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Q: Looking for a Strange, Old Movie. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Question  
Subject: Looking for a Strange, Old Movie.
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: ajg36-ga
List Price: $21.01
Posted: 10 Jul 2003 09:22 PDT
Expires: 09 Aug 2003 09:22 PDT
Question ID: 227441
Hello there,

I am looking for the name, references, and as much information as
possible about a movie I saw a long time ago. I saw it around the time
I was 8, which is around 10 years ago, and which is why my memory of
it is so fuzzy. I might even be mixing details from more than one
film, but this is unlikely; I distincly remember this being a singular
entity. Also, I didn't see it in the States; I saw it in Venezuela, a
spanish-speaking country, and hence the film might have been
dubbed/subbed/renamed/butchered/etc. So here is what I remember:

[Setting]
- There was a lot of action in various parts.
- Now that I think about it, this was probably a fairly weird film.
Very strange indeed.
- Since I saw it about 10 years ago, the movie is at least that old,
and probably older (but I don't know how much). It was in Color
though.
- The whole film had a Pirate-y feeling (a la Pirates of the
Caribbean). I think that was the era it was set in.
- I don't think it was a serious film. It probably had some form of
humour: either the ridiculous type, or a dark-and-noir type.
- I don't think this was of your standard Hollywood blockbuster
variety. It was probably a foreign/artsy/independent film. In fact,
the theater where I saw it was known for putting on off-beat,
"different," and "creative" films.

[Plot]
- I think the format of the movie was in the form of a conversation
between two characters (probably men). One of them would, I guess, ask
questions and listen, and then the other one would "tell" the story.
As he told the story, the "action" would thus unfold. The "teller"
might have been himself in various parts of his own story.
- I don't know if the camera went back and forth between the
conversation and the "action," but I think it did so at least two
times, possibly at the beginning, and then at the end. But, as I said,
it might have been more times.
- I think the "conversation" was something of an interrogation. The
"teller" of the story was sort of trying to save his own life, by
talking to the other guy.
- Perhaps it wasn't really an interrogation, but instead: Say the
"teller" was sentenced to die, and somehow before that happens he gets
to talk to this other guy. He thus tried to prolong his life by
telling this whole story (which was long), maybe as a way to distract
the other guy, or simply to postpone his death.
- The story might have been made up (i.e. fake) and over-the-top
precisely so that it would last longer and distract the other guy even
more.
- Finally, I don't know why, but I think to kill the "teller" what
they were going to do was cut off his ponytail. Sort of like Samson
(from the Bible) I suppose. Maybe this was a joke or something, as if
they were going to behead him but they really only cut his ponytail.

[Name]
- For some reason, I think the name of the movie, in spanish, was "El
Angel de la Muerte," which translates into "The Angel of Death."
- That is why I think there is an element of death in the conversation
between the two men.
- My theory of the name makes some sense to me because I think one of
the themes of the movie was this big, dark, black, nasty-looking bird
who very much looked like death itself. I don't know what exactly the
purpose of this bird was (other than to kill, probably), but it scared
the living bejeesus out of me when I saw it as a kid. It might not
even be a bird, but it definitely "flew." Maybe it was some sort of
aerial version of the Grim Reaper; maybe a fusion between said Reaper
and a bird. I don't know. Finally, I think this "creature" had some
sort of ball-and-chain (metal?) contraption tied to its feet. Maybe it
was a weapon, or some sort of decoration. The creature appeared flying
and screeching at least a couple of times.

[Random Bits]
- I think at some point there was a big huge guy swinging full-sized
ships, which looked like galleons from the spanish armada, and which
were all tied up with a chain or a rope.
- I also think at some point some people might have been on some sort
of moon (maybe THE moon), but it was obviously a ridiculous moon
(which is why I think there is humour in the film). The moon was about
the size of a hot-air balloon, but it was a half-moon, you know, those
that have roughly the shape of a banana. So during this "scene" I
think they fall and end up hanging off of the moon, by one of its
pointy ends.
- I recently spoke to a friend about this film and he suggested it
might have been some version Gulliver. I googled it, and tried IMDB,
and I don't think that it is Gulliver. However, there are various
versions of Gulliver and I didn't take a look at all of them, partly
because some of the versions have no information about them at all.
- Regardless, I know for a fact that it is NOT the 1996 version of
Gulliver starring Ted Danson; like I said, it is at least 10 or so
years old.

Thank you very much for your time and efforts. That is all of the
information I can recall. Some of it might be wrong, some superfluous,
or whatever; however, I figured the more information the better, so I
put it all down. I'd really appreciate it if you could find this film
for me. I just saw Pirates of the Caribbean and it lit up my interest
in this film all over again, effectively driving me insane over it.
Well, thanks again.
Answer  
Subject: Re: Looking for a Strange, Old Movie.
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 10 Jul 2003 10:42 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Dear ajg36,

After reading your description, I immediately recognized the movie you
have in mind: It's the 1988 fantasy-adventure film "The Adventures of
Baron Munchhausen", a British-German co-production, written and
directed by Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame).

Almost all scenes and elements you mentioned are easy to recognize. To
mention only some examples:
- One of Baron Munchhausen's companions, Albrecht (the 'strongest man
in the world'), destroys a fleet of Turkish sailing warships by
swinging them like toys on their anchor chains, just like you
remember.
- They visit the 'Man in the Moon' (with a hot-air balloon!), and the
scene with the crescent takes place much like you described.
- There is a dark, dangerous 'Angel of Death' (with dark wings) and
also a giant three-headed vulture-like bird.
- Baron Munchhausen (who wore a pigtail) was to be beheaded by the
Turks, but miraculously he was saved, with the pigtail playing a role
in it, if I remember correctly.
- The whole ambience of the movie was indeed reminding of pirate
films, since it played in a (imaginative) 18th-century setting.

There can be no doubt - it must be "The Adventures of Baron
Munchhausen"! Unfortunately, the movie proved to be a huge flop in the
major markets in 1988. As a result, there are not many pictures from
that film on websites. But the good news is, you can buy that movie as
VHS and DVD in the USA!

At Amazon.com, you can get it for $23.99 (DVD) and $14.95 (VHS),
respectively:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0767809335/qid%3D1057858458/
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6304352611/qid%3D1057858385/

Should you prefer a version for European DVD players or PAL-TV sets
instead of an American version, you might want to buy the British DVD
from Amazon UK, for 15.99:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004CZTV/ref=ase_imdb-uk/026-2511834-0566058

And just in case you are interested in the German dubbed version, you
can get it from Amazon Germany, for EUR 25,99 (DVD) and EUR 12,99
(VHS):
http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004RYUK/qid%3D1057858764/028-0848187-6615760
http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004RLH5/qid%3D1057858804/

To learn more about the movie "The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen",
follow these links to the Internet Movie Database:
http://us.imdb.com/Title?0096764
http://us.imdb.com/Posters?0096764

Hope this answers your question!
Best regards,
Scriptor
ajg36-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00
My hat is off to you, Sir. If I recall correctly, this is the second
time you've helped me uncover my mysterious childhood. I simply can't
believe both answers have been so good, so accurate, so perfect
really. Anyway, congratulations for a fantastic job, since this truly
is an excellent answer!

Thanks again.

Comments  
Subject: Re: Looking for a Strange, Old Movie.
From: journalist-ga on 10 Jul 2003 11:00 PDT
 
Scriptor, that has to be it.  I read the description and didn't
connect it but after your suggestion, I saw the connection
immediately!  Especially that nasty bird Robin Williams piloted.  lol 
Good job!!

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