Behind-the-scenes photos of prototype Boba Fett costume, 1978
08:23 am


Star Wars
Boba Fett

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos taken in June of 1978 of either a costume fitting or screentest for badass Star Wars character Boba Fett. Apparently these images were shot at George Lucas’ home.

Interesting to see Boba Fett as all white.

Redditor RandomMovieTriviaGuy brought up this interesting Star Wars factoid I did not know:

George Lucas was so sure the original film would flop that instead of attending the premiere, he went on holiday to Hawaii with his good friend Steven Spielberg, where they came up with the idea for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).


More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Fear is Just the Beginning: John Carpenter, Master of Horror
08:07 am


John Carpenter

John Carpenter originally wanted to direct westerns just like his hero Howard Hawks. But those kind of movies weren’t so popular when Carpenter first started making films at the University of Southern California in 1968.

It was here he made Dark Star, a homemade science-fiction black comedy, which Carpenter later described as “Waiting for Godot in space.”.

I didn’t see Dark Star until it turned up one Monday night on BBC TV in the late 1970s. By then I was a believer at the First Church of John Carpenter having seen his second and third movies Assault on Precinct 13 and Halloween. I saw Assault on Precinct 13 at the Edinburgh Film Festival 1977 and knew, as the credits rolled and I drifted out into the warm-breathed night, this was the work of modern American cinematic genius.  After Assault on Precinct 13, I had to see every movie Carpenter made. His work inspired a near religious devotion.

Unlike today where we have multiple outlets to view films in amongst the distractions of everything else, back then there was only the cinema, which were usually built like temples to magic and light. Without disc or tape to pause and stop and rewind the scenes to be scrutinized frame-by-frame-by-frame, we had to memorize film sequences and dialog from (usually) one viewing. Such extracts we would later recreate and spool through in our minds like fundamentalists who learn-by-heart and recite long religious tracts.

So, it was with Carpenter—he was a name, an auteur, whose films, like those of Hitchcock, Fuller, Powell, Russell, Fassbinder, Anderson, Kubrick, Boorman, Peckinpah, Polanski, Fosse, Fellini, Richardson, Truffaut, Chabrol, Pasolini, Jarman, Brooks, Waters, Wajda, Friedkin and Scorsese, demanded to be seen.
After Halloween (with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance) everyone knew what to expect from a “John Carpenter Movie,” and he didn’t disappoint. Next up was The Fog, a perfectly thrilling ghost story, and then in 1981, Escape from New York, with Kurt Russell channeling his inner Clint Eastwood as Snake Plissken.

And then Carpenter made (arguably his greatest movie) a remake of Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World.

The Thing is his masterpiece, a film of such cinematic brilliance, it is near perfect.

And yea, I have kept the faith, and enjoyed Big Trouble in Little China, was thrilled by Prince of Darkness, They Live, In the Mouth of Madness, and even kept true to some lesser works such as Ghosts of Mars, Vampires, and so on. John Carpenter is one of America’s greatest film directors, whose movies have made cinema better. You can’t ask for much more than that.

This documentary with a mouthful of title, John Carpenter: Fear is Just the Beginning, The Man and His Movies was made in 2004, and features everyone you could hope to have in a tribute to the great man, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Adrienne Barbeau, Nick Castle, and the late, great producer Debra Hill.

A clip from They Live after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Psychiatry in Russia’: Albert Maysles’ first documentary, 1955
07:24 am


Albert Maysles

Albert and David Maysles, Russia, 1957
Albert and David Maysles in Russia, 1957
The work of Albert and David Maysles will rightfully appear on anyone’s list of the 20th century’s great documentarians. Grey Gardens (1976) is an absolute masterpiece, a movie of depth, subtlety, and poignancy that ranks with the all-time greats of world cinema, and Salesman (1968) and Gimme Shelter (1970) ain’t too far behind. (All three movies are available as Criterion Collection DVDs.)

