Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Insee Daeng (Red Eagle) - 1963

And first...

Red Eagle, the super-saturated pulp crime series from the 60s and 70s, is set to make a comeback, perhaps by the end of 2008. Wisit Sasanatieng, director of super-saturated modern Thai staples like Tears of the Black Tiger and Citizen Dog (films which homage vintage Thai flicks like Red Eagle) is helming the project. Heartthrob Ananda Everingham will star.

The popular series, if you don't already know the history, is based on the novels by Sek Dusit. In a series of books that stretched from 1954 into the 1960s the author chronicled the adventures of Rome Ritthikrai, a well-meaning but usually well-leathered playboy who, when not getting tossed out of upmarket Bangkok nightspots, would don a red, eagle-shaped mask and tip-toe off into the night to protect Thailand from nefarious forces. A run of hit films followed - and most Thais still remember them fondly.

Why? Well, a
side from the after-dark buffoonery of our flawed, decidedly unheroic hero, a large part of the reason these are so well remembered today is that Mitr Chaibancha, surely the biggest star of 1960s Thai cinema, played the masked vigilante. That and he died during the filming of the last in the series, Insee Thong.

More to come on this in the run up to the remake's release - especially concerning the fantastic posters which accompanied each release. But for now... just bask in the lurid glory of these stills from the VCD of the 1963 film Insee Daeng, available for purchase
here at ethaicd. No subtitles, a poor excuse for a sound dub, but the joy here is the hysterically over-saturated eyecandy. Cue Todd Stadtman in his wonderful essay about the series.. "it's best to approach these films with a goal of immersion rather than comprehension - aided, of course, by an ample dose of your favourite intoxicant". Quite.

Unlike the DVD release of Insee Thong (Golden Eagle) – the last film in the series during which Mitr died while filming the last scene – there are no english subtitles. However, the print is pervsely alot better. Like me, you probably won't understand, but I guarantee you will enjoy....