Sunday, 29 November 2015

Film Review, August 1977 Issue

The eighth of my series looking back at the 1977 magazine Film Review and through its pages, the cinema of that year. This is a bit of a bumper article. Not that the magazine was any larger than usual, but it had much of interest this particular month. Roger Moore makes a concious effort not to raise one eyebrow, remembering he is no longer Simon Templar, but James Bond.

The Spy Who Loved Me ditched the story from Ian Fleming's book - he had specifically said he never wanted it filmed - and ditched John Barry, bringing in Marvin Hamlisch for the score, ditched the title for the title song - Carly Simon sings "Nobody Does It Better" rather than "The Spy Who Loved Me", though the phrase does appear in the lyrics. And most crucially due to legal problems they were forced to drop the villain Blofeld and create a new character Carl Stromberg, who probably has the least screen time and least lines of any major Bond villain...

Alcohol is unceremoniously kicked off the inner cover this month for our toiletry advert of the issue, Earth Born. At this time the advertising world had woken up to the existence of acid Vs alkali and the advertising potential of a balanced natural pH. This one shows the "indicator paper" but advertising moguls would soon become almost beside themselves with glee at discovering they could legitimately call it by the more glamorous name: "litmus test"!

The Contents page features a large photo of Dana Gillespie playing "a swinging jungle girl" in The People That Time Forgot.

A regular feature of the magazine was Viewfinder which reported on films currently in front of the cameras. Angela Grant was then filming What's Up Nurse?, a sex comedy that was included in my last article. She also had a part in Spectre - not the current 2015 Bond film, but the 1977 occult thriller also mentioned in a previous article. Sadly I have to report I haven't seen either of Angela's films...

Also shooting at the time was Slavers with Terence Howard and Ron Ely seen here with Dom Jack Rousseau on the left. Following the success of Roots on TV and Mandingo and its follow-up Drum on the big screen, slave trade films were suddenly in vogue.

Hurrah! Smirnoff kick off a witty advertising campaign with this shot of a Titanic survivor still clutching her glass of vodka. Not the best start perhaps, but the series would later throw up some excellent visual jokes.

Ah... once I've got through all these mags, I must turn to TV sitcoms... er... wait... come back!!! Harold Bennett as Young Mr Grace, ably supported by his secretary Penny Irving turns up in a tank to rescue the staff of Grace Brothers department store in the film version of Are You Being Served. As a young man I once worked in a department store for several months. That programme (though perhaps not the film) didn't even exaggerate what went on...!

Dinosaurs and early technology, don't you just love it! The People That Time Forgot starred Patrick Wayne (son of John) and reduced Doug McClure's role to that of Guest Star after his starring role in The Land That Time Forgot (1975).

Barbara Paskin, the magazine's correspondent from Hollywood had a two-page spread this issue as she interviewed the gorgeous Jacqueline Bisset, who had just completed filming underwater thriller The Deep. She is seen here with co-star Nick Nolte. She was already pegged to play the lead in her next film The Greek Tycoon.

The Spy Who Loved Me again claims the centre page spread with photos of Bond Girls, Anika Pavel and Dawn Rodrigues.

Flip another couple of pages and here's another two-page spread for a competition sponsored by Veeto ("smoothes away unwanted hair gently, swiftly, as if by magic"). Like a previous competition to win a Ford Fiesta you had to name the starlets shown in the black and white photos (come on now... I've already featured three of those photos and therefore the answers, in previous articles!) And of course you had to complete the tie-break - "I use VEETO because..." I can't unfortunately say what the winning caption was, but probably something along the lines of "I use VEETO because my legs look like the hide of a yak if I don't"...

The Cassandra Crossing is another film I've never seen, but after reading the plot synopsis given in the magazine, I would really like to watch this! The plot concerns terrorists who, in an attempt to bomb a laboratory, succeed in giving themselves a form of plague virus. One dies horribly and the other escapes, carrying the highly contagious disease, onto an inter-continental train. With no known antidote the train is to be quarantined in the Carpathian Mountains, but to get there they have to risk the Cassandra Crossing - a bridge on the verge of collapse. Richard Harris plays Dr Chamberlain, doing his best for the stricken passengers trapped on board the train. Together with his ex-wife (Sophia Loren) he leads a revolt of passengers against the certain fate of abandonment to death.

We have already met Patrick Wayne this issue from the advert for the film The People That Time Forgot. He also crops up playing Sinbad in the latest Charles H. Sneer / Ray Harryhausen stop-motion adventure Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger. Picture with the son of John Wayne is Taryn Power, the daughter of Tyrone Power. She plays Dione, the daughter of a philosopher.

Two previously successful films starring Clint Eastwood are given a new lease of life, released back-to-back as a double-feature. I used to love going to the cinema to see double features. My first exposure to James Bond was seeing Dr No and From Russia With Love shown together in the old Kings cinema on Kingsway, Rochdale. The building closed as a cinema in 1969.

Another magazine regular feature was a round-up of films: Movie Miscellany. This issue the topic linking the films in the article is "Love-In". No.1 is Love in a plane - Kumi Taguchi does the Sylvia Kristel bit in a plane in Tokyo Emmanuelle. Her mid-air lover was played by Mitsuyasu Maeno whose last film this was before in real life he crashed his own plane deliberately into the home of power broker Yoshio Kodama as a protest against the Japanese Lockheed scandal.

No.2: Love in the rain - Haylee McBride plays the title role in Young Lady Chatterley who having inherited the Chatterley estate, finds her ancestor's diary and decides to follow in the family tradition.

No.3: Love in a laboratory. Starring Fiona Richmond (do I need to say more?) in a film called Hardcore (I mean - really???) If there's one thing for certain, it is that the film title set higher expectations than I expect the film content reached...

No.4: Love in a torture chamber - These just get better and better, don't they? Apparently this film - Seven Women For Satan - was conceived as a follow-up to the 1933 horror classic The Hounds Of Zaroff. In case anyone hasn't heard of it, The Hounds Of Zaroff was a film by the makers of 1933's King Kong. It had Leslie Banks as an evil aristocrat who loved hunting so much that he engineered shipwrecks onto his island home and then hunted their crews and passengers one by one each night. Not only was it made back to back with King Kong, it shared the same sets. The first time I watched it on TV I cheered when the hunted couple ran over the log bridge that Kong would tip into the gorge it spanned! It also shared many of the cast. Fay Wray was the heroine of the piece. Well worth watching if you get the chance.

However, back to the sequel. In this, a young couple's car breaks down (as it would if they sailed in it to an island...) and they seek shelter at the infamous castle where the Count Zaroff's son, Boris, gives them dinner and a tour of the torture chamber. In this place the young couple agree "just for fun" to lie on the "love bed" which has a lid with nails to ensure lovers spend eternity in each others' arms. As you would... Anyway, you'll never guess what happens next...

Well that's another four films for my avoid at all costs list...

The second part of the article celebrating 50 years of musicals this time looks back to High Society from 1956.

...and forward to the forthcoming release of A Little Night Music with Elizabeth Taylor and Len Cariou.

On the back cover is an advert for perfume from the retail chain Boots.

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