Oh dear, the letter ‘Q’. Perhaps the most troublesome for film fans, along with ‘X’ and ‘Z’. But I found enough for a post, and look forward to you reminding me of some I have missed.
Straight in with a great monster film that I already know a couple of other bloggers love too. It may not be ‘high art’, but it is certainly very enjoyable. Who says I don’t do ‘fun’?
‘Q- The Winged Serpent’ (1982) has a solid cast, and was made on a low budget by Larry Cohen, who wrote, produced, and directed it too. An Aztec god from Ancient Mexico, in the form of a winged serpent, comes to life at the top of the Chrysler Building in New York City, swooping down from this high place to eat passing pedestrians. Meanwhile, detectives are trying to cope with a rash of ritual murders, also seemingly based on ancient Aztec cults. This is a really enjoyable ‘creature feature’, and as well as the ‘terrifying’ winged serpent, you also get the excellent Michael Moriarty, alongside David Carradine, and Richard Roundtree. Switch off your brain, and enjoy the romp.
In 1979, Franc Roddam brought 1960s cool to the big screen, with the teen drama, ‘Quadrophenia.’ Looking at the famous ‘Mods and Rockers’ clashes on the south coast of England, this film follows characters on both sides of the fashion cults, and recreates the period in convincing style. A great cast of the best of young British actors at the time deliver memorable performances. Many went on to greater things, including Ray Winstone, Toyah Wilcox, and Phil Daniels. And there is Sting, as the cool as ice Mod, who is the envy of all the others. Music from The Who sets the scene perfectly. A classic.
I went to see ‘Quest For Fire’ at the cinema in 1981, and left the auditorium staggered by the invention of this unusual film. I have never seen it since, and I don’t think it has ever been shown on TV, but I have never forgotten it. It is set 80,000 years ago, with primitive man desperate to hold on to the small fire that brings life to their people. They carry it everywhere, and guard the flame at all costs. When it is accidentally allowed to go out, three of the tribe go off on a quest to find another fire. Their exploits on this dangerous mission make up the bulk of the film. It was filmed in some amazing locations, from Scotland, to Africa. Ron Perlman and Rae Dawn Chong lead the cast, and the make up that turned them into convincing people from the Paleolithic age won an Oscar.
Anyone else seen it?
Sidney Lumet has made some great films, and ‘Q&A’ (1990) is one of them. With a powerhouse performance from Nick Nolte, as corrupt cop Mike Brennan, and a solid Timothy Hutton as the District Attorney investigating one of his cases. Armand Assante delivers a suitably oily performance as the Puerto Rican gangster, Bobby Tex, and the love interest comes from Jenny Lumet, (the director’s daughter) as Nancy. This is an excellent thriller, full of twists and turns, with Nolte dominating the action throughout.
Australian actor Geoffrey Rush turns in a fascinating performance as The Marquis de Sade, in ‘Quills’ (2000). It gained him acting nominations for the ‘big three’; Oscar, Bafta, and Golden Globe. The film covers the last years of his life, and we find him locked up in an insane asylum. As it deals with the actions of the man who gave us the word ‘Sadist’, and his notorious lifestyle, you can expect issues such as sex and violence to be explored, and they are. The cast is stellar indeed, with Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, and Joaquin Phoenix, among others. A convincing period drama, dealing with a little-known subject.
To leave some for you to explore, I will go on to my last choice for ‘Q’, and today’s top pick.
Another period drama, this time in French, from director Patrice Chereau. ‘Queen Margot’ (1994) is of course known as ‘La Reine Margot’ in its home country, but for this challenge, I am using English titles where appropriate. This is one of my favourite historical films, with Isabelle Adjani as the titular Queen, in the turbulent religious wars of sixteenth century France. She plays the daughter of Catherine de Medici, given in marriage to the Protestant King of Navarre, Henri. (Daniel Auteuil). Unhappy with the marriage, Margot begins an illicit affair with a soldier, (Vincent Perez) which leads to more intrigues and murders at the French Court. The film has great pace, and includes a stunning recreation of the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, in 1572. Always authentic and historically accurate too, this is a French epic to savour.