So it comes as something of a surprise to learn about the fascinating path that Albert Maysles took on the way to becoming such an esteemed documentarian. Albert was trained as a psychologist and taught psychology for three years at Boston University during the 1950s. This was obviously during the chilliest portions of the Cold War—indeed, for almost the entirety of President Eisenhower’s two terms, the Doomsday Clock was set at “2 minutes to midnight,” which is the closest to “Doomsday” the clock has ever come. Maysles became interested in a project of filming mental institutions in the Soviet Union, which resulted in his first documentary, Psychiatry in Russia, in 1955. (How the hell he received clearance for such a movie is a mystery; in 1955, an American traveling to Russia was just not an easy thing to do at all.)
Psychiatry in Russia
Psychiatry in Russia
In a decade crammed with so much ideological alarmism and hysteria, Albert’s thoroughgoing calm and reasonableness are a positive balm. He shows some skepticism of the Soviet official policy of branding Freud’s theories as “idealism” and preferring Pavlovian treatment, which emphasizes the importance of making the patient functional again (a productive member of society) over the goal of plumbing the patient’s psyche for root causes. The movie is pretty much a montage, an approach that shows a great deal while jettisoning any need for continuity or “plot”—under the circumstances, a very good choice. We see so very much in just 13 minutes!

When Jean-Luc Godard calls you “the best American cameraman,” as he did of Albert, you know you’re onto something. The Maysles brothers were among the first documentarians to use cameras small and light enough to fit on a cameraman’s shoulder, and in their work you can see the intimate view of personal experience that this allowed them to capture. At the time, they called it ‘‘direct cinema’‘; today we think of it as “cinema verité.” Such a humanistic focus would understandably disdain the importance of soulless institutions and the “official” view of the world, and indeed, this ethic would gain far more traction in the late 1960s and beyond. In that sense it’s no surprise that in Psychiatry in Russia you get hardly a whiff of the ideological conflict of the Cold War, instead highlighting the efforts of normal Russians struggling to deal with intractable problems. As Albert’s voiceover (written but not recorded by him) says, “I found myself caught up in an aura of naturalness.” The imposition of the first-person and the rejection of static, face-to-face interviews constitute much of why we value the Maysles’ work so much to this day.
Albert Maysles in Russia, 1955
Albert Maysles surrounded by (mainly female) Soviet doctors and hospital workers during the shooting of Psychiatry in Russia.

For the shoot, Albert used a “wind-up 16mm Keystone camera.” Psychiatry in Russia was commissioned by CBS but was not, in the end, televised on CBS. It was shown on The Dave Garroway Show on NBC as well as WGBH-TV public television in Boston and on network television in Canada. Two years later, he and his brother would travel to Russia and Poland, a trip that yielded Russian Close-Up and Youth in Poland (both 1957). The photograph at the top of this page comes from that trip, not the 1955 voyage that produced Psychiatry in Russia.

Here’s a very brief statement Albert Maysles gave about his motivation to film Psychiatry in Russia:

(Photo #3 and caption come from Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney.)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Get ‘Em Off,’ a wonderfully ‘educational’ British burlesque documentary from 1976
08:07 am



The mid-1970s might have been the perfect era to make a documentary on exotic dance. It was a time when striptease was still often a playful and creative form, with strong vestiges of vaudeville in the forefront—some of the routines shown here are truly marvelous—but modern enough to be unabashed by a little straightforward good-time smut. Directed by one William G Walters for Harold Baim Presentations Limited, Get Em Off is unquestionably a product of the ‘70s. Garish colors, ostentatious costume and awesomely sleazy psych-funk music are all deep in this celluloid like a stain—my kingdom for a soundtrack album! The narration, by a pair of middle-aged presenters named Kenneth Macleod and Hugh Scully (yes, the Antiques Roadshow guy), is HILARIOUS, often even intentionally so.

Something neat I noticed—the book a young gentleman is leafing through in the first shot is Richard Wortley’s terrific A Pictorial History of Striptease: 100 Years of Undressing to Music. Like the film, it was also a 1976 release, and it’s excellent. Fortunately for scholars of the burlesque, it can be had quite inexpensively at Amazon.

You can watch it below in its entirety, but do I actually even need to tell those of you at work to wait until you get home? Examples of the art form are shown plentifully and unflinchingly, so there’s COPIOUS skin to be seen herein. You’ve been served notice. If you’d like to own it, Get Em Off is included in this Baim anthology DVD.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
When Derek Jarman met William Burroughs, London 1982

Early one Saturday morning in September 1982, Genesis P-Orridge met filmmaker Derek Jarman at his apartment in central London. The pair then drove to Heathrow Airport, where they were to collect William S. Burroughs. Jarman brought his camera, and took a few “shy snaps” as Genesis welcomed Burroughs and then drove him to Chelsea, where he was booked into the Arts Club. A full itinerary of events had been organized for Burroughs during his visit, as Jarman later wrote in his journal.

