In case you've been staying awake nights wondering whether New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will ever grant a pardon to Billy the Kid, at least you now have an answer: no. Believe it or not, there has been a movement to pressure Richardson to grant the pardon on the basis of speculation that the Kid had been double-crossed by a New Mexico official who may have promised him a pardon in return for testifying at a murder trial. The Kid did testify but was never granted the pardon. Richardson ruled the historical data was too sketchy to prove the facts of the case. The family of Sheriff Pat Garrett has been lobbying not to grant the pardon on the basis that doing so might undermine Garrett's reputation as the man who brought Billy the Kid to justice by killing him.
The legendary gunman has been the subject of countless films and has been played by such diverse talents as Paul Newman and Bob Dylan. Click here for more
It looks like the professional understanding that theater critics hold off reviewing Broadway shows until the official press performance or opening night is down the drain. Unable to resist jumping the gun on the much-publicized, much-troubled $65 million production of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, critics for Bloomberg News and Newsday published their reviews five weeks before the official opening. The show's producers have been frantically making changes to the production, especially in lieu of a number of high profile accidents and technical flubs that have plagued the cast and crew. Producers were predictably outraged that a work in process was reviewed, even though both critics claim they intend to review it again when it officially opens. Click here for more
There has been some fanfare about the "discovery" of 17 minutes of footage cut by Stanley Kubrick from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The missing scenes were alleged to have been found in a salt mine storage facility owned by Warner Brothers (Studios routinely keep valuable footage and photographs in salt mines to prevent deterioration.) However, Warner Brothers says the studio has always been aware the footage has been in its vaults so it isn't really a new discovery. Moreover, WB says it has no plans to utilize the footage in any future release of the classic film. Kubrick was known to exercise dictatorial control over his films and was loathe to add footage after he decided on a final cut. Since his death, his family has continued to prevent additional footage from being released as extras on DVDs. Some years ago, I co-wrote and produced the special DVD edition of Dr. Strangelove for Sony. My partner on the project, David Naylor, tracked down the legendary pie fight sequence that Kubrick cut from the climax of the film. Despite high level appeals to the Kubrick family, Sony could not win approval from them to include the footage -even though Sony arguably controlled the rights. The studio did not want the stigma of going against the Kubricks' wishes. Thus, we respected the decision and were only able to use still photos from the sequence in our documentary about the making of the film. For more about the 2001 footage, click here
The endless onslaught of movie remakes continues with news that plans are afoot to redo the 1984 screen adaptation of Stephen King's Firestarter. The original movie starred young Drew Barrymore as a child with the power to use telepathy to ignite people and objects into flames. For more click here
The Library of Congress has named their choice for the latest American movies to be named to the National Film Registry. The typically eclectic list of influential movies includes John Huston's landmark WWII documentary Let There Be Light, Saturday Night Fever, The Exorcist, Airplane!, The Empire Strikes Back and much more esoteric classic fare. TV network executives across the nation are probably collectively grinding their teeth as films named in the registry are prohibited from being edited for broadcast - and many of these movies are routinely butchered when shown on television. Click here for more.
Feeing blue: Fox executives have to cope with the fact that illegal downloads of Avatar have amounted to over 16 million to date.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Avatar has another distinction aside from being the highest grossing (and most over-rated) film of all time. Seems that the 2009 release is also the most pirated film of 2010, with over 16 million illegal downloads of James Cameron's sci-fi epic to date. Click here for the full list of other most-pirated films during 2010.
Liberals have often accused Fox News of intentionally flubbing chyrons that idenitify Republicans who are embroiled in scandals as Democratics. Fox has always called these charges absurd and says that mistakes in titling segments happen across the broad spectrum of TV news. Here's a blooper that no one will dispute is a legitimate mistake: Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was being interviewed on Fox and Friends when he was briefly identified as "Holocaust Winner"! Click here to view
You're a Big Boy Now, the 1966 coming of age sex comedy, has finally received a DVD release through the Warner Archive. The film is primarily significant because it marked the elevation of young Francis Ford Coppola from B horror movies and skin flicks to slick big studio fare. The film traces the experiences of a young nerd, Bernard (Peter Kastner) as he tries desperately to lose his virginity. It seems the sexual revolution is occurring all around him but he's stuck in the role of Establishment reactionary. This is do in no small part to his overbearing parents. Mom (Geraldine Page) is a monstrously bossy, overbearing type who seems to want to instill an Oedipus complex in young Bernard. Dad (Rip Torn) is a revered department head at the New York City Library who rules the roost with the type of disciplinary tactics that would have offender Himmler. Every time Bernard thinks about rebeling against his uptight parents, he is shamed into conformance. He must also suffer the frustration of seeing his friend and co-worker (Tony Bill) blatantly bed every woman who comes into his orbit.
Fred Foy, the man who immortalized the Lone Ranger on radio through his now legendary introduction, has died at age 89. Click here for details on his life and career. (Thanks to Graham Hill for the tip)
Burt Bacharach's superb soundtrack for the 1967 comedy version of the James Bond film Casino Royale is being released by Kritzerland label as a special edition with remastered and bonus tracks. Amusingly, in the write up about the release on Film Score Monthly's site, the myth is perpetuated that David McCallum makes a cameo in the movie. In fact, it was a look-a-like! The CD will be released in January and can be pre-ordered by clicking here
Cinema Retro spoke and Warner Brothers listened! In one of our previous "We Want Our DVD!" columns, we called for the release of this obscure 1974 crime film on DVD. Lo and behold, it has just been released by Warner Archives. What follows is our original review.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Although Robert Duvall had been playing supporting roles in major films since To Kill a Mockingbird, it was his Oscar-nominated turn as Tom Hagen in The Godfather that elevated him to leading man status. Before long, Duvall was being courted for numerous other gritty crime thrillers. One of the best is one of the least-heralded, The Outfit, a 1974 production from MGM. Written and directed by John Flynn, the film is expertly-made and enacted on all levels. Duvall plays a small-time crook doing time for a bank robbery. As soon as he is released from jail, he finds he's been marked for death by mob boss Robert Ryan (excellent, as always, in what turned out to be his final screen appearance). Apparently, Duvall had been unaware that the bank he held up was secretly owned by Ryan, who has already killed his brother for acting as an accomplish during the heist. Duvall becomes obsessed with avenging his brother's death and getting to Ryan before the mob can exercise its contract. He enlists the help of sultry girlfriend Karen Black and fellow petty crook Joe Don Baker. Before long, they are barely escaping death as they raid various mob locations to bleed Ryan financially. The climax finds Duvall and Baker trying to infiltrate Ryan's seemingly impregnable compound to deliver the coup de grace.
For those of you who long for simpler times, check out this rare Christmas greeting from The Beatles in 1964. Each of the Fab Four takes a turn thanking fans for seeing "the movie" and for keeping them on top of the charts, in between ad-libbing and being as irreverent as possible. Click here to view. (Thanks to George Koodray for the link)
The Big Boss (aka The Fists of Fury) was the film which launched Bruce Lee’s international film career. Director Lo Wei’s movie premiered in Hong Kong in 1971, but its international success arrived some time later. The German distributor (Cinerama) tried to subtly adapt the film to western visual habits. This was done mainly through an altered soundtrack. It was supposed that the original score of Chinese composer Wang Fu-ling would would appeal only to Lee's core fans in Asia and would have little appeal in Western nations.
This proved to be the moment when Peter Thomas came into play. He had been commissioned to conceive the new soundtrack. As a result, his music can be heard in the film worldwide with the exception of China and England. So Thomas’ soundtrack virtually became the most identified score of The Big Boss. It is striking the way in which Thomas successfully integrates his music into the oriental cinematic milieu. The snappy main theme alone, with its stunning brass motif, has become eternal in its very essence. Some 37 years on, Chris’ Soundtrack Corner and All Score Media have released this music on CD for the very first time. Spread over 20 razor sharp sounding tracks, Thomas’ music bristles with energy, some of which benefit from the pleasing use of 70’s style electronic sound effects. Like the legend himself, this CD is fast, furious and slicker than slick!
There's a Golden Rule in America: you can take on virtually anyone on the political right or left and find plenty of support. However, there remains one iconic presence that who is seemingly immune from criticism: Oprah Winfrey. No one denies that the Queen of TV has used her influence and wealth to benefit needy people. However, pundit Bill Maher takes her on for her mega-rated annual "Favorite Things" show in which she lavishes incredible gifts on audience members. They range from free cruises to Australia to new cars. Maher criticizes Winfrey, who fashions herself a "spiritual" person, for perpetuating America's obsession with defining happiness by owning materialistic goods, which Maher categorizes as "crap". He uses video clips to illustrate the virtually insane reactions of the audiences members as they are awarded these prizes. He also uses clips from other TV shows in which recipients of gifts act equally crazy. What he fails to point out is that at least this year's recipients on Oprah's program were all chosen on the basis of notable charitable work they have done. Still, the almost lunatic reaction of the recipients gives credence to Maher's criticisms, especially in an era in which many American's find themselves deep in debt at least in part due to wreckless over-spending on materialistic goods. These people look like they revere Winfrey as a virtual religious leader on the basis of getting some free loot. None of this is really new. At least Winfrey's audience is demeaning themselves on the basis of receiving some pretty expensive prizes. However, back in the 60s and 70s, people would do even crazier things on Let's Make a Deal and often walk away with some boxes of Rice-a-Roni and a home edition of the game. Click here to view Maher's "Christmas message".
Clay Cole, perhaps the only host of a rock 'n roll TV variety show to rival the popularlity of Dick Clark in the 1960s, has died at age 72. Cole helped popularize such bands and singers as The Beatles, The Who, Neil Diamond, The Doors and The Rolling Stones (though he loathed their unkempt appearance). Cole was co-starred with Chubby Checker in the film Twist Around the Clock. It was on a broadcast of Cole's show televised from New Jersey's legendary Palisades Amusement Park that Checker introduced his version of The Twist that would be synonymous with the his name. Cole's popularity endured enough to have had a fan club- The Claymates- in existence for the last 50 years. For more click here
In his review in the CNN, critic Tom Charity rightly calls out Hollywood for shamefully ignoring the Western film genre. He says the situation has at least momentarily been corrected with the release of True Grit. While Charity sells short the immense qualities of Henry Hathaway's original version of the film, he does say that the remake returns the genre to its former glory and ranks the film among the best of the year. Click here to read
It's been quite a week for premature death reports. First rumors circulated that Morgan Freeman had died, which was news to Mr. Freeman. Then came reports that Harrison Ford had publicly stated he was fed up with playing Indiana Jones and wanted the character to be killed off in the next installment of the series. Problem is that the story must have been reported by the same ace journalist who broke the Freeman death "scoop". Reps for Ford categorically deny he has any plans to terminate Jones with extreme prejudice. Click here for more
Members of the conservative party in England are proposing that internet porn sites be automatically blocked from computers. Their stated purpose is to make it more difficult for children to access inappropriate content. Adults would still be able to view X-rated sites, but would actually have to "opt-in" to do so. (Yikes, there go all those excuses about how you had no idea why those certain images and pages popped up on the ol' PC!) The proposal has generated controversy with liberals arguing that the law would provide a slippery slope that would allow government officials to designate exactly what constitutes inappropriate content and that mainstream sites could end up being part of the ban. "Protecting the children" has long been a mantra of politicians who want to pass controversial legislation that might have political implications. It's not certain the law will be passed, probably because elected officials who frequent such sites would be reluctant to go on the record and "opt in" to view sites they probably view more than the average person.
Alhtough Mineo had been engaged to actress Jill Haworth, his penchant for male lovers was well-known in Hollywood's gay community.
A new biography of Sal Mineo has been optioned for the screen by actor James Franco's production company, though Franco won't appear in the film. Mineo gained fame and an Oscar nomination as a teenager in Rebel Without a Cause and earned another nomination for Exodus. However, he led a troubled personal life and had to deal with his bi-sexuality in an era in which homosexuality among leading men had to be swept under the rug. Mineo died tragically when he was murdered in a random act of violence in 1976. For more click here
Beneath the Dark is an ambitious new chiller that has been relegated to "premiering" on the Independent Film Channel this month. The movie falls short of its ambitions but still has enough strong points to have merited a theatrical release. Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Josh Stewart are an attractive couple driving across the Mojave Desert at night, en route to a wedding in California. A near fatal crash convinces them they should stay overnight at the first motel they come across. It will surprise no one to learn that the chosen place is run by a creepy eccentric and is virtually bereft of any other occupants. (Honestly, night clerks of motels across America should unionize to demand a better image on-screen.) The two hunker down in bed but Stewart begins acting strangely (how else can you describe behavior that finds him disinterested in sexual favors offered by Sigler?). The two begin to bicker and Stewart storms out to the deserted cafe, where he encounters a strange, almost mystical man (Afemo Omilami) who seems to inexplicably know a great deal about humiliating aspects of Stewart's past. This is coupled with him seeing strange messages and apparitions that are invisible to Sigler. The story is entertwined with the troubled life of the night clerk (Chris Browning), who is a perpetual loser, constantly humilated by his wife (Angela Featherstone) who has had to turn to stripping and bedding strangers in order to pay the rent.
More bad news from the tangled web that is Spiderman Turn off the Dark, the $65 million Broadway special-effects laden production. The official opening night has been pushed back almost a full month until February. This is on the heels of the disastrous preview several weeks ago in which technical glitches and embarrassing delays gave the show a running time of Ben-Hur. One bright spot for the producers: every mishap seems to only entice audiences even more. Sales are going very well indeed. If only the producers of Heaven's Gate had mastered that ability- United Artists might still be a viable company. For more click here
A first edition British hardback of Casino Royale has sold at auction for £19,000. The book by Ian Fleming introduced the character of James Bond in 1953. It inspired two feature film versions and a 1950s live TV adaptation. At the same auction, an original poster from the film version of From Russia With Love sold for £2,800. For more click here
Heston with co-star Hildegarde Neil and wife Lydia at London premiere of Antony and Cleopatra at Astoria Theatre on Charing Cross Road, 1972. (Photo courtesy of William Burge collection)
Warner Home Video gained distribution rights to movies owned by Agamemnon Films, which is controlled by the estate of Charlton Heston. Among the titles to be released in March 2011 are Charlton Heston Presents the Bible, a four-part TV documentary hosted by Heston who takes viewers to key sites in the Holy Land. Also making their debut in March are Mother Lode, a late career film in which Heston was cast against type as a villain and the little-seen Antony and Cleopatra, which Heston starred in and directed in 1972. If that isn't enough for his fans, Heston's 1970 film The Hawaiians (aka Master of the Islands) is being released this month. Now how about Counterpoint, 55 Days at Peking and Number One? We're getting close to having all of the iconic star's major films available on home video.
Scorsese won the Best Director Oscar for his last crime flick The Departed
Here's one worth getting excited about. Martin Scorsese will direct Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci in a crime drama titled The Irishman - based on the life of an actual hitman. Click here for details.
Warner Home Video has released the ultimate tribute to Humphrey Bogart, whose long association with the studio resulted in some of the greatest films of the era. The boxed set contains a mind-boggling 24 films and is packed with extras and collectibles. The set includes international movie poster reproductions, studio telegrams and correspondence and a hardback book about Bogie's life and career. There is also a bonus DVD, The Brothers Warner about the legendary siblings who formed the studio. The feature films are:
Petrified Forest/ Marked Woman, Kid Galahad/ Black Legion, San Quentin/The Roaring Twenties, Dark Victory/ Virginia City, Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse/ Invisible Stripes, High Sierra/ They Drive by Night, Maltese Falcon/ Across the Pacific, All Through the Night/ Brother Orchid, Action in the North Atlantic/ Passage to Marseilles, To Have and Have Not/ The Big Sleep, Dark Passage/ Key Largo, Casablanca/ Treasure of the Sierra Madre
CLICK HERE TO ORDER FROM AMAZON, SAVE $30 AND GET FREE SHIPPING!
Legendary stuntman and second unit director (and Cinema Retro contributor) Vic Armstrong has written his autobiography,which will detail his work on countless action films including the James Bond, Indiana Jones and Superman series. It's a testament to Vic's respect in the industry that the book includes contributions from George Lucas, Sir Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Pierce Brosnan. The book, which is being published in May 2011, will also include unpublished photos from Vic's personal collection.
Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy's take on the Coen Brothers' new version of True Grit is that it's impressively cast and enacted but lacks the humor of the source novel and John Wayne screen version. Click here to read
Did Thora Birch's father drive a stake into her chances of starring on stage in Dracula?
Actress Thora Birch, who gained fame in American Beauty, is the reluctant center of attention relating to a bizarre scenario that saw her fired from an off-Broadway production of Dracula just days before the opening. Seems her father, who was observing the rehearsals, objected to an actor giving Thora a back rub. When the actor protested that he was simply following the director's orders and that it was part of the scene, the father instructed him to nevertheless cease and desist. Words were exchanged and Birch was summarily fired. Producers haven't commented on whether her dismissal was a direct result of the incident, but insiders say there was no other apparent reason. For more click here
Having grown up in the wilds of New Jersey, my playground was generally Times Square, so I've never developed a full appreciation of country music. The numerous attempts to launch country stations on New York radio generally ended in financial disaster. Thus, I acknowledge I'm not very well versed in the lives and careers of legendary country singers, including the man who is considered by many to be the greatest of them all, Hank Williams. When a review copy of Warner Archives' new release of the Williams' biopic Your Cheatin' Heart arrived, I felt as though the world it was set in would be as foreign to me as a distant planet. The 1964 MGM release, directed by Gene Nelson, is notable in several ways. It is perhaps the last musical to be filmed in black-and-white and it represents a rare mainstream release for producer Sam Katzman, who was known for cheesy cult classics, though he did produce successful Elvis Presley and Herman's Hermits musicals for MGM.
I found myself surprisingly impressed by the movie, particularly with George Hamilton's performance as Williams. On the surface, it would seemed to have been a bizarre bit of casting: Hamilton was the ultimate Hollywood pretty boy and he was to play a country bumpkin who would make Gomer Pyle look like Laurence Olivier. However, Hamilton gives an excellent performance - in fact it may be the best work of his career. The film itself is consistently entertaining, though the background on its production is quite fascinating. Williams emerged from an impoverished youth to become an idol to country music fans. His seemingly endless array of chart-topping hits were sung in his distinctive style of crooning, which generally included high pitched vocals that often approached yodeling. In his personal life, however, Williams had trouble coping with the trappings of success and felt his material gains were somehow an insult to his core audience of everyday folks from modest backgrounds.
Mike Hodges' 1971 Brit crime classic Get Carter was the cover story on Cinema Retro #11- one of our best selling issues.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Writer Jesse Kornbluth's column for The Huffington Post centers on nine off-beat films that he recommends to readers. He says no one else will recommend these, but he's obviously not a Cinema Retro reader, as two of his choices- Get Carter and McCabe and Mrs. Miller - have received considerable coverage in our magazine. However, his list certainly is eclectic and leaves me wanting to experience several titles I'm not familiar with. Click here to read and view all the original trailers.
Colin Firth, basking in acclaim for The King's Speech, is in talks to star in a remake of the 1966 caper film Gambit which starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. The Coen Brothers wrote the script, but Michael Hoffman will direct. For more click here
Once again, an article that is so hilarious compels us to deviate from our coverage of show business news. However, this is far more entertaining than the mundane world of films, stage and TV. The web site Letters of Note has unearthed original 1970s inter-office memos from Tiger Oil, an obscure Texas company run by an equally obscure man named Edward 'Tiger Mike' Davis, whose legacy has been salvaged from the ravages of time. This guy would not have been a candidate for Undercover Boss, the CBS show in which caring CEOs pose as regular employees in order to better understand their trials and tribulations. Conversely, Davis makes Captain Bligh look like Gandhi. Check out the seemingly endless original memos reproduced and relish such touches as referring to his employees as "sons-of-bitches" and ordering them to never speak to him unless spoken to first because "I want to save my throat". (We now know who was the inspiration was for Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross's methods of dealing with the "little people" who serve them.) Click here to read (Thanks to Mike King for the tip)
On the Den of Geek web site, writer Ti Singh makes some poignant and largely sensible recommendations for elements he'd like to see in the next James Bond movie. Among the key points:
An end to the hurky-jerky editing style that marred Quantum Of Solace
A return to larger-than-life villains and allies
Easing up on the use of CGI
Casting older, more mature actresses
Ensuring the film has a decent theme song. (Singh's plausible observations go slightly off the track with his rather strange choice of John Barry's All Time High from Octopussy as the worst Bond song, passing over the dreadful "song" from Quantum that was universally despised.)
Director/writer Blake Edwards, who graduated from directing episodic TV in the 1950s to being one of the top feature film directors of his era, has died at age 88. He had been quite infirm for over a year. Julie Andrews, Edwards' wife since 1968, was at his side when he passed away. Edwards had his share of films that were unsuccessful with critics and the public, but when his films did click they were often huge successes. He directed the Pink Panther series despite having personal differences with his temperamental star Peter Sellers. He also had an enormous hit with the 1979 comedy 10 that made Bo Derek a household name. Less appreciated by mainstream audiences was S.O.B., his scathing 1981 satiric attack on Hollywood studio executives that many speculated was based on Paramount's having cut his 1970 film Darling Lili against his wishes. Julie Andrews starred in several of his films, most successfully in Victor, Victoria. Edwards also directed the classic film adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffanys. For more on Edwards' life and career click here
In his review of Tron:Legacy, Disney's sequel to its 1982 sci-fi film that introduced the CGI era, Variety critic Todd McCarthy says the movie is better than the lame original- hardly the type of praise the studio would put into ads. To read click here
Cinema Retro columnist Todd Garbarini (L) with directors Scot McFayden and Sam Dunn at the Tribeca Film Festival.
By Todd Garbarini
RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE is a documentary about Canada’s holy rock trio, Rush, which is comprised of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.The film, which runs a few minutes shy of two hours and is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, chronicles the friendship and working relationship of these three highly-talented musicians which date back to 1974.
Winning the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award, the film will also be in competition at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2011.Could an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary be far behind?
I had the opportunity to speak with the film’s directors, Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, at the Tribeca Film Festival in April several hours prior to the film’s premiere there.
Todd Garbarini: Sam, how did you and Scot meet?
Sam Dunn: Well, we first met in Victoria, British Columbia in 1993.I grew up there, and Scot had moved out there.We met in the music scene.I was playing in a band, and Scot was promoting shows.Then, Scot moved to Toronto, and I subsequently moved to Toronto to go to the university, and we were friends.I wanted to write a book about heavy metal, and Scot asked me, “What about a documentary?”And the rest, as they say, is history.We made our first movie together, METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY.Then we did GLOBAL METAL, followed by IRON MAIDEN: FLIGHT 666.So, RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE is our fourth movie together.
Scot McFadyen: I've always been involved in film and theater.I used to direct theater, and I've also done a lot of writing.When I moved to Toronto, I worked in film for quite a few years.When I met Sam, he was a student and didn't have the goal to work in film.He was leaning more towards going for academics or writing, and we had many discussions about it and that's what led to us making films together.
Todd Garbarini: How long has the idea of actually making a film about Rush been with you?Was it something that you had thought about for a long time or did it come up on a spur-of-the- moment?
Scot McFadyen:We were in the midst of making GLOBAL METAL, and I had just gone off to Mexico.While I was there, I started thinking about it.You know, in this business you always have to be thinking about the future and pretty much what your next project is going to be.And I started thinking about Rush, and we had actually interviewed Geddy for METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY.And I just really felt at that time that Rush was a band that was deserving of their own documentary.This was around Christmas 2006.In January 2007, I e-mailed the management at Anthem-SRO about setting up a meeting with Rush, but it wasn't until mid-August 2007 while they were on the SNAKES & ARROWS tour that we met with them in a room while they were in Dallas.We were nervous, and they wanted to ask us some questions before they fully agreed to us doing the documentary.Geddy first said that he didn't believe that they were interesting enough.And we told them that we disagreed, and Neil asked me what our angle was going to be, and how would we tell their story.And I told him that we didn't really know yet, actually.I told him that I knew that it would take a lot of research as well as a lot of interviewing all of them before we would decide which way to go.Sam and I didn't really know ourselves how it was going to end up, honestly.It turned out to be a weird clincher in a way, because Neil appreciated that.He liked the fact that we weren’t just there to feed him some line.
Sam Dunn: I think a lot of people want to know your angle from the outset.They want to know what you're doing, and what your intentions are.And I think that it was pretty refreshing for Scot and I to know that Geddy, Alex, and Neil were sort of comforted by the fact that we weren’t really sure what the direction was going to be yet.I think that’s a testament to the fact that they trusted us on some level, and also they understand the creative process.They understand that it takes time to put something together because they spend a lot of time putting their albums together, and they know that it probably takes about two years to put something together if it's going to be a product of really good quality.
Scot McFadyen:Especially Neil, because he's a writer.He understands the writing process, of having an idea and not knowing what the story is going to be.
With only a short time to go until Christmas, some of you may still be looking for ideas for the perfect gift. Well look no further. Here is a small list of suggested goodies from our own Christmas list, and any of these will bring a smile to the face of your classic movie lover when they find them under the tree.
Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition
It is difficult to believe that this film is now fifty years old. Seen here in a pristine transfer, it seems just as fresh, original and shocking as it must have been to those first cinema audiences in 1960. Much has been written about Psycho, not least within the pages of this magazine, so there is no need for me to sing its praises here. This is one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2010 and should be in every home. Alongside the film itself you can enjoy a huge amount of extra features, many of which are exclusive to this release and include a feature-length documentary, archive material, a full commentary and 20 page booklet.
Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot Commemorative Book with DVD
Alison Castle, Dan Auiler
Hardcover + DVD, 36 x 22.5 cm (14.2 x 8.9 in.), 384 pages
Some Like It Hot is one of the greatest comedy films ever made, and this book serves as a celebration and tribute to the stars and Billy Wilder himself. You'll find the original first draft of the script with annotations and photos, as well as in-depth interviews and archival material. There are some excellent candid photos and the truth of Marilyn Monroe's problems on and off set are laid bare. The book even comes with a DVD of the movie, so you can imagine that you bought the film and got the best DVD extra ever.
This incredible book was published in 2007 but Amazon still has some available for $270-- if that sounds like a lot, it's actually $230 off the original list price! Playboy: The Complete Centerfold Collection covers all of the gorgeous women who had the distinction of being a Playboy centerfold from the magazine's inception through the publication date of the book. The massive volume is 720 pages, contains 600 centerfolds and weighs over 35 pounds. Best of all, it comes in a swanky high quality briefcase with discreet Playboy Bunny logo emblazoned on it - something for your inner James Bond. The best part: you don't have those annoying staples to deal with!
In 1970, sisters Mary and Madeleine Collinson made history by both posing as Miss October.
Here is the official description from Amazon:
"With the first Centerfold, who just happened to be the radiant Marilyn Monroe, Hugh Hefner masterminded a cultural icon: Playboy's Playmate of the Month. Now, for the first time ever, Playboy has gathered together every Centerfold from every issue into one luxurious collector's edition. That's over 600 beauties. We've reproduced these Centerfolds exactly as they appeared in the magazine to create a full-size, deluxe volume. Paging through this colossal, chronological collection provides a breathtaking view of our evolving appreciation of the female form: from the fifties fantasy of voluptuous blondes to the tawny beach girls of the seventies to the groomed and toned women of today. Housed in a handsome leather briefcase lined with velvet, this impressive tome is the ultimate indulgence for every passionate collector."
Click here to order from Amazon and see a 360 degree video of the packaging. You can also read the foreword by Hugh Hefner.
(As Hef is an avid reader of Cinema Retro, see issue #5 for Raymond Benson's interview with the Playboy founder in which he discusses his favorite movies of the 1960s and 70s).
The Wrap web site reports on the long, steady decline of the legendary publication Variety. Once heralded as the most influential "bible" for show business types, the paper has lost many of its readers and has bungled its web site operation by charging for content. The result is that its arch rival The Hollywood Reporter seems to have eclipsed Variety in terms of influence, while web-based entertainment sites are breaking news faster and more often. Click here for more
Looks like we weren't the only ones to draw the almost exact comparisons between the script for Jaws the real-life shark attacks that have plagued an Egyptian resort. Now Time has drawn the same parallels- right down to a hapless local official being forced to take a dip in the ocean to prove to the media and the masses that the area was "shark-free" (remember Murray Hamilton as Mayor Vaughn in the film?) What has been confirmed is that at least one of the sharks that killed or maimed tourists was involved in two attacks, thus making the "rogue shark" scenario of the movie accurate (scientists initially scoffed at such a theory). Meanwhile, the local population's speculation about the cause of the attacks ranges from logical (the dumping of animal carcasses from religious rituals) to paranoid (Israeli Air Force pilots are behind it!) For more click here
The Golden Globe nominations have been announced. As usual, there is scathing criticism that the awards are simply popularity contests based on who lobbies the tiny number of international journalists who decide the nominations. (Read Nikki Finke's op-ed here). For the record, the Globes shouldn't necessarily be seen as a predictor of Oscar nominations, as there are inevitably key differences. A couple of surprises stick out: the nomination of Johnny Depp twice in the same category for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and the major nominations afforded the art house film The King's Speech, which arrived without much fan fare. Click here for full list of nominations and NY Times report on the controversies surrounding the awards broadcast.
Film Score Monthly have released Leonard Rosenman' score for the 1970 film A Man Called Horse on CD. The new release includes the complete vinyl soundtrack album that was issued in conjunction with the film, as well as bonus tracks and cues. Richard Harris starred as an Englishman captured by an Indian tribe. He manages to survive unspeakable rituals of torture and becomes a full-fledged brave in the tribe. For more click here
Acclaimed as one of the greatest documentaries of all time, director Claude Lanzmann's 1985 film Shoah is set for re-release in the United States. The crusty 85 year-old French director is pleased because he feels that, while his movie has remained in the public eye in Europe, it has virtually disappeared from sight in America. However, the outspoken director has used the occasion of the relssue of the 9 hour landmark movie that chronicles the Holocaust from the perspective of both victims and tormentors, to stir controversy about other similarly-themed movies. Most notably, Lanzmann takes aim at Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning Schindler's List, dismissing it as a sanitized look at Nazi atrocities that has a feel-good ending tacked on for audience consumption. To read the New York Times interview with Lanzmann, click here
Looks like the Stooges pic is soitenly going into production for Fox.
It looks like Fox will take over the long-planned Farrelly Brothers big screen pic The Three Stooges. This won't be a biography of the legendary comedy trio, but will have actors playing the roles of Moe, Larry and Curley in character. It's now planned to start shooting in March, unless the director gets his head caught in a vise and the producers get poked in the eye and hit over the head with anvils. Click here for more
If you are a man who grew up in easy proximity to New York City during the 1960s-1980s, there's a good chance you probably sowed some of your wild oats by frequenting the seemingly endless array of porn palaces that lined 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. Here, for a virtual pittance, you could indulge in viewing peep shows of porn flicks (a real thrill in the era prior to home video) and for slightly more, you could view completely naked performers doin' the dirty just a few feet away. During the 1990s, the city used every measure available to rid 42nd Street of these places. It's now a totally different, family friendly venue, to the delight of many and the dismay of others who bemoan the passing of the dirty good old days. Ironically, the Times Square visitor's center is now paying homage to the sordid past with an exhibit that recreates the facade of Peep-O-World, the last porn palace that existed on 42nd Street. Click here to read NY Times article
DOUBLE-0 HEAVEN: Mark Yuknevitch, Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer and Giacomo Selloni enjoy the good life at Hudson Bar and Books.
There's a top secret hideout for 007 fans in New York City - at least those who enjoy cigars. (Well, Roger Moore did smoke 'em in Live and Let Die) Hudson Bar and Books at 636 Hudson Street is a tiny but atmospheric slice of heaven that pays homage to James Bond, with some cool artwork from the films adorning the wall, including a rare Bollinger champagne poster created for A View to a Kill. In warmer weather, there are some cafe tables outside but in the winter, you want to get there early to grab the couch in the back lounge area. Here you can enjoy Bond-style cocktails along with your stogies. There is a TV that only plays Bond movies during the entire time the bar is open and in evenings there is an elegant, sexy hostess on the premises. There are also cigars that can be purchased on the premises, so the city's Draconian smoking laws are not entirely without loopholes. Click here for more