Robert Vaughn and Paul Newman in the 1974 blockbuster "The Towering Inferno", nominated for Best Picture.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Movie fans have complained for many years that the Academy is increasingly focusing on nominating art house movies at the expense of blockbusters in the Best Picture Oscar category. The Washington Post investigates whether this is myth or reality and comes down on the side of the latter, providing charts and inflation-adjusted calculations to show that more than ever the Best Picture winners are generally not among the most popular with the public. But should they be? The Oscars are not supposed to be a popularity contest, though someone should tell the Academy that, given their botched lead up for plans for this year's telecast. Should a film get the Best Picture Oscar simply because it is a huge boxoffice success? The Academy was aware of its members honoring smaller art house films and in 2009 made the controversial decision to expand the nominations for Best Picture from five to up to ten. Purists said this was just a disingenuous way to include populist fare without really having to actually vote for it. But Oscar may be getting a raw deal. In the past, the Academy gave Best Picture Oscars to such popular successes as "The Greatest Show on Earth" and "Around the World in 80 Days" and nominated such blockbusters as "Jaws", "E.T.", "Star Wars" and "The Towering Inferno" even when the Best Picture category was relegated to only five films. Click here to read the article and form your own opinion.
Oscar winner Al Pacino is the latest major star to move into the realm of streaming TV series. He will star in Amazon's 10-episode series "The Hunt", a thriller set in 1977 in New York City that centers on the search for murderous ex-Nazis, a premise that seems to call to mind elements of the 1976 classic "Marathon Man". Pacino has won two Emmys for previous work in television but this marks the first time he has committed to starring in a series. The show will be produced by director Jordan Peele. For more click here.
Variety is reporting that Martin Scorsese is deeply involved in creating a new documentary about Bob Dylan titled "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese". The Oscar-winning director had previously released "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan" which covered the iconic folk singer's controversial embrace of the electronic sound he adopted in the 1960s. The new film will cover Dylan's acclaimed 1975-76 Rolling Thunder tour, that featured an eclectic group of artists performing in a largely unscripted format. Dylan, who rarely gives interviews, is said to have provided one for Scorsese to use in the new documentary, which is still shrouded in mystery. Netflix will be producing the project. For more click here.
The web site Curbed provides an informative guide to 15 classic movie theaters in Los Angeles, each of which is distinguished not only by its design but also by an eclectic schedule of programming that any retro movie lover will appreciate. Click here to read.
It's arguable that Orson Welles's "The Other Side of the Wind" was the most famous unseen film of all time. However, with it's recent release there seems to be little doubt that "The Day the Clown Cried" can take the title. Jerry Lewis went into production in 1972 on the Holocaust drama only to immediately run into a tidal wave of problems ranging from unreliable funding sources to complex copyright disputes. Lewis finished the film but the elements were scattered to, well, the other side of the wind as various investors and stake-holders in the production all claimed their pound of flesh. The end result: there apparently isn't a complete version of the movie anywhere, though substantial portions ended up in Lewis's possession and he cobbled together something akin to a final cut. Very few people were shown the movie and response ranged from underwhelming to appalling. Lewis at various times indicated he wanted the movie to be seen if the legal problems could be resolved but at one point seemed to change his mind, saying he didn't want it shown because he was ashamed of the poor workmanship on the production. New York Times writer Peter Tonguette looks at the current status of the legendary, unseen work. Click here to read.
It doesn't get any better than this: closing out the year with the release of "The Mule", directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, who made his last acting appearance in "Trouble with the Curve" in 2012. In "The Mule", Eastwood, who is going on 90 years old, plays a man with a troubled past who gets caught up in the drug-smuggling trade. If the film plays as well as the trailer, it may prove to be a real gem.
Sissy Spacek rose to stardom with her Oscar-nominated performance in the 1976 film version of Stephen King's supernatural bestseller "Carrie"- but the actress reveals how the odds were against her getting the role. Among the obstacles: a previous strained relationship with the film's director Brian De Palma and the fact that studio executives were lobbying for De Palma to cast another actress in the role. Spacek was still determined to land the role and her strategy was to go to the audition looking as "disgusting" as possible. Click here to read.
FilmStruck, the streaming service that provided classic movies from the vaults of Warner Bros, the Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies, will be shut down to subscribers on November 29, 2018. The corporations that owned the service cited the fact that it hadn't progressed from appealing to a "niche" market. Sadly, this is the case in today's entertainment industry. If every production or venture isn't an immediate blockbuster, there is little appetite to nurture the product in hopes of growing the audience. That's how it has come about that a film can literally gross over a billion dollars and still be considered a disappointment. Alex Cranz bemoans the loss of FilmStruck in an article on the Gizmodo web site. Click here to read.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
foundation established by legendary special effects visionary Ray Harryhausen
is pleased to announce a joint effort with Morningside Productions, the company
of late film producer Charles Schneer.Discovery of new materials in the vast archives of the Ray and Diana
Harryhausen Foundation will be the basis of a spectacularly new and original
theatrical motion picture in the style of such Harryhausen/Schneer classics
such as Clash of the Titans, the duo's most significant box office
collaboration from 1981.
