This magnificent movie, the sequel in Fritz Lang’s two-film epic drama, DIE NIBELUNGEN, based on an equally epic poem penned in about the year 1200 in the language known as Middle High German, will take your breath away. I like it even more than Part One, SIEGFRIED.

In Part Two, and it’s called KRIEMHILD’S REVENGE for an excellent reason, Queen Kriemhild of the Burgundian royal family is still devastated by the murder of her beloved husband, Siegfried, by Hagen Tronje, the fearsome one-eyed, bearded warrior of the Burgundian kingdom.

Hagen Tronje is endlessly loyal (even unto death) to the King of Burgundy, Kriemhild’s rather wimpy brother Gunther. Gunther refuses to have Hagen Tronje killed for Siegfried’s murder, and, in fact, the whole family of royal Burgundian brothers close ranks around Hagen Tronje to protect him.

Kriemhild is so disgusted that, when Margrave Rűdiger of Bechlarn comes to Burgundy to tell her that his King, Attila of the Huns, wants to marry her, she accepts. Especially when Rűdiger assures her of Attila’s warlike nature and the fact that he would avenge a hundredfold any wrongs done to Kriemhild by any man…

Her little feminine brain starts working overtime. Could Attila possibly be the one to avenge her poor fallen Siegfried? She tells Rűdiger she’ll marry his king, and they set out immediately for the kingdom of the Huns, a warlike, nomadic people who were ruled in real life by Attila the Hun for the relatively short time of 434-453.

The Huns are portrayed as proper savages in the film, compared to the relative sophistication of the Burgundians, who sleep in proper beds and have nice fancy chainmail armour and huge stone castles and stuff.

The Huns crouch in trees like monkeys and whoop, shriek and chatter like monkeys too, they wear animal skins to (just about) clothe their nakedness and they sleep on animal skins, on the mud floors of their straw huts. They have dark skin, wild hair and wild staring eyes, and this includes the women, of whom we see very little.

I don’t think that women featured very prominently in real life Hun households of the time. They probably stayed home, cooked the food, submitted to animalistic sex and the odd thump and died in childbirth, judging by the look of the place and its primitive peoples.

The men were the important ones, the warriors, the providers, the hunter-gatherers, the ones who got the biggest chunks of meat and the most comfortable spot on the dirt floor for sleeping.

The Huns’ eyes are out on stalks when they see Kriemhild. Tall, blonde, statuesque, with a beautiful cold face, huge expressive eyes and two plaits of hair that reach nearly to her ankles, she’s the polar opposite of their crouching, swarthy, simian-like semi-savagery.

(You’ll remember me mentioning when we reviewed DIE NIBELUNGEN PART ONE: SIEGFRIED that Hitler and Goebbels both loved this film. Can you see what I’m getting at here?)

King Attila, a fascinating character, is head-over-heels in love with her from the moment he first sets eyes on her. With his grotesquely large, mis-shapen head atop a short, wiry body and his ferocious-looking face deeply scored with battle scars that even criss-cross through his cruel mouth, he’d be enough to give any young virgin the heebie-jeebies at the thought of having to go to bed with him.

Attila’s men later complain that the fearsome war king, who went to war at the drop of a hat and was never happier than when he was breaking in an unruly horse, has been made soft and ineffectual by his infatuation for ‘the white woman.’ ‘Her tresses bind up the horseman…’ Well, if they think he’s dotty for Kriemhild now and besotted with her, just wait till she presents him with a beautiful, curly-haired son…!

The ferocious war king is reduced to the level of a blob of ecstatically happy jelly to see his new baby boy. He’s pathetically grateful to Kriemhild on this joyous occasion, even though she’s been nothing but cold and distant towards him. She may have been obliged to give him her body, but her heart, which she keeps under lock and key, is frozen in ice and belongs only to the dead Siegfried.

I’ll happily grant you one wish as a thank you for this wonderful son, he tells Kriemhild, who replies, sweetly and innocently, with: Oh, I’d give anything to see my beloved brothers again. No problemo, says Attila, before swiftly despatching his own brother to Worms on the Rhine to ask Gunther, Giselher and Gerenot of Burgund to pop along to the kingdom of the Huns to visit their dear sister Kriemhild.

Kriemhild, of course, knows that her brothers never travel without their devoted bodyguard, Hagen Tronje, her hatred for whom has not abated one iota since she’s lived in the land of the Huns. Her desire for revenge is so strong that she’s prepared to see everyone she loves perish horribly before she eventually realises that she’s gone too far.

The dénouement is magnificent to look at, but sad, chilling and tragic in the extreme, with an eerie foreshadowing of the Holocaust in the hellish inferno of Kriemhild’s making.

Just look at her standing there with arms folded tightly, or one arm extended, or the closed fist beating on the breast, with her closed-off, unyielding face and ice-cold eyes unchanging in expression, and see who she reminds you of.

Poor, poor King Attila. He’ll rue the day he ever heard the lady’s name, all tied up in death and destruction as it is. What a narrative. What a musical score, what a visual experience, what a film! Book yourself some time off and watch it. End of transmission.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.


going straight



Aw, I absolutely loved this follow-up to PORRIDGE, the hit sitcom that sees Ronnie Barker as habitual criminal Norman Stanley Fletcher, aka Fletch, being incarcerated in Slade Prison for his continued recidivism. He can’t say he wasn’t warned, lol.

GOING STRAIGHT sees Fletch leaving prison at last, and with a new determination to go straight for a change as well, brought about by the realisation that he’s already spent far too much of his adult life behind bars. He says goodbye to McLaren, the last of their gang on the inside, gets ‘checked out’ by Milton Johns and heads outside to civilian life.

Episode One sees him sharing the train home with his old nemesis from Slade Prison, Mr. MacKay, the tough-as-old-boots Scotsman whose aggressive adherence to rules and regulations has caused him to clash with Fletch on more than one occasion.

Fletch has an opportunity to get revenge on Mr. Mackay when a couple of criminals board the train looking for a ‘patsy,’ but he doesn’t go through with it. Deep down, I think the two men have always had a grudging respect and admiration for each other, and I for one am in floods of tears when they shake hands as equals, as men and friends, and go their separate ways at the end.

In Episode Two, we see Fletch having trouble adjusting to civilian life. His wife has upped and left him for a man named Reg, and his lovely blonde daughter Ingrid has more or less shacked up, in the family home, with a certain lorry-driving Lenny Godber, Fletch’s best mate from Slade Prison and his protegé as well.

Fletch took Lenny under his wing in Slade and helped him to adjust to prison life, while always having an eye to getting out, of course, and now here’s Lenny Godber indecently mauling Ingrid in front of Fletch’s very eyes. It’s very hard for poor Fletch to stomach, much as he will always have a soft spot for Lenny.

Shouldn’t he perhaps get a job, to help him re-adjust to society and life in Civvy Street? No flaming way! Not when he can ‘borrow’ Lenny’s articulated lorry so he can drive to the Essex countryside in the hopes of pulling a ‘Shawshank Redemption’ and digging up some moolah he buried there in another lifetime… Fletch complicates everything unnecessarily while kidding himself he’s actually in search of a simple solution, doesn’t he…?

Episode Three sees Fletch regain some of his faith in human nature when he helps a young runaway to get back onto the straight and narrow, and in Episode Four he actually- hallelujah!- gets a real job as night porter in the Hotel Dolphin, courtesy of his parole officer. He looks so smart in the suit he wears to work, and he takes such a real pride in the work he does there that it’s lovely to see. We’re all genuinely rooting for him to do well and not to slip back into crime.

Ingrid is so incredibly proud of him and Godber is too, and when Fletch brings home his very first pay packet in a small brown envelope, it’s a real day for celebration. That, and also a day for getting back from Fletch what he owes everyone. Even his lanky, grotty teenage son Raymond has his hand out for the share of Fletch’s earnings which is owed to him. Welcome to the real world, Fletch…!

Episode Five sees Fletch nearly losing his precious job over an imagined jewellery scam involving a young Nigel Hawthorne (YES, MINISTER), and in Episode Six he battles his old demons as he tries to earn money dishonestly to pay for Ingrid’s wedding to Godber.

Angry that his estranged wife and her fancy man are shelling out for a lavish reception while Fletch himself hasn’t a bean to contribute, he takes a job as lookout and getaway driver in a bank job. This could be the start of the slippery slope for Norman Stanley Fletcher. Will he take the easy money and risk prison, or will he turn his back on crime forever and live happily ever after with Ingrid and Godber? Our prayers are with you, Fletch…!

If poor tragic Richard Beckinsale had lived, there might have been another series or two made of this much-loved and superbly-written sitcom. As it is, these six episodes are extremely precious in more ways than one, and I look forward to learning them by heart myself in the years to come.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


You can contact Sandra at:








‘This train’ll stop at Tucumcari.’

‘In ten minutes, you’ll be smokin’ in hell. Get up!’

‘When the chimes end, pick up your gun. Try and shoot me, Colonel.’

‘Where life was cheap, death sometimes had its price. That’s when the bounty killers appeared.’

‘Why’d’ya choose my bar to commit suicide in, Mister? I know that man. And if that man didn’t kill ya, then he musta had a very good reason.’

This won’t be a review so much as one great big love-in. I bloody ADORE this film. It’s a spaghetti western shot in Spain (with the interiors done in Rome) and the middle film in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Dollars’ trilogy, its predecessor being A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and its successor, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY.

Sequels, as you know, can get something of a bad press but this film, in my opinion, is a classic example of the sequel far, far surpassing the original in just about every way you can think of.

Like the way the original FRANKENSTEIN, made in 1931 by James Whale, as brilliant as it is, is somewhat eclipsed by the 1935 sequel, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, also made by James Whale.

And the way that I prefer JAWS 2 to the original JAWS. although that’s not quite the same thing, that’s more a matter of personal taste. For which I’ve gotten a lot of abuse, I might add. (‘You think JAWS 2 is better than the original JAWS? What the fuck is the matter with ya, ya fuckin’ idiot? Ya must need your fuckin’ eyes tested!!!’)

