Disney artist and animator Dave Woodman has another great passion in his life besides bringing the studio's animated classics to life: he's a dyed-in-the-wool fan and historian of the 1963 comedy classic It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Dave has used his talents to create a line of custom-made, unique merchandise based upon the film including this really cool, upscale ($300) desk organizer. What makes it so special besides the great design work? It includes actual soil from the Big W location and glass Dave retrieved from the wreck of Smiler Grogan's car in the first scene of the movie. (Yes, he provides authentic documentation for these claims.) Also: he only has one of these unique items available for sale. For more, including other Mad Word creations, click here
Cinema Retro has received the following announcement:
filmmakers are using Kickstarter to raise the small budget needed to make a
brand new episode of classic TV detective show Columbo, in tribute to
the late Peter Falk.
on the amount of money they raise, the film may or may not get the rights to
use the name Columbo from Universal, but at the very least they want to
make a show in that 1970s American TV-style that fans of the genre will enjoy.
have various levels of funding options available with some great rewards, and
are appealing to the public to get behind the project. What could be a better
Christmas gift for the Columbo fan in your life than a piece of branded
memorabilia, a signed script or even a name in the credits?
For more information and the opportunity to become a
backer of the project go to their Kickstarter by clicking here
(Please note: this notice is posted for informational purposes only. The Kickstarter campaign does not involve Cinema Retro in any way, although our columnist Adrian Smith is one of the production team that is trying to get the project off the ground.)
It's no secret that the Loew's Jersey City Theatre is a favorite of Cinema Retro readers in the New York/New Jersey area. The magazine periodically provides film scholars to introduce classic movie screenings there. Located only minutes from mid-town Manhattan, the landmark theater that opened in 1929 has seen its share of hard times and almost faced the wrecking ball before activists saved it in the 1980s. Since then, a private ad-hoc group called Friends of the Loew's has been managing the theater and overseeing a painstaking restoration of the palace back to its former glory by using mostly volunteer help. The theater now screens classic movies monthly and also offers concerts and stage productions. Now the new Mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, weighs in on his views about the potential for the place to become the hub for the revival of Journal Square, the famed center of the city that has been in decline since the 1970s. The area is on the verge of seeing a boom and the Mayor feels the Loew's can be a major, world class venue. Those who have nurtured the Loew's, however, are nervous that the politicos will move in and undo progress that has been brought about by the current management team. The Mayor assures the Friends of the Loew's that "we are not throwing them out" and says that sizable investments from private industry will be pouring into the theater to finalize its full restoration. Click here for more
At a recent auction of classic movie memorabilia conducted by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies in New York City, an original Maltese Falcon sold for $4,085,000. There were two falcons built for John Huston's classic 1941 movie but this one can be verified as actually having been in the film. It was purchased by an anonymous collector. The piece is thought to be the third highest valued movie collectible in history having sold for slightly less than the original Batmobile and James Bond's original Aston Martin DB5. Click here for more
George Lazenby, Laurene Landon and Douglas Dunning in "Hunter".
Douglas Dunning, Cinema Epoch’s Director
of Acquisitions, has just announced that the company has obtained the rights to
release four films from XPosse Productions for worldwide distribution on DVD and
on all digital platforms. Scary Tales
is among the titles scheduled for release. Here
is a brief trailer for the film.
Mr. Dunning is currently also appearing
opposite actor George Lazenby, who is best known for playing James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969),
in the recently completed film Hunter, which was directed by Gregory
Hatanaka, who is also the president of Cinema Epoch. Mr. Lazenby plays General Bullmont in the
film. Also starring is actress Laurene
Landon who has starred in the Peter Falk film All the Marbles (1981), I,
the Jury (1982), Hundra (1983)
and Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold
Mr. Dunning can also be seen in Jason
Rutherford’s upcoming film Shhhh. You can view the trailer here
and click on the homepage here.
At a recent symposium in St. Louis, Jesuits joined with members of the public for a symposium dedicated to discussing the actual incident that inspired William Peter Blatty's best-selling book The Exorcist, which in turn, was adapted into the classic 1973 horror film by director William Friedkin. The incident involved a 13 year old boy who was allegedly possessed by demonic spirits. The Catholic church, which had pretty much down played exorcisms in the modern age, gave rare permission for Father William Bowdren to perform the ritual. The identity of the boy remains secret even today and Father Bowdren, who died in 1983, never discussed specifics of the case other than to say "it was the real thing." Nevertheless, there is disagreement even among contemporary priests about the validity of the claim. Some say it's very probable that whatever physical manifestations Father Bowdren witnessed afflicting the boy could have been attributed to other causes. If faith is a belief in something that cannot be proven through traditional means, how one views the incident depends on one's religious convictions. If someone believes in God and an afterlife, it stands to reason that it isn't much of a stretch to believe in the existence of evil spirits. Conversely, skeptics and those who look to science as opposed to faith would look to natural causes for such occurrences. Whatever your views are, the incident certainly inspired one hell of a creepy horror story.- Lee Pfeiffer For more click here
(Issue #19 of Cinema Retro features an exclusive interview with William Peter Blatty. Click below to order)
Our good friend actor Robert Davi has a sensational second career as a crooner. His Sinatra tribute show is getting rave reviews and the Huffington Post called him "a legend in the making". Now Davi has just released a wonderful new single on CD. New York City Christmas calls to mind the kind of unapologetically old-fashioned, sentimental holiday songs you just don't hear anymore. If you haven't heard him sing, you're in for a real treat.(We love that cover art by Steve Penley). Here is the official press release:
Angeles, CA--Singer/actor ROBERT
DAVI will be releasing his forthcoming “New York City Christmas” single for the upcoming holiday
season. The song was recorded at the iconic Capitol Records’ Studio A,
where Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole and The Beatles once laid down some of
their most memorable work. Davi recorded “New York City Christmas” with
arranger/conductor ChrisWalden (Michael Buble), and is
accompanied by a live 30-piece orchestra, creating a lush background for the
holiday seasoned-song. “New
York City Christmas” was produced by legendary mixing engineer Al Schmitt, John Potoker and Nick Vallelonga, who also wrote the
song. Vallelonga has extensive directing, writing and producing credits
including: Yellow Rock, Stiletto and the
forthcoming romantic comedy, That’s Amore! (2014).
DAVI, who recently released DAVI
SINGS SINATRA – On The Road to Romance, produced by the
legendary Phil Ramone and
mixing engineer Al Schmitt (which
hit #6 on Billboard’s Top 10 Jazz chart), will be in New York for
promotion of the song in November and December.
Quincy Jones says of Davi’s performances: “As FS would say, 'Koo, Koo.' Wow! I have
never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra's sound – and still be himself.
