Author: spectacle_theater

Indie Beat – THE MISSING SUN


THE MISSING SUN
dir. Brennan Vance, 2017
79 mins. USA.

FRIDAY MAY 4- 7:30 PM
FILMMAKER IN PERSON!
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

THE MISSING SUN is a metaphysical drama surrounding characters experiencing various out-of-body states. At the heart of the film is Alma – a no-nonsense, weather-worn ex-addict with failing health. Her world is thrown out of orbit when her husband Terry falls into a mysterious coma shortly after a solar flare powers down her remote community. When she finds a clue amongst Terry’s belongings – an instructional audio cassette on how to astral travel – she becomes convinced that Terry is using this esoteric technique to reunite with the spirit of his deceased ex-wife, Joy.

In hopes to bring Terry back to reality, Alma seeks some astral knowledge of her own by finding the audio tape’s author – the leader of a new-age community called Bhu’JanTi. Unable to find immediate answers there, Alma tracks down Terry’s estranged son, ad, who is found hiding out at Joy’s house. Surrounded by a group of philosophically curious but drug-addled friends, ad suffers his mother’s recent death in a state of disabling grief, the effects of which he drowns out with heavy quaaludes. With ad appearing as unresponsive as his father, Alma realizes she must reckon with these increasingly absurd circumstances alone. And as her health continues to fail and she begins to have visions of a hallucinatory doppelganger, Alma begins to wonder if she is still inside of herself – or if she has been in the process of leaving her body the whole time.

BRENNAN VANCE is a Minneapolis-based filmmaker and 2017 McKnight Media Arts Fellow. Vance’s feature directorial debut THE MISSING SUN received a Jerome Foundation fellowship, was selected as part of the 2016 IFP Filmmaker Narrative Labs and recently premiered at the Wisconsin Film Festival and Ashland Independent Film Festival, where it was awarded a special jury prize. His work as a Director of Photography for Twin Cities PBS has earned him three Emmy Awards.

DRACIN’ OFF: TOHO’S BLOODTHIRSTY TRILOGY

With Hammer’s runaway freight train success in the 60’s it’s no wonder Japan wanted in on the action. Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy, as it would come to be known, sent the bloodsuckers East. Scored in gothic bossa-nova by Riichiro Manabe (GODZILLA VS HEDORAH) the films are a one of a kind treat for fang-fans the world over.


THE VAMPIRE DOLL
dir. Michio Yamamoto, 1970
85 min, Japan
In Japanese w/ English subtitles
FRIDAY, MAY 11 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 15 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 19 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 20 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, MAY 31 – 10 PM
ONLINE TICKETS HERE


After a courtship in Tokyo, Kazuhiko and Yuko must spend an unbearable 6 months apart. Upon his return from his business trip Kazuhiko decides to visit Yuko in her remote country home. Things go from bad to worse when after being attacked by the house’s creepoid servant he’s informed that Yuko died in a car accident 2 weeks before. Yuko’s mother offers to let him stay in their home and he agrees.

That night he hears screams coming from Yuko’s room only to find her standing in the closet. He’s knocked unconscious and the next day made to believe it was all a dream. The following evening he sees Yuko out his window and follows her to the family graveyard. Yuko turns on Kazuhiko flashing evil eyes and both literally and figuratively stabs him in the back.

A week Kazuhiko’s sister Keiko decides to look for him and in the process uncovers Yuko’s terrible family secret…


poster by Henri de Corinth



LAKE OF DRACULA
dir. Michio Yamamoto, 1971
82 min, Japan
In Japanese w/ English subtitles

TUESDAY, MAY 8 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, MAY 18 – 10 PM
MONDAY, MAY 21 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, MAY 28 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 – 7:30 PM
ONLINE TICKETS HERE


Plagued by nightmares about a vampire for 18 years, a young girl Akiko tries to get on with her life living by a lake and befriends a boat operator. One day a mysterious package arrives – an all white coffin! When the boat operator complains to the shipping agent they return to find the coffin empty. Not long after, the boat operator is attacked by the same vampire that’s been haunting Akiko.

