Sir Roger Moore is returning to familiar turf, co-producing (along with his son Geoffrey) a new TV movie based on the classic series The Saint. If successful, it could spawn a TV series. Moore rose to fame playing the charismatic Simon Templar in the smash hit TV show of the 1960s. Subsequent attempts to revive the franchise met with mixed results. There was a TV series with Ian Ogilvy and an ill-fated big screen version starring Val Kilmer. Reports say British actor James Purefoy is in negotiations to play the title role. Filming is set to begin next month in Europe. For more click here
Dith Pran, the native Cambodian whose remarkable story of survival and escape became the basis of the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields, has died from cancer at age 65. Pran was an assistant to New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg, who was covering the fall of Cambodia to Communist Khmer Rouge forces in 1975, following the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. With Pran's help, Schanberg managed to escape the country, but Pran was unable to do so. As with millions of his fellow Cambodians, Pran suffered the wrath of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, one of the most notorious mass murderers of the 20th century. Pol Pot had condemned to death anyone who might appear to be educated and deemed it a crime to wear eyeglasses on the basis that it implied intellectualism. He herded millions of city dwellers to rural "re-education" camps where the majority were beaten or starved to death. Although the world was appalled, no action was taken to stop the genocide, primarily because of America's recent military debacle in Vietnam - a fate no other nation wanted to share. In 1979, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew the Pol Pot regime. In the ensuing chaos, Pran managed to escape to Thailand - but only after a perilous journey through the jungles during which he discovered the unimaginable sight mass graves containing countless thousands of the Khmer Rouge's murder victims. He dubbed these locations as "The Killing Fields". He eventually got word to Schanberg in New York and the two had an emotional reunion. Schanberg arranged for Pran to emigrate to America and got him a job at the New York Times. He eventually became a respected photographer who never stopped lobbying for human rights. For more on this remarkable man, click here
We reported on the recent passing of Neil Aspinall, a man whose name was known primarily only to Beatle fans, but whose influence on the group cannot be overstated. Aspinall guided the group's career after the death of their original manager Brian Epstein and was largely responsible for turning Apple Corp into a major force in the music business, even after the group split up. Writer Darin Murphy has an excellent tribute to the man known as The Fifth Beatle. To read click here.
Connery and wife Micheline at the Dressed to Kilt fashion event during the annual Scots festival in New York.
Over the years, there have been a lot of unsubstantiated rumors about Sean Connery stating he'd be willing to return to the James Bond franchise as a villain - if the salary was large enough. However, in an interview with London's Daily Mail, Connery verifies he'd be willing to do so, but admits the kind of money he's looking for would not likely be paid by the producers. He also says he's seen Casino Royale and has emerged a big fan of Daniel Craig's portrayal of 007. Connery, who has lambasted the series in the past for delving into the realm of over-the-top stunts, gadgets and special effects, praises the producers for bringing the essence of the character back. "I think Daniel Craig is a terrific choice," he says "I think
they're going back to a more realistic type of Bond movie as I don't
think they could have gone much further with the special effects." The original big screen James Bond admits he hasn't seen some of his own 007 film but intends to catch up, as he has them on DVD. Connery also confirms he's happy in retirement, his health is good and he is genuinely moved by his fan's devotion. For more on the Great Scot, who seems to be mellowing at age 77, click here
Film critic Kyle Smith has an excellent article in The Wall Street Journal about the impact and significance of Get Smart on pop culture. The article outlines the history of the show and has comments from its creators, Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, who wanted to combine the attributes of James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. In anticipation of this summer's eagerly-awaited (dreaded?) big screen update of the series, it's worth revisiting the roots of one of TV's greatest comedy series of all time. To read click here
Abby Mann, one of the Golden Age of television's most prolific script writers has died at age 80. Mann's most acclaimed work was his adaptation of his television play Judgment at Nuremberg into a major Stanley Kramer feature film production in 1961. He won an Academy Award for the film, which exposed the raw emotions involved in the trials of Nazi war criminals. (Ironically, one of the film's all star leading players, Richard Widmark, also died this week). Mann was also nominated for his screenplay for Kramer's 1965 film Ship of Fools. In 1973, Mann wrote the script for the TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders in which the character of Det. Theo Kojack, played by Telly Savalas, was introduced. The resulting spin-off TV series was one of the most popular of the decade. Among Mann's other screen credits were the screenplays for A Child is Waiting, Report to the Commissioner and the 1968 film The Detective, which afforded Frank Sinatra one of the best roles of his career. For more click here.
Charlton Heston with Edward G. Robinson in Soylent Green.
The German-based website Madmind has an amusing article in which the German translations for well-known American films are critiqued - and some are as hilarious as they are inappropriate. Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West translates to Play Me the Sound of Death while Soylent Green becomes The Year 2022. Those Who Want to Live. Ach der lieber! Who comes up with these things?? To read click here
"Alamo" fan Tony Pasqua's tribute to Richard Widmark's superb portrayal of Jim Bowie in John Wayne's epic 1960 production.
Another of the rapidly dwindling members of Hollywood's Golden Age of stars has passed on. Richard Widmark, the versatile leading man who began his career on screen in 1947, has died at age 93. Widmark disdained publicity and gave very few interviews over the decades. He preferred keeping a low profile at his Connecticut estate. Widmark was as versatile as leading men get- he could play heroes and villains with equal ease and appeared in a wide variety of genres. He often played unsympathetic characters and his roles as sneering bad guys in Kiss of Death (in which he infamously pushed an elderly woman in a wheelchair down a staircase while laughing maniacally) and in No Way Out as a racist thug opposite Sidney Poitier were praised by critics. Widmark excelled in playing strong men with deep psychological problems. In the Cold War thriller The Bedford Incident he played a by-the-book U.S. Naval captain whose uncompromising hunt for a Soviet nuclear submarine brings the world to the brink of war. In John Wayne's The Alamo, his performance as Jim Bowie won praise, as he portrayed the heroic Texan as a courageous man compromised by an addiction to alcohol. The strong-willed Widmark clashed with star/director Wayne, but rumors that the men came to blows were exagerrated according to Widmark. Widmark also made a strong impression as the star of Don Siegel's 1968 detective thriller, Madigan - which was so successful, it spawned a TV series years later, even though the character was killed in the film! For a full look at Widmark's life and career click here
Here's a new DVD series we're really looking forward to - an insiders look at how the classic theme park rides were created in both Disneyland and Disney World. The first release is due on April 5 and includes interviews with the Imagineers, the masterminds who have envisioned and built the legendary attractions from the 1955 opening of Disneyland to the present day. Best of all, the first title will be launched at Disneyland on April 5, with some of the Imagineers on hand for autographs. Here are the two Disney press releases that give the main details:
a new DVD series we're really looking forward to - an insiders look at
how the classic theme park attractions were
created in both Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Resorts. The first release is due on April 5 and includes interviews
with the Walt Disney Imagineers, the
masterminds who have envisioned and built the legendary attractions from the
1955 opening of Disneyland®
to the present day. Best of all, the first title will be launched at Disneyland® park. on April 5, with some of the Imagineers on
hand for autographs. Here are the two Disney press releases that give the main
the Magic-Disneyland DVD to debut April 5th
24, 2008) Disney Theme Park Merchandise releases on April 5th, the first in
a series of DVDs chronicling the inspiration and creation of the DisneyTheme
Parks and Attractions told from the perspective
of the Walt Disney’s Imagineers. On April 5th, the DVD will be available for
sale at Disneyana Shop and several Imagineers will be on hand for the signings.
