We just got our hot little hands on the new special 2-disc DVD edition of Von Ryan's Express and it's mana from heaven for anyone who loves great war movies. All credit to Fox for pulling out all the stops on yet another film that is not generally regarded as a classic by the critical establishment, but has endeared itself to movie fans for decades. Throw away the old "no frills" edition from years ago and add this one to your libary today!
David McCallum was filming John Sturges' The Great Escape in Germany when he got the call to test for the role of Judas in George Stevens' The Greatest Story Ever Told. In issue #8 of Cinema Retro, McCallum recalls his reaction to getting the call to go to Hollywood for the first time.
"(On the set of The Great Escape) in the production office, they had a map of the world because on weekends people would go off to different places. They literally had pins all over the place showing who was where. It was during The Great Escape that I went to America to test for The Greatest Story Ever Told because John let me take the time off. I remember getting on a TWA 707 and flying the Atlantic in first class to go to Hollywood. When I got to Los Angeles, I got myself a Chevy Impala with red interior and I drove down Sunset Boulevard listening to Sixties music. Hey man, it was a long way from Glasgow!"
(For the full interview, see Cinema Retro issue #8)
MCCALLUM AS THE HEROIC BUT ILL-FATED ASHLEY-PITT IN THE GREAT ESCAPE
SHAMELESS BUT UNPRETENTIOUS SELF-PROMOTION DEPARTMENT PT. II
The groovy cult movie web site www.cinebeats.com has just posted a great review of issue #8 of Cinema Retro. For your stragglers out there, this should be enough to convince you to subscribe to our print edition! Thanks, guys- Check out the review and this really great resource site for all things relating to Sixties Cinema: http://www.cinebeats.com/
Screen Archives Entertainment has released composer Alex North's magnificent soundtrack to the 1968 war film The Devil's Brigade. For reasons unknown, at the time of the movie's initial release the only "original soundtrack" that was available proved to be a cover version LP by Leroy Holmes. Now the actual score can finally be heard along with thirteen minutes of bonus tracks. For full info, click here.
Vince Edwards, William Holden and Cliff Robertson in The Devil's Brigade
What seems like a very long time ago in a galaxy not so far away… (New Jersey, in fact) I saw a movie in the summer of 1977 that would end up as a part of my life, becoming a part of our society and influencing/affecting many others as well. I’m sure many will find some parallels in their own life experiences. So let’s start back thirty years ago and relive the Star Wars experience...New Jersey style!
Talk about great minds thinking alike...No sooner did Cinema Retro announce in its Magazine News section that the legendary Ray Harryhausen would be interviewed in issue #9 than Sony informed us it will release a deluxe 50th anniversary DVD edition of his classic 20 Million Miles to Earth. Harryhausen, who always wanted to film the movie in color but was prevented from doing so by budget considerations, has supervised a new colorized version of the film. Purists shouldn't panic, however, as the set will also include a pristine transfer of the film's original black and white version.
Here are the details of the forthcoming edition slated for a July release:
Film Score Monthly, the haven for fans of great movie music, has just released both The Dirty Dozen and The Satan Bug soundtracks on CD.
Here are the descriptions from the official web site:
THE DIRTY DOZEN
De Vol's score to The Dirty Dozen
is deceptively simple. He writes an almost comedic war/action score
that makes the film's uncompromising depiction of violence and cruelty
all the more shocking by giving it a cheery, conventional demeanor. The
film as a whole is given a four-note theme that seems to speak the
title ("Dir-ty DOZ-en"), while De Vol quotes old chestnuts like "Don't
Sit Under the Apple Tree," "You're in the Army Now" and band marches
for thematic dimension and a sense of period -- as well as an evocation
of the characters' rather lowbrow sense of humor. The film's climactic
mission in France is treated seriously with hard-driving action and
suspense, some of the finest in De Vol's career.
De Vol provided two original songs for the film: a German ballad (as
radio source music) with lyrics and vocals by Sibylle Siegfried (the
director's wife), and an anachronistically 1960s pop song, "Bramble
Bush," with lyrics by Mack David, performed by Trini Lopez (one of the
dozen in the film). Each song is presented both in previously
unreleased film version and existing album rendition.
