In 2003, the renowned American artist Jeff Marshall (known for
his James Bond work) was commissioned to create a lithograph (officially
sanctioned by Hammer themselves) featuring several famous Hammer actresses -
Ingrid Pitt, Caroline Munro, Valerie Leon and Martine Beswick.
The first 100 of these limited edition lithographs were signed
and numbered by Jeff himself and have never been available to buy....until
have 006 - 100 for sale, unfortunately we cannot accommodate requests for
lithograph measures 20" x 30" and is printed on museum quality
lithograph will be shipped rolled in a sturdy poster tube.
Joe Sirola (left) and Robert Creighton at The Players club in New York City where Cagney was also a member. (Photo: Sam Hodgson for the New York Times).
If you haven't seen the smash hit musical "Cagney the Musical" starring Robert Creighton, currently playing to packed houses off-Broadway, then you're missing a sensational tribute to one of Hollywood's greatest legends. In a New York Times article, Creighton is interviewed along with actor (and Cinema Retro contributor) Joe Sirola about the Cagney legacy. Sirola, a Tony-award winner who is one of the producers of "Cagney the Musical", can speak about Cagney through first-hand experience, as he co-starred with him in the last scene Cagney ever filmed in the 1984 television production "Terrible Joe Moran". Click here to read. Click here for the official "Cagney: The Musical" web site.
For fans of "The Magnificent Seven", the sands in the hourglass have finally run out. Since the mid-1990s, there have been attempts by studio executives to bring director John Sturges' classic 1960 Western back to the big screen. There was a reasonably popular TV series based on the film that aired in the 1990s but no big screen feature film ever went into production- until now. We realize it is irresponsible to judge a film simply on the basis of its trailer. However, it is appropriate to judge the trailer on its own merits. Suffice it to say that the trailer for the new big screen version of "The Magnificent Seven" stinks-- on ice. First, it's cut in the same style that virtually every action movie trailer now follows. It's as though the creators of these trailers are in arrested development from the era of when MTV videos were all the rage. It moves at lightning speed and tells you precious little about the story. What we can glean is that the notion of a band of misfit gunfighters traveling to Mexico to protect innocent villagers from banditos has largely been altered. Apparently all of the action in the new film takes place north o' the border. Denzel Washington takes on the lead role, following in the footsteps of Yul Brynner, Lee Van Cleef and George Kennedy. (Brynner excelled in the first film but plodded through the first sequel, "Return of the Seven". Kennedy and Van Cleef registered even worse in the ill-advised sequels "The Magnificent Seven Ride!" and "Guns of the Magnificent Seven".) At least all of those films had a consistency in that the lead character's name was "Chris" throughout. This time around, Washington plays someone named "Sam Chisholm". We're told that this movie isn't a remake but a "re-imagining" of the classic film. "Re-imagining" is now often used as a justification for taking elements of a superior film and tampering with them for commercial purposes. This version seems like a cookie-cutter attempt to make some fast cash. It seems devoid of any passion or even respect for the original and is filled with wise-cracking characters who fire off one-liners while blowing things up. How can you even think about making any version of "The Magnificent Seven" without utilizing Elmer Bernstein's classic score? Well, they've apparently done it. The late James Horner provided the score for this version and we'll reserve judgment. However, the musical instincts found in the trailer are foreboding, as the action is set to a rock version of "House of the Rising Sun". After all, nothing brings out a feeling for the Wild West like "House of the Rising Sun". Maybe the final cut will feature Madonna's "Vogue", as well. The film reunites Denzel Washington with his "Training Day" co-star Ethan Hawke and that film's director Antoine Fuqua. They are all talented men but Washington long ago relegated his status as one of America's finest actors in favor of taking a quick pay check in lousy action movies and Fuqua has been associated with a number of "by the numbers" action films in recent years. We at Cinema Retro are also calling upon studios to make more Westerns so we don't want to judge the final product until we actually see "The Magnificent Seven" when it is released later this year. Perhaps we'll be pleasantly surprised- but based on this dreadful trailer, we're not counting on it.
It was forty years ago today that director Alan J. Pakula's landmark ode to journalism, "All the President's Men", opened in movie theaters. It was, of course, based on the best-selling book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, whose dogged investigation of a seemingly trivial break-in of Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern's campaign HQ would turn the story into an international thriller that would ultimately bring down what Bernstein has called "the criminal" administration of President Richard M. Nixon. As with most scandals, the break-in itself was just the tip of the iceberg. By the time Nixon's embattled Presidency was over in August 1974, even Republicans had been calling for his head. Nixon was determined to face impeachment hearings. It fell to that symbol of conservatism, Sen. Barry Goldwater, to inform the President that the scope of the crimes committed during his administration would not be condoned by members of his own party: he had to resign because recent revelations about the cover-up convinced his fellow Republicans that they could no longer give him any benefit of a doubt. Nixon did resign, ending his political career in disgrace just shy of two years since enjoying the greatest landslide re-election in American history. (Ultimately, dozens of his adminstration members would go to jail, some for crimes unrelated to Watergate. In the midst of the scandal, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned after pleasing "no contest" to charges he had been accepting bribes that were delivered directly to his office in the White House.) Pakula's film version of the Watergate investigation was released just two years after these dramatic events had occurred and they were very fresh in the minds of the public. In a new article for The Washington Post, writer Michael Cavna extols the importance of the film and interviews Woodward and Bernstein about their impressions of the movie. He also justly cites the role of cinematographer Gordon Willis in bringing to life one of the greatest suspense stories of our time. - Lee Pfeiffer
Sofia Coppola is said to be preparing a remake of director Don Siegel's "The Beguiled", a Gothic drama set during the American Civil War and set in a dilapidated school for young women in the war-torn South. Clint Eastwood starred in the original film which was released in 1971. It marked a rare boxoffice bomb for Siegel and Eastwood, who would team again for the smash hit "Dirty Harry" later that year. Eastwood played a wounded Northern soldier who is given shelter and care by the students in the school and their headmistress, played by Geraldine Page. Over a period of weeks, the Eastwood character realizes that the women around him are all sexually frustrated and that he can manipulate them into doing his bidding. Before long he is carrying on multiple affairs but jealousy inevitably rears its head and leads to some ghastly developments. The film was a bold departure for Eastwood, as he played a manipulative and unsympathetic character. Although the movie was under-appreciated in its day, its stature has grown with critics and film scholars, some of whom regard it as a major achievement in both Eastwood and Siegel's careers. The Coppola project is said to have an impressive female cast lined up that includes Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. We're told this will be a "new take" on the original film. We're tempted to say "Uh oh", but Coppola is a skilled director so we'll give her the benefit of the doubt until more information is released. Pivotal to the film's prospects will be the casting of the male lead, which has not been announced yet.
(For full analysis of "The Beguiled", see Cinema Retro's special issue "The American Westerns of Clint Eastwood". )
There is no doubt that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has earned Disney the right to crow about being the top-grossing film of all time. However, when one considers what a film grosses, a major aspect in the equation is often overlooked in terms of considering ticket prices over the decades. Boxoffice Mojo has made that adjustment and the results are enlightening. If inflation is considered, plenty of "golden oldies" rocket back up the list, an indication that a film's true success should be calculated in terms of the number of tickets sold, not boxoffice dollars. One would also assume that the older films were also far more profitable on a dollar-for-dollar basis given the fact that production costs were far less in years past. The adjusted chart shows that "Gone With Wind" is still the all-time boxoffice champ with the original "Star Wars" in second place. The top-grossing James Bond film becomes "Thunderball" (1965) (#30 on the list) which would have an adjusted boxoffice gross today of $644,000,000. "Jaws", "The Godfather" and "The Sound of Music", each of which shared the highest grossing film honor at one time, also go far back up the adjusted chart. Keep in mind that these numbers pertain only to the North American market. If international grosses were adjusted for inflation, these numbers would be even more eye-popping. For example, "Thunderball" was made on a budget of approximately $6 million. The latest Bond film "Spectre" has grossed close to $900 million to date but also was reputed to cost over $250 million. Click here to read.
Disney has pushed back the release of "Star Wars: Episode VIII" from May, 2017 to December, 2017. No explanation was provided in the Variety article that reported the shift in strategy. However, principal filming is on schedule to commence in England next month with Rian Johnson taking over the director's chair from J.J. Abrams, who helmed the current blockbuster in the series "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Johnson has also written the screenplay. For more click here.
Glory days: the Ziegfeld hosted many premieres over the decades including the 1972 gala for Bob Fosse's "Cabaret". Forty years later the Ziegfeld hosted Liza Minnelli and other cast members who returned for a screening of the restored version of the film.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
In 1969 the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan opened its doors for the first time. The lavish theater quickly won the hearts of movie fans. It was an elaborate place and showcased top films. It was considered New York's secondary jewel, however, as Radio City Music Hall was still alive and well and showing top-notch movies. Over the years Radio City closed its doors, a victim of changing times in the film industry. The Hall would only show family friendly films and there were precious few that could profitably play at the cavernous theater. You used to be able to get to a first run movie and a big stage show for five bucks but, after a while, nobody came. After the Hall closed and reopened, you can now see the stage show only for about a hundred bucks and the place is packed. Go figure. Now the Ziegfeld will follow Radio City into the realm of glorious Gotham cinematic memories. The landlord has notified management that the lease will not be renewed and the theater is expected to close in the next few weeks. It will mark the end of Manhattan's last single-screen theater. Ironically the plug wasn't pulled by the theater's owners, Cablevision, who kept the venue open despite losses of over $1 million a year. Under Cablevision the theater played first run movies but also periodically showed restored classics. The theater also hosted the occasional premiere. However, American studios rarely hold the kind of glorious premieres that were once regular occurrences, thus resulting in the loss of a key part of the theater's income. The theater's name will change to the Ziegfeld Ballroom and will now be hosting corporate events although the new owners will keep the screen intact primarily as a decoration and promise that occasional films will still be screened there.
Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer at the Ziegfeld's New York premiere of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E" in August 2015.
For this writer the closing of the Ziegfeld seemed like an inevitability in changing times when multi-plex cinemas dominate the landscape. The first film I saw there was the 1969 reissue of "The Sand Pebbles" starring Steve McQueen. It was being promoted with a new ad campaign that capitalized on the anti-Vietnam war movement that had emerged since the film originally opened in 1966. I recall being a wide-eyed 13 year-old and being swept away by the grandeur of the place even though I had been to the even grander Radio City countless times. I have nothing but wonderful memories of the Ziegfeld. In 1975 when I was the film critic for my student university newspaper I would get invitations from the studios to attend movie events there. For blue collar kid from right across the river in Jersey City who was working his way through college, it was pure bliss. I recall taking my girlfriend (now wife) to what I thought was a standard advance screening of Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" in 1975 and being mortified to find everyone else dressed to the nines for some kind of prestigious unveiling of the film. (They even gave you the vinyl soundtrack album on the way out. Pure Heaven!) Over the decades I have seen countless films there and witnessed the slow but inevitable decline in the atmosphere. My last visit there was in August for the premiere of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." feature film. Despite having a somewhat tired interior, the old place still rallied for one last red carpet, celebrity-packed event. I won't be going to the Ziegfeld again before it closes because I want that very special evening to be my lasting memory of a very special place, one that will remain alive and well at least in the hearts of movie lovers. "Closing Channel 'D'", indeed.
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly will star respectively as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in a new BBC production titled "Stan and Ollie". The film is shaping up as an affectionate tribute to the legendary comedy duo and will concentrate on their last personal appearance tour which took place in the UK in 1953. Hardy's health was failing at the time but they continued the tour as initially anemic attendance statistics began to grow. Ultimately the tour proved to be highly successful even as Laurel and Hardy came to the realization that their long-time professional partnership was at an end. Oliver Hardy died in 1957. Stan Laurel passed away in 1965. For more click here.
Nominations for the 88th annual Academy Awards have been announced. "The Revenant" topped the nominations with. "Mad Max: Fury Road" was a surprise in that it received ten nominations. Sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for "Creed". Legendary composer Ennio Morricone was nominated for Best Score for "The Hateful Eight". Previous Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence received her fourth nomination (for "Joy"), making her the youngest actress (age 25) to achieve that honor. Snubs included Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott for Best Director even though their films "Bridge of Spies" and "The Martian" were nominated for Best Picture. The films "Carol" and "Inside Out" also failed to get expected Best Picture nods though the latter was nominated for Best Animated Feature. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", now the highest grossing film of all time, failed to score in any of the major categories but did get technical nominations. The James Bond film "Spectre" received a Best Song nomination for Sam Smith's "Writings on the Wall".
Guillermo Del Toro is set to direct a long-planned, often delayed big screen remake of the 1966 sci-fi hit "Fantastic Voyage". James Cameron is behind the plans to bring the remake to reality. The film centers on a group of scientists who are miniaturized and inserted into the body of another prominent scientist in order to remove a blood clot that has endangered his life. Matters of international security depend upon successful completion of the mission but things go awry and endanger the would-be rescuers. The original film, directed by Richard Fleischer, was acclaimed for its (then) state-of-the-art special effects. The film also provided an early career hit for young Raquel Welch who was then a contract player at 20th Century Fox. Other original cast members included Stephen Boyd, Edmond O'Brien and Donald Pleasence. The remake is still in its early stages with no completed script and no casting decided upon.
The annual BAFTA nominations for the best achievements in filmmaking have been announced. Top contenders are "Carol" and "Bridge of Spies" which each nabbed 9 nominations. "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" received 8 and 7 nominations respectively. The awards ceremony will take place on February 14th in London. The importance of the BAFTAs for the American film industry has increased substantially in recent years as BAFTA nominations are often seen as indications of which films will receive Oscar nominations. For the full list click here.
Cosby co-starred with Robert Culp in the hit 1960s NBC TV series "I Spy".
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Legendary comedian and actor Bill Cosby has been formally charged with sexually assaulting a woman who said she considered him a friend and mentor. The incident is said to have occurred in 2004. Pennsylvania prosecutors cite new evidence that was unveiled in relation to the case, which was first reported by the alleged victim in 2005. At the time, prosecutors chose not to file charges. Cosby has been accused of sexual assault over the decades by many women whose stories are quite similar. They state that Cosby lured them into a trusting relationship, then used drugs to immobilize them. He then allegedly sexually assaulted them. Cosby has denied committing any illegal acts and has brought a lawsuit against on of the women, model and actress Beverly Johnson, claiming that she have slandered his reputation. He has admitted in a 2005 deposition that he had obtained prescriptions for Quaaludes and would give the pills to women with the expectation of having sex with them. However he never clarified whether the women knew that was his intent and if the sex was consensual following their ingesting of the pills. Allegations of sexual abuse have dogged Cosby since the 1960s when he burst onto the scene as one of America's brightest young stand-up comics. In 1965 he co-starred with Robert Culp in the TV series "I Spy" which earned him Emmy awards and respect for breaking down racial barriers as the first African American actor to star in a dramatic TV series. In the ensuing decades Cosby has become an iconic presence in American pop culture. His 1980s sitcom series became a smash hit and ran for many years, defining the epitome of "Must See TV". Some of Cosby's alleged victims have claimed that his iconic status and powerful connections discouraged law enforcement officials from aggressively pursuing their claims. Ironically, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania for the crime Cosby is charged with would have expired in 2016. Cosby was arraigned in court today. For more click here.
There have been countless tributes to Frank Sinatra on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Here is some great footage of Sinatra recording Ervin Drake's superb and haunting "It Was a Very Good Year" in 1966 when Sinatra was arguably at the peak of his career.
Kenneth Branagh will direct a remake of Agatha Christie's classic thriller "Murder on the Orient Express" (originally published under the title "Murder in the Calais Coach"). Branagh will also star in the feature film as detective Hercule Poirot. The film was last brought to the big screen in 1974 by director Sidney Lumet in an Oscar-winning production that featured a cast of legendary actors including Albert Finney (in an Oscar-nominated role as Poirot); Ingrid Bergman (who did win an Oscar for her performance), Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Richard Widmark, Anthony Perkins, Michael York and many other greats from the era. No word on who will co-star with Branagh. For more click here.
Lucas put on a happy face when he sold his rights to "Star Wars" to Disney in 2012. Since then, he's made his frustrations public about not being able to further the original story lines he had envisioned for the series, which he describes as a "soap opera".
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Don't invite George Lucas and Mickey Mouse to the same cocktail party. The "Star Wars" creator was not at all happy with negative feedback from fans in relation to the last trilogy of films in the series that he had creative control over. Lucas, in an interview with CBS News, states that he was frustrated by the perception that the series should be about "space ships" instead of human relationships. Thus, Lucas threw in the towel, sold his rights to Disney, took his billions in profits and went home. He's basically washed his hands of "Star Wars" and realizes that the Disney vision will be about fan perceptions of the series, not his original story lines. Lucas says he still wants to direct, but prefers to work on the kinds of experimental movies that "will not be shown anywhere". In essence, Lucas is about to embark on creating prestigious home movies ever made. Lucas isn't alone in his disdain for the modern film industry. His colleague Francis Ford Coppola hasn't made a major studio film since "The Rainmaker" in 1997 and spends much of his time either tending to his successful wine business while occasionally directing films that give him personal satisfaction even though they have very limited commercial appeal. Today's film industry is about developing "tent pole" series that can spawn numerous sequels. Seemingly every other movie in release features a spy or a guy in tights. Still, every year finds a crop of worthy art house movies that often find their intended audiences and win awards. One would hope that Lucas and Coppola might some day find a happy medium and direct films that have at least some commercial appeal. The caveat, of course, is that both men are used to having complete creative control over the projects, a demand that would generally fall on deaf ears today. For more click here.
This gentleman was photographed at this year's Victory Show, a WWII re-enactment festival that was held in September in Cosby, England. If you have to ask who he resembles, it's time to purchase our special issue dedicated to "Kelly's Heroes".
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).
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.
Apple Records has announced that the company will release a set of 27 #1 hits by the group with rare accompanying videos. Titled "Beatles +1", the set will be available on DVD and Blu-ray and contain over 200 minutes of video materials compiled from various sources. The set will be released November 1. For more click here.
Fans of the "Star Wars" franchise just got some news from Disney that is out of this world: the company intends to open 14 acre theme parks based on the film series at both Disneyland and Disney World. The complexes will include an auditorium designed to show a media show about the history of "Star Wars". It will be built to hold a staggering 8,000 people. For more click here.
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of The Exorcist, The French Connection and Sorcerer, is planning to direct a film version of Don Winslow's crime thriller novel The Winter of Frankie Machine about a retired Mafia hit man who finds that someone is out to kill him. He must figure out who it is and why before time runs out. The project is in its early stages with no financing or studio attached. Friedkin won't approach investors or seek a distribution deal until a script is finalized. Winslow is said to be working on the screenplay now and Friedkin may collaborate on that. The book has tempted directors such as Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann in the past but nothing became of those projects. Friedkin wants to get back to his roots and shoot the movie in a gritty style with a budget of $15 million maximum. That should make the project plenty tempting for both studios and investors. Friedkin has rarely made films in recent years, preferring to concentrate on his passion for directing operas. For more click here.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
“DARK WAS THE NIGHT received
an overwhelming response at ScreamFest and the Lincoln Center’s New York Film
Festival Sidebar Scary Movies Series and is now in theaters across the
country and available Day and Date on VOD, and Digital platforms including
ITunes and Amazon instant video.
Kevin Durand (The
Strain) and Lukas Haas (INCEPTION) star as local policemen who go to battle
against an ancient evil. The script, from Tyler Hisel, appeared on the 2009
Black List of best un-produced scripts, a rarity for the monster genre, under
the title THE TREES. Rounding out the cast are Bianca Kajlich
(Undateable), Sabina Gadecki (the ENTOURAGE movie), Heath Freeman (SKATELAND),
Steve Agee (@midnight) and Nick Damici (LATE PHASES).
Maiden Woods is a remote
and quiet town, but something stirs in the dark woods surrounding this isolated
community. Sheriff Paul Shields (Kevin Durand) and his deputy (Lukas Haas),
struggle to confront their own personal demons while facing down a new breed of
Kevin Durand, Lukas Haas, Bianca
Kajlich, Steve Agee, Nick Damici, Sabina Gadecki, and Heath
Dallas Sonnier, Jack
Heller, Stefan Nowicki, Dylan K. Narang, Joey Carey
Ross Dinerstein and Kevin Iwashina
Caliber Media, Sundial Pictures,
Preferred Content & P Street Films
Stars in a creature feature that is downright poignant.
Director Jack Heller
does a fantastic job of doling out the scares and ratcheting up the tension in
– AINT IT COOL NEWS
design and cinematic discretion, make the damn thing work! –
by withholding the usual genre tropes... A notch above standard horror,
suspense. Tech and design contributions are nicely turned all
certainly talent in Jack Heller’s fright film “Dark was the Night,” beginning
with its cast. (Kevin Durand) conveys tender sorrow and steely resolve
with understated dexterity.
A trip into the
woods that will give you chills, but provide you with the urge to press “play”
over and over again – highly recommended.
- DREAD CENTRAL
One hell of a
great movie! One of the best horror films of the year. Don’t miss it!
This could be the next great horror franchise. – FANGORIA
Jack Heller is a graduate of the University of Southern
California School of Cinematic Arts. Jack made his directorial debut with the
Micro Budget film Enter Nowhere, starring up and coming stars Scott
Eastwood (The Longest Ride), Sara Paxton and Katherine Waterston (Jobs,
Inherent Vice), the independent film was released by Lionsgate. As a music
video and commercial director, he has worked with artists including, Miley
Cyrus, Big Sean, and Chief Keef, as well as brands such as Beats By Dre, Pac
Sun, British Knights, Stussy, and Hood By Air. Heller has produced over
20 feature films including the upcoming Bone
Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard
Jenkins and is a founding member of the production company Caliber
Media. Dark Was the Night is his second feature film as Director.
