Producer Michael Deeley's remarkable career making films such as Blade Runner, The Deer Hunter, The Italian Job (the good version from '69) and The Man Who Fell to Earth is chronicled in his recent best-selling autobiography (co-written with Cinema Retro's own Matthew Field). The book, Blade Runners, Deer Hunters & Blowing the Bloody Doors Off is now available for pre-order in paperback from Amazon UK. The book chronicles the fascinating behind the scenes stories of films that had arduous production schedules but went on to become classics of their respective genres.
Click here for our 2009 report on Michael Deeley's book launch in London.
Click here for Ajay Chowdhury's review of the hardback edition
I just picked up the latest issue of Cinema Reto today. Full marks to
Tim Greaves for finally giving Lust for a Vampire it's just due. I have always
thought this was a very fine film and that all the fuss about the song
"Strange Love" was absurd. A lovely song which by all means doesn't
ruin the film by its inclusion. Regarding the alternate "clothed"
scenes. These did surface in the U.S. on television. When the film shown a few
times on Channel 7 in Los Angeles the print was titled To Love a Vampire and the
alternate clothed scenes of both the dormitorygirls and Judy Matheson's
seduction were included.
I actually met Yutte Stensgaard a number of years ago when she had
"disappeared". I was working in Beverly Hills and this lovely woman
came into the office from the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. I instantly
recognized her as Yutte Stensgaard. She was less than pleased to be recognized
and refused to give me her autograph or discuss her films. I assured her that
Lust for a Vampire was nothing to be ashamed of and that she had a considerable
cult following. I felt badly that she was so down on her film career. But I
heard that she later re-evaluated this and was more comfortable discussing her
Retro Responds: Many thanks for the support, Gary...and thanks for the update on Ms. Stensgaard. Like many actors and actresses who starred in "B" or cult movies, they sometimes felt ashamed of their participation in such films. However, as they see the genuine affection they have accumulated from fans over the decades, these artists often eventually take pride in the fact they were part of the film's legacies. If it's any consolation to Ms. Stensgaard, the issue bearing her cover is proving to be one hot seller for Cinema Retro!
Michael Bay may be the perpetual target of critics, but he's crying all the way to the bank. Vanity Fair's list of the top money makers in Hollywood places Bay in the #1 slot with earnings of $125 million. To read the entire list click here
Here's yet another reason you can get ticked off about your mom tossing out your comic books: prices continue to soar on the collector's market. Just a week after Superman's first appearance in Action Comics #1 pulled in $1 million on the auction circuit, a new record was set by Detective Comics #27, which featured the 1939 debut of Batman. The comic sold for $1.075 million to an anonymous collector. If we had that kind of play money, we'd sure want the world to know about it. For more click here
Long coats, loud ties and big fedoras: refreshing sights for retro movie lovers.
By Lee Pfeiffer
The bad buzz regarding Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island began even before the film was released. Paramount postponed the premiere from the height of Oscar season to the dog days of February, ostensibly for marketing purposes. In reality, most critics felt it signaled that the movie was not worthy of coughing up the cost of an Oscar campaign. Now the film has opened, and studio executives look vindicated: the movie is on track to being Scorsese's biggest hit. Reviewers weren't as kind. There were raves from the likes of Roger Ebert, but the New York Times called the movie "terrible". The consensus from most critics is that, while it isn't without value, in the end, it is a pretentious movie that falls short of its goals.I find the film to be atmospheric, rather than pretentious. At its heart, it's a movie about production design and Dante Ferretti, who is a long-time collaborator of Scorsese's, comes through with some triumphant set pieces. Some critics have attacked Scorsese for using a sledgehammer to remind audiences the film takes place in 1954, but I found the costumes and habits of the characters to be refreshing. It's hard to find movies where you can relish actors wearing long coats, fedoras, loud Hawaiian ties and proudly engaging in the politically incorrect habit of puffing away on cigarettes and cigars.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
These awards are named after movie lyricist
Sammy Cahn (1913-1993), who received 4 Oscars for his songs, and was nominated more than any other
songwriter, 26 times in all.Cahn said he was “flattered and honored” to
have these movie music awards named after him. His Oscar-winning songs are:
“Three Coins in the Fountain”; “All the Way”; “High Hopes”; and “Call Me
Irresponsible.”All four songs were
recorded by Frank Sinatra,a big fan of Sammy’s lyrics.Now in theirtwenty-second
(22nd) year, the Sammys are the longest
running awards for film music on CDs.
are chosen each year by Roger Hall, a film music historian, member of the
International Film Music Critics Association, author of the book, A Guide to Film Music – Songs and Scores,
and also editor of the long-running online magazine,Film Music Review – www.americanmusicpreservation.com/fmr.htm
Now without any long speeches or tricky envelopes to open, here are the…
22nd Annual Sammy Film Music Awards for
Film Score: UP Music by Michael
Giacchino (Disney Pixar)
Overlooked New Film Score: CAPTAIN ABU RAED Music
Wintory (BSX Records
Overrated New Film Score: AVATAR Music by James Horner (Fox Music/ Atlantic
Golden Age Film Score (1930s-1950s):THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (1936) Music by Max Steiner (Tribute Film Classics
Silver Age Film Score (1960s-1970s):TIME AFTER TIME (1979)
Rozsa (Film Score Monthly
Bronze Age Film Score CD (1980s-1990s): TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
Jerry Goldsmith (Film Score Monthly CD)
Vintage Compilation: A JOHNNY MANDEL TRIO (THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, THE SANDPIPER, DRUMS OF AFRICA) Music by Johnny Mandel (Film Score Monthly 3 CD Box
Newly Recorded Vintage Film Score: EXODUS (1960) Music by Ernest Gold (Tadlow
Preservation Award – Best Album Producers: Anna Bonn, John Morgan,
Stromberg (Tribute Film
Lifetime Achievement Award:
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) – 1 Oscar (1949)
information about these awards and review links are available at this
always hard to break into the movie business. For each of the lucky few who
make it, there are 1000s that struggle to get their voice heard, their script
read, or their film taken notice of.
