Cinema Retro has received the following announcement:
The Morning After was established in
February/March 1991 as the official The Persuaders!/ITC Appreciation Society by
the then copyright owners, the ITC Entertainment Group Ltd.
The society mainly concentrated on The Persuaders! in
the club magazine, The Morning After but some issues were 'specials' dedicated
to other ITC action-adventure series made in the 1960s and 70s such as The
Champions, Man In A Suitcase, Department S and The Baron.
This book reproduces the first 10 issues of The
Morning After in their entirety. These issues have long been out of print and
were printed in very small quantities. Original copies rarely turn up and now
sell on auction sites for anything between £15 – £20 per issue.
Son Terry (left) watches his Father Dickie, dance with lead vocalist Kerry Schultz and guitarist David D'Andrade (far right) during the band's performance of The Man With the Golden Gun.
By Dave Worrall
Last weekend (Saturday 22nd March) I had
the pleasure of being invited to Jean and Dickie Bamber's Diamond Wedding
anniversary celebrations held at Heatherden Hall, Pinewood Studios. Dickie has
worked in the film industry for over 50 years on productions such as Genevieve, The Ipcress File, Thunderball,
Battle of Britain, A Bridge Too Far and many of the Carry On comedies, to name but a few. Their
son Terry, himself a veteran of the industry, and who I first met on the set of
the James Bond film GoldenEye, did
his parent's proud. Following a champagne reception we dined in the Pinewood
house restaurant (remember the scene in Who
Dares Wins where the hostages are held around a dining table in the US
Ambassador's residence? Well, we were in the same room.)
The evening's cabaret
was provided by the 14-piece band 'Q the Music' who specialize in performing
music from the James Bond films. From Dr.
No to Skyfall, this
mini-orchestra performed some of the best cover versions I have ever heard.
They were brilliant. Bond fans themselves, their renditions of even the
instrumentals such as 'Bond 77' from The
Spy Who Loved Me and 'Runaway' from For
Your Eyes Only, were spot on. Kit Mlynar on saxaphone, and David D'Andrade
on guitar, were excellent, as was lead vocalist Kerry Schultz. Wow, what a
voice. This was professionalism at its best.
Lead vocalist Kerry Schultz belts out a Bond hit song.
If you are a James Bond fan, or
simply like to hear movie music live, I highly recommend this band. In fact,
they are at The Lincoln Drill Hall on April 18/19, and in Wycombe on May 11th.
Check out their web site for further details and treat yourself to a fabulous
night out. www.QTheMusicShow.com
Hustle, one of the
best Martin Scorsese films not directed by Martin Scorsese (James Toback’s Fingers (1978) is another film that
falls into this camp), opens with an amusing sequence in a hotel room wherein
con artist Irving Rosenfeld (a nearly unrecognizable Christian Bale) is
attempting to hide his male pattern baldness. It is April 1978 and confederates Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who is
presenting herself as an English aristocrat named Lady Edith Greensly and Richard
DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) are in the midst of trying to sting Carmen Polito
(Jeremy Renner), the Mayor of Camden, NJ. Irving has to get it together and be
convincing (what we don’t know at this point of the film is how conflicted he
is about what he is doing regarding the mayor). He comes to blows with Richard, who eggs him on and ruffles his hair in
a hilarious moment of awkwardness and discomfort, and we wonder if Irving will
blow a gasket and go Joe Pesci on Richard or if he will simply attend to his
ridiculous comb-over. The question of
why they want to sting the mayor is eventually revealed as the story flashes
back to when Irving and Sydney first meet and bond over their love and
admiration of Duke Ellington. They
realize they are kindred souls and their attraction to one another intensifies. As we come to learn, however, nothing is
quite as it seems because as David Mamet showed us in both House of Games (1987) and The
Spanish Prisoner (1997), everyone is potentially a mark and each mark is
played for someone else’s gain. Irving is
married and has a son but like professional thief Neil Mccauley (Robert De Niro)
in Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) he is
good at what he does, and in this case he knows how to not only conduct loan
scams but forge fake paintings even when hiding behind a legitimate business of
being a dry cleaner for tax purposes. Unfortunately, he and Sydney attempt to con Richard,
who turns out to be an FBI agent who cuts them a deal: he forces them into aiding
him entrap some other targets and promises that if their help results in four
good arrests, they will both end up with tabula
rasas, effectively avoiding jail time.