Many try, but Robert Davi has the voice, tone, the flavor and the swagger. He
absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of
'Ol Blue Eyes himself.”
noted actor in motion pictures, DAVI is scheduled to film The
Expendables 3 on location in Bulgaria in October with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Swartzenegger,
Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Jet Li and DolphLundgren – is best known for his
roles as FBI Special Agent Johnson in Die Hard; Franz Sanchez in Licence
to Kill; Jake Fratelli in The Goonies and Ray Ferritto in Kill
the Irishman. He has appeared in
more than 100 moviesand television
The last known photograph of Doris Day, taken in 2008. The screen legend is now largely relegated to staying indoors.
In an interview with a former assistant to Doris Day, the Daily Mail reveals that there are concerns that the 91 year-old screen legend may be in a precarious state. Ms. Day has always been the most reluctant of superstars. Despite being a chart-topping singer and one of the most popular actresses of her era, Ms. Day has worn the mantle of fame and fortune very modestly. Her life has been beset by tumultuous marriages, deaths and estrangements. Like Cary Grant, she walked away from the motion picture business in the 1960s (her last film was released in 1968). She had a successful TV sitcom in the early 1970s and would periodically appear in the medium from time to time. She spent most of her life in a rather secluded manner, having sworn off relationships with men. Most of her efforts in her post-acting years were devoted to helping injured and stray animals. Rumors have abounded that Ms. Day was a total eccentric but friends and neighbors said that wasn't true. She would often be seen around her home town of Carmel, California, shopping or running errands. She also prided herself on answering fan mail personally. Now, however, it is feared that her health is deteriorating and that the quality of her life has been compromised by caregivers who are allegedly little more than adequate. For more click here
It was the last remaining Mecca for movie memorabilia collectors in New York City. Jerry Ohlinger's Movie Memorabilia Store at 253 W. 35th Street in Manhattan will close it's doors and sell goods only on line. There was a time when New York, like most major city, had numerous major outlets selling movie stills, photos, magazines and other goodies. Rising rents and lack of interest in collecting among the new generation combined to force these wonderful places to close. In New York, Mark Ricci's old Memory Shop contained the stuff dreams were made of. But with Ricci's death many years ago, there was no heir apparent to carry on and much of his stock was purchased by friendly rival Jerry Ohlinger. There was also the long-standing Movie Star News, which had morphed into a rather antiseptic place characterized by neatly arranged, bland filing cabinets that somehow violated the unwritten rule that memorabilia shops should be cluttered, friendly places. Movie Star News finally closed its doors last years. Back in the 1970s and 1980s the Cinemabilia book shop and collector's store was the place to keep up with movie books and collectibles prior to the advent of the internet. They were the first major New York venue to close. Along 8th Avenue, minor memorabilia stores would open and close throughout the years, but Jerry Ohlinger's persistently survived even in the face of a changing marketplace. Finally, rent of $9,000 a month put the kabosh on his ability to maintain a store five days a week. The good news is that Ohlinger will continue his mail order and eBay sales- and it will also be possible for customers to make appointments to review memorabilia in person, but this will have to be done by appointment, according to Dollie Banner, a long time employee of Ohllinger and a contributing writer to Cinema Retro.
On a personal level, this announcement really hurts. I've know Jerry Ohlinger since 1971 and have acquired countless items from his store. His inventory has always been helpful in the publishing of Cinema Retro. Whenever I walk through mid-town Manhattan, I inevitably stop by to pick up some hard-to-find stills and chat with Dollie. Jerry still holds court there, his trademark soggy, unlit cigar dangling from his mouth. He has had several different locations over the years in Manhattan. The one I have the fondest memories of was located in Greenwich Village way back when. Those were the days when the store acted as something like a neighborhood barber shop for local movie fans who would gravitate there to to discuss and debate cinema. I'm glad Jerry is still hanging in there, even on a virtual basis, but I'll sure miss the human element as New York's last great memorabilia shop closes its doors. Thanks for the memories, Jerry.
Gregory Peck in the screen version of To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee, the reclusive 87 year old author of the American literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird, is taking legal action against the Monroe Heritage Museum, located in Lee's hometown in Alabama. Lee acknowledges that her novel, which was adapted into the classic 1962 film starring Gregory Peck in an Oscar-winning performance, has had a significant cultural impact. However, she maintains that the Museum is crossing the line and profiting by using her work and image for purely commercial purposes including running a gift shop that capitalizes on her work. The Museum denies all allegations and attributes the suit to the greed of Lee's "handlers". Like Margaret Mitchell, author of another American classic, Gone With the Wind, Harper Lee never wrote another novel after her first great success, which directly addressed the shameful racial practices taking place in the segregated American South. For more click here
The next time you think you've got too much time on your hands, consider Canadian artist Kristan Horton,who professes not to own a TV, but somehow became so obsessed with Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove that he's recreated some of the most iconic sequences from the film using everyday household objects. This is the kind of time-consuming diversion one would think was last practiced by inhabitants of the Bastille, yet we have to admit Horton has fashioned some remarkable images. We can't wait to see his tribute to General Jack D. Ripper's "precious bodily fluids"! The web site www.cinematical.com uncovered this bizarre tribute. To indulge yourself click here.
"MEIN FUHRER, THEY'VE MADE A TRIBUTE TO ME USING CLOTHESPINS AND DINNERWARE!"
