Taschen, £ 44.99) Hardcover, 10.6 x
12.8 in., 276 pages, ISBN
By Adrian Smith
Taken a mere six
weeks before her untimely death, the Bert Stein photos of Marilyn Monroe have
become legendary. With an estimated 2,500 shots taken over two weekends in a
converted Bel Air hotel room, Stein attempted successfully to capture the true
Marilyn, past the glamour and the Hollywood glitz. These photos were originally
printed in Vogue and have remained in popular circulation ever since. In
1973 Pullitzer-winning author and journalist Norman Mailer was invited to write
a introductory piece on Marilyn Monroe to accompany a book of photos, including
some of those taken by Stein. Mailer had never met Monroe, and took everyone by
surprise when he returned with over 100,000 words, having watched all of her
movies, conducted interviews and more essentially, fallen in love. In death, as
in life, Marilyn Monroe has a spellbinding effect on everyone.
photos are perhaps well known for Marilyn being naked, covering herself with
chiffon scarves. As he explains in his introduction: “Vogue wanted to
dress Marilyn up... I still thought the right thing to do was to take her
clothes off. The more they added, the more I tried to think of ways to reveal
her. All she had to do was show one toe and it got me excited...”
This new book
from Taschen, previously only available as a collector's edition, has been
published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of her death. Hundreds of
the photos from Stein's shoot are reproduced alongside Mailer's text, which is
ostensibly a biography but also serves as a commentary on her life. Mailer
attempts to get under the surface of Monroe, just like Stein was with his
photos. He covers her life from her difficult childhood, her marriages, her
depression and finally her death and the various theories around what really
happened. Mailer adroitly summarises her power when he states: “She emanated
sex, a simple street girl on still another back street, emanated sex like few
girls ever did... libido seemed to ooze through her, and out of her like a dew
through the cracks in a vase.”
It is hard to
believe that it has been fifty years since Marilyn Monroe died, and in many
ways she is just as misunderstood now, an enigma, a puzzle that people still
want to solve. She was contradictory; emanating fragility and being difficult
to work with on set, yet representing a new kind of sexual confidence and
freedom that would in part pave the way towards the sexual revolution of the
1960s. This book offers a glimpse into the psyche of Marilyn. One can spend
hours simply pouring over the beautifully reproduced photos in this huge book,
or read Mailer's accompanying text and discover new insight through his unique
approach in constructing a biography. It is a book that can be dipped into
again and again for years to come.
Here's a real gem from 1966: the dancers from the teenybopper TV show Hullabaloo performing to an extended original soundtrack version of Neal Hefti's theme from the Batman TV series. Holy hole in the donut!
Gone With the Wind: the 90 year old Bonham Theater in Fairbury, Nebraska just closed its doors, a victim of the "convert or die" policy of the studios re: digital projection.
By Lee Pfeiffer
The onerous costs of converting movie theaters to digital format can be absorbed by major theater chains. However, those costs are proving deadly to small, independent movie theaters across America with the price of conversion ranging from $65,000 to $150,000. In a major article on The Wrap web site, these small theater owners lament the fact that they will probably have to close their doors. The major studios are quickly exiting the business of striking 35mm prints. Without those, theaters would not be able to show the latest movies. The Bonham Theater, for example, has been the heart of small Fairbury, Nebraska (pop. 3,942) for 90 years. The owner closed down the theater last week, unable to find the funds to convert. The studios are offering a plan whereby theaters that agree to convert will be able to ultimately share in the savings that the digital format affords studios in terms of printing 35mm film and shipping bulky canisters cross-country. However, those substantial savings (up to 70% of the conversion costs) only kick in after the theater owner has secured financing for 100% of the conversion - a dubious prospect in an age when banks are becoming increasingly selective about lending large sums to small businesses. The impact of digital conversion will hit small, rural theaters hardest worldwide. In the United States, for example, up to 20% of all movie theaters are expected to close in the near future. Art house cinemas that specialize entirely in showing vintage movies will be able to linger a while longer, but as existing 35mm prints deteriorate, it's unlikely that studios will invest in making more, with the exception of a relative handful of timeless classics. Cinema Retro has noticed a trend that smaller theaters are already utilizing in order to survive: showing DVDs on the big screen. The advantage of this is that it provides an unlimited library of potential movies to screen without incurring the costs of conversion. However, truly movie fans will certainly object because the quality suffers substantially, especially on larger size screens. The only art house cinemas that are likely to survive indefinitely are those that can also show digital format. This means popular retro theaters in L.A. and New York are safe, but it may spell the death knell for those theaters outside of major urban areas. Independent theater owners had hoped that studios would still produce a small quantity of 35mm prints of the latest films in order to help rural theaters survive, but it now appears this will not be the case. For more click here
COPPERFIELD (1911) Produced by THANHOUSER COMPANY
a terrific little gem of cinema history this is. I just viewed this wonderfully
restored DVD of a 1911 3-reel version of Charles Dickens’ DAVID COPPERFIELD.
Now, before you chuckle at the thought that a Dickens story as long as David
Copperfield can be condensed into three 10-minute reels, I am reviewing this as
a treasure from the early days of the art of cinema. This is like a “Cliff Notes”
version (or more like Classic Comics version) of DAVID COPPERFIELD.
visual quality of this transfer is very good. Films of this vintage are often
many generations away from the original elements. Aside from being a fun little
condensation of the Dickens original, it is a wonderful, charming look at how
movies were presented in the early part of the 20th century. This ambitious adaptation was filmed
in three installments. Each 10 minute reel was released over three successive
weeks, much like a chapter serial.
DVD is a joint venture of The Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. and
Museo Nazionale Del Cinema of Turino, Italy. It comes with a booklet informing
you of the history of the film and of the techniques utilized in the
preservation process. Optional English subtitles are offered, as is a commentary
track by Dickens scholar Joss Marsh. There is also a Dickens biography, image gallery
and, most impressively, Thanhouser’s 1912 2-reel version of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY.
All of this is lovingly presented by Ned Thanhouser, heir to the original
film company’s founder. This charming DVD presentation is a true work of love.
To order go to:
The Girl is based on a fascinating concept: director Alfred Hitchcock's sexual obsession with his "star in the making" "Tippi" Hedren, who he cast as the female lead in his 1963 classic The Birds as well as his next film Marnie. When Hedren rebuffed Hitchcock's advances, the result was devastating to both star and director as Hitchcock went about ensuring that Hedren would never achieve the fame and fortune he once predicted for her. Sienna Miller stars as Hedren and Toby Jones plays Hitchcock. Click here to view trailer
James Bond fans will have TWO major new 007 feature films this fall. In addition to the new Bond film Skyfall, there will also be a feature length documentary titled Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007. The film has been directed by acclaimed documentary maker Stevan Riley and will be released theatrically around the world. The documentary was made by Passion Pictures in association with Eon, Columbia Pictures, MGM and Red Box Films and will look at the development of the Bond films over the decades and feature interviews and rare archival footage. For more click here
There will be a Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood's Oscar winning 1992 Western classic Unforgiven. Eastwood's star-making role in director Sergio Leone's 1964 Western A Fistful of Dollars was an unauthorized remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Director Lee Sang-il is a die hard fan of Eastwood's film and will helm the Japanese remake, to be titled Yurusarezaru Mono. For more click here
Celebrating great entertainment and engaging a multi-generational audience to a treasure-trove of pop culture faves, Shout! Factory today announced the re-launch of its official websiteShoutFactory.com. This announcement was made today by Shout! Factory founding partners Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos. With the re-launch of ShoutFactory.com, Shout! Factory renews commitment to an aggressive multi-platform strategy for its home entertainment business. The site provides users with a dynamic media and shopping experience, and includes up-to-date news, social media interactive tools, streaming media content and digital downloads from Shout! Factory.
By offering a consumer-friendly multimedia online destination, ShoutFactory.com showcases Shout!’s expansive pop culture library, spanning superbly packaged audio and video box sets, memorable television series, fan favorite animation, comedy and cult film classics. This highly functional site is optimized to engage fans and consumers alike with immediate access to in-depth production information and previews on new releases, as well as provide forums for discussion, discovery and sharing their pop culture passions with their friends and family.
With today’s launch of ShoutFactory.com, visitors will immediately notice the fresh new look, updated design, simple navigation flow and a number of site highlights, including:
Unique e-commerce experience with detailed production information and previews
Sharing their discovery and passion through forums and social media
Digital download store: select audio and video downloads of Shout! Factory content for your computer and handheld device
Secure commercial transactions
Special offers including exclusive titles, bundled offers, limited-edition releases, and unique gift-with-purchase
ShoutFactory.com, the direct online destination for all Shout! Factory branded home entertainment properties is live today. Additional news, special offers and fan driven activities, please visit ShoutFactory.com and follow us on Twitter @ShoutFactory and Facebook.
About Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blu-Ray™ offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras. Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY®-nominated box sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America. Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com
The Warner Archive has released two more volumes in their “FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD” series. Marijuana, Lesbians -AND-William Powell speaks Yiddish!
Forbidden Hollywood-Volumes 4 & 5 have been released by Warner Archive Collection. I have been a big fan of this series since The VHS/laser disc days. These pre-code films are a hell-of-a-lot-of-fun to watch, and no one did them better than Warner Brothers. As my cinema guru , Tom Dillon ["The Sage of Grammercy Park"] once said: “You wanna take a shower after watching a good pre-Cceighte Warner Bros. film!” These 8 films are great examples of that genre.
Volume 4-all 1932 JEWELL ROBBERY-William Powell and Kay Francis star in this story of a high society jewel thief who uses marijuana, amongst other things, to get what he wants. Directed by William Dieterle
LAWYER MAN- William Powell and Joan Blondell. Powell stars as a lawyer who workds his way up from the lower east side to Park Ave. with Joan Blondell as his secretary. Powell speaks some lines of Yiddish in this one. The Thin Mensch! Oy! Directed by William Dieterle.
MAN WANTED-Kay Francis and David Manners. Kay is the editor of a society magazine who is in a boring marriage “with arrangements.” Young David Manners needs a job...need we say more? Directed by William Dieterle
THEY CALL IT SIN-Loretta Young and George Brent. Loretta Young is an innocent, small town church organist(!) who is lured to the big city by a soon-to-be-married cad. Directed by Thorton Freeland
HARD TO HANDLE-James Cagney and Mary Brian. Jimmy is at his best as a small time promoter who has a number of smart-aleck schemes blow up in his face. It’s how Cagney gets out of these jams that makes for all the fun. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT-Barbara Stanwyck. What a dame! Stanwyck goes to prison. Not so veiled allusions to lesbians (caged heat). Butch-looking female prisoner walks by puffing on a cigar. Another prisoner teaching “new fish”. Stanwyck the ropes says: “Watch out for that one...she likes to wrestle!” Directed by Howard Bretherton and William Keighley.
MIND READER-Warren William andConstance Cummings. William plays a travelling snake oil salesman who goes from tank town to tank town conning folks out of their dough with all different rackets until he hits on a mind reading scheme. All is working fine till one day one of his fake prediction iturns out to be true-with sobering results. Directed by Roy Del Ruth.
MISS PINKERTON-Joan Blondell and George Brent. Based on a series of popular mystery novels written by Mary Roberts Rinehart, Joan Blondell plays a nurse who helps solve a dark, old house-type mystery while falling for cop, George Brent. Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
After watching these eight fun films, you will find yourself using archaic words and phrases like, SWELL and DAMES and HEY, YOU MUGS!...WHY I OUGHTA...SCRAM!...Do your self a favor and beat it over to the Warner Home Video site and order these two volumes. Then finds yourself someone to to shower with afterwards...you’lls have a SWELL time!
Dick Van Dyke will receive the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement award. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT in January 2013. Van Dyke has been a Hollywood icon for decades. His hit TV series include The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis Murder. He has also had a long career in feature films. His credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Divorce American Style, Mary Poppins, Cold Turkey, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and A Night at the Museum. For more click here
Latest among the seemingly endless movie remakes is The Last of Shelia, the clever 1973 murder mystery that was written by the improbable pairing of Steven Sondheim and Anthony Perkins. The original film, directed by Herbert Ross, centered on a group of Hollywood snobs who are invited by an obnoxious benefactor to take an exotic cruise on his yacht. Once aboard, he induces them to play a complicated game that ends up having deadly results. New Line will produce the remake and a writer is being sought. Only one problem- how do you top the cast of the original: James Coburn, Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, Ian McShane, James Mason, Joan Hackett and Raquel Welch? For more click here
Robert Vaughn will return to live theater, starring in the Pulitzer Prize-winning screwball comedy You Can't Take It With You at the Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, New York. Performances run from September 11-October 7. For more click here
Due to the emergence of "intriguing" new information, L.A. detectives have re-opened the investigation into the mysterious 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. The cause of death has been amended from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other causes", thus putting a more sinister aspect to the investigation. Wood disappeared from the deck of a yacht after a contentious evening on board with her husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. Both men say there had been a lot of drinking and that when they both retired for the evening, Wood was alive and well. Speculation has been rampant about how she would have drowned, given her lifelong fear of water. Conspiracy theorists speculate that Wagner and/or Walken know more than they are saying. For more click here
All good things come to those who
wait. That being said the reason why
Blu-ray was invented is finally here. Steven
Spielberg's Jaws, arguably the first
and the greatest summer movie ever made, in addition to being one of the best
American films of all-time, has been given a complete digital 4K restoration
derived from the original camera negative. The results are magnificent. A far cry
from the MCA DiscoVision laser disc, the Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) by
RCA, the VHS tape, the 20th anniversary letterboxed laser disc, or even the
past two previous DVD incarnations (which were admittedly pretty decent), the
new Blu-ray most closely approximates what it was like to see Jaws for the first time in movie
theaters in the summer of 1975. Best of
all, the Blu-ray cover retains artist Roger Kastel’s iconic poster art.
The plot of Jaws by now is so familiar that I do not feel it warrants a
summary. Jaws is a nearly perfect
film, held together by three fine lead performances by Roy Scheider, Richard
Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. At times humorous, playful, thrilling, terrifying,
and wildly adventurous, Jaws is one
of the best-edited motion pictures ever made. Verna Fields won a well-deserved
Oscar for fashioning a masterpiece out of all the raw footage brought to her by
Mr. Spielberg. Each subsequent viewing of Jaws
tends to reveal something new. The mafia angle which was prevalent in the novel
is somewhat alluded to in the one brief scene where Chief Brody (Roy Scheider)
is cautioned by Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) to keep the beaches open, and
that the Island needs summer dollars. This
verbal strong-arming calls to mind Tony Soprano. This conversation speaks
volumes about corporations putting stockholders interests ahead of the safety
of their workers, a comparison that can be drawn to Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) if one cares to delve into it.
Watching the film again makes one
realize just how powerful the bond is between Mr. Spielberg and John Williams, the
composer on nearly all of Mr. Spielberg’s work for the past 40 years. Equally, Jaws
is possibly the first film to have terrific and memorable one-liners that have
made their way to the American lexicon. Chief Brody, the fish out of water from
New York City who is also deathly afraid of the ocean, in the end prevails
against all odds and could quite possibly take the credit for being the model
of all of those horror film heroes that were to follow in the footsteps of Jaws. (i.e either one man or one woman
is left standing after their comrades have been massacred.) The ending is also
a metaphor for the success of the film itself, wherein one issue after another
befell this production which lasted for nearly one year. Jaws is not only grand entertainment, but the film stands as an
example of how triumph in the face of adversity can be attributed to good old
fashioned brainpower and problem-solving.
While it is understandable to groan
about double and triple dipping when it comes to movies being reissued on home video
formats, the new Blu-ray of Jaws is a
must buy. With the exception of the beautiful
60-page booklet that accompanied the 2005 DVD (hold on to that!), the Blu-ray retains
all of the previous DVD extras:
-The Making of Jaws – Laurent Bouzereau’s excellent two-hour
documentary on the making of the film which originally appeared on the 1995
laserdisc box set
scenes and outtakes
-From the Set – a report from the set of the film
photos, storyboards, marketing Jaws
and the Jaws phenomenon
In addition to these extras, the
Blu-ray sports the inclusion of the long-desired documentary about the Jaws phenomenon entitled The Shark is Still Working: The Impact and
Legacy of Jaws directed by Erik Hollander and produced by Mr. Hollander,
James Galete, Jack Grove, and J. Michael Roddy. The film runs 101 minutes.
Jaws also includes an all-new 7.1 audio
soundtrack, in addition to Spanish and French audio. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish
A standard definition DVD is also
provided and it contains the restored film, in addition to a 50-minute version
of the aforementioned documentary by Laurent Bouzereau. The inclusion of this disc and the truncated
documentary is questionable given Jaws’s
release on DVD in 2000 and 2005. I would
have liked to have seen a double Blu-ray set with even more extras. If someone doesn’t have a Blu-ray player by
now, Jaws is the reason to get
one. This minor carping aside, I am
grateful to finally have one of my favorite films in this format.
Lastly, let’s all be thankful that the
shark didn't work most of the time!
CLICK HERETO ORDER THE JAWS BLU-RAY + DVD + ULTRAVIOLET INSTANT STREAM + DIGITAL COPY FROM
FOR MY REVIEW OF JAWS: MEMORIES FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD AND INTERVIEWS WITH THE
BsykyB will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films by launching an all-007 channel in the UK commencing October 5. The entire Bond catalog will be broadcast uncut and without commercials in hi def for the first time in the UK. The deal also includes the "renegade" version of Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again. The channel promises to show loads of extra materials. For more click here
Deane was crowned Bunny of the Year in 1969 by the screen's new James Bond, George Lazenby.
The terrific retro web site Spy Vibe pays homage to the glorious mod era of London in the 60s and 70s with a special look inside the Playboy Club. Bunny Deana, who worked at the club between 1969-1972, takes a trip down memory lane. To read the interview click here
MGM's burn-to-video division is thankfully releasing the Oakmont-produced British WWII films from the late 1960s-early 1970s. These modestly-budgeted films were not designed as Oscar-bait. In fact, they seem to be specifically created to fill out the bottom of double bills as the era of that great cinema staple was rapidly coming to a close. Hell Boats was shot in 1970 and bares all the ingredients of an Oakmont production: it's intelligently written, well-acted and directed (by Paul Wendkos) and features some exotic locations, in this case Malta. As with some other Oakmont titles (The Last Escape, Attack on the Iron Coast, The Thousand Plane Raid), this rather unconvincingly shoe-horns an American leading man into what is clearly an all-British storyline, presumably to give the film some broader boxoffice appeal. In this case, James Franciscus (in full, Chuck Heston clone mode) is Jeffords, the new commander of a British torpedo boat unit. There is a brief explanation as to how an American got a job as Commander in the Royal Navy- something to do with having been born in the UK. With that sore point quickly dispensed of, we get to the main plot line. Jeffords is assigned to blow up a seemingly impregnable German gun bastion carved into a mountainside in Malta. The mission appears suicidal but Jeffords concocts a daring plan that involves scuba divers, commandos and the torpedo boats. He does have other distractions: he and his superior officer, Ashurst (Ronald Allen) despise each other. Ashurst wants to prove himself in combat, but is stuck behind a desk. He envies Jefford's courage and is further emasculated by his knowledge that Jeffords is bedding his frustrated wife Alison (Elizabeth Shepherd), who fortunately has an aversion to clothing. The soap opera elements are actually intelligently woven into the story line, creating genuine tension between the two men. Franciscus is all grit-teethed masculinity, but he makes a rather bland hero. He is humorless and all business, all the time. (He even makes his sexual dalliances look about as desirable as changing a tire.) Allen's character is far more interesting and the dissolution of his marriage before his eyes adds an interesting subplot to the military sequences.
Like most Oakmont productions, Hell Boats does a lot with very little in terms of budget. The photography is excellent and so are the production values, save for the sea battle sequences that betray the very obvious use of miniatures. Nevertheless, this is a highly entertaining adventure movie throughout- and it refreshingly sidesteps what I thought was going to be a predictable plot device leading to a somewhat unexpected conclusion.
If MGM is listening, the only Oakmont title not available on DVD is The Last Escape starring Stuart Whitman. C'mon guys, keep up the good work and get this one out there.
Here's a regrettably grainy but ultra-rare shot from the Cinema Retro archive, circa June 1966. It depicts a chance meeting of two major spy movie stars of that year, as Michael Caine bumped into George Segal on location in Berlin. Caine was reprising his Harry Palmer in Funeral in Berlin while Segal was shooting The Quiller Memorandum. Remember, every issue of our magazine edition is packed with rare photos and production ads you've never seen, so subscribe today!
In a rare in-depth interview with the Evening Standard, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli reflects on fifty years of 007 films, her determination (against popular opinion at the time) to ensure that Daniel Craig became accepted as Bond, the delight that the Queen appeared in the Olympics 007 film short, the role of women in the Bond franchise, her frustrations on absurd internet rumors that are treated as reliable news stories and her plans to bring Chariots of Fire to the London stage. Click here to read
Click here for amusing video clips of Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Jerry Seinfeld, Marlo Thomas, Henry Winkler, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Diane Keaton, Betty Whitevand Whoopi Goldberg before they had gained fame and fortune in the acting field.
Looks like the Magnificent Seven remake is going ahead. The following was reported by David Thompson on his Thompson on Hollywood web site.
"Nic Pizzolatto (whose few credits include two episodes of AMC's "The Killing" and the upcoming HBO series "True Detectives" with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) is set to pen the script for MGM's long-gestating remake (of a remake), "The Magnificent Seven." The original 1960 version was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece "The Seven Samurai." Tom Cruise is attached to star."
PRESENTED IN AMAZING ALAMOSCOPE: 70MM AT THE RITZ!
A Brand New Programming Series Goes Big, Including Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER
A Alamo is pleased to announce a new ongoing film series beginning August 24, titled“Presented in Amazing AlamoScope: 70mm at the Ritz!” In the world of film presentation, nothing -- digital or otherwise -- can ever match the power and glory of 70mm film. A gargantuan creation of the 1950s, 70mm quickly became the permanent benchmark of quality, transforming every title released in the format into a mind-expanding epic. The depth, the sharpness, the beauty and the history make every 70mm screening an unforgettable event for any movie fan. While movie studios and theaters dump celluloid to replace with computer files and giant TVs, the Alamo is proud to instead leap into the tremendous, triumphant arena of 70mm.
A The incredible lineup at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, TX includes WEST SIDE STORY, CLEOPATRA, GHOSTBUSTERS, INDIANA JONES, BARAKA, PLAYTIME andPaul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated new film THE MASTER, all shown the way they were meant to be seen, in glorious 70mm.
"I am thrilled that Tim has helped us present the film in its intended way. This is a special format, and keeping it alive is important," said director Paul Thomas Anderson.
A “Paul Thomas Anderson has bucked the trend of digital conversion and shot his new American epic THE MASTER in glorious 70mm. As an homage to his bold ambition, we have made a long-term commitment to celebrate 70mm, both as a lead-up to the release of his new film and as an integral part of our programming for years to come,” says Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse.
A Tickets to WEST SIDE STORY are on sale now. A badge providing access to all 7 films including THE MASTER is also on sale. The badge includes access to the first show on Saturday for all repertory films and the premiere screening of THE MASTER on 9/21 at 7:00pm
A THE MASTER will run exclusively in 70mm at the Ritz in Austin beginning September 21. The Ritz will continue to screen 70mm films in the years to come as part of the Alamo Drafthouse’s continued commitment to film preservation.
Pete Emslie is one of the best contemporary cartoonists around and his blog, The Cartoon Cave, is a must-read. Emslie has recently published what we will term "a guest editorial" because it captures many of Cinema Retro's criticisms of the current state of television. Unlike Emslie, we still find enough nuggets out there (some admittedly guilty pleasures) to justify keeping the old cable TV subscription. However, we can well understand why he just canceled his. Emslie concentrates on the sad state of the endless, indistinguishable crime shows that are on the air. The plots tend to be more and more over-the-top and the cast members are virtually cloned from the same mold. There is the token nod to someone over the age of 35 (Mark Harmon and David McCallum in NCIS, for example) but for the most part, crime shows always feature drop-dead gorgeous people holding pistols with two hands while shouting, "Freeze, you mother!" Every other situation has juvenile sexual innuendos and we rarely even get any cool theme songs because the average TV drama is a one hour block of commercials occasionally interrupted by content. Contrast this, as Emslie does, to the great old crime shows of old. Hawaii 5-0 (the real one, that is), didn't have Jack Lord and Kam Fong competing to get some comely new female detective in the sack. Instead, we got compelling characters, good acting and people looked like they really belonged in a police station. Imagine trying to launch a series with Peter Falk as Columbo today? A middle-aged, frumpy, cigar chomping man in the lead role? Fuggetaboutit! If they remake the series (and they eventually will), Columbo will be a Brad Pitt clone who eschews cigars for Twizzlers (more politically correct) and who uses his eccentricities to woo female suspects into confessing. In any event, click here to read Pete Emslie's take on all this (which includes a sly criticism of the fact that even all the cluttered, unimaginatively designed DVD boxed sets for these shows seem Xeroxed.) - Lee Pfeiffer
Noted British actor Bob Hoskins is ending his film career due to a recent diagnosis that he has Parkinson's Disease. The degenerative ailment will deprive movie goers of enjoying the 69 year old actor's considerable talents, as evidenced in films like The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The Guardian reports that "A statement issued on his behalf said: "He wishes to thank all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supported him during a wonderful career. Bob is now looking forward to his retirement with his family, and would greatly appreciate that his privacy be respected at this time."
It's worth a trip in the Cinema Retro Time Machine to travel back to 1965 to see how Time magazine portrayed Robert Vaughn, then 32 years old, as TV's answer to Horatio Alger in the starring role of Napoleon Solo, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
If you're a Sean Connery and haven't yet seen what is possibly his greatest on screen achievement - The Hill- then you've been depriving yourself of a great cinematic experience. While we're disappointed WB didn't get the charismatic director to provide an audio commentary for their DVD, just having this film avaiable in a pristine transfer is enough to satisfy any classic movie lover. It's hard to overstate the importance this film had in the career of Sean Connery. Although the movie was not a box-office hit, it did prove to skeptical critics that there was more to the brooding Scottish actor than just the antics of Agent 007. I've always felt that if The Hill's financial performance had been as impressive as its critical reception, Connery may have been less frustrated by his Bondian image. As it stands, for my money this is the best film of his career.
