Friday, April 30, 2010

Taking the reins...

I hadn't heard of The Savage is Loose before coming across this still, but I was always intrigued by Hide in Plain Sight when I saw it on video store shelves years ago. Never did get around to it and it has not appeared on DVD yet. One of my long-gestating ideas for a film series was "Actors in the Director's Chair" or something like that, from the most well-known examples such as Laughton's The Night of the Hunter to less celebrated ones like the above two films. The "one and dones, " as I like to call them, meaning those who directed only 1 film, are of particular interest.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"...over 1,500,00 feet of film..."

Just digging into my new Godfather Blu-ray box set, which I got from for what amounted to about $30 total. About halfway thru Part II and it's been like watching these movies for the first time, it's been so long since I saw them. I'm appreciating them a lot more than I did the first time I saw them, at a much younger age, many moons ago. Boy, do I love Al Pacino when his legendary histrionics are in check as they have been up to the point that I'm at in the films. Well, there was that moment when he yells at Michael V. Gazzo, "In my HOUSE!," but of course that scene is all the more affecting because Al's been so composed up until that point, allowing older brother James Caan to take the role of family hothead.

My favorite moments were Brando's wordless reaction to son Pacino's words of re-assurance in his unprotected hospital room and, later, his pained look when informed of Pacino's participation in the pivotal double hit in the restaurant. Brought a lump to my throat both times. Did I mention that I respond much more to quiet (i.e. "real") performances rather than ACTING and speech-making?

"Si, my name is Enrico Gimondi."

Man, that Peter Yates is tall! Looks like God talking down to Moses.

One of my favorite performances is Dennis Christopher's in Breaking Away, one of my favorite films. I love the whole cast in this film and am so happy to see Jackie Earle Haley's amazing resurgence, yet I wonder why Christopher never got another film role as good as Dave Stohler in Breaking Away, while the rest of his pals in the movie went on to prominent careers. What would have happened if Christopher hadn't followed up with this?:

I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets a chuckle out of the fact that Christopher who spends much of Breaking Away pretending to be Italian, much to the consternation of his old man ("numero uno King Papa" Paul Dooley), was born in Philadelphia as Dennis Carrelli. "Dave, try not to become Catholic on us."

"Mr. Tarantino, he's been well-received at your wonderful theater...perhaps there's a place for him in your movie universe?"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lady Blockbuster!

Film Score Monthly just announced their latest batch of releases, which includes a limited release of the complete soundtracks of Cleopatra Jones and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. The liner notes are available for free on their website. You still have to pay for the album. Star Tamara Dobson sadly passed away due to M.S. in 2006, but I'm sure she would appreciate the new FSM release.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Siegel's Loose!

Drabble became The Black Windmill. It can be found on pressed DVD in the UK. The First Deadly Sin was filmed several years after this announcement by Filmways, with direction by Brian G. Hutton and Frank Sinatra in the lead role. I don't think Paradise Mountain was ever filmed. Telefon was the subject of an amusing anecdote I read about in a Siegel biography. Siegel wanted Bronson--sans mustache--for the starring role. Bronson resisted, saying, "No mustache. No Bronson." Bronson won.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"John will never eat shish kebab again."

I thought of Happy Birthday to Me when I saw this artwork for 1979's Terror. It's certainly more eye-catching than the one-sheet design they ended up going with, which you can see below. I had never seen the hilarious--intentionally, I presume--copy that accompanied the famous Happy Birthday to Me key art until now and I'm left wondering what came first: the artwork or the copy? Either way, pure genius.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Even More from Universal in '74

The announcement is only about 16 years early...

In Development from Universal in '74


The Dick

Gosh, how out of place is a Bob Hope comedy amongst just about all of the other titles listed here? Mame and Hope's Cancel My Reservation look like the last vestiges of the crumbling old studio model.

So it seems that Warner Bros. had a project based on Frank Serpico's story with Paul Newman as Serpico and Robert Redford as his partner David Durk amongst several other interesting titles. And, dig that very mature concept art for Portnoy's Complaint!

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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"We're on a mission from Gaad."

From the late, great Avco Embassy...

A more minimal, though undoubtedly effective campaign that I have not seen outside of this print ad. Is that self-congratulatory copy referencing the famous severed finger scene from Phantasm?

"700 Situations" !

Come out to play in June

File under: "What might have been."

From the pages of the long-defunct industry trade journal Film Bulletin, John Travolta is the American Gigolo...