Leonard Rosenman, who won Oscars for his scores for Barry Lyndon and Bound for Glory, has died at age 83. Among his other feature films: Fantastic Voyage, Rebel Without a Cause, A Man Called Horse and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. For a full biography click here
In a Los Angeles Times article, writer Dan Neil takes pity on Steve McQueen, who would have been 78 years old this year, saying he's been resurrected for so many product endorsements that he's now the hardest working man in show business. Neil also examines the qualities of specific McQueen films, correctly citing the fact that Le Mans was a bizarre enterprise created primarily so McQueen could be paid to race around in the cars he loved. Strangely, Neil is immune to the charms of the film McQueen is most closely associated with, the 1968 smash hit Bullitt. He gives it a mediocre assessment and strangely says the film is boring in the scenes without McQueen - despite the fact that those sequences featured terrific performances from actors like Robert Vaughn, Simon Oakland, Don Gordon and Norman Fell. Neil has far more enthusiasm for the new Bullitt Mustang, a commemorative editon of the legendary car McQueen drove in the film. He reviews the vehicle's peformance and emerges as a fan - of the car, at least. For the article click here
Mike Smith, lead singer and keyboard player for the popular British 1960s rock band The Dave Clark Five, has died of pneumonia in England at age 64. Smith's life was a tragic one in recent years. Following a fall in his home in 2003, he was paralyzed below the waist and had only limited movement in his upper body. He had been in hospital until last December, when he was finally able to live at home with his wife. Ironically, the group is scheduled to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10. Smith was going to attempt to make the ceremony to be with his former bandmates. The group had been named after the drummer, Dave Clark, but it was Smith's vocals that propelled them to the top of the charts at the same time Beatlemania was in full swing. Hits like Because, Glad All Over and I Like It Like That were all major hits. Like The Beatles, the group also made the transition to feature films. Director John Boorman helmed a musical documentary about them titled Having a Wild Weekend, which was also the name of a hit album for the band. The Dave Clark Five also appeared as themselves in the teen musical Get Yourself a College Girl. The group disbanded in 1970, ironically the same year The Beatles broke up. - Lee Pfeiffer For more click here
One of the most underrated films of the 1970s was director Martin Ritt's production of The Molly Maguires which told of the hard scrapple life of Irish coal miners in Pennsylvania in the year 1876. The film traced the subversive tactics employed by The Molly Maguires, an anonymous band of rebels who used violent tactics to fight against greedy mine owners. The big budget film starred Richard Harris and Sean Connery but was a notorious box-office bomb despite the fact it made for riveting drama. Click here to read an article on the resurgence of interest in the film- especially among residents of the areas the movie was shot in.
Last evening, two "entertainment news" shows, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight showed heavily- promoted exclusive coverage from the Panama set of the new James Bond movie, Quantum Of Solace. They delivered- but the price paid to enjoy these snippets was almost too much to tolerate. I had been happily ignorant of how these "cut and paste" clip shows had been faring in recent years because I don't think I've tuned into them since I wanted to get the scoop on Spencer Tracy's next movie. The shows are split into separate programs, but they are completely indistinguishable and are hosted by some of the same people. The shows have so little regard for the intelligence of their audience that segments are broken down into childlike mini-stories for people with such short attention spans that they find movie trailers too drawn-out.. Thus, the Bond piece was hacked up and spread throughout the two shows, meaning you had to suffer through Donny Osmond 's(!) hosting duties for a full hour. A minute or so of a Bond segment would be shown, then it would cut to another fragment of another story that was also split between the programs. The shows are edited by a hampster on speed. The pace is so frantic it makes a video game look like Heaven's Gate. In between the Bond snippets, there was a big exclusive interview with Senator Barack Obama. When exactly Senator Obama officially became part of the show business community is beyond me, but his coverage on an entertainment show will put plenty of arrows in Senator Hillary Clinton's quiver regardig her charges that the media is conspring to get this man elected. In any event, after countless teases about the "exclusive" nature of Senator Obama's interview, the bombshell he dropped to the fawning hosts was that - win or lose- he's gonna keep his promise to buy his two young daugthers the puppy they have been begging for. The other shocking revelation is that Obama has given up trying to convince his wife that she has enough shoes. Woodward and Bernstein must have been green with jealousy! Incidentally, to make sure we know we're watching a video version of a supermarket tabloid, everyone is referred to by their first name. So we learned about Anna Nicole's baby, Brad and Angelina's latest doings, and Barack's personal foibles. That's right - a United States senator and presidential frontrunner is referred to like he's Bono or Liberace.
If you were able to suffer through this jawdropping mess, you were treated to two gorgeous blonde mannequins (who are as indistinguishable as their shows) alternately slinking about the Bond set asking questions that were so dumb they made Regis Philbin look like Torquemada. Since none of the Bond segments seemed to last longer than it would take to prepare a minute egg, it was hard to discern a feel for the production. Among those snared into the interviewee's chair were director Marc Forster, leading ladies Gemma Arterton, Olga Kurylenko and star Daniel Craig. The general news broken by this collective was: nothing. The tight-lipped cast and crew revealed absolutely nothing about the story or the production. "Wait and see", "Can't tell you" seemed to be the phrases of the day, though 22 year Arterton did say she had the challenge of shooting a torrid love scene with Daniel Craig on her very first day. How many women out there wish they could be put in such a nerve-wracking situation? We did get some good closeups of the ladies, who are appropriately gorgeous and hopefully will continue the trend of recent Bond movies in that they will also prove to be good actresses. Forster was seen so briefly that if you blinked, you missed him. Craig, somehow looking even more impressive than he did in Casino Royale, did his best to be polite in the face of ludicrous questions about whether he'll wear a tight bathing suit again or whether Bond will have sex (which is like asking if a western will have horses). Craig, who can barely tolerate interviews with legitimate journalists, finally lost it and on two occasions, the program had to blip out expletives with giant "007"'s imposed over his mouth. He was smiling when he said them, but you could tell he would have preferred walking over a bed of nails than sitting in that chair another second. The interviewers were largely confined to a back stage and the front of a bar. We did get some brief looks at the main palace where key scenes would be filmed, reputed to have once been the mansion of deposed dictator Noriega. Since that might require a modicum of historical and political knowledge, the hosts never pursued the angle. There was also what appeared to be some previously released B-roll footage of Craig doing his own stunts and dangling high from a rope. For the record, the action looked impressive. Given the precious time and resources the Bond producers afforded these shows, they should strap the production company executives to a laser table for making 007 fans sit through the Osmond reunion story just to get a few brief glimpses of what promises to be the action movie of the year.. - Lee Pfeiffer
Contrary to some people's belief, the cancellation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was NOT the most traumatic event of 1968.
For those of us baby boomers and beyond who lived through the year 1968, its worth taking note of what occurred in society 40 years ago. Writer Richard Nilsen of the Arizona Republic points out that younger people tend to view this period of time as a wonderous period when everything was defined by the momentous events in pop culture. Indeed the late Sixties were heady times for every aspect of the arts. The Beatles had recently released Sgt. Pepper (and redefined themselves and the music industry in the process), new sexual freedoms were sweeping the screen through films like Blow-Up and Darling, and on stage nudity was all the rage with Hair. Nilsen points out, however, that this was also a traumatic era with earth-shaking consequences that went far beyond its pop culture implications - and it all came to a head in 1968. In one year alone, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated, the Vietnam War reached its peak, there were the infamous riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago following LBJ's shocking decision not to seek re-election, Mao continued to murder millions of his own people during his horrendous "Cultural Revolution", Richard Nixon came back from political exile to improbably win not only the GOP nomination but also the presidency, race riots tore the fabric of America and the Soviets crushed the burdgeoning democracy in Czechoslovakia through a brutal military invasion. Nilsen points out that many seem to remember the greatest trauma being the cancellation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It's worth reading through this fascinating article to remind us that the times we live in today are nowhere near as traumatic as they were 40 years ago.- Lee Pfeiffer To the read the article, click here
Ben Chapman (right) with Ricou Browning, who played the Creature in the film's underwater sequences.
Ben Chapman, former contract player for Universal Studios, died February 21 at age 79 in Honolulu. Chapman was best known for playing the title role in the Fifties sci-fi classic Creature from the Black Lagoon. Although he had long ago left the acting profession, he enjoyed capitalizing on his fame from the film and meeting with fans. He even established an official web site dedicated to the Creature. For his obituary click here.
Cinema Retro contributing writer Nicole Pfeiffer revisits director Franco Zeffirelli's 1967 film version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and finds his interpretation more suitable for thespians named Moe, Larry and Curley.
When the film went into production in 1966, Burton and Taylor were arguably the hottest celebrity couple in the world, having tantalized the press with their illicit affair on the set of Cleopatra years before. They had since starred in films such as The V.I.P.S and The Sandpiper - both critical duds that made huge profits at the box-office. The release of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, also in 1966, represented the artistic pinnacle of their careers. With The Taming of the Shrew, the couple had hoped to build on the critical acclaim they had recently gained, but the movie , which the couple also produced, was not a financial or critical success.
In his famous work "Poetics", Aristotle stated, “Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry.” If Aristotle could see Franco Zeffirelli’s 1967 film production of The Taming of the Shrew, he would surely grimace; Shakespeare would roll over in his grave. The Italian director’s adaptation of the Bard’s classic comedy in which the fortune hunting Petruccio (Richard Burton) attempts to tame the insufferable temper and tongue of his wealthy wife Katharine (Elizabeth Taylor), offers up a serving of spectacle so overwhelming that it stifles the poetic language and witty repartee for which the play is acclaimed. While the elaborate sets, costumes, and props are worthy of praise, the movie as a whole seems to resemble a prolonged Three Stooges short than it does Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes. Pratfalls abound, characters are frequently bopped on their bottoms with unwieldy objects, and the female lead ends up in a puddle of mud. It’s a miracle that no one’s head gets caught in a vice by the end of the movie. Additionally, the incessant laughter of the dimwitted servants at these antics proves as irritating and contrived as the laugh track on Friends.
The film’s spectacle parallels and perhaps contributes to an utter lack of character development or chemistry between the real-life divas of Burton and Taylor. After reading Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” one can easily interpret Petruccio as a money-grubbing but charismatic fellow and Katharine as a shrewish but admirably clever heroine. However, from the start, Zeffirelli portrays only the worst possible aspects of these two characters: Petruchio is a stumbling and brutish drunkard while Katharine is a maniacal woman who senselessly destroys every object she can lay her hands on. In the play, when the two protagonists first meet, they engage in a battle of wills and wits that showcases Shakespeare’s revered gift for puns, banter, and wordplay. However, in the film, Zeffirelli abandons the humor of language in favor of physical comedy. Although the dialogue of the scene is in keeping with that of the play, its lines are shouted as Petruchio pursues Katharine in an outlandish chase throughout her father’s castle. As a result, jibes are lost to the squawking of geese, innuendos are drowned out by the crashing of chandeliers, and witticisms are overpowered by the creaking of a roof that gives way under the weight of the battling characters (and perhaps also that of Taylor’s liberally displayed bosom)
Rare teaser ad announcing production had begun on the film. Director Zeffirelli would compensate for the weak response to the movie the following year with his triumphant adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.
Additionally, the lack of character development detracts from the film by depriving members of the audience of a hero to whom they can relate. While most people have probably found themselves faced with sexual tension, involved in a troubled relationship, or engaged in a battle of wits, I sincerely hope that a majority of audiences cannot emotionally connect with a drunken and abusive gold-digger or a hysterical and violent madwoman (however, considering the recent obsession with K-fed and Britney, this may be the case). Although certain negative characteristics humorously prevail in Shakespeare’s original work, it is possible to find some endearing qualities in Petruccio and Katherine. However, in Zeffirelli’s film the characters are so unwaveringly despicable that it is impossible to feel pangs of sympathy for either or even root for the triumph of one over the other. Furthermore, by creating such flat characters, Zeffirelli also wastes the talent of his stars. While Elizabeth Taylor proved her abilities to play a nuanced and realistic shrew both in the 1966 film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and in her real life escapades with Burton, in the movie, she only smiles or shrieks depending on the bipolar whims of her character.
However, in all fairness, the problems of the production are not entirely the fault of Zeffirelli but also, gasp, those of the Bard himself. For one, Zeffirelli’s decision to tone down the dialogue and play up the pratfalls may result from the fact that many of the puns and double entendres used by Shakespeare no longer translate to the modern world. Indeed, a movie cannot include footnotes that politely indicate that a seemingly inane term actually implied “to have sexual intercourse.” Additionally, Zeffirelli may have relied on physical comedy as a means of exaggerating the cruelty of Petruccio toward Katherine in order to portray it as absurd rather than realistic. Indeed, while taming a wife may have been a subject ripe for comedy in the early seventeenth century, the ideas of verbal and domestic abuse, no matter how they are presented, thankfully provoke more skeptical reactions in today’s society. While Ben Jonson’s claim that Shakespeare “was not of an age, but for all time,” may hold true, it seems that “The Taming of the Shrew” was in fact for an age long ended.
Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer weighs in on the 80th annual Academy Awards
And the winners were....Daniel Day Lewis, Tilda Swinton, Marion Cotillard and Javier Bardem.
Well, all those cynics who predicted this would be the worst Academy Awards ceremony ever were wrong. However, because it's become so uncool to say anything nice about the Oscar telecast, don't look for candor in the mainstream press. This certainly wasn't the most memorable of telecasts, but given the short deadline producer Gil Cates had to prepare for the event after the WGA strike was settled, he can take a semi-bow for pulling it all off rather seamlessly. For one thing, the pacing was very fast (by Oscar standards) and the decision in recent years to drop those dreadful opening production numbers looks wiser with every broadcast. I actually thought the awards started at 8:00 PM east coast time, so I was a bit ticked off to find myself watching a half hour "red carpet" teaser show hosted by amiable goofball Regis Philbin. Like Larry King, Philbin's made a fortune off being - well, amiable without having to give his brain cells much of a workout. What Philbin knows about movie history could fit on the head of a pin, so his comments were all of the cringing, arse-kissing variety ("Everybody wants to be George Clooney!" he panted to the Oscar-nominated star). The Reege almost got through the entire half hour without a customary display of his ignorance, but then in the final seconds, he introduced Javier Bardem as "Xavier Bardem", thus obvously channeling the spirit of bandleader Xavier Cougat, who is probably Philbin's idea of a hip celeb.
