Finn McMissile: “Finn McMissile, British Intelligence.”
Tow Mater: “Tow Mater, average intelligence.”
Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was Cars 2. Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis, it was produced by Denise Ream. The original story was penned by Lasseter, Lewis and Dan Fogelman with Ben Queen crafting the screenplay. Voices were Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Larry the Cable Guy (Sir Tow Mater), Michael Caine (Finn McMissile), Emily Mortimer (Holley Shiftwell), John Turturro (Francesco Bernoulli), Eddie Izzard (Sir Miles Axlerod), Thomas Kretschmann (Professor Zündapp), Joe Mantegna (Grem), Peter Jacobson (Acer), Bonnie Hunt (Sally Carrera, Bruce Campbell (Rod Redline), Tony Shalhoub (Luigi), Darrell Waltrip (Darrell Cartrip), Brent Musburger (Brent Mustangburger), Colin Cowherd (Colin Cowling Blimp), Jason Isaacs (Siddeley Gulfstream V/Leland Turbo), Lloyd Sherr (Fillmore/Tony Trihull Combat Ship), Paul Dooley (Sarge), Cheech Marin (Ramone), Katherine Helmond (Lizzie), John Ratzenberger (Mack), Jeff Gordon (Jeff Gorvette) and John Lasseter as Crew Chief John Lassetire.
The famous race car Lightning McQueen and his team are invited to compete in the World Grand Prix race. There, McQueen’s best friend Mater finds himself involved in international espionage and, alongside two professional British spies, attempts to uncover a secret plan led by a mysterious mastermind and his criminal gang, which threatens the lives of all competitors in the tournament.
Tagline: Going where no car has gone before.
Five years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was Captain America: Civil War. Directed by the Russo Brothers and produced by Kevin Feige, the all-star cast is extensive (and well known). If you are unaware of this blockbuster film, it took in $1.15 billion.
The basic plot is one that weaves thru much of the Marvel Comics (and DC Comics, as well) regarding mutant and superhero discrimination and the government wanting to register and track them. The idea was alluded to in the Uncanny X-Men issue #141, published in January of 1981 and the specific words “Mutant Control Act“ showed up in the Uncanny X-Men issue #181, published in May of 1984. It was featured prominently in the movie X-Men (2000).
In Civil War, the Sokovia Accords is a United Nations version of a registration act to monitor or control the superheroes. Tony Stark (Ironman) agrees with this registration out of remorse for Ultron and the destruction of Sokovia. Steve Rogers (Captain America) disagrees and wants no part of political intervention or any form of registration. Complicating matters, Rogers’ childhood friend Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier) is responsible for the death of T’Challa’s (Black Panther) father and Stark’s parents. The Avengers split along ideological and loyalty lines. Unlike the comics, Captain America isn’t killed off but, he does walk away from the job. He returns during Infinity War & Endgame.
I find all of the above quite prophetic considering recent insane events taking place. Society, once again, finds itself being driven towards more discrimination, tracking/registration with vaccine passports (shall we return to gold stars on lapels and “your papers, please?”) and possible civil war? Please…wake up. ~Vic
♦ The film coincides with the 75th anniversary of Captain America, the 10th anniversary of the original Civil War comic book and Black Panther’s 50th anniversary.
♦ This is the live-action debut of T’Challa, the Black Panther, one of the first black superheroes in American comic books, which debuted in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966).
♦ By the end of the movie, The Avengers logo on Captain America’s arm is no longer there, representing the fact that The Avengers are no longer his.
Fifty-five years ago, today, the short, animated film Just Plane Beep was released. Produced by David DePatie & Friz Freleng and, directed by Rudy Larriva, Paul Julian was the uncredited voice of the Road Runner.
Synopsis from the Looney Tunes Fan Site (possible future broken link as Fandom is in the middle of a migration):
Wile E. Coyote chases Road Runner on foot but, Road Runner produces dust and runs off the side, smacking the coyote against a wall. While lying down on the ground, a paper for Acme War Surplus is blown towards the coyote and he sends a coupon in the mail. He receives a World War I bi-plane kit and plans to catch the Road Runner using it.
Needless to say, things don’t go well. ~Vic
Additional Reading & Sources:
Big Cartoon Database
IMDb Movie Connections List
Internet Animation Database
Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies Filmography 1965 (Wikipedia)
Wile E. Coyote & the Road Runner (Wikipedia)
Technically, today is also a bust for Flick Friday, just like my July 24 post. There were no movie releases, today, in 1950, either, so I will grab the August 6 release. Seventy years ago, yesterday, the western film Vigilante Hideout was released. Directed by Fred C. Bannon and written by Richard Wormser, it starred Allan Lane, Black Jack (Allan Lane’s horse), Eddie Waller, Roy Barcroft and Virginia Herrick.
