Sony has released Vol 3 of The Three Stooges classic short films. This batch includes all their work for Columbia during the period of 1940-1942. Curley fans will be particularly pleased as this era shows the comedic legend at his zenith. The shorts themselves are like most of the Stooges' work: somewhat erratic in terms of how durable they have remained. Some, such as You Nazty Spy (the boy's answer to Chaplin's The Great Dictator) are ambitious but somehow fall short of their comedic potential. One would think showing Moe as Hitler and Curley as Mussolini would be ripe for belly laughs, but the gag runs thin quickly. Others -such as A Plumbing We Will Go- remain indicative of their best work. I've grown up with The Three Stooges' work and it's amazing to me how funny most of it seems despite its sheer predictability. The fact that our politically correct era wouldn't allow such gouging, slapping and eye-poking on TV today makes their films all the more welcome. Yet, I remain virtually alone in my feeling that Shemp was the best Stooge of all and I eagerly await the release of that golden era on DVD as well. The only complaint- as usual- is that, despite the great picture quality on these shorts, the set is sans any extras whatsoever.- Lee Pfeiffer
Here are the titles included in the 2 DVD set:
You Nazty Spy!
Rockin' Thru the Rockies
A Plumbing We Will Go
Nutty But Nice
How High is Up?
From Nurse to Worse
No Census, No Feeling
Boobs in Arms
So Long Mr. Chumps
Dutiful But Dumb
All the World's a Stooge
I'll Never Heil Again
An Ache in Every Stake
In the Sweet Pie and Pie
Some More of Samoa
Loco Boy Makes Good
Cactus Makes Perfect
What's the Matador?
Three Smart Saps
Even as IOU
Cinema Retro's readership has grown by leaps and bounds with every month, so we'll occasionally delve into our archives to run articles that new readers may not have been aware. Here's a golden oldie from April 2007:
In this rare deleted scene from director John Sturges' 1963 classic The Great Escape, Steve McQueen has just strung trip wire across a rural road, causing a German soldier's motorcycle to spin out of control into a drainage ditch. This scene of McQueen sitting astride the soldier does not appear in the final cut. Curiously, it did appear on a 1970s Spanish reissue lobby card from which this image was taken. Incidentally, McQueen actually doubled for some of the Germans in the famed motorcycle chase, thus he was actually chasing himself! For a full article about the making of The Great Escape, see Cinema Retro issue #1 in our back issues section.
Fox and MGM will release a special campaign to promote 50 classic Hollywood musicals spread across 61 DVDs. The mammoth boxed set will also include postcard reproductions of the one sheet posters for every title. The shelf-breaking collection will be available on November 11 -- it's enough to have you fiddling on the roof!
Here is the official press release:
Start spreading the news… as Fox and MGM Home Entertainment present 50 of the most legendary musical motion pictures of all time in the Hollywood Musicals Collection on DVD November 11. These lively and larger-than-life production numbers span the golden age of musical theater and include multiple award-winning films such as West Side Story, which took home 10 Academy Awards, All That Jazz, which earned four Oscars, Guys and Dolls, which was nominated for four Academy Awards, Moulin Rouge! which won two Oscars and Sound of Music and The King And I, which took home five Academy Awards each. This quintessential set brings live theater to the living room with remarkable performances from Elvis Presley (Clambake, Flaming Star, Follow That Dream, Frankie and Johnny, Kid Galahad, Wild In the Country), Marilyn Monroe (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There’s No Business Like Show Business) and Fred Astaire (Daddy Long Legs), among several other talented performers. Joining the melodic classics on DVD for the first time are the cherished Goldwyn Follies, Kid Millions and Whoopee!. Also in the collection are special Anniversary Editions of fan favorites Carousel, New York, New York, Oklahoma!, Sound of Music, State Fair, The King and I and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
All 50 of the films in the Hollywood Musicals Collection are packaged together in a 61 disc marquee collectible set and includes 50 exclusive postcard reproductions of the original theatrical one-sheets for the suggested retail price of $499.98 U.S. / $590.98 Canada. Prebook is October 15.
Hollywood Musicals Collection Disc Specifics
v A Chorus Line
v A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
v The Apple
v Alexander’s Ragtime Band
v March of The Wooden Soldiers (AKA Babes in Toyland)
v Beach Blanket Bingo
v Belle of the Yukon
v Bloodhounds of Broadway
v Call Me Madam
v Carmen Jones
v The Clambake
v Daddy Long Legs
v Down Argentine Way
v The Fantasticks
v Flaming Star
v Follow That Dream
v Frankie and Johnny
v Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
v Goldwyn Follies
v Guys and Dolls Deluxe Edition
v Hans Christian Andersen
v Hallelujah, I’m A Bum
v Hello Dolly
v How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
v Kid Galahad
v Kid Millions
v Moon Over Miami
v Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
v Dolly Sisters
v All That Jazz Music Edition
v Can-Can Two Disc
v Carousel 50th Anniversary Edition Two Disc
v New York, New York 30th Anniversary Edition – Two Disc
v Oklahoma! 50th Anniversary Edition – Two Disc
v Sound Of Music 40th Anniversary Edition – Two Disc
v South Pacific Collectors Edition – Two Disc
v State Fair 60th Anniversary Edition
v The King and I 50th Anniversary Edition –Two Disc
v The Rocky Horror Picture Show 25th Anniversary Edition – Two Disc
v There’s No Business Like Show Business
v West Side Story Special Edition Two Disc
v Wild In The Country
v With A Song In My Heart
v Love Me Tender Special Edition
v The Fiddler On The Roof
v Moulin Rouge – Two Disc v Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Special Edition – Two Disc
Former James Bond George Lazenby has struck back in his high profile, increasingly nasty divorce case with wife Pamela Shriver. The pair has been married six years and have three young children. In court filings, Shriver has sought total custody of the children, blaming Lazenby for everything from anger management problems to excessive drinking and even anti-Semitism. So far, the charges haven't included kidnapping the Lindberg baby, but that could come next week. Lazenby, who did not want the case to go public, has fought back with his own sordid allegations against Shriver, who has enlisted Lazenby's ex-wife in daughter in supporting her claims regarding his violent behavior. Lazenby categorically denies these charges and says he only neglected his daughter when she was 12 years old because he was pre-occupied with caring for his son who died years later of cancer. Curiously, Shriver, who first went public with the charges, is now asking the court to keep future sordid details secret - but the judge denied the request. To read the depressing full story click here
Crane (right) with on-screen "twin" George Reeves in production photo for Gone With the Wind.
Fred Crane, believed to be the last living male actor with a credited screen role in Gone With the Wind, died this week at age 90. Although Crane made other films, he was primarily known for his brief but memorable role as one of the Tarleton Twins, the brothers who compete to fawn over Scarlett O'Hara. George Reeves played his sibling in the film. For more on Crane, visit the George Reeves tribute site by clicking here.
(Thanks to subscriber Rich Skillman for the alert)
One of the greatest western sagas ever made is now available as a 2 disc DVD special edition as well as a collector's set with some great extras. Cinema Retro has received this official press release from Genius Products:
Winner of seven Emmy®
Awards and one of the highest-rated miniseries in television history,
will now be available with all-new bonus features and for the
first time digitally re-mastered, in widescreen picture, and 5.1 Surround Sound.
Lonesome Dove: 2-Disc
Collector’s Edition comes to 2-Disc DVD, 2-Disc Blu-ray™ High
Def, and Limited Edition Gift Set on August 5 from Genius Products and RHI
Hailed by critics and
audiences as a masterpiece, this sprawling epic of the Old West is the story of
two former Texas Rangers battling the last defiant frontier, a daring 2,500-mile
cattle drive, and an undying love. The all-new bonus materials includes a
50-minute documentary entitled The Making of
An Epic; a Lonesome Dove
montage; a new interview with Emmy Award winning Director Simon
Wincer; original interviews from the set with stars Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee
Jones, and author Larry McMurtry (“Brokeback Mountain”); original call sheets,
casting notes, and concept drawings; a postcard of the original TV poster; and a
hand-written letter by Wincer. An essential addition to every DVD collection,
the Lonesome Dove:
2-Disc Collector’s Edition is priced at $19.95 SRP for the DVD
and $39.92 SRP for Blu-ray™ High-Def disc.
