Here's a 1972 marketing ploy that you have to say is unique: pairing the exploitation horror film Blacula with the appropriately-named Jim Brown action pic Slaughter - and promoting the pair as perfect for the Christmas/New Year's season. After all, what says "Peace on Earth" more than a blood-sucking fiend who rises from the dead and a gut-busting, sex-obsessed private dick who takes no prisoners?
We all know that every blockbuster movie inspires a tidal wave of low rent imitators, but this ad from the Cinema Retro vault illustrates one of the more laughable rip-offs. Released in 1973, The Godchildren attempted to imitate the sheer power of The Godfather - but somehow putting a contract out on a guy who wears flower-decorated muumuu shirts seems more like a public service.
This 1980 trade magazine ad extolled the new technology of Dolby technology which would go on to revolutionize the experience of watching movies. Given George Lucas' creative input into the Dolby sound systems, it shouldn't be surprising that the advertisement features a theater marquee showing the recently-released The Empire Strikes Back, shown here in Dolby sound and in 70mm. Ah, 70mm- those were the days...
In 1964 Clint Eastwood and his Rawhide co-star Paul Brinegar visited the legendary Palisades Amusement Park in Ft. Lee, New Jersey and posed for this publicity photo. The photo is among many artifacts relating to the late, great amusement park that are on display in an exhibit hosted by the Fort Lee Museum through January 2012. Click here for more
Reader Mitch O'Connell sent us this doozy of a shot showing the old Liberty movie theater on 42nd Street in Times Square in 1989. The film was showing Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects a Charles Bronson Xerox of his other trashy cop movies of this era. Sadly at this point in his career, these theaters were about the only venues that still drew enthusiastic audiences for his films. The photo perfectly illustrates Gotham at its dingiest. 42nd Street had always been an addictive place to visit because of its inherent tastelessness but by the mid 80s the explosion of crack cocaine had turned "42 Deuce" into a very dangerous place. The area is not even recognizable today in that the dingy movie palaces have been replaced by state of the art theaters and restaurants. As someone who spent an unhealthy amount of time as a teenager watching old movies and porn flicks in these urine-stained filth pits, I can't say I don't have some fond memories. It was like a Disneyland designed by the Marquis de Sade. The dangerous atmosphere, abundance of perverts, druggies, live sex shows, white supremicists, black supremicists, religious loons, prostitutes and crackpots made for an intoxicating blend that you couldn't find anywhere else. Most kids had to just read about this Forbidden Zone but if you lived in or near the city you could live it. There's no denying New York is a much better place today, but I still have a fondness for that bygone era.That may sound crazy, but anyone who basically grew up on these means streets between the 1960s and 1980s knows exactly what I mean. Nevertheless, even cleaned-up New York is still the greatest city in the world.
The wonderful web site Starlet Showcase ceased to be updated almost a year ago. Fortunately, their treasure trove of wonderful vintage movie photos are still on-line to be enjoyed by all. Click here to check out their photos of sexy female stars on the telephone.
They don't make 'em like they used to- especially when it comes to movie poster designs. Compare this brilliant 1965 Italian release poster for The Ipcress File to the scan-and-paste designs used to promote movies today. No comparison!
Today you can indulge your kinky fantasies by accessing web sites that make the Kama Sutra look like a children's storybook. However, back in the dark ages of 1965, those with prurient interests had to masquerade their sexual desires by patronizing movies that pretended to be important sociological statements. There were countless numbers of these "documentaries" released at the time, each pretending to be instructive about human sexuality. In reality, it was a clever way to get around draconian censorship laws, all the while giving audience members the cover they needed to say, "I wasn't going to a dirty movie! I was just viewing a celebration of the birth process!" The advertisement above is typical of these films in that it paradoxically extolls the joys of childbearing all the while playing up the more sordid elements of sex. Yup, there's nothing to get the old loins heated up like some footage of the birth of triplets!
If you wonder why Cinema Retro is dedicated to classic movies of the 60s and 70s, consider this vintage trade magazine advertisement. Over the summer of 1965, the following great movies were released: Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Sound of Music, Zorba the Greek and Von Ryan's Express. These were just from one studio: Fox!
