Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fun Finds: Movies Now Magazine, Summer 1971

Hello, my precious ones. It's been a scarce month or so at The Underworld and for that you have my apologies, but there has been quite a bit going on, not the least of which was a recent visitor from the surface world to my own unique realm. Yes, one of my faithful readers, who eventually became a faithful friend, submerged into Poseidon's Underworld for a 7-day stay! And, during this occasion, he actually helped me locate one of my infamous "Fun Finds," a wonderful little periodical which I will now share with you, naturally. Movies Now (which I had never heard of before) contained promotional stories about then-popular and upcoming films and the stars in them. It was only offered in movie theaters. I grasped the issue because of Jacqueline Bisset on the cover circa Airport (1970), though she doesn't figure in the actual magazine much at all... Still, if you're a 1970s film fan you're bound to see something or someone you like given mention. The price for future issues was to be $1.00, though this special introductory installment was but $0.25 (I paid $4.00 nearly fifty years on!) And away we go...!

Elliott Gould's lesser-known movie The Touch (1971) was the first English language film to be directed by famed Swede Ingmar Bergman. Brenda Vaccaro's equally lesser-known I Love My Wife (1970) also starred Gould. You can read all about Summertree (1971) right here!
The eight profiled film stars here did at least provide varying degrees of lasting success in the biz. By the way, Bisset's movie "Speed is of the Essence," which is noted as "ready for release," underwent severe tampering (about 50 minutes removed and replaced with new footage!) before stumbling into theaters as Believe in Me (1971.)
Le Mans (1971) was a highly troubled production with which Steve McQueen sought to take the reins of his career and build a production empire of his own. Costs skyrocketed as he insisted upon authenticity and control.
Staff, some quite close to McQueen, departed in anger. Director John Sturges, who'd worked twice before with the star, exclaimed, "I am to old and too rich to put up with this shit!"
In an accident apart from any that occurred during filming (and there were some serious ones), McQueen crashed his car, injuring his personal assistant and the leading lady, but had the assistant take the blame to avoid a scandal.
The film, though it does have a following thanks to its then cutting edge presentation of the subject matter, was a box office disappointment and McQueen soon gave up racing as a hobby.
Movie Now's prediction came true. There were two more films in the Apes series after this one.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) is a film I have never seen, nor ever been interested in watching, despite it having a loyal following.
The bleak look and dirty setting that director Robert Altman was striving for is exactly what I find off-putting about it! Maybe someday...
Candice Bergen is about to return to TV screens this week in the character that made her a household name (if she wasn't one already from her movies), Murphy Brown.
She is given a pretty hefty four-page spread in this issue which her fans ought to find interesting.

