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