The Film Experience web site has an insightful look at Richard Brooks' classic 1960 film Elmer Gantry which won a Best Actor Oscar for Burt Lancaster's incredible performance as the charismatic conman/preacher with a passion for sex and profit. The film was eons ahead of its time in predicting the popularity of scoundrels who use religion to dupe weak-willed "sinners" out of their hard-earned money by promising redemption for them. In the contemporary age, Gantry clones have used the power of television as a tool to reach masses of people in a way that old time crooks like old Elmer could never dream of. Today, the use of religion as a method to con the gullible and the desperate is probably at an all-time high, thus making Brooks' film more relevant than ever. Click here to read.
Charlton Heston gave one of his best performances as the aging cowboy in the 1968 film Will Penny. In a vintage b&w promotional featurette, Heston takes us on a tour of Paramount Studio's "arsenal" featuring all sorts of historic handguns used by major stars in other films. The inventory includes Richard Widmark's unique, multi-barrel rifle from The Alamo. Heston's passion for weaponry defined the latter part of his life, when he became President of the National Rifle Association. This put him front-and-center in a political maelstrom with one of the most controversial issues in America. His eloquence as a spokesperson is credited with rescuing the organization from being defined by its fringe elements, but that very effectiveness caused resentment among his opponents who often found it difficult to separate his achievements as an actor from his new role as an activist. This vintage short is certainly not controversial but it does provide interesting insights into Heston's interest in guns. To view click here
Okay, all of you tightwads who haven't purchased Fox's amazing 2009 Blu-ray set containing all of the Planet of the Apes films, here's a reason to part with those Confederate dollars you're still toting around in your wallet. Amazon is running a sale on the set, which contains many hours of rare extras, not to mention Cinema Retro's hardback commemorative book that details the history of the series. You can purchase the set for only $52- savings of $77! If that doesn't make you go bananas for the Apes, nothing will. Click here to order
Quantum of Solace was a major hit in 2008- but it may be quite some time before audiences see Daniel Craig's third appearance as 007.
In a in-depth report, ABC News indicates that the James Bond producers feel the pain of fans who are geared up for Daniel Craig's third outing as 007 - but who are frustrated by indefinite delays caused by the financial problems at MGM. (The studio and Eon Productions co-own the franchise and neither company can proceed without the other). Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are understandably upset: the two Craig films to date have resonated with audiences internationally and have scored over a billion dollars at the box-office. However, as the article points out, the franchise has withstood long delays between films before. Click here to read
Retro Responds: Thanks for the head's up, Joe...your site continues to provide more entertainment through your presentation of cult trailers than most contemporary feature films do!- Lee Pfeiffer
It is a shame that the UK branch of TCM doesn't often show films as
interesting or varied as Robert Hartford Davis' Corruption (actual
copyright is 1967). It will be interesting to see whether you goes over
the pond get the UK edit, or the much more gory/sexy European cut. The
latter has an extraodinary (no to say offensive) scene where Cushing
attacks a topless woman with a knife, and wipes his bloodied hands all
over her bare breasts after he kills her. He then proceeds to hack off
her head! The only version of this film I have seen was this nastier
edit under the title Laser Killer; a bootleg taken off a substandard
French VHS. Let us all know which edit you guys get?
Retro Responds: That's interesting, Rick...I didn't realize there were different versions of the film. As I have it already on DVD, perhaps some stalwart readers will alert us as to which version TCM shows this weekend. - Lee Pfeiffer
The Studio Daily web site has an article that compares the best trailers of today to those of yesteryear - and demonstrates why Psycho and Citizen Kane may well still reign as the best movie coming attractions of all time. Click here to view
The Hollywood Reporter says that California has lost huge sums of revenue, jobs and salaries in recent years due to failure to provide financial incentives for major film productions to shoot in the state. Consequently, other states and nations that provided these incentives have seen major films shot in their locales. The result has been a major exodus of entertainment-related jobs from California, laying the ground work for Hollywood to possibly lose its luster as the center of film industry. Click here for more
M. Night Shyamalan has a fair-sized hit with his latest film The Last Airbender, but it has come at a cost. Critics say that the once-innovative director has traded his innovative ideas for large paychecks and has ground out highly unimaginative films in recent years. In other words, a directorial version of Nicholas Cage. Airbender got the kind of fiercely negative reviews that would make Ed Wood seem like Orson Welles. At a Mexican press conference for the film, he responds to a critic who accuses him of selling out by saying, "I think if I thought like you I'd kill myself. Everything you said is
the opposite of my instinct as an artist. The way you just thought, I
literally would kill myself." Shyamalan's flak tries to cover for the tasteless answer by fruitlessly trying to engage the audience in a round of applause. Click here to watch
Last month, film historian Bruce Crawford held a special 35th anniversary screening of Jaws in Omaha, Nebraska. Among those attending were screenwriter Carl Gottlieb and Clarence Hupka, a survivor of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the legendary and tragic ship that was sunk in the final days of WWII- only to have many of its crew killed by sharks. The incident was memorably woven into the film as the inspiration for Quint's obsession with shark hunting. Click here for photos of the event
The Great Escape: prime title for a Criterion special edition.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Our friend Nick Sheffo at the terrific Fulvue Drive-In web site has an interesting suggestion for MGM, now that they are providing titles for Criterion's line of special edition Blu-ray titles. As most DVD fans know, Criterion is the gold standard of special editions. Nick suggests ten specific titles that would make excellent collaborative projects between MGM and Criterion. Among them: Midnight Cowboy and The Great Escape. Speaking of the latter, one of Cinema Retro's contributors, Steve Rubin, produced a Criterion special edition laser disc on this title, complete with commentary track by director John Sturges. Sadly, when Criterion lost the rights to The Great Escape, this edition remained largely buried. It would be an excellent idea to use those materials on a new Blu-ray release of the film. For more click here
Even hunky Daniel Craig is not above letting vanity raise its ugly head: seems he was reluctant to meet Clint Eastwood because he was clad in a lycra body suit!
Daniel Craig says that when he was filming The Adventures of Tintin, director Steven Spielberg had him outfitted in a skin-tight lycra body suit, a necessity in order to get the special effects required for certain scenes. However, Craig told Spielberg he learned that Clint Eastwood was to visit the set and was too mortified to meet him while clad in this bizarre outfit. For more click here
The era when Americans tuned in to their favorite late night comedy/chat show may be nearing an end. Ratings have plummeted recently for David Letterman, Jay Leno and other iconic TV talk show hosts, indicating that they are falling victim to many competing forms of entertainment, as well as disinterest from younger audiences who tend not to follow structured viewing patterns. Although Leno is still nominally the king of late night, his ratings have fallen significantly since NBC's ill-advised debacle in which his show was moved to prime time. For more click here
Director George Miller is planning to shoot two new Mad Max films back-to-back, thus reviving his successful franchise from the 1980s. Mel Gibson was rumored to be interested in making a cameo, but that was before his latest temper tantrum resulted in the kind of horrendous press that could cause him to go into another extended hibernation. For more click here
The annual Comic-Con in San Diego has become a "must" for movie studios looking to promote their forthcoming action movies. The event draws many thousands of comic and film enthusiasts including those lovable eccentrics who love to mug for the cameras. Click here for the Huffington Post's slide show from the event.
Author Sam Wasson's new book Fifth Avenue, 5A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffanys and the Dawn of the Modern Woman is winning praise for his innovative examination of the legacy created by Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly in the 1960 film of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffanys. Wasson makes the case that the character represented an important step forward for the image of the new,independent woman. Writer Patricia Zohn interviews him about the book and the film. Click here to read
Let's say this for Will Smith- he can certainly bring an original twist to old stories. The superstar is planning on starring as the Biblical bad boy Cain (as in Cain and Abel). The offbeat angle is that Smith is cashing in on the recent craze for vampire films by mixing those legendary monsters in the tale. For more click here
Pacino was one of several well-known actors who might have been part of the Star Wars saga.
Did you know that Al Pacino and Kurt Russell were considered for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars? Or that Sissy Spacek auditioned for the part of Princess Leia? Click here for many other interesting facts about the early days of Star Wars.
Legendary film critic Roger Ebert denounced video games in a recent blogpost and was inundated with thousands of complaints. Ebert's opinion that video games can never be considered art caused a back-lash among gamers who got him to apologize (well, sort of.) Ebert admitted he should not have commented on video games since he is largely unfamiliar with them. He also conceded that, to fans of the format, something approaching art can be achieved. However, he says he will never be among them. Ironically, Ebert and his former At the Movies co-host Gene Siskel, would occasionally play video games on their show. For more and to view a vintage clip of Siskel and Ebert playing a video game, click here
The Huffington Post presents a bizarre slide show of various examples of fan art - and each piece is disturbing in its own unique way. From Michael Jackson meeting with Jesus to Batman pregnant with Superman's child, the choice is yours as to which one generates the biggest "EEEwwww....!" factor. Click here to view
Trinity Square Car Park in Gateshead, England is scheduled for demolition - and legions of retro movies fans are grieving. That's because the parking garage is where a key sequence from Michael Caine's 1971 crime classic Get Carter was filmed. Click here for details
The Lyin' King: John Edwards fulfilled one of his campaign promises by bringing political adversaries together. Both liberals and conservatives despise him.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Here's a tidbit to give conservatives who always complain that the left wing controls all content of Hollywood films: one of the industry's leading liberals, producer/director Aaron Sorkin is bringing the sex scandal relating to fellow liberal John Edwards to the big screen. The project is a rat's nest of "he-said, he-said" that's based on a book by Edwards' former aide Andrew Young. Both men are admitted liars, but that only makes their sordid tale even more compelling. Edwards was the former senator and candidate for Vice President and President who ran on a squeaky clean image, espousing family values. That is, until it was revealed that he was having an affair with a documentary film maker, while his wife Elizabeth was coping with battling terminal cancer. Edwards litany of lies kept building until he recently admitted his lover gave birth to their child. Young was embroiled early in the scandal by willingly pretending he had fathered the child - and had his wife's consent to do so! Adding to the rogue's gallery atmosphere is Elizabeth Edwards, the sympathetic victim who has since split from her husband. Elizabeth so desired to be the First Lady that she attempted to cover up John's infidelities - even though she realized that if he had been elected president, the scandal could have brought down the Democratic party and the presidency itself. It's rare for a person committed to a political ideology like Sorkin is to shed the spotlight on the sordid aspects of someone he once considered a viable candidate - but then there is no aspect of this scenario that isn't perplexing. Here's a suggestion for the title: Liar, Liar - oh, drat- we just remembered Jim Carrey already used that one. Click here for more
The first issue of the iconic comic book The Incredible Hulk, way back in '62.
Edward Norton, the most recent actor to play The Incredible Hulk onscreen, won't be portraying the not-so-jolly green giant in the film adaptation of Marvel Comics' The Avengers about an all-star team of superheroes. Although Norton fancies himself a purist when it comes to his love and respect for the Hulk character, Marvel obviously feels the temperamental actor was just too much of a problem on the last film. The company took pains to issue a statement that doesn't leave much doubt as to why they intend to cast another actor in the role, citing their desire to have a more "collaborative" person as part of the production. Ouch! For more click here
For a guy who says he's thrilled to be free of the shackles of playing 007, Pierce Brosnan sure seems to have the shadow of the famous spy hovering over his life. Brosnan will team with his son to play cops in the action flick Bonded. As if that isn't reminiscent enough of Brosnan's era playing the suave secret agent, his son's name is Sean, as in Connery. For more click here
Those of us who are life-long veterans of riding the New York City subway system know that it takes a virtual nuclear war to inspire passengers to look up from their cell phones and newspapers. (Remember the scene in Bananas in which Woody Allen tries to pretend he's concentrating on reading while the old lady sitting next to him is mugged by Sylvester Stallone?) However, when a cast of amateur actors invaded a subway car in full Star Wars regalia to perform a key scene from the first first film, even New Yorker's mouths were agape as they witnessed Darth Vader kidnapping Princess Leia! Click here to watch the brilliant short film.
Click here to view a slide show of the world's tackiest Star Trek tattoos (not that we can imagine any that would look classy!) Before you make the usual assumption that they have been engraved on fat, middle-aged guys who live in their mom's basements, please note that a number of members of the fairer sex are also sporting the bizarre artwork. So for all of you guys who have fantasies about having sex with a woman who is adorned with the likeness of Deforest Kelly, there is hope your dreams may become reality!
The Thirties: An
Intimate History by Juliet Gardiner
Harper Press 2010
Review by Adrian
December 1929 over 1000 children, unaccompanied by adults, packed into The Glen
Cinema in Paisley, Scotland to watch a short Tom Mix western, some cartoons and
The Crowd, an epic silent movie
directed by King Vidor. Shortly after the programme started, and the natural
rowdiness and noise began to die down, some of the children noticed smoke
coming from the projection booth. The scream of “Fire!” caused major panic, and
as the auditorium filled with both smoke and carbon monoxide there was a rush
to the exits. Unfortunately the main exit had been firmly locked by the owners
to prevent children from letting their friends in without paying. When the
rescue operation was finally over 71 children were dead and many more ill or
injured. This was the worst kind of tragedy to befall a small community, and it
happened in a cinema.
story is used by Gardiner to open her fascinating new book on the social
history of Britain as it went from prosperity to recession and into an
inescapable World War. Although this book falls somewhat outside the main focus
of Cinema Retro, it contains an insightful chapter on the development of film
exhibition throughout the decade, and the growth of the “Picture Palaces” or
“Dreamlands” across the country. She quotes some unbelievable statistics that
would make any studio executive today weep with envy: in 1934 903 million cinema tickets were sold in Britain, and this had risen to over
990 million by 1939. This was an average of almost 20
million every single week. Compare that to the UK box office figures for 2009 -
a mere 173.5 million. By 1938 there were nearly 5000 cinemas with some towns
having over 100 each. There are some wonderful descriptions which put our
modern multiplexes to shame. She notes the Astoria in Brixton which was built
like an indoor fantasy of trailing vines, antique statues and a ceiling which
changed like the sky from dawn to dusk, to starry night. As if that wasn’t
enough they scented the auditorium with Yardley’s Lavender perfume. Others were
designed to look like Egyptian pyramids, Baronial halls or mermaid’s palaces.
To top it off, when the audience took their seats they were first entertained
by a man in a white suit rising from the well of the cinema playing popular
tunes on a translucent, flashing, multi-coloured electric organ.
Chickenheart? Gibson stands accused of terrorizing women and children.
By Lee Pfeiffer
We generally don't dwell on average celebrity scandals but even by sordid Hollywood standards, the Mel Gibson affair continues to shock and appall. Radar On Line has released new information that alleges Gibson not only beat up his lover Oksana Grigorieva in front of her terrified 12 year-old son, but also drew a pistol and threatened to kill them both along with himself. Gibson laced his threats with a string of shocking profanities and at one point prior to the confrontation, so terrified a nanny that the woman took Gibson's infant daughter and hid in a bedroom. Gibson is now under police investigation. His few defenders have alleged that Grigorieva is exaggerating the situation in order to wring maximum dollars from the Oscar-winner, but as the drip-drip-drip of incriminating evidence and audio tapes becomes public, Gibson finds himself increasingly isolated. One thing is certain: this is shaping up as one of the most notorious film industry scandals in history and, unless some major evidence emerges that negates the allegations against him, industry pundits are predicting that Gibson's career has been irreparably damaged. For more click here
(Photo copyright Adrian Smith. All rights reserved)
Harryhausen: Myths and Legends
the 29th June one of the world’s most legendary filmmakers
celebrated his 90th birthday. To coincide with this, the London Film
Museum is hosting a brand new exhibition devoted to the great man himself.
Cinema Retro was fortunate enough to attend the event and join in the birthday
celebrations, alongside such notable guests as John Landis, Terry Gilliam,
Peter Jackson and special effects guru Rick Baker.
Rick Baker and John Landis get uncomfortably close to a sword-wielding skeleton. (Photo copyright Adrian Smith. All rights reserved.)
was very clear at to why he was in attendance. “I’ve been a fan, like most
people, especially my generation I think, because we grew up with his monsters,
his creatures, his Greek mythology even. What I love about him is his handiwork.
It’s not digital, with teams of people doing it. It’s Ray giving life to these
things. That’s why I think this stuff works. It’s a performance. There’s
something about that kind of handiwork that I just find extraordinary. It’s not
real, and it seems to trigger off all sorts of childhood fantasies. You see
something that’s clearly not real, but totally believable at the same time. We
know that stuff is clay and rubber and stuff, and suddenly it’s given life.
It’s magic!” So with all that said, will Gilliam be using stop motion in his
next project, the much-anticipated The
Man Who Killed Don Quixote? “No, I’m using computers! I need things done
quickly and cheaply!”
Ray had cut the ribbon in front of a wall of cameras we went into the
exhibition itself. The first thing you see is a recreation of King Kong atop
the Empire State Building. Although Ray Harryhausen is the main focus of this
exhibition, he was keen to ensure that it presented a history of the animation
art form as well. After all he has recently co-written a hugely informative
book on the subject, A Century of Model
Animation. Ray happily posed for photos, alongside his wife Diana and
daughter Vanessa. At one point a spontaneous singalong of Happy Birthday broke
Actress Bette White may be the only person with gray hair still getting acting assignments in Hollywood. At age 88, the last remaining star of The Golden Girls is arguably at the peak of her career, riding a new wave of popularity that has endeared her to young audiences. Now producer Jerry Weintraub is trying to interest Warner Brothers in having her play the title role in a remake of the 1977 George Burns hit Oh, God! For more click here
We've got plenty of readers Down Under and they might be interested in visiting the All About Movies web site, which offers a plethora of movie collectibles and research information. Here's a description provided by the site's founder, Ben Wadley:
About Movies started as a
that led to a business offering Movie Posters and Films from one
Over the years it has expanded with the advent of DVD & Blu-Ray. Our
is unique as it is the only website
in Australia that lists every title ever released
onto Video or DVD here in Australia – 72,000 titles
and growing. It is kind of like the Australian Version of IMDB except it
relates to what the public have been able to own and can do so now –
films on Video or DVD. For those films that are no longer on Video or
DVD, we offer
a search service where we try to track copies down for the public. Of
the memorabilia side of things is growing with over 2000 items up for
many more to be listed. The products include
One Sheet Posters / Daybills and lobby cards. We also
offer reprints for those on a budget.
Audience members go all-out at screening of Grease. (Photo: Monica Almeida/The New York Times)
Traditional movie-goers disdain noise and distractions during screenings of films. If your cell phone goes off during the screening of a classic film at a New York art house theater, you run the risk of being tarred and feathered on the premises. However, movie studios are actively encouraging younger audiences to view theaters as a place where anything goes. Studios are promoting regional screenings of older films through audience sing-a-longs. The idea of audience participation has intrigued studios since The Rocky Horror Picture Show bombed during general release in 1975 only to go on to gross a fortune through midnight, audience participation screenings. The Sound of Music, Grease and The Poseidon Adventure have also found enthusiastic audiences who are encouraged to scream out their favorite lines of dialogue, as well as dress like their favorite characters. Critics of this policy say it makes a generation of movie-goers who are already immune to the joys of quiet theaters even more brazen about being boisterous - even when they go to movies that don't involve group participation. Nevertheless, studios are concerned about the dwindling number of tickets sold at the box-office - a problem they traditionally have gotten around by raising admission prices. However, with a movie ticket now the cost of plane fare to some countries, the studios are now looking toward audience participation as a partial cure for industry woes. Click here to read more
IFC.Com offers an interesting look at the history of theme park rides based on major motion pictures. The trend goes back further than you might think...are you aware that the popular Matterhorn ride at Disneyland is based on the 1959 adventure film Third Man on the Mountain? Click here to read
John McTiernan, who directed such hits as The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard and the remake of the Thomas Crown Affair, is facing up to one year in jail after pleading guilty earlier this week to charges in a racketeering case that has been mesmerizing the Hollywood community for years. McTiernan was involved in hiring a private detective to illegally wiretap a fellow producer. Click here for more
If you think your love life is a mess consider this: Oksana Grigorieva is the woman embroiled in the high-profile Mel Gibson scandal. She's the former girlfriend who bore Gibson's child and audio taped his expletive-filled tirades. Turns out she's also the ex-g.f of another heartthrob, former James Bond Timothy Dalton - and she's had an out-of-wedlock child with him as well. Unlike her relationship with Gibson, however, Oksana says she's on great terms with Dalton, who is active in raising their child together. Dalton has been supportive of her during the Gibson scandal. Just call it James Bond vs. Mad Max. Click here for more
Aldo Sanbrell photographed in 2007 by John Exshaw. (Photo copyright John Exshaw. All rights reserved.)
BY JOHN EXSHAW
With the death of Aldo Sanbrell, who passed
away in Alicante last Saturday (10 July), aged 79, another link to the great
days of Italian film-making – and the Italian Western, in particular – has been
lost. The only actor to appear in all of Sergio Leone’s Westerns, Aldo was the
most prominent and recognisable of all those mean-looking hombres who rode the badlands and bit the dust of Almería in those
far-off days when southern Spain was the Wild West – Italian style. Asked once
by a British director if he “knew how to die,” Aldo replied, “Oh yes, señor, I
have been killed in many film fights here in Almería. I have died for Clint
Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Charles Bronson, George Scott . . . I have made 185
films and I have been killed in all of them. Yes, I know how to die.”
Aldo, photographed at home in Alicante, 2008 - and always ready for action. (Photo copyright John Exshaw. All rights reserved.)
Aldo’s most memorable performances were as
the hapless gang member, Cuchillo, framed and gunned down by Gian María
Volonté’s Indio in For a Few Dollars More
(1965), and as Mervyn Duncan, the Indian-hating scalp hunter of Sergio
Corbucci’s Navajo Joe (1966). In the
latter film, Sanbrell made an indelible impression in the opening sequence,
gunning down an innocent squaw and then scalping her, his nostrils flaring with
hate and bloodlust as his men launch a murderous assault on a peaceful Indian
tribe. Having snarled, flogged, and killed his way through the rest of the
film, Duncan finally receives his just desserts, dispatched with a tomahawk in
the head hurled by a bewigged Burt Reynolds. A year later, Corbucci gave Aldo
another showy, though less significant, role as a sword-wielding bandido in The Hellbenders.
There have been a rash of recent news reports indicating that the next James Bond film has been officially canceled due to the uncertain future of MGM studios. The Bond franchise is the only cash cow that the financially-strapped MGM has to bank on. However, unless a new buyer emerges, the studio can't launch any film productions. Eon Productions, which co-owns the franchise, recently stated that preparations for the next Bond film had been indefinitely suspended until the MGM problem is resolved. Suddenly news reports began appearing, stating that the film had been officially canceled, making the fate of the next film seem even more ominous. Exactly what the difference is between "suspended indefinitely" and "canceled" is open to debate but it certainly seems to indicate that star Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes are now free to accept other projects and won't be waiting for word on the start of the next Bond film. We asked Eon Productions for a comment, and they simply said they are not deviating from their previous statement which read :
"Due to the continuing
uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure
to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23
indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not
date for the release of BOND 23," stated Michael G Wilson and Barbara
Peter Fernandez, who provided the voice for the title character in the cult 1960s Japanimation TV series Speed Racer, has died at age 83. Fernandez also wrote the famous title song for the series. He was associated with other well-known Japanese animation series and even made a cameo in the 2008 big screen live action version of Speed Racer. For more click here
The web site MovieFone reports that actor/stuntman David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the first Star Wars trilogy has been banned by LucasFilm from attending the major celebration of the franchise due to be held in Orlando. Prowse, whose voice as Vader was dubbed by James Earl Jones, has been a mainstay on the autograph show circuit for decades. However, his public comments expressing skepticism about the accounting methods used by LucasFilm appear to have touched a nerve with his former employers. We all know Hollywood accounting is quite creative and according to Prowse, he has never received royalties from Return of the Jedi because it still hasn't shown a profit despite being one of the top grossing films of all time. Click here for more
Thank you to all of our readers who have taken the time to write to us regarding their enthusiasm for Cinema Retro Movie Classics' tribute issue to Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood's Dollar movie trilogy. Director Richard C. Sarafian (Vanishing Point, Man in the Wildnerness) knew Leone and relates that the great director once told him he had been inspired in part by episodes of Western TV series that Sarafian had directed early in his career. Sarafian said of the tribute issue, "It's brilliant. I devoured every single page." We then heard from David V. Picker, who was head of production at United Artists and is the man who put together the deal to release the trilogy in America. Picker said, "This issue is an astonishing tribute...the photos are literally jaw-dropping. It's a major achievement on every level."
If you already read Cinema Retro, then why not part with a Few Dollars More and click here to order this special, limited edition issue?
Johnson boats: putting the "pleasure" in pleasure craft!
For those of you who are somewhat ignorant of sexually suggestive slang, keep in mind that a popular term in the black community for a certain male appendage is "Johnson". There have been millions of jokes with "Johnson" as the punch line, but few are as funny as this retro 1970s TV ad for the Johnson line of boats. The title: "You and Your Johnson". We're not kidding, folks. Click here to remind yourself just how much pleasure Johnson can provide!
McGee with Eastwood on the set of The Eiger Sanction
Vonetta McGee, one of the most prominent actresses to gain fame during the period of Blaxploitation films in the 1970s, has died at age 65. She had been battling health problems since she was teenager and had been on life support for the last few days. McGee resented the term Blaxploitation and felt frustrated that she never received studio support to emerge as a bigger star. Still, she worked consistently and in hit films like Blacula, Shaft in Africa, Melinda and Thomasine and Bushrod. She also had a few key roles in The Lost Man opposite Sidney Poitier, and most notably, as the female lead, Jemima Brown, in Clint Eastwood's 1975 spy thriller The Eiger Sanction. In later years, she had a recurring role on TV series L.A. Law. For more click here
Click here to watch the original trailer for The Eiger Sanction
They don't make stars like Maureen O'Hara any more: classy, beautiful and possessing a bawdy sense of humor. June Beck, a long-time scholar of Ms. O'Hara's career, runs the only web site endorsed by the legendary screen icon. Click here to visit and relish the abundance of great photos and insights into an amazing career. There's also a special section dedicated to Ms. O'Hara's friendship with John Wayne.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the University Press of Kentucky:
KY— She showed
Joan Crawford how to dress. She wrote the MGM Norma Shearer movies
script for the film that made Clara Bow Hollywood’s “It Girl.” She
away the hours talking with a young John Huston, then working at
Brothers. For her 99th birthday in 1999, she published
memoir, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early
Hollywood.Eleven years later, Frederica Sagor Mass can now add
to her long list of accomplishments.
On July 6,
2010, Maas celebrated her
110th birthday at the Country Villa health care center in
Mesa, California. Not having children of her own, she was joined by
grandnephew Tony Tovar and his family, as well as a chocolate cake,
request. Maas’ monumental birthday makes her the second oldest
person in California, just behind 110 year-old Soledad Mexia, who is
Maas was a
journalism student at
Columbia University in 1920, when an ad for assistant to the story
at Universal Studios caught her eye. She eventually became the story
for the New York office, selecting plays, novels, and stories that
translate well to the screen. When the studio reneged on the promise
make her studio writer, she left New York and moved to Hollywood,
still a relatively underdeveloped town. She sold her first script
immediately and soon landed a coveted writing job at MGM. There at
commissary she would spend time with studio figures such as director
Von Stroheim and actresses Norma Shearer and Marion Davies.
Plastic Age (1925), starring
Clara Bow, was Mass’ first big success. After that, Maas worked on
other films with the starlet, including Dance Madness (1926),
(1927), and Red Hair (1928). For His Secretary (1925)
Waning Sex (1926), Maas worked alongside her good friend and
Norma Shearer. She also contributed to the films Flesh and the
(1926), Rolled Stockings (1927), and The Way of All Flesh
remained down-to-earth amid the
outward glamour of Hollywood, knowing only too well how studio
worked. After several years at MGM, Maas requested to be transferred
another production unit and was labeled a “troublemaker” as a
remembers, “What I did was a very big no-no. Producers might steal
another and stab each other in the back, but when it came to dealing
dissatisfied, unhappy writers, producers were fraternal brothers who
together—especially when some lowly writer challenged their
troubles, combined with an FBI investigation during the red scare of
1950s, force Maas to work on more freelance projects and eventually
to start a new career in insurance.
film career, she survived
the transition from silent film to sound and then from
color. She lived through two world wars, the Depression, the
and eighteen different presidencies. Maas has witnessed over a
history, and this birthday another milestone to add to a long list
Although sales of traditional DVDs have been dropping steadily, the U.S. mail-order rental giant Netflix is increasing its subscriber base. Netflix has now launched a major new drive to add two million new subscribers while simultaneously cutting postage costs by tempting customers to view films on their computers via streaming. If successful, the company could greatly influence how the public views home entertainment. For more click here
Those were the days: Linda Carter strutting her stuff in the 1970s TV version of Wonder Woman- contrasted with the new, blander version of the iconic heroine.
Times are catching up with Wonder Woman. DC Comics has authorized artist Jim Lee to create a new look for the action icon for her 600th issue. The Huffington Post reports that writer J. Michael Straczynski explained, "She's been locked into pretty
much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941. If you're going to
make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you
need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her
up, and give her a modern sensibility." She may look more modern, but count on us male chauvinists to begrudge the lack of Wonder Gams now that her legs have been criminally covered up! In fact, there isn't much wonder about this woman...the new ensemble is far more drab than what we see on attendees at Lady Gaga concerts. For more click here
The UK Film Council, which traditionally has provided essential funding for worthy films that would otherwise not find financing, is the latest victim of England's drastic budget crisis. The new conservative government is taking action by making massive cuts in many areas in order to avoid the kind of financial meltdown experienced by Greece...and the Film Council will be among the hardest hit. The result will be much less funding available for aspiring filmmakers. For more click here
Hume, one of
the most accomplished directors of photography has died
veteran of over
100 films, Alan Hume began his career as a clapper boy on David Lean's
Which We Serve, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. He progressed up the
focus puller by his third film with Lean. When
Our Girl Friday
(starring a young Joan Collins) came along in 1953, Hume was promoted to
operator and shot 27 more films as camera operator in 7 years. He gained
reputation for being fast, efficient and a brilliant photographer -
impressed Carry On producer Peter Rogers, who put Hume under contract
offered him the chance to become a director of photography in 1960 on No
Kidding. Over the next forty years, Hume lit over 150 films and TV shows.Among
were fifteen Carry On films, Star Wars: Return of the
Stepping Out, Shirley Valentine, A Fish Called Wanda, The Land That Time
Shout At The Devil and TV shows The Avengers, Space Precinct and
Acapulco HEAT. James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli was so impressed by Hume's work that he hired him for four 007 blockbusters: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill.
Hume was regarded as a true gentleman within his chosen industry. As a friend and supporter of Cinema Retro, we mourn his loss.- Dave Worrall and Lee Pfeiffer
(Cinema Retro columnist Gareth Owen co-authored Alan Hume's 2004 autobiography A Life Through the Lens: Memoirs of a Film Cameraman. To read about Hume's remarkable career, click here to order from Amazon USA , click here to order from Amazon UK.)