Akiko is visited by her doctor boyfriend who her sister is also in love with. The doctor is called to a nearby hospital to treat a women with two strange bite holes on her neck. Akiko’s dog goes missing and she finds it’s body in a field next to the murdered boat operator. Akiko flees his reanimated corpse and is knocked out in the chase. Taken to the vampires abode, she finds herself face to face with the ghoul.

Originally released in 1971 the film eventually made it’s way to the states and ran on TV under the name JAPULA (yikes) as well as LAKE OF DEATH.


Poster by Kellen Dye



EVIL OF DRACULA
dir. Michio Yamamoto, 1974
87 min, Japan
In Japanese w/ English subtitles
TUESDAY, MAY 8 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, MAY 11 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, MAY 14 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 27 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 29 – 10 PM
ONLINE TICKETS HERE


When Mr. Shiraki arrived at the Seimei Girls School he thought he was just taking a job as a psychology professor but after finding out the principal’s wife had…wait for it…just died in a car accident he reluctantly takes over as head of the school. He agrees to stay the night at the former principals home and late that night is attacked by 2 fanged women. The next day Shiraki believing it was all a dream (crazy, right?) goes to work at the school. As if things weren’t weird enough he’s about to discover the school itself harbors a dark history.

Borrowing heavily from the both VAMPIRE DOLL and LAKE OF DRACULA the third installment of the trilogy ditched the gloom and doom of the first two, instead banking on gore and nudity to draw the crowds.

YOU CALL THIS PROGRESS!? :: ALYCE WITTENSTEIN AT SPECTACLE

Alyce Wittenstein has been called the “Queen of the New York Underground” and this May, Spectacle is pleased to play host to her and the films making up her MULTIPLE FUTURES trilogy. These films are filled to the brim with familiar faces, exquisite set pieces, snappy dialogue, and dazzling costumes. Hard to believe it’s been almost 3 years since we first showed these incredible works but here we are. Join us all month for these remarkable films in a celebration of science fiction, hilarity, character actors, and ghastly view of a not-too-distant world.

TUESDAY, MAY 2 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 13 – 5 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 19 – 7:30 PM (Q&A)
TUESDAY, MAY 22 – 10 PM
ONLINE TICKETS HERE
FB EVENT

BETAVILLE
1986, 20 min.

The first in what would come to be known as the MULTIPLE FUTURES trilogy, BETAVILLE – a post-modern nightmare – finds a down and out detective Coman Gettme (played by Wittenstein mainstay Steve Ostringer) returning to his hometown after a chance meeting with The Girl (Holly Adams). Once the two arrive in Gettme’s Cadillac things immediately go from bad to worse for this gumshoe when he learns, over a slice at Stromboli’s, that High Fashion is the new law in town. Gettme becomes obsessed with The Girl and is determined to meet back up with her and “save” her from the these fashionable fascists.

BETAVILLE kicks off the trilogy in a pitch perfect send up of the French New Wave and science fiction, and turns noir on it’s ear while (literally) running through some familiar parts of NYC. Holly Adams is nothing short of dynamite and Ostringer’s distinctive production design would lay the groundwork for the look of the films to come. Years before becoming Brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, Garrett Oliver was co-producer on the film. The short would go on to be nominated for a number of awards at festivals and play all over the world – often (unsurprisingly) alongside Godard’s ALPHAVILLE.

“Most of the detective narrator dialogue is clever, the cinematography is excellent, and I liked the (sort of) industrial music and the song by the Singing Squirrels.” – Michael J. Weldon, Psychotronic Magazine #2, 1989.


NO SUCH THING AS GRAVITY
1989, 40 min.

In the not too distant future the LaFont corporation has all but taken over Earth. The company has revolutionized all elements of style, beauty, education, and housing but in the process (progress?!) has shipped many of Earth’s more “useless” inhabitants to the mysterious man made planet – and the largest scale experiment in human history – known as Nova Terra. Two scientists – Kay Zorn (Holly Adams) and Albert Leenhardt (Steve Robinson) are about to receive a prestigious award for their work on the LaFont Facelifter when they learn that Nova Terra is disrupting the Earth’s gravitational pull and will soon collide if it’s not destroyed. A headstrong lawyer and Kay’s boyfriend – Adam Malkonian (a scenery chewing Nick Zedd) – mouths off to a judge (the incomparable Taylor Mead – RIP) while defending a human teacher and is ordered to be relocated to the doomed planet. After meeting with the ambassador of Nova Terra (Emmanuelle Chaulet of Eric Rohmer’s BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS), Malkonian learns that perhaps the LaFont Corporation hasn’t been entirely truthful about what really happens on Nova Terra and vows to stop the destruction.

