Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.
Film: The Ninth Gate
A French/Spanish Roman Polanksi vehicle (director & producer), he co-wrote the screenplay with John Brownjohn and Enrique Urbizu. Loosely based on the 1993 book El Club Dumas, a Spanish language novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez, the Polanski/Brownjohn script removed a sub-plot, changed the two main characters’ names and altered the finale. Filmed in France, Portugal and Spain, it stars Johnny Depp (Corso), Frank Langella (Balkan), Lena Olin, Barbara Jefford and, Emmanuelle Seigner (mysterious woman & Polanski’s wife). Actor Allen Garfield suffered a stroke prior to filming and Polanski incorporated Garfield’s paralysis as part of the character. Released August 25, 1999, in Belgium, France and Spain (premiere), and November 1999 at the Stockholm International Film Festival, it wasn’t released, widely, in the US until March 10, 2000.
I would have to describe the movie like this…:
“[It] is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”
October 1, 1939
Dean Corso is a bit of a sleazy rare book dealer from New York with questionable ethics. Boris Balkan, a wealthy collector, hires Corso to determine if a book he owns (the book to the left/above) is authentic. The author, supposedly, wrote the book with help from the Devil and only three copies of the book are known to exist after the author was burned at the stake during the Inquisition, along with his works. Corso must find the other two to complete his investigation. Balkan believes that the owner of the book would have the power to summon said Devil. As the skeptical Corso travels and searches, he is followed by a mysterious woman. He eventually becomes obsessed with his task and desires the complete truth. The movie twists and turns to it’s bizarre ending. Depp is a strange cat but, he makes really interesting movies. Visually, Polanski intended for Corso to resemble Philip Marlowe. ~Vic
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.
Film: The Breakfast Club
“So, Ahab, can I have all my doobage?”
“Chicks cannot hold dey smoke, dat’s what it is.”
“Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062 (fictional town). […] You see us as you want to see us… […] You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. […] That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”
This is my graduating class…the class of 1984 (despite the age of some of the actors). Released February 15, 1985, I was in my freshman year of college and it was a bittersweet revisit. I knew these characters…every single one of them. My high school even had a library that resembled that set. This movie was made with only a one million budget but, brought in $51 million and, in 2016, was selected for preservation with the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. There is no CGI or special effects. There are no sweeping views of beautiful locations. There are no “shoot-em-up-bang-bang” sequences. There is some action with the cast running through the hallways, dancing while high and Judd Nelson (John Bender/The Criminal) falling through the ceiling tiles. This is, primarily, a study of human nature, parental influence, peer influence, subtle & overt abuse and the struggle to understand. It’s heartbreaking, it’s hilarious and it is so Generation X. ~Vic
Written, produced and directed by John Hughes, it also stars Emilio Estevez (Andrew Clark/The Athlete), Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish/The Princess), Ally Sheedy (Allison Reynolds/The Basket Case), Paul Gleason (Asst. Principal Richard Vernon) and John Kapelos (Carl Reed/The Janitor).
♦ The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. Writer and director John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.
♦ There is a deleted scene of Claire and Allison in the bathroom that didn’t show up until the Blu-Ray edition was released.
♦ Sixteen year old Hall hit a growth spurt during shooting and outgrew 24 year old Nelson, prompting Nelson to joke about writing letters to geneticists.
♦ Bender’s joke about the blonde, the poodle and the six foot salami has no punchline as it was never in the script.
♦ Nelson was nearly fired for method-acting harassment.
♦ Hall’s mother & sister play themselves in the movie.
♦ Keith Forsey wrote the lyrics to Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was approached to sing it. Billy Idol was also approached and recorded his own version, later. An offer to Chrissie Hynde lead to her, then, husband Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.
♦ Nelson improvised the part at the closing of the film where Bender raises his fist in defiance. Everyone loved it and it has also become an iconic symbol of the 1980s as well as cinema history.
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Three pick.
Film: The Other Side of the Mountain
“You know where you’ll find sympathy in the dictionary, don’t ya’? Between shit and suicide.”
Directed by Larry Peerce, the movie is based on the 1966 novel A Long Way Up by E. G. Valens, written about national slalom ski champion (1955) and a 1956 U.S. Olympic skiing team candidate, Jill Kinmont. Produced by Edward Feldman, the screenplay adaption was written by David Seltzer. Jill is played by Marilyn Hassett and, Beau Bridges plays Olympic skiing team member (1952) and stunt pilot Dick “Mad Dog” Buek. Dabney Coleman plays Coach Dave McCoy and Bill Vint plays Buddy Werner. Belinda Montgomery plays Audra Jo or “A.J.”, Jill’s best friend, Nan Martin plays June Kinmont and William Bryant plays Bill Kinmont. Griffin Dunne has a small part.