Once the ceremonies began, Jon Stewart seemed far more comfortable than his first time around as host in 2006. He got off some mildly amusing zingers and a minimum of duds. Throughout the evening, however, his performance wavered on several occasions, though a well-placed observation generally salvaged his performance. He's not the ideal host for this gig, but he wasn't the disaster many of us feared. (For that we'd have to go back to David Letterman's (hopefully) one-shot brush with being an Oscar host.) An impressive aspect of the show was the presence of real star power (or what passes for real star power today.) Not long ago, it was considered too corny to attend the awards, so many major stars stayed away. However, the pendulum seems to have swung back and it was nice to see so many big names in attendance: Harrison Ford (refreshingly, looking as pained and grumpy as ever), John Travolta (still with the bizarre haircut that resembles a skullcap), Tom Hanks, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren,Cameron Diaz, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington, Jack Nicholson, - and even living legend Mickey Rooney, who probably had to show ID to the ushers to prove he wasn't a limo driver. Highlights of the show included the usual heart-felt tribute to the staggering number of artists who had died in the previous year. (Even well-known agents were included this time around). Unavoidably, the tribute had to end on the somber note of Heath Ledger's passing. Many movie fans probably don't realize how many well known people from the industry have died until they watch this segment of the Oscar show. Another nice gesture was the inclusion of U.S. servicemen and women announcing the nominees and winner for documentary short. The broadcast came from Baghdad and might have been a sop to right wingers because of the abundance of nominated documentary films that were harshly critical of U.S war policy. In any event, it was a good moment.
The absurdity of limiting winners to an acceptance speech of less than a minute became increasingly irritating and embarrassing. Here are people at the pinnacle of their professional careers and if one takes the time to mention their mother in their acceptance speech, then their partner probably loses the opportunity to speak at all. Let these people talk - some will undoubtedly be boring, but occasionally someone will say something profound or memorable. When young songwriter Marketa Irglova was shafted out of being able to speak when her co-writer took up her precious twenty seconds of time, Jon Stewart very graciously invited her out to the stage later to give her speech. It firmly put the spotlight on how ridiculous these time limitations had become - and it's a reason other awards shows that don't have this rule have begun to make serious inroads on Oscar.
If you're wondering why Diablo Cody's arm bore a large tattoo of a scantily-clad woman, it's because her previous career was as an exotic dancer. She won a well-deserved Oscar for his screenplay for Juno.
For the most part, the stars looked good. There were no completely over-the-top outfits, except for an avant garde number that first time screenwriter Diablo Cody wore on stage to accept her well-deserved Oscar for the charming and funny Juno. However, since Cody's previous career was as a stripper, we'll give her a pass. Most of the men looked handsome and elegant and none wore those awful, designer cowboy tuxes that usually show up. (Though we do wish the craze for tuxedos with straight ties will pass! There is nothing more flattering than the old standard black tux with bow tie. - and if you doubt me, just look at George Clooney. who has the timeless elegance of Cary Grant). The women looked appropriately stunning, though we kind of miss the Cher era in which at least one eye-popping number dominated the fashion columns the following morning. The only truly awful wardrobe malfunction was Jennifer Hudson's white gown. We know she's a full-figured woman, but this little number made her look like an aircraft carrier. I expected to see U.S.S. Enterprise stenciled on her rear end.
Eagle-eyed movie fans noticed that a map in Patton depicted the divided city of Berlin. Of course, Berlin was not divided until Germany had surrended! The real Gen. Patton would have put the researcher on permanent KP duty.
The advent of home video has been a nightmare for movie directors and continuity people as fans can now pause and study any frame of any film, looking for bloopers. In the past, some of these apparent mistakes were actually known by the filmmakers but were allowed to remain in the film because on the big screen, few would ever notice them. For example, the late director and editor Peter Hunt once told me that when he was editing the first James Bond film, Dr. No in England, he realized that the scene in which James Bond and his chauffeur were being pursued by another car, needed more suspense. He decided he needed a closeup or two of a speedometer to indicate how fast Bond's car was going. The only problem: the car in the scene was back in Jamaica. Hunt simply shot the speedometer of his own car, even though it bore no resemblance to the dashboard seen in the film. Hunt explained that prior to home video, many bloopers were intentional and were inserted because few audience members would be able to perceive them fleetingly on the big screen. More recently, however, blooper-spotting has become a growth industry as thousands of movie fans world wide post mistakes on web sites. WCBS News has an amusing slide show focusing on bloopers in 90 films that have won or been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Most are of relatively recent vintage, but there are few golden oldies tossed in. - Lee Pfeiffer
Cinema Retro subscriber Rory Monteith always proves to be a great source of material for this site. Here is Rory's latest letter and submission:
Another anniversary that's coming up is old King Kong's 75th. The film
premiered at Radio City Music Hall on March 2, 1933. Here's a trade
ad from a 1952 reissue. KONG is one of the most reissued movies ever. It
actually made more money in reissues than it did in original release, and it
was also one of the first movies to be heavily advertised on TV, I think for
a 1956 reissue.
Give Entertainment Weekly credit - while the mainstream media hardly
mentioned the passing of Roy Scheider, the magazine's website has
several excellent tribute to the star of Jaws, The French Connection and All That Jazz. There is a brief but very candid interview with William Friedkin, who directed Scheider in his Oscar-nominated performance in The French Connection as well as in the big budget, ill-fated 1977 adventure film Sorcerer. Friedkin
reveals that he very much wanted Steve McQueen for the starring role in that film
but refused McQueen's demand that a female role be written for Ali
MacGraw. Friedkin hired Scheider to star, but the two had a contentious
relationship on the set of the very demanding production. What emerged
is one of the truly under-rated adventure films, but the difficulties
in bringing it to the screen resulted in hard feelings between director
and star. Friedkin also reveals he wanted Scheider to play the Father
Karras role in The Exorcist but author William Peter Blatty threw cold water on the decision and Jason Miller was ultimately cast.
Writer Amanda Christine Miller has a light-hearted and amusing interview with famed director Peter Bogdanovich on The Huffington Post site. Bogdanovich speaks at length about his signature "logo" - the stylish neck scarves that are an omnipresent part of his wardobe. He also reflects on the legendary film figures his came to know and expresses the most admiration for John Ford and Howard Hawks, though he concedes Ford's grumpiness made him an unpleasant person to be around. As for his own icon of fashion, Bogdanovich chooses Cary Grant and tells an amusing ancedote that reveals that Grant's Brooks Brothers suits were straight off the rack. To read the interview click here
MGM has released a long-overdue and most welcome special edition of director Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night. The film won the Best Picture Oscar for 1967. Unlike many films that dealt with pressing social issues of their time, Heat never feels dated and remains a crackling good thriller from start to finish. Unless you've been living in a cave for the last forty years, you're probably familiar with the storyline. Set in Ground Zero of the segregationist South, Mississippi, Sidney Poitier is Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs who finds himself the chief suspect in the murder of a prominent businessman in a small town. The redneck cops are ready to railroad him until he informs the local police chief, Rod Steiger, that he, too, is a police officer - and when Steiger asks cynically what he is referred to in the department, Poitier gets to spout one of the screen's classic lines: "They call me Mister Tibbs!" This was groundbreaking stuff forty years ago when many whites in the deep south still couldn't accept the fact that blacks had a right to ride in the front of a bus. Tibbs is ordered to participate in the murder investigation and he forms a reluctant partnership with Steiger. The premise of the two foes gaining gradual respect seems hopelessly cliched today - but this is the film that started it all and the teaming of Poitier and Steiger still outclass all their imitators.
