Author Topic: Trashy European TV  (Read 1202 times)

Trashy European TV
« on: September 09, 2018, 10:30:03 AM »
Anyone else with a passing interest in cross-continental Euro-telly?

Especially the dramas. Not the modern classy stuff, your Romanzo Criminale and Inspector Montalbano. And the Nordic stuff.

But the late 80s/90s stuff common on satellite. Proper Chanel 9 stuff.
One of the real interesting things about Italian telly is that it's basically the graveyard of the commercial Italian film industry of the 50s/60s/70s/80s. So, the likes of Lamberto Bava, Antonio Margheriti, Sergio Sollima, Enzo Castellari, Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Martino, Duccio Tessari, Umberto Lenzi and Lucio Fulci all ended up doing miniseries for RAI and/or Mediaset/Silvio Berlusconi. Even Leone produced the odd miniseries.
Damiano Damiani of Amityville II and A Bullet for the General did the Octopus, though one of the classier efforts, still ended up having a storyline set in NewYork involving Martin Balsam, one of the various Hollywood faces whose film work in Italy segued into doing telly there.
Actors have had whole secret careers doing Italian telly that never reaches Anglophone shores. F. Murray Abraham since the 80s has been a regular face on Italian telly, starting out with RAI on the US coproduction Marco Polo (with Leonard Nimoy as a Muslim, Denholm Elliott, John Gielgud, John Houseman, Burt Lancaster, David Warner, Mario Adorf, Patrick Mower as a monk). Marco Polo was shown here on ITV (and RAI also coproduced the Name of the Rose, which costars F), but a lot of Abraham's Euro-telly work hasn't. Even the Betrothed, which he did with Burt Lancaster doesn't seem to have crossed the shores.

A lot of RAI stuff has, but usually coproductions like Jesus of Nazareth, Scarlett (Berlusconi/Hallmark/Sky's sequel to Gone with the Wind with Tim Dalton and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and the cast of the Commitments/the Snapper), RAI/CBS/ITC/ITV The Scarlet and the Black, with Gregory Peck as a cross-dressing, Nazi-fighting Irish priest and Gielgud as the Pope, with Julian Holloway his battle butler. Christopher Plummer plays the Nazi, while Ken Colley, Michael Byrne and TP McKenna as Himmler support him. And the notorious BBC coproduction The Borgias in 1981.
C4 showed the Octopus and trashy Franco-Italian soap Chateauvallon. ITV showed in mornings Treasure Island in Outer Space, an outrageous kiddyspace opera directed by Margheriti with a cyborg Long John Silver played by Anthony Quinn, and Ernest Borgnine in a hovercraft.

Argento's done work for RAI, but then so did the likes of Rossellini.
Some of this got VHS releases


From my blog - allnewbritishrubbish.blogspot.com
 A few series not even Sky chose to show

Vendetta - Secrets Of A Mafia Bride (1991) - Berlusconi/Mediaset Mafia saga with Eric Roberts, Burt Young, Nick Mancuso, Victor Argo, Antonio Sabato, Billy Barty and Eli Wallach. Begins with a young girl's communion (I think, she's in the white dress - but she looks more suited to making her confirmation - she's closer to thirteen than eight) ruined when her father is killed by a bunch of gangsters firing machine guns from a yellow cab. One of these thugs is Eric Roberts, with a ponytail (it's supposed to be 1970, but there's no period detail).  He then goes to visit a boxing trainer played by Burt Young (typecasting ahoy). Billy Barty plays a compere. Some black chanteuse sings the theme to Mondo Cane,  then there's a a massacre.    Time passes, and little Nancy is now Sports Illustrated model Carol Alt, Eric has a mullet, and it becomes somewhere between the Godfather Part III (which is really just an Italian miniseries) and a romance novel. Alt isn't a good actress. She's attractive, a bit gawky, but that adds to her charm, but she is kind of awkward. She's quite tall and lanky, and she's supposed to be this ethereal tragic victim, but she's not exactly graceful. There's a bit where she dresses up in a ginger wig, and there's something of the Barbara Knox about her (which isn't a bad thing, just distracting). And then there's a ridiculous striptease assassination with a dog. There's a wedding party with a Busby Berkeley dance sequence, Egyptian servants serving a giant pot of pasta and then after the wedding, Nancy becomes a nun and sees her daughter.  A sequel followed in 1993. Wallach, Young and Alt returning, with shooting in Canada, Michael Ontkean joining, and Lisa Jakub from Mrs. Doubtfire as the daughter. It's unmemorable, but clearly the convent use hair dye. Alt's now ginger. Not the only Mafia marriage miniseries that Eric did. He also did the all-US The Last Mafia Marriage in 1993, even though it does costar beloved-in-Italy Cuban-American expat Tomas Milian, star of dozens of Eurocrime joints. Vendetta had a UK VHS release, in a truncated form. Riz Ortolani does the theme, and not only does he reuse his theme from Mondo Cane, but the main theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5Sx0P2MLuA owes something to his theme for the Charles Bronson film the Valachi Papers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN7C4pphm4w which he reused one after the Valachi Papers in 1973 Godfather plagiarisation Il Consigliore with Balsam and Milian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD9vMLGj_EQ