The Lonesome Dove Limited Edition Gift
Lonesome Dove: 2 Disc
Collector’s Edition in a collectible wooden box along with a
branded flask, deck of playing cards, and more! This must own collector’s item
will be available at the low price of $39.99 SRP.
Based on McMurtry's
Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (1986), Lonesome Dove
debuted on CBS February 5, 1989 and went on to 17 Emmy nominations (winning
seven) and four Golden Globe® nominations (winning two, Best Miniseries and Best
Actor for Duvall).
all-star cast includes performances by:
·Oscar® winner Robert Duvall (Best
Actor, Tender Mercies,
·Oscar® winner Tommy Lee Jones Jones
(Best Supporting Actor, The
·Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (Best
·Oscar® winner winner Chris Cooper
(Best Supporting Actor, Adaptation,
·Danny Glover (Dreamgirls, Lethal Weapon
·Oscar® nominee nominee Frederic
Forrest (Best Support Actor, The
·D.B. Sweeney (Eight Men Out, Spawn)
·Golden Globe® winner Rick Schroder
(The Champ, TV’s “24,” “NYPD
·Steve Buscemi (Fargo, TV’s “The
·Robert Urich (TV’s “Spencer: For
Synopsis: In the late nineteenth century, Augustus
McCrea (Duvall) and Woodrow F. Call (Jones), former Texas Rangers, are partners
and friends who have shared hardship and danger. Gus is the romantic, a
reluctant rancher who has a way with women and the sense to leave well enough
alone. Call is a driven, demanding man, a natural authority figure with no
patience for weakness. He is obsessed with the dream of creating a new
homestead. The two men could hardly be more different, but both are tough
fighters who have learned to count on each other, if nothing else. Call’s dream
not only drags Gus along in its wake, but also draws in a group of fearless
wranglers, trackers, and scouts. Through sandstorms, stampedes, bandits, floods
and snow, these characters live on to become legends of the great American
Cinema Retro's correspondent in Scotland, Brian Smith, reports on Sean Connery's appearance at a screening of his 1965 classic The Hill.
Sir Sean Connery
returned to his beloved home city of Edinburgh
to celebrate his 78th birthday. He appeared at the Edinburgh International Book
Festival today to launch his memoirs, Being A Scot. In front of a
300-strong crowd (the event sold out within minutes of the tickets going on
sale) he discussed the book with his co-author Murray Grigor. Scotland's
First Minister, Alex Salmond, attended and after the event hosted a birthday
party for Sir Sean at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister.
Other attendees included Sean's wife, Micheline and his brother Neil and his
The previous evening
Sean introduced a rare screening of his 1965 masterpiece The Hill at Edinburgh's Filmhouse
Much to his delight,
he was welcomed on stage with the audience singing Happy Birthday. He was
interviewed by film writer, producer and director, Mark Cousins. His wife
Micheline and son Jason were also in the audience. Sean was relaxed and in good
humour as he shared his memories of making of the film as if it was yesterday.
In The Films Of
Sean Connery (Citadel Press, 1993), authors Philip Lisa and Cinema
Retro's Lee Pfeiffer describe The Hill as "arguably the
greatest film of Sean Connery's career." Although not a commercial
success, Sean's involvement grew out of his desire to move away from the James
Bond image after the release of his third Bond movie, Goldfinger, in
"I was really
trying to do something different," recalled Sean. "More testing and
original for me. The Bonds were very limiting because they were badly planned
and they ran over. So this was a very compact film."
Sir Sean with Catherine Lockerbie and Murray Grigor
Sean had never met
director Sidney Lumet before and admitted to being "very reluctant because
I didn't honestly believe an American would be able to handle the discipline of
the British army. I was absolutely proved wrong." Sean is keen to point at
that his relationship with Sidney Lumet is the longest he's had with any
director, and cheekily added, "Nothing sexual, mind you!" They would
later collaborate on The Anderson Tapes (1971), The Offence (1973),
Murder On The Orient Express (1974) and Family Business (1989).
"We've stayed very, very good friends," said Sean, "and my wife
and I always see him when we're in New
The Hill is set in a British prison camp in the Libyan desert during World War II. Sean's character,
Trooper Joe Roberts, is sent to the stockade for disobeying orders and
assaulting a superior officer. However, recently arrived Staff Sergeant
Williams (Ian Hendry) persecutes Roberts and his cellmates (played by Ossie
Davis, Roy Kinnear, Alfred Lynch and Jack Watson) by running them up and down
an artificial hill of sand and rock in the blazing sun until they collapse from
heat exhaustion. When one of the men dies after a particularly arduous session
on the hill, Roberts rebels and eventually gains the sympathy of another staff
sergeant, played by Ian Bannen, and the medical officer played by Michael
Redgrave. The film is unrelenting in its depiction of the brutality waged
against these men. It is shot in black and white, the editing is minimal and
there is no music score.
Connery at the Cannes premiere of The Hill in 1965
"The concept was to shoot in black and white with a fantastic cameraman,
Ossie Morris." He pointed out that being on set was very different to the
finished film. "If you saw it being made in reality, and then you saw it
on the screen, you would say it's not the same place." Oswald Morris let a
lot of light into the camera to replicate, visually, the heat and glare of the
desert sun. The film was shot in Spain, still in uncomfortably hot desert
surroundings. Lumet's direction also called for the actors to climb the hill
for real, and in one take. This removed the necessity of editing and the use of
doubles. "Lumet had a cradle on the side of the hill with the arm on it
and the camera was following us up and down the other side, recalled Sean.
"We were all knackered."
"To be fair to
[Sidney Lumet], because he goes for the difficult stuff, perhaps the sound
suffers a bit, but you can't take away from the central core of what the movie
is and how good all the actors are - including myself!"
This week the
Edinburgh Filmhouse will also be screening Sean Connery in Sidney Lumet's The
Offence (1973), John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and
Richard Lester's Robin And Marion (1976). Brian Smith.
Article and Connery candid photographs(C) Brian Smith, 2008. All rights reserved.
For Cinema Retro's review of The Hill DVD click here
Paramount plans to launch theatrical revivals of the Oscar winning epics The Godfather and The Godfather Part II in September. The Film Forum in New York will show each movie for a one week period. Both films were directed by Francis Ford Coppola and both won the Best Picture Oscar respectively in 1972 and 1974. No added scenes are being edited into the films, but legendary film restoration specialist Robert Harris has overseen the project and the sound is being greatly improved, including a line that was intentionally muffled in which Marlon Brando refers to the Cosa Nostra. In the buildup to the film's original release, a firestorm of criticism was unleashed by Italian-Amerian ethnocentric groups that claimed the movie unfairly portrayed all Italians as criminals. Among the chief critics: Frank Sinatra! For more click here
(Thanks to Cinema Retro subscriber Bob ("I ain't no bandleader") Collins for the horse's-heads up on this item)
After decades of rumors and half-truths from the media, Sean Connery is finally speaking publicly about his brief affair with Lana Turner, with whom he co-starred with in Another Time, Another Place - and almost became a target of a mob hit when it was revealed that Turner was the kept woman of gangster Johnny Stampanato. Connery's recollection of the incident is refreshing in that he doesn't try to enhance his heroic image - he says that when he was warned to get out of town or face the mobsters, he complied immediately. The candid talk with Scotland on Sunday is one of the few media promotions he's doing for his new autobiographical book. Curiously, Connery insisted upon doing the interview in the coffee shop of the Edinburgh Zoo! To read click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the British Film Institute:
Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom,
the world’s most controversial film comes to DVD and Blu-ray in 2-disc editions,
released by the BFI on 29 September. Presented fully uncut and in its
most complete version, the film has been re-mastered from the original Italian
The two-disc set, in striking packaging,
contains a wealth of extras, some especially created for this release including
Coil - Ostia (the Death of Pasolini) the original 1987 track from Coil's
celebrated second album, Horse Rotorvator, with a newly created video
accompaniment, shot by Peter Christopherson.
