Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Cult Films Appear Within Cult Films

When a film scene plays out in front of a movie theater or in pre-Giuliani Times Square, I'm probably not the only cinephile who squints at the television set in order to read the marquee(s) or determine the one-sheet in the display. Of course, I really love it when the film within a film is a particular favorite of mine and /or a cult film.

Here are a couple of examples of "cult films within cult films," which I also happened to catch on 35mm within the last half year or so. Both examples hark back to a time when neighborhood theaters that played one film at a time were commonplace and the exterior and lobby were transformed into visual paeans to that film.

Darker Than Amber in Dusty and Sweets McGee:

The poster to the left of the ticket booth is different from the final one-sheet and resembles the key art in the British quad. The tagline reads, "If Travis McGee puts his life on the line, it's not going to be for free." Incidentally, we can also see a poster for what appears to be a stage production of Hair, just to the right of the man in brown leather.

British Quad (paired with Figures in a Landscape):

U.S. one-sheet:

Italian locandina:

The Warriors in American Gigolo

Most of the time, I'm sure the film advertising that appears within other films comes down to chance, but in the case of The Warriors and American Gigolo, the Warriors advertising prominently appears throughout the scene; my thought is that it's not a coincidence that The Warriors, and not The Wanderers, for example, is the film in the background given that both were produced and released by Paramount. To think I had the opportunity to ask Paul Schrader such an important question at a recent screening of Gigolo...and didn't do it.


Ivan said...

Texas Chainsaw Massacre in Taxi Driver.
Glenn Kenny's Some Came Running has the still:

J.D. said...

I love how in those GIGOLO stills THE WARRIORS logo is crossed out with spray paint! heh. Another one I like is THE EVIL DEAD featuring prominently in DONNIE DARKO.

Ned Merrill said...


Nice...that is something that Glenn would point out. Will check out the still.


Agreed. It is appropriate that the WARRIORS got tagged in GIGOLO, given how important graffiti is to the WARRIORS'overall design and style.

Matt Beebe said...

Great topic.

Regarding Ivan's comment on TEXAS CHAINSAW in TAXI DRIVER, I recall Robert Kolker in "A Cinema of Loneliness" gave a lengthy explanation of how that marquee emphasized the violence-breeding setting, which is strange since it's such a blink and you miss moment.

At the recent GIGOLO screening, I noticed a one sheet for PHANTASM for the first time.

And tying in with the NIGHT OF THE JUGGLER entry, upon a recent re-watch I noticed THE DRIVER playing somewhere (appropriately) during the first chase and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA on a 42nd Street marquee.

Jeff said...

Also, the letters VGV next to the crossed out Warriors logo is a fictitious gang from the movie "Boulevard Nights" also released in 1979...like the Warriors. So, it's actually a cult film, within a cult film, within a cult film.

Ned Merrill said...

Thanks, Jeff. Previously noted here: http://knifeinthehead.blogspot.com/2013/03/gigolo-and-warriors-together-again-with.html