DVD, “Imagineering the Magic-Disneyland”, hosted by Imagineer Dave
Fisher, details through historical and never seen before film footage, the
beginnings of Disneyland in 1955 to present
day with a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the creation of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
DVD focuses on the early challenges Walt Disney faced in opening Disneyland, how feature animation technique was applied
to attraction design and how new technologies continue to drive new and
exciting stories and guest experiences. Inspiring and amusing anecdotes about
the early pioneers of Imagineering and their contributions to the success of Disneyland are shared by many current day Imagineers.
the many notables joining Dave for these development stories and Imagineer
recollections include Marty Sklar, Tom Fitzgerald, Tony Baxter, Kathy Rogers
and Kevin Rafferty.
have wanted to take our Park DVD’s to a new level of storytelling,” commented
Betsy Singer, Product Developer for Disney Theme Park Merchandise. “Our guests
are very interested not only in the new and exciting attractions and events our
Parks are developing but they also want to know more about the talented men and
women who create them”.
DVD is a true homage to the original Imagineers that Walt Disney recruited to
build Disneyland and continues on with
recognizing the new talents that are influencing our Parks around the world.”
second title, “Imagineering the Magic-MagicKingdom at Walt Disney World®
Resort” is slated to be released later this year. The “Imagineering the Magic” series was created by Richard Skillman and
former Imagineer Mark Rhodes and produced by D7, a Disney production partner.
is the Disneyland event press release:
Event: Imagineering the Magic-Disneyland
DVD Release & Signing Special Guests: Walt Disney Imagineers, Tony Baxter, Dave Fisher, Kevin
Rafferty and Michael Sprout Date: April 5, 2008 Time: 9 AM- 11 AM Purchasing Location: Disneyana Shop, Disneyland® park Signing Location: Main
Street Cinema, Disneyland® park
Join today's Walt Disney Imagineers as they take you behind the scenes of the
on Earth." Learn how your favorite attractions from opening day in 1955 to
the newest attractions, including Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – went
from dreams, to sketches, to reality. Disneyland® Resort -Imagineering the
Magic will be available for $24.95, plus tax. Walt Disney Imagineers, Tony
Baxter, Dave Fisher, Kevin Rafferty and Michael Sprout will be on hand for a
special appearance and signing from 9 AM to 11 AM on the day of release.
Online Ordering Opportunity:
Online sales for the Imagineering the Magic – Disneyland® DVD will begin on
Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Applicable shipping fee and tax will apply. Available
while supplies last.
To order the Imagineering the Magic -
Disneyland DVD, click here
This 90 minute tribute also includes the following DVD bonus features:
They don't make leading men like this anymore: Burt Lancaster in the famous beach scene in From Here to Eternity.
For all of you who accuse of printing sexually exploitive photos of women, feast your eyes on Moviefone's tribute to the hottest men in bathing suits. At least they covered the spectrum of decades going back to Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan right up to today, including two James Bonds:Sean Connery and Daniel Craig. (Sorry, George, Roger, Timothy and Pierce). The current crop of honorees include some well known names such as Will Smith and Jude Law, but also has a few "stars" no one outside of their friends and neighbors have heard of. Once again, your stalwart Cinema Retro publishers missed being placed on the list - this time narrowly being squeezed out by Orson Welles and Jackie Gleason! To view, click here
One of the most requested movie titles for DVD release is finally being released in May as part of Warner Brothers tribute to Frank Sinatra on the 10th anniversary of his death. Sergeants 3 has not been available on home video since the early days of Beta in the 1970s. Supposedly, disputes over rights have kept it off the market, along with certain other films that Frank Sinatra had a hand in producing. Sergeants 3 is a remake of Gunga Din set in the American west with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford playing the roles originally made famous by Cary Grant, Victor McLaughlin and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. In the role of the belittled regimental bugler who rises to an act of enormous heroism, Sammy Davis Jr. took the part played by Sam Jaffe in George Stevens' 1939 classic. Rat Pack stalwart Joey Bishop has a major supporting role. The film will be available only as part of a Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition that includes a new deluxe release of Oceans Eleven,and the previously-released 4 For Texas and Robin and the Seven Hoods. The set will contain many bonus extras including rare footage from The Tonight Show, mini lobby cards, studio correspondence, production stills and commentaries by Frank Sinatra Jr and Angie Dickinson.
Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr suffered another blow today when it was announced that their longtime friend and business manager Neil Asipinall died from lung cancer in New York at age 66. Aspinall was a boyhood friend of McCartney who witnessed the ascension of the group firsthand: he would drive them to early gigs in his van. The Beatles repaid his loyalty by putting Aspinall in charge of their corporation, Apple Ltd in the late 1960s. It would prove to be a wise move. Many other recording acts had signed valuable rights over to record companies, but under Aspinall, The Beatles were masters of their own destiny. From the beginning, he made the Apple label a major player in the music business and even after the band split up in 1970, cleverly found ways to remarket their work over the decades to staggering sales results. Aspinall retired from the job last year, but not before having successfully launched yet another major Beatles marketing campaign. Shortly before his death, Aspinall was visited by Paul McCartney. For more, click here
Van Dyke sings a classic tune from Mary Poppins at a fund raiser that also saw him reunite on stage with Julie Andrews.
Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, who starred in Walt Disney's 1965 classic Mary Poppins, were reunited on stage recently at a tribute to actress Annette Benning and studio chief Robert A. Iger that helped raise funding for the arts. The event took place at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. The highlight was Van Dyke's performance of the legendary song from Mary Poppins, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer provides an in-depth review of one of the most eagerly-awaited DVD releases of the year.
Warner Home Video has finally released a DVD edition of Bonnie and Clyde that does justice to director Arthur Penn's masterpiece of American filmmaking. Although the movie was a sensation when released in 1967, the abundance of other great films that year (The Graduate and In the Heat of the Night among them) somewhat distracted from the appreciation that should have been accorded the movie at that year's Oscars, where it lost in most of the major categories. Yet, moreso than any other film released in 1967, Bonnie and Clyde remains as relevant today as it ever did. There isn't an aspect of the movie that seems dated and from the technical point of view, it still seems as fresh and innovative as ever: especially in an era in which many young directors envision their feature films as though they are big screen versions of video games. Despite being one of the crown jewels in the Warner Brothers catalog, the studio had only released a bare bones DVD version. That mistake has been corrected with Bonnie and Clyde: The Ultimate Collector's Edition, a 2 DVD set that lives up to the hype. Curiously, this set wasn't ready for release last year, which would have marked the 40th anniversary of the film. However, patience is a virtue when it comes to something this good and the release was well worth the wait.
Here is a detailed breakdown of what the set contains:
Warren Beatty at the 1963 Cinerama premiere of MGM's How the West Was Won. Within four years, the release of Bonnie and Clyde would elevate him to a major power player in the film industry.
Just a couple of minor comments regarding your Bonnie and Clyde DVD review :
you didn't mention Gene Wilder in the interviews - is he not included? Also you
mentioned Faye Dunaway's error in calling Warren Beatty the first actor-producer
and Burt Lancaster, John Wayne, etc having their own production companies much
earlier. Actually, you could go even further back and trace actor-producers
clear into the 1920's with Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks
leading the pack. This crew along with Buster Keaton and Roscoe Arbuckle
co-wrote and often co-directed many their own films, too. Just a
CR: Bill, very good point. In fact, Chaplin, Fairbanks and Pickford had enough independence and clout to start their own studio, United Artists. Yet, by the time the 1950s rolled around, the other major studios did everything they could to discourage actors from acting independently as producers and directors. They feared that they would eventually become too powerful and not be held under the thumb of studio moguls. Their fears were well-founded. Not only did actors begin to control their own destinies, they also used their production companies to make socially relevant films that the major studios wouldn't touch. In the case of Kirk Douglas, he broke the Hollywood blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo for the screenplay for Spartacus and giving him screen credit under his own name. Today, studio moguls are extinct and the real power lies in the hands of actors with their own production companies.