Bergen married French director Louis Malle in 1980 and they had one child, a daughter, in 1985. He died of lymphoma in 1995 and she remarried in 2000.
Plaza Suite (1971) had starred George C. Scott and Maureen Stapleton on Broadway and in the stage production, the two of them played all three leads in the trio of vignettes. For the movie, Walter Matthau played all three men, but employed three different females with Stapleton only retained for the first story. (Barbara Harris and Lee Grant rounded out the other two roles.)
Later, in 1982, Lee Grant and Jerry Orbach filmed the play for HBO enacting all three sets of leads. In 1987, Carol Burnett played all three women in a TV-movie with Hal Holbrook, Dabney Coleman and Richard Crenna joining her.
Here comes my big puss again! LOL I played the middle character, horny film producer Jesse Kiplinger, in a stage production once. The sly fox attempts to seduce his old hometown sweetheart by name-dropping celebs that she is starstruck with. One reviewer said that my costar (who was actually quite wonderful) played Muriel Tate so demurely that the eventual seduction came off as "date rape." I had to protest to my close friends that I would NEVER date rape a woman...!
This profile on Clint Eastwood reveals the ambition that put him in good stead for a film career that lasts to the present day.
The text on this page refers to his Rawhide character of "Roddy Yates," but Clint actually portrayed "Rowdy Yates."
I haven't really gone to any Clint Eastwood (or much of any other!) movies in quite a long while, though he certainly established himself as a directorial force to be reckoned with apart from his acting. I do happen to LOVE Play Misty for Me (1971), his directorial debut. His movie The Beguiled (1971) was remade last year by Sofia Coppola with Colin Farrell (!) in his old role and came and went with barely a ripple.
I don't believe that Clint's character was married to Donna Mills in Play Misty for Me, just his steady girlfriend (who he cheated on with the crazed Jessica Walter.)
I always find it remarkable that young Peter Ostrum, who starred in what has now become a bonafide classic movie musical fantasy, never again set an acting foot in front of a movie (or even TV) camera! He did, however, audition to replace Peter Firth in Equus on Broadway (!), but wasn't able to corral the role. He eventually became a successful veterinarian.
Fool's Parade (1971) had a good cast, but I must say that the only thing about it that lingers in my own memory is the one thing unmentioned here: Anne Baxter's garish hair & makeup as a floozie!
In the 1970s it seemed as if Karen Black was in every other movie. She was EVERYWHERE. The films noted here ("Dealer" and "Scraping Bottom," both concerning drug use) ultimately saw release as Cisco Pike (1972) and Born to Win (1971.)
What about this full-page portrait?!
This interview is just as kooky as discombobulated as one might expect from the unique actress! Drive, He Said (1971), by the way, contains a heady amount of male nudity (director Jack Nicholson was spending copious amounts of time in the buff during that phase of his life.)
This truly was a revolutionary time in film-making and no matter how much anyone tries, he or she can never quite capture that gritty, organic feel that permeated so many movies of the period, many of which included Black.
In the late-'60s/early-'70s it seemed like Disney put comedy after comedy out about people dealing with wacky animals, be they cats, bears, seals or in this case a duck.
Very many of these frolics seemed to star Dean Jones.
Robert Redford's "The Saga of Jeremiah Johnson" ultimately saw release as simply Jeremiah Johnson (1972.)
The blond dreamboat, whose name eventually made its way onto a decadent chocolate dessert called "Better Than Sex with Robert Redford Cake," is given a centerfold pull-out.
Remarkably enough, the owner of this mag left the pic intact.
Because I never rarely deny my readers anything, I made this rendition of it for your perusal.  Ha ha!
We generally avoid Mr. George C. Scott (despite his inclusion in The Disaster Movie Club for The Hindenburg, 1975) because he was reputed to be a quite nasty and abusive drunk.
This film is notable for the fact that Scott was working with his then-wife Colleen Dewhurst as well as his future wife Trish Van Devere! He'd already wed Dewhurst twice and - after having original leading lady Tina Aumont fired - had Van Devere brought in, with whom he fell in love and presumably happy with up until his death twenty-seven years later...
The Love Machine (1971) is one of our most delirious guilty pleasures!
The "so bad its good" drama about behind the scenes wrangling at a TV network never fails to make us howl.
Another fave of ours is the sci-fi flick The Omega Man (1971), which is rife with '70s vibes. Made first as The Last Man on Earth (1964) with Vincent Price, it was later remade again in 2007 as I Am Legend with Will Smith.
Breast-obsessed director Russ Meyer was at this moment attempting to go more "legit" with the resources of 20th Century Fox at his disposal.
Though The Seven Minutes (1971) had sex on its mind, it was mostly a staid courtroom drama which had middling at best results at the box office and sent Meyer back to his regular brand of product. We, for one, will always be grateful that he provided American movies with an early example of full frontal male nudity with Cherry, Harry and Raquel! (1970.)
I have yet to see The Horsemen (1971), which concerns a rather savage mounted game called buzkashi (a dead animal carcass is used in place of a ball!) Auburn-haired Leigh Taylor-Young had just played a Latin American in The Adventurers (1970) before this!
Much like Karen Black, Elliott Gould was also seemingly everywhere in the 1970s. They worked together several times including Nashville (1975), Capricorn One (1977) and on Gould's sitcom E/R.
The break mentioned in this article really did happen for Gould. Apart from a truly bizarre appearance in a promotional movie regarding the transfer of London Bridge to Lake Havasu, Arizona, he didn't appear again on screen until The Last Goodbye (1973)
Sorry to say I don't believe this young lady ever actually appeared on TV or in a movie...! A later British actress by the same name did work regularly before segueing into the film properties arena.
This is the second mention of the unfinished "Glimpse of Tiger." It was actually to be "A Glimpse of Tiger" with Elliott Gould and Kim Darby. About a year after the first attempt's grisly demise amid rumors over Gould's behavior and an accident with extras, the plot was tweaked (with character traits gender-swapped) and the movie emerged as What's Up Doc? (1972) with Gould's ex-wife Barbra Streisand in his old role and Ryan O'Neal in Darby's! One of the divorces she refers to was from handsome James Westmoreland.
There was precious little "gild and glitter" in the gritty looking Doc (1971)! The "inferno" referenced in the caption of the second pic sort of presages Faye Dunaway's role in a certain movie three years later.
Believe it or not, I only saw Willard (1971) and its sequel Ben (1972) for the first time within the last year or two! Willard is one of several 1971 films to have been remade later, in this case in 2003.
This adaptation of the durable Poe story was cut by eleven minutes by Samuel Zarkoff of AIP (nearly eliminating Lilli Palmer's role) and otherwise tampered with, resulting in poor critical and box office results.
Interesting that even as early as 1971 there was a trend towards movie nostalgia. This was long before AMC and TCM, when one had to attend a film festival, purchase a rare copy or stay up for The Late Show in order to see a (often mangled) cherished movie.
This blurb skips right past what is one of the most notable aspects of Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), which is Richard Jaeckel's virtually unforgettable performance.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971) would score eight nominations (with three wins) at this season's Academy Awards ceremony. So far, Steven Spielberg has made no threat to remake it
The little girl in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) went on to a somewhat considerable career afterwards but - like Peter Ostrum of Willy Wonka - the boys were never seen again in on screen acting parts. Bedknobs doesn't get much love (especially in the wake of 1964's Mary Poppins), but I recall loving it as a child when I saw it in rerelease!
It doesn't matter how many people love it (and there are many) or how many recommend it to me (there have been quite a few), I can. not. watch. The Boy Friend (1971.) I must just be too shallow or thick-headed to get it...!
I've seen Miss Brenda Sykes in so many things (including Pretty Maids All in a Row, 1971, Black Gunn, 1972, Cleopatra Jones, 1973, and the infamous Mandingo, 1975) and she was always good. The upcoming "Sheila" was retitled Honky (1971) prior to release! She abruptly gave up acting in the late-'70s when she married, never to return even when the marriage soured.
Lastly, an infamous film I have yet to lay eyes on. This one caused quite a stir upon release and still doesn't reach many airwaves on television, even on pay stations. I don't know that I would like it, but I usually adore Oliver Reed and find Vanessa Redgrave interesting much of the time. That's it for now, folks!  I'll be back soon.