project, tentatively entitled Force of the Trojans, is based on a screenplay by
Beverley Cross, and original production art and sculptures conceived by Ray
Harryhausen that are on par with some of his most iconic screen creatures.
of the Trojans will embody the spirit of the original Harryhausen films with
all the fun, vibrant action, epic scope and dedication to craftsmanship that
has made Ray Harryhausen's films timeless.
other revisits to the fantasy adventure genre, Force of the Trojans will bring
together stop-motion animation with the photo-real world of CGI, marking the
first time that a monster battle will mix both techniques on screen in a major
motion picture.In homage to a bygone
era, this film will bring both worlds crashing together.For the first time, we can put on screen
sequences that were not possible for Ray due to the limitations of special
effects photography at the time.
Harryhausen Foundation oversees and curates a vast creative archive of 60
years’ worth of artefacts in its 50,000-strong collection from the father of
animated special effects, making this the most complete and comprehensive
fantasy cinema and animation collection anywhere in the world.We are excited and challenged to have
unearthed this lost gem and a look forward to creating a film that will delight
both the fans of Ray Harryhausen and moviegoers everywhere.
Trustee, filmmaker and friend of Ray Harryhausen
Harryhausen 1920 - 2013
Harryhausen was a young puppeteer and animator heavily influenced by King Kong
in 1933 and then went on to work as apprentice animator with Kong animator
Willis O’Brien on Mighty Joe Young.Ray
went on to have a spectacular career establishing himself as the most
influential animators and special effects wizards in film history. From Jason
and the Argonauts, the 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Clash of the Titans his imagery
and iconic creations are known the world over. His sixteen feature films
represent the most influential fantasy and science fiction cinema of the
Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars."
set up the Foundation in the, and he intended that future generations should
enjoy his work but also learn about the craft of filmmaking. I am delighted
that audiences want to visit the artefacts on display. We have over 50,000
items in the collection making it the largest of its kind outside of the Disney
Walsh is an award-winning film maker and trustee of the Harryhausen Foundation.
In 2019 his new book Harryhausen: The Lost Films is published by Titan Books.
Tiffany has always been a magnet for fans who emulate Audrey Hepburn's iconic appearance in the film.
(Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
There are legions of retro movie lovers around the world who hold the 1961 film version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" close to their hearts. Now the iconic New York landmark- the symbol of unabashed self-indulgence- is making it possible to follow in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly. Tiffany has opened an on-premises upscale restaurant that movie fans have been flocking to in order to live out a cinematic fantasy and enjoy a sumptuous meal in dazzling surroundings. White-gloved waiters serve the fare on the finest crockery amidst tables populated by diners who are dressed to the nines (and sometimes adorned as Holly). Washington Post writer Megan McDonough recently decided to experience the real breakfast at Tiffany's. Click here to read.
Film critic Ann Thompson worked on early John Carpenter movies as a press agent, including the original 1978 horror classic "Halloween", which is being reissued to theaters. Thompson recently reunited with the director and actress to reminisce about the making of "Halloween", which was made for a relatively small budget and became a boxoffice blockbuster. Carpenter also discusses how his superb remake of "The Thing" made him cynical about working with major studios after it under-performed at the boxoffice- a fate that was blamed on his ambiguous ending to the movie. Click here to read.
John Carpenter's 1980 horror film "The Fog" has undergone a new 4K
restoration by Studiocanal and will be released to 50 American theaters
on October 26, presented by Rialto Pictures. The restoration finally
allows the movie to be seen as Carpenter envisioned it. Over the
decades, the movie was largely out of circulation due to the fact that
the prints had been allowed to deteriorate. A new trailer and theatrical
poster has been created for the presentations.
New original poster art by Matt Ferguson.
For a list of theaters presenting "The Fog" click here.
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
Mel Gibson has announced that he will co-write and direct a remake of Sam Peckinpah's controversial 1969 Western classic "The Wild Bunch". We can hear retro movie lovers around the globe shout "Oh, no!" But Gibson, who is enjoying a career renaissance since making some drunken, racist rants years ago, has a knack for making hit films out of seemingly unpromising ideas. He won the Oscar for Best Director for "Braveheart" and turned "The Passion of the Christ" and "Apocalypto" into surprise boxoffice hits. Still, tampering with Peckinpah's revisionist Western, which is better regarded today than it was at the time of its release, will be seen as treading on dangerous ground. No details are known at this time, as Gibson is working on a WWII film, "Destroyer" after which he is to commence work on "The Wild Bunch". Gibson's co-scripter Bryan Bagby, has a slim list of credits on IMDB. This much is known- Warner Bros., which released the original film, has been eager to remake the movie for many years. Gibson expressed interest in the project as early as 2009. One thing is sure: Gibson won't be able to improve on the original so the best that can be hoped for is that he turns out a credible effort that stands on its own merits. Hopefully, the remake will be set in the old West and not updated as an urban crime thriller. If you're dreading the remake anyway, you might take heart in the fact that Warner Bros. hinted many years ago that a remake of "Bullitt" was in the works but it never materialized. For more click here.