As for your other question regarding the Bonnie and Clyde DVD, Gene Wilder is the only major participant who is conspicuoulsy not featured on the documentaries, though we don't know the reason why. These projects are generally put together under very aggressive deadlines and Wilder may simply have not been available.
Coming in issue #11, out in May, is a special double-page
spread of never-seen-before photos taken at Piz Gloria during the filming of
the battle scenes for the James Bond adventure On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The location served as the mountain top headquarters of SPECTRE mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Photographed by the late John W. Mitchell, the well respected sound recordist,
the images belong to John Murphy, an avid stills and poster collector who is
a subscriber to our magazine. John offered these to us for publication,
and we jumped at the chance to share them with James Bond fans worldwide. The photos were taken in Switzerland
between October and December in 1968, and we have over 70 transparencies
featuring the battle, interior filming, the cast and crew at work, etc. In this
first installment we feature the attack on Piz Gloria by helicopters. In issue
#13 (Jan 2009), we will follow up with a larger article spread revealing the remaining
images which feature cast members George Lazenby, Telly Savalas and director Peter Hunt. These photographs have never been published before.
Since man (and woman) cannot live by Bond alone, here are some other highlights of issue #11:
Film in Focus tribute to Michael Caine's classic crime movie Get Carter
Exclusive interview with director Joe Dante
David McCallum recalls the making of Sol Madrid and Mosquito Squadron
A look back at the scandalous teen schoolgirl sex drama Baby Love starring 15 year old Linda Hayden
Inside the making of Gerry Anderson's unheralded sci-fi classic Doppleganger (aka Journey to the Far Side of the Sun)
Tribute to original scream queen, Barbara Steele, star of the Mario Bava horror classics
The Films of Doris Day- Part 2 focuses on her greatest performance, opposite James Cagney in Love Me or Leave Me
The mystery of who really played the villainess Bambi in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever
The Films from U.N.C.L.E. Part 3- The making of One Spy Too Many
Raymond Benson's top ten films of 1970
The Queen's visits to Pinewood Studios
The Ian Fleming centennary museum exhibition in London
plus the latest DVD, soundtrack and movie book reviews- and the usual rare stills from the Cinema Retro archive
Note: Issue #11 will be available through subscription only and at select retailers in the USA, Canada and England. We regret Cinema Retro can't spare any issues for individual sale, but our increasing subscription base does not make that possible at this time. Subscribers get three issues for the current season, comprising of #'s 10, 11 and 12. As it stands now, we had hoped to have some of issue #10 available for single issue sales by this point, but it doesn't look like this will be possible as we are almost sold out and need the remaining copies to fill orders for new subscribers and those who are renewing.
If you love movies of the 1960s and 1970s, then support the only publication in the world that celebrates this golden era of filmmaking - subscribe today and get the magazine delivered to your door postage free in North America and the UK. An entire season's subscription costs only ten cents a day - plus new subscribers get an exclusive Cinema Retro CD packed with original radio ads for class and cult movies. See subscription section for info or click here to subscribe through Ebay.
Warner Home Video has some exciting plans to release deluxe editions of Batman Begins to tie in with the forthcoming release of the new film, The Dark Knight. Here is the official WB press release:
FIRST TIME ON BLU-RAY™ HI-DEF JULY 8
Two Limited Edition Gift Sets and Single Edition Blu-ray™
Celebrate this Summer’s Theatrical Release of The Dark Knight
Blu-ray™ Hi-Def Limited
Edition Gift Set extras include The Dark
Knight Prologue, a 32-Page Booklet featuring an exclusive comic adaptation
of The Dark Knight Prologue, a Batman Begins Motion
Art Lenticular, 5 Collectible Batman
Begins Postcards and $7.50 “Movie Cash” to see The Dark Knight in theaters
Burbank, Calif., March 17, 2008 – Batman
Beginscatapults into the high definition age on July 8th
with the Blu-ray™ Hi-Definition release
from Warner Home Video. “Batman Begins” has already been well received in high
definition as the HD DVD release is the top catalog HD seller.
DVD editions -- two on Blu-ray™ Hi-Definition
and one in Standard Definition -- will be released prior to the July 18th
nationwide theatrical release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Dark Knight.
A single disc Blu-ray™ Hi-Def version ($28.99 SRP) of
Begins will also be available. This also features The Dark Knight prologue.
Batman Begins Limited Edition Gift
Set will also be
available in a 2-Disc Standard Definition ($39.92 SRP) version. This Gift Set
will include a 128MB Batman branded
flash drive, five Batman Beginscollectible postcards with never-before printed
key art from the theatrical release, as well as $7.50 “movie cash” towards the
purchase of an adult ticket to see The Dark Knight in theatres.
When director Christopher Nolan set out to re-imagine the Batman
franchise with the origin story in 2005, Batman Beginsenjoyed phenomenal critical and box office success with a
worldwide gross of $372MM.
About Batman Begins
Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman
legend and the Dark Knight’s emergence as a force for good in Gotham.
In the wake of his parents’ murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne
(Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and
turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked
crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions
to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.
The Dark Knight reunites director
Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale, who reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in his continuing war on
crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary
Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman
sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham
for good. The triumvirate proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves
prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker (Heath Ledger), who
thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces the
Dark Knight ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante. The
Dark Knight releases in theaters July 18, 2008.
About DC Comics
DC Comics, a Warner Bros.
Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in
the world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman
and the Sandman. These DC Super Heroes and others have starred in comic books,
movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace,
thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics' web site is located
Angelo Petrucci has one of the most enviable jobs in the world of custom tailoriing: since 1995, his employer, Brioni, has provided the wardrobe for James Bond. Petrucci has suited up both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig and has had to make some custom adjustments to accomodate 007's knives and pistols. To read about the nuances of tailoring the world's greatest secret agent, click here
Universal has sent us these hot-off-the-press first photos of Benecio Del Tora as he appears in the forthcoming remake of The Wolfman. It's a startling and truly terrifying look - but it should come as no surprise because the makeup effects are by the legendary Rick Baker. Entertainment Weekly has an interview with Baker . To read the interview click here
Scofield in John Frankenheimer's 1965 classic The Train
British actor Paul Scofield, who won the Best Actor Oscar for the 1966 film version of A Man for All Seasons, has died from leukemia at age 86. Scofield went against the grain for Oscar winners by staying out of the public spotlight and making only a relative handful of films in the ensuing years. He preferred to concentrate on his first love, the theater. Richard Burton once noted that of the ten greatest moments in the history of modern British theater, eight of them belonged to Scofield. The actor disdained publicity to the point that he reportedly declined being honored with a knighthood. A devoted family man, Scofield preferred a quiet home life to networking with industry peers on the party circuit. He chose his film roles carefully, generally taking supporting roles. He received an Oscar nomination for his role in Robert Redford's 1995 film Quiz Show about the notorious American game show scandals of the 1950s. Another notable film role was the erudite German general trying to flee occupied France with a trainload of art treasures during the closing days of WWII in John Frankenheimer's 1965 movie The Train. For more on Scofield's life, click here
Actor/director Ivan Dixon has died from kidney problems at age 76. Dixon was one of the first black directors to gain prominence in Hollywood. He was also a contemporary of Sidney Poitier and was among the first African American actors to gain acclaimed roles in high profile film and TV productions. He co-starred with Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun and A Patch of Blue. However, it was his role as Kinchloe in the TV series Hogan's Heroes that brought him the greatest fame. He played the radio operator and "go to" guy to resolve the POW's communication problems with the outside world. Like Bill Cosby in I Spy, Dixon advanced the image of blacks in the mainstream media by not accentuating his race. He was just "one of the guys". Dixon eventually turned to directing full time, helming and producing the 1973 feature film The Spook Who Sat by the Door. He was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy in 1967 for the ground-breaking Vietnam War TV drama The Final War of Ollie Winter. He went on to direct some top TV shows such as Magnum P.I., Quantum Leap and The A Team.