Pier Paolo Pasolini's notorious final
film, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has been called nauseating,
shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . it's also a masterpiece. The
controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker s transposition of the
Marquis de Sade s 18th-century opus of torture and degradation to 1944
Fascist Italy remains one of the most passionately debated films of all
time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and
sexual dynamics that define the world we live in.
SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES: New, restored high-definition digital transfer The End of Salò, a 40-minute documentary about the film s final scene
Salò: Yesterday and Today, a 35-minute documentary featuring interviews
with Pier Paolo Pasolini, actor-filmmaker Jean-Claude Biette, and
Pasolini s friend Nineto Davoli Fade to Black, a new short
documentary about Salò, featuring interviews with filmmakers Bernardo
Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, and John Maybury New interviews with set designer Dante Ferretti and filmmaker/film scholar Jean-Pierre Gorin Optional English-dubbed soundtrack Theatrical trailer Optional English subtitles
PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by Neil Bartlett, Roberto Chiesi,
Naomi Greene, Gary Indiana, and Sam Rohdie, and excerpts from Gideon
Bachman's on-set diary
Say this for Pierce Brosnan - he's unique. When most male sex symbols get caught embracing a woman on a beach, it generally isn't their own wife. But in Brosnan's case, he was photographed canoodling his beloved wife Keely on a Hawaiian beach, thus making him the only star in memory who didn't have to come up with a story to explain the photos. Too bad Sen. John Edwards didn't hire Brosnan as an advisor! For more photos click here
A mystery man has spread malicious and unfounded rumors about a British business firm to it's clients via E mails - resulting in a financial catastrophe for the company. The culprit -thought to be a disgruntled former employee- used the code name "Peter Franks" which James Bond fans will recognize as the name of a smuggler 007 battles with in an elevator in the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever. The part was played by actor/stuntman Joe Robinson in the movie. Exactly who is playing the real-life villain Franks is a matter the police are looking into. For more on the bizarre story click here
In what has to be a disappointing development for the publishers of Sebastian Faulks' best-selling James Bond novel Devil May Care, the 007 film producers have passed on the notion of adapting the novel to the screen. Producer Barbara Broccoli spoke glowingly of the book's merits but said that because it is set in the Cold War, it would be out of synch with the latest Bond films which take place in contemporary times. Aside from the original works of Ian Fleming, no other Bond novel has been transferred to the screen including those written by John Gardner, Raymond Benson and now Sebastian Faulks. Beginning in the 1960s, many elements of Fleming's stories were completely discarded with only the titles used, as well as character names and certain specific scenarios. The publishers of Devil May Care will not be able to approach other film producers to adapt the novel to the screen, as Eon has exercised iron-clad legal rights that preclude alternate versions of the films being made outside the control of the company. The only exceptions pertained to Casino Royale and Thunderball. Royale was Fleming's first novel and he sold the screen rights before making the deal with Eon Productions for the screen rights to his other works that followed. That novel was made into a 1954 TV production and later a big budget comedy in 1967. The story rights to Thunderball were the subject of protracted lawsuits that extended for decades but did finally allow another company to remake the film as Never Say Never Again in 1983. Subsequent attempts to make alternate screen stories involving James Bond have been successfully thwarted by Eon, who has also now acquired the rights to both the original screen version of Casino Royale as well as Never Say Never Again. By doing so, the company has tightened their controls over one of the industry's most proiftable enterprises. - Lee Pfeiffer For more click here
Cinema Retro continues to shine the spotlight on worthwhile independent films. Tom Lisanti interviews David Youse, one of the stars of the new movie The Neighbor starring Matthew Modine.
Busy character actor David Youse is co-starring with Matthew
Modine, one of the most charming underrated actors who came onto the Hollywood scene in the mid-Eighties, and French actress
Michèle Laroque in a new romantic comedy called The Neighbor.Directed by
Eddie O’Flagherty (whose previous film was Fighting
Tommy Riley) and based on the French TV movie Mon voisin du dessus, it is a tale of a high-powered real estate
developer (Laroque), who with her equally snobbish wheeler-dealer fiancé (Ed
Quinn), purchase a condo with the intention of evicting the upstairs tenant (Modine)
so they can expand into a duplex.Only
problem is—he won’t leave.Youse plays
Modine’s former best friend who is about to marry his ex-wife (Meredith Scott
Lynn).When he gets an invite to the
nuptials, Modine puts aside his war games with Laroque and makes a deal with
her to give up rights to his apartment in return for her to be his hot date to
upstage the bride and groom. Of course, unexpected sparks will fly between the disputing
neighbors as they get to know each other away from the battle ground of the
David Youse is hugely entertaining as the fumbling
groom-to-be in The Neighbor.An accomplished actor of stage, film, and TV,
Youse has appeared in a variety of genres.A familiar face to viewers of the defunct UPN network, he turned up on
practically all their sitcoms including Living
Single, Unhappily Ever After, and
Sister, Sister plus appearances on Murphy Brown and Ellen, among others. Star Trek fans remember him as one of
the religious zealots who take over the star ship in “Chosen Realm” on Enterprise;
soap watchers know him for his recurring role as Father Kelly on Days of Our Lives; and gay romantic
comedy fans remember him as one of Matt McGrath’s blind dates from hell in The Broken Hearts Club.
What drew you to the
role of the ex-best friend in The
When I first read the script, I fell for the comedy.
Comedy is a very tricky thing. You have to have the timing down and
it has to be honest. And to rehearse that comedy, to get it right, that is what drew me to The Neighbor. Knowing that I could
have the chance to rehearse, work and eventually shoot comedy, with such fine
actors like Matthew Modine, Michele Laroque (french comic genius) and Meredith
Scott Lynn, I jumped at that chance.
What do you think you
did in your reading that made you stand out?
I remember it was a rainy Friday about 5 PM and I was not in a very good mood.Director Eddie O'Flaherty and Producer Michel
Rampal were holding the auditions. The process was going extremely slow.
A few name actors were there and I thought I didn't have a chance.
So I just went in, without nerves, took my time and just nailed it.
I remember Eddie looking at me for a moment and he didn't say a word.
I asked, "Like that?"He
said something like, "Um, yeah, great. Let’s do the next
scene." I did it. He busted up laughing and said, "Great,
thank you." I remember asking then, "Do you need to see it
another way?" and he said, “No.” I left and just thought he'll hire
some one else with name recognition.But
I knew I nailed it.
How was it working
with Matthew Modine?
Wow. To get the chance to work with an actor that has
consistently put out some amazing work and that is so respected among his peers
was a blast. Matthew, to me, is child-like, fun, silly, playful, yet
intelligent, wise and so grounded in who he is, that it makes working with him
an absolute delight. I spent a few hours with him and Eddie the weekend
before we were to start shooting. We rehearsed at the house where Matthew
was living at the time and we got to know each other as best as we could in the
4 or 5 hours that we spent. We play best friends in the film and Eddie
really wanted to see that relationship come through in the film. So after
the initial hellos and coffee and tea that Matthew made for us, we started
rehearsing what we call the Dentist scene. Running around, physical
comedy and we arranged his furniture to look like the office. We had a
great time, trying new things, laughing a lot and Matthew sharing some personal
stories about his life—a great guy.
Was it a pleasant set
to work on?
Oh, absolutely. What a pleasure to get up in the
morning and be happy to go to work. To spend the day with Michele
Laroque, laughing, and Matthew playing jokes, I mean, come on. The entire
crew was so helpful and nice.Everyone
just worked hard and had a great time. We shot the film in 25 days.
