Friday, 4 December 2015

Film Review, September 1977 Issue

Another entry in the series looking back at the cinema of 1977.

The September 1977 issue of the magazine Film Review Features the cast of Are You Being Served which is given the big screen treatment, taking the shop workers out of their usual environment as they go on holiday together.

Viewfinder this issue reports on the making of The Rollicking Adventures of Eliza Fraser. I know... me neither... In this film Susannah York (pictured) has the title role of a 19th century lady shipwrecked in Australia, captured by Aborigines and causing a scandal.

The Smirnoff vodka "Well, they said anything could happen" advertising campaign gets more into its stride with a frog-prince kiss gone slightly wrong!

A double-page spread covers the topic Wish You Were Here? with the first page devoted to the cover story - Are You Being Served?. The Grace Bros. store is closed for renovation and the staff head off to the Costa Plonka for a holiday whilst the work is done. Arriving, they find that their hotel is not yet fully built and find themselves temporarily accommodated in tents. The premise had already been successful for the Carry On team in Carry On Abroad in 1972.

On the facing page, the action takes place nearer home at the Funfrall Holiday Camp in Confessions From A Holiday Camp. The female cast line up to support Robin Askwith and I'm sure would have been horrified had they known the sun would exaggerate their cellulite quite so much!

Muhammad Ali plays himself in the biopic The Greatest. He is seen with Mira Waters on the left, playing his former girlfriend, Ruby Sanderson and with Annazette Chase on the right, playing Ali's second wife Belinda.

Looking back through these magazines shows how many films I just can't remember or can just about remember but haven't seen. But there can't have been many film fans in 1977 who didn't go to see Smokey and The Bandit starring Burt Reynolds. If there were, then they have had plenty of chance to catch up since as it has appeared on TV many times. It introduced the UK to many phrases of CB radio slang.

Our toiletry advert this time is for Astral moisturising cream. It features actress Mary Tamm, then best known for her role in 1974's The Odessa File. She would find greater fame in 1978-79, playing Time Lord, Romana in TV's Dr Who.

Black Sunday was a tale of terrorism in the United States in the unlikely form of a stolen Goodyear blimp carrying explosives to a packed game at the Orange Bowl stadium in Miami. Marthe Keller and Bruce Dern play the terrorists whilst Robert Shaw is an Isreali major, working with the FBI to prevent mass murder.

I love these half-page adverts that give opening dates around the country. I always tended to think of films opening the same week everywhere, but perhaps this was a way of keeping costs down on the Odeon chain, by having fewer prints made which would then move from region to region? Sinbad and The Eye Of The Tiger starred Patrick Wayne and Taryn Power with Jane Seymour and Patrick Troughton supplying the support.

Meanwhile On The Hollywood Scene, correspondent Barbara Paskin reports that Liz Taylor was in Isreal with current husband John Warner, being honoured at a banquet for their contributions to the country. Warner was at the time being touted for a Senatorial role but said "Right now Mrs Warner is a farmer's wife and we're very happy down on the farm..."

At ABC, they were planning a full countrywide launch for the film Orca... Killer Whale which had Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling hunted by a killer whale after killing its pregnant mate. Elsewhere in the magazine a two-page article tells how director Dino De Laurentiis has "put violence behind him to make family films..." As I remember it, this particular family film had some disturbing footage of a dying whale aborting a foetus whilst later on its mate chomped the leg off a girl whilst she was sitting on the toilet of a house on stilts over the water...

Once again the centre spread is devoted to two Bond Girls from The Spy Who Loved Me. This time it's the turn of leading lady, Barbara Bach and former Hai Karate aftershave advert girl, Valerie Leon. I once mentioned the adverts to Valerie much later in the 2000s and she confessed that she was asked about it so much that she still carried a bottle in her handbag to autograph events. She showed me and she did have one. We thought it best not to open it after so long to have a sniff...

Ahhhh... Walt Disney's 1950 classic Cinderella is re-released for another cinema run during 1977. Altogether: "Every time she gets a minute, that's the time that they begin it - Cinderelli, Cinderelli...!"

Having gone through 50 years of musicals (1977 was the 50th anniversary of talking pictures), this month sees an article on 50 years of Westerns. John Wayne was pictured in the 1930 film The Big Search along with three of his later and better-known westerns.

In the Your Views readers' letters section someone of astute perception had written in to call for actress Caroline Munro to be offered more prominent and challenging parts. "I would like to see her given the chance to do serious acting," he said.

On the back cover an advert for Cossack makes this the most vodka-oriented issue of Film Review in my collection so far. For October we will see the price of the magazine rise from 15p to a hefty 25p, though it does come with an increase in the physical dimensions, increase in use of colour and increase in the number of pages per issue. I shall have to get more selective in what to include and what to leave out!

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