Category Archives: 1972

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 #118: Junior Bonner (1972).

Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Starring Steve McQueen, Robert Preston, Ida Lupino, Joe Don Baker, Barbara Leigh, Ben Johnson, Dub Taylor

Sam Peckinpah’s Junior Bonner (1972) is a wonderful movie, plain and simple. And Kino Lorber’s bringing it to Blu-Ray this summer. Its previous DVD releases weren’t anamorphic, so this will be a huge leap forward.

If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a real treat. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Thanks to Paula for the photo of McQueen and Ben Johnson.

More Peckinpah Blu-Ray news — Criterion has announced Straw Dogs (1971) for June.

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Filed under 1972, Ben Johnson, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ida Lupino, Joe Don Baker, Kino Lorber, Sam Peckinpah, Steve McQueen, The Criterion Collection

DVD/Blu-Ray News #106: Willard (1971) And Ben (1972).

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Scream Factory has announced the upcoming releases of Daniel Mann’s Willard (1971) and Phil Karlson’s Ben (1972) this May. Willard, a story of a young man and the rats that have infested his rundown home, was a big creepy hit. The sequel, Ben,  has the benefit of Phil Karlson in the director’s chair (and a song by Michael Jackson that I hate). Both films are effective.

I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get these pictures out there, and I’m sure Scream Factory will do a terrific job with them.

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Filed under 1971, 1972, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ernest Borgnine, Phil Karlson, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #82: The New Centurions (1972).

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Directed by Richard Fleischer
Starring George C. Scott, Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Rosalind Cash, Erik Estrada, Clifton James

Richard Fleischer’s The New Centurions (1972) is a tough look at the lives of three rookie cops in L.A. — Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson and Erik Estrada — and what the job does to their personal lives. We also get to know the veteran cops who show these rookies the ropes — and try to help them stay alive.

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What has always struck me about The New Centurions is how solid the acting is. Given the cast, what would you expect?

This is certainly not Feel Good Hit Of The Year material, folks. But it’s very good and it’s coming to Blu-Ray from Carlotta FIlms out of France.

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Filed under 1972, George C. Scott, Richard Fleischer

DVD News #44: Tales From The Prison Yard 6-Film Collection.

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Mill Creek Entertainment and Columbia have done us another big favor, this time assembling a big collection from the big house (for a February 2016 release): Tales From The Prison Yard. It gives us six prison movies, ranging from a Sam Katzman quickie to Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail (1973). For me, the attraction is two more Fred F. Sears pictures to add to my collection.

Convicted (1950)
Directed by Henry Levin
Starring Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Millard Mitchell, Dorothy Malone, Will Geer

Cell 2455 Death Row (1955)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring William Campbell, Marian Carr, Kathryn Grant, Harvey Stephens, Vince Edwards

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Escape From San Quentin (1957)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring Johnny Desmond, Merry Anders, Richard Devon, Roy Engel

City Of Fear (1959)
Directed by Irving Lerner
Starring Vince Edwards, Lyle Talbot, John Archer, Patricia Blair, Steven Ritch

The Valachi Papers (1972)
Directed by Terence Young
Starring Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Joseph Wiseman

The Last Detail (1973)
Directed by Hal Ashby
Starring Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Carol Kane

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Filed under 1950, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1972, 1973, Charles Bronson, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fred F. Sears, Mill Creek, Sam Katzman

RIP, Alex Rocco.

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Alex Rocco
February 29, 1936 – July 18, 2015

Alex Rocco is one of my favorite 70s character actors, appearing in a couple pictures I really love: Slither (1973) and Freebie And The Bean (1974). Of course, he was also Moe Green in The Godfather (1972). He passed away on Saturday.

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Rocco only has one scene in Freebie (both images here), as a DA who tells James Caan and Alan Arkin they don’t have enough evidence (and that they’re idiots), but he’s hysterical — and Caan and Arkin have to work hard to keep up. I love those goofy 70s comedies.

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Filed under 1972, 1973, 1974, Alan Arkin, James Caan

Blu-ray Review: Tales From The Crypt (1972) And Vault Of Horror (1973).

TFC PC comes back

Scream Factory really went the extra mile on this one. After announcing the Amicus double feature of Tales From The Crypt (1972) and Vault Of Horror (1973) for Blu-ray — two British anthology pictures based on the great EC Comics of the 50s, they ran into trouble finding uncut material for Vault. This pushed the release date from Halloween to early December. And the result turned out to be worth the wait.

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Directed by Freddie Francis
Written by Milton Subotsky
Director Of Photography: Norman Warwick
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Richard Greene, Patrick Magee

Tales bikeAnthology films are always a bit uneven, no matter who makes them. There’s typically one story that stands tall — and sometimes one that falls short. But Amicus had a way with them, and theirs tend to hold up pretty well. With Tales From The Crypt (1972), the visuals are very strong — the work of Freddie Francis and cinematographer Norman Warwick. Images like Peter Cushing coming back from the grave (top) or the biker skeleton are easily identifiable to anyone who ever flipped through a 70s horror movie book or magazine as a kid.

Of course, a lot of the credit has to go to the original source material — those great EC Comics. Milton Subotsky obviously knew how good they were and he wisely left the stories alone, though they traded a bit of the black humor for a Twilight Zone feel. I don’t have a favorite segment, but there are moments throughout the film that have stuck with me for decades. Again, those visuals.

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Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Written by Milton Subotsky
Director Of Photography: Denys Coop
Cast: Terry-Thomas, Curd Jürgens, Tom Baker, Dawn Addams, Denholm Elliott, Michael Craig

Amicus dug up five more stories from EC for their follow-up to Tales From The Crypt, Vault Of Horror (1973). Roy Ward Baker (A Night To Remember) directs this time, and while it’s not as visually arresting as Crypt, it better captures the overall EC vibe. The black humor is certainly more pronounced. Vault Of Horror was cut here and there over the years by various distributors in various countries, leaving Scream Factory with some real detective work to do to bring us a complete cut. They succeeded, and present both the cut and uncut versions.

Vault vampire

On Blu-ray, both Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror look better than I ever thought they would. The color is strong in Crypt, and a bit muted in Vault, but the grain is perfect and the blacks are fine. Both titles really put the distinctive look of film on your TV — and that’s what I want when I drop any disc in my machine. There’s a bit of dust here and there, and a few inconsistencies, all of which I prefer to a bunch of obvious pixel pushing. The mono audio is clear and strong.

Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror are good, creepy, stylish fun. I really appreciate the care Scream Factory put into this set and doubt many companies would’ve bothered. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1972, 1973, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Freddie Francis, Peter Cushing, Roy Ward Baker, Shout/Scream Factory