Friday, 6 November 2015

Film Review, April 1977 Issue

Continuing the series looking back at the cinema of 1977 via the pages of Film Review magazine.

It is April 1977 and the front cover of the magazine features Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor and Scatman Crothers in the comedy thriller Silver Streak. The villain of the piece was played by a tight-lipped Patrick McGoohan portraying a character wound up to the limit and capable of killing without mercy. It remains a brilliant film with the first meeting between the characters of Wilder and Pryor being one of the many laugh-out-loud moments.

The contents page includes a photograph of Lynne Frederick, at the time appearing in a film of the true story of a shipload of Jewish refugees travelling from Hamburg to Cuba to escape the Nazis. The film, Voyage of The Damned, relates how the Nazis put pressure on Cuba not to accept the ship and it was forced to return to Germany, resulting in the subsequent deaths of the majority of passengers.

After featuring on the cover of the March issue, Charlton Heston is interviewed over a two-page spread on pages 12-13. Films illustrated included Battle of Midway and Two-Minute Warning both covered in my last article, but also The Prince and The Pauper in which he played King Henry VIII, plus his 51st and then latest film Gray Lady Down and my photo is from the fabulous 1959 version of Ben-Hur which was then currently on re-release and going round the cinemas again. Whatever happened to re-releases?

Blue Belle starring the conveniently-named Annie Belle was not so much instantly forgettable as sunk without a trace perhaps. It never registered on my conciousness at the time and this magazine is my only reference to this attempt to capitalise on the success of Sylvia Kristel's 1974 erotic movie Emmanuelle. Set, like its more successful inspiration, in the Far East it remains a film I doubt I'll ever see! It may even be that I've just expanded its web presence by around 1000%...

Jodie Foster, still only 14 years old, continues to receive rave notices for this film in which she plays a child murderer. Martin Sheen plays a bit of a shady character.

Musos Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand, together a substantial spelling test for any magazine editor or blogger, starred in a re-make of A Star Is Born in which successful rock star Kristofferson's career takes a downward slide at the same time as his mistress (later wife's) career suddenly booms. There had been 3 earlier films made of the story, but set in the world of film stars rather than rock stars. One of those featured actress Janet Gaynor who became the inspiration for the face of Disney's Snow White, the very first animated feature-length film.

Capricorn One has the first planned space mission to Mars being faked by the astronauts who were due to go on a real mission. The director of the mission sees the potential cancelling of his budget when a problem aboard the capsule means that it cannot take the crew. He sends it off empty and forces the crew to simulate their landing in a TV studio. However when the capsule explodes on re-entry the astronauts realise that their lives are now at risk as they cannot reappear in public.

Actors Sam Waterston, James Brolin and a pre-controversial O.J. Simpson play the astronauts who break out of the TV studio to flee from the murderous pursuit that follows.

One regular feature of Film Review was the Your Picture Request spot. In April 1977 Mrs J. Ryder had written in to request a photograph of Greta Garbo, about whom a new book: The Great Garbo had been published. In the Letters section a B. Brindley had written to say that he or she thought feature-length versions of Coronation Street and Crossroads would, if made, be the biggest box-office successes since The Sound of Music. We hope that B. Brindley went on to make a full recovery...

There is a full-page advert for World Records who were a mail-order firm specialising in box sets of record albums. Please note the last item offered which is a box set of 100 Fabulous All Time Hits.

I actually sent for that one! It contained six record albums each containing songs from a different year from 1959 to 1964.

Whilst Charles Atlas would help you from having sand kicked in your face on the beach, the Bullworker promised power-packed muscles from just five minutes squeezing its springs every day. Today many people achieve 'sturdy 24" thighs' without using a Bullworker at all...

There's always something fun in looking back at old adverts and here's a Rowntrees advert for their mix of milk and plain chocolates: Good News.

The back cover featured an advert for the smokers. The two people on the Jeep have created a fog of smoke behind them and it is spreading to the foreground, making the horses run away...

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