previously mentioned on this website, Hammer films have been busy producing
their first horror feature film since To
The Devil… a Daughter over thirty years ago. Titled Beyond the Rave, it follows a young man about to go off to war in Iraq, who
happens to fall in with a group of vampires. As you do.
film is due to be released through MySpace TV on April 16th in
twenty five-minute episodes. At some point after the final episode a DVD will
be released. You can currently view the trailer on MySpace (where you have to
be a registered user) or here - http://www.puregrassfilms.com/v2/project_details.php?film=13
great that Hammer are producing new films again, but one can only hope that
they begin to create a series of films that are more recognisable to fans.
There are currently rumours that Hammer are also producing a series of gothic
horror tales with the BBC, so I remain ever hopeful.- Adrian Smith
For Cinema Retro's exclusive report on the making of Beyond the Rave, click here
Arthur C. Clarke, one of the science fiction genre's most revered writers, has died at his home in Sri Lanka at age 90. Clarke was one of the most prolific forces in science fiction writing and helped elevate its status in the literary world. He went on to write more than 100 books and became a commentator on the Apollo space program along with Walter Cronkite. British by birth, Clarke had lived in Sri Lanka since 1956. Clarke reached new heights of fame when he collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey. The much-debated, esoteric MGM production was released in 1968 to weak box-office, but within a year had become a highly successful film with the flower power generation when its ad campaign was changed to promote it to the hippie culture. The two men shared an Oscar nomination for the script and Clarke published a novelization of the screenplay, which had been based in part on his 1948 short story The Sentinel. Clarke went on to write several sequels to the film.
This revised ad campaign resulted in 2001 becoming a pop culture phenomenon.
On a personal level, some years ago I interviewed Roger Caras for a documentary I was writing for Sony's DVD release of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. Caras had befriended Kubrick when he was in charge of Columbia's marketing department. Kubrick persuaded Caras to leave his cushy job to act as a consultant on a forthcoming movie about exploration of space. Kubrick only had fuzzy ideas about the script and took Caras to his favorite restaurant, Trader Vic's in The Plaza Hotel in New York City. There, he scribbled some cartoons on cocktail napkins that depicted man's first meeting with aliens, an element he wanted to base 2001 on, but would later drop. It was Caras who suggested to Kubrick that he contact his friend Arthur C. Clarke to get advice about the project and possibly collaborate with him. Caras gave Kubrick a copy of The Sentinel and Kubrick was duly impressed. He contacted Clarke in Sri Lanka and the two agreed to meet. They ultimately would join for a historic film collaboration. Upon telling me this story, Caras (who passed away shortly thereafter) went to a filing cabinet and took out a folder. He said that Kubrick and Clarke were the only two men he ever met who could literally be called geniuses. He knew that their prospective collaboration would insure that anything they created should be preserved. Out of the file, he produced the cocktail napkins from Trader Vic's that still bore Kubrick's cartoons showing his concepts for 2001 - four years before the film would actually be released.- Lee Pfeiffer
Premiere has a revealing interview with French actor Mathieu Amalric, who is playing the baddie in the new James Bond film Quantum Of Solace. He discusses the production from the set in Panama and there are comments from director Marc Forster as well. There is a good deal of improvisation on this film and the script is apparently being updated and adjusted on a daily basis. Overall, things seem to be going swimmingly. For the interview click here
The international film community has been shocked by the news that Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for his direction of The English Patient, has died. He was only 54 years old. No cause of death has been released at this time. Minghella was a true Renaissance man who served as writer and producer as well on high profile films and even acclaimed opera productions. He was one of the producers of Oscar-nominated film Michael Clayton that was released last year. Minghella also directed Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley. For more details click here
Nothing illustrates what we miss about the old days of moviemaking more than the bittersweet pleasure of looking at this still from Sam Peckinpah's 1969 classic The Wild Bunch. Neither William Holden or Edmond O'Brien could have been called "sex symbols" at this point in their long careers, but more importantly, they had morphed into far more interesting actors who just kept getting better as they aged. As we've said many times, actors whose faces displayed years of hard living are pretty rare in today's film business. Think of what The Wild Bunch would have been like if Peckinpah had cast pretty boys in the leading roles? This is a film in which the closest thing to a hunk was Ernest Borgnine! Don't worry- we hear Warner Brothers is pursuing their long-threatened contemporary remake of the film. Can't wait to see Owen Wilson and Chris Rock in the Holden/Obrien roles!- Lee Pfeiffer
(For Cinema Retro's extensive tribute to the films of Sam Peckinpah, see issue #3)
Although most baby boomers watched the hit TV series Flipper, many don't remember that it was inspired by a feature film starring Chuck Connors. After the series became a hit, a sequel, Flipper's New Adventure, was made for theatrical release. In this version, Brian Kelly, who played the lead on the show, was cast in the role created by Chuck Connors in the first movie. Both films were successful enough to inspire the inevitable double bill. We don't remember what the admission price was, but suspect it was a fin.
Young Julie with her mother Barbara and stepfather Ted.
In her new autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, Dame Julie Andrews reveals the trials and tribulations of growing up in a household in which her stepfather, Ted Andrews, tried to take sexual advantage of her. It began when she was nine and continued until her teenage years, when her aunt physically installed a bolt on her bedroom door. Andrews writes about the irony of the fact that her stepfather was the one who can be credited for launching her show business career. However, the memories of near sexual molestation haunt her until today. For more click here
Here is the publisher's description of the book:
Since her first appearance on screen in Mary Poppins, Julie
Andrews has played a series of memorable roles that have endeared her
to generations. But she has never told the story of her life before
fame. Until now.
In Home: A Memoir of My Early Years,
Julie takes her readers on a warm, moving, and often humorous journey
from a difficult upbringing in war-torn Britain to the brink of
international stardom in America. Her memoir begins in 1935, when Julie
was born to an aspiring vaudevillian mother and a teacher father, and
takes readers to 1962, when Walt Disney himself saw her on Broadway and
cast her as the world's most famous nanny.
Along the way, she
weathered the London Blitz of World War II; her parents' painful
divorce; her mother's turbulent second marriage to Canadian tenor Ted
Andrews, and a childhood spent on radio, in music halls, and giving
concert performances all over England. Julie's professional career
began at the age of twelve, and in 1948 she became the youngest solo
performer ever to participate in a Royal Command Performance before the
Queen. When only eighteen, she left home for the United States to make
her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend, and thus began her meteoric rise to stardom.
Home is filled with numerous anecdotes, including stories of performing in My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison on Broadway and in the West End, and in Camelot
with Richard Burton on Broadway; her first marriage to famed set and
costume designer Tony Walton, culminating with the birth of their
daughter, Emma; and the call from Hollywood and what lay beyond.
