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.
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Seven pick.
Category: Crime/Film Noir
Film: Cop Land
Written and directed by James Mangold, it was executive produced by the Weinstein brothers (though their names have been removed from the Wikipedia article). Released August 6, 1997 in New York (premiere) and nationwide on August 15, it was an incredible ensemble cast of Sly Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Janeane Garafalo, Edie Falco, Michael Rapoport, Annabella Sciorra, John Spencer, Cathy Moriarty, Noah Emmerich, Frank Vincent, Malik Yoba, Arthur Nascarella and, cameos of Deborah Harry & Geraldo Rivera.
Sylvester Stallone put on 40 pounds to play Nowheresville, N.J., sheriff Freddy Heflin in Cop Land […]. His town is run by Ray Donlan (Keitel) and the other New York cops who have settled there with their families. He wears blinders when it comes to their lawbreaking and mob dealings. Moe Tilden (De Niro), the internal-affairs officer out to get the goods on Cop Land, correctly pegs Freddy as “a man looking for something to do.” Keitel’s [Donlan] exudes dangerous energy. He cares for his own as long as they don’t cross him […]. Robert Patrick brings sly menace to Rucker […]. Ray Liotta […], as Gary Figgis, [is] a tainted cop who sides with Freddy.
Mangold […] has a rare talent for finding the human drama in ordinary lives.
Writer-director James Mangold […] wrangles an impressive cast […] and spins a compelling tale of cancerous corruption among a secretive group of New York’s finest who have settled in the fictional New Jersey burg of Garrison. [Stallone] indeed looks chunky and plays the sleepy, docile Sheriff […] with sluggishness to spare in a largely commendable performance as a half-deaf small-town dreamer. [He] is not given much in the way of memorable dialogue but, he makes the character work […]. [Having] yet to replace his LP of The River with a CD, [he] carries a torch for the local Jersey girl (Sciorra) he saved from drowning…the reason for his loss of hearing in one ear…[he] once longed to be a big-city cop but, had to settle for policing them.
Freddy gradually realizes that he doesn’t like how the town has turned out.
The Hollywood Reporter
August 11, 1997
I saw this at the theater when it came out and caught it, again, a few nights ago. I was born and raised in law enforcement and, worked in it, too (non-sworn). I’ve known good cops and I’ve known some really bad ones. I love a well written cop movie and this was an unusual one in that Stallone wasn’t playing a bad ass like Rambo, Cobra, Tango, John Spartan (though I do love that movie) or Ray Quick. This character was different…subdued. His scenes with Annabella Sciorra have Springsteen playing in the background which adds depth and texture to the mood. This is clearly a period piece as all the vehicles, hair cuts and clothing styles are, effectively, early 80s. The River came out in 1980 and music from the Director’s Cut, like Blue Oyster Cult‘s Burnin’ For You came out in 1981. This also manages to cover the Crime category via IMDb and the Film Noir category, simultaneously, via Historical Dictionary of Film Noir (2010). ~Vic
♦ There is a disclaimer at the end of the credits which states “This film is a work of fiction. It is currently illegal for New York City Police officers to live outside the state of New York.”
♦ Arthur J. Nascarella was a real-life NYPD officer.
♦ Debbie Harry acted in the movie but, was edited out in the final cut. She explained on a live television special that although she was cut, she still got paid.
♦ In the scene in which Ray Liotta confronts Robert Patrick in the bar, the dart that Liotta shoves up Patrick’s left nostril was made out of rubber.
♦ Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and John Travolta were considered for Sheriff Freddy Heflin.
The Making of an Urban Western
Sixty-five years ago, today, the war film To Hell and Back was released, originally in San Antonio. Directed by Jesse Hibbs and based on the book of the same name, it starred Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Charles Drake, Jack Kelly, Gregg Palmer, Paul Picerni, David Janssen, Denver Pyle, Brett Halsey (Admiral’s great-nephew) and Gordon Gebert as a young Audie.
Biopic of the wartime exploits of Audie Murphy (played by himself), the most decorated US soldier in World War II. Starting with his boyhood in Texas, where he became the head of his family at a young age, the story follows his enrollment in [the] Army where he was assigned to the 3rd Division. He fought in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, before landing in southern France and, eventually, fighting in Germany. A Medal of Honor recipient, he also received battle honors from the French and Belgian government.
The highly variable Audie Murphy delivers his best screen performance as “himself” in Universal‘s To Hell and Back. Based on the star’s autobiography, this is the story of how Murphy became America’s most-decorated soldier during WW II. After dwelling a bit on Murphy’s hard-scrabble Texas upbringing, the story moves ahead to 1942, when, as a teenager, Audie joined the army. Within a year, he was a member of the 7th Army, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and, ultimately, Germany and Austria. One by one, the members of Murphy’s Company B are killed in the war, until only three men from the original company are left. [The] others appear at the finale as ghostly images […]. The bulk of the film is given over to Murphy’s conspicuous acts of combat bravery and his killing of 240 enemy soldiers. Highlighted by excellent battle sequences, To Hell and Back is a serviceable tribute to a most complex individual.
