Category Archives: 1969

Blu-Ray News #111: The Valley Of Gwangi (1969).

ray-gwangi-elephant

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.

valley-of-gwangi-hs

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.

4 Comments

Filed under 1969, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ray Harryhausen, Richarld Carlson, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #107: The Blood Of Fu Manchu (1968) And The Castle Of Fu Manchu (1969).

caslte-of-fm

Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Christopher Lee, Richard Greene

The Blood Of Fu Manchu (1968, AKA Kiss And Kill) and The Castle Of Fu Manchu (1969) — the last two pictures in producer Harry Alan Towers’ series based on Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, star Christopher Lee, Richard Greene and the Law Of Diminishing Returns.

blood-of-fm

Directed by the Spanish cult director Jess Franco, they have their fans — and they’ll be happy to know that Blue Underground is bringing them to Blu-Ray some time this year. The previous DVD release had a lot of extras, which will make their way to the Blu-Ray set.

face-of-fm-tc

The first and third Lee/Fu Manchu pictures, The Face Of Fu Manchu (1965, directed by Don Sharp) and The Vengeance Of Fu Manchu (1967) are available from Warner Archive. (I really like Face.) The second, The Brides Of Fu Manchu (1966), was released several years ago from Warners, paired with Chamber Of Horrors (also 1966). How deep you want to go in this series is a personal thing, but Lee makes a terrific Fu Manchu — and let’s not forget him as Chung King in Hammer’s Terror Of The Tongs (1961).

4 Comments

Filed under 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, Blue Underground, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Hammer Films, Warner Archive

James Bond Is Back.

on-her-majestys-secret-service-poster-2

Spectre opens in the U.S. today, and the whole world seems to be a little James Bond crazy. This seems like a good time to name-drop my favorite 007 movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

I highly recommend this one and urge you to check out a terrific blog post on it from Jeff Flugel. Click on the title card and away you go.

1339748684

One of these days, I’m gonna get around to writing about it myself. But Jeff’s coverage of it has me a little intimidated.

10 Comments

Filed under 1969, George Lazenby, James Bond

Blu-ray News #31: Horror Classics, Volume 1.

Mummy 59 TC

The recent passing of the great Christopher Lee makes this upcoming (October) Blu-ray set a bigger deal than it already was. Horror Classics, Vol. 1 from Warner Bros. brings four key Hammer horror films to Blu-ray, three of them starring Lee. Each title will be also be available on its own.

The Mummy (1959)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux

For Hammer Films’ entry into the mummy movie business, writer Jimmy Sangster borrowed from Universal’s The Mummy Hand (1940), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944). Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee had already starred in Hammer’s Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). The Mummy‘s gorgeous Technicolor really sets it apart.

D Risen LC

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968)
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Ewing

As Hammer’s third Christopher Lee Dracula picture went into production, director Terence Fisher was ill — and replaced by Freddie Francis. Francis adds some stylistic touches that help out a lot, but the fact that it was shot at Pinewood rather than the typical Bray Studios hurts it a bit.

F Destroyed LC

Frankestein Must Be Destroyed! (1969)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones, Simon Ward, Thorley Walters, Maxine Audley

Hammer’s Frankenstein films focus on the doctor and his experiments, not the typical monster. In this one, Frankenstein (Cushing) plays around with brain transplants — with the usual unpleasant results.

Taste Blood D LC

Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970)
Directed by Peter Sasdy
Starring Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Lynda Hayden, Ralph Bates, Roy Kinnear, Michael Ripper

This sequel to Dracula Has Risen From The Grave is quite good. Since Dracula’s killed off in each picture — maybe because Lee always wanted to quit doing them — it’s fun to see what ingenious way they find to bring him back.

I’m really looking forward to this set — it’s sorta like Warner Bros. took a chunk of my childhood and mashed it onto onto some little silver circles.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1959, 1968, 1969, 1970, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Freddie Francis, Hammer Films, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher

Screening: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) At The TCM Festival.

tumblr_ng7c3jvPAb1t80tf9o1_1280

ohmss poster sizedGeorge Lazenby will introduce my favorite James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), during the TCM Film Festival in March. This was just announced, so there’s no date or time yet.

There are so many things that make this a special Bond film. Lazenby himself, who I wish had stuck with the franchise. A great Blofeld (Telly Savales) and a terrific Bond girl (Diana Rigg). John Barry’s best Bond score. Peter Hunt’s tight direction. The incredible ski and bobsled sequences. The 1969 Aston Martin DBS. And a mean streak a mile wide (a guy falls into the path of a snow plow). It seems weird to call a James Bond picture a cult film, but this one fits the bill.

The Stalking Moon offers up a great blog post on the many merits of OHMSS.

1339750917

1 Comment

Filed under 1969, George Lazenby, James Bond, Screenings, TCM

Dialogue Of The Day: Where Eagles Dare (1969).

WED radio $_57

Major John Smith (Richard Burton): “Broadsword calling Danny Boy… Broadsword calling Danny Boy.”

1 Comment

Filed under 1969, Clint Eastwood, Dialogue Of The Day, Richard Burton

The Jack Webb Blogathon: Behind The Badge.

Webb behind badge

This post is part of The Jack Webb Blogathon, a celebration of his huge, and hugely influential, body of work. For more Webb on the web, appearing October 17-19, visit Dispatch (or click on the banner below).

Jack Webb Blogathon HOR

As The Jack Webb Blogathon comes to a close, here’s some interesting trivia about Jack Webb and his work.

In lieu of compensation for assistance and information, what did Jack Webb’s Mark VII Production Company do for the Los Angeles Police Department?
The Company made generous contributions to the Los Angeles Police Orphans and Widows Fund.

