Lee Pfeiffer reports on Cinema Retro's fourth and final day at the festival.
Although the film festival was to conclude the following day with widescreen showings of The Electric Horseman and Year of the Dragon, this would be the last day Dave Worrall and I could attend. As such, we had to devote a good deal of time to business meetings and schmoozing with friends and colleagues. However, in the morning we attended Cineramacana, a fun potpourri of weird short films, odd reels and (inexplicably) a trailer for Yentl which only serves to remind us that middle-aged Barbra Streisand posing as a teenage boy was the least convincing casting since Duke Wayne played Ghengis Khan in The Conqueror. Oy vey! Couldn't someone have stopped this ludicrous vanity piece from going into production? This segment of the festival also presented a lovely nature film sans narration that was produced on a budget of fifty pounds! That's probably what gets budgeted every day on Brad Pitt's hair mousse. There was also a bizarre but oddly hypnotic film that was comprised entirely of every page of various international editions of the Bible photographed at high speed and projected over the course of four minutes. (And you thought you had a lot of extra time on your hands!)
Following the Cineramacana event, audience members were invited to participate in the annual ritual of posing for a group photo. (Photo: www.in70mm.com)
This was followed by the museum's artistic director Tony Earnshaw's outstanding tribute to Richard Burton. Titled Lion of the Welsh, Earnshaw gave a highly personalized overview of the great actor's life, confessing he was his boyhood idol since seeing him in The Wild Geese. Earnshaw did not stint on criticizing Burton for often trashing his own talent in search of a fast paycheck and the next drink, but also reminded us of the incredible work he did on screen and on stage. As Earnshaw pointed out, Burton was only 58 years-old when he died and was doing fine work again, as evidenced by his final performance in 1984. That the Academy never recognized his talents with an Oscar remains a blight on Hollywood history. Earnshaw's tribute was followed by a 70mm screening of Becket, but this proved a disappointment because the only print available (from the Czech Republic) was mostly red and devoid of color. This didn't compromise the outstanding dialogue and performances, but - having seen the fully restored 35mm version in New York last year- it was too painful to see the film's deteroriated 70mm version and we opted to leave early. We didn't attend the screening of Carousel, but the latter got high marks from those who did see the restored print in its original CinemaScope 55 format.
Tony Earnshaw's tribute to Richard Burton (Photo: www.in70mm.com)
Film historian Tom March generously sponsored the screening of Khartoum. (Photo: www.in70mm.com)
We returned in the evening for the screening of Khartoum, one of the great underrated epics of the 1960s. Fortunately, this was a magnificent, fully restored print. As I had only seen it on the "big screen" at a drive-in theater as a kid (on a double bill with the hillbilly hit Forty Acre Feud!), I was especially thrilled to view it under these conditions. Prior to the screening, I had given projectionist Duncan McGregor a rare original production featurette that no one seemed to have seen before. It detailed the horse stunts done in the film. Duncan opted to project it on the big screen and it made for an interesting feature prior to the main event. The screening of Khartoum was sponsored by film historian Tom March, who earned kudos from one and all for his generosity. The print itself was terrific, even if the studio placed the intermission in the wrong place! The film holds up very well indeed, and I believe this to be Charlton Heston's finest work on screen. For us, it was a fitting end to a wonderful weekend - one filled with more laughs than most people probably experience in a year. As for Bradford and Cinema Retro - well, as someone once said, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." We'll be back next year- and we hope many of you will join us.
A DVD was recently released of Jarre conducting his scores for the films of David Lean.
By Lee Pfeiffer
One of the few remaining symbols of the golden age of film scores has passed away. Maurice Jarre has died at his California home. He was 84. Jarre was a three-time Oscar winner for his scores for director David Lean's films Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and A Passage to India. Indeed, the scores for Zhivago and Lawrence are among the most recognizable film compositions in history. Jarre won acclaim for his other great scores including Grand Prix, The Train, The Longest Day, Villa Rides, 5 Card Stud, The Damned, The Man Who Would Be King and Witness. He also composed the score for Lean's ill-fated epic love story Ryan's Daughter. Although the film was not a success, Jarre reaped acclaim for his work. In 1966, he composed his first score for a western for director Richard Brooks' The Professionals and emerged with one of the most exciting film compositions of 60s cinema. In February, Jarre- who was also an accomplished conductor in the theater - accepted a lifetime achievement award at The Berlin Film Festival.
Click here to read review of the Maurice Jarre DVD of David Lean scores
If you wonder why there is a current sexual craze over middle-aged women, wonder no more...check out this photo of 43 year-old Cindy Crawford lathering up in the April issue of Allure magazine. This issue is sure to make the magazine's circulation rise...along with certain other things. For more click here
Cinema Retro columnist Tom Lisanti has paired with actress Gail Gerber to write her fascinating autobiography that details her experiences in Hollywood as a young starlet in the 1960s as well as her career as a writer and Terry Southern's longtime companion. The book, Trippin' With Terry Southern, is due out in June. Here is an excerpt:
summer of 1964.I had been living in California
for almost a year now and still felt like a fish out of water.Growing up in Canada where I studied ballet
from the time I was a small child, Los Angeles was mystifying to me with its
palm trees, bright sunlight forever contrasting with the deep shade, and its
superficial inhabitants.But I readily
admit I was sort of a snob myself and didn’t know much about the actors or
directors I came in contact with. Petite blondes like Sandra Dee were the
reigning young actresses of the time but I couldn’t tell a Sandra Dee from a
Tuesday Weld from a Connie Stevens.They
were all one big yellow-haired blur to me.And forget about pop music—the minute The Beach Boys or Connie Francis
would come on the radio I’d reach for the dial in a mad rush so as not to hear
their insipid songs.The dance and jazz
worlds were where my interests and background lay.