The film boasts an outstanding supporting cast including Lee Grant, Warren Oates, Larry Gates and Scott Wilson. The murder mystery itself is a conventional McGuffin - it's the witches cauldron of racial tension that forms the basis of the storyline. We see the old South through Tibbs' eyes and he is clearly a stranger in a strange land. Even the smallest social courtesies are denied him, but he stoically soldiers on, humiliating his foes by use of sheer logic and a superior education. When Tibbs finally snaps and slaps a white rich man back across the face, it's a seminal moment in movie history.Steiger won the Oscar for uncharacteristically underacting while Poitier was denied a nomination for the best performance of his career. It wasn't due to racism, however- Poitier had been awarded the Best Actor Oscar in 1964 for Lillies of the Field. Ironically, he was so popular in 1967 that I've long theorized that Academy voters split between his performances in Heat, To Sir, With Love and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? with the end result that he knocked himself out of the competition.
MGM's single disc special edition features previously released commentary tracks with Norman Jewison, Rod Steiger, Lee Grant and famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, whose work on the film still impresses greatly. A making-of documentary, Turning Up the Heat provides some fascinating anecdotes. Jewison says the film could not have been shot in the actual South because of the danger to the cast and crew. It was filmed in southern Illinois, but for one pivotal scene, Poitier had to make an uncomfortable trip south of the Mason Dixon line. The threat of physical violence was so real that he had to sleep with a gun under his pillow. Other featurettes include a tribute to Quincy Jones, whose jazz-filled musical score was groundbreaking, as was the soulful performance of Ray Charles on the title song. Another short featurette examines the social impact of the scene in which Tibbs slaps the white man. The impact crossed racial lines and even whites were cheering for Tibbs. There is also a theatrical trailer included, though strangely the documentaries don't play up the fact that the film spawned two sequels starring Poitier as Tibbs. Sadly, Poitier himself is nowhere to be found on the special edition. The publicity-shy star generally avoids interviews, but one truly wishes he had made an exception for this project. We don't have many leading men with his class and style today and we don't get many thrillers as good as In the Heat of the Night.- Lee Pfeiffer
Click here to order this DVD from the Cinema Retro Amazon Movie Store.
Among the countless spgaghetti westerns made in the wake of the Clint Eastwood/ Sergio Leone "Dollars" trilogy were the Sartana films starring Gianni Garko. Like many Italian stars, his name was changed to make it seem as though these were American westerns. Thus, "Gianni" became "John". The films presented the actor, who resembled Eastwood, as a combination Man with No Name and James Bond, who used hi tech weaponry to thwart his enemies. The series of Sartana films included some of those wonderful spaghetti western titles such as If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death and Sartana is Here...Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin! The web site Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot has an informative and entertaining look at this little-known series of westerns. To read click here
The Sartana westerns are available from Wild East Video. To order click here
One of the new out-take photos from Lindsay Lohan's Marilyn Monroe photo session. (Copyright NewYork.com)
Yesterday, we posted a link to New York Magazine's exclusive photo shoot by photographer Bert Stern of Lindsay Lohan recreating the provocative poses from the last photo session Stern did with Marilyn Monroe, six weeks before her death in 1962. We certainly saw our web traffic jump to a record high -shockingly surpassing the hits we got for our Santa Claus Conquers the Martians article last Christmas! However, New York magazine's site actually crashed because of the overwhelming volume of traffic. The site has now added some new out-take photos from the session, one of which is illustrated above. For the new photos, you have to click through the previously posted ones at the New York website. Click here to access, but be warned: due to heavy traffic, it might take a while to page through the slides. Looks like Lohan, who hasn't had a paid audience of any merit since the release of Herbie: Fully Loaded has finally found what qualities to display to entice her fans.
It takes a pretty important event to induce a producer to leave the set of a major film production underway in a foreign country, but Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson flew from the Panama location of the new James Bond movie Quantum Of Solace, to London to receive the prestigious OBE from Her Majesty, the Queen. The producers didn't have much time to savor the honor- they returned to the film location on the same day. Broccoli and Wilson walk in the footsteps of the late, legendary producer Albert R. Broccoli, father to Barbara and step-father to Michael, who also received the award. Broccoli and Wilson are American by birth but the award was in recognition of the enormous impact the Broccoli family has had on the British film industry. Broccoli and Wilson have continued to make Pinewood Studios the official home of the Bond films. With few exceptions, it has remained so since the filming of Dr. No in 1962.
Cinema Retro congratulates our old friends Barbara and Michael on a prestigious honor well-earned. For a full report, click here to visit the James Bond website www.mi6.co.uk
UPDATE ON BOND NEWS/RUMORS: Cinema Retro can confirm that sources close to the new Bond film have verified that recent British tabloid reports that the cast and crew have been virtually terrorized by rival criminal gangs in Panama are untrue. You will also recall that we told you to take widespread rumors that Al Pacino would play a small but pivotal role in the new film with a grain of salt. Our sources also confirm our skepticism: it appears there is no truth to these rumors either.
John Landis is preparing to direct a biography of comic book titan William M. Gaines, the man who pioneered the golden age of horror comics with his line of titles for E.C. that included Tales from the Crypt. When politicians sought to grandstand in the 1950s by blaming the influence of comic books as a reason for juvenile delinquency, the E.C. line was forced out of business. However, Gaines got even by venturing into satire with the establishment of Mad magazine which employed many of the artists and writers from the horror line. The rest is history as Mad has become a "must read" for successive generations of young cynics. Gaines was a larger-than-life figure both literally and figuritively and he established bonds with his readers through self-deprecating humor about the staff at Mad, which he routinely called "the usual gang of idiots." Gaines once infamously convinced a naive new employee that the company was run by himself and his brother, who was an exact twin - and had many a laugh the poor man's expense as he tried to fulfill contradictory orders from both brothers. Landis film will be titled, Ghoulishly Yours, William M. Gaines We're already getting on line!
Sideshow Collectibles has been producing high quality, officially licensed sculpted figures of Hollywood icons for years. They recently entered an agreement with Wayne Enterprises to produce a series of commemorative statues based on John Wayne's films. The latest in the line has just been announced: a dramatic deptiction of The Duke in fighter pilot gear from the 1942 film Flying Tigers that told the story of American airmen who volunteered to fight for China against the Japanese in the days prior to the U.S. involvement in WWII. The 20" statue is available for pre-order and sells for $250. For further details click here
Marilyn redux: Lindsay Lohan recreates the sex siren's final photo session with Bert Stern. (Photo copyright NYmag.com)
Okay, we'll say it up front... our New Year's pledge not to name Lindsay Lohan in our website for the rest of year lasted less than our vow to stay out of Dunkin' Donuts. However, we plead guilty - with an explanation and hope readers will show mercy on us. How in the world could we have known that Lohan would be involved in an erotic photo tribute that actually pertains to a classic movie icon? In 1962, photographer Bert Stern famously photographed Marilyn Monroe for her last publicity session. She committed suicide six weeks later and Stern's stunning photos have become part of pop culture legend. Now, New York magazine has arranged for Stern to recreate the session using Lindsay Lohan as a model - right down to a blonde Marilyn wig. The bizarre but sensual gimmick is bound to sell record numbers of magazines but even better is the news that the photos are posted on the publication's website. Talk about a humanitarian gesture! One of the reasons we vowed not to cover Lohan's outrageous activities (along with her two rivals for Bad Behavior Queen who shall remain unnamed), is that it became obvious that her daily exploits in self-destruction were having real consequences. Lohan, like the other two would-be divas, was spiraling into a state that could have resulted in her death - and there is nothing amusing about that scenario.
