Call it a slice of life horror/comedy. Mel Brooks is reuniting with his favorite collaborators to produce Pizzaman. The script tells the story of an innocent man imprisoned in an asylum who takes a job as a pizza delivery man when he is released in order to kill off the people behind his incarceration. Unfortunately for Brooks fans, he will not direct or star in the film- though if history is a guide he might well appear in a cameo. For more click here
There are all manner of spy
cinema websites scattered about the Internet, but only one that is devoted
exclusively to the source material for the many espionage films that have taken
up permanent residence in our collective consciousness. Most filmgoers rarely
give thought to the literary antecedents of their favorite silver screen spy,
yet there would be no James Bond, Harry Palmer or George Smiley if Ian Fleming,
Len Deighton and John Le Carre hadn’t created them. Fortunately, one man had
the perception to recognize this oversight, plus the expertise and dedication
to create “Spy Guys & Gals,” a cyber shrine to the numerous fictional
agents — male and female — that have populated espionage fiction for the past
five-plus decades. His name? Masteller. Randall Masteller.
A lifelong devotee
of spy novels, Masteller began researching the topic for a possible book in
2001, but eventually decided that a website was a more realistic option, and
launched the site in early 2006, dedicating it to “… the many, many men and
women who, at least in fiction, have defended our freedoms against all forms of
enemies, foreign and domestic. Well, granted, a few of them were just in it for
the money and many were only after the excitement, and sex played a huge role
in the motivation of more than a few. But still, their actions helped not only
preserve our way of life (on paper), but also brought us, the readers, many
hours of escapism and vicarious pleasure.”
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Sony UK:
The Girl with the
Dragon Tattoo is the first film in Columbia Pictures’ three-picture
adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s literary blockbuster, The Millennium
Trilogy. Directed by David Fincher (The Social Network)
and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film is based on
the first novel in the trilogy, which altogether have sold 50 million copies in
46 countries and become a worldwide phenomenon. The screenplay is by
The web site Toponlinecolleges.com has compiled a subjective list of the ten worst movie accents of all time. It may surprise no one that Dick Van Dyke's notorious "Cockney" accent from Mary Poppins tops the list but there are some other controversial choices including Sean Connery's Irish cop in The Untouchables who sounds like he just flew in from Edinburgh. The article points out that some stars and performances are so iconic, such as Connery's, that audiences overlook the star's inability or unwillingness to develop a realistic accent. To read click here
It's almost impossible to imagine 60 Minutes without the broadcast-ending segments by commentator Andy Rooney, who has been contributing to the show since 1978. The crotchety newsman's slice-of-life observations about politics and trivial aspects of daily living have been provocative and amusing and have made the 92 year-old journalist an American icon. Rooney has been with CBS for 60 consecutive years but he says this Sunday's broadcast of 60 Minutes will mark his final regular commentary segment. However, he will remain an occasional contributor and predicts only death will separate him from the network he loves so much.For more click here
We don't know whether he's joking or not but an eBay dealer has put this photograph from 1870 up for sale for a "Buy It Now" price of only $1,000,000 - that's one million dollars, as Dr. Evil might say. The dealer says he believes it is actor Nicolas Cage and that the Oscar winner has eternal life, reinventing himself every hundred years or so. We admit that the person does bear an uncanny resemblance to Cage but we doubt it's actually him. After all, would you come back from the dead just to star in Drive Angry? For more click here
Retro movie lovers may remember way back to the 70s and 80s when Gary Busey was a respected actor. He was even nominated for an Oscar for The Buddy Holly Story. Since then, he's been primarily defined by his quirky personal life. Busey was among those who protested California laws that mandate wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Ironically, in 1988 Busey was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered brain injuries that might have been prevented had he been wearing a helmet. Now Busey is down to scrap heap level work: appearing on the TV program Wife Swap in which D-list "celebrities" switch households and live with each other's wife. It gets better: Busey is "swapping" with the wife of disgraced clergyman Ted Haggard. Haggard is yet another "family values" hypocritical holy man who railed against homosexuals and gay rights- until it turned out he had been seeing a male prostitute. (Admittedly these types of scandals usually involve homophobe elected officials who are secretly engaging in gay sex.) In saner times, that would have been the last we'd have heard from Haggard but in today's world bad behavior reaps big financial rewards so Haggard now has another career as a reality TV star. Maybe the wives of Busey and Haggard can find an appropriate niche for themselves on The Biggest Loser. For more click here
the end of The Saint, Roger Moore was paired with an American playboy to
solve a mysterious crime in an exotic location. It was felt that this could
potentially spin off into another show, and so the end of The Saint became
an unofficial pilot for what was to become The Persuaders. The team-up
was so successful that Lew Grade, executive producer, sold the concept of the
new show in the US before he even had confirmation from Roger Moore that he
would do it. At the time Moore was planning to leave television behind
completely to work in films. Unable to say no to Grade, he postponed his plans,
whilst the producers began scouting for an actor suitable to play opposite him.