in town with my unwarranted bias and without knowing a soul, I had done pretty
well for myself, or so I thought, in a short period of time.I had a leading role in a play, two featured
movie roles albeit in teenage B-movies, and had done a few guest TV shots.I knew it wasn’t solely my acting talent that
was landing me roles.I was a pretty
blonde with a shapely figure that looked good in a bikini and wasn’t afraid to
show it off, which helped me tremendously.It didn’t bother me in the bit, unlike actresses who I regularly came in
contact with, that wanted to be known for their talent rather than their looks.
August 1964 I found myself back on the MGM lot, after working there previously
in the Elvis Presley musical Girl Happy,
auditioning for a cameo role as an airport information girl in a big major
production.I was very excited.The movie was The Loved One based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh and directed by
Tony Richardson who was the hot
director at this time.Part of that
British “New Wave” of directors in the late Fifties, Richardson directed such
well-received movies as Look Back in
Anger (1958), A Taste of Honey
(1961), The Loneliness of the Long
Distance Runner (1962) and the hit bawdy comedy Tom Jones (1963).The Loved One was his second U.S.
interviewed with associate producer Neil Hartley, the boyfriend of Richardson
who was bi-sexual though married to actress Vanessa Redgrave since 1962.Folks in Hollywood used to joke that Tony
only wed Vanessa because he could fit into her clothes.It seemed that every aspiring young actress
auditioned for the part but they gave it to platinum blonde bombshell Jayne
Mansfield whose career was on the down slope.This didn’t help as her scene was left on the cutting room floor and
didn’t make it into the final print.As
a sort of consolation for not getting that role, I was hired to appear as one
of the decorative background cosmeticians working at the funeral parlor with
the film’s leading lady, Anjanette Comer. Little did I know that this would forever
change my life.
The Loved One
starred Robert Morse, who looked adorable with his shaggy Beatles haircut, as
the young British poet named Dennis Barlow newly arrived in Hollywood to visit his
upper crust uncle (John Gielgud) who shortly thereafter commits suicide when he
is unceremoniously fired from the movie studio he has worked at for over thirty
years.Barlow then is given the
responsibility of the burial arrangements and is led by his uncle’s pompous
friend (Robert Morley) to the ornate Whispering Glades funeral parlor foundered
by the Blessed Reverned Glenworthy (Jonanthan Winters).He falls in love with one of the cosmeticians
named Aimee Thanatogenos (Comer) a strange girl who fantasizes about death and
lives in a condemned house on stilts in the Hollywood Hills.But their blossoming romance is complicated
by head embalmer Mr. Joyboy (Rod Steiger), a rival for the charms of Miss
Thanatogenous and Barlow’s humiliating job at a pet cemetery, which he tries to
keep a secret. When all the men in Aimee’s life let her down—Barlow’s
occupation is revealed, Joyboy deserts her, Glenworthy proves to be a lecherous
phony, and the Guru Brahmin (Lionel Stander), whom she writes to for advice
turns out to be a drunkard—she commits suicide by embalming herself.
number of actors make cameo appearances including James Coburn as a customs
inspector, Tab Hunter as a tour guide, Roddy McDowall as a movie studio
executive, Liberace as a coffin salesman, and most hilariously Milton Berle and
Margaret Leighton as a battling Beverly Hills couple whose dog has died.
scenes were set at Whispering Glades Funeral Parlor, which took weeks to shoot,
and were filmed on location in the extensive gardens and interiors of a lavish
estate called Greystone located on Sunset Boulevard.It was the former residence of
multimillionaire Edward Laurence Doheny II.I worked mainly with Anjanette Comer, Rod Steiger, and Pamela
Curran.Anjanette never spoke to me or
any of the other girls playing small roles.Since she had the leading role, I think she thought we were beneath her
and not worth her time. She was also busy learning her lines.
remember hanging around doing nothing my first day on the set.On the second day it seemed it was going to
be a repeat of the day before.I was
sitting around earning more money than I ever did as a ballet dancer so I
really couldn’t complain.There was a
whole bunch of us getting paid just to show up.I was all decked out in the same costume as Anjanette, a tight
form-fitting white dress with a matching veil, but with absolutely nothing to
do but to just sit there and wait in the hot August sun.I spotted a nice shady chair in a quiet spot
and made a beeline for it, thinking I could pass the time over there.A crew guy saw my lightning move and said,
“That one’s a dancer.”Terry Southern overheard
and saw me.He came over and introduced
himself as the film’s screenwriter.He
was very slim at this time and was wearing his trademark dark sunglasses with a
cup of coffee in one hand and his script in the other.I thought, “Oh, great. Another old guy is
hitting on me.”