Wittenstein’s first sync sound film is overflowing with amazing set pieces and incredible performances. Some scenes were shot at the New York Hall of Science – including an Ames room and a number of other dazzling optical illusions. Look out for cameos from Michael J. Anderson (TWIN PEAKS), Wittenstein’s father as the insidious Andreas LaFont, and the director herself on Nova Terra.


THE DEFLOWERING
1994, 40 min.

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old are dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” – Antonio Gramsci, PRISON NOTEBOOKS.

The quote above opens Wittenstein’s third and final film – THE DEFLOWERING. Again featuring some of Wittenstein’s tried and true players – Holly Adams, Emmanuelle Chaulet, Taylor Mead, and more – the film concerns yet another evil corporation this time HUXLEY BIO-TECH and their means to sanitize/beautify this world of ours. This time Wittenstein (with Ostringer back on production design) takes the costuming helm as well.

The TIB (Total Immune Breakdown) virus has left the planet reeling and lethal allergic reaction are at an all time high. Huxley’s efforts to produce perfect, designer children that are immune to viruses have had the side effect of hyper-allergic reactions. Why isn’t anything being done about allergies? No one wants to fund it! With the mortality rate skyrocketing, can mankind bounce back and feel the soft caress of skin against skin ever again or will the line at the Holo-Memorial Funeral Home grow ever longer?

MIL KDU DES : X,MD


MIL KDU DES :: X,MD
edited by Aaron Schimberg, 1932/2018
30-40ish min, USA


THURSDAY, MAY 24 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, MAY 24 – 10:00 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE   ///   FB EVENT

A killer is stalking the streets taking victims seemingly at random each time there’s a full moon. The local police are baffled. Enter Professor Xavier and his rouges gallery of scientist pals. Convinced one of them could in fact be the murderer the professor subjects them to a series of tests in order to suss out the guilty party. Meanwhile, a bumbling newspaper man has snuck in and has perhaps bitten off more than he can chew. Will they crack the case before the next full moon?? (Spoiler alert: they do.)

Fay Wray (hello) stars in this 30’s Old Dark House romp alongside Lee Tracy and Lionel Atwill. Beautiful sets abound with special effects by Max Factor (ooh la la) and a brand new score by Brooklyn’s own MIL KDU DES. Not seen at the Goth Bodega since last years YOURS MINE & HOURS, MIL KDU DES combine forces with Aaron Schimberg once again and return with some new tricks up their sleeves as well as plenty of fog juice.

AN EVENING WITH BLACK MASK

SATURDAY, MAY 5TH – 7:30 PM
BEN MOREA IN ATTENDANCE
(This event is $10)
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

In October 1966, a group calling itself Black Mask appeared in New York City with the vitriolic statement: “DESTROY THE MUSEUMS — our struggle cannot be hung on walls… Goddamn your culture, your science, your art… The industrialist, the banker, the bourgeoisie, with their unlimited pretense and vulgarity, continue to stockpile art while they slaughter humanity.”

Accompanying this statement was a press release, explaining the group’s intentions: “On Monday, October 10 at 12:30 p.m. we will close the Museum of Modern Art. This symbolic action is taken at a time when America is on a path of total destruction, and signals the opening of another front in the world-wide struggle against suppression. We seek a total revolution, cultural as well as social and political — LET THE STRUGGLE BEGIN.”

This was the first appearance of the Black Mask group, a small collective who sought “to turn art into an instrument of revolution.” Founded by artists Ben Morea and Ron Hahne, Black Mask centered around the publication of a broadsheet, Black Mask, and a series of increasingly radical politico-artistic actions, directed primarily against cultural institutions in New York City. The group shut down the MoMA, picketed Wall Street, occupied Columbia University, dumped garbage on Lincoln Center as part of a “culture exchange,” and successfully broke into the Pentagon.

By 1968, the group was moving in away from symbolic actions and moving towards more direct political action. In May 1968, after 10 issues, Black Mask ceased publication of its broadsheet and reconstituted itself as a dedicated revolutionary group, Up Against the Wall Motherfucker. UAW-MF disbanded and went underground in 1969.

Despite their short combined existence, the groups’ writings and aesthetics echoed out into the wider radical political sphere. The English radical group King Mob dedicated the third issue of its self-titled publication to Black Mask and UAW-MF, and two of the group’s co-founders, David and Stuart Wise, were contributors to Black Mask. One of the few American members of the Situationist International, Tony Verlaan, was also a contributor to Black Mask. Additionally, the Strasbourg AFGES who played a significant role in the events of May ‘68 in France, republished Black Mask’s writings in 1966. The Black Mask / UAW-MF group even had some influence on The Weathermen, whose co-founders had intermingled with its members and borrowed from their “militant style and attitude.”

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of May ‘68, Spectacle will be welcoming artist & revolutionary Ben Morea to introduce three films that captured the radical political gestures of the Black Mask / UAW-MF crew.


THE CASE AGAINST LINCOLN CENTER
Dir. Newsreel, 1968
USA, 12 min.
Spanish with English Subtitles.
GARBAGE
Dir. Newsreel, 1968
USA, 10 min.
English.
THE SIXTH SIDE OF THE PENTAGON
Dir. Chris Marker & François Reichenbach, 1968
USA, 26 min.
English.
Special thanks to Ben Morea, Third World Newsreel, & Icarus Films.

MAYDAY 1971 RAW

On May Day 2018, Spectacle is proud to present MAYDAY 1971 RAW; a documentary using footage shot and edited in 1971, by an early ad hoc collective of 25 of the earliest indy videomakers called Mayday Video, that included the infamous video pirates the Videofreex. This revised and expanded version was directed and edited by Videofreex member Skip Blumberg in 2017; a utopian call to arms for the 21st century.

Videofreex, one of the earliest video collectives, was formed in 1969, and produced over 1,500 tapes and edits in their decade of working together. As early adopters of video camera technology, the ‘freex were constantly shooting footage; creating guerilla television for the counterculture as they made their way through the political turmoil of the late ‘60s and ‘70s.

Two of their founding members, David Cort and Parry Teasdale, met at Woodstock Music Festival, Sony Portapaks in hand. Joined by Mary Curtis Ratcliff, and working out of a Manhattan loft, they eventually grew to ten members, including Chuck Kennedy, Nancy Cain, Skip Blumberg, Davidson Gigliotti, Carol Vontobel, Bart Friedman and Ann Woodward.

In 1971, the collective moved to a shared house in Lanesville, NY, where they launched Lanesville TV, probably the world’s first pirate television station with a transmitter supported by Abbie Hoffman. Speaking back to the three TV networks of the time (CBS, NBC, & ABC), they produced documentary work with Fred Hampton, the Weathermen, Yoko Ono, the Hell’s Angels, and Shirley Clarke, to name just a few.


MAYDAY 1971 RAW
Dir. Skip Blumberg / Videofreex / Mayday Video, 1971 / 2017.
Amerika. 66 min.
English
TUESDAY, MAY 1ST – 7:30 PM
FILMMAKER IN ATTENDANCE
(This event is $10)
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

“The more of those kids, people who have never been arrested, that you bring in that jail… What they been taught, they know better now. So Momma, Daddy, nobody can tell ‘em. They found it out for themselves.”

On May 1st, 1971, 35,000 protesters occupied West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. for a massive series of direct actions against the war in Vietnam. They blocked traffic intersections and the entrances to several federal buildings. Their message: “If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.”

Mayday Video, a collective comprising the Videofreex and other independent video pioneers, was formed to document these protests from the inside. Conceived of as the counterculture’s own press coverage, Mayday Video captured the event with a verité approach made possible by the relatively new technology of video cameras. MAYDAY 1971 RAW is compiled from Mayday Video’s original footage and gives an experiential account of that tumultuous week of radical political action.

