Heads Up, Ears Down

This blog accurately identifies depictions of violence and cruelty toward animals in films. The purpose is to provide viewers with a reliable guide so that such depictions do not come as unwelcome surprises. Films will be accurately notated, providing a time cue for each incident along with a concise description of the scene and perhaps relevant context surrounding the incident. In order to serve as a useful reference tool, films having no depictions of violence to animals will be included, with an indication that there are no such scenes. This is confirmation that the films have been watched with the stated purpose in mind.


Note that the word depictions figures prominently in the objective. It is a travesty that discussions about cruelty in film usually are derailed by the largely unrelated assertion that no animals really were hurt (true only in some films, dependent upon many factors), and that all this concern is just over a simulation. Not the point, whether true or false. We do not smugly dismiss depictions of five-year-olds being raped because those scenes are only simulations. No, we are appalled that such images are even staged, and we are appropriately horrified that the notion now has been planted into the minds of the weak and cruel.


Depictions of violence or harm to animals are assessed in keeping with our dominant culture, with physical abuse, harmful neglect, and similar mistreatment serving as a base line. This blog does not address extended issues of animal welfare, and as such does not identify scenes of people eating meat or mules pulling plows. The goal is to itemize images that might cause a disturbance in a compassionate household.


These notes provide a heads-up but do not necessarily discourage watching a film because of depicted cruelty. Consuming a piece of art does not make you a supporter of the ideas presented. Your ethical self is created by your public rhetoric and your private actions, not by your willingness to sit through a filmed act of violence.

Zou Zou (Zou-Zou)

Zou Zou (Zou-zou). Marc Allégret, 1934.

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Edition screened: Included with Princesse Tam-Tam on Kino Lorber Blu-ray, released 2022. French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 92 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here. Lynne Ramsay, 2018.

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Edition screened: Lionsgate Blu-ray, released 2018. English language. Runtime approximately 90 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Witchhammer

Witchhammer (Kladivo na carodejnice). Otakar Vavra, 1970.

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Edition screened: Included with Viy (Disc 4) in Severin Blu-ray box set All the Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror, released 2021. Czech language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 107 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Viy

Viy (De dødes tjern). Konstantin Ershov and Georgiy Kropachyov, 1967.

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Edition screened: Included with Witchhammer (Disc 4) in Severin Blu-ray box set All the Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror, released 2021. Russian language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 76 minutes.


Summary: Striking a pig.


Details: As a young man beds down on a stack of hay at 10:54, he kicks a friendly pig confined in a neighboring stall in the head for no reason. Not hard enough to injure the animal, but reinforcing our multicultural tradition to treat these kind, intelligent animals with pointless brutality.


Two Witches

Two Witches. Pierre Tsigaridis, 2021.

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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2022. English language. Runtime approximately 98 minutes.


Summary: Dead birds and murder of a rabbit. 


Details:

1) Two dead songbirds are suspended like drying herbs in the witch’s cabin, 4:51-4:56.

2) The witch snaps the neck of a domestic bunny, 1:22:10. This is over quickly and we barely see it.


The Return of Count Yorga

The Return of Count Yorga. Bob Kellijan, 1971.

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Edition screened: Included in Arrow The Count Yorga Collection, released 2022. English language. Runtime approximately 97 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence of harm to animals.


The Arrow set also includes Count Yorga, Vampire (1970).


Princesse Tam-Tam

Princesse Tam-Tam. Edmond T. Gréville, 1935.

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Edition screened: Included with Zou-Zou on Kino Lorber Blu-ray, released 2022. French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 77 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


This double feature of early Josephine Baker films made in France also includes the 1928 short Fireman of the Folies-Bergère (8 minutes, director unknown); a decent multipart documentary about Baker’s career and accomplishments; and two 1-minute excerpts spotlighting the famous dancer.

Identification of a Woman

Identification of a Woman (Identificazione di una donna). Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982.

