Tuesday, November 12, 2013

forgotten cinema : Who Finds A Friend, Finds A Treasure

hi there

one of those nostalgia driven, likely to become quite bloated posts coming up, so be fair warned, dear reader.

i really rather like mountains of DVDs in baskets going cheap, if we are honest. in the piles you can usually find some ghastly rubbish, some real gems and indeed some forgotten treasures. i am happy to report that it was the latter i found on a recent journey.

i did one of those little skips of joy thingies when i saw this. well, not an actual skip that i am aware of, one in the mind at least. for some reason i had a whole whack of happy memories from childhood come to mind when i saw this rather familiar artwork.

Who Finds A Friend, Finds A Treasure was one of many films rented from the class petrol station that was at Marton Shops once upon a long ago. it is for some reason one of the few i can very specifically recall renting and watching more than once, this all being in the days before i clocked how you could put wires between two VHS machines and negate the need for multiple rentals.

i can't even remember who i sat and watched this with after biking down to the Marton shops petrol station to rent it. could well have been Burnsy, or Norman Bastard, or even indeed Lulu, to give them code names. i have a suspicion, mind, that it was with Richard and Gillian i watched this, one Sunday morning whilst Mum & Dad were doing whatever. although i probably rented and watched it with all of the people mentioned at different times.

other than the box for the tape being red rather than the usual grey-black crap, something that probably drew me towards the rental, there's not all that much else i recall. here's what i did, then, as well as what i discovered watching again, and bits of history on the film i suppose.

first off, thanks to the magic of the iTwat, i filmed a bit of the menu. why? to give you a blast of the soundtrack.

that song, if you can hear it, is called Movin' Cruisin' apparently, and is by someone called The Oceans. as soon as i heard it on the menu i remembered it, if that makes much sense. it does play pretty much through the entire film. yes, i quite like the song, which is handy as you hear it for 100 minutes or so as the film moves on. i don't recall ever having a reggae phase, but i could on the basis of the quality of the tune.

if you are wondering what exactly the film is about, well, there is sort of a plot. not a particularly brilliant or well thought out one, but a plot all the same.

it starts off with the, for the real want of a better word, protagonist (Terence Hill) in some serious financial trouble. it's all rather convoluted and busy, but basically he asks his Uncle (or similar) for money, gets a treasure map instead, goes to a racecourse, ends up putting on a bet for some shady mob types, bets on a different horse from the one they told him to and thus is in some considerable trouble.

so he runs away.

yes indeed, i did take that picture off the screen with my iTwat on Commodore 64 mode. there are plenty more pictures of this quality to come, fear not. considering i would have last seen this film in 1984 or 1985, never before has my use of C64 camera mode been so spot on.

anyway, Terence runs away from the race track and towards the docks, which is where we meet Bud Spencer, or whatever his name is in the film. Bud (IMDB reckon he is called Charlie in the film) is busy being interviewed by some TV crew in front of a very enthusiastic crowd. to give you an idea of what we considered entertaining and worthwhile in the 80s, all pre-internet and pre-extreme sports as it was, Bud is about to sail around the world, sponsored by a home made marmalade business, in the hope of winning some sort of prize. despite their being no other contestants for the prize. 

why would a home made marmalade company sponsor someone to sail around the world? this was the 80s, as i have mentioned. such things made exceptional sense, in particular when it made no sense at all. a bit like when that Japanese company paid mega millions for Van Gough's Sunflowers painting, an auction that was televised.

by the way, i think back in the mid-80s, i paid £1 or £1.50 to rent this film for the night. close to 30 years later (blimey) i paid R15 for the DVD. at the current exchange rate, i have then paid close on 90p to own the disc, or around US$1.00 for our American friends. actually, i paid double that - don't tell my (considerably) better half, right, but i bought it, packed it away, really felt like watching it, was not going to unpack and so thought it best to just buy another copy at that price and not mention it. 

if for some reason you consider the price i paid too little, you can always go along to the website for the people selling this here and pay 4 (four) times what i did for one copy. 

anyway, Terence stows away on Bud's boat, and keeps eating his food. bit of a fight, bit of an overboard thing, bit of a shark thing and eventually they are sailing, with Bud intent on dropping Terence (who is apparently called Alan in the film) off at the next island. Terence, of course, with the aid of a coin rigs the boat to head to the island on his treasure map. 