All movie lovers have experienced it: a favorite movie theater closes
and is usually replaced by some nondescript cookie-cutter store, usually
part of a big chain..or worse, the place suffers the indignity of the
wrecking ball. Writing in the New Yorker, author Thomas Beller provides a
poignant personal view of the recent closing of a landmark New York
movie theater, the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, that served the community for decades. The landlord
declined to renew the lease despite the fact that the place was
profitable and there was broad community support to keep it open. I
guess that's the price of "progress"...the same "progress" that in
recent years has seen a virtual war declared on Gotham landmarks, the
very establishments that define neighborhoods and give them their
inimitable flavor. You don't have to be a New Yorker to appreciate Beller's sentiments, so read it and weep. - Lee Pfeiffer
Maverick director Sam Peckinpah tried to bring the 1934 novella "Castaway", an offbeat story about a man who survives an unnamed catastrophe by hiding in a department store, to the screen. Despite having collaborated with James R. Silke on numerous versions of the screenplay, the project was never realized despite Peckinpah apparently having found backers as early as 1981. Peckinpah, who had looked forward to directing the movie, was in a career decline at the time due in part to his abrasive relationship with Hollywood studios and his own personal demons. The last feature film he directed was the poorly-received "The Osterman Weekend" in 1983. Peckinpah died the following year. Now, however, there has been new life brought to "Castaway" as a team of producers is planning to finally put the film into production using Peckinpah's original script. Click here for more.
As any retro movie lover knows, the 1961 John Huston film "The Misfits" was steeped in tragedy. Both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe would be dead by the time the film was released, making the production the final time either star would be seen on the big screen. Now the Daily Mail reveals that footage of a controversial nude scene Monroe had filmed has been discovered...along with numerous takes of the bedroom scene. Director John Huston ultimately decided not to use the footage in his final cut. Click here to read the fascinating story of a historic find.
Sidney Poitier with his Best Actor Oscar for "Lilies of the Field" in 1964.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced they are "postponing" their controversial new category to honor achievements in "popular" films...whatever that means. The announcement met with a tidal wave of criticism from A.M.P.A.S. members and movie fans in general who accused the organization of simply trying to goose up sagging ratings for the Oscar telecasts by including more coverage of boxoffice blockbusters. Our guess is that this idea will never see the light of day. Sorry, "Ant Man" fans, but you may not get to see the next installment bring home Oscar gold. For more click here.
When Amazon announced a major creative partnership with Woody Allen to develop original films, it was considered quite a coup. But as The Playlist reports, in the wake of continued allegations of child abuse against Allen, it seems Amazon's investment might be a total lost. The controversy extends back to the messy breakup of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in the early 1990s during which Farrow accused Allen of abusing their daughter Dylan when she was very young. Dylan, now an adult, has continued to repeat the allegations in a very public way, often backed up by her brother Ronan Farrow, an award-winning journalist. However, Allen and Farrow's adopted son Moses has defended Allen by saying the charges are bogus and that Dylan had been rehearsed by her mother to make the allegations when she was young and impressionable. Police had conducted an investigation at the time, interviewing both Allen and Dylan. No charges were ever filed and there was suspicion at the time that Dylan had been coerced to make the accusations. Nevertheless, the stigma has haunted Allen, who also received bad press when he courted and married Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi. Still, Allen's career was never damaged in any material way and he continued to make and release at least one film a year over the last half-century, a remarkable record of achievement. Now, however, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Allen finds himself suddenly out-of-demand. He is not attached to any new projects and his film for Amazon, "A Rainy Day in New York" might never see the light of day. Amazon might buy out its contract with the Oscar-winning director at a considerable loss to its bottom line. Additionally, Allen might be having trouble finding financing for his new films even though he generally shoots on a modest budget. Many of the prominent stars who worked with him previously have said they won't do so again. The controversy brings up a creative dilemma: should a major filmmaker's work be suppressed even though there is no proof that the accusations against him are true? Click here for more?
