Category Archives: Making Movies

Making Movies: Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

It had been a while since I’d seen Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Sean Connery’s last entry in the “official” Bond series, and the followup to my favorite 007 movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), which starred the one-Bond-only George Lazenby.

Much of the picture was shot in and around Las Vegas, so for us in the States, it doesn’t have the exotic, globe-hopping angle the series tends to have. However, it offers a terrific Panavision and Technicolor look at Sin City in the early 70s. Many of the casinos you see in it are now gone.

Another slight disappointment is the absence of Bond’s Aston Martin (either the DB5 from Goldfinger or the DBS seen in OHMSS). He drives a red 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 instead.

Another vehicle is the prototype moon buggy Bond swipes from Willard Whyte’s place.

Connery practiced his golf swing on the moon simulation set. (Actually, judging from behind-the-scenes photos, it looks like he practiced everywhere.)

Connery’s co-star was the lovely Jill St. John. Here they are with an ice cream bar.

And between takes on the offshore oil rig.

Here are Bruce Glover (as Mr. Wint) and Putter Smith (as Mr. Kidd) on location in Amsterdam.

Lastly, dig this preliminary poster design from the great Robert McGinnis.

Diamonds Are Forever, in a way, hints at the tone of the Roger Moore Bonds that were to follow. Guy Hamilton, who directed this and Goldfiinger (1964), would do the first two Moore pictures, Live And Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974).

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1971, James Bond, Making Movies, Sean Connery

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.

2 Comments

Filed under 1972, 20th Century-Fox, Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman, Making Movies, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens

Making Movies: Bonnie And Clyde (1967).

B&C 2

I’ve always loved Bonnie And Clyde (1967) — and always been fascinated by how it all came about.

B&C 5

Here’s Arthur Penn, Gene Hackman and Warren Beatty — obviously shooting the scene where Buck Barrow gets shot.

bonnie and clyde $T2eC16F,!)sE9swm(sR6BRfJVfKWJQ~~60_57

This one spares me the trouble of writing anything.

B&C 4

This is the scene where Bonnie and Clyde meet C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard).

Ranchman Cafe ad

The real Bonnie and Clyde robbed the bank in Ponder, Texas. The Ranchman Cafe ran this ad after the movie people came to town. The cafe is still there — and they claim John Wayne ate there, too.

B&C 1

One of the great achievements of Bonnie And Clyde, as I see it, is how well it captures the rural Texas way of life. My grandparents lived in Strawn — not far from the National Guard Armory in Ranger, robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. Aside from all the shooting, the movie feels a lot like my summer visits to towns like Strawn, Breckenridge and Albany.

45720

It (and The Beverly Hillbillies) also introduced me to bluegrass.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1967, Arthur Penn, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, John Wayne, Making Movies, Warren Beatty

Making Movies: A Bridge Too Far (1977).

Bridge Too Far HS

I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of A Bridge Too Far (1977) here in Raleigh, North Carolina, when it first opened. I was 13. The guy James Caan played, Staff Sergeant Dohun, was there — and he was not happy that Caan dropped an F Bomb in one scene.

5f1a155e00e7b605cf01aeb85d64ba53a4adca8f8957d1b697a1818eda4a143e

Plastic commandoes ready to litter the bridge.

Filmopnamen-A-Bridge-too-Far-646x350

Watching and waiting — something that happened in both 1944 and 1977.

bridge-too-far-1977-001-richard-attenborough-michael-caine-talking-00m-qpi

(Sir) Michael Caine (as John Ormsby Evelyn ‘JOE’ Vandeleur) and director (Sir) Richard Attenborough.

Bv5CoYDCQAEBRjS

Shooting the harrowing sequence where Robert Redford (as Major Julian Cook) and his men cross the river in flimsy assault boats. “Hail Mary, full of grace…”

I’ve always had a soft spot for A Bridge Too Far. It’s one of the last truly epic war movies, with a few jaw-dropping scenes here and there. And it was a huge moviegoing experience for me. Cornelius Ryan’s book is terrific, too.

1 Comment

Filed under 1977, Gene Hackman, James Caan, Making Movies, Michael Caine, Richard Attenborough, Robert Redford, Sean Connery

Making Coogan’s Bluff (1968), Or Clint Eastwood Goes To Film School.

siegel-eastwood-coogan

Clint Eastwood has always been very good about giving credit to Don Siegel for mentoring him. Coogan’s Bluff (1968) was their first film together. They made four more: Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970), The Beguiled (1971), Dirty Harry (1971) and Escape From Alcatraz (1979).

Coogan Eastwood camera

Obviously, Eastwood got some hands-on training along the way. Here he’s operating the camera during the fight in the pool hall.

Coogan Siegel Eastwood Stroud

That’s Don Stroud on the right. As always, he’s the bad guy.

Coogan Eastwood Stroud bikes

It all ends with a great motorcycle chase, with Eastwood riding a Triumph Bonneville.

Coogan Surtees Stroud

Getting an insert shot over Stroud’s shoulder.

I have a real soft spot for Coogan’s Bluff. There’s something about Siegel’s films from the 60s and into the 70s that I love.

1 Comment

Filed under 1968, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Making Movies

Making Movies: Touch Of Evil (1958).

touch of evil orson

Orson Welles’ Touch Of Evil (1958) is unlike any film I’ve ever seen. It’s highbrow and lowbrow at the same time, as Welles put his masterful cinematic stamp on a most lurid story. To me, it’s a true masterpiece, an incredible stylistic exercise, while a friend called it the skankiest movie they’d ever seen. Maybe we’re both right.

gs43xXx sized

Here’s Welles with cinematographer Russell Metty and Charlton Heston.

Welles-Orson_Touch of Evil sized

Valentin De Vargas (back to camera) with Welles on the set. Though most of credits are in TV, De Vargas worked for three of my favorite directors: Welles, Howard Hawks (Hatari!, 1962) and William Friedkin (To Live And Die In L.A., 1985).

touch of evil[2]

Here’s Welles with Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh. Note the sling: Leigh broke her arm a week before rehearsals. In the finished film, her arm is obscured by sweaters and other things quite a bit.

toestill2octoberfilms-small2

This shows us of what Welles looked like during production. It’s easy to imagine him being as big and slovenly as Hank Quinlan. This was just 17 years after Welles the wunderkind made Citizen Kane (1941). Wish I could’ve found a shot of Dennis Weaver between takes.

On-the-set-of-Touch-of-Evil-600x640

How cool is this? Color! Welles is directing the opening single-shot bomb-in-the-car sequence. That crane’s about to get a real workout.

2 Comments

Filed under Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Making Movies, Orson Welles