The film spans Jill’s slalom races to her national championship, her best friend’s polio contraction, her accident while attempting to win the Alta, UT, Snow Cup, her hospital stay, her slow rehabilitation, her heartbreak from the losses of two dear men and her triumph at becoming a teacher.
Released July 25, 1975, the film was panned by critics for being too much of a tear-jerker. That may be true but, she did have a really hard time. The sequel was released February 10, 1978 and was panned even worse. I saw them in reverse order. I was only nine years old when the first movie came out so, I didn’t get to see it until I was an adult. I saw Part II, first, when it was released to television. I enjoyed both films despite the bad reviews. Sometimes, bringing someone’s life story to the big screen is handled poorly. Jill passed away February 9, 2012.
The Complete Movie
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Two pick.
I don’t think I need to provide a trailer or to hack out a plot or synopsis on this one but, you might find the trivia interesting. I did my own post back in 2018.
I was 11 years old when it was released. I was such an Olivia Newton-John fan. I begged my mom to buy me the album soundtrack. I nearly wore it out. I still have it to this day. And, I remember those shoes. I was headed to seventh grade that year and ALL the girls had to have a pair of the Candies that Sandy made famous. Can you imagine a bunch of ‘tween girls in the late 70s trying to change classes, going up and down stairs in Sandy’s Candies? Oh, my… ~Vic
Released June 16, 1978 (NYC premiere was June 13), it was based on the 1971 musical created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Bronte Woodard crafted the screenplay and Randal Kleiser directed. Produced by Robert Stigwood and Allan Carr, it starred John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Barry Pearl, Michael Tucci, Kelly Ward, Didi Conn, Jamie Donnelly, Dinah Manoff, Eve Arden, Frankie Avalon, Joan Blondell, Edd Byrnes, Sid Caesar, Alice Ghostley, Dody Goodman, Sha-Na-Na, Susan Buckner, Lorenzo Lamas, Fannie Flagg, Dick Patterson, Eddie Deezen, Darrell Zwerling, Ellen Travolta, Annette Charles and Dennis Stewart.
 The opening beach scene was shot at Malibu’s Leo Carrillo State Beach, making explicit reference to From Here to Eternity.
 The exterior shots of Rydell High, the Summer Nights musical number and the athletic scenes were shot at Venice High School in Los Angeles, CA.
 Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee & Hopelessly Devoted to You, sung at the slumber party, were performed at a private home in East Hollywood.
 The drive-in movie scene and the musical number Sandy were shot & performed at Pickwick Drive-In in Burbank, CA (torn down in 1989).
 The Frosty Palace (exterior shot), Greased Lightnin’ and Beauty School Dropout were performed at Paramount Studios.
 Rydell interior shots and the dance in the gym were filmed at Huntington Park High School in Los Angeles, CA.
 The race was filmed at the Los Angeles River‘s dry riverbed, starting at the 6th Street bridge and u-turning after passing the 1st Street bridge.
 The carnival scenes, You’re the One That I Want and We Go Together were shot & performed at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, CA.
♦ Rizzo’s hickeys were real. Stockard Channing said in an interview that Jeff Conaway insisted on applying them himself.
♦ Hopelessly Devoted to You was written and recorded after the movie had wrapped.
♦ Elvis Presley turned down the role of The Guardian Angel in the Beauty School Drop-Out scene.
♦ Due to a zipper breaking, Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into the trousers she wears in the last sequence (the carnival at Rydell).
♦ Jeff Conaway was so infatuated with Olivia Newton-John, he was tongue-tied whenever she was around. He later married Olivia’s sister, Rona Newton-John.
♦ Danny’s blue windbreaker at the beginning of the film was intended as a nod to Rebel Without a Cause.
♦ Jamie Donnelly had prematurely grey hair, which she dyed black to play Jan. Her hair grew really quickly, so her roots had to be colored in daily with a black crayon.
♦ Rydell High is a reference to teen idol Bobby Rydell who had a million selling hit with Swingin’ School in 1960.
♦ The “blonde pineapple” line was improvised by Barry Pearl.
♦ Olivia Newton-John insisted on a screen test for the role of Sandy. She was concerned that she didn’t have the acting skills and would look too old to be a high school student. The part was originally meant for Susan Dey, who turned it down on her manager’s advice.
The soundtrack was certified 14x Platinum in Australia, Diamond in Canada and 8x Platinum in the UK & the US.
A rare documentary by Scottish folk singer Donovan P. Leitch. Insights into his life with rare recordings from the beginning of his career as a folk singer. Portions of the film was [sic] filmed on St. Ives, Cornwall on Porthminster [B]each in 1966.
