Top Secret!‘s Backwards Scene Forwards

03/08/2011

Here’s the original scene as presented in the 1984 Zucker/Abrahams comedy, Top Secret! With obvious and clever staging they made it seem as if the actors were speaking Swedish, when in fact it was simply shot in reverse manner.

(YouTube Link)

Now, thanks to the YouTube editing prowess of user reishiki, we can see how this scene actually looked when filmed. Also, I either never knew or had completely forgotten that the bookstore guy is played by Peter (Grand Moff Tarkin) Cushing.

(YouTube Link)


Luke Skywalker and Commander Adama Together

08/20/2010

Although I can find no information to support it, my theory is a young Edward James Olmos is the guy who picks up Mark Hammil’s character Kenny on his way to Las Vegas in the 1978 film, Corvette Summer. Imdb has a mysterious chararacter called “Uncredited” played by some actor named Rio, who doesn’t seem to exist, and Wikipedia/Olmos’ bio is silent on the subject. Sounds to me like this was before Olmos was serious about acting, and used a fake name. I don’t blame him for not taking credit, but I’m shocked I’m the first one to notice this obvious piece of acting history.

Be my guest, and watch the scene. Tell me this isn’t a young Adama giving a young Skywalker a ride.

(YouTube Link)

The fact that Gandalf/Ian McKellan makes an appearance in this movie as a pornographer makes this claim even more plausible.

UPDATE: Well, after further investigation, the truth is revealed. It sure looks like a young EJO, but according to the Unofficial Corvette Summer site, that’s Isaac Ruiz Jr., who had a part on Chico and the Man.


A Gentler Tickler

08/15/2010

Detroit Publishing Co.

100 years have gone by since this thrill ride, “The Tickler,” in Cincinnati promised the experience would be “not as rough as last season.”

Click for enormous size (Shorpy).


Jenette Goldstein

08/09/2010

20th Century Fox

When James Cameron put out a casting call for American actors in London for his production of Aliens, he got a jewel of an actress by the name of Jenette Goldstein, who jokingly auditioned for the part of tough Latino Marine, Vasquez. She not only stole many scenes in the sci-fi epic, but Cameron’s heart as well, ending up in two more of his gargantuan box office smashes, although audiences may have not recognized her. She’s gained a reputation as being a chameleon.

Everyone remembers her roles, especially Vasquez. Perhaps the funniest moment in Aliens is when Bill Paxton’s Hudson asks her (as she’s flexing some mad pull-ups) if she’s ever been mistaken for a man. Without missing a beat, she retorts, “No, have you?” That was her breakout performance, after studying acting in Los Angeles and competing alongside peers like Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey.

Artisan Home Entertainment

She then went on to an eclectic film career, playing John Connor’s foster mother in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. “Wolfie’s fine, honey. Where are you?” Also of note is her role in Star Trek: Generations, and an overlooked addition to my post about 3 actors in 2 movies. Jenette, Bill Paxton, and Lance Henriksen were all in both Aliens and Near Dark.

Paramount

The role of the Irish mother in Cameron’s Titanic is probably the most chameleon-like of her performances. A master of dialects and physically altering her persona, Goldstein really shines in this small, yet powerful role. Personally, I was totally unaware that the actress playing this character was the same woman who wielded one of the biggest guns in cinematic history while screaming “Let’s rock!” and killing voracious aliens.

She also went to the same high school as some of our favorite stars, like Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Cage, and Richard Dreyfuss. I think it’s telling that in the credits for Aliens, her character is actually named Jenette Vasquez. Hats (and bandannas) off, Ms. Goldstein; we really really like you!

IMDB


The Dark Side… No Moon

07/14/2010

Awesome design from fyeahgeekgirls.

Thanks Minnesotastan.


Wish I Was There

07/12/2010

Print by David O'Daniel

It’s really hard to find this movie anywhere, unless you have Netflix, but the best place to see this 1927 masterpiece by Fritz Lang would be at a theater. Portland’s Cinema 21 to the rescue! The Complete Metropolis ends its run there on a couple of days. I’ll be sure to catch a showing before that happens.


Hot Shot Eastbound

07/01/2010

Photo: O Winston Link

From Iconic Images:

Although his photos exuded spontaneity, they were often the result of elaborate preparations and darkroom manipulations. “Hot Shot East Bound” was photographed on August 2, 1956, in Iaeger, West Virginia, in an effort to depict small-town American life at the end of an era. As the steam engine symbolically exits the frame, a young couple in Link’s own 1952 Buick convertible takes center stage, both literally and metaphorically. Later, in his darkroom, Link added the U.S. Air Force Sabre airplane on the movie screen to extend this metaphoric power. The photo was a poignant display of a cultural lifestyle in speedy transition. The 50s marked the beginning of excess, decadence, and conspicuous consumption. For Link, no landscape embodied this as effectively as the drive-in theater, a cultural space first created in 1928 by Richard Hollingshead in response to the United State’s burgeoning car culture.


Bacon Pancakes

06/15/2010

The only thing about this picture that doesn’t make any sense is the ostensible recipe card. This is so simple and ingenious, I’m just going to try it blindfolded tomorrow morning!