The Maharaja's Daughter (1994) - Bruce Boxleitner falls in love in Canada with Indian doctor Hunter Tylo (who is not Indian, well she's not from India, but she is apparently has Cherokee blood),  massive hair and a bindi transforming her into a secretive maharani with an American accent.  Burt Young plays a thankfully phony Indian mystic (considering other Italian actors play Indians, I wasn't so sure).  A strange cross between imperialist adventure and erotic thriller.

The Seventh Scroll (1999) Silvio Berlusconi-produced Wilbur Smith adaptation. Begins with Art Malik narrating  about his Pharaoh Edmund Purdom (typecast 45 years on). The Ancient Egyptian bits are very tacky.  Written by director Kevin Connor, Alan "Bullshot" Shearman, and Italian vet Sergio Donati.  There's a backwards baseball capped idiot archaeologist.  Villainous Roy Scheider and his dubbed blonde lady sidekick  joke about videogames, while a giant CGI snake eats a peasant.  Don Warrington is a mad Colonel, basically Philip if he did return to become an African chief (even though the Rising Damp film reveals otherwise). Eventually, something about Art Malik being an immortal wizard and lots of bad CGI allegedly done in Dublin by one Lightstream Ltd. Also features an Egyptian orphan named Hapi, played by Jeffrey Licon - star of Nickelodeon Latino dramedy The Brothers Garcia. A special kind of terrible. Never shown in US or UK.

Beyond Justice (1992) - Rutger Hauer in a Trimark cutdown of a Mediaset Arab fantasy where he is hired by Carol Alt to rescue her son who has been kidnapped by sheik grandad Omar Sharif. Full of men in fezzes, casual racism and Elliott Gould with a moustache, plus Kabir Bedi, and a Morricone soundtrack. Written by Luigi Montefiori, alias video nasty hard man George Eastman.  An American private school full of supposedly WASPy boys who look like they grew up in a pizza parlour in Naples sets the scene. Operatic wailing soundtracks every scene, regardless of tone. It's a mess going from Arab spectacle to arguing with Elliott Gould in an Italian designer's idea of an American office - a huge Bogie poster over a wall. A tonal mess.



Deserto di Fuoco (1997) - Mediaset/Titanus coproduction with Anthony "yes, my dad's Alain" Delon as an orphan found in the middle of a helicopter crash (cameo from Franco Nero as the dad), and found by sheik  Giuliano Gemma.  Peopled with other ageing Euro-stars - Claudia Cardinale, Vittorio Gassman, Jean Sorel,, Fabio Testi, Virna Lisi, and helmed by good old Enzo G. Castellari, it's preposterous - it's seemingly pre-20th century Arab world located in the present day, in a hi-tech 90s of satellite TV and sports cars. Makes no sense, and is wearing - endless cliched melodrama told so earnestly - but fascinating. The Italians seem obsessed with exotic desert landscape, Arabs and Indians - in portrayals that are romanticised and could be considered by some as dated. And yes, they are, which makes these productions even more astonishing.