It shows Donovan’s life before becoming famous, when he was busking and living in Saint Ives with his friend Gypsy Dave. And, then, when the fame came in with Ready Steady Go! Donovan and his friends are seen smoking marihuana [sic], very shocking for its time. This warned the police to keep him under surveillance and ended up arresting him for drugs [sic] possession in mid-1966.
Born Donovan Philips Leitch in Glasgow, Scotland on May 10, 1946, Donovan was part of the British folk scene and the British music invasion in America. His style was distinctive and incredibly eclectic. As a child, Donovan was vaccinated with the polio vaccine and contracted polio. Though the vaccine was later made safer with the Sabin oral vaccine, the disease and treatment left Donovan with a limp. The public never knew this.
He established close relationships with leading musicians of the time including Joan Baez, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and, the Beatles. He taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney […] his finger-picking guitar technique. On his first trip to the USA, he performed in New York with Pete Seeger, […] appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabaloo, and Shindig! He gained critical acclaim and acceptance when he performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
[E]arly on, he was compared with Bob Dylan […]. By 1966, [he] had become one of the first British pop musicians to adopt the flower power image. His music contained many drug references during this time. His recordings were also the first pop music to contain the sound of the sitar, later copied by other famed music groups. [He] was the first high-profile British pop star to be arrested for possession of marijuana. Though Donovan’s drug use appeared to have been moderate, and his drug use was not on the scale of others such as Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones who later died from overdoses, his use of LSD is referred to in many of his lyrics. Public attention was drawn to his drug use by [the] TV documentary, A Boy Called Donovan, which was broadcast during that year and newspaper coverage of the drug scene in England.
The Hurdy Gurdy Man of the Psychedelic Sixties: Donovan Leitch
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round One pick.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, it was written by Peter Morgan and, produced by Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy and Robert Lorenz. It stars Matt Damon (George), Cécile de France (Marie), Jay Mohr (Billy), Bryce Dallas Howard (Melanie) and, Frankie & George McLaren (twins Jason & Marcus). The film was released September 12, 2010, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Marie is a French TV journalist that has a near death experience after nearly drowning during a tsunami. George is a psychic medium but, works in a factory and tries to avoid talking to dead people. Twins Jason & Marcus have a drug-addicted, alcoholic mom and, when Jason is killed, accidentally, Marcus is sent to a foster home. Melanie meets George in a cooking class and a psychic reading ends badly. When George is laid off, his brother Billy tries to get him to revive his psychic practice. After an impromptu trip to London, George crosses paths with Marie and Marcus. Death surrounds the three main characters and their reactions to it unfolds, slowly.
Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter considers the idea of an afterlife with tenderness, beauty and a gentle tact. I was surprised to find it enthralling. I don’t believe in woo-woo but, then, neither, I suspect, does Eastwood. This is a film about the afterlife that carefully avoids committing itself on such a possibility. The closest it comes is the idea of consciousness after apparent death. This is plausible. Many near-death survivors report the same memories, of the white light, the waiting figures and a feeling of peace.
October 19, 2010
I absolutely love this movie. It’s a thoughtful drama, without being over-the-top, with an inherent mystery built into the story line. I’m not a big Damon fan but, I am an Eastwood fan. ~Vic
Movie releases were slim pickings. Fifty years ago, today, the Latvian film Klāvs Mārtiņa dēls or Klavs – The Son of Martins was released. Written by Janis Lusis and directed by Oļģerts Dunkers, it starred Juris Kaminiskis, Lidija Freimane and Liga Liepina.
After [his] military service, Klavs, [the] son of Martins Viksna, is returning to his native village [of kolkhoz]. After [the] war, his father, the collective farm chairman […], was killed by guerrillas. Even after many years, the remote village of the Latvian countryside is still under agitation from those old days events. Klavs meets and falls in love with Bille [but], Bille is [the] daughter of Ance, his father’s first love. Klavs starts work in [the] collective farm but, after a conflict, however, decides to leave the village. After the death of his mother, Klavs [returns] and [remains in the village]. [This] is his real home.
Filmas (Latvian Movie Site Translation):
Klāvs, the son of Mārtiņš Vīksna, the first chairman of the kolkhoz, comes out of the service and starts working in his native kolkhoz but, does not understand his colleagues, so he goes to the city. The chairman of the collective farm agrees that he will eat his hat if Klav does not return. Klava’s mother Ilze dies in the hay meadow and the chairman offers the boy to come in her place as a foreman. Bille is waiting for Klava in Ilze’s house, whose mother, milkman Ance, once loved Klava’s father.