Ever wonder why the plot lines and even trailers of today's action movies often seem indistinguishable? Well, the truth is that they are intentionally made to be indistinguishable.Slate writer Peter Suderman reveals that the late author Blake Snyder's book Save the Cat! was designed to give aspiring screenwriters some tips about producing scripts with commercial appeal. However, the self-help scenario worked too well. The book has been used as a formula by studio executives to commission big budget action movies that never stray far from some basic plot devices. It's as generic as you can get, with only the characters distinguishing one story from another. The article explains why Hollywood is so devoid of creativity: if one Iron Man movie makes a ton of money, just make ten more movies just like it. The strategy works theoretically, but not always financially. Audiences often know they are being served warmed over, recycled fare and this often results in such "sure-fire" hits bombing at the box-office. Click here to read
Cartoonist and film book author Sophie Cossette pays tribute to the late, great British director Ken Russell, calling him "The Mad Hatter of British Sinema" and examining the stories behind Russell's controversial films. There's also her unique cartoons that enhance the very enlightening analysis. Click here to view
When F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote "There are no second acts in American lives", he would have missed the boat when it comes to actor Robert Davi. He's been a familiar face on the big screen and TV for decades and is known as one of the most memorable James Bond villains. Davi was generally regarded as a reliable and talented character actor. When I made his acquaintance some years ago, we instantly bonded. He is a regular guy with a New York attitude, no ego and a mutual love of exchanging ball-busting jokes with any other guy in his orbit. We share a love of good cigars and stories of old Hollywood but the difference, of course, is that Davi's stories are based on personal experience. His first major role came about when Frank Sinatra personally chose him as a co-star, despite his lack of experience. That was the basis of a long-time friendship and Davi always spoke reverently of Sinatra, s grateful for the break he gave him. A few years back, we were conversing over some stogies and arguing politics (we're on opposite sides but love debating the issues),when Davi told me he was determined to embark on a second career as a crooner of Sinatra's songs. In my typically gentle way of offering advice I told him he was crazy. I told him no one would go to a concert to see a guy who never sang a note on screen. Then shortly thereafter, Robert starred in a directed a little-seen independent movie called The Dukes, about an over-the-hill group of doo-woppers who were attempting to make a comeback. He did all of his own singing and was quite brilliant. The next thing I knew, he was being acclaimed as one of the best Sinatra tributes act ever. Davi is now the toast of the town, taking his show on the road around the country to packed houses. He's now fulfilling another dream by combining his singing talents on stage with Don Rickles, one of Sinatra's best cronies. In a review on The Huffington Post, writer Ellen Sterling calls him "A legend in the making". Sometimes nice guys do finish first. For more click here
HBO has made a deal with executive producers J.J. Arbrams and Jerry Weintraub to buy a pilot for a TV series based on Michael Crichton's thriller Westworld. The story was already made into a hit 1973 MGM film starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin. If the story line remains consistent, it will involve the establishment of a high end amusement park where people can live out their most extreme fantasies. The park features exact period recreations of various eras of history with the gimmick that highly sophisticated robots are intermingled with the guests and are indistinguishable from the humans, who can use or abuse them as their fantasies dictate. Things go wrong when a design flaw in the control program allows the robots to think for themselves and rebel against their human masters. For more click here
Despite his aversion to making public appearances or attending awards shows (he has even shunned the Oscars when nominated), Woody Allen will receive the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at next year's Golden Globe ceremonies, to be telecast on January 14. For more click here
Did anyone even know a sequel to Easy Rider was in the works? Suddenly, it is upon us. Easy Rider: The Ride Back follows the life and adventures of the son of Wyatt Willliams (aka "Captain America", played by Peter Fonda in the 1969 classic). We don't know how the new team of filmmakers scored the rights to a film that was so contentious between Fonda and his co-star and director Dennis Hopper that they could never agree on a concept for a follow-up. A trailer has been released for the film, which opens later this month. We hate to judge a book by its cover but the trailer looks pretty awful...like a low-brow attempt to rip off the original, with some unconvincing Vietnam footage and plenty of tits and ass tossed in for the male audience. On the up side, two great character actors have prominent roles: Michael Nouri and Rance Howard, so let's all just hope for the best.- Lee Pfeiffer Click here for more and to view trailer.
Upon the 50th anniversary of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, you
can own an authentic piece of the movie. You can even wear an authentic
piece of the movie. Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe award
winning artist Dave Woodman is mainly known for his 20 years of Hollywood
animation, especially the Disney animation & over 35 years of illustration
work. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin are among his
animation credits. Paula Abdul dancing with a cartoon cat in her
Opposites Attract video, miniature animated children for Honey I shrunk the
Kids titles as well as an animated Santa that looks suspiciously like Al
Hirschfeld in Christmas Vacation are all part of the flow of graphite Dave
spewed during that magical time of his life. Familiar illustration
projects include The Laugh Factory logo and Phyllis Diller's caricature
logo. All of this aside, Dave recently created a line of shift knobs,
jewelery, belt buckles, paperweights, charms, models and assorted art pieces
with authentic pieces of Jimmy "The Smiler" Durante's crashed car
from the legendary opening sequence of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
In the year 2000, the
traditional animation system was coming to an end. Without an inkling
that this might be in his future, Dave used downtime to travel to Palm Springs
in search of filming locations from this, his favorite movie. When movies
could only be watched in the theater or on network television, availability of
location photos was extremely rare. The aid of video tape and DVDs made
finding locations possible. Near and around "The Smiler"'s
bucket kicking location, Dave noticed piles of glass, turned aqua by the sun
and assorted car parts. This was an added and unanticipated bonus.
Dave says, with a smile, "The parts can be traced to find that they are
indeed from a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500." A '57 Fairlane was the
automobile used in this most beloved car crash. Since a ramp was built
for the Ford to dive from and the car deliberately raced downhill for the most
spectacular sail and impact possible, no other Ford Fairlane could have landed
that far down the mountainside. So, aged glass turned aqua by the sun and
other Ford Fairlane pieces found in the exact spots that are now traceable by
DVD research, all add up to a treasure find other than the Smiler's buried
$350,000. Dave even found a piece 16m of 16mm movie film negative down
there, deemed authentic by archivist-producer
Robert Harris! "At first I thought it was a piece of paper,
and then I noticed the sprocket holes. You might say I found some of the
missing footage,...if you don't care what you say". The very short
scene shot from inside the wayward car explains a possibility related to the
film find. A hubcap, side chrome, red taillight fragments, headlight
fragments, and even a tire were left for Dave to discover. Research has
taught Dave that, "The Nygen General Dual 90 was common on this type of
car. It was left in the right spot and mangled instead of blown
out. In addition to the larger finds obscure pieces such as the top off
of a shock absorber and a Fairlane Custom door lock cylinder lever only gave me
more confidence in what I had found."
"How could I just leave it all down there?" Mr. Woodman
asked. "Over the years I left most of it, thinking that there should
be some for anyone else who might track down this location. Then after
moving to Palm Springs I noticed a line of cones was placed down that side of
the road, leading me to believe the road might be widened. This could
have covered all of it and that's when I started seriously gathering whatever
Fairlane parts I found. When I noticed the 50th anniversary approaching,
I began to make items of interest out of the very beautiful, aqua glass, as
well as merely placing pieces in protective cubes. I believe this
materiel should belong to the people who will love it. The more fun I can
make from it, the better." Dave's "Smiler" products are
currently listed at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DaveWoodmanArt?ref=ss_profile
What makes even a larger
treasure is the use of 3 cars to create this spectacular wreck sequence.
Dave noticed, "The first car shown, tilts to its left, the second in the
sequence hits head on and flips over and the third is shown settling right side
up. I discovered that the final car shown was used as the prop car behind
Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Jimmy Durante, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney and
Jonathan Winters. Since it had crash landed right side up, most of the
glass remained inside. Turning it on its side for use behind the men
caused more glass to spill out. I finally found all 4 areas when my
friend Ron Kwal helped me find where the car that tilted to its left had hit
the ground. It's mysterious to me is that the glass from this car did not
turn aqua. Hopefully someone can tell me why."
