Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Starring "Tom Lee Jones"

What's really interesting about these ads, aside from the great conceptual drawings, is seeing the announcements for the lesser-known films alongside the famous ones. I haven't checked to see if all of these were even made, but if they were, I'd be interested to see if something like A Fan's Notes even makes it into the Warner Archive. Speaking of that film, it's a rare film to star Jerry Orbach, who at this point was almost exclusively a stage actor. Not only that, but it would be 10 years or so before Orbach became a regular fixture in films and when he did it was as a supporting player. I have no idea who Eliza Michaels was / is, but we can see here that she was popular enough at this time to top-line a film called Eliza's Horoscope and be billed over some guy named Tom Lee Jones. I hadn't realized Jones was hanging around Hollywood for that long...for him it would take at least 20 years and a name change to the more mature-sounding Tommy Lee Jones to become a screen star. Bill Gunn's Stop recently played at BAM as part of their Gunn retrospective, but I missed it, unfortunately. It was ultimately never released by Warner Bros. and it appears that film elements are not extant at this time, judging by the fact that BAM presented the film on video.

10 comments:

Marc Edward Heuck said...

I googled ELIZA'S HOROSCOPE and found some pretty fascinating details on the movie, most of it in this piece written by Gordon Sheppard a year before his death in 2006.

http://sites.google.com/site/bisson/themakingofeliza'shoroscope

Apparently, it was a project that attracted luminaries like The Band and Martin Scorsese. Ultimately, however, WB never released the film in the U.S., and a failed VHS deal resulted in countless bootleg editions in the marketplace today.

Sheppard claims that WB gets the movie back in 2015. Maybe his heirs can lobby WB to put this out as a Warner Archive title.

Ned Merrill said...

Very interesting, Marc. When I checked over at the IMDb, I found that the movie has a release date of '75, which is intriguing because this announcement is from late '71. Also, on IMDb Elizabeth Moorman is credited as Eliza, whereas on this announcement, Eliza Michaels is credited. Moorman has no other credits at IMDb except for stunts in CORVETTE SUMMER and there is no listing for Eliza Michaels.

Ivan said...

I've read Exley's A Fan's Notes, and y'know what? I cannot see skinny song-&-dance man (this is very pre-Law & Order, remember) Orbach as the author's stand-in.

But I still wish I could visit that alternate universe where this movie got made....

Ned Merrill said...

Ivan,

I'd like to have a pass to that universe as well...how is Exley's book?

Ivan said...

It's been over 15 years since I read it, but I remembered loving A Fan's Notes. A dense, rich read that plunges you into the soul of the protagonist. And you don't have to be a football fan to understand its passion.
Gosh, I should re-read it...

Ned Merrill said...

I am a sports fan, bigger on baseball than football, but I would like to read A FAN'S NOTES. I'm guessing it's out-of-print. Reminds me that I also still need to see BIG FAN.

Dean Treadway said...

What a fascinating piece of ad work. However, I'd argue that your contention that 20 years for Tom Lee Jones to become Tommy is a little too much time. He was billed as Tom Lee Jones in 1970's LOVE STORY. But by 1976, in JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, and 1977's great TV movie THE AMAZING HOWARD HUGHES (where he played the man himself), he was Tommy Lee. I'd say his star was confirmed by 1980 when he was the male lead to Sissy Spaecek in COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER (a performance which should have netted him his first Oscar nod). If you're considering his win for THE FUGITIVE to be his real above-the-line breakthrough (which, in a way, it was), then, yeah, 20 years. Just a little comment there. Geez, I'm enjoying your website!

Ned Merrill said...

Dean,

I realize that Tommy Lee Jones changed his name well before the 20 year mark, but I would still argue that even with a few starring roles in things like THE BETSY, EYES OF LAURA MARS, and COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, there were still many lean years with things like BLACK MOON RISING, BACK ROADS, and NATE AND HAYES, fairly dismal films, before he hit the A-list in middle age with LONESOME DOVE and a string of big, mostly successful films--THE FUGITIVE, JFK, UNDER SIEGE, MEN IN BLACK, BATMAN FOREVER, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, etc. His biggest success as a younger actor in a starring role, I think, was THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG, although that was a telefilm.

Lubin said...

Link to “The making of Eliza’s Horoscope”

https://sites.google.com/site/bisson/themakingofelizas_horoscope

kidglov3s said...

I'm currently watching A FAN'S NOTES, my fourth selection with my 2 week free trial from Warner Archive Instant while I'm here working for a week in lovely Ontario, Oregon. It is an interesting movie so far but very, um, male-centered so a little off putting in that sense. The presentation is 1.33:1 but seems to be pristine.