Posts Tagged ‘Charlton Heston’

Disasters Films of the 1970’s

May 26, 2011

Well, May 21, 2011 6:00 PM came and went and we’re all still here. All this talk about the end of the world got me thinking about how I can turn this into a blog entry. Then it hit me. (I’m talking about an idea, not a bolt of lightening.) I could do a blog entry on the disaster films of the 1970’s. After all, disasters flicks of the 1970’s have it all, action, drama, sometimes a secondary love story to keep the story going when there’s a lull in the action.

Also, what was going on 1970’s is similar to what is going on today, such as high energy prices, a war, a recession, high unemployment. In a way, is it not surprising that these films came out when they did and interestingly enough they were very successful, to boot. Yet, one would think that in such a situation, people would flock to see happy, escapist films, not films where people had to deal with earthquakes, fires, plane crashes or other catastrophes. My theory is that in a weird kind of way these films were escapist. The people watching these films were safe and sound in a movie theater, so they could comfort themselves with the thought, “Those people in the film REALLY have it bad.”

So, without further ado, here is a short list of disaster films of the 1970’s.

Airport 1970
What would happen if you got on a plane on a snowy night and one of the passengers carried a bomb?  No, this is not the latest terror plot, this is the plot of Airport. Based on the book of the same name by Arthur Hailey, the film stars Dean Martin, as pilot of the ill fated plane (in a rare dramatic turn), Burt Lancaster, as the airport’s manager and George Kennedy is the gruff mechanic who saves the day. This film was successful at the box office and spawned three sequels and the infamous Airplane! spoof movies.

The Poseidon Adventure 1972
Picture this: You’re on a cruise ship on New Year’s Eve. Everyone is at dinner, they’re happy and waiting for midnight to strike. Midnight comes and so does a tidal wave. Uh-oh. Well, that’s The Poseidon Adventure for you. But wait, there’s more than just a tidal wave. The wave turns the boat upside down, so people have to swim up to the bottom of the ship in the hopes of being rescued. Stars Ernest Borgnine, as a cop on his honeymoon, Stella Stevens, plays his wife, the prostitute who went straight and it also stars Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters and Roddy McDowell. This picture wasn’t a disaster at the box office and earned nine, count’em nine, Academy Award nominations. I guess this film floated the Academy’s boat. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Earthquake 1974
In the late 1970’s many a comedian made a joke out of the “Big One”, which is the earthquake that does more than just shake up California, but causes havoc. When I heard these jokes, I wondered where the comedians got this idea from. Then I saw the movie Earthquake on television and I stopped wondering. This movie came out just as the disaster flick was wearing thin, so its kind of a throw in everything but the kitchen sink, type of film.  It has major stars, such as Ava Gardner, Lorne Greene (as her father, no less, even though she was only 7 years younger then him), Charlton Heston and George Kennedy, as a gruff cop who saves the day. It has a disaster, i.e. the big earthquake that shakes Los Angeles to its core. It also has a cliché love story where businessman Heston has an affair with a young mother. The film didn’t win any awards, but it did feature a new sound system called  Sensurround. Yet, it this feature didn’t catch on for subsequent films. You think the fact that it was associated with the film Earthquake had something to do with it?

The Towering Inferno 1974
This film is considered the best of the disaster film genre, since the level of acting of its two major stars Paul Newman, as the architect of the the world’s tallest building and  Steve McQueen, in his last film role, as the fire chief who obviously wants to put out the fire, is top notch. The film also stars William Holden, as the chief builder, Richard Chamberlain (who plays the film’s villian, no less) as the electrican, Faye Dunaway and even Fred Astaire. Newman’s character returns from vacation and senses that something isn’t right with the building. He is proven right, as shoddy wiring starts a fire that quickly consumes the building, just as a high society party is going on at 129th floor. Who will be saved and who will go up in smoke? I don’t know. I guess, I’ll just have to watch the movie and find out.

Of course, this blog entry is no disaster, since no one was hurt in the writing of this entry. 

