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Ultra stylish lobby cards from the fashionable world of 1960s British cinema
02.22.2017
10:44 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Germany
1960s
British Cinema
lobby cards


 
Enjoy this stellar collection of rare lobby cards that once graced movie theaters all over West Germany. Included in this collection are films from late ‘60s British cinema: comedic spy-fi Modesty Blaise (1966) starring Monica Vitti and Dirk Bogarde, The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966) starring Daliah Lavi, spy comedy film Casino Royale (1967) starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Woody Allen, Fathom (1967) starring Raquel Welch, Privilege (1967) starring Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones, The Day the Fish Came Out (1967) starring Candice Bergen, The Jokers (1967) starring Michael Crawford and Oliver Reed, Diamonds for Breakfast (1968) starring Marcello Mastroianni and Rita Tushingham, Duffy (1968) starring James Coburn, spy thriller Hammerhead (1968), swinging sex romp Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1968), Oskar Werner drama Interlude (1968), Sebastian (1968) starring Dirk Bogarde and Susannah York, crime film The Strange Affair (1968) starring Michael York, space western Moon Zero Two (1969), and Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969) starring Judy Geeson.
 

Modesty Blaise (1966)
 

Modesty Blaise (1966)
 

Modesty Blaise (1966)
 

The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966)
 

The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
Score this cool ‘Shining’-themed skirt while it’s dirt cheap
02.22.2017
07:33 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies

Tags:
Stanley Kubrick
The Shining


 
There’s this intriguing skirt that’s a perfect item for the woman who loves The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s endlessly compelling 1979 Stephen King adaptation, but doesn’t always want to be too obvious about it. I noticed it at a bar yesterday when I witnessed one woman pay another a sartorial compliment for wearing it. The wearer instantly mentioned that it depicts part of the helicopter shot from the opening sequence of The Shining.

This got my attention, so I inquired further. As fans of the movie will remember, the opening sequence is a lengthy series of shots of a fantastic natural landscape, most of it a bird’s-eye view of a car driving on a road. But the car isn’t in the very first shot; the very first shot was executed over a body of water, a landscape shot taken at Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. 

Here’s a basic shot of the skirt:

 
Here’s a closer look:

 
Here’s a picture of the very first shot of The Shining:

 
It sure as heckfire seems like the same place from the same angle. You can even see a slight irregularity on the base of the mountain on the right side of the picture, it’s the same in both pictures. They’ve fucked with the colors a bit and given the setting much more of a radioactive neon feel, but it’s the same place. 

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Behind the scenes shots from the bloody set of ‘Reservoir Dogs’
02.21.2017
09:09 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

Tags:
Quentin Tarantino
Reservoir Dogs
1992


Tim Roth (Mr. Orange) and Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde) clowning around during the shooting of the 1992 film, ‘Reservoir Dogs.’
 
Twenty-five years ago a 29-year-old Quentin Tarantino gave us all the gift of the blood-splattered bank robbery film gone wrong, Reservoir Dogs. Inspired by a number of Tarantino’s favorite films such as The Pope of Greenwich Village, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Stanley Kubrick’s audacious 1956 flick, The Killing, before shooting began Tarantino got a call from the Sundance Institute asking him to attend a filmmaker-centric workshop that solicited feedback on their concepts and techniques from people already deeply immersed in the film industry. 

The first group that was exposed to Tarantino’s filming technique skewered the director regarding his skills as a cameraman. However, the second group that got a peek into the future mad scientist of filmmaking included Terry Gilliam—an obviously unconventional filmmaker in his own right. Gilliam clearly saw Tarantino’s potential and became an instant fan. So if you’ve ever wondered why Terry Gilliam’s name appears in the credits under the “special thanks” category, now you know. Also, if the scenes that were shot inside of the warehouse—which was actually once a mortuary—look authentically uncomfortable, there’s also a simple explanation for that as well. The film was shot in Los Angeles during its warmer months, which in turn helped pushed the inside temperature of the mortuary turned warehouse to 100 degrees at times. Because of this while poor Mr. Orange was lying around in an ever-expanding puddle of his own fake movie blood, he would occasionally find himself attached to the floor thanks to the faux blood’s reaction to heat.