The final film of Orson Welles is the stuff of movie legend because the temperamental genius had spent about 15 years working on the project which remained unfinished upon his death in 1985. Since then, the troubled film, "The Other Side of the Wind", which Welles had hoped would restore him to the kind of glory he had not enjoyed since the 1940s, sat in a disjointed state, its rights the subject of seemingly endless lawsuits and other obstacles. Director Peter Bogdanovich, who viewed Welles as a mentor and friend, took up the task of trying to salvage "Wind" by raising enough funds to construct a coherent film based on Welles' notes and the many discussions they had on the set of the film, in which Bogdanovich appeared in a sizable role. Every time Bogdanovich thought he had found the funding for completion, his hopes were dashed- until recently when Netflix rode to the rescue and provided enough resources for the movie to finally emerge in a coherent state. The film will enjoy a limited theatrical release followed by telecast on Netflix on November 2. It stars John Huston as a grumpy, headstrong, once-great director trying to reclaim his reputation by producing one last classic film. (Welles claimed the movie wasn't autobiographical, but few believed him). Advance reviews indicate that the movie is not a masterpiece but does emerge as a serious and important work from a great talent. Pretty soon retro movie lovers will be able to judge for themselves. Click here for more.
The Hollywood Reporter provides a fascinating, if disturbing, story about the complex legal disputes regarding exactly who should control the rights for the character of Buck Rogers, who was transformed from comic strips to serials to a 1970s TV series. The plot is thickening with the intervention of a judge, bankruptcy proceedings and some very sticky legal challenges. Click here to read.
For decades, the historic Loew's Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey, has been undergoing a painstaking renovation by The Friends of the Loew's, a group of evolving volunteers who have transformed the dilapidated theater that was marked for destruction back to something akin to its original luster. They've had to overcome lawsuits, lack of funding and- because this is New Jersey- plenty of political intrigue. This video from The Star Ledger newspaper details the on-going efforts to make the restoration complete. For information about the Loew's click here.
Does this screen grab show an innocuous image of an unidentified extra in "Jaws"- or does it depict a young woman who would be murdered shortly thereafter?
In the summer of 1974 Steven Spielberg was filming his soon-to-be legendary blockbuster "Jaws" on Martha's Vineyard. One hundred miles away in Provincetown, Mass, a badly decomposed and mutilated body of a woman was discovered near a beach area. Police have doggedly tried to solve the crime ever since and the victim has become known as "The Lady in the Dunes". Enter writer Joe Hillstrom King, who writes novels under the nom-de-plume of Joe Hill. King, the eldest song of legendary horror writer Stephen King, became intrigued by the case after reading about it in a book about amateur sleuths attempting to solve cold cases. Shortly thereafter, King happened to attend a retro movie screening of "Jaws". At the 54 minute and 2 second mark, there is a scene in the film showing masses of tourists arriving at the fictitious town of Amity (in reality Martha's Vineyard). King immediately took note of a fleeting glimpse of a female extra who appears at this precise moment in the film. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it flash haunted him because he felt the extra bore a remarkable resemblance to police artist's conceptions of the murder victim. King recently revisited his theory, which was not dismissed by the police out of hand, on a podcast he hosts relating to the movie "Jaws". King doesn't claim he knows that the film extra and murder victim are one-and-the-same but he is still sufficiently intrigued to find out for sure. Someone out there knows who the woman in the film is...perhaps a Cinema Retro reader can shed light on the mystery?
A lost screenplay written by Stanley Kubrick and and novelist Calder Willingham in 1956 has been discovered by writer Nathan Abrams, who was researching his book about the making of Kubrick's final film "Eyes Wide Shut". According to Abrams, the script was based on "Burning Secret", a 1913 novella by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. Kubrick and Willingham had adapted it to contemporary American society. The script dealt with a then- controversial subject matter: a 30 year old man befriends a pre-teen boy with the intent of using him for access to his married mother in the hopes of becoming her lover. The screenplay has been described as the "inverse of "Lolita" in which a man feigns interest in a mother in order to gain access to her young daughter. (Kubrick made a film version of "Lolita" in 1962). The "Burning Secret" project came about at a time when Kubrick was just starting to direct films for major studios. He had not yet developed an acclaimed reputation, nor did he have any clout with studios. "Burning Secret' was under consideration by MGM but the film never came to fruition, possibly because of the sensitivity of the subject matter in 1956. Indeed, Kubrick had to make major alterations to "Lolitia" years later in order to keep certain sexual elements subdued. For more click here.
Liza Minnelli was reported by Radar Online to have given her blessing to a new big screen biopic of her legendary mother Judy Garland. However, the story was removed from Radar's web site when Minnelli publicly stated that she had no connection to the film and, contrary to the report, had never been in contact with its star, Rene Zellweger. The film chronicles Garlands 1968 concert appearance in London and all the surrounding drama that accompanied it. At that point in her career, Garland was suffering from many personal demons that would lead to her death the following year at age 47. In a statement, Minnelli said that she does not approve of or sanction the film. For more click here.
