Category Archives: 1978

Screening: The Driver (1978).

Directed by Walter Hill
Starring Ryan O’Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakley, Matt Clark

In November, Studio Canal is bringing Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978) to 4K disc. It’s one of my favorite films of the 70s.

On October 28, The Driver will be headed into UK theaters, with the new restoration screened around the UK. Boy, would I love to ride along!

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Filed under 1978, 20th Century-Fox, Bruce Dern, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ryan O'Neal, Screenings, Walter Hill

RIP, Paul Sorvino.

Paul Anthony Sorvino
(April 13, 1939 – July 25, 2022)

Paul Sorvino has passed away 83. He was a terrific actor, widely known for Goodfellas (1990) and Law And Order.

He was wonderful in William Friedkin’s The Brink’s Job (1978, that’s him with Peter Falk), one of the most criminally-overlooked films of the 70s, as I see it. He shined in an ensemble cast that included Peter Falk, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, Peter Boyle and Allen Garfield.

But he was always good. Take a look at The Gambler (1974) with James Caan, Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981) and The Rocketeer (1991). And he was a hoot as Lips in Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990).

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Filed under 1978, James Caan, Peter Falk, Warren Oates, William Friedkin

Blu-Ray News #398: Directed By Walter Hill (1975-2006).

Imprint has announced a set of six films directed by Walter Hill: Hard Times (1975), The Driver (1978), The Long Riders (1981), Extreme Prejudice (1987), Johnny Handsome (1989) and Broken Trail (2006).

This is good news, first, because I absolutely love The Driver and The Long Riders— and because among the many extras to be including in this thing, I get to do a commentary for The Long Riders.

The folks at Imprint do extraordinary work, always, and I’m overjoyed to be a tiny part of this one. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1975, 1978, 1980, 20th Century-Fox, Bruce Dern, Charles Bronson, DVD/Blu-ray News, Imprint Films, James Coburn, Robert Duvall, Ryan O'Neal, Strother Martin, United Artists, Walter Hill

Better Every Time.

Some movies get better every time you see them.

You discover something new. A performance suddenly knocks you out. You notice how the music impacts the film as a whole. Or maybe, after seeing it five times, you finally really get it.

One that really hits me in a different way ever time I see it is Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978).

I’m curious, what movies do that to you?

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Filed under 1978, 20th Century-Fox, Bruce Dern, Ryan O'Neal, Walter Hill

RIP, Christopher Plummer.

Christopher Plummer
December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021

Christopher Plummer has passed away at 91. Of course, we’ll be hearing a lot about The Sound Of Music (1965) the next few days, but I’ll always remember his turn to play Sherlock Holmes in Murder By Decree (1978). He was terrific, taking his place up there with Basil Rathbone and Peter Cushing.

In this photo, he’s sitting on the set in his Holmes outfit.

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Filed under 1978, Sherlock Holmes

Blu-Ray News #318: The Norseman (1978).

Directed by Charles B. Pierce
Starring Lee Majors, Cornel Wilde, Mel Ferrer, Jack Elam, Susie Coelho, Christopher Connelly, Jimmy Clem, Deacon Jones

When it comes to costume films, I tend to prefer the cheap, cheesy exploitation pictures to the serious epic ones. And they don’t come much cheesier than the gloriously stupid The Norseman (1978) starring Lee Majors.

The premise is pretty simple: the Six Million Dollar Man is a Viking who comes to North America about 500 years before Columbus got here — and has to fight it out with the Indians. And in a subplot that’s never fleshed out, the Viking Jack Elam must’ve fraternized with the Native American ladies, since his wild-eyed bloodline turns up in lots of Westerns in the 1950s.

Lee Majors did The Norseman between The Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy. He got half a million bucks and a percentage. Cornel Wilde and Mel Ferrer round out the cast. Charles B. Pierce (The Legend Of Boggy Creek, The Town That Dreaded Sundown) wrote, produced and directed it, and American International handled the distribution. It’s pretty terrible, but that’s of little consequence here.

I love to see anything bearing an AIP logo make it to Blu-Ray, and Kino Lorber and Scorpion Releasing are bringing The Norseman to the format in February of 2021. See, once we get out of 2020, things are gonna get better.

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Filed under 1978, AIP, Cornel Wilde, Kino Lorber, Scorpion Releasing

Blu-Ray News #230: The Brink’s Job (1978).

Directed by William Friedkin
Starring Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino

After the box-office failure of his masterpiece Sorcerer (1977), William Friedkin turned out a gem of a heist picture, The Brink’s Job (1978).

It’s a shamefully overlooked movie — from a script by Walon Green who wrote Sorcerer and The Wild Bunch (1969), and I’m so happy to hear it’s getting a Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber. Can’t wait.

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Filed under 1978, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Peter Falk, Warren Oates, William Friedkin

Blu-Ray News #226: Piranha (1978).

Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski, Paul Bartel, Richard Deacon, Bruce Gordon, Stephen The Swimming Swine

I’m so happy to be putting this post together. Because yet another movie that I love dearly, Joe Dante’s Piranha (1978), is getting a real Cadillac of a Blu-Ray release from Scream Factory this June.

One of the prop piranhas.

It’s often called “the best of the Jaws ripoffs.” But it’s more than that. It’s scary. It’s funny. It parades a terrific cast of veteran character actors across the screen. And it just plain entertains. Released the same summer as Jaws 2 (1978), it’s the better picture by far. After all, what could possibly beat a plot like this — scads of piranhas are released into a river, and at the end of the river lies a kids’ summer camp. Pure genius.

Year ago, I was outbid on a 16mm print of this movie that turned up on eBay. This extras-packed Blu-Ray will certainly help right that wrong. Here’s what you’ll get —
4K Remaster from the original camera negative
New Audio Commentary with Roger Corman
Audio Commentary with  Joe Dante & producer Jon Davison
“The Making Of Piranha” – Interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski & more
Behind-The-Scenes Footage, Bloopers & Outtakes, Additional Scenes from the TV version
Stills, Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots

All that, and it comes in one of those fancy steelbook packages. I can’t wait sink my teeth into this. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

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Filed under 1978, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, DVD/Blu-ray News, Joe Dante, Kevin McCarthy, New World Pictures, Roger Corman, Shout/Scream Factory

Screening: Piranha (1978) On Shout TV.

Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller

I love Piranha (1978), Joe Dante’s Jaws ripoff — produced by Roger Corman and written by John Sayles. I’ve seen it countless times.

Shout TV has a special event planned to celebrate the movie’s 40th anniversary — August 3 on Shout TV’s Twitch channel. To me, this is certainly a movie worth celebrating.

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Filed under 1978, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Joe Dante, Kevin McCarthy, New World, Roger Corman, Screenings, Television, William Schallert

Screening: Piranha (1978).

Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski, Paul Bartel, Richard Deacon, Stephan The Swimming Swine

A 35mm print of Joe Dante’s wonderful Jaws ripoff Piranha (1978) will be run as part of the festivities at the Hudson Horror Show on Saturday, May 20th at 7:55 and 10:40PM.

The Empire South Hills 8
1895 South Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

One of the prop piranhas by Phil Tippett. How cool is that?

Piranha‘s a real favorite, and I’d love to be there. This was one I never caught in the theater.

The Hudson Horror Show’s entire lineup is in 35mm. God bless ’em!

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Filed under 1978, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Joe Dante, Kevin McCarthy, New World, Roger Corman, Screenings