RIP – Mort Drucker

Mort Drucker, perhaps the world’s best and best known caricaturist has died at the age of 91.  Odds are even if you don’t know Mr. Drucker’s name, you know his art.  Starting in 1956 and for over fifty years after that Drucker’s art appeared in Mad Magazine’s wildly popular movie and tv satires.

Mr. Drucker’s work also appeared in comic books, movie posters and advertising.  His distinctive style made his art recognizable often before you saw his signature.  In 2014, Mort Drucker received the National Society of Cartoonists’ Medal of Honor for lifetime achievement.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mort Drucker’s family, friends and fans.

Frank Frazetta’s “Dusk Til Dawn” Poster!

Here’s a Frazetta painting you don’t see often.  Frazetta was commissioned to create a poster for Robert Rdriguez’s From Dusk Til Dawn.  Sadly, according to Frazetta’s granddughter, his health prevented him from finishing it in time for it to be used to promote the film.

I’m a huge Frazetta fan. (Who isn’t?)  I’m also a fan of Robert Rodriguez. (I guess you could say I ride with El Rey.)  It’s cool that Rodriguez commissioned the poster and now owns it.  I wonder the reason the creatures in Frazetta’s painting don’t match those in the film.

Speaking of Dusk Til Dawn, I think it is greatly underrated.  I love the mashup of crime and horror.  Hats off to Rodriguez, Tarantino and all involved.

Source: Frank Frazetta Art.

“True Lies” Trivia!

Joey Pauer at GeekTyrant posted 23 Fun Facts About James Cameron’s TRUE LIES with Behind the Scenes “Making Of” Videos.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

Jodie Foster was originally cast as Helen Tasker, but was forced to turn the role down because she was signed on to star in Nell. Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Annette Bening, Joan Cusack, Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madonna, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, Emma Thompson, Lea Thompson, Debra Winger, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Julia Roberts, Claudia Wells, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Sandra Bullock and Madeleine Stowe were also all considered for the role of Helen.

(Sometimes casting is perfect and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role.  Look at the number of actresses considered and we can begin to realize sometimes it’s just luck to get the right person. – Craig)

Curtis said that in his contract Schwarzenegger gets top billing then the title then it would have said starring Jamie Lee Curtis but when Cameron finished editing the film and he saw that the film was really “a domestic epic, it’s a film about a marriage.” So Cameron called Schwarzenegger and asked him if it would be ok to put Jamie Lee Curtis’ name before the title, to which Schwarzenegger immediately agreed. In the world of show business, as Curtis said, “The credit is such a coveted, negotiable, commodity” that for Schwarzenegger to give her billing before the title “was a real mensch move on his part.”

(Don’t you love it when you hear a star not acting like a sterotypical star? – Craig)

The appearance and traits of Spencer Trilby (Charlton Heston) is based on Nick Fury. Like Fury, Trilby has an eyepatch, and the same mannerisms; as well as heading a peacekeeping organization.

(Interesting.  So Cameron is a comic book fan?  – Craig)

Don’t forget to click over and check out the rest of 23 Fun Facts About James Cameron’s TRUE LIES with Behind the Scenes “Making Of” Videos.

Quentin Tarantino’s Top 5 Boxing Movies

Boxing Clever at the Boxing Scene recently posted Quentin Tarantino Breaks Down His Top 5 Boxing Movies.  The first one mentioned was Rocky and here is what Tarantino had to say…

“If we talk about boxing and cinema, the first thing that comes to mind is Rocky. By far the most successful boxing film in history. The story of the Italian-American boxer Rocky Balboa was written by and starred Sylvester Stallone, in the role that catapulted him to stardom.

“The history of cinema mixes the necessary ingredients to be liked by most of the public. The humble man who attains fame by pure heart, a love story behind the rise of relevance in a super emotional finale. And some action in a fight worthy of the great boxing evenings in boxing history.

“The film won 3 Oscars and was a huge box office success, as well as being the kickoff for its sequels.”

Tarantino rounded out his top five with Million Dollar Baby, The Fighter, Cinderella Man and Raging BullClick over and check out Tarantino’s thoughts on each film.  (If it was my list I would have found a spot for The Set-up! – Craig)

Ranking All Eight Movies in ‘Rocky’ Series

Peter Botte at the New York Post took on the task of Ranking All Eight Movies in ‘Rocky’ Series with his comments.  I thought it would be interesting to compare Botte’s rankings with mine.