Mysteries of the Dark Jungle (1991) - Like the RAI-ITC series Sandokan (and its BRB animated Dogtanian/WillyFog-esque spinoff) and Secret of the Sahara (which ITV and RTE showed - starring Michael York, Bendhi Kingsley, David Soul, Andie McDowell in an ancient astronauts/lost city pulpstravaganza), adapted from stories by Emilio Salgari. Featuring Gabrielle Anwar as the daughter of British military bod Stacy Keach (doing a credible RP), mechanical toys, an Indian fantasyland full of spiked helmeted soldiers, brought to you by RAI-TF1-TVE-ORF-ZDF, with John Rhys-Davies, Virna Lisi, Anthony Calf, Kabir Bedi, regular Bollywood WASP/muscular Leonard Rossiter-alike Bob Christo playing an albino thuggee, Bollywood actor Mac Mohan and Derrick "Gupte/Father Fernandez" Branche. The hero is Eldorado/Playdays star Amerjit Deu. There is adventure, but much of it is painfully slow traveloguery. Frank Middlemass and John Sharp turn up, uncredited. Directed by TV movie great/Amicus vet Kevin Connor, of the Doug McClure oeuvre.


Mia liebe meines lebens (1998) - Irish-German-Italian soaper with some bird of Fair City as an Irish supermodel, Claudia Cardinale as her mammy (less convincingly Irish than she was in Once Upon A Time in The West),  Kevin "Herman the violent butler in Doctor Who and the City of Death" Flood as Daddy (named Torton),  and John Savage. Lots of lilting Oirish music.


And shown on BBC...

Mussolini - The  Untold Story (1985)- Not Italian, but an American-Yugoslavian coproduction with a heavily British cast, but somehow feels more Italian than the rival RAI-HBO venture the same year, Mussolini and I, starring Bob Hoskins, Susan Sarandon and Anthony Hopkins, which is rather respectful, but obviously it's an Italian subject, so I suppose it has to be. Mussolini - The Untold Story has the likes of Philip Madoc, Milton Johns and Eileen Way, David Suchet with an American  accent as an Italian, George C. Scott as Il Duce, Raul Julia as the son in law, and a teenage Robert Downey Junior riding a toy biplane. It also has Michael Aldridge playing Matteoti, despite being twenty five years too old, just before he became Holmfirth's resident inventor genius Seymour Utterthwaite, also doing some kind of Mid-Atlantic twang, and a theme that sounds vaguely like the soundtrack to Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan. Gabriel Byrne struggles to convince as Italian, and seems to be doing a Robert De Niro impression, and he is way too old for the role of the future Cinecitta/Hal Roach associate.  Downey marries Gina "Groovy Gang" Bellman, but then crashes and dies. His funeral consists of colourised stock footage. Milton Johns' German Ambassador steals the scene from Secret Army's Gunnar Moller (as Hitler). Scott spends his days merrily bonking Virginia Madsen, as she brushes his bald pate. Lee Grant does angry wife. Vernon Dobtcheff of course turns up as the secretary of state,  Kenneth Colley is the King, Madoc as Police Chief Bocchini (again doing a weird Italian-American-Welsh accent, like he's playing a gangster in a panto). Endlessly padded with newsreels and dreadful Mussolini family singalongs. Wolf Kahler appears dressed exactly as he is in Raiders.




Anyone ever had encounters with similar.

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 01:23:53 AM »
I'll watch Danish shows to hear them talk. I think subtitles cover some for bad scripts and acting because I tend to like everything I watch that has subs.

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2018, 09:42:14 PM »
Recently watched another Italian Wilbur Smith adap, with Jason Connery, period drama, samey, had Ernest Borgnine seemingly plucked from nowhere, dressed in the cap he always seemed to wear, from Mchale's Navy to his Simpsons appearance.

