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!)
Here are two golden oldie lobby cards from the superb 1964 British film Zulu starring Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson. (If you're a Cinema Retro regular, we won't insult you by discussing what the main plot of the film is about!).
thought you might like the attached picture of a classic drive-in movie
marquee from the early 60s. The beautiful lady is actress Jan
Shepard, posing with her classic 50s sports car. As best as I've ever
been able to tell, Third of a Man appears to be a lost film. Neither
Jan Shepard nor James Drury have any idea what happened to the film, and
apparently the now-deceased director had no idea either.
Retro responds: Thanks so much, Martin.....great photo. It was obviously taken at the drive-in located in Van Nuys, California in 1962. Our research shows that Third of a Man is indeed a little-known film, created for the bottom of double-bills. However, it was released by a major studio, United Artists and afforded a rare starring role for the great character actor Simon Oakland, which makes us want to see it even more.
Wende Wagner was 23 years old when she got the role of an Indian maiden in the 1964 western Rio Conchos. Wagner dabbled in acting for several years, married and divorced Robert Mitchum's son James and made her last big screen appearance in Guns of the Magnificent Seven in 1969. Oh, her measurements came in at 36-22-35 - not that we took any notice.
Football superstar Jim Brown made his screen debut co-starring with Wende Wagner, Stuart Whitman, Richard Boone and Tony Franciosa in Rio Conchos. Did you know the film was a semi-remake of the 1961 John Wayne western The Comancheros, which also starred Whitman? For our tribute to Jim Brown ("The First Black Action Hero") see Cinema Retro issue #4. For full coverage of Rio Conchos, see Nicholas Anez' extensive article in Cinema Retro issue #20.
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FEATURES FROM THE CINEMA RETRO ARCHIVE
This feature puts the spotlight on those glorious old movie marquees. This one depicts the
Loew's Capitol theater on the evening of the New York premiere of The Dirty Dozen in June 1967 at the Loews Capitol.
Do you have any photos of vintage movie marquees? If so, E mail them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Continue reading to see vintage marquees for Steve McQueen's The War Lover and Requiem for a Heavyweight starring Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason.
One of our favorite tough cop movies is John Sturges' 1974 thriller, McQ with John Wayne in the title role as a maverick Seattle P.D. detective who is being framed for drug smuggling. The film is several notches above most of the Dirty Harry clones of the era, thanks to an excellent script and a solid supporting cast for Wayne to spar with. We were intrigued with this publicity still showing McQ rousting the pimp "Rosie", played by Roger. E. Mosley because it doesn't appear in the final cut. The fact that the scene ended up in the press kit photos indicates it must have been cut at the last minute. In the film, Wayne harasses Rosie on a couple of occasions to get confidential information about the corrupt cops who are framing him. In the cut sequence, unless Duke and Mosley are engaging in some unlikely male bonding, McQ appears to have infiltrated Rosie's apartment to lay some heat on him. As with all of our Unseen Scenes, one hopes that this footage still exists in a studio vault and that it may someday see the light of day on DVD.
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.
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.
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.