The Italians have always loved sex comedies and after the restraints of censorship began to lift in the 1960s and 1970s, the nation's film industry exploited this genre to the max. Case in point: "The Real Decameron", released in 1973 in an attempt to capitalize on the controversy that stemmed from Pasolini's 1971 cinematic adaptation of the legendary collection of erotica that was written centuries before by Boccaccio. (As you can see, very famous Italians don't require first names.) "The Real Decameron" (also known as "The Sexbury Tales") opens in Medieval times with a group of bored wash women who pass the time of day by telling stories of erotic gossip and fantasies. The film is broken into various short comedy segments that are unrelated other than the fact that they center on the sexual frustrations of the protagonists. In one tale, a young virginal male is persuaded by a woman to marry her daughter even though the girl's face is kept hidden under a veil. Upon tying the knot, he's stunned to find that she gives a new definition to "ugly". When he is unable to summon the interest to consummate the marriage with his sex-starved bride, mom comes to the rescue and begins to give him under-the-covers lessons in lovemaking. In another story, a would-be Romeo is banned from seeing his Juliet by her overly-possessive father who locks her in a room inside the family castle. The labored segment focuses entirely on the bumbling young man's ill-fated attempts to secretly gain access to her room. In another sketch, a homely middle-aged farmer is unable to persuade his beautiful young wife to have sex. She's terrified of the act until he persuades her to give it a go. The big payoff here is based on the old adage "Be careful what you wish for- you just might get it", as he learns she is now addicted to sex and wants to make love morning, noon and night. Now the tables are turned and he becomes the intimidated partner. Another "gem" centers on an ugly husband and his nagging but attractive wife who can't stand the idea of consummating their marriage. She concocts a wild tale about seeing a ghost in their house (actually her real lover in costume) to induce her cowardly spouse to run from the premises so she can enjoy an erotic evening. Then there is a tale of a highway man who masquerades as a priest to evade the authorities who are pursing him. Due to his disguise, he is welcomed into the home of a man who is desperately trying to find a cure for an ailment that has kept his wife bedridden. Needless to say, he takes one look at the beauty and bans the hubby from the boudoir so he can administer some "religious rites". In the film's most bizarre story line, a teenage girl claims that her virginity was stolen when a prawn entered her body while she was swimming. A kooky doctor prescribes sex as the only way to mitigate the prawn's nasty effects- which of course leads to her being the most popular girl in town as many young men volunteer to minister to her needs.
If you are wondering how scenarios as lame as these could be funny, the answer that they aren't. The film, directed by Renato Savino (using the nom de plume Mauro Stefani) features frantic and sometimes manic over-acting and some of the weakest payoffs in the history of cinematic comedy. All of this would be excusable if there was an abundance of nudity and sexual content but, alas, the movie is about as erotic as "Monkeys, Go Home!". There is some fleeting T&A to keep male viewers marginally awake but even back in the day, this must have been a pretty limp cinematic biscuit. The film does have some decent production values, costumes and sets for a low-budget flick and the DVD transfer is fairly decent- and we love the stylish original poster art used on the sleeve. Ironically, the bizarre English sub-titles end up providing most of the laughs, though it is purely unintentional.
new release from The Criterion Collection in time for Halloween is the classic
Japanese ghost story anthology, Kwaidan,
which, upon its appearance in the mid-sixties, generated a good deal of
critical acclaim. After it premiered in Japan in late December 1964, the
picture was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965 (in a much shorter
version) and won the Special Jury Prize. The film was also nominated for the
Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (1965). It was also, at the time, Japan’s most
a long movie. Criterion has released a new 2K digital restoration of the original
183 minute director’s cut (complete with an intermission intercard) that was
shown at the picture’s premiere. Kobayashi was forced to edit it to just over
two hours for Cannes, and, for its general and worldwide release, to 164
minutes. “Kwaidan” means “ghost
stories,” and the movie consists of four non-related spooky tales from the
country’s folklore. The Japanese have always been great tellers of ghost
stories, especially ones that take place in feudal Japan—which these do. The
individual stories are based on Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of folk tales
written in the late 1800s (Hearn is Caucasian but was an expert in all things
Kobayashi’s film is strikingly gorgeous. The high definition improves the
quality of Criterion’s original release of several years ago—the colors are
vivid and bold, the picture is clear and sharp, and the costumes and set
designs are absolutely breathtaking. Kobayashi certainly draws from traditional
Kabuki, for the mise-en-scene is more
theatrical than cinematic. The settings look like they belong more on the stage
than on film. And yet, the director and his designer manage to recreate an epic
sea battle with samurai soldiers and wooden ships—in a studio. Impressive
the visual excellence on display, the four stories are of varying quality. The
first, “The Black Hair,” concerns a husband who leaves his wife to search for a
better life. He marries the daughter of a nobleman, but is unhappy. When he
finally goes back to the original wife, he doesn’t count on reckoning with her
long, black hair, which, ahem, has a mind of its own. In “The Woman of the
Snow,” a young man’s life is spared by a Yuki-onna
(a wicked female spirit) as long as he never reveals that he encountered
her. Well, ahem, guess what he does? The longest and slowest, and yet most
complex and opulent tale, is “Hoichi the Earless,” in which a blind biwa player (it’s a sort of Japanese
lute) is compelled to perform for an entire clan of samurai ghosts; they had long
ago perished in that legendary sea battle mentioned above. “Hoichi” features
actors Tetsuro Tamba (known to Western audiences for playing Tiger Tanaka in
the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live
Twice) and Takashi Shimura, one of Japan’s greatest actors, seen in many of
Akira Kurosawa’s pictures (he was the leader of the Seven Samurai). The final story is a short one, “In a Cup of Tea,”
in which a warlord’s bodyguard sees the face of a ghost in the tea he is
drinking—and that spirit pays him an unwelcome visit.
probably safe to say that many of the popular J-Horror flicks of the late 1990s
(e.g., Ringu, Ju-on) owe a debt to Kwaidan.
The earlier film isn’t gory, although for 1964 it was probably a little
shocking with a brief shot of nudity and a few instances of bright red bloodletting.
The film isn’t particularly scary, either, but it does have some creepy
moments. The sound design is especially notable for its subtlety and occasional
surprises that will make you jump. Modern audiences, however, will most likely
find Kwaidan too meticulously
measured to be a real fright fest. Perhaps it might be best enjoyed by viewing the
film in two parts.
include a new audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince; a new subtitle
translation; an interview with Kobayashi from 1993, conducted by filmmaker
Masahiro Shinoda; a new interview with assistant director Kiyoshi Ogasawara,
which is interesting for the many revelations about Kobayashi’s working methods
and the reasons there were several cuts of the film; a new piece about author
Lafcadio Hearn; and vintage trailers. The booklet contains an essay by critic
film enthusiasts and devotees of Japanese folklore will certainly enjoy Kwaidan. I would especially recommend it
for viewers interested in production and costume design. For those two elements
alone, Kwaidan is a sumptuous
Anthony(COMIN’ AT YA!) and Lloyd Battista(BLINDMAN)
star in this thrilling finale to the highly successful “Stranger” series, which
critics have compared favorably to Sam Raimi’s ARMY OF DARKNESS. Tony
Anthony is often regarded as the Jackie Chan of “Spaghetti Westerns,” doing all
his own crazy, hair-raising stunts!
Is One Of The Coolest Spaghetti Western Characters Ever!”
Spaghetti Western Database
the damned craziest westerns I have ever watched…
vibe and tone of the movie brought to mind
mash-up of ARMY OF DARKNESS by way of DJANGO!”
MEAN returns in fine form from Blue Underground…
labor of love for a jaw-dropping, wildly entertaining film!”
full-blown restoration courtesy of Blue Underground is outstanding!”
We hate to brag but sometimes we just have to. Our own intrepid columnist, Raymond Benson, is enjoying some very exciting news. His acclaimed series of books based on The Black Stiletto character has been optioned by actress Mila Kunis's production company which is developing the property as a TV series for ABC. Kunis will executive produce the series, which centers on a female hero who, in the tried-and-true tradition, keeps her real identity a secret. Raymond has been a contributor to Cinema Retro since issue #1, way back in '05. His column of "Top Ten Films" of specific years has already covered the entire 1960s and 1970s and is now focused on films of the 1950s. (If he doesn't slow down, we'll soon be covering the greatest hits of Wallace Beery as fodder for his column.) Raymond also writes reviews of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases, many of which can be found in his own column on this page and in the Criterion Corner section. His contributions to the success of Cinema Retro have been immeasurable so we take great pleasure in congratulating him on this major achievement.
The Landmark Loew’s Jersey is a historic theatre operating
as a non-profit arts centers
Werewolves – damned creatures who shape-change from human
into wolf – have been haunting nightmares since at least the late Middle Ages.
That wolves played on the imagination to become an embodiment of terror and
evil is not surprising since they were the most common and feared predator in
Europe, and wolf attacks on people were a widespread part of life for
centuries. Charges of being a werewolf were a peculiar subset of 15th and
16th Century witch trials, most notably in France, Switzerland,
and the German states. And when colonists began carving tentative
settlements out of a vast, mostly unexplored and forest-covered continent only
to discover that their old, howling nemesis roamed free in the New World, too,
it was only natural that the folklore legend of the werewolf would follow to
But the werewolf’s place alongside vampires and
Frankenstein’s Monster in the pantheon of Halloween terror was really secured
thanks to Universal Pictures. This October 23 you can enjoy three of
Universal’s most enduring contributions to the werewolf legend in one night --
including the rare opportunity to compare 1941’s seminal “The Wolf Man” side by
side with its predecessor, 1935’s “The Werewolf of London”:
Friday, October 23
Starting at 8PM . . . DOUBLE FEATURE -- “The Werewolf of London”
followed by "The Wolf Man"
“The Werewolf of London”
Starring Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson. Directed
by Stuart Walker. 1935, 75 mins., B&W
Six years before Lon Chaney, Jr. donned fur and fangs,
Universal made its first werewolf movie – and only the second werewolf
appearance on film to date. (“The Werewolf” was an 18 minute silent
short made in 1913; it is presumed lost). Thanks to “Dracula”,
“Frankenstein” and “The Mummy”, Universal had built a huge following for its
horror films, and it originally intended to pair its biggest horror names,
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, in “The Werewolf of London”. But ultimately the
film starred Henry Hull in the titular role, with Warner Oland. If
not quite as gothic as the later film, “The Werewolf of London” more than holds
its audiences’ attention with the same nightmarish conceit: the
innocent man unable to control the beast within. Hull’s first
transformation, which occurs during a tracking shot, is marvelously staged and
a justifiably famous bit of cinema. Universal’s resident make-up
master Jack Pierce reportedly proposed a look for the werewolf that
was identical to the one he would use a half dozen years later, but the studio
bosses did not want Hull’s face to be so completely hidden, and knowing what
Karloff had endured for Frankenstein and The Mummy, Hull also objected to the
very long make-up sessions that would have been needed. But if the
look was somewhat more minimalist, Pierces’ creation here was nevertheless
striking, with a notable devil-like resemblance.
Still, whether due to this lack of excess facial fur, or
critics’ complaints that the film seemed suspiciously similar to 1931’s well
regarded “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, “Werewolf of London” was not a hit. Though
it has since become legendary, at the time it failed to propel the werewolf
into the front rank of cinematic monsters. But then came Universal’s
“The Wolf Man”
Starring Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, Ralph
Bellamy, Patrick Knowles, Evelyn Ankers. Directed by George
Waggner. 1941, 70mins., B&W
"Even a man who is pure at heart / And says his prayers
by night / May become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms / And the autumn moon is
bright." With these words, the werewolf, a.k.a. “The Wolf Man”
joined the ranks of great movie monsters and became a participant in countless
Halloween parties - forever. And Lon Chaney, Jr., who had somewhat
reluctantly embarked on a career in movies as the son of one of the silent
era’s greatest stars, found the role for which he would be forever known. He
played Larry Talbot, who returns to his ancestral home in Wales, only to be
bitten by a wild creature he later learns was a werewolf – and then finds, to
his horror, that he has become one. While set in Great Britain, as
was “Werewolf of London”, the action in “The Wolf Man” doesn’t take place in a
big city but in a small village, which allowed virtually the entire film to be
shot on an eerily fog-bound sound stage, creating a claustrophobic but
strangely hypnotic realm –imparting essentially the same gothic look and feel
of “Dracula” and ”Frankenstein”. Adding to this similarity, though
The Wolf Man's cast of characters are supposed to be British, they seem very
similar to the villagers and bureaucrats who occupied the mittel-European
forests and mountains of the earlier films. And this time,
Universal’s makeup wizard Jack Pierce got to use the extensive treatment he had
first proposed six years earlier for “The Werewolf of London”. The
star of that film, Henry Hull, refused to endure the incredibly long sessions
in the make-up chair that would have been needed. But Lon Chaney Jr.
had no such objections: His father had been known as “the man of a
thousand faces” for dong his own extraordinary make up in such films as the
original “Phantom of the Opera” and “Hunchback of Notre
Dame”. Chaney, Jr. wanted to carry on that legacy and had hoped to
do his own makeup, but union rules had come to prohibit actors from doing their
own makeup, so he had to settle for Pierce’s expert hand . Unquestionably,
the strengths of Universal’s signature horror formula contribute to the film’s
success. But “The Wolf Man” succeeds also because it is a literate
and quite adult fairy tale of love, lust and redemption – and Chaney managed to
imbue his character, in spite of all that applied fur, with a real sense of
humanity and pathos.
Admission for BOTH Films: $12 Adults / $10 Kids &
Friday, October 23 at
“American Werewolf in
Starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne. Directed
by John Landis. 1981, 97mins., Color
While wandering the English moors on vacation, college yanks
David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) happen upon a quaint pub with
mysterious-seeming patrons who warn the two not to leave the road when walking
after dark. Just like most college kids -- and horror movie
characters -- the two ignore sound advice . . . and decided to take
an off-road short cut. David wakes up in the hospital with a nasty
bite wound to his shoulder, and the freshly deceased (and rapidly decomposing)
Jack soon shows up to deliver the grim news: David will become a
werewolf when the moon is full. Though David dismisses the encounter as a
hallucination, evenings of barking and bloodletting soon ensue. “An
American Werewolf in London” is an original, atmospheric film that manages
both to scare and amuse. It’s not a spoof, but a full-blooded horror
film that happens to have a sharp sense of humor with some black,
tongue-in-cheek jokes. It also has as a nice appreciation and respect for
horror films past. There are plenty of genuine jolts thanks to
make-up guru Rick Baker's eye-popping special effects – nicely carrying on
Jack Pierce’s Universal tradition. His werewolf, resembling a cross
between a bear and a wolverine, appears frighteningly real, and the scenes in
which the werewolf runs rampant through downtown London are particularly
good. Baker won an Academy Award for his amazing effects and creature
Admission: $8 Adults / $6 Kids & Seniors
- - - OR See All THREE Movies For Just $18 Adults /
$14 Kids & Seniors - - -
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
IN CINEMAS ON OCTOBER 23rd2015,
ON DIGITAL HD ON 9TH NOVEMBER,
AND AVAILABLE ON DVD & BLU-RAY FROM
From British director Stevan Riley (Fire in
Babylon, Everything or Nothing) and award-winning producer John Battsek (Searching
for Sugarman, Restrepo) comes LISTEN TO ME MARLON – an insightful,
captivating portrait of one of the most iconic and complex individuals of this
century. LISTEN TO ME MARLON is a creative odyssey into the mind and
motivations of Marlon Brando. Brando’s own voice leads the storytelling - there
are no interviewees, no talking heads, just Marlon guiding us into the
padlocked recesses of his own memory, and through the story of his life.
In homage to the corkscrew personality of its subject,
previously unheard audio tapes reveal witty and unexpected turns of Marlon’s
thinking; dipping between light and dark, humour and self-psychoanalysis. The
non-linear approach leaps and drifts back and forth in chronology to help
illustrate memory’s haunting effect on the present. Visually the film conveys
hypnotic states and quixotic departures as we lose ourselves in Brando’s spoken
daydreams, playful asides and confiding whispers.
