Retro is all the rage- as evidenced by director Bryan Singer revealing that X Men: First Class will be set during the John F. Kennedy administration and is inspired by the 60s James Bond films in terms of the sets and look of the movie. Click here for more
The 1965 cult action film Crack in the World has been released on DVD. Here is the synopsis:
Steven Sorenson (Dana Andrews) and his wife and fellow scientist Dr. Maggie
Sorenson (Janette Scott) plan to utilize the geothermal energy of the Earth's
interior by detonating a powerful thermonuclear device deep within the Earth’s
core. Despite warnings by Maggie’s ex-flame and fellow scientist Dr. Ted
Rampian (Kieron Moore), Dr. Sorenson proceeds with the experiment after he
secretly learns that he is terminally ill. This experiment causes a crack
within the earth's crust and threatens to split the earth in two if it is not
stopped in time.
Click here to read Cinema Retro columnist Steve Saragossi's tribute to the film.
Tim Burton has hired his Ed Wood screenwriters to develop a script based on the drawings of cartoonist Charles Addams. The feature will be stop-motion and will be more reverent to Addam's original concept of America's most beloved family of weirdos. Click here for more
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST ARTICLES FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES
It's no secret that American actors have been making TV commercials for the Japanese market for decades. In years past, there was little chance these would be seen in English-speaking countries where it would have been considered tacky for stars of great magnitude to appear as pitchmen for various products. However, the age of the Internet has opened up a King Tut's tomb of buried video treasures including a real gem featuring Charles Bronson in a bizarre TV spot that looks like it was funded by the old gay erotic magazine Blueboy. That's right - the most macho of leading men appeared in an ad that looks like an outtake from William Friedkin's Cruising.
Cinema Retro's Dean Brierly plays Jimmy Olsen to investigate this rarity: but first check out the video by clicking here
Once Upon a Time in the East, Charles Bronson was the pitchman on a Japanese TV commercial that we suspect he felt would never be seen by western audiences...
The year 1970 was a hot one for Charles Bronson. After grinding away for decades as Hollywood’s toughest character actor, he was on the cusp of international superstardom thanks to a breakout performance in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and several gritty Eurocrime films. 1970 was also the year that a Japanese corporation sought a Hollywood star to headline an ad campaign for its new line of “Mandom” men’s-care products. Whether through fate, serendipity or cocaine-fueled inspiration, Mandom and Bronson were brought together in a brilliant conflation of the actor’s self-aware hyper-masculinity and over-the-top Japanese film aesthetics. The result was the most mind-blowing television commercial to ever scorch the airwaves.
The spot begins with a close-up of a pianist feeling his way through a bluesy, cocktail lounge number oozing with after-hours ambience. The camera slowly pulls back to reveal a nattily attired Bronson sitting alone in a swank nightclub elegantly defined by heavy curtains, soft lighting and tables discreetly spaced for romantic tête-à-tête. Bronson isn’t seated at one of the tables, however, but at the piano, where he directs a disturbingly intimate smile at the piano player as his gravelly voiceover intones: “All the world loves a lover. All the world loves…Mandom!” The homoerotic emanations are already starting to thrum.
There’s a quick dissolve as Bronson strolls out of the club, where he’s greeted by bit-part actor Percy Helton playing Sam the doorman. (Helton was the obsequious pipsqueak in countless films, most famously Kiss Me Deadly, in which Ralph Meeker slams Helton’s hand in a drawer until he screams like a little girl.) Helton is at his slobbery, sycophantic best as he escorts the icon to his car, whereupon Bronson claps the little guy on the back in a gesture of masculine bonhomie and wishes him good night. “Thank you, Mr. Bronson,” Helton fawningly responds, his tongue practically up Bronson’s arse. “Goodnight, Mr. Bronson. Sleep tight!” Helton then cackles insanely as Chuck zooms off into the night to the swelling strains of a Love Boat-style chorus. Buñuel couldn’t have staged this scene any better.
Another dissolve shows Bronson dramatically entering his penthouse and immediately begin undoing his tie as a Jack Jones-type croons the Mandom theme song. After selecting his favorite pipe from his pipe rack, Bronson strips off his shirt and with a quick pirouette flings it into the air as if he’s auditioning for a road show of The Sound of Music. His pecs proudly displayed, Bronson struts over to his Mandom shrine, grabs a phallic-shaped can of aftershave and spins the top off to the sound of spaghetti western-style gunshots. If the ad had ended at this point, it would still be the defining moment of Bronson’s career. But there’s more. Oh, so much more.
As Bronson starts slathering on the Mandom like he’s taking a shower in it, there are several quick cutaways to shots of his inner cowboy—tricked out in fancy fringed buckskin—fanning the hammer of a Colt pistol in a flurry of manly action poses. As if that weren’t enough surrealism for thunderstruck television viewers, an off-screen stallion starts whinnying like he’s about to mount a filly. (Or maybe that’s just the sound Bronson makes during the physical act of love.) Having fully marinated himself in Mandom, Bronson leans back in his leather easy chair, pornstache impeccably groomed, and narcissistically caresses his face as he pours every ounce of his artistry into the ad’s tag line: “Ummm. Mandom!”
Even repeated viewings of this two-minute slice of television nirvana can’t diffuse the Mandom magic, something that can’t be said about all of Bronson’s subsequent cinematic endeavors. It’s sheer class on every level: from the A-game performances of Bronson and Helton to the overwhelming homoeroticism to the impeccable evocation of a superficial, sybaritic lifestyle. It’s impossible to single out a defining money shot, as every frame dazzles with a brilliance that Orson Welles could only dream of. Perhaps the best part is the ending, with Bronson sitting alone in his tastefully decorated apartment and nary a female in sight. The narrative implications are left intriguingly open-ended, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s saving his money shot for Sam and the piano player.
How many people remember that an absurd water conspiracy played a central theme in the plot of Dr. Strangelove?
Movie fans love lists, but this one is truly unique: water issues expert Peter H. Gleick has compiled a list of major films that have water as a central theme. He's also asking readers to help contribute to any titles he may have missed. Click here to read
Hong Kong's Johnnie To is one of Asia's most popular directors - but his films receive limited release in the USA. The IFC is premiering his latest movie Vengeance as an on-demand attraction.
With most movie theaters catering to blockbuster releases, it's often hard for more discriminating audiences to find- or even learn about- smaller, less-heralded films. The New York Times reports that the Independent Film Channel is leading the charge in promoting high profile "premieres" of many great movies that you might otherwise be unaware of. Click here for details
Daniel Craig, filming a new movie in New Mexico, tells the Los Angeles Times that he's ready, willing and able to play James Bond for a third time, but the financial uncertainty involving cash-strapped MGM has left him a spy who is back out in the cold. "You probably know more than I do," Craig said. "It is what it is.
Unless MGM can sort themselves out, we can't make a movie. It's hard to
talk about things that aren't happening. There will be more to say when
things are happening. I'm really keen to get going, it's as simple as
that. And I'm hoping that, in a while, we will." For more click here
Thomas Hauerslev, one of Denmark's most notable film historians and preservationists, was instrumental in honoring the 125th anniversary of the birth of Karen Blixen, the cauthor of the novel Out of Africa, which was based on her own experiences. The book was turned into an Oscar-winning Sydney Pollack film.Over 350 people attended a rare 70mm showing of the movie on the lawn of the Blixen estate. Concidentally, the event also marked the 25th anniversary of the film. For full coverage visit Thomas' excellent web site In70mm.com
It's hard to believe it's been 30 years since the release of Clint Eastwood's nostalgic comedy Bronco Billy. The film was very underrated in its day and did disappointing business at the box-office. However, a new generation of critics look far more favorably on the movie. Click here to read memories of local residents about the time Eastwood came to Idaho to make the movie
Netflix, the American movie rental giant that has millions of monthly subscribers, has closed a deal that will allow it to make streaming videos of recent films from MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount available to customers. Although traditional DVD mail order rentals remain the basis of the company's business, Netflix sees rapid growth in streaming video- which also reduces their mailing costs. Click here for details
Michael Douglas' reprise of his Oscar-winning role in Wall Street may end up costing him a bundle. His ex-wife Diandra is suing her former spouse, saying she is entitled to compensation for the sequel directed by Oliver Stone. Her basis is a divorce agreement that says she can earn money from films Douglas did during the period in which they were married. Although their marriage ended in 2000, Diandra claims that the character of Gordon Gekko was originated in a film Douglas starred in while they were still wed, hence - the logic goes- she is entitled to share in his salary from the new movie. Douglas' lawyer says it's time for Diandra to leave his client alone and get on with her life. Neither Michael or Diandra Douglas appeared in court, opting to let their mouthpieces battle it out. For more click here
It's been 40 years since Paramount's screen adaptation of Erich Segal's besteller Love Story opened to smash business. Many critics called the slight story of a doomed love affair between two Harvard students sappy and out of touch with the cutting edge films being made at the time. The public didn't seem to listen. Not only did Love Story become one of the studio's top-grossing films of all time but it also scored seven major Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. That was then, this is now. In recent years, a new Harvard tradition has taken place: screening the film to derisive comments from the student body. New York Times writer Thomas Vinciguerra explores this phenomenon, which is fun for some and distasteful to others - and he gets some comments from the movie's star Ali MacGraw. At the risk of getting kicked out of Sam Peckinpah Fan Society, I can say I've always liked the movie and still do- even though it makes Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory look edgy in comparison. Click here to read
report that Ahna Capri was killed in a car accident over the weekend
in LA. She began as a child actress in the 50s and morphed into a sexy 60s
starlet who resembled a cross between Sandra Dee and Joey Heatherton. Using the name Anna Capri, she appeared in such films as Kisses for My
President andThe Girls on the Beach (co-star Gail Gerber remembers
Anna as "such a lovely girl. I remember when first meeting her I couldn't
believe how beautiful she was.") She popped up all over TV in such series as The
Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, The Invaders, Run for Your Life, and It
Takes a Thief. In the 70s, a la Mariana Hill, she changed her
name also to
Ahna Capri (she remarked, "Too many people pronounce 'Anna' with a flat
'a' and it comes out as ugly 'Aaana.'") and began to show the world she
had more talent than previously being
given credit especially in the underrated Payday (1972) opposite Rip Torn as one bastard of a country-western singer. She
reached cult status with her appearance in Enter the Dragon (1973) with Bruce
Lee and as The Specialist (1975) a sexy assassin for hire. Ahna Capri retired from acting in 1979.- -Tom Lisanti/www.sixtiescinema.com
Harlow, one of two major feature films about the legendary screen sex symbol made during the same year, will make its DVD debut on September 28 from Olive Films. This version stars Carroll Baker while the other film (amazingly carrying the same title!) starred Carol Lynley. Here is the official synopsis:
in 1928 is a land of milk and honey, magic and fantasy. Jean Harlow’s
spectacularly controversial and tragic career begins with bit parts in movies
while she’s living with her mother and opportunistic stepfather. When Hollywood
agent, Arthur Landau (Golden Globe Nominee, Red Buttons), spots her on a film
set, he gets her a series of comedy roles and soon realizes he has a gold mine
in Miss Harlow (Carroll Baker). She becomes an overnight sensation and critics
hail her as the next great sex symbol. This film documents the rise and fall of
a true Hollywood Legend. Directed by Gordon Douglas (Tony Rome),
Screenplay by John Michael Hayes (Peyton Place, The Carpetbaggers) and
Costumes by legendary designer Edith Head.
Sly Stallone's The Expendables managed to cling to the #1 spot at the weekend box-office, with a combined gross to date of $65 million in North America. The Julia Roberts film Eat Pray Love also held well. While neither film is shaping up as a blockbuster, they do indicate both stars still have an audience if they appear in the right type of movie. Not faring as well is the new Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy The Switch, which came in a dismal #8 with $8 million. For more click here
Despite contemplating pulling the plug on the project, Universal is pushing ahead to begin shooting a $200 million big screen adventure film based on the classic Hasbro board game Battleship. However, since the script calls for an alien invasion of earth- a concept never reflected in versions of the game- one wonders why they even bothered to get the rights to the original Hasbro concept. Universal is starved for hits and is rolling the dice on this. The budget will go primarily on special effects as the film will have low-wattage stars and director. The studio is hoping it has the next Jaws, but industry insiders are wary because Universal is the same studio that thought Waterworld would be a sure-fire hit. If this doesn't work, we understand Universal will try to lure Matt Damon into starring in a $500 million big screen version of Pick Up Stix. Click here for more
Eastwood takes aim the decision to abolish the UK Film Council
For many years the UK Film Council has provided incentives for major film productions to shoot in the United Kingdom. However, in the wake of severe budget cuts, Prime Minister David Cameron's administration has proposed doing away with the Council. This has outraged many notable actors and filmmakers who say that the costs of administering the Council are dwarfed by the money major movies bring into the UK. Among the critics: Clint Eastwood, who has personally written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bitterly oppose the decision. Click here for more
Looks like Cinema Retro isn't the only magazine who appreciates the fact that the cool 1972 Raquel Welch Western Hannie Caulder has finally received a DVD release in North America. Click here for Entertainment Weekly reviewer Chris Nashawaty's take on the film. Click here to order from Amazon.
Viral internet rumors have succeeded in achieving what enemy agents from the I Spy era could not: killing off Bill Cosby!
In the last week Bill Cosby has been busy with an unusual project- proving he is alive. Internet pranksters have passed around the rumor that the iconic comedian was no longer of this world. At first Cos took it all in stride, but he's now using every media outlet possible to prove that rumors of his demise are premature. Of course in an age in which the general public seems to believe every crazy conspiracy theory, the odds are against Cosby convincing most people he isn't really dead. Click here for more
Handy man: Paul Reubens was planning to use a Masters and Johnson sex expert to prove he was innocent of charges.
Paul Reubens, better known as Pee Wee Herman, tells Playboy that he has proof that he was innocent of charges that he was masturbating in an adult movie house - an act that led to his arrest in 1991. The incident sidelined his career and made him the butt of endless jokes for late night comics. However, Reubens says, "Had we gone to trial, we had ready an expert from the Masters and
Johnson Institute who was going to testify that in 30 years of research
on masturbation the institute had never found one person who masturbated
with his or her nondominant hand. I'm right-handed, and the police
report said I was jerking off with my left hand. That would have been
the end of the case right there, proof it couldn't have been me." The mind reels at what the courtroom coverage would have been like... We're more intrigued by the fact that someone can get paid for 30 years to immerse themselves in masturbation. Man, did we pick the wrong career! For more click here
Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada starred in the original series.
CHIPS, the once-popular crime show about the California Interstate Highway Patrol, may be the latest vintage TV series to get new life. Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that aggressive plans are underway to revive the series, which ran between 1977-1983. This would be yet another sign of the creative drought in Hollywood, as studios look to their vaults to dust off older concepts. Hawaii 5-0 is being revived later this year. For more click here
Disney is re-issuing their classic Oscar-nominated film Beauty and the Beast in 3-D to cash in on the latest technology craze. One critic who thinks it's a mistake is James Sims, who outlines why this strategy is an insult to the last great era of original Disney animation. Click here to read
This won't mean much to international readers but please bear with us. With former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in the news again, having gotten a mistrial on 23 of the 24 federal indictments against him yesterday, it's time we pointed out a significant fact that we ran some time ago. Blago, as he is known to one and all, is quite possibly the most embarrassing and goofy American politician of our time (and that's saying something!). He fails to realize that his trademark tidal wave-style haircut has made him a national laughing stock. However, we did notice the similarity to the "do" worn by actor William Devane. The only difference is that Devane won't have to worry about how to maintain the style inside a federal prison, as Blago was still convicted on one count.
James Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Rob Wade have been hired to write a new international conspiracy thriller set in the Middle East. Purvis and Wade's recent Bond script is stuck in limbo as the franchise copes with MGM's financial woes that have delayed production of the next 007 film. For more click here
With the long-running At The Movies review show coming to an end, IFC has complied ten of the most memorable reviews given by Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper. Curiously, one of the most amusing concerns a long-forgotten Burt Reynolds turkey called Cap and a Half. Click here to view
As a writer at CinemaRetro.com, I want to
thank you all for your support and kind comments regarding our work. It
is very gratifying to know that the movies that we writers love are
equally admired by others out there!
As most of us have been
movie fans for virtually our entire lives, there are inevitably titles
that we want to see again, but were too young to take notice of the
title. There is one film that I am looking for, and have been looking
for since the late 1970s, and I am asking for your help. All I have is
of the film, and if anyone out there is able to identify it or point me
in the right direction, I will personally thank you on this website.
Here is my
In the late 1970s, I saw a film in my elementary school that I have not forgotten. I
to say that this film is European(?) and was made in either the 1960
1970’s, but I am not sure. In the film, a young boy gets a white teddy
bear for Christmas and is
disappointed because He wanted a brown teddy bear instead. He takes the
bear with him on a train ride and tells the bear that he wants the brown
instead. He gets to the North Pole and asks Santa for the other bear,
but when Santa gives it to him, he is told that he has to hand over the
teddy bear. He can only have one. I don't recall if he goes home with
the original bear, or does the exchange. This film is not animated, it
If you have any information about this film,
please email me at horrorexpress1968 at yahoo.com (please replace the
"at" with the actual "@" sign). Please put "Santa 16mm Children's Film"
in the subject line. Thank you in advance!
The doctor is in....Blu-ray, that is. Warner Home Video has released David Lean's 1965 blockbuster as a deluxe Blu-ray edition and it's probably a cliche to say it, but the film has not looked this good except on the big screen. Zhivago is as much a film about cinematography and production design as it is a human story of entangled romantic relationships set against the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Additionally, Maurice Jarre's classic score should have earned him co-star billing. As such, the Blu-ray format does justice to Freddie Young's magnificent camerawork and John Box's lavish sets. The film was never regarded as highly by critics as it was beloved by the public. Coming off Lean's triumphs with The Bridge On the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, most reviewers gave the movie respectable, if unenthusiastic notices. Certainly the pace is slow, even by 1965 standards, and the plot meanders to the degree that some of the characters and their relationships become confusing. The performance of Omar Sharif as the titular character has been deemed as bland (a criticism Sharif himself agrees with), but the flaw lies less in the actor than in the fact that Zhivago is a largely boring character who merely serves as a witness to the incredible events unfolding before him. The Boris Pasternak source novel caused a sensation when it was banned in the Soviet Union, which naturally ensured it's best-seller status across the rest of the world. Lean's screen adaptation certainly keeps in those aspects critical of the Communist dogma, but accentuates the love story at its center. The movie proved to be critic-proof, as audiences lined up around the globe to make this one of MGM's biggest moneymakers ever.