Originally they hoped for Rock Hudson, but it was felt he looked too much like
Roger Moore. Eventually Tony Curtis was courted and signed, and the adventure
The Persuaders was shot in 1970
and only lasted for one series of 24 episodes,as Moore was then off for the
role he was born to play in Live and let Die. Originally titled The Friendly Persuaders, the story
revolved around two rival millionaires holidaying on the French Riviera, where
they meet a retired judge who for some reason thinks they can put their skills
in wine, women, wisecracks and fast cars to use as crime fighters. In some
ways, the show could have been more accurately titled The Persuaded. It was an unlikely assumption on the part of the
judge, yet somehow they rose to the challenge, and each week saw them in and
around a variety of European locations mainly helping attractive women in
distress. The Persuaders had a playful and comedic air, yet did not shy
away from occasional genuine danger and excitement. Shot on 35mm the show has
the feel of the Euro-crime and espionage thrillers that were so popular at that
time, ironically due to the influence of the James Bond films. The on-screen
relationship between the two leads was playfully antagonistic and appeared to
show the blossoming of a genuine friendship. The Persuaders represents a
different time and a different world, most probably one that never actually
existed outside of ITC's adventure series. What also makes the show really
stand out is the incredible roster of writers involved, including Brian Clemens
(The Avengers) and Terry Nation (Doctor Who), working alongside
such well-known film directors as Val Guest, Roy Ward Baker, Sidney Hayers,
Leslie Norman and Basil Dearden. Roger Moore himself also took on some
directing duties, just as he had in The Saint.
previously available on DVD, the show has been meticulously restored in high
definition by Network DVD, one of the UK's finest exponents of both classic and
obscure television shows. Each episode looks brighter and clearer than it would
probably have looked on most television sets in 1970, and one can even see each
little detail on the suits that Roger Moore designed for himself. What will be
of even greater interest to fans and collectors is the extensive set of extras,
beginning with a 156 page book of viewing notes (unavailable for review, but is
written by Andrew Pixley who wrote the incredibly detailed book which
accompanied Network DVD's blu ray release of The Prisoner). Recently
discovered alternate title sequences, commentaries and unseen images can also
be found for most episodes. The hour-long documentary on the making of the
programme which was used on the previous DVD release is here as well, and is
fascinating. There is some very frank discussion on the relationship Tony
Curtis had with both Moore and the production team. Curtis is interviewed
extensively and was both unapologetic and frank about his shortcomings, including
the time he called Joan Collins a word we prefer not to print here at Cinema
Retro, and his arrest for marijuana possession when he first arrived in the UK.
He was clearly a difficult person to work with, which is totally at odds with
his character in the show itself.
Hugh Hefner is once again firmly in control of his Playboy empire and is bringing back innovative marketing ideas. For example, the October issue of the magazine will be priced at 60 cents, reflecting its cover price in the 1960s. Hef is tying it all in to the TV premiere of the new series The Playboy Club, which is stirring considerable controversy even before it airs. For more click here
Cinema Retro issue #21 is now shipping in worldwide. All subscribers should have the issue in their hands any day. It's our most provocative issue ever, covering some of the most ground-breaking, censor-shattering films in history. Among the highlights:
Raymond Benson examines the legacy of A Clockwork Orange and interviews Malcolm McDowell and Jan Harlan, Stanley Kubrick's assistant and future producer of his films.
John Exshaw looks into the making of Ken Russell's controversial The Devils and explores how the film has been cut and censored around the world since its initial release- and why it may never be released in America or the UK on DVD.
Stephanie Callas celebrates Bertolucci's X-rated classic Last Tango in Paris
Ian Brown looks into Don Siegel's kinky remake of The Killers- the final film of Ronald Reagan.
Mark Cerulli gives us the inside story on the making of John Carpenter's horror classic Halloween
Adrian Smith interviews "The British Marilyn Monroe", Vera Day and attends the reunion of The Avengers cast and crew.
Matthew Field gets personal with directors Michael Winner, Mike Hodges and Ken Russell
Mark Mawston attends the St. Trinian's reunion
Tom Lisanti covers the bizarre story behind the two competing 1965 big screen biopics of Jean Harlow
Dave Worrall takes a sentimental journey and attends the family memorial service for producer Elliott Kastner
Raymond Benson's 10 best films of 1980
Plus the story behind Cinema Sex Sirens, Cinema Retro publishers Dave Worrall and Lee Pfeiffer's new book that pays tribute to the screen goddesses of the 60s and 70s.
Plus the latest DVD, soundtrack and film book reviews
If you are a subscriber, this is your last issue of the season. Please renew your subscriptions ASAP to make sure you don't miss a single issue of the new season, which begins in December. Cinema Retro back issues are fast becoming expensive collector's items- so don't miss any of the excitement. If you haven't subscribed, do so today and get all three issues of Season & (#'s 19, 20 and 21).
We appreciate the support of all of our subscribers, but to ensure that we keep Cinema Retro "pure" and largely devoid of advertisements, please renew your subscription for season 8 (issues #22, 23 and 24) right away! This will ensure that you will not miss an issue. As you may know, out of print copies of back issues are selling for up to $150 each on the collector's circuit. Your prompt support and renewal is much appreciated- and will help us keep the price stable. (We have not raised our cover price in eight years, despite soaring production and postage costs.)
We will still be filling subscriptions for season 7 until issue #22 comes out in December. If you are renewing, just specify your payment is for season 8.
A previously unheard interview of Elvis Presley at age 21 has surfaced and will be included in a new boxed set of his recordings. He was only 21 and on the cusp of major stardom. Click here for more and a link to the interview.
On the Movie Morlocks web site, Kimberly Lindbergs celebrates off-beat record albums cut by actors you probably didn't know could sing. Some had genuine hits (Richard Harris with MacArthur Park) while others saw their albums fade into obscurity including Robert Mitchum (!), Anthony Quinn, Eddie Albert, Anthony Perkins and many more. Click here to read
Cinema Retro has received the following announcement from Eon Productions:
'Bond in Motion' will be the largest
official collection of James Bond vehicles the world has ever seen. Opening
January 2012 at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, England, 'Bond in Motion
will feature fifty vehicles to celebrate fifty years of 007 movies.
Click here for further details at the Bond in Motion web site
Dustin Hoffman is making his directorial debut with Quartet, a film about relationships between a group of opera singers. He's enlisted some of Britain's top talent, which will surely delight retro movie lovers. Among those scheduled to star: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins. Click here for more
Hi, I truly enjoy your magazine,and pick up every new issue...and wish I
could get a few older ones if possible? Started way back with your
"Batman" issue with Adam West. But I really like your issues on
U.N.C.L.E. my favorite T.V. show of all time,do you think Cinema Retro
may revisit this fine show now that a new movie is begining production
in the up coming year. Thank You, so much your friend and loyal
reader...Richard W. Fisher
Retro responds: Thanks for your long-term support, Richard. It's readers like you that keep the dream alive. Our back issues that have sold out are now available as digital editions on line. As for U.N.C.L.E., we've pretty much exhausted the comprehensive analysis of the feature films, having devoted sections in eight individual issues to each of the movies. However, our December issue will revisit the show to a degree with reviews of the recent DVD release of the U.N.C.L.E feature films as well as a review of The Venetian Affair with Robert Vaughn. - Lee Pfeiffer
Paramount has dropped out of a deal with Warren Beatty for him to write, produce, direct and star in a major film centering on Howard Hughes. Tantalizingly, Beatty says the movie is about the reclusive millionaire but is not a biopic. No reason was given for Paramount dropping the project, but New Regency has picked it up and the studio says the script is terrific. Paramount may have gotten cold feet about working with Beatty. His 1981 epic Reds won him an Oscar for direction but lost enough money to finance another revolution in Russia. Additionally, Beatty works at a glacial pace and doesn't tolerate any interference from studio executives regarding the content of his films or their escalating budgets. His last three films Love Affair, Bulworth and Town & Country were all costly flops, with the latter- a modest modern romance- going far enough over budget that it took seemingly forever to complete. For more click here
Director Tom Hooper, Oscar winner for The King's Speech, will bring a version of the smash hit musical Les Miserables to the big screen. The Victor Hugo novel has been adapted many times previously but this is the first attempt to capitalize on the legendary Cameron Mackintosh stage musical. Hugh Jackman will star as Jean Valjean (great casting!) and Anne Hathaway may be approached for the role of Fantine. Click here for more
A Beatles contract from 1965 indicates the group was well ahead of many other entertainers when it came to being sensitive to the civil rights movement in America. The contract has a clause that insists the group would not perform in front of segregated audiences. Although this would have applied to venues in the South, the clause was inserted into all their contracts as a standard boilerplate demand. The group's other clauses were modest compared to today's greedy stars: they simply wanted electricity and water in their dressing rooms, as well as a few amenities. Click here for more
The 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun is being retro-fitted for the current 3-D craze and will be reissued theatrically in 2012. The film's director Tony Scott still has to endorse the project. If the strategy works, look for studios to delve into their libraries and invest in 3-D treatment for other older films. For more click here
Darkness on the edge of town for record companies: artists such as Bruce Springsteen may get the copyrights to their classic songs.