When asked if there's anything else he might add, Dave said, "Criterion
has hired me to create a map of locations for their box set release of this
movie and last night Karen Kramer gave me permission to reveal that the 50th
anniversary Cinerama Dome screening of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World will
take place on October 27th. The Dome itself was built to showcase this
Los Angeles continues to suffer from the "runaway production" syndrome that has found virtually none of this summer's major blockbuster releases filmed in the legendary movie capital. For many years, production has been on a downward spiral in Hollywood as studios are lured by major tax incentives in other states, England and Canada. New York City has prospered by aggressively pursuing studios with such incentives. L.A. has incentives, too, but they pale in comparison to what other locales are offering. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is fighting back, lobbying state politicians to enact even greater tax incentives and hiring a new "Film Czar" to actively work to bring production back to Hollywood. However, it may be a quixotic undertaking. In a state that has been devastated by severe financial cuts across the board, some who live outside of L.A. feel that further tax incentives may benefit L.A. on a local level but be a losing proposition for the rest of California. In the earliest days of the film industry, New York and New Jersey were the centers of business before the lure of Hollywood devastated local production. Now, ironically, Hollywood finds itself in the same bind. For more click here
Welles starred in the lost film Too Much Johnson, along with his friend and frequent collaborator Joseph Cotten.
Contrary to popular opinion, Orson Welles' first cinematic experience was not on his 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane. As film critic Dave Kehr reports in the New York Times, as early as 1934, when still a schoolboy, Welles made an 8 minute, sophisticated short film that was satirical in nature. However, his other pre-Kane film venture is more legendary simply because it was widely believed to have been lost to the ages. In 1938, Welles was engaged (at age 23) to direct and star in short film segments that would accompany a stage revival of actor William Gillette's 1894 romantic farce, Too Much Johnson, which centers on a philanderer whose schemes get him in trouble with the women in his life. The plan was to have various acts of the revived production preceded by filmed segments. Welles put a lot of time and effort into the project and was pleased with the results. However, when the revival of the play was shelved early on, Welles naturally abandoned the accompanying filmed segments. In 1978, he told a reporter that he had recently rediscovered the footage in his villa in Spain and that it was pristine in terms of condition. The notoriously critical Welles also heaped praise on the starring performance in the film of his old friend and collaborator, Joseph Cotten, whose work he called "magnificent". Welles said he intended to send a copy of the film to Cotten as a present but, ironically, before he could do so, a fire destroyed Welles' villa. Everyone presumed the footage was lost in the inferno and Welles, who died in 1985, never mentioned the film again. Now it has come to light that the footage has been found in an Italian storage locker. How it got there remains a mystery, but after being lost to time, the film is now being prepared for its first public screening at a film festival. For more on this fascinating story, click here
PangeaSeed, artist Craig Drake and Hero Complex Gallery are pleased to announce a shark-saving effort of monstrous proportions: Smile, You Son of a Bitch! An Art Tribute to JAWS!
For three days only, from November 1 - 3, 2013, at Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, we will host a one of a kind art exhibition featuring original artworks created by 70+ of today’s most renowned artists in celebration of one of the most iconic films in movie history. This unprecedented exhibition aims to engage the audience by helping to further bring much needed awareness to the global plight of sharks.
The three day event will see guest appearances by original cast and crew from the movie, original film memorabilia and collectibles on display, special guest presentations from some of today’s leading shark experts and exciting film screenings. Search deep and wide, without a doubt this is the must-see event of the year for JAWS fans!
Leading up to the opening night reception on November 1, PangeaSeed will release 4 limited edition fine art screen prints entitled “JAWS: The Lost Trading Card Set” created in collaboration with supporting artist Craig Drake and printed via Seizure Palace Screen Printing. A new print will be released monthly to help make this event possible - we greatly appreciate your support.
The year was 1972 and Jerry Lewis was embarking on the the riskiest venture of his long, successful screen career. He would star in and direct The Day the Clown Cried, a dramatic and sobering tale about a Jewish clown who is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. He is only able to survive by making himself useful to his captors by distracting doomed children with his antics as he leads them to the gas chamber. The announcement that Lewis would be involved in such a production raised eyebrows at the time and more than a bit of skepticism that he could pull it off. Lewis had been one of the top boxoffice attractions in the world in the 1950s and 1960s, but by the advent of the 1970s he knew that his squeaky clean family films were out of touch with the Woodstock generation. He was convinced he could launch a new career as a dramatic star and director. However, the film ran into problems almost immediately with production funds from private sources routinely drying up. This forced Lewis to cut the budget practically to that of a home movie level. Still, he soldiered on a completed the film. However, legal battles over the rights have prevented it from ever being released. Over the years, Lewis has shown the movie to only a handful of trusted confidants. Their reaction was uniformly terrible and Lewis now accepts the blame for the movie's artistic failures, saying "I lost the magic" and vowing no one else will ever see the movie. Nevertheless, some footage has surfaced from a German documentary done at the time of production that shows Lewis on the set of the movie and a glimpses of him performing as a clown. Click here to view
If you're not thrilled with the announcement that Ben Affleck will be the screen's latest Batman, you're not alone. There is already a public petition that has garnered thousands of signatures protesting the studio's choice of Affleck. Some fans actually got a petition temporarily posted on the White House web site begging President Obama to do something about it! (Click here to read more). We'll give ol' Ben the benefit of the doubt. After all, from the moment Daniel Craig was announced as the new 007, fan protest sites sprang up around the world. They vanished as soon as the film premiered and Craig received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. Maybe luck will shine on Affleck, as well, though comic book fans are even more cynical and hard to please than 007 buffs. In any event, the newly launched web site Do Your Remember? weighs in on the subject, with writer Neil Vazquez offering evidence for his choices for the screen's worst Caped Crusaders. (Fortunately, Adam West did not make the list). Click here to read.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
are delighted to announce the Halloween 2013 theatrical and home video releases
of an eagerly awaited new restoration of F. W. Murnau's legendary silent cinema
horror classic Nosferatu: A
Symphony of Horror (1922), expertly restored in Germany by the
world-renowned Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung (FWMS).
revival of a horror classic, one of the most famous of all silent films,
follows Eureka! Entertainment's hugely successful restoration showcases of
in 2010 and Carl Theodor Dreyer's The
Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) in 2012.
UK theatrical run will be co-ordinated by Eureka! Entertainment and will open
in selected cinemas nationwide on Friday October 25, 2013, just in time for
Halloween, and will also feature as part of the BFI’s GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film which runs from 21st October
2013 – 31st January 2014. This year the BFI will take Britain back to darker
times and thrill the nation by uncovering, as never before, the dark heart of film.
With over 150 titles and around 1000 screenings GOTHIC features spectacularly
terrifying special events to thrill every corner of the UK. GOTHIC will explore film’s most popular theme,
spawning some of the medium’s most iconic, powerful and terrifying scenes and
characters whose lasting popularity just refuses to die www.bfi.org.uk/gothic
Blu-ray SteelBook and DVD releases of Nosferatu will follow with a raft of
special features to be announced nearer the release date, as part of Eureka!
Entertainment's award-winning The
Masters of Cinema Series www.mastersofcinema.org.
