Royal Flash 1974 ***


Malcolm McDowell takes the lead in this period romp from Richard Lester, based on the Flashman books by the late George MacDonald Fraser. A period James Bond with cowardly tendencies, Flashman is enlisted by Bismarck (Oliver Reed) into impersonating a Prussian dignitary, but Flashman soon finds himself over his head in European intrigue. As well as a sexy turn from Florida Ballkan, Royal Flash offers an array of great supporting work from Alastair Sim, Alan Bates, Tom Bell, Joss Ackland, Britt Ekland and a tiny role for the late Bob Hoskins as a police officer. The mix of slapstick violence, fake patriotism and espionage doesn’t quite gel, but Royal Flash is worth seeing for its cheerful irreverence and lavish period detail.

Footprints on the Moon 1975 ***


A strange Euro-thriller from the mid-70’s, Footprints on the Moon is a bizarre mystery, with Alice Crespi (Florida Balkan) slipping between several realities. In one, she’s on the moon with some astronauts, in another, she’s investigating a strange town where everyone seems to know her. Novelist Mario Fanelli worked with director Luigi Bazzoni to create a disconcerting atmosphere, constantly begging questions about Alice’s grip on reality. Small parts from Lila Kredova and Klaus Kinski add to the general confusion, but Footprints On The Moon is a diversion worth exploring for mystery fans.