Writer Nick Carr of the Huffington Post site lists his choices for the best horror films set in New York City. We only take issue with the inclusion of Wait Until Dark, which is more a thriller than a horror film. On the other hand, Carr is canny enough to include the original Planet of the Apes, although, again, this is a sci-fi film rather than a horror movie. Check out the list and see if you concur with Carr's opinion.
Cinema Retro London correspondent Adrian Smith with Hammer actress Vera Day.
By Adrian Smith
If you’re in
London during the next two weeks, be sure to check out this fabulous new
festival and exhibition based on Hammer’s legendary horror films.
The event was
launched on the 27th October at the Idea Generation gallery in
Shoreditch, to which Cinema Retro was invited. We were told it was a private
view of this exhibition of previously unseen photos and artwork, along with
more well known stills and publicity photos. However, it was the most public
“private view” we have ever seen. This could have been down to a resurgence in
the popularity of Hammer, tied in with new film production, or it could have
been the endless bottles of free cider.
Hammer-related guests were in attendance, including Paul Cole, John Hough, Lois
Dane, Madeline Smith, Vera Day and Valerie Leon. The latter were also there to
help promote the new book Hammer Glamour by Marcus Hearn. Hearn has co-curated
the exhibition, which is well worth a look. Also in attendance was the CEO of
the new Hammer, Simon Oakes.
Sadly, by the time
Cinema Retro found the venue, hidden down some of the scariest back streets in
East London, most of these guests had moved on to a secret party somewhere, but
we did manage to catch up with the still glamorous Vera Day. She is best known
for her starring roles in Quatermass II
and some of the Hammer comedies. It was also fun to chat with Paul Cole, who
enjoyed telling us about his appearance in Carry
on Teacher, before moving into television production.
Here at Cinema Retro we can take heart that not all
film-makers today see fit to churn out 'blockbuster' fooder for teens with the
attention span of a nano-second. Coming to UK cinemas in November is the new
Michael Caine film Harry Brown, and it's getting rave reviews
everywhere. At last, a film starring mature actors in the leading roles, and a
storyline that has, well, a story!
Described as a "modern urban western" the titular Harry
Brown (Caine) is an elderly widower and former Royal Marine who has lived to see
his neighbourhood overrun by violent gangs, drugs and crime. When his best
friend Leonard is brutally murdered and the gang leader responsible walks free,
Harry finds himself snapping. Soon, his desire for revenge leads to the unlikely
vigilante facing up to the young thugs, with terrifying results.
Last year Clint Eastwood resurrected his Dirty Harry
character in Gran Torino. This year Caine gives us Jack Carter 40 years
on, and judging by the trailer it seems the 76 year-old actor is still the 'King
I hadn't paid much attention to this film until I was alerted to the great buzz it has been getting by my 22 year-old son, who is
currently at university. How many films made today will have youngsters offering
to taking their parents to see a film, rather than the other way around? This
Thirty years after the release of the original Mad Max, the film's director has announced he is planning to film a $100 million entry in the series on location in Australia. No studio funding was announced, but Miller is talking as though the project is definite. It isn't known if the original star, Mel Gibson, will be involved. For more click here
The Film Society of Lincoln Center, in association with Cinecittà Luce, and the Fondazione Centro
Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale in Rome, will present the
most complete series on Italian Neorealism ever screened in New York: "Life
Lessons: Italian Neorealism and the Birth of Modern Cinema", a
month-long, 40-film series on the film movement from postwar Italy. The series
screens at the Walter Reade Theater from Friday, October 30 through Wednesday,
This promises to be a landmark survey of a crucial period of cinema
history and New York-area film-goers of any persuasion should try to see at
least one in the series. Rossellini’s Open
City is often cited as the first milestone in this movement, so it might be
the go-to mother lode if you have to see just one film. Born from the war-torn landscapes of 1940s Italy, Neorealist films were
both unique stylistically and thematically, according to the festival
programmers. Shot on location, using available light, casting non-professional
actors, these films were revolutionary also for their candid depictions of the
working class. Not only would the movement elevate the art form from simple
entertainment, but it opened a dialogue about the future of Italy as well as
creating films of extraordinary power and humanity.
