A-Z Film Challenge: Day Seventeen

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.

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74 thoughts on “A-Z Film Challenge: Day Seventeen

  1. Another solid list. Q&A is good and Nolte is real good. Quad is a real good flick. That gritty, realistic style i like. Quest is also a good one. Have to check out Quills and Queen Margot on your recommendation. The Winged Serpent? I’ll have to give that some thought. Can’t add to the list Pete. You’re giving me some good leads. (I see you’re doing the same thing with songs. I’ll take a look.)

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    1. Thanks, CB. Queen Margot is superior to Quills, if you like historical dramas with a ‘sweep’. Q The Winged Serpent is a fun film, an homage to monster B films. As for the music, it’s similar in that I cannot possibly feature everyone I like, so just offer some snapshots from many years of listening.
      (There is a nice list of all the films I featured, with the comment recommendations too. Including yours.It was compiled by Ozflicks)
      Here’s a link.
      https://islandeditions.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/the-beetleypete-1000.pdf
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will check out the list. Thanks I do enjoy your quick takes on the films so I will keep reading. Kinda what I’ve been looking for for a while. New leads and reminders on good flicks. I get it on the music thing. take care until ‘R’. CB

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  2. Quadrophenia, that’s it, ok sorry The Queen, enjoyed both, looking forward to finding and watching a few more Q’s mentioned here 🙂 I haven’t seen “Quills,” but I’ve read two of the Marquis de Sade’s books in the original French language.

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  3. I didn’t know they made any films beginning with the letter Q, I can’t say I know any so thanks for the trips plus a few more to add to my to watch list from the other letters post too!

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    1. I enjoyed ‘Quiz Show’ more that I expected to. It had real tension.
      Helen Mirren was superb as Elizabeth ll, but she generally is.
      Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions, Kim.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I haven’t seen “Quills,” but I’ve read two of the Marquis de Sade’s books in the original French language. While the subject matter is sometimes hard to digest, the text itself is very well written. Had the Marquis de Sade put his writing talents to work in another genre, he would probably be hailed today as one of France’s greatest novelists.

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  4. Quest For Fire was a shocker. I was impressed — we went from Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. to this? That’s quite a leap! I think Q&A is still underrated. I found it interesting, compelling. Q- The Winged Serpent is bonkers! I love Isabelle Adjani and Queen Margot contains one of her best performances! 🙂

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  5. Pete, I have a few “Q” films in my collection: “Queen Christina” (1933), starring Greta Garbo, “Quigley Down Under” (1990), starring Tom Selleck and Alan Rickman, “Queen Margot” (1994), which also stars Jean-Hugues Anglade (you’ll recall that Anglade also stars in “Nikita”), and “The Quick and the Dead” (1995), an unusual western starring Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinise, and—since I have total recall of the cast—Sharon Stone.

    I don’t have “Quest for Fire” (1981) on DVD, but I saw it at the movie theater when it first came out, and watched it again later on TV and VHS. It is a highly enjoyable film, and notable not only for its cast (including the dusty nude, Rae Dawn Chong), but also for its humor and non-CGI mammoths.

    The obvious choice for number one pick should, in fact, be “Queen Margot.” It’s been at most two years since I’ve read “La Reine Margot,” the lengthy source novel by Alexandre Dumas, in the original French language. I also have the film’s screenplay in large book format. Immediately after reading the book, I watched the film, and, to be honest, I was very disappointed. Not because it’s a bad film—far from it!—but because it just couldn’t hope to do justice to the novel, which is very complex and far more developed in terms of plot. The movie seemed like a watered-down series of cherry-picked snippets. Dumas’ book is a great read. I think its story could only be well served by multiple films (à la “The Hobbit”) or perhaps a cable TV mini-series.

    So, based on my disappointment with “Queen Margot”—and also the fact that it is for me an “R” film—I’m going to choose a movie that I’ve enjoyed watching numerous times. I don’t care that it’s been deemed slightly rotten by film critics. My choice: “THE QUICK AND THE DEAD.”

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    1. Thanks as always for your thoughts and suggestions, David. I have seen ‘The Quick and The Dead’, and Sharon Stone does well in that one. But it is rather silly. 🙂
      I appreciate that ‘Queen Margot’ is not a patch on the novel, but it is still a magnificent film, especially for anyone unaware of the scope of the book. I agree that it should really be an ‘R’ film, but I decided to use English Language for titles where it existed, to avoid confusion.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. I agree that the western I picked is “rather silly” (which is why I referred to it as “unusual”), but it has a great cast, and it’s fun to watch. I suppose one could call it a western parody. I’m sure that my familiarity with Alexandre Dumas’ book spoiled my subsequent viewing of “La Reine Margot.” As for English language titles, I went the same route as you with “Like Water for Chocolate,” which, technically, is a “C” film (“Como agua para chocolate”). I actually understand a good percentage of the Spanish in that film, but rely upon the subtitles for full comprehension. For that reason, I usually refer to the film’s English language title.

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    1. I know that feeling, Sarah. I have over 50 DVD films still in their wrappers. Some are from birthdays three years or more ago! ‘Q&A’ is a good ‘cop’ film, with a great turn from Nolte.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This one was real tricky, Pete. I kept hoping someone made a movie about ‘Q’uadrotriticale and the Tribbles – since it is usually everyone’s favorite Star Trek episode, but NO!! So I’ve been sitting here in the quiet morning and finally came up with The Quiet American with Michael Caine. I never did see it though being as it was about Vietnam, but I remember it being advertised.

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  7. Queen Margot was my choice as well – in fact it was the only Q I could think of. It’s a great film full of intrigues and religious massacres.
    But now I remember I have also seen and enjoyed Quadrophrenia (having been a Who fan) and Quest for Fire.
    Nice choices as usual!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. To be honest even though Rush is an amazing actor, and no objections to vivid perversion and degradation of course, but “Quills” seemed interminable. Kate Winslet is always wonderful, though. I did watch “Quest” and liked it, especially the scene with the woolly mammoths proving helpful.

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  9. None that come evidently to mind and you haven’t covered yet (I will add them on another day if I remember any more). I loved Quills, although it is scary to think of the psychiatric practices at the time (I had read about them, but seeing them, even if it is in a movie was scary. I recently read a book that goes through some of those and they are terrifying). Geoffrey Rush is always great although I must say I thought Michael Caine did a really good job (sometimes I think that some of these actors really enjoy being given the baddy part after years of always being the hero).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Quest for fire” good one…..and yep it is difficult to think of “Q” movies…….only ones I have are “Quicksand” with Mickey Rooney and “Queen of the Amazons” one of those 50’s movies with bikini clad beauties…..chuq

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