As Marlon looks back on his legendary career, film clips are
woven alongside personal archive; the young Brando’s electrifying looks, raw
performances and brooding charm put us entirely under his spell. In mid-life
his meteoric comeback continues to resonate, while the reclusive exile of later
years offers up rare flashes of acting brilliance from a waning supernova. The
film draws narrative parallels between Marlon’s screen performances and
personal life, and as these become increasingly blurred his entire life becomes
the stage. Throughout, Marlon provides a surprising range of insights – from
his revolutionary methodology, to his relationship with his father to his
politics. What emerges is Brando’s intellectual introspection, humour and
sensitivity; a man in perpetual search for moral clarity.
(Click here for Cinema Retro review of American release of the film).
1960 a young Michael Winner began a collaboration with the British producer and
distributor E.J. Fancey which would enable him to break into the world of
feature films. Fancey had been in the industry for over twenty years, and
specialised in "quota quickies": cheap, forgettable films which could
play as supporting features and qualify for government tax breaks. The average
Fancey production usually combined low-rent comedians, stock footage, long
tedious amounts of travelling and a confused crossover between documentary and
narrative film. As a distributor of European exploitation cinema he was
prolific, being responsible for bringing thousands of equally cheap and forgettable
films into British cinemas in the hope of making a fast buck. Into this
cut-throat world stepped Michael Winner, who prior to directing had been
working in some of the smaller film studios around London as well as at the
BBC. The film in question is Climb Up the Wall, a piece of entertainment
so peculiar and grating it has even been missed off Winner's filmography on
Climb Up the Wall begins with
typically cheap hand-drawn title cards and some jazzy music before introducing
us to our host Jack Johnson, a popular cardigan-wearing comedian of the day.
Speaking to camera he explains his latest invention, which is basically a large
computer with a television screen. In 1960 this was still somewhat fantastical,
but which now looks laughable. Along with his amiable son Malcolm we are
bombarded with sketches and music, held together with the vague storyline of
Jack Johnson showing us what his computer can do. We are treated to footage of
Elvis as a GI, comedians, popular singer Mike Preston, clips from the Goon
Show film Down Among the Z Men (1952, also produced by E.J. Fancey)
and even footage from old westerns. Before long Jack and Malcolm get bored of
this, like the audience, and head into London for a night out. This is an
excuse to show us some naked models and exotic nightclub dancing, as well as
more singing and an odd sequence in a kitchen where they all decide to do some
cooking. The film feels like it was being made up as they went along, which
perhaps it was.
Winner was told to make something out of a load of old stock footage, including
some of the Fancey back-catalogue, with the specific mention of making it
appeal to the rock and roll crowd. Fancey had recently made one of Britain's
first rock and roll films (Rock You Sinners, 1958) so clearly felt like
he had his finger on the pulse. For a sixty-three minute film Climb Up the
Wall packs in a lot of music by long-forgotten singers and groups, and even
manages to reference Cliff Richard. They seem to be targeting a younger audience,
yet the focus on an older generation of comedians suggests they did not really
know what teenagers would be into in 1960. Climb Up the Wall is
something of a curiosity, and is well worth seeking out, not because it is a
good film, which it isn't, but because of its authentic shots of London life.
It was also an important milestone in the development of one of the most
prolific and influential directors to come out of Britain in the 1960s.
the film on this DVD are two other E.J. Fancey productions. The first, London
Entertains (1951) tries to pass itself off as a documentary, although it is
effectively a feature film. Popular television presenter Eamonn Andrews tells
us the story of a group of girls from a Swiss Finishing School who come to
London to start their own escort agency. The girls, who all look around
twenty-five, believe that visiting tourists and dignitaries will want to be
escorted around the Festival of Britain, as well as the nightclubs of London.
This allows Fancey, who directed it himself, to cram in loads of stock footage,
including skiing, synchronised swimming and film star Gloria Swanson inspecting
the Festival of Britain building site. We are also treated to the attractions
of London, including the Windmill Theatre and an open-air performance at
Battersea of Canadian former child-star Bobby Breen. Meanwhile Eamonn has
fallen in love with one of the girls, whilst they have to fight off the
attentions of a brash American, played by character actor Joe Baker. One of the
highlights of the film is the visit to the BBC Radio Theatre for a recording of
The Goon Show. This is rare early footage when Michael Bentine was still
performing alongside Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, and we
even get to meet producer Dennis Main-Wilson and original presenter Andrew
Timothy. Moments like this make London Entertains worth seeing for
anyone with an interest in the history of comedy.
final film on the DVD is Calling All Cars (1954), another combination of
stock footage and low-rent comedy. Cardew Robinson, better known in those days
as Cardew the Cad, plays a hopeless romantic in love with the unattainable
blonde across the road. When he finds out she is planning to drive to the
continent he conspires with a friend to buy a car and follow them as they head
off to the newly-built Dover car terminal. This means we are treated to stock
footage of how the terminal was built, accompanied by a relatively unfunny
commentary. Cardew's comedy has sadly dated, along with his car. The film
mainly consists of shots of driving, and for some bizarre reason Fancey decided
to give Cardew's car an internal monologue, voiced by Spike Milligan. The
highlight of Calling All Cars is when
Cardew pulls into a service station for petrol. The attendant claps his hands
and before he knows it they are surrounded by beautiful women in short skirts
and stockings who give the car a quick once-over.
DVD is a reminder that everyone back then smoked, and if you have recently quit
it may be a struggle to get through all three movies in one sitting. Renown
Pictures have found good quality prints and the sound is clear, given that
these films would have looked and sounded cheap back then and were never
intended to be seen sixty years later. Whilst worth picking up for Climb Up
the Wall alone, the fact that there are three films here makes this disc a
must-have for anyone interested in the forgotten corners of British film
have also recently launched a free TV channel in the UK called Talking
Pictures, where more obscure British films from the 1930s through to the 1970s
can be found and enjoyed. You can find more information at
Entertains/ Climb Up the Wall/ Calling All Cars is released by Renown Pictures
on R0 DVD. CLICK HERE TO ORDER
No James Bond fan will want to pass up adding "Bond By Design" to their collection of coffee table books about Agent 007. Written by Meg Simmonds, the archivist for Eon Productions, this volume presents a wealth of ultra rare original art concepts, story boards, costume designs and much more ranging from "Dr. No" through the new film "SPECTRE".
Here is the official description:
"Bond By Design: The Art of the James Bond
Films gives an exclusive tour of EON Productions’ James Bond archives and is
available to buy from October 1. The book includes set, storyboard, vehicle,
gadget and costume designs by legendary designers including Sir Ken Adam, Syd
Cain, Peter Murton, Peter Lamont, Allan Cameron and Dennis Gassner.
Written by Meg Simmonds, EON Productions’ Archive
Director, Bond By Design reveals each movie’s design approach as well as the
stories behind individual items. From DR. NO (1962) through to Spectre (2015),
discover the craft behind some of the most iconic Bond sets, including
Stromberg’s Atlantis base in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) and Blofeld’s Volcano
Lair in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)."
“Cover Up” (1949) is a very strange little movie. An
insurance investigator Sam Donovan (Dennis O’Keefe) arrives in a small
Midwestern town by train to investigate the death of one of his company’s
policy holders, a man named Phillips. He meets pretty girl Anita Weatherby
(Barbara Britton) on the train and helps her carry the Christmas packages she’s
brought home for her family. He meets her father, Stu Weatherby (Art Baker) who
came to pick her up and invites Donovan to come out to the house for a visit
when he has the time. Friendly town. Donovan next visits the local sheriff
Larry Best (William Bendix) to get the death report. And that’s where
complications start. The sheriff tells him although the death was a suicide by
gunshot, there’s no gun, no bullet and no coroner’s report and the body is
already buried in the cemetery.
Sounds like a decent set up for a good hard-boiled
who-dunnit, doesn’t it? Except it’s anything but. Despite Kino Lorber’s
packaging, with Bendix and O’Keefe wielding a couple of Lugers on the Blu-Ray
cover, “Cover-Up” falters mid-way through, deciding it wants to be a nice, friendly
holiday movie. Despite a set-up that sounds like the beginning of “Bad Day at
Black Rock,” unlike the characters in that film, everybody in this town must
have migrated from Mayberry. There all so nice and kind and wouldn’t want to
ruin anyone’s Christmas with a nasty thing like murder, which Phillips’ death
turns out to be.
This may be the only mystery story in which the
murdered man and his murderer never appear on screen. In fact, although the
mystery gets solved, there’s no punishment that can be meted out to the
perpetrator because he conveniently dies of a heart attack before Donovan get
put the cuffs on him. And besides Phillips was a no good rat that nobody in
town liked and doesn’t miss. So why make a big fuss about it?
It’s all pretty weird and at the same time kind of tame
and dull. The emphasis is more on the romance between Anita and Sam than the
crime. Oh, there are red herrings sprinkled throughout the script co-written by
O’Keefe and Jerome Odlum that keep the mystery plot going but director Alfred
E. Green provides little tension or suspense.
One wonders why Kino Lorber chose to put this title out
in a nice Blu-ray format when there are so many other more worthy noirs out
there waiting for that kind of presentation. The picture and sound quality are
first rate but the disc has no extras at all.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for an unusual, off-beat
Christmas movie, pick it up. You could run a double bill along with Jean
Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story” to liven things up. Tough guy noir lovers should avoid.
Lewis John Carlino’s 1979 film The Great Santini, which stars Robert
Duvall, Blythe Danner, and Michael O’Keefe, will be screened at the The Royale
Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles. Based
upon the novel by Pat Conroy (The Water
is Wide, The Lords of Discipline,
and The Prince of Tides), the 115-minute
film will be screened on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 at 7:00 pm.
Actresses Blythe Danner and Lisa Jane
Persky and director Lewis John Carlino are scheduled to appear at the screening
and are due to partake in a post-screening Q & A for a discussion on the
making of the film. Please be sure the
check back with the website in regards to personal appearances/changing
From the press release:
Ben Meechum (Michael O’Keefe) struggles
to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father (Robert Duvall), an
aggressively competitive marine pilot.
The Great Santini was nominated for two
Academy Awards in 1980—best actor for Duvall and best supporting actor for
O’Keefe. Based on Pat Conroy’s autobiographical novel, this is an intense
family drama centering on a domineering Marine pilot, his long-suffering wife
(Blythe Danner), and their children. In his celebrated book, Adventures in the Screen Trade,
award-winning screenwriter William Goldman called the film and its famous
basketball scene “brilliant and moving, filled with the knowledge of family
love, family frustration, hate, and the wisdom of showing the proximity of
these moods, how the one seamlessly shifts into the other.” Goldman also
praised the acting of Duvall, O’Keefe, and Danner as “world class.” Stan Shaw,
David Keith, and Lisa Jane Persky co-star in the film written for the screen
and directed by Lewis John Carlino (Seconds,
The Fox, The Mechanic, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Resurrection).
Our special guest will be Tony and
Emmy-winning actress Blythe Danner, who has given memorable performances on
stage, screen, and television over the last 50 years. She has acted in classic
and contemporary dramas on stage. On television she portrayed characters
created by Tennessee Williams and F. Scott Fitzgerald in addition to her
recurring role as Will’s mother in the long-running TV sitcom Will and Grace. On film she
co-starred in 1776, Sidney
Lumet’s Lovin’ Molly, Hearts of the West, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Woody Allen’s
Alice and Another Woman, The Prince of Tides, and the popular Meet the Parents comedies, in which
she played Robert De Niro’s wife. This year Danner won renewed recognition and
acclaim for her starring role in the poignant hit dramedy, I’ll See You in My Dreams.
The Royale Laemmle is located at 11523
Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles, CA 90025. Phone number is (310) 478 – 3836(310) 478 – 3836.
“What’s got four eyes and can’t see?...
Mississippi!”, quips Gene Hackman as FBI Agent Anderson in Alan Parker’s Mississippi
Burning, a cynical joke about racist attitudes of the backward-looking American
south. This heavyweight dramatic crime thriller, based on one of the most
notorious race-related murder investigations in U.S. history, gets its first
ever UK Blu-ray release courtesy of Second Sight.
Set in 1964, endemic racism and
race-related violence throughout the southern states is scrutinised to an
uncomfortably realistic degree, as Roger Ebert wrote: “More than any other
film… this one gets inside the passion of race relations in America”; the film
understands and explains events, whilst Parker’s direction criticises and
highlights prejudice without undue sensationalism. The plot
revolves around the historical events related to the murders of three civil
rights activists (two white and one black) who go missing deep in the heart of
Ku Klux Klan territory. The FBI are called in to investigate, headed by
Agent Ward (Willem Dafoe), very much representing Kennedy’s America; a
progressive, forward looking country of freedom and equality, with zero
tolerance for racist violence and beliefs but believing in his by-the-book
methodology and Bureau protocol. Agent Anderson is partnered with him,
much more cynical with age and willing to take unconventional steps, by any
means necessary, to bring injustice to light. Facing uncooperative
local police and a community too afraid of the consequences to talk to the FBI,
the murder investigation sparks repercussions of national significance in an
era when segregation was still commonplace.
It is obvious to see how Mississippi
Burning won a number of accolades including an Oscar, a number of BAFTAs and a
best actor award for Hackman (at Berlin International Film Festival). And
it is indeed Hackman’s portrayal of Anderson that is the heart and soul of this
film - his warmth and depth of character, his past as a small southern town
Sheriff to his current, cosmopolitan, FBI post illustrates a shift in American
values and the possibilities of a more inclusive future. He understands
the (shockingly prejudiced) beliefs and attitudes of many white southern locals
towards the black population, but does not for one second, as his partner
perhaps mistakes him for early in the film, sympathise with the locals’
attitude in the slightest. In fact, his past allows him to speak to the locals
in a language they understand - violence - to let them know racist actions are
intolerable. He clearly expresses his outrage in a very open and human
manner with which the audience can identify; violent beatings of innocent and
peaceful members of the community from old men to women and children simply for
the colour of their skin or cooperating with the law is extremely upsetting to
witness, as shocking today if not moreso than when the film was released.
Ward is played subtly by Dafoe, leaving
centre stage to Hackman, but his performance is vital to the success of the
film. The audience’s absolute belief in his resolute determination to
solve the case, refusing to give in to the stonewalling by the local community,
and using all means at his disposal is what drives the film along.
For example, a colleague informs Ward that the local motel owner
wants the FBI out as they are ‘bad for business’, to which Ward coolly but
firmly tells him to “Buy it”. Anderson advises Ward that FBI methods won’t
work, knowing that conflict and violence will arise from outside intervention
and will bring a warlike atmosphere to this small town America which, indeed,
escalates to the KKK carrying out violent beatings and relentless petrol-bomb
attacks on houses and churches. Ward, however, sees the value in setting
a precedent here, to make a stand to show there is no place for racial
intolerance in the America of the future, he recognises an era that needs to be
brought to an end: “...it was a war long before we got here.”
Other than these central performances, what
really strengthens the film is the impressive supporting cast; not one single
character is made two-dimensional here, however small a role. Brad Dourif
plays vicious Deputy Sheriff Pell as cruel but with a twinkle in his eye,
Frances McDormand is his resigned but proud wife. R. Lee Ermey plays
Mayor Tilman, parochial and angry, with earnest concern. Even Stephen
Toblowsky, perhaps most recognisable for small but perfectly-pitched apathetic
comedy roles (such as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day) is, in a few short minutes,
able to deliver an impassioned and genuinely chilling speech here as a KKK
leader. Every character feels like a real person; however distasteful
their opinions or actions are within the film, they are still presented as
believably nuanced and rounded human beings rather than caricatures in broad
brush strokes, which could be all too easy to fall back on with such
politically charged subject matter; much credit is due to both performers and
The Blu-ray itself is excellent quality, transferred well without losing the
textured grain of the original film, pleasantly noticeable in places.
Bonus features are few but fascinating; separate interviews with Dafoe,
writer Chris Gerolmo and a 20-minute interview with Alan Parker. There is
also a feature audio commentary with Alan Parker. It would have been
fascinating to have some of the lesser-featured supporting cast mentioned above
involved, perhaps, but the simple and straightforward style of the menus and
the extras presented suit to tone of the film well.
