Friday, 23 October 2015

Film Review, January 1977 Issue

Every now and then, the photos going through my scanner have been already featured on here or are of subjects recently covered. Such is my meagre excuse for the odd week of silence.

And occasionally even I get bored of trawling through my own photos and am then moved to do something different like play ancient records of bands only remembered by the few or - as very recently - I'll climb up into the attic and retrieve something I've not seen in years.

In the days before mobile phones when you actually watched a film in the dark, we were regular cinema goers. I used to collect the monthly magazine Film Review which until the 1970s had been published under the name of one of the top cinema chains as ABC Film Review. For some reason in 1977 instead of just throwing them away once I'd read them, I kept them. And bound them. I have a run of four years from 1977 to 1980 where only one issue is missing. January 1978 to be precise. Yep, that would be the issue devoted to the very first Star Wars film... But we will perhaps come to that in a few articles time!

Just for now, let's wallow a little in the first of my 47 (grrr!) issues: January 1977. It cost 15 pence - my God, I must have been made of money! Peter Sellers is featured on the front cover in the guise of bumbling French detective, Inspector Clouseau. The film featuring him is The Pink Panther Strikes Back, the third film in the Pink Panther franchise.

It remains to my mind the most hilarious of them all and featured Burt Kwouk as the hapless servant Cato, Herbert Lom as the ex-Chief Inspector driven to madness by Clouseau and a stunning turn by the glamorous Lesley-Anne Down as a Russian spy, trying her best (my God, it would have worked on me!) to seduce Clouseau. She cut so seductive a figure that she was a serious contender for the part of that year's Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, but in the end it went to Barbara Bach in her pre-Ringo's missus days. I'm not sure whether she missed out simply because she was busy at the time, but it's not important enough to go googling to find out. She did have a superb career to come both in the cinema and landing a long-term starring part in USA TV series The Bold and The Beautiful. Beautiful she certainly was and is and she only missed out on being born on the same day as me by two days and from being my next door neighbour as a child by just over 250 miles... Shame...

Also mentioned on the front cover was another favourite film of that year, Bugsy Malone. Who didn't want their very own splurge gun in 1977? I loved the music too and bought the soundtrack album by Paul Williams.

Jodie Foster only just into her teens played the part of the femme fatale to perfection and followed it up with her own rather successful career. Male lead Scott Baio grew up to become Chachi in Happy Days and the spin-off Joanie loves Chachi and the film featured other well known faces including Bonnie Langford and Blue Peter presenter-to-be, Mark Curry.

Robert Shaw had recovered from being bitten in half by Jaws enough to brave going back to sea as a swashbuckling pirate in The Scarlet Buccaneer. Also mentioned on the front cover of that issue was Dustin Hoffman's warning to kids to brush their teeth, Marathon Man - this not being because he ate a load of Marathon bars (now known as Snickers) but because of his uncomfortable few minutes being given the opposite of a filling in the dentist's chair...

So what else would be in a 1977 magazine? Right! Adverts! Apart from adverts for forthcoming films the magazine tried its best to make you smoke...

...and drink! During the four years of issues there are some classic adverts and we'll have a look at some more in our 1977 fabulous February follow-up!

"Your name Robinson? ... Roxy Robinson? ... You work for Fat Sam?"

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