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Edition screened: Criterion Blu-ray #585, released 2011. Italian language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 130 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Fireman of the Folies-Bergère

Fireman of the Folies-Bergère (Le Pompier des Folies Bergères). Unknown director, 1928.

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Edition screened: Included on Kino Lorber Princesse Tam-Tam/Zouzou Blu-ray, released 2022. Scored, no dialogue track. Runtime approximately 8 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


A fireman’s drunken fantasies provide the framework for entertaining early special effects, a surprising amount of full nudity, and a brief cameo by (clothed) Josephine Baker.

Count Yorga, Vampire

Count Yorga, Vampire (The Loves of Count Iorga, Vampire). Bob Kellijan, 1970.

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Edition screened: Included in Arrow The Count Yorga Collection, released 2022. English language. Runtime approximately 93 minutes.


Summary: Depiction of murdered cat.


Details: In a famous and startling scene, Erica is caught eating a small gray cat, still holding it with blood on its neck, 33:05 - 34:00.


The Arrow set also includes The Return of Count Yorga (1971).


Come Drink with Me

Come Drink with Me (Da zui xia). King Hu, 1966.

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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2022. Mandarin language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 94 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


The Bellboy and the Playgirls

The Bellboy and the Playgirls. Fritz Umgelter and Francis Ford Coppola, 1962.

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Edition screened: Included on Kino Lorber Blu-ray 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection, released 2019. English language. Runtime approximately 97 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. o.5/5


A Dobie Gillis-type bellboy travels physically to various rooms of a hotel in the color sections of the movie, then travels . . . some other way . . . to various historical epochs in the black-and-white sections of the movie, all to learn how to charm the ladies. And to be a private eye. Ultimately, we all learn why people walk out of theaters and throw televisions out the window.


I presume one director made the color sections and the other made the b-&-w sections. For one moment early in the film I anticipated that quick checking would clarify this, but I quickly matured into not caring. The title sequence is entertaining, made in good late-50s off-register commercial style.


America as Seen by a Frenchman

America as Seen by a Frenchman. François Reichenbach, 1960.

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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2020. French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 90 minutes.


Summary: The cruel and trashy spectacle of a high-diving horse, 44:22-45:12. There is no indication of physical injury to the horse, this time.


Adam and 6 Eves

Adam and 6 Eves. John Wallis, 1962.

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Edition screened: Included on Kino Lorber Blu-ray 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection, released 2019. English language. Runtime approximately 60 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. 1.5/5


The story of a chubby and prematurely grizzled prospector crossing a desert in cheap vinyl shower shoes with his donkey, searching for his lost treasure map but finding instead a tropical oasis with five immortal scantily-clad-sometimes-topless pinup girls in Erisian conflict with a lone outcast girl, she also scantily-clad-sometimes-topless but having a witch-like putty nose and Joey Ramone hair.


Oh, the unexpected part is that Old Stinky’s donkey is a Chris Bouchillon imitator who narrates the action ‘talkin’ blues’ style with metered olde-time precision, like “Why, that man is so lazy he’ll stand all day with a cocktail shaker a-waitin’ for an earthquake.”

The 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection

The 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection. Various directors, 1953-1962.

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Edition screened: Kino Lorber Blu-ray, released 2019. English language. Cumulative runtime approximately 167 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. o.5/5


Details: This adventure in tedium includes two shorts naps (noted below), a 90-minute excruciation, and a 60-minute unbelievability:


• The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962 Fritz Umgelter and Francis Ford Coppola)


• Adam and 6 Eves (1962 John Wallis)


• Love for Sale (1953 Klaytan W. Kirby)

   - a 10-minute compilation of clips featuring Bella Starr dancing around in her dressing room and flapping her hands at the camera.


• Beauty in 3rd Dimension (circa 2019)

  - a 3-minute compilation of stills showing print ads for the 1951 Kodachrome Stereo Viewer and examples of the 1940s-style pinup images available separately.