Jaws Turns 35

06/13/2010

On June 20, 1975, moviegoers collectively changed their attitudes about swimming in the ocean. Jaws also reinvented the summer movie season, and scary movies, overnight. Much like Alfred Hitchcock’s shower scene, this movie made audiences rethink potential sources of Things to Watch Out For. The sophomore effort of one of filmmaking’s living legends, Steven Spielberg, it still ranks as one of the world’s best-loved movies, with a commanding 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

My personal favorite element of this classic flick is the way the shark was represented; yes, I loved the acting performances of each and every human character, but the character of the shark upstaged everyone. And that shark’s name is Bruce. It’s hilarious to note that the name was attached to the mechanical shark(s) in honor of Spielberg’s lawyer, also named Bruce. Check this out, the last of them was recently found in a junkyard.

Here’s some awesome trivia from IMDb:

During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin ScorseseGeorge Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where “Bruce” the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark’s mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas’ head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they’d done major damage to the creature.

Eat him, Bruce!

(Photo: bytehead)

Editing is key, though. With a severely effective assist from the music. Jaws was Verna Fields’ last movie as an editor, and it is her best work. Spielberg came close to shutting down the whole project when he realized the fake shark just looked stupid, but it was Verna who calmly told him she could make it look real through wide shots, floating barrels, and the use of very selective, short shots. Let the viewers fill in the gaps with their imaginations, and they will believe in a monster from the deep.

As Spielberg says in this interview, “Had the shark been working, perhaps the film would have made half the money, and been half as scary.”

(YouTube Link)

Some still shots from a classic, courtesy Universal.


Robert Shaw Trivia

06/02/2010

I’m on a Robert Shaw kick lately, after scoring a great deal on one of his movies at the nearby Hollywood Video’s going-outta-biz sale. I managed to snag Force 10 From Navarone for a few dollars. This has always been a movie I would rent every few years just to see it again, or show it to others. Now I own it, and since  we’re coming up on the 35th anniversary of the premiere of Jaws, here’s some factoids about Quint, aka Mallory, aka Lonniman (It’s Lonnegan!).

From IMDb:

As a boy, he attended Truro and was quite an athlete, competing in rugby, squash and track events but turned down an offer for a scholarship at 17 to go to London with furthering education in Cambridge as he did not want a career in medicine but luckily for the rest of us, in acting.

He went on from the Academy, after two years (1946-1948) to Stratford-on-Avon, where he was directed by Sir John Gielgud who said to Robert Shaw, “I do admire you and think you’ve got a lot of ability, and I’d like to help you, but you make me so nervous.”

He appeared briefly in 1954′s The Dam Busters.

Around 1959, he became involved with the well-known actress Mary Ure, who was married to the actor John Osborne at the time. He slipped her his telephone number one night at 3 a.m. while visiting the couple and she called him the next day. It was around this time, in 1960, that Robert Shaw became a reporter for England’s Queen magazine and covered the Olympics in Rome. Robert Shaw and Mary Ure acted together in Middleton’s The Changeling at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1961. He was playing the part of an ugly servant in love with the mistress of the house who persuades him to murder her fiancé. Robert Shaw and Mary Ure had a child on August 31st, even though they were still married to their other spouses. His wife Jennifer and Mary Ure had children to him only weeks apart from each other. Mary divorced John Osborne and married Robert Shaw in April 1963. The couple was often quoted by the press as being, “very much in love” and together, they would have four children together. (Ten total for Shaw.)

It was in the following films, The Sting and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three that Robert Shaw became familiar once again to American audiences but it is his portrayal as a grizzled Irish shark hunter, named Quint, in Jaws that everyone remembers, even to this day. Hard to believe that Robert Shaw wasn’t that impressed with the script and even confided to a friend, Hector Elizondo, “They want me to do a movie about this big fish. I don’t know if I should do it or not.” When Elizondo asked why Shaw had reservations he mentioned that he’d never heard of the director and didn’t like the title, “JAWS.”

“Avalanche Express” was Robert Shaw’s last film in which he played General Marenkov, a senior Russian official who decides to defect to the west and reveals to a CIA agent, played by Lee Marvin, that the Russians are trying to develop biological weapons. (Shaw sadly died of heart failure midway through filming.)

Many of Captain Quint’s ramblings in Jaws were actually Shaw’s improvisations, and he is considered one of many authors of the famous USS Indianapolis scene.

Allegedly he didn’t get along with Richard Dreyfuss while filming Jaws.

His performance as Captain Quint is ranked #28 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

He also wrote four books that were well received, along with some plays.

“Writing is where the real center of my integrity lies. I never write for money. I only act for money, but not invariably of course. I would never write certain sentences that I say in films, or even that I write in films, because I often fix up my lines.”

“Acting is instant enjoyment and childlike. As an actor, Lord God, I can take an audience in a theatre and throw them in any direction. I can’t do that as a writer. Writing is painful, it’s lonely and you suffer and there’s no immediate feedback.”

I knew there was some reason I liked him from the get-go. The Shakespeare work doesn’t surprise me, but the life of this man we barely knew through his few cinematic roles is, to say the least, incredible.

Link [IMDb]  (More Jaws and Force 10 stuff to come)


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