Benson, head of Eureka! Entertainment, comments: “Eureka! Entertainment have
had the real pleasure of releasing some of the absolute classics of silent
cinema, and there are arguably no more iconic than F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu, the grandfather of all
vampire films, which continues to thrill, chill, and horrify audiences nearly 100
years after it was made.”
Keller, producer of The Masters of Cinema Series, adds: “This new restoration
of Nosferatu has
been meticulously prepared and looks truly outstanding. It will allow a new
generation to experience afresh one of the greatest of all cinematographic
horrors, and a monument of German expressionism, looking better than ever. The
film is uncanny, legitimately terrifying – to see it on the big screen in the
midst of the Halloween season will make for an unforgettable experience.”
praise for Nosferatu:
"The first and probably the greatest of all vampire films."
"[F. W. Murnau is] the greatest film director the Germans have ever
known." – Lotte Eisner
James Cameron has promised (threatened?) that there will indeed be three more films based on his blockbuster Avatar. He will be working with four different screenwriters on the films, which Fox will release over a three year period beginning in 2016. Cameron will co-script each of the films, which will be shot simultaneously presumably with Cameron directing (he is also producing). It is not certain whether these will be sequels, prequels or both. Cameron has the unique distinction of having the two top grossing films of all time: Avatar and Titanic. Fox is said to be committing to a combined budget of up to $1 billion for the project (Cameron does not work cheap and often exceeds his budget estimates.) Yet, Cameron is considered to be "money in the bank" for any studio lucky enough to enlist his talents. For some of us, Avatar was over-hyped and over-praised, but there is no denying moviegoers embraced the film, seeing it numerous times. Whether that enthusiasm will have waned by 2016 remains to be seen, but it's a likely bet that Cameron-Mania will still be in full swing. - Lee Pfeiffer
John Williams has confirmed that he will return to the Star Wars series to score director J.J. Abram's "Episode VII", which is expected to reunite the stars of the original film, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Williams says he has not seen the script yet but gave an interview in which he discusses his ideas about how to score the film. Click here for more
The much-hyped Wolverine movie top-lining Hugh Jackman has opened a bit soft at the American boxoffice, grossing an okay $55 million in its opening weekend, about $10 million less than predicted. The number is still adequate for an action film but the overseas markets for the film show Wolverine to be a very hot item with young audiences. In the U.S. specialty market, Woody Allen's latest flick Blue Jasmine has scored the highest per-theater gross of the year. The acclaimed film is said to be a shoo-in for Cate Blanchett to nab an Oscar nomination. For more click here
It may be hard believe, with cinemas awash in the latest big, dumb action movie extravaganzas, but reality-based feature films designed to appeal to thinking people are actually making a comeback. The success of recent movies like Lincoln and The King's Speech has convinced studios to at least temporarily recognize that the movie-going audience is comprised of more than pimple-faced kids who are willing to sit through two hours of endless explosions and cheesy special effects. Thus, throughout the course of the year, there will be a number of high profile films based on real life people and dramatic incidents including Captain Phillips, in which Tom Hanks stars as the captain of a vessel who was captured by Somali pirates and who was ultimately rescued by Navy Seals. Click here for more
Henry Fonda gave an iconic performance as Tom Joad in John Ford's original screen version of Steinbecks Depression-era classic.
Steven Spielberg is reportedly finalizing negotiations with the estate of John Steinbeck to produce a big screen remake of The Grapes of Wrath. The original film, released in 1940, is regarded as a cinematic classic and won an Oscar for director John Ford. Spielberg is adamant that he won't direct the film, only produce it. He seems to have edged out Robert Redford, who was also eager to remake the movie. There are certain distribution rights that have to be sorted out with Fox, which released the original film, according to Deadline.com For more click here
Hollywood studio's obsession with finding the next big "tent pole" action movie franchise has been wreaking havoc on corporate profits. The recent flop of The Lone Ranger may be the most high profile debacle but there are plenty of other overstuffed turkeys like White House Down and R.I.P.D. that boast plenty of talented actors, all of whom are reaching for the low-hanging fruit of a quick, sizable paycheck without the slightest concern about the quality of the projects they are appearing in. Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports that these flops are starting to cost real money...but the "suits" in the executive suites can't pull themselves away from sinking even more money into risky ventures to find the next big blockbuster. Click here for more
Johnny Depp's boxoffice clout may be on the wane but you'd never know if from the size of the paychecks he's pulling in. Despite the fact that his pet project, The Lone Ranger, may end up costing Disney losses of over $150 million, Depp is estimated to earn as much as $100 million to reprise his shopworn Captain Jack Sparrow character for yet another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. Depp is being roundly criticized for grabbing at low hanging fruit in terms of cinematic projects and for continuing to play quirky, eccentric and over-the-top characters who may be wearing thin with his fan base. In fairness, he has periodically paused to play "real" people, but those film ventures have also bombed. For more click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Warner Home Video:
Burbank, Calif. June 4, 2013 – Marking the 75thanniversary ofThe Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros. has produced a 3D remastered version of the film which will launch a comprehensive, cross-divisional campaign encompassing theatrical, home entertainment, consumer products and a number of promotional partnerships.
Kicking off the celebration, The Wizard of Oz 3D will be presented in the immersive IMAX® 3D format and return to the big screen for an exclusive one-week engagement in IMAX® theatres across North America beginning September 20, 2013.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with IMAX® as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this iconic film,” said Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. “The Wizard of Oz IMAX® 3D Experience is an integral part of our studio-wide anniversary initiative and we are excited to give fans the rare opportunity to see this stunning version on the big screen.”
“The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved films of all time and we are thrilled that our longtime partners at Warner Bros. have made IMAX® a part of this exciting milestone event,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX® Entertainment. “This film revolutionized the use of color and special effects in cinema, and we’re excited to add another ‘first’ – bringing this timeless classic to moviegoers through the power of The IMAX 3D Experience® for the very first time.”
The IMAX® release The Wizard of Oz will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX 3D Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX®'s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.
Following the IMAX® theatrical release, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will release a limited and numbered The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on October 1, 2013, featuring the 3D version of the film and more.
“Seventy-five years later, The Wizard of Oz continues its reign as a multi-generational favorite, with nearly 100 percent awareness among adults and more than 80 percent awareness among children,” said Jeff Baker, WBHE Executive Vice President and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog. “In this new 3D version, the film is bound to make history all over again—with both past and future fans.”
The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition will debut as a five-disc set that will include Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and UltraViolet versions of the film; a new documentary, The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz;bonus features and premium collectibles ($105.43 SRP). Three more editions will be available separately: a two-disc 3D/Blu-ray ($35.99 SRP), a one-disc Blu-ray ($19.98 SRP) and a two-disc DVD ($16.95 SRP). All four will contain the new documentary and extra content.
SPECIAL FEATURES will include all previously released special features along with:
ALL-NEW Documentary! The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz—This candid overview of how a troubled production overcame the odds to become an integral part of American culture features contributions from historians John Fricke and Sam Wasson, composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critics Leonard Maltin and Michael Sragow, Bert Lahr’s son John as well as revealing interview clips with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Margaret Hamilton and Mervyn LeRoy, among others.