We don't have a clue as to whether Lohan is still violating her vows to get on the straight-and-narrow, but we can say this: the photographs prove this is not a malnourished, decaying woman. The provocative photos display some eye-popping images and Lohan seems none the worse for the wear. You can judge for yourself by visiting reading the story and viewing the slide show by clicking here.
These frames from the Indy trailer posted at the Ain't It Cool News website shows apparent CGI manipulation of this scene, with machine guns and villains removed.
Some cold water has been thrown on the highly-anticipated teaser trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie that recently debuted in theaters internationally. According to Ain't It Cool News, fans from around the world have been comparing frames from the trailers - and it appears as though the U.S. version has been digitally altered. We said in our review of the trailer that we had concerns that CGI tehcnology may be overused in the film itself, but we never dreamed it would cause a scandal concerning the trailer! If you click on the attached link, it becomes apparent that a scene depicting Harrison Ford and Ray Winstone surrendering to the bad guys has been altered for U.S. audiences by having machine guns digitally removed. Fans have also noted that the U.S. flag has been prominently inserted into the American version while it does not appear in the international versions. The latter can be excused as simply catering to a specific audience, but fans are already in an uproar about being given a sanitized version of the trailer that tones down the implication of violence. For the whole debate visit Ain't It Cool News by clicking here.
The Cinema Retro gang must be doing at least a few things right. Yesterday, the site posted a record number of hits and daily traffic is up an astonishing 1600% since June 2007, the first full month we went live with our new web design. We've obviously found the right niche to appeal to lovers of classic and cult movies, but also those who like to keep informed about the latest industry happenings. We try not to stray too far from our overall mission, however, which is to pay homage to the films of the 1960s and 1970s. Even when we post contemporary movie business news, it generally pertains to veteran actors and filmmakers. Mostly, it's thanks to the diverse and talented contributors who bring readers perspectives from all over the world. Where else can you read in-depth analysis of the films of Ingmar Bergman and Matt Helm, separated by just a couple of clicks of your mouse? Thanks also to loyal readers and subscribers who send in suggestions for articles as well as interesting photos and rarities. We also try to keep readers informed of forthcoming film-related festivals, screenings and other events that they might not otherwise be aware of, so if you're aware of an event that you think might be of interest to readers, please make us aware of it.
No, this isn't a movie still from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - rather, it's the most sobering depiction of a group since Charles Addams took up sketching. We only rarely show the people behind Cinema Retro - and now you know why! In any event, this historic occasion took place at our favorite hangout, the legendary Players club in New York City. Here, various contributors gathered to meet co-publisher Dave Worrall who was making a (fortunately) rare goodwill trip over from Old Blighty that basically consisted of visiting pubs from here to the Bahamas. Gathering at ye olde watering hole are some of Retro's contributing writers (L to R) Thom Vinciguerra, Mike Dainard, novelist Raymond Benson, actor/writer Joe Sirola, Editor in Chief Lee Pfeiffer, David Savage (peeking out the back!), Shirley Sealy, Dave Worrall, Tom Lisanti and Matthew Bradley. Fair warning: Pfeiffer's going on a reciprocal "goodwill" visit to London in April, so be prepared for photos of our contributors over there. (The Yanks look like beauty contest winners compared to our British staffers!)
There's plenty more in store with new, established writers joining our ranks all the time. Additionally, acclaimed actors and directors are eager to contribute to the print version of Cinema Retro. If you need another reason to subscribe, consider that interviews with the following artists will be featured in forthcoming issues: Norman Jewison, Bryan Forbes, Ken Annakin, Patricia Neal, Bruce Dern, Robert Vaughn, Herbert Lom, Christopher Lee, Guy Hamilton, Karen Black, plus follow-up interviews with stars like Cliff Robertson, Elke Sommer, and many more. Subscribe today and join the growing ranks of Cinema Retro readers who have the most unique film magazine in the world delivered directly to their doors three times a year.
Remember to also visit the Cinema Retro Amazon store by clicking on the icon in the right column. We've specially selected thousands of movie books and DVDS so you don't have to wade through the main Amazon database.
Thanks again to everyone for putting Cinema Retro into the stratosphere. The best is yet to come!
Lopez (right) in 1956 with other up-and-coming actors Nan Leslie, Nick Adams and Natalie Wood.
Veteran character actor Perry Lopez has died from lung cancer at age 78, Variety reports. Lopez appeared in many prominent films throughout his career including Chinatown and it's sequel The Two Jakes (playing the same character, Capt. Lou Escobar in both), Mister Roberts and Taras Bulba. Other film credits include Elvis Presley's Flaming Star, John Wayne's McLintock!,Bandolero! and The Rare Breed (both starring James Stewart), Sol Madrid (aka The Heroin Gang) starriing David McCallum and the Charles Bronson actioner Death Wish 4: The Crackdown. Lopez, who was often cast in Hispanic roles, also appeared on countless major TV series including The Fall Guy, Charlie's Angels, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Wild, Wild West, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. For more click here
Yesterday, the British tabloid The Daily Star published a front page report that the cast and crew of the new James Bond film Quantum Of Solace had been threatened by violent gangs while on location in Panama. The tabloid reported the cast and crew had been caught up in a struggle between rival gangs to monopolize a protection racket extending to the film production. The paper said equipment and crew had been robbed and that the cast was under protection after gun battles veered very close to the filming. However, today producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who generally make a policy of not commenting on any tabloid rumors, issued a joint statement saying the local violence has nothing to do with the film production and that no robberies have occurred. The producers also said no cast or crew have been in danger and said, ""These scurrilous and irresponsible reports in The Daily Star have caused distress to the UK families of our filming unit."
There's no doubt that major film productions being shot "south of the border" have to contend with many challenges including shakedown rackets and corruption - factors that plagued legendary Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli when he shot Licence to Kill in Mexico in 1989. Central and South America have experienced exceptionally violent situations as governments have sought to finally exert control over the lucrative drug rackets that have been allowed to prosper over the decades. Many gangs are now virtually self-contained armies with hi-tech weaponry that rivals that of the military. Thus, the reports in The Daily Star seemed all too plausible to many readers. However, the Bond films have long been a magnet for wild and unsubstantiated rumors ranging from "inside knowledge" of who will be cast to who will sing the title songs. In most cases, the media prints these rumors without any effort to verify their accuracy. In some cases, it is all too apparent that talent agents float these rumors about their clients in order to get them free publicity. To what degree the violence in Panama has impacted the latest production will probably not be known until the film unit leaves the country, but for now the official word is that the situation has been great exagerrated and that neither cast or crew have been in danger at any time.
