By Wheeler Winston Dixon

"In this tidy, taut, and tangy study, Dixon . . . covers the bizarre and wacky in poor health movies of the period--from director Roger Corman's Little store of Horrors (1960) to Robert Downey Sr.'s Putney Swope (1969)--and he additionally pops around the pond to rejoice the pleased nihilism of the strange British works of Richard Lester and Tony Richardson. Dixon [also] devotes chapters to violence within the silent cinema and the Nineteen Thirties B Westerns of D. Ross Lederman; the pushed motion pictures of Mexico's prolific 'phantom' filmmaker Juan Orol; director Richard Sarafian's existential highway motion picture Vanishing Point (1971); the 'invisible cinema' of the ignored Marcel Hanoun; and the romantic fatalism of French auteur Max Ophüls . . . lucid and compelling." - Choice

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Sample text

In one of his finest performances, David Warner plays the impractical, daydreaming Marxist, Morgan Delt, who is divorced from his wife Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave), but cannot give her up, and particularly resents the idea of her remarrying the upper crust and conventional Charles Napier (Robert Stephens), and “creating a whole bunch of little Napiers” in the process. ” Morgan also has a fetish for gorillas, and likes to dress up in a gorilla suit, as well as thumping on his chest as a gorilla would whenever he feels in the mood to bed Leonie, who still retains a large degree of affection for him.

However, this time, Morgan has stepped too far over the edge, and the authorities intervene. Leonie is restored to Charles, while Morgan is committed to a rather bucolic insane asylum, where he happily tends a large flowerbed he has created in the shape of a hammer and sickle. Leonie comes to visit Morgan one last time in the asylum, visibly pregnant, and whispers to Morgan that the child is his, not Napier’s. Morgan quietly smiles with triumphant satisfaction, and returns to his gardening. 0004 Dark Humor in Films of the 1960s  at the time, in which the Bohemian and upper crust classes comfortably mixed together in an uneasy but generally peaceful truce.

Carefully preserved in his scrapbook of clippings is perhaps the only positive mention of his name in the public record, enshrined next to numerous obituaries of his mother; tellingly, there are no cuttings in Lederman’s files on his father at all. In the early 1920s, Lederman was involved in a baseball game on the beach in Venice, when a young woman almost drowned in the surf, and Lederman was able to rescue her. As the unsourced clipping notes, Ross Lederman, one of the Venice ball players who went to Seal Beach Sunday to play the team of that city, proved himself a hero when he risked his life in the choppy surf to rescue a young woman who had been caught in the crosstide and was being carried out to sea.

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