A major change in U.S. copyright law that was put in place in 1976 is about to take effect- and the results could spell disaster for a record industry already reeling from tremendous drops in revenue. As of 2013 artists who recorded songs released in the year 1978 can apply to have the rights to those songs revert to them. Each successive calender year will advance the year in which artists can apply for the songs from another year. Thus in 2014, artists can demand to be given the copyrights on songs released in 1979. The stipulation is that the artists must apply two years in advance. Thus power players such as Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel have already done so. If they prevail, it could mean many millions of dollars more in profits to the artists. However, the record companies intend to fight the law- even though it seems clear cut in favor of the artists. Click here for more
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill
The Graphic Art and
Forgotten Spy Films of Cold War Europe
The Exhibition Catalogue
To coincide with the Kiss Kiss
Kill Kill touring exhibition, The
KKKK Archive is proud to announce the publication of a full colour catalogue
to celebrate this exciting touring show.
KKKK will appeal to everyone who loves “Eurospy” and the spy film genre. The
curator of the KKKK Archive, Richard
Rhys Davies, has spent many years creating one of the finest collections of
spy film posters in the world. The catalogue presents a selection of posters
from all over Europe as well as
fascinating artwork for many forgotten Soviet
The book is a large format A4 all colour art book on 100g paper stock
featuring over 100 stunning newly restored posters. All artwork from the KKKK exhibition is featured as well as
an introductory essay by the curator Richard Rhys Davies. The catalogue is
divided into the following chapters:
Curtain is Drawn
Noir: French spy cinema before
Lang : inventor of the spy
·Eurospy: The European Co-Production
·Out of the Rubble:West
German Escapist Cinema
·Paella Spy: The Spanish Connection
·Spaghetti Spy: The Italian Factory 1964 -1967
·The Spy in the Cold: British Spy Films
·Czechoslovakia Before and After ’68
·Eastern Bloc Poster Design: The Polish and Czech Schools
The latest issue of the British James Bond magazine MI6 Confidential is now shipping and is available exclusively from the MI6 web site. The issue features the usual eclectic mix of subject matters pertaining to the world of 007 including the publication of very rare behind the scenes photos taken on the set of From Russia With Love.
Other highlights include interviews with Richard Kiel and Bond author Jeffrey Deaver and the story behind the famous James Bond D.C. comic book based on Dr. No plus much more. Click here for more
Upon seeing Shirley MacLaine honored for her career by the French government, writer Vivian Norris was motivated to write a column about why Billy Wilder's 1960 Oscar winner The Apartment is still more relevant than ever. The movie was an early career hit for MacLaine, who- along with Jack Lemmon and Fred MacMurray- gave a superb performance. Click here to read
Click here to read review of the special edition DVD of the film
Warner Archive has released The Venetian Affair as a burn-to-order title. The oft-requested 1967 spy thriller is often mistaken for a Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature film since it stars Robert Vaughn, was released by MGM and features the word "affair" in the title. Yet the movie is far removed from the fanciful world of U.N.C.L.E. In fact it's a refreshingly downbeat espionage drama that was based on a best-selling book by Helen MacInnes. Vaughn plays Bill Fenner, a disgraced ex-CIA man who battles a penchant for booze while trying to eek out a living as a reporter for an international wire service. Fenner is sent to Venice ostensibly to investigate the apparent suicide bombing of an international peace conference committed by a respected U.S. diplomat. Fenner soon discovers he is a pawn in a complex plot that involves mind control and enemy agents. The role afforded Vaughn a chance to showcase his considerable acting skills and he plays Fenner as a moody and not particularly heroic figure. The one trait similar to Napoleon Solo is that he manages to intertwine with some exotic European lovelies including his ex-wife Elke Sommer and mysterious femme fatales Luciana Paluzzi and Felicia Farr.
While American movie fans in the pre-video age had to settle for compilations of feature films or promotional featurettes on 8mm (such as this one for Major Dundee), England's Derann Films offered collectors pristine, complete 8mm prints.
I enjoy reading your online CR and stop by every other day or so,
just to check out what's happening. I'm a little disappointed that you
have not covered the closure of Derann, the last of the great super 8 film
distributors, who closed their Dudley shop on Sunday. Even more surprising
when one considers one of your finest, Dave Worrall, used to work
there! In this day and age people forget the importance of the small film
formats in the years prior to the vhs boom, but Derann dominated the hobby
and then kept going through the lean times of the mid 80's, producing
stunning low fade full length prints of some of the greatest movies ever
to grace the silver screen. Come on guys, give Derann an acknowledgement
and let's celebrate the wonderful prints they put out.
Rant over. Keep up the good work,
Retro responds: Fair point, Mark. Most American collectors don't understand the importance Derann once had in the UK market where movie fans could legally buy complete 8mm feature films. In the USA, we had to settle for ludicrous 8mm "digests" which reduced films like The Longest Day to about 15 minutes of cobbled together footage. Amazingly, even in the DVD age there were still loyal 8mm collectors who supported Derann, but alas, not enough of them to sustain the business. You're right about Dave Worrall working there in the 80s through early 1990s before he went freelance. Dave points out that he was Derann's Marketing Manager and designed the company's promotional materials as well as their magazine, Film for the Collector. Dave recalls it was Derann's founder, the late Derek Simmonds who took him under his wing and encouraged him to become a freelance designer and writer. You don't find bosses like that anymore and you don't find companies like Derann, either. May it rest in peace. - Lee Pfeiffer
Mel Gibson is making news again. This time he's working with Warner Brothers to produce and possibly direct a movie about Judah Maccabee, an ancient Jewish warrior who Jews credit with liberating the city of Jerusalem. Gibson has seen his career derailed due to a series of high profile scandals some of which had ugly anti-Semitic overtones. The Oscar winner says this has long been a dream project of his but cynics will say that he is using the film as a vehicle to overcome accusations that he is a bigot. Jewish groups have already denounced his motives. More bizarrely, once red-hot screen writer Joe Eszterhaus (Basic Instinct) will author the script. Eszterhaus has seen his career go as cold as ice following the laughable 1995 box-office dud Showgirls. For more click here
The lavish house where James Bond battled female gymnists Bambi and Thumper in the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever is up for sale, providing you have a spare $13.9 million laying around. The house, located in Palm Springs, was designed in 1968 by famed architect John Lautner. For more click here
The 1986 cult sci fi film Highlander is slated for a remake. The original, which starred Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, was certainly not a classic but it has developed a loyal following over the years. The film originally died at the boxoffice but home video increased its popularity to the point that it inspired big screen sequels and a TV series. The movie is a sometimes confusing but rather fascinating tale of a Scottish warrior who travels through time to fight evil members of his own clan. For more click here
I’m not sure who wrote the
blog entry in the Highander remake
but it says “The movie is a sometimes confusing but rather fascinating tale of
a Scottish warrior who travels through time to fight evil members of his own
clan.“ I think it was confusing for the writer because there is no time-travel
in Highlander, he’s immortal and has been alive for hundreds of years, those
are flashbacks, not time-travel.- Michael Arnold
When it comes to the guilty part, c'est moi! I haven't seen the film since it originally came out, so this should serve as a cautionary tale that we never remember movies as accurately as we'd like to think we do! Thanks for setting the record straight.- Lee Pfeiffer
The invitation to the private party following the screening was based on a note Holly Golightly writes to "Fred" in the film.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Paramount pulled out all the stops on September 16 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Blake Edwards' classic screen adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffanys at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. Presented in conjunction with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the event showcased the superb new digital restoration of the movie. Sadly Blake Edwards passed away last year but his wife Julie Andrews was on hand to celebrate his great cinematic achievement. The evening began with a "blue carpet" (to tie in with the new Blu-ray release) event attended by celebrities, fashion models and Ms. Andrews, who posed for photos and met with the press.
The ageless Julie Andrews arrives on the blue carpet.
(Photo copyright: Paramount)
On stage, Film Society director Richard Pena interviewed Ms. Andrews, who somehow looks as though she has found the secret to eternal youth. In her chat, Andrews said that she had seen Breakfast At Tiffanys when she was living in New York - and never dreamed she would end up marrying its director. She also said that Marilyn Monroe had been considered for the role of Holly Golightly and confessed she was delighted that the part eventually went to Audrey Hepburn. Andrews discussed the ironies that affected both she and Hepburn's careers. It was Andrews who became a sensation on stage as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady but it was Hepburn who got the coveted part in the film version. Nevertheless, Andrews managed to win the Best Actress Oscar that year because the loss of the Doolittle role afforded her the opportunity to play Mary Poppins. She said that she and Hepburn always joked about those ironies and the two became great friends.
Many people will think it unlikely but 70s TV icon Henry Winkler has been awarded an honorary Order of the British Empire. Seems that the one-time Happy Days star has been devoting his time to touring the UK educating the public about dyslexia and performing charitable work. Winkler was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult. He is also a prolific author, having written many children's books. For more click here
An anonymous blogger has posted some of the worst lines of dialogue in film history. As virtually all of them date back to only the 1980s and 1990s, one can assume this individual's knowledge of movie history is just a wee bit limited. Nevertheless, as useless lists of movie trivia go, it's kind of fun- and the writer did manage to extend all the way back to 1970 on one occasion to include the "Love means never having to say you're sorry" line from Love Story -a token gesture to us old-timers. Click here to read
Reader Mitch O'Connell sent us this doozy of a shot showing the old Liberty movie theater on 42nd Street in Times Square in 1989. The film was showing Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects a Charles Bronson Xerox of his other trashy cop movies of this era. Sadly at this point in his career, these theaters were about the only venues that still drew enthusiastic audiences for his films. The photo perfectly illustrates Gotham at its dingiest. 42nd Street had always been an addictive place to visit because of its inherent tastelessness but by the mid 80s the explosion of crack cocaine had turned "42 Deuce" into a very dangerous place. The area is not even recognizable today in that the dingy movie palaces have been replaced by state of the art theaters and restaurants. As someone who spent an unhealthy amount of time as a teenager watching old movies and porn flicks in these urine-stained filth pits, I can't say I don't have some fond memories. It was like a Disneyland designed by the Marquis de Sade. The dangerous atmosphere, abundance of perverts, druggies, live sex shows, white supremicists, black supremicists, religious loons, prostitutes and crackpots made for an intoxicating blend that you couldn't find anywhere else. Most kids had to just read about this Forbidden Zone but if you lived in or near the city you could live it. There's no denying New York is a much better place today, but I still have a fondness for that bygone era.That may sound crazy, but anyone who basically grew up on these means streets between the 1960s and 1980s knows exactly what I mean. Nevertheless, even cleaned-up New York is still the greatest city in the world.
At the conclusion of the novel From Russia With Love there was every indication that Ian Fleming, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle before him, had every intention of killing off his famous literary creation. The climax of the book finds James Bond stabbed by Rosa Klebb's poison-tipped knife blade concealed in her shoe. The ambiguous ending finds Bond slumping onto the floor with nary a happy ending in sight. Whereas Doyle had to be persuaded by public pressure to resurrect Sherlock Holmes, Fleming never seriously considered killing off Bond. The evidence? A letter from 1957 that Fleming wrote to a distraught fan assuring her of Bond's restored health. Amusingly, he presented the news in the format of an MI6 internal memo. Click here to read
Hi! I just have to dash off these few
comments about your review of "Where the Boys Are". I feel you may have misread
Yvette Mimieux's character's reaction after as you phrase it she "goes all the
way". It is not her guilt re: losing her virginity that causes her to became
suicidal, but her being used as a sexual plaything and then tossed aside as if
she were worth nothing that brings about her suicidal depression. In this way
the film is still relevant in that many men today still look upon woman as
nothing more than sex toys to throw away once they have had their way with them.
Yes "Where the Boys Are" is still important as a document of its time. Also the
cast did spend some time on location as George Hamilton recounts in his
autobiography, as he had his friend, Sean Flynn, son of actor Errol Flynn come
on over and join him, so they could party in the sun. I believe it is also the
first of its type as all the major studios began producing films starring
young, up and coming stars frolicking in different locations
during school breaks. While I already have a copy of "Where the Boys Are" I am
almost tempted to buy this new edition. Thank you for the fine review. --A.
Retro responds: Thanks for your insights...such plot points are open to subjective interpretation but I share your overall assessment as well as your affections for the film. It's a bit darker and deeper than the mindless "beach movie" many write it off as.- Lee Pfeiffer
I very much enjoyed the most recent CR
special issue dedicated to Kelly's Heroes. It sounds like James Aubry did not like anyone or anything.
There is a Frankenheimer commentary on "The Gypsy Moths" DVD where he mentions the
problems he had with lack of marketing, etc.
Keep these special issues coming.
Retro responds: Thanks for your support of our magazine. The issue is selling at an amazing rate. It surprised us how complex the story behind the making of Kelly's Heroes was. James Aubrey, who headed MGM at that time, was widely loathed by many in the industry. His meddling with final cuts alienated many prominent filmmakers during that time. It was Aubrey who insisted on cutting significant scenes from Kelly's Heroes against the protests of director Brian G. Hutton and Clint Eastwood. In fact, Eastwood made good on his vow to never make a movie for MGM again.(The whole story appears in detail in the magazine) Frankenheimer's The Gypsy Moths is another gem even in its truncated state. The fact that it bombed at the time doesn't diminish its many merits. - Lee Pfeiffer
Hello, I am a big fan of your site but there's
one little thing I would like to critizise: Carpenter's "The Thing" is
not a remake of "The Thing from another world" but a truer adaption of
the classic tale "Who goes there". And strangely enough, as Carpenter is
a big fan of Howard Hawks, it's possibly his most anti-Hawksian-film -
there are no professionals under pressure here but 12 victims of their own mutual
I hope I did not come across as too pedantic.