Robert DoQui, a versatile character actor, has passed away at age 74. His impressive resume includes playing the gruff Sgt. Reed in the Robocop films and appearing in three major Robert Altman releases: Buffalo Bill and the Indians, Nashville and Short Cuts. It was on TV that he excelled, however, appearing in many hit series beginning in the 1960s. They include The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Practice, ER, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Adam-12, Sanford and Son, and many more. For more click here
Anne Francis in publicity photo with Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet
Anne Francis, star of the cult TV series Honey West and the classic MGM sci fi film Forbidden Planet, is battling lung cancer. The 77 year-old actress had part of the infected lung removed recently and is now recuperating. Francis says, "I won't know
until the end of May whether my treatment is working. I'm still weak
from the lung surgery and the chemo takes a lot out of you, but I'm
optimistic." Sadly, initial media reports of her dilemma refer to her as a "forgotten actress". As Cinema Retro subscriber Rory Monteith points out, "Forgotten by who???" Ms. Francis has continued to act right up until a couple of years ago and enjoys widespread popularity on the autograph show circuit. To read more (including the offending reference) click here
Cinema Retro's Dean Brierly serves up another fascinating, exclusive interview.
The Martin Woodhouse Interview
By Dean Brierly
Perhaps the most potent evocation of the 1960s was the book
“Goodbye Baby and Amen,” with pictures by David Bailey and words by Peter
Evans. Published in 1969, it paid stylish homage to the decade’s cultural icons
and iconoclasts: from Jean Shrimpton to Terence Stamp, Christine Keeler to
Marianne Faithfull, the Rolling Stones to the Brothers Kray. It’s a perfect
tribute as well as a perfect time capsule. Well, nearly perfect. There is one
glaring omission. Chap by the name of Martin Woodhouse.
If that name doesn’t immediately set bells of recognition
pealing, it’s not because his CV is unworthy of inclusion in the decade’s
creative pantheon. Woodhouse first drew notice in 1957-58 as a research scholar
where he built one of the world’s first pure logic computers. During the next
two years, he did pioneering research on anti-aircraft missile-control systems
while serving as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Upon being demobilized, he
joined his brother Hugh in writing all the first-season episodes of the
Supermarionation TV series Supercar. (Who can forget such characters as
Mike Mercury, Mitch the Monkey and Dr. Horatio Beaker, who was famous for
taking forever to finish a sentence and spouting the catchphrase:
“Satisfactory. Most satisfactory!”) Woodhouse subsequently graduated to writing
for real actors, contributing a number of sparkling scripts for The Avengers
that helped instill the show’s surreal, science fiction ambience and Cathy
Gale’s fully liberated character. He penned a series of brilliant espionage
thrillers between 1966 and 1976 featuring research scientist-turned reluctant
spy Giles Yeoman (and his occasional CIA sidekick Yancy Brightwell). To top it
off, mystery writer and critic Dorothy B. Hughes famously dubbed him “a
Woodhouse in Alfie mode during the mod 1960s in photo taken for book jacket.
Woodhouse certainly looked the part, projecting unflappable
cool from behind Alfie-like eyeglasses in his early book-jacket photos. One can
imagine Bailey and Evans slotting him into their book between, say, Michael
Caine (who would have been perfect casting as Giles Yeoman) and Jonathan Miller
(another multi-hyphenate writer with a taste for dead-on-target satire). Unlike
some of his more famous sixties contemporaries, Woodhouse not only survived
that tumultuous era, but continued to push past creative and cultural
boundaries in succeeding decades. He co-wrote (with Robert Ross) a trilogy of
mid-70s alternate history novels centering on Leonardo da Vinci as a kind of
Renaissance James Bond. In the 1980s he invented the solar-powered Lightbook,
the world’s first e-book reader (for which he’s been dubbed “The Father of
Modern Electronic Publishing). Recently, his time has been spent setting up an
ambitious, large-scale charitable organization to distribute e-books (and by
extension, education) to countless children in impoverished Third
World countries. Woodhouse now resides in sylvan contentment in
Haslemere, Surrey, England. He recently took time out
from his altruistic and creative endeavors to share some of his memories with
Throughout the decades, Clint Eastwood has gone against the grain of other top actors by not overtly inserting himself into the political forum, aside from his one term as mayor of Carmel. However, in a recent interview with Neil Cavtuo of Fox News, Eastwood is surprisingly candid about his political beliefs. He says he's traditionally backed Republican candidates, but believes the party has strayed very far from its roots. He doesn't endorse any specific candidate for president, not does he put down any particular one. However, he mentions on several occasions that he has great admiration for John McCain. It's the most revealing side of Eastwood's poltical beliefs we've seen. To read click here
The Evening Standard is reporting rumors that the famed Carry On franchise of naughty British comedies may be revived with a film titled Carry On Carrying On. The series was all the rage throughout the 1960s when saucy bedroom farces could still raise eyebrows. It remains to be seen whether the producers can capture lightning in a bottle during a time when real life stars engage in behavior that would make even the Carry On girls blush. To read click here. (Thanks to Graham for the tip)
We're always humbled by the vast array of talented people who contribute to Cinema Retro magazine and website. Apparently, many other people are aware as well. Cinema
Retro London-based contributing writer and photographer Mark Mawston has recently been inducted into
the prestigious Rock Archive.
Archive, founded in 1998
by award-winning photographer Jill Furmanovsky, has become the world’s finest
specialising in rock and roll imagery and counts as its contributors some
of the most famous rock photographers on the planet.
being voted into Rock archive Mark says that“I’m very proud to be listed alongside some
of these great photographers as many are as important as the acts they have captured”.
first break was when his photo of graffiti adorning the wall outside Abbey Road
Studios was chosen to represent The Beatles “Anthology” in the EMI ‘100 Years
of Recorded Music’ exhibition. Since then Mark has been fortunate enough to
capture a great number of the artists who’s music has sound tracked the lives
of so many. His portfolio includes shots from the first instigators of Rock ‘n’
Roll through to many of today’s “new hopefuls”. He is currently compiling a book
“written by a fan for the fan” in which he describes meetings with such legends
as Brian Wilson, The Stones, Shane McGowan, Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The
Elvis TCB Band, Cream, Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Arthur Lee, Sam Phillips
and many others.
Mark’s passion for music has led him
to create what one agency called “40 years worth of work in half a dozen
years”. He is currently compiling a book chronicling some of his more
interesting encounters. Mark's best known contributions to Cinema Retro is the multi-part interview with legendary filmmaker Ray
Harryhausen that has been called one of the most definitive ever conducted with special effects genius. Mark also provided advanced, exclusive photos of the Star Wars prop exhibiton that opened in London last year. (To view click here)
Mark Mawston with the original seeing eye prop from Ray Harryhausen's Clash of the Titans.
The shot here shows Mark with the
all seeing eye from Clash Of The Titans, which he found at the bottom of a tea
chest when helping author Tony Dalton find materials to shoot in his research
for the forthcoming third book on the stop motion legend. “That is a story in
itself but that we’ll keep for another time and another issue” Mark said.