I could quite honestly fill an entire post based solely on the mythological backstory concerning this film but as I’m sure it is a favorite of our readers, I won’t go into more detail. What I will do is share with you loads of shots from the set as well as other candid images connected with the film that I really dug digging up for you. I’ve also included footage of Tarantino and Buscemi rehearsing scenes for the film together that you should watch right away before it gets pulled. And since this is Reservoir Dogs we’re talking about, some of what follows is NSFW. Much like Mr. Tarantino himself.
 

Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink), and Harvey Keitel (Mr. White) on the set of ‘Reservoir Dogs.’
 

Tarantino at the LA premiere of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in 1992.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Gangsters and guns in Tokyo: Sydney Pollack on directing Robert Mitchum in ‘The Yakuza,’ 1974

02yakpos.jpg
 
Robert Mitchum hated being a movie star. Being famous meant nothing to him. After all, as he often pointed out, one of the biggest stars in the world was Rin Tin Tin, “and she was a four-legged bitch.” Acting wasn’t real work. Real life was always more important than any two-bit ham who turned up, hit his mark and said his lines on cue. 

Mitchum once claimed he had only two types of acting, one type for when he was on a horse and another when he was off. There was always this sense he was somewhat embarrassed by all the adulation from fans and sycophantic journalists who thought they owned a piece of him. It made Mitchum hate Hollywood with all the venom of someone who owed it everything he had.

Yet for all his bravado, Robert Mitchum was one of Hollywood and cinema’s greatest actors. Over fifty-four years, Mitchum appeared in 110 movies. Many which were then and are still now considered among the best movies ever made—and this was often down to the quality of Mitchum’s performance whether he on or off a horse.

While he was happy to share stories about his life and career with family and friends, Big Bad Bob had a reputation of being difficult to interview. Chat show host Michael Parkinson once had a very awkward interview with Mitchum where every question asked by Parkinson was met by the sleepy-eyed actor’s answer “Yep.” After about twenty minutes, Parkinson had had enough of this monosyllabic performance and asked if Mitchum if he ever said anything other than “Yep”? To which Mitchum replied, “Nope.”

In January 1974, Mitchum arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to star in a gangster movie called The Yakuza. The script was written by two young writers, brothers Leonard and Paul Schrader. The film came about after Leonard Schrader went to Japan to dodge the draft in 1968. He found a job teaching, but when this fell apart, Schrader started to hang out with young yakuza gangsters. He was intrigued by their sharp suits, wraparound sunglasses and strict code of honor. He wanted to write a book about these gangsters but his brother Paul convinced him to turn it into a movie script instead.
 
01yakbk.jpg
Leonard Schrader’s book ‘The Yakuza.’

Written over a few weeks The Yakuza tells the story of a retired detective Harry Kilmer (Mitchum) asked to rescue a friend’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a yakuza gangster, Tono (Eiji Okada). Kilmer worked as a military policeman in Japan after the Second World War where he formed a relationship with a local woman Eiko (Keiko Kishi) who was working the black market to obtain penicillin for her sick daughter. Eiko’s brother Ken (Ken Takakura) a recently returned Japanese soldier was outraged by his sister’s friendship with the enemy. Kilmer ended the relationship with Eiko after helping her find the drugs for her child. He then returns to Tokyo to enlist Eiko and Ken’s help in saving his friend’s daughter from the yakuza.

The script was hyped as “The Godfather meets Bruce Lee.” It started a bidding war among the studios which eventually delivered a $325,000 payout to the brothers and their agent—though Leonard only made twenty percent of the take. A young Martin Scorsese read the script but Paul Schrader wanted a big name to direct. Robert Aldrich was hired with Lee Marvin as lead. When Marvin dropped out, Mitchum took over. However, Mitchum stipulated he did not want Aldrich as director—there was bad blood between the two. Mitchum said he wanted Sydney Pollack instead.

