A selection of cars, including James Bond's Lotus Esprit, on their way to the docks to be shipped to Miami.
Pic: (C) Mayfair Motors.
By Dave Worrall
Further to my meeting with Michael Dezer recently, Cinema Retro can announce that the world-famous Cars of the Stars and Bond Museum of Keswick, England, have been acquired by the American-based businessman who owns extensive residential and hotel properties in New York, Las Vegas and Miami, including the Trump International Beach Resort.
Dezer has a passion for everything associated with automobiles, and recently purchased two buildings on an 11-acre site to house his personal collection of more than 600 vehicles plus the 100 or so cars and motorcycles currently in transit from England. At some 220,000-square feet, it will be one of the largest car museums in America.
Dezer's car collection includes classic and vintage cars from all over the world - a 1928 Duesenberg (worth about $1million) being just one of the many amazing vehicles that he owns. Now, he can add Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Lady Penelope's pink Rolls Royce from Thunderbirds, various Batmobiles and, of course, the huge collection of James Bond cars, gadgets and props to his ever growing inventory! For James Bond fans, this museum, which will also include vintage memorabilia, posters and props, will undoubtedly become the No.1 'OO7 attraction' in the world.
The Dezer Collection Museum &Pavilion is due to open in October this year, and will incorporate a mini bowling alley, an ice cream and candy store, a retro-style diner (Dezer is a big fan of the Fifties era) and even a 1950s style drive-in theatre is being considered. The two buildings will also house an event center (capable of seating up to 1500) that can be hired for both private and corporate functions, and parking space for 700 cars, making it one of the most accessible and premium attractions for both tourists and businesses alike.
-- over at Smashwords.com and choose the format you want. Visit http://theblackstiletto.net
for a promo video and other news about THE BLACK STILETTO.
In other news, all of Benson’s original thrillers on e-book format are still on
sale for 99 cents through July 4:
TORMENT: a supernatural thriller involving love,
obsession, and voodoo; ARTIFACT OF EVIL: a thriller that combines modern day
crime, historical figures, and fantasy; SWEETIE'S DIAMONDS: a Tarantino-esque
chase across America with a female protagonist; A HARD DAY'S DEATH: the first
Spike Berenger "rock 'n' roll hit," a mystery with sex, drugs, and
rock 'n' roll; DARK SIDE OF THE MORGUE: nominated for Shamus Award for Best
Paperback Original P.I. Novel of 2009, 2nd Spike Berenger "rock 'n' roll
hit"; FACE BLIND: a thriller about a woman who can't recognize faces...
"Wait Until Dark" meets "Memento"; and EVIL HOURS: a novel
about a family dealing with a murder... "The Last Picture Show" meets
"Blue Velvet". They’re all in the Kindle store at http://tinyurl.com/3m9zz9f
or at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Raymond+Benson
for other for other formats.
(For more about Benson's forthcoming retro adventure novel The Black Stiletto, click here)
I purchased the current issue of Cinema Retro on the promise of its insights into the obscure film, Candy. Instead, I was punished with a four-page rant by Dean Brierly who, in his brief bio, could not supply the name of a single film he liked (his "favourite films are the ones nobody's heard of") nor the name of any article of note. You do list magazines he's written for, including Men's Health. Why I make mention of his scarce credentials is because he so severely botched the opportunity to discover in a film its many treasures -- foregoing the requisite fairness called upon when assessing someone else's work.
For one, Brierly fails to mention the inspired Dave Grusin soundtrack (in fact, so inspired that Steven Soderbergh uses it in Ocean's Twelve), which makes effective use of Steppenwolf prior to Easy Rider. The music serves the film's surreal aspirations and it is through that lens that many positive assessments have sprung forward -- certainly positive enough that most people wouldn't wish to have "committed suicide halfway through" or preferred "having a root canal without anaesthetic" to watching it again. A bit over-cooked, that writing from Brierly, and certainly not justified in its humor or wit. While he uniformly ridicules the performances, many fans out there have pointed out how wryly funny Brando is while using his role to poke holes in his very own iconic status. Brierly writes that "Brando's excruciating exhibition foreshadows his eventual artistic decline," proceeding to briskly gloss over one of the greatest comebacks in show business! He makes grudging mention of The Godfather (considered to be one of the greatest films of all time) and Last Tango in Paris, but forgets to add Superman, The Nightcomers, Apocalypse Now and his lively performance in Don Juan DeMarco. These omissions are more glaring considering that, on page 8 of the same issue, your very own esteemed Raymond Benson lists Apocalypse Now as one of his "Top Ten Favourites" of 1979, and Lee Pfeiffer agrees with Richard Schickel on page 15 that "the most underrated work of Marlon Brando's career... Reflections in a Golden Eye remains one of his best performances," released just a year before the offending Candy. On the Cinema Retro webpage, you just have to scroll down five blurbs from Lee Pfieffer's half-hearted defense of Brierly to get to the news on Superman, where "Brando memorably played Jor-El."
Dan Curtis’ Burnt Offerings (1976) was the first horror film/thriller that I
saw.I was twelve years-old and its
impact on me was indelible.The rapport
between Karen Black, Oliver Reed, and Lee Harcourt Montgomery was plausible
enough to make me extremely concerned when all hell broke loose on this
“perfect” family, though some have argued that this family was frightening
enough without the house!
Aside from the artful cinematic visual
style and the film’s methodic and slow build-up, the performances by the three
leads and supporting work from Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart, Dub Taylor,
Bette Davis, and the unforgettable Anthony James as the chauffer elevate the
film higher than similar genre productions.What also helped make Burnt
Offerings so memorable was Robert Cobert’s phenomenal score which fits the
movie like a glove.For years I searched
fruitlessly for a soundtrack album as Mr. Cobert’s music is perfect from its
ominous and slow beginning to the film’s sudden and violent ending.The closest that this music ever got to being
released in any known version was when a handful of selected tracks were
released on the compilation CD The Night
Stalker and Other Classic Thrillers by Varese Sarabande in September 2000.