Marks aim is to continue to
photograph the legends that have had an impact on his and others lives both
musically and cinematically. He says, “The thrill of taking a shot of a
musician you’ve listened to or a film star who’s work you’ve loved all your
life never leaves you. You remain a fan after all. Two examples of this
happened recently. I was given the privilege of covering the world premiere of
Brian Wilson’s latest work That Lucky Old Sun. I’d covered both opening nights
of Pet Sounds and Smile but this was a thrill as this time I was given
permission to cover the rehearsal. This meant that in affect I was one of the
first non band members ever to hear this work. I was alone with Brian Wilson in
the RFH as he sang the entire piece to my camera. It was unforgettable. Another great moment recently was
when John Barry’s wife commissioned one of my photo’s of John at last year's
Meltdown. To think that the guy who’s music has been so inspirational now has
one of my pictures “above his fireplace” is a big deal to me. On a cinematic front, to think that
as a kid watching the 200 ft Talos glowering down at me in the stalls in Jason
at The Argonauts, that there would come a day that I’d hold him in my hand is
Some of Marks images can be found at
www.Markmawston.com and the initial
run of his limited edition prints can be found at www.rockarchive.com. As Mark said “You
need only look under the letters B & R to see what illustrious company I’m
in. It’s a real honour”.
Hollywood has lost one of its most intriguing leading men. Roy Scheider, who received Oscar nominations for The French Connection and All That Jazz, has died from cancer at age 75. The acclaimed actor shot to leading man status with his starring role in the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. One of Scheider's last film achievements was narrating and appearing in the forthcoming documentary The Shark is Still Working which details the the making of the film. Scheider's other screen roles include Marathon Man and the greatly-underrated William Friedkin thriller Sorcerer. For more click here.
(To read an interview with the producers of The Shark is Still Working, who discuss Roy Scheider's involvement with the film, click here)
Here is a link to a collection of original theatrical trailers from four of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature films: To Trap a Spy, The Spy with My Face, One Spy Too Many and One of Our Spies is Missing. These are from the U.N.C.L.E. film festival shown in November on Turner Classic Movies. The One of Our Spies is Missing trailer is particularly rare because the film was never released in the USA, although promotional materials had been prepared. Ironically, it broke box-office records in its British engagements.
Cinema Retro is currently celebrating the U.N.C.L.E feature films with extended articles in every issue, each centering on a specific movie. The series began in issue #9 with To Trap a Spy. Issue #10 covers The Spy with My Face and the series continues in the next issue with One Spy Too Many. The artwork above is the back cover from issue #10 which shows rare international movie posters from The Spy With My Face.
Remember to order the complete U.N.C.L.E. TV series on DVD by clicking on the icon on the right side of this page.
It's hard to believe Sir Michael Caine is 74 years old, but he's still got the irreverant attitude that made him a star in 1964's Zulu. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Caine reflects on his life and career and makes some typical witticisms. He dismisses his knighthood as virtually meaningless outside Britain, tells amusing anecdotes about his 40 year friendship with Roger Moore and Sean Connery and explains why he got out of the restaurant business thusly:
"I sold them all 10 years ago. I found that chefs were more
annoying than bloody movie stars. They're so temperamental. You
can't say anything to them. And I picked all the nutcases, I did.
So I got out. Someone offered me a fortune and I left." To read the interview click here
Writer Christopher Hudson provides readers of London's Daily Mail with a fascinating and insightful look at a side of James Bond creator Ian Fleming that the mainstream media has tactfully ignored over the years. In a lenghty piece, Hudson examines what Fleming scholars have long known: the master novelist had a complicated love life characterized by high profile affairs and kinky sex that included his preoccupation with flagellation (whipping). The article goes into detail about Fleming's long decades long affair with Ann Rothermere, a married woman who enthusiastically carried on her love life with Fleming virtually under the nose of her husband. Fleming would eventually (and reluctantly) marry her, leading to a domestic situation that seems straight out of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as the couple engaged in psychological head games that ran the gamut from inflicting physical harm on each other to torrid lovemaking (which also resulted in bruises!). Whether you consider Fleming a total cad or an admirable playboy depends on your point of view, but there is little doubt where the main ingredients of James Bond were given birth. To read click here
A nude sketch of young Sean Connery will be featured in an art collection of the Ian Fleming family that will be on display in the UK. As a struggling young actor, Connery would pose for art classes. He was a bodybuilder in those days and was the UK contestant in the Mr. Universe contest. Now you know how he got his nickname of "Big Tam". For more on the exhibit click here
Seth Rogen recreates Cary Grant's classic scene in North by Northwest. (Photo: Elaine Brown)
Vanity Fair pays tribute to Alfred Hitchcock in it's March Hollywood issue by enlisting top stars to recreate classic moments from The Master's films. Jodie Foster, Javier Bardem, Seth Rogen, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Marie Saint are among the participants recreating moments from Psycho, Rear Window, North by Northwest and Vertigo.
Johnny Carson used to have a real crowd pleaser when he simply read verbatim from certain movie descriptions in the TV Guide. If you thought that the idiots who wrote these embarrassing descriptions had long been retired, the bad news is that their kids are carrying on the tradition. Our new feature looks at some of the worst-written capsule movie descriptions offered on cable services. In our case, it's Cablevision, one of the biggest cable TV giants in the USA. Memo to the top brass: you might allocate just a smidgen of the tens of millions in yearly profits to invest in people who are at least partially literate.
We premiere the feature with ....drumroll, please!...The description of the 1958 B horror movie, Blood of the Vampire. Here is the write-up you get to induce you to watch the film:
"A couple enter the asylum of a mad vampire doctor and his one-eyed assistant with bangs, Carl."
While we're happy to be notified that this particular vampire doctor is mad, as opposed to serving in a humanitarian capacity, we don't know what is supposed to scare us more about his assistant:
1. that he has one eye
2. he has bangs
3. he is named Carl
Presumably, taken individually, each of these characteristics are tolerable - but put them all together and watch out!
Actor Barry Morse, who played the relentless Lt. Gerard in the TV series The Fugitive has died in London at age 89. The classically trained, esteemed actor found his greatest role as the Javert-like police officer who obsessively pursues escaped fugitive Dr. Richard Kimball (David Janssen) who was convicted of murdering his wife. The show's final two-part episode drew one of the largest audiences in the history of television. In the climax, Gerard observes Kimball fighting with a one-armed man he always maintained was the real killer. Ironically, it is Gerard who saves Kimball's life with a well-placed rifle shot that sends the villain spiraling to his death from atop a tower. The final scene of the show was refreshingly understated. As Kimball leaves a courthouse after being exonerrated, he is approached by Gerard. The two men eye each other warily, but shake hands silently. Morse drew praise not only for his work in the series, but also for his performances on stage and in numerous other films and TV series including Space 1999. His autobiography, Remembering With Advantages was published by McFarland. For more on his fascinating life and to read tributes from his fans and colleagues, go to his official web site by clicking here.
To order Barry Morse's autobiography from the Cinema Retro Amazon Book Store, click here.
Sony has revealed the teaser poster for the new James Bond film Quantum Of Solace, due to be released in November. The fact that the poster does not bear the film's title is an indication of how late in the day the final title for the film was decided upon. The shadow of Bond holding the machine gun he was seen with in the last frames of Casino Royale is a subtle, but clever way of acknowledging that the new film will pick up where the last left off.