Pollack may have seemed an odd choice. He had just finished making The Way We Were a slushy romantic feature with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. However, he had also directed the war movie Castle Keep, the western The Scalphunters, both starring Burt Lancaster, and the Oscar-nominated They Shoot Horses Don’t They? starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin.

Pollack liked the script but thought it needed a rewrite. He brought in Robert Towne, who had written Villa Rides for Sam Peckinpah, The Last Detail for Hal Ashby and was then working on Chinatown for Roman Polanski. Towne later explained his involvement with The Yakuza:

...in Japan, Yakuza films are sort of B-movies, where these gangsters … they’re sort of a combination of … if you took out soap operas on daily television and our B-gangster movies and mashed them together, you’d get a Yakuza film. Because the Japanese are very melodramatic, particularly in these films, in almost everything. And all these gangsters are stricken with this terrible sense of duty and obligation, that they’re obliged to do these things, so that in the end they end up killing 25,000 people or themselves or both or mutilating themselves. What was interesting to me was that the story deals with an American who goes over there to do a favor for an old friend. And in order to do this favor for an old friend, he has to see a Japanese gangster whose sister he had once been in love with, and asks him to help him rescue this friend’s daughter from other Japanese gangsters. And the kind of tangled web of obligation that results from this was interesting to me to work with, to make actions that are almost kind of … they’re really like a fairy tale. You just don’t imagine some guy getting to the point where he’ll be able to kill 25 people. To try and make that credible was interesting to me. And it deals with things like loyalty and friendship and abiding love, and it’s very romantic. And it was fascinating to me.

~snip!~

I took it to be my task in reworking it, in the structural changes I made and in the dialogue changes and the character changes, to make it, from my point of view once you accepted the premise, credible that this American would go over there, would do this, would get involved in the incidents that he got involved in the script which would involve recovering a kidnapped daughter and then ultimately killing his best friend and killing 25 other people along with it and immolating himself. And I thought that in my reading of it, I just didn’t feel that he was provoked in the right way to do all that. It’s hard to make it credible that somebody would do that, and I tried to make it, from my point of view and the point of view of the director, more plausible. Not absolutely plausible, but plausible in the framework of this kind of exotic setting. […] When I had read it, I said these are the things that I felt should be done, and they agreed with me, so I did them. But it was pretty much agreed upon with the director and myself.

 
More on ‘The Yakuza’ plus video of Pollack giving his own insight into the film, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hoaxes of Death: Secrets of the infamous death documentary REVEALED!
02.20.2017
10:05 am

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
VHS
horror movies
snuff


 
One of the many pointless rites of passage for dopey teenage boys in the 80s (present company included) was watching Faces of Death on VHS. Originally released to theaters in 1978, the infamous “mondo” movie—a collection of “real death” scenes collected from various supposed “real” news sources and hosted by a death-obsessed world-traveling “pathologist” named Dr. Francis B. Gross (geddit?)—was a box office smash in the kind of greasy grindhouses and drive-in movie theaters where murder and mayhem reigned, eventually gobbling up a reported $35 million in box office receipts. But that was only the beginning…

Faces of Death really became a phenomenon in 1983, when the infamous Gorgon Video company released it on a garish, big-box VHS with its crude drawing of a grinning skull on a pitch-black background with the impossible to resist tagline: “Banned! In 46 countries!”  As soon as you saw it, you just knew you had to watch it. Faces was, arguably,  the first real “viral video.” It spread largely by word of mouth, each giddy viewer embellishing its beastly atrocities in a far-flung game of VCR telephone. By the mid-80s the film’s reputation had grown so fierce that even the title could send a nervous kid into a pile of trembling sweat and goo.
 

Don’t worry, this guy is gonna be fine.