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Airport-Full-Screen-Burt-Lancaster/dp/B00000I1CJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

http://www.amazon.com/Poseidon-Adventure-Special-Gene-Hackman/dp/B000EHSVNW/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1305945909&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Earthquake-Charlton-Heston/dp/6305137277/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1305943269&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Towering-Inferno-Special-Paul-Newman/dp/B000EHSVOG/ref=pd_sim_d_1

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2011 Summer Movies

May 5, 2011

Yippee, it’s May. Not only does it mean that winter is over, spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it also means that Hollywood will be churning out my favorite kind of movie—the SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!!  Since I love summer blockbusters sooooo much, I will use this blog entry to highlight a few of the many movies that will be coming out this summer.

May
Thor

Based on the characters from Marvel Comics, Thor is more than just a big lug with a hammer.  After all he gets his powers from the Norse gods, so he can’t just be some rock’em sock’em super hero. In fact, Stan Lee admitted that he occasionally had his characters, like Thor and Silver Surfer put forth his own philosophy of life. The film was directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh, of Hamlet fame and stars Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

Pirates of the Caribbean—On Stranger Tides
Love’em or hate’em, you have to hand it to Disney, when something works for them, they keep using it. Case in point, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The last one made $300 million, so the powers that be decided to make another one. This one features Penelope Cruz, as well as Johnny Depp and is in 3D. I’m sure this will make a pretty penny this time around, as well. After all, the mouse doesn’t live on cheese alone.

Hangover 2
The crew from Hangover, which is the highest grossing R-rated comedy, is back. Need I say more?

June
X-Men First Class

Another one of Marvel and Stan Lee’s properties is getting the blockbuster treatment this summer. This one is a prequel of how Charles Xavier and Magneto came to be who they are. While some of the teaser posters weren’t so great, this film looks interesting to me. This film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones.

Cars 2
I guess the folks at Pixar thought since sequels worked so well for Toy Story, might as well try them for Cars. This time Lighting McQueen gets involved with spies during an international road race. I’ve seen the previews and they look good, so I’m actually looking forward to this film. Features the voices of Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy.

Rise of the Apes
Look at what Star Wars has wrought, sequels and prequels everywhere. This is a prequel for the original 1968 film Planet of the Apes with the dude who played Moses in The Ten Commandments. Hmmm, what was his name?* Well, senior moments not withstanding, this film deals with genetic engineering and what can happen when tinkering in the lab goes astray. Stars James Franco, Tom Felton and John Lithgow

July
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2

The long awaited end of the Harry Potter series will come this summer. Will Voldermore be defeated? Will Hermonine choose Harry or Ron? What will become of Harry? Oh wait, these questions were answered in the books. Maybe I should hurry up and read them all. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Yet another Marvel property is getting the movie treatment. This time the story deals with a someone who volunteers to take part in an experiment during World War II to become a super soldier, only to end up with super human strength. Stan Lee must be very happy to see his creations on the big screen. I hope he is getting some money out of this, as well.  Stars Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson.

Cowboys and Aliens
Talk about your genre mashups. It wasn’t enough to make a western or a sci-fi film, director Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame, decided to take the graphic novel (comic book to those over the age of 40) by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and turn it into a movie. Of course the next question is, who will win? The cowboys or aliens? I have a feeling it will be the cowboys. Stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

August
The Smurfs

Yes, those little blue creatures who got their start in a comic strip in 1958 by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, also known as Peyo, and then ended up as a Saturday morning cartoon on NBC in the 1980’s, are now coming to a multiplex near you—in 3D no less. Again the powers that be are into recycling and there is no end to this trend in sight. To quote, a famous Smurf line: “La, la, lala, la. La, lala, la.” Features the voices of Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Katy Perry.

Conan
Speaking of recycling, weren’t the first two with the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger enough? Stars Jason Momoa. Would you believe that Momoa got his start in Baywatch Hawaii? Talk about fail safe casting.

Final Destination 5
Will this be the final Final Destination or will there be a 6, 7, 8….

Well, those are my thoughts on select 2011 summer movies. Tune in again next week for another thrilling blog entry. (Okay, so my blog entries aren’t exactly thrilling, but they are good reads.)

*It was Charlton Heston and I knew it along. I just did that to be funny.