What do you think
makes The Neighbor stand apart from
other romantic comedies of this ilk?
Well, I have to say that it's nice to see the woman in a
position of financial power and guy trying to understand what's going on with
himself, emotionally. That I think is the key. Here is a character,
whose life is falling apart, his business is going down the tubes, his best
friend is marrying his ex-wife and his neighbor is trying to evict him.
And that's the guy! She holds the strings. He doesn't and
that's nice to watch it play out in reverse.
Do you prefer playing
these fumbling type comic characters or more serious roles?
Well, comedy is always
fun to do, but at the same time, it could be very frustrating. You really
have to get it just right. But when you do and you know it clicks, that's
the best. The serious roles are great to do in a whole different way.
To feel that emotion in a tough scene, take after take, is very grueling.
But at the same time, when you've been worn down and you feel like you
have nothing else to give, that's usually the best take.
Have to ask about Enterprise.
Do you have any anecdotes from working on that series with Scott Bakula?
Star Trek: Enterprise—I tell ya.
Four hours of make-up and hair sitting in a chair without moving.
What’s next for David
I've been offered a play here in Los Angeles that starts rehearsing in early
September, with an opening the following month. I haven't said yes yet,
but that's looking pretty good right now—at least today.
The Neighbor is
playing a limited engagement in Los Angeles
at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 until August 22.
Of all the independent DVD production companies, Severin Films ranks near the top when it comes to producing first class editions of second-rate films. That isn't meant as a knock. The company, which specializes in making Italian "B" movies accessible to American audiences, has unearthed a number of interesting titles ranging from guilty pleasures to films that have far more entertainment value than one might be lead to expect. Such a case is Severin's recent release of a second series of Black Emanuelle films in a boxed set. Virtually everyone has heard of the original Emmanuelle, the artsy 1974 soft-core French movie that broke box-office records around the globe and extended erotic entertainment from the realm of guys with trench coats on their laps to everyday couples. In the wake of the film's success, virtually every independent European movie producer began to grind out sex films using the title Emanuelle, though most had nothing whatsoever to do with the original film. (For legal reasons, this character is minus an "m" from her name.) However, they do have one theme in common with the "real" Emanuelle: all of the movies center on the adventures of a promiscuous, beautiful young woman who is determined to try virtually every sexual thrill imagineable. (Don't you get bored with meeting women like this?) The set contains three films:
Black Emanuelle 2 (1976), a bizarre romp set in a New York psychiatric hospital in which comely Sharon Lesley plays the titular character - a journalist who suffered a head injury in war-torn Beirut and who now has extended bouts of memory loss and psychotic behavior. Confined to a boring mental health facility, Emanuelle is fortunate to have the services a dedicated married doctor who nonetheless puts his profession first by catering to Emanuelle's problems morning, noon and night. The treatment includes having her disrobe and relive her previous erotic encounters in the hope it might stimulate her memory. (This is one physician who doesn't mind making a house call.) The treatment fails, but it does manage to stimulate everyone else in sight including the doctor's nymphomaniac niece (Dagmar Lassander), a fellow patient who passes the time with Emanuelle by introducing her to the joys of lesbianism. (Hey, it beats playing Parcheesi!) The film is basically a claustrophobic affair, though there are some great sequences filmed in Times Square at the height of its gloriously seedy era. (There are some shots of movie theaters, including one boasting "James Caan in Rollerball") There is a subplot in which Emanuelle mistakes her father for her former husband, with predictably cringe-inducing results but the main pleasure of the film is watching the incredibly sexy Lesley find every feasible excuse in the book to get naked. The opening sequence affords some kinkiness via a scene in which the chained and naked Emanuelle gets whipped in a dungeon, but the scene is fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon your point-of-view) short-lived and explained as a fantasy. The DVD contains a recent interview with actress Dagmar Lassander as well as the original trailer.
BLACK EMANUELLE/WHITE EMANUELLE (1976) casts exotic Laura Gemser as Emanuelle, though this time the character isthe world's top fashion model. The movie is a misfire dramatically, as it puts Emanuelle in the company of a pretentious group of free-loving pseudo-intellectuals who romp around a mansion in Egypt while spouting inane comments about religion and the meaning of life. It's like being trapped in a room with beautiful naked people, but having the experienced compromised by having tapes of L. Ron Hubbard's nutty lectures played over a loudspeaker. Still, the film does benefit from a trademark of the series, which is the eye-popping location footage. In this case, the movie provides some impressive scenery of Egypt's natural wonders, but the story itself is populated by characters who are self-centered egomaniacs. In fact, Gemser's Emanuelle is very much a supporting character. The main plot deals with Annie Belle as a nubile nymphet who is in competition with her mother to seduce a self-proclaimed religious prophet played by Al Cliver. What they find so appealing about him is mystifying, as Cliver's character has the wit and warmth of Ted Cassidy's Lurch. Nevertheless, there are the obligatory lesbian scenes between Genser and Belli, but the eroticism of the film itself is compromised by some scenes that provoke a "yuck" factor. (Belli's character likes to sleep naked with her mother, Emanuelle's boorish photographer boyfriend makes her pose naked amongst the bodies of families that have been murdered in the desert). Of the three films, this is the weakest, though it, too, is not without merit. Extras include interviews with Annie Belle, Al Cliver and an audio interview with Laura Gemser. There is also a theatrical trailer.
BLACK EMANUELLE AND THE WHITE SLAVE TRADE (1977) - is obviously the rarest of the three feature films in this set, according to Severin and has rarely been seen in recent years. Thus, the inclusion of the movie in this collection is most welcome -especially since its the most enjoyable of the lot. Like the other two titles, it isn't hardcore-but it's as close as you can get, with full female nudity on display throughout. Laura Gemser plays Emanuelle again, though this time she is no longer a model, but has reverted back to being an investigative journalist. The film opens with some breathtaking locations in Kenya, where Emanuelle and a fellow free-spirited girlfriend and wined and dined by a millionaire businessman they are seeking to interview. This first section of the movie follows Emanuelle and her friend through various sexual escapades including orgies and lesbian flings before Emanuelle returns to her home base of New York City where she picks up the trail of a white slave ring she is determined to investigate. Using herself as bait, she spies on a slave auction in which naked women are paraded on leashes in front of prospective buyers. However, the slave angle runs out of steam when Emanuelle ends up in a rather mundane situation in San Diego where her fellow prostitutes all seem to be cheerily engaging in sex of their own free will. Nevertheless, our intrepid female Jimmy Olson is determined to blow the lid off the ring -but not before being found out and marked for death. This leads to one of the most bizarre action sequences imaginable as the scene inexplicably switches to a bowling alley (!) where she is gang-raped after battling her attackers with the assistance of a drag queen who is an expert in kung fu. This sequence alone is worth the price of the entire set. Like Black Emanuelle 2, this movie benefits from some interesting vintage location scenery that shows New York in the 1970s, as well as an infectuous musical score by Nico Fedenco. Extras include a unique interview with director Joe D'Amato that was shot on-the-cuff by a group of fans who persuaded him to go drinking with them. This weird premise seems to have agreed with D'Amato who seems pleased to speak candidly about working on the Emanuelle films as well as in hardcore sex movies as well. There is also an original trailer.