♦ Filmed at Fort Lewis, WA, Yakima River, WA, Oak Creek Wildlife Area, WA and Universal Studios.
♦ Audie Murphy originally declined the opportunity to portray himself in the movie, not wanting people to think that he was attempting to cash in on his role as a war hero. Murphy initially suggested his friend Tony Curtis to play him.
♦ Audie Murphy’s war buddy Onclo Airheart was slated to play himself, but he declined due to the fact that the movie was to be shot during planting season.
♦ [Author] David Morell [sic] cites Audie Murphy as the inspiration for the character of John Rambo.
♦ In the movie, […] Murphy does his one-man standoff on top of a medium M-4 Sherman tank. [In] real life it happened on top of an M10 Wolverine tank destroyer.
♦ Audie Murphy’s feats of heroism and his much decorated status have been compared to those of his counterpart during World War I, Sgt. Alvin C. York […].
Murphy […] wrote poetry and songs, and, himself a sufferer, was among the first advocates for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He died on May 28, 1971, when the private airplane in which he was riding crashed.
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.
Thirty-five years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was Splash, starring Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene, Rance Howard, Cheryl Howard, Clint Howard and Bill Smitrovich. A Rom-Com fantasy, it was directed by Ron Howard, produced by Brian Grazer and, the story was developed by Grazer and Bruce Jay Friedman. The screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Marc ‘Babaloo’ Mandel with music by Lee Holdridge.
Alan [sic] Bauer nearly drowned as a child but, has memories of being saved by a young mermaid. He manages his family’s wholesale fruit and vegetable business and, continues his search to find true love. Along with his feelings, Allen must also contend with his womanizing older brother Freddie, who takes love less seriously than his brother. When he is jilted as an adult and loses his wallet in the surf, the young mermaid tries to return it. They are soul mates who have been meant for each other but, Madison fears how he will react when he finds out she is not human.
From Brian Grazer:
“Tom came in wearing these 501 Levi’s and construction boots and a T-shirt. He wasn’t nervous at all – and here’s a guy who had never had a major movie. I thought, why is this guy so calm? But we read him and we liked him and we hired him right away.”
On Hannah’s abilities, Grazer states “[…] while we were testing Daryl [Hannah] in her tail underwater, we noticed how well she swam. Then we realized that she was as good, if not better, than her stunt doubles. Her endurance was actually better than theirs. We began wondering if Daryl couldn’t do all the scenes herself and she happily agreed, which certainly helped the movie’s credibility.
From Tom Hanks:
“They’re very, very funny guys (Candy & Levy). But my job in Splash was not to be particularly funny. That’s what Ron [Howard] kept drilling into me.”
Learning a valuable lesson from Howard, he recalls being unprepared…”It took longer to shoot than it should have, and when we were done with the scene, Ron said, “You know, you should have been a little more prepared.” He didn’t yell at me. He probably knew that if he had yelled, I’d be paste for the rest of the day. He just let me know in no uncertain terms that I was starring in this movie and with that comes huge responsibilities, and one of them is to be ready to go. I’ve never forgotten that.”
From Daryl Hannah:
[…] having to lie still for three hours every day for technicians to put her into the 35 lbs. rubber fin, she states “At lunch they’d yank me out on a crane and plop me on the deck. I couldn’t eat because I couldn’t go to the bathroom. I just lay there shivering with barnacles in my hair, soaking wet. And underwater it was difficult because I was not able to see since I couldn’t wear a mask. I had to trust the guys to get air to me. It was difficult and we worked long hours but, it seemed more like playing than work. It was real magical down there.”
♦ This film was the first to be released by the new Touchstone Films.
♦ According to the Biography Channel, Bill Murray and P.J. Soles (Stripes) were considered for the roles of Allen and Madison, but Murray turned it down.
♦ Daryl Hannah swam with the mermaid tail so fast that her safety team could not keep pace with her.
♦ A vegetarian, Hannah refused to eat real lobster for the restaurant scene. The crew scooped out the insides of real, cooked lobsters and filled them with a thick, tofu-like paste. Ron Howard said [she] cried after each take over the deaths of the lobsters for their shells.
♦ Tom Hanks had trouble with the water scenes, partly because he was a smoker.
The movie received twelve nominations including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It won a National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) award for Best Screenplay and Daryl Hannah won the Saturn Award for Best Actress.
Love Came For Me Theme Song by Rita Coolidge