This new and long-overdue Burnt Offerings CD, a limited edition of
only 1,000 copies courtesy of Counterpoint, contains the film’s complete score
presented in the film’s proper order, in addition to several musical tracks that
illustrate just how Mr. Cobert envisioned the film’s opening.The digital mastering was done by Doug
Schwartz of Mulholland Music, and the liner notes are by Jeff Thompson.There are a total of 32 tracks on the
CD.The CD booklet is 20 pages long and
is lavishly illustrated with never-before-seen photos taken on the set of the
film during the August 1975 production.
Could Mr. Cobert’s scores to Dan Curtis’s
made-for-TV movies Trilogy of Terror (1975)
and Dead of Night (1977) be far
behind?I have my fingers crossed…
This is one of the best horror film scores
ever written, and it’s one of those scores that is worth owning even if you
haven’t seen the film.
Woody Allen's charming and intelligent comedy Midnight in Paris ranks among his best work in many years. I found the film to be an intoxicating blend of humor and sentimental homages to a lost era and the titanic talents that inhabited it. Writer Rob Kirkpatrick seems to have caught the spirit of the film and writers extensively about its merits.
Cinema Retro has received the following notice from film historian Bruce Crawford:
June 29th.marks the 100th. birthday of
composer Bernard Herrmann. This link is to the Minnesota Opera who have my 2 1/2
hour long NPR radio documentary online. It has been broadcast worldwide for the
past 19 years. The Opera company have it online as they recently performed his
opera "Wuthering Heights". Please enjoy "Bernard Herrmann: A Celebration of his
Life and Music". http://www.mnopera.org/herrmannaudio
The Wrap web site reports that Will Smith is living up to the title of one of his hit films, I Am Legend. Now filming Men in Black III in New York, Smith is suffering the slings and arrows of unfavorable press. Seems his ego is in overdrive. He has a humongous trailer on the set that costs $9,000 a month- despite the fact that Smith has an apartment less than a mile away. He apparently is interfering with the production design on the set and has been accused of ordering a set dismantled and replaced with one of his own design. He allegedly improvised changes to a key scene that required costly reshoots with co-star Tommy Lee Jones. Predictably, Sony is pouring cold water on some of these stories, but MIB III is already being called a "runaway production", with a budget that is expected to far exceed $200 million. For more click here
Lumet with his honorary Oscar. Shockingly, he never won a competitive Academy Award.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Yesterday the family of the late legendary film director Sidney Lumet, in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, hosted a tribute to Lumet at Alice Tulley Hall. Cinema Retro contributing writer Doug Gerbino and I arrived at Lincoln Center not knowing exactly what the program would consist of. However, as we are both great admirers of Lumet's work, we could not pass up the invitation to attend. The tribute turned out to be one of the most extraordinary film-related events we had ever witnessed. An extraordinary number of diverse talents contributed their personal memories of working with Lumet through often hilarious anecdotes. Screenwriter Walter Bernstein said Lumet saved his career by hiring him to write TV productions even though he was blacklisted at the time. Christopher Walken recalled how Lumet gently guided him to giving a memorable performance in his first feature film, The Anderson Tapes. Lauren Bacall says she is still grateful to Lumet for casting her in Murder on the Orient Express because it gave her the opportunity to work with so many legends. Jonathan Demme said that as a young man one of the most visceral cinematic experiences he had was watching Lumet's The Hill. And on it went,with the event being capably hosted by Jenny Lumet, the director's charming screenwriter daughter. Amidst the tributes there were brilliantly edited clips from Lumet films interspersed with a variety of interviews he had given in recent years.
Much was made of the fact that Lumet disdained working anywhere but his beloved New York City. Jenny Lumet joked that some years ago Lumet and his wife found themselves unavoidably living for a period of time in Hollywood. As each light bulb in the house eventually burned out, Lumet refused to invest in new ones because the thought of being there long enough to burn through two bulbs depressed him greatly. James Gandolfiini recalled being a little-known out of work actor who was throwing in the towel on his chosen profession. One day Lumet called and he didn't believe it was really him. "Fuck off!", Gandolfini shouted into the phone, convinced the call was a prank by a friend. As he deliberated, he came to the nauseating realization that such a gag "would have been too complicated for my friends." Fortunately, Lumet called back and offered Gandolfini a job that, in essence, saved his career. Marshall Brickman spoke of Lumet's well-known dedication to working fast and efficiently. He joked that Lumet could shoot a 90 minute movie in 43 minutes. Phillip Seymour Hoffman spoke lovingly of starring in Lumet's final feature film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Finally Glenn Close brought the house down with a soulful, closing rendition of Bye Bye Blackbird.
In the lobby on the way out, it was clear there were plenty of other notables who had attended ranging from film historian and interviewer James Lipton to MSNBC political commentator/TV producer Lawrence O'Donnell. Walter Bernstein, who is among the last of the legendary screenwriters, graciously conceded to an interview for a future issue of Cinema Retro. I also got to chat a short bit with Vanessa Redgrave, who was amused when I showed her that a copy of a book I'm currently reading: Marc Connelly's book about the making of Tony Richardson's The Charge of the Light Brigade, in which she starred. Redgrave agreed enthusiastically that the film was drastically under-rated in its day and needs to be re-examined for the major work it is. (I see another article in Cinema Retro's future...)
I had only met Lumet twice but, like every member of the audience, you came to feel you knew him intimately as a friend. In all, a wonderful day and a brilliant tribute by the Film Society of
Lincoln Center to one of the true giants of the motion picture industry.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting a major Lumet film festival during July including screenings of rarely seen films such as The Offence. For more click here
In a recent video editorial, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper took on rude movie-goers, defending the management of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin Texas for ejecting a young woman who thought it was appropriate to text during during a screening. Alamo Drafthouse cinemas attract dedicated movie lovers so there was widespread approval when the woman was escorted out of the theater. Cooper earned kudos from viewers who are fed up with paying big bucks to see movies, only to discover the theater is packed with imbeciles who have howling kids with them, talk on cell phones, text and carry on conversations while everyone else is trying to pay attention to the film. Cooper aired the idiotic woman's equally idiotic defense, which is unintentionally hilarious. Thanks, Mr. Cooper, for standing up for the rights of all movie fans in publicly humiliating the dolts who ruin so many cinematic experiences. Cooper's video should go viral on all movie web sites. Click here to view. - Lee Pfeiffer
I just wanted to take this moment to write and say how much I love your magazine, and especially the 80 page special issues. They're fantastic. I've bought the issues devoted to WHERE EAGLES DARE and THE DOLLARS TRILOGY multiple times, once for myself and then as gifts for friends. I am of course also looking forward to your special on KELLY'S HEROES.
Which brings me to my question. How do you choose which movie(s) to devote an 80 page special to? Do you take suggestions for special issues? If so, I'd really like to see you devote an 80 page special to the Harry Palmer series of spy movies starring Michael Caine: THE IPCRESS FILE, FUNERAL IN BERLIN and BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN. Fantastic movies, and many of the important people behind them are still around.
I hope in fact that you already have such an issue in the pipeline. Anyway, thank you for listening and thanks very much for a superior magazine.
Thank you for your kind words, Jack.
We do intend to cover the Harry Palmer films. However, they will appear in three major parts in the regular edition of the magazine, and will be published next year.
Specials are generally chosen by the popularity of the title and the availability of rare material that no other publication has unearthed. Not always easy - but we do our best!
Young Beatty at the 1963 premiere of How the West Was Won.
Amidst rumors that he is flirting with reviving the character of Dick Tracy, Paramount has confirmed that Warren Beatty will write, produce, direct and star in a new comedy film. No details were released but rumors says Beatty will play Howard Hughes, though the story isn't a biopic of the legendary billionaire. Beatty, who appears on screen as often as Halley's Comet soars by, has not made a film appearance since his much-troubled, over-budgeted 2001 comedy Town and Country laid an egg at the box-office. While an indisputable Hollywood legend, the Oscar-winner may find he has a tough time getting younger audiences interested in his new film, as they probably have little recognition of his previous cinematic achievements. For more click here
007 has married again- this time in real life. Actor Daniel Craig has wed actress Rachel Weisz, whom he met when they co-starred in the forthcoming film Dream House. The ceremony was low-key and kept in total secret. Click here for more
Mad Men star Jared Harris is playing the role of legendary villain Prof. Moriarty in the new film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in the sequel to the smash hit recent revival of the great detective on cinema screens. Harris says he will bring more nuance to the role of Moriarty and not play him as an outright villain. Click here for more
Monty Python's outrageous 1979 film The Life of Brian will be the subject of a BBC drama, Holy Flying Circus. The original film satirizes organized religion, Christianity in particular, and set off a storm of protests by many church-goers at the time of its release. The new documentary, which the Pythoners apparently approve of, will document the protests against the film, which continue to this day. Click here for more
Writer Robert J. Elisberg relates a fascinating story behind a long-forgotten Broadway musical titled Where's Charley? that premiered in 1948. The play, with a score by legendary composer Frank Loesser, starred Ray Bolger, then at the height of his career and launched the classic love song Once in Love With Amy. Yet, the show spawned a bizarre legacy that seemed destined to bury any trace of its origins - which is very strange because the production was a sizable hit, running for two years on the Great White Way. Seems Loesser was never crazy about his work on this musical and felt it didn't represent him at his best. In fact, a cast album was never made of the show, an astonishing decision in an era in which virtually every hit musical spawned an album. The show was adapted into a 1952 movie by Warner Brothers. Elisberg says the film was never released theatrically, but this is apparently not the case. The IMDB site gives specific dates for when the movie debuted in various countries. What is clear is that it was pulled from circulation both theatrically and on TV in the 1970s at the behest of Loesser's widow. It has never been released on home video. Now, however, it appears as though Where's Charley? may finally see the light of day. A key clip of Bolger singing Once in Love With Amy has surfaced and it appears as though there may be efforts taking place to finally release the film on video. Click here to view clip and for more
Peter Falk, the iconic actor of stage, screen and television, died yesterday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 83 years old and had been battling Alzheimer's Disease. Falk created a legendary persona that served him well: that of the inarticulate street guy. He also had a physical abnormality that he made work to his advantage: since the age of 3, he had a glass eye. Despite the fact that he rode to success playing rough, street-wise characters, he was actually highly educated. He earned a master's degree and did not enter acting until the relatively late age of 29. He found almost immediate success and appeared in acclaimed New York stage productions of classic plays by Arthur Miller and Paddy Chayefsky, among others. Falk also found a welcome reception in Hollywood, often playing gangsters. He scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination of Murder, Inc in 1960 and would be nominated again for playing a tough guy in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles. He also played a memorable and funny gangster in the Rat Pack musical Robin and the 7 Hoods.
In 1967 Falk's career shifted into high gear when he accepted the role of Lt. Columbo for an NBC 90 minute mystery movie titled Prescription: Murder. The role that would come to define him was originally written as a mainstream law enforcement official and had originally been offered to both Bing Crosby and Lee J. Cobb. However, it was Falk who embellished Lt. Columbo by making him off-center, a rumpled, seemingly stupid man who actually always outwitted his more educated opponents. In general, Columbo specialized in taking down elitest criminals who had a sense of intellectual superiority. When the character was revived three years later as a recurring series of 90 minute mystery movies on NBC, the show attracted a Who's Who of big name guest stars, each of whom was eager to be bested onscreen by Columbo. Falk would go on to play the character on and off through 2003. Falk would be nominated an astonishing 12 times for Emmy awards, winning five times. Most of the nominations and and wins were related to Columbo.
Falk's other prominent feature films include It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Anzio, The Brinks Job, The Princess Bride, The In-Laws, The Cheap Detective, Murder by Death, The Great Race and Castle Keep. He also collaborated with John Cassavetes on several acclaimed films including Husbands and A Woman Uner the Influence.
A satirical piece reputedly depicting Sean Connery's protest against being used in an iMac marketing campaign has gone viral and swept the internet- despite the fact there is no truth to the story. The piece depicts an advertisement that purportedly ran in 1998 showing Connery in the mid-1960s as a pitchman for the iMac. The piece also illustrates a "confidential" letter sent from Connery to Steve Jobs that uses obscenities to protest the use of his image. In the letter, Connery brags about the fact that he is James Bond. There are several clues as to why no one should have ever believed this to be a real story. First, the image of Connery is from 1967 and was used for his endorsement of Dewars Scotch, one of the few products he has ever loaned his image to. The ad even makes reference to Connery's latest Bond film You Only Live Twice. Apparently, some readers don't think it is suspicious that Steve Jobs would be promoting a film that Connery made thirty years previously. Secondly, anyone who knows anything about Connery knows he has spent a lifetime distancing himself from the image of James Bond. The Scottish acting legend never had anything against the character, per se, but came to resent the worldwide fanaticism the 007 series initiated that intruded on his sense of privacy and threatened at one time to see him typecast. Despite these factors, most people believe the story is genuine, proving the old adage from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." For more click here
Just two years before her tragic murder at the hands of the Manson Gang, Sharon Tate was a rapidly rising star in Hollywood. She is seen here on the set of the 1967 horror comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers in which she co-starred with her husband Roman Polanski, who also directed.
Burt Lancaster gave one of his greatest performances in the criminally underrated 1968 film The Swimmer.
Film critic John Farr provides his list of top ten choices for the hottest summer movies. These aren't teeny bopper romances but an inspired group of choices that pertain to films in which the season itself provides a key ingredient to the most important aspects of the story. Among the movies: Rear Window and In the Heat of the Night. Farr is also insightful enough to include director Frank Perry's superb 1968 film The Swimmer, a film decades ahead of its time. Click here for the list
The first appearance of Spiderman recently sold for more than $1 million but there is relatively little interest in buying the current line of comic books featuring legendary super heroes.
There was a time when comic books were an integral ingredient of growing up in America. Boys tended to read super hero comics and girls favored Archie and love comics. Nevertheless, the common ingredient was a love for the medium. Ironically, today comic books are merely loss leader breeding grounds for future screen heroes. Even as movie blockbusters based on comics gross hundreds of millions of dollars, the comic books that spawned the heroes are mostly neglected. Yet as recently as 1993 America was comic book crazy. However, a witches brew of speculation, greed, distribution inefficiencies and watered-down content combined to virtually drive the industry out of business. Weekly Standard writer Jonathan V. Last gives a comprehensive analysis of the great comic book crash of 1993. Click here to read
The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch became almost as iconic as the star herself. That's because it was worn in the legendary photo in which the dress is seen billowing from a subway air vent as Monroe tries (not too hard) to keep it from revealing her nether regions. The dress recently sold for a whopping $4.6 million at auction. Adding even more interest to the story is the fact that it's most recent owner was another Hollywood legend, Debbie Reynolds. Click here for more
When you say in your online reply to the Candy defender that you're "about the only one who will admit to seeing some great things in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate", do you mean the only in your house? The only one of Retro's editors? If not, I'd be amazed if you didn't know that the film has a large following of reputable critics who regard it (as I do) as one of the last great Hollywood movies. See, for instance, the chapter on it in Robin Wood's book Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan (in the Sight and Sound 1982 critics poll, Wood named it as one of the ten greatest films of all time).
On the other hand, I think you're right about Skidoo. But I know one academic critic who loves it! I don't think Rosebud is too bad either. I guess every film has its champion - and some have more than you might think.
Retro Responds: Sheldon, my rhetoric was rather sloppy. I am aware that there are other defenders of Heaven's Gate. I believe there is a guy in Bayonne, New Jersey and a hermit living under a bridge in Kent. Seriously, while I am not aware of any significant number of prominent critics who defend Heaven's Gate, I do know that the film was accorded a much better reception in Europe, primarily in France and some other critics have warmed to it over the decades. Nevertheless, I would happy if there was a move to re-evaluate this fine film. It's one of those epics that was ill-conceived from a financial standpoint. Releasing a Socialist Western at the dawn of the Reagan era seemed to make it inevitable that the movie would be a box-office bomb. However, that doesn't negate it's value as a dramatic movie. In fairness, much of the virtriol leveled at the film was largely because of the many unfavorable stories in the trade press and mainstream media that presented Michael Cimino as a pompous egotist who had the audacity to not even show the finished movie to the studio that financed it until the night of the premiere. Adding to the film's sorry legacy was the bestselling book Final Cut by United Artists executive Steven Bach that provides in painful detail the amazing number of miscalculations that went into bringing the movie to reality. A modestly-budgeted Western morphed into an outrageously expensive marketing disaster. Nevertheless, your comments peak my interest in watching the film again. I smell a future article for Cinema Retro.. By the way, I'll use this opportunity to give you a gratuitous plug:
Sheldon Hall is the author of numerous books about the cinema, including Zulu: With Some Guts Behind It, The Making of the Epic Movie. His latest book is Widescreen Worldwide.