it’s fantastic to see that a few of the industries finest have banded together
to give their name and their time to a brilliant new initiative called Openfilm.
heavyweights James Caan, Robert Duvall, as well as director Mark Rydell and
actor Scott Caan form the advisory board to a company that will showcase the
brightest and best in emerging new film-makers.
advantage of the massive interest of online digital distribution trends, Openfilm
will provide a platform for new films to be shared, commented on and have
personal feedback from industry legends.
video content delivery system is one of the industry’s finest and most robust,
offering viewers unparalleled viewing clarity, even when opting for standard
over 4500 short films already loaded on the site, there’s no shortage of
incredible material to view and comment on, with more to come – all vetted for
quality before they are uploaded.
of the board James Caan is justly proud of the initiative, “At Openfilm, we’re
here to mentor the undiscovered talent who will carry forth our passion to
entertain and inspire through the powerful medium of film. So please join us
for an entertaining and fruitful journey.”
an angry time in America. Tea Partiers, Olbermann, Palin, Wall Street villains,
an endless war in Afghanistan, mercenaries in Congress, flying terrorists, high
unemployment and Twitter-addicted freaks.
it’s either a perfect time to bring out a remake of George Romero’s 1973 horror
classic The Crazies, or the timing is
really curious, if this mainstream horror reboot’s aim is to encourage viewers
to “enjoy some surprises and maybe forget their troubles for a couple hours,”
says one of the producers, Rob Cowan. The movie opens in North America today.
dramatic irony floating over the film – in which a small, idyllic Midwestern
town descends into violence and mayhem when a water-born toxin infects half the
population – might be the question whether Americans even need the excuse of a crazy-making virus to descend into anarchy.
Aren’t we on the tipping point already?
leave that for viewers to discuss. Meanwhile, this remake from Overture Films features
Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard),
Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill) and is
directed by Breck Eisner (Sahara).
The writers, Scott Kosar and Ray Wright, have reportedly updated Romero’s
original concept from being told from the point of view of the townsfolk to the
husband and wife team of David and Judy (Olyphant and Mitchell).
In late breaking news, Disney and Odeon theatres have brokered a mutually agreeable deal that will result in Odeon backing off its threat to boycott the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland from its theater chain in the UK and certain other countries. The dispute was over Odeon's protest about Disney's plan to release the film on DVD a scant 12 weeks after its theatrical premiere. Details were not discussed, and the DVD release is going as planned, so one wonders just what Odeon got from the deal. Click here for more.
UPDATE TO THIS STORY: CNN NOW REPORTS THAT THE BODY OF ANDREW KOENIG HAS JUST BEEN FOUND. HE HAD APPARENTLY COMMITTED SUICIDE. MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW.
Actor Walter Koenig, who played Chekov on Star Trek, finds himself in a terrible real-life family crisis. He and his wife are distraught over the fact that their son, actor Andrew Koenig, who once starred in the sitcom Growing Pains, has inexplicably gone missing. The Koenigs are pleading with their son to contact them and were scheduled to appear on Larry King's show last night. Adding to the mystery, King reported that the Koenigs, whose appearance was delayed a bit by breaking news, were also missing when King's staff went to bring them on the air. For more click here
Titanic twosome Linda Hamilton and James Cameron in happier times.
James Cameron may be king of the world at the box-office, but ex-wife Linda Hamilton, who starred in Cameron's Terminator films says he's a flop as a husband and father. Hamilton says Cameron is obsessed with his work and treats his family like afterthoughts. The pair 'terminated' their marriage when Cameron took up with actress Suzy Amis, who had a bit part in Titanic. Hamilton provides fascinating insights into the personal life of the world's most successful filmmaker. Surprisingly, despite all the dirty laundry aired, Hamilton still entertains Cameron, his wife and ex-wives and their families at her home every Christmas. To read the entire interview click here
Sony has confirmed that the forthcoming Spiderman movie, set for release in 2012, will capitalize on new technology and be presented in 3-D. Although this will elevate the production cost substantially, audience response to recent films that utilize the format has been enthusiastic. Sony believes the number of theaters equipped to show 3 D will continue to build. For more click here
In a recent interview, Mel Brooks recalls how meeting and marrying Anne Bancroft, who he met in 1961, had a wonderful impact on his life and career. It was Bancroft who came up with the idea of making a stage musical from The Producers. Brooks has been widowed for five years and says he thinks of his beloved wife every day. For more click here
As we informed you previously, Cinerama expert Dave Strohmaier will be unveiling a digital restoration of the long-unseen 1958 travel documentary Windjammer at this years Widescreen Weekend at the Bradford Film Festival in England. The screening will take place on Saturday, March 27. Now Dave is giving us a sneak preview of the original trailer, which segues from flat format to 3-panel Cinerama. It only whets our appetite to see the entire film. If you haven't been to the Widescreen Weekend festival, you don't know what you're missing! To view the trailer click here. For more on the screening at Bradford click here
Odeon, one of Europe's largest movie theater chains, is boycotting Disney's new 3-D version of Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp. The chain is protesting the decision to release the film on DVD a scant 12 weeks after the theatrical premiere. Odeon says is has spent heavily to invest in the 3-D equipment and that the decision to bring the film out so soon on home video sets a precedent that will undermine their investments. The film, which is premiering this week in England, will not be shown in Odeon cinemas in the UK, Italy or Ireland - all territories subject to the 12 week DVD "window". For more click here