NEW! Exclusive Collectible Memorabilia —Acollectible 75th Anniversary journal; Sparkle RUBY SLIPPERS™ Globe; Noble Collection 3-piece enamel pin set, a Map of Oz and a 48-page hardcover book. Collection is limited and numbered.
The 3D conversion was a long and complex project which Warner Bros. initiated with a very high resolution (8k) scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative. The restored 2D image was then transformed by creating a depth-map of each frame to construct 3D imagery and determine distances from the viewer’s vantage point. This was followed by the long process (with the use of a rotoscope) to further refine viewer distances and fully layer shapes and objects.
“People have asked for years about The Wizard of Oz3D conversion. My answer was always, ‘We’re not doing it until it’s perfect.’ And now it is,” said Ned Price, Warner Technical Operations’ Vice President of Mastering. “As a kid, I was so enthralled by this film. Watching it, you just want to enter the frame, enter the Land of Oz. This new version will allow you to do just that.”
In support of the 75th anniversary of the film, Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ extensive licensing program of more than 80 top-tier licensees will expand with new partnerships. Leading the way is master toy partner Jazwares, along with Mattel, Rubies, Lionel, Steiff, USAopoly, Thomas Kinkade, and many more that will be taking part in the celebration. Special commemorative anniversary product will be available across a wide array of categories including apparel, jewelry, collectibles, publishing, stationery and paper goods, toys and games, slot machines and personal care.
In addition, the Warner Bros. releases will be massively supported by a far-reaching promotional campaign encompassing numerous participants. National corporate partners include (to date) promotional activities with a Major National Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR), the debut of a giant hot-air balloon and balloonhead characters in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as joint programs with Amtrak, Gourmet Trading Company, Langers Juice, QVC and Simon Malls®. In collaboration with the Ad Council and the National Highway TrafficSafety Administration, new child passenger safety Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring iconic elements from The Wizard of Oz film will be distributed and run in donated media nationally.
The Wizard of Oz themed competition will also be featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” to be aired later this year.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Paramount Home Video:
Paramount Home Media Distribution (PHMD) announced today that four beloved films starring the incomparable Danny Kaye are available on iTunes for the first time ever in celebration of The Danny Kaye Centennial. Fans can now download the Oscar-nominated biopic The Five Pennies (1959), the musical comedy On the Double (1961), the period comedy The Court Jester (1955) and the hilarious caper Knock on Wood (1954), all quintessential family-friendly films that everyone can enjoy for Father’s Day. This year marks the 60th anniversary for Kaye as a UNICEF ambassador as well as the 60th anniversary of both the Knock on Wood and White Christmas releases.
In The Five Pennies Kaye cuts loose with his trademark dramatic and comedic talents in this success-tempered-with-tears biopic of jazz great Red Nichols, which features legendary performances by Louis Armstrong, along with big band icons Bob Crosby, Ray Anthony and Shelly Manne. In On the Double Kaye stars as Ernie Williams, a G.I. with weak eyes, a weak stomach and weak nerves but an uncanny resemblance to British Colonel MacKenzie. Williams is asked to impersonate the Colonel, allowing him to make a secret trip East – but what Williams is not told is that the Colonel has recently been a target of Nazi assassins. The Court Jester showcases Kaye’s variety of talents as he plays kind-hearted entertainer Hawkins who disguises himself as the legendary king of jesters, Giacomo. Hawkins infiltrates the court of the evil villain Basil Rathbone, but when a sorceress hypnotizes him, royal chaos ensues. In Knock on Wood Kaye is a ventriloquist who becomes the target of a spy ring when secret plans are hidden in his dummies’ heads.
The Danny Kaye Centennial, which began in late 2012 and continues into early 2014, isa celebration of events and activities honoring a legendary entertainer and trail blazing humanitarian’s amazing contributions to the arts. The event highlights this uniquely talented man who brought laughter and joy to generations and served as UNICEF’S first Goodwill Ambassador. Kaye received countless accolades during his lifetime including Oscars®, Emmys®, Golden Globes®, The French Legion of Honor, The Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Beginning in October of 2012 events around the country invited the public to experience the talents that made Danny Kaye one of a kind. These included programs with UNICEF, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, the Paley Center for Media, Sirius XM Radio, Museum of the Moving Image and The New York Pops. The Danny Kaye Centennial will culminate with UNICEF presenting the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award in January 2014.
Ever wonder what toy factories in China do with leftover parts? Generally, they try to make use of them by combining them in the creation of other toys, even when it isn't appropriate. In a hilarious slide show on Flavorwire, Jason Bailey has a remarkable collection of the worst bootleg superhero toys ever created. How about Superman using a parachute or riding a horse? Most of the toys change the name of the character, as though we're not supposed to believe he could possibly be based on Superman, Batman or Spiderman. Thus, we get Specialman, Spaderman and Silver Bat (who also rides a horse!) Click here to view
To commemorate Criterion's Blu-ray release of acclaimed director/cinematographer Haskell Wexler's 1969 counter-culture classic Medium Cool, Criterion asked Wexler to provide a list of his ten favorite films of all time. With the exception of Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, all of his choice are in languages other than English. We're still bitterly disappointed that Smokey and the Bandit II didn't make the list. Click here to read
Douglas Dunning, actor, producer,
film authority, radio show host of “How Do You View” and director of
acquisitions at Cinema Epoch, has acquired the rights to the following titles
for release on DVD:
“Hundra”, the 1984 Laurene Landon
“How Do You View” is the name of a
new Internet radio show hosted by Dunning. The show can be heard daily at 1:00 am, 5:30 am,
11:00 am & 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time (that’s 4:00 am, 8:30 am, 2:00 pm,
and 8:00 pm to us on the Eastern Seaboard). It can be heard on the Prodigy Media Network. This week, Mr. Dunning interviews director
Richard Rush (pictured), best known for 1980’s The Stunt Man.
to listen to “How Do You View” at the respective times.
Warner Brothers and Paramount will combine forces to co-producer Interstellar, a new sci-fi flick that will be directed by Christopher Nolan. The project was originally being developed for Steven Spielberg, but when he dropped out, Nolan eagerly took over the production. According to Deadline, the story "will depict a heroic voyage to the farthest borders of scientific understanding." It is known that when Spielberg was involved with the film, he was exploring scientific theories about time travel. A November 2014 date has been set to open the movie, which will star Matthew MConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. For more click here
In the history of Eon Productions, there has only been one non-James Bond film: the 1963 Bob Hope comedy Call Me Bwana. Eon's founders, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, did produce independent productions (Broccoli made Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Saltzman produced the Harry Palmer films and Battle of Britain) but these were not under the Eon banner. Since Broccoli's death, Eon Productions has been in control of his daughter Barbara and his stepson Michael G. Wilson. They have made an occasional foray into non-Bond territory including an acclaimed HBO film about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and the successful stage production of Chitty. Now, however, in the wake of the company's greatest success, Skyfall, Eon have announced that they will produce a rare non-007 film, The Silent Storm which will be shot in Scotland this summer. Click here for more details.