Andrews' career has flourished over seven decades. From her legendary
Broadway performances, to her roles in such iconic films as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hawaii, 10, and The Princess Diaries,
to her award-winning television appearances, multiple album releases,
concert tours, international humanitarian work, best-selling children's
books, and championship of literacy, Julie's influence spans
generations. Today, she lives with her husband of thirty-eight years,
the acclaimed writer/director Blake Edwards; they have five children
and seven grandchildren.
Featuring over fifty personal photos,
many never before seen, this is the personal memoir Julie Andrews'
audiences have been waiting for.
To order this book from the Cinema Retro Amazon store, click here
Click here to view the official press conference for the new James Bond film Quantum Of Solace. The press conference celebrated the start of shooting in January and featured the producers and cast members.
Intrada has released the motion picture soundtrack to the modern western Comes a Horsema as a 1500 unit special edition. The film starred Jane Fonda, James Caan and Jason Robards. Michael Small is the composer. Here is the description from Screen Archives Entertainment:
World premiere of original soundtrack from Alan J. Pakula 1978 western
set during 1940's, starring Jane Fonda, James Caan, Jason Robards.
Michael Small creates dynamic large-scale Americana score with plethora
of round-ups, action sequences. In balance is gentle main theme that
plays as heart of score. Through cooperation with MGM, Intrada CD
presents nearly-complete score in full stereo from 1/4" master tapes
maintained by composer's estate. (A few very short, repetitive pieces
were discarded by Small during original mixing sessions.) Action
setpiece ("Oil Vs. Cattle"), unused in finished film but heard here for
first time, is a powerful highlight. Dramatic flourish at close of "End
Credits" another previously unheard highlight. Informative liner notes
from Jeff Bond, colorful graphics from Joe Sikoryak complete package.
Michael Small conducts what might be his most impressive work! Intrada
Special Collection release limited to 1500 copies. - Douglass Fake
Attenborough as Roger Bartlett, in a dramatic scene from The Great Escape
Lord Richard Attenborough is still actively making movies at age 84, as evidenced by his new love story Closing the Ring. In a recent interview, Attenborough admits its hard to find backing for the kinds of films he likes to make: personal stories about intimate relationships. He says if he had thrown in the towel and made films based on sex or horror themes, money would have poured into the coffers. He also discusses his brother, the naturalist David Attenborough and says they both find it incredible that two siblings could have found such success in their respective fields. He says he is pretty much through with acting, unless Steven Spielberg has a project for him. He claims he would even do Jurassic Park 4 for his esteemed fellow director. For the interview click here
Tomorrow, props purported to be from one of the original James Bond Aston Martin DB5 cars seen in Goldfinger go up for auction as part of The Pugliese Collection. Anthony Pugliese is a collector of rare film props and memorabilia and the auction features such rarites as one of the original prop Maltese Falcons. However, as reported on the MI6 website, less celebrated items are drawing the attention of James Bond fans and experts. The history of the legendary Aston Martin was told in Cinema Retro co-publisher Dave Worrall's book The Most Famous Car in the World which traced the history of the car that debuted in Goldfinger and later became a "star" in its own right. In reality, there were four vehicles identified with the film. Two were used in the movie itself and the other two were created for publicity tours after public response the gadget-laden DB5 became overwhelmingly positive around the world. After it made a follow-up appearance in Thunderball,however, the gadget car was returned to Aston Martin who foolishly stripped it of all the gizmos in 1968 and sold it as a used car to a private owner. Realizing the car's history, that owner refitted the car with custom-made gadgets designed to replicate those seen in the film. Ultimately, this car ended up in the possession of Anthony Pugliese, who had the car displayed at international auto shows - until it inexplicably went missing in 1997, resulting in an insurance payment of over $3 million.
Mr. Pugliese maintains he stripped the car of the gadgets prior to the theft and it is these parts that are being auctioned this week. (It is not explained why Pugliese would have removed the very gadgets that made the car tie in with the Bond legend.) However, the controversy comes in because the auction house mistakenly implies these are gadgets seen onscreen in Goldfinger. In fact, they are not. These are the replicas of the gadgets built by the private owner in the late 1960s. Additionally, there are other inconsistencies - a license purported to be an original from the car seen in Goldfinger is dated 1970. The film was in production in 1964.
The auction market for film props requires a good deal of research and skepticism. In some cases, sellers genuinely believe they are auctioning valid props even though their provenance is dubious. In Pugliese's case, most of the props he's auctioning were acquired from other auction houses with good reputations. However, in the past, many high profile items had to be withdrawn from such auctions or have their descriptions amended when it became clear that they were not originals.
Cinema Retro's David Savage
recently spoke to the cast of Sleepwalking, a new independent film starring and
produced by Charlize Theron, also with Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb and Dennis Hopper.
In Sleepwalking (opening March 14th in the US) Charlize Theron
again demonstrates why her Oscar for Monster (2003) was no fluke. She
repeatedly earns it back with every new film, disappearing into characters that
we as a society find unlovable, unredeemable and worthy of every hard knock
they earn, and instead creates genuine empathy for them. She finds what propels
them forward (“hope” she says), what has nearly killed them and then makes them
wholly credible, crude and compelling.
In Sleepwalking, Theron plays Jolene, a working class single
mother who leaves her 11-year-old daughter Tara (played brilliantly by
AnnaSophia Robb) with her brother James (Nick Stahl) a timid, loner 30-year-old
who is himself on the verge of a nervous breakdown. After become his niece’s
guardian and father-by-default, he takes off with his niece in search of a new
life, but all roads lead home, as more than one movie has revealed. In James’
case it’s the family ranch, which his mean, abusive father (played in almost
gleeful menace by Dennis Hopper) still runs. What was supposed to be a healing
homecoming instead turns into a fatal confrontation with the man who is
responsible for his broken soul.
Far from typical Hollywood star-vehicle product, the film is
almost unrelieved in its bleakness, and unfolds against the grim, winter landscapes
of small industrial towns in the northern Plains states -- cheap motels, diners
on the interstate, and farms fallen on hard times. It’s the kind of environment
where hope and self-actualization would seem only like nice theories. As a
consequence, most likely it will not find a large audience to appreciate its
best merits: strong performances from the principals and a storyline that
champions the primacy of family and personal responsibility. As Theron puts it:
“Just because we have the same blood flowing in our veins, we don’t have to
make the same mistakes.” As Jolene, Theron is to be commended for taking on such unglamorous
fare. She served as the film’s main producer, and was responsible for hiring on
the other talent that got it off the ground.
The climax at the end, between James and his father (Stahl
and Hopper, respectively) feels too late in the game to pack the emotional
wallop the filmmakers had hoped for, but nonetheless, for a sophomore effort screenplay (Zac
Stafford, of The Chumscrubber) and a first directorial effort (William Maher),
it’s nice to see an independent film built on ideas and backed up by strong,
I asked Theron if she might have an affinity for playing
women with tough backgrounds, based on her roles in Monster and North Country,
as well as her own hard background as a child growing up poor in South Africa.
“I think the connection between these women is resilience. They have faced
tough lives and had to make tough decisions and what keeps them going is hope.
It’s the only thing that fuels their lives,” she said, adding that she doesn’t,
on the other hand, want to pigeonhole herself into such roles, lest they dry up
as fast as they have appeared.
As a native South African, how does she create
women who are such specific American types, recognizable to us by accent,
gesture and demeanor, but surely not so easily to a transplant such as herself?