Davis with fellow Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop in Las Vegas, 1960, for the filming of "Oceans Eleven". The Pack would film in the daytime, then perform sold-out evening shows at the Sands casino.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Entertainment legend Lionel Ritchie is joining the production team that is intent on bringing the remarkable life story of Sammy Davis Jr. to the big screen. The film will be based in part on Davis's 1965 bestselling memoir "Yes, I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr.". Davis led a dramatic life and career beginning as a child star in Vaudeville and progressing over the decades to be one of the most popular entertainers in the world. He conquered the mediums of stage, screen, records and television. Davis also broke barriers during the Jim Crow era of segregation in the American south. After gaining even more fame and fortune through his affiliation with Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, Davis did the unthinkable: he dated white women, including Kim Novak. He would later marry Swedish actress May Britt. Their union lasted eight years. Davis was not without other controversies, however. While he enjoyed mainstream success in the 1960s, civil rights activists accused him of being soft on the issue despite Davis having marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. There were also criticisms that he was too willing to cater to Sinatra's whims because of his co-starring status in "Oceans Eleven", "Sergeants 3" and "Robin and the Seven Hoods". Still, by anyone's account, Davis's life is rich fodder for a major film production. Click here for more.
For years, John Travolta pursued his dream of portraying the late New York crime boss John Gotti in a high profile biopic. The long, torturous road to the big screen took seven years before the film was finally released. Travolta had been brought on early due to his star power and passion for the project but despite the actor's extraordinary and often creative ways of publicizing the film, it has fallen flat at the boxoffice. The Hollywood Reporter attributes this to almost universally poor critic's reviews, although audience surveys indicate that those who have seen it viewed the film favorably. The production had to cope with inexperienced producers and patchy financing agreements before filming was completed in 2016. Lionsgate, the studio behind the theatrical distribution, got cold feet about releasing the movie, thus leading to further complications as alternate partnerships and financing had to be found to secure the theatrical engagements. For the story, click here.
This will make Eastwood fans' day: he's returning to the big screen in "The Mule".
Screen icon Clint Eastwood will return to the big screen in his first appearance as an actor since 2012. Eastwood will reunite with his "American Sniper" star in "The Mule", which tells the true story of a 90 year-old WWII veteran who becomes involved with a Mexican drug cartel. The plot has been tweeted to make Eastwood's character an unwitting accomplice of the bad guys. Eastwood will also direct the film. For more click here.
Robin Williams suffered from a brain disorder that led to dementia in the final months of his life. Originally, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Diseasev but his strange and erratic symptoms led to another diagnosis, this one related to dementia. According to "Robin", a new biography of Williams, the actor was tragically aware of his dilemma, as it affected his performances. He would break down crying at the realization that he could no longer remember his lines. It was a tragic fate for a comedic genius and would ultimately result in him committing suicide. For more, click here.
Cinema Retro has received the following news flash from Park Circus:
We are delighted to be releasing the beautiful 4K digital
restoration (from the VistaVision negative) of Alfred Hitchcock’s
masterpiece Vertigo theatrically from the 13th of July – and we
want to share the new 60th Anniversary trailer and poster with you.
Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, the all-time favourite of film critics
and fans alike, Vertigo, will screen in Cannes Classics Cinema de la Plage on
the 15th of May, before its 60th Anniversary release across the UK on the 13th
Deadline Hollywood reports that Sylvester Stallone intends to revive the character of Rambo once again in a film tentatively labeled "Rambo 5" (we hope they come up with something a bit more creative.) The character first appeared in 1982 in the film "First Blood" and has since been seen in four sequels, the last being released in 2008. For the latest film, Stallone seems to be tapping into some Trumpian angles, with Rambo taking on a Mexican drug cartel. Stallone is said to be working on the script now but according to Deadline, he will apparently not be directing this entry in the series. It's hoped that the film will start shooting in September. Click here for more.
We recently reported on the Moviepass announcement that the company would now limit subscribers to seeing only four movies a month under the current plan, as a method of trying to reduce the sea of red ink the company finds itself contending with. Now, the web site Wired reports that the company has reverted back to its initial program that allows subscribers to see one movie a day, every day of the month in return for a $9.95 monthly fee. The service has proven to be wildly popular in America and over two million members are now on board. However, the company has not succeeded in its goal of getting theaters to share revenue from concessions, which is crucial to the ability of Moviepass to survive as a viable entity. Meanwhile, the company has told Wired that recent problems with the AMC movie chain have now been resolved. Click here for more.
(Thanks to subscriber Karen Keithler for the alert.)
The Daily Mail reports that British scientists are working with Disney to help reverse the deterioration of classic animated film cells used to create cinematic masterpieces. The original cells were painstakingly created by teams of artists and craftsmen to "animate" Disney films from the early days of the company through the release of "The Little Mermaid" in 1989. This was the era in which CGI effects had not been perfected. Single cells from Disney films that have surfaced in the private collectors market bring many thousands of dollars on auction circuits. However, Disney maintains the bulk of the cells, which are deteriorating with age. The scientists have methods to stop the deterioration and to ensure that this priceless aspect of film history will be preserved properly for generations to come. Click here to read.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
This year is a special anniversary for fans of classic film
& British comedy as it’s 60 years since the first classic Carry On
production, “Carry On Sergeant”, was released in 1958.