Rocky (Lane), a Range Detective, arrives to help Nugget (Waller) with rustlers. When he learns Nugget owns only three cows, he stays on, anyway and, soon, becomes involved in Benson’s attempt to blow open the bank’s safe. When Rocky upsets his plans, Benson (Don Haggerty), supposedly, gets rid of him by having him declared an outlaw, wanted dead or alive. Then, Benson takes a load of explosives into an old mine located directly under the bank vault.
Double-barreled justice catches up with a cold-blooded killer when “Rocky” takes up the chase! Cattle detective, Rocky Lane, arrives in town to investigate cattle disappearances only to realize just three cows, owned by eccentric inventor Nugget Clark, are involved. However, the disappearances lead to a deeper mystery involving dynamite explosions, rampaging cowboys and a water shortage.
Lane and his trusty black stallion are on hand to help old-timer Waller find water for a town which is threatening to fold up due to drought. Some crooked townsfolk don’t want the water to be found because they want to collect on the $25,000 being stashed away for an aqueduct. Lane’s job is to make sure these people don’t pose too much of a problem, while Waller goes about finding the water. The characterization of Waller as a crazed inventor of gadgets is an added attraction to this oater with a realistic bent.
Full Synopsis (Turner Classic Movies)
American Film Institute
The Complete Movie
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.
I usually do movie posts in five year increments but, this one kinda fell in my lap. Sixty-three years ago, today, Elvis Presley made his acting debut in the film Love Me Tender. Directed by Robert D. Webb, it was originally titled The Reno Brothers and was based on a story written by Maurice Geraghty. When Presley’s single Love Me Tender passed one million copies, a first for a single, the title to the film was changed. This was the only movie in which Presley played an historical figure and the only movie in which he did not receive top billing.
Elvis plays Clint Reno, one of the Reno Brothers who stayed home while his brother went to fight in the Civil War for the Confederate army. When his brother Vance comes back from the war, he finds that his old girlfriend Cathy has married Clint. The family has to struggle to reach stability with this issue. Vance is involved in a train robbery, while a Confederate soldier, of Federal Government money. There is a conflict of interest, when Vance tries to return the money, against the wishes of some of his fellow Confederates.
♦ Originally, this movie had no singing in it. Songs were added to cash in on Elvis Presley’s stardom.
♦ Priscilla Presley reportedly copied Debra Paget’s unique hairstyle from this film to attract Elvis in 1959.
♦ According to Penny Stallings‘ “Flesh and Fantasy”, Presley developed a crush on co-star Debra Paget, which went unreciprocated because she was seeing Howard Hughes at the time.
♦ When the film played in theaters, Elvis Presley’s fans were screaming so loud that audiences couldn’t hear any of his lines.
The Actual Movie
I couldn’t come up with any movie releases for today but, seventy years ago, on this date (as best as I can tell), the The Heiress was the most popular film at the box office. Directed, and produced, by William Wyler, it premiered in New York on October 6 and in Los Angeles on October 20. Based on the 1947 play of the same name by American playwrights Ruth and Augustus Goetz, it starred Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins and Vanessa Brown.
Catherine Sloper is a shy and backwards young woman who lives with her father, Dr. Austin Sloper, in 1849 New York. By all accounts, Catherine’s mother was a beautiful and graceful creature with the charm of queens. Catherine never knew her mother since she died while in childbirth but, her father often reminds her of all the things her mother was and that she is not. Catherine inherited a great deal of money after her mother passed and will inherit twice as much more at the passing of her father. So, when a poor but handsome and well-bred man, Morris Townsend, begins to court Catherine, her father becomes suspicious that he must be after her money. After all, Catherine is plain and boring. What could she possibly offer to this young man other than her money? When she refuses to give up her new beau, her father threatens to disinherit her. Will her father eventually convince her to give him up and wait for a suitable husband? Will Catherine and Morris elope and, live on the money left to her by her mother? Or, could it be that Catherine finally finds all the grace and charm of her mother only to use it against the men in her life?
♦ Montgomery Clift was so unhappy with his performance, he walked out of the Premiere.
♦ Cary Grant was interested in playing Morris Townsend but, William Wyler turned him down.
♦ Montgomery Clift took some piano lessons for the scene where he sings “Plaisir d’Amour” to Olivia de Havilland.
♦ William Wyler wanted Erroll Flynn for the role of Morris Townsend.
♦ This movie was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1996.