As a terrific added bonus, Severin has included a soundtrack CD titled Getting Down with Emanuelle 2 that features original music from various movies in the series. In summary, the films retain an erotic appeal even today and serve as a reminder that there once was a time when sex movies actually involved people with at least a modicum of talent. (One bit of advice: if you want to watch the films in a serious mindset, use the original Italian language/English sub-title feature. If you want plenty of unintended laughter, watch the badly dubbed English language versions.) -Lee Pfeiffer
CLICK HERE TO ORDER THIS DVD SET DISCOUNTED FROM AMAZON
FOR REVIEW OF THE ORIGINAL EMMANUELLE SPECIAL DVD EDITION CLICK HERE
There is literally no one in the film world with the pedigree of Ernest Borgnine when it comes to having honed his craft by working with true legends of the cinema. In fact, Borgnine himself is movie legend with a screen career extending back over half a century to his memorable portrayal of the villain Fatso Judson in From Here to Eternity. This was followed in short order by his Oscar winning title performance in Marty, the little film that could. In the ensuing years, Borgnine has become a familiar presence to any movie lover, regardless of their age. At long last, he has produced an autobiography - and unlike many of the ghost-written, self-aggrandizing volumes produced by celebrities, Borgnine's book- simply titled Ernie (Kensington Publishing) is as disarming and charming as its author. Borgnine is truly a man for all seasons when it comes to his ability to play a wide range of roles. Consider his turns as bad guys in films like Hannie Caulder and Emperor of the North and then recall he just as easily slid into the mode of hero in movies like Escape from New York and The Vikings. Even when playing a heroic type, Borgnine often made the character complex and flawed, thus far more interesting than the standard cardboard types found in many films.
Ernie is a true page-turner that is written in a witty by gentlemanly style. Borgnine's few negative comments about others are anything but vicious and he even gives a sympathetic nod to his "blink-and-it's-over" marriage to the mercurial Ethel Merman. Instead, Borgnine concentrates on his penchant for self-deprecating humor, as though he can still barely believe he has been so successful in a field he initially had to be pushed into by his mother, who originally wanted him to become a barber. Borgnine traces the tragedies and triumphs of his life with sentiment and wit, joking about his inability to find the right wife until he met his current spouse, his beloved Tovah whom he met 35 years ago. There are wonderful anecdotes about his stint in the Navy, losing his virginity at an advanced age, and his early days in the New York theater in which he actually gave up a big paycheck on Broadway to return to a stock company where he felt he could better hone his craft. However, the most enjoyable aspect of the book is, unsurprisingly, his recollections of starring in films like Bad Day at Black Rock, The Dirty Dozen, The Poseidon Adventure, the McHale's Navy TV series, and, of course, Sam Peckinpah's classic The Wild Bunch. The stories are priceless and often hilarious and Borgnine proves to be as talented a writer as he is an actor- which is no faint praise. It's the most enjoyable autobiography I've read in years hampered only by the fact I wish it were twice the page count because it left me wanting more. Although Borgnine is 91 years-old, it would surprise no one if there is a volume two in his future.- Lee Pfeiffer
An over-capacity crowd packed the Academy Theater in
NewYork last night for AMPAS’s popular
“Monday Nights with Oscar” program, this time featuring a special treat: “Hollywood
Home Movies: Treasures from the Academy Film Archive.” The program, curated by
Academy archivist Lynne Kirstee and accompanied by pianist Donald Sosin,
afforded a rare glimpse into the intimate scenes of family life of Hollywood’s legendary
directors, producers and actors, and were at once fascinating and strangely
We saw Alfred Hitchcock playing with his baby daughter
Patricia on their English estate; Bogart and Bacall sailing their beloved Santana out of the Newport Beach marina
(she’s making dreary sandwiches down in the hull while he dashingly masters the
riggings up on deck, an ever-present cigarette dangling from his lips); Cedric
Gibbons and his wife Dolores del Rio entertaining guests poolside at their home
in Santa Monica; and other peeks at the off-hours of Hollywood’s Golden Age
royalty. Interestingly, just when the scenes began to look overly familiar in
that “every family has an over-eating aunt” way, out of left field comes a
sophisticated camera trick (Hitchcock eating a banana backwards, for example)
that reminds one that these people literally had technical magic at their
Or, for example, watching Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
playing in a charity tennis match in 1939 (part of the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Collection) gives the viewer the sensation of being in a communal living room
and watching home movies of everyone’s relatives. Or something bizarre like
The program also included revealing commentary from the
likes of Gary Cooper’s daughter, Maria Cooper Janis; Steve McQueen’s wife,
Neile Adams; and the last wife of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Vera Shelton, among
others. As Shelton recounted in an amusing
anecdote, she met Fairbanks
by chance at a crowded bar when she turned to the man next to her and asked his
help in getting her a drink. For some, brushes with fame remain just that. For
others, they turn into relationships, affairs or marriages that last decades.
McQueen poses at home with super model Peggy Moffitt next to his 1963 Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso GT- a gift from his wife Neile.
One revelation I found fascinating was the availability of
color film to the home movie camera user as early as the mid-1930s. In the
Hitchcock segment, the clip was in a dreamy “lenticular color” which is
registered on a specialized film through thousands of minute “lenses” embedded
into the emulsion, and then usually projected through a tri-color banded filter
(these details courtesy of Wikipedia). Also holding up astonishingly well were
the Kodachrome film clips featuring Esther Williams at home (circa 1949-55) and
the beautiful saturated color footage of Marlon Brando shooting On the Waterfront (c. 1953-54), courtesy
of the Charles Rossi Collection.
The program was also punctuated with early home movies of New YorkHarbor
in 1927, a beauty contest parade in Atlantic City
from 1935, and the neon wonderland of Times Square
in the mid-1950s, providing a national context to the celebrity home movie
clips through the decades.
Bravo to AMPAS for this entertaining and revealing evening!
The Academy Theater is located at 111 East 59th Street in Manhattan. Please note
Monday Nights with Oscar is going on hiatus for the month of September for
administrative needs. For reservations to any event in this monthly film
series, call (888) 778-7575.
(Photo copyright John Murphy. All rights reserved.)
In an event that was largely bypassed by the mainstream press, the Irish village of Tourmakeady unveiled a memorial to the acclaimed actor and playwright Robert Shaw, whose screen roles included Quint in Jaws, Red Grant in the James Bond thriller From Russia, With Love and the criminal mastermind in The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three. Shaw was also an accomplished playwright, having authored The Man in the Glass Booth.
The iconic actor died thirty years ago this week. He was only 51 years of age. Although a brilliant actor and writer, Shaw always battled the bottle and eventually this affliction contributed to his declining health. In the small Irish village that Shaw adored and spent the last seven years of his life, his third wife Virginia and his children gathered for the unveiling of the memorial- an understated stone monument with a simple inscription saying "In honour of Robert Shaw who lived in Tourmakeady. Rest in Peace." It would have been what Shaw preferred. Despite his success and acclaim, he favored living a simple life and called the village of Tourmakeady the most unspoiled place he had ever seen. He died before fulfilling his ultimate goal: retiring from show business and running a small hotel in the village where he would serve as bartender. Cinema Retro reader John Murphy has visited the memorial and provides this photo.
IF IT'S NOT TUESDAY, IT MUST BE YVETTE, CAROL OR DIANE
BY TOM LISANTI
From 1959 to 1964 blonde nymphets, in the tradition of the
thumb-sucking Carroll Baker in Baby Doll,
ruled the silver screen.Two of the most
popular with teenage audiences were Sandra Dee and Connie Stevens but the four
with the most potential to become important actresses and who always seemed on
the verge of major stardom were Yvette Mimieux, Carol Lynley, Tuesday Weld, and
Diane McBain. These scintillating starlets molded in the image of the flaxen-haired,
pony-tailed Barbie Doll released during this time were interchangeable as a
litter of kittens.Glancing at movie
magazines of the time, you barely could tell one from the other.But these baby doll blondes had to grow up
and when they did surprisingly none of them became super stars as poor choices,
typecasting, and just sheer bad luck hurt their careers.
