BCH

CIPC #244: Le château de verre

Today’s subject, a French film from 1950, is a good example of how getting a bunch of talent together does not necessarily yield a great movie, even if there’s not really anything wrong with the project. The director, René Clément, was one of the most respected European directors of his age and he does a good job here.  Michèle Morgan and Jean Marais, who play the main roles, were highly respected actors and they do their work well. But they have nothing to work with. The problem lies with the scrip. It would be a stretch to call it bad, it’s just that there’s so damn little of it. The whole plot fits on a stamp — and you don’t even have to write very small: a woman goes to Paris for an affair.1 Before we get to that, her husband can be seen playing chess with another woman:

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CIPC #243: Luther S1E1

Luther sounds like it should be a documentary series about the eponymic theologist and his ninety-five theses, or perhaps about his royal namesake. But no. It is about a certain John Luther, played by Idris Elba, who works as a detective in London. Yes, we are back to the good old crime series. Obviously, chess pops up. In fact, it pops up where it should: in the first episode of the first season, right after the opening credits have ended. That way, you can skip the rest of the series.1

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CIPC #242: Lego chess sets box covers

I can imagine Nintendo disappearing. I can imagine Hot Wheels disappearing. But I can not image Lego disappearing. The ingenious connecting system, the sturdy material, and the simple, modular pieces allow for limitless possibilities of combining and recombining to your heart’s content. You can make whatever you want from Lego. So naturally, you make a chess board and pieces. The Lego company has pre-emptively released a couple of sets just to satisfy the obvious demand for a Lego chessboard and pieces. For these sets, they had to come up with box art. For some of them, they just put the pieces in their starting positions. For others, they got a little more creative. That’s where I come in.

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CIPC #241: Hogan’s heroes S4 E21, Up in Klink’s room

A prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany is a rather unlikely setting for a comedy sitcom and perhaps it would be hard to get it greenlit nowadays. But back in the sixties this was apparently not a problem, because not only did Hogan’s heroes run for six seasons, it also won two Emmy awards. Robert Hogan is the main character, who leads secret operations for the allied forces from a prisoner camp. The camp is lead by Wilhelm Klink,1 assisted by an incredibly stupid sergeant with the stereotypically German name of Schultz. Klink and Hogan have a weird relationship, where Klink has a grudging respect for Hogan but thinks himself smarter and Hogan has a friendly contempt for Klink and knows himself smarter. At the beginning of the twenty first episode of the fourth season, the two are facing off on the chessboard.

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CIPC #240: Lewis S5 E3, The mind has mountains

If you read this blog, there is a good chance you like dissecting chess positions that occur in movies or television series. But maybe you don’t like spending watching movies. Well, then I have the episode for you! Just a couple of minutes in, the credits are barely over, before a single person has died, we see a game of chess being played. As it turns out, the people in the picture below are participants in a clinical trial for a new anti-depressive drug.


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CIPC #239: Ava Max, Kings & Queens

Perhaps I have been indoctrinated by Pepsi, but to me Ava Max sounds like some kind of soda. Or perhaps like some obscure British sports car from the seventies. But it does not sound like a person. Possibly because it isn’t. It just happens to be the name under which certain music-adjacent sound files featuring vocals by a certain Amanda Koci are published. Some of said files have found an appreciative public and were accompanied by short cinematic efforts, which also found wide distribution.1 In one of those, entitled Kings & Queens, the following scene occurs:

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CIPC #238: The untouchables S4 E3, The chess game

The untouchables were originally a special team of incorruptible agents tasked with fighting organised crime in Chicago. It then became the title of an autobiographically book by one of them, which in turn was made into a massively popular television series. In the third episode of the fourth season, Eliot Ness, who usually takes on Al Capone and gangsters of that ilk, fights Ira Bauer, one of the most hardened criminals in the city, one of the greatest threats to not just to Chicago but to all of the United States: someone who sells champagne. Yeah, prohibition was pretty stupid.

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CIPC #237: Peep show S3 E3, Shrooming

Peep show is a critically acclaimed sitcom that cemented David Mitchell and Robert Webb as one of the great comedic duos in British television. It is about Mark, a miserable man eking out a miserable existence working a miserable job for a miserable boss. The worst part of his life is his room mate. A good example of why this is, is provided by the third episode of the third season: Shrooming. Jez — that’s the room mate1 — decides tries to get a desperately sick Mark to go on a business trip so that he can do magic mushrooms in their apartment with his love interest and some punk who has previously destroyed the door to their toilet.

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CIPC #236: Killer7

I don’t know a whole lot about video games, but even I can tell from a very short bit of gameplay footage that Killer7 is a weird, weird game. There are the cel shaded graphics, which are highly unusual. It looks like a standard shooter, but apparently it’s a rail shooter. There’s a sort of ghost in a gimp suit that comes down on bungee cords sometimes to give you tips in an incomprehensible language. And the plot is bizarre. It is set in an alternative (at the time of release) present and deals with a certain Harman Smith who has the ability to physically morph into seven other people. He uses this unusual skill to hire his crew of alter egos out as hitmen.1

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CIPC #235: The Addams family S1 E34, Winning of Morticia Addams

Today, we will talk about a group of weirdos with strange customs, largely shunned by society but quite happy on their own. No, not chess players, the Addams family. We will talk about the very last episodes from the first season of the original series. The plot starts when uncle Fester reads some ridiculous report by a psychologist1 in a newspaper stating that couples that fight are really the happy ones. This worries him, because Gomez and Morticia Addams never fight and always seem to delight in each other’s company. At some point, they are even playing chess:

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