Due to unforeseen demand, we quickly sold out of our entire supply of Cinema Retro collector's binders. A new supply is due into our British office any day and all pending order will be shipped out from there immediately. However, you may experience a slight delay due to the fact that the British post office is undergoing a work slowdown/semi-strike over a labor dispute. This has resulted in a corresponding slowdown in mail processing. The slowdown/semi-strike is obviously in commemoration of the third anniversary of the last slowdown-strike. Please be patient and your binders will be winging their way to you shortly. Meanwhile, if you haven't ordered these yet, keep in mind that they preserve up to twelve issues of Cinema Retro in each binder- and if you ever get fed up with our magazine, they are perfect for propping up the short leg of a kitchen table. Click here for details.
Matthew Broderick has long indulged in the practice of waiting until very late in the game before rehearsing for a play. The habit lead to a disastrous performance of his new play The Starry Messenger in New York. While the play is still in rehearsals and audience members can expect some rough spots, some were outraged over what they felt was Broderick's unpreparedness for his performance. On several occasions he forgot his lines and had to ask for them to be fed to him. There were other screw-ups as well, according to Gatecrasher column of the Daily News. The poor response to Broderick's performance is already all the talk of the Broadway gossip mill. Click here to read.
NBC may feel its decision to run The Jay Leno Show five nights a week in the 10:00 PM time slot makes sense. The show is garnering much lower ratings than the dramatic series it replaced, but Leno's program costs far less to produce. However, NBC is faced with complaints from local affiliates who are greatly concerned that Leno's program is providing a weak lead-in to their 11:00 PM news broadcasts. For more click here
This Friday, The Weather Channel, the popular American cable TV network, will depart radically from their normal programming as part of a four-week experiment to show movies with weather themes. First up is The Perfect Storm which will be shown on the 18th anniversary of "the storm of the century" upon which the film and book is based. Meteorologist Jennifer Carfagno will introduce each film and explain its context in terms of major stories about weather, which seems like a good idea. Some of the films chosen to air are a bit strange...the network justifies screening Misery because James Caan's character is injured in a snow storm! We wish the network well on the new venture - but since the films will probably follow the norm of being shredded to pieces in terms of editing, then deprived of their final credits in order to squeeze in a voice-over promo, there's really no reason to watch.
1996, Cinema Retro publishers Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall have planned and
hosted numerous London-based film tours, most planned around premieres of
specific films. Each of these events, which were conducted by Lee and Janet
Pfeiffer's T.W.I.N.E. Tours company, allowed attendees exclusive access to
sites, stars and filmmakers. Now, due to popular demand from our tour alumni
and readers, Cinema Retro has created the most exciting tour yet. Movie Magic
2010 will be an 8 day event commencing in London on April 23. We will celebrate
British film heritage and tour some of the most beautiful parts of the country,
stopping at historic film locations, studios and meeting with some of the stars
and filmmakers who were part of the great films of the 60s and 70s.
If you enjoy:
classic film version of The Haunting
the legendary TV
series The Prisoner
the classic WWII
movie The Eagle Has Landed
then you will not want to miss this historic,
once-in-a-lifetime celebration of British filmmaking.
Details to be announced shortly- but make sure you sign up for our E mail news
letter to ensure you are notified!
Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of such films as Crash, Flags of Our Fathers, and Million Dollar Baby has committed the ultimate no-no: he's split with the Church of Scientology and the story has gone viral. Scientology is considered a legitimate religion by some and a bizarre cult by others and the organization does not like or tolerate bad publicity. Just last week, Church spokesman Tommy Davis walked out on a Nightline interview rather than comment on questions pertaining to the church's top-secret beliefs that earth was founded by a race of ancient aliens. (Click here to view) In another development, senior church officials in France were convicted of committing organized fraud against members and fined $600,000. Haggis and his wife were die-hard Scientologists until Haggis saw Davis laughinghingly dismiss a church edict known as disconnecting which prohibits church members from ever talking to or associating with those that are considered enemies of Scientology. Haggis sent a scathing letter to Davis saying that the practice does indeed exist in the church and that his own wife had been ordered to disown her own parents. Haggis was also shocked and dismayed by the church's recent support for a ban on gay marriage in California. For more click here
The Coen Brothers are about to put up their Dukes by remaking John Wayne's 1969 Oscar winner.
Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen are remaking the 1969 Western classic True Grit. John Wayne won an Oscar for playing the drunken, rascally Marshall Rooster Cogburn, who reluctantly assists a young girl in tracking down her father's murderer. The Coens are in talks with Jeff Bridges for the Cogburn role, Matt Damon for the part of a young Texas ranger originally played by Glen Campbell and Josh Brolin, to play the villain (Jeff Corey played the role in the original). While we are always enthused about seeing a Western go into production, the Coens are taking the risk of remaking one of the most beloved films of the genre. The original, directed by Henry Hathaway, featured a magnificent Elmer Bernstein score (as well as an Oscar-nominated song warbled by Campbell.) Still, if anyone can bring a quirky twist to the tale, it would be the Coens. No star has publicly committed to the project as of yet. For more click here
Lou Jacobi, the avuncular and popular character actor, has died at age 95. He was noted for his triple threat work in film, on stage and in TV. Jacobi played a key role in both the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank as well as the 1959 screen version. Other major film credits include Avalon, Arthur, My Favorite Year and - very memorably- Woody Allen's 1972 comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. In one segment, Jacobi was cast as a straight-as-an-arrow family man whose penchant for cross-dressing leads to a disastrous social situation. For more click here
CNN has a helpful video segment that gives some surprisingly simple ways to repair damaged DVDs. Some techniques involve using toothpaste and Vaseline (and you thought that combo only existed in your romantic fantasies!). Click here to view
Producer Jon Landau, who has worked for almost five years with director James Cameron on the forthcoming sci-fi epic Avatar, claims the duo is not nervous about the film's December opening - despite having run up a budget of $300 million. Cameron proved nay-sayers wrong when he turned his $200 million film Titanic the top-grossing movie of all time. Landau says the new film will break so much new ground in the cinematic sense that he compares it to what JFK accomplished with the space race. (Modesty is never in ample supply in the film business.) For more click here
Black Dynamite, an independent film that opened in limited release last week, has benefited from a creative and aggressive web-based publicity program. (I received a Black Dynamite T shirt even before filming began.) Director Scott Sanders says the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s may have burned briefly, but they did allow black audiences to relish leading men who were handsome, tough and able to kick ass. The film is getting good buzz and has been picked up for distribution by Sony. Click here for more.
Dead Man Walking: The Sequel- the late great TV pitchman Billy Mays will be coming to a household near you this Halloween.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Like some creature only George Romero could create, deceased American TV pitchman Billy Mays is more visible in death than he was in life. The motor-mouthed infomercial spokesman for household cleansing products died months ago but his cult status among lovers of cheesy TV ads continues to grow. It's eerie enough that Mays is still in our living rooms due to the fact that the product manufacturers are continuing to run his old ads. Now, however, he might be appearing on your doorstep. It turns out that legions of trick-or-treaters plan to dress up as Mays this Halloween. Not even Marley's ghost had this much trouble resting in peace. Refreshingly, Mays' family seems amused that he has become a pop culture icon and has given their blessing to the faux pitchmen. For more click here
The theory of evolution is still stirring debate - on screen and off.
A reader we'll identify as Ed J. has written a lengthy letter taking me to task for calling actor Kirk Cameron a "nutcase" for his campaign to undermine the theory of evolution and tie it in with the practices of Adolf Hitler. Ed believes that my comments in the humorous Cameron piece displayed a bias against Christianity and that we at Cinema Retro should stick to writing about movies. His letter presents an intelligently written stance on why he shares Cameron's skepticism about the theory of evolution and how Hitler and others appropriated Darwin's theories for evil purposes. He also states that my tongue-in-cheek advice for Cameron to watch Inherit the Wind should also be taken to task, as Ed apparently feels that the film offered a biased and inaccurate view of the famed Monkey Trial. (In fairness, the film and the play it is based on never pretends to be anything but a loose, fictionalized account of the trial.)
Nicholas Cage, who was once a respected actor before becoming the king of bad action movies, is millions in debt. People magazine reports the Oscar winner owes the IRS $6 million for the year 2007 alone, with hundreds of thousands of dollars under lean for prior years. Cage continues to sell off his assets, but he still has plenty of worries, including irate creditors who claim he has defaulted on loans. Cage blames his business manager for deceiving him and is suing him for $20 million in damages.For more click here
Cloris Leachman recently attended a 35th anniversary screening of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein in Omaha, Nebraska. The event drew a packed house of enthusiastic fans. Seen with Ms. Leachman are her son George England Jr. (left) and screening organizer Bruce Crawford.
Character actress Collin Wilcox-Paxton passed away last week in North Carolina. She was best known for playing the white woman who accused an innocent black man (played by Brock Peters) of rape in the film classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Ms. Wilcox-Paxton also appeared in many TV series as a guest star as well as feature films such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Jaws 2 and Catch-22. When diagnosed with brain cancer, the actress arranged and attended her own memorial service rather than be remembered at a traditional funeral. For more click here
Speculation has been rampant among James Bond fans regarding when the next entry in the series will go into production. Daniel Craig, now starring with Hugh Jackman in the hit play A Steady Rain on Broadway, has a full schedule in the coming months. However, he confirmed that his next cinematic mission as 007 will begin shooting in late 2010, meaning there will be a three year gap between his Bond films (Quantum Of Solace was released in 2008). For more click here
Soupy Sales, the icon of 1950s and 1960s children's American TV programs, has died at age 83. Sales' trademark brand of comedy involved hitting his guests in the face with pies. Many of the most prominent names in show business willingly appeared on his show for the honor of being "creamed". Among them: Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine. Sales remained a popular figure through the decades and was a regular presence at comedy events in the New York area. He also had several hit comedy novelty records. For more click here
Clint Eastwood can add another award to his sagging mantle piece of honors.Eastwood, who is in France to film his latest movie Hereafter, was honored with the Prix Lumiere, an off-shoot of the Cannes Film Festival prizes. The festival honored the work of Eastwood, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. Eastwood quipped that he wanted to thank the people who edited his film trailers over the decades for inspiring people to see his movies.For more click here
Pinewood Studios, the legendary home of some of the great British films including the James Bond series, had proposed a plan for a massive expansion on their premises. The project would have created permanent recreations of the world's major cities, as well as the construction of 1400 new homes in the serene countryside area where the studios are located. It was the latter aspect of the plan that caused the local council to reject the proposal on the grounds that the construction of so many new residences would have caused irreparable damage to the quality of life of local residents. Pinewood argues that the plan would have created a substantial number of new jobs at a time when the UK is suffering tremendous financial hardship. The studio plans to appeal the ruling. For more click here
Family and colleagues of the legendary James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli will participate in panel discussions as part of the University of Southern California's tribute to the man known by one and all as "Cubby". The events run from November 6-8 in Los Angeles and will feature appearances by Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Richard Kiel, Maud Adams, Marc Forster, Robert Wade, Neal Purvis, Tom Mankiewicz and others. Additionally, there will be screenings of classic Bond movies and a display of Bond memorabilia from Broccoli's personal archives. Click here for more
our second date in my studio apartment, my wife shared her spaghetti dinner with
a decaying corpse who had just climbed out of his grave.
not-for-the-squeamish image was from the 1972 horror anthology Tales from the Crypt, which also
featured a skull with cobwebs in its black eye socket.Dirty
Harry’s, .44 magnum pointed at her from another wall, while a hand beckoned
her into 1973’s The Vault of Horror.
an unusual decorator, she’d said.I told
her it was only art.That I wasn’t the
Starry Night type.
rest of my 350 square foot apartment was consumed with over 25 framed pieces of
movie memorabilia from the 1970s, horrifying and violent artwork which
symbolized, paradoxically, the nostalgia I felt for the innocence of my
movie-going youth.Equinox.Race with the Devil.Westworld.Straw
Dogs.The Stone Killer.The French Connection and French Connection II, side by side, over
my sofa.Hell, I knew how to decorate.