Hustle, which opened
theatrically in December 2013, is set within the framework of the Abscam scandal
of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, which also provided the backdrop for the
Al Pacino/Johnny Depp vehicle Donnie
Brasco (1997). It was the first time
in history that undercover FBI agents videotaped the taking of bribes by
politicians. This factors into the film, which was directed by David O. Russell
who also directed Flirting with Disaster
(1996), I Heart Huckabees (2004), and
Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Mr. Russell has meticulously recreated the
1970s to such a degree that you cannot help but marvel at all of the details,
looking carefully to try and spot any obvious anachronisms. Amy Adams stars opposite Mr. Bale (who
followed in Mr. De Niro’s thespian footsteps and gained some 40 pounds to play
the role) and she gives a multi-layered performance as Sydney, impersonating a
refined British woman. It becomes a game
between Irving and Richard trying to tell which person they are talking to, Sydney
or Lady Greensly. Jennifer Lawrence
portrays Irving’s wife, Rosalyn, and proves why she is one of the best
actresses working today. Rosalyn is a
loose cannon. Like Sharon Stone’s impetuous
Ginger McKenna in Casino, she has a
big mouth and messes with dangerous people when she isn’t starting fires by microwaving
metal or vacuuming her house while belting out the famous songs of the day. She hates Sydney and lets her know it, and
underneath the hardened and tough veneer is a woman who is hurt by her
Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995) are obvious stylistic influences here, ranging from
effective use of period music to the inclusion of an uncredited Robert De Niro
as a mobster, Victor Tellegio, who actually speaks Arabic! The scene where he attempt to communicate
with a supposedly wealthy Arab sheikh (in reality a fraud who speaks Spanish
and English) is both tense and funny. Jeremy
Renner is his usual brilliant self as the Mayor of Camden, based upon Angelo J.
Errichetti who in reality served three years in prison for his role in the
Abscam scandal (in the film, which is highly fictionalized, he serves 18
months). Mr. Errichetti passed away
seven months prior to the release of American
Hustle at the age of 84.
The use of voiceover is also effective,
a device that Mr. Scorsese also employed to great effect in his aforementioned
gangster epics. The film runs a quick 138
minutes, but I have seen 90-minute movies much longer than this.
The Blu-ray is the way to go for this
release as it comes with a DVD and digital copy. The extras are slim, which is unfortunate
considering the high number of Oscar nominations and accolades the film
received. They consist of a behind-the-scenes
look at the making of the film which runs 16 minutes, and an extended deleted
scenes section that runs 22 minutes. The
requisite theatrical trailer is also included. I would have loved a running commentary from the director as the film
was obviously a labor of love. That
being said, its exclusion should not detract from your enjoyment of watching
this highly watchable recreation of a specific moment in time in New York and
New Jersey’s history.
BIGGEST SELLING ORCHESTRAL SOUNDTRACK OF ALL TIME PRESENTED LIVE FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME BY OSCAR AND GRAMMY AWARD WINNING COMPOSER JAMES HORNER.
TITANIC LIVE- WORLD PREMIERE
ROYAL ALBERT HALL
27 APRIL 2015
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
London, 21 March; Avex Classics International and the Royal Albert Hall today announce one of the major music events of 2015, the world premiere presentation of Titanic Live at the iconic London venue on 27th April 2015.
James Horner’s epic score will be brought to life like never before, with the composer himself conducting a 90-piece orchestra, choir and Celtic musicians whilst the film is projected on a vast HD screen. Titanic Live promises to be the live cinematic event of the year, re-creating the uniquely familiar soundtrack which will forever be a part of cinematic history.Horner has composed for over 100 motion pictures, frequently collaborating with directors such as James Cameron and Ron Howard. Other scores include Avatar (the only film to surpass Titanic in box office sales), Braveheart, Aliens, Apollo 13, Star Trek II and more recently, The Amazing Spiderman.
The 1997 blockbuster Titanic, written and produced by James Cameron, became one of the most prolific movies of all time, grossing over $2 billion at the box office and winning 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director and more importantly, Best Original Song and Dramatic Score.Audiences worldwide echoed Hollywood’s appreciation of Horner’s musical score as the CD release became the best-selling orchestral soundtrack in history. Moreover, its lead single, “My Heart Will Go On” performed by Celine Dion was the biggest selling single of 1998, winning Record Of The Year at the 1999 Grammy ® Awards.
James Horner commented: “I am very flattered, and delighted to have been invited to perform the score of Titanic live with orchestra. Usually, putting the music into a film is a highly technical process that the audience never gets a chance to see. By performing the music live with the film, you, the audience, will experience the magic of seeing the live musicians, literally playing the music score as the film runs.”