Just saw the Bunker on Movies4men. Which is full of excellent British thesps supporting Anthony Hopkins as Adolf, with Michael Sheard as Himmler,  half the cast of Secret Army, Pam St. Clement as a sinister cook a few years before doing the same in the Tripods... Michael Kitchen I can't take seriously, ever since Pern, though.

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2018, 08:03:10 AM »
I used to sit through various German crime shows ("Krimis").

One of them was "Derrick" featuring a very old and now dead actor as the main cop. Eddie Izzard overdubbed one in the 90's which made me chuckle.

The other was "Tatort", which I rebelliously called "Twatort". This was producted jointly by Austria, Switzerland and Germany on a rotating basis. The Swiss press takes great pleasure in giving the Swiss editions a terrible review, they routinely get the lowest ratings of all Tatorts. Scooby-doo levels of sophistication :



There are / were the entertainment shows on Swiss TV too - like "Benissimo" - a Saturday night extravaganza climaxing in the drawing of the lottery numbers using a complicated machine with massive balls.



The presenter was always a bit hands-on.

Then we come to the Musikantenstadls :



They always mime. The camera always starts behind the flowers then rises up to show the act. The bassist always does a cheeky wink.

If you want old people sitting at long tables clapping mindlessly, you've got it. If you want old people watching old people mime - you've got it. If you want old people watching old people touching young people, you've got it !

Finally, on Swiss TV we have the inexplicably popular Donnschtig Jass - or "Jass on a Thursday" - which is a live card game.



Oh crap - Herr Brühlmann's two-of-bells isn't straight enough ! Off to the workhouse for him.






Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2018, 08:06:57 AM »
I used to sit through various German crime shows ("Krimis").

One of them was "Derrick" featuring a very old and now dead actor as the main cop. Eddie Izzard overdubbed one in the 90's which made me chuckle.

The other was "Tatort", which I rebelliously called "Twatort". This was producted jointly by Austria, Switzerland and Germany on a rotating basis. The Swiss press takes great pleasure in giving the Swiss editions a terrible review, they routinely get the lowest ratings of all Tatorts. Scooby-doo levels of sophistication :



There are / were the entertainment shows on Swiss TV too - like "Benissimo" - a Saturday night extravaganza climaxing in the drawing of the lottery numbers using a complicated machine with massive balls.



The presenter was always a bit hands-on.

Then we come to the Musikantenstadls :



They always mime. The camera always starts behind the flowers then rises up to show the act. The bassist always does a cheeky wink.

If you want old people sitting at long tables clapping mindlessly, you've got it. If you want old people watching old people mime - you've got it. If you want old people watching old people touching young people, you've got it !

Finally, on Swiss TV we have the inexplicably popular Donnschtig Jass - or "Jass on a Thursday" - which is a live card game.



Oh crap - Herr Brühlmann's two-of-bells isn't straight enough ! Off to the workhouse for him.

Sam Fuller directed a Tatort in the 70s - Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street. Of course, the episodes featuring Schimanski were shown in the Derrick slot on ITV.

Derrick star Horst Tappert, who also did various Edgar Wallace films as beleaguered Scotland Yard men posthumously became the subject of essentially Germany's Yewtree. Turned out he wasn't in the Wehrmacht, as he claimed, but was in the SS.

mothman

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2018, 09:48:09 AM »


Cheer you up, cheer you up, cheer you up with the Pin Up Club...

hamfist

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2018, 12:09:16 AM »
Sam Fuller directed a Tatort in the 70s - Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street. Of course, the episodes featuring Schimanski were shown in the Derrick slot on ITV.

Derrick star Horst Tappert, who also did various Edgar Wallace films as beleaguered Scotland Yard men posthumously became the subject of essentially Germany's Yewtree. Turned out he wasn't in the Wehrmacht, as he claimed, but was in the SS.

omg Derrick was on ITV ??? Jesus !

I never realised, I watched it on German TV back in Switzerland. Christ. Was it dubbed ?

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2018, 12:14:42 AM »
The other was "Tatort", which I rebelliously called "Twatort". This was produced jointly by Austria, Switzerland and Germany on a rotating basis.