F.W. Murnau, the influential German director of the silent film era, is improbably back in the news again. His grave, located outside of Berlin, has been tampered with on several occasions since his untimely death in a car crash in 1931 at age 42. However, this time robbers have succeeded in absconding with the head of the deceased director. German police are looking into the possibility that the grave robbery may have been part of an occult ritual, given certain evidence found at the scene. Although Murnau's achievements in filmmaking are among the most consequential of all time and span a wide range of subject matters, he is most widely known for his adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula". Murnau's film "Nosferatu" was released in 1922 and remains perhaps the most definitive and frightening version of the tale. At the time he was sued by Stoker's widow for not getting authorization for the film from Stoker's estate. She won and prints of the movie were ordered to be destroyed. However, numerous prints survived and the film is widely shown on classic movie circuits today. For more click here
Producer Jack Heller contacted us to say that he's a big fan of Cinema Retro. Even better, he's producing that rarest of rarities in today's cinema: a Western. "Bone Tomahawk" is his forthcoming production starring Kurt Russell. Heller says he's been influenced by the gritty feel of Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven". Well, he's at least been inspired by the best...We also love the movie poster which brings back memories of when artistry defined the way movies were marketed instead of lame, scanned in Photoshop creations. Kudos to you, Jack...We look forward to seeing the film.
Fans camped out for days at Comic-Con hoping to be among the anointed who got the opportunity to attend the big sneak peak at the forthcoming "Star Wars" epic. Director J.J. Abrams was on hand along with original cast members Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. There was a good deal of sentiment on display and there was also a compilation of clips pertaining to the eagerly-awaited film. Click here for more
Disney, which now owns the rights to the "Star Wars" film franchise, has announced that it will develop a stand-alone film that centers of the life and adventures of young Han Solo, the character who has been famously played by Harrison Ford in the legendary film franchise. The movie will be co-directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, who were the "force" (pardon the pun) the hit films "The Lego Movie" and "21 Jump Street". The film will be written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. Lawrence is the scribe who co-wrote "The Empire Strikes Back", "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens". No casting has been announced but the film is slated for a May 2018 release. Disney has been upfront about expanding the "Star Wars" universe into new segments. The studio obviously hopes that Han Solo can carry a successful tent pole franchise on his own. For more click here.
Macnee with Diana Rigg in the classic TV series The Avengers.
The Daily Beast's Andrew McKie writes an amusing and informative tribute to the late Patrick Macnee, the dapper actor who defined British class and elegance. Macnee, who passed away on June 25, was mostly known for his starring role as adventurer and crime fighter John Steed on the long-running TV series The Avengers. But, as the article points out, there was so much more to his story, including an unconventional upbringing by his lesbian mother and her lover as well as his roguish ways that saw him expelled from Eton. To read, click here.
Directors Brent Hodge's and Derik Murray's new documentary "I Am Chris Farley" covers the bittersweet life and career of the comedy genius who died tragically ahead of his time. Through the cooperation of his family, friends and colleagues, the film presents a complete picture of the artist who was perpetually making audiences laugh even as he battled his own personal demons. The film opens theatrically in New York and L.A. on July 31 and will be telecast on Spike network on August 11, followed by availability through on-demand outlets. For more about the production, click here to visit the official web site.
It's the most bizarre mating of two diverse talents since Ernest Borgnine thought it would a good idea to marry Ethel Merman, though hopefully this one will have a happier ending. Cult movie director Rob Zombie has announced that he will bring a Groucho Marx biography to the screen. The film will based on the memoir "Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho's House" by Steve Stoliar, a fan who worked for the legendary actor and comedian as his personal secretary and archivist in the last years of his life. (Marx died in 1977 at age 86). Turns out the esteemed Mr. Zombie is a life long Groucho admirer. Who knew? We look forward to Zombie directing Dame Judi Dench in a biopic of Gracie Allen. For more click here
Brynner, Richard Widmark and George Chakiris share top billing in “Flight From
Ashiya” a 1964 Japanese- American co-production originally released by United
Artists. The movie is dedicated to and takes place within the world of the United
States Air Force Air Rescue Service. Created in 1946, the Air Rescue Service mission
is to rescue downed military aircrew. Their motto, which is displayed
throughout the opening credits, reads: “That Others May Live.” In 1947 the
mission was expanded to that of a special operations unit which later included
Navy SEAL like Pararescuemen or “PJs” supporting everything from
humanitarian rescue missions to NASA astronaut recovery.
story of “Flight From Ashiya” is a mix of military themed clichés and melodrama
which fans of this genre will find familiar. Two Air Rescue Service teams stationed
at Ashiya Air Base in Japan depart on Air Force float planes to rescue a group
of Japanese civilians who are clinging on to a make-shift raft after being shipwrecked
during a typhoon. With the typhoon still raging, the first float plane crashes
while attempting a landing on the choppy storm tossed water. The special
effects are well done for the era and the aircraft models look realistic. For
the new viewer today living in the era of over-used CGI effects, the models and
water tank footage may appear old fashioned, but it all works if the viewer
considers this movie was made decades before modern special effects.
three men at the center of the story suffer from what we commonly refer to today
as post traumatic stress syndrome. As they circle above the shipwreck survivors
while the typhoon rages, we learn through a series of flashbacks that each man is
opening up emotional baggage throughout the rescue which is packed with doses
of love, pain, guilt, hate, sorrow and loss. Brynner, Widmark and Chakiris are
convincing as military men and their performances allow us to forgive the
limitations of the special effects.