During the next week Mr. B. was banqueted at the B2 Gallery, filmed and interviewed across London, and did four nights of readings at the Ritzy in Brixton and one night in Heaven.

Burroughs was publicizing his latest novel, Cities of the Red Night, as well as reading extracts from past works and his forthcoming book The Place of Dead Roads. Having made three critically successful art house films (Sebastiane, Jubilee, and The Tempest), Jarman was struggling to raise money for his next feature on the Baroque artist Caravaggio. Genesis, finished with Throbbing Gristle, had formed the video art and music group Psychic TV, who were working with Jarman on a film portrait of Burroughs.

Jarman “clicked away” with his Nizo Super 8 camera filming Burroughs, Brion Gysin, John Giorno and others. The results were edited together into a short film Pirate Tape, with a soundtrack by Psychic TV.

In his memoir Dancing Ledge, Jarman described a reading by Burroughs and Brion Gysin:

WSB emerges tortoise-like to greet his audience. He stoops like a cadavre in the catacombs of Palermo and talks of mummies and immortality. To speak to him is almost impossible, as he is always on the move in little erratic circles. At rest he retires into himself and puts out a signal, ‘Leave me alone.’ The only thing to do is to be photographed with him, and that is what everyone attempted to do. His readings are immensely funny. He drawls out his lines in a Southern monotone, punctuating it only for sips of water. What might give you the shivers on the page becomes the blackest of black comedy. Brion Gysin fights an old battle with him; but William’s junk vision has won out against Brion’s magic and the battle isn’t joined. Brion described William fishing for inspiration in the sewers of Paris. They do not share accommodation on this trip, and their friendship now seems cemented by the common platform that their young admirers have provided. Time has parted them: Brion the Parisian with his dream-machine and Bill in Kansas with his junk.

Sometimes the bare facts of history create a romantic notion that the participants in such culturally important events were happy, successful and generally financially secure. When usually, in truth, the opposite was often the case.

So it was for Jarman, who by January 1983 was broke, his bank account shut, and all his holiday change spent. He was reduced to selling clothes and books to pay the rent. Genesis P-Orridge, on hearing of Jarman’s financial plight, gave him £50 towards the cost of the Super 8 film he had shot for Pirate Tape.

Pirate Tape is an experimental portrait of William Burroughs, which features a loop of the writer’s voice cut to images of his visit to London. This film tends to disappear quickly, so watch it while you can.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Stanley Kubrick’s daughter’s photographs of life with her famous father
06:41 am


Stanley Kubrick
Vivian Kubrick

Filmmaker/musician Vivian Kubrick, daughter of the great Stanley Kubrick, has posted a selection of photographs on Twitter, depicting her once close relationship working with her father on his, and her own projects. The pictures may be viewed as a possible attempt at some form of reconciliation as Vivian has been allegedly out of touch with her family since joining the Church of Scientology in 1999.

Vivian’s filmmaking career started with her documentary on her father making The Shining in 1979. She scored Stanley’s next film Full Metal Jacket in 1987. Her father then asked Vivian to score Eyes Wide Shut, but she turned down his offer to dedicate herself to Scientology, as Raw Story reported last year when the reclusive Vivian attended at an “anti government Alex Jones rally”:

“Stanley asked Vivian to compose the score, but at the last moment she said she wouldn’t,” Kubrick’s widow Christiane told the Guardian in 2009. “They had a huge fight. He was very unhappy. He wrote her a 40-page letter trying to win her back. He begged her endlessly to come home from California. I’m glad he didn’t live to see what happened.”

It has been suggested that Eyes Wide Shut was Stanley Kubrick’s “requiem for his lost daughter”:

In “The Secret of the Pyramid,” which appeared in the January 2013 issue of the film journal Positif, critic and screenwriter Laurent Vachaud offered a new interpretation of “Eyes Wide Shut,” Stanley Kubrick’s last film, which came out in 1999 and was based on Arthur Schnitzler’s “Dream Story” (1926). After analyzing the omnipresence of triangle patterns in the film’s sets, Vachaud (interviewed this week by ARTINFO) concluded that “Eyes Wide Shut” is much more than a simple story of spousal jealousy. He theorizes that it is about mind control exerted by the secret society to which Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) belongs. Her husband, Bill Harford (Tom Cruise), with “big closed eyes,” is blind to the fact that his wife is part of a cult that provides sex slaves to wealthy elites. This use of women echoes Doctor Strangelove’s final speech, in which he says that “with the right genetic policy, a ratio of 10 females per male, the population could return to its current level within 20 years.”       

