September 9th, 2013: Golden Needles aka The Chase for the Golden Needles

Golden Needles

Cast and Crew: Paul M. Heller, Fred Weintraub (Producers); Lalo Schifrin (Score); Ann Southern, Jim Kelly

What It’s About:  What if the Maltese Falcon wasn’t about a fast talking San Francisco private eye getting caught up in the web of various duplicitous parties interested in a very valuable statuette of a bird?  What if instead it was about a good ole country boy private eye stuck in Hong Kong who gets caught up in the web of various duplicitous parties interested in a statuette that showed exactly where to place golden acupuncture needles that, when placed correctly grant ultimate sexual power?  What if instead of legendary director John Huston breaking new cinematic ground the film was yet another attempt by Robert Clouse to recapture the magic in the bottle that was Enter the Dragon, and what if instead of classic dialogue the film featured Joe Don Baker and Elizabeth Ashley “erotically” feeding each other a seafood platter the size of a small dinner table?  What if the film’s scenes burned themselves onto your memory without actually being interesting?  The answer to all of these questions is Golden Needles, which is more of a game of cinematic chicken than a conventional movie, and certainly more of a dare than a serious recommendation on my part.

Why Watch it Today?:  To top it all off, the Sydney Greenstreet equivalent is Burgess Meredith.  Just think about that for a moment:  Burgess Meredith in 1974 seeking “ultimate sexual power”.  Or perhaps don’t think about it, it’s not healthy for anyone.  Meredith died today in 1997, and, while he was in far better movies that Golden Needles, it’s amazing that he was able to keep appearing in movies after this…thing…was released.

Other Choices: Meredith was Rocky’s hard ass old trainer in Rocky; Karen Black’s sad sack salesman old man in The Day of the Locust; The Penguin in 1966’s Batman; Harry Hamlin’s mentor in Clash of the Titans; and the last F-86 Sabre Jet pilot in The Last Chase.

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