The Duke in Chisum, director Andrew V. McGlaglen's superb 1970 Western loosely based on the real-life Johnson County Wars. For cigars lovers, the film is manna from heaven with chisum enjoying his stogies while surveying his seemingly endless cattle empire.
A reader identified only as Mark from England has kindly donated this fabulous photo of the 1978 showing of producer Euan Lloyd's great adventure film The Wild Geese in London's Leicester Square. Those were the days, when you could see the likes of Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and Hardy Kruger in one movie!
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES
It's gorgeous Caroline Munro as she appeared in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. As lovely as ever, Caroline is a contributor to Cinema Retro. You can read her memories of making The AbominableDr. Phibes with Vincent Price in issue #2 and making her screen debut at age 16 as a sexy Bond girl extra in the 1967 version of Casino Royale in issue #6.
The original 3-D blockbuster, House of Wax at the Globe Theatre in Stockton-on-Tees, England. (William Burge Collection) (Thanks to Dr. Sheldon Hall for identifying this glorious cinema that is no longer in existence.)
20th Century Fox took out this ad in the trade papers in August 1960 to advertise forthcoming major productions including John Wayne's North To Alaska, Marilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love and The Innocents. Note that at the time Fox was going to produce George Stevens' production of The Greatest Story Ever Told. However, the agreement went awry. The movie would not be made until several years later when United Artists backe the film. Also, the ad says Elizabeth Taylor has arrived in Europe to begin production on Cleopatra. Little did Fox executives realize that the film would be aborted, the footage mostly scrapped and major roles recast before resuming again- and becoming the most expensive film made until that time.
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!
Just two years before her tragic murder at the hands of the Manson Gang, Sharon Tate was a rapidly rising star in Hollywood. She is seen here on the set of the 1967 horror comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers in which she co-starred with her husband Roman Polanski, who also directed.
When movie fans think about the frequent on-screen collaborations between Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, there is generally one film that is overlooked. Frankie and Dino made an uncredited cameo at the end of The Road to Hong Kong. The 1962 film represented the last of the legendary Road movies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Here is a rare behind the scenes photo from the Cinema Retro archives.
Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson were known as two of the film industry's most private stars. Bronson rarely gave interviews or discussed his personal life. When Brynner did discuss his personal life, he intentionally teased the press by telling outrageous and often conflicting tall tales. In this rare unguarded moment from the set of Villa Rides that ran in British Photoplay in 1968, they appear to be in an unusually unguarded state- and Brynner even let his little daughter climb on co-star Robert Mitchum's chair.
Found a poster dated 1967- the double bill Hammer Films' The Projected Man and Island of Terror- great artwork. When these two films where released in the U.S. it was through Universal Pictures. Hope you can use the image.
- William Burge
Retro Update:- I admit I also thought these were Hammer productions, but several readers- including the esteemed Joe Dante- have been kind enough to point out that the films were not from Hammer. Some of us automatically equate any horror film with Cushing from that era as a Hammer production, so thanks to all for setting us straight. Lee Pfeiffer
I know you're always looking for images of vintage movie marquees,
well here's something a little different. Several weeks ago I came across
on my satellite guide the 1972 movie The
Honkers on the Encore Westerns Channel. I'd never seen it
before but knew it was one of three "rodeo"
westerns that came out in '72, the others being J.W. Coop and Junior Bonner
-- must have been something in the air back then -- and since it starred
James Coburn, I had to check it out. I recorded it on my DVR. In
the movie, which was shot in late summer/early fall 1971 in Carlsbad, NM,
Coburn's character drives to the local Bijou to look for his girlfriend who
works there, arriving too late to pick her up. Anyway, they must have
simply shot at Carlsbad's local cinema, recording whatever was playing there at
the time, which you'll see from this screen capture was the 1971 Oliver
Reed/Candice Bergen bomb The Hunting
Party, but what's cool is check out the 1-sheet poster seen in front of
Retro Responds: Great catch, Rory. I hate to say it but this is one Coburn film I've never seen, so I'll have to track it down. You bring up a good point about the inexplicable abundance of films in 1972 about aging rodeo riders. They all received good reviews but died at the box-office probably because they flooded the market- and the leading men, who were known for their action films, were cast as somber, realistic characters. By the way, most Clint Eastwood fans realize that you can see the marquee with Play Misty For Me on it in the sequence in Dirty Harry in which Eastwood thwarts the bank robbers. -Lee Pfeiffer
Vintage trade photo of Paul Newman receiving the World Film Favorite award from the Hollywood Foreign Press, which is today known as the association that gives out the Golden Globe awards. Newman accepted the honor in March, 1964. In other movie news that week, it was reported that Becket was doing standing room only business in its engagement at the Loews State Theatre in New York and Patricia Neal and Paula Prentiss were signed as female leads for Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way. (If you enjoy vintage movie news such as this, don't miss our That Was the Week That Was column in every issue of Cinema Retro).
