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Dirk Bogarde still cool
03.29.2011
05:12 pm

Topics:
Movies

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History
Pop Culture
Queer
Dirk Bogarde

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Dirk Bogarde was cool. He had style. I knew that as soon as I saw him in one B&W ‘50’s movie, loafing around a beach, chatting to his bikini-clad co-star, wearing white trousers, white shirt, white socks and plimsolls. Who else could carry that off? Okay, Cary Grant could, but Grant would have added a cravat, and topped it off with a checked linen jacket.

It’s telling that Bogarde wore such clothes in a beach scene - surrounded by naked flesh cooking under a studio sun - he maintained a distance, an image, a decorum, an untouchability. He was actually hiding who he was, hiding behind his clothes; and that distance, rightly or wrongly, made him seem cool.

Bogarde started off in theater before making his impact as the cowardly killer of P.C. Dixon (Jack Warner) in The Blue Lamp.  Warner went on to become a stalwart of TV with Dixon of Dock Green, while Bogarde became the Rank Organization’s prime beefcake, the biggest British star of the 1950s, with a string of audience-pleasing movies. While these films brought fame and fortune, they sold short his very real talents as an actor.

This was to change, when in 1961, Bogarde made Victim, the highly controversial film that moved his career in a different, more intelligent, more worthy direction.

Victim dealt with the then-taboo subject of homosexuality, telling the story of a man who falls prey to a blackmail gang. It was the first film to use the word “homosexual” and caused considerable outrage amongst those angry letter writers of Tunbridge Wells, but it did help change opinions, and was a step in the right direction to Britain decriminalizing homosexuality in 1967.

Worried that Bogarde (who was himself gay) might lose some of his mass of adoring female admirers, Rank roped him into this promotional interview for Victim, where the actor talked about his career, his ambitions and hopes for the future. It’s a fairly candid interview for a man who, in his later years, fictionalized most of his life.

Dirk Bogarde would have been 90 this week, and for me, he’s still cool as fuck.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Devolved: Social Darwinism for the teen set
03.25.2011
03:04 pm

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

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Devolved
Severin Finls
Jon Cregan

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Have a look at the trailer for Devolved, the new teen movie satire/homage from John Cregan and Severin Films, the company that unleashed (inflicted?) Birdemic on an unsuspecting world. With a razor-sharp script and a winning cast, Devolved is the intersection between American Pie, Gilligan’s Island and Social Darwinism….
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Monterey Pop’ film maker Richard Leacock R.I.P.
03.25.2011
02:07 pm

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Movies
Music
Politics

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Richard Leacock

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Richard Leacock is best known for his work with D.A. Pennebaker on the documentary Monterey Pop (1968). But prior to that, Leacock had established himself within the film community as a major figure in the “direct cinema” movement, a style of film making that shot scenes as they actually happened without manipulating the content and without narration - an American version of cinema verite.

Born in London, Leacock got his start making films when he was in his teens. He moved to the United States, went to Harvard where he studied physics in order to better understand the technology of filmmaking, became a war photographer, and eventually got a serious start as a film maker working with legendary director Richard Flaherty on The Louisiana Story (1948).

Leacock later went on to work with Albert Maysles filming John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail and as Norman Mailer’s cinematographer on the ill-fated Maidstone. He collaborated with Godard in the early 70s on the unfinished One American Movie, which under Leacock’s direction was completed as One Parallel Movie. The film is a fascinating look at American 60s cultural icons including Eldridge Cleaver and The Jefferson Airplane.

While Leacock’s reputation was high among film makers, it was his partnership with D.A. Pennebaker on the production of Monterey Pop that took him to another level in terms of popular success. MP contains some of the greatest rock and roll scenes ever put on film with epic performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and The Who. Ironically, Leacock didn’t particularly care for rock music or rock musicians. He later said:

I didn’t appreciate that kind of bullshit.” As for Joplin: “She was always just full of drugs and alcohol. I remember her coming to look at the film afterwards at our place in New York. She was lying there stone drunk, sucking on a bottle of Southern Comfort.”

Mr. Leacock died at the age of 89 on March 23 at his home in France. His memoirs, The Feeling Of Being There, can be pre-ordered here.

One of Leacock’s personal favorites among his many films is also among the simplest: a lovely interview with film goddess Louise Brooks conducted in 1984.
 

 
The Jefferson Airplane shot by Leacock after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Phenome-Con 2011 this weekend at Cinefamily in Los Angeles
03.24.2011
06:18 pm

Topics:
Belief
Movies
Pop Culture

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Cinefamily

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Mondo movie fans, take note: Our friends at Cinefamily, here in Los Angeles are programming another of their weird and wonderful weekend festivals. Focusing on the cheesy paranormal docs and TV shows of the 1970s like In Search Of, the two-day (and night) Phenome-Con 2011 features some outrageous “psychic” fare, that was once surprisingly commonplace in American culture:

In the ‘60s, baby boomers looked for God in a sugar cube, The Beatles seeked enlightenment in India and hippies freaked over Jesus. As the post-summer of love, pre-New Age ‘70s rolled in, it seems everyone went searching for the mysteries of life. Is there a higher power? Is there life after death? Where lies the lost empire of Atlantis? Can plants read your thoughts? How do I bend a fork with my mind? Does yogurt have feelings? Psychic surgery, hypnosis, ESP, UFOs, The Bermuda Triangle—it all held a fascination for Mr. and Mrs. America. It was a Phenomena Phenomenon, if you will. Reflecting these various crazes, a host of “speculative documentaries” quickly cropped up in grindhouses and drive-ins. This weekend, not only will we watch a crop of mind-marinating films, but we’ll also explore pyramid power, mind reading and we’ll search for Bigfoot. Cinefamily invites you to investigate with us the mysteries of our universe—join us for Phenome-Con!

The schedule for Day One, Saturday, March 26:

4:00pm Phenome-Con Saturday Afternoon Party (feat. The Best of “In Search Of…”)

7:30pm-ish The Amazing World Of Ghosts

10:00pm-sh A Bigfoot Celebration (feat. The Legend of Boggy Creek)

Midnight-ish Journey Into The Beyond

2:00am-ish The Devil’s Triangle

Day Two, Sunday March 27:

4:00pm Sunday Afternoon Part feat. more selections from The Best of “In Search Of…”, a casual Sunday patio hang-out, and then it’s time for…

6:00pm-ish The Pyramid

8:00pm Concluding the Phenome-Con will be a special screening and Q&A with director Don Como (hosted by Process Media’s Jodi Wille) featuring his 1978 film, Unknown Powers.

Get tickets at Cinefamily.org
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Elizabeth Taylor’s craziest role: ‘The Driver’s Seat’ AKA ‘Identikit’

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The Driver’s Seat AKA Identikit stars Elizabeth Taylor in one of her single most berserk performances and since no one can bring the crazy like La Liz, that is really saying something. This 1974 Italian film is based on a novella by Muriel Spark about a disturbed woman in a foreign country who seeks a man who will tie her up and stab her to death. There is ridiculous (mostly shouted, even screamed) dialogue like: “I sense a lack of absence” and “I feel homesick for my own loneliness.” How about “You look like Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Do you want to eat me?” She holds up her purse in an airport security check and exclaims “This may look like a purse but it is actually a bomb!?” The best line is this, however: “When I diet, I diet and when I orgasm, I orgasm! I don’t believe in mixing the two cultures!”

The director, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, seems to have had no control over Taylor whatsoever and it appearss like she is making up her own Dada dialogue on the spot much of the time. Andy Warhol has a cameo in the film playing a British “your Lordship” who has a cryptic encounter with Liz in an airport and they meet again later in the film. His voice is overdubbed with an English voice, which is disconcerting but kind of interesting, too. Why isn’t this cuckoo-pops crazy film better known?

 
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Here is what the AllMovie Guide has to say about The Driver’s Seat:

A beautiful but mysterious woman goes on a journey that has dangerous consequences for her and those around her in this offbeat, arty drama from Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Patroni Griffi. Lise (Elizabeth Taylor) is a woman edging into middle age who is nearing the end of her emotional rope. Needing some time away from her job and responsibilities, Lise flies to Rome, and on the flight she meets Bill (Ian Bannen), an eccentric health food enthusiast who makes it clear he wishes to seduce her, and Pierre (Maxence Mailfort), a curious man who is wary of Lise and goes out of his way to avoid her. Lise informs anyone she speaks with that she’s come to Rome to meet her boyfriend, but it soon becomes clear she has no specific plans nor anyone to see. Lise whiles away the afternoon shopping with Mrs. Fiedke (Mona Washbourne), a chatty older woman from Nova Scotia, and in time crosses paths with Bill again, but it’s not until she meets up with Pierre that her real reason for coming to Italy, as well as the depth of her madness, becomes clear. As Lise wanders through Rome, a team of police detectives is seen investigating a crime that seems to involve her. Also released as Identikit and Psychotic, The Driver’s Seat features a brief appearance from Andy Warhol as a British nobleman.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to stunned silence and it has been suggested that Liz at one point tried to buy up the rights and all prints of the movie. The filming began one day after she filed for divorce from Richard Burton and she reportedly said to director, Griffi, “It takes one day to die, another to be reborn.”
 