In his article, Vachaud wrote that the theme of abused children is at the heart of all Kubrick’s movies since “Lolita,” and that the Harfords’ child would also become, under the control of her mother, a slave of the secret society. Uncovering “barely veiled allusions” to Scientology in “Eyes Wide Shut” (among them the fact that Tom Cruise is himself a zealous Scientologist), the article claimed to discover a parallel between the movie and Kubrick’s personal life. His daughter Vivian Kubrick, who acted in several of her father’s movies, directed a film about the making of “The Shining,” and wrote the music for “Full Metal Jacket” (under the pseudonym Abigail Mead), joined the Scientologists during the preparation for “Eyes Wide Shut” and was no longer speaking to her family as of 1998.

Revealed by Kubrick’s widow in 2010, the disappearance of Vivian into the hands of Scientologists takes on a special resonance after viewing “Eyes Wide Shut,” a film with a deeply lethal atmosphere. Vachaud mentions the disturbing scene where Bill Harford, shocked and upset, learns from a newspaper of the brutal death of Mandy, a young woman whom he was unable to save, while Mozart’s “Requiem” plays. Vachaud concludes that “after this moment, it is hard not to see all of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ as a father’s requiem for his lost daughter.”

Vivian allegedly turned-up at her father’s funeral with a Scientology handler. Vivian’s distance from her family became more apparent after she apparently failed to attend her sister Anya’s funeral in 2009. The sisters had once been inseparable.

The photographs start with Vivian and Anya as children in New York, and move almost film-by-film through Stanley Kubrick’s career, ending on a photograph of father and daughter together.
Vivian and Anya Kubrick, New York City 1965
Vivian and a baby chimp from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey, 1967’
Vivian’s ‘Making The Shining’ cutting room, 1979
Editing ‘Making of The Shining’ at EMI studio, 1979
Vivian on location with camera, dog Fanny and father, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ 1986
Vivian in her bedroom where she wrote the score for ‘Full metal Jacket’ 1987

“Makes me smile: Me&Dad FMJ @ Beckton Gas Works: filthiest place on earth - 2 baths every night to get the filth off.”


“In Memory of my Dad, who I loved with all my heart and soul ... Dad and Me 1979 on the back veranda of Abbots Mead.”

Via Reddit

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Mel Brooks is probably the funniest man who has ever lived (and he proves it in this 1975 interview)
09:43 am


Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks is unstoppable in this interview about his films Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein from 1975.

Made by Imperial College’s TV station Stoic, the interview begins with presenter Mark Caldwell asking Brooks why he made his cowboy movie spoof ?

Brooks explains that Westerns were a considerable part of his childhood, part of his “subliminal beginnings,” and he wanted to tell the truth about the wild west. Although he told the truth about cowboys eating beans, the one thing Brooks would not show was the little known fact that cowboys “do not make love to women in Westerns.”

“People say I am in questionable taste, you know what I mean? Well, I must tell you that I used the utmost discretion [and] I did not tell the whole truth about the Western, because they do not make love to women, you know that. They are very straight, very Christian and very with it, you know. They do make love to their horses. They do, they do. They don’t marry them, there is no formal ceremony, but they go off somewhere in the night with their horses.”

Brooks then goes on to talk about making Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman.

Mel Brooks is possibly the funniest man that ever lived. Just take a look at the comic characters and comedies he has been involved in creating, from The 2,000 Year Old Man, the TV series Get Smart, Bialystock and Bloom in The Producers, Sheriff Bart and Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, Mel Funn and Marty Eggs in Silent Movie, or Dr Thorndyke in High Anxiety, and you’ll see a wealth of fictions that would make most scriptwriters, screenwriters, and even novelists green with envy.

And apart from probably being the funniest man alive, you know an evening with Mel Brooks would be the best, funniest, most entertaining night you could have with another person that didn’t involve sex. And even if it did involve sex you know you both could laugh about it in the morning.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Tale of Two Microbes’: Food poisoning meets campy British 70s sci-fi
06:17 am


A Tale of Two Microbes

A Tale of Two Microbes
In this marvelous 19-minute educational film about the dangers of carelessly handled foodstuffs, “Basil and Desdemonia Salmonella,” ably and theatrically embodied by seasoned British actors Frank Muir and June Whitfield, manage to (SPOILER ALERT) evade a battery of dangers, such as heat, cold, soap, and so on to start a gargantuan, toxic family in the belly of some unsuspecting Briton.