I think CSI took the idea of rotating cities from Tatort, didn't they?

The best thing about Tatort is that they still use the original opening credits for each episode:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0pV2faxne4

The second best thing about Tartot is that Udo Wachtveitl, one of the main Munich detectives, came to my wedding.

St_Eddie

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2018, 01:03:25 AM »

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2018, 10:12:50 PM »
Recently found a trade poster in Screen International - Orion selling European miniseries, the French Jodie Foster HBO vehicle The Blood of Others, RAI-HBO-FR2's Louisiana starring Margot Kidder and Secret of the Black Dragon with Julian Glover and Tommi Ohrner from Tim Tyler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfVDO-MoLRQ What's weird is that HBO must have turned down The Secret of the Black Dragon, as it was syndicated. But it's a medieval semi-fantasy epic starring Julian Glover. Hmm, must have realised they made a mistake.
Paramount distributing Black Forest Clinic, the German medical soap.

gilbertharding

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2018, 10:38:53 PM »
Is this the thread where I can mention the French version of Strictly Come Dancing?

I don't speak very much French at all, so I had to guess what was going on from my knowledge of the British version. However, I got a sense that it was a much, MUCH more serious undertaking than anything which we here would find entertaining, and so it was completely impossible to know which of each couple was the celebrity.

As a non-speaker I also found the apparently endless show where several people sit behind a desk in a studio which looks like the set of Noel's House Party and watch people (comedians?) perform monologues before earnestly discussing them at considerable length. And obviously because it's France you're waiting for tits but there never are tits.

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2018, 12:12:14 AM »
And obviously because it's France you're waiting for tits but there never are tits.

Ironically enough, Pamela Anderson was a contestant in the latest series. She seems to be some kind of globe-trotting mediocre ballroom dancer, having appeared on the US, Israeli, Argentinian and Mexican versions of the show.

seepage

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2018, 10:17:24 AM »
got addicted to 'Guess My Age' on holiday in Italy. Jolly good fun. Hopefully there'll be a UK version some time.

gilbertharding

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Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2018, 12:15:56 PM »
'Guess My Age'?

I've not seen it on Italian tv, but Radio 1 recently had a game where the DJ (Greg James?) and his sidekick asked a caller some questions about culture and tried to guess their age from the answers. I presume it's something like this, rather than just looking at a person and shouting numbers...

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2018, 05:02:40 PM »
Is this the thread where I can mention the French version of Strictly Come Dancing?

I don't speak very much French at all, so I had to guess what was going on from my knowledge of the British version. However, I got a sense that it was a much, MUCH more serious undertaking than anything which we here would find entertaining, and so it was completely impossible to know which of each couple was the celebrity.

As a non-speaker I also found the apparently endless show where several people sit behind a desk in a studio which looks like the set of Noel's House Party and watch people (comedians?) perform monologues before earnestly discussing them at considerable length. And obviously because it's France you're waiting for tits but there never are tits.

I thought this might have been where Audrey Fleurot (Spiral, Witnesses) danced the tango, but is wasn't.

Still any excuse to watch her move on screen, no need for tits or anything (although hers are available elsewhere on the web if you need them)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmVO3VtHYw8

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2018, 10:31:34 AM »
Ironically enough, Pamela Anderson was a contestant in the latest series. She seems to be some kind of globe-trotting mediocre ballroom dancer, having appeared on the US, Israeli, Argentinian and Mexican versions of the show.
The Italian one has had Catherine Spaak (Hotel, The Cat O'Nine Tails, the mum in the Zen TV series), Moonraker/Story of O/Italian sci-fi starlet Corinne Clery, Italian sex comedy star Lando Buzzanca and American model/Euro Tv regular Carol Alt.

Re: Trashy European TV
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2018, 08:23:15 PM »
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107823/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_10 Another Reteitalia erotic fantasy. Starring David Warner, Susannah York, Paul Freeman, Catherine Schell, Liz Smith, Godfrey James, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Sarah Alexander and Ronnie Barker's paedo son Adam...