“There are so many wonderfully talented people that perform the music of film scores, so it is a great honour for me to have the opportunity to share the experience, the musicians’ performances, all the ‘behind the scenes’ magic, with an audience."
Maggie O’Herlihy, Head of Europe and the Americas, Avex Classics International commented: “We are thrilled to announce the world premiere of Titanic Live at the Royal Albert Hall. When Titanic’s epic score takes centre stage, audiences will be able to immerse themselves in the hauntingly beautiful sound-world James Horner crafted like never before.”
Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the venue, said: “The Royal Albert Hall’s unique connection to the Titanic continues with the world premiere of Titanic Live.
“It was on this stage that the Titanic Band Memorial Concert took place in 1912, held to commemorate the eight heroic musicians who played on as the doomed ocean liner went down. A century later, the Royal Albert Hall was the venue for the world premiere of Titanic 3D. On that unforgettable evening, James Horner took the baton to conduct a 20-minute suite from his score – the most popular orchestral soundtrack of all time – the emotion and romance of the music sending shivers down the spine of everyone in the auditorium.We are delighted that James will now return to conduct the world premiere performance of Titanic Live, with his incredible score performed live and in full for the first time to accompany a high definition screening of the blockbuster film.”
Presented by the Royal Albert Hall and Avex Classics International, a branch of Japan’s leading entertainment business, the Avex Group, Titanic Live marks the start of a series of bespoke live events offering new and innovative ways to experience classical music.
Further worldwide dates for Titanic Live will also be announced shortly.
Production Code Basics – For Movie Still Collectors is the first reference book written on how to use movie still production codes to help identify unknown movie stills and costumes.
Production codes came into use around 1912 as the United States became the major international supplier of films and movie studios were driven to increase their production due to increased demand. By 1920 production codes were used by every major film studio and became an indispensable tool utilized in almost every department. Some studios even used production codes to mark their costumes and props.
Production Code Basics – For Movie Still Collectors covers every phase from the initial creation and why they were needed and then, moves through the filming process to show the use of stills through each department. Also included is a breakdown of major studios and different variations each studio used. Explanations are included on the process outside of the major studios and cover such area as states rights, exports, independent studios, distribution, multiple markings and much more.
Production Code Basics – For Movie Still Collectors is the reference companion book to the authors popular Movie Still Identification Book that features over 45,000 production codes and is the only book of its kind as well. Ed and Susan Poole are film accessory researchers that have been in the industry for over 35 years. This is their 15th industry related reference book. The Pooles are on a quest to make sure that film accessories such as posters, stills, and pressbooks are not lost through neglect as silent films have been. To purchase this book directly from the publisher click here
Production Code Basics is scheduled for release AT CINEVENT (May 22-25). Anyone who buys the new PC Basics can either pick up their copy at Cinevent or we will start shipping immediate upon our return from Cinevent
Regular Price - $19.95
Pre- release Sale at $15.00 and includes U.S. shipping ORDER YOURS NOW!
has already been written about Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 head-scratcher, Persona—it’s been analyzed, dissected,
reconstructed, and debated, and it still remains a cinematic enigma, and a
brilliant one at that. Of all of the Swedish master’s challenging works, Persona is undoubtedly the most complex,
audacious, radical, and experimental film Bergman ever made. It’s also been
widely parodied and imitated. Its influence on other filmmakers, and on pop
culture itself, cannot be taken lightly.
Persona, which means
“mask” in Latin, is all about artifice. Bergman makes no pretentions that what
the audience is viewing is make-believe—it is an invented drama about
personalities hiding behind “masks,” if you will, performed for a camera that
translates the images onto celluloid. In fact, Bergman begins Persona with an extraordinary prologue
consisting of the arc lights igniting inside a projector and the film starting
to move through the sprockets. An extra on this new Criterion Collection
release is Bergman scholar Peter Cowie’s analysis and visual essay on this
first several minutes of the picture—and
it is enlightening for those of us who have studied and pondered over the
meanings behind the seemingly haphazard images (including an erect penis!) that
assault the viewer at the start of the film. It’s interesting to note that
Bergman’s original working title on his script was Cinematography.
the story starts proper, we find ourselves in the sphere of two women. One, a
nurse (Bibi Andersson), is taking care of an actress (Liv Ullmann) who has lost
her ability—or will—to speak. They are alone on an island off the coast of
Sweden (it was actually filmed on Fårö, where many of Bergman’s pictures from the period were
made, and where the director lived and died), and go through a series of
emotional soul-searching moments together. That’s putting it simplistically. By
the end of the short film (83 minutes), the two women have exchanged selves. Or
traded masks. Or become one. Or maybe the characters were two sides of the same
person all along. Or... something. In other words, Persona is totally open to interpretation, and it demands multiple
viewings to fully appreciate. It helps that the film is immensely entertaining.
