Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Best & The Worst: Winter Kills

This is a potential new feature here at Poseidon's Underworld, a stab a short posts that point out what we find to be the best and worst aspects of a particular project without going into a full-on review. As we are sure to be receiving a very heavy amount of work in 2018, there may be more brief postings versus the intensive ones you may have come to expect. Anyway... in this first one, we'll cover the worst first!
The Worst:  For reasons known only to director William Richert, 1979's Winter Kills, a politically-oriented black comedy, features an extended scene of a craggy and out-of-shape, seventy-three year-old John Huston in a skimpy pair of red briefs and little else. He wakes up his son Jeff Bridges to rail against his enemies.
It's difficult to focus on the content of his outraged monologue to costar Jeff Bridges as we are confronted by his pale, mashed-potato-lumpy physique which is in no way made more palatable by a cream-colored robe. (This comes after we've already watched a rather sultry young woman fondle his debauched character through his slacks while sitting in a golf cart!)
The Best: Thankfully on hand to salve our scorched corneas is a youthful and attractive Jeff Bridges, who has another scene of his in bed, clearly without benefit of pajamas.

Bridges eventually sits up and shows off the fact that he's been sleeping au naturel. Just on the cusp of thirty, he was in good shape at this time.
During this sequence of the movie, Bridges has a love scene with Belinda Bauer and after he gets up to walk around, the frame zooms in optically - becoming grainy and blurred - and in essence crops out what I am certain was at one point a frontal or partially frontal nude scene. The movie has never been particularly easy to find and has been cut in various different versions, so I don't know if anyone ever got to see him in the altogether before someone took it upon himself to edit it out. But if you're in the right frame of mind, the film has some interest and contains a fairly fascinating supporting cast. 
******* UPDATE!! *******

There was a certain degree of debate as to whether or not this movie had been augmented after its initial release and I am here to tell you that indeed it was. I still don't know who was behind it - so to speak, but someone made the decision to excise Jeff Bridges' rear nudity. Never one to let anything rest if I smell a rat, I have come up with some photographic evidence of the scene as it was ORIGINALLY shown. The shots seen below are not visible on the "restored" prints or the DVD. So strange, annoying and, in a way, untrue to the film as it was intended (and certainly Mr. B. had nothing to be ashamed of.) My apologies for the third or fourth generation quality of the images. It was the best that could be done under such dire circumstances!


Gingerguy said...

Merry Christmas Poseidon. LOL I know I tend to make it about me, but I JUST WATCHED THIS last month! OMG where to start? Yes, best and worst is a brilliant idea as they really contrast here. The movie is so weird, and chock filled with stars. The tone is snarky and black but Jeff is playing it straight, and John is essentially the same here to me as in Myra Breckinridge. Except for those eye searing red undies. It doesn't get much better than Jeff nude (his clothes in the film are to die for too) and no worse than pasty Huston. Hilarious.

Rick Gould said...

Poseidon-Great minds think alike!
As much as I love researching facts and pictures about movies I'm fascinated by, I've got some big work obligations in '18 and decided that to write 500 word pieces, with the occasional bigger piece about movies that are special to me.

Regarding Winter Kills, I own this movie and just watched it recently. I think it's a nifty satire on all the Kennedy assassination theories, written by the Manchurian Candidate author, Richard Condon...whom Huston later directed his Prizzi's Honor. A great cast, with Anthony Perkins playing his craziest character ever! And Elizabeth Taylor looks just like Divine in her entrance as Lola, the Washington madam. Taylor really comes across in her wordless cameo, and that's her boring Republican husband John Warner's back, as the Kennedy-esque president!
PS, I own the restored version, and what you posted was about as nekkid as Jeff got!

Cheers, you're an inspiration!
And have a great 2018 : )


joel65913 said...

LOVE the idea Poseidon!! Though I also adore your longer wonderfully detailed posts as well, but when time is crunched this is a fun idea.

I think the less said about John Huston in that state the better but young Jeff Bridges was indeed one fine specimen and he look particularly choice here.

I haven't seen this in years but remember it as being okay if a bit muddled but I hung in for Jeff and the cameos.

Johnny C said...

It is one odd movie. But I sort of love it. Years ago when Netflix started I recommended it to a friend and his wife. Afterwards, I was told that I couldn't make any more movie recommendations to them. My favorite line is John Huston on the golf cart with the two beautiful women next to him: One of them is touching my balls.

Thanks for a great blog!

Poseidon3 said...

Hi, y'all! I'm glad you liked this little post. Gingerguy, I did feel that Huston was channeling his earlier "Breckinridge" performance here, too.

Rick, I believe you that Jeff Bridges is never fully nude in the movie, but SOMETHING happened somewhere during filming because if you watch his love scene (the aftermath, actually) with Belinda, there is a section in which the cinematography suddenly goes blurry. It's VERY OBVIOUS that the negative was blown up and cropped in the editing process. Maybe too much of Jeff was shown per his agreement with the director or perhaps he is supposed to be naked in the scene, but whatever briefs he was wearing on set wound up in the shot... I don't know, but there is no way that Vilmos Zsigmond photographed that shot they way it appears in the finished product. They blew it up and cut off his lower body.

Joel, I actually recorded it for viewing specifically to see the cameos, too. Dorothy Malone and Miss Taylor in particular.

Johnny C! That sounds so much like something that would happen to me. God, I hate it when I really like a movie and try to show it to someone and they despise it. I recall one time I took "The Poseidon Adventure" to a buddy's house to show it to him and, while he did indeed like it a lot, his teenage sister invited herself to watch along and she loudly and rudely derided it at every turn. Needless to say, I hated her with the heat of a thousand suns thereafter and, in fact, never spoke to her again! LOL :-)