were photo albums of my movie past, a time when the visceral impact of film
violence communicated, perhaps subconsciously, something of vicarious comfort
to a young teen with feelings of inadequacy about standing up to bullies in
school and talking to girls.Or maybe it
was an escape from our family dinner table conversation which contained terms
like chemotherapy and remission while my mother lay dying in the hospital.
first movie poster, which I found when I was 12 in our suburban stationery
store’s moveable metal rack, featured a shot of Bonnie and Clyde and C.W. Moss behind
the bullet-riddled windshield of their getaway car.It wasn’t a movie one-sheet and there was no text
on the poster, only a large image foreshadowing their doom.It remained over my bed for a long time.I wasn’t allowed to see the film, which had
been out for a few years, but I don’t recall my parents ever objecting to the
poster.My bedroom walls were soon
covered with stills I cut out from film books:Cagney, Bogart, Garfield, Lancaster.They exuded power and charisma; they were loved and feared, qualities I
But it wasn’t until
my late thirties that I started seriously collecting posters.Ebay was my Rosebud.I spent hundreds of dollars on American, Japanese,
German, British, and Mexican material of films from the 60s and 70s.Disaster movies, rats, revenge flicks, fantasy
and horror.One-sheets, half-sheets,
lobby cards, press books, Quads.Every
purchase was a trip back to where I saw the movie and who I was with.
One of the great mysteries of our time is the fate of the
three escapees who defied the odds and successfully broke out of the supposedly
‘escape proof’ Alcatraz federal prison in 1962. The famous 1979 Clint Eastwood film Escape From Alcatraz strongly implied that they were successful. However, since they
disappeared without a trace, some people believe that they most certainly must
have drowned. One person who is sure they made it is true crime reporter Don
DeNevi. His 1992 book “Riddle of the Rock” persuasively makes the case that the
Anglin brothers, at a minimum, returned to their roots in the Florida/Georgia
section of the southern United States and lived out their lives as free men.
Now, Canadian film producer and writer Graham Clegg wants to
turn this story into a feature film. Clegg, a screenwriter for Canadian televison, has optioned Denevi’s book – recently reissued by Bristal Park
Books as “Escape from Alcatraz” – with the intent of turning it into “a
sprawling mystery” for Hollywood.
They say we don't have glamor girls like we had in the glory days of Hollywood, but every now and then there is an exception to the rule. Our friends at the testosterone-filled web site Planet Z Man (modestly titled "The Last Great Bastion for Real Men!") have a regular feature called the Cougar Hall of Fame, which pays homage to older women who still have what it takes. This week's inductee is 45 year-old Courtney Cox. To view more cougars, click here
One of the most eagerly-awaited DVD releases of the year, Warner Home Video's 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition of Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest lives us to the hype. This is the first Hitchcock film to get the Blu-ray treatment and the remastered transfer from the original MGM VistaVision print makes the characters virtually jump off the screen. The color quality is exceptional and, even if you've seen the film countless times, this will rejuvenate the experience. Hitchcock called the movie the epitome of his work in the American cinema, and for my money it's arguably his best thriller: a timeless, almost flawless masterpiece that finds the perfect balance between suspense and comedy. The film also demonstrates why Cary Grant's talents were always taken for granted: he made outstanding performances look too damned easy.
Cinema Retro contributor Graham Hill recently snapped some stars from our favorite films and TV series at the Hollywood Collector's Show. Click here for information on the next star-packed event in February 2010.