The Driver’s Seat is not out on a proper DVD release, but you can often find bootlegs at a “99 Cents Only” store. Or watch the highlights here:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Boom!’ High Camp Masterpiece Starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor

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As all true John Waters fanatics know, the Pope of Trash’s favorite film of all time is Boom! director Joseph Losey’s preposterous adaptation of Tennesse Williams’ 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. Waters considers Boom! a bit of a litmus test: He’ll show it to friends and if someone doesn’t like it, he won’t talk to them anymore. Seems a bit much, but he’s John Waters and I respect that!

Boom! reveals itself as a cinematic atrocity almost from the film’s very first frames—not that this is a bad thing, mind you.  A clearly drunk—and I do mean clearly drunk, okay?—Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton star, respectively, as Sissy Goforth, the richest woman in the world, and Chris Flanders, a penniless poet who has the uncanny knack for showing up just when some rich lady is about to kick the bucket, ready to relief them of their personal possesions. We know this because Flanders’ nickname is “The Angel of Death.”

When we meet her, La Taylor is seen swanning about her private island wearing insanely elaborate Karl Lagerfeld clothes and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bugari jewels. She is attended to by fawning servants (including a surly dwarf!) as she dictates her memoirs and asks for constant “injections” for her pain (as if she could feel any due to all the booze and prescription painkillers she was on, but I digress).

Burton arrives on her island and is nearly ripped apart by a pack of her guard dogs. She asks him to stay and offers him a change of clothes, which includes a Samurai sword which he sports—inexplicably—for much of the film. They spend much of their screen time engaged in (obviously) drunken screaming matches. It’s AWESOME!

At one point, Noel Coward (as “The Witch of Capri”) shows up for a dinner party—carried on the shoulders of one of her servants—and gives her the goss on Burton/Flanders, who he thinks is a gigolo and warns her of his “angel of death” reputation. (Worth noting that the role of the “Witch” was originally offered to Katherine Hepburn who was insulted and turned it down).

 
In one bio of director Losey, he admits that all the principals on Boom!—including himself—were shitfaced drunk for the entire filming. Burton later fessed up that there were several films he made in the 60s that he literally had no memory of making. Odds are this is one of them!

Boom! wasn’t even released on VHS until 2000 and it’s never been put out on DVD (except for a recent Region 2 release in the Netherlands). Very occasionally you might see it on TV. Next time it’s on, grab yourself some herbal “entertainment insurance,” invite a few friends over and gorge yourself on the glorious, gorgeous mess that is Boom!

And if you don’t believe me, here’s what John Waters has to say about the film:

 
John Waters Presents “Boom!” (excerpt from “Crackpot”)

Joseph Losey’s Boom! (1968) great article from Cinebeats website

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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A collection of Elizabeth Taylor film trailers 1948-1968
03.24.2011
09:27 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies
R.I.P.

Tags:
Elizabeth Taylor

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Via our pals at Network Awesome comes this collection of 10 trailers for Elizabeth Taylor vehicles from 1948-1968 including the ultra-freaky Boom.
 

 
Another collection of clips after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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‘The Rug Cop’: Japanese action hero uses toupee as weapon to fight crime
03.23.2011
11:04 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Movies

Tags:
Japan
The Rug Cop

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The Rug Cop is a spoof of 1970s Japanese TV cop shows. Directed by Minoru Kawasaki, The Rug Cop takes you on a wild ride of crime-fighting madness on the steets of Tokyo with a wig-tossing cop as the main hero.

 
(via Neatorama )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The psychedelic animated short films of Vincent Collins

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From our friends at the wonderful Network Awesome comes this tight little collection of psuper-psychedelic animation from the pseventies by Vince Collins. The first of which was commissioned by the U.S. Information Agency to commemorate the bicentennial in 1976. The freaky final clip Malice in Wonderland is a bit NSFWish.
 

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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70s Porn Posters

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Souperman, 1976
 
Germany’s Der Spiegel posted a pretty good collection of porn posters from the 70s and 80s with a detailed breakdown of each film. To see more posters, go to Der Spiegel and use Google Translate.

Oh, and here are a few I found amusing:

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Flesh Gordon, 1972
 
More posters after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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