The Dirty Dozen
was previously released on LP and CD but this definitive FSM release
more than doubles the playing time and remixes and remasters the sound
quality from the original 35mm three-track stereo recordings for vastly
improved sonics. The CD features comprehensive new liner notes by
Last week we posted a link to a 1965 Time magazine article about young Robert Vaughn finding stardom as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Now www.movieweb.com has posted an entertaining and candid new interview with Vaughn in which he discusses his long career, his forthcoming autobiography and memories of the swinging 1960s. To read the article click here.
In the pantheon of great one-word film titles, there is perhaps none that springs to mind more often (or more menacingly) than Jaws. The mere word evokes vivid terror at the thought of what it implies when associated with the most dangerous fish in existence. After more than thirty years, the groundbreaking Steven Spielberg film has suitably attained a “classic” status alongside other great movie milestones like Citizen Kane, The Godfather, The Sound of Music and Star Wars. Not only that, but Jaws continues to thrive as a timeless pop culture monolith; ever the standard by which all other films of its genre are inevitably compared. Celebrating this tri-decade phenomenon is an all-new retrospective documentary called
The Shark is Still Working – The Impact and Legacy of Jaws.
Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall spreads the news about an
important new film book:
Film Posters – An Illustrated History is a must-have book for any serious
student interested in the world of cinema and design. Covering all aspects of
this fascinating subject, including design, printing, display – and even
detailed biographies of all of the major artists of that period, author Sim
Branaghan takes the reader back to a time when cinema was great – Cinema Retro time!
Good taste hasn't totally vanished from the landscape even in the era of
Paris Hilton and Simon Cowell. On May 12, Cinema Retro was invited to attend
the Film Forum's New York screenings of the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's
Secret Service. The fact that there were impressive lines of ticket buyers
should not surprise true 007 fans. They have known since the film's original
release that this is one of, if not arguably, the best in the series. The superb
35mm print (the best this writer has seen) added to the afternoon's pleasures
as an appreciative audience enjoyed the many pleasures of George Lazenby's one
and only appearance as James Bond. At the end of the film, the audience applauded.
When was the last time you saw a contemporary film that elicited such
emotion from the audience?
Promotional artwork for George Lazenby's James Bond
The eagerly-awaited Star Wars prop exhibition has opened- and our man in London, Mark Mawston was given exclusive access. Here is his report:
Cinema Retro was invited to attend the special launch party of Star Wars: The Exhibition, held appropriately enough on May 4th 2007. The exhibition, which officially opened its doors the following day, celebrates 30 years of the much loved film series and is an Aladdin’s cave of props and costumes. Its opening in Portugal last year attracted more than 150,000 visitors in the space of two months.
Anthony Daniels and special friend pose for Cinema Retro
CINEMA RETRO'S LEE PFEIFFER LOOKS AT SOME TV FAVORITES ON DVD
Paramount Home Video has been inundating baby boomers with DVD collections of some of their favorite TV series. Among the more impressive recent releases: the second season of The Wild, Wild West and the premiere seasons of The Odd Couple, Hawaii Five-0 and The Untouchables. Needless to say, if you had to chose series to take with you to a desert island, these would rank pretty high at the top of most people's lists. Here's the low-down on each set.
CINEMA RETRO TEAMS WITH FOX FOR "THE GREAT FOX WAR MOVIES" BOOK AND DVD SET!
publishers Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall have teamed with Twentieth Century Fox tp write and design the
very first book ever published by Fox. The Great Fox War Movies consists of a unique book/DVD
package containing new, double-disc editions of The Longest Day, Patton and Tora! Tora! Tora!
plus and oversized, deluxe hardcover book giving the fascinating inside story on the making of these
Cinema Retro has received advance copies of the forthcoming restored roadshow version of Robert Wise's 1966 epic The Sand Pebbles. The film, which was widely praised at the time of its released, has basically been snubbed by the critical establishment ever since. In fact, it is one of the greatest films of the 1960s- and if you doubt why, just sample this Fox special edition DVD. The film is a tremendous achievement on all levels and has fanatical grass roots support among movie fans. In fact a web site dedicated to the film (www.thesandpebbles.com) has lobbied for years for the restoration of the movie. Happily, that goal has now been fulfilled magnificently. There may be a more impressive DVD release of a classic film this year, but I'll believe it when I see it.