(Barbara Magnolfi) and Dagmar (Stefania D'Amario) are sisters looking for their
mother, a once successful actress who left them in a boarding school when they
were children and disappeared. Their father has recently died, leaving them a
substantial sum that they feel duty-bound to share with the absent mother.
Their search leads them to a hotel on the outstanding Amalfi Coast near Naples
where they meet a motley collection of people who have secrets to hide: Filippo
(Marc Porel) is a heroin addict, Roberto (Vanni Materassi), the hotel manager,
is having an affair with the resident singer, the amusingly-monikered Stella
Shining (Yvonne Harlow, who claimed to be the great grand-daughter of Jean
Harlow), who is herself smuggling drugs in lipstick tubes, and Roberto's wife
Vanessa (Anna Zinnemann), a lesbian who is having a passionate affair with one
of the hotel guests.
things weren't already complicated enough Ursula has psychic abilities that
allow her to see the future. As explained by a conveniently-placed psychiatrist
in the hotel, these powers could have been induced by some unexplained
childhood trauma. Ursula is plagued by bad dreams of gruesome murders, and
visions of her recently-deceased father in bed with other women. Dagmar may be
falling in love with Filippo, who Ursula claims will be responsible for her own
death, but Filippo is obsessed with Stella Shining. Into this already
convoluted setup stalks a black-gloved murderer, a familiar figure from Italian
giallo movies, who watches people have sex and then kills them with a
giant phallus. This provides director Enzo Miloni with endless opportunities to
show as much nudity as he could get away with, which was quite a lot.
Apparently when The Sister of Ursula was released, it was shown in some
cinemas with hardcore inserts. Even with those removed it is still quite strong
a title that makes one expect a film about nuns, this was Enzo Miloni's
directorial debut. Primarily known as a writer, he made this film at the
request of the producer in order to get his own pet project, which was to start
Dirk Bogarde, off the ground. Despite all the sleaze and murder, the film is
mainly a melodrama and feels like something you would find when flicking
through the channels one morning on your hotel TV whilst on holiday. It is shot
with very little verve or creativity. The camera was mainly set on a tripod and
then just left at that height for the rest of the movie. Occasionally we see
close-ups of a sinister pair of eyes in the shadows, but otherwise there is
very little distinctiveness visually. The plots and sub-plots become confusing,
with enough to provide narrative ideas for at least three movies. This is
perhaps a symptom of Miloni's first love of writing for the theatre.
familiar with the Italian giallo will have seen most of what is here in other,
better movies. What perhaps sets this one apart is the stronger focus on sex,
with Shameless selling it as a "proto porno giallo". The image
quality is what one would expect from a film shot on location using cheap film
stock, that is to say flat and not particularly sharp. The blood still looks
bright red however. The DVD features a half-hour interview with the director
from 2008, and watching it may make you feel warmer towards the film than you
did before. He clearly enjoyed the experience and remained friends with the
cast, and expresses his intentions and frustrations with the project well. He
reveals that Marc Porel was a drug addict in real life, and explains how they
dealt with this this during the shoot. The star of one of Italy's greatest
crime thrillers, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976, Ruggero
Deodato), Porel sadly died at the age of just 34 from a drug overdose whilst
shooting commercials in Morocco.
have released this DVD in a limited edition of just 2000 numbered copies.
Featuring new artwork from genre specialist Graham Humphries (with a reversible
sleeve featuring the original Italian artwork), the aforementioned interview,
the theatrical trailer (revealing that some scenes were shot for an alternate
version where clothes remained on) and lots of trailers for other Shameless DVD
releases. Shameless are specialists when it comes to releasing trashy European
cinema that other companies would steer well clear of, and for that they are to
only available on a R1 DVD from Serverin Films, you can now buy The Sister of
Ursula on Amazon UK by clicking here.
Films in Global Cinema: The World Beyond Disney
by Noel Brown and Bruce Babington (Published by I.B. Taurus, £62), 272 Pages, Hardcover,
BY TIM GREAVES
a well-researched and eminently readable series of essays from around a dozen
contributing writers, “Family Films in Global Cinema” delivers just what its
title promises. Rather than focussing on a particular era or subgenre, editors
Noel Brown and Bruce Babington have cast their net far wider; titles spanning
many decades and from all corners of the globe are afforded textual equality
with some of the more readily acknowledged classics. Fancy reading refreshing
opinions on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate
Factory or A Nightmare Before
Christmas (the latter rejected by Disney, who must still be kicking
themselves today)? They’re here, nestled alongside plenty of titles of which
this reviewer was largely unaware. Of particular interest was a chapter devoted
to the anime features of Japan’s Studio Ghibli, of which I have long been aware
but actually knew very little about.
Had it ever occurred to you that Kubrick’s 2001:
A Space Odyssey is a “family film”? Prepare to be educated by a piece that
pitches an intriguing case for it being so. And any book savvy enough to devote
several pages (and an illustration) to Lionel Jeffries’ oft-overlooked
masterpiece Baxter! certainly gets
a scholarly approach to its subject, “Family Films in Global Cinema” is fully
annotated and brimming with facts, figures and opinions that are never less
than informative, with some of the minutiae not only proving interesting but in
some cases giving one pause to marvel at how attitudes to movies have changed dramatically
over the years. For example, it’s remarked upon how 1932’s The Island of Lost Souls was refused a certificate in the UK until
1958 – and even then cuts were imposed – and yet it now resides intact on the
DVD platform bearing a family-friendly PG classification.
things off there is a select bibliography and filmography; it’s guaranteed
there’ll be at least a handful of titles included you’ll feel compelled to seek
emanating from an independent publishing house rouses expectation of a need to
dig deep. The £62 price tag here – for a book that on face value looks like it
should be closer to half that, or less – could regrettably do it damage from a
sales perspective; I’d suggest quite a number of potentially interested
purchasers will be dissuaded. The fact that it’s only sparsely illustrated
won’t help its case either, nor that what is
here is poorly reproduced and in black & white only; for such a
colourful subject, some colour wouldn’t have gone amiss (even though that would
inevitably have pushed the price up even further). Yet all said, this is a hugely
recommended read and if you can afford to stretch to it then it’s unlikely
you’ll come away disappointed.
"Get Mean" (1975), the most obscure and final entry in the series of "Stranger" Westerns starring Tony Anthony is getting a long-awaited release in North America thanks to the new deluxe edition Blu-ray that is jam-packed with extras including an insightful collector's booklet written by Cinema Retro columnist Howard Hughes.
Here are the details from the official press release:
The Stranger’s Thrilling Final Adventure!
When an American cowboy stumbles upon a gypsy
family in a wind-swept ghost town, they offer him a fortune to escort a
princess back to her home in Spain. But this silent Stranger finds himself in
over his head (and strung up by his feet) when he gets caught in the middle of
an epic battle involving Vikings, the Moors, brutal barbarians, evil spirits, a
raging bull, and a diabolical Shakespeare-quoting hunchback. Tired of their
never-ending attempts to kill him, the cowboy arms himself to the teeth with
guns, dynamite and a special surprise. Now it’s the Stranger’s turn to GET
Tony Anthony (COMIN’ AT YA!), Lloyd Battista
(BLINDMAN), Raf Baldassarre (THE GREAT SILENCE), Diana Lorys (THE AWFUL DR.
ORLOF), and Mirta Miller (EYEBALL) star in this explosive ‘Spaghetti Western’
directed by Ferdinando Baldi (TEXAS, ADIOS). Now Blue Underground is proud to
present GET MEAN in this 2-Disc Limited Edition, featuring a brand-new High
Definition transfer along with exclusive Extras for the first time ever in
with Producer/Star Tony Anthony,
Co-Writer/Star Lloyd Battista, and
Executive Producer Ronald J. Schneider
The Story Of The Stranger - Interview with Producer/Star Tony
Looking For Richard - Interview with Co-Writer/Star Lloyd
Beating A Dead Horse - Interview with Executive Producer Ronald J. Schneider
Tony & I - Interview
with Director Ferdinando Baldi
Poster & Still Gallery
BONUS Collectable Booklet featuring new
writing by Spaghetti Western expert Howard Hughes
Check out this Q&A session with Tony Anthony from a recent screening of "Get Mean" at the Cinefamily theatre:
have favorably compared GET MEAN to Sam Raimi’s ARMY OF DARKNESS: “Just like
Ash, The Stranger unloads a huge can of whoop-ass on an army of foes. If you’ve
enjoyed ARMY OF DARKNESS, you should definitely enjoy this one!” - IMDB
Stranger Is One Of The Coolest Spaghetti Western Characters!” – Spaghetti
In Its Own Little World Of Surreal Weirdness… A Must For Those Who Enjoy Tony
Anthony’s Stuff!” – Video Junkie
Fun Than Any Other Baldi/Anthony Collaboration!” – The Spinning Image
There are some films that you just know can only ever have been greenlit and bankrolled because the
directors were riding on the success of recent projects – which was precisely
the case with esoteric chunk of dystopian fiction, Zardoz. John Boorman may have been revelling in the plaudits
afforded him following the release of 1972’s Deliverance when he began touting around his script for Zardoz, but even so it wasn’t an easy
sell. The problem was that no-one could really get a handle on what it was about; years later cameraman Peter
MacDonald jokingly suggested that Boorman was the only person who actually understood it. That may not in fact have
been so far from the truth, but in any event it was finally picked up by 20th
Century Fox. All the same, Zardoz is certainly
one of the strangest films ever to snare a position in mainstream cinema. Upon
its original release it was critically mauled and left audiences around the
globe scratching their heads. More than 40 years on it may have reached an
unpredictable plateau of respect, but its power to baffle hasn't diminished one
The year is 2293 and what we bear witness to is “a possible future”.
In the wake of an apocalyptic event, the world’s population has divided. There
are the Elite, blessed with immortality and psychic powers, who inhabit the tranquil
paradise of The Vortex. Then there are the Exterminators, a band of savage warriors
who patrol Earth’s wastelands; worshipping a huge flying stone head – an effigy
of the deity from which the film’s title is derived – their raison d'être
is to restrain the starving populous (known as Brutals), safe in the belief
that when their time is over they will cross over into The Vortex. When the
Exterminators aren’t busy ravaging and slaying Brutals, they enslave them for
the cultivation of food. Zed (Sean Connery) is a rarity: an intelligent
Exterminator. He cunningly manages to gain entry to The Vortex, determined to
learn of Zardoz’s secrets, but his arrival is greeted with mixed reaction.
Immortal May (Sara Kestelman) is keen to study him and, much to the annoyance
of Consuella (Charlotte Rampling) who sees the savage as a dangerous influence
on their society, the senior Friend (John Alderton) permits Zed to remain among
them, if for no other reason than to relieve the boredom born of immortality.
There also appears to be hope in the community that Zed may hold the secret to
the blessed release of death.
Or something like that.
First up let’s address the elephant in the room: Leading man
Connery’s frankly bizarre attire. Throughout the first half of the 1970s the
actor took on a number of roles that would distance him from his James Bond
persona, including an unhinged police detective with possible latent paedophile
tendencies (The Offence) and an
elderly Robin Hood (Robin and Marian).
But with his portrayal of Zed in Zardoz he
hit the motherlode. Ponytailed and clad for much of the film’s runtime in
little more than a scarlet diaper – the publicity stills providing car crash
visuals that are still mocked today – I’d posit that he actually pulls off ‘the
look’. (Just.) If nothing else, I’m sure the skimpy outfit appealed to the
actor’s female fanbase. Appearance aside though, in the role originally
earmarked for Burt Reynolds, Connery delivers a terrific performance and his rugged
screen presence keeps one engaged even when the narrative veers off into the
profoundly confusing – which it does on more than one occasion.
There’s strong support meanwhile from Charlotte Rampling, Sara
Kestelman, TV favourite John Alderton and Niall Buggy as rapscallion Arthur
Produced as well as written and directed by Boorman, Zardoz is a triumph in both style and substance (if you can at least
partially get your head around it). The plot may be something of a conundrum,
but there’s a great deal to admire here. It’s certainly beautifully
mounted; gorgeous location work (lensed in Ireland’s County Wicklow) set
to the music of Beethoven combines with Christel Kruse Boorman’s
economical but impressive costume designs to deliver a captivating
aesthetic that ably compensates for some of the cheaper looking ‘plastic bag’ –
quite literally – visuals. There’s also a very satisfying reveal as to the source
of the titular God’s name, a twist capitalised on in Star Trek: The Motion Picture a few years later.
I've seen Zardoz several
times over the years and still find it a challenge to endure. Yet the fact I
find myself drawn to return to it says a great deal. It’s indisputably a peculiar
one, but never less than intriguingly so.
Okay then, enough beating about the bush. Is Zardoz a load of old nonsense (as so many profess), or a sublime
masterpiece (as equal numbers make claim)?
The opportunity for doubters to reappraise Boorman’s film (or
indeed, for those who’ve always had their tent pitched in the pro camp, to
simply re-indulge) has arrived in the form of Arrow’s scintillating new Blu-ray
presentation. The transfer of the film itself is outstanding – I’ve certainly
not seen it looking quite so beautiful before – and it’s accompanied by an
appreciation piece from director Ben Wheatley, an original 1970s trailer (even
more bemusing than the film it was attempting to cultivate an audience for),
radio spots, plus short but valuable on-camera reminiscences from Boorman,
Kestelman, production designer Anthony Pratt, special effects technician Gerry
Johnston, camera operator Peter MacDonald, assistant director Simon Relph,
hairstylist Colin Jamison, production manager Seamus Byrne and assistant editor
Alan Jones. The icing on the cake is an informative commentary from the
eminently likeable Boorman. Of course, the cherry on the icing would have been
input from Connery, Alderton and Rampling, but they’re all conspicuous by their
absence (rather inevitably where Connery was concerned, one supposes).
A nicely illustrated 40-page booklet comprising interview material
and articles makes for a very handsome finishing touch.
Cronenberg’s horror films always seem to tackle subjects that involve an
unpredictable human body and the terror of your consciousness residing inside
of it. He explored parasites in his first mainstream picture, Shivers (aka They Came From Within, 1975), and viral “stingers” than grow in a
woman’s armpit in his second, Rabid,
1977. The rest of his movies, leading up to the ultimate statement of being
trapped in a horrible body, The Fly
(1986), all dealt with some aspect of physical or mental transformation. The Brood, released in 1979, fits right
in with Cronenberg’s thematic fascination with flesh and blood. And it’s a
Reed plays Dr. Raglan, an unorthodox psychotherapist who uses controversial
techniques that cause his patients to manifest their inner turmoil and anger
into visible, bizarre growths on their bodies. One guy sprouts spots. Another
man grows a weird gland on the outside of his neck. The most extreme result of
Dr. Raglan’s methods occurs with a disturbed woman named Nola (Samantha Eggar),
who was abused as a child and is in the throes of a divorce and custody battle
with her husband Frank (Art Hindle). Nola is growing “wombs” on her body that eventually
give birth to horrific dwarf “copies” of her and Frank’s five-year-old daughter
Candice (Cindy Hinds)—except these siblings are murderous creatures unwittingly
and psychically controlled by their mother. They have the faces of trolls, no
navels, and are anatomically asexual, but otherwise they are somewhat identical
to Candice. (Where they get the clothes that Candice wears is unexplained.)
a horror film, The Brood brilliantly
succeeds. The shocks are genuine, the gross-out factor is palpable, and the
story—which is absurd on the surface—is intelligently well-written (by
Cronenberg himself). Apparently the impetus for the film was the director’s
harrowing experience in going through a divorce and rescuing his child from a
delivers one of his best campy performances, and Eggar is suitably deranged in
her part. Of particular note is young Hinds, who manages to be simultaneously
innocent and creepy—this was her first acting role. Perhaps the weakest link in
the picture is Hindle, who somehow never reaches the emotional heights that his
a fairly low-budget affair, made for a little less than two million dollars,
but the visual effects and production values are top-notch. As noted in the new
supplemental documentary on the film’s making, all the strange bodily terrors
were accomplished with clever makeup applications—in particular, the use of
various-sized condoms filled with movie blood and... other stuff. Eggar relates
how hilarious this actually was on the set; she could hardly keep from laughing
as the crew glued the ends of prophylactics onto her torso.
has released a new, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by Cronenberg,
with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack. As is usually the case with Criterion
Blu-rays, the video is gorgeous and vividly colorful—and this is one of those
movies in which the color is practically a character in the film! Supplements
include: the new documentary featuring interviews with Eggar, executive
producer Pierre David, cinematographer Mark Irwin, assistant director John
Board, and special makeup effects artists Rick Baker and Joe Blasco (neither of
whom worked on The Brood, but served
on other Cronenberg pictures); a 2011 interview with Cronenberg covers his
early career in the 70s; a 2013 interview with Hindle and a grown-up Hinds is
conducted by the editor of Fangoria magazine;
and—most fun of all—a segment from The
Merv Griffin Show from 1980, featuring Reed verbally sparring with Orson
Welles. There’s also a radio spot and an essay by critic Carrie Rickey in the
notable supplement is Cronenberg’s rare second feature film, Crimes of the Future (1970), made in
color on a shoestring budget. This is a truly bizarre picture about a world in
which all the women capable of reproducing are gone (killed by toxic cosmetics)
and men are attempting to compensate without a feminine influence in their
lives. A little too stilted for its own good, Crimes serves as a curiosity in the Cronenberg pantheon that is
worth seeing... once.
the main attraction is an excellent fright fest. The Brood has arrived in glorious high definition just in time for
Halloween. Grab the popcorn, turn out the lights, and prepare yourself for some
truly nightmarish material. The Brood is
In a controversial interview with Time Out London, Daniel Craig talks in earthy terms at length about the challenges and rewards of playing James Bond and discusses the forthcoming 007 epic "SPECTRE". What's raised eyebrows is his comments about not wanting to play James Bond again. Craig says he'd rather slash his wrists than take on the role of 007, even as he expresses concern that whoever plays the role in the future ensures that the quality of the franchise is preserved. In that respect, Craig's comments are a bit ambiguous. He does leave the door open to considering another Bond film but says he would only do it for the money. Craig's stance is a bit surprising. While the Bond franchise has seen its share of troubles between the lead actors and the producers over the decades, Craig is said to have a warm and mutually respectful relationship with current producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, both of whom plucked him from relative oblivion (he certainly wasn't a household name) and, against all conventional wisdom, hired him to replace the enormously successful Pierce Brosnan. If Craig's comments distancing himself from the role of Bond sound callous and ungrateful at first blush, he does make clear that he is very proud of the work he's done with his colleagues on the series and cares deeply that the franchise will only continue to improve over time. Bond fans are already in a panic over the notion that Craig may quit the role. They might want to pause before drowning their sorrows in a sea of Vodka Martinis and recall that Sean Connery quit the part twice and it appeared as though even amiable Roger Moore threatened to leave the role on a couple of occasions. (Other actors were even screen-tested for the part). (To read the interview click here.)
Now, here's the kicker that makes us wonder when exactly the Time Out interview was conducted. In the Mail on Sunday's 27 September edition, there was a special supplemental section (obviously done with Eon Productions' blessing) that interviews Craig. In the article, he confirms that he has indeed committed to at least one more film after "SPECTRE"- and reiterates that he considers it an honor to play the role. In fact he states: "I'll keep going as long as I'm physically able. I'm contracted for one more - but I'm not going to make predictions." The article also indicates that Craig is being paid a Goldfinger-sized fortune for his performances, having earned £17 million for "Skyfall" and is expected to earn at least that much for the next two films, should he choose to star in them. So the incentives to do at least one more Bond film are very strong for Craig. How two interviews can feature such opposite viewpoints from him remains a mystery unless he has a double out there somewhere...perhaps a real life case of "The Spy With My Face".
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
One Way Static Records is excited to bring you their
latest release, one where we had the chance to (again) work with legendary
composer Philip Glass. This has been a much requested release we simply could
not withhold from you!
Following up on our last year’s release for Candyman (1992)
One Way Static Records is now proud to announce the release of Mr. Glass'
iconic motion picture soundtrack for Clive Barker's 1995 CANDYMAN II
(Farewell to the Flesh) on vinyl and cassette.
Clive Barker who wrote the story for Candyman is a multi talented artist,
painter, director & producer. The extent of his work is endless. Spawning
the likes of Nightbreed, Hellraiser, Lord Of Illusions and the Books Of Blood
just to name a few.
Philip Glass also needs no introduction. Considered one of the most influential
composers of the last century his works are featured in a multitude of movies
like Koyaanisqatsi, Hamburger Hill, The Truman Show, etc. Mr. Glass was
nominated for and won several Golden Globes, Bafta & Academy Awards.
For the first time on vinyl & cassette, packaged in deluxe old
school tip-on gatefold jackets.
Available in the following versions:
DELUXE EDITION : LIMITED COLOR VINYL
: packaged in a deluxe gatefold old school tip-on jacket. Comes
on BEE HAZE VINYL and SILVER/YELLOW SPLIT VINYL. These variants
are inserted randomly and are limited to #500 copies each worldwide. They come
sequentially foil numbered (2 series of /500).
BLACK VINYL : limited to 500 copies worldwide. Packaged in a
deluxe Tip-On Gatefold jacket. Comes with obi strip.
CASSETTE EDITION : limited to 250 copies worldwide with alternate
artworks. Static Club members with a cassette option will automatically
receive the limited edition (Lim. #125 copies). Left-overs will go to non
Static Club members who order first.
Full disclosure: I’m a Mac evangelist and have been since the
1980s. (The boxy Macintosh Plus was the
first model I used.) I idolized Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and this brilliant
movie from director Danny Boyle doesn’t change that. What it does do is explain Jobs as much as a
force of nature like Steve Jobs can be explained. The film, written by Aaron Sorkin, tells
Jobs’ story through three pivotal product launches –1984’s Macintosh, the
ill-fated Next in 1988 and his triumphant 1998 return with the revolutionary
iMac. Most of the action takes place in
the tension-filled backstage crucible before each event, where Jobs terrorizes
staffers and programmers and deals with the inconvenient truth of a very
dependent ex-girlfriend (played by Sam Waterston’s daughter, Katherine) who is
also the mother of his child. A child he
refuses to acknowledge, conclusive paternity test or no.
Michael Fassbender is
nothing short of amazing as Jobs, a man so convinced of his own rightness that
he can’t acknowledge a shred of humanity or empathy. Although Fassbender doesn’t look like the
mercurial tech rockstar, he’s able to channel him. Kate Winslett turns in another stellar
performance as Jobs’ harried marketing chief, the one woman he does confide in
– as much as Jobs was capable of confiding. Seth Rogan puts his usual stoner persona aside
as the real brains behind Apple, co-founder Steve Wozniak. “Woz” is seemingly Jobs only friend but his
relentless perfectionism pushes their relationship to the limit.
major points in Jobs’ career –the birth of Apple in a silicon valley garage, wooing
Pepsi head John Scully (Jeff Daniels) to be Apple’s CEO, and the crushing
boardroom battle where the indispensible Jobs suddenly found out that he was
totally dispensable. Along the way Jobs
hints at the reasons behind his iron will and propensity to lash out at anyone
who doesn’t live up to his impossible standards – rejection by his first set of
adoptive parents who literally gave him back. Instead of coming to grips with it through therapy or discussion, he
walled it off, along with most human emotions.
Cinematographer Alwin H. Küchler’s
tight camerawork is centered on the actors moving through various backstage
settings as the product launch tensions ramp up and ever so slightly, Jobs
acknowledges the fatherhood he’s denied. Sorkin’s Oscar-bait dialogue crackles throughout. For example…
to a stressed-out engineer: “You had three weeks, the universe was
created in a third of that.”
stressed-out engineer: “Well, someday you’ll have to tell us how
you did it.”
Because Apple products are
so ubiquitous and four years after his death, Jobs has passed into legend; we
think we know him. We think he’s
ours. But behind the iconic products,
there was an intense, ruthless and occasionally cruel man. This film helps explain why and does what
Jobs himself never could – it helps humanize him.
Steve Jobs opens October 9th
from Universal Pictures.
The Wall Street Journal has reviewed Cinema Retro columnist
Brian Hannan’s new book The Making of The Magnificent Seven: Behind the
Scenes of the Pivotal Western (McFarland Publishing). In a
1,000-word review David A. Price, author of The Pixar Touch, called the
book “impressive” and “authoritative” and concluded that it was “a story
well-told.” You can hear Brian Hannan talking live about his book on the
U.S. radio show Talk of the Town with Larry Rifkin on Friday
this week (October 9) and at the Bradford Widescreen Festival on Sunday October
18 when he will introduce a special showing of The Magnificent Seven and
sign copies of his book.
By the 1920s there was already a fear that the age of great adventure and adventurers was rapidly coming to a close. Flight had been conquered and lands that seemed mythical were rapidly being explored by white men. The great white whale that had remained unconquered was the summit of the world's tallest mountain, Everest. Today, the mountain is scaled almost routinely but it still is underestimated by climbers who lose their lives it their quest to ascend it. As late as the 1920s, many considered it be an impossible quest to reach the summit. However, courageous (or foolhardy) souls are often drawn to such seemingly quixotic goals, and so it was that in 1924 a major British expedition was formed with the intent of achieving what many felt was the last great challenge: to reach the summit of the fabled mountain. The expedition was headed by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. Typical of the Brits, the venture was undertaken on a grand scale with a small army of participants, including Tibetan sherpas. Captain John Noel asked if he could accommodate the expedition so that he could document it on film. Mallory and Irvine were reluctant to do so, reminding Noel that they were motivated by scientific exploration, not becoming Hollywood stars. Nevertheless, Noel was given permission to join them- on the proviso that he minimize filming of the people involved and concentrate on the landscapes. Thus, Noel- armed with an amazing array of state-of-the-art film cameras of varying sizes- did indeed spend most of his energies shooting the spectacular scenery. Although there are only fleeting glimpses of the British members of the expedition, Noel did have the foresight to realize how exotic images of the local Tibetan culture would be for Westerners. Fortunately, he had the presence of mind to film tribal members and their customs, thus providing the most complete depiction of Tibetan life seen by the outside world.
One of the most impressive aspects of the documentary is Noel's seemingly superhuman ability to keep cameras steady in dangerous situations. The vast regions of ice and sky look just as beautiful and intimidating today as they must have when he filmed them. The movie has an almost mystical quality to it that sets it uniquely apart from any other documentary I have seen. Noel captures the mundane and boring aspects of the expedition as well as its most majestic moments- all leading up to a failed quest and a tragic loss of life. The final images of doomed men setting of to reach to the summit was captured on film by Noel, who kept shooting them even as they faded into figures in a landscape, never to be seen again and whose precise fate remains unknown to this day. Noel successfully marketed his film to appreciative worldwide audiences, but upon his death the elements were allowed to deteriorate. The British Film Institute was given the raw materials by Noel's daughter Sandra and a major restoration project was undertaken that saw the movie returned to its original glory, including some very impressive color tinting. The newly-commissioned score has been brilliantly realized by Simon Fisher; it is both beautiful and occasionally eerie and foreboding. Kino Lorber has imported the BFI restored print for the American Blu-ray release. Extras include interviews with Sandra Noel and other scholars and featurettes about the restoration of the film and the scoring process.
"The Epic of Everest" is a landmark film that has retained all of its emotional power thanks to a brilliant restoration.
by Universal in 1967, “Tobruk” opens with the feel of a 1960s spy thriller. Rock
Hudson is Major Donald Craig, a Canadian prisoner of war on board a German
transport ship anchored somewhere off the North Africa coast in late 1942. A
group of frogmen surface near the ship and sneak on board with silencers fixed
to their guns in order to capture Craig. The frogmen are led by Captain Bergman
(George Peppard) who reveal themselves to be part of a team of German commandos.
commandos take Craig to a German airfield and fly him to a desert landing
strip. They’re unexpectedly greeted by a group of British soldiers led by Colonel
Harker (Nigel Green). It’s revealed that Bergman is the leader of a
German-Jewish commando unit attached to a group of British commandos operating
in North Africa. They secured the rescue of Craig due to his expertise as a map
maker needing his expertise in navigating a mine field and access to the German
occupied port at Tobruk, Libya, so they can destroy it in time for a British
movie is based on an actual, although unsuccessful, attack on Tobruk in
September of 1942 which did include German-Jewish soldiers and fake British
POWs. Just like the actual events, the British commandos in the movie pretend
to be POWs in order to get to their ultimate destination undetected... or at
least in an inconspicuous way that will arouse little attention. During the
journey through the Sahara, the group encounters the German and Italian Army as
well as local horseman seeking money for captured British hostages and aerial
staffing from British aircraft.
by Arthur Hiller, the movie appears at first glance to be an unusual choice for
the director who would be synonymous with message movies and romantic comedies.
However, interspersed between the usual action and military battle scenes, the
British and German-Jewish commando team deal with serious issues of bigotry and
anti-Semitism with Hudson caught between the two camps as the outsider caught in
the middle as they make their way across the desert.
is very good in “Tobruk” and broke away from being stereotyped as a leading man
of about a half dozen very popular romantic comedies to star in more serious
films including heroic military parts in “Tobruk,” “Ice Station Zebra,” “The
Undefeated” and “Hornet’s Nest.” In the 1970s he settled into a hybrid role
which combined elements of his romantic comedies and the heroic leading man as San
Francisco police commissioner in the popular TV series “McMillan & Wife” which
ran from 1971 to 1977.
no stranger to tough guy roles, plays a German soldier for the second time in
“Tobruk” following his performance as aviator Bruno Stachel in the WWI classic
“The Blue Max.” Prior to this he appeared in the WWII adventure “Operation
Crossbow” which was preceded by a string of high profile big budget movies.
Like Hudson, Peppard found success in television with the TV series “Banacek”
which ran from 1972-1974. His acting career was hit or miss in the late 1960s until
he landed the lead in “Banacek” and faltered again in the 1970s until he found
success in the popular TV series, “The A-Team,” which ran from 1983-1987.
Green is a standout as Col. Harker, the leader of the commando unit. One of the
great character actors of British cinema, Green is memorable in just about
everything he appeared in a career cut short by an accidental overdose of
sleeping pills. He played a similar character in another North Africa set WWII
movie, “Play Dirty,” as Col. Masters.
features a cast filled with many of the great British character actors including
Jack Watson, Percy Herbert, Norman Rossington and Leo Gordon as well as
American Guy Stockwell and Irishman Liam Redmond included in the mix. Gordon
did double duty in “Tobruk” as screenwriter as well as a rare good guy role.
early in 1967, “Tobruk” is overshadowed by the blockbuster success and
popularity of “The Dirty Dozen” which premiered that summer. “Tobruk,” like
“The Dirty Dozen,” falls into the genre of “Men on an Impossible Mission,” but
doesn’t pack quite the same punch as movies like “The Dirty Dozen” and “Where
Eagles Dare.” The movie comes close with a satisfying plot, terrific
performances and plenty of action. It is violent, to be sure, including an abundance of graphic deaths via
flame thrower which become more a convenient distraction to move the story
is made-to-order via Universal’s Vault Series and has a run time of 110
minutes. The DVD offers no extras, but the movie sounds and looks very nice
preserving the Techniscope widescreen image. The movie is a welcome addition for
fans of 60s war movies.
Perhaps it is only fitting that area meteorologists would
forewarn ominously that the Mahoning Drive-in Theater’s “Christopher Lee
Tribute” might take place on a cold and dark and stormy night. After all, it was the villainous film legacy
of the actor – who passed away at age 93 on June 7th of this year – to have frightened
generations of moviegoers in such a bleakly nightmarish rain-soaked setting. As it happened, while the shivery autumnal
chill on Saturday night was undeniable, there was – happily - nary a sprinkle
of precipitation to obscure one’s windshield view of the drive-in’s massive
The Mahoning Drive-in, located amidst the Pocono Mountains
surrounding Lehighton, Pennsylvania, is – quite frankly – an anomaly amongst the
anomalies of surviving drive-in theaters. Whilst most remaining drive-ins have been forced to move cautiously and expensively
to digital projection systems or else suffer their screens going dark, the
Mahoning has survived this past year through a series of weekend-only 35mm
retro-film screenings. The Mahoning has
undoubtedly provided some great repertory movie-going fun this past summer; only
time will tell if the theater’s unorthodox business model is sustainable.
I was pleased to learn that the Mahoning had set aside
a night’s programming to commemorate the legacy of the great Christopher Lee,
the saturnine and elegant British actor who appeared in innumerable films over
a career lasting near seven-decades. I
admit to some bafflement when first seeing the handbill advertising the evening’s
selection of films: “Hercules in the
Haunted World,””Horror Express,” and “Psycho Circus.” It was an odd sort of tribute program as it
would not feature a single popularly acclaimed classic from the honoree’s deep back
catalog. Instead, the program was
seemingly drawn from a triad of second (and perhaps third) tier-efforts celebrated
only among the cognoscenti. I made my peace
with the program when I recognized two of the three films scheduled would likely
rarely – if ever – be presented from original 35mm elements anywhere in the world
in the year 2015.
In any event, the more celebrated legacy of Christopher
Lee was amply exemplified throughout the evening with a series of vintage
trailers. The crew at the Mahoning
promised a cavalcade of Lee-related trailers between features and they
delivered handsomely. There were the
requisite Hammer trailers, of course: “Horror of Dracula,” “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave,” “Scream of
Fear,” “Rasputin, the Mad Monk,” “The Devil-Ship Pirates,” and “She,” as well
as such combo-bill late-night drive-in madness as “Dracula: Prince of Darkness/”Plague of the
Zombies” and “Scars of Dracula/Horror of Frankenstein.” Lee’s non-Hammer horror film work was
represented with a pair of trailers featuring Tigon’s “The Creeping Flesh” and
A.I.P’’s “The Oblong Box.” Perhaps more
enjoyable, if only as a kitschy reminder that there were some mind-numbing
clunkers as well, were the trailers for “The Return of Captain Invincible”
(1983) and “Arabian Adventure” (1979).
The night’s features kicked off with a gorgeous 35mm Technicolor
print of Mario Bava’s handsomely mounted “Hercules in the Haunted World.” Originally released in Italy in 1961 as
“Ercole al Centro Della Terra,” the film was belatedly marketed to
English-speaking countries as “Hercules against the Vampires” or under other similar
but variant titles. This opportunistic marketing
strategy – no matter how false – was designed, no doubt, to ride the gold
sovereign lined coattail pockets of Lee’s mid-60s popularity as the reigning
Count Dracula of the Hammer film series. In a tacked-on preamble to the U.S. version of the film (released in 1963),
Lee’s character, King Lycos, is even described on the film’s soundtrack as a
“diabolical vampire” which he, most certainly is not… or, at least, not in the
more accepted use of the term.
The storyline itself is essentially a paint-by-numbers swords-and-sandals
epic with the usual mythological trappings and supernatural overtones, but is
rescued from the ordinary by Bava’s eerie visualization of the subterranean
underworld. Hercules (played by the
British bodybuilder Reg Park) must travel to Hades, the God Pluto’s grim
“Kingdom of the Dead,” to rescue his true love, the Princess Deianira. Bava’s ghastly underworld is soberly realized
with blue-green tinted labyrinth passageways of swirling mists, of knotty limbs
and thorny vines that hang spookily from dead trees, and of subterranean lakes
of fiery lava. Lee strikes a suitably menacing
figure as the scheming and sadistic King Lycos, though his performance is partly
handicapped by the fact that the actor’s voice is dubbed throughout. One cannot help but mourn the absence of the villainous
gravitas of Lee’s inflected speaking voice. (Click here to order this film from Amazon)
The night’s second feature, “Horror Express (1972)” was
the anchor to the evening’s triptych program. Likely the film most familiar to U.S.
enthusiasts due to it being in near constant rotation on “Chiller Theater” type-programming
in the 1970s and 1980s, this soon-to-be-neglected Spanish-British co-production
eventually fell into public domain status and became a staple of every
low-budget VHS and DVD collector’s set.
Following several minutes of exposition in the
snow-capped mountains of Manchuria’s Hangchow Province, the remainder of the
film is set in the claustrophobic confines of the Trans-Siberian Express. Lee plays Professor Alexander Saxton, a stern
and humorless – but nonetheless prominent – anthropologist who believes he’s
discovered the “remarkable fossil” of the proverbial Missing Link. Things take a turn for the worse when a
curious fellow scientist (Peter Cushing), intrigued by his rival colleague’s secretiveness,
bribes an ill-fated coachman to take a peek inside the heavily chained and padlocked
crate. This proves to be unfortunate as
the fossil, which proves to be not as extinct as one might wish, is released. The creature proceeds to lumber freely around
the train carriage, terrifying and absorbing the brains of his fellow
passengers. (Click here to order this film from Amazon).
The evening’s final film was “Psycho Circus” (alternate
British title “Circus of Fear”) one of a number of Anglo-German co-productions ministered
by Harry Alan Towers which featured Lee as the marquee star in the years
1965-1970. Tower and Lee enjoyed a
measure of box-office success bringing Sax Rohmer’s notorious (and extremely
politically incorrect) super-villain “Fu Manchu” to the big screen. Though Towers’s series of “Fu Manchu” films
with Lee, admittedly, varied widely in quality, they remain enjoyable popcorn
programmers to this very day. For this
film they looked to the novelist Edgar Wallace for inspiration. There were two versions of Wallace’s “Circus
of Fear” (the original 1966 British title): a longer color German version
directed by Werner Jacobs and an English version helmed by John Moxey of “City
of the Dead” and “The Night Stalker” fame.
One of the great strategic blunders of the Cold War was the Western powers' decision to not militarily challenge the building of the Berlin Wall. Under the post-WWII treaty, Berlin was divided into four sectors with each one governed by a different nation : the Soviet Union, America, England and France. The terms of the treaty called for the former Allies to have free and unfettered access to each other's section of the city. Although Berlin was located inside Communist East Germany, it remained a symbol of freedom and liberty. This was a poke in the eye to the Soviets, who were determined to resolve the situation by simply building an imposing wall that blocked off East Berlin from the other sectors controlled by Western democracies. The world was outraged but in the end, no action was taken beyond exchanging some heated telegrams and phone calls. Thus, in a matter of days, Khrushchev's gamble had paid off. He would later confess in his memoirs that even he was skeptical he would get away with it. Suddenly, the entire population of East Germany was sealed off from other parts of the city. In many cases, families were now divided and would not see relatives for decades until the Wall finally fell in 1989. The building of the Wall was a particular blow to the new American president, John F. Kennedy, who was widely seen as having mishandled the situation. With the additional bungling of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba that failed to topple Castro, JFK was increasingly being seen by the Soviets as a push-over, which is probably why Kennedy was willing to risk nuclear war to prevent a third Soviet triumph by not allowing their missiles to be based in Cuba. The Berlin Wall did backfire in one sense, however. It came to symbolize the repressive nature of the Soviet regime that was being imposed even on their puppet states. No amount of propaganda could negate what people could see with their own eyes: valiant and desperate East Berliners risking their lives to find ways to get past the heavily fortified wall into the safety of West Berlin. Countless people lost their lives in the process but many others managed to escape. Occasionally, an East Berlin border guard would defect in plain sight. The Wall also provided a backdrop for countless Cold War novels and movies, most notably John Le Carre's classic "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold". Most famously, the Wall allowed another American President to win some propaganda points for the West when Ronald Reagan stood atop it and demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!".
The first film to deal with the Berlin Wall crisis was "Escape From East Berlin" (aka "Tunnel 28"), an MGM production that was rushed into production to take advantage of a story that had made international headlines: the escape of 28 people who dug a tunnel directly underneath the Wall. The effort was led by a daring young man whose effort resulted in freedom for his family and friends. Although this clearly is an exploitation movie in one sense, we should not diminish its considerable merits. The film is tightly scripted and, considering its limited budget, highly engaging and suspenseful, thanks in no small part to the admirable direction of Robert Siodmak, who had brought to the screen two suspense classics: the original versions of "The Killers" and "The Spiral Staircase". Shot in B&W in West Berlin, the only "big budget" aspect to the production was the construction of a section of the Wall that plays such a pivotal role in the story.
Erika and Kurt pose as lovers to deceive border guards who are hunting for her.
The movie opens with a harrowing scene of a young man who tries to drive a truck through a barrier at the Wall in a desperate attempt to get to West Berlin. His effort almost succeeds but he dies in a hail of bullets. The next day, his concerned sister Erika (Christina Kaufmann) searches for him near the Wall. She assumes his quest has been successful and begins an attempt to cross over. She is stopped by Kurt (Don Murray), a young man who lives with his mother, younger brother and uncle in the shadow of the Wall itself. Kurt, who worked with Erika's brother, tries to inform her that he has been killed but he cannot bring himself to do so. She is deluded by the notion that he has escaped and is determined to join him. Meanwhile, border guards are relentlessly searching for Erika because of her attempt to get into West Berlin. She is now confined to hiding in Kurt's home indefinitely, with the family living in fear that the next house check might result in them all being arrested. Kurt's family is also routinely visited by a young mother with a baby who relentlessly tries to convince the family to attempt to escape. Her motive is understandable: when the Wall went up, she was isolated from her husband, who is in West Berlin. Reluctantly, Kurt agrees to begin an escape attempt by tunneling underneath the wall, which is only a few dozen yards from the family basement. In doing so, the family must cope with the logistical problem of finding supplies as well as storing the immense amount of dirt from the digging operation. Additionally, there is the constant presence of border guards outside their window, snooping neighbors who might inform and the unexpected arrival of another man, Brunner (Werner Klemperer) who claims to be a participant in the dig but who may have other motives. The film does manage to present how an authoritarian regime can affect even the most mundane of daily activities, as people must consider the consequences of everything they do and say.
"Escape From East Berlin" is a consistently suspenseful tale that is extremely well-acted, with Murray particularly good in the kind of role that somehow eluded Horst Bucholz, who seemed to have a lock on every part that required a handsome young German back in the day. Murray even provides a convincing accent. Christine Kaufmann is largely wasted, however, in a part that is pure window dressing. Fortunately, the screenplay doesn't saddle her character with having the anticipated romance with Kurt, although they do pose as lovers to escape the scrutiny of border guards. Even the smallest roles are expertly filled with Werner Klemperer as impressive as always as the mystery man. The film builds to a nail-biting conclusion as the plot is revealed by an informer and there is a race against time to get across the border as authorities break into Kurt's family home.
The Warner Archive release boasts a fine transfer and an original trailer that is played for pure sensationalism. Highly recommended.
It's rare that a feature included as a bonus in a Blu-ray release of a classic movie would rate having us provide a separate review. However, director Richard Shepard's acclaimed documentary "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazle" merits exceptional treatment. The 2009 movie gained considerable praise when first released but suffered the fate of most documentaries in that it was not widely seen outside of the art house circuit and a DVD release the following year. Fortunately, Warner Home Video had the good instincts to include it in their 40th anniversary Blu-ray release of "Dog Day Afternoon" (click here for review) , a film in which Cazale stole the show despite sharing the screen with some of the most talented actors on the planet. The documentary packs a great deal into it's all-too-brief 40 minute running time and sheds much light on the career of Cazale, perhaps the least-heralded main cast member of "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II". The "Godfather" saga saw the resurrection of Marlon Brando's career and made top stars of Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton. Not so with Cazale, who in many ways played the most interesting character in the story lines. As Fredo, the much-beloved underachiever of the Corleone crime family, Cazale gave performances for the ages. This is especially true in "The Godfather Part II", my personal choice for the best American movie of the sound era. It was here that the brilliant screenplay gave the character - and Cazale- the opportunity to dominate key scenes. The results need not be described here if you are a classic movie lover. Yet, Cazale never achieved fame except among film historians and trivia experts. His chameleon-like qualities enabled him to bring remarkable characters and performances to the screen but also resulted in his remaining anonymous to the public. In many cases, movie- goers failed to realize that the edgy and dumb bank robber of "Dog Day Afternoon" was the same actor who had played Fredo. To prove the point, director Richard Shepard stops people on the street and shows them a photo of cast members from "The Godfather": Brando, Pacino, Caan and Cazale. No one can identify Cazale's real name, although most realize he was the actor who portrayed Fredo. (One person assertively insists that "Fredo" was not only the name of the character but the actor who portrayed him, which for a method actor like Cazale might be considered a compliment.)
Shepard became fascinated by Cazale after seeing him in a reissue of "The Godfather". Despite all the enormously talented actors on screen, it was Cazale's non-glam, hangdog look that resonated with him. After becoming a successful director in his own right, Shepard was disturbed that, while the characters he portrayed were still very much a part of pop culture, Cazale's name had virtually vanished from the landscape. Determined to put him back in the spotlight, he and his producing partner Stacey Reiss decided to film a feature length documentary about Cazale- a man who only made five movies, each of which either won or was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: "The Conversation", the first two "Godfather" films, "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The Deer Hunter". Cazale died in March, 1978 at age 42, having barely been able to complete the latter film due to his battle with lung cancer. Like most great actors who died young, Cazale's image is frozen in time. Unlike most of those who shared his fate, however, his name never became legendary. In his audio commentary for "I Knew It Was You" (a pivotal line of dialogue from "The Godfather Part II" spoken by Michael Corleone to Fredo in regards to his ultimate betrayal of Corleone family loyalty), Shepard relates the almost insurmountable challenge of finding financing for the documentary. Everyone thought it was a great idea but, in true Hollywood fashion, no one was willing to put up any money. Ultimately, producer/director Brett Ratner backed the project and succeeded in getting funding from HBO. The only downside was that HBO insisted on limiting the running time to 40 minutes, thus dashing Shepard's original plan to make a feature length film. Nonetheless, he was grateful to the network for financing the project at all and he set to work lining up possible interviews with those who knew or admired Cazale. He succeeded admirably. The documentary boasts an impressive line-up of talent who pay tribute to Cazale and acknowledge his influence. Chief among them is Al Pacino, who knew Cazale during their days as struggling actors in New York City. They both would run into each other occasionally and went on to work in several plays together before being reunited for "The Godfather" and "Dog Day Afternoon". Pacino's affection for Cazale is such that he admits he idolized him. He and others express the belief that Cazale was one of the most intelligent- if eccentric- people they ever knew. Cazale's appeal was that he was no matinee idol. He looked like the guy next door (assuming you lived in a blue collar area of the Bronx or New Jersey.) Others who extol his value as an actor and human being are Richard Dreyfuss, producer Fred Roos, Olympia Dukakis, Sam Rockwell, Francis Ford Coppola (who directed Cazale in three of his five films), Carol Kane, Steve Buscemi, John Savage and playwright Israel Horowitz, who worked with Cazale on ten plays in the 1960s. Shepard even managed to get interviews with such press-shy titans as Gene Hackman, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep, who discusses her intense love affair with Cazale on camera for the first time. There are also moving comments from Cazale's brother Steve, who relates a sobering story about how he found out that his brother was suffering from lung cancer. There also interviews with two other show business legends who themselves have now left us: Sidney Lumet and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The entire film is filled with sincere, sentimental tales about Cazale that are both touching and humorous.
The "Dog Day Afternoon" edition of "I Knew It Was You" features some excellent extras pertaining to the documentary. Richard Shepard's audio commentary is truly fascinating, as he relates the trials and tribulations of bringing the project to the screen and how he had to shame the rights holders to Cazale's movies into allowing him to use extensive film clips for virtually no fees. There are also extensive outtakes of the interviews with Al Pacino and Israel Horowitz that contain some of the most interesting revelations and stories. A pity they couldn't have been included in the final cut of the movie itself. In one sequence, Pacino is overcome with emotion discussing his friendship with Cazale and comes close to breaking down. He also expresses frustration that Cazale was never even nominated for an Oscar. Horowitz ends his segment in a most unforgettable fashion by reading verbatim the beautiful eulogy he wrote in praise of Cazale for The Village Voice. The extras also contain two short early career films that Cazale was involved with. "The American Way" is a zany, Monty Python-like comedy made in 1962 in which Cazale is seen as an inept anarchist. Cazale doesn't appear at all in the 1969 film "The Box", but served as the credited cinematographer. The comedy involves a guy who finds that his new television set seems to be possessed and determined to drive him insane through playing practical jokes on him.
The fact that "Dog Day Afternoon" is itself a classic of American cinema is reason enough to add this anniversary Blu-ray edition to your library. However, the addition of "I Knew It Was You" would merit the purchase alone.
one night after the world had enjoyed the astronomical spectacle of a real
Blood Moon, Cinema Retro were invited to attend the cast and crew screening of
a new British-made western about the mythical Skinwalkers, native Americans
with the power to shape-shift during this rare lunar activity. A stagecoach
full of passengers, a mysterious gunslinger and two outlaw brothers find
themselves trapped in a ghost town and under attack from an eight feet tall
werewolf. The screening, held at the glorious Genesis Cinema in Whitechapel,
was packed out and everyone was having a great time. It was, of course, the
first time this writer has seen an entire audience stay in their seats until
the end of the credits.
Blood Moon is set in Colorado, but was
actually shot in the "real" western town of Laredo, built by western
enthusiasts in a field in Kent, England, and has the muddy, lived-in look of
spaghetti-westerns like Django (1966). This is the director Jeremy
Wooding's third feature film, and he has years of experience in television
comedy and drama. The screenplay was written by Alan Wightman, who we've been told is a regular Cinema Retro reader, which explains his affection for classic film genres. His affection for Hammer horror and
westerns is very clear, with the lead character Calhoun, played brilliantly by
Shaun Dooley, coming across as a hybrid of Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name
and Horst Janson's Captain Kronos.
film has now been released on DVD and digital download by Studio Canal, and is
available in the United States and the UK with loads of extra features. Blood
Moon is a loud and joyous celebration of the western genre, and one can
only hope that we get to see the further adventures of Calhoun as he heads west
in search of demons, vampires and other beasts to vanquish.
For those of us who lived through the era when AIDS first reared its head with devastating impact on the world, it's hard to believe that 30 years has transpired since Rock Hudson became the first celebrity casualty of the disease. In those days, ignorance about AIDS brought about panic and prejudices. Hudson, however, was a beloved and iconic screen legend and his death went a long way to humanizing victims of AIDS. If this beloved idol of millions could fall victim to this scourge, then perhaps it wasn't just people thought to engage in deviant lifestyles and behaviors. Rock Hudson never wanted to be the face of the Gay Rights Movement. He became a star during an era in which even the hint of being homosexual would have been the death knell on his career. However, one would like to think that his untimely death at age 59 resulted in progress toward a more compassionate view regarding AIDS and HIV victims. For more on Hudson's death click here.
Jerry Lewis and Martin Scorsese collaborated on the classic film "The King of Comedy". Now Scorsese will moderate an evening with Lewis at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens on Tuesday, October 6. Here is the official description:
With Martin Scorsese and Jerry
Lewis in person Co-presented with the Comedy Hall of Fame
A true Renaissance man, well recognized as one of the greatest comedians
in the history of the field, Jerry Lewis helped define so much of comedy’s
vast language as a stand-up performer, actor, producer and writer. Perhaps
his greatest innovation was as a filmmaker. Taken together, movies such asThe Bellboy, The Ladies Man, The
Errand Boy, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy,and The Family Jewels form a breathtaking virtual dictionary of every aspect of what is
important and essential to the language of comedic film. His films would
help forge the cradle of modern comedies as a separate movement in film, and
his seminal book,The
Total Film-maker(culled from almost 500 hours
of lectures) offers an essential primer for the fledging comedic filmmaker.
This unforgettable evening will be moderated by Martin Scorsese and will
include clips from Jerry Lewis's films.
The name may not resonate with
the same sort of pop culture familiarity as Shaft (1971) or Super Fly
(1972), but Slaughter (1972)looms large as a striking film
in the annals of Blaxploitation cinema. As his theme song proclaims (yes, he
too has a theme song, courtesy of Billy Preston), Slaughter is "big, bad,
black and bold," every bit as much as the protagonists of these more iconic
titles, perhaps even more so. If Slaughter embodies the no-nonsense toughness
seen in characters like Shaft, Priest from SuperFly, Goldie from
TheMack (1973), and Tommy Gibbs from BlackCaesar
(1973), as well as their canny suavity and bravado, his next closest filmic kin
might be Rudy Ray Moore's Dolemite
(1975). With this outlandish character, Slaughter shares a penchant for
exaggerated movements and posturing, and as such, he is as unsubtle as
Dolemite, though he and the film in general are far more serious. Or, at least
it takes itself more serious.
Available now on a bare-bones
Blu-ray from Olive Films, Slaughter was released in 1972 by American
International Pictures and was produced by the legendarily eclectic Samuel Z.
Arkoff, who in the months immediately to follow would continue in the
Blaxploitation vein, with Blacula (1972), Coffy (1973), Hell
Up in Harlem (1973), and the Slaughter sequel, Slaughter's Big
Rip-Off (1973). Penning the script was Mark Hanna, the scribe behind 1957's
The Amazing Colossal Man and 1958's Attack
of the 50 Foot Woman, along with Don Williams, whose sole credits include
this film, its sequel, and Blood, Black and White (1973), all three of
which he had a hand in producing. Slaughter was also the fifth feature
film directed by Jack Starrett, who would compile quite the roster of titles as
director and actor, in both film and television. But the star of the show, of
course, is Jim Brown, the great NFL fullback (Cleveland Browns, 1957-1965), in this,
his twelfth film role, just a year after his induction into the Pro Football
Hall of Fame.
As the film gets started,
former Green Beret Captain Slaughter seeks to uncover the mystery of who
ordered a recent hit on his father. Given that the senior Slaughter had
questionable underworld connections, the investigation inevitably leads to some
unsavory associations and the suggestion that his fate was, in a sense,
unavoidable. When Slaughter seeks information from family friend and apparently
shady acquaintance Jenny (Marion Brash), before she is likewise violently
dispatched, she barely consuls him with, "It comes with the
business." Slaughter then takes matters into his own hands, hunting down
the probable mastermind, crashing a stolen car into the villain's taxiing
plane, and coming out of the wreckage guns blazing. The attack is only partly
successful, though, and the hitman, Dominic Hoffo (Rip Torn), manages to
escape. What is more, Treasury Department officials who were also after the
same man call Slaughter for interference. Since he interrupted their operation,
Slaughter is recruited to assist the feds in order to avoid prison time. He
agrees, and it's off to South America.
There he wastes no time landing
smack in the middle of a preexisting power struggle between the bizarrely
captivating Mario Felice (Norman Alfe—his lone acting credit), who reigns
supreme in the regional drug enterprise, and up-and-coming underling Dominic,
who has resentfully had enough of playing second fiddle. First, the two men
enlist arm-candy Ann (Stella Stevens) to sway the meddlesome stranger, but
Slaughter promptly beds the beauty, compounding the animosity and stealing the
girl for good. More drastic measures thus become necessary.
Warner Home Video has a nasty Halloween treat for all: the release of the Horror Classics Vol. 1 boxed Blu-ray set. The titles are smartly bound in a hardcover book format, complete with some cool graphics. Each of the films contains the original theatrical trailer as well. Here is the official press release:
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will scare the heck out
of fans when Taste the Blood of Dracula; Dracula Has Risen from the Grave,
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; and The Mummy are released October 6 in the new
Blu-ray Horror Classics Vol. 1 Collection, just in time for Halloween
celebrations. All films in the collection are newly re-mastered in 1080p HD and
packaged in elegant rigid pocketbook style ($54.96 SRP).
The quartet of classic horror films, featuring cinema
monsters Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy, represent classic examples from
Hammer Film Productions. Founded in 1934, the British company became best known
for a series of gothic horror films and a leader among English filmmakers that
dominated the international horror film market from the mid-1950s through the
ABOUT THE FILMS
THE MUMMY (1959) In this vivid Technicolor®
reincarnation of The Mummy, screen horror icon Christopher Lee wraps on the
moldy gauze bandages and emerges as the tormented Kharis, an avenger stalking
the hills and bogs of Victorian England to track down archaeologist John
Banning (Peter Cushing) and other desecrators of his beloved Princess Ananka’s
Egyptian tomb. “Lee looks tremendous, smashing his way through doorways and
erupting from green, dreamlike quagmires in really awe-inspiring fashion”
(David Pirie, Time Out Film Guide). Awe-inspiring, too, was the box-office
success of this third Hammer reinvigoration – after The Curse of Frankenstein
and Horror of Dracula – of a classic screen monster.
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968) In his third
incarnation as Bram Stoker’s infamous vampire, horror great and 55-year movie
veteran Christopher Lee goes fang to cross with the forces of good in this
atmospheric Hammer Studios film directed with stylish menace by two-time
Academy Award ® -winning cinematographer Freddie Francis.
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED! (1969) Baron
Frankenstein’s (Peter Cushing) experiment went wrong, dead wrong. Thus, another
victim lies in a makeshift grave. Suddenly, a water main bursts, forcing the
dead man’s arm to the surface. Next, the torrent heaves the body upward.
Frankenstein’s panicked accomplice tries to conceal the body… but corpses can
be so unwieldy. This creepy scene is a
highlight of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, horror great Peter Cushing’s fifth
Hammer Studios Frankenstein saga. Other cast members of note include
film-debuting Simon Ward (Young Winston) and Freddie Jones (The Elephant Man)
as the scientist’s pitiable new creation.
TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (1970)Taste the Blood of Dracula, the fourth film
in Hammer Studios’ cycle of’ hemogobbling’ Victorianera horror, is a showcase
of why Hammer became the name in Gothic terror. The solid cast and rich
production design raise goosebumps of real-life fear and otherworld dread. And
Christopher Lee dons his red-lined cape again to become Evil Incarnate. He’s
Count Dracula, a being neither dead nor alive...but his movies are livelier
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
"Film historian Bruce Crawford has announced the film to be
presented at his 37th Tribute to Classic Films will be the science fiction
masterpiece, "Forbidden Planet”.
The film will be screened on Friday, October 23th. 2015 at the beautiful
Joslyn Art Museum 2200 Dodge St. Omaha, Nebraska.
Often considered one of the greatest science fiction films of
all time, it inspired several films and television series such as Star Trek.
“Forbidden Planet” stars Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis. But the
character that became one of the most successful in the film was Robby the
Robot who is still today one of the most recognizable robot creations in film
history. The evening's special guest
will be actor, author and producer Robert Dix who portrayed crewman Grey in the
film. Dix is also the son of legendary silent era star Richard Dix. Also, as with other Classic Film Tributes,
artist Nicolosi will design a commemorative United States Postal Envelope
honoring the film. The artwork will be
unveiled prior to the screening.
Tickets for the event, which will begin at 7:00 p.m., are
$24.00 and can be purchased at the customer service counters of all Omaha-area
HyVee food stores. Tickets go on sale on
Wednesday, September 30th. 2015. Proceeds will benefit the Nebraska Kidney Association. For more information call (402) 932-7200 or
What would happen if Travis Bickle’s cringe-inducing
date from “Taxi Driver” was stretched out over an entire weekend in the North
of Italy? Thanks to “The Visitor” (“La Visita”, 1963), we have our answer.
Pina (Sandra Milo) is an independent businesswoman
living in rural Italy. But she’s unwed and approaching 40-years-old, and
longing for a change in her life. She places a personal ad in the newspaper
(readers under 40: think Match.com, but with ink, paper and more desperation)
stating her desire to find a man and marry. Of the potential suitors who reply,
Adolfo di Palma (François Périer), an older bookseller in
Rome, seems the most promising. The story begins as he arrives in northern
Italy to meet Pina in person.
Many have witnessed those godawful first dates in which
every subtle hint goes unread and signs are horribly misinterpreted. Adolfo, it
is safe to say, is the undisputed champion of these first-date nightmares. After
the train he arrives on pulls safely out of the station, the real train wreck
unfolds slowly. Adolfo drinks too much grappa, allows his eyes to wander to a
16-year-old neighbor, loudly proclaims how much he detests Pina’s surroundings
and is a cheap date in every sense of the word.
As Pina grasps at straws to salvage the budding
relationship, Adolfo clumsily grasps at just about everything else. Credit
director Antonio Petrangeli with turning what could be nothing short of a
cringefest into a compelling film that is at once funny and pathetic,
mysterious and revealing. The possible couple are not stock characters who are
aging and lonely, searching for love against all odds. We see their regrets and
secrets in flashbacks and a surprise confrontation toward the end. And it’s in
the final act that the film hits its stride, as Adolfo and Pina finally say
what they’ve been politely skirting around throughout the visit.
tale of regret and redemption is filled with surprising amounts of both heart
and laughs, making it a compelling watch from the early exposition to the
The film has been released on DVD from the Raro Video label and is presented as a special edition with a wealth of extras including an interview with director Ettore Scola, who discusses Pietrangeli's work; an interview with Piertrangeli's son Paolo (who is a director, too) and an interview with the film's composer Armando Trovajoli. There is also a 16 page illustrated booklet that provides analysis of the film as well as vintage interview comments from the director. In all, an impressive package for a worthy film.
The Warner Archive has re-issued a special DVD edition of director Philip Kaufman's The White Dawn as a burn-to-order title. The previous version had been released by Paramount Home Video in 2004 to commemorate the film's 30th anniversary. Fortunately, this reissue carries over the special bonus features from that release. The movie was not well received by either critics or the public at the time of its initial release and vanished rather quickly. Although the production boasts three well-respected actors in the lead roles, none of them were considered "box office" and Kaufman himself had only one modestly received movie to his credit (The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid). It is appropriate that The White Dawn has been re-examined in recent years. This isn't some undervalued classic, but it is an interesting film with many merits. The story is based on a novel by James Houston that, in turn, was inspired by true events. The film opens in 1896 with the three leading men seen as crew members of a whaling ship that is trolling the ice-packed waters off of remote Baffin Island in Canada, just below the Arctic Circle. They manage to harpoon a whale from their long boat but in their relentless pursuit of the creature, they end up being shipwrecked on an ice flow and given up for dead by their fellow crew members. They are saved from certain death by Inuit (Eskimo) people who take them to their village and nurse them back to health. With no immediate hope of returning to their own world, the three men- Billy (Warren Oates), Daggett (Timothy Bottoms) and Portagee (Lou Gossett)- acclimate themselves as best they can in the igloo village they must now call home. The transition is not an easy one. The language barrier presents the most obvious obstacle but there is also the harsh landscape that requires a constant battle to survive. The people are perpetually threatened by severe weather, dangerous polar bears and starvation. They lead a nomadic lifestyle, having to relocate every time the food supply becomes meager. Despite these obstacles, over the course of a one year period, the three men adjust to life among the Inuit, who treat them warmly and respectfully. Before long, they are accepted as "family" by their saviors, who are amused by the cultural differences the men bring to the village. The Inuit elders follow tradition and willingly share their wives as sex partners for the men. To Kaufman's credit, these scenes are handled with a playful innocence and are never distasteful. With sex just about the only enjoyable past time in this frozen wasteland, the Inuit regard it with a laissez faire attitude- much to the delight of their "guests". Although Daggett and Portagee are respectful of their hosts and acclimate themselves to the environment, Billy is a hot-tempered, self-centered man who mocks the Inuit behind their backs and regards them as savages. Eager to make a mad gamble to find another whaling ship that will rescue them, he manages to exert influence over his two companions and thus sets in motion a series of events that leads to the film's tragic conclusion. Billy's attempts to con his hosts at games of chance in order to make claim to their women is the first indication that the situation is going awry. The Inuit prove not to be the gullible, childlike people Billy thinks they are. They are quite aware of attempts to manipulate them. Billy also orchestrates the trio's ill-fated attempt to steal precious food and a boat in order to flee to "civilization". The men fail spectacularly and are faced with the humiliation of having to be rescued once again by the very people whose trust they have abused. However, it is the introduction of Billy's home-made liquor to these innocent people that ultimately leads to the final tragedy.
It's unclear to what degree the incidents portrayed on film reflect what happened in real life. The history has been passed down among the Inuit, so one must assume there has been some alteration or embellishment of the facts, as will inevitably happen over time with any oral history. What impresses most about the film is Michael Chapman's stark cinematography in this frozen wasteland. You literally wonder how any living creature can survive in such an environment, let alone thrive. On the DVD, Kaufman, who provides an audio commentary as well as a filmed introduction, relates the seemingly impossible obstacles that had to be overcome in order to shoot the film. Environmental factors were only part of the challenge. He also had to coach his cast of Inuit people, none of whom had probably ever seen a movie before, let alone acted. In that regard, he pulls off what may be the film's signature achievement, because these non-professional thespians turn in remarkably convincing performances. Henry Mancini provides a wonderful score (one of his personal favorites) that was inspired by an impromptu song that was created by an Inuit woman.
The problem with the film from a dramatic standpoint is that it is never as emotionally moving as it should be. We certainly cringe when we see the rescued whaler's abuse of their savior's hospitality but we never learn anything about their backgrounds and they remain superficial protagonists. With Daggett and Portagee clearly level-headed, decent men, it is never theorized why they continue to follow the bull-headed Billy's advice, even when it would seem to inevitably lead to disaster. The performances of Oates, Bottoms and Gossett- fine actors all- never rise above the level of being merely competent, primarily because, at heart, this is really the story of the Inuit people and how these "aliens" have abused their trust and generosity.
The DVD contains an excellent, restored transfer of the feature film, a brief filmed introduction by Philip Kaufman as well as his commentary track and a historical look at life among the Inuit people. Kaufman also appears in Welcoming the Dawn, an interesting featurette in which he largely focuses on the technical and logistical problems of bringing the story to the screen. He is particularly determined to stress that the slaying of a polar bear in one of the film's most harrowing sequences, did not result in injury to the animal, as incredible as that may seem after viewing the scene. Whatever you think of the end result, after hearing about these obstacles, you'll have to admire the sheer grit and determination of Kaufman and his crew for working amid some of the harshest conditions on the planet. As director, Kaufman has made a number of fine, off-beat films that don't fit easily into any one mold. The White Dawn is certainly one of them. It's a flawed film, to be sure, but one that does have elements that will haunt you long after you've seen it.
DK publishers will release "Blood, Sweat and Bond", a behind the scenes compilation of remarkable photos from the forthcoming 007 flick "SPECTRE" starring Daniel Craig. Click here to pre-order from Amazon.
The Warner Archive has released two sets of DVDs each showcasing 1970s television series starring James Stewart: "The Jimmy Stewart Show" and "Hawkins" (which was actually a series of TV movies that aired in the 1973-74 season.)
Here is the press release for "The Jimmy Stewart Show":
James Stewart made a rare sojourn into the world of
Situation Comedy on NBC at the dawn of the Seventies. His gift for comedy, on
grand cinema display since the dawn of his career, made him a congenial fit for
the familial world of episodic comedy. Stewart plays Professor James Howard, an
anthropologist struggling to make sense of the generation gap with his college
students and just plain struggling to make sense of his own family. Jim and
wife Martha are busy raising an eight-year-old, as is their
twenty-nine-year-old first born, Peter (James Daly) and his wife, Wendy (Ellen
Geer). And "Uncle Teddy" (Dennis Larson) is sure to demand "the
proper respect" from his five-day-older nephew, Jake (Kirby Furlong). It's
a good thing Jim has a Nobel Prize-winning best friend, chemistry professor Dr.
Luther Quince (John McGiver) to help make sense of the chaos, especially after
a house fire forces Peter's family to move in with Jim's!
A decade before TV saw another silver-haired,
slow-drawling Southern shyster with a knack for sleuthing out the truth, M-G-M
welcomed back two titanic talents, TV producer Norman Felton and screen legend
Jimmy Stewart, for Hawkins. Stewart played Billy Jim Hawkins in rotation with
the Shaft TV movies (Talk about Country Mouse and City Mouse!), solving crimes
alongside his cousin RJ (Strother Martin) and a bevy of sensational costars.
Bonnie Bedelia plays a troubled young woman accused of familicide, Cameron
Mitchell plays a tinseltown spouse facing murder charges, Julie Harris plays an
accused mercy killer, William Windom plays a parent with a vendetta, Lew Ayres
and James Best play folk caught up in a deadly Civil War re-enactment, James
Luisi plays a football pro caught up in foul play, Teresa Wright plays an
ex-amour of Bill Jim’s, and Paul Burke and Pernell Roberts play a senator and
aide caught up in a slaying.
Fox is celebrating the 40th anniversary release of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with special edition Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD releases. Here are the details from the official press release.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary –
the ultimate midnight movie – comes home on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD
September 22 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Featuring an
all-star cast, including: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Meat
Loaf, The Rocky Horror Picture Show quickly became a pop cultural
phenomenon passed down from generation to generation. Now, after four decades,
it’s back stronger than ever with an all-new Ultimate Collector’s Edition,
featuring limited edition packaging, exclusive collectible pink surgical
gloves, fishnet stockings and a soundtrack for its army of die-hard fans!
The Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary edition is packed
with featurettes highlighting past celebrations and midnight screenings,
deleted musical scenes, 11 outtakes, alternate endings, commentaries by Richard
O’Brien and Patricia Quinn (Magenta), photo galleries and more! Bring the
midnight screening home to share with friends and family with Rocky-oke: Sing
It! – which includes 18 show-stopping musical numbers from the hugely popular
soundtrack: “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me,” “Sweet Transvestite,” “The Time Warp”
and more! The Blu-ray also features incredible HD featurettes, as well as a
photo gallery from Rock ‘N’ Roll’s seminal photographer Mick Rock, which dives
deeper into Rock’s experience capturing the moment on-set and behind-the-scenes
of the 1975 film. In “Mick Rock's Picture Show (A Gallery)” fans can take a
peek at more than 70 high-resolution images from his archives.
A Lou Adler/Michael White Production directed by Jim Sharman, this cinematic
classic follows sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) as
they are stuck with a flat tire during a storm and discover the eerie mansion
of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a sweet transvestite scientist. As
their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters,
including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien).
Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest
creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."
Since its 1975 release, The Rocky Horror Picture Show quickly made
its mark as the most-beloved cult film of all time. Today, this iconic cult
classic film is the longest running theatrical release of all-time and
currently plays at weekly midnight showings in over 300 theaters across the
U.S. and even more around the world. Moreover, the film’s cultural exposure and
acclaim has extended far beyond the theatrical release, as the original “Rocky
Horror” stage show continues to delight audiences worldwide.
Blu-ray Special Features:
Includes both the U.S. and U.K. Versions of the Film
Rocky-oke: Sing It!
Commentary By Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn (Magenta)
Don’t Dream It, Be It: The Search for the
35th Anniversary Shadowcast, Part I
An-tic-i-pation: The Search for the 35th Anniversary
Shadowcast, Part II
Mick Rock (A Photographer)
Mick Rock's Picture Show (A Gallery)
A Few From The Vault
Deleted Musical Scenes
1: ”Once In A While”
2: ”Super Heroes”
Alternate B&W Opening
Alternate Credit & Misprint Ending
"Rocky Horror Double Feature Video Show" (1995)
Beacon Theater, New York City (10th Anniversary)
Time Warp Music Video
The Midnight Experience
Pressbook & Poster Gallery….And More!
DVD Special Features:
Includes both the U.S. and U.K. Versions of the Film
Commentary By Richard O'Brien and Quinn (Magenta)
The Theatrical Experience
Prompter: “When do I squirt my water pistol and when do I
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from ITV:
To commemorate ITV’s diamond anniversary, independent
distributor Network will release a 12-disc boxset featuring 60 episodes from
classic TV series including The Sweeney, The Avengersand Upstairs
Downstairs, as well as previously unreleased episodes from the broadcaster. ITV60 (15)
will be released on DVD on 26 October 2015, RRP £79.99 exclusively through
networkonair.com, and is available to pre-buy** now. Terms and conditions
ITV60 will be available from selected retailers
from 23 November 2015.
A mixture of timeless classics, forgotten gems and once
thought lost shows, this set contains exceptional rarities from the Associated
Rediffusion archive: No Hiding Place, Mystery Bag,Crane and Our
Man at St. Mark’s, together with previously unreleased episodes of Crossroads, Rainbow, Tiswas, Coronation
Street, World in Action, The Bill and a classic Whicker’s
Worldaboard the Orient Express.
Since the summer of 1955, the ITV network has
entertained the nation with some of the most memorable programming ever created
for British television. This collection celebrates those six decades with an
outstanding, specially selected collection of superb dramas, hilarious comedies
and thought-provoking documentaries – some of which haven’t been seen since
their original transmission.
With each disc themed to provide an “evening’s
entertainment”, this dip into the archives provides a trip down Memory Lane as
well as a timely reminder of some of the best television of the last 60 years.
Since its launch in 1997,
Network has released over 1,000 programmes on DVD and Blu-ray
from the ITV library.
to be mistaken for the cannibal monstrosity from Umberto Lenzi with which it
shares its title, Eaten Alive is a
1976 tale of terror set in the Louisiana swamps and was directed by Tobe Hooper
in the wake of his phenomenal success with The
Texas Chain Saw Massacre two years earlier. From the outset Eaten Alive shares its predecessor's
mien of ill ease (though not to such stomach-tightening effect), but little of
its wicked humour. Indeed it's an all-round far crueller film and positively bubbles
over with bloodshed.
Mardi Rustam – who also wrote the story with colleague Alvin L Fast, TCSM's Kim Henkel then adapting it for
the screen – was aiming to ride the tidal wave of Jaws' success; what the results lacked in quality (certainly if
Rustam felt truly inspired by
Spielberg’s film) was voraciously compensated for with lashings of cheap
thrills and squalid chills.
story kicks off with a very fresh-faced Robert Englund attempting to abuse 'the
new girl' in a grimy brothel. Immediately deciding that prostitution isn't for
her, the young lass packs her bags and sets off on foot into the night. But
it's very much a case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ when she
stumbles across the remote Starlight Hotel and its creepy proprietor Judd
(Neville Brand); after attempting to assault her, he prongs her to death on the
tines of a pitchfork and feeds her corpse to the huge crocodile he keeps in an
enclosure in the back yard. It’s a brutal and extremely graphic sequence but
one via which Hooper adeptly alerts the audience that he's upped the ante to
deliver something rather more visceral then he did with TCSM (which for all its notoriety is a largely bloodless affair,
functioning primarily on a psychological level). The rest of the movie’s
runtime pivots on Judd serving up hotel guests as crocodile chow for no
discernible reason beyond the fact he's mad as...well, as a box of baby crocs.
the unbridled success of Hooper's earlier film, it's no surprise that Eaten Alive is often given short shrift
and indeed it is inferior, mainly due
to sluggish pacing and the fact it was shot in its entirety on a soundstage;
although the hotel exteriors –wreathed in swirling mist and bathed in a
quease-inducing red glow – have an appealingly stylised look, it's also
painfully obvious one is looking at a studio-bound set, replete with the tell-tale
hollow sound resulting when interiors feebly posture as exteriors. However, if you
can look past this handicap, and claustrophobic dread coupled with sleaze by
the bucketful float your boat, then there's plenty on offer here to keep you
cast alone is worth tuning in for. Complementing Brand's frenetic turn as the
maniac hotel manager there are fun appearances from legends Mel Ferrer (whose
career had certainly seen better days) and Addams
Family icon Carolyn Jones (almost unrecognisable as the decrepit Madam of a
brothel). Also on hand are Stuart Whitman as a local sheriff oblivious to the
carnage being perpetrated on his patch and TCSM's leading lady Marilyn Burns, who fortuitously discards her
frightful wig early on but still ends up bound and gagged by our resident psychopath...
the poor girl didn't have a lot of luck in Hooper's films, did she? There's
also a bizarre turn from William Finley as a disgustingly sweaty guest with a
penchant for barking like a dog, giving Brand strong competition in the most deranged
lurking under titles such as Horror Hotel,
Starlight Slaughter and Legend of the Bayou, when Eaten Alive was issued in the UK on VHS
in the early 80s under the moniker Death
Trap it immediately drew unfortunate attention that earned it a place among
the infamous 'video nasties' and it was withdrawn from circulation. Previous DVD
releases have reportedly been pretty much substandard across the board (although
I haven't seen any of them to be able to comment fairly). But one thing's for
sure: Arrow's new uncut Blu-ray/DVD combination package is anything but substandard, in fact it's absolutely
terrific, doing Robert Caramico's stylish cinematography more fitting a service
than one could have ever imagined possible.
if such a superior, uncut presentation of the film alone doesn't make this one a
worthwhile purchase, Arrow has bundled in an impressive collection of
sweeteners. There are new interviews with Tobe Hooper (who also appears in a
blink-and-you'll-miss-it introduction tagged onto the start of the movie), supporting
actress Janus Blythe and make-up artist Craig Reardon, as well as older ones
with Hooper, Robert Englund and Marilyn Burns. Mardi Rustam provides an
informative commentary and there's also a 20-something minute featurette that
delves into the life of the Texas bar owner upon who the film is loosely based,
as well as a healthy selection of trailers, radio and TV spots, plus a gallery
of poster art and lurid lobby cards. A final gem appears in the form of a
gallery of original 'comment cards', collected from attendees at a preview
screening of the film back in 1976, with the incentive for filling them out being
a reward for the best 'new title' suggestion. Most of the remarks are pretty
uncharitable, with an amusing standout being the one on which the viewer
sarcastically requests to be informed of any subsequent title change so that
he/she doesn't inadvertently go to see it again!
UPDATE: Looks like we were correct to term this story from the German magazine Bild as "too good to be true". Doris Day has denied published reports that she will come out of retirement to appear in a film directed by Clint Eastwood. Click here to read more.
File this in the "Seems Too Good To Be True" section. The Guardian reports that Clint Eastwood is trying to lure Doris Day out of retirement for a role in one of his forthcoming films. The 91 year-old screen legend retired from making feature films in 1968 and has resisted all offers to resume her career. However, she is said to be open to working with Eastwood on the project, of which nothing is known at this time. Eastwood was said to have delivered a script to her and that she made only two demands: to film her scenes in Carmel, California and to ensure that her long time charity that benefits animals will see a percentage of the profits. There have been rumors over the years regarding Day's imminent return to the screen. All have proven to be unfounded. For more click here.
I have been a fan of the Italian giallo subgenre for 30 years since my
initiation into it was precipitated by my first viewing of Creepers (1985), the severely cut version of Dario Argento’s Phenomena, my personal favorite film of
his. Subsequent viewings of films by
both Mr. Argento and his mentor, Mario Bava, as well as Lucio Fulci, Lamberto
Bava, Luigi Cozzi, and Michele Soavi solidified a love for the putrid and the
fantastic, and anyone who has seen these movies knows how delightfully
entertaining they are: off-kilter camera angles, ludicrous dialogue, and what
writer Todd French referred to as “a maddening narrative looseness” are present
in these films in a way that they are absent in other genres. There is just nothing like an Italian giallo film. With all of the mock horror films that have
been made going back to 1981’s Student
Bodies and the later, more contemporary and successful Scary Movie parodies, it was only a matter of time before someone
took on the giallo. Quite honestly I am surprised that it took as
long as it did.
Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks, who looks a lot
like Franco Nero in 1977’s Hitch-Hike
and also co-wrote and co-directed the film) is a film editor who actually cuts
movies on celluloid. Once a great editor
who worked with top-level directors, he suffered a tragic accident which cost
him four fingers and has been relegated to cutting movies with wooden
substitutes that look like they might be sound-designed by Jack Terry (John
Travolta) in Brian De Palma’s Blow Out
(1981). In fact, The Editor, which was shot in the summer of 2013, starts out much
the same way that Blow Out does, with
a movie-within-a-movie concerning a stripper who is accosted on her way home
from work (a nod to 1982’s Tenebre
when Ania Pieroni is attacked by a vagrant). There is a lot of blood as you can well imagine, and when the action
moves to the editor, we see a sad and decrepit man whose young, attractive female
assistant has the hots for him for some reason. His wife is a former actress who is beyond her prime and takes out her
frustration on him. If all of this
sounds depressing, it’s not, as the film is actually quite humorous in that
it’s a send-up of giallo films. If you are a fan of these movies to the same
extent that I am, you will recognize the obvious tips of the hat (or strokes of
the blade) to Mr. Argento’s Inferno
(1980) and Mr. Fulci’s New York Ripper
(1981). There are also myriad instances of silly dubbing (another staple of giallo), gratuitous nudity, and the
sound of the actors and actresses voices coming off as too theatrical and
forced. This is all deliberate as a
tongue-in-cheek salute to these movies that we love so much.
Now, unfortunately for Rey, someone is
killing people off all around him. Naturally he is the prime suspect, and a rookie detective (played by
Matthew Kennedy, who looks like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, who also co-wrote and co-directed
the film – do you see a pattern here?) is after him almost every second just
trying to pin the crimes on him. And
what would a giallo send-up be
without Udo Kier?
There is a conscious effort on the part
of the filmmakers to pay homage to the cinematography of this once great,
bygone era. The movie-within-the-movie
possesses a color palette that would do Luciano Tovoli and Romano Albani proud
as it harkens back to 1977’s Suspiria
and 1980’s Inferno respectively. The film is beautiful to look at in every
respect. Even the poster art is
gorgeous! It comes with a reversible
cover and I prefer the image on the inside which just screams “the 80’s”.
There are an abundance of extras in
this collection, and I appreciate the fact that Shout! Factory has done a
DVD/Blu-ray combo on this title. I
highly recommend The Editor for those
with a love for these films. The extras
Movies Used to Be Fun
(51:03) is a funny and entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Editor and reveals that most of the
people in front of the camera are also some of the people behind the
camera. Conor Sweeney, like the
aforementioned Brooks and Kennedy, contributed to the script.
(7:11) sits with Norman Orenstein and Trevor Tuminski in a comedic look at
their musical contribution to the film.
Parson Poster Video
(5:35) chronicles the agony that the poster artist endured trying to create the
film’s poster. Oh, the humanity!
Film Festival Introduction (1:57) is an annoying piece better left unviewed.
collection of several scenes cut from the film.
audio commentary with Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney and Matt Kennedy. I would advise you to watch the film first as
this contains many spoilers. It is also
a lot of fun to listen to.
The good news is that Timeless Video is releasing multiple films in one DVD package. The bad news is that one of these releases, although featuring two highly-watchable leading men, presents two stinkers. Love and Bullets is a 1979 Charles Bronson starrer that Roger Ebert appropriately described at the time as "an assemblyline potboiler". The film initially showed promise. Originally titled Love and Bullets, Charlie, the movie had John Huston as its director. However, Huston left after "creative differences" about the concept of the story and its execution on screen. The absurdity of losing a director as esteemed as Huston might have been understandable if the resulting flick wasn't such a mess. However, one suspects that, whatever the conceptual vision Huston had for the movie may have been, it must have been superior to what ultimately emerged. Stuart Rosenberg, the competent director of Cool Hand Luke took over but was unable to create anything more than a sub-par action movie. The plot finds Bronson as a Phoenix cop who is reluctantly sent to Switzerland on an undercover assignment. The local prosecutor has been doggedly trying to convict a local mob kingpin (Rod Steiger) for years. Now it appears that his moll girlfriend (Jill Ireland) might be a viable witness in terms of spilling the beans about his operations. Thus, Steiger has stashed her abroad and is keeping her under constant watch. Bronson's job is to pretend he is also a mob guy and convince Ireland to return with him to Phoenix to testify against her lover. The movie seems to exist for one reason only: the main participants desired a paid working vacation in Switzerland. This concept is nothing new. The Rat Pack squeezed in filming Oceans Eleven almost as an afterthought while they were performing nightly in Las Vegas at the Sands casino. In the twilight of his years, John Ford famously got his stock company together for a jaunt to Hawaii and released the result as a big boxoffice hit called Donovan's Reef, which still must retain the status of being the most expensive home movie ever made.
Love and Bullets is such a lazy effort you have to believe it must have taken a great deal of effort for the cast to meander to the set every day. The film also illustrates the danger of love-struck leading men force-feeding the lady in their lives into virtually every movie they make. Clint Eastwood shoe-horned Sondra Locke into a string of his films in the 1970s and 1980s and while some of them were artistic and commercial successes, I always greeted their next team with a sense of bored inevitability. (Locke is also a prime perpetrator in the creation of the worst movie of Eastwood's career, The Gauntlet.) In this case, Ireland had been Mrs. Bronson for over a decade following her divorce from David McCallum. She was always a competent enough actress but the couple obviously envisioned themselves as a new William Powell/Myrna Loy teaming. Not quite. Bronson is on full automatic pilot, registering almost no emotion. Ireland overplays the role of bubble-headed moll to an embarrassing level, as though she is a character in a sitcom sketch. She is saddled with intentionally laughable fright wigs but the real joke comes when she decides to discard them for her natural hair style, which proves to be even less flattering. Absurdity piles upon absurdity as the film becomes one long, extended chase sequence with Bronson and Ireland squabbling like Ralph and Alice Kramden, if you can imagine The Honeymooners being pursued by assassins. Steiger is in full scenery-chewing mode and an impressive array of supporting actors (Val Avery, Michael V. Gazzo, Henry Silva and Strother Martin) are pretty much wasted along the way. I'm generally undemanding when it comes to the pleasures of watching an unpretentious Charles Bronson action movie but Love and Bullets represents the latter period of his career where he rarely even tried to elevate his films beyond being vehicles for an easy pay check.
Russian Roulette (originally titled Kill Kosygin!) starts out promisingly enough but ultimately ends up being as unsatisfying as Love and Bullets. Produced by Elliott Kastner, an old hand at making good, populist entertainment, the production was shot entirely in Vancouver. George Segal plays a renegade cop (were there any other kind in the 1970s?) who has been suspended from the local police force for various infractions. Suddenly, he is recruited by Canadian secret intelligence to help thwart a reputed plot to assassinate Soviet Premier Kosygin, who is due to arrive in a matter of days for a high profile conference. Segal learns that he is being set up in an elaborate and confusing plot that involves traitorous KGB agents who want to kill their own premier in order to prevent him from initiating an era of detente with the West. Their plan involves kidnapping a local dissident (Val Avery), drugging him and using him as a human bomb who will be dropped on Kosygin's limousine from a helicopter! (I'm not making this up.) Along the way, Segal finds he's being set up as a dupe and is framed for murder. The entire tired affair ends in a race against time with Segal going mano-a-mano with a KGB killer on the roof of a landmark hotel that Kosygin is en route to (the only sequence that affords the slightest hint of suspense). Absurdly, Kosygin's motorcade is permitted to continue racing to the hotel despite the fact that hundreds of people are watching a running gun battle taking place on the roof. The film was directed by Lou Lombardo, who made a name for himself as an editor of great talent after supervising the cutting of The Wild Bunch. As director, he keeps the action flowing but the plot absurdities soon distract from some otherwise interesting angles and performances. The fine supporting cast includes Gordon Jackson, Denholm Elliott, Nigel Stock and Louise Fletcher, but their characters are rather boring. The film also throws in Christina Raines for sex appeal but she comes across as the dullest leading lady in memory, barely registering much emotion even when finding a dead body in her bathroom. (Although most of us would find such a development a bit disturbing, Lombardo cuts to a scene of Segal and Raines enjoying a spot of breakfast tea- while the man's body remains on the bathroom floor.) Segal is always enjoyable to watch and his wiseguy persona is in full bloom here, but the production is amateurish on all levels considering the talent involved. Maybe, as with Love and Bullets, everyone involved just wanted a paid getaway and had a desire to visit Vancouver. (It should be mentioned that director Lombardo was said to be battling drinking problems during production and that the finale of the film - the only truly effective scene- was directed by Anthony Squire, who did not receive screen credit.)
Both transfers are adequate though not overly impressive. Love and Bullets was shot in widescreen but is presented here in full screen ratio. Russian Roulette is presented in letterboxed format. There are no extras.
Rory Calhoun, Anne Francis, Vince Edwards and Chuck Connors, “The Hired Gun”
arrives via the Warner Archive Collection. The 1957 western was part of a
production deal between Calhoun and Victor Orsatti, known as Rorvic Productions,
which resulted in this, “The Domino Kid” and “Apache Territory.”
Beldon (Francis) is about to be hanged in Texas for the murder of her husband.
Judd Farrow (Connors), pretending to be a minister, helps her break out of jail
by hiding a Derringer pistol inside a Bible. They ride off to the safety of her
uncle’s ranch across the order in New Mexico. Gunslinger Gil McCord (Calhoun) is
hired by Ellen’s father in-law, Mace Belon (John Litel), to extradite Ellen and
return her to Texas so she can be hanged. He accepts the $5,000 bounty and sets
gets hired as a ranch hand and captures Ellen. On their return trip to Texas,
Ellen fills Gil in on the truth behind the murder. They are pursued by Judd and
Kell Beldon, her brother-in-law. Attacked by Indians and surviving a gunfight
with Judd and Kell, they eventually make their return to Texas. The truth behind
the murder is revealed and the movie concludes with another gunfight followed
by our hero and his gal riding off together.
was a diverse actor and minor leading man who appeared in westerns, musicals
and comedies throughout the forties and fifties including “How to Marry a
Millionaire” and “River of No Return” with Marilyn Monroe. I’ve been an Anne
Francis fan due in part as a result of repeat viewings of “Forbidden Planet”
and the TV series “Honey West.” Chuck Connors’ credentials go without saying,
but he is relegated to a supporting role.
came to this movie with no expectations and while this is not a great western,
it is an enjoyable minor entry in the genre. It feels more like an episode of a
TV series and uses a lot of second unit rear projection shots in many scenes. Released
by MGM in 1957, the black and white transfer looks very nice in this
burn-to-order release with a very short run time of just 64 minutes. The DVD
preserves the CinemaScope widescreen image and includes the theatrical release trailer.
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London will display likenesses of all six James Bond actors: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig this October to coincide with the opening of the new 007 film "SPECTRE". The display opens to the public on 17 October for a limited time. For more click here.
Warner Home Entertainment is commemorating the 40th anniversary of director Sidney Lumet's classic film "Dog Day Afternoon" with a special Blu-ray edition. Also included is the remarkable documentary "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale"". Here is the official press release.
Calif., June 16, 2015 – On September 21, the actual 40th anniversary of when it was
released in theaters, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will celebrate director
Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon,
the explosive drama starring Al Pacino, with a new 40th Anniversary
Blu-ray ($24.98 SRP). This unique thriller, filled with sardonic comedy and
based on a real-life incident, earned six Academy Awardnominations1 (including
Best Picture) and won an Oscarfor Frank Pierson’s
streetwise screenplay. John Cazale, Charles Durning (Golden Globe®-nominated
for their roles) and James Broderickco-star.
Pacino and Lumet (collaborators on Serpico) reteam for the drama which
currently has a 97% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes® Score. Pacino plays mastermind Sonny
and John Cazale is his partner Sal -- two optimistic nobodies who set out to
rob a bank, and unexpectedly create a media circus and a completedisaster.
The 2-disc release includes a DVD bonus
disc of I Knew It
Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale, a documentary produced by Brett Ratner
for RatPac Documentary Films, which debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
“Both touching and an informative look at the actor’s craft, director Richard
Shepard’s documentary talks to a who’s-who of Cazale’s contemporaries as well
as younger actors who revere him. Before it’s done, he’ll break your heart all
over again,” noted Variety’s Brian
Lowry. Shepard talks with Cazale’s co-stars, friends, and admirers in a tribute
to talent taken too soon.The two-disc set also includes commentary by
Sidney Lumet along with four vintage special features: two extended interviews and two short films featuring Cazale in
front of and behind thecamera.Cazale’s short six-year acting career included only four other films
besides Dog Day Afternoon – The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Conversation and The Deer Hunter. In 1978, just after
wrapping the latter, Cazale died tragically at age 42 and cinema was robbed of
one of its brightest talents.
Dog Day Afternoon(1975)
On a hot Brooklyn afternoon, two optimistic
nobodies set out to rob a bank. Sonny (Al Pacino) is the mastermind, Sal (John
Cazale) is the follower, and disaster is the result. Because the cops, crowds,
TV cameras and even the pizza man havearrived.
Blu-ray Disc 1 – Includes the film and
previously released specialfeatures:
by director SidneyLumet
Featurette - The Making of Dog Day
Afternoon: 4-part documentary exploring the actual events that inspired the
movie, casting, filming andaftermath
Featurette - Lumet: FilmMaker
DVD Disc 2 –
Includes John Cazale documentary and previously released specialfeatures:
Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale -Documentary
oAl Pacino – extendedinterview
oIsrael Horovitz – extendedinterview
oThe American Way (1962,
producer/director Marvin Starkman, screenwriter Bob Feinberg) – A rare, offbeat
short film tweaking American institutions and starring a young JohnCazale
oThe Box (1969, director
Marvin Starkman) – Cazale, who had an interest in photography, is featured
behind the camera as director of photography in this early shortfilm
The ninth annual Drive-in Super Monster Rama was staged
– as is traditional - on the weekend following Labor Day at the Riverside
Drive-in, Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.Inaugurated in 2007, this fiendish gathering of monster-movie insomniacs
is tailored to those who cherish the classic horror films of the 1960s and
1970s.It’s a thoughtfully programmed and
purposely retro affair; fans get to experience (or re-experience) their
favorites as they might have when the movies were new – in the witching hour setting
of an authentic neighborhood drive-in theater.
With each passing year the Monster Rama grows steadily
in attendance and flourishes in reputation.In 2013 the annual gathering spawned a mid-spring sister event, the
April Ghoul’s Drive-in Monster Rama.Co-sponsored from inception by George Reis (of the preeminent cult/horror/exploitation
film review website DVD Drive-in) and
Todd Ament, the proprietor and projectionist of the Riverside, both weekend
events feature eight full-length feature films (almost exclusively from 35mm
elements) as well as a dizzying array of vintage trailers, cartoons, shorts,
and refreshment stand advertisements.
The September event is proudly the more old-school of
the two and this year’s offerings might have been the best yet.On Friday night, September 11, with the
weather as near-perfect as one could expect for the season, there was a four-film
celebration of American International Picture’s Edgar Allan Poe-film cycle.From 1960 through 1964, director-producer
Roger Corman filmed no fewer than eight adaptations of Poe’s work, a remarkable
series of visionary and literate motion pictures that brought together such on-screen
talent as Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Ray Milland, Barbara Steele, Jack
Nicholson, Hazel Court and Basil Rathbone.Of course, it’s without argument that the uncontested big-ticket star of
the enterprise was the legendary Vincent Price.The elegant actor with the menacing but sonorous voice would feature in no
fewer than seven of the eight Poe films.
Though it’s been nearly twenty-two years since his
passing, Vincent Price remains an obvious favorite amongst Monster Rama
attendees. The films of this master of the macabre have been well represented
at the September event; Price remains the only actor to have at least one – and
often several – back catalog films screened at every gathering since launch.So it was to everyone’s delight - and no
one’s surprise - that Price would be the featured player in all four of
Friday’s films: The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Masque of the Read Death (1963), Tomb of Ligeia (1964), and
The Haunted Palace (1963).
Roger Corman’s celebrated cycle of Poe adaptations are,
well… exactly that, adaptations.The films are only occasionally literal
re-creations of the original source material; mostly they’re brilliant cinematic
re-imaginings inspired by the author’s body of macabre work.As a child seeing the films for the first
time - in ten minute intervals sandwiched between drain-cleaner commercials on
the 4:30 movie - I was disappointed in them.Surely these were costume melodramas and not genuine horror films.Where were
Today, as an adult with a half-century’s accumulation
of weariness and wisdom, I’ve come to understand that Corman, in the best tradition
of Poe, identified the wellspring of terror as something internal.The short stories, novelettes, and poetry that
ebbed from the pen of this vanguard of American mystery writing is imbued with
a grotesquery that is almost always more psychological than spectral.Corman’s great directorial gift was his canny
ability to visually convey the crippling psychological inner-torment of both
victim and protagonist.
Milner as Officer Pete Malloy of the Los Angeles Police Department in the TV series "Adam-12" which ran between 1968-1975.
Actor Martin Milner passed away on September 6 at the age of 83. Milner had many TV series and feature film credits (including "Sweet Smell of Success", "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and "Valley of the Dolls"). However, he is primarily remembered for starring in two iconic television series of the 1960s: "Route 66" and "Adam-12". Novelist and Cinema Retro contributing writer John M. Whalen provides some reflections on Milner's career. Click here to read and make sure you follow the link to his 2001 interview with Milner for the Outre web site.