) to eliminate Big Eddie (Bradford Dillman), a rival gangster who has been moving in on his turf. Big Eddie counters with his own enforcer, Marvin "Claw" Zuckerman (Chuck Connors). Perhaps an inspiration for INSPECTOR GADGET, the Claw bears a metal stump in place of one of his arms that can be fitted with a wide variety of weapons such as knives and whips as well as handy kitchen appliances. As the rival killers attempt to destroy each other, they engage in high-speed chases throughout an unnamed city of which they seem to be the only inhabitants. Often hilarious, this wild gangster parody veers from comedy to graphic violence, a combination that Quentin Tarantino and his progeny would harness with even greater effect two decades later.
posted by A189Nut at 1:38 PM on August 3, 2007


And here is a pic of The Claw
posted by A189Nut at 1:42 PM on August 3, 2007


And a poster with images from the movie
posted by A189Nut at 1:45 PM on August 3, 2007


The lack of nose-sharpening is what's throwing me, because it's really hard for me to imagine I just misremembered that. But everything else about this makes it sound right, with the weird, cartoonish (but deadpan) tone and the release date being the major sticking points. (Too bad it's not in print -- I'm not sure sinking twenty-plus bucks into an ancient VHS copy would pay off.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:48 PM on August 3, 2007


The tone of the movie definitely fits in with what you're talking about, although I've only seen bits and pieces of it. It's not a supervillain movie, but it does feel like some sort of insane, straight-faced variation on Dick Tracy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:48 PM on August 3, 2007


Hmmmmm...well, damn, looking at that kinda throws me yet again, since that looks WAY more '60s/'70s mod than I remember. Gahhhhh. Okay, maybe that's not it after all.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:50 PM on August 3, 2007


Did it have a scene of someone floating underwater with feet in concrete blocks, execution style? That's the most memorable bit of 99 and 44/100 Dead that I recall.
posted by A189Nut at 1:54 PM on August 3, 2007


Yes, I've seen this too, a long long time ago (but some time after 1985), and I would have seen it in the UK, if that helps at all. It's the rain after the shooting, and the nose sharpening that are the keys for me, so I think any film without both of those elements is not it.
posted by crabintheocean at 2:15 PM on August 3, 2007


Yes, I've seen this too, a long long time ago (but some time after 1985), and I would have seen it in the UK, if that helps at all. It's the rain after the shooting, and the nose sharpening that are the keys for me, so I think any film without both of those elements is not it.

OH THANK GOD. Because I really was beginning to think I'd imagined that stuff. I saw it in the US, so...yeah, that may not help too much.

And I don't remember offhand whether there was an underwater shot of someone with concrete overshoes. But I also know I didn't see the whole film, so...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:48 AM on August 4, 2007


I'm going to call my brother, who has an incredible memory for stuff like this, I'll keep you posted.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:08 PM on August 4, 2007


Um...no luck, huh?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:15 PM on August 7, 2007


Haven't been able to speak to my brother (time difference + new girlfriend!), but I did ask my dad, who didn't remember it at all. Sorry, I will post back if I can find anything out.
posted by crabintheocean at 4:21 PM on August 8, 2007


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