The Capitol Theater in New York City, 1968. (Photo: Rory Monteith collection)
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES
Cinema Retro subscriber Rory Monteith kindly sent us this vintage photo from the New York engagement of 2001 - along with an original newspaper advertisement. Rory fills us in on the details:
That's the Capitol Theatre, which was a huge movie palace on Broadway &
51st Street, built in 1919. In the 30s and 40s it was the flagship
movie palace for MGM. Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz opened
there among many others (you already have a photo on your site of when
The Dirty Dozen was there). I think it originally sat some five
thousand people. In 1959 it was converted to a Cinerma showplace (known
as "Loew's Capitol") with a screen that was 90' wide and over 30' high, but
unfortunately that necessitated the reduction in the number of seats to a
little over 1500 so everyone would have a good view of the screen. Planet of the Apes had its world premiere there on February 8, 1968 and 2001
followed on April 3. (The theatre was demolished in September 1968. A real
New York newspaper ad for advance ticket sales. (Photo: Rory Monteith collection)
Here's a link to a short piece showing Kubrick at the
Heston in his magnificent portrayal of Gordon of Khartoum. (Photo: William Burge Collection)
Here's a gem of a still from reader (and resident Charlton Heston expert) William Burge. Heston portrayed General Gordon in the superb 1966 epic Khartoum, co-starring with Laurence Olivier. As much as I admire Heston's great performance in the film (the best of his career, in the opinion of many), I'm even more in awe of his ability to ride camels in the film. Having recently attempted to do so in Egypt, I can firmly say that I have been taken out of consideration to play General Gordon in any future remake of the film. - Lee Pfeiffer
THE SONGWRITING TEAM OF RICHARD M. SHERMAN AND ROBERT B. SHERMAN POSE WITH JULIE ANDREWS AND DICK VAN DYKE ON THE SET OF "MARY POPPINS" IN 1964. THE FILM, WALT DISNEY'S FINAL PERSONAL TRIUMPH, WON OSCARS FOR THE SHERMAN BROTHERS IN THE CATEGORIES OF MUSICAL SCORE AND SONG ("CHIM CHIM CHER-EE"). THE TALENTED SIBLINGS ALSO WROTE THE MUSICAL SCORE FOR "CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG".
Here's another rare one from the seemingly inexhaustible photo archive of Cinema Retro: a Bangkok, Thailand theater showing Darryl F. Zanuck's epic D-Day film The Longest Day in 1962. The acclaimed movie stood as the highest grossing black and white film until the release of Schindler's List in 1994.
That's Tony Curtis, clowning on the set of the 1962 comedy "40 Pounds of Trouble". As the clapboard indicates, the film marked an early effort by a young director named Norman Jewison - in fact it was his debut as a director. Curtis was one of many among a new generation of film stars who formed their own production companies to free themselves from restrictive contracts with major studios.
If it's Tuesday, it must be Weld. Here's the young starlet in one of those glorious cheesecake poses you just don't see any more. Tuesday made her film debut in the 1956 B movie Rock, Rock Rock and a decade later scored an Oscar nomination for Looking For Mr. Goodbar. She has been in self-imposed retirement since 2001.
This article from the Warner Brothers pressbook for The Cowboys covered Wayne's appearance at Radio City Music Hall.
