Thursday, April 25, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed

1979 Avco Embassy theatrical one-sheet.
1979 Columbia Pictures theatrical one-sheet.
For as few films as he has in his filmography, William Richert, sometimes dubbed "Wild Bill" Richert, must have some kind of record for most films with checkered production histories, alternate versions, multiple title changes, and theatrical re-releases.  His first and most well-known film as director, the star-studded conspiracy thriller Winter Kills, went through years of start and stop production and bankruptcy.  One of its producers was killed by the mafia for failing to pay up on his debts and another was later sentenced to 40 years for marijuana smuggling.  During one of the aforementioned production stoppages, Richert took some of his Winter Kills cast, including stars Jeff Bridges and Belinda Bauer, and crew to Germany to shoot another film, Success, the sale proceeds of which could be used to finance the completion of Winter Kills.  The tactic worked, though Success, too, went through multiple iterations and spotty to non-existent releases in theaters and, later, home video.

Newspaper ad for February 1983 NY theatrical release.
Newspaper ad for January 1982 NY theatrical release.
1983 Invisible Studio theatrical one-sheet.
Newspaper ad for Spring 1983 NY theatrical release.
Also known as The American Success Company and Good As Gold, it had some sporadic theatrical releases in the U.S. under various titles, and with different edits, and I don't believe it ever officially bowed on home video in the States.  I had the good fortune to see it a few years ago, in a dodgy video copy, unfortunately, at a screening at the Walter Reade attended by Richert.  It's an appealingly left-of-center, screwball-esque comedy / thriller deserving of far more visibility than it's been afforded over the years.  Along with Somebody Killed Her Husband, it's one of the most elusive of Jeff Bridges starring vehicles.

As you can see from the accompanying newspaper listings and one-sheets, Success and Winter Kills appeared at various times, whether sanctioned by studio or Richert, with different campaigns and title treatments.

Newspaper ad for Spring 1983 NY theatrical release.
Richert's subsequent feature A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (aka Aren't You Even Gonna Kiss Me Goodbye) also met with well-publicized studio interference, resulting in two different versions, one endorsed by the studio / producers and one by the filmmaker.

Newspaper ad for January 1982 NY theatrical release.

1 comment:

Her, Suzanne76 said...

Even though I too saw it on video at Walter reade...
A great weekend winter afternoon screening...