Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Film Review, August 1978 Issue

The strains of a Music For Pleasure LP from several years ago float from the closed heavy velvet curtains as the audience drift in. The cinema lights go down. A couple of late-comers shuffle in, unsteady in the dark as they negotiate the shallow steps down the aisle. Helpfully, an usherette walks backwards in front of them, shining her torch with the red plastic shade so they can see their feet - but not what's in front of their feet. The music stops abruptly as the curtain slowly draws back. It's trailer time!

And so we start our look at the August 1978 issue of Film Review. On the front cover Peter Sellers returns for his fourth time as Inspector Clousseau, Tatum O'Neal as a young girl in love with horse riding, porn actress Mary Millington gets some mainstream exposure and the film Warlords of Atlantis gets a full 8-page section with a comic strip version of the story, a colouring page and maze for the kids and lots of photos.

Coca-Cola gets the full page inside cover and takes full advantage by printing the advert sideways. The first of the Film Review magazines I have to print any sort of image sideways to fill a single page I think. The distinctive bottles were still on sale at the time, though cans were also being sold - with tear-off rather than fold-away ring pulls.

Tatum O'Neal, daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal, gets the Contents Page slot, being photographed with director Bryan Forbes on the set of International Velvet, a follow up to the famous 1944 film, National Velvet, which starred Elizabeth Taylor as a young girl.

Barbara Paskin reports from Filmex '78, a festival at which the only surviving original nitrate tinted print of the 1919 D. W. Griffith film Broken Blossoms was shown for the last time before going into archive storage. Copies had been made to allow the film still to be shown. The star of the film, 84-year-old Lillian Gish attended the final screening.

The photo does not exactly do her credit and is not the best of quality, so for the first time in this series, I've sourced a photo elsewhere of this beautiful actress who was born in 1893 and became one of the world's first film stars.

Olivia Newton-John already had one film under her belt - Toomorrow, unfortunately perhaps not remembered with great enthusiasm by many. But now we hear she is about to star in a new movie, Grease which is to be given its world premiere in a few weeks!

First of two full-page adverts for alcohol - yet without any need to turn them sideways - is this beach scene from Bacardi. Behind the camera, several charabancs are reluctantly doing U-turns...

Next it's the turn of Smirnoff vodka with another of their "Well, they said anything could happen" slogans. The young lady riding a helter-skelter may not exactly be dressed appropriately for such an activity, but even so would not expect a bob-sled team to follow her down!

Keeping fit is Suzanne Danielle from Carry On Emmannuelle. No reason necessary for her inclusion here!

The latest film to star Gene Hackman is The Domino Killings in which he plays a convicted killer, freed by the authorities on condition he kills a national figure. When he tries to refuse his girlfriend is kidnapped.

Polaroid cameras and film. In the days of taking a film, then waiting several days or a couple of weeks for it to be developed and printed, Polaroid cameras were gob-smacking in their impact. You took a photo and a bit of paper 3.5 inches by 4 inches came out the front. You then put it under your armpit to keep it warm or else the photo turned a funny colour! Then you peeled it to find the photo inside. If you were unlucky you also found some sticky ooze inside too...

Richard Harris, Richard Burton and Roger Moore expend a large number of bullets as leaders of a mercenary troop engaged to liberate Julius Limbani, the imprisoned ex-president of a central African state. There is a definite nod here to Nelson Mandela who at the time was still held in prison. He would serve 27 years, being released in 1990. This was one of several films that my father had on 16mm film stock. It had some very effective moments and a great theme by Joan Armatrading.

Mary Millington in a promotional shot for Tigon films' release, Playbirds. This appears as one of two glamour photos of actresses on the centre spread. Mary Millington was an ultimately tragic figure. She had made both soft and hardcore porn films, had been a call girl and became famous for her previous film Come Play With Me which had run for four years at the same cinema in London. Eventually she found herself being replaced in films and magazines by younger models and started to suffer mental illness, being arrested for shoplifting several times and then being faced with a huge tax bill that she had no chance of paying. She committed suicide by overdose of anti-depressants, paracetamol and alcohol in 1979 at the age of 33.

The other centre page features Lea Brodie from the film Warlords of Atlantis. Whilst remembered fondly by many who saw her films, she never-the-less made only a handful of films and TV appearances. Her other best known films were with Roger Moore in North Sea Hijack and (as Lea Dregorn) in The Slipper and The Rose.

Warlords of Atlantis was given a whole eight pages in this issue of Film Review. The fact that most of the monsters were quite obviously men stumbling about in costumes in no way detracts from it!

There is a full two-page article devoted to Christopher Lee, showing us around his home in Hollywood. Wow what a great idea for an article. I think I'll take that idea and create a whole magazine based around similar features. I could call it... er... "Howdo!"

I'll finish this time with a shot of Jan-Michael Vincent and Dominique Sanda as the survivors of a nuclear holocaust in Damnation Alley.

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