Lost in Space star Bill Mumy. (Photo copyright Graham Hill)
Oscar winner Louise Fletcher (Photo copyright Graham Hill)
M*A*S*H star Sally Kellerman (Photo copyright Graham Hill)
Rosemary Forsyth, star of such films as Shenandoah and The War Lord. (Photo copyright Graham Hill)
Joseph Wiseman, who made screen history as the first 007 screen villain in the title role of Dr. No, has died at age 91. Wiseman was a distinguished name in both film and on stage, and remained active on Broadway in recent years. Only a few years ago, he had a major role in the revival of Judgment at Nuremberg. Wiseman also had many other major films to his credit including The Night They Raided Minsky's, Detective Story and The Unforgiven. Wiseman rarely granted interviews, despite countless requests to discuss his role in Dr. No. On a personal note, back in the 1990s, I attended a New York film event at which Sean Connery was honored. To everyone's surprise, Joseph Wiseman was among the speakers and he reflected fondly on Dr. No. When a film clip was shown of Connery and Wiseman in the film, the audience went wild. He was a major talent and will be sorely missed. - Lee Pfeiffer
Vic Mizzy, the talented composer who created the legendary theme songs for the TV series The Addams Family, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and Mr. Ed has died at age 93. Mizzy also composed themes for feature films including most of Don Knotts' hits from the 1960s including The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and The Reluctant Astronaut. For more click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the British Film Institute. It's sure to gladden the hearts of classic movie lovers the world over:
BFI National Film Centre gets the green
DCMS pledges £45 million capital
Everyone in Britain to benefit from new centre for film
Visionary new digital hub you can plug into from home
The BFI announces today that it is proceeding with its plan to
build a visionary new film centre on London’s South Bank. The decision to move
forward comes as the Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, announced a
£45 million capital investment from Government in the
The BFI’s ambition is to create a world-leading centre for the
study, enjoyment and celebration of film and television. The money pledged from
Government follows an earlier investment promise of £5 million in the project
from the London Mayor through the LDA. It secures the next phase of the project
which is to design and planning, and will go towards helping fund the
construction of the new centre which is to be developed on the site of
Hungerford car park.
Amanda Nevill, director of the BFI, said:
‘This is hugely exciting news for film culture in Britain, for
the whole of the British film industry and a positive turning point in the
history of the BFI. Film is one of the greatest art forms of today and
universally popular. It is also a British success story - London and the UK are
at the centre of the global film industry.
“We will be creating something that doesn’t exist anywhere
else in the world, precisely because we can. It will build on the BFI’s 75 year
legacy, bringing together the greatest collections of film on earth with all the
excitement and stimulation of emerging cinema into the most creative and
inclusive programmes. It will be a digital hub, working with partners across the
UK to share and exchange those programmes. We are a step closer in our ambition
to inspire and excite audiences everywhere in a new digital
John Woodward, chief executive of the UK Film Council which
funds the BFI, said:
“This is a key milestone on the road towards the UK Film
Council and the BFI’s shared objective of transforming the cultural film
offering to UK citizens in the digital age. Not only will film now have a
fitting home on the best arts campus in the world, but the development will use
digital to open up the archive and all the other film treasures that the BFI
holds for the benefit of everyone in the UK.”
McCallum at recent party with former U.N.C.L.E. guest star Joe Sirola in New York. (Photo: Lee Pfeiffer)
Having just turned 76, David McCallum is arguably at the height of his career. His NCIS series has now run twice as long as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which made him a teenage idol in the 1960s. McCallum reflects on those years, including the day a simple walk in Central Park initiated a fanatical scene among his fans, resulting in his having to be rescued by police horse! Click here to read
Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola has a grim prognosis for the movie industry. He claims the studios are under great financial distress and some will cease to exist. Coppola says that the competition for audience from alternate means of entertainment will mean that world cinema may have to morph into completely different forms, combining with live entertainment in order to keep the audience interested. He says movie studios will continue to veer away from edgy movies in favor of producing overblown blockbusters. He also says that, despite his reputation, he had to finance his latest film himself. For more click here
Sir Sean Connery has at least one thing in common with James Bond: he likes the finer things in life, including a passion for good wine. Despite being diagnosed with a heart condition and advised to stop drinking, Connery insists red wine is good for the health and will continue to indulge. In an unrelated development, there are rumors Connery may appear in the next Indiana Jones film. For more click here
Roman Polanski is issuing directives to his associates to ensure that his latest film -The Ghost - will be readied according to his wishes in time for the Berlin Film Festival in February. Polanski is currently in jail in France as he fights extradition to the USA for trial in a sex scandal with a minor that dates back over thirty years ago. His new film stars Pierce Brosnan as a British prime minister involved in a scandal of his own. For more click here
Writer Stuart Kaminsky has died at age 75. He was multi-talented, teaching seminars on film history and authoring both successful mystery novels and non-fiction biographies of Hollywood legends. Kaminsky wrote the first appreciation of director Don Siegel as well as an early paperback biography of Clint Eastwood. Additonally, he was hired by Sergio Leone to provide dialogue for Once Upon a Time in America. For more click here
The original Red Dawn tried to stoke Cold War fears by depicting the Soviets messing with our McDonalds!