Artist Pete Emslie of the Cartoon Cave web site provides yet another impressive tribute to a pop culture favorite- Batgirl herself, Yvonne Craig, who celebrates her birthday today. Keep 'em coming, Pete! Click here for more of Pete's tribute to Yvonne.
The Trevi Fountain figured famously in Fellini's classic La Dolce Vita with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg.
Rome has been
the backdrop to some iconic films over the years, but its real heyday was
between the 1950s and 1960s, when classics such as Roman Holiday were shot in and around the city centre. Even today,
the locations used are considered to be points of pilgrimage for any
self-respecting retro film fan, from the Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum,
especially as 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of Roman Holiday hitting our screens.
The easiest way
to track down the real life places behind the celluloid is to create your own
walking tour, so that you can spend as long as you like at each spot; just use
the Rome film map from lowcostholidays.com and dive straight into the sights to plan your own
route. Here’s your guide to each of the retro pictures that made the map.
Roman Holiday (1953)
It’s the film
that launched Audrey Hepburn; her first leading role, which saw her playing a
princess from an unnamed European country who was determined to explore Rome
whilst on a royal visit. With Gregory Peck as her guide, she went to the Mouth
of Truth, the Spanish Steps and Ponte Sant’Angelo. You can still see the key
locations today, but one of the highlights is the Roman Forum, where our main
characters meet. There’s no longer a road through the middle of it, but you can
still explore the crumbling Arch of Septimus Severus, where Audrey (as Princess
Ann) is found asleep.
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
Aside from the
continuity gripe of only two – not three – coins being thrown into the fountain
from the title, this 50s film is perfect viewing for anyone who wants to see
vintage Rome in all its glory, through the eyes of three American ex-pats.
Right from the start, with establishing shots of St. Peter’s and the Tivoli
Gardens, we’re treated to picture-perfect views. The Colosseum is a stopping
point on a whistle-stop tour of one character’s city recommendations, along
with a branch of the National Museum.
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Fountain’s most memorable cinema appearance was when Anita Ekberg and Marcello
Mastroianni climbed in together during a night-time stroll. Sadly you can’t
recreate the moment these days, as bathing isn’t actually allowed, but you can
relive the magic by visiting after dark, to avoid the huge crowds. Further
afield, take a trip to the Baths of Caracalla and see where film star Sylvia
(played by Ekberg) danced in front of the press and her fiancé.
As well as the
locations used as a backdrop to certain scenes, you can also track down one of
director Federico Fellini’s biggest local inspirations – Harry’s Bar, on the
Via Veneto, which was a hotspot for celebrities back in the 60s. In the film
itself, the popular street was entirely recreated in the studio, but today it
would be a lot easier to shoot footage here, as the Via Veneto isn’t considered
to be part of Rome’s social scene anymore and is relatively quiet.
Aside from those
greats, there were hundreds of films made at the nearby Cinecittà Studios,
which is on the outskirts of the city and was built by Mussolini. This is the
perfect place to continue your cinematic tour, where you can find out how epics
such as Ben-Hur and Cleopatra were made on the sprawling set. Head to Cinecittà
by using the Metro system and then enjoy a set and on-site museum tour, which
will set you back €15.
Pay tribute to
Italy’s most cinematic city and discover the locations behind the iconic
scenes; you’ll soon see why directors couldn’t keep away from Rome.
The man himself may be long gone, but Al Jolson's immortal contributions to music and cinema are still being celebrated by the thriving International Al Jolson Society. Their official web site allows fans from around the world to share in all aspects of Jolson's career and you can listen to some of his most enduring musical accomplishments. An annual membership in the Society brings even more benefits. This year's convention of Jolson fans will take place in Palm Springs May 16-19 (the location varies every year). There will also be a Jolson festival on Long Island in August (date to be announced). The web site has over 1.5 million hits to date, indicating there's still plenty of life left in Jolson mania.
WORLDWIDE APPEAL TO RETRIEVE ORIGINAL MISSING FILM MATERIALS FOR HORROR CLASSIC
THE WICKER MAN:
CELEBRATION TO RESURRECT AND RESTORE FOR UK CINEMA AUDIENCES
LONDON, UK, 30th April 2013 – STUDIOCANAL, with the
endorsement of director Robin Hardy, today launched a world-wide public appeal
to locate original film materials relating to legendary horror classic THE
WICKER MAN, originally released in 1973, in celebration of the cult film's 40th
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the THE WICKER MAN'S original release. In
celebration of this and continuing its project to conserve, restore and release
for future generations the best of Classic British cinema, STUDIOCANAL today
announces its intention to release the most complete version of the film
possible. The now widely lauded film was released with minimal promotion in
1973 as second feature of a double bill with Don’t Look Now. The version
exhibited to audiences was significantly shorter than director Robin Hardy's
original vision. In what has now become an apocryphal episode in British film
history, the negatives disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios, were then
allegedly used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 motorway, and are
considered lost forever.
STUDIOCANAL are now appealing worldwide to film
collectors, historians, programmers and all-round fans to support the campaign
and come forward with any information relating to the potential whereabouts of
Director Robin Hardy comments: "I never thought that, after forty years, they would still be
finding lost fragments of my film, We thought all of The Wicker Man had
gone up in flames, but fragments keep turning up and the hunt goes on!"
STUDIOCANAL General Manager UK Home Entertainment John
Rodden adds: "The Wicker Man is not only a great horror film, it is a true
classic that grows in stature as the years pass. We’re now appealing to the
public to help us create the most definitive version possible.”
More details about
the history of the various cuts of the film are below.
WICKER MAN: A SHORT HISTORY:
In 1973, Robin
Hardy’s debut film THE WICKER MAN fell
victim to a boardroom takeover at distribution company British Lion, and had
its release temporarily shelved. A finished version of the film that director
Hardy was happy with had been delivered with a running time of 102 minutes.
When it did finally
reach UK cinemas that year, with little fanfare or promotion, and as part of a
Double Bill with DON’T LOOK NOW, 15 minutes had been cut, leaving the film’s running
time a trim 88 minutes. Director Robin Hardy and the other filmmakers had not
been involved and did not approve of this new version.
A few years later when
Hardy tried to track down his original version, he was told that all the
negative trims from it that had been stored at Shepperton Studios had been
thrown away, and the only “original negative” was now the 88-minute version. He
finally managed to ascertain that Cult US Director Roger Corman still had a
print of the full-length version, and this was used for the US theatrical
release. Corman’s print has been missing since the 1980’s and only poor quality
1” video material is known to exist of this version.
