Monday, 26 October 2015

Film Review, February 1977 Issue

The second magazine in the recently rediscovered binder of Film Review mags. Duh, this is why I'm not getting anywhere this year with reading books...!

Anyway, as it's the second issue it's going to be February. This is a poignant image isn't it? Dino De Laurentiis brought out his version of King Kong in 1977, 44 years after the original which is still miles better (is still miles ahead of all the versions even now in 2015, 82 years on...)

The Empire State Building having been overshadowed a little by the late 1970s, De Laurentiis chose the twin towers of the World Trade Centre as the climactic scene where military helicopters and jets would topple the mighty Kong.

My issue seems to be missing the free bottle of Supersoft shampoo, but a quick look in the mirror confirms that my head seems to be missing most of my supersoft hair and anyway the shampoo might have congealed a bit by now anyway...

So seeing as I can't show you the shampoo and seeing as there was no advert for it in the magazine - Supersoft surely missing a trick there - here's a look at former Miss World, Eva Reuber Staier advertising Astral moisturiser. I've chosen my toiletry advert as wisely as possible, given that not only does the lovely Eva actually have hair (see the shampoo link there?) but the alternatives were a little gross, being: Clearasil that dealt "effectively with all types of spots and pimples", or Compound W that "dissolves warts without cutting or cauterisation"... Thankfully neither of those products used explanatory photographs...

But of course it's only natural that you should want to know more about Kongy, so here are the stars, Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange, who at the time was an unknown actress, having been a fashion model. Whereas in 1933 Fay Wray had screamed her little heart out, De Laurentiis wanted Jessica Lange to portray an "engagingly wacky girl whose delightful innocence and stunning beauty are readily appreciated by both Kong and Prescott" (Jeff Bridges' character). Instead of screaming in terror at being picked up by a 40 foot ape, the engagingly wacky girl shouts "You male chauvinist ape!" at Kong, who surely at that point must have been thinking either "Sod this, I'm off..." or perhaps "Maybe I should just bite her head off..." or even "Shut up whilst I rip your shirt off and give the audience a good look at your..." which is what he actually does.

That moment was given almost as much pre-release publicity to make all the little boys want to go see the film as was the fact that this King Kong would be a 40-foot mechanical robot capable of covering 15 feet in a single stride. In the end it appears for a good number of seconds, almost reaching double figures, whilst in the rest of the film it is a sweaty chap in a hairy costume, narked because he didn't get to rip any shirts off.

King Kong wasn't the only movie monster featured in this issue. We were only a year after the phenomenal success of Jaws after all and monsters were box office magic. Unfortunately most monster films were about as far removed from magic as the most unimaginative muggle... Happily I missed out on seeing this one but Piranha was to use up precious minutes of my life that I won't get back.

By the late 1970s the film companies were already turning to TV for ideas for movies that might already have a willing fan base. Almost all of these must have disappointed thousands if not millions. Regan and Carter were ideally suited for TV and just seemed out of place on the big screen.

Plus it had Diane Keen, at the time capturing men's hearts all over the UK in a TV show called The Cuckoo Waltz and I'm not sure whether all those men were delighted or just plain shocked when she was shown in bed and a big ape came from nowhere to rip her shirt off.

On the back cover someone had been smoking so much they had got giddy and fallen off their horse... Ads for bottles of spirit are sadly lacking from this issue but will return soon. I mentioned Lesley-Anne Down last time due to January's front cover featuring the film "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" but she gets a full article all to herself in this one. I've only not included a photo because they used the one I shamelessly sneaked into the last article...

But by way of recompense here are the finalists of the fourth EMI Miss Cinema contest, photographed on the roof of the Hotel Stanley in Athens against the backdrop of the Acropolis. The winner was Linda Lewis of Southport, last but one on the right. All these girls were given a week's holiday in Greece and the winner and two runners up won prizes to the total value of £1500 a very considerable sum of money in 1977. I have looked very carefully, even blowing the image up to fill the screen, but have not yet managed to spot the Acropolis...

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