Yvette in The Time Machine
Once described as a “princess come to life” Yvette Mimieux excelled
playing the fragile beauty who seemed to be always on the verge of a breakdown
(a vacationing coed who goes all the way in Where
the Boys Are, 1960; a mentally disturbed beauty in A Light in the Piazza, 1962; a rich girl in love with an Hawaiian
beach boy in Diamond Head, 1963; and
the wife of a struggling law student in Joy
in the Morning, 1965) or fantasy figure come to life (one of the Enui in The Time Machine, 1960; a princess in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm,
1962). By the late Sixties/early Seventies she graduated to playing “the girl”
in a number of popular adventure movies including The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967), Dark of the Sun (1968), Skyjacked
(1972), The Neptune Factor (1973)
while working steadily on TV.Perhaps
tired of being typecast, she wrote and starred as The Hit Lady for TV and then played a rape victim who seeks revenge
in the violent and popular drive-in hit, Jackson
County Jail (1975), which sustained her leading lady status into the
Carol in The Poseidon Adventure
Carol Lynley, who was once described as having “beauty that
is awe inspiring,” began playing the good girl (a pregnant unwed teen in Blue Denim, 1959; aspiring author Allison
MacKenzie in Return to Peyton Place,
1961) before going the sex kitten route (a coed living platonically with her
boyfriend in Under the Yum Yum Tree,
1963; one of three girls looking for romance in The Pleasure Seekers, 1964).She progressed to more adult roles as a harried young mother searching
for her misplaced daughter who may or may not exist in the cult classic Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) and a young
woman who inherits an old mill complete with a hideous thing in the attic in The Shuttered Room (1967).Her excellent performances typed her as the
damsel-in-distress though she essayed the role of a psychopathic heiress in Once You Kiss a Stranger (1969). Lynley unwisely
turned down Five Easy Pieces in 1970
(“They were only paying scale”) and despite a banner 1972—she began it playing
reporter Darren McGavin’s girlfriend in the highest rated TV-movie up to that
point in The Night Stalker and ended
the year as the terrified pop singer in the box office champ, The Poseidon Adventure—the remainder of
the decade found her unjustly mired in low-budget independent films, TV-movies,
and stranded on Fantasy Island.
Tuesday goes the cheesecake route
Tuesday Weld had more of an edge to her than Mimieux and
Lynley, and in keeping with her real life wild child persona see-sawed back and
forth between the mischievous hormonal teenager (Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys, 1959; Bachelor Flat, 1962; Soldier
in the Rain, 1963; I’ll Take Sweden,
1965); the tramp (Wild in the Country,
1961); and the self-absorbed sex kitten (Lord
Love a Duck, 1966). Weld undoubtedly could have become a superstar but she
famously turned down Lolita (“I don’t
have to play Lolita—I am Lolita!”) and backed out of Bonnie and Clyde due to pregnancy.After playing a murderous psychopath to great effect in the little-seen Pretty Poison (1968), she turned down in
quick succession True Grit, Cactus Flower, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice once again assuring that she
would never be known to the masses.In
the Seventies she kept working steadily in studio productions (Play It As It Lays won her kudos in
1972) and even received an Academy Award nomination for her supporting turn as
Diane Keaton’s sister in Looking for Mr.
Goodbar (1977) but never appeared in a box office smash though by the
Eighties she was still copping leads opposite major stars in big movies—Thief (1981) with James Caan; Author! Author! (1982) with Al Pacino;
and Once Upon a Time in America(1984)
with Robert De Niro.
Diane: the epitome of elegance and style
While Yvette, Carol and Tuesday all essayed the good girl
roles, Diane McBain seem to be always cast as the sophisticate or spoiled rich
girl who never got her man (Parrish,
1961; Mary, Mary, 1963; A Distant Trumpet, 1964; Spinout, 1966.) As Southern tramp Claudelle Inglish (1961), she not only
lost her true love but wound up with a stomach pumped full of buckshot by an
irate father. Though McBain brought a
vulnerability to these characters and made the audience empathize with them, they
typed her almost forever as the bitch.As
she matured her roles got even badder—a dope dealing high school teacher in Maryjane and a tough-talking biker chick
in The Mini-Skirt Mob—and her films
cheaper.By the end of the decade,
McBain was still being outshined by her three contemporaries even playing
second fiddle to Mimieux in The Delta
Factor (1970).Never able to arise from
low-budget exploitation movies, the Seventies found her talent wasted in
Grade-Z productions (Wicked, Wicked,
1973; The Deathhead Virgin, 1974),
the occasional TV-movie, and lots of television guest roles.
IMDB reports that the soundtrack for an unreleased Blaxploitation film called Brotherman will finally be released - after a delay of 34 years. The soundtrack was done by a group called The Final Solution and featured superb guitar work by by Carl Wolfork that was used as a temp track with the intention of having other music replace it. However, when the film was shelved, Wolfork's work remained intact- and will now be heard on a forthcoming CD. For the story click here
The Daily Mail's continuing look at the early life of Sean Connery continues with the well-documented story about Connery's late 1950s affair with Lana Turner, with whom he starred in the soap opera feature film Another Time, Another Place. Connery's dalliance with Turner almost sealed his fate when it turned out Turner was considered to be the kept woman of a Mafia thug who made it clear he had Connery in his sites. For the story click here
The 1970 film version of Hello, Dolly was a notorious flop that almost bankrupt 20th Century Fox. However, it represented the kind of grand, glorious old-fashioned musical that Hollywood has not seen since. In addition to spectacular production numbers and sets, it also afforded audiences the pleasure of enjoying Louis Armstrong's immortal rendition of the title song -which actually displaced The Beatles from atop the pop charts.
Although Hollywood is painfully short of screen legends, Doris Day remains the real thing. Once one of the most popular actresses and singers of the 1950s and 1960s, Day's name on a film almost guaranteed its success. Yet, she's lived a tumultuous and often tragic life - developments that led her to walk away from the entertainment industry in the late 1960s. Since then, she's lived alone and has studiously avoided the spotlight. She also supposedly has turned down an offer from the Academy to grant her an honorary Oscar. Instead, she spends her time completely devoted to her life's mission: caring for animals. For more on Miss Day's activities in recent days, click here (For a review of Tom Santopietro's book Considering Doris Day click here.) See Cinema Retro issues #10 and #11 for Tom's tribute to Miss Day's career.
Hellraisers: The Life
and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and
Oliver Reed by Robert Sellers
Today’s generation of bad boy movie stars are complete wimps
when compared to the likes of Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris and
– in particular- Oliver Reed. These blokes didn’t need to actlike tough guys, they
were the real thing. Ultimately, their incessant boozing, smoking, womanizing
and brawling took years off their lives (though, thankfully, O’Toole is proving
to be the exception), yet according to Cinema Retro contributor Robert Sellers’
fascinating new book, they would not have had it any other way. Sellers traces
the lives of these iconic actors back to their roots but the bulk of Hellraisers is dedicated to the almost
surrealistic exploits of the British version of The Rat Pack. The book is
packed with anecdotes that range from the incredible to the hilarious. Here’s
but a few: when Eddie Fisher called home to check on wife Elizabeth Taylor, he
was astonished to find Richard Burton answering the phone. When he demanded to know what Burton was doing at his house, the Welsh lothario told him simply, “I’m fucking your wife.” Peter O’Toole once wanted a drink so badly that
when he was refused service in a pub, he bought the establishment on the spot
so he could serve himself. Oliver Reed was once clocked in at drinking 126
pints of lager in a 24 hour period in the same pub. The book is a mesmerizing
page-turner and makes you realize how the days of legendary film stars are
truly behind us.- Lee Pfeiffer
THIS BOOK IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE UK AT THIS TIME. CLICK HERE TO ORDER DISCOUNTED FROM AMAZON UK
Connery on the set of The Man Who Would be King: he sued the distributor Allied Artists for cheating him out of profits and ended up bankrupting the studio.