The Carry On films have their own distinct style that is
totally unique, beloved by many, and an important part of Britain’s comedy, film,
and cultural heritage, and 2018 marks 60 years since the first Carry On film.
"Carry On Sergeant" laid the groundwork for the
most prolific British film series (yes, more than James Bond). Without this
successful first film, there simply wouldn’t have been all the films that
followed in its path.
British film company Anglo Amalgamated distributed the first
12 Carry On films starting with "Carry On Sergeant" in 1958 and
ending with the much-loved Hammer Horror parody "Carry On Screaming"
To celebrate the British comedies, Art & Hue has created
a stylish pop art collection featuring the classic films and their stars.
Along with the classic film posters, Sid James, Kenneth
Williams, Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, and Barbara Windsor (Dame
Babs) have all been transformed into pop art icons by Art & Hue, in a
choice of three sizes and 16 colours.
It has been reported that Steven Spielberg will remake the classic Oscar winning 1961 film adaptation of the Broadway smash "West Side Story". Not many facts are known except that Spielberg is currently working with a casting director to find young talent for the starring roles. The original version won ten Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director (Robert Wise). For more click here.
McQueen and the Mustang graced the cover of Cinema Retro's first issue.
For the iconic car chase in the 1968 classic "Bullitt", two Mustangs were used. The first was known as "The Hero Car" because it was the one driven by Steve McQueen in the iconic film. The second car was known as "The Jumper Car" because it was utilized for the amazing stunt scenes. The latter car was located last year in a Mexican junkyard. However, the vehicle driven by McQueen remained elusive until recently when it was revealed that it had been purchased by a New Jersey insurance executive in 1974 for a mere $6,000. McQueen made two attempts to buy it from the owner, Robert Kiernan, but the offers were refused. Kiernan as he drove the Mustang locally until 1980, putting 30,000 miles on the odometer. Kiernan died in 2014 and the car, which had been kept in the family garage, has been restored by the family and is estimated to be worth millions today. For more click here and here.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
TOM WOODRUFF, JR. & ALEC GILLIS OF studioADI
THE studioADI COLLECTION
WITH 20TH CENTURY FOX CONSUMER PRODUCTS
THE HIGH-QUALITY FINE ART PIECES
WILL INCLUDE ALIEN³ AND ALIEN: RESURRECTION
HAND-CRAFTED WORKS OF ART
CREATED BY THE SAME ARTISTS AT THE SAME STUDIO WHO MADE
THE CREATURES FOR THE FILMS
The studioADI Collection Will Initially Consist of Seven Unique
The Queen Alien Embryo from Alien³, The 1/3 Scale Queen
Alien Head and
The Newborn Alien Full Body Design Maquette from Alien:
Los Angeles, CA (November 20, 2017) For 30 years, Los
Angeles based Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. (studioADI) has been the premier
Creature Effects studio in the motion picture business. studioADI was
co-founded by the Academy Award winning duo of Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff,
Jr. in 1988. The team has been
responsible for 3 decades of iconic Creature Characters from the Alien and Predator
franchises to the recent smash hit horror film IT. Today Woodruff and Gillis announced The studioADI
Collection, art inspired by their iconic creations from Alien³ and Alien:
The studioADI Collection consists of high quality fine
art pieces which are not mere collectibles replicated by factory workers. These
are hand-crafted works of art created by the same studio and artists who
originally created them for the films, from the actual molds used in the
production of the history-making films Alien³ and Alien:
“This is the collection designed for fans of these
entries into the Alien franchise as well as aficionados of the art of creatures
and monsters of iconic pedigree,” said Woodruff.
“The studioADI collection is our tribute to the films
that have been an important part of our legacy as artists. Each piece of art
reflects the same detail and passion we poured into the characters when we created
the original Alien films,” said Gillis.
Full descriptions and dimensions of all the art will be
available December 1. Some pieces will
be available as exclusive limited editions. The pieces will be priced from $250.00 -
Below are descriptions of two items:
“The Newborn” from Alien: Resurrection was the
terrifying mix of human and Alien DNA gone wrong. This Full-Scale Bust is cast
from hand-laid translucent polyester resin from ADI's original production molds
and is painted to the same exacting specifications by ADI's painter who painted
the character for the original film. The piece measures
“The Queen Alien Embryo” was seen in David Fincher's Alien³
was nestled next to the beating heart of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver.
Cast in translucent urethane and hand painted by the same ADI artists who
created the piece for the film in 1991.
At 7" x 9" this piece of art is perfect for
The studioADI Collection launch on December 1, 2017 will
include the following art pieces, which are all hand-crafted and individually
made to order:
Alien Study Model from Alien: Resurrection
Alien Warrior Half Head from Alien: Resurrection
Newborn Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection
Scale Queen Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection
will celebrate their 30th Anniversary in 2018, and the launch of The studioADI
Collection is the first of many exciting announcements Gillis and Woodruff have
planned in conjunction with this historic milestone! Always in-demand, they move into their 30th
year riding high on the huge success of IT and their creature makeup creation
for Pennywise, an instant iconic Movie Monster. Upcoming projects include Bright, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The
Predator, and Godzilla: King of Monsters.
are Academy Award winning creators of special characters and character effects.
