Richard Burton, CBE
(November 10, 1925 – August 5, 1984)
Richard Burton was born 95 years ago today. He’s seen here in Where Eagles Dare (1969), my favorite film.
“Broadsword Calling Danny Boy.”
(April 21, 1939 – August 1, 2020)
Reni Santoni was a good actor, and it was always a pleasure to bump into him in some picture or TV show. He’s terrific in one of my favorite movies, Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry (1971), and he’s the only good thing about Cobra (1986). He has passed away at 81.
Mr. Santoni did a blue million TV shows, including a later episode of The Rockford Files, which I’ll probably dig out tonight.
Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine
Kino Lorber has announced an October Blu-Ray release of Don Siegel’s Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970), his second picture with Clint Eastwood (from a story by Budd Boetticher).
Kino Lorber has promised 4K restorations of both the US cut and the longer international version, along with a host of extras.
(November 10. 1928 – July 6, 2020)
The great composer Ennio Morricone has passed away at 91. Among his many terrific scores was the one for Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966).
Without his music, would spaghetti Westerns have been as impactful as they were?
His work that comes to mind with this news is Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (1967).
(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.
A couple months ago, Kino Lorber announced that they were preparing The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1967) for release — a set that would bring the original cut to Blu-Ray (in mono) from 4K. Though it’ll be the umpteenth time I’ve bought this movie on video, I welcome the original cut and audio in hi-def.
Now, they announced that the first two Eastwood/Leone pictures — A Fistful Of Dollars (1964) and For A Few Dollars More (1965) are getting the same treatment and will be coming later this year. They will standalone releases, not a set. I can’t wait.
Directed by Sergio Leone
Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach
Like a lotta folks, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is one of my favorite movies. I could sit down and watch it every day, easy. But I couldn’t stand that restoration from 2004. While it looked terrific (aside from that yellow-ish tint on everything), the reworked surround sound drove me nuts. Unfortunately, that was the version that made its way to Blu-Ray — so I’ve clung to the old MGM pre-2004 DVD.
I was overjoyed to learn that for the picture’s 50th anniversary, the original version would be given the deluxe 4K treatment — in the original mono! The set from Kino Lorber also gives you the extended version, also in mono. A slew of extra’s, many carried over from the previous editions, will be included. I don’t care how many times you bought this in the past, this is essential. Coming this summer.
Donald Jay “Don” Rickles
(May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017)
Mr. Warmth, the great Don Rickles, has passed away at 90. From his nightclub act to his appearances on Johnny Carson to Bikini Beach (1964) to Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Don Rickles could effortlessly make me laugh. There’s just something about him that cracks me up.
One of my goals in life has always been to put myself in a place where I’d be insulted by Mr. Rickles. Boy, it’s a Big Drag that he’s gone.
(February 18, 1925 – February 28, 2016)
George Kennedy, one of Hollywood’s finest, and busiest, character actors, has passed away at 91.
Kennedy made so many good movies in the 60s and 70s (he was plenty busy in TV, too), it’s hard to keep track of them. Charade (1963). The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965), in which he and John Wayne execute one of the most perfectly-timed hits in all of cinema — as Wayne smacks Kennedy in the face with the spoke of a wagon wheel. Cool Hand Luke (1967, above), as Dragline — which landed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The Dirty Dozen (1967). And a personal favorite, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot (1974).