Harrison Ford and Chad Boseman in "42", a surprise boxoffice hit.
Hollywood studios, long criticized for catering almost exclusively to young audiences, is discovering that if they release intelligent fare aimed at older audiences, they will be rewarded with boxoffice gold. In recent years, films that feature the usual big action sequences, boring special effects and low-brow comedy have been rivaled by some highly praised films aimed squarely at baby boomers and senior citizens. Case in point: last week's strong opening for 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic that top-lines 70 year old Harrison Ford, who now refers to himself as a "character actor". For more click here
Harrison Ford isn't generally known to be a ball of laughs in interviews. He plays the good soldier and makes the circuit to promote his latest film (in this case, the new Jackie Robinson biopic). However, he generally appears to enjoy the process as much as enduring a root canal. However, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he engaged in a spirited and very funny routine in which he confronts some eccentric Star Wars fans- and is uncomfortably reunited with a certain alien. Click here to view
Disney isn't wasting any time capitalizing on their costly purchase of the Star Wars franchise. The studio has announced that, beginning in 2015, a new Star Wars film will arrive annually. Some will be new series based on various characters from the franchise. For more click here
Eddy Friedfeld, Carl Reiner and Fran Zigman. (That's Mel Brooks on the phone). (Photo: Karen Caesar.)
By Eddy Friedfeld
The late great Larry Gelbart once said
about his friend and colleague, the still great Carl Reiner: “Carl Reiner and my maid have a lot in
common- they both abhor a vacuum.” Having spent time with Mr. Reiner, I can attest that Mr. Gelbart was
newly released autobiography, I Remember Me, is a very entertaining and wonderful
and inspiring collection of anecdotes. His
third biography, following My Anecdotal Life and How Paul Robeson Saved My Life and Other Mostly
Happy Stories, is a collection of funny and poignant, and extremely well-crafted
stories range from friends and family, including his late wife of 65 years,
Estelle (whose When Harry Met Sally iconic line “I’ll have what she’s having,”
rated ahead of Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca close “This is the beginning of a
beautiful friendship,” on the AFI list of all-time great movie lines,), to
famous friends and acquaintances, including Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, George
Burns, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Ernie Kovacs, Gregory Peck, Julie Andrews, and
regular at bi-monthly dinner parties at Sid Caesar’s home in Beverly Hills organized
by producers Fran and Lou Zigman, Reiner read from his new book, extolling
Caesar’s gifts as the best sketch comedy performer that ever lived, and talked
about being creative with Brooks. When
prompted by Estelle Harris (Seinfeld’s Mrs. Costanza), who is as warm and
friendly as her Seinfeld counterpart was tough and overbearing, he said that he
saw himself as the ultimate master of ceremonies: “As child I loved movies so much that when I
saw one I really liked I gave a friend
money to go see it.”
all due respect to the master, he undersold himself. He is an Agent Provocateur of creativity and comedy. He makes everything and everyone he interacts
with smarter, funnier, and better.
understands the fundamental
art of storytelling and how to share a stage. An actor, writer, director and producer, he is the consummate partner; a
chronic comedy enabler: From Caesar’s comedic
foil, to Brooks Two Thousand Year Old Man partner, to The Dick Van Dyke Show’s
creative force, to Steve Martin’s early film collaborator, and to anyone whom
he happens to be in a room with at the time, his kinetic energy is
enters Caesar’s home with Mel Brooks, his oldest friend, his partner in
creative crime, with whom he has a palpably enviable and inspiring bond. They are the Butch and Sundance Kid of
comedy, both comedic alchemists, creating funny lines, images and situations
literally from the air spinning their golden wit and entertaining and
energizing everyone around them.
Indefatigable, his energy level would
make Seal Team Six tired. There is a
deceptive effortlessness with which he creates. It belies years of training and even more years of passionate pursuit of
craft. He will turn a conversation into a riff or a small
sketch. And for the self-proclaimed
tone-deaf man who once needed an entire orchestra to back him up for a one line
of musical song- and missed it, he is a virtuoso at the music of comedy, and
its innate rhythms and vibrations. He
is a pleasure to watch in action. When
actress Diane Ladd came over to his table during dinner and said, “please don’t
get up,” he responded with dignity and velocity: “I am up. I am just not standing.”
At 91, he still stands over six feet
tall. Distinguished looking, and a
stylish and dapper dresser, he could easily pass for a retired lawyer or
banker. There is a decided dignity that is
coupled with a mischievous spark in his eyes. He is studying the room, stealthily casing it like a creative cat
burglar, mining it for ideas, talent and potential laughter: He is going figure out how to make you laugh,
you just don’t know it yet. And you are
not just going to laugh- you are going to be an active participant in the
party. HisRaison d'être is to bring out the
best in you.
At another dinner party, he produced a
ceramic mug he received from the Off-Broadway show Old Jews telling Jokes. Seeing an opportunity, he turned the mug into
a prop and a tradition; a faux microphone- whomever it was passed to was
required to tell an old joke. From
contemporaries Dick Van Dyke and Monty Hall, to later generations of comedians
and actors, including Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna, Richard Lewis and Roastmaster
General Jeffrey Ross, and guests who never told a joke on stage or for money, each
of whom took the cup, got up and executed a joke with equal fervor and gusto,
encouraged by his spirit.
At one of the dinners, I showed the group a segment of an episode
of NBC’s Producers’ Showcase from 1954 which had a satire of "Meet the Press"
called "Beat the Press." Caesar was in his Professor character the
purported expert on everything, with Reiner playing the earnest reporter
interviewing him about subjects ranging from mountain climbing to the pyramids,
and was being quizzed by real-life journalists Lawrence Spivak, H.V.
Kaltenborn, and Emanuel Freedman.
clip prompted a recollection from Reiner that he was on the Jack Paar Show with
Radio Foreign Correspondent H.V. Kaltenborn who talked about meeting Adolph
Hitler during World War II. “Hitler had
such a warm relationship with his dogs, he was so kind to them,” he recalled
which Reiner interjected: “Do you recall
his relationship with the Jews?” The story got resounding applause from the dinner
party. Reiner said that Paar’s audience
had a similar reaction and that the reporter couldn’t recover from the
resounding applause to make another point.
has given me both advice and friendship over the years, graciously sharing
stories and wisdom. Excited that I
introduced my NYU film class to Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, he said: “It’s the most fun I ever had making a
picture. We spent six months editing
clips from old Film Noir movies finding clips we could use. The name Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin’s
character) came from lines from other movies uttered by Charles Laughton and
Humphrey Bogart.” Showing him original
programs from Your Show of Shows prompted a story about how Bob Hope produced
his first national television special using the Show of Shows cast and crew,
“I’ve been thinking about it,” he once said to
You don’t need both.”
Retro Contributor Eddy Fried(feld) teaches comedy and film history at Yale and
Click here to order Carl Reiner's I Remember Me from Amazon