Night of the Sharks & The Glove

 

 

   Today is a Double Feature disc from Canada- Quality Special Products (no website available- the on-screen name is Quality Video, Inc.) is a typical bargain DVD and CD provider that, for all I know, is still in business. I’ve seen their product in various places, from FYE to CVS (where I picked this DVD up) and they seem to specialize in music compilations mostly (Bob Marley; Jerry Lee Lewis) that are either re-records of original songs or live Greatest Hits discs, but also carry Public Domain (PD) movies, or, in this case, borderline- as I’m not sure that either of these movies ARE in Public Domain. This could be a case of maybe just VERY CHEAP licensed product (the Company seems to be crossing their “T” and dotting their “I”s even when it comes to their packaging; they’ve even given credit to the copyright owners of the photos they used of the stars on their case cover)…

 

 

   The first one- Night of the Sharks (1987) (or, it’s proper title: La Notte Degli Squali) is an Italian (how would you have guessed from its original title?) crime thriller that is SO BORING that I fell asleep in the middle of it. It takes a special movie to have me zone in the middle of it (the last time I did that watching a movie was Pokeman 2000) and this is it. The only reason I woke up was when I nodded off I fell head-first into the keyboard and the constant “DING-DING-DING-DING” of my head resting on the keys shook me awake. Treat Williams (who, God love him, is clearly doing this for the lira), who at one time actually made decent movies (remember Prince of the City?) is a retired fortune hunter who comes out who ends up seeking revenge on the guys that rubbed out his brother (he double-crossed some corporate-types and is carrying an audio CD (!) with incriminating evidence). The other names in the cast, like Christopher Connelly (who also isn’t above working for anyone willing to pay him no matter how bad the script) and Antonio Fargas (HUGGY BEAR- do I need to add to that?) are slumming, but at least enjoying the all-expense paid trip to the Dominican Republic. This is filmed in typical Italian-style; with grainy photography and almost every shot ending in a zoom- and a trick ending that, even if you DO fall asleep, you will see coming from 6 miles away…

 

 

   The Glove (1979) was made by Ross Hagen, a character actor who mostly played baddies and still appears in the occasional Fred Olen Ray flick. He’s made other movies (he was the Producer and actor of Bad Charleston Charlie, which was a favorite tape of mine until my crappy VCR I once owned ate the tape) and still directs, but this one is his crowning achievement. The always great John Saxon stars as a divorced ex-baseball payer-turned bounty hunter who gets 20 grand if he hauls in escaped con Rosey Grier (and does it all while wearing velour jogging suits). Oops, one thing- the con is wearing a specially-designed riot glove that allows the wearer to smash through anything, like doors and cars. Watching Rosey (playing a con with heart- even though he smashes the shit out of prison guards) in full riot gear beat up a car is so cool that the DVD producers use it as a blurb before the menu. Now THIS is what an exploitation flick is supposed to be! It’s all over the place- its got action, comedy (like gay bail jumpers) action, heart-warming scenes of Dad and daughter, meat-cutting footage, and gratuitous poker playing . It also has an all-star character actor cast, including Keenan Wynn, Nicholas Worth, Joan Blondell (in her second-to-last roll), Aldo Ray, Jack Carter, Hoke Howell and Michael Pataki. Why this movie isn’t more famous (or being remade like other less-worthy movies nowadays) I don’t know, but it needs to be. I think that it’s got the type of tone that movies made in the “Blaxploitation” era had, which may make it seem slightly dated, but it really suits it. I caught this late night on HBO in the early 80’s and was pleasantly surprised that it was as good as I remembered it. And don’t forget the song- you will try but you won’t be able to: “You can’t escape, the kiss and rape, of the GLOOOOVVVVeeeee”…

 

 

   The disc is a flipper (one movie on both sides) and the box art is pretty cheesy (the spine doesn’t even list the movies, only the names of Treat and John, so if someone is perusing your DVD collection looking for one of these movies, they’re going to have to know who starred in them). The quality of the prints is VHS transfer but fairly clean- late-night UHF-quality (though The Glove is the better-looking of the two and might be from a film print). Sharks runs 87 minutes and is PG-13 (blood); The Glove clocks in at 92 minutes and is definitely an “R” because of its heavy violence. One thing unusual that you’ll find when you pop this puppy into your player is some voice-over narration- “Welcome to this Interactive versatile disc… Blah Blah Blah”… instructing you on how to actually WORK a DVD by using your remote to select your Option (in case you never have used basically any kind of electronics before) -VERY annoying. The jazzy saxophone and flute music at the menu is a particularly dumb choice- its very out of place. Extras include Chapter Selection; short Biographies; a Movie Review (naturally they select a good one for each film) and a Trivia Quiz (you WERE paying attention, right?). I would pick this up just for The Glove, but its your money so spend it as you’d like…

 

 

  

   Night of the Sharks– 1* out of 5

 

   The Glove– 3-1/2* out of 5

 

 

 

 

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