With a tidal wave of DVD releases hitting the market every year, it may well be that you are unaware that some of your favorite films are available on home video. In Cinema Retro's never-ending quest to serve our loyal readers, we occasionally shine the spotlight on DVD releases that don't get much fanfare and are often overlooked. In this case, we focus on Play Dirty, a 1968 WWII film that boasts a sterling cast of great British actors: Michael Caine, the two Nigels (Davenport and Green in a rare pairing in the same film) and Harry Andrews. The movie was directed by Andre De Toth, another of those rather eccentric, larger-than-life characters sadly lacking in today's film industry. The plot finds Caine as a British officer supervising loading docks in WWII Africa. He's reluctantly sent on a top secret mission 400 miles behind enemy lines to blow up a fuel depot. Unbeknownst to Caine, his team is being used as sacrificial lambs to divert attention from the real commando team that is following in their footsteps. From minute one, the uppercrust Caine finds himself in charge of a motley crew that makes the Dirty Dozen look like a boy's choir. He locks horns with Nigel Davenport, a mercenary-like cynic who makes it clear he is the de facto leader of the team. After suffering embarrassing lapses in strategy, Caine has to prove his worth in order to re-establish respect for his command. Along the way there are other challenges, aside from the obviously suicidal nature of the mission. The pure hell of the desert has rarely been so convincingly captured in any film and the widescreen cinematography by Edward Scaife is a wonder to behold. You can practically feel the heat and the sand every throughout the film, and you are made aware of how difficult the shooting of this film must have been for the actors. (The movie was shot in Almeria, Spain where Sergio Leone filmed his Dollar film trilogy with Clint Eastwood).
The plot takes some surprising twists, with double-crosses, unexpected plot devices and the simmering tensions between Caine and Davenport that provide an unpredictable quality to the film that separates it from most WWII films. The movie's cynical outlook on war and the people who find themselves fighting them was largely a reflection with public weariness over the Vietnam conflict, which was then at its peak, along with the resulting protest movement. Performances are first-rate and the violence would have made Sam Peckinpah proud. This is not a film that stints on realism and the graphic nature of some scenes would have been impossible to bring to the screen only a year or two before Play Dirty was released. The real treat is watching the array of first-rate actors at their peak (even if Green and Andrews are relegated to extended cameo sequences). Ironically, Caine had appeared almost simultaneously in another major anti-war film that was reknowned for its violent content, Robert Aldrich's Too Late the Hero. Play Dirty was the fourth collaboration between Michael Caine and James Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman, with whom he made the three Harry Palmer big screen spy thrillers. It ranks as a top-notch adventure, but keep an ice cold brew handy when viewing it - the sun drenched landscapes will make you thirsty from the first frame.
MGM's DVD provides a superb looking picture, but the one frustrating drawback is that the disc has no extras whatsoever.
It's no secret that, with few exceptions, the month of August is used by studios to dump dumb or uninspired movies on to audiences. Not really sure why this is the case, but it's true. The blockbusters are relegated to the early summer and holiday seasons. Critic Mike Ryan takes a long, sad look back at what he believes is the worst year for August movie releases: 1996. Here is the list of dubious titles that were inflicted on movie goers that fateful summer:
"Escape From L.A." "Matilda" "Tin Cup" "Jack" "House Arrest" "Kansas City" "Tales From the Crypt Present: Bordello of Blood" "The Fan" "She's The One" "A Very Brady Sequel" "The Island of Dr. Moreau" "Trigger Effect" "The Stupids" "First Kid" "Alaska" "The Spitfire Grill" "The Crow: City of Angels"
One could argue that at least a couple of these were pretty good (Tin Cup, A Very Brady Sequel) but those are more than compensated for by the knowledge that the great Brando squandered his talents in the Moreau remake in one of the most bizarre performances of all time. For more analysis click here
Actor Albert Freeman Jr. (also known as Al Freeman Jr.) has died from unspecified causes at age 78. Freeman had been teaching acting at Howard University in Washington, DC. where he also chaired the theater arts department. Freeman appeared on the long running afternoon soap opera One Life to Live between 1972 and 1987 and won an Emmy for his work. In feature films, he had high profile roles in movies like Finian's Rainbow, The Detective, The Lost Man, Castle Keep and Spike Lee's Malcolm X, in which he won acclaim for his performance as controversial Black Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad. For more click here
(Published by Titan Books $24.95/£19.99) 208 pages,
Illustrated (B&W) ISBN 9781781161937
By Kevin Wilkinson
Movie stills have been a rather neglected area of the film industry so it
is pleasing to see Titan publish this book of the golden days of Hollywood
photography. It is not just a book full of gorgeous photos, as the text
contains fascinating information detailing the history of movie publicity stills
from the silent days through the heyday of the studio and star system to the
mid Sixties when colour photography would come to the fore.
The book is lavishly illustrated with portraits, production stills, behind
the scenes and candid photos. The often unheralded Hollywood photographers
often worked under contract to a specific studio. Their duties included
capturing portraits and scene stills, behind the scenes production shots
showing the director and crew at work and costume and movie set photos for
reference. They would also be assigned to take candid photos at the studio,
premieres, parties and the star’s homes to capitalize on the actors’ growing
popularity. These often included some obviously staged photographs designed to
portray the actor or actress as a dedicated family person. (The book includes a
wonderful photo of Errol Flynn in costume with his wife on the set of The Adventures of Robin Hood.) Examples
are shown of stills that were adapted for movie posters and how some directors would
take an intensely personal interest in the photos used for marketing campaigns.
(A still of John Gavin and Vera Miles from Psycho
looking at at a rocking chair was carefully arranged by Hitchcock so as not to
give the game away.)
Movie buffs and photographers alike will enjoy this book immensely. Highly
Here is the official description:
Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe... It is through the eye of the stills camera that we experience and recall some of the cinema's most memorable events and faces. Still images are so powerful that they can easily pass for actual scenes for the movies they represent - rather than separately posed, lighted and photographed shots that may not even find their way into the finished film.
This book is the most detailed and perceptive survey ever devoted to this neglected aspect of film-making. It traces the origin of stills photography during the silent era and the early development of the star system, through to the rise of the giant studios in the 1930s and their eventual decline. Finler focuses on the photographers, on the stars they photographed, and on many key films and film-makers.
Hollywood Movie Stills is illustrated with hundreds of rare and unusual stills from the author's own collection, including not only portraits and scene stills but production shots, behind-the-scenes photos, poster art, calendar art, photo collages and trick shots. There are also photos showing the stars' private lives and special events in Hollywood. This lavishly presented new edition of Finler's classic work includes many new stills and much new insight and information into this fascinating aspect of the great film studios in their heyday.
It was a long road for John Steinbeck's 1947 bestseller The Wayward Bus to make it on to the silver screen. The steamy novel about sexually frustrated people who find themselves on an arduous bus ride over dangerous terrain was considered too steamy to adapt to film. At various stages George Stevens and Howard Hawks were involved in film adaptations that never saw fruition. By the time censorship had been relaxed, it was the late 1950s and Fox finally decided to push the envelope by financing the film at the urging of Darryl F. Zanuck, now an independent producer. What emerged was a pale shadow of once-prestigious product. Gone were Stevens, Hawks and Marlon Brando, who was once attached to the film. Instead, an unknown director, Victor Vicas, convinced Zanuck and Fox to allow him to helm the movie. The cast is still impressive, with two of the screen's emerging sex sirens- Joan Collins and Jayne Mansfield- seen in anything but exploitation roles. The story resembles a modern version of John Ford's Stagecoach, with an eclectic group of strangers tossed together on ramshackle bus owned and driven by Johnny Chicoy (Rick Jason), an Irish-Mexican who runs a small rest stop cafe with his pouting wife Alice (Collins). Johnny opts to attempt a dangerous drive over mountain terrain despite horrendous weather conditions, as some of his passengers have urgent business at the final destination. The marriage between Johnny and Alice is a contentious one, alternating between passion and turmoil. Alice is non-too happy to discover that one of Johnny's passengers is Camille Oakes (Mansfield), a busty single blonde who, it is revealed later, makes her living as a stripper and nude model. Also on the small bus: Ernest Horton (Dan Daily), a perpetually cheery salesman of cheap novelty items who immediately is smitten by Camille, though he doesn't suspect her real profession. Then there is Mildred Pritchard (Dolores Michaels), a sexually assertive young woman who is accompanied by her ultra conservative parents, both of whom want to ensure she doesn't have any dalliances along the way. Norma (Betty Lou Keim) is a star struck teenager determined to make her way to Hollywood to become an actress and "Pimples" (Dee Pollack) is a young boy trying to woo her. Then there is Van Brunt (Will Wright), a cantankerous elderly man hell bent on getting to the final destination for reasons unknown.
The journey is filled with sexual tensions throughout and the passengers and Johnny have to navigate around landslides, collapsing bridges and raging rivers. The Stagecoach connection becomes pretentiously obvious in the relationship between Camille and her naive would-be lover Ernest which greatly resembles the relationship between John Wayne's Ringo Kid and Claire Trevor's prostitute Dallas in the Western classic. Circumstances find Johnny and Mildred conveniently alone in a barn where they give in to passion- only to find a suspicious Alice now waiting for them back at the bus, having been dropped there by a helicopter used for rescue missions. Director Vicas and some of the cast members were out of their depth with heavy material that might have played much better in more experienced hands. Jason looks uncomfortable carrying the burden of leading man and Vicas's direction is competent, but relatively uninspired. The film is never boring, however, and does boast impressive performances by Collins and Mansfield (whose career would sadly be largely relegated to B sexploitation films.) The pat happy endings for the individual characters seem contrived and unconvincing but this flawed film should be regarded as a noble effort to bring a sexually driven adult storyline to the screen in an era when it was quite a challenge to do so.
Twilight Time has issued The Wayward Bus as a limited edition (3,000) units Blu-ray that boasts a terrific transfer, isolated track for Leigh Harline's impressive score and an audio commentary track with film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini. As usual, there is a most welcome illustrated booklet with incisive liner notes by Julie Kirgo. An original trailer is also included. The packaging features a photo of Joan Collins that strangely looks like an image from a silent film.
Here's a golden oldie. Although Honor Blackman had been well known as the female star of the classic British TV series The Avengers, her star rose immeasurably after she played Pussy Galore in the third James Bond blockbuster Goldfinger. She not only cut a record album but published this book of self defense techniques. Click here to view pages from the 1966 book ...and notice that one of her "adversaries" is stuntman/actor Joe Robinson, who would play villain Peter Franks in the 1971 007 hit Diamonds Are Forever.
The Beatles: Their Golden Age is a "new" documentary about the Fab Four just released by MVDvisual. There really isn't anything new about it, as the writing only provides padding for various vintage film clips. The actual story of the Beatles is glossed over (Stu Sutcliffe isn't mentioned at all, Pete Best is mentioned just once before vanishing as mysteriously as a Liverpool version of Amelia Earhart, Ringo pops up out of nowhere without any context given.) The documentary is produced by Les Krantz, who specializes in low-budget documentaries often derived from public domain sources. That's not meant as a knock, since I did the same thing many years ago. It's better to have a low budget product that still enables the public to enjoy rare footage rather than keep this material suppressed in hopes that someday a financier with deep pockets will come to your rescue. Their Golden Age is still appealing, despite the seemingly insurmountable task of presenting a one hour documentary about the Beatles without a single note of Beatles music. (Krantz eschews even cover versions in favor of Beatles-like melodies.) Indeed, Krantz is so (understandably) concerned about a lawsuit that he doesn't use the original soundtracks to trailers, even though they are in the public domain. The real value of the DVD is the presentation of rare early footage of the Fab Four. There is an abundance of great material comprising of teenage and tween girls fainting (or pretending to) at the sight of their idols. There is rare color footage, glimpses of the Magical Mystery Tour TV special and some glimpses behind the scenes of A Hard Day's Night (though, inexplicably, Help! isn't even mentioned.) There is also news footage of the Beatles during the period that led to their breakup, with John and Yoko's "bed-in" and Paul and Linda's wedding. It's lightweight the entire way, but there is no pretentiousness about the product, which is designed to use some accessible footage sans royalty or licensing fees. The Beatles: The Golden Age will shed no new light on any aspect of the legendary group, but it is fun to indulge in this rare footage of a more innocent era in rock 'n roll history.
One of the best TV series of the 1980s is coming to the big screen in 2014. The Equalizer starred the inimitable Edward Woodward as an ex-secret agent-turned urban vigilante. Denzel Washington will play the title role. Let's hope they keep that great title theme by Stewart Copeland. For more click here
Tarantino names William Friedkin's criminally underrated 1977 film Sorcerer as one of his top ten movies of all time.
The recent Sight & Sound poll of the greatest movies of all time included the participation of famed directors such as Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Francis Ford Coppola. Click here to read their individual top ten lists. Not surprisingly, the most mainstream choices are those of Tarantino.
Oscar winning composer Marvin Hamlisch has died in Los Angeles following a brief illness. He was 68 years old. In an era in which memorable film scores are becoming a rarity, Hamlisch was one of the last composers to personify those days when great movies boasted great scores. Hamlisch won three Oscars. His memorable scores include The Sting, The Way We Were, The Spy Who Loved Me, Sophie's Choice and Ordinary People. Hamlisch also wrote and composed the score for the Broadway sensation A Chorus Line. Among his other honors were four Grammys, four Emmys, the Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. For more click here
Hitchcock directing Kim Novak on the set of Vertigo.