By May 7th, over 12,000 protesters were arrested, crowding D.C. central lockup. In one of the film’s most striking sequences, the D.C. Metropolitan Police become so overwhelmed that they lock one arrested Mayday Video member, Davidson Gigliotti, in a holding cell with his video camera, allowing him to record from inside the jail. Watching today, one cannot help but think of the repressive police tactics and mass arrests in Washington D.C. during the 2017 presidential inauguration.

MAYDAY 1971 RAW uses minimal editorializing or exposition, giving contemporary audiences just enough context. Interspersed with footage of the protests are on-the-fly interviews that give a vivid sense of the political climate with a wide breadth of voices – from organizers of the protests like Rennie David of the Chicago 8 to rabid anti-communists to working-class residents of D.C. who feel ambivalence about the protesters’ tactics even while supporting their message.

Covering not only the anti-war movement, but also feminism, black power, and the emergent LGBTQ movment, MAYDAY 1971 RAW is a partisan time-capsule that speaks not only to the past, but also urgently to our present.

Special thanks to Skip Blumberg, Videofreex, and Mayday Video.

ZHE ZHE SEASON ONE AND PREVIEW OF SEASON TWO

ZHE ZHE: SEASON ONE AND PREVIEW OF SEASON TWO
Dir. E.J. O’Hara, 2014
USA, 102 min.  – 153 min.
SUNDAY, MAY 6 – 5PM (Season 1 only)
SATURDAY, MAY 12 – 7:30 PM (THE WHOLE SHEBANG) – PLUS Q and A WITH CREATORS! PLUS TREATS!
TUESDAY, MAY 22 – 7:30 PM (A little of each Season) – SURPRISE VISIT BY RUBY
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 – 10 PM (Whatever you want) 

ONLINE TICKETS HERE
FB EVENT

The line between satire and sincere documentation is wonderfully hard to measure, similar to the humor of Casey Jane Ellison and incinerating the year-old question “Why is Millennial Humor so Weird? If anything, since being released in 2014, the laugh-lines of ZHE ZHE have materialized into a new thrilling ‘n’ chilling reality. Chewie Swindleborne sells her inflated body for cultural export to Dubai, and now her Ameri-can-a would be bought there with Ethereum from an AI assistant. Mona DeLisa is a timeless wannabe starlet who endures however many OS updates, and Jean D’Arc’s cool will never go out of style. Perhaps the biggest cultural shift since the release of ZHE ZHE Season One is the fall of Lena Dunham, which opened up space for web series featuring leads that are not white or from NYC.Not enough has been said about web series ZHE ZHE, which is starting to release episodes from the highly anticipated second season.  The series is based around the contentious relationships of three band-mates, who are magnificently dressed, loudly expressed, and desperate for any foothold of fame in a drippy and stupidly chic New York City.  ZHE ZHE (made up of Jean D’Arc, Mona DeLisa, and the double-crossing Chewie Swindleburne) claws for space in an environment where culture is already buried deep in debt to itself.
Spectacle is also hosting some members of the cast of ZHE ZHE for some of these May screenings. Read some more about the series here, Here and HERE!!
 “The web series is its own brand of surreal, one where extreme earnestness sits next to the offensively rude and “hashtag problematic”. You’ve probably never seen anything like it.” – Ripley Soprano for MASK MAGAZINE
ZHE ZHE (full credits):
written by Leah Hennessey (Jean D’arc)
Created by Leah Hennessey, Ruby McCollister (Mona DeLiza), Emily Allan (Chewie Swindleburne) and E.J O’ Hara
Cinematography by Max Lakner
 
SEASON 1:
Episode 1 – That’s what Zhe Said 12:35
Episode 2 – It’s a Mad Blonde World 14:00
Episode 3 – SICK 13:59
Episode 4 – Zhemale Trouble 15: 54
Episode 5 – Everything You Always Wanted to Know about L.A. 20:33
Episode 6 – The Musical 25:06
SEASON 2:
Episode 1 – Back from the Dead 23:54
Episode 2 – Battle of the Bend 27:01
Episode 3 – (COMING OUT MAY 11) Five High School Paintings
 

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: OLIVIER ASSAYAS’ ELDORADO


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25th
ONE NIGHT ONLY – 7:30 PM
GET ADVANCE TICKETS HERE

Join Match Cuts and Spectacle Theater for Olivier Assayas’ rarely-screened documentary Eldorado.