Seventy-five years ago, today, the adventure film Frenchman’s Creek was released (or New York opening). Directed by Mitchell Leisen, it was based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Daphne Du Maurier. Starring Joan Fontaine (sister of Olivia de Havilland), Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Cecil Kellaway, it was produced by Buddy DeSylva (co-founder of Capitol Records) with Talbot Jennings (The Sons of Katie Elder) crafting the screenplay. The musical score included Claude DeBussy‘s Clair de Lune.
An English lady bored with London society brings her [two] children to their country home. Her servant William is also working for a French pirate who holds up with his ship and crew off the coast. They soon meet and she embarks on an adventure with the pirates!
As a beautiful, learned lady of means, Dona St. Columb had it all…and a loveless marriage. After years of being royally subjected to mistreatment, she retreats with her most prized possessions, her two children, to a secluded manor overlooking Britain’s Atlantic shoreline. [She] is enthralled with the tall tales of a scoundrel of a pirate, who has been plundering nearby coastal villages. Full of adventure and fueled by years of neglect, she sets forth to seek him out and, it is not long before she finds him…
“A Lady of Fire and Ice…A Rogue of Steel and Gallantry”
♦ The only film featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in which they do not play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
♦ To make Arturo de Córdova appear taller than Joan Fontaine, he had to wear lifts in his shoes, causing him to teeter when he walked.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any video clips of this movie. There are clips of the 1998 remake. ~Vic
I think by now everyone knows this is Flick Friday.
I don’t think I want to watch this one. I love Hugh Jackman & Terrence Howard but, I can’t take little kid abduction and torture movies. The synopsis was quite enough. ~Victoria
Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and, the film was nominated for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Best Original Score, Sound, Sound Effects Editing and Best Picture. Jones reprised his role of U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in the spin-off U.S. Marshals.
The television show started before I was born and I was just an infant when it ceased production. I have picked up a re-run or two over the years. Harrison Ford managed to capture the intensity that David Janssen displayed nearly 30 years earlier. ~Victoria
The number one movie 30 years ago, today, is A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master! I never did get into the Freddy movies…or any other ‘slice & dice’ type movie. I saw about 10 minutes of the second Jason movie & about five minutes of Halloween III. Yeah. That was enough. I love a good suspense piece or a nail-biting thriller or a ‘whodunit’ but, guts & gore? No thanks. ~Victoria
It’s Flick Friday. The number one movie 40 years ago, today, is…Grease! 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…
I STILL love this movie. What wonderful memories… ~Vic
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.
During a visit to America, Australian Sandy meets Danny Zuko at the beach and falls in love. She is heartbroken when summer ends [as] she has to return home and their last kiss on the beach is a very emotional one. But, fate lends a hand — her parents decide to stay in America and she finds herself attending the same school as Danny.
But, Danny at school is different from Danny at the beach. He is the leader of the T-Birds, a black leather-clad gang and has a reputation to keep up. He can’t be seen to fall in love with just one chick! Sandy is upset and seeks solace with some new friends she has made – a girls’ club called The Pink Ladies. But, her prim and proper virginal ways do not fit in and she soon finds herself almost alone. A change must be made. Does she attempt to get her man by turning him into a jock? Or must she get rid of her “Sandra Dee” image?
From Vincent Canby:
“”GREASE,” the film version of the still-running Broadway musical show, is not really the 1950’s teen-age movie musical it thinks it is but, a contemporary fantasy about a 1950’s teen-age musical—a larger, funnier, wittier and more imaginative-than-Hollywood movie with a life that is all its own. Somewhat in the manner of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which recalls the science-fiction films of the 50’s in a manner more elegant, and more benign, than anything that was ever made then, “Grease” is a multimillion-dollar evocation of the B-picture quickies that Sam Katzman used to turn out in the 50’s […].
The gang at old Rydell High, which is the universe of “Grease,” is unlike any high school class you’ve ever seen except in the movies. For one thing, they’re all rather long in the tooth to be playing kids who’d hang around malt shops. For another, they are loaded with the kind of talent and exuberance you don’t often find very far from a musical stage.
Olivia Newton-John, the recording star in her American film debut, is simultaneously very funny and utterly charming as the film’s ingénue […]. She possesses true screen presence as well as a sweet, sure singing voice […]. John Travolta […], a not-so-malevolent gang-leader, is better than he was in “Saturday Night Fever.” I’m still not sure if he’s a great actor but, he’s a fine performer with the kind of energy and humor that are brought to life by the musical numbers.
It’s to the director’s credit that the musical numbers slip in and out of reality mostly with hugely comic effect. Let me emphasize, then, that “Grease” stands outside the traditions it mimics. Its sensibility is not tied to the past but, to a free-wheeling, well informed, high-spirited present.”
 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 coloured 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.