It's not unusual for successful people who grew up in poverty to be tight with a dollar throughout their lives, and Sir Sean Connery is no exception. When it comes to matters of finance, Connery has proven to be obsessed with getting every penny that is owed to him. He routinely sued movie studios and financial advisors over the years,claiming they had cheated him out of his fair share of the profits. In some cases, he won, but regarding his suits against the James Bond producers, Connery was never able to prove he had been cheated. Nonetheless, the obsession continues to this day - and according to the Daily Mail, he refuses to give autographs because he learned that many fans end up selling his signature on the Internet. The in-depth article gives some interesting insights into the reasons for Connery's suspicious mind when it comes to finances, even though the piece gets the facts wrong about crediting director Terence Young for recommending Connery as the prime candidate for 007. In fact, it was producer Cubby Broccoli's wife Dana who came up with the idea of casting Connery after seeing him in Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Even Cubby admitted he didn't see star potential in brash young Scotsman. For the article click here
Hayes' soundtrack for Shaft made him an iconic figure on the soul music scene.
Isaac Hayes, who won both a Grammy and an Oscar for his hit title song from the 1971 film Shaft, was found dead at his home in Tennessee today. Hayes was 65 years old. Police are investigating the circumstances of the entertainer's death. His body was found near a treadmill. There was no indication of foul play. Hayes was a big influence on today's rappers and became an iconic figure in the soul music scene. He also dabbled in acting in Blaxploitation films of the 1970s including playing the title role in Truck Turner. In more recent years, he gained new fame as the voice of Chef in the envelope-pushing animated TV series South Park. However, Hayes quit the show when the producers began to mock his religion, Scientology. Hayes denied that higher-ups in the controversial organization had pressured him to leave the show, but the producers cited the fact that Hayes had no problem with the program's constant snipes at Christianity. For more on Hayes' life and career click here
Cinema Retro's Lee Pfeiffer was recently interviewed by ABC News film critic Bill Diehl about the legacy of James Bond during the year in which Ian Fleming would have celebrated his 100th birthday. For he masochists out there, you can listen to our illustrious editor-in-chief in his own melodious voice on the ABC News podcast. However, we don't recommend listening to him if you will be driving or operating any heavy machinery. To listen to the ABC News podcast, click here
Cinema Retro just received word that Genius Products will be releasing the complete collection of Little Rascals shorts on DVD. Here is the official press release:
(July 28, 2008) – Generations have grown up with them and now Spanky, Alfalfa,
Buckwheat, Darla, Froggy, Pete the Pup and the rest of the gang return in their
best-loved comedies when Genius Products and RHI Entertainment debuts The
Little Rascals: The Complete Collection on DVD October 28. One of
the most famous and successful series in cinema history, the collection represents
all 80 shorts in chronological release date order created under the supervision
of legendary film producer Hal Roach from the dawn of the talkies (1929) until
the series was sold to MGM in 1938, an era generally conceded to be the series
“golden age.” Each short has been magnificently remastered from the
original camera negatives, restored using DVNR technology and available uncut
for the first time in years.
The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection also
features a wealth of bonus materials including introductions and commentaries
by various film historians and authors; interviews with former “Little Rascals”
members, the five-part featurette Catching Up With
“The Rascals”; the featurette The Story
of Hal Roach and “Our Gang;”the featurette
“The Rascals” and Racial Issues, a study of racism as part of the
Rascals; and three original silent shorts from the Hal Roach “Our Gang”
library: Dog Heaven (1927), Spook-Spoofing (1928) and Barnum
& Ringling, Inc. (1928). Also included with the set is a collectible
photo booklet containing classic images from the series, original movie
posters, fun facts, and lobby cards. The preeminent collection is a
must-have for all true fans and will be available for $89.95 SRP
Producer Hal Roach (who also launched Harold Lloyd and
Laurel & Hardy into immortality) introduced “The Little Rascals” in
1922. The short films featured ordinary, lower class kids acting like
real children, rather than stilted actors and the series immediately gained
popularity with film-going audiences. Although originally dubbed “Hal
Roach’s Rascals,” the name “Our Gang” caught on in popularity after one of the
early short’s titles and became the official name shortly afterward. The series
also broke new ground by including boys, girls, whites and blacks interacting
In 1938, Roach sold the series outright to MGM, stepping
away from any active participation in his creation. The studio continued
to make “Our Gang” comedies, but without Roach, the series deteriorated in
quality and popularity and MGM discontinued production in 1944. In the
late ‘40s, Roach exorcized his option to buy back the rights to the 1927–1938
“Our Gang” shorts, repackaged them (without the “Our Gang” name and MGM logo,
to which the studio still owned the rights) and launched “The Little Rascals”
on television in 1955, where they became, along with “The Three Stooges,”
staples of after-school TV, enchanting whole new generations of children for
years to come.
In addition to the Academy Award® winning Bored of
Education (Best Short Subject/One-Reel, 1937) and Pups Is Pups
(1930) which was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in
2004, The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection includes the
shorts Small Talk, Railroadin’, Boxing Gloves, Lazy
Days, Bouncing Babies, Moan & Groan, Inc., Shivering
Shakespeare (all 1929); The First Seven Years, When the Wind
Blows, Bear Shooters, A Tough Winter, Teacher’s Pet, School’s
Out (all 1930); Helping Grandma, Love Business, Little
Daddy, Bargain Day, Fly My Kite, Big Ears, Shiver
My Timbers, Dogs Is Dogs, Readin’ and Writin’ (all 1931); Free
Eats, Spanky, Choo-Choo!, The Pooch, Hook and
Ladder, Free Wheeling, Birthday Blues, A Lad an’ a Lamp
(all 1932); Fish Hooky, Forgotten Babies, The Kid From
Borneo, Mush and Milk, Bedtime Worries, Wild Poses
(all 1933); Hi’-Neighbor, For Pete’s Sake, The First Round-Up,
Honky-Donkey, Mike Fright, Washee Ironee, Mama’s Little
Pirate, Shrimps for a Day (all 1934); Anniversary Trouble, Beginner’s
Luck, Teacher’s Beau, Sprucin’ Up, The Lucky Corner, Little
Papa, Little Sinner, Our Gang Follies of 1936 (all 1935); Divot
Diggers, The Pinch Singer, Second Childhood; Arbor Day;
Two Too Young; Pay As You Exit, Spooky Hooky (all 1936); Reunion
in Rhythm, Glove Taps, Hearts Are Thumps, Three Smart Boys,
Rushin’ Ballet; Roamin’ Holiday; Night ‘N’ Gales; Fishy
Tales; Framing Youth; The Pigskin Palooka; Mail and Female;
Our Gang Follies of 1938 (all 1937); Canned Fishing, Bear
Facts, Three Men in a Tub, Came the Brawn; Feed ‘Em and
Weep, The Awful Tooth, and Hide and Shriek (all 1938).
·Commentary from Film Historians and Authors
·Interviews with former “Little Rascals” members
·Three Original Hal Roach “Our
Gang” Silent Shorts
Dog Heaven (1927)
Barnum & Ringling, Inc. (1928)
·Featurette: The Story of Hal Roach
and Our Gang
·Featurette: “The Rascals” and Racial
·5-Part Featurette: Catching Up With
·12 page collectible photo booklet with trivia, images, and
collectible lobby cards
Bernie Mac, one of the original African American comedians known as The Original Kings of Comedy, has died at at 50. Mac had been hospitalized with pneumonia, but word from his staff was that he was recuperating nicely. In fact, it appears as though his death was caused by a lung infection relating to the pneumonia. Mac's TV sitcom The Bernie Mac Show was popular with audiences and critics. It helped launch a big screen career that saw him play prominent roles in Oceans Eleven, Transformers, Bad Santa and others. Mac has two movies in post-production. For more click here
Eric "Digger" Dowling, the real-life inspiration for the forger character played by Donald Pleasence in The Great Escape has died one day short of his 93rd birthday. Although Dowling played a central role in planning the massive escape from Stalag Luft III, he was not chosen to be one of the escapees. It would be a decision that in all probability saved his life. Only three men successfully made back to Allied territories. Many were captured and 50 more were executed under personal orders from Hitler. In the aftermath of the escape, Dowling witnessed many of his comrades die in harsh winter conditions as the collapsing German army tried to keep their prisoners one step ahead of the advancing Soviet forces. Like many British WWII veterans, Dowling was no fan of John Sturges' classic 1963 film. Because the movie had been financed by an American studio, United Artists, American actors were given equally prominent roles in the story - when in fact the escape was largely a British operation. Dowling also complained that Steve McQueen's legendary motorcycle jump was too "over-the-top." For more on Dowling's remarkable life, click here
George Lazenby, 68, and Pamela Shriver, 46, are heading to divorce court. Shriver, one-time international tennis pro, is citing "irreconcilable differences" as the cause. The couple was married six years ago and had three children together, including twins. Lazenby took over the role of James Bond in 1968 but starred in only one 007 movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, released in 1969. He then quit the series despite overtures to remain in the role. For more click here
Sony will debut four Hammer horror films on a 2-DVD set. Here is the official press release:
Four classic horror films from the legendary Hammer Studios
make their DVD debuts when Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases Icons
of Horror 3 on October 14. The must-have collection for
thrill-craving fans includes The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb
(1964), and three films featuring legendary horror icon Christopher Lee: The
Gorgon (1964), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) and Scream
of Fear (1961). Each film has been digitally re-mastered for the best
possible quality picture and sound and the collector’s set includes the
original trailers. The two-disc DVD will be available for $24.96 SRP.