How did Dragnet get the stories as basis for their episodes?
Through an arrangement with the Los Angeles Police Department, an officer wrote up a three-page report void of names and intimate details. Dragnet writers filled in the blanks and wrote a story around it. They were not given access to actual police files.

Where did the number 714 come from on the famous badge?
Jack Webb thought 7 was a lucky number. The television series began in 1949 and Webb thought badges issued in the 700s was way in the future for police. So, he choose 7 as the first number and just doubled it for the last numbers – 14.

Mark VII Productions, Inc. was Jack Webb’s production company. What is the meaning behind the logo that can be seen at the end of Dragnet episodes (iron door with a hand pounding the Roman numerals with a hammer)?
Jack Webb “stole” the idea from Arm & Hammer baking soda. He said he liked the look of it as a kid. The door to him also meant strength. The VII for 7 was probably, again, use of his lucky number.

d717_1

Jack Webb used a real badge and revolver during the first run of Dragnet. What happened to those items after the show ended and what did he use for a badge and revolver in the new Dragnet show?
When the show ended in 1958, he returned the official, registered items to the LA Police Department, which had issued them to Webb for the show. He got them back from the Police Department for the new Dragnet show.

What Emergency! regular doubled for Jack Webb’s Joe Friday character in long shots on the original Dragnet?
Marco Lopez. He also had small parts on Dragnet, as well. He admitted that he liked to cook while on that show and the cast and crew got to partake in his hobby to their delight. This led to the fully-equipped kitchen at the firehouse on Emergency! — he could not only be a regular on the show, but keep on cookin’.

Which actor did Jack Webb want as Sgt. Joe Friday in the original series, but reluctantly took the role himself, when it didn’t pan out?
Lloyd Nolan, best known for his acting roles portraying private detectives Michael Shayne and Martin Kane.

In 1953, a famous movie producer friend and his wife sold their house to Jack Webb, so they could be closer to a park for their son. Who was this producer and what special thing did they do to the house to sell it to him?
Stanley Kramer. He and his wife replaced the doorbell with one that played “dum-da-dum-dum.”

What was the “Jack Webb Special?”
A deluxe, chartered airplane provided by Warner Brothers for Webb’s cross-country tour promoting Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955). It had an eight-person crew, dining room, bedroom and even a conference room.

Speaking of Pete Kelly’s Blues, Herm Saunders played the pianist. What was his relationship to Jack Webb in real life?
At the time, he was Webb’s press agent.

a12pilotwebb

Jack Webb directing Martin Milner and Kent McCord in the Adam-12 pilot.

How did Ozzie Nelson (of Ozzie And Harriet fame) come to direct a segment in an episode of Adam-12?
Nelson phoned Webb and requested the assignment. He said he wanted to work with his old family friend Kent McCord again. (As you may remember, McCord was a regular on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.) Nelson did such an impressive job, he was asked to direct the episode called “The D.A.”

Jack Webb turned down the chance to make a movie, which lead to great animosity between the guy who wrote the story for the movie and Kent McCord. Who was the author, what was the movie and why all the hostility?
Joseph Wambaugh wrote The New Centurions, among other books about police like The Onion Field and The Blue Knight. He also created and advised on the television show Police Story. After Webb declined to do The New Centurions, according to McCord, Wambaugh set out to tarnish the badges of Jack Webb and his Adam-12. In interviews, Wambaugh would misquote McCord, trash the show’s acting and call into question the realism of the characters they portray. McCord was hot under the collar about Wambaugh’s mouthing off and was quoted as saying: “He spends his days sitting on his rear and reading burglary reports. I think he‘s out of touch with the guys who patrol the streets,” and “He shouldn’t be telling me how to act. I don’t give him advice on how to read burglary reports.” He also didn‘t like how Wambaugh‘s police characters were “jerks“ or “petty criminals,” which of course was an insult itself to Jack Webb’s style. McCord went on to say about Wambaugh, “If he had anything to say he could tell it to my face or I’d punch him in the face,” and “I’m tired of picking up newspapers and magazines and seeing Wambaugh rap me. If he keeps it up I’m going to rap him.”

zh3wLpC
Hopefully, this blogathon has you wanting to see more Jack Webb, or better yet, own it. (I can’t wait to revisit The D.I.) Here’s where you can get the stuff written about over the weekend. Physical evidence, I guess you could say.

Dragnet (TV, 1951-59)
Public domain episodes are available from various companies. Quality varies from pretty darn good to absolutely wretched. You can also find some on YouTube and Roku.

Dragnet (Feature, 1954)
Available from Universal’s Vault program. If I didn’t consider this movie absolutely essential to life as a human, I’d tell you to wait till it was redone, preferably for Blu-ray.

Dragnet (TV, 1967-70)
You’ll find Dragnet on MeTV and Hulu Plus, along with Adam-12 and Emergency! They’re also on DVD from Shout Factory, complete with some really terrific extras, including the 1966 TV movie.

He Walked By Night (1948)
Several DVD sources for this one. Stay away from Alpha, and you’ll be OK.

Dark City (1950)
This is available on DVD from Olive Films—and in the same Blu-ray noir set as Appointment With Danger.

Appointment With Danger (1951)
Olive Films has brought this to DVD as a stand-alone disc and on Blu-ray as part of a film noir set.

Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)
Warner Brothers brought this out on DVD, and Warner Archive recently announced a Blu-ray. Can’t wait.

The D.I. (1957)
You can get this one on DVD from Warner Archive (and you should).

-30- (1959)
Again, our friends at Warner Archive can set you up with this one on DVD.

SOURCES: Various newspapers, 1954-1976
Thanks to my wife Jennifer for researching and writing the trivia stuff.

2 Comments

Filed under 1951, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, DVD/Blu-ray News, Harry Morgan, Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, MeTV, Olive Films, Shout/Scream Factory, Television, Warner Archive