"Well, most people like it and I like it, and I'm working hard and trying to keep the cost down"

J. Russell Finch CEO & President
The Pacific Edible Seaweed Company
Fresno, CA.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book Alert ZULU : WITH SOME GUTS BEHIND IT - THE MAKING OF THE EPIC MOVIE

  


    Late last year Tomahawk Press of the England reprinted this OOP book by Sheldon Hall on the making of the classic 1964 film ZULU. Secondary copies of the first edition were going for big money on Amazon U.K. ,so this is a very welcome reprint. The first edition clocked in at over 500 pages (I was lucky enough to get one) and this new edition has been expanded with even more information.
   Packed with detailed accounts of the casting, production and marketing of this highly regarded movie, its a treasure trove of information for the ZULU geek. Not very picture heavy, but filled with informative text - including some great stories related to Richard Burton's recording of the narration while a tax exile in Paris. This is one of best "making of books" I've ever read. Perfect to read along with while you watch Twilight Times beautiful blu -ray of ZULU (as if you need an excuse to watch it).




Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beach Movies on Blu

   


     Awhile back Olive Films issued a pair of the 1960's A.I.P. "beach movies" on blu-ray. In what we hope will be an on-going release schedule, but for some reason Olive has released the 2nd and 5th films in the series first (that is if you count 1964's PAJAMA PARTY - which I do) with 1964's MUSCLE BEACH PARTY and 1965's BEACH BLANKET BINGO being the initial releases (which could be looked at as a Don Rickles double feature).
    I've always considered MUSCLE BEACH PARTY one of the weaker entries in the series. It's still a lot of fun, but the absence of Harvey Lembeck as Count Von Zipper is felt and expect for Don Rickles (in his first of three appearances in the series- see also below) the supporting cast comedy -wise is a bit weak, as even the usually maniacal Buddy Hackett is subdued. It does however have the presence of Bond girl extraordinaire Luciana Paluzzi (THUNDERBALL & THE GREEN SLIME) and features a great musical score with appearances by Dick Dale and Stevie Wonder, along with musical contributions from Gary Usher, Roger Christian & Brian Wilson. A pre- MISSION IMPOSSIBLE Peter Lupus appears as one of the body builders under his "Rock Stevens" name that he used in the Italian sword & sandal movies he was appearing in at the same time. Both BINGO & MUSCLE also feature vocal performances from  the 5'4" singing dynamo "Dr. Pepper Girl" Donna Loren.



  



    BEACH BLANKET BINGO is generally considered "the best" of the series by fans and it does have all the classic elements in play including Harvey Lembeck's Eric Von Zipper and as with the earlier BIKINI BEACH (which had drag racing), it does attempt to mix things up a bit with sky diving introduced into the plot. it's also a bit of an anomaly in the series in that John Ashley plays an outsider of the gang. Plus it's got the deranged Timothy Carey making his second appearance in the series as South Dakota Slim (" Leave it to Slim...., I got ideas and their all vile, booby"), the unbelievable Bobbi Shaw, Playboy Playmates Patti Chandler & Donna Michelle, a pre LOST IN SPACE Marta Kristen as  a mermaid, The Hondells, Paul Lynde, Jody McCrea in a Rat Fink fat and of course the great Don Rickles.








   
All the above screen captures are from the Olive blu-rays

    Although with obviously not a lot of time and money being spent on cleanup, both films look fine with strong colors and nice punchy audio (I remember when I was excited about pan & scanned laser discs of these). Hopefully the rest will follow from Olive along with other A.I.P. goodies. Also recently released was THE WILD ANGELS (Nancy Sinatra as a biker babe !) and PSYCH-OUT (Jack Nicholson as a pony tailed leader of rock group). Cool Stuff !!
 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Claudia Cardinale

   

   A very Happy Birthday wish goes out today to actress Claudia Cardinale who was born of this day in 1938. Working mostly in Europe, she most famous for her roles in THE LEOPARD (1963) and 8 1/2 (1963) among others, plus of course Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968). Without a doubt though (with all apologies to Sergio and ONCE UPON....)  my favorite of hers is Richard Brook's THE PROFESSIONALS from 1966. It's got everything you could want in a great movie - Lee Marvin as a weapons expert, Burt Lancaster as a dynamite expert, Woody Strode, Robert Ryan, Jack Palance, machine guns, explosions, slam bang action sequences and of course Claudia. In this blog's humble opinion it still stands today as one the greatest action/adventure movies ever made, plus it's a damn fine western.



Monday, April 13, 2015

THE SATAN BUG Coming on Blu-Ray

 

   In some exciting news John Sturges's excellent 1965 biological warfare thriller THE SATAN BUG is coming out later this summer from Kino Lorber on blu-ray and DVD. Featuring a taught and tight script by Alister MacLean (from his own novel) & James Clavell, it stars a post ROUTE 66 George Maharis ,a pre HONEY WEST drop dead gorgeous Ann Francis and a great supporting cast including Ed Asner (with hair), Frank Sutton (GOMER PYLE), Richard Basehart (VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA) along with Dana Andrews, Simon Oakland, Richard Bull and John Anderson.
   I did a write up on this on my other blog which was based upon the currently available MGM MOD disc (which is lifted directly from an old laser disc transfer), so hopefully this will be a nice upgrade.