Making Movies: The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

Here are some behind-the -scenes shots of the terrific model work for The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

Getting ready for the wave to tip over the model ship.

What it looks like in the finished film.

A diver works on the model, post-wave.

It’d been years since I’d seen it, and my entire family watched it the other night. It holds up well — the movie, not the ship. One of the things that really makes the movie work, aside from performances that help us get past the soap-opera first couple reels, are the incredible upside-down sets. They sent me looking for some making-of images immediately, but about all I found were these model images.

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Filed under 1972, 20th Century-Fox, Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman, Making Movies, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens

Blu-Ray News #127: The Endless Summer (1966).

Directed by Bruce Brown
Starring Michael Hynson, Robert August, Bruce Brown, Terence Bullen, Wayne Miyata

What a wonderful movie Bruce Brown’s The Endless Summer (1966) is. God only knows many times I’ve seen it — enough to absorb some of its lingo: “stoked,” “ultimate thing” and more. And I’ve about worn the grooves off of the soundtrack LP by The Sandals.

Speaking of the ultimate thing, The Endless Summer is coming to Blu-Ray in the UK from Second Sight — this summer, naturally. I’m so stoked.

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Filed under 1966, Bruce Brown, DVD/Blu-ray News

Blu-Ray News #126: Seven Days In May (1964).

Directed by John Frankenheimer
Starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Martin Balsam

Warner Archive has announced a summer Blu-Ray release of the John Frankenheimer suspense/paranoia classic Seven Days In May (1964) — with Burt Lancaster as a general leading a plot to overthrow the President (whose talks of disarmament has some in the military fearing a Russian attack). The cast is outstanding — Fredric March (as the President), Kirk Douglas (as a general who uncovers the plot), Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Martin Balsam, Andrew Duggan and on and on. Rod Serling’s script is a masterpiece — this is an idea that remains topical and will probably never be handled better.

Black and white really looks terrific in high definition, and director of photography Ellsworth Fredricks’ work here certainly deserves the boost in clarity. Good stuff.

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Filed under 1964, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O'Brien, Hugh Marlowe, John Frankenheimer, Paramount, Rod Serling, Warner Archive, Whit Bissell

Blu-Ray News #125: The Rockford Files – The Complete Series.

“Hello, this is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I’ll get back to you.”

Mill Creek has announced a Blu-Ray set of the complete run of The Rockford Files (1974-80), coming in June. To me, this is one of the greatest things to ever turn up on TV. Jame Garner was perfect for this show, or maybe it’s the other way around — the perfect show was put together around him.

There isn’t anything about this show that isn’t cool — Rockford’s trailer and Firebird; his dad, Rocky (Noah Beery, Jr.), and his GMC pickup; the answering machine and theme song.

The LA locations are always a lot of fun to study, so it’ll be great to see em in high definition. Not that I (or you) really need a reason to go through this show yet again. Essential.

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Filed under James Garner, James Stewart, Mill Creek, Television

Blu-Ray News #124: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1967).

Directed by Sergio Leone
Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach

Like a lotta folks, The Good The Bad And The Ugly is one of my favorite movies. I could easily sit down and watch it every day. But I couldn’t stand that restoration from 2004. While it looked terrific, the reworked surround sound drove me nuts. Unfortunately, that was the version that made its way to Blu-Ray — so I’ve clung to the old MGM pre-2004 DVD.

Sergio Leone directing one of the greatest scenes in cinema history.

I was overjoyed to learn that for the picture’s 50th anniversary, the original version would be given the deluxe 4K treatment — in the original mono! The set from Kino Lorber also gives you the extended version, also in mono. A slew of extra’s, many carried over from the previous editions, will be included. I don’t care how many times you bought this in the past, this is essential. Coming this summer.

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Filed under Clint Eastwood, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone, Spaghetti Westerns

Blu-Ray News #123: Death Rides A Horse (1967).

Directed by Giulio Petroni
Starring Lee Van Cleef, John Phillip Law

I’m rather picky when it comes to Spaghetti Westerns. While some of them are brilliant, you have to wade through a lot of crap to get to them. Death Rides A Horse (1967) is one of the brilliant ones. Van Cleef is excellent; John Phillip Law was about to make Danger: Diabolik (1968), so he’s at his supercool best; Giulio Petroni is one of the better directors for these things; and this has to be one of Ennio Morricone’s best Western scores.

It’s been available on DVD for ages, often pan-and-scan and looking like crap, so the upcoming Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber is good news indeed. They say to look for it this summer. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1967, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ennio Morricone, John Phillip Law, Kino Lorber, Lee Van Cleef, Spaghetti Westerns, United Artists

Don Rickles, RIP.

Donald JayDonRickles
(May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017)

Mr. Warmth, the great Don Rickles, has passed away at 90. From his nightclub act to his appearances on Johnny Carson to Bikini Beach (1964) to Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Don Rickles could effortlessly make me laugh. There’s just something about him that cracks me up.

Bikini Beach Big Drag

One of my goals in life has always been to put myself in a place where I’d be insulted by Mr. Rickles. Boy, it’s a Big Drag that he’s gone.

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Filed under 1970, Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles