WolfmanOz at the Movies #53

Man is the warmest place to hide

1982 was a seminal year for science fiction movies, of which there were three outstanding films of the genre released, all of which were quite different in style and audience engagement.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was on its way to becoming the highest grossing film of all-time; Blade Runner was perplexing audiences with its unique future vision of androids in Los Angeles, but my personal favourite was the third great science fiction film released that year.

I am referring to John Carpenter’s superb version of The Thing, which failed to find a popular audience on release but subsequently found it when released on home video and has now been reappraised as one of the best science fiction and horror films ever made.

The Thing was based on the novella Who Goes There ? by John W. Campbell and had been filmed before as The Thing From Another World in 1951 (which has not aged well IMO). Its story follows a group of people trapped in a scientific research outpost in Antarctica with a shapeshifting alien monster who can absorb and imitate any living being.

The film ominously starts where we see a Norwegian helicopter pursuing a sled dog to an American research station.

This scene is brilliantly shot and has maestro Ennio Morricone’s haunting and foreboding score in the background. The film was principally filmed in Juneau, Alaska, and back in 2019, during a family holiday to Canada and Alaska, we actually visited the same glacier via helicopter. It was simply an awe-inspiring and breath-taking experience.

Three of the Americans decide to investigate the Norwegian base where they find charred ruins and frozen corpses including a malformed humanoid which they transfer to their station.

The sled dog is kennelled with the other dogs and it soon metamorphoses and absorbs several of the station dogs. This disturbance alerts the team and a flamethrower is used to incinerate the creature.

An autopsy is performed on the Dog-Thing and it is surmised that it can perfectly imitate other organisms. Data recovered from the Norwegian base leads the Americans to a large excavation site containing a partially buried alien spacecraft, which is estimated to have been buried for over a hundred thousand years, and a smaller, human-sized dig site.

Paranoia now becomes rampart amongst the group, not knowing if anyone else has been assimilated by the alien.

MacReady, the helicopter pilot (played by Kurt Russell) hypothesises that every part of the Thing is an individual life form with its own survival instinct. He has everyone tied up and sequentially tests blood samples with a heated piece of wire. The result is more than what he bargained for.

The ending is deliberately ambiguous as the two survivors, MacReady and Childs, exhausted and slowly freezing to death, acknowledge the futility of their distrust and share a bottle of whisky, but are they both still human ?

It’s one of cinema’s great understated endings, especially given the mayhem that preceded it.

The film’s special effects are still lauded today for being technically brilliant and serve as a stark contrast to the CGI effects that were used in the much inferior 2011 prequel The Thing which proves modern CGI is no match for old-school practical effects.

Unlike E.T., which offered an optimistic take on alien visitation; The Thing presented a nihilistic view with a dark atmosphere of dread and was the total opposite in tone to Spielberg’s film. Director John Carpenter has always asserted that audiences rejected The Thing for its bleak and depressing viewpoint compared to E.T., and, in addition, when it opened, it was competing against the critically and commercially successful E.T..

The central theme of The Thing then concerned paranoia and mistrust. Fundamentally, the film is about the erosion of trust in a small community, instigated by different forms of paranoia caused by the possibility of someone not being who they say they are.

In the years following its release, critics and fans have reevaluated The Thing as a milestone of the horror genre. I have the film placed alongside Alien and Aliens in the unholy trinity of the three great science fiction horror movies.

The film is screened annually in February to mark the beginning of winter at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station . . . anyone fancy going there to watch it ?


and the tease for next weeks post . . . A real tough guy.

WolfmanOz at the Movies #52

Ealing comedies

As promised last week, this weeks post will be taking a look at the comedies from Ealing Studios – thanks to Pogria for the suggestion.

Ealing Studios is a London based film and television production company and is actually the oldest continuously working studio facility for film production in the world of which its’ output numbers in the many hundreds.

But it is the small block of comedies released in the late 40s to the late 50s that the reputation of Ealing became so well known. Their success was not just restricted to the UK but also in the USA where a number of their films won or were nominated for a number of Academy Awards.

Hue And Cry (1947) is generally regarded as the first of the classic Ealing comedies as it tells the story of a group of schoolboys who confront a criminal gang. Directed by Charles Crichton from a script by T.E.B. Clarke, both of whom would become stalwarts of Ealing along with directors Alexander Mackendrick, Robert Hamer and Henry Cornelius; and actors the magnificent Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway and Raymond Huntley etc.

Then came Passport To Pimlico (1949) a delightfully quirky film where a suburb of London is declared a legal part of the House of Burgundy and therefore exempt from post-war rationing and other petty bureaucratic restrictions active at the time in Britain.

Next there was Whisky Galore ! (1949) which concerned a shipwreck off a Scottish island where the inhabitants have run out of whisky due to wartime rationing but they find out the ship is carrying 50,000 cases of whisky. This film became the first to achieve box office success in America.

1949 was rounded up with the release of my favourite Ealing film – Kind Hearts And Coronets (it’s in my top 100 films of all-time). This gloriously witty black comedy concerns Louis D’Ascoyne Mazzini, the son of a woman disowned by her aristocratic family for marrying out of her social class. After her death, Louis decides to take revenge on the family and take the dukedom by murdering the eight people (all played by the incomparable Alec Guinness) ahead of him in the line of succession to the title.

The film is told in flashback as Louis is awaiting execution as he writes his memoirs, where the irony is, he is to be executed for a murder he didn’t commit.

1951 saw the release of 2 more great but quite different comedies in The Man In The White Suit and The Lavender Hill Mob both starring Alec Guinness.

The Man In The White Suit is a superb satire on business and trade unions as a scientist invents an incredibly strong fibre which repels dirt and never wears out. From this fabric, a suit is made, which is a brilliant white. The ramifications of which causes great consternation amongst both labour and the capitalists.

Whereas The Lavender Hill Mob is a highly inventive comedy caper as Guinness superbly plays a mild-mannered London clerk who devises a plan to steal a consignment of gold bullion from his bank.

Later notable comedies included The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), Meet Mr. Lucifer (1953), Touch And Go (1955), The Ladykillers (1955) and lastly Barnacle Bill (1957). I have to admit, despite its high reputation, I have never overly cared for The Ladykillers but I will say it is a masterpiece compared to the awful 2004 Coen Brothers remake.

So what made the Ealing comedies so special and enduring, 70 years after they were first released ?

Well they tended to reflect Britain’s post-war spirit after WWII but they also depicted the peculiar, and varied, nature of the English sense of humour which has proved to be so popular over time.

They were also blessed to have some of the finest talents in British cinema at the time, of which Alec Guinness, one of the greatest actors of the 2oth century, featured prominently. Guinness was hugely popular with the British public and he had a chameleon ability to absorb himself into his roles, whether it be comedy or drama, which made him a truly great film actor.

The Ealing comedies were also made economically i.e. the films generally ran for only 80-90 minutes so they never wore out their welcome but at their heart was a warmth and affection for their characters written with humour and a mischievous wit such we don’t see much anymore.


and as a tease for next weeks post . . . Man is the warmest place to hide.

WolfmanOz at the Movies #51

Is cinema dying ?

As I write this last post for the year, a feeling of melancholy and sadness is with me as I write about what I believe is that movies and the thrill of going to the cinema and luxuriating in the magic of the big screen appears to be dying.

There was always something special in going to the cinema in having that shared experience in enjoying a film, whether it be a comedy, a musical, a drama, a western, an action flick etc etc.

As I look back on 2022, I only saw 2 films at the cinema – No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last foray as Bond (thank God, as this film was awful) and Top Gun: Maverick where Tom Cruise shows he’s still got the magic to provide a thoroughly entertaining non-woke film for the audience. But after that zilch nada nothing.

Hollywood, in particular, keeps rehashing old material and making the same movies and TV shows over and over again. The key differences between the old and new versions is that the newer offerings are often dumbed down, coarser, infused with contemporary woke themes, and are obliged to have a far more racially diverse cast, and all the while delivering an inferior product that isn’t worth the time of day.

Of today’s crop of films I have soon had my fill. Most of them are obscurely told, they tell me things I don’t care about, in language I find offensive; and they concern characters whom I would willingly cross the road to avoid. Dark and shaky cinematography makes them unattractive to look at, and all the old studio crafts, so laboriously learned during the Golden Age, appear have been jettisoned in favour of obscenely large budgets which allow the film-maker to wander restlessly around the globe giving distorted views of real locations or the film is laced with incessant CGI instead of setting their own and the audience’s imaginations to work.

Nowadays one has to fight one’s way through the thick showy surface in order to get to a story which all too often is not worth following.

One problem is that modern films are largely made by people with no sense of humour, people who do not realise that they must please the mass audience if the industry in which they work is to survive. Old-time screenwriters would no doubt be viewed by these people as cynical hacks, but at least they took pains to please their audience with all the expertise at their command, and they still expressed their own view in a vein of sardonic humour which ran through most of their scripts.

The absurd pretensions of some modern film-makers certainly causes amusement wherever sensible people congregate, but the advocates of sanity are in no position to have the last word.

Movies are thus produced for a small group of jet-setters and wokesters; meanwhile that patient paying audience discovers that not only the films but the cost of going to the cinema is infinitely more expensive, as the cost of admission has risen at a phenomenal rate.  What other commodity has risen in price to this extent?  Television is infinitely cheaper and can be viewed in the comfort of one’s home: no wonder so many people prefer it.

So the movie industry hastens on its way to perdition and catastrophe, a fate which surely cannot be delayed more than another few years, and for which simple-minded greed, lack of foresight and a large measure of incompetence are chiefly responsible.

Some of the elements missing from modern cinema are to be found in television, with the plethora of choice for viewers from endless streaming services there is so much to chose from. But television is a private enjoyment, and one inevitably misses the sense of comradeship, of sharing a pleasure, that the cinema used to fulfil.

So, I usually include some clips scattered in my weekly post, but all I can think of now is just to present some of my favourite moments in cinema which I can still enjoy but I know I won’t see any more of in the coming years.

Enjoy . . . and a Happy New Year to you all.

WolfmanOz at the Movies #50

Laurel & Hardy

Well for my last post before Xmas, and to bring a smile to Cats faces, I can think of no better topic than to discuss the most beloved comedy duo in cinema history in Laurel & Hardy.

Stan Laurel (1890-1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) started their career as a duo in the silent movie period, they later successfully transitioned to talkies. From the late 1920s to the mid-1950s they appeared as a team in over 100 films, starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, and 23 full-length feature films.  

They became internationally famous for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy, childlike friend to Hardy’s pompous bully.

To describe their magic would be like trying to explain the genius of Mozart or Shakespeare – somethings are just beyond words; so I offer the following bits and pieces about them.

They often had physical arguements which were quite complex and involved a style of violence that was almost cartoonish. A brilliant example of this would be their silent short masterpiece Big Business (1929) in which they play two Christmas tree salesman trying to sell Xmas trees in July. The film then resolves itself into a tit-for-tat vandalism between them and James Finlayson who doesn’t want to buy a Xmas tree.

Their ineptitude and misfortune precluded them from making any real progress, even in the simplest endeavors. Much of their comedy involves “milking” a joke, where a simple idea provides a basis for multiple, ongoing gags without following a defined narrative. An example of this would be Perfect Day (1929) where two families embark on a pleasant Sunday picnic in their Ford Model T, but manage to run into a variety of issues with the temperamental automobile. Each incident requires repeated exits and reboardings by everyone.

Other favourite shorts of mine include Laughing Gravy (1931) where they try to keep their pet dog hidden from their landlord; The Music Box (1932) where they attempt to move a piano up a long flight of steps; Towed In A Hole(1932) where they renovate a boat in order to catch their own fish; and, Tit For Tat (1935) where they establish an electrical goods store.

By the mid-1930s they had moved away from shorts and concentrated on features (which were more profitable). They had a big hit in 1933 with Sons Of The Desert, but they hit the jackpot in 1937 with the timeless comedy masterpiece Way Out West.

Here they are entrusted to deliver the deed of a old mine to a deceased prospector’s daughter. The film features one of the most beloved songs/routines ever performed in Trail Of The Lonesome Pine.

Trail Of The Lonesome Pine

Incredibly in 1975, Trail Of The Lonesome Pine was released as a single in the UK and reached No.2 in the charts !

But by the end of the decade their best films were behind them, and they left Hal Roach Studios for 20th Century Fox but their films now were but a shadow of their former glories.

In the 1950s they then embarked on a number of tours re-enacting their routines which proved tremendously successful with the public who still adored them. This period was affectionately depicted in the excellent 2018 film Stan & Ollie with Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy. 

The film also re-created another favourite routine from Way Out West, in At The Ball, That’s All, although, as always, the original is still priceless.

At The Ball, That’s All

Laurel & Hardy are timeless and will be beloved forever for those who value their comedy and artistry.

Enjoy . . . and a Merry Xmas to you all !

WolfmanOz at the Movies #49

B movies

In old Hollywood, B grade movies identified films intended for distribution as the less-publicised bottom half of a double feature. However, this practice largely ceased by the end of the 1950s with the studios changing their departments into TV production divisions.

B movies often represented a particular genre e.g. westerns while low-budget science-fiction and horror films became more popular in the 1950s. Almost always shorter than the top-billed feature films, many had running times of 80 minutes or less. The term gave a general perception that B movies were inferior to the more lavishly budgeted A grade films; however they often provided a fertile start for many talented directors, writers, actors/actresses, cinematographers, editors etc for them to make their mark in movies.

One such example, and a particular favourite of mine, is the science-fiction classic Invasion Of The Body Snatchers directed by Don Siegel and released in 1956.

This low-budget feature which ran for only 80 minutes, was released by Allied Artists, a very minor studio in Hollywood. It proved to be quite a hit, and despite its lurid title, displayed subtle nuances quite unlike what would be expected of a science-fiction film of the 1950s.

The film’s storyline concerns an extra-terrestrial invasion that begins in California. Alien plant spores have fallen from space and have grown into large seed pods, each one capable of producing a visually identical copy of a human. As each pod reaches full development, it assimilates the physical traits, memories, and personalities of each sleeping person placed near it until only the replacement is left; these duplicates, however, are devoid of all human emotion. Little by little, a local doctor uncovers this invasion and attempts to stop it.

The film was been remade a number of times – there’s a pretty good 1978 version with Donald Sutherland, but none have quite matched the original.

The original ending did not include the flashback framing, in fact when I first saw it in the mid 1970s, the prologue and epilogue had been cut out (which was as the film-makers originally intended) but they have been restored, which is a pity, as the intent was to present a rather pessimistic ending.

The film has often been analysed as a commentary of the dangers facing the United States, whether it be McCarthyism or Communism. However, Siegel denied any such intent – he just wanted to make a damn good movie that was entertaining and exciting.

Don Siegel would go on to have a notable directorial career, with films like The Killers (1964), The Beguiled, Dirty Harry, Charley Varrick, The Shootist and Escape From Alcatraz. He formed a memorable partnership with Clint Eastwood in which they made 5 films together.

So what other B movies do Cats fondly remember ?


WolfmanOz at the Movies #48

Yipee-ki-yay, motherfucker

Was the catchphrase used by New York police detective John McClane in the action thriller Die Hard. Since it’s release back in 1988, Die Hard has stood the test of time to be considered one of the best action thrillers ever made. And because of its’ Christmas setting it has become a favourite Xmas movie; and as Xmas is only a few weeks away . . .

The film follows McClane who is caught up in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper whilst visiting his estranged wife. McClane is of course played by Bruce Willis in the role that made him into a major film-star and over the years Willis would become a caricature but in all fairness he absolutely nailed this role.

It is sad to read now that Willis has been forced into retirement after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder caused by damage to the area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension.

So what makes Die Hard stand out as arguably the best action thriller of the last 40 years ?

Well, at the time, expectations were quite low, Willis was not a major film star and had made his name as a comedic actor in the TV series Moonlighting.

Before Die Hard most action films of the time often featured an invincible hero (eg. Schwarzenegger and Stallone) whereas Willis’ McClane presents as a fairly normal person with failings and vulnerabilities i.e. he was believably human. Of course the irony is that Willis then made a career playing invincible heroes.

The film also starred an unknown Alan Rickman as the charismatic villain Hans Gruber in what was his film debut . . . but what a debut ! Rickman’s silky voice combined with the totally ruthless nature of his character elevated the role to be one of the great screen villains in cinema history.

Rickman would then form a habit of stealing every movie he appeared in and his death from pancreatic cancer in 2016 robbed the world of one of the finest actors of his generation.

The film also boasts a number of terrific action set-pieces that utilised old-fashioned techniques including practical effects and outstanding stunt work i.e. no CGI.

For me, cinema has not produced a better testosterone inducing adrenaline rollercoaster experience that is still as entertaining today as it was when it was first released.


WolfmanOz at the Movies #47

Men of Harlech

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift between a small British army contingent and a huge army of Zulus in January 1879 was memorably presented in the splendid 1964 film Zulu which depicts how 150 British soldiers successfully held off an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors.

The battle followed on after the Battle of Isandlwana fought a few days earlier where a British army of 1,800 men was utterly defeated and routed by the Zulus.

Rorke’s Drift also saw the awarding of 11 Victorian Crosses the greatest number ever awarded for one single engagement. Also the basic premises of the film is largely true and accurate, but it is not a historical re-enactment of the actual events.

The heavily outnumbered British successfully defended Rorke’s Drift more or less as portrayed in the film. Director and co-writer, Cy Endfield, even consulted a Zulu tribal historian for information from Zulu oral tradition about the attack. There are, however, a number of historical inaccuracies in the film but in the overall scheme of things are relatively minor.

The film was largely instigated by actor/producer Stanley Baker and is also the film that first introduced Michael Caine in a major role, ironically playing a foppish British officer rather than the cockney role for which he would become world famous for.

Despite the overwhelming odds, the discipline and training of the British army enabled them to repel the first Zulu attack.

Where at the film’s climax the two armies compete against each other with their chants and songs. History tells us there was no stirring rendition of Men of Harlech but who cares, in this film it is magnificently staged as a prelude to the final slaughter.

Zulu also boasts a terrific supporting performance by the criminally under-rated Nigel Green as Colour Sergeant Bourne, a seasoned officer who plays a key role in organising and leading the British defence

Nearly 60 years after it first released, Zulu has remained a constant favourite of many a film goer in its numerous re-releases and then as a perennial television fixture. It’s been a favourite of mine ever since I saw it on one of it’s many re-releases.

In 2018 Chief Mangosuthy Buthelezi defended the film’s cultural and historical merits, stating that there’s “a deep respect that develops between the warring armies, and the nobility of King Cetshwayo’s warriors as they salute the enemy, demanded a different way of thinking from the average viewer at the time of the film’s release. Indeed, it remains a film that demands a thoughtful response.”

And as a final note, the film boasts an outstanding score by one of my favourite film composers in John Barry.


WolfmanOz at the Movies #46


. . . have been a staple of cinema for ever and a day in dramatising the life of a historically-based or non-fictional person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and they differ from docudrama films and historical drama films in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person’s life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.

Back in the 1930s Warner Bros. embarked on a series of prestige biographical films starring Paul Muni which included The Story Of Louis Pasteur, The Life Of Emile Zola and Juarez. They have dated now and you can almost smell the greasepaint but they were immensely popular at the time.

In the 1940s we saw the emergence of biographical films featuring music composers whether it be classical eg. Chopin in A Song To Remember or contemporary with Cole Porter in Night And Day and Glenn Miller in The Glenn Miller Story; but as accurate representations they were more fiction than non-fiction.

In fact, it’s been a constant criticism of the genre in the way facts are distorted or even invented to serve the film’s narrative. We have seen this recently with the 5th season of the Netflix series The Crown.

One of my favourites in the way it focused on the most important years of a historical person is Franklin J. Schaffers’ Patton released in 1970. The film focused on U.S. General George S. Patton’s years during WWII and starred George C. Scott in the title role in a performance which I rank as one of the top 3 male performances of all-time. Scott totally immersed himself in the role in that he is General George S. Patton.

Because the figures portrayed are actual people, whose actions and characteristics are known to the public (or at least historically documented), biopic roles are considered some of the most demanding of actors and actresses, but are also often the most rewarding as a fair number of such portrayals have seen the winning of the Academy Award for either Best Actor or Best Actress.

A favourite of mine in regards to detailing the life story of a person is Richard Attenborough’s 1992 film Chaplin. Unlike his earlier Gandhi which I found to be a crashing bore, despite Ben Kingsley’s excellent performance, Chaplin is a very entertaining biopic of the legendary film comedian and boasts a superb performance by Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin.

Some other favourite biopics of mine I would recommend are Young Winston, La Vie en Rose, Michael Collins and even Bohemian Rhapsody (despite it being wildly inaccurate).

So what favourite biopic films do Cats enjoy ?

WolfmanOz at the Movies #45

Great movie endings

Sometimes the ending of a movie can elevate it to another level – think of The Bridge On The River Kwai, Casablanca and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest to name a few classics.

So the following 3 selections are from lesser known films that have an outstanding ending/climax.

With the release in 1995 of the superb crime thriller The Usual Suspects it introduced the movie world a couple of new great talents in actor Kevin Spacey and writer Christopher McQarrie.

The film follows the interrogation of Roger “Verbal” Kint, a small-time crook, who is one of only two survivors of a massacre and fire on a ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles. Through narration and flashback, Kint tells the interrogator a convoluted story of events that led him and his criminal companions to the boat, and of a mysterious crime lord – known as Keyser Soze – who controlled them. 

The final revelation of who was Keyser Soze is a masterful juxtaposition of editing, sound mixing and a total surprise for the audience as to who was the mysterious master crime lord.

In 1978 saw an excellent remake of the classic science-fiction thriller Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, starring Donald Sutherland.

The updated plot involves a San Francisco health inspector and his colleague who over the course of a few days discover that humans are being replaced by alien duplicates; each is a perfect copy of the person replaced, but devoid of human emotion.

Donald Sutherland as the health inspector manages to evade being replaced and returns to work . . .

And finally, in 1971 came the release of Luchino Visconti’s haunting adaption of Thomas Mann’s classic novella Death In Venice.

The film, set at the turn of the century, stars Dirk Bogarde as composer Gustav von Aschenbach who travels to Venice for rest, due to serious health concerns. In Venice, he becomes obsessed with the stunning beauty of an adolescent boy named Tadzio, who is staying with his family at the same hotel as Achenbach.

In the climactic scene, a dying Aschenbach sees Tadzio at the beach, and to the setting of Mahler’s marvellous Adagietto from his 5th Symphony, we see him die in a scene of stunning beauty.

So, what are other great film endings/climaxes that Cat enjoyed and/or found memorable ?


WolfmanOz at the Movies #44

Demonic Possession

It’s now 49 years ago that William Friedkin’s supernatural horror classic The Exorcist was first released (actually at Xmas in 1973).

The film is based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, which it follows very closely in depicting the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s attempt to rescue her through an exorcism conducted by a pair of Catholic priests.

The cultural impact of the film, which also encompassed its treatment of Catholicism helped it become the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture whilst it also became the biggest grossing box-office film of all-time (until the release of Jaws in 1975).

This is an unusual horror film in the way it is structured in that it doesn’t really have a main lead as it is largely an ensemble piece. Plus its main driving force, for me, is the crisis of faith in the character of Father Karras. The film was directed by William Friedkin who was the hot director at the time after the phenomenal success of The French Connection,

The film starts, eerily in Northern Iraq, where Father Merrin encounters a large statue of the demon Pazuzu.

The film then locates to Georgetown where an actress’s daughter gradually becomes possessed and is confined to her bedroom. After trying numerous medical tests, her mother, in an act of desperation, turns to Father Karrras, and, despite his ambivalence concludes that an exorcism is warranted where Father Merrin is summoned.

Ultimately both Father Merrin and Father Karras die during the exorcism but Karras sacrifices himself in tricking the demon to possess him as he hurled himself out of the window to his death.

The film is an exhausting experience with the viewer continually assaulted with images and sounds that still horrify today. For many the impact it had was visceral in that some viewers suffered adverse physical reactions, fainting or vomiting towards scenes in the movie.

Over the years it was followed by numerous sequels and prequels, none of which came remotely close to repeating the original’s success and impact.