By Lee Pfeiffer
It was January 1972 when my friend Alan and braved bitterly cold winds to stand on a seemingly endless line at Radio City Music Hall for what felt like an eternity. What would cause two 15 year-old kids to suffer this test of endurance? A chance to see our idol, John Wayne in the flesh. The Duke was making a rare New York personal appearance on stage with director Mark Rydell to promote the opening of The Cowboys. They were to introduce kids who had won a national contest to attend the screening and have lunch with The Duke. The Big Apple was not Wayne Country. While Duke's films cleaned up at box-offices around America, this bastion of east coast liberalism was generally immune from his appeal. Thus, the opportunity to see Wayne in person was too good for local fans to resist. From the looks of the crowd, every Wayne fan in the region must have shown up. When we finally made our way into the cavernous theater, the Duke strode on-stage, dressed nattily in a blue blazer and tie. I remember being amused when he put on eyeglasses to read some introductions. It seemed to be an unintentional replication of the scene from Big Jake where his character did the same thing, much to the amazement of his character's ex-wife, who is a bit shocked to see the imposing man had human frailties.I recall Wayne introducing the young kids who had been fortunate enough to win the contest. Then the film unspooled and I remember thinking this was one of Wayne's finest achievements (an opinion I still hold).
In years gone by, theaters would often exhibit actual 8x10 stills and 11x14 lobby cards to promote their current attractions. When the theaters went to mostly multi-plex formats in the 1980s and showed numerous films in the same facility, the art of movie marketing took a hit in terms of creativity. Now, you just get the theater poster and some over-sized standees in the lobby. During the glory days of theater marketing, collectors would often complain that not only were the scenes that were chosen to be in the publicity stills often the most boring or unrepresentative shots imaginable, but they would often contain sequences that never even appeared in the final cut. Thus, out of literally thousands of images to choose from, some bozo in marketing would manage to choose one that didn't even appear onscreen. This aggravation has provided grist for the Cinema Retro Library of Completely Useless Information as illustrated by this scene from Woody Allen's Oscar-winning 1977 film Annie Hall (which was shot under the title Anhedonia- meaning an inability to feel pleasure.) In one scene, Allen's character Alvy Singer bemoans his fading love affair with Annie Hall and seeks romantic advice from strangers on the street. In the scene illustrated, Allen approaches an imposing looking bald gentleman - but whatever dialogue occurred is lost to the ages as the scene was snipped from the final cut. We don't know the actor's name but we'll just say the photo satiates our long-standing fantasy about Woody Allen co-starring with Tor Johnson of Plan 9 From Outer Space fame!- Lee Pfeiffer
It's doubtful the producers of the 1965 spy spoof "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" were clearing off their mantles to make room for anticipated Oscars. However, the Vincent Price starrer did provide some great publicity photos.Would have loved to see an oil wrestling match between the Girl Bombs and Matt Helm's Slaygirls!Our own Tom Lisanti identifies the ladies thusly:
Sitting left to right: Sue Hamilton, Luree Holmes, Salli Sachse,
Pamela Rodgers, unidentified, Laura Nicholson
Standing left to right: Patti Chandler, unidentified, Deanna Lund,
unidentified, Marianne Gaba, Mary Hughes, China Lee
This rare photo depicts the 1966 premiere of the Dean Martin Matt Helm film The Silencers at the new Fox Plaza Theater in New Dorp Center, Staten Island, New York. The $500,000 theater was touted as being state-of--the-art. It represented the first new theater built in Staten Island since 1936.
Robyn Hilton was a 33 year-old nude model when Mel Brooks cast her as his secretary in the 1974 classic "Blazing Saddles". Hilton hoped her spectacular figure and the pedigree of being in a Brooks film would jump-start her career, but it never happened. She gravitated into the porn industry before retiring in 1977 and dropping out of sight. There was some consolation, however. In 1974, she was voted the prestigious "Hottest Body Ever" award from Boobtacular Digest! (We have a complete run of the magazine on a shelf next to The New England Journal of Medicine). Wherever you are, Robyn, thanks for the mammaries!
Although movie fans continue to believe the mistaken myth that Lee Van Cleef played "The Ugly" in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", in reality that part was immortalized by Eli Wallach. Van Cleef actually played "The Bad" - a character nicknamed Angel Eyes. Prior to Sergio Leone's masterpiece, he had been inevitably cast as villains. In the wake of the film's success, however, he was generall cast as the heroic leading man. Here, the New Jersey-born western icon does a half-Monty in the spaghetti western "Death Rides a Horse", one of many Leone-inspired horse operas made in the 1960s and 1970s.
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES
There HAD to be a couple of redeeming values to Valley of the Dolls aside from the unintended laughs. Here Barbara Parkins proves that's the case in this provocative (for 1967) publicity photo for the film.
He was born Burton Stephen Lancaster but we just knew him as Burt. Seen here in The Crimson Pirate, we get a stark illustration of how dreary the leading man shortage has become in Hollywood. Can you image ANYONE looking like this in a contemporary film? (Well, okay, maybe Adam Sandler...)
Here's a great example of a relatively nondescript Hollywood western that boasted a fantastic ad campaign. The Glory Guys starred Tom Tryon, Senta Berger, Harve Presnell, Michael Anderson Jr and a young up-and-comer named James Caan. Released in 1965, the movie was typical of westerns from those days: entertaining, rousing and not designed to be in contention for the Oscars. The magnificent poster art exaggerated the scope and sweep of the film, but makes us realize once again how this aspect of movie marketing has all but died with the old west itself.
Proof that they don't make 'em like that anymore: the cast of the 1961 action classic The Guns of Navarone. (L to R: James Darren, Stanley Baker, David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle.) Directed by J. Lee Thompson, who remains one of the screen's most underrated filmmakers.
We really miss the days when studios had the cast pose creatively for publicity photos. Here are Dwayne Hickman, Michael Callan, Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin (in his Oscar winning role) and Tom Nardini in the 1965 Columbia western spoof Cat Ballou.
Lovely Pamela Tiffin heated up numerous films when she sprang to stardom in the 1960s with appearances in One, Two, Three, The Lively Set, For Those Who Think Young, The Hallelujah Trail and Harper (UK title: The Moving Target). Check out more about Pamela on The Love Goddesses web site by clicking here
I was going through some old theatre pictures I have and I found this one of the Vernon Theatre in Alexandria, Va. This was the first theatre I managed and I was the manger when it closed. It opened in 1940 with "Abe Lincoln In Illinois". It closed March 30, 1976 with "Bobbie Jo and The Outlaw" starring Lynda Carter. For your entertainment, I'm also attaching a picture of the auditorium. 866 seats in an art deco splendor.
- Bob Collins
Retro responds: Thanks, Bob- we love these old theater pics. If you have any to submit,send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org
We used to pride ourselves in being equal opportunity exploiters of sexy photos, providing ample material to salivate over for men and women, straight and gay. Lately, we've fall off the wagon by neglecting the male of the species and concentrating on some of our better-endowed actresses. Thus, in addition to the mea culpa, we'll also provide this glamour shot of Sal Mineo in the 1950s. Before you ask, we don't know if anyone was in there with him when he dropped the soap.
I'm sending three different photos showing marquees in Houston, Texas. The first is from the Loews Sharpstown drive-in theatre, the
date February 28, 1958. The next photo is the ABC Interstate Majestic
theatre built in 1923 and closed in 1971. The theatre was was located in
downtown Houston on the corner of Walker at Rusk Ave. The date of the
photo is September 15, 1968. The third photo is General Cinema Gulfgate 1
and 2, located across the street from Gulfgate Mall. The theatre opened March 17, 1965 along with the sister theatres Northline and Meyerland Cinema which opened the same day. The Gulfgate closed in 1996, the Meyerland in November 1994 and Northline in 1996. The photo from Gulfgate
is dated June 15, 1968. Hope you can use these photos . Many thanks
Retro Responds: Many thanks to you, Bill. These photos are just reminders of the special theaters we all treasured when we grew up. I'd do anything to go back in time to see Deadfall, Firecreek and Madigan in theaters again! By the way, the B western Hell's Crossroads marked the first major screen role for Robert Vaughn.- Lee Pfeiffer