Category Archives: Robert McGinnis

Blu-Ray News #348: Arabesque (1966).

Directed by Stanley Donen
Starring Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren

Stanley Donen directed a couple of my favorite films of the 60s, Charade (1963) and Bedazzled (1967). In between, he did Arabesque (1966), a fun piece of Hitchcockian eye candy starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. It’s coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber.

Donen offered the lead to Cary Grant, who’d starred in Charade. Grant turned it down, and the part went to Peck. He’s a hieroglyphics expert who can decode a secret message — and who ends up pursued by sinister agents with Sophia Loren in tow. The story’s slight, but Donen and cinematographer Christopher Challis more than make up for it with all kinds of Technicolor-Panavision loveliness.

Henry Mancini cooked up a great score, which The Ventures covered (only released as a 45). Robert McGinnis did the terrific poster art (up top) between his work for Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967).

Flashy 60s pictures like this are perfect for Blu-Ray, and this one comes highly recommended.

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Filed under 1966, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gregory Peck, Kino Lorber, Robert McGinnis, Sophia Loren, Stanley Donen, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #222: ffolkes (1980).

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring Roger Moore, James Mason, Anthony Perkins, Michael Parks, David Hedison, Jack Watson, Lea Brodie, Brook Williams

Roger Moore made some really interesting films in the late 70s and early 80s — maybe out of guilt after appearing in Moonraker (1979). Andrew V. McLaglen’s ffolkes (1980, North Sea Highjack in the UK) is one of the better ones. (I’m also a big fan of 1978’s The Wild Geese.) Kino Lorber is bringing ffolkes to Blu-Ray, which I’m sure will make plenty of people very happy indeed.

With ffolkes, Moore gets to poke fun at the Bond thing — he’s an eccentric, bearded cat-loving terrorism expert instead of a suave playboy secret agent. He’s got a great cast along for the fun, too: James Mason, Anthony Perkins, Jack Watson, even Brooks Williams — who’s in a couple of my favorites, The Plague Of The Zombies (1966) and Where Eagles Dare (1969).

This is one of those movies where it looks like everyone was having a good time. It’s an under-seen gem. Highly recommended.

One final thing. The US poster for ffolkes is brilliant, with Bond artist Robert McGinnis spoofing his work for Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

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Filed under 1980, Andrew V. McLaglen, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Bond, Kino Lorber, Robert McGinnis, Roger Moore

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).

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