Category Archives: 1974

RIP, Paul Koslo.

Paul Koslo
(June 27, 1944 – January 9, 2019)

I just learned that one of my favorite character actors of the 70s, Paul Koslo, passed away back in January. He’s in so much great stuff: The Omega Man (1971), Joe Kidd (1972), Mr. Majestyk (1974, above), Freebie And The Bean (1974), The Drowning Pool (1975) and Rooster Cogburn (1975), to name just a few. How many actors could say they locked horns with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Paul Newman and James Caan?

Every movie he was in was better for his presence.

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Filed under 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, Alan Arkin, Charles Bronson, Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood, James Caan, Paul Newman

Blu-Ray News #215: The Take (1974) & Black Gunn (1972).

Mill Creek has announced an upcoming Blu-Ray that pairs a couple of 70s Blaxsploitation pictures — The Take (1974) and Black Gunn (1972). Both were directed by Robert Hartford-Davis — who also did a few British horror pictures like Corruption (1968) and Incense For The Damned (1971). His Nobody Ordered Love (1971) is a lost film since he pulled it from circulation and ordered it destroyed.

The Take (1974)
Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis
Starring Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Albert, Frankie Avalon, Sorrell Booke, Albert Salmi, Vic Morrow, Tracy Reed

By this time, Billy Dee Williams had already appeared in Brian’s Song (1971), Lady Sings The Blues (1972) and Hit! (1973), but he was still six years away from The Empire Strikes Back (1980). He’s supported by a good cast, as if they didn’t think he could carry the picture on his own.

The cinematographer was Duke Callaghan, whose previous film was Jeremiah Johnson (1972). Mr. Callaghan shot a lot of Adam-12 episodes, so I’m a fan.

Black Gunn (1972)
Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis
Starring Jim Brown, Martin Landau, Brenda Sykes, Herbert Jefferson, Jr., Luciana Paluzzi, Stephen McNally, Bernie Casey, Bruce Glover

Football great Jim Brown made some terrific movies — stuff like Rio Conchos (1964), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Dark Of The Sun (1968) and The Split (1968). This time, the mob is after Brown’s brother (Herbert Jefferson, Jr.). Black Gunn‘s got a great cast, and you can always count on Bruce Glover to be a superb psycho.

The picture was shot by Richard H. Kline, who also gave us Hang ‘Em High (1968), The Boston Strangler (1968), Mr. Majestyk (1974) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980).

Two cool movies in high definition at a great price. The more of these things Mill Creek pulls from the Columbia vaults, the more I like ’em.

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Filed under 1972, 1974, Columbia, Jim Brown, Mill Creek

Happy Birthday, Charles Bronson.

Charles Bronson (Charles Dennis Buchinsky)
(November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003)

Charles Bronson was born on this day back in 1921. He was born in Pennsylvania to Lithuanian parents, worked in the coal mines until he served in the Air Force in World War II, and eventually made his way to Hollywood.

Bronson made a lot of movies, some of them great, many good, a few pretty terrible — House Of Wax (1953), Crime Wave (1954), Big House USA (1955), Showdown At Boot Hill (1958), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Once Upon A Time In The West (1968), The Mechanic (1972), Mr. Majestyk (1974, above), Death Wish (1974) and its four sequels, Hard Times (1975), The White Buffalo (1977), Telefon (1978) and many more.

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Filed under 1974, Charles Bronson

DVD/Blu-Ray News #180: The Black Windmill (1974).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Michael Caine, Donald Pleasence, Delphine Seyrig, Clive Revill, Janet Suzman, John Vernon

Kino Lorber has announced an upcoming DVD and Blu-Ray release of Don Siegel’s The Black Windmill (1974). Often called a misfire, this Michael Caine spy picture has been on my Wanna See list for a very, very long time.

Not sure when this is coming out, but I can’t wait. And while I can’t give it a real recommendation, there’s the simple fact that Don Siegel directed it (coming between 1973’s Charley Varrick and The Shootist from 1976). That should be recommendation enough. (If Don Siegel directed an instructional film about dental hygiene, I’d want to see it.)

Thanks to (fellow Siegel nut) John Knight for the tip.

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Filed under 1974, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Michael Caine, Universal (-International)

Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks.

Mel Brooks (born Melvin Kaminsky)
June 28, 1926

Here’s a cool photo to mark the 92nd birthday of the great Mel Brooks. It’s the director (Brooks) and cast of Young Frankenstein (1974). L-R: Madeline Kahn, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars and Marty Feldman. That’s a lot of funny people right there.

Happy birthday, Mr. Brooks. Thanks for all the laughs.

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Filed under 1974, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks

Blu-Ray News #138: Freebie And The Bean (1974).

Directed by Richard Rush
Starring Alan Arkin, James Caan, Loretta Swit, Jack Kruschen, Mike Kellin, Paul Koslo, Linda Marsh, Alex Rocco, Valerie Harper

Warner Archive has announced Freebie And The Bean (1974) for an upcoming Blu-Ray release. Some will probably ask why.

This highly un-PC movie, which switches from violent action flick to comedy almost frame by frame, divides film fans more than about movie I can think of (those that even remember it). Many hate it for the reasons I just listed. Me, I love it — partly for those same things.

But there’s more to it than that. It’s a master class in vehicular stunts — they tear up a lot of cars in this thing, and it always looks like actual pedestrians are in real peril. It’s got both Alex Rocco and Paul Koslo in it. Alan Arkin is as good as ever, and James Caan was on a real roll at this time — The Godfather (1972), Slither (1973, a personal favorite), The Gambler (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Rollerball (1975).

Laszlo Kovacs (behind camera) shooting Arkin and Caan on a construction crane.

What’s more, the Blu-Ray will give us a chance to really appreciate Laszlo Kovacs’ Panavision San Francisco photography, which takes us to places you don’t see in more scenic SF films like Vertigo (1958), Bullitt (1968) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972). It’s a great-looking, gritty movie. And, in my opinion, it’s a thousand times better than the cop/buddy movies that came later, like those Lethal Weapon things. I can’t wait to see it in high definition.

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Filed under 1974, Alan Arkin, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Caan, Laszlo Kovacs, Richard Rush, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #104: The Yakuza (1974).

yakuza-lc

Directed by Sydney Pollack
Starring Robert Mitchum, Ken Takakura, Brian Keith, Herb Edelman, Richard Jordan

A lotta folks are gonna be happy about this one. Warner Archive has Sydney Pollack’s The Yakuza (1974) on the way on Blu-Ray — in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great look at Japanese culture, with a typically terrific performance from Robert Mitchum and some incredible action sequences. This is one of those movies I heard a whole lot about before I finally caught up with it — and it actually lived up to all the hype.

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Filed under 1974, DVD/Blu-ray News, Robert Mitchum, Sydney Pollack, Warner Archive