the island is quite class. it might be called Pongo Pongo, but the way that one of the most interesting characters in the film says it (pictured in the middle below) makes it sound like Bongo Bongo, which is even more class. at different times in the film it gets all sorts of different names.

after getting shot at a bit (more on that later), Terence and Bud get caught by the Pongo Bongo tribe, led by the tribe's hardman, seen here wielding some sort of magic bone stick and a cane. the very interesting fella in the background (pink undies) seems to be a witch doctor of some description. if for some reason witch doctor is not in fact a description in itself.

in the above image, the village or tribal hardman is about to fight Terence and Bud for some reason. probably tribal honour or proof of worthiness or similar. it does not end well for him, as you might expect, when Bud steps up to the plate.

Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. in England, beyond this film, i can only think of ever seeing one film featuring the two, Miami Supercops i think it was. here in South Africa they are wildly popular, and i am led to believe the same is true in Australia. a good friend in Austria assures me their films are generally well liked there, too. why? not sure, really. i suppose it's possibly the mostly slapstick violence, always of a nature where simplified good always defeats comic-book bad. this was, i believe, the 14th film the two of them made together, with it being made in or before its release in 1981. that is an important thing for the next bit.

of the things i had forgotten about this film, i was surprised to find that i had no memory at all of these dudes.

let me mention this again. it was made in or before 1981. which is the same year as Mad Max 2, so i doubt one copied from the other. it's a couple of years before Frankie Goes To Hollywood made a semi-similar look be something very much in everyone's face, but i suspect the band did not copy it from this film, not with them being admitted Mad Max 2 fans - the song Two Tribes actually relates to that film, and not nuclear war in general, trivia fans.

oh, who are they? some sort of pirates that apparently keep turning up and trying to kidnap the members of the Pongo Bongo tribe to sell as slaves and what have you. they are not, as it turns out, very good at it, but they do look awesome, do they not?

if they had had Wez out of Mad Max 2 they probably would have been much better pirates, if considerably more violent. Wez probably would have got spooked by all that water and the boat, mind.

yes, Terence and Bud do slap them silly and send them back off to the seas. or something like that. but never mind, here is a look at them through the loving lens of the Commodore 64 camera mode on the iTwat.

sorry if this is a kind of all over the place, unstructured look at the film. it's more the nostalgia, really, it's not intended as history as such.

now then, about the only thing i did clearly remember from the film before watching it again - the lunatic Japanese soldier who believes World War II is still very much a going concern, some 35 or so years after the fact.

yes, indeed it was he who was shooting at Terence & Bud when they landed on the island. i probably should have put some spoiler warnings on this post, yeah?

in the absence of the spoiler warning thing, i shall not say too much, other than now, close to 30 years later, i cannot work out why exactly the deranged Japanese soldier became a (up to now at least) lifelong memory and yet i forgot all about the leatherman pirates and the tribal headcase. hey ho, he's an interesting enough character, but debatable as to whether he is worth turning out to have been the most memorable.

probably best to not say much more in case you wish to see the film and would like no possible spoilers, but for the fun of it here's the message at the end of the film.

yeah. as it turns out, the film was made in Florida. as in Florida, America. i am guess it was at a time when it was cheap for one to make a movie in the States, from what i recall these days it costs too much and so they go and make them in other places. 

from what i can work out, what i have got my hands on here is the "cut" version, as in not the "uncut" version. not that anything obscene or offensive has been removed, just that a scene or two were lost for time reasons. for the full details of what's missing, click here

yes, that is the cover in Commodore 64 mode. yes, i have run out of things to say on the film. sorry.

i am not convinced i really wish or need to keep both copies of the film i now have. i imagine i can give one of them away, not sure if anyone wants it though.

oh look, i uploaded another video from a different menu screen, so here's some more of that ace music.

for some reason i thought someone in the world might want to know what the disc looks like, as well as a peek at the other gems of cinema the people selling this film here have on offer.

kindly note that blogger took the decision to rotate the picture, i am guilt free.

right, that's about that then. if for some reason you were thinking "i thought that film Who Finds A Friend, Finds A Treasure was quite class, let me google to see if anyone agrees", then i am happy to say i agree with you. although i remain unconvinced the title should have a comma in it.

what else can i say but thanks for reading!

actually, what i can say, or rather ask, is if anyone recalls bombing down to Marton petrol station and renting this film with me, please let me know!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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