Chakiris plays Lt. John Gregg, a pilot stationed with Widmark and Brynner in
Germany prior to their assignment in Japan. He feels responsible for the civilian
avalanche victims he was unable to rescue in 1954. In his flashback, the team
initially manages to land their rescue helicopter, drop off supplies and take
back a few survivors. Brynner assists in delivering a baby and we see a hint of
Widmark’s troubled past in a brief flashback within this flashback followed by
a racially charged tirade toward Brynner, who we learn is half Japanese.
Chakiris insists on returning and Widmark reluctantly agrees. Their helicopter
can only carry a dozen people at a time and on the return trip the helicopter rotor
blades cause another avalanche which kills the remaining survivors.
plays Lt. Col. Glenn Stevenson, a tough Air Force veteran and survivor of a
Japanese prisoner of war camp. He was a civilian pilot and owner of a charter
airline flying supplies out of Manila, Philippines. On the eve of the Japanese
invasion of the Philippines and America’s entry in WWII, he meets his future
wife, Caroline Gordon. She’s a journalist covering the victims of a recent earthquake
for which Stevenson just happens to be flying supplies. Shirley Knight plays
Caroline in a brief and understated role as Widmark’s soon to be wife. They end
up in a Japanese prison camp and Widmark begs the Japanese camp commander for
medicine, which is denied. Their baby and his wife die in the camp and Widmark
carries this resentment to the other rescue missions.
plays Master Sgt. Mike Takashima, the senior paramedic of the team. He’s an
Army corpsmen in North Africa in 1943 during WWII during his flashback where he
meets a beautiful French speaking woman named Leila. He introduces himself
with, “Mike Takashima... father Japanese, mother Polish.” We soon learn that
she is Muslim and she and everyone else tells him their romance is not meant to
be. Not willing to give up, Brynner tells her, “My father was a Buddhist, my
mother a Seventh-day Adventist.” As Brynner searches for Leila on his
departure, she comes running to him just as a demolition team detonates an
unexploded bomb, killing Leila.
sweats a lot during the typhoon rescue mission. He’s the co-pilot and his guilt
over the avalanche deaths is relived when Widmark arrives as the replacement
pilot at the start of the movie. Widmark is faced with his racism and
resentment as he initially declines landing the float plane to rescue the
Japanese civilians. Brynner drops to the survivors with a life raft and offers
medical assistance. The three men wrap up their flashbacks and complete the
is convincingly commanding whenever he plays military men and this movie is no
exception. Likewise, Brynner is also terrific as Mike in spite of appearing
more Polish than Japanese. Widmark and Brynner are compelling in all their
films, this one included. They have a few key scenes together during the
typhoon rescue and the avalanche flashback rescue, but do not upstage one
is on hand for the younger audience members and is probably best remembered for
his skill as a dancer in “West Side Story” for which he won a best supporting
actor Oscar. He danced his way through other movies including the Jacques Demy
musical “The Young Girls of Rochefort” featuring
Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly. He also co-stared previously with Brynner in
“Kings of the Sun,” and later appeared in a stage revival of “The King and I.”
He worked with Charlton Heston in the drama “Diamond Head” and appeared in
other military themed movies like “633 Squadron” “Is Paris Burning?” and
McGuire Go Home.” He transitioned to TV roles in the 1970s and retired from
acting in the late 1990s to focus on making handcrafted jewelry.
Knight is very good in her brief scenes with Widmark. Primarily a stage and TV actress
with roles in dozens of TV series throughout her continuing prolific career,
Knight was occasionally cast in high profile movies including “Sweet Bird of
Youth,” “House of Women,” “Petulia,” “Juggernaut” and “As Good as it Gets.”
model and actress Daniele Gaubert plays the beautiful Leila in the Yul Brynner
flashback scenes. We see her briefly on the beach in a one-piece swimsuit and
she speaks only French onscreen. She had a brief acting career and is probably
best known as the star of Radley Metzger’s “Camille 2000.” She was married to
Olympic skier Jean-Claude Killy until her death from cancer at age 44.
Parker plays Lucille Carroll in the third female role, but she has very little
to do in the contemporary scenes back at the Air Rescue Service operations
center. It’s not clear exactly why she’s there other than to give concerned
commentary and look worried as radio reports come in. Parker was an American
model and actress who had parts in a handful of high profile movies and TV
series such as “Funny Face,” “Kiss Them for Me,” “The Best of Everything,” “The
Interns” and appearances in the TV series “Twilight Zone,” “It Takes a Thief”
and “Night Gallery.”
movie was directed by Michael Anderson, who had a long and prolific career and
is the director of many fan favorites. I remember watching his 1956 version of
George Orwell’s “1984” in high school after we read the book. Despite its
critics, I still enjoy his “Around the World in 80 Days” which was a broadcast
TV “event” in the era before home video and cable TV. “The Dam Busters,” “The
Wreck of the Mary Deare,” “Operation Crossbow,” “The Quiller Memorandum,” “The
Shoes of the Fisherman” and “Logan’s Run” are a few of the highlights in
Anderson’s prolific career.
From Ashiya” is predictable and melodramatic, but enjoyable and winds to a
satisfying 100 minute conclusion. The widescreen Panavision image looks very
well preserved and the audio is also more than satisfactory.. The DVD is
made-to-order through the MGM Limited Edition Collection and has no extras.
"Jurassic World" may have received mediocre reviews but the dinosaur flick has taken a gigantic bite out of the boxoffice with the second highest opening weekend gross in history (behind "The Avengers") with over $204 million. For more, click here.
