BCH

CIPC #81: Zorro S1 E36, The sergeant regrets

I hope you guys have been dutifully spreading the word about the Zorro-opening, because, today, Zorro rides again! Yes! We’re now a bit further in the series but still in the first season, episode 36 to be precise. This time, it is magistrado Varga who our eponymous hero is vying against. The dastardly bastard is trying to get his hands on a list of noblemen who are trying to form a front against the oppressors. Of course, Zorro prevents this, but before he does so, he can be seen playing chess with his faithful servant Bernardo.

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CIPC #80: Captain Kronos – Vampire hunter

Captain Kronos – Vampire hunter is not exactly the sort of title that inspires a lot of confidence, but, surprisingly, the movie is not that bad. Now, bear in mind that it is a seventies Hammer movie, so you shouldn’t be expecting The Shawshank redemption, but if you just want a fun little adventure movie with some supernatural motives sprinkled in it’s serviceable enough. When I first watched, it was not clear to me at all why it was advertised as a horror movie, let alone why it was rated R – it looks very bright, there is almost no blood, the dialogue is light and joky – but then we’re treated to the following gruesome image:

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CIPC #79: New York

When we last visited New York exactly four weeks ago, a duck-voiced serial killer was wandering the streets of the big apple, strewing mutilated women’s bodies in rivers and apartments. This time, terrorism casts its lugubrious shadow over the East coast. The movie focuses on Omar who arrived from India to study some unspecified topic at the New York State University, because if he can make it there he can make it anywhere. On his first day, he meets Sam – who will become both a good friend of his and an important plot point – and plays a games of chess with him. At this point, everything is still sunny and, as this is after all a Bollywood movie, a song inevitably breaks out.

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CIPC #78: Zorro S1 E11, Double trouble for Zorro

Long, long before Batman there was already a wealthy man living a double life as a masked and caped vigilante, a superman in everything but the name, battling corrupt law enforcement as well as everyday criminals, with a select few loyal servants who know his identity and help him in his endeavours. That man is Zorro, alias Diego de la Vega. He sprung from the pen of Johnston McCulley in 1919 in the novel The curse of Capistrano. Since then, numerous other novel, short stories, movies, and television series were based on the character, one of the most famous being the 1957 live action series by Disney with Guy Williams playing the lead. The following scene occurs in the 11th episode of the series, wherein the nefarious captain Sánchez Monastario sets a trap, which de la Vega avoids with a fox’s cunning.

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CIPC #77: Samsung advertisement

Samsung is known as one of the biggest and most famous electronics manufacturers in the world, but it is also an adjective used in music to describe a piece in which the vocals are performed by a singer, typically tenor or bass, by the name of Sam.1 The name of the brand is Korean, of course, and apparently means three stars, which must be rather awkward in the age of Amazon when everything is rated on a five star scale rather than the Michelin-style three, for now it suggests mediocrity, a vague competence maybe, but no more. However, in view of the usual fare on this blog, simple competence would already be quite welcome. Can they actually reach that lofty height? Let’s see!

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CIPC #76: Mickey Maus No.48

One of the biggest names in popular culture I have not mentioned so far is the almighty mouse, the great Mickey himself. Of course, there are so many comics and cartoons that it is statistically certain that at some point somewhere in some of his adventures, chess was involved. My task, then, was only to find this point.1 I failed. Kind of. I did find a nice,big chessboard on the cover of one of the issues of the Mickey Maus magazine, but it is disappointing in two ways: firstly, it is not Mickey playing but Donald Duck, secondly, I turned to the German edition, as the spelling already made clear.

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CIPC #75: Lo squartatore di New York

Last time, I spotlighted an example of the spaghetti western. This week, I want to show that other famous genre of Italian movie: the giallo. ‘Giallo’ just means ‘yellow’ in Italian, but the term is also used for crime mystery pulp fiction after a famous series of such books named ‘i libri gialli‘, i.e. ‘the yellow books’. From there, it was a logical step to also apply the name to movies with similar themes. One of the most famous directors in the genre is Lucio Fulci and one of his more popular movies is Lo squartatore di New York or The New York ripper if you prefer Shakespeare to Dante.

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CIPC #74: Botte di natale

For more than two decades, from 1967 to 1994 to be precise, Terence Hill and Bud Spencer where a mainstay of the spaghetti western genre. They figured together in no less than sixteen movies. The last of these is our subject today: botte di natale (the fight before Christmas), a play on words with notte di natale (Christmas night), in which a gunslinger is tasked by his mother to bring his bounty hunter brother home for Christmas. We’re not interested in this duo, though, but rather in the sheriff and his deputy, because throughout the movie they play chess with each other a number of times, their games usually ending by something landing on the board and scattering the pieces in all directions.

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CIPC #73: Ronzoni commercial

If you have read some of my other blog posts, you will have noticed that I usually start with a short text providing context for the subject at hand. But sometimes, I simply fail. Sometimes, not even the pen of Dickens, Milton or the Great Bard himself could do justice to the truth. Sometimes, words are not enough. This, I think, is one of those times. I do not know how to prepare you. I do not know how to soften the blow. The only thing I can suggest is that you cast your eye on the image below and marvel. Marvel at the sight of a giant rotino playing chess.

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CIPC #72: Maigret S35, Mon ami Maigret

I have a conjecture: every sufficiently well-known fictional detective will sooner or later be confronted with chess. A slightly – but only very slightly – stronger variation of this conjecture would be: every sufficiently well-known fictional detective will sooner or later end up on this site. As evidence for this conjecture, their are e.g. the cases of Poirot, Columbo, Holmes and, since today, Maigret. As you probably know, Maigret is a French detective in the police force, created by Belgian Georges Simenon, which makes this extra appropriate for this site. In this post, we’ll talk about the long running tv show Maigret with Bruno Cremer as the eponymous hero.1

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