“I am a keen student of human psychology. I study people all the time. Human
behavior fascinates me. In any walk of life, these types of women are pretty
much the same. Jolene is a passionate woman, but she’s also reckless. I wanted
to show this quality in her, the humanity of it, but also the carelessness of
Also turning in a remarkable performance in her first
“adult” film is 14-year-old Annasophia Robb, who recalls Jodie Foster at the
same age: precocious, wounded and possessed of an adult’s perspective too soon
in life. In her scenes with a very scary Dennis Hopper, she is able to carry
her own as an actress of stunning depth and in full possession of her
character. It’s the kind of performance that will surely earn her larger roles
very soon, if not award mentions at the end of this year. -David Savage
Rodney Richey goofing around in Bond pose for Halloween gag photo. Hey, at least we know he's kidding. How many poor delusional saps strike similar poses in their bedroom mirrors on a daily basis?
Columnist Rodney Richey of The Herald Bulletin in Indianapolis has a hilarious piece titled Welcome to My Hollowed -Out Volcano about how he first became hooked on the James Bond films at age 14. It is certain to ring familiar chords with every male baby boomer who can recall at precisely what point they became fans of the the series - some to the point of obsession. Richey recalls keeping the faith even through lukewarm efforts like Moonraker and Die Another Day and hits a nerve with most Bond fans when he says that, despite the fact that Diamonds Are Forever is a pretty mediocre entry (with Jill St. John showing us how Lucille Ball would have been as a Bond girl) , he still can't resist watching it for the cool scene in which Bond sneaks into a hotel penthouse by hitching a ride on an outdoor elevator while clad in a tuxedo. To read the column click here
When author and Cinema Retro contributor Robert Sellers wrote The Battle for Bond, a book about the complicated legal fights regarding the early days of the 007 franchise, he had no idea he would himself become embroiled in the courtroom quagmire that has gone on for decades. The book centers on a high profile court battle between Bond's creator Ian Fleming and his former collaboraters Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham over his use of story elements they had developed together. Fleming ended up using some of these aspects as the basis for his novel Thunderball. That novel was to be the first James Bond film, but the ensuing plagiarism suit against Fleming persuaded the producers to go with Dr. No as Bond's big screen debut vehicle. The court case took a high toll on Fleming's frail health and he ended up settling with his opponents. In the settlement, he had to acknowlege both men's contributions to the storyline of Thunderball in future editions of the book. McClory also received the screen rights to the novel and was one of the producers on the blockbuster 1965 screen version. He also executive produced the 1983 remake, Never Say Never Again.
In the process of researching his book, Robert Sellers received copies of the court documents from Kevin McClory, who died a short time later. He reproduced these in The Battle for Bond. Now the Ian Fleming Will Trust, headed by the late author's niece, threatened to sue Sellers' publisher, London-based Tomahawk Press for copyright infringement. The author and publisher argue that court documents are in the public domain, but Tomahawk cannot afford to fight a costly court action. (Under UK law, the losing side in a legal case must also pay their opponent's costs as well.) Tomahawk has agreed to pulp the remaining 300 copies of the book. Remaining stocks in bookstores are not being recalled, though Amazon UK is removing the title. Sellers and Tomahawk have said they will reissue the book without the controversial photos of the legal documents. In the meantime, it's hard to fathom what the Fleming estate hoped to gain by these actions. They've taken a low-profile book and given it enormous exposure. (The Times of London has a full story about the situation in today's edition). Sellers was not uncovering a scandal: the courtroom case involving Fleming was major news at the time and has been extensively oovered in every biography of the author. For the sake of trashing 300 copies, they have insured that the book will now be highly-sought by readers who might otherwise would have never known it existed. It will also insure that the value of the first edition will skyrocket.
of our readers who are unfamiliar with the name James Robertson Justice, shame
upon you. For those of you who are, then you’re in for a real treat.
James Robertson Justice: “What’s The Bleeding
Time?” A Biography,
by James Hogg (assisted by Retro’s regular columnist and author Robert Sellers,
and also Howard Watson) is a wonderful insight into the life of this amazing
and charismatic actor.
thought the lives of David Niven and Peter Ustinov were fascinating, then add
James Robertson Justice to this elite bunch of theatrical raconteurs. Long-time
friend of the Royal family, Justice saw action in both the Spanish Civil War
and WWWII. He was a racing driver, a professional ice hockey player, and was
elected Rector of Edinburgh University twice! However, it is his screen
performances that we all remember and associate him with; those where he played
a commanding figure in high authority, like the head of a college, or surgeon
general of a hospital, especially that of Sir Lancelot Spratt in the famed
British comedy ‘Doctor’ series.
Justice starred in the popular comedy Doctor in Clover
Justice at his home in Spinningdale, Scotland
going to divulge anymore, for this is a book you must read. Tomahawk Press, one
of the best independent publishing houses of niche market title books in the
world, are to be applauded for bringing this excellent tome to add to our
library of movie books. Superbly researched, handsomely illustrated (both
B&W and colour), I cannot highly recommend this enough. So far, my best
book of the last six months. If you love British film history and British film
comedy, plus want to read about the most eccentrics of actors, then this is for
you. Oh, and when I said he was a ‘friend’ of the Royal family, then one only
has to look to the foreword – it’s by H.R.H. The Duke Of Edinburgh. Need I say
more? - Dave Worrall
A new exhibition opened in the UK at the end
of February with little press or media attention whatsoever, so Retro’s co-publisher Dave Worrall took up the invitation to attend a VIP party
last night to see what it was all about. Here is his report:
Familiar faces from Star Wars
lack of any major film related exhibition or museum in the country’s capital
city, I was glad to hear that a new attraction, The Movieum of London, had
opened at County Hall (above the Aquarium) on the South Bank right next to the
Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall finds the only other bloke in London who has less personality than he does.
across several oak-panelled corridors, with ten ‘themed’ rooms containing examples
of props, costumes, photographs, the exhibition also features a central
circular gallery housing props, miniatures, film equipment, with monitors and
large screen video displays detailing how films are made, including interviews
with film-makers. There are also flat screen monitors throughout the exhibition
corridors showing footage from classic movies made in Britain, and framed posters of
films we all love and know.
Tribute to Dr. Who's Daleks
there was a Dalek, C3PO, Superman’s costume and an Alien ‘egg’ on show, for me the highlight was the original gong
that audiences saw before every Rank film from the Forties through Seventies.
This is real cinema history – and causing
quite a stir among guests– so much so that I couldn’t even get close enough (or
move people out of the way) to photograph it!
Commemorative display for the REAL"Italian Job" production (i.e the one that didn't star Mark Wahlberg!)
So, do I
recommend The Movieum of London? Well, yes. The organisers have to be applauded
for what they are trying to achieve, and it is interesting and entertaining,
but the title of ‘Movieum’ (pronounce Mov-ieum as a play on words) does suggest
more than just an exhibition, but that’s all it is. No more. No less - and both
the Dalek, and the mini car from The
Italian Job are definitely not originals – but the kids will still love
Movieum, 1st Floor, County Hall, London SE1 7PB is open seven days a week. Adults:
£8. Children: £5. Family: £22. www.themovieum.com
Cinema Retro just received the following press release from Fox UK:
Artists’ cult classic - The Thomas Crown Affair - will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary this
part the studio’s 90th Anniversary, also launching in February,
United Artists are giving film fans a chance to re-visit one of the most iconic
films to emerge from their remarkable collection of inspirational titles
available on DVD.