Throughout, Basil explains the dangers that lie ahead while offering reassurances that the stupid humans will likely neglect to wash their knives properly, re-heat their repasts at a sufficiently low temperature, and so on. These dialogues, set in a suitably sci-fi and low-budget soundstage, are intercut with more traditional scenes of the aforementioned stupid humans committing the very transgressions that assure the microbes’ survival. Stupid humans!! We see a well-meaning butcher and, later, a somewhat quarrelsome married couple preparing a meal.

Basil, who carries around a pipe all the time, and Desdemonia both wear the silver signifiers of 1970s’ sci-fi, the type of garb that incidentally was lovingly lampooned in “App Development and Condiments,” the most recent episode of Community.
A Tale of Two Microbes
Muir was the type of older British actor (he was also a writer) who in an alternate universe might have played Alfred to Adam West’s Batman; he’s awfully familiar to me but I’ll be damned if I recognize anything in his CV. Whitfield has had a more illustrious career—she’s still active at the age of 88—and might be best known for her portrayal of “Mother” in Ab Fab and even appeared in one of those cringeworthy Friends episodes where the whole gang flew to London for a wedding or something. Interestingly, “A Tale of Two Microbes” has more than a whiff of the old Doctor Who episodes about them, so it’s fitting that she popped up in the two-part episode “The End of Time” just a few years ago.

“A Tale of Two Microbes” is dated as all hell and irredeemably British, campy and enjoyable. Just when things start to lag, Basil’s “Uncle Pedro” shows up. Trust me: you don’t want to miss Uncle Pedro.

via Weird Universe

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Polish movie posters make every movie a scary movie
09:45 am



Rosemary's Baby
OK, so the first few posters shown below are for actual scary movies—Rosemary’s Baby, Poltergeist, Alien, and The Birds all get grotesque posters, and completely appropriately so. But while I’m not denying the utter coolness of all these designs, most feel, if not misleading, totally out of left field.

First of all, Planet of the Apes has a spoiler right there in the damn poster—enraging? Yes. Allusive to the tone of the film? Not so much. It could also be argued that the Star Wars poster has a spoiler as well—if this is for Return of The Jedi, it’s definitely alluding to the Death Star’s explosion. Not cool, Poland! So not cool! (Though I do appreciate the decidedly Hebraic font on the use of the word “Jedi.”)

But the Cabaret poster looks like a fucking Cronenberg film, and can you guess what the next one is? Young Frankenstein. That is a poster for the Mel Brooks comedy classic Young Frankenstein. After that we have the 1980s pseudo-feminist love letter to Wall Street finance, Working Girl, which again, looks more than a little Cronenberg if not Kafka. And Tootsie has shades of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. But in my opinion, it’s the final poster, for a Charlie Brown movie, that really takes the cake. I know Charles Schulz’s brand of kiddie entertainment wasn’t candy-coated, but—based on the poster alone—I get the distinct impression that this movie is about a bunch of children who drown.
The Birds
Planet of the Apes
Star Wars
Lots more hilariously inapt Polish posters after the jump…...

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
‘Breakin’ New York Style’ instructional video supplies the ultimate Reagan-era workout
01:48 pm



I love everything about this video. The crude beats, the graffiti visual style, the simple instructional raps…. If you can do all of the moves they demonstrate, you are either in peak physical condition or well on the way to it. Just watching it wears me out!
Breakin' New York Style
Your sherpa in Breakin’ New York Style, which was released in 1984, is one “Lori Eastside,” who is best known for playing “Nada” in Allan Arkush’s remarkable and hectic 1983 satire Get Crazy. She has since transitioned into the fine art of casting; she assisted with the casting of The Wrestler, the Karate Kid remake, The Reader, and many others. But back in the day, she could throw down some beats and do a cartwheel that would kick your ass.

Here’s a supplemental guide to breakdancing that’s unrelated to Breakin’ New York Style (as far as I know). You can use it to sharpen your moves or brush up on your breakin’ lingo, such as “Juice,” which denotes “what you got when you’re a VIP—and that’s clout, the privileges, the status!”
Breakdance moves
(full size)
Watching this video is a welcome trip down memory lane, but it’s also a reminder why breakdancing didn’t really last: you have to be in tip-top shape to even think about doing it!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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