You can’t keep your eyes off these two incredible actresses who are giving
their all to us.
While Andersson had worked with Bergman
many times prior to Persona, this was
the first picture featuring Ullmann, who would also become a regular member of
the director’s “stock company” as well as his lover. Another extra in the
package is a feature-length documentary, Liv
& Ingmar, directed by Dheeraj Akolkar, which examines the remarkable
forty year relationship between the two. It’s certainly one of those great
cinematic behind-the-scenes love stories, like Burton and Taylor or Tracy and
Hepburn. Ullmann is breathtakingly beautiful in Persona, and, since her character is silent, her acting is
displayed entirely in the expressions on her face. On the other hand, the film
is a tour de force for the also-gorgeous Andersson, who talks non-stop. It’s
certainly the best thing Andersson ever did, and her performance was worthy of
Academy Award consideration (she did win other awards for the film around the
What everyone takes away from Persona, though, is the magnificent
black and white cinematography by Sven Nykvist. His manipulation of light and
shadow is nothing short of magical. And the close-ups!
The tale is all in the up-close and personal examination of these women’s
faces. We’ve all seen the iconic stills of Andersson and Ullmann together, looking
directly at the audience... or the even more startling image of their two faces
merged. There have been many tight director-cinematographer relationships over
the years, but the partnership between Bergman and Nykvist was one of the most
And thank goodness for The Criterion
Collection’s new 2K digital restoration! The Blu-ray looks far better than the
MGM/UA edition that was released several years ago. Along with the
above-mentioned extras, the package includes a dual Blu-ray/DVD format; new
interviews with Liv Ullmann and filmmaker Paul Schrader; archival interviews
with Bergman, Ullmann, and Andersson; on-set footage with audio commentary by
Bergman historian Birgitta Steene; and the usual slick booklet jam-packed with
more photos, essays, and interviews.
Can you unravel the mystery that is Persona? Consider it a challenge, as
well as an opportunity to experience a cinematic wonder.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
Dear Bond fan,
If you haven't already ordered your
copy of MI6 Confidential issue #24 or (better yet!) a 2014 subscription,
here's a little taste of what you've been missing:
Purvis & Wade on ‘Die Another Day’ being too far-fetched: "We asked if ithe invisible car could be
turned down a bit, so that something more was visible, but it’s up to
Lee Tamahori in the end, the way he wanted to do it. We could talk about
kite surfing as well... but maybe we should leave that one alone. It’s
difficult for us to talk about because we don’t want to criticize... but
it did get a bit over the top. We were busy pretty much throughout the
production because at the 11th hour, just before we started shooting,
there was a change of the whole of the third act. We had a heck of a lot
of work to do to try and make that all fit. So, it wasn’t ideal.”
Pierce Brosnan on his off-screen relationship with Teri Hatcher in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’:
Brosnan explained, “She was late to the set because she was newly
pregnant. I didn’t know that until the end of the day. I was vexed
because I had a call time of six or seven A.M., and we didn’t do any
work until three or four in the afternoon. I got very upset with her -
she was always keeping me waiting for hours. When we finally got her in
front of the cameras, it was great. Getting her there was the problem. I
must admit I let slip a few words, which weren’t very nice. No one told
me her situation until afterward. By that time I’d already shot my
mouth off and cussed and moaned and groaned.”
Director John Glen on filming during a war: “The Argentinean War was taking place at the
time of Octopussy. We went down to Northolt airfield and Peter Lamont,
the production designer, very cleverly made palm trees out of plaster to
double for a generic South American nation that 007 single-handedly
invades.” Whilst Glen was shooting at Northolt, a member of his crew
overheard a curious conversation in a local pub: “They were discussing
why there were palm trees at Northolt Airport and someone said, ‘It’s to
make the Argentinean prisoners of war feel at home!’ They were quite
serious in the pub."