Variety's Peter Bart, a former studio executive, ponders why cash-strapped MGM is remaking the anemic Cold War thriller Red Dawn. He also provides some fascinating info on why the original 1984 film went off course. It started as a Lord of the Flies-type story and ended up being a blood-and-guts war movie, thanks to being taken over by director John Milius and-believe it or not- former Nixon chief-of-staff General Alexander Haig, who was on the MGM board of directors and envisioned a career producing movies. For more click here
Producer and former MGM chief Daniel Melnick died Tuesday at age 77. His credits are as diversified as they are impressive. Among the films and TV series he oversaw, produced or developed: Get Smart, Network, Straw Dogs, All That Jazz, That's Entertainment, Midnight Express, The Goodbye Girl, The Sunshine Boys, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Footloose and Altered States. For more click here
Move over, Obama - the networks found a REAL newsmaker: a 6 year old boy who wasn't inside a runaway balloon.
By Lee Pfeiffer
In yet another example of America's cable news networks jumping on any story to fill air time, yesterday wall-to-wall coverage was devoted to a bizarre story centering on a home made hot air balloon that was accidentally launched from a family's backyard in Colorado. A 9 year old boy in the family said his 6 year old brother was inside a small basket in the balloon when it took off. The networks began streaming live video of the balloon's 80 mile flight, breathlessly speculating as to whether the kid was somehow inside the balloon or whether he was in a basket that had dropped off somewhere. Everyone but Lassie was called in for the rescue attempt, and when the balloon finally landed, the kid was nowhere to be found. Reporters spoke breathlessly about his presumably horrible fate- perhaps he was struggling to survive in some desolate patch of wilderness. This went on for three hours virtually uninterrupted. This on the same day as the President's visit
to New Orleans and as the health care debate continued to heat up. At
6:00 PM, I tuned in to political commentator Ed Schultz's nightly news
analysis program on MSNBC - generally a compelling and informative show. I was
distressed to find that Schultz, who never engages in sensationalist
stories, was carrying over the "Boy in the Balloon" tale. It was then
revealed that the story was a non-starter because the little brat was
found hiding in his attic, having possibly set the entire thing up as a
joke with his brother.
This should have been the end of the story, but even the normally sober Schultz continued to exploit it, bringing on a woman named Sheree Silver who - get this- had been a contestant with the boy's family on the nutcase ABC reality show Wife Swap. She described her adopted TV family as a bunch of eccentrics who were obsessed with amateur science projects with the intention of proving the existence of extraterrestrials. The father is apparently a combination of Caractacus Potts and The Nutty Professor, who dabbles in building the kind of home-made contraptions that always end up transporting hapless people to the moon in B sci-fi movies. According to Silver, the young boy (whose first name is Falcon!) was a foul-mouthed prankster who was rarely disciplined by his family. If you thought it couldn't get any crazier, Silver then revealed herself to be a self-proclaimed psychic! Schultz kept driving the story even after introducing political commentator Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. To her credit, Huffington quickly chastised Schultz and asked why the hell they were still discussing this non-story even after it was proven to be a possible hoax. Amazingly, Schultz dug in his heels and tried to defend the relevance of the story on the reed-thin premise that it would teach parents to better keep an eye on their kids. (Yeah, there's been a rash of kids in runaway helium balloons in my neighborhood - how about yours?) Huffington was not having any of it and kept criticizing Schultz until he was embarrassed into switching the topic to the war in Afghanistan. If only someone with Huffington's good instincts could show up on cable news every time network ninnies decide to abdicate real news in favor of unproven, but sensational stories, the medium might enjoy some respect once again. (Click here to watch the debate) The bad news? Now we'll be inundated by thousands of reports of UFO sightings from naive people who observed the runaway balloon.
Update: Speculation is growing that this story was a hoax from the start, possibly caused by parents who simply wanted to get media attention. Disgracefully, even though the networks knew yesterday the kid was never in the balloon, the family has been rewarded by being given coast-to-coast interviews on TV. This morning on two TV shows, little Falcon vomited on air. The kid is clearly sick, but the family keeps shuffling him in front of TV cameras - with the full co-operation of network brass who would rather endanger a child than pass up the opportunity for ratings.
Twenty-eight years ago actress Natalie Wood drowned off the coast
of Catalina when purportedly slipping off her yacht Splendour while
trying to get into or trying to secure a dinghy after a fight with her
husband Robert Wagner. After what the public presumed was a thorough
investigation, the police have long closed the case after the LA
coroner ruled it an accidental drowning. However, in the new book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour,
co-written by the ship's skipper, new allegations are brought to life
including shoddy police work leaving many unanswered questions.
Natalie's sister Lana Wood (best known to movie fans as "Plenty O'Toole" in the James Bond adventure Diamond Are Forever)
has joined the authors in demanding that the case be reopened. Click here for more.
Former TV sitcom actor Kirk Cameron has "growing pains" when it comes to intellectual thought. He's gone off the rails in recent years due to his almost fanatical devotion to Christianity. In his latest plot to thwart those horrible atheists who rely on science rather than prayer, Cameron and his fellow travelers are amending editions of Charles Darwin's The Origins of the Species to include a 50 page introduction explaining how the theory of evolution is ridiculous.This from a man who believes that a snake literally offered an apple to Adam and Eve. He also claims that Adolf Hitler was inspired by Darwin to plot the Holocaust! Those of us who prefer to reside on planet earth might want to suggest to Cameron that he spend a couple of hours watching Inherit the Wind. For more click here
Author and Cinema Retro contributor Robert Sellers will be discussing his acclaimed book The Battle For Bond in Sheffield, England on October 31. The event will also include a screening of Thunderball. For details click here
Artist Pete Emslie provides us with this personal memento from Al Martino. Visit Pete's site at The Cartoon Cave.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Popular crooner Al Martino has passed away at age 82. No cause of death has yet been released. Although primarily known for singing love songs, Martino gained immortality on the screen as The Godfather's Johnny Fontaine, the down-in-the-dumps singer whose career is revived when Don Corleone makes a film producer an offer he can't refuse to give Johnny the starring role in a war movie. The character was said to have been based on Frank Sinatra, whose career followed a similar trajectory and was revived with his Oscar winning performance in a war movie - From Here to Eternity. The similarities resulted in Sinatra having to contend with an untrue urban legend - that he got the part in the film by having gangsters cut off the head of a race horse belonging to a Columbia Pictures mogul. In fact, that part was pure fiction invented by the novelist Mario Puzo. Nevertheless, when casting for the part of Fontaine was taking place, Sinatra exerted pressure on several would-be contenders not to take the role. Martino, who had a hit with the title theme from The Godfather, revived the role of Johnny Fontaine in The Godfather Part III. For more click here
Here's one we can't wait to see...Michael Caine as Harry Brown, a British military veteran who decides to go after the creeps who killed his best mate. Caine still looks very credible in the action scenes and we join all retro movie lovers in giving thanks that this cinematic tough guy is still out there kicking arse. Click here to view
When legendary songwriter and singer Paul Anka heard Michael Jackson's final song, This Is It, he immediately recognized it as a tune he co-wrote with the late pop singer 26 years ago. The Jackson family has now acknowledged as much and the result will be a windfall for Anka, who stands to not only get co-writing credit but also 50% of the royalties. For more click here
Paramount picked up the theatrical rights to a mini-budgeted reality-based fright film titled Paranormal Activity and has reaped unexpected benefits. Like The Blair Witch Project, this film was made for peanuts ($11,000). It was to have been re-shot with a "name" cast, but Steven Spielberg championed releasing it as is. The limited release into only 200 theaters has thus far resulted in a phenomenal gross of $7 million, thanks to widespread word of mouth among college students. Now there is a campaign afoot to convince the studio to give the movie a much wider release. For more click here