James Edward Caan
March 26, 1940 – July 6, 2022
James Caan is without doubt one of my favorite actors. From Howard Hawks’ El Dorado (1966) to Thief (1981), he cranked out one terrific movie after another. He passed away yesterday at 82.
To me, James Caan pretty much OWNED 70s cinema. The Godfather (1972). The Gambler (1974). Freebie And The Bean (1974). Rollerball (1975, above). The Killer Elite (1975). Harry And Walter Go To New York (1976). A Bridge Too Far (1977). And the largely-forgotten Slither (1973), still one of my all-time favorite films. He was great, and so intense, in action pictures, but he had a real flair for goofy, subtle comedy stuff, too.
In more recent years, Caan had a wonderful Twitter account, often sharing a photo from, or thought about, one of his pictures. I’m gonna miss you, Mr. Caan.
Directed by Hal Needham
Starring Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Sally Field, Jerry Reed
TCM and Fathom Events are bringing Smokey And The Bandit (1977) back to theaters for its 45th anniversary — May 29, June 1 and 2. Click the ad to find a time and place in your area.
Saw this on opening day (May 27) at the Mission Valley Cinema in Raleigh, North Carolina. (That’s the ad up top.) My daughter loves this thing, it’s a load of fun, and we’ll be at one of these screenings for sure.
Douglas Hunt Trumbull
(April 8, 1942 – February 7, 2022)
Douglas Trumbull, the special effects genius/inventor/director has passed away at 79. You can seen him up top working on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a space odyssey (1968), building the moon bus model.
He also worked on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980) and Blade Runner (1982). And he directed the sadly under-appreciated Silent Running (1971).
Arrow’s He Came From The Swamp: The William Grefé Collection offers up seven films produced and/or directed (and often written) by William Grefé, all newly restored from the best film elements around:
Sting Of Death (1966)
Starring Joe Morrison, Valerie Hawkins, John Vella, Jack Nagle
Death Curse Of Tartu (1966)
Starring Fred Pinero, Babette Sherrill
The Hooked Generation (1968)
Starring Jeremy Slate, Steve Alaimo
The Psychedelic Priest (1971)
Starring John Darrell, James Coleman, Joe Crane
The Naked Zoo (1971)
Starring Rita Hayworth, Steve Oliver, Fay Spain
The Jaws Of Death (no Mako) played the Forest Drive-In here in Raleigh, NC.
Mako: The Jaws Of Death (1976)
Starring Richard Jaeckel, Jennifer Bishop, Harold Sakata
Whiskey Mountain (1977)
Starring Christopher George, Preston Pierce, Roberta Collins
Mr. Grefé participated in this from one end to the other. Each picture is packed with extras, from commentaries and trailers to director’s cuts and behind-the-scenes footage to photo galleries and a collector’s booklet. Also included is the documentary They Came From The Swamp: The Films Of William Grefé.
Should be a real hoot, and an exhaustive one at that. Coming in November. Recommended.
The fine folks at The 3-D Film Archive have announced a followup to the Kickstarter campaign that fueled their incredible Blu-Ray of Africa Screams (1949) — I’ll have a review of that one up soon, as soon as I find a few more superlatives!
This time, they’re taking on Dynasty (AKA Qian dao wan li zhu AKA Super Dragon), a 3-D martial arts picture released in the States in 1977.
Once their work is through, you’ll be able to watch its incredible martial arts action three ways —
• BD3D polarized 3-D
• Anaglyphic (red/cyan) 3-D
• Standard flat 2-D
The audio will present the English dub in its original 4-channel magnetic Quadrophonic sound.
They hope to have this in our hot little hands by December. There’s plenty of work to be done, so click on the one-sheet above and help get this thing going!
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Starring James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason, David Warner, Senta Berger
Hen’s Tooth Video has a Blu-Ray of Cross Of Iron (1977) on the way. Their special edition DVD boasted a great lineup of extras, and I hope those will make the leap to Blu-Ray. It’s coming in October.
This is a great film, the last great one from Sam Peckinpah, with a really incredible performance from James Coburn. (He also looks so cool in this one.) It’s a shame it’s been so hard to see over the years, but that’s how things tend to go with these international productions. Let’s hope this release will help change that. Highly recommended.
My daughter’s taken to Star Wars in a big way. She came across this.
Bet the pine needles fall off long before they hit hyperspace.
Here’s wishing you and yours a stellar holiday — and safe travels no matter how far, far away you have to go.
Directed by William Friedkin
Starring Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou, Ramon Bieri
You may not know that William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (1977) is one of my favorite movies — so much so that I dedicated a blog to it alone.
It’s always good news to see the 4K restoration of this maligned masterpiece come available in some form in some part of the world. The latest is a special 40th anniversary edition from British label Entertainment One. It’ll be out November 6th.
Special Features and Technical Specs:
• Sorcerers – A Conversation with William Friedkin & Nicolas Winding Refn
• The Mystery of Fate – A letter from director William Friedkin
• Newly commissioned artwork to celebrate the 40th Anniversary
• Reversible sleeve containing newly commissioned & original artwork
Written and Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Francois Truffaut
Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) is 40 years old, which for some of us serves as a reminder of just how old we are. Yikes.
In a sci-fi movie year that had already given us Star Wars, Spielberg’s followup to Jaws (1975) was a big, big deal. We all went a little UFO-happy, just like we’d gotten collectively spooked by the ocean a couple years before.
For those of us who want to relive those days (to “make contact again,” as the trailer says) or give our kids a little taste of ’em, Close Encounters (Spielberg’s Director’s Cut) will play theaters for a week in September, with a new 4K and Blu-Ray release coming a couple weeks later. I’m getting stoked.
(October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)
If you grew up in the late 70s, Star Wars (1977) was a part of your life — whether you liked it or not. So for many of us out there, it’s quite a blow to lose Carrie Fisher. (Kids of the 80s are going through the same thing with George Michael.)
Here she is on location for The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the second Star Wars movie. With a film so big and filled with special effects — and Empire is an epic in every sense of the word, it’s easy to overlook what the actors are doing. Pay attention next time, she’s really terrific.