If you have not subscribed yet, you can still pre-order 5 issues for the price of 4: subscribe or renew for 2014.
of the term "cult film" has been around for some time now, but it
still seems difficult to ascertain a true definition. Cult, it would seem, is
in the eye of the beholder; it is not easily described, but you know a cult
film when you see it. This series of slim volumes (around 100 pages each) from
Wallflower Press sees a variety of writers and academics wrestle their own
personal cult film demons as they give analysis, behind-the-scenes tidbits and
biographical details of all the major players concerned.
of their latest books are on Frankenstein (1931) and Faster,
Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965). Robert Horton successfully argues that
although the original Frankenstein was such a mainstream hit that one
may not consider that it qualifies as part of a cult series, it has become a
cult in the manner of a religion, through its hundreds of sequels and the
iconography that has arisen. The face of Frankenstein's monster, as played by
Boris Karloff, is one of the most recognisable images of the twentieth century.
From model kits to sweets dispensers, thanks to endless sequels and the repeats
of Universal horrors on TV throughout the fifties and sixties, Frankenstein
provided the monster that kids most empathised with. Boris Karloff became an
elder statesman of horror and was hugely loved and respected in the sixties,
because despite his many other roles over the years, it was the monster
stitched from reclaimed corpses that people remembered with the most fondness.
manages to avoid this book simply being a rehash of the same old material we
have read elsewhere, and he points out in great detail Frankenstein's
ability to still shock today, thanks not only to Karloff's performance but also
to James Whale's inventive and mischievous direction. The film may be over
eighty years old but this does not mean it cannot still be frightening.
Horton is tackling a series of films, and as he argues, a "cult" in
itself, Dean De Fino is taking on what could initially seem an easier task: one
single film by noted smut-peddler Russ Meyer. However Faster Pussycat! Kill!
Kill! is no ordinary film. Made relatively early in Meyer's career, it
marks his move away from "nudie-cuties" and "roughies" into
something new. Although the film borrows freely from other genres (beach party,
biker flick, drag race, juvenile delinquent), he seems to create something
entirely different. From the jazz-infused opening sequence to the improbably
large bosoms of his female cast, Meyer's film is a fever dream that grind-house
fans and art-house enthusiasts can both appreciate.
book is again a mixture of biographical information, behind-the-scenes gossip
and analysis, and each element is equally fascinating to read. Using such
sources as Russ Meyer's own autobiography and other reminiscences the story
behind the making of the scene makes for as entertaining a tale as what ended
up on the screen. He allegedly allowed for no fraternisation between cast and
crew members in order to ensure that all the sexual tension was up on screen (this
was later used as a plot device in Meyer-fan John Waters' Cecil B. DeMented
(2000)). Russ Meyer allegedly allowed this rule to be broken only once in his
entire career, and that was to allow Tura Satana secret trysts with a crew
member. Even he could not say no to her. Satana plays Varla, the leader of a
vicious gang of go-go dancers, and her performance is terrifying. Men are not
safe when she is around. Tura Satana's own history is incredible, and sadly her
recent death has left her memoirs so far unpublished. According to De Fino she
was gang-raped and sent to reform school at 10 and married off to a 17-year old
at 13. She ran away and was posing nude for Harold Lloyd and working as a
stripper by the age of 15, and by 25 she was teaching Shirley MacLaine
burlesque and had slept with Elvis. And then she met Russ Meyer. If ever two
people were destined to work together and form a life-long friendship, it was
Fino makes connections from the film to the cultural and political unrest in
1965. He posits that Meyer was playing out issues from the civil rights and
sexual revolution right there in the dust Mojave Desert. This interpretation
backs up the argument that Meyer infused his films with political relevance,
and explains why his films have survived to be hailed as worthy of serious
attention whilst many of his erotic contemporaries have been forgotten.
books on other cult titles such as This is Spinal Tap (1984), Bring
Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) and Quadraphenia (1979), the
Cultographies series is an excellent way to become conversant in the cult film
of your choice.
Amphibious Lotus Esprit seen in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
This model helicopter used in Skyfall (2012) is on display in the foyer.
The Cougar driven by Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Cinema Retro London reporter Matthew Field admires the art gallery section of the exhibition.
Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall with Ken Adam's early sketches of the legendary Aston Martin DB5 that was first seen in Goldfinger (1964).
Blofeld's Bath-O-Sub, as seen in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Speedboat driven by Roger Moore in his first Bond film, Live and Let Die (1973)
Dave and Matt get to ham it up with some "real" Bond girls: some of the ladies from Eon Productions. This souvenir photo puts attendees inside the legendary gun barrel and will be available at the Bond in Motion exhibition.