So did it live up to the hype? Sorta. Everyone has their “favorite” moments—the “bloody” dog fight, the brutal electric chair execution, American tourists gorging on the brains of a live monkey, the guy getting eaten by an alligator, the Satanic cult cannibal feast, the dumb camper who tries to feed a bear a sandwich and becomes the real lunch—but even the least discerning sixteen year old was left with more questions than answers. Why would a camping couple bring multiple cameras with them to film a spontaneous inter-species act? Do you really bleed from the eyeballs when you get electrocuted? Why does the chimp suddenly turn into a monkey halfway through the “feast”? But here’s the thing: it was the 80s. We had no Internet. The true story of Faces of Death was not in the latest edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. We suspected some amount of fraud, but how much and how it was created was unknown. It should also be noted that although a lot of the film seemed fishy, most of it was definitely authentic. The dramatizations in Faces of Death are littered with actual slaughterhouse and morgue footage. It’s a grim view no matter what.
 

This monkey has some serious concerns about the ‘Faces of Death’ script.

The beans were finally spilled thirty years later…

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
‘It’s A Complex World’: Long-lost rock n’ roll comedy with Captain Lou Albano, NRBQ & mad bombers
02.17.2017
09:11 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
NRBQ


 
In 1978, Rhode Island filmmaker Jim Wolpaw directed the fantastically rough n’ ready short-form documentaryCobra Snake For a Necktie: Bo Diddley and the Young Adults. The film captured a raucous night at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, a then-new rock venue in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Bo Diddley, still riding high on the heavy funky of his classic ‘74 album Big Bad Bo tore up the stage. So did local comedy-rockers Young Adults, as funny and nearly as wild as their San Francisco counterparts The Tubes. But the real stars of the show were the audience members, including a tenacious drunk who dragged most of the participants—including a put-upon Diddley—into witless conversations. It’s funny and weird and it captures the heart of Saturday night in a very authentic and spontaneous way.

Clearly, the spirit of that time and place stuck with Wolpaw because ten years later, he created a fantastically dark and hilarious ode to Lupo’s, (It’s A) Complex World, a low-budget, high-energy rock n’ roll musical comedy about one extremely eventful night at the storied rock dive.
 

 
Complex World was shot at the club over two years in the late 1980s. The plot is pretty loose, but the general idea is that a terrorist cell (led by Daniel Von Bargen, AKA George Costanza’s irresponsible boss Mr. Kruger on the final season of Seinfeld) has planted a bomb in the basement of the club at the behest of an evil state Senator, the father of the club’s owner. The terrorists want some kind of vague revolution and assume someone will give in to their demands before they blow the club up at midnight. The Senator actually wants to destroy the place with his son in it to garner enough sympathy to win his next election. Meanwhile, the mayor hires a biker gang (led by wrestling legend Captain Lou Albano) to terrorize the clubgoers for no solid reason.
 

Captain Lou Albano, who was an entirely believable maniac biker.

Confused? Me too. But none of this matters because no one at Lupo’s cares about bombs or Senators or lunatic biker gangs, they just want to get drunk and party. The Young Adults return as the evening’s headliners and are seen onstage playing songs like “Do the Heimlich” and “Kill Yourself.” The club is full of drunks and degenerates, including cult rock legends NRBQ, who do drugs in the basement with the terrorists and attempt to contact the ghost of John Lennon with a rotary phone. Jersey garage-poppers The Smithereens loiter at the bar, a manic street preacher (Tilman Gandy Jr.), spends the entirety of the film outside the club getting the Noah’s Ark story wrong, and nebbishy folk singer and begrudging opening act, Morris Brock, riles the repulsed audience into a froth of mutual animosity.
 

The Young Adults, who once had a local hit called “Meat Rampage”
 
Played by local singer-songwriter Stanley Matis, Brock is the star of the show, an incredibly bitter, mean-spirited nerd who hates the club and everyone in it, and proves his point by singing spiteful diatribes like “New Jersey” (“What an empty, barren wasteland/What a crass, commercial hellhole”) and “Why Do We Feed The Broads?” He’s also a member of the terror gang, although even they find him obnoxious.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Tim Buckley and Jean Renoir meet Beau Bridges in 1971’s ‘The Christian Licorice Store’


 
After The Monkees TV series ended, 33-year-old director James Frawley went to work on his very first motion picture. The Criterion-worthy Christian Licorice Store stars Beau Bridges as floppy hair, bushy-browed, tennis superstar Franklin Cane and follows the ups and downs of his turbulent Hollywood lifestyle. Inspired by the great French New Wave and Italian neorealists of the late 1950s and 1960s, the film sadly never reached an audience and was shelved by Cinema Center Films just after a few screenings in Boston and Greenwich Village in 1971.