Joe Dante's Trailers From Hell web site presents the original trailer for the second James Bond movie, From Russia With Love with commentary by film director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who does yeoman working providing interesting insights into the making of the film. I may be the only one on the planet to have noticed this, but the trailer contains a major blooper that has always fascinated me: every major actor depicted receives a screen credit, except for Sean Connery, whose name never appears, nor is it even mentioned! - Lee Pfeiffer . Click here to view
It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, aka Cassandra Peterson, burst into our living rooms, sporting two of her biggest assets, and single-handedly revitalized the once-tame TV genre of the late-night horror host, bringing a combination of sexuality, humor and no shortage of groan-worthy bad puns. Elvira’s Movie Macabre ran from 1981-84 on Los Angeles’ KHJ (now KCAL-TV) and rapidly established her as a star with national syndication.
Feature films followed: Her own starring vehicle Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was released in 1988, followed by Elvira’s Haunted Hills in 2001. Licensing deals, frequent TV appearances, tie-ins galore, video box sets and other TV programs made Elvira America’s favorite sexy and playful horror vamp. (My favorite arcade game in the ‘80s was the Elvira pinball machine, Scared Stiff.)
Although it’s been a tough gig to keep up over the past decade, given the explosion of the niche-market television landscape and hundreds of channels all competing for attention, Elvira re-launched her original show, Elvira’s Movie Macabre in September of 2010 for syndication in several markets nationwide, and it ran for 20 episodes, through May of ’11. Unlike her previous show from the ‘80s, Elvira chose B-horror films in the public domain due to the prohibitive cost of licensing now, but it’s no less fun – she’s educating a whole new generation on the merits of A Bucket of Blood, Manos: Hands of Fate, Night of the Living Dead and I Eat Your Skin.
If you missed any of the episodes, and likely you did because of the relative obscurity of the show’s airtimes, Elvira is releasing a new line of double-feature DVDs from the show’s re-launch. Each DVD, priced at $14.98, includes two fright-fests digitally remastered for optimal shocks. The first one to hit the street is Night of the Living Dead (1968) & I Eat Your Skin (1964).
I spoke with Cassandra recently from her home in Los Angeles, where we discussed high school, her Fellini encounter, self-actualization and Tina Louise.
Director Martin Campbell is known for being outspoken...and he is no longer being diplomatic about his feelings relating to the last James Bond film Quantum Of Solace, released in 2008. Campbell is credited with being a key ingredient in the successful relaunch of the series on two occasions: Pierce Brosnan's debut as 007 in GoldenEye and Daniel Craig's bow in Casino Royale. Both films were critical and popular successes. Campbell is letting it be known that he is not impressed with Quantum, which continued the storyline of Casino Royale. He calls the film "lousy" and says the story was uninteresting. Most fans did feel that the movie fell far short of Casino and that there was an over-abundance of action at the expense of characterization. Yet, the movie still grossed over $500 million worldwide. Click here for more
Cinema Retro reader Harvey Chartrand has a bone to pick with Cinema Retro's Dean Brierly regarding his cover story in our latest issue:
Dean Brierly has an obvious hate-on for CANDY which is unwarranted. His critique is unbalanced and excessively negative. I do not consider CANDY an “all-star fiasco” or one of the worst movies ever made. Far from it. If you want to see a bad movie, check out Otto Preminger’s Middle East “thriller” ROSEBUD with Peter O’Toole (who looks like a dying man in this picture). Sure, CANDY isn’t as good as the book, but so what? Neither was Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, now acknowledged to be superior to the more faithful Stephen King-scripted TV-movie adaptation with Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay.
I do recall enjoying CANDY as a cultural artifact of its era (and I saw it quite recently). It’s emblematic of the swinging sixties... like THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN, often dismissed as an excessive celluloid abomination but delightful on its own terms and for the exuberant performance of Peter Sellers as eccentric billionaire Sir Guy Grand, out to prove that everyone has his price.
CANDY, with its dream cast, should at least be regarded as a curio or an interesting failure. Marlon Brando, even when he’s “phoning it in”, is always fun to watch. Sure, Ringo sucks, but his scenes are mercifully brief.
Ewa Aulin’s stunning good looks and her vulnerable demeanour override any drawbacks she may have for the role of the irresistible Candy. (I wonder what Aulin looks like now... probably still sexy in her sixties.) Forty-one years on, film historians are even taking a second revisionist look at MYRA BRECKINRIDGE... which critics considered one of the worst movies ever made back in 1970.
Harvey F. Chartrand
Retro responds: Harvey, we have a special place in our hearts for readers who defend films most find indefensible. You will recall that we accorded the cheapo Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature films the same kind of coverage generally accorded the works of Sir David Lean. Nonetheless, there is no denying that Brierly's sentiments reflect those of most retro movie fans. I believe that if Candy had been produced as a low-budget American International exploitation film, we would not be debating it today. However, the stigma arises from the fact that director Christian Marquand had the advantage of working with a cast of Hollywood legends. The fact that it only amounted to a trivial work has added to the film's reputation as a squandered opportunity. It's interesting that you mention Preminger, because Candy is probably only rivaled by Preminger's own Skidoo as the most glaring film of the Sixties to waste a "sure-fire" cast of greats. Nonetheless, we applaud your defense of the movie. I can relate...I'm about the only one who will admit to seeing some great things in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate. If nothing else, I'm grateful to Marquand for giving Cinema Retro the opportunity to publish so many gratuitously sexy photos of Ewa Aulin. - Lee Pfeiffer
A decision by director John Lasseter regarding the identity of the bad guys in his new animated film Cars 2 has led to an unlikely scenario. The animated kid's spy movie depicts Big Oil as the villain of the piece in the environmentally-themed screenplay. This has some conservative bloggers and political commentators outraged, with one calling the film "evil" and a brainwashing tool of the political left. Click here for more
Barbara Broccoli, who produces the James Bond film series with her step-brother Michael G. Wilson, has won a major libel case against British tabloids that implied she had improperly diverted money for independent film projects into her own coffers. Broccoli, who sits on the board of the UK Film Council, was involved in raising money for a charity called First Light. The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers alleged that Broccoli had used public money intended for First Light to help finance personal movie projects. Broccoli brought a libel suit last August. The Mail and Mail on Sunday were forced to admit that the allegations were completely untrue. They have agreed to pay Broccoli a substantial, but undisclosed, amount in damages. Broccoli says she will contribute all of the awarded money to the film charity she was falsely accused of bilking. For more click here
You've got to hand it to Sly Stallone...he's come back from straight-to-DVD hell, an amazing accomplishment for a leading man who faced slipping into oblivion. Suddenly in-demand again, Sly will top-line a sequel to last year's The Expendables, which he also directed. This time around, Simon West will helm the film. For more click here
Deadline Hollywood Daily reportst that Cameron Mackintosh intends to bring his blockbuster stage production of Les Miserables to the big screen- and he wants Hugh Jackman and Paul Bettany to star. There have been numerous other film adaptations of Victor Hugo's classic novel but this would be the first musical version. For more click here
Russell Crowe may be inheriting the role played by Marlon Brando.
Oscar winner Russell Crowe is seriously considering signing on to play the role of Jor-El, father of Superman, in the latest big screen epic based on the Man of Steel's adventures. Kevin Costner has already signed to play Jonathan Kent, Supey's earth-based dad, in the new film. Marlon Brando memorably played Jor-El in the 1978 Superman blockbuster. Click here for more
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced some major new rules concerning Oscar nominations. The primary change is that nominees for Best Picture must have garnered at least 5% of the votes to qualify. Thus, there will be a varying number of Best Picture nominees year-to-year with a minimum number of 5 movies nominated and a maximum of 10. Click here for more
In a recent interview, Bono and The Edge spoke candidly about the mishaps that led the recent Broadway production Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark into a downward spiral of negative reviews and technical problems that forced the show to temporarily close. The legendary musicians, who provided the score for the show, said that they were on different wavelengths than the show's director Julie Taymor, who recently left the show under duress. Bono and The Edge say that, had they envisioned the show would become an endless nightmare, they wouldn't have been involved. The retooled production needs to attract large audiences to cover its $70 million+ production costs. For more click here
The Monster that challenged the World (Monstrous Movie Music Label #MMM-1961) is a film that refuses to fade away. A firm favourite from the 1950s big monster cycle, (or the big caterpillar variety to be precise), The Monster that Challenged the World (1957) is fondly remembered and continues to find new audiences. Arriving for the first time on CD, the score has remained high on many ‘wanted’ lists. The soundtrack’s composer Heinz Roemheld had won an Academy Award for his work on the James Cagney classic Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). However, his work on Universal classics such as Dracula’s Daughter, The Black Cat, The Invisible Man, The Mole People and The Creature Walks Among Us, would always see him welcomed back to the popular genre with open arms. The score is a good dramatic piece of work, there is little in the way of gentle underscoring, even though the film has more dialogue than most other monster movies. Instead, the music is more purposeful, almost intent on advancing forward. It’s evident that the recording sessions remained free of any real budgetary restraints, and as a result the music attains a level far above its B movie grade. Monstrous Monster Music has again applied their extraordinary dedication in producing an excellent trilogy of essential monster mayhem.
Tom Hanks will star in a big screen adventure based on the Mattel action figure Major Matt Mason, which was a hot-seller in the 1960s. Hanks, who has a weakness for all space-related projects, will co-script and he hopes to get Robert Zemeckis to direct. At the studio pitch meeting, Hanks brought his own personal collection of Matt Mason toys! For more click here
Project Moon Base (MMM-1960) from the Monstrous Movie Music label is an exciting score and one of the earliest to feature the sci-fi signature sound of the Theremin. Made in 1953, Project Moon Base began life as an intended television series. It wasn’t until about a week into shooting that the decision was made to turn it into a theatrical movie. As a result, the film suffered in terms of the production values, a point accentuated when it was shown on cinema screens. However, composer Herschel Burke Gilbert’s score seemed to sustain a rather better longevity than the film itself. Gilbert was highly inventive when it came to recording the score. Working to a very tight budget, and with very few musicians, Gilbert employed an amplification technique in order to make the sound larger. Gilbert’s use of electronic bass also helped to produce a rather unique and strange sound quality. The composer’s flair for creativity clearly shines through and stands as fine example of brilliance over budget. The CD also includes Gilbert’s powerhouse score for the crime thriller Open Secret. It is also worth mentioning that Gilbert’s score for this movie became so popular, that certain cues were revived for the opening season of George Reeves’ 1950s TV series The Adventures of Superman. Overall, it’s a handsomely produced package that will no doubt appeal to fans of the genre.