Entrance to the exhibition at the London Film Museum.
On Tuesday 18th
March Cinema Retro was invited to the opening of Bond In Motion at the
London Film Museum
in Covent Garden. The exhibition, which is the largest collection of
official James Bond vehicles ever assembled, had previously been on
display at Beaulieu Motor Museum. The cars looked fabulous in their new
home and the design of the exhibits allows visitors to
get closer to the vehicles than ever before. Iconic cars that have featured in the high octane, all action Bond films on display, include the underwater Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger, and the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye, to name but a few.Additionally a mezzanine
level showcases an array of storyboards, sketches and production design
drawings on display to the public for the first time. New to the
exhibition is a 1/3 scale model of an Agusta Westland
AW101 helicopter used in Skyfall. Museum founder Jonathan Sands and Meg
Simmonds of Eon Productions welcomed VIPs to the champagne reception.To visit the London Film Museum web site click here.
Bond in Motion opens to the public on Friday March 21st at the London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BN. Tel: 020 7202 7043. The exhibition is open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm. (last entry 5pm). Advance tickets available from Ticketmaster, www.ticketmaster.co.uk
(All photos copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
Although Hammer Films is best known for its lineup of horror movies, the British studio routinely produced a diverse line of product ranging from adventure movies to crime melodramas. As the popularity of the horror flicks soared in the mid-1960s, Hammer began to concentrate almost exclusively on that genre. One of the better non-horror films was The Scarlet Blade, produced in 1964. The film was inexplicably retitled as The Crimson Blade for U.S. audiences, thus rendering meaningless the tie-in to the titular character, a swashbuckling do-gooder who rallies country folk in support of the king during the English Civil War of the 17th century. The film opens with King Charles I (Robert Rietty) on the run from the forces of Cromwell, who want to arrest him and execute him after a show trial. The king is being protected by a small band of royalists but is nevertheless captured. With the countryside terrorized by the arrival of Cromwell's local governor, Col. Judd (Lionel Jeffries), a plot is nonetheless is hatched by a group of rebels to rescue the king when he is being transported to the Tower of London. The man who is orchestrating this is Edward Beverly (Jack Hedley), who is has the secret alter ego of The Scarlet Blade. In that role, he is a constant thorn in the side of Judd. The Scarlet Blade and his small group of derring-doers raid Judd's compounds, attack his forces and inspire the locals to resist Cromwell's reign. Thus, Judd becomes obsessed with his capture and execution. Unbeknownst to Judd, his own daughter Clair (June Thorburn) is secretly assisting the rebels. Judd can barely stand the the fact that she has openly loyalist sentiments but doesn't suspect she is actually in collusion with The Scarlet Blade. Clair is being wooed by Judd's right hand man, Capt. Tom Sylvester (Oliver Reed), an arrogant egotist who learns that she is in league with the rebels. He offers to keep her secret and quietly assist her activities but only if she pledges her love for him. Clair is initially resistant to Tom's boorish personality but agrees to his offer. Tom is as good as his word and meets with the Scarlet Blade and his men and offers genuine assistance. However, when Clair tells him she actually has fallen in love with Edward Beverly, Tom's loyalties change once more.
The Crimson Blade is a fun, rousing and intelligently scripted story that has the hallmarks of Hammer productions of the period (i.e modest budget but rich production values, crisp color cinematography and a first-rate cast). It's a pleasure to see Lionel Jeffries playing an outright villain instead of a lovable old eccentric and he delivers an excellent performance in a role that seemed to have been envisioned for Christopher Lee. Oliver Reed is equally impressive in this early career role and June Thorburn is fetching as the requisite damsel in distress. The action sequences are frequent and very well-staged and as the Scarlet Blade, Jack Hedley has plenty of swash in his buckle and makes a fine action hero.
The film boasts an excellent transfer and is now available as a Sony burn-to-order title. There are no bonus extras.
Ossie Morris signs a copy of his 2006 autobiography 'Houston, We Have a Problem' for Matthew Field in February of this year.
British cinematographer Oswald Morris passed away Monday evening at his home in
Dorset, England. He was 98 years old.
member and former president of the BSC (the British Society of
Cinematographers), 'Ossie', as he was known to all in the business, won an
Academy Award in 1971 for the musical Fiddler
on the Roof and four Baftas, including one for The Hill (1965) starring Sean Connery. His early career included
working on David Lean's Oliver Twist
and John Huston's Moulin Rouge. Ossie
worked on over 40 major productions in his life, including Oliver!,The Wiz, The Guns of Navarone, Equus, The Man Who Would be King, and many, many more.