Director James Frawley spoke with me over the phone from his retirement home just outside Palm Springs this week and we discussed the rarely seen film that is still near and dear to his heart. “I came to L.A. first as an actor in an improvisational group called The Premise which was Buck Henry, Ted Flicker, George Segal, and Joan Darling. So the introduction to directing was very improvisational one in which we had a great camera, great writers, terrific young guys, and I had two years of apprenticeship directing with The Monkees. So when I went to make The Christian Licorice Store we took a very improvisational approach to it.”

The story follows Beau Bridges success in the professional tennis world: competing for prize money, entertaining the press, and fielding endorsement offers by day. By night he attends superficial Hollywood parties where he meets love interest, photographer and socialite Cynthia Viestrom (played by Swedish actress and future James Bond girl Maud Adams). For the party scenes, Frawley called on favors from several friends to come in and play themselves as party goers. “The party is full of show business celebrities, producers, writers, psychiatrists, and different characters from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. I pretty much just improvised the scene and then put it together in the editing room. But it really catches the flavor, I think very much of L.A. Everybody kind of agreed to do it, I looked at the list last night and it’s amazing, I mean Mike Medavoy for chrissakes, Howard Hesseman who’s a friend of mine that was in the second party, George Kirgo, Robert Kaufman, a lot of really amazing people. And it was fun, we did it in one night.” Director Monte Hellman of Two-Lane Blacktop and future Barney Miller creator Ted Flicker also make an appearance.

The Christian Licorice Store makes fun of the superficial showbiz side of Hollywood, while also painting a beautiful portrait of the city using incredible locations from William Pereira‘s LACMA and Theme Building, Johnie’s Coffee Shop, and up the Pacific Coast Highway to the scenic views of Soledad Canyon and Morro Rock. To add to the realism, Frawley used urban, guerrilla filmmaking to capture real L.A. pedestrians walking down the street, driving around, and going about their everyday business. “You put a camera out on a street and just shoot some stuff and just intercut it with the scenes just to get the flavor of L.A.” Then there are nighttime scenes in the film that perfectly capture the strange emptiness of the city after dark. “I love their kind of romantic ballet in the cars coming down the hill from the party. It was kind of a very romantic feeling I had about Los Angeles and, being a New Yorker, you know, the light, the romance, the sexuality. I love the architecture, I mean La La Land, the recent movie, is very much like that in terms of its appreciation of L.A.”
 

 
Frawley tells screenwriter Floyd Mutrix’s story using a very unconventional, avant-garde approach. “I’m a film buff and I grew up with European movies. I loved Godard, 400 Blows, Breathless, Fellini, all of the Italian realists. That was my education and my influence because it does have a very European feeling to it.” The director and screenwriter make many bold decisions, such as opening the film with the dramatic ending scene of the film, a gull-winged Mercedes-Benz wiping out in a tunnel alongside the PCH. Frawley accomplished this with a delicate style of filmmaking that does not spoil the entire movie. “I wanted to frame the film in a way so that you had a sense of foreboding that kind of holds over this whole movie. There’s kind of a sadness to the picture too, a sense of things are not going to turn out well here.” In yet another bold move, the opening credits don’t appear until nearly twelve minutes into the picture and are contained in the movie-within-the-movie when the party-goers are summoned to the screening room of the swanky, modern house.

It certainly helps to make a European influenced film in Hollywood when you have the approval and participation of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Executive producer Michael Laughlin was then married to the French movie star Leslie Caron, who knew Jean Renoir‘s family in France. They asked him if he would agree to make a cameo appearance in The Christian Licorice Store and surprisingly, he said yes… it would end up being the final feature film Renoir was ever involved in before his passing.