Here's a real gem: a 9 minute vintage featurette about the making of the epic 1969 musical Paint Your Wagon starring Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood and Jean Seberg. The film was one of the most unfairly maligned movies of the era, primarily because it lost a fortune and marked the end of director Joshua Logan's distinguished career. However, like the similarly-scorned Cleopatra, it remains wonderful entertainment. This featurette is narrated by the stars, Logan and composer Alan J. Lerner. Click here to view
Audrey Hepburn promoting My Fair Lady in 1964: was the beloved actress over-rated in the film?
By Lee Pfeiffer
Distinguished British actress Emma Thompson is drafting a screenplay for a remake of the classic musical My Fair Lady, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1964. It's controversial enough to be remaking a film that many consider near-perfect, but Thompson has ruffled feathers by assaulting the legend of Audrey Hepburn, saying her performance as Eliza Doolittle was over-praised and that the beloved Hepburn couldn't act. She attributes the film's success to others, saying: "It was (costumer) Cecil Beaton's
designs and (Hepburn's co-star) Rex Harrison that gave it its extraordinary
quality. I don't do Audrey Hepburn. I think that she's a guy thing ... It's high
time that the extraordinary role of Eliza was reinterpreted, because it's a very
fantastic part for a woman." In fact, Hepburn's voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon for the song sequences- a trait that was common in those days but which did muddy the effectiveness of a an actor's performance, especially in a musical. Still, the general consensus is that Hepburn's work in the non-singing sequences was marvelous. Thompson says she's bringing a feminist viewpoint to the remake. Although she is to be commended for her honesty, she's setting herself up for a major fall by comparing her reworking of a classic as a distinct improvement. Click here for more
Oscar winner Michael Douglas has confirmed he has been diagnosed with cancer. The 65 year-old son of screen legend Kirk Douglas has a tumor in his throat and will undergo chemotherapy treatments. He predicts he will make a full recovery. For more click here
Not long ago, Sylvester Stallone was relegated to the hell of "direct-to-video" feature films. However, his well received return to the Rocky and Rambo franchises yielded decent, if unspectacular box-office. The question has been whether Sly had any other arrows in his quiver other than his most reliable characters. The release of his star-packed adventure film The Expendables seems to prove that he has. The film opened #1 at the weekend box-office with $36 million. Those are not blow-away numbers by industry standards, but given the fact that August represents the dog days of summer movie releases, it is enough to demonstrate Stallone has got some of his mojo back. Also performing well: Julia Roberts' chick flick Eat Pray Love, which follows her disappointing run at the boxoffice. Click here for more
Shock-O-Rama Cinema is yet another independent DVD label trying valiantly to give exposure to B movies that might otherwise have been forgotten. In a move that will certainly please every misogynist male out there in Retroland, the company has released a Women in Prison triple feature containing 2 DVDs with the following exploitation titles from the 1970s: Escape From Hell, The Hot Box and Women in Cell Block 7. One of the tag lines from the DVD box states "Drug smuggling, car chases, cat fights and shower scenes!" Talk about truth in advertising...It doesn't take long for these oppressed females to find consolation from each other in seemingly omnipresent shower stalls. The films are Italian-made low-budget affairs that basically follow the same premise: various women are imprisoned in the kind of hell holes that make Papillon's cell look like the Ritz. They are exploited and sexually abused by guards and the prison hierarchy and also have to contend with butch lesbians who rule the cell blocks. Naturally, as in all "WIP"-themed films, the good ladies persevere and never let their personal appearance suffer too greatly, even when being threatened by snakes and mad killers. It should be noted that while the Shock-O-Rama release is fun to indulge in, the master prints used for the films leave a lot to be desired. The company has included some bonus trailers of other exploitation films, and some can be viewed by clicking here.
John Ford's 1939 classic Stagecoach finally gets the inimitable deluxe release from Criterion. The film's merits should be obvious to viewers of any generation, as it remains a wonderfully entertaining adventure. However, what has probably been diminished to many movie fans over the decades is the impact Stagecoach had on the Western movie genre. With this film, Ford had elevated the Western from the realm of B matinee productions by providing a highly intelligent, superbly written scenario designed to appeal to adults rather than the traditional core audience for Westerns, which was primarily children. In reality, there had been several attempts to elevate the Western to a higher plain prior to Stagecoach - primarily Raoul Walsh's 1930 epic The Big Trail. However, that film required theaters in invest in expensive widescreen projection equipment - something they were loathe to do during the Depression. Thus, the movie lost a fortune and relegated its star, John Wayne, back to B movie hell. Ford rescued Wayne by bucking studio executives who wanted a more prestigious star for Stagecoach. The rest, as they say, is history.
Rush is a band that has been playing live since 1968 and recording and touring since 1974.They rank just behind The Beatles and the Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio album sales.They have toured the globe many times over in support of their 19 studio albums and have played to millions of people for 36 years.Despite all of this, little is known about this Canadian rock group outside of the circles of their most ardent fans. Rush is comprised of three fairly private individuals who don’t think of themselves as interesting enough to warrant media scrutiny.Fortunately, there are those who disagree. Among them are filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, both Rush fans who met with the Holy Rock Triumvirate in August 2007 during a stop in Dallas, TX while on tour in support of their “Snakes and Arrows” album. During the visit, they convinced Rush that they should be the subject of their next documentary film.Having previously made several films about the world of heavy metal music – Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (2005), Global Metal (2008), and Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (2009) – the filmmakers wanted to tell the story behind this incredible rock band, and how they have managed to not only last but flourish in an industry that can easily cripple and destroy other bands.
Lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart are center stage in Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which premiered on April 24, 2010 as part of the ninth annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, and is now available on a double-disc DVD and single-disc Blu-Ray.Running nearly two hours in length, the audience is taken on an awe-inspiring, entertaining and informative journey documenting the history and philosophy of Rush.There are many musicians of various backgrounds who lend their thoughts on what Rush means to them, among them Gene Simmons of Kiss (Rush used to open for them in the 1970’s), Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Jack Black of Tenacious D, Billy Corrigan of Smashing Pumpkins, and Sebastian Bach, to name a few.
The web site Bachelor's Degree Blog has a good article detailing their choices for 15 of the best "Coming-of-Age" movies. In addition to insightful analysis, they provide clips from the films to bolster their arguments. Click here to read
Aldo Sanbrell photographed at is home by Cinema Retro's John Exshaw. (Photo copyright John Exshaw. All rights reserved.)
I just wanted to say thank you for the fantastic job you guys did on
the Aldo Sambrell article. It's sad for many of older fans to see these
actors now ride into the sunset without them getting the send off they
deserve. Many out of the public eye for nearly 30 - 40 years now are
unknown to anyone under 40 and yet they are missing a heritage and a group
of actors who dominated films in the 60s and 70s. The character actors in
the Spaghetti western genre appear over an over in the genre and to the
fans they are as recognizable and loved as the stars of the films
themselves. It was always great to see a film and see the names Fernando
Sancho, Aldos Sambrell, Victor Israel, Lorenzo Robledo, Luigi Pistilli and
Mario Brega among others. They brought talent to the screen mIssing in
today's film industry.
Thanks again for a great article and a great job for a great
Viva Cinema Retro, Viva Aldo Sambrell,
Tom, many thanks for your kind words....they are much appreciated. It's actually our columnist John Exshaw who gets all the credit for writing such a heartfelt and personal tribute to his friend. Your observations ring true that younger generations of film-goers will probably have little appreciation for the work of the many supporting actors who brought so much to movies of the past. Although there are many fine movies being made today, one thing that is lacking is the reliable stock companies of familiar character actors. Where are the Walter Brennans, Jack Elams and Arthur O'Connells of today? Chances are anyone who resembled them wouldn't get past the studio gates. By the way, although Aldo 's name was commonly spelled "Sambrell" in movie credits, his actual last name was spelled "Sanbrell"...go figure. In any event, he was a great talent who will be missed. By the way, we checked out your blog about Italian Westerns and can highly recommend it to readers. Click here to access. - Lee Pfeiffer
Here's a short but interesting B&W promotional film shot by Universal showing Clint Eastwood directing his 1973 Western High Plains Drifter. If fans and collectors can locate gems such as these and post them on YouTube, why can't studios find them in their own vaults and include them on the DVD releases? Click here to view (By the way, when was the last time you saw a movie poster this impressive?)
The fine line between politics and show business has been blurred once again - and this time involves an icon of retro pop culture. The Obama administration has enlisted a heavyweight talent to promote changes in America's health care laws that they say will add immeasurably to benefits for senior citizens. Andy Griffith, the 84 year-old comedy legend, appears in the ad, speaking directly to seniors and assuring them that the changes coming will aid them substantially. For the benefit of our many non-US readers, some context may be needed as to why the Obama administration would think that a social medical program for senior citizens would need defending by a high profile entertainer. The cause extends back to last summer's contentious debates over the President's health care bill, which was ultimately approved by the slimmest of margins. Many aspects of Obama's health care plan don't kick in until 2014,
though some benefits such as prohibiting insurance companies from
dropping children with pre-existing conditions have already been put in
place. During the height of the debates, Sarah Palin warned seniors that the plan would ultimately result in older citizens having to appear before "death panels" that would judge whether they qualified for life-saving medical treatments. Most prominent Republican officials quickly distanced themselves from this notion and the White House initially deferred comment, thinking the very idea was too absurd to respond to. However, Palin's tactics proved successful and even today, millions of seniors are convinced they will have to appear before a "death panel". Hence, the Obama administration's enlistment of the folksy Griffith to allay fears about the new health plan. Griffith doesn't get political in the spot and doesn't address any controversies, opting instead to tell seniors that their coverage will be enhanced. However, the ad is stirring up a hornet's nest among conservatives who say the administration has inappropriately spent $700,000 on what they regard as a propaganda campaign. The White House is dismissing calls to remove the spots from the air. (Griffith was not paid for his appearance.)
Sexy Jennifer Aniston pays homage to the look of Barbara Streisand, circa mid-1960s, for an eye-catching cover of Harper's Bazaar- in glorious black-and-white. Babs approves the tribute, but wonders where her distinctive "nose bump" is. For more click here
Sylvester Stallone's reunion of 80s action stars in The Expendables has failed to impress USA Today critic Claudia Puig, though maybe a female writer isn't the intended audience Stallone had in mind. Puig gives the film the kind of unreservedly awful review that you seldom come across, calling it "... truly a movie that nobody needs — gratuitously savage, implausible and sometimes incoherent." Click here to read
Turns out that the legendary Mitch Miller was actually legendary enough to be mentioned in Queen's classic song Bohemian Rhapsody.
I just read Lee Pfeiffer's notice of Mitch Miller's passing. Part of
one sentence struck me as being awfully peculiar: the bit about Miller's
being mentioned in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Because he ain't.
Here's the lyrics. If you can find Mitch in here, please let me know where because I'm missing something.
All the best,
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide No escape from reality Open your eyes Look up to the skies and see I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy Because I'm easy come, easy go A little high, little low Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me
Mama, just killed a man Put a gun against his head Pulled my trigger, now he's dead Mama, life had just begun But now I've gone and thrown it all away Mama, ooo Didn't mean to make you cry If I'm not back again this time tomorrow Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters
Too late, my time has come Sends shivers down my spine Body's aching all the time Goodbye everybody - I've got to go Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth Mama, ooo - (anyway the wind blows) I don't want to die I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all
I see a little silhouetto of a man Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango Thunderbolt and lightning - very very frightening me Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo Figaro - magnifico
But I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me He's just a poor boy from a poor family Spare him his life from this monstrosity Easy come easy go - will you let me go Bismillah! No - we will not let you go - let him go Bismillah! We will not let you go - let him go Bismillah! We will not let you go - let me go Will not let you go - let me go (never) Never let you go - let me go Never let me go - ooo No, no, no, no, no, no, no - Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me for me for me
So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye So you think you can love me and leave me to die Oh baby - can't do this to me baby Just gotta get out - just gotta get right outta here
Ooh yeah, ooh yeah Nothing really matters Anyone can see Nothing really matters - nothing really matters to me
Anyway the wind blows...
Retro Responds: Bryon, we always take delight in debunking false urban legends - especially if we have been unintentionally complicit in spreading them. The line in question reads "Bismillah" - which many people have thought to be "Mitch Miller!". So widespread was this belief that when the song first came out, people at parties would sing "Mitch Miller!" and that false notion was repeated throughout the mainstream media in Miller's obituary. The premise that Mitch Miller might have been mentioned in the Queen classic didn't strike anyone as particularly absurd, given the fact that the song haphazardly name drops other seemingly disconnected prominent people, albeit in retrospect, Mitch Miller wouldn't have the same historical significance as Galileo or Beelzebub. I confess to never having heard the word "bismillah", but some research shows it is an Arabic term for "The Word of God." Thank you for setting the record straight on this erroneous legend- but please don't try to convince me that Elvis isn't alive and shacking up with elderly James Dean. - Lee Pfeiffer
David L. Wolper, a legend among producers, has died at age 82. Wolper's legacy is an impressive one with a string of highly acclaimed TV documentaries ranging from the Jacques Cousteau specials to The Incredible World of James Bond. His greatest triumph was the 1977 TV mini series adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots, which kept American audiences transfixed for many nights in the era before home video was widespread. Wolper also occasionally produced theatrical films. They include his acclaimed nature documentary feature The Hellstrom Chronicle, the hit comedy If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium and the 1960s epic WWII films The Devil's Brigade and The Bridge At Remagen. Click here to read Huffington Post columnist Dale Olsen's tribute to Wolper's remarkable career.
Back in saner times, moviegoers were treated to newsreels and cartoons prior to the main feature. Today, we pay a king's ransom to sit through God-awful reels of the same dopey ads we see on TV. Yes, there's nothing quite like a mood-enhancer when you're anxiously awaiting an Oscar-nominated film - and nothing enhances that mood like a teaser featuring a rap artist screaming about Coca Cola. However, the picture may be getting brighter. On the IFC web site, writer Matt Singer points out that a long-dormant staple of the movie-going past is making a comeback: the short-form cartoon. Click here for more
Just another excuse for us to run our favorite Star Wars fan photo of all time.
Press release from Sirius XM Radio:
SIRIUS XM Radio announced today that it will launch Star Wars Celebration Radio, a four-day channel that will broadcast live from Star Wars
Celebration V at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL
starting on Thursday, August 12 at 6:00 pm ET on SIRIUS channel 108 and
XM channel 139.
Star Wars Celebration Radio will premiere on the first day of the official Lucasfilm event celebrating the popular Star Wars series. The limited-run channel will feature interviews with stars from the Star Wars
films, as well as behind-the-scenes talent and celebrity fans. SIRIUS
XM listeners will also be able to listen in on panel discussions live
from the Orlando Convention Center.
"Star Wars has some of the most dedicated and passionate fans you
will find anywhere and we are proud to give them their own radio
station," said Jeremy Coleman, Senior Vice President, Talk and
Entertainment Programming, SIRIUS XM Radio. "Whether it is a
play-by-play of droid races, a colorful account of Jedi Training, or
just hearing Obi-Wan and Yoda on their radios, we know fans nationwide
will be hooked."
The Star Wars Celebration Radio channel will be hosted by SIRIUS
XM Radio on-air personalities Raw Dog Comedy's Mark Says Hi and
Cinemagic's Dave Zeimer.
Star Wars Celebration Radio will air Thursday, August 12 through
Sunday, August 15 on SIRIUS channel 108 and XM channel 139 exclusively
on SIRIUS XM Radio.
Back in 1957, Laurence Olivier co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in the romantic comedy The Prince and the Showgirl. One of Olivier's staffers, Colin Clark, was assigned to look after the mercurial actress for a week on location in England. Clark's diaries of those days form the basis of the new movie My Week With Marilyn, with Michelle Williams playing Monroe. The scenario sounds like a British version of My Favorite Year. Kenneth Branagh is rumored to be interested in playing Olivier, which would be a relief. Given some of the dumb casting decisions that have taken place in recent years, we were fearing they might choose Adam Sandler. For more click here
Neal was one of the few actresses who could hold her own opposite such mercurial giants as director Otto Preminger and stars John Wayne and Kirk Douglas in the 1965 drama In Harm's Way
By Lee Pfeiffer
Patricia Neal, the tough-but-sexy actress who won an Oscar for Hud, has died at age 84. During her lifetime, she lived through many dramatic episodes including being the lover of the married Gary Cooper. She also overcame a severe stroke that threatened to sideline her career permanently, but she made a stunning comeback. Neal's film credits include the sci-fi classic from director Robert Wise The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Subject Was Roses (another Oscar nomination), the Elia Kazan classic A Face in the Crowd, Otto Preminger's WWII epic In Harm's Way and many others. However, it was her performance as the world-weary woman working on an all-male cattle ranch in Martin Ritt's 1963 drama Hud that won her the Best Actress Oscar opposite Paul Newman. Neal's performance has been called one of the great acting achievements of 1960s cinema. She continued to be a mainstay in New York society, appearing at many events up until recently. For more click here For critic John Farr's tribute to Neal, click here
Many of his fans may not realize that Leonard Nimoy's real passion is not acting, it's photography. For most of his life, he's been gaining praise for his remarkable photographs, some of which have caused considerable controversy. The New York Times recently spoke to Nimoy about his second career, as well as an on-going exhibition of his photos in North Adams, Massachusetts. Click here to read
A family that was in financial crisis and facing foreclosure on their home has been saved by Superman. The family found a stash of old comic books in the attic and one of them turned out to be Action Comics #1, the 1938 issue that the Man of Steel debuted in. An auction house estimates it will bring in at least #250,000. Talk about an incentive for doing some housecleaning! Click here for more
From sexy ingenue to cougar: Sandra Bullock's career has spanned many years and has reaped her many millions.
If you can overlook her troubled love life, Sandra Bullock has plenty to be happy about. Not only is she a recent Oscar winner, but she's also the top-paid actress in the world, pulling in an estimated $56 million during 2009. Trailing far behind are Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz with "only" $32 million each. For more click here
Click here to watch one of the great impressionists, Frank Gorshin, do a spot-on imitation of Burt Lancaster on a 1970s Dean Martin Roasts episode- much to the delight of Dino and Don Rickles. Ever notice how celebrity impersonators have all but vanished? Could it be there aren't enough interesting people in contemporary show business to spoof? Imagine trying to get laughs doing imitations of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon or Nicholas Cage?