The plot is simple enough, but it works so, so well. Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef, in roles that made them both into internationally recognised cinema stars, play Manco and Colonel Douglas Mortimer respectively, a pair of bounty killers from the bad old days of the Wild, Wild West who each share a common aim.

What aim is this, I hear you say? You might well ask. They both want to claim the massive bounty- ten thousand dollars to be precise- on the head of El Indio. Indio (Gian Maria Volonte) is a decidedly sociopathic bank robber-slash-murderer-slash-all-round bad guy, who is drugged up for a lot of the movie on some intoxicating addictive substance that he smokes nearly non-stop.

He commits mayhem with impunity all over the place with the help and backing of his notorious gang of unwashed cut-throats and thieves: Niňo, Slim, Paco, Chico, Hughie, Franco, Groggy, Wild and all the rest. Life is cheap in their world and they never shed a tear for any of the lives they snuff out so carelessly. Easy come, easy go, huh?

We first see Indio when he’s being broken out of prison by his gang. Then, in a super-cool scene in an abandoned church that’s breath-taking in its magnificence, he revenges himself against the man who got him sent to prison.

Taking out a musical pocket-watch that chimes a haunting little melody, Indio tells his betrayer to try and shoot him when the music stops. Watched by the members of Indio’s gang, the two men wait for the delicately tinkling chimes to end. And wait…

After initially locking horns over who has more right to go after El Indio and his gang and claim the whopping reward, Manco and Colonel Mortimer, after a very funny hat-shooting scene that breaks up the tension, decide that two heads might just be better than one when it comes to getting the better of the band of brigands.

They join forces and Manco is chosen- slightly to his alarm- to infiltrate Indio’s gang in order to bring down the enemy from the inside. This he does just in time for the gang’s next big job: robbing the bank at El Paso, legendary for its impenetrability.

The bank is successfully robbed, partly because Indio has some inside information as to the existence of a hard-to-open safe disguised as a drinks cabinet reserved for fancy guests who frequent the bank. The safe may contain as much as a million dollars in cash. It’s a very attractive proposition indeed for Indio and his gang. Irresistible, in fact.

They return to their hideout with the stolen safe, only to discover that they can’t risk opening it without damaging the money contained therein. What to do, what to do? Re-enter Colonel Douglas Mortimer with a handy solution and a proposition for El Indio…

There are just so many things to love about this film. It’s worth watching just for Ennio Morricone’s fabulous musical score alone. I promise you that you’ll be humming dum-dum-di-dum-dum-di-dum-dum-di-dum long after the credits have rolled. There’s some beautiful Spanish guitar in there too.

Blonde German actor Klaus Kinski (Werner Herzog’s haunting NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, COBRA VERDE, FITZCARRALDO) in a supporting role is deliciously twisted- and gorgeous- as the hunchback who goes berserk when the cool-as-fuck Lee Van Cleef strikes a match off his hump. The two ‘smoker’ scenes are excellent and great fun. ‘Cucilio, count to three…’ What I want to know here is, can Cucilio count at all, never mind to three?

Clint Eastwood is gorgeous in this, full stop. Seeing him in his poncho, all stubbly and manly, chomping on a cigarette and shooting a villain stone-dead without even looking directly at him makes me seriously wish that I could live out my naughty sex-fantasy of living in Wild West times when men were men and women were glad of it… Ahem…! (Coughs and clears throat and goes bright red in the face…) What I wouldn’t give to be dragged into a barn by my hair and shown Manco’s secret weapon, and what it’s used for…

But for me, the highlight of an already bloody brilliant film has to be Gian Maria Volonté, who plays the part of the utterly psychopathic robber-baron to perfection. He has the most beautiful eyes too, have you noticed that?

He is moody, broody and just ever so slightly insane as he opens his little pocket watch containing the photograph of the woman he raped and lets the tinkling chimes play out before the shooting of his adversaries can commence.

What’s the secret of the little pocket-watch he carries that plays music when you open it? The story is told in two gripping flashbacks. Indio seems haunted by the memory of it and smokes drugs to blot it out. I hardly think he feels any remorse for what he’s done as he’s a total sociopath but maybe his ego was slightly dented by what happened.

Think of what Lisa Simpson says sadly in the TREEHOUSE OF HORROR episode entitled BAD DREAM HOUSE. ‘It chose to destroy itself rather than live with us.’ You can see why Indio might have been a wee bit miffed all right.

He’s so good at being bad that I must admit I always shed a few sly tears every time I watch the showdown between him and the two bounty killers (they’re not called bounty hunters here but bounty killers) in the sweltering heat of the Agua Caliente sun.

So, do Manco and Colonel Mortimer ride off into the sunset together having each achieved what they set out to do at the start of the movie? Does Manco bag himself a cartload of dead villains for which he will receive a huge bounty and will Colonel Mortimer’s attempt to avenge the beautiful doe-eyed woman in the picture be a success? It’s all to play for, folks.

If you like spaghetti Westerns, then you need to watch this film. Then watch it again. Watch it even if you don’t normally like spaghetti Westerns. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. This film is a real little exploding cracker of a movie. Bang bang, you’re dead…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


You can contact Sandra at: