Shortly after his great success as the star of Death Wish in 1974, Charles Bronson started to go on automatic pilot in terms of striving to give impressive performances in his films. He was always enjoyable to watch but as one cheesy Death Wish sequel begat the next (and any number of even more inferior clones), Bronson became regarded as a living cartoon character who sleepwalked through his films in search of an easy pay check. There was a time, however, when he was taken seriously by critics as evidenced by this ad for the 1972 film adaptation of The Valachi Papers. The movie itself was middling in most respects, but Bronson won personal critical plaudits for his performance as the infamous Mafia member who ratted out on his bosses in return for government protection and immunity.
(The image is from the nostalgia blog His Name is Studd. The site features a treasure trove of vintage photos and film ads. Click here to access.)
It remains one of the most iconic of all Hollywood photos: Jayne Mansfield upstaging Sophia Loren at a dinner party held in Loren's honor 57 years ago. For decades Loren has refused to comment on the photo, but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she finally speaks briefly about the incident, saying that she was afraid that Mansfield's breasts could become unleashed at any moment. Click here to read.
There is a wonderful Facebook page titled "I Spy, Spy Shows" (search under that term) that pays homage to the great espionage heroes of the past. This gem of a rare photo was posted recently. It depicts Dean Martin on the set of the 1966 Matt Helm film "Murderer's Row" being visited by Derek Flint himself, James Coburn. If only there was a recording of whatever they discussed....
Can you remember when a major studio would premiere a major film at a mid-west drive-in? This was the case with Safe at Home, a 1962 film little-known outside the United States because it was cobbled together quickly to capitalize on New York Yankees teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, who were both competing to be the home run king in baseball history. The competition between the sluggers galvanized the nation. Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon and featured Mantle and Maris as themselves in a children's film about a young boy obsessed with baseball. When he can't deliver on his promise to have the legendary Mantle and Maris appear at his little league function, the two players take pity on him and show up at the event. The premiere of the film was held at the Pioneer Drive-In Theater to benefit the Des Moines Little League team. The photo shows theater management and little league coaches celebrating the event. Note that the second feature is John Ford's Two Rode Together starring James Stewart and Richard Widmark. Those were the days!
Cinema Retro contributor David Dorward found this interesting photo of young Steve McQueen and his wife posing with his Ferrari Lusso. The license plate number reads 007! We think this may be just a coincidence that one of real-life coolest guys on the planet had a license plate pertaining to the one of the coolest fictional characters, as the Bond phenomenon hadn't totally kicked in yet...unless McQueen was so smitten by the Ian Fleming novels and the release of Dr. No on screen that he was inspired to request "007". Either way, it makes for a fascinating photo.
We've seen some pretty weird record albums tied in with celebrities. If you thought William Shatner's "Transformed Man" is the gold standard of bizarro ventures by actors into the realm of 331/3 records, Cinema Retro contributor Doug Gerbino spotted this gem that seems to beg for further investigation into its origins. Whatever possessed James Mason, one of Hollywood's most notorious cads both on screen and off, to delve into the world of Alvin and the Chipmunks, is a mystery destined to rank with debates about the origins of the pyramids. We also love the fact that Mason is seen on this children's album sleeve holding his omnipresent cigarette. This must have been a compromise on the part of Capitol Records in terms of Mason's presumed insistence that he be photographed swilling down a Martini! After all, the album does possess the highly-cherished Bozo Seal of Approval. We personally can't wait to locate a copy of this record so we can indulge in that snappy, toe-tapper "Backwards From 100" with James "Snoop Daddy" Mason on the lead.
It's not a common thing to see an article refer to Dame Helen Mirren as a "babe" but Buzzfeed utilizes that word to flatter one of the reigning queens of British cinema in a photo essay that shows the Oscar winner as a young actress. We have to agree, she is quite the "babe" and we know she's been acting in films since the 1960s...but do they have to say she's been around since "the dawn of time?". Click here to view
Steve Thompson's addictive blog 1966 My Favorite Year has a wealth of pop culture photos and videos pertaining to what was hot during that glorious one year period. There is an abundance of Batman-related posts including Batman "Sparking" Cola by cott, which we confess we don't recall back in the day but was apparently marketed as the champagne of sodas. You'd need quite a few dollars in your utility belt to afford a can or bottle of this today. Click here to visit the blog...it's not only groovy, it's downright fab!
The Cinema Retro archives once again delves into its limitless images to present two great stars indulging in the Hollywood ritual of posing for cheesecake photos: Errol Flynn, seen here in an undated publicity photo at the height of his career and young Raquel Welch in the mid-1960s. Back in the day, stars and stars-in-the-making were subject to many glamour shoots designed to play up their images as sex symbols.
Audrey Hepburn would have been 85 years old this month. As a tribute to her special sense of class and style, the Huffington Post provides a series of photos illustrating Hepburn in the 1970s and 1980s as evidence that her beauty and elegance only became more impressive as she aged. Click here to view
Here's a real gem of a photo taken on the set of Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1963 chiller The Birds. Hitch was coming off a hot streak with North By Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960). The Birds would be his last hit until his late career comeback with Frenzy in 1972.
The Stanley Theatre still adorns Journal Square in Jersey City. Jehovah's Witnesses painstakingly saved the theatre from the wrecking ball many years ago and restored it to its original splendor. However, they also removed the screen and projection equipment so the theatre no longer is capable of showing films.
The Star Ledger takes a brief break from covering the current crop of New Jersey political scandals to remind us about the state's rich history of great movie theaters. Click here for a wonderful trip back in time to relish photos of some great theaters, most of which are long gone.
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM THE CINEMA RETRO ARCHIVES
In our never-ending quest to provide gratuitous thrills, Cinema Retro presents rare photos of Hollywood hunks and godesses.
"Take that, Sue Lyon!" Ann-Margaret circa 1964 giving her version of the Lolita look.
David Janssen was riding high in '64 as star of TV's The Fugitive. The dour Richard Kimble never got to strut his stuff like this. Lookin' good, but hey Dave, did you borrow those sandals from Liberace?
The feud between John Sturges and McQueen was tragic...he had made McQueen a star in Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. However, McQueen's long-delayed plans to bring a racing movie to the screen culminated in the ill-conceived Le Mans. The two old friends feuded over the film's concept. After Sturges quit the project, "B" movie director Lee H. Katzen took over. The film was one of the few outright bombs of McQueen's career, consisting mostly of footage of speeding cars and virtually no plot. (Thanks to Cinema Retro contributing writer Steve Saragossi for sharing this rare photo).
Although Natalie Wood was regarded as a "serious" actress, having made the rare successful transition from child star, the custom of the day was for studio actors and actresses to pose for an endless amount of "cheesecake" photos. Wood was no exception as this rare photo for the promotion of "Gypsy" (1962) reveals.
We admit to not being among those who think Caddyshack is up there with the great Charlie Chaplin comedy classics. We might agree that it merits inclusion with the greatest work of nightclub comic/actor Charlie Callas, but there is no denying we're in the minority on this one. We actually prefer the comparative sophistication of Rodney Dangerfield's other starrers, Easy Money and Back to School. Yet, Caddyshack has spawned a fanatical following since its release in 1980 and the fan movement seems to only increase with every year. Count Tiger Woods among those who consider it their favorite comedy. Bill Murray's role as goofy groundskeeper Carl Spackler is probably his most popular screen character -though he is continuously upstaged by Mr. Gopher. The gopher scenes were ironically shot after most of the main photography had been completed. Director Harold Ramis experimented with using a live animal as Murray's on-screen nemesis but opted for a modular critter when the real gopher proved to be too unreliable (you know how actors are!) Special effects wizard John Dykstra built the immortal rodent who has earned his own place in the movie comedy hall of fame.
The story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet had been filmed many times
prior to director Franco Zeffirelli's acclaimed 1968 version. Earlier
versions were hampered by the casting of actors in the title roles who were old enough to be in nursing homes. However, Zeffirelli cast
actual teenagers in the parts: 17 year old Leonard Whiting and 16 year
old Olivia Hussey. Zeffirelli also took advantage of the artistic
freedoms afforded filmmakers in the 1960s and depicted for the first
time the sexual desires of the two lovers.The result was a box-office
hit that appealed not only to critics but also to a younger generation
that could finally identify with the actors cast in the key roles. (For actor Michael York's exclusive interview about co-starring in Romeo and Juliet, see Cinema Retro issue #6)
Remember when glamour and style were commonplace in Hollywood? If not, then revel in this rare photo from the Cinema Retro archives of Audrey Hepburn attending the premiere of My Fair Lady in 1964. America is not supposed to have royalty, but Miss Hepburn never got the memo.
This Canadian Odeon Theatres newspaper display ad dates from 1967 and it shows a wealth of gems playing at the same time: Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, The Sound of Music, Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon in Fitzwilly and Far From the Madding Crowd. Ah, if we only had a time machine!
The superb web site www.in70mm.com provides a wealth of vintage movie ads including this great vintage advert for the 70mm British presentation of Becket (1964) starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole.
Given all the controversy about the movie poster for the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only that depicted Agent 007 as seen through the open legs of a bikini-clad model, you would think it was the first time that concept had been used for an ad campaign. In fact, there are plenty of precedents including this Australian daybill poster for Dean Martin's first Matt Helm film, The Silencers (1966).
On December 21, 1961 the Merced Theatre in Merced, California hosted a Christmas party for 2,000 local children who got to see John Wayne's latest flick, The Comancheros, along with Misty starring David Ladd. (Photo: Merced County Sun-Star)
Joan Collins has been a sex symbol for so long, we think they found provocative sketches of her on cave walls. Here she is in early sex kitten mode from the 1958 Paul Newman comedy Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys.
Elvis in beefcake mode for the 1962 version of Kid Galahad (the film was made previously in 1937 starring Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart)
Here's a bizarre double feature that opened in England in 1968: the would-be epic WWII movie The Battle of Anzio starring Robert Mitchum and Peter Falk on the same bill as Jerry Lewis' Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River. Note: in the USA, the Mitchum film was released under the title Anzio.
Cinema Retro reader and contributor Kev Wilkinson was kind enough to provide these rare photos of the British sexploitation film The Pleasure Girls playing at London theaters in 1965. For Adrian Smith's extensive articles on the British sex film industry in the 60s and 70s, see Cinema Retro issues #23 and #24.
British actress Linda Hayden was only 15 years-old when she made her big screen debut in the 1968 film Baby Love. The movie cast her as a teenage vixen who uses her sexual prowess to wreak havoc on the family she is living with. The film, which has been little-seen in America, caused a sensation in the UK with some critics decrying the blatant use of such a young girl in role that was so sexually-driven. (Hope they never see Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver!) Ironically, the film was deemed so provocative that Hayden was not legally of age to see it when it opened in England. (For full report on the movie, see Cinema Retro issue #11)
Here's a regrettably grainy but ultra-rare shot from the Cinema Retro archive, circa June 1966. It depicts a chance meeting of two major spy movie stars of that year, as Michael Caine bumped into George Segal on location in Berlin. Caine was reprising his Harry Palmer in Funeral in Berlin while Segal was shooting The Quiller Memorandum. Remember, every issue of our magazine edition is packed with rare photos and production ads you've never seen, so subscribe today!
The year was 1957 when rising sex symbol Sophia Loren fell victim to notorious up-stager Jayne Mansfield at a Beverly Hills dinner event. Mansfield was a camera hog who didn't let her limited talents discourage her from trying to steal the limelight from every other female sex symbol. Sophia's expression speaks volumes.
Click here for rare images of Steve Mcqueen taken in 1963 for magazine by photographer John Dominis. They show the moody star relaxing at home with his wife and son. McQueen right at the cusp of major stardom with the release that year of The Great Escape.
Click here to check out some very rare candids of actress Sean Young on the set of Ridley Scott's 1980s sci-fi classic Blade Runner. They are quite remarkable and give the impression the cast and crew might have actually enjoyed the grueling experience of making the film. Certainly Harrison Ford did not, despite the amusing photo shown here. Ford locked horns with Scott during filming and considered the movie to be a very unpleasant experience.
Reader William Burge kindly provided these two rare photos from the 1965 premiere of The Greatest Story Ever Told, produced and directed by George Stevens. The photo shows the Warner Cinerama Theatre as well as Charlton Heston and his wife Lydia, arriving at the premiere on February 15. Heston portrayed John the Baptist in the film.
Cinema Retro contributor Sheldon Hall recently found this original ad for the 1960 London opening of The Magnificent Seven. Curiously, with all the star power and up-and-coming stars, the ad doesn't depict any of the actors! James Coburn and Brad Dexter don't even rate being mentioned in the credits!
Here's sexy Beverly Adams in the little-remembered 1966 comedy Birds Do It starring Soupy Sales. Adams' career was short-lived. She married Vidal Sassoon in 1967 and went on to use the Sassoon name to launch a line of pet care products and books. Adams, a Canadian native, appeared in a number of 60s movies, playing the role of sexy Lovely Kravezit in the first three Matt Helm films starring Dean Martin. She also appeared in Winter-A-Go-Go and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini before going into self-imposed retirement to raise her family.
There is no greater evidence of how clueless major studio executives were in the late 1960s when it came to recognizing the potential of young talent. In the same year that Jack Nicholson emerged from B movies and scored universal praise (and an Oscar nomination) in Easy Rider, Paramount could think of nothing else to do with him but to cast him in a supporting role in the big budget musical disaster On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, starring Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand. Making matters worse, the studio was so unimpressed with Nicholson, that they cut all but one of his scenes - including his musical number. (Hmmm...the thought of Nicholson warbling in anything other than a comic mode, makes us think that somebody at Paramount exercised some good judgment!)
Another gem from the limitless files of the Cinema Retro Archive! If you think its a fairly new trend for anxious movie fans to go to extremes to get opening day tickets to a specific movie, think again. This student from Southern Methodist University in Dallas decided to camp overnight to ensure his fraternity brothers were able to get the first tickets to go on sale for the Burton-Taylor epic Cleopatra in 1963. The irony of the film's fate is that it was one of the highest grossing movies in history and should have been a blockbuster, but it was compromised by horrendous cost over-runs. (Note the posters on the wall for Jackie Gleason's Pappa's Delicate Condition.)
It's one of the all time great comedies, and certainly the biggest in scope. Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was the first Cinerama production to use a single lens format instead of three separate cameras. The star-packed comedy epic was a world wide hit. Here is a rare ad from its opening engagement in London.
This is old-fashioned marketing from 1963. The Fine Arts Theatre in Los Angeles hired two young women to ride around on scooters in front of the theater to promote Jessica, a new film starring up-and-coming starlet Angie Dickinson as a free spirited girl with a penchant for driving a scooter. If you're old enough to remember these types of promotional techniques, you probably also remember "Ladies Nights" where female patrons were given free dish ware (we're not kidding!)