Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg DBE
(July 20, 1938 – September 10, 2020)
Diana Rigg has passed away at 82. She was a great actress, doing fabulous work on stage, on TV and on film.
What always impressed me about her was that she went after good work — from Shakespeare to The Avengers to a James Bond movie to Theatre Of Blood (1973) — nothing seemed to be beneath her if she found it interesting. And she was always terrific.
Here she is with George Lazenby working on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Note the banner for Corgi toys, the company that made those great die-cast James Bond toys.
It’s easy to forget that the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) is a Christmas movie. But here’s James Bond (George Lazenby) hanging around the Christmas tree with Blofeld’s brainwashed “Angels Of Death.”
Here’s wishing you all the joys of the season — and that you get that 1969 Aston Martin DBS you asked for.
Directed by Ralph Thomas
Starring Richard Johnson, Daliah Lavi, Beba Loncar, Robert Morley
Network Releasing in the UK has announced their upcoming (February) Blu-Ray release of Some Girls Do (1969). The second picture with Richard Johnson as a revamped Bulldog Drummond, coming after Deadlier Than The Male (1967), Some Girls Do is a fun, lively 60s spy movie.
Some of the film was shot at Pinewood Studios at the same time as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) — Joanna Lumley and Virginia North appear in both. And by the way, Terence Young wanted Richard Johnson to play James Bond when he directed Dr. No (1962).
(February 23, 1940 – August 16, 2019)
Peter Fonda passed away the other day, and as you’d expect, it’s all about Easy Rider (1969), with an occasional nod to Ulee’s Gold (1997).
But there were so really good movies along the way: The Wild Angels (1966), The Trip (1967), The Hired Hand (1971), Dirty Marry, Crazy Larry (1974), Race With The Devil (1975), Outlaw Blues (1977) and The Limey (1999).
Guess it’s about time for Race With The Devil again.
If I had a nickel for every minute I stared at this FM cover as kid…
For their 1000th release (or spine number), The Criterion Collection has gone very big with a great big giant box of Godzilla movies. Not those new things — no thank you — but the real ones.
Of course, this being a Criterion release, you can count on each of these the films — all 15 Godzilla movies released from 1954 to 1975 — shining like a jewel. And naturally, there will be tons of extras, from alternate versions to commentaries to documentaries and trailers and so on. Does my heart good to know the work of Mr. Honda and Mr. Tsuburaya will get the level of respect these folks will give it.
The films are:
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1963, 2.35 AR)
Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964, 2.35 AR)
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964 2.35 AR)
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965, 2.35 AR)
Son Of Godzilla (1967, 2.35 AR)
Destroy All Monsters (1968, 2.35 AR)
All Monsters Attack (1969, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Ss. Hedorah (1971, AKA Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974, 2.35 AR)
Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975, 2.35 AR)
I absolutely love some of these movies. One of them I hate with a passion. Son Of Godzilla is criminally lame, and at 10, I considered it the worst movie I’d ever seen (that was before The Witches Of Eastwick). The very thought of making my way through this thing (yes, even Son Of Godzilla) makes me happy.
Stomping its way to TVs everywhere in October. Make sure yours is one of them.
Filed under 1954, 1955, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, AIP, Criterion Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eiji Tsuburaya, Famous Monsters Of Filmland, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju Movies, Toho
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Vic Morrow, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Ansara, Cesar Romero, Stanley Holloway, Victor Buono, Charlotte Rampling
This thing’s been almost impossible to track down over the years — a Roger Corman-directed TV movie deemed too violent for TV and sent to theaters instead (similar to Don Siegel’s The Killers). And now Kino Lorber’s bringing it to Blu-Ray.
This is the only Corman picture I haven’t seen. It pairs Batman‘s Joker and King Tut. It was edited by Monte Hellman and scored by Les Baxter. I can’t wait.
(March 29, 1942 – October 6, 2018)
Scott Wilson, a criminally underrated actor, has passed away at 76.
He made his debut in In The Heat Of The Night, followed immediately by In Cold Blood (both 1967). Lots of good stuff followed, from The Gypsy Moths (1969) to The New Centurions (1972) to The Right Stuff (1983) and beyond.
Wilson was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for The Ninth Configuration (1980). He’s so good in that one, it’s scary. More recently, he appeared in a few seasons of The Walking Dead, which I hope sent folks looking for his earlier work. It’s certainly worth the effort.
Mr. Wilson was from my home town: Thomasville, Georgia.
Filed under 1967, 1969, 1972
Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo from my all-time favorite movie, Where Eagles Dare (1969), to mark Mr. Eastwood’s 87th birthday.
Broadsword calling Danny Boy!
Directed by Sidney Pollack
Starring Burt Lancaster, Peter Falk, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Patrick O’Neal, Scott Wilson, Tony Bill, Al Freeman, Jr., Bruce Dern, Michael Conrad
This is a weird movie, but I always liked it — thanks largely to Burt Lancaster and the terrific supporting cast (Peter Falk, Scott Wilson, Bruce Dern). Lancaster’s a one-eyed major whose company takes over a French castle toward the end of World War II.
The production had its woes, from unusually warm Yugoslavian temperatures that melted the snow and prompted the trees to sprout buds to trouble with pyrotechnics that meant sets had to be rebuilt. Hopefully some of that will be covered in the interviews and others supplements that are part of the upcoming Blu-Ray from Indicator/Powerhouse Films in the UK.
Directed by Jim O’Connolly
Starring James Franciscus, Richard Carlson, Gila Golan
The incredible stop-motion creature effects of Ray Harryhausen seem made for high-definition. So it’s always good news when some of his work is announced for Blu-Ray. The latest is The Valley Of Gwangi (1969) from Warner Archive.
The cowboys vs. dinosaurs storyline, with a good bit of King Kong (1933) worked in, came from Ray Harryhausen’s mentor Willis O’Brien. It had been brought to the screen as The Beast Of Hollow Mountain (1956). The effects in Gwangi are incredible, some of the master’s finest. And while the movie wasn’t a hit back in ’69, Harryhausen’s legion of fans have always dug it. Warner Archive haven’t put a date on it yet, but it’s coming.