Friday, 10 June 2016

Film Review, September 1978 Issue

Quick; get your ticket, grab a carton of Kia-Ora orange, a Lyons hot-dog and the latest copy of Film Review (it's the September 1978 issue) and make your way into the slightly smoky atmosphere of the cinema. Our programme is about to begin...

On the front cover John Travolta dances up yet another storm in the brand new film Grease, featuring the oldest teenagers in the business... Kris Kristofferson tangles with the complicated life of a trucker on CB radio, should that have been a ten-four or a fifteen-love? The bees they are a-buzzing in The Swarm and Peter Sellers' new Inspector Clouseau film gets a coat of looking at.

The inside front cover is an advert we have seen before, so I'm not being distracted by it but instead will head straight for the curves of Marilu Tolo, a veteran of more than forty films in Europe but now acting in her first Hollywood movie, The Greek Tycoon with Anthony Quinn.

Bacardi build yet another thatched roof bar on Blackpool beach that I've not found yet... Honest, folks, I'm searching every night diligently! And another thing... someone seems to have moved that bit of jungle! I remember attending a planning meeting in London in the early 1990s with two friends who especially chose the hotel because it had a line of real ale pumps in the bar. As the clock crept round to about 4:30am they had drunk far more liquid than I could ever have hoped to, even if it had been water. I had chucked around fifteen Bacardi and Cokes down my throat in an attempt not to look too wimpish. Some months later at a conference it came round to drinkies time and I asked for a Bacardi and Coke. "Careful..." warned my beer swilling pal to the rest of the room, "he drinks those like water..."

After dire events in The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno director Irwin Allen subjects audiences to killer bees in The Swarm. A whole host of famous names run around getting stung and thinking of ways to stop the insects. It was based tenuously on fact. At the time there was a new strain of killer bees in South America that were leaving dead people strewn about and were heading north at 200 miles per year. It was estimated they would arrive in the USA sometime in the 1980s. Yeah... I don