Calling upon a diverse range of talents and techniques, we create prosthetic
make-ups, animatronic puppets, actor duplicates and replica animals. With over
twenty-five years of professional experience, we bring "real"
character effects to the set to interact with actors, lighting, and practical
atmosphere. We pride ourselves on working with the industry's leading cgi
companies to find the right balance of digital and practical effects. We
continue to provide film-makers with realistic and economical character effects
that best serve the story and the production.
20th Century Fox Consumer Products
20th Century Fox Consumer Products licenses and markets
properties worldwide on behalf of 20th Century Fox Film, 20th Century Fox
Television and FX Networks, as well as third party lines. The division is
aligned with 20th Century Fox Television, the flagship studio leading the
industry in supplying award-winning and blockbuster primetime television
programming and entertainment content and 20th Century Fox Film, one of the
world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures.
Writing on the Atlantic web site, Christopher Orr accuses Woody Allen of being essentially a lazy filmmaker whose work in recent years has been over-rated. Orr is no Woody-basher. In fact, he defends the filmmaker's earlier works but says that he is squandering his potential by continuing his eccentric habits which include keeping his cast members as disengaged from the films as possible and intentionally ensuring that he forms no personal bonds with them. Orr also says that Allen's penchant for having as few takes as possible often compromises the final product. Allen himself would seem to agree, having stated in a 2015 NPR interview "“I’m lazy and an imperfectionist. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese will work on the details until midnight and sweat it out, whereas for me, come 6 o’clock, I want to go home, I want to have dinner, I want to watch the ballgame. Filmmaking is not [the] end-all be-all of my existence.” Still, one might feel that Orr is being rather harsh with Allen's achievements, since he has made one film a year over the last fifty years. While Orr correctly states that many of Allen's efforts receive little attention or audience interest, he seems overly-dismissive of his biggest hit, "Midnight in Paris" as well as minor delights such as "To Rome with Love". In the end, it's up to the individual reader to render judgment as to whether Allen is still an invigorating force in the film industry or someone who has been living on past glories. Click here to read.
Now back in the "Star Wars" spotlight, Mark Hamill commands $295 per autograph- and another $286 to pose for a fan photo.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
The Washington Post takes a detour away from the endless political scandals with a front-page article by Amy B. Wang that explores the world of "Star Wars" autograph collectors and the soaring prices to obtain signatures from the series' stars. Wang attended a recent convention in New York City where collectors waited on line for hours to get the prized signatures- and paid dearly for the opportunity, with stars commanding in excess of $200 per autograph. Since Disney acquired the franchise, they have teamed with Topps to make available licensed autographed items in a systematic method via mail order. The advantage is that it eliminates the many fraudulent signatures that have coopted the on-line market but some fans complain that it also takes a good deal of fun out of the hobby by removing the "thrill of the hunt". Click here to read.
The "Last Jedi" roving mini vacuum depicts the image of Darth Vader.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
A couple of years ago I was in London to attend the royal premiere of "Spectre". While inside a Boots pharmacy, I came upon the official Gillette "Spectre" electric razor, which was amusing since there isn't a any reference or scene in the film relating to said razor. The box was also devoid of any imagery from the film except for the logo. I thought at the time that the obsession with manufacturers to tie their products to a hot movie franchise has reached an extreme. The release of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" only reinforces that belief- and I'm not alone. As Variety writer Matt Fernandez points out in a recent article, the products licensed to tie-in to the film are as surrealistic as any space alien seen in the franchise. Do people really buy bananas or a pineapple simply because there is a tag with the film's logo attached? The people at Dole certainly think so. They've made the connection between fruit and outer space with a campaign based on "Unite for a Healthy Galaxy". How about "Last Jedi" bags of salad or a mini roving vacuum with Darth Vader's image? Makeup tie-ins to the Bond franchise have been around for decades but at least that makes sense: 007 movies always feature gorgeous women dressed to the nines. But a "Last Jedi" make-up line? Really? I guess every lady wants to look her best while brandishing her light saber in an attempt to save the universe. Then there are the "Last Jedi" line of fine fountain pens, ice cream and, of course, the "Last Jedi" Storm Trooper line of razors from Phillips, which should fit snugly on your collectibles shelf next to the one you have from "Spectre". Click here to read.
A UK gun amnesty program yielded some unexpected results when, among the weapons turned in to law enforcement authorities, was the actual sub-machine gun film prop used by Clint Eastwood in the 1969 WWII classic "Where Eagles Dare". The gun was turned in by an anonymous man who claimed to have worked in the film industry. In the movie, Eastwood- disguised as a German soldier- wields the weapon with devastating effect as he, Richard Burton and Mary Ure wreak widespread destruction on a castle occupied by enemy forces. The prop gun will be donated to the Royal Armories Museum in Leeds. Click here for more (Thanks to reader Peter Davis for the heads up.)