Sources:
http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1082/summer-2011-preview-20-movies-well-be-talking-about-next-year/

Cantu, Hector, Heritage Magazine “Stan the Creator” Fall 2008, pg. 51

http://bluebuddies.com/help/smurfs_peyo_biography.htm

It Came From The Stacks

August 25, 2010

Recently, the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts opened in theaters. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert and it deals with one woman’s post divorce soul search via travel. This is not the first time a book was the source material for a movie. In fact, many, many movies were based on books. So much so, someone could do a blog on all the movies that were based on books.  (ha-ha)

Well, if you think that I’m going to do a blog entry about books that have been made into movies, I have this to say:

You’re right.

While I can’t write about all the books that have been made into movies, I will feature some notable examples.

The Bible
Yes, the best selling book of all time has spawned quite a few movies.  They include:

The Ten Commandments
Released in 1923 and a remake came out in 1956. The 1956 version starred Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. Based on the book of Exodus and regarding the 1956 version, in a nutshell, Moses (Heston) is raised in Pharaoh’s household and is loved by all, except by his brother Rameses (Brynner). Moses discovers he is not Egyptian is banished from Egypt, he later returns and declares “Let my people GO!” Oh and Brynner does a lot of scowling. The 1923 and 1956 films were directed by none other than Cecil B. DeMille. So, stop being mad at George Lucas for wanting to revisit Star Wars. Lucas was just following DeMille’s footsteps.

The Bible…In the Beginning
Released in 1966. Based on the book of Genesis, which means it starts with Creation and ends with Abraham being told not sacrifice his son, Isaac. This film also features director John Huston as Noah and George C. Scott as Abraham.

The Passion of the Christ
Released in 2004. Based on the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus, by way of the Gospels according to Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The film starred James Caviezel as Jesus and was directed by Mel Gibson. At the time it was released, there was a lot of controversy. Some said film was anti-semitic in tone. Others took issue with the violence in the film. When the film’s theatrical release ended, the controversy died down and life went on, the same as it always did.

Gone With The Wind
Released in 1939, this is the movie most people think of when the phrase “Based on the best selling book” comes to mind. Based on the book by the same name by Margaret Mitchell, the movie deals with two people, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, and how they lived and loved during the time period before, during and after the American Civil War. The movie also features one of the most quoted lines in the history of American films. If I have tell you what that line is, I have this to say:

Frankly my dear, have you been living under a rock?

Wuthering Heights
Released the same year as Gone With The Wind and is overshadowed by that film. Based on the book of the same name by Emily Brontë, it deals with the love of Heathcliff, an orphan brought to Wuthering Heights and Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of the owner of Wuthering Heights. Circumstances force them apart but their love for each other never dies. None other than Sir Laurence Olivier is Heathcliff and Merle Oberon is Catherine in this movie. The book has gone through many film and television adaptations, yet Olivier/Oberon version is considered by many to be the definitive film version. FYI: Timothy Dalton (James Bond of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s) was cast as Heathcliff in the 1970 film.

The Bridges Of Madison County
Moving up a couple of decades, this film came out in 1995. Based on the book of the same name by Robert James Waller, this deals with a four-day affair between Francesca Johnson, Iowa housewife/World War II bride from Italy and Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer. Meryl Streep with a very convincing Italian accent, played Francesca (of course), Clint Eastwood played Robert and was the director of this film. Yet, for some strange reason, this film did not receive any Academy Awards. Bummer.

There you have it, several examples of books that were made into films. Of course, nowadays, many writers are interested in writing the Great American Blog, as opposed to  book. Here’s an idea for you. A movie based on a blog! Oh wait, that’s been done with Julie & Julia.

What about a movie based on a blog that deals with collecting, movie posters and pop culture as it relates to the movie industry?  Now, that would make a great movie! Don’t you think?

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Commandments-50th-Anniversary-Collection/dp/B000CNESNA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282176115&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Story-Ever-Told-Movie/dp/B0002BO05S/ref=sr_1_4?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282176496&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Beginning-Michael-Parks/dp/B00005NKT6/ref=sr_1_14?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282176915&sr=1-14

http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Christ-Full-Screen/dp/B00028HBKC/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282178185&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Wind-Two-Disc-70th-Anniversary/dp/B002M2Z3BA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282180096&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Wuthering-Heights-Merle-Oberon/dp/B00028HCEW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282332941&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Wuthering-Heights-Anna-Calder-Marshall/dp/B00005R5GB/ref=pd_sim_d_5

http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Julia-Meryl-Streep/dp/B002RSDW80/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282337444&sr=1-1