One of the most requested titles for DVD release, Becket makes its long-awaited premiere in the medium as a superb special edition. I had the privilege of seeing the recently restored film in 35mm at New York's Film Forum theater earlier this year. It looked terrific, but the DVD edition looks even more impressive. Director Peter Glenville's adaptation of Jean Anouhilh's stage play was one of the most acclaimed films of 1964. It has been absent on home video since a laser disc edition went out of print many years ago.
Victor Young's magnificent and famous score for Michael Todd's Around the World in 80 Days has been out of print on CD for about twenty years- surprising because the old vinyl soundtrack was one of those rare records that could be found in seemingly every household in America in the late 1950s and 1960s, having been reissued many times. Young's score evokes memories of a period when soundtracks were as opulent and lush as the films they represented. Now Eric Records (we never heard of them prior to this, either!) have released a "deluxe expanded soundtrack" of Young's original score.
This little gem dropped through my letterbox a few days ago, and hasn’t left my CD player since. The Essential Hans Zimmer is another compilation from Silva Screen Records that utilizes the magnificent City of Prague Orchestra conducted by regular Nic Raine, who is this time assisted by James Fitzpatrick.
Zimmer, who has scored over 100 films, was amongst the first composers to integrate electronic music with traditional orchestral arrangements, and his name is now synonymous with the Hollywood blockbuster. This double CD includes such gems as Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Thelma and Lousie (a superb track), Days of Thunder, Rain Man (another great track), Crimson Tide, Driving Miss Daisy, Hannibal, Batman Begins, The Thin Red Line (superb!), The Last Samurai, The Rock, Green Card, Regarding Henry, and the superb climax track from The Davinci Code. So, not the greatest films in the world, but incredible music, with some titles having more than one track on this two-disc set. Running time is 50mins per disc. For those of you that are not crazy about having the soundtrack to the film, but liked the title track, then this is for you. Available from May 21st 2007, check out Silva’s web site for more details – www.silvascreenmusic.com -Dave Worrall
WARNERS & PARAMOUNT TEAM TO CELEBRATE THE DUKE'S 100TH BIRTHDAY
Warner Brothers Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment have combined forces to provide John Wayne fans with the ultimate video collection - a celebration of the Duke's 100th birthday. Movie lovers will need true grit to get through all of the video offerings from both studios. The most exciting news is that Warners is debuting six Wayne features never before available on DVD: Allegheny Uprising, Reunion in France, Tycoon, Without Reservations, Trouble Along the Way and Big Jim McLain. While these may not be among Wayne's most acclaimed achievements, their unavailability on DVD has been annoyance to fans, especially completionist collectors who have long sought to replace their aging VHS versions with DVD editions.
Warners is releasing the six Wayne films new to DVD as individual titles and as a set titled The John Wayne Film Collection.
WB is also releasing "must-have" collector's editions of two of Duke's
most popular titles: his 1959 classic for director Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo and his 1972 box-office hit The Cowboys.
Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer and contributing writer Eddy Friedfeld introduced a rare 35mm big screen showing of Our Man Flint at New York's Film Forum Theater on May 3. It was part of the theater's Spies-A-Go-Go festival of classic espionage movies. Pfeiffer and Friedfeld were joined by Bruce Goldstein of the Film Forum for a discussion of the 1965 spy movie classic that was among the most enduring Bond-inspired films that swept the world in the 1960s. A packed house enjoyed seeing the movie in a stunning print provided by Fox's archives. The film looked as good as it did on its initial release. Pfeiffer and Friedfeld, who recorded the audio commentary for Fox's recent Flint double feature DVD set, provided insights into the making of the films and shared many humorous memories of them with audience members. For extensive coverage of the Flint movies, see issue #8 of Cinema Retro for The Unseen Flint that features rare and unpublished production photos from Our Man Flint and In Like Flint.