Sunday, September 30, 2012

Herbert Lom 1917-2012

   Actor Herbert Lom passed away at the age of 95 on Sept. 27. Although best known to most people as  Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies,he had a long and varied career in films almost exclusively as a second lead or character actor.  His portrayals of Captain Nemo in 1961's Mysterious Island and title role in Hammer's 1962 Phantom of the Opera are both vivid childhood memories for me. He is also wonderful in 1955's The Ladykillers and one of my favorites Hell Drivers from 1957 with Stanley Baker. 
    He was born Herbert Karel Angelo Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru in Prague and fled to England in 1939 to escape the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.  He will be missed.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rosalba Neri News # 8

  Camera Obscura has updated their Facebook page with some more information about their release of Top Sensation (now scheduled for March 2013). A couple of new extras for the 2 disc set are interviews with Rosalba (who still looks very lovely) and co-star Salvatore Puntillo. Hopefully they'll also hook up with Edwige Fenech. Also up is some screen grabs from their restoration work on it and it looks pretty darn good, to say the least. Here's a couple of samples.

Little Fauss & Big Halsey

     Little Fauss & Big Halsey is the one Robert Redford film, that most people have never heard off (and Robert Redford hopes you never do). Released in 1970 and starring Redford & Michael J. Pollard as two motorcycle racers wondering the American west. Although marketed as a "motorcycle movie", it more of a character study of people who happen to ride motorcycles. Robert Redford, (in his best role IMO), plays Halsey Knox. Knox is a no good thief and liar who uses people and treats his various girlfriends with contempt, but Redford makes us want to root for this guy and makes us actually feel sorry for him by the end of the movie. Pollard plays Fauss and brings his usual kind of dim child like wonder and awe. Pollard gets criticism from some film fans, but I think he's a wonderful character actor who always somehow manages to steal the scenes he's in. Watch him in Bonnie & Clyde to really get a sense of this. It's fascinating to watch Fauss slowly pick up some of Knox's character traits while at the same time realizing what kind of person Knox really is. Rumor as it that Redford and Pollard didn't get along all that great on the set which only adds to their relationship in the movie.
   Also in the cast is Lauren Hutton (in her second film role - and what an entrance she has) as hitchhiker Rita Nebraska who joins up with the pair and wonderful turns by Noah Berry Jr. and Lucille Benson as Fauss's parents. Directed by Sidney J. Furie, who had an incredible career (check out my earlier Dr. Bloods Coffin post) and a soundtrack by Johnny Cash.

  Sadly neglected (never even released) on home video, most of the copies floating around are from the same source which I believe is a Cinemax showing from the early 90's which totally destroys the beautiful widescreen photography of Ralph Woolsey. Rumor has it that a letterboxed print turned up on Speedvision years ago, but nothing to confirm that has surfaced. The story is is that this popped up on T.V. all over the place after the wake of Redfords's success in All The Presidents Men and he had Paramount pretty much bury it, as he hates his role in this movie.  My OTHER favorite Redford movie is The Hot Rock (which rumor has it, he also hates -go figure).  The Hot Rock is now available on DVD, so maybe there's hope yet. Olive Films has been releasing Paramount catalog titles on DVD and Blu, so lets start emailing 'em.