Some years ago when I joined the Writers Guild of America, I went to a party where a veteran screenwriter said that members of the profession generally gripe that they are treated like second class citizens in the Hollywood hierarchy. He then repeated the old joke about the dumb would-be starlet who actually thought she could find fame and fortune in the film business by sleeping with the writer. It may be time to rethink that thought process. At least writers have the WGA to look after their interests. When we go to the movies, we take for granted the talents of the visual effects artists who bring the astounding special effects to reality. However, as fimmaker Lee Stranahan points out, these are among the most under-valued of today's creative movie making team members. Although many members of the film world's most powerful unions get royalties on non-theatrical revenue streams from the films they work on, visual effects artists have no such benefit. There is also no union representation for them, and- as Stranahan pointsout- they are often listed after the caterers during the credits roll. Stranahan makes a poignant plea for James Cameron, the most notable supporter of visual effects technology, to take up the cause of these artists. Click here to read
Vanessa Redgrave accepts the lifetime achievement award. (Photo: BAFTA/Brian Ritchie)
By Lee Pfeiffer
Just because the BAFTA awards was the social event of the season in London doesn't mean British ex-pats were willing to let their countrymen have a monopoly on partying. On Sunday night, members of BAFTA's American east coast contingency gathered to watch a simulcast of the awards show. The venue was a strange one for people from a nation that is generally immune to the joys of baseball: Mickey Mantle's restaurant on Central Park South, founded by the late New York Yankees legend. Indeed, it was not a love of baseball that led BAFTA officials to rent the venue for the second year in a row. Rather, it was the abundance of TV screens strategically placed around the restaurant that affords virtually every diner a prime viewing spot. I was the guest of Lisa Harrison of BBC America, and a member of BAFTA's east coast office. Thus, I had to 'suffer' being the only male at a table of charming British ladies, each of whom had some very interesting takes on how they wanted the awards to turn out. Understandably, they were rooting for the home team and were pleased when a British film won a significant award.
Host Jonathan Ross (Photo: BAFTA/Brian Ritchie)
Although the show's host Jonathan Ross is largely unknown to Americans, he's an iconic figure on British TV (imagine someone with the clout of Jay Leno and David Letterman). Ross's monologue was not as razor-sharp as we might have expected, but the refreshing thing about the BAFTA telecast is that it is actually about the films and filmmakers, not the comedic timing of the host. I also like the fact that there is virtually no padding to the ceremonies. Ross did a good job of moving the show forward at a rapid pace, with nary a second wasted. The acceptance speeches were all dignified and classy and the awards themselves were generally regarded by the New York contingent as well-deserved. (Interestingly, it seemed virtually no one was cheering for Avatar to win any major award except for the category of special effects. This led me to believe I am not alone in my view that the film is supremely over-rated.) The choices of director Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker as the top winners gained cheers from the crowd.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“MUSHROOM CLOUDS AND MUSHROOM MEN -- The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda.”
AGOURA HILLS, CALIFORNIA – February 14th, 2010: For the
first time in America, a book has been published on Japan's foremost director
of Fantasy Films: Ishiro Honda. Known primarily for directing such classic Japanese monster movies
as Rodan, Mothra, Attack of the Mushroom People and the
original Godzilla, Honda has been a much-overlooked figure in mainstream
The book is the first to cover in English print Honda's life --
including his heretofore untold military service in Japan's Imperial Army
during World War II -- as well as the first to comprehensively cover all 25 of
his fantasy, science-fiction and monster movies. It is also the first to
give objective and critical analysis of Honda's filmmaking methods, favorite
themes and his relationships with actors and technicians.
Making use of extensive interviews from Honda’s colleagues, as
well as a wealth of original source material never before gathered into one
volume (including unpublished essays), MUSHROOM CLOUDS AND MUSHROOM MEN
is an affectionate tribute to arguably the most-prolific and influential
director in the history of fantasy films.
I had not heard of Cinema Retro until I heard about the
interview with David Hedison about Richard Basehart. Then I read the
first part of the story about Richard Basehart and was glad to find this
website. So much about people I remembered from films and television of
my childhood. I just rediscovered Richard Basehart and David Hedison with
the release of the DVD's of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea".
I have been viewing the films of both actors, and have gained a greater
appreciation of Richard Basehart's acting ability. He was so much
underrated as an actor. Even when the scripts on "Voyage" were
not as good as they could have been, Richard Basehart put the effort into his
role to make it good throughout the life the series. The chemistry
between Richard Basehart and David Hedison helped keep the series
exciting. Thank you for giving us a wonderful website.
- Sue Clark
Retro responds: Thanks very much, Sue. Herb Shadrak's article about Mr. Basehart has certainly generated a good response. I think there are plenty of people who appreciate it when under-rated actors are given their due on our site. We'll be posting an article shortly about a website devoted entirely to Mr. Basehart's work.
Director Robert Zemeckis will employ the same animation technologies he used for The Polar Express and Disney's A Christmas Carol to bring a 3-D remake of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine to the screen. The faux Beatles group The Fab Four will be seen in the film, but the actual Beatles songs will be heard. That's the height of irony: a cover band's music being bumped by original artists. The Beatles were not very interested in becoming involved in the 1968 original and didn't even lend their voices to it, although they did make a brief live action cameo appearance. Click here for more details
In some extraordinarily candid comments, Pierce Brosnan admits he has not seen Daniel Craig as James Bond. Brosnan says he was "devastated" to be fired from the role in 2004 and when he attempted to watch Craig in Quantum Of Solace, fate kept preventing him from doing so. Brosnan felt that he should just let sleeping dogs lie. For more click here
The 1980s TV hit will be a summer big screen release from Fox.
By Lee Pfeiffer
If you wondered when the adaptations of low-rent TV series into expensive feature films would peak, we can all hope it's already happened with The A-Team. The awful hit TV series of 1980s will be coming to a theater near you (but hopefully not near me.) At least the film should shut up people who chronically complain that feature film versions of TV series never get it right: this looks as bad as the series that inspired it. The teaser trailer opens as a hard-edged action film, but morphs into the kind of cartoon-like, over-the-top stunts that defined the TV series. The only question is why the hell Liam Neeson loaned his presence to this project. It's as cringe-inducing as watching Orson Welles when he was relegated to shilling for a wine company on those TV ads from the 1980s. Click here to view
As regular readers of Cinema Retro know, publishers Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall's book The Alamo: A Visual Celebration of John Wayne's Epic Movie was an instant hit, selling out very quickly. We've received many requests from readers asking if we can find additional copies for sale. We're happy to say that we have been able to obtain a small quantity of copies of this limited edition, hardback volume. It is available for sale through our Ebay affiliate Spy Guise. See description below:
This is a rare edition of the book THE ALAMO: A VISUAL CELEBRATION OF JOHN WAYNE'S CLASSIC MOVIE.
Written and designed by Cinema Retro magazine publishers Lee Pfeiffer
and Dave Worrall, the book recounts the dramatic and inspiring story of
John Wayne's obsession with making his 1960 film that recounted one of
the most famous battles in history. The production was a challenge from
day one, as Wayne was not only starring and producing, but also making
his directorial debut with one of the largest budgeted American movies
ever made. The problems Wayne encountered were seemingly insurmountable
and involved political battles, forces of nature and even a murder of a
cast member. The book covers all aspects of production including the
controversial Oscar campaign that became part of Hollywood lore.
Despite these obstacles, Wayne managed to emerge with one of the great
epics of American cinema.
The book was designed as a limited hardback print run of only 1500
copies. The book sold out very quickly, but we have been able to get a
very small number of unused copies which are available on a first-come,
first-serve basis. The book was never sold in retail chains or through
Each copy is individually numbered and has labels signed on the interior by both authors.
The book contains over 650 rare color & b&w photos, many of
which have never been published before. There are entire sections
dedicated to international marketing campaigns and collectibles tied in
with the film. This is sure to be a valued collector's item in the
years to come.
If that special someone in your life loves epic movies, this will make the perfect holiday gift. (Coonskin cap not included!)
PRICE: $110 (includes free postage anywhere in the world)
For views of the interior of the book and to order directly through Ebay, click here
You might think it's an exercise in futility to find a new angle to justify yet another book on the life and career of Elvis Presley. However, the newly released volume Elvis 1956 is in many ways the most exciting and intimate portrait of the legendary entertainer I've been exposed to. Photographer Alfred Wertheimer was asked by RCA Victor to accompany young Elvis for a one day assignment when the King was just on the cusp of major stardom. What transpired was a mind-boggling array of photographs that capture Elvis in his most private moments. Elvis invited Wertheimer to accompany him later in the year and the photographer continued to capture outstanding photos from a period when Presley was still very accessible and still very much his own man. Once Colonel Parker became to exercise dictatorial control over his every move, Elvis became unable or unwilling to control many aspects of his own destiny.
Elvis captured in a rare intimate moment, seducing a young woman he met in his hotel's coffee shop.
Wertheimer's photos are as haunting as they are fascinating. He captures the King on the sidewalks of New York, in some cases mobbed by young fans, in other cases able to stroll unrecognized down the streets. He could still stop into a coffee shop without drawing attention. Wertheimer captures especially intimate photos of the King trying to seduce a comely and willing young woman in the corridor of his hotel. So intent on making out with his obvious conquest-in-waiting, Elvis allowed Wertheimer to photograph the seduction from a distance. In other shots, Elvis sits on his tour bus finding small pleasure in reading an Archie comic book, drawing huge crowds of swarming young girls (both black and white), and casually getting off a train so he could make a long walk across fields to his home town.Wertheimer's text is sparing- he lets his photos do the talking, but his observations are never less than fascinating. You don't have to be an Elvis fanatic to recognize the importance of this book. It sheds significant light on the early days of one of the true legends of show business.(For more on this book, click here for the official web site)
The noted British character actor Lionel Jeffries has died in a nursing home at age 83 following a long illness. Jeffries made a career of playing eccentric characters who were often older than his actual years. In his most memorable part, as Grandpa Potts in the 1968 screen version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Potts played Dick Van Dyke's father, even though both actors were essentially the same age. Jeffries also wrote and directed the acclaimed 1970British film version of The Railway Children. Jeffries, who was also a popular stage actor, also appeared in films such as The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Call Me Bwana, Those Fantastic Flying Fools, Camelot and First Men in the Moon.
Please note: issue #7 of Cinema Retro, which analyzed the making of the 1966 Batman feature film, has now sold out. There are no issues available in either our American or UK offices. We regret that we will no longer be able to fill the considerable number of requests we get for this issue. Remember, if you want to ensure that you never miss an issue of Cinema Retro, simply subscribe- postage is free in the USA and UK.
It's a big news day for Martin Scorsese. Although the New York Times panned Shutter Island, critic Roger Friedman gives it a rave and reports that Scorsese will team with Leonardo DiCaprio again for a biopic of Frank Sinatra. When asked if DiCaprio will sing the songs himself, Scorsese responded, "With those records?", clearly implying he intends to use actual Sinatra recordings. Curiously, Scorsese has long been linked with a biopic of Dean Martin, but the project has yet to come to fruition. For more click here
It has been said that if you want action films, look no further than Asian and American cinema; and no one makes a mystery or a satire like the British.The same can be said about the French when it comes to love stories, and while our Seine-strutting amis can also whip up slapstick comedies like few can (think Louis De Funes donning a beard, black hat, and impersonating a rabbi), they rarely fail to deliver captivating examples of both of these beloved genres.
Patrice Leconte, best known to American audiences for Monsieur Hire (1989) and The Hairdresser’s Husband (1990), gives us The Perfume of Yvonne (1994), now available on DVD from Severin Films.Based on the 1975 novel Villa Triste by Patrick Modiano, the film introduces us to Victor Chmara (Hippolyte Girardot of Manon of the Spring among many others), who is recalling the events that transpired in his life during the summer of 1958 in Geneva.Casually avoiding taking up the cause in the Algerian War, he stops in his tracks while sitting in the lobby of his hotel when his eye catches Yvonne (former model Sandra Majani) for the first time.She is an actress and a vision to behold.Her under-confident manner is exuded by her slight lack of poise while sitting with her enormous dog, Oswald.She is also accompanied by her friend Dr. Rene Meinthe, played with exuberance and flamboyance by Jean-Pierre Marielle whom audiences will recall as Gianni Arrosio in Dario Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet.After much conversation Yvonne and Victor enter into a relationship that quickly becomes sexual in nature.Leconte’s camera makes the ever so slight caress of Yvonne’s knee (a nice nod to Eric Rohmer), her back, her breast, or bare bottom intensely erotic.Underneath it all, Yvonne possesses an air of innocent hesitation, which I cannot discern to be attributed to Majani’s lack of experience as an actress, or if it is her interpretation of Yvonne.Majani she also appeared in Alberto Express (1990), Cold Moon (1991), and Leconte’s Tango (1993) under the name of Sandra Extercatte, so Yvonne is not her first film.
As time goes by, Victor somehow appears to feel that he is a stranger in Yvonne’s land, and suddenly suggests that they get married and move to America.This is a move that puzzles Yvonne, and Rene reminds Victor to keep an eye on her.The ending is intimated at from the very beginning, and when we are faced with it, we nod our heads in understanding.
Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman appeared at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the launch of Warner Brothers 35 DVD tribute collection to Eastwood. They were also there to commemorate Richard Schickel's new documentary The Eastwood Factor which is featured in the set and which Freeman narrates. Eastwood was philosophical about Invictus not getting a best picture or director Oscar nod, saying, "Look, I've been around a long time and probably they should give
somebody else a look. I don't think too much about that stuff. I didn't
think about it then, I just got lucky with those two. (Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby)". Eastwood also confirms he's out of touch with his earlier films and has to reacquaint himself with them. For more click here
It's rare to see the word "terrible" linked to the work of Martin Scorsese, but New York Times film critic A.O. Scott does just that in his pan of the master director's new thriller Shutter Island. Scott claims the film is a jumbled mess of red herrings, pretentious special effects and plot distractions that wear viewers down and ultimately bores them. Click here to read
Kathryn Grayson, who played prominent roles in classic MGM musicals such as Anchors Away and Showboat, has passed away from natural causes at age 88. Grayson was also a Broadway star and replaced Julie Andrews in the original 1960 run of Camelot. For more click here
The 1976 American TV premiere of Gone With the Wind attracted almost half of viewers in the nation.
This year's Super Bowl made history for being the most-watched broadcast of the game. In case you're wondering what other events have generated the highest ratings ever, the Huffington Post provides the background and dates of the top ten American TV broadcasts. Click here to view.
Monroe with Richard Basehart at the awards ceremony, January 1952.
Life Magazine has unearthed some great candid photos of Marilyn Monroe taken when she won a newcomer award in 1952, presented to her by the Foreign Press Assocation of Hollywood (now known as the Golden Globes). The photos were taken by legendary lensman Loomis Dean. Click here for more.
Carrie Fisher is battling the producer of her acclaimed one-woman play Wishful Drinking over rights to the show, which ended in New York late last year. The producer says he has lucrative offers to take the show on the road, but Fisher won't agree to appear in it. Instead, according to the New York Post, he suspects Fisher is trying to stage productions of the play, which chronicles her battles with depression and alcoholism, without involving him. A battle is now brewing over who ultimately holds rights to future presentations of the play. Both Fisher and the producer are claiming that the other did not fulfill their contractual obligations. For more click here
Since its inception in 2006, Severin Films, the film and DVD company that is responsible for releasing special editions of many well-known films such as Roman Polanski’s What?, Gwendolin with Tawny Kitaen, Patrice Leconte’s The Hairdresser’s Husband and The Perfume Of Yvonne, Richard Stanley’s Hardware, and Enzo Castellari’s Inglorious Bastards to name a few, now adds Lucio Fulci’s directorial swan song to its roster. Fulci, who passed away in 1996, made Door into Silence (Le Porte del Silenzio) in 1991 (not to be confused with Dario Argento’s Door into Darkness, a series of four, one-hour episodes for Italian television in 1973). It stars - of all people - John Savage of The Deer Hunter and Do the Right Thing as a man who buries his father and takes a strange trip through Louisiana behind a hearse in a modern day variation of Steven Spielberg’s Duel, minus the suspense.
I’ve never been a card-carrying member of the Fucli cognoscenti, although Zombi (1979) and The House by the Cemetery (1981) are personal Fulci favorites. And how can you go wrong with The New York Ripper (1982), about a killer who quacks like a duck before he strikes? Argento and Mario Bava are closer to my tastes as I find their films to be intensely cinematic, sporting vertiginous camerawork and labyrinthine plots. Fulci’s work can sometimes come across as television movie-of-the-weekish, and Door into Silence is no exception. Distributed by our friends at Filmirage, a company that was responsible for Fabrizio Laurentis’ La Casa 4 (1988) with (yikes!) David Hasselholf and Linda Blair, and Aristide Massaccesi’s Anthropophagus (1980) with reliable Tisa Farrow, Door into Silence seems culled from better material, among them Rod Serling’s “The Hitchhiker” episode of The Twilight Zone (which itself was adapted from Lucille Fletcher’s story of the same name), and from Ambrose Bierce’s short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which has provided the basis for innumerable supernatural stories.
Warner's Clint Eastwood DVD collection contains 34 films and Richard Schickel's new documentary The Eastwood Factor.
By Lee Pfeiffer
There have been precious few film critics with the reputation of Richard Schickel. If he seems an omnipresent aspect of virtually every classic film discussion, it's because he represents the Golden Age of movie criticism. Schickel's long and impressive career has made him a legend in his own right, but his talents extend beyond writing. He's also an award-winning filmmaker. Schickel has occasionally found inspiration in his long-time friendship with Clint Eastwood as the basis for documentaries. His TV special that chronicled the making of Unforgiven was the first in-depth look at how Eastwood approaches filmmaking. Now, Schickel has created a new documentary- The Eastwood Factor - that is available as part of Warner Brothers' new DVD collection dedicated to the iconic star and director. The set contains every film Eastwood has made for Warner Brothers and Schickel's documentary provides the perfect companion piece. The film takes Eastwood on a trip down memory lane, with visits to the Warner's studio lot where he made so many movies. To commemorate the release of the documentary, Warner Home Video arranged an exclusive interview with Richard Schickel.
CR: When you first saw the Sergio Leone trilogy in the
1960s, you weren’t very impressed with the films or Eastwood…
RS:When I first saw
those films, I didn’t care for them but I now care for them very greatly. Historically
they became incredibly important in the western film genre. I also just like
the movies:they’re smart, they’re
funny, they’re weird. They’re extraordinarily good movies, but I didn’t notice
that at the time because in those days I was a traditionalist.
CR: When did you first meet Clint Eastwood?
RS: In 1976, after the release of The Outlaw Josey Wales. The friendship just developed the way
friendships do. There was nothing magical about it. When I first saw Josey Wales, I thought it was a terrific
movie.I liked the theme of the movie:
the rescue and reconstruction of troubled and hard-pressed people. I had missed
the whole Dirty Harry factor
initially after Pauline Kael had said it was fascist.I think I was kind of misled by that.Instinctively, I liked the movie, but then I
thought “I shouldn’t like this
movie!” (Laughs). I revisited the
film not too long after that and found a lot of virtue in the character.
CR: Ironically, in recent years, you’ve become sort of a
Boswell to Eastwood’s Dr. Johnson.
RS: I don’t know about that. I just like the guy and he
likes me. We get along in a casual, male bonding sort of way.That isn’t to say I don’t admire many of his
films. Unlike most actors, he greatly expanded his range and work in films like
Tightrope and especially with Unforgiven. He also did movies that were
not very commercial like Bird and White Hunter, Black Heart. More
recently, he’s undertaken movies that most directors of his age wouldn’t think
about undertaking – even if they were able to. It’s a classic example of an
older man doing his best work.It’s
certainly unusual in the movie business. Most older directors fall into silence
or irrelevance.Eastwood doesn’t just
screw off. He chooses fairly difficult topics. He proceeds with them in a
rational way.He’s not subject to
“celebrity follies” of one sort or another.
CR: It’s interesting that, like John Ford,Eastwood has acquired somewhat of a stock
company he prefers to work with.
RS:Yes, Joel Cox has
been editing for him for twenty years. The same with the cameraman Jack
Green.Eastwood talks about that. He
says it’s much easier to work with someone you’ve known for many years. You
don’t even need to communicate verbally- you just point your finger or give a
nod and the guy knows what to do.When
you’re on one of Clint’s sets, you’re not aware of him doing any heavy duty
directing. He’s there for the actors, if
they have a question or something like that. He believes that if you have the
right person in the part, you really don’t have to do very much.
In part two of Herb Shadrak's tribute to actor Richard Basehart, his Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea co-star David Hedison reflects on working with Basehart on the popular Irwin Allen TV series.
By Herb Shadrak
Veteran actor David Hedisonis best known for three roles: the
ill-fated scientist Andre Delambre who switches heads with The Fly (1958), CIA
agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond films – Live and Let Die (1973) and
Licence to Kill(1989) [in which he
loses his leg to a shark] – and Captain Lee Crane, who, along with Admiral
Harriman Nelson (Richard Basehart), commanded the high-tech submarine Seaview
on the hit TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968), which the
Boston Globe’sTV critic said was “like
Star Trek with fish.” In this exclusive interview for Cinema Retro, Hedison
recalls his admiration for Basehart and the highlights of working with him on
the fondly remembered science-fiction action-adventure series.
Cinema Retro: Why did you want to work with
David Hedison: I had admired his film work
for years. He was always so natural on camera and he had passion. You believed
in his very human characters.
CR: Which of his film performances
particularly impressed you?
DH: La Strada was heartbreaking. Moby Dick.
Fourteen Hours. Time Limit. Richard had fabulous range and was always worth
watching in anything he did.
CR: What transpired during your very first
encounter with Richard Basehart?
DH: I had asked him to invite me up to his
house. I wanted to meet him off the set, only the two of us and talk. I had
some ideas for the series. Richard graciously agreed. I went up there. We
talked. We hit it off, he had a lot of the same ideas I had and a similar
working style. Richard didn’t take to everyone, but he liked me; my enthusiasm,
I guess. I did want to work with him. He taught me so much during those four
CR: Was Basehart aware of your admiration
for his work?
DH: Not at first, but we found we could
work together easily enough and then we did.
CR: What did you learn from Richard
Basehart in terms of acting technique?
DH: Richard had great concentration. At
first, noise, a wrong line, any background distraction would throw me off.
Nothing shook Richard. He was always camera-ready, knew his line reading.
I wanted to be able to do that and after a while, I got better at tuning out
the distractions. He made me work harder, like tennis with a much better
partner. Richard pushed me to be as good as he was and some days I almost was.
It was an historic occasion when the stars of West Side Story were reunited at the Hollywood Show, L.A's premiere event for autograph seekers and movie memorabilia collectors. Among those attending were three stars of the Oscar-winning musical: Russ Tamblyn and Supporting Actor/Actress winners George Chakiris and Rita Moreno. Click here for the official web site and sign up for announcements about future shows.(Photos all copyright Graham Hill/Cinema Retro)
The all star 1963 whodunnit The List of Adrian Messenger is among the long-awaited DVD releases now available through the Universal Archive.
Universal is following in the footsteps of Warner Brothers by making well-known film titles available on a burn-to-order basis. The Universal titles are now available on Amazon and can be ordered through searching on the database, as you would for any other title. Each disc is recorded on DVD-R format. Here is the initial press release:
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Jan. 20, 2010 – CreateSpace,
part of the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) group of companies, today
announced an agreement with Universal Studios Home Entertainment to
release a special selection of Universal's rare films, spanning six
decades. Titles from the all-new "Universal Vault Series" will be
available on Amazon.com through CreateSpace's DVD on-Demand technology.
Spanning a variety of genres and decades, many of the films will now be
available for the first time on DVD.
remastered and exclusively available using CreateSpace's DVD on-Demand
platform, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will give fans
first-time DVD access to some of its most highly sought-after films,
such as "A Bronx Tale," the 1993 film directed by and starring Robert
De Niro. Other titles in the series will include cult favorite "The
Incredible Shrinking Woman," starring Lily Tomlin; "Gambit," the
three-time Academy Award®-nominated film starring Shirley MacLaine and
Michael Caine; "The Black Shield of Falworth," Universal's first
feature film using CinemaScope technology; "The Brass Bottle," starring
Barbara Eden and the film inspiration for the hit television show "I
Dream of Jeannie"; and "Resurrection," starring Ellen Burstyn as a
modern-day miracle worker.
DVD on-Demand enables major film
studios like Universal Pictures to release rare and unique content in
response to consumer demand. With DVD on-Demand, DVDs are manufactured
only after a customer places an order, making it a cost-effective
solution that doesn't require studios to estimate market demand or make
costly investments in physical inventory.
model allows movie studios and content owners to restore and release
oft-requested titles quickly, easily and economically," said Dana
LoPiccolo-Giles, managing director, CreateSpace. "With CreateSpace's
DVD on-Demand platform, Universal Pictures can ensure its fans have the
opportunity to collect and view their favorite films from the past with
Other titles in the "Universal Vault Series" to be made available through CreateSpace DVD on-Demand include:
"40 Pounds of Trouble" (1962), starring Tony Curtis
"Blue Collar" (1978), starring Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel
"The Chalk Garden" (1964), starring Deborah Kerr and Hayley Mills
"Death Takes a Holiday" (1934), starring Frederic March
"Dragnet" (1954), starring Jack Webb
"Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain" (1995), starring Christina Ricci and Anna Chlumsky
"A Good Man in Africa" (1994), starring Sean Connery
"The House of Seven Gables" (1940), starring George Sanders and Vincent Price
"Kitten with a Whip" (1964), starring Ann-Margret and John Forsythe
"The Last Remake of Beau Geste" (1977), starring Marty Feldman
"The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963), starring George C. Scott, Kirk Douglas and Frank Sinatra
"The Perfect Furlough" (1958), starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh
"Pure Luck" (1991), starring Martin Short and Danny Glover
"Ruggles of Red Gap" (1933), starring Charles Laughton
"Shoot Out" (1971), starring Gregory Peck
"Shout" (1991), starring John Travolta
"Spawn of the North" (1938), starring Henry Fonda, George Raft and Dorothy Lamour
"Stick" (1985), starring Burt Reynolds
"Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here" (1970), starring Robert Redford
Love was in the air over the weekend for North American movie-goers, as the ensemble comedy Valentine's Day scored a huge $52 million. Warner Brothers predicts a total of $60 million over the President's Day weekend, which would be a record for the holiday. In second place was the action film Percy Jackson with The Wolfman nipping at Percy's heels. Both films scored approximately $31 million. For more click here
Obnoxious, But Unpretentious Self-Promotion Department:
Kimberly Lindbergs, who runs the popular retro movie site Cinebeats, gives an in-depth rave review for issue #16 of Cinema Retro...click here to read what you've been missing- and check out the articles on the Cinebeat blog. It's loaded with great essays about the films our readers care most about.
Joe Johnston, who is riding high as the director of The Wolfman, is set to bring the Marvel Comics icon Captain America to the big screen. Refreshingly, Johnston seems intent to keep at least part of the story in the WWII era in which the character first appeared - and plans to include an appearance by his Nazi nemesis The Red Skull. Click here for more details on the project. By the way, it's time for a re-evaluation of Johnston's wonderful, under-rated 1991 Disney superhero flick The Rocketeer, which was also set in WWII. The film featured a great character and terrific turns by Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin and Timothy Dalton, who is particularly impressive as an evil version of Errol Flynn. If you haven't seen it, check it out.
