Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Film Review, March 1978 Issue

Back to the Seventies again for a flick through the pages of Film Review's March 1978 issue. After the massive coverage of Star Wars in the previous issue - it also raises its head again in this - the films featured in March were somewhat more easily forgotten. Bad boy cops movie The Choirboys, the second cinema outing of The Sweeney and Julia, a story of a friendship that brings the protagonists into conflict with the Nazis in pre-war Germany feature on the front cover.

Brenda Vaccaro was then playing an astronaut's wife in Capricorn One. The dramatic quote though, once we find the featured interview, refers to her first childhood film role.

The inside front cover advert is also our toiletries advert for the month. Astral still make and sell their moisturising cream, some 38 years later. In fact it was launched all the way back in 1950 and Astral's website says that the original formula is still in use. 66 years of moisturising implies some sort of success I would think.

The Contents Page carries a photo of Cybil Shepherd, from the film Silver Bears which is being serialised in story form in two parts, with the second part appearing later in this magazine.

The film also starred Michael Caine, Louis Jourdan, Stephane Audran, David Warner and also featured Joss Ackland and a young Jay Leno.

I've shown similar photos before. Film Review liked to feature photos of film stars reading the magazine and this time it is Doug McClure who starred in several fantasy films around this time including The Land That Time Forgot, At The Earth's Core and the upcoming Seven Cities To Atlantis. In case anyone is wondering why they never heard of the latter film, it would be released as Warlords of Atlantis.

Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda expect wet weather in a scene from Julia which is featured over a two-page spread. Not a film I've seen or am stricken to think I've missed it...

The one-and-only Evel Knievel, the motorbike stunt rider, stars as himself in Viva Knievel! in which Leslie Nielsen plays a millionaire promoter who is secretly betting that the star rider will be killed at each event he sets up. Lauren Hutton, pictured with Knievel, plays a photographer and playing Knievel's mechanic is another one-and-only: Gene Kelly!

In the days before the Internet (indeed, in the days before home computers in any shape or form) there were the mail-order catalogues. Film Review must have been looking to expand their advertising sponsorship at the time and here the Grattan Catalogue covers a half-page colour advert. When I was a child, my Mum used to have the Kay's Catalogue and whenever a new one arrived there was great excitement as the old one would be given to my brother and I to do "cutting out". We would go first to the toy section and cut out pictures of toys with round-edged safety scissors to be messily stuck into scrap books with Gloy glue.

The centrefold double spread is taken by Marlboro cigarettes. Nice to know that the longer-standing advertising sponsors are still around. Our old friends from Smirnoff are on the rear cover, but we have already seen the advert used in a previous article.

However, look at this! We've added mail-order catalogues and now the glamorous world of woodworking tools! Stanley have an even more impressive longevity than Astral Moisturising Cream. They started producing their tools in 1857 and like Astral are still in business. I've never hurt myself with moisturising cream, but I have to admit that to me "DIY" stands for Destroy It Yourself. Our old woodworking master at school (known to everyone as "Chisel") would go apoplectic if he spied us holding a pencil "the wrong way" but was quite happy for us to bang ourselves with a hammer providing it was one's self and not a classmate...

At the height of their fame the Swedish super-group Abba filmed concerts from their tour of Australia and strung the concert footage together around a story of a journalist trying to secure an interview with the band. The result was Abba The Movie, it was released at the same time as a new album Abba The Album which featured many of the songs from the film and included the hits The Name Of The Game and Take A Chance On Me as well as the anthem Thank You For The Music.

Charlie Chaplin, the loveable tramp, the star and pioneer of film comedy from the silent era had passed away at the age of 88 on Christmas Day 1977. Film Review published a tribute to Charlie in March 1978, covering his career from the two-reel comedies of 1914 to his final film in 1966 and his retirement in Switzerland with his fourth wife, Oona.

Charlie's films are rarely seen on TV now. But a new DVD set of the Mutual two-reel comedies is back in the shops and it is only a matter of time before a new documentary brings his work back to a mainstream channel and to the notice of new generations. The photograph from 1919 shows Charlie third from the left with his colleagues Douglas Fairbanks Sr, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith as they celebrated the formation of their company United Artists.

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, 16 April 1889 - 25 December 1977, R.I.P.

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