The landmark poll of the greatest movie of all time taken by Sight & Sound magazine is conducted only once every decade, so its findings are big news among film fans. For the first time in 50 years, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane has been bumped from the #1 spot in favor of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, a movie that was not deemed a critical success when it opened in 1958. Kane came in at #2 in the poll of influential film critics. The list is as follows:
1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) 3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953) 4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939) 5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927) 6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) 7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956) 8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) 9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927) 10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
Batman's original Catwoman, Julie Newmar, is not among those purring over the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight interpretations of the Caped Crusader. Although she admires her successors on the big screen- Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway, she says the series has become too morbid. She attributes this to a post-Vietnam War era funk that influenced popular culture. She liked the comedic tone of the TV series in which she appeared with Adam West and Burt Ward. For more and a video interview with Newmar click here
MGM announced it has reached an amicable settlement with legendary boxing champ Jake LaMotta that will allow a new biopic based on his life to proceed. The studio had filed an injunction against the movie Raging Bull II claiming it unfairly implied the film would be an official sequel to director Martin Scorsese's classic 1980 production. Neither Scorsese or that film's star Robert De Niro have anything to do with the new movie. As part of the settlement, the title will be changed to The Bronx Bull and the producers will issue a public statement officially acknowledging that the movie has no association with the Scorsese picture. For more click here
The Warner Archive has released the 1978 military thriller Brass Target as a burn-to-order title. The film's primary asset is its impressive cast: Sophia Loren, John Cassavettes, Robert Vaughn, Patrick McGoohan, George Kennedy, Max Von Sydow, Edward Herrmann and Bruce Davison. The quasi-factual plot centers on the premise that General George S. Patton's death in a car crash in Germany in 1945 was not an accident but a murder plot designed from stopping the legendary general from finding out that a group of corrupt American military officers hijacked a train carrying $250 million in German gold reserves in the immediate aftermath of the end of the war. The movie opens with a cleverly staged sequence in which the train is disabled inside a mountain tunnel and deadly gas is used to kill the guards. Patton personally conducts the investigation into the murderous act, making those responsible more than a bit nervous. The main culprits are a macho colonel with a penchant for young men (Robert Vaughn), his nervous, jittery lover (Edward Herrmann) and a quirky and eccentric Irish American officer (Patrick McGoohan). When military intelligence assigns one of their best men (John Cassavettes) to solve the case, the corrupt officers engage the services of a professional assassin (Max Von Sydow) to not only kill off Patton himself, but each other. Sophia Loren is tossed into the mix in a completely superfluous role as femme fatale who alternately romances several of the men involved.
The central premise is intriguing in an Executive Action sort of way (i.e you get the feeling the filmmakers don't necessarily believe in the conspiracy but know that many people in the audience will). The main problem with Brass Target is its relentlessly grim atmosphere. It is completely devoid of any humor and the plot line becomes very confusing and entangled so that by the half-way mark through the movie, you're likely not be sure who is who and who is doing what to whom. The performances are mostly fine, even though McGoohan seems to be intentionally campy in an attempt to bring at least a modicum of levity to the proceedings. (His brief sequence with Robert Vaughn does afford spy fans the pleasure of seeing two iconic 60s cinematic secret agents share the screen together). The weak link in the group is George Kennedy, who delivers a cartoon-like impersonation of General Patton that reminds us why George C. Scott will own the role forever. Kennedy storms about like a bull in a china shop, cursing and swearing like Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden on steroids. Director John Hough keeps the action flowing and thereby avoids boring the viewer (always a danger when dealing with an overly-complex plot) He also makes fine use of the gorgeous German/Swiss locations which are further enhanced by a lush Laurence Rosenthal musical score. Still, the film is more satisfying in parts than as a whole but is worth a look if only for the exceptional cast.
The DVD includes the original theatrical trailer.
Click here to view clip and to order from Warner Archive.
Clint Eastwood returns to the big screen in his first acting gig since Gran Torino. The film is Trouble With the Curve, in which he plays an aging baseball scout who is losing his sight. He decides to take a road trip with his daughter (Amy Adams) to check out a potential hot shot player. The film will open on September 21. Sony moved the release forward by a week to capitalize on the baseball playoff season. Robert Lorenz, Eastwood's partner at Malpaso Productions, makes his directorial debut with the film. Click here to view trailer
Twilight Time has released the 1975 gut-busting Western Bite the Bullet as a limited edition (3,000 units) Blu-ray edition. The film, directed by Richard Brooks (one of the most truly macho filmmakers of his day) centers on a disparate group of cowboys who are competing in a 700 miles endurance horse race in hopes of winning the $2,000 prize. I saw the film when it was first released but it made no impression on me whatsoever. Thus, watching it on Blu-ray afforded me the opportunity to re-evaluate a movie that I remembered literally nothing about. Maybe it's just the wisdom that comes with age or the fact that we can't take for granted films boasting this type of cast, but this time around I really enjoyed Bite the Bullet. This is the type of Western that was produced by studios on a routine basis. Nowadays, however, good Westerns are hard to find and the pleasures of watching Brooks' film are much greater today than they were at the time of the movie's initial release. There are many admirable qualities to the movie, but most of the credit must go to Brooks himself, not only for his top-notch direction but also for his remarkably mature screenplay. The cowboys he presents are not glamorized in any way. They each have human frailties and attributes. These are men who will risk their lives for one another without even knowing each other's name. Gene Hackman is a weary, middle-aged drifter who half-heartedly enters the race largely out of boredom. James Coburn is a gambler and grifter who hopes to multiply the prize money many times through side bets. Candice Bergen is the only woman in the race, a beautiful sometimes prostitute who provides a surprising plot twist toward the end of the film. Ian Bannen is a rich dude from England who nonetheless has all the grit of his American competitors. Jan Michael Vincent is the brash, hot-tempered young rider who learns humility during the course of the race. All of these actors give very fine performances but the most moving is Ben Johnson as an aging cowpoke valiantly battling a myriad of health problems as he forces his way toward the finish line. His campfire soliloquies are quite moving. I was very impressed by the abilities of the major cast members to perform most of the rough riding themselves. It adds immeasurably to the realism and Hackman, in particular, takes a number of falls from his horse that must have made the insurance agents age a few years. The film also makes poignant pleas against the practice of animal abuse. Brooks, aided by Harry Stradling Jr.'s magnificent cinematography and Alex North's rousing score, makes the most of the gorgeous locations in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The sequences in the desert convey the blazing heat so convincingly that you should keep a cold beer next to your remote. The film eschews brutal violence for character studies, though there is plenty of action as the competitors battle nature, wild animals and each other.
The Blu-ray release is from a remastered print and is top notch in every aspect. Julie Kirgo provides the always informative liner notes in the collector's booklet (a wonderful staple of Twilight Time releases) and there is an original theatrical trailer.
One puzzling aspect of the film is that there are no final credits. The film just ends with an abrupt cut to black, which is certainly unsatisfying. Nevertheless, Bite the Bullet is a wonderful adventure well worth adding to your Blu-ray collection.
The year was 1963 and Paul Newman gave what would arguably be the greatest performance of his career in director Martin Ritt's Hud. Co-stars Melvyn Douglas and Patricia Neal both won well-deserved Oscars but the honor would escape Newman time and time again until he finally won for the 1986 film The Color of Money. As Hud, he is the ultimate heel: charismatic and dripping with sexual tension, yet self-centered, arrogant and happily unreformed at the movie's climax. Click here to watch the trailer.
WHERE EAGLES DARE CINEMA RETRO MOVIE CLASSICS REVISED AND UPDATED EDITION IS NOW SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!
IF YOU ARE AMONG THE MANY READERS WHO PRE-ORDERED THIS TITLE, IT IS EN ROUTE TO YOU RIGHT NOW! IF YOU HAVEN'T ORDERED IT YET, DO SO TODAY SO YOU DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR'S ITEM!
When we first interviewed producer Elliott Kastner back in 2004, he told us, "You don't remake Sabrina. You don't remake The Blue Angel. You don't remake Casablanca and I won't remake Where Eagles Dare."
This is a stance that Cinema Retro has taken in regard to reprinting sold-out issues of our magazine. However, the response to our Movie Classics Special Issue #1 dedicated to this great WWII adventure was beyond our expectations and it sold out almost immediately when published in 2009. Since then, we have had many requests to republish and also saw the value of this issue exceed $200 per copy on eBay. Thus, we've bowed to the wishes of our readers and created an updated and expanded version of that classic issue. By doing so, we're not devaluing the original, which will remain a highly prized collector's item. Inside these pages, you will find the original issue (slightly changed with the addition of many new, rare photographs) plus new features that were not available to us at the time of the original printing. Topping it all off is an exclusive new interview with the film's director, Brian G. Hutton, plus an abundance of rarities we've just unearthed including another deleted sequence and original studio memos from the Kastner family files that shed light on who was supposed to star in the film (you won't believe it!).
This new edition can be viewed as our sincere tribute to two wonderful friends who are associated with the film: Elliott Kastner and actress Ingrid Pitt, both of whom we lost in 2010. We mourn their passing and hope that this issue will stand as a tribute to their talents and enduring legacy.
116 pages- a full 36 pages more than the original issue! 52 pages more than the standard Cinema Retro issue!
Perfect bound format with flat-edged spine
This is a limited edition collector's item...order now to ensure you don't miss out!
Producer Frank Marshall says that if there is going to be another Indiana Jones movie, nobody seems in a hurry to make it a reality. Despite reports that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had a promising concept for another film, everyone seems preoccupied with other projects- and Harrison Ford isn't getting any younger. Their enthusiasm may have been dampened by the lukewarm fan response to the last entry, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The film was a major boxoffice success, but virtually everyone felt it fell below expectations. Click here for more
Twilight Time has released the 1985 cult hit Fright Night as a limited edition (3,000 unit) Blu-ray. The film, written and directed by Tom Holland, has gained a devoted following over the years, and for good reason. The film is primarily played for laughs, but Holland refrains from going over the top into outright spoof by providing at least a few scenes that have a genuinely chilling element to them. Charley Brewster (well played by William Ragsdale) is a well-adjusted high school student. His suburban lifestyle with his single mother is comfortable and relatively carefree, with his main problem being his unsuccessful attempts to relieve his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) of her virginity. Life as he knows it ends when he notices a coffin being brought into the empty house next door in the dead of night. Turns out the new neighbor is Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), a handsome, charismatic young man who has brought along his equally charming "roommate" Billy (Jonathan Stark). Although there are decidedly gay overtones to his relationship with Billy, Jerry is very much a lady's man. Charley witnesses a sexy young woman entering Jerry's house, only to see her listed as a murder victim on the evening news. Other murders of young women begin occurring regularly. Through eye witnessing Jerry's behavior through an open bedroom window, Charley becomes convinced that his neighbor is a vampire. Predictably, he is mocked by his girlfriend and best friend Evil Ed (a very deft comedic turn by Stephen Geoffreys), an eccentric rocker with a sarcastic sense of humor. Ultimately, events become eerier and more sinister in scope and when Charley's naive mom invites Jerry into their house, Charley is convinced he will be next on the kill list. With Amy and Evil Ed finally convinced there is something sinister going on next door, the trio approach Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall, playing a character named in honor of Peter Cushing and Vincent Price), a once-legendary horror film star who has fallen on hard times and who has been relegated to introducing B monster movies on late night TV. Charley believes that Vincent's on-screen abilities to slay vampires might be of use in his efforts to kill Jerry before he can make him his next victim. Vincent is understandably skeptical but ultimately becomes convinced that Jerry is a real life vampire. The three teens and their aging screen hero make it their cause to do away with the vampire even at the risk of their own lives.
Fright Night remains notches above most horror film spoofs thanks to the "spirited" performances of the likable cast members. McDowall is especially delightful in one of his best late career performances. As the cowardly reel-life vampire slayer who finds himself facing the real thing, McDowell steals every scene he appears in, though Stephen Geoffrey's wry interpretation of goofy Evil Ed is also a delight. Likewise, Chris Sarandon was far ahead of his time in his portrayal of the fanged fiend. Young, sexy vampires may be all the rage in the Twilight era, but his Sarandon's charismatic turn was quite innovative in its day.
Fright Night is well written and directed with zest by Tom Holland, but the film still has some absurdities even in the context of a comedic horror film. The fact that the action takes place in houses on a typical suburban street (i.e surrounded by neighbors) makes it fairly implausible that the hellish battles between good and evil are never noticed by anyone else. There are no passersby and the folks a few doors down must be tone deaf to not hear the thundering action taking place in the dead of night. Holland also makes a bit of a mistake by having the vampire unveil himself to terrified partygoers in a crowded disco. Exactly why a real life vampire would not elicit an investigation from the authorities is never quite explained. But it's foolish to take seriously a movie that presents such tongue-in-cheek humor. Fright Night has an enduring legacy for good reason: it's withstood the test of time in a way most horror spoofs rarely do. (It was remade in 2011).
The Blu-ray release includes two theatrical trailers and the usually informative collector's booklet with a great essay by Julie Kirgo.
(Note: We've just learned from Twilight Time that this title proved to be so popular that the limited edition run sold out very quickly. It is available on the collector's circuit via eBay and Amazon, but is already commanding high prices.)
R.G. Armstrong, one of Hollywood's most enduring and respected character actors, passed away last week at the age of 95. Born in Alabama, Robert Golden Armstrong got the acting bug as a young man and attended the Actors Studio in New York City. His unique acting style made him a hit with critics and he soon found himself playing the pivotal role of Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway. Armstrong made a natural progression to movies and had key roles over the decades in such prominent feature films as Ride the High Country, The Fugitive Kind, Major Dundee, Reds, Heaven Can Wait, El Dorado and Predator. His hundreds of television credits include Rawhide, Have Gun- Will Travel, The Andy Griffith Show, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Perry Mason, Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger. For more on his life, click here