Eighty-five years ago, today, the black & white short comedy Why Pay Rent? was released. Directed by Lloyd French and, co-written by Dolph Singer & Jack Henley, it starred Roscoe Ates, Shemp Howard, Billie Leonard, Ethel Sykes and Ron Le May.
Elmer (Roscoe Ates) fixes up a room for his just-married, freeloading brother-in-law and wife. When the newlyweds show up, Henry (Shemp Howard) brings a surprise in the form of stepson Junior. The apartment is now too small so, Henry decides that they’ll buy a lot and build a do-it-yourself home, a disaster in the making when Junior switches the house’s part numbers. It doesn’t help matters that Elmer, Henry and the wives are all incompetent.
In the 1930s, the Vitaphone division of Warner Brothers made a bunch of very uninspired and, often, unfunny comedy shorts. One of them, Why Pay Rent? is a bit like One Week (with Buster Keaton) but, only if the folks building the house were dumber than a pile of bricks. In many ways, this might have worked better as a Three Stooges short, which is interesting because Shemp Howard stars in this one, as well as Roscoe Ates, an incredibly unfunny comedian whose shtick was stuttering…which was annoying rather and cruel.
Ninety years ago, today, the obscure, low budget, black & white western film The Cheyenne Kid was released. Directed and co-written by Jacques Jaccard, it starred Jay Wilsey, Joan Jaccard (Catherine Dirking), Yakima Canutt (co-writer & stuntman), Jack Mower and Frank Ellis.
Buck Allen, The Cheyenne Kid, has been accused of holding up the payroll car of the Cody Dam Construction Company and is being pursued by U.S. Marshal Utah Kane and, Sheriff Hank Bates but, they lose him. Buck proceeds to the home of Betty Thorpe, where he meets Duke Porter, who is posing as his friend. [Duke], who advised him that, by running away from the law, he can keep out of jail and force the guilty party to confess. Hiding in the barn, he hears a conversation between Gorman and Madge. [H]e leaps to the floor as Gorman runs out. Gorman shoots at him but, hits Madge instead. The Marshal and Sheriff ride up and Buck, knowing that Madge needs medical attention, gives himself up and, is jailed. Marshal Kane believes that Buck is innocent and is on the hunt for the guilty party but, allows the sheriff to believe that Buck is guilty. Kane has the sheriff bring Gorman to the jail and, tells Buck and Gorman of an old Indian legend that, when two people are given one weapon between them, the survivor will be the innocent party. He throws a bull-whip between them and says that is the weapon.
In the trivia section, there is one entry:
This film is presumed lost. Please check your attic.
[Note: The finding of the abandoned Mary Celeste is sometimes listed as December 5, 1872. This is due to time differences between “Civil Time” (land time) and “Sea Time”.]
A merchant brigantine, the Mary Celeste was built at Spencer’s Island, Nova Scotia and launched under British registration as Amazon in 1861. She was transferred to American ownership and registration in 1868 when she acquired her new name. Thereafter, she sailed, uneventfully, until her 1872 voyage.
[She was] discovered adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores Islands on December 4, 1872. The Canadian brigantine Dei Gratia found her in a disheveled but seaworthy condition under partial sail and with her lifeboat missing. The last entry in her log was dated ten days earlier.
She left New York City for Genoa on November 7 and [the] Dei Gratia departed for Gibraltar on November 15, following the same general route eight days [later]. [She] was still amply provisioned when found. Her cargo of denatured alcohol was intact and, the captain’s and crew’s personal belongings were undisturbed. None of those who had been on board were ever heard from again.
At the salvage hearings in Gibraltar following her recovery, the court’s officers considered various possibilities of foul play, including mutiny by Mary Celeste’s crew, piracy by the Dei Gratia crew or others and conspiracy to carry out insurance or salvage fraud. No convincing evidence supported these theories but, unresolved suspicions led to a relatively low salvage award.
The inconclusive nature of the hearings fostered continued speculation as to the nature of the mystery and, the story has repeatedly been complicated by false detail and fantasy. Hypotheses that have been advanced include the effects on the crew of alcohol fumes rising from the cargo, submarine earthquakes (seaquakes), waterspouts, attack by a giant squid and paranormal intervention. The story of her 1872 abandonment has been recounted and dramatized many times in documentaries, novels, plays and films and, the name of the ship has become a byword for unexplained desertion.
[Were] it not for Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, struggling to establish himself as a writer prior to creating Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the world would not have ever known or cared [about the ship]. Conan Doyle’s short story about the ‘Marie Celeste‘ (he changed the name from Mary) turned a minor puzzle into one of the most famous legends of the sea. Nevertheless, we should recognise it was fiction, for which his editor paid 30 Pounds, […] a respectable sum in 1884.
Smithsonian Documentary Clip