Directed by Terence Fisher (The Curse of the Werewolf)
and written by John Gilling (The Pirates of Blood River), The Gorgon
(1964) stars legendary horror icons Peter Cushing (Horror of Dracula)
and Christopher Lee (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow),
as well as Barbara Shelley (Dracula: Prince of Darkness) and Michael
Goodliffe (Von Ryan's Express). In a Balkan village, a professor
investigates the suicide of his youngest son. No one is willing to help the
professor, so he enters the ruins of a local castle where he encounters the
legendary monster whose gaze turns men to stone. Before dying, the professor
warns his eldest son who continues the investigation.
The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964) was
written and directed by Michael Carreras (These Are The Damned, One Million
Years B.C.) and stars Terence Morgan (Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet),
Ronald Howard (Come September), George Pastell (From Russia With Love),
and in a rare dramatic role, famed American comedy actor Fred Clark (How to
Marry a Millionaire, Auntie Mame). Handsomely photographed and
deliciously eerie, the film follows an expedition in Egypt as they open a cursed crypt.
The leader of the excavation crew decides to give the ruins to a museum, but a
fast-talking American grabs the tomb for a sideshow attraction.
Directed by Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula) and
scripted by Wolf Mankowitz (Casino Royale) from the novel by Robert
Louis Stevenson, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) stars Paul
Massie (Libel), Dawn Addams (The Moon is Blue, The Robe),
Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Norma Marla (The
Ugly Duckling), David Kossoff (Freud), and Francis De Wolff (From
Russia with Love), and in a very early role, Oliver Reed (Oliver!).
Absorbed in research directed towards the isolation of the two natures of man,
Dr. Jekyll (Massie) degenerates into Mr. Hyde, a vengeful maniac. While Hyde
wants revenge against a gambler whom his wife is in love with, Dr. Jekyll,
revolted by his second nature, takes steps to do away with his evil self.
Directed by Seth Holt and written by Jimmy Sangster, who
later reteamed for the Bette Davis vehicle The Nanny, Scream of
Fear (1961) stars Golden Globe® nominee Susan Strasberg (Picnic,
Stage Struck), Ronald Lewis (Billy Budd), Ann Todd (AlfredHitchcock's
The Paradine Case), Christopher Lee (Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of
the Clones), John Serret (The Sword and The Rose), and Leonard Sachs
(Thunderball). When wheelchair-bound Penny (Strasberg) pays a
visit to her father's Riviera
resort, she finds her father's corpse propped up in the backyard. Everyone
thinks she's crazy, but she believes it's a plot to drive her mad.
DVD Special Features Include:
Digitally Remastered Audio and Video
versions in their original aspect ratios
CLICK HERE TO ORDER FROM AMAZON AT DISCOUNT PRICE!
While her political activism has made her a magnet for controversy, movie fans can agree that Susan Sarandon remains one of the sexiest actresses of her generation. Here's the proof: a still from director Louis Malle's 1978 film Pretty Baby.
With all due respect to the great Johnny Weissmuller, for many Gordon Scott was the screen's most believable Tarzan. He played the role six times between 1955 and 1960 and starred in what many believe was the best of the series, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure - which featured a young Sean Connery as a baddie.
Here's a terrific, home-grown concoction from You Tube that places Jerry Lewis in the midst of James Bond clips in a hilarious faux trailer. The bits are made up of clips from legit Bond trailers and interspersed with clips of Lewis in situations that are amazingly similar to spy movies (many of the scenes are culled from Lewis' London-based comedy Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River). The sad part of it all is that even the "over-the-top-Lewis-as-Bond" aspect still resonates with more legitimate drama than The Man with the Golden Gun! (Thanks to Cinema Retro subscriber "Pistols" Bob Collins for the tip). Click here to view
I’ve always found it odd that all the warm
words, all the retrospectives, the long in-depth articles about a star come out
after they’ve gone. Why aren’t our dwindling reserves of genuine icons
celebrated a whole lot more while they’re still with us?
With rumours about his ill-health abounding I
just hope it’s all hogwash and that Paul Newman outlives us all.
Newman is more than a star, more than good
actor, more than an accomplished director, more than a great looking embodiment
of all-American optimism. He is the quintessential Hollywood
artist. He personifies all that the American movie industry strives so hard to
achieve and rarely succeeds.
There is doubtfully a man or woman under 40 who
does not admire Newman in one way or another, either purely physically or for
his on-screen charisma, or his acting ability. Even his lauded salad dressing,
with all proceeds going to charity, has to be admired, although it has provided
some confusion with some younger people. Apparently, when one 20 year old who
was using one of his dressings was asked which Newman movie she liked best, she
replied “He’s making movies now?”
His 50+ year career has produced nary a whiff of
scandal, and his body of work is such that it just has to contain at least one
film from anyone’s top 20. You don’t think so? Let’s just dip into the obvious:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,
The Sting, The Hustler, The Towering Inferno. The not-so-obvious: Harper, Pocket
Money, Hombre, Sometimes a Great Notion, The Verdict, Road to Perdition,Nobody’s Fool, Fort Apache- the Bronx, The
Young Philadelphians, Slap Shot, The Drowning Pool. Even some of Newman’s
misfires are worth catching: Fat Man and Little Boy, The Prize, Winning, The
Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.
Trying to put into words the universal appeal of
Newman is tough, if not impossible. It’s certainly more than the sum of the
parts as so many competent actors have come along with at least one of his
attributes, but have only been a fraction as successful. To boil it down into
its constituent elements is a study in futility; but I’ll try.
Since the the Cinema Retro site is attracting thousands of new readers every month, they may be unaware of the wealth of great articles that reside in our archive pages. These can be accessed by the categories on the right side of the page, or to view the entire archive simply click on "next" at the bottom of every page. We've streamlined the process by instituting a more user-friendly policy that removes outdated articles from the site in an expeditious manner. These include notices of events that have passed and news items that may have been interesting for a few days, but have since become outdated. By doing so, we'll be able to help new readers more easily find articles of interest in the extensive archive section, including evergreen essays and reviews by some of the best writers in the area of film criticism to be found anywhere. Also, our search box can be a little tricky. Just enter the word or phrase you are looking for and hit the "enter" button on your keyboard. The "Go" button only pertains to the archival categories listed above it - not the search function itself. So, if you're a lazy slacker with endless hours to kill, why waste time watching old Love Boat re-runs? Find a more rewarding experience by enjoying the Cinema Retro archives - it's the best show in town.
Writer John Latchem of the Agent DVD web site has a very in-depth article about the factors that have kept the James Bond franchise relevant through the years. The article includes interviews with Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer contributing writer Steve Rubin, both of whom wrote books relating to the Bond franchise. To read click here