The estate of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has sued Miramax for damages regarding its forthcoming feature film "Mr. Holmes" which stars Ian McKellan as Holmes in retirement. The estate claims that the screenplay has borrowed from elements of the ten stories that are still under copyright control by Doyle's ancestors. A court ruling in the USA declared that all but ten of Doyle's works are in the public domain, meaning the story elements can be used without payment of licensing or royalty fees. However, the Doyle estate jealously guards key elements of the Holmes legend that appear in the ten works that are still under their control. The estate points out in their lawsuit that the producers of the recent Sherlock Holmes feature films and the hit BBC series "Sherlock" have paid licensing fees and accuse Miramax of trying to avoid doing the same. For more click here.
The majestic Loew's Theatre on Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey is one of the theaters that had been saved from destruction.
There's few things sadder than witnessing the decline and neglect of a one time movie palace. At least in the New York City area, this trend is finally being reversed thanks to major restoration efforts to save and preserve these landmark cinema showcases. The New York Times has a major piece on these restoration efforts, which are affording movie lovers the opportunity to enjoy classic films and cultural events in these historical settings. Click here to read.
Variety reports that Bradley Cooper is in negotiations to direct the latest big screen remake of "A Star is Born". It is not known whether he intends to star, as well. The film was originally made in the 1930s with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. It was successfully remade in the 1950s with Judy Garland and James Mason. In 1976, Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starred in a modern version of the tale that was largely reviled by critics but proved to be a major boxoffice success. In recent years, Cooper's "American Sniper" director Clint Eastwood announced plans to direct another remake of the film but plans went on hold when his star, Beyonce, dropped out of the project due to pregnancy. It would appear that Eastwood has now moved on from plans to be involved in this latest remake. It's also unknown whether Beyonce will be attached to the production. If it comes to fruition, this would make Cooper's directorial debut.
The Italian fashion house Antony Morato has funded the digital restoration of director Vittoria De Sica's 1971 classic "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis", which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. The movie depicts the tragic story of an influential and affluent Jewish family in Italy prior to their deportation to Nazi death camps. The restoration will be shown at numerous international film festivals in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The restored film will premiere at a gala celebration in Rome on March 25, which will be attended by the De Sica family. For more click here.
Director Steven Spielberg has reunited with Tom Hanks for the recently-completed Cold War espionage thriller "Bridge of Spies", which tells the true story of a famous prisoner exchange that took place on a bridge in Potsdam. The intrigue involved American efforts to get back military pilot Francis Gary Powers, whose U2 spy plane had been shot down over the Soviet Union, thus giving the communists a major propaganda victory. The film will be scored by John Williams, who marks his 27th collaboration with Spielberg. For more click here.
Ford's WWII-era private plane in the aftermath of today's crash.
Iconic actor Harrison Ford has been injured in a private plane crash this afternoon. Ford, an experienced pilot, was flying his WWII-era plane when it crashed on a Los Angeles golf course this afternoon. Ford had been at the wheel of the plane and there were no other passengers. Witnesses said Ford suffered injuries and was bloodied. He was transported to a local hospital where he has been reportedly listed in critical condition. The story is developing...Details often change as more facts are known, but this is what is being reported by TMZ and NBC News. For more click here.
Director John Sturges' classic 1960 Western "The Magnificent Seven" will be remade as a big screen MGM Western by director Antoine Fuqua. Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Haley Bennett are the first cast members to be announced. The original film was based on another classic, director Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai". For decades, MGM has been trying to launch a remake of the film but the closest the studio came was with a moderately successful TV series. At various times, names like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise had been linked to remakes that never bore fruit. The first movie spawned three big screen sequels between 1966 and 1972. At the time it premiered, the only big name stars in the cast were Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach. However, the success of the movie helped launch supporting actors Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn to full-fledged leading man status. German actor Horst Bucholz also went on to a very successful career. The remaining major cast member, Brad Dexter, became a film producer. For more click here.
If you're as addicted as we are to director Joe Dante's "Trailers From Hell" web site, maybe you can help the site continue to grow. "Trailers From Hell" presents an amazing number of original theatrical trailers for everything from classic cinema to "B" movies and schlock films. Best of all, each trailer is accompanied by a commentary track by a well-known filmmaker, writer, or movie historian. You can view the trailers both with or without the commentaries. Joe tries his best to present and preserve these precious artifacts of movie marketing but there are some titles that have eluded him. Click here to find out the trailers on his "must have" list and see if you can help!
"Boyhood" won the coveted Best Film award at this year's BAFTAs. Richard Linklater won the director's award for the same film. Eddie Redmayne won for Leading Actor for "The Theory of Everything" and Julianne Moore won Leading Actress for "Still Alice". Click here for full list of winners.
In the wake of their success with "Gone Girl", Ben Affleck and director David Fincher will re-team for a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 thriller "Strangers on a Train". The original film is regarded as one of Hitchcock's best. The movie starred Farley Granger as a dapper young tennis pro who has a chance encounter with a man of similar age, played by Robert Walker, with whom he shares a compartment on a train. To pass the time, the men engage in a macabre "what-if" scenario to see if they can construct the perfect crime. They come up with what appears to be a foolproof plan. Both men name a bothersome real life person as the presumed "victim". They then agree that if each man carried out a murder on behalf of the other man, they would never be caught because they have no ties to each other and don't even know the person they will murder. The two men part company but Granger is horrified when he discovers Walker took the conversation literally and has murdered the person Granger had named as the victim. Worse, he now insists that Granger carry out his part of the plan or be murdered himself. The ingenious story line has a timeless appeal but Affleck and Fincher are walking on thin ice in terms of incurring the wrath of Hitchcock enthusiasts who regard his work as sacred. On the other hand, they obviously hope to appeal to young audiences, among whom many probably never even heard of Hitchcock, let alone the original film. The original has also been analyzed extensively for what many consider to be a homo-erotic attraction between the characters played by Granger and Walker, who had a field day creating one of the era's most memorable movie villains. Given Affleck will star, chances are this element of the original film will not be present in the remake. Click here for more.
