Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, Bob Newhart, James Coburn, Nick Adams, LQ Jones
Steve McQueen and Don Siegel. How could Hell Is For Heroes (1962) not be great?
Making the movie was hell, judging from stories you hear about the production. Writer Robert Pirosh was to direct, but left after trying to deal with McQueen. Paramount cut the budget. McQueen threw his weight around, demanded rewrites and fought with Don Siegel. It was so hot in California in the summer of 1961, many scenes were shot at night to make things more comfortable. The prop machine guns didn’t like with the blank cartridges being used. And on and on.
But it’s a great film. The B&W cinematography of Harold Lipstein is remarkable. Siegel’s direction is as taught as always. And the performances are top-notch across the board.
And it’s finally making its way to Blu-Ray, thanks to the folks at Kino Lorber. Highly, highly recommended.
Don Siegel’s films are scattered throughout my list of all-time favorites — if I was to ever sit down and make such a list. Here are some photos I’ve come across while researching him for various things (some of these images have appeared on this blog before, but are worth repeating).
Up top, there’s Siegel directing Clint Eastwood in Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970). The original screenplay was by Budd Boetticher, who was supposed to direct (he ended up with only a story credit). Budd not happy with the finished film, which co-starred Shirley MacLaine. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called the picture “a solidly entertaining film that provides Clint Eastwood with his best, most substantial role to date; in it he is far better than he has ever been. In director Don Siegel, Eastwood has found what John Wayne found in John Ford and what Gary Cooper found in Frank Capra.” They’d make five movies together.
Here he is with Ronald Reagan and Vinveca Lindfors (Mrs. Siegel at the time) shooting Night Unto Night (1949).
Neville Brand and Dabbs Greer (?) get direction from Siegel on Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954).
Nick Adams and Siegel go over the script for Hell Is For Heroes (1962).
Siegel, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins and John Cassavettes (back of his head) on the set of The Killers (1964).
With Eastwood on the set of Coogan’s Bluff (1968), their first picture together.
Andy Robinson goes over the script with Siegel on Dirty Harry (1971).
Siegel and Walter Matthau having a laugh on Charley Varrick (1973). I think Don’s wearing the same hat he has on in the photo from The Killers.
Eastwood and Siegel on location for Escape From Alcatraz (1979).
I was trying to find a picture of Siegel working on Baby Face Nelson (1957), one of his best, but had no luck. It’s highly underrated, probably because it’s almost impossible to see.
Filed under 1954, 1957, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1979, Angie Dickinson, Budd Boetticher, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Nick Adams, Steve McQueen, Universal (-International), Walter Matthau
Directed by John Ford & Mervyn LeRoy
Starring Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon, Betsy Palmer, Ward Bond, Philip Carey, Nick Adams, Perry Lopez, Ken Curtis
By all accounts, Mister Roberts (1955) was a troubled production, with a feud between star Fonda and director Ford (and a illness/bender taking taking Ford off the picture). Some say Ford’s attempt to turn the play into a John Ford movie was a hindrance, but as most folks see it, the end result is just wonderful. It was a huge hit back in ’55 and is beloved today.
Warner Archive is bringing Mister Roberts to Blu-Ray, and early CinemaScope films are a real treat in high-definition. And given how splendid recent Warner Archive Blu-Rays have looked, this should be a huge upgrade. The old DVD’s commentary from Jack Lemmon (who won an Oscar for playing Ensign Pulver) is being kept, which is good news.
This one’s coming December 15, and I highly recommend it.
Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt)
(23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969)
Here’s a perfect way to celebrate the great Boris Karloff — stay up all night watching a slew of his movies.
Filed under 1963, AIP, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Dick Miller, Hazel Court, Jack Nicholson, Jacques Tourneur, Joyce Jameson, Les Baxter, Mario Bava, Nick Adams, Peter Lorre, Richard Matheson, Roger Corman, Vincent Price
Back in 1965, Young Dillinger (1965) played as a twin-bill with Mario Bava’s Blood And Black Lace (1964). This ad’s for the opening in L.A., but they played everywhere this way — even drive-ins not far from where I’m sitting here in North Carolina. Man, what a “blazing double-blast of thrills and shocks” this must’ve been.
One’s in gorgeous black and white, the other in eye-popping Technicolor. One is a cinematic love letter to the Tommy Gun, while the other favors all sorts of things with blades. Both are lurid, violent masterpieces — the stuff that makes early 60s genre movies so wonderful.
Incidentally, and the reason I came across this, both of these pictures have seen some recent video activity. Young Dillinger was just made available on DVD by our friends at Warner Archive (the movie’s terrific and the disc looks great), and VCI is prepping Blood And Black Lace for a Blu-Ray due in October.
So, with a little coordinated eCommerce, you can recreate June 9, 1965 in the privacy of your own home.
(L-R): Mary Ann Mobley, Robert Conrad, Nick Adams (as John Dillinger) and John Ashley.
Directed by Terry Morse
Starring Nick Adams, Mary Ann Mobley, Robert Conrad, John Ashley, Victor Buono, John Hoyt
So many great things have been making their way to DVD and Blu-Ray lately, some stuff’s gonna go unnoiced around here. Case in Point: Young Dillinger (1965) from Warner Archive.
This thing’s got plenty to recommend it. You’ve got the severely-underrated Nick Adams as John Dillinger. Then there’s Robert Conrad, just as he was about to do The Wild Wild West, as Pretty Boy Floyd and AIP heart-throb John Ashley as Baby Face Nelson (he was fresh off of Beach Blanket Bingo). Mary Ann Mobley (Miss America, 1959) is always good — she’d follow this with the Elvis Presley/Sam Katzman picture Harum Scarum (1965). Terry Morse is the guy who directed the American scenes with Raymond Burr for the US release of Godzilla, King Of The Monsters (1956).
And if all that’s not enough, Young Dillinger was widely criticized for its excessive violence. Sign me up!
It’s now available on DVD from Warner Archive.
Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, James Coburn, Bob Newhart, L.Q. Jones and Nick Adams
Don Siegel directed it. It’s got Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Fess Parker, L.Q. Jones, Nick Adams and Bob Newhart in it. Harold Lipstein’s black and white cinematography is perfect. Newhart does a GI version of his telephone routine. And Bobby Darin has a flamethrower.
It’s got everything going for it, everything but a Blu-Ray release, that is. It’s a Paramount, Olive, why don’t you license it?