Released in 1968, the film was nominated for two Academy
Awards, for Original Music score and Best Song.
The film is was modelled on the life of noted Belgian
thief Tomas Van Der
Heijden (played by Steve McQueen) who used a dune buggy to steal
seven paintings by French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir from the Louvre in 1961. It also stars screen
Dunaway, an insurance investigator who always gets her man, but can she give up
the man she has fallen in love with to the authorities?
stylish cat-and-mouse thriller directed by Norman Jewison, who makes exciting
use of split screen images as the action leaps from the boardroom to the
boudoir, the polo field to a glider cockpit. The Oscar winning Best Song (1968)
"The Windmills of Your Mind" sets the perfect tone for the swirl of
romance and intrigue...
The Thomas Crown Affair thought to be the first
film to have ever showed the reveal and broke the mould in slick, classy crime
capers and inspired a remake
(released in 1999) starring Pierce
Brosnan and Rene Russo
- which was also received with success. A new sequel is also planned for
release this year.
(The DVD contains a director's commentary by Norman Jewison who will be interviewed in a forthcoming issue of Cinema Retro)
Ingmar Bergman Revisited—Performance, Cinema and the Arts.
Edited by Maaret Kokskinen.(Wallflower Press, 2008.)
Cinema lost one of its towering giants last year with the
death of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman.Bergman not only had a long career in motion pictures, but he was a
well-respected theatre director as well.Koskinen’s book contains a variety of essays and recollections by
prominent international critics, authors, and academicians.The pieces fall within the book’s three main
sections (“Music, Stage, Film—Between the Arts”; “Picturing the Self—Between
Words and Images”; and “Picturing the World—and Beyond”), and is preceded by a
heartfelt Prologue by Bergman’s longtime collaborator and onetime lover, Liv
Ullmann.The book is decidedly more of a
scholarly and analytical study of Bergman’s themes and methods rather than a fannish
celebration of his career.Nevertheless,
it is a valuable and worthwhile addition to a cinephile’s library, and it especially
belongs in the collection of any student of the Swedish master.
TCM International Film Guide—2008 (44th Edition).Edited by Ian Haydn Smith.(Wallflower
This annual publication began in 1963 and is arguably the
most authoritative and respected source of information on world cinema, as well
as the numerous film festivals that are held around the world.Now with Turner Classic Movies acting as a
sponsor, the book is even better than ever.This 44th edition encompasses the films and festivals of 2006
and 2007, and all major motion picture releases from around the world.New features include coverage of five
“Directors of the Year” (in this case, Faith Akin, Suzanne Bier, Guillermo del
Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Jia Zhangke), a focus on the German film industry,
the growth of DVD production, and a study of documentaries.Full of color stills, trivia, and
comprehensive listings, the International
Guide is a must for serious film fans.An art house patron’s delight!
In an interview with Time Out New York, Raquel Welch reminisces about filming the notoriouis 1970 film adaptation of Gore Vidal's best-seller Myra Breckinridge. Welch recalls getting premonitions that she was working on a flop-in--the-making and at one point she was reduced to tears by the number of rewrites. She also recalls the surrealistic experience of starring with Mae West, who reminded her of a man in drag! If you miss the golden age of screwball comedies in which women raped men with dildos, then bedded their girlfriends, this one is for you! To read more click here
The Anthology Film Archives in New York City will be showing a new 35mm print of the film tonight (March 7) , Saturday and Sunday. For details click here
Those perceptive geniuses at wwwfilmbuffonline.com have just given their "Required Reading" label to the latest issue of Cinema Retro. The article goes into detail about our continuing series of features on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature films and relates the fact we uncovered that the original title of the second U.N.C.L.E. film, The Spy With My Face was originally One Violent Day in August. (Betcha didn't know that!) To read the review click here
NOTE: We are getting many E mails from readers who are complaining that their local stores are sold out of the latest issue. As we've said before, we can no longer resupply stores that have sold out. Every issue of Cinema Retro is a limited edition collector's item. We never go back to press after an issue has been printed. Stores have been told to adjust their sales forecasts for the magazine because if they sell out of an issue, we can't provide any more copies. The low inventory of issue #10 is on reserve to fill orders for both new subscribers and those who are renewing subscriptions. Therefore, we can't sell individual copies of this issue. If you like the magazine, there is no reason not to subscribe: for subscribers, postage is free in the USA for the current season as well as all back issues. Additionally, you get an exclusive cool CD packed with rare radio spots for films such as Planet of the Apes, The Longest Day, The Towering Inferno, Bonnie and Clyde, the Matt Helm opus Murderer's Row, The Rat Pack western Sergeants 3 and many others. To subscribe, just follow the instructions in in the subscription section or do so directly through Ebay by clicking on this link.
Kristofferson in the controversial 1980 western Heaven's Gate.
In an interview with the British paper The Guardian, Kris Kristofferson reveals some of his inner-most secrets and recalls his days as one of Hollywood's bad boys. Among the nuggets unveiled:
His trademark beard came about because he had been hospitalized for pneumonia and hadn't shaved in a a week.
The craziest person he ever worked with was Dennis Hopper on the ill-fated, Hopper-directed The Last Movie. Kristofferson says Hopper was the most self-destructive person he ever met and was so out of control he got a South American priest kicked out of the church after convincing him to perform a bizarre mass for James Dean.
On the set of A Star is Born, he would drink Jose Cuervo by the bottle! (So would you if you had to work with Barbra Streisand!)
Cinema Retro columnist David Savages tells us why some twice-told tales should have only been told once.
Like Norman Bates perhaps, in my head there is always an
argument raging. One is the Voice of Reason, of disinterested analysis: It’s always best to reserve judgment until
one sees the finished product.The
other is the Voice of Combat, emotional, and defensive: What the hell? I can see them now, a couple of twentysomething,
backward-cap-wearing Starbucks rats tapping out the ‘remake’ on their laptops. If
they jettison the batty old bird expert in the diner I’m going to track them
down and kill them!
Hm, maybe I care a little bit too much. Even Hitchcock would
probably be shrugging at this point, lighting a cigar. I allow the Voice of
Reason to prevail: This might be
interesting. Naomi Watts is an interesting actress. Let’s see what she can do
with the role of icy, poised Melanie Daniels.
But just when my pulse returns to normal, my eyes fall on
this item: “Forthcoming remake of The
Women…with a script by Diane English, creator of Murphy Brown…starring Meg Ryan…and Eva Mendes. Eva Mendes? Yup, it’s true folks. From what I can gather, the
forthcoming remake of The Women, the
legendary, all-female, cats-in-a-cage comedy originally directed by George
Cukor, has been 12 years in the making and features a veritable tonnage of
award-winning talent, from old vets like Bette Midler, Annette Bening, Carrie
Fisher and Cloris Leachman, to a younger generation of comic actresses like
Debra Messing (Will & Grace),
Jada Pinkett Smith and Eva Mendes. This doesn’t look good. For starters, let’s
compare the original’s tagline with the remake’s:
(1939): The Female of
the Species…when the men aren’t watching!
(2008): The Womenis about friends and mothers and daughters. It’s about breaking up and
finding your way back. It’s about reinventing yourself. It’s about walking
through fire for what you believe in. It’s about Women.
I guess the cats have been declawed, shorn of their furs,
and made to mouth
Will the remake of The Women suffer from PMS (Positively Moronic Screenplay)? The Anita Loos' script for the classic 1939 film is being improved and updated by a sitcom writer.
Instead of icy martinis, we’re being served steaming mugs of
Celestial Seasoning tea.
Apparently the original Anita Loos screenplay (which was
based on Clare Booth Luce’s stage play) has been thrown out. This version will
positively ooze Contemporary Relevance. No more of the mink-draped Countess De
Lave, that would offend animal rights activists. No more tiaras, that’s
objectifying to women. This will be about Living, Loving, and Learning. Sounds
hilarious doesn’t it?
We’ll see how Diane English’s version fares at the box
office and with the critics. I guess remakes serve a larger purpose in our
culture. They introduce new generations to old stories, told in new ways. They
break in young, ambitious directors. They employ young, rising stars and aging
character actors (who were in the original’s principal roles). They give
critics the chance to bloviate on the originals’ superior merits. They keep the
machinery going. Besides, championing a ‘hands-off’ policy toward classic films
risks entombing them. Given the success rate of most remakes (poor to
middling), it only underscores why the originals are considered classics in the
first place. You see, everyone wins!- David Savage
Since I hate winter and am looking so forward to the start
of spring I thought I would do a bi-weekly feature on my favorite '60s beach
movies to help get us in the mood for the balmy weather ahead.First up:
BEACH BALL (1965)
Edd Byrnes (Dick Martin), Chris Noel (Susan), Robert Logan
(Bango), Aron Kincaid (Jack), Mikki Jamison (Augusta), Don Edmonds (Bob),
Brenda Benet (Samantha), Gail Gilmore (Deborah), James Wellman (Bernard Wolf),
Anna Lavelle (Polly), Dick Miller (Police Officer #1), Lee Krieger, Jack
Bernardi (Mr. Wilk), Bill Sampson (Announcer), John Hyden (Police Officer #2),
Rita D’Amico (Wendy).Also: Lee
Krieger.Guest Stars: The Supremes, The
Four Seasons, The Righteous Brothers, The Hondells, and The Walker
Brothers.Not credited: Bart Patton, Sid
Haig, Ron Russell, and Brian Cutler.
Beach Ball (one of
two beach films financed by Roger Corman) was the last surf movie to be
released in 1965 and it was one of the best.The producing-directing team of Bart Patton and Lennie Weinrib adapted
the AIP formula to good effect.Four
college dropouts living at the beach (Edd Byrnes, Aron Kincaid, Robert Logan,
and Don Edmonds) secure a student loan for tribal music studies when in fact
they need the money to pay for their rock group’s instruments about to be
repossessed.When the brainy girls at
the college union (Chris Noel, Gail Gilmore, Brenda Benet, and Mikki Jamison) realize
that they have been bamboozled, they rip up the check, remove their eyeglasses,
tease their hair and head for the beach to try to entice the guys to return to
Brenda Benet, Don Edmonds, Robert Logan, Gail Gilmore, Aron Kincaid, Edd Byrnes, and Chris Noel in Beach Ball (Paramount, 1965).
Despite the drubbing from the critics and some beach movie
fans it received when released, Beach
Ball is arguably the breeziest and most enjoyable of the Beach Party clones.It is also the most blatant rip off throwing
in everything from surfing, skydiving, and hot rodding to a battle-of-the-bands
contest and the guys in drag to match the zaniness of the AIP beach
movies.The film works well because it
is fast-paced, nicely photographed in color, has some funny moments, lots of
beach scenes, a healthy-looking cast, and an excellent roster of musical
performers most notably the Supremes, the Righteous Brothers, and The Four
Seasons who are interspersed throughout the movie.
As for the cast, unlike Annette Funicello in the Beach Party movies or Noreen Corcoran in
The Girls on the Beach, perky Chris
Noel and the other girls are not afraid to show off their shapely figures in
very revealing bikinis.Pretty blonde
Anna Lavelle in particular dons the skimpiest swim suits and has some funny
moments as the guy’s addled-brained beach groupie Polly.The movie boasts perhaps the most curvaceous
set of lead actresses in any surf movie from the decade.For boy watchers, the guys’ sport nice
physiques particularly handsome Robert Logan and blonde Aron Kincaid who gives
a droll performance as ladies man, Jack.Edd Byrnes is definitely too long in the tooth to make a believable
college guy but he does look swell in his swim trunks.
Surfing is limited to the opening stock footage of surfers
riding huge swells and as with most beach-party movies when the actors emerge
from the ocean it is calm without a big wave in sight.There are however plenty of scenes of the
gang frolicking on the beach.A scene
with the kids playing “Keep Away” with a football on the shore is nicely
photographed and scored.The film’s
major asset is the music from the catchy instrumental entitled “Cycle Chase”
heard throughout to the songs lip-synched by Kincaid and the others as the
Wigglers to all of the numbers performed by the rock acts.The standout is definitely seeing the
Supremes singing “Come to the Beach Ball with Me” and “Surfer Boy.”Though the Motown songwriters did not come
close to capturing the authentic surf sound (hell they were from Detroit and what did they
know about surfing anyway?), the girls sing the catchy tunes well.Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson look great
but Diana Ross is a fright with her chipped tooth and big beehive wig.Her close-ups are truly scarier than anything
found in The Horror of Party Beach—another
reason why Beach Ball is a must to
see.Though unfortunately it is not
available on DVD and is rarely shown on TV anymore but may pop up once in a
blue moon on American Movie Classics. Catch it if you can.- Tom Listanti
The Last Emperor.(The
Criterion Collection, 2008).
Red-carpet DVD producer Criterion does it again with its
lavish, four-disk box set release of this Oscar winner from 1987.Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, the film is
one of two films in Academy history that won all of its nominations in nine
categories (Gigi being the other;
only one other film won a higher number of nominations without a loss, and that
was The Lord of the Rings—the Return of
the King).Emperor is a magnificent and intelligent epic about Pu Yi, the last
reigning emperor of Imperial China.While full of spectacle on a grand scale, the picture also manages to be
an intimate human drama about a young man trapped by historical events out of
his control.After all, this was a
person who became the emperor of a country at the age of three.Of particular historical cinematic importance
is the fact that the film was the first commercial picture to be shot within Beijing’s Forbidden City.Starring John Lone and Joan Chen as the
emperor and empress, and featuring a marvelous supporting turn by Peter O’Toole
as Pu Yi’s British tutor, the film is clearly Bertolucci’s masterpiece and
arguably one of the best films of the 1980s.It richly deserved every award bestowed upon it.
Criterion has restored the theatrical version (at 165
minutes) in a beautiful, high-definition digital transfer, supervised and
approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.There is also an audio commentary by Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas,
screenwriter Mark Peploe, and co-composer/actor Ryuichi Sakamoto.
A second disk features a restored high-definition digital
transfer of the 218 minute ‘director’s cut’ televised version (that also played
briefly in the theaters in the 1990s).This version delves deeper into Pu Yi’s incarceration at the
“reconditioning” camp during the 1950s, as well as more scenes in the early Forbidden City sections.
Disks three and four are loaded with supplements.There are several lengthy documentaries, both
vintage and contemporary, about the making of the film.The crown jewel is the feature originally
broadcast on BBC television’s The South
Bank Show.A new and entertaining
interview with co-composer David Byrne is also a highlight.
The Last Emperor
has often been called “the last great epic.”While this contention is arguable, Criterion’s presentation of this
magnificent motion picture certainly goes a long way toward proving it.
Don Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show in 1965 to star in feature films for Universal. The first of these was The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, shot on a low budget. The film grossed millions and became a cult favorite. Knotts went on to star in other very profitable family films including The Reluctant Astronaut and The Love God? For the iconic comic actor's last interview, see Cinema Retro issue #3.