There is a reason why most home-grown Chinese films are set in ancient times.
In an enlightening article in the New York Times, screenwriter Nury Vittachi analyzes the current state of the film industry in communist China. His verdict? Not good. Despite decades of capitalist reforms that have resulted in new freedoms and the emergence of a middle class, Big Brother is still watching over the people and arts. Vittachi laments the fact that the arts commissions that oversee every film production made in China are still clinging to the ludicrous idea that citizens will believe they are living in a real-life Shangri-la if only they don't see disturbing story lines on screen. Thus, in order to get a film made with government approval, there can be no evidence of criminal activity among Chinese citizens, no prostitution, virtually no vice of any kind- and at all times government officials must be portrayed in a heroic light. Vittachi discusses the creative loopholes filmmakers try to employ in order to get around these Draconian rules. Click here to read.
Clint Eastwood may not have snagged a Best Director Oscar nomination last week, but he's having the last laugh at the North American boxoffice. Until now, the highest weekend opening of an Eastwood film had been $29 million for "Gran Torino" in 2008. "Sniper" is projected to bring in $90 million this weekend. Warner Brothers described the film as a "cultural phenomenon" and industry analysts attribute the astonishing grosses to excellent word-of-mouth. Making the studio brass even more delighted is that Eastwood is from the old school of filmmakers: he works fast, efficiently and within a modest budget. "Sniper" cost only $60 million to make, ensuring that it will become a major financial success. Click here for more.
Western movie lovers of a certain age often reminisce about the era in which going to big ticket films was a special experience. "Roadshow" presentations played in select big city movie houses for extended runs before the film was released to local theaters nationally. In some cases, films could play for months in roadshow engagements before people in small towns and suburbia could see a blockbuster flick in their local theater. This trend is all but dead today. Even the biggest hits have short theatrical runs, at least compared to the old days. That's because studios want to capitalize on the recent marketing campaigns by moving quickly to pay-per-view, home video and cable exploitation of a hit movie. However, in India- where passions for all things cinematic run deep- one particular film has been running consistently in a Mumbai cinema for twenty years. The simple love story titled "Dilwale Duhhania Le Jayenge" touched a nerve with Indian audiences. It centers on a young Indian woman who is living in London and is about to wed through a marriage arranged by her father. This is an old and revered Indian custom that is still widely adhered to even by the younger generation. Prior to the young woman moving to a village in India where she will wed and reside, she has a chance encounter with an attractive young man and they fall in love. What sets the film apart from most cinematic depictions of such dilemmas is that the young couple doesn't simply run off but, rather, try to convince the girl's father to rescind the agreement through which his daughter will marry. Such a notion is quite controversial in India and the situation depicted on screen has consistently spoken to audiences that identify with the young couple, as well as the girl's father. The film still often plays to sold-out audiences. For more (and to view the trailer) click here.
We're not the only ones who act like Scrooge when it comes to evaluating the present state of movie poster designs. There was a time when even "B" movies boasted epic posters. Today, we have bloated $250 million productions that are marketed with cheapo poster designs that look like they were knocked out by some folks in a marketing agency in the course of 15 minutes. The Huffington Post seems to agree, as evidenced by their comparison of how Christmas-themed movies have been marketed in recent years. There seems to be only a couple of basic designs that are copied and recopied by unimaginative poster designers.
If you want to see truly imaginative poster designs, just scan fan pages on the web. The mock up "unofficial" posters you'll find there generally blow away the junk being released by major studios. Maybe it's appropriate, as most of these films are unwatchable. There may be a few gems here and there but many of them feel they have to include scatological jokes and gags and fill the screen with screaming, dysfunctional families.
As for the present state of holiday movie designs, we can sum up our feelings in one word: "Humbug!"
After facing blistering criticism from arts groups, ,actors, writers, producers, directors and even the president of the United States, Sony has announced that it will release "The Interview" to select independent theaters on Christmas Day. Sony has maintained it has been trying to find venues for the film all along, but as Cinema Retro pointed out previously, they apparently weren't looking very hard. While it is true that major theater chains are still refusing to show the film due threats of violence from the hackers, who are believed to be working for the North Korean government, independent theater owners would eagerly play the film- if for no other reason that to make a statement against self-imposed censorship. Now an unspecified number of such theaters will be showing "The Interview" on Christmas Day, the original date the movie was intended to premiere across North America. Sony appears to have been chastised by criticism but more recently, bolstered by support, not only from the arts community but also the Obama administration. Look for a deal to make the film available via streaming to be announced in the near future, as that seems like the inevitable next step. Click here for more.
She was the most famous pin-up model of the 20th century. She had an air of sweetness and innocence about her, even as she posed for kinky photos, often with more than a hint of S&M about them. The Huffington Post reports that the late, great Bettie Page is alive and well-- in spirit, anyway- as evidenced by a revival of interest in the pin-up culture she helped kick into high gear in the 1950s and 1960s.
She is the subject of films and stage productions, as the "Bad Girl" image of the 1940s comes roaring back into the 2000s- and much of it is inspired by charitable efforts to aid veterans. Seems only fair. After all, it was WWII G.Is and swabbies who immortalized their favorite female stars through tacking up sexy photos of them on their walls and lockers. Click here to read.