Matthew Field met the great man at his home just a few weeks ago, in what has
now turned out to be his last interview. The September issue of Cinema Retro
will feature part of Matt's interview in our tribute to this legendary man.
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST ARTICLES FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES
By Lee Pfeiffer
Last year, the Harris Poll reported that John Wayne ranked among America's top ten favorite actors. This may seem like an incredible feat for a man who's been six-feet under since 1979, but the Duke's popularity continues to grow as evidenced by the tidal wave of DVD titles and tributes afforded him this year on what would have been his 100th birthday. Unlike many actors of the past, Wayne is not being rediscovered by a new generation. In fact, he's never been out of style. While younger generations have to be educated about the work of legends such as Bogart and Cagney, it seems people become acquainted with Wayne's image while still in the womb. Warner Brothers and Paramount have teamed up for a major Wayne DVD promotion that will put a dent in any collector's wallet if they hope to acquire all the latest releases and it's bound to evoke mixed emotions in many fans. (Henny Youngman once defined "mixed emotions" as having your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your new Mercedes.) On the one hand, all of the new releases are "must-haves" for serious collectors. On the other hand, there are so many titles being released simultaneously that not only your eyeballs but your wallet will be overtaxed if you try to absorb them all at once. Tops on the list is WB's "Ultimate Collector's Edition" of Howard Hawks' 1959 classic Rio Bravo. The film is available in several different scaled-down versions, but we'll pretend those don't exist. If you like the movie, there is only one choice and it's the Ultimate Edition.
The addictive pop culture blog Hill Place presents an impassioned defense of Tina Louise as Ginger over Dawn Wells as Mary Ann on the Gilligan's Island TV sitcom. Retro TV lovers have long been debating who was the hottest chick on the isle: sweet but sexy "good girl Mary Ann or "bad girl" diva Ginger. It's amazing how compelling this article actually is, as it delves into the behind-the-scenes rivalry between the two actresses. Click here to read
The Warner Archive has reissued Paramount's out-of-print DVD of director Anthony Mann's 1957 Western The Tin Star. Henry Fonda stars as Morg Hickman, a ex-lawman-turned-bounty hunter who delivers the body of a wanted man to a small town's sheriff's office. He gets a hostile reaction from the local population because of his unsavory profession. Nevertheless, Morg has to stay around a few days in order to collect the $500 reward money from Sheriff Ben Owens (Anthony Perkins), a young greenhorn who has reluctantly accepted the position of lawman after his predecessor was murdered. Morg perceives the likable young man as nervous and easily manipulated by some of the more obnoxious men in town. Morg ends up boarding with a young widow, Nona Mayfield (Betsy Palmer), who is a bit of a social outcast because her son Kip (Michael Ray) is half Indian. Before long, Morg and Nona form a chaste but loving relationship and he finds himself not only acting as surrogate father to Kip but also a mentor to Ben Owens. When a beloved local citizen is murdered by two brothers (Lee Van Cleef, Peter Baldwin), a local firebrand, Bart Bogardus (Neville Brand), goes against the sheriff's wishes and organizes a posse that is out for blood. Determined to take the men alive and ensure they get a fair trial, Ben enlists Morg's assistance. Under Morg's guidance, the pair bring the brothers back to jail- only to find that Bogardus intends to lead a lynch party to the jail that night. Ben knows that this is the ultimate test of his ability to finally earn respect from the citizens of the town. But in order to gain that respect, he'll have to face down a heavily armed, drunken mob.
The Tin Star is a superior Western, filmed in B&W in VistaVision and bearing the hallmarks of any Anthony Mann film: intelligent script (by legendary Dudley Nichols) and fine, realistic performances from an excellent cast that also includes a wonderful turn by veteran supporting actor John McIntire. Like The Ox Bow Incident, which also starred Fonda, the movie goes beneath the standard action sequences found in horse operas of this period and delves in to the issues of racism, justice and the price that must often be paid for displaying personal courage.
The DVD boasts a crystal clear transfer but does not contain any extras.