“There’s a lot of things I love about the movie, and there are some things that feel awkward because it’s a first film, but the presence of Jean Renoir in the movie is unbelievable. If the movie existed only for Jean Renoir it would be enough for me. A lot of this movie was about people saying yes when we asked them, ‘Would you do this?’ Because a lot of it was favors, and Jean Renoir was a favor, and he’s like Picasso, one of the great men of all time and a great filmmaker. And so we were allowed to be in his house for an afternoon, and again this is totally improvised. As we drove up the hill to his house and drove down afterward, you see those shots, and he talked about film, and he talked about Beau and Maud, and what he did so brilliantly, he talked about how attractive they were to one another in real life. He said, ‘You two could be lovers in real life’ which was wonderful because he acknowledged the fact that we were making a movie.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
‘Sex Pistols Number 1,’ the punk propaganda reel from 1977
02.16.2017
09:36 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols


Poster by Jamie Reid, via Recordmecca
 
Lordy, lordy, look who’s 40! Before The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle—before The Punk Rock Movie, D.O.A., Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and Rude Boy, for that matter—there was Sex Pistols Number 1, a “show reel” of the Pistols’ TV appearances compiled in 1977.

Julien Temple reused much of this footage in his features about the Sex Pistols, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle and The Filth and the Fury, but this is the movie that opened for the Pistols and the Slits at the Screen on the Green and was projected before the last show at Winterland. Russ Meyer signed on to direct Who Killed Bambi? after seeing it.

IMDB credits Temple and soundman John “Boogie” Tiberi as the film’s directors. In England’s Dreaming, Jon Savage sheds light on what that actually meant, and how Number 1 came to be:

After the EMI sacking, McLaren began to assemble news and performance footage of the Sex Pistols for a possible short film. ‘Malcolm asked me to get hold of these bits of footage from the Anarchy tour to make a show reel,’ says Tiberi. ‘He had this idea to sell the group as a visual act. We were very aware of the group’s potential to get fired from record companies, and TV was a new direction. That’s why I was there, knocking on the door.

Number 1 was all re-filmed. It was very early days in home video technology. The only place we could get the Grundy programme was from a Country and Western promoter whom Sophie [Richmond, Glitterbest secretary] had phoned up to record it. Julien Temple did the refilming, he shot the video image on to film and edited it into chronological order at film school, overnight, and we showed a cutting copy the next night. It was very stirring stuff, propaganda-oriented.’

The brilliance of Number 1 was in replaying the media’s curses with a mocking laugh. The twenty-five minute short tells the story of the scandals from the group’s side, cutting supercilious youth presenters, pompous chat-show guests, mealy-mouthed academics, with simple, stark footage of the group playing and talking. It closes with ‘God Save the Queen’ playing over speeded Pathé footage of Royal Circumstance Past. The final shot pans from the glittering coach to sweepers . . . shovelling horse shit.

Watch it, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Terrifying stills & chilling images from Joan Crawford’s bonkers axe-murderer film ‘Strait-Jacket’
02.15.2017
09:49 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

Tags:
Joan Crawford
William Castle
Strait-Jacket


A terrifying still of Joan Crawford and her best friend, an axe, from the 1964 film, ‘Strait-Jacket.’

Though she was widely vilified by the gossip columnists of her time and is best recalled today for being a very bad mommie, it is impossible to dispute the fact that Joan Crawford was one hell of an actress. She was a talented dancer and worked as a showgirl before starting her long career in Hollywood during which she became one of the most iconic actresses of all time. She also served on the board of directors of the Pepsi-Cola Company for well over a decade. Even Blue Öyster Cult wrote a song about her. And for yours truly, street credibility just doesn’t get any better than being immortalized by the mighty BÖC.

Joan Crawford was tough—a defense mechanism that she likely developed during her difficult childhood. While attending a private school she paid her tuition by doing jobs at the school such as washing dishes; cooking; making beds, and waitressing. Due to this overload of work, her studies suffered. Crawford dropped out of school in the sixth grade—something that the actress allegedly deeply regretted. However, the event would also signal the beginning of Crawford’s aspirations to become an actress and after taking a strong interest in dance, her luck finally started to change when she took off for Chicago and landed a gig as a showgirl in a vaudeville act. She was quickly discovered and within a short period of time, she was under contract by MGM by way of producer Harry Rapf.