You can download the images from Sony as wallpaper for your desktop by clicking here
In a recent interview with Premiere's website, Woody Allen tells writer Ryan Stewart that it is unlikely his fans will ever see special editions of his films - especially the older ones. In a shockingly callous manner, Allen says that he routinely throws out any left over footage, a practice he follows even on his more recent movies. He also disdains talking about or analyzing his films and therefore dismisses the premise of cooperating on special DVD editions. Allen, who is known regard the interview process with as much enthusiasm as root canal surgery, tells Stewart he is speaking to him as a courtesy to the people who financed his recently-released movie Cassandra's Dream - which is like telling your prom date you asked her out because her father begged you to. Nevertheless, Allen does give straight-forward, no-nonsense answers to Stewart's intelligent questions and we get some insights intot he persona of one of the film industry's most quirky creative minds. To read click here
Dean Brierly dons his Nehru jacket and straps on his
Walther PPK as he explores the diabolically swinging espionage world of Dick Malloy,
The 1960s gave the world a new kind of cinematic hero, one
who redefined conceptions of morality through his indulgence in casual violence
and unrepressed carnality. He operated in a fantasy world of spy vs.
counterspy, had a license to kill and carried out supercharged adventures in
such Technicolor playgrounds as London, Paris, Rome and Istanbul. His adversaries
were ingenious, formidable and frequently megalomaniac; his playmates were
numerous, voluptuous and frequently duplicitous. He was known by many names.
Among the most familiar and enduring were Bond, Solo, Drake, Palmer, Flint.
In addition to these celluloid titans, there was a vast
contingent of second-tier spies, overlooked and unheralded by critics, but
cheered on by audiences the world over who couldn’t get enough kiss kiss, bang
bang. Literally hundreds of cheap but potent European spy films were churned
out in the mid-to-late sixties to feed the demand. Like the contemporaneous
spaghetti western genre, the Eurospy misses outweighed the hits, but not by as
great a margin as is generally assumed. Unfortunately, many of these gems have
yet to be rescued from the Siberia of cinema
A wave of the Beretta, therefore, to Dorado Films, which
recently brought to DVD one of the most notable figures of the Eurospy genre,
CIA agent Dick Malloy. Also known as Agent 077, he was played by cult film icon
Ken Clark, whose screen persona was at once rugged and graceful, heroic and
hedonistic. If Roger Moore and Peter Graves had somehow trumped the laws of
nature and produced a love child, it probably would have looked a lot like Clark. Tall and muscular, he radiated manly mojo and
looked like he could have kicked Sean Connery’s ass if the occasion ever arose.
Even his chest hair looked tough. The athletic actor performed all of his
often-dangerous stunts with rare enthusiasm and total commitment. Perhaps more
important, Clark was the undisputed master of
the action man stance. Nobody, but nobody, posed with such intensely stylish
affect. With feet planted shoulder-width apart and torso angled slightly
forward, his entire body radiated lethal prowess as he dispensed brutal punches
and stylish karate chops. Clark looked equally
convincing handling a wide variety of firearms and females, projected an
engaging cockiness and, topping it off, looked pretty damn suave in a tuxedo.
As the great Rodney Dangerfield once lamented, "Sex and steak -my favorite pair! I have them both the same - very rare!"
Here's a gem of a site that will appeal to any libertines among our readers. Silent Porn Star is an addictive, often hilarious look at how sex and pornography has presented in pop culture over the last century. There are vintage postcards of topless Polynesian dancers, tasteful nude starlets of yesteryear and some delightfully distasteful photos and stories of more recent vintage. We don't expect too many contributors to Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign to patronize the site, but those of us who are proud to be less pure can have a field day looking through those old ads for movies about promiscuous teenagers as well as reveling in other forbidden delights. There's plenty to gawk at whether you're straight, gay or in between - fun for the entire family! To view click on the banner graphic at top.
The prolific porn star Ron Jeremy in svelter times before he boasted more chins than a Chinese phone book. (Photo: Silent Porn)
Veteran Variety columist Army Archerd speaks to Peter Fonda about producer Roger Corman's controversial 1967 film The Trip which was written by aspriing young actor Jack Nicholson. Fonda recalls how nervous studio executives compromised the content of the script and watered down Nicholson's vision. Fonda was so irate it led to his determined effort to make a film in a bold, new way. The result was Easy Rider. To read the interview click here
As ardent lovers of anything relating to New York City, we love to look back on how the city was presented in films. The movies shot there in the 1970 evoked a true-to-life era of out of control crime and paranoia - a far cry from today when crime is at the lowest point in the last half-centry. Along with Death Wish and Taxi Driver, another film that resonated with audiences of the day was the gang warfare film The Warriors, released in 1979. Writer Deborah Lipp provides a brief but insightful look back on the movie with some unexpected references to Greek mythology and Beneath the Planet of the Apes! To read click here
He's not crying wolf, man...director Mark Romanek has quit Universal's high profile Wolfman remake.
Director Mark Romanek has quit Universal's planned remake of the Lon Chaney horror classic The Wolf Man. According to the Deadline Hollywood site, Romanek complained that the budget of $85-$100 was simply insufficient for a film in with only one monster. (Unless the script calls for a Love Boat- like, all-star monster cast a la the ill-fated Van Helsing.) If you've never heard of Romanek, you're not alone. Aside from directing one feature film (the 2002 Robin Williams thriller One-Hour Photo), Romanek's resume is as thin as a Hollywood starlet, with primarily music videos to his credit. Nevertheless, in the great traditions of artists since Van Gogh, Romanek isn't about to compromise his reputation by directing a movie with one hirsute, ill-tempered star (not Sean Connery!) on a paltry budget of only $85-$100 million. Here's an idea for Universal: scrap the whole project, which is bound to be laden with awful CGI-effects, and book the original film into theaters nationwide.
Maxim has provided a social service for movie lovers with a hilarious film-clip enhanced article about one of the cinema's oldest cliches- the scene in which a central character screams "NOoooo!" at a climactic point. For some reason Maxim has settled on eleven such scenes, but acknowledges one is included unfairly: Austin Powers, which in itself, was spoofing this time honored Hollywood tradition. Ironically, Dr. No isn't on the list, but if the film were made today, some character would probably call his name as he plunged to his death screaming, "NOoooo!" Check it out by clicking here
Our friends at the superb retro site Cinebeats inform us that the short-lived (one season) TV series Honey West is about to be released in the USA on DVD. (It's been available in the UK for some time.) All 30 episodes are in the pipeline. Cinebeats provides the details as well as a cool clip from the show that starred Anne Francis. To view click here
Intrada has released John Barry's score for Mary, Queen of Scots which starred Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Patrick McGoohan and Timothy Dalton. The release is limited to only 3,000 CDs. Here is the official press release:
World premiere CD release of original soundtrack from Hal Wallis
production starring Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Patrick McGoohan,
Timothy Dalton. Academy Award-nominated score by John Barry anchors
with incredibly gentle "Mary's Theme" for harpsichord, strings. In
contrast is dynamic secondary theme for brass that heralds 16th century
setting. Powerful idea spotlights trumpets with rhythmic idea using
two-part harmony while French horns impose powerful, angular theme
underneath. Bravura Barry! Varied score also takes dramatic turn with
dark material, James Bond-ish ideas plus lovely melody for Vanessa
Redgrave to sing ("Vivre et Mourir".) While mono-only scoring elements
made rounds for recent Universal DVD presentation, Intrada licensed
precious original Decca stereo album masters housed in UMG vaults.
While additional music was unavailable for release, Intrada proudly
offers entire 1971 stereo album as produced by composer. Program offers
music both haunting & powerful, results in one of Barry's all-time
greats. Authoritative notes by Jon Burlingame illuminate film
production & scoring. John Barry conducts. Special Collection CD
limited to 3000 copies! - Douglass Fake, Intrada producer