Retro responds: Among those of us who spend an unhealthy number of hours debating old movies, nothing is pedantic. I confess to not being overly conversant regarding the original film, so I'll cede your point. However, I would consider being trapped in an ice-bound building plagued by a wretched and murderous being from another world to be an example of being "under pressure". If you don't, Tobias, I would greatly like to know your definition of "pressure." Many thanks for writing from one of my favorite countries on the planet. Auf weidersehen! - Lee Pfeiffer
John Calley, the low-key, much beloved producer and studio head, died earlier this week at age 81. Calley was a true American success story. He worked his way up from the NBC mail room and ultimately held leader ship positions at Warner Brothers, United Artists and Sony. Additionally, he produced an eclectic slate of important motion pictures including The Loved One, The Cincinnati Kid, Castle Keep, Ice Station Zebra, Topkapi, The Americanization Of Emily, and Catch-22. Calley played a pivotal role in green lighting the return of the James Bond franchise after a six-year absence with the smash hit GoldenEye in 1995. Click here for more
The world's most popular actor has been cast to co-star in Baz Luhrmann's forthcoming 3-D remake of The Great Gatsby - and chances are you've never heard of him. Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood's most legendary star, having appeared in 175 movies. This will mark his Hollywood film debut (though the movie is being shot is Australia.) Bachchan, aged 70, has won eleven of India's version of the Oscar and is expected his presence in the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer will significantly increase worldwide boxoffice. Click here for more
The MTV Movies blog has an exclusive brief clip from the forthcoming prequel to John Carpenter's horror classic The Thing, which in itself was a remake of the first version made in the 1950s. Click here to view
Yes, that's Diana Rigg in a particularly kinky pose for an Avengers episode. Just one of the many retro delights covered on the For Your Eyes Only web site.
Cinema Retro contributing writer Craig Henderson is one of the world's great experts on spy movies and TV series of the 1960s. It was Craig who did yeoman work by analyzing each of the eight Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature films over a three-year period in the pages of our magazine. Craig's spy-related web site For Your Eyes Only is packed with information about his favorite movie and TV genre. Among the gems is an article titled Big Lies About Spies that sets the record straight about some of the most persistent urban legends revolving around U.N.C.L.E., James Bond, The Avengers, Get Smart and Ian Fleming. Click here to read
The still-to-be-titled 23rd official James Bond movie produced by Eon Productions will shoot extensively in India. The Indian government has given the green light for the production to begin filming late this year. One specific sequence involves spectacular action on a train. For more click here
The wonderful web site Starlet Showcase ceased to be updated almost a year ago. Fortunately, their treasure trove of wonderful vintage movie photos are still on-line to be enjoyed by all. Click here to check out their photos of sexy female stars on the telephone.
The year was 1972 and future Pixar founder Ed Catmull and his friend Fred Parke were already experimenting with 3-D filmmaking techniques that would one day revolutionize the film industry. Click here to check out their first short film: a modest project in which Ed's left hand was recreated using crude computer graphics.
Cinema Retro columnist Todd Garbarini was invited by the Film Forum to an advance screening of a remastered print of The French Connection. Here is his report:
NYPD is the name of
the festival of New York-based films currently screening at Manhattan’s repertoire
theater, the Film Forum.Originally
mounted at the same time in 2001, the festival was interrupted by the terrorist
attacks on that fateful Tuesday morning.
Among the screenings is a
nine-day engagement of William Friedkin’s Oscar-winning The French Connection from 1971 which runs from September 14 –
22.Nominated for eight Academy Awards
and scoring golden statues for Best Picture, Best Director (Friedkin), Best
Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Screenplay (Ernest Tidyman’s adaptation of Robin
Moore’s book), and Best Editing (Jerry Greenberg), The French Connection is a masterpiece of visual storytelling
loosely based upon the real-life exploits of Edward Walter "Eddie"
Egan and his partner Salvatore "Sonny" Grosso in their quest to bust
what was, up to that point in 1962, the largest heroin deal in the United
States valued at $32M at the time (roughly $231M today).With Hackman standing in for Egan as Jimmy “Popeye”
Doyle and Oscar-nominated co-star Roy Scheider in Grosso’s role as Buddy “Cloudy”
Russo, the film is a gripping thriller from start to finish highlighted by
several set pieces: a foot chase between Doyle and Frog One (Fernando Rey), the
code name given to the Frenchman providing the American counterparts with the
heroin; the much-celebrated chase between a commandeered 1971 Pontiac Le Mans
and an elevated subway train through Brooklyn in a sequence almost too gripping
to be believed; and the search for the heroin in question in a 1971 Lincoln Mk
III by completely tearing it apart and putting it back together.
Don Ellis, the late great
jazz musician who sadly passed away in 1978, provides a superb film score that
he wrote in five weeks and recorded in four days.Film Score Monthly issued a soundtrack album
on CD for the film in 2005.
The French Connection is a film unlike any other: bolstered by a
unique and gritty look, Owen Roizman’s camera provides an authenticated record
of Manhattan and Brooklyn rarely seen in the cinema.In addition to acting as technical advisors, Egan
and Grosso both appear in the film, the former as Simonson and the latter as
Klein, one of the officers assigned to the case.Egan passed away in 1995; Grosso became a
technical advisor on many projects, including The Godfather (he’s in the scene with Sterling Hayden outside the
hospital) and television’s Kojak.
The film is being shown in a
new 35mm print that is gorgeous and free of debris that generally plagues
prints that have been run through the projector many times over.
If you haven’t seen this film
in a theater, you really haven’t seen it.Click here for
Oscar winning actor Cliff Robertson has died at age 88. He passed away a day after his birthday. Robertson had a long and illustrious career that began in the golden days of television and extended to the Spiderman movies of recent years. Although he generally played quiet, dignified characters, Robertson marched to his own drumbeat- a trait that earned him respect but that also damaged aspects of his career. In 1977 when he was still very much an in-demand leading man, Robertson ignored advice to hush up a scandal that involved the head of Columbia Pictures, David Begelman, who had utilized Robertson's name in a bizarre check forging scandal. Begelman was momentarily disgraced, payed a small fine and was later rewarded for his crime by being appointed as the head of MGM. Meanwhile, Robertson found his own career went into immediate decline. He had been virtually blacklisted by the good old boy network that controlled the studios. Nevertheless, he had no regrets because he always put principal before his own career.
Robertson's good looks combined with his abilities to play dramatic roles as well as light romantic comedies made him a hot commodity in the industry by the early 1960s. Yet he had to endure the frustration of seeing roles he won acclaim for on TV go to other actors when the stories were brought to the big screen. One such case was The Days of Wine and Roses for which Jack Lemmon played the role Robertson had introduced too audiences in the TV version. Determined not to let that happen again, Robertson bought the rights to the story Flowers for Algernon, in which he played a mentally challenged adult in the TV adaptation. The moving story followed the man as he undergoes a medical experiment that sees his intellect rise to that of a genius- with unexpectedly tragic results. Robertson spent years nurturing a big screen version that was released in 1968 as Charly. He won the Best Actor Oscar against all odds during an era in which playing handicapped people was considered to be a career faux pas. He was not able to attend the ceremony because director Robert Aldrich would not let him leave the Philippines locations for Too Late the Hero.
His career got a major boost in 1963 when he starred as John F. Kennedy in Warner Brothers' P.T. 109 which told the story of the future president's heroic WWII exploits. Kennedy personally chose Robertson for the role. Among his other major films were Picnic, Sunday in New York, Obsession, The Best Man, Too Late the Hero, The Devil's Brigade, 633 Squadron and the recent Spiderman movies in which he played the role of Uncle Ben. He also directed the acclaimed 1972 film J.W. Coop about an aging rodeo star.
Cinema Retro's Lee Pfeiffer (L), Cliff Robertson and Steve Thompson at Robertson's Long Island home.
Robertson was one of those leading men who made everything look too easy. Consequently, his contributions to the industry have often been overlooked. On a personal level, I have great memories of the man. In the early days of Cinema Retro Cliff was one of the first major stars to enthusiastically support us. His friend and publicist Steve Thompson and I spent a day at his house at Water Mill, New York on Long Island where he regaled us with wonderful stories. Some were moving, some were amusing and some were shocking (these we promised to never publish). We published his memories of making Charly in issue #4- but we fortunately still have many more of his stories from those interviews that we can print in future issues to honor the legacy of this gracious and talented man.
Like all lovers of classic movies, we deeply mourn his passing.
On this most sober anniversary of 9/11, perhaps it's appropriate to revisit a time when the World Trade Center had a happier connotation. Artist Dan Meth has compiled a remarkable history of the Twin Towers' appearances in major motion pictures throughout the decades. Click here to view
Peckinpah discusses a scene with star Dustin Hoffman.
With the pending release of the Americanized remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 classic Straw Dogs, writer Terrence Rafferty of the New York Times looks back at the original film and reopens the reasons why it still remains one of the most controversial movies of all time. Click here to read
They're dusting off the Ghostbusters films with a new entry starring Dan Akroyd with Ivan Reitman directing once again. Bill Murray has been invited to be part of the revival but the notoriously finicky star has yet to say whether he will do so. Akroyd says the film will go ahead "with or without" him. For more click here