Monday, 4 January 2016

Film Review, December 1977 Issue

We've reached the last of the 1977 Film Review magazines. We are just over a quarter of the way through the magazines I have ("just over" because unfortunately January 1978 is missing from my bound collection of this magazine).

The December issue features Nick Nolte on the front cover. He also takes the glamour position, having a two-page centrefold in the middle of the magazine. Makes a change from Bond girls I suppose! The inside front cover is a Bacardi advert, but one we have already seen. On the Contents page is a large photo of Sylvia Kristel, one of three (and all fully clothed!) photos of the Emmanuelle actress in this issue. We'll have a look at one of the others later.

Remember the tale from the October issue where John Dark, the producer of Seven Cities Of Atlantis, had to swim for it after a boat he was in sank? Well here he is (far right) with the cast and director. From l-r Derry Power, Shane Rimmer, director Kevin Connor, Doug McClure, Lea Brodie and Peter Gilmore.

Perhaps the least successful for me of Smirnoff's series of adverts based around the tag line "Well, they said anything could happen". It's a good idea but you have to really study the photo very closely indeed before you realise that there is a shower running in the phone booth and that she is wearing a towel and not a cocktail dress... Subtle Smirnoff... Too subtle...

Child actress Susan Swift plays Ivy, a young girl who inexplicably starts to experience the sensations and memory of being burned to death in a car accident. The death matches that of Audrey Rose - also the title of the film - who died just minutes before Ivy was born. Also starring Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason and John Beck, the film was based loosely on the true tale of a young boy who was suddenly able to play piano brilliantly, this being attributed to being a skill achieved in a previous life.

A few issues ago I included a photo of Lynn Frederick who was, at the time, making this film. Now finished, it goes on release to tell the tale of refugees from Nazi Germany who crossed the Atlantic only to find their ship turned away from its destination Cuba, refused entry to the USA and themselves facing the dread of a return journey to an uncertain fate. Again the film is based on the true events of the 1939 crossing of MS St Louis from Hamburg to Havana.

Sylvia Kristel says Goodbye Emmanuelle in the third film of the French erotic series in which absolutely no one is soaked by soapy water or has to run out the back door halfway through sex... Whilst Miss Kristel is undoubtedly best known for her outings as Emmanuelle, she did make many other films. And although this was meant to be the last, several others would come along. Whilst Sylvia Kristel bowed out shortly after the start of No.4, she made a comeback later in the series. Meanwhile there were many imitations and even a Carry On film based on the character. That wasn't quite up to the erotic heights of the original series perhaps...

Whilst lamenting the supposed end of a series that delivered slightly more erotic content than Robin Askwith managed, we can draw consolation from this advert for The 1978 Sex Maniac's Diary... Packed with naughty facts and weekly kinks it is a mere £2 (inc. VAT) or you can go for the "more meaty" desk diary version which lists fabulous faraway festivals, a handy chart for "fathoming fetishes" and new seductive words. Things like "Bank Holiday" and "Full Moon" perhaps...?

And here's the be-stapled Nick Nolte, a centrefold dressed for diving in The Deep.

But thank Heaven we don't have to put up with all that proper erotica when we can watch Arthur Askey giving (or taking?) a bit of cheek with Debbie Ash in another British sex romp: Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse. Ooh I say, Matron! Debbie's real-life sister Leslie Ash played her on-screen sister.

"Forty films behind her and still as glamorous as ever". So says the tag line on a two-page interview with Joan Collins, here seen with director Michael Winner on the set of the remake of The Big Sleep. And as we know now, in another few years Joanie would be still stirring the men on TV as Alexis Carrington in the American soap Dynasty.

October 1977 saw the sad passing of actor and singer Bing Crosby. He was honestly a legend, accomplishing far more than a thousand or two records and almost 70 films. He financed and was involved with the development of both tape recording and better quality audio tape (so he could record his radio shows on rainy days and play golf on sunny ones!) He also farmed oranges and for a whole generation of Americans his name was as much associated with their morning orange juice as with music and film. He won the Best Actor Oscar for Going My Way, made the unforgettable Road To... series of films with Bob Hope and was the first singer ever to have his own radio show. And we still listen to the record and watch the film of White Christmas every year!

1977 ends with a look back at 50 years of Sci-Fi films. Star Wars inevitably brings us up to date, but our photo is from the 1936 epic Things To Come, from the H.G. Wells book The Shape Of Things To Come. In the photo, thousands of people line up to board the space craft that will take them to a new life somewhere in the Universe.

Reading these magazines from almost 40 years ago has made me want to watch some of the films I missed seeing in my twenties as well as some fondly remembered ones. Getting hold of them is not so easy though. The massive blockbusters are still around, but many films are nowhere to be found. One fondly remembered film I looked for - Fear Is The Key - was only available through Amazon at over £57. On VHS tape!!! Who in their right minds would pay that much for a jumpy and soft-focus copy that degrades every time you carry the tape past a loudspeaker?

But I did manage to get a DVD of a film I featured a couple of issues ago that I had never seen. The Cassandra Crossing with Richard Harris, Burt Lancaster, Sophia Loren, Martin Sheen et al. It was a good price and, despite the soundtrack having lost much of the bass frequencies, was a brilliant watch.

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