After a successful early run with her films, Crawford’s star began to fade, leading her to part ways with MGM in the mid-1940s for Warner Brothers who would gift her with one of the greatest roles she would ever play as the star of the 1945 film Mildred Pierce. Crawford would receive the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 for the role—her only Oscar in her entire career—which she accepted while at home in bed after skipping the ceremony. Then in 1962, she went head-to-head in the dark cinematic masterpiece What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with her real-life nemesis, Bette Davis. Two years later Crawford would star in another bleak masterpiece of sorts—which is the subject of this post—the 1964 film Strait-Jacket which was scripted by the same man who authored the 1960 novel-turned-film Psycho, Robert Bloch. It was directed and produced by the master of scary movie gimmicks William Castle. The film’s byline read “FROM THE DIRECTOR OF HOMICIDAL, THE AUTHOR OF PSYCHO, AND THE CO-STAR OF WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
During the film’s original release, moviegoers were given cardboard axes by movie ushers and Castle provided an “animated” moving movie poster to exhibitors. At the end of the film, the Columbia logo’s torch-bearing woman is shown decapitated, with her head resting beside her feet.
 

 
In the film, Crawford plays Lucy Harbin, a woman who has just been released from an insane asylum after a twenty-year bid as punishment for chopping up her husband (marking the first role for TV’s future Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors) and his mistress with an axe in a fit of jealous rage, an act witnessed by her three-year-old daughter. Things go south pretty quickly in Strait-Jacket as we soon see Crawford sucking down bourbon, chain-smoking and acting as though she’s about to have a complete psychotic break from reality at any moment. It’s rumored that when she took on the challenge of playing Crawford in Mommie Dearest, actress Faye Dunaway got much of her inspiration for her spot-on portrayal of a completely unhinged Crawford straight from Strait-Jacket.

If you have never seen this film I can say with complete confidence that it is as remarkable as it is abjectly horrifying at times. In fact, it is also my humble opinion that Crawford’s performance is on par with fellow axe-aficionado Jack Nicholson and his portrayal of “Jack Torrance” in The Shining. I’ve included some great artifacts from the film including stills, vintage lobby cards, and some sinister posters that will help prove my point about Crawford’s baleful performance in this wickedly frightening film below. Sleep tight!
 

Crawford inside a striped dressing room featured in the film that has her recalling her days in the asylum.
 

A ‘Strait-Jacket’ lobby card.
 
More Joan Crawford after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Valentine’s Day cards inspired by the master of horror, David Cronenberg
02.13.2017
02:35 pm

Topics:
Movies
Sex

Tags:
David Cronenberg


 
There’s a website out there claiming that in 1992 some company printed a set of 21 Valentine’s Day cards, each with a picture and come-hither motto riffing off the mostly grisly works of David Cronenberg. Whoever runs the site was cleaning out the storage space of a “distant relative” in North Hollywood, and came across several deadstock sets of the Cronenberg Valentine’s product, alongside similar Valentine items promoting “CareBears, Michael Jordan, and Jurassic Park.”

I ain’t buying the idea for a few reasons—not a single hit comes up for the set on eBay, which strikes me as a prerequisite to believing a story like this. The name of the company, Ephemerol, is a reference to a drug in Scanners that’s way too cute to be real, in my opinion.
 

 
Meanwhile, the picture of the set looks like it could have been made by anyone possessing a decent color printer, and the cards themselves seem decidedly post-Internet in nature. Having said all this, it would be cool and hilarious if something as dark as this had ever made it to the Spencer’s Gifts in your mall in the George Herbert Walker Bush years, but I’m betting ‘twas never thus.

Still, the cards are quite amusing. You can use the site to send your sweetie a Cronenberg Valentine’s Day card, virtual email style. Rigorously hewing to the 1992 premise, you won’t find eXistenZ or Eastern Promises here—the only movies available date from 1992 or before—Naked Lunch, Dead Ringers, Videodrome, The Fly, and Scanners are the main ones used.
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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