Ever wonder whatever became of the kids who starred with Gene Wilder in the 1971 classic Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Okay, maybe you never did wonder what happened to them, but CNN can fill you in on what they've been doing in the ensuing years. Click here to find out.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from The British Film Institute:
On 15 February, the BFI releases Kent Mackenzie’s 1961 film The
Exiles. Deeply affecting and utterly convincing, this remarkable film
chronicles one night in the lives of a group of young American Indians living in
the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles.
Based entirely on interviews with the participants and their friends, the
film follows this group of exiles – transplants from Southwest reservations – as
they flirt, drink, party, fight, and dance. With its vivid, high-contrast black
and white photography and soundtrack by The Revels, Kent Mackenzie’s gritty,
no-frills depiction of this marginalised Los Angeles community draws comparisons
to John Cassavetes, Charles Burnett and Vittorio De Seta.
Finally made available on DVD in the UK for the first time, it’s packed
with extras including a feature commentary and short films.
Clint Eastwood has revealed that producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman once offered him the role of James Bond when Sean Connery quit the series. Connery actually quit twice- after You Only Live Twice in 1967 and again after Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. (George Lazenby filled the gap in one film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.) Eastwood doesn't say in what time frame he was offered the part, but says he rejected the offer. He tells Britain's Express newspaper, "I thought James Bond should be British. I am of British descent but by
that same token, I thought that it should be more of the culture there
and also, it was not my thing." Chances are the offer was made to him after Lazenby quit the series and production was gearing up for Diamonds Are Forever. Broccoli and Saltzman entertained the idea of casting an American actor in the part of Bond, and considered Adam West for the role before actually signing John Gavin for the series. However, when Connery was convinced to return to the part of 007, Gavin was released from his contract. As much as we admire Eastwood, we have to agree with his decision. Thankfully, Broccoli and Saltzman never made the mistake of casting an American as Bond, though they did revisit the idea when they felt Roger Moore might leave the series. James Brolin was called in to film some screen tests. Clint Eastwood has occasionally dabbled in the world of cinematic espionage, starring in the spy thrillers The Eiger Sanction and Firefox. For more click here
Given the long, troubled history of Universal's attempt to bring The Wolfman back to the screen as a big-budget remake, you may wonder how they were going to pull it off. According to Variety critic Todd McCarthy, the answer is simple: they didn't. McCarthy rips the production for lacking suspense and condemns director Joe Johnston for using quick cut-aways in the action sequences that not only become a boring technique, but gives the film a cheap look. To read the entire review click here (You may have to register with the Variety site)
Released this week (Feb 8th) in time for this
weekend’s Valentine Day activities, Silva Screen’s My Twisted Valentine (SILED4495) is a superb anti-Valentine
compilation of film music for the more cynical amongst us.
From neurotic Marnie,
blood sucking Dracula and all-out war
of the sexes in Kill Bill to ‘train
wreck’ mentality of Betty Blue and the ‘bunny boiling’ Fatal Attraction, this CD has a great mix of movie themes. What I found most gratifying about this release is that it contains certain themes that I really like - but not quite
enough to make me want to purchase the original soundtrack CD just for the one title
track. Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
and London Music Works, films featured include: Psycho, La Dolce Vita, Marnie, Eyes Wide Shut, Bram Stoker’s
Dracula, Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise, Fatal Attraction, Betty Blue,
Lolita, Rosemary’s Baby, Brokeback
Mountain, Vertigo and Twilight.
It’s worth buying just for the themes to Marnie, Rosemary’s Baby, Vertigo
and the La Dolce Vita suite, alone.
Go on, give it to the one you don’t
love on Valentine’s Day – they’ll love
you for doing so!
It's rather ironic that the most impressive and insightful Quentin Tarantino interview we've seen in a long while should come on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow generally doesn't deviate from her nightly opinion program about political issues - and she admits to Tarantino that she's never seen one of his films in its entirety because of the violent content. Nevertheless, Tarantino, who is deprived of his penchant for dropping four letter words, is far more articulate and interesting than when he does indulge in that habit. In an extended and intelligent discussion of Inglourious Basterds, the Oscar-nominated director traces the origins of the film to the days of the Old West. He explains that he has been fascinated by the concept that a much smaller group of fighting men can terrify large armies if they use sufficiently brutal tactics. He cites the Apache's ability to fight the U.S. Cavalry to a standstill for years using this method. He also says he watched many Nazi-era propaganda films produced by Goebbels in researching his movie. He correctly points out that, while some of these contained horrible anti-Semitic messages, the majority were feel-good, Hollywood-like musicals and costume dramas because the Nazi propaganda minister fancied himself a major film talent. To watch click here
On February 9, Ringo Starr was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His wife, former James Bond girl Barbara Bach, attended the ceremony with him, along with some of his colleagues in the music business. In addition to his legendary association with The Beatles and a successful solo music career, Starr also appeared in feature films such as The Magic Christian and Caveman. For more click here
Actor Alex O'Laughlin has been cast as Det. Steve McGarrett in the forthcoming pilot show for CBS' remake of Hawaii 5-0. Jack Lord played the role in the original, long-running classic TV series. According to Entertainment Weekly, O'Laughlin is considered a hot property, but the same article says both of his previous shows for the network were canceled after one season. I guess this qualifies for being "hot" in today's TV industry. Personally, I never heard of him - but then again, I've been tuned out of episodic TV since CBS canceled Green Acres. For more click here