Botte

Zablo

1. Rocky (1976) 1. Rocky (1976)
2. Creed (2015) 2. Rocky Balboa (2006)
3. Rocky II (1979) 3. Creed (2015)
4. Rocky III (1982) 4. Rocky III (1982)
5. Creed II (2018) 5. Creed II (2018)
6. Rocky Balboa (2006) 6. Rocky II (1979)
7. Rocky IV (1985) 7. Rocky IV (1985)
8. Rocky V (1990) 8. Rocky V (1990)

So, what do you think? (And for those of you following closely, my rankings have changed just a bit since the last time I did this!)

How About Behind-the-Scenes Facts from the “Rambo” Movies?

Ben Sherlock, at ScreenRant, posted They Drew First Blood: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Rambo Movies.   Before you click over, here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

The Fifth Movie Had A Ton Of Unused Scripts.
…A script called Rambo 5: Savage Hunt was a horror movie in which Rambo led a Special Forces team into the Arctic Circle to track down a flesh-eating mutant creature.

…Another script called Rambo 5: Last Stand pitted Rambo against a band of meth dealers who were terrorizing a small town. There were also a few drafts about Rambo saving a kidnapped girl from a Mexican cartel before the final script was written.

(The Rambo 5: Savage Hunt script was based on James Byron Huggins’ Hunter novel.  While this would have made an interesting Rambo movie, it might have been too much of a genre change.  I hope that someday Sly will turn Hunter into the film it deserves.  Rambo 5: Last Stand sounds a lot like Arnold’s Last Stand movie. – Craig)

Dolph Lundgren Was Initially Cast As The Villain In First Blood Part II. The role of Russian Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Podovsky, the only villain in Rambo: First Blood Part II with any lines in English, was originally offered to Dolph Lundgren. Lundgren even accepted the part and signed a contract.

(I did not know this. – Craig)

…Burmese Freedom Fighters even adopted some dialogue from the movie to use as battle cries. In particular, they were known to say, “Live for nothing, or die for something.” When he heard about this, Sylvester Stallone said, “That, to me, is one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had in film.”

(And we thought people only quoted Rocky for inspiration!  – Craig)

The Poster for “Extraction” Starring Chris Hemsworth is Here!

A little over eight years I posted The Rock Heads to Ciudad.  You can head over to see the original post or I can save you the mouse click and summarize it:

Dwayne Johnson has signed to star in the big screen film adaptation of the upcoming graphic novel, Ciudad [co-written by Anthony and Joe Russo and Ande Parks]

Johnson will play a “black market mercenary” hired by a drug lord to rescue his kidnapped daughter in one of the most “dangerous and corrupt cities in the world.”

All I want to know is where is the line to buy a ticket?

What does this have to do with the poster for Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth, you ask?  (And I’m glad you did.)

Dwayne Johnson left the project and it ultimately was greenlit with Hemsworth.  Extraction premieres April 24th on Netflix.

James Arness Trivia!

MeTV posted 8 Out-of-this-World Facts about James Arness.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

He appeared in two classic sci-fi movies.  Though he is synonymous with Marshal Matt Dillon, Arness appeared in two classic science fiction films early on in his career: The Thing From Another World (1951) and Them! (1954). In The Thing, the 6′ 7″ actor was a perfect fit for the titular “thing,” a murderous alien that wreaks havoc on a North Pole scientific outpost. Of course, Arness is heavily made-up and unrecognizable as the honest do-gooder he would soon become.

(The Thing from Another World and Them! are two of the best horror / scifi movies ever made! – Craig)

He was good friends with John Wayne.  The screen tough guys were good friends in real life and Arness co-starred with Wayne in Big Jim McLain (1952), Hondo (1953), Island in the Sky (1953) and The Sea Chase (1955). John Wayne even recommended that Arness star in Gunsmoke and introduces his friend in a prologue to the first episode of the series.

(John Wayne was the first choice to play Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke.  The fact that Wayne recommended Arness and then did a special introduction to the first episode says a lot about their friendship. – Craig)

His character Zeb Macahan reached cult status in Europe.  While American audiences will forever know Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, the actor reached cult status in Europe as Zeb Macahan in How the West Was Won. The late-’70s Western television series found its audience in Europe and was rebroadcast many times on networks in France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.

(I prefer his Zeb Macahan character to Matt Dillon!  – Craig)

TCM Presents – The TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition!  

This year TCM is presenting the TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition!

As a part of the Special Home Edition, TCM is proud to showcase films that have been a part of the TCM Classic Film Festival, both from years past and slated for this year’s event.

To provide additional context and insight, details are below that share when these films were screened at the Festival along with the special guests that attended these screenings. This special edition of the Fest begins April 16 at 8pm continuing until April 19 on TCM and will include TCM hosts, special guests and events to follow on-air and online.

Here’s what I am looking forward to seeing:

THURSDAY, APRIL 16

  • 11:00 PM Metropolis (1927)
    Closing Night Film at the 2010 TCM CFF, this was the North American premiere of a restored version of the film with footage found in 2008 in Argentina, with live score by the Alloy Orchestra.

FRIDAY, APRIL 17

  • 8:30 AM She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
    Introduced by Keith Carradine, at the 2016 TCM CFF.
  • 12:30 PM A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
    This world premiere restoration was introduced by Alec Baldwin and Don Was at the 2014 TCM CFF.
  • 3:15 PM North by Northwest (1959)
    Presented at the 2010 TCM CFF with Eva Marie Saint and Martin Landau in attendance.
  • 10:00 PM Deliverance (1972)
    A cast reunion was presented at the 2013 TCM CFF, with Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jon Voight and director John Boorman in attendance.
  • 12:00 AM The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
    Presented in 3D at the 2018 TCM CFF, this was introduced by Dennis Miller.

SATURDAY, APRIL 18

  • 6:00 AM The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
    Presented at the 2011 TCM CFF with Nancy and Tina Sinatra and Vicki Preminger in attendance.
  • 8:00 PM Casablanca (1942)
    A perennial favorite, this film has been presented three times at the TCM CFF, including a screening introduced by Peter Bogdanovich and Monika Henreid in 2010. Peter Bogdanovich will return to co-host this on-air screening.
  • 2:30 AM The Lady Vanishes (1938)
    Presented at the TCM CFF in 2013 with Norman Lloyd in attendance to talk about his friend, Alfred Hitchcock.

SUNDAY, APRIL 19

  • 7:45 AM The Set-Up (1949) )
    Introduced at the 2018 TCM CFF introduced by Noir Alley host Eddie Muller and actor/filmmaker Malcom Mays, who did a live reading of the poem the film is based on.
  • 10:00 AM Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    Screened as part of a tribute to Anne V. Coates, ACE, at the 2015 TCM CFF, with the Oscar-winning editor in attendance.

There are many other movies and interviews worth checking out, but these are my must-see events.  Check out the full schedule to find yours.

“Rawhide” Trivia

The staff at MeTV posted 9 Tough as Leather Facts about Rawhide.  Wow!  This brought back great memories.  I loved Rawhide as a kid.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

Eastwood wore his ‘Rawhide’ boots in ‘Unforgiven.’ No need for a wardrobe department when it comes to Clint. To bookend his career as a cowboy, Eastwood wore his same Rowdy Yates boots in his Oscar-winning 1992 masterpiece Unforgiven.

(I absolutely love this fact!  How cool is it that Eastwood could bookend his cowboy career like this?  I guess you could say Eastwood’s cowboy career died with his boots on.  – Craig)

Loads of soon-to-be-famous faces appeared on the show.  That’s Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery taking aim in “Incident at El Crucero,” in a guest role that would foreshadow her gig as Mrs. Sundance. Star Trek crew members Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley appeared on the Western, too. Sitcom legends Buddy Ebsen, Barbara Eden, Alan Hale, Jr., June Lockhart, Gavin MacLeod, Marion Ross and William Schallert also pop up — just to name a few. Then there’s Martin Landau, Frankie Avalon, Anne Francis, Peter Lorre…

(I love watching old shows and seeing stars in an early role.  Rawhide had more than its share.  – Craig)

Eric Fleming died filming a canoe scene shortly after the series ended.  Eastwood’s stature as an American icon overshadows the work of Fleming, the top-billed star of Rawhide. Fleming left the series in 1965 and began work on the big screen. He appeared in the Doris Day comedy The Glass Bottom Boat and then began work on location in Peru for the adventure High Jungle. When filming a scene on the Huallaga River, Fleming’s canoe overturned and the actor perished in the rapids. Urban legends about piranha developed, but those are untrue.

(Although I was about 7, I can remember adults talking about Fleming’s death and being shocked that he drowned.  Never heard the piranha rumor though. – Craig)

If you’ve enjoyed these facts, check out 9 Tough as Leather Facts about Rawhide.

First Blood: Differences Between the Book & Movie!

Phillip Etemesi at ScreenRant posted an article that should appeal to a lot of folks who check in here.  First Blood: 10 Differences Between The Movie & The Book takes a look at, well you read the title.  Here are three of my favorite differences and my comments on each…

Escape From Jail.
In the film, the deputy sheriff decides to beat him up… The officers keep on brutalizing him… one of them comes with a razor to shave hi(m), it triggers memories of his torture in a POW camp in Vietnam. He thus fights his way out of the station while still clothes… No one dies in the process.

In the book, Rambo is not abused. He is simply locked in a cell. When Teasle shows up to cut his hair, he begins to panic. And when the deputy comes with another straight razor, he loses his mind completely. He takes the razor and slices through the deputy’s abdomen before escaping while naked. He steals a motorcycle and manages to hide from the police for the night after a good samaritan offers him shelter.

(One of the reasons that First Blood was hard to get made as a movie is because Rambo in the book killed police officers and wasn’t as sympathetic or heroic as he ultimately became in the movie.   – Craig)

Guerilla Tactics
In the book…

Rambo in the novel doesn’t value the lives of law enforcement officers. He kills most of them together with their dogs before cornering Teasle and giving him a warning.
In the movie…
Rambo takes out the entire town’s police force by himself. Using guerilla tactics, he attacks one at a time until they are all wounded. It’s important to note that he only wounds the officers in the movie and doesn’t kill them.

(Again, the book made it harder for audiences to sympathize or empathize with Rambo.  Killing a dog in a movie is perhaps the ultimate downer.  – Craig)

Fleeing From The Cave
In Morell’s book,
Rambo keeps up with his murderous ways and goes on to kill plenty of the members of the state police who had been brought in after he decimated the local police. A couple of civilians and national guard members also ned up being casualties.
In the movie,
Rambo damages plenty of property in the town but doesn’t kill anyone.

(First Blood had been floating around Hollywood for years before Sly become attached.  No one prior was able to get a handle on the character. Under Sly, Rambo became more heroic, sympathetic and less of a killer… at least until Last Blood.   – Craig)

If you’ve read this far I encourage you to click over to get the full story!

“Stand by Me” Trivia!

Jessica Fisher at GeekTyrant posted Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Classic Coming of Age Stephen King Adaptation STAND BY ME.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

As with most of Stephen King’s stories, this one originally contained connections to other books he has written. Ace Merrill later re-appeared in the book Needful Things (1993), although he does not appear in the film. The dog Chopper is compared to Cujo (1983). Characters are familiar with Shawshank Prison, from The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Teddy Duchamp was actually first mentioned in King’s first book, Carrie (1976), in which Carrie destroys a gas station he once worked at.

(I love when authors create different books/movies with overlapping characters.  Elmore Leonard did it well.  Jonathan Maberry does it regularly.  Tarantino has carried the idea into movies. – Craig)

Rob Reiner considers this the best film he has ever made. This is pretty big, considering he has directed some of my favorite movies, including The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, and A Few Good Men. But he’s not the only one who is proud of the film. King, who has been a vocal critic of many of his adaptations, also praised the movie.

(High praise indeed.  I lean towards The Princess Bride as Reiner’s best, but a rewatching of Stand by Me may be in order to verify.  – Craig)

In the shot where Gordie and Vern are running towards the camera with the train right behind them, the train was actually at the far end of the trestle with the two actors on the opposite end. The crew used a 600mm long-focus lens that, when shot at the telephoto end, compressed the image so much that it made it look like the train was right behind them.

(And that is a peak behind the curtains! – Craig)

If you’ve enjoyed these facts, check out Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Classic Coming of Age Stephen King Adaptation STAND BY ME.

The Monkees Trivia!

MeTV posted 10 Things You Might Not Know About The Monkees.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

Only Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz appear in every episode of the TV show.

(Interesting.  Don’t you think these days, shows would just shoot scenes earlier to avoid having a star miss appearing in an episode? – Craig)

Micky and Michael both auditioned to play the Fonz on ‘Happy Days.’

(Mickey as the Fonz would have been more slapstick and silliness. Michael had the height to be intimidating and it would have been a different kind of cool.  Ayyyy! – Craig)

‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.’ is one of the first albums to feature a Moog synthesizer.

(I used to own that album! – Craig)

“The Rock” Movie Trivia and a “Making Of” Documentary!

Joey Paur at GeekTyrant posted 25 Fun Facts About Michael Bay’s THE ROCK and a Short “Making Of” Documentary.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the role of Cage’s character, but at the time the script was only eighty pages “with a lot of handwriting and scribbles, and it didn’t seem fully baked.” He said he regrets not taking the role.

(I’m an Arnold fan, but he would have been wrong for this role. – Craig)

Michael Biehn, who has played Navy S.E.A.L.s, or some variation thereof on multiple occasions, was unsure of himself while acting for the first time here against real S.E.A.L.s. He told Bay he was freezing up pretending to be the leader in front of them, as well as in Connery’s presence.

(That would have been intimidating. – Craig)

Michael Bay’s idea for a sequel involves a now-married Goodspeed in possession of the microfilm evidence who finds himself pursued by the government, and with nowhere else to turn, he’s forced to ask Mason for help.

(That would have been a great idea.  Sadly, it will never happen now. – Craig)

If you’ve enjoyed these facts, click over to see the rest and to check out the Making Of The Rock documentary.