Timeless Media have released the epic 1976 adventure film Shout at the Devil as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. The movie, produced by Michael Klinger and directed by Peter Hunt, is an big budget affair very much in the style of John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, which was released the previous year. Both films follow the antics of a couple of charismatic rogues in exotic settings. The film is based on the novel by author Wilbur Smith, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The movie was shot in between Roger Moore's second and third James Bond films, The Man With the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me and boasts a "who's who" of Eon Productions talent. Peter Hunt had edited the early Bond films and directed On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Ironically, Moore and Hunt never worked on a 007 film together but in 1974 Moore starred in Hunt's excellent adventure film Gold, which was also a Michael Klinger production. Among the Bond veterans moonlighting on Shout at the Devil were main titles designer Maurice Binder, cinematographer Michael Reed and camera operators Alec Mills and Alan Hume, special effects wizard Derek Meddings, production designer Syd Cain, future Bond director John Glen, assistant director Frank Ernst, stills photographer George Whitear and publicist Geoff Freeman. All that was missing was Cubby Broccoli's name above the title. With so many old pros working on the movie, it's no surprise that Shout at the Devil is an opulent production, impressive in many ways.
The story is set in East Africa in 1913 in the days leading up to WWI. Flynn O'Flynn (Lee Marvin) is an American of Irish descent who is living the good life on the African continent. A poacher of ivory and a shameless con man, Flynn and his mute right hand man Mohammed (Ian Holm) routinely line up gullible victims for exploitation. Among them is a British dandy named Sebastian Oldsmith (Roger Moore), a man who is en route to Australia when he makes the fatal decision to spend a few days in a port city. He is befriended by Flynn, who robs him of every cent then gains his gratitude by pretending to lend him money-- which in fact came from his own wallet. O'Flynn coerces Sebastian to become a partner in the ivy poaching trade and brings him back to his comfortable lodge located in the African bush. Here, Sebastian meets and falls in love with O'Flynn's daughter Rosa (Barbara Parkins). The two marry and have a baby much to the bemusement of O'Flynn, who, more often than not, is drunk. O'Flynn and Sebastian's poaching ventures are occasionally thwarted by their arch nemesis, a German military bureaucrat named Fleischer (Rene Kolldehoff), who is the local government administrator and who is known for his heartless exploitation of natives and his ruthless methods of enforcing German law in the region. O'Flynn and Sebastian delight in playing cat-and-mouse games with Fleischer and wreaking havoc on his activities. However, when Germany and England go to war, Fleischer is allowed unlimited local power and he extracts a terrible revenge. O'Flynn and Sebastian are later coerced into volunteering to serve on a mission for the British navy. They must locate, infiltrate and blow up a German war ship that is deemed an imminent danger to Allied shipping interests in the region. The deadly mission allows O'Flynn and Sebastian the opportunity to finally settle their scores with Fleischer.
The film's leisurely running time of 150 minutes actually passes very quickly thanks to the brisk pace afforded by director Hunt, who once told this writer that the film was originally shot as an even longer roadshow presentation and that he had the only remaining uncut print of it in his garage (!) (One can only wonder what became of it after Hunt's death in 2002). This version at least restores a half hour of footage that was not seen in the American theatrical release. The movie also benefits from Michael Reed's widescreen cinematography, Maurice Jarre's rousing score and the excellent special effects work of future F/X legend Derek Meddings. There is also the delightful aspect of enjoying the genuine on-screen chemistry between Roger Moore and Lee Marvin. Moore plays straight man to Marvin's scenery-chewing character. This isn't the cool, understated Marvin of Point Blank and The Killers, but the eyeball-rolling, over-the-top Marvin of Paint Your Wagon and The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday. At times his facial expressions would seem to be more fitting in a cartoon. Nevertheless, he's never dull to watch and his lovable rogue schtick never wears thin with this viewer. (Moore and Marvin also have the kind of extended, knock-down, drag 'em out fist fight that permeated John Ford's films.) Midway through this largely comedic storyline, the script takes a sharp turn due to an act of unspeakable savagery that effects the lives of the three main characters and fills them with an obsession for getting even with Fleischer, who- until this point in the story- has been portrayed as a rather buffoonish, Sgt. Schultz-like character. The jarring disparity in tone may be off-putting to some viewers but the storyline that encompasses the mission to infiltrate and blow up the German war ship quickly dominates the action and leads to a compelling and action-packed conclusion.
Shout at the Devil was a hit with international audiences but a rather bungled release in America led to the movie being very under-exposed here over the decades. The Timeless Blu-ray/DVD combo boasts an excellent transfer but unfortunately the only extras are a selection of still photos, some of which look suspiciously like screen grabs. Nevertheless, this is an outstanding, old-fashioned adventure that retro movie lovers will definitely want to embrace.