ELDORADO
dir. Olivier Assayas, 2008.
USA, 88 min.
English.

Fascinated by the world of the famous choreographer, Angelin Preljocaj, Olivier Assayas attempts to reveal the secrets of creation by shooting the moments of joy and anguish of an ambitious new piece – a choreography to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Sonntags-Abschied.

Text courtesy of MK2 Films

MATCH CUTS is a weekly podcast centered on video, film and the moving image. Match Cuts Presents is dedicated to presenting de-colonialized cinema, LGBTQI films, Marxist diatribes, video art, dance films, sex films, and activist documentaries with a rotating cast of presenters from all spectrums of the performing and plastic arts and surrounding humanities. Match Cuts is hosted by Nick Faust and Kachine Moore.

NIMROD WORKMAN AND WITHOUT COAL


NIMROD WORKMAN: TO FIT MY OWN CATEGORY
dir. Scott Faulkner and Anthony Slone, 35 min.
1975, USA
WITHOUT COAL
dir. Addison Post, 20 min.
2018, USA
FRIDAY, APRIL 6 – 7:30 PM with Q&A by Addison Post
THURSDAY, APRIL 19 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, APRIL 29 – 7:30 PM with Q&A by Addison Post
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Documents and images of West Virginia often revolve around natural resource extraction and the human labor entwined in it. Coal mining depletes the human body and creates monuments of wealth for land speculators and business owners. But in the case of Nimrod Workman, it also refines more noble priorities of union solidarity, humor, and songs for every occasion. Last month a wildcat strike lasted over two weeks, bringing a 5% wage increase for West Virginia teachers. The persevering spirit came from the same state of Mother Jones, the United Mine Workers, and Blair Mountain.
The short film “Without Coal” shows sweeping natural views of West Virginia – filled with the ache of a lost industry but also a landscape changed by ore extraction. The coal industry has been creeping away long enough that the towns have emptied and very few believe the Republican rhetoric that these jobs can come back. Director Addison Post seeks out those who are building new options and trying out new identities, while dealing with the loss of community and the huge financial burden.
“To Fit My Own Category” is a 1975 film from Appalshop, the venerable media and education center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Nimrod Workman is a former union coal miner, who was forced to retire due to black lung and a back injury. He too has to adjust to a life without coal, although his spirit remains tied to his union past and he still pledges to fight for economic justice. He sings songs on any subject, whether God, food, love, or union solidarity. At one point the septuagenarian swings upside-down from a ladder like a kid, making his wife laugh and tell the director that this is what she has to put up with.
A portion of the proceeds from this event will go towards an NEH-supported project to improve access to Appalshop Archive’s collections and create public events fostering civic engagement, reflection, and inquiry. Through its Humanities Access Challenge program, the NEH will match non-federal contributions dollar-for-dollar through April 30, 2018. For more information about this project, please see the press release at appalshoparchive.org.

SPECTACLE and RADICAL HARDWARE PRESENT DARKER THAN AMBER – 16MM

SPECTACLE and RADICAL HARDWARE PRESENT: DARKER THAN AMBER
Dir. Robert Clouse, 1970
96 minutes. America.
16mm

SATURDAY, APRIL 14 – 8 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE
“Travis McGee is having a conference with one of his clients. Business as usual.”
From the depths of the most private recesses of the Frumkes Collection comes a one-night only 16mm screening of Robert Clouse’s blazing, amazing, bourbon-slugging revenge picture Darker Than Amber. Starring B-legend Rod Taylor as no-nonsense private detective/muscleman Travis McGee, the movie begins as a sweetly wallpapered Miami love story, but soon sees McGee following a blood trail all the way to the Caribbean, hellbent on avenging the death of hot young thing Suzy Kendall. He sniffs out a crime ring with a special appetite for rich “loners” – all they need is a pretty girl, a cruise ticket and a nice inheritance. As Travis thrashes his way to the heart of the action, Darker Than Amber greases its wheels with late-night jazz riffs and an old-fashioned fistfight that mincemeats the words of mere mortals.