The late Jerry Lewis made millions of people laugh over the decades- and accumulated millions of dollars in his substantial estate. However, his five children from his first marriage to Patti Palmer, to whom he was wed between the years 1944-1980. were specifically excluded from his will, which was drawn in 2012. Lewis later divorced Patti and married SanDee Pitnick and stayed married to her until his death in August. SanDee, along with their adopted daughter Danielle, inherited his entire estate. There had been strains in Lewis's relationship with his five children with Patti (a sixth son, Joseph, died in 2009 from a drug overdose. Lewis had virtually disowned him and refused to even pay for his funeral.) Whatever the reasons for the severed family ties, they extended to his grandchildren, who were also left out of the will. Early in his career, Lewis extolled the joys of family values, even as he had gained a reputation as a ladies man (which was ironically the title of one of his biggest hits). For more, click here.
They may be dinosaurs but there are still drive-in theaters hanging in there, mostly in rural America. Travel+Leisure has provided a list of the drive-ins that represent the best in the nation. Click here to read.
Hollywood studios are still licking their wounds over one of the worst years in memory in terms of boxoffice performance, though there are signs of a strong final quarter. Still, the guys and gals in the corner offices can't get out of a rut when it comes to lack of imagination. When they have a good thing, their only strategy seems to be to over-indulge in it. As David Sims writes in the Atlantic, Warner Bros. is planning three- yes, three- simultaneous comic book-related films featuring the Joker. The abundance of superhero films is the latest trend and, as usual, studios are over-indulging in it to the point that the bloom will come off the rose with audiences that are always seeking the next shiny object. Eventually, the quality of the films, which are all similar in content, begins to diminish and all the CGI effects imaginable can't make up for an uninspired script. There's already signs that audience exhaustion with superhero flicks is already setting in, despite the great success of some of the franchises. Universal is in the same dilemma: trying to dust off its classic Universal Monsters franchise for modern audiences despite anemic response to their updated version of "The Mummy" starring Tom Cruise. The recent remake of Stephen King's "It" indicates there is still a big market for horror films....but let's remember, the film is still a remake of a TV production. The lack of imagination and risk-taking among the major studios has left independent productions and art house films to dominate the market for mature audiences who want to see something a bit different than young women being pursued by maniacal killers. Perhaps the success of Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" might embolden the studios to have more faith in diversity- but I wouldn't be surprised to see a film about the battle of Gettysburg somehow involving Superman and Batman. Click here to read.
John Wayne's estate has recently launched a line of official liquors based on the Duke's drinking preferences. Wayne Enterprises, which is run by the Duke's son Ethan, produces brandy and bourbon in accordance with the Duke's taste. Wayne was from a generation of hard drinkers but never developed a dependency on liquor. In an article for the Daily Beast, Ethan recalls interesting anecdotes about his father's drinking habits. Contrary to his popular image, Wayne appreciated fine wines and champagnes...but he wasn't so sophisticated that he ever built his own wine cellar. Instead, he kept Dom Perignon and expensive wines stored in his garage! To read the article, click here. To visit the official site of Duke branded liquors, click here.
A new poll finds that the majority of Millennials are shockingly unfamiliar with older, classic movies. The posting on the Cinema Retro Facebook page has set off a spirited discussion among our readers. People who live in major metropolitan areas may take issue with the poll's findings since young people routinely attend screenings of classic movies at revival cinemas. The Alamo Drafthouse chain of cinemas has been especially effective at exposing younger audiences to retro movie classics and cult films. Yes, Netflix and other streaming services make plenty of retro movie classics available to viewers of all ages everywhere. But in major cities, younger people tend to view going to see a classic film from the past as a social activity, often going in groups to theaters with funky themes. It may be, however, that people who live in more rural areas don't have the same opportunities to see older films on the big screen, therefore they are not as familiar with them. Click here to read article.
Rich Hardy, writing on the New Atlas web site, explores the resurgence of interest in the long-dormant 70mm film format by today's retro movie-loving directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan. There was a time when Hollywood embraced the magnificent widescreen format for some of the most ambitious epics ever filmed. However the cost of shooting in 70mm made the format virtually extinct until recent years. Tarantino brought 70mm back for "The Hateful Eight" and had to practically move mountains to find a way to have his film projected properly, given that most of the equipment and venues that once were associated with the widescreen process were long-gone. Now Christopher Nolan is presenting his WWII epic "Dunkirk" in 70mm. This article provides short history of 70mm and some useful information about the various formats the movie is being shown in. Click here to read.
The legendary Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the famed car chase from the 1968 classic "Bullitt" has apparently been found by accident in a Mexican junkyard. Watch video above for the fascinating story.