Classic sci-fi and horror form the basis of two very popular soundtrack genres. My good friend David Schecter of Monstrous Movie Music recently sent me some of their new releases starting off with It! The Terror from Beyond Space (MMM-1959). The CD is part of their current series of Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtracks. Often cited as the original inspiration behind Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), Edward L. Cahn’s tautly directed 1958 film, remains a favourite among fans and perceived by some as a minor classic of the genre. Marking its first ever soundtrack release, and in its entirety, the score stands up well as an excellent example of evoking both a sense of threat and foreboding. Composed by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter, the music offers both a subtlety in conveying the isolation of space, and an intense attacking style, reserved for the film’s more dramatic sequences. The score benefits from an array of inventive electronic sounds, courtesy of Jack Cookerly’s delightful ‘magic box’, the history of which, makes for an extremely enjoyable read and included among the extensively detailed 16 page booklet. The disc includes 26 tracks in all, 2 of which come in the form of bonus tracks. Great fun and great to see this score finally released.
The classic costume sported by Christopher Reeve in the Superman big screen films will be modified for the new comic book version.
In the near future, the image of Superman may be decidedly different from the traditional Man of Steel. D.C. Comics is continuing its overhaul of its most popular superhero comic books and Supey will be among those getting a different costume design. Additionally, D.C. plans to relaunch Action Comics, where Superman made his debut in 1938 and will publish a brand new Action Comics #1. For more click here
The following is an updated review of The Destructors by Lee Pfeiffer that was originally published here in 2008. In the original article, he called for the film to be released on DVD. MGM has now done so as part of its burn-to-order line.
Not long ago I caught a film I vaguely remember having come and gone upon its initial release in 1974, a crime thriller titled The Destructors. The film flopped when it opened but I felt it had to have some value given the leading roles were played by Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn and James Mason. I was pleasantly surprised to find this to be a first-class action movie. The plot finds Quinn as the head of the American Drug Enforcement Agency in Paris. He's obsessed with bringing crime lord James Mason to justice but is hampered by red tape. When Quinn narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Mason's thugs (in a very exciting and creatively staged sequence set in a Paris railroad station), he decides to take matters into his own hands. Quinn hires old friend Michael Caine, of late a charming hit man, to "off" Mason before another attempt can be made on his own life. Caine uses his charm to seduce Mason's sexpot, jet-setting daughter (Alexandra Stewart) in order to win the confidence of her father. Before long, Caine is an indispensable employee of Mason's and willingly peforms "hits" for him in order to boost his credibility. The plot takes plenty of twists and turns with unexpected developments and double crosses occurring on a regular basis as the three principals play cat-and-mouse games with each other. Director Robert Parrish keeps the action flowing and stages some exciting chase sequences. One, arranged by the famed Remy Julien, was obviously the direct influence for the opening car chase in the James Bond movie GoldenEye. In this film, Caine introduces himself to Stewart by challenging her to a high-risk car chase in the hills of the French countryside. The two cars become obvious phallic substitutes in a high speed mating dance. Sound familiar? In GoldenEye, the scene is repeated almost verbatim with Pierce Brosnan and Famke Janssen in the hills above Monte Carlo. (Not coincidentally, this scene was also staged by Julien, so he can't be accused of ripping off anyone's work but his own.) The film has some terrific locations, with primary action filmed in and around Paris and Marseille. In fact, even the interiors appear to shot in actual locations - there is nary a studio shot to be found.
The real joy of watching The Destructors (unfortunately, the title sounds like a Marvel comic) is the chemistry between Quinn and Caine, two old pros with differnt onscreen personas who play marvelously off each other. Add in the always-wonderful James Mason and a very winning performance by the sensual Alexandra Stewart, and the film emerges as one that should have certainly met with a better reception than it enjoyed at the time. There are some other aspects to recommend including the literate script by Judd Bernard and a good score by the reliable Roy Budd. Hell, there's even an impressive cameo by Pierre Salinger, President Kennedy's scriptwriter!
Once again, Cinema Retro has spoken- and the studios have listened. Well, at least it's beginning to seem that way. So many of the films we've been calling for them to release on DVD have been made available recently that we sometimes think we must have a magic lamp around here. For years, we've been after Fox to do something with the special features from their 1993 laser disc release of The Comancheros. In fact, in the latest issue of Cinema Retro (#20), writer Nick Anez provides a major analysis of the film- and we point out that it's a pity the laser disc special edition has never been released on DVD. Well, as soon as the article went to press, what shows up in our mailbox? You guessed it- a terrific Blu-ray special edition of the film that not only combines elements from the laser release, but also boasts some wonderful new features as well.
The 1961 film was the last of a three-picture deal John Wayne had inked with Fox in the late 50s. The first effort, The Barbarian and the Geisha, was a major dud, despite teaming the Duke with director John Huston (they hated each other, but that's another story). After Wayne went into hock to produce, direct and star in his 1960 epic The Alamo, he needed cash. Fortunately, the lucrative Fox contract afforded him two major hits: North to Alaska and The Comancheros. With the latter film, Wayne seemed to be comfortable in his middle-aged years and allowed younger co-star Stuart Whitman to have all the love scenes with female lead Ina Blain. The film represents the last movie to be directed by the great Michael Curtiz. When he fell ill during production, Wayne ended up directing about half of the film, though out of respect for Curtiz, he never took a screen credit.
Nelson Page, owner/operator of the Lafayette Theater, in Bondian mode to greet hundreds of attendees at the You Only Live Twice screening.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Last Saturday, the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, New York offered James Bond fans a big screen presentation of the 1967 007 epic You Only Live Twice. As Cinema Retro readers have probably seen the film countless times, this article is less about the movie's merits than the theater in which it was presented. I've often said that, as a movie fan, it is truly amazing how many theaters in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area show classic and cult movies on the big screen on a regular basis. In fact, it would be virtually impossible to attend even a significant number of these screenings and still maintain anything like a normal personal life. I am constantly being tempted by friends to join them in attending some film festival or another at Lincoln Center, the Film Forum, the Loew's Jersey City Theatre, or any number of other admirable venues.
The Lafayette is not located in New York City proper. It's a charming (relatively) small city located just over the border of Northern New Jersey. Consequently, the theater doesn't have the Manhattan mobs to draw from for their Big Screen Classics series which is shown every Saturday morning before the theater resumes presenting contemporary studio releases. Nonetheless, savvy Manhattanites regularly make the pilgrimage to the theater because owner Nelson Page has long made the effort to provide a personalized presentation of every classic or cult movie. In the case of You Only Live Twice, Page got into Bondian mode by donning a tuxedo and personally greeting each of the hundreds of attendees who came from far and wide for the screening. Try finding that kind of one-on-one engagement with theater managers in any urban metropolis.
Photographer Mike Mitchell covered The Beatles 1964 concerts in America, shortly after they appeared on The Ed Sulllivan Show. He has now unveiled some superb, never-before selections from his private archives. Click here for more
Joe Dante sent us an advance look at his new Trailers From Hell DVD on the Shout! Factory label. This second volume is a retro movie lovers dream, with commentary tracks on cult film trailers by noted filmmakers. Here is the official description:
you know, those fast-paced two-to-four-minute theatrical promotional shorts
that have preceded the feature attraction since the dawn of sound? They’re an
exciting montage of all the best parts of a movie the exhibitors want to show
you in order to get you to see the film . . . full of swirling letters
screaming hyperbolic promises of: Thrills! Action! Mystery! Romance! All the
highlights of a whole picture are packed into its own mini-movie in just a few
The Best Of Trailers From Hell Volume 2 showcases the cream of the
award-winning Web site series, plus new trailers that have yet to be seen,
concentrating on comedy, horror, science fiction, action and fantasy films that
viewers can watch both in their original versions or accompanied by pithy
commentaries from the esteemed Trailers From Hell gurus. Includes a new
anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.78:1) of Roger Corman’s classic Little
Shop Of Horrors, in its entirety.
Joe Dante on Donovan’s Brain, Little Shop Of Horrors and The
Mick Garris on Fire Maidens From Outer Space and Flesh Gordon!
Guillermo Del Toro on Deep Red (in English and Spanish) and The
Hunchback Of Notre Dame!
John Landis on Gorgo!
Roger Corman on Ski Troop Attack and Premature Burial!
And Many More . . .
Click here to pre-order from Amazon. Vol. 1 of this DVD is already going for big bucks!
Movieline reports that the unpredictable Warren Beatty is pursuing the possibility of bringing another Dick Tracy film to the screen. The industry is agog at the prospect. The big budget 1990 film in which Beatty played the titular character was deemed a box-office disappointment by Disney at the time, despite an all-star cast and decent reviews. Beatty is now 74 years old, and given his penchant for indecisiveness toward film projects, he'd be older than Father Time before the movie hits theater screens. However, Beatty has not said whether he would play the role or would rather produce or direct the project. Cilck here for more
With the restrictive nature of deadlines for our printed magazine, it is perhaps inevitable that I often receive some terrific releases after the deadline date. Last month was particularly frustrating, as there were many excellent CDs which I would have clearly wished to feature. Here is a new release that didn't make it into the magazine by deadline time.Themes for Super Heroes / Big Terror Movie Themes (Vocalion CDSML 8476) is a truly wonderful compilation of two classic albums. If the album covers do look familiar, you may spotted them on those rotary stands that were often to be found in the record department of most Woolworth stores. Who knows, like me you may have even paid out your £1.25 in order to own these super pieces of vinyl. First released on the MFP (Music for Pleasure) label in 1976, Big Terror is a magical time capsule of cinema sounds. Including some incredibly funky re-recordings of themes such as Jaws, The Eiger Sanction, Earthquake, Three Days of the Condor and Death Wish to name just a few, the albums proved incredibly popular. Arriving for the first time on CD, the audio quality is both fresh and ageless. The glorious album sleeve is also indicative of a time when cinema art was perceived as works of pure beauty.
Themes for Super Heroes arrived later in 1979, again on the MFP label. Equally, the album focused on popular themes (largely from TV) including The Incredible Hulk, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and a couple of nicely arranged tracks from Superman-The Movie. While the original artwork struggles to match the aesthetics of Big Terror, it is to Vocalion’s credit that they remained loyal to the albums original concept. Personally, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Naturally, much of the albums success was due to Geoff Love and his marvellous interpretations. Recorded at both the world famous Abbey road and Chappell studios in London, these recordings have never sounded better. Oliver Lomax has provided a definitive history behind these two releases in the form of a very well produced booklet. It’s not only a must have, but an incredibly long overdue release. Add this one to your collection and you’ll probably find yourself playing it over and over again.
Freeman and Eastwood at the premiere of their most recent collaboration, Invictus.
Last Thursday, the American Film Institute honored Morgan Freeman with its lifetime achievement award. You know you are considered acting royalty when your award ceremony is book-ended by testimonials from the likes of Sidney Poitier and Clint Eastwood. Click here for report
Sylvester Stallone is teaming with two other industry veterans- producer Joel Silver and director Walter Hill- for Bullet to the Head, a crime thriller about two cops obsessed with hunting down the assassins of their partners. Click here for more
A new trailer has been released for one of the most anticipated action films of the year: Cowboys & Aliens. The film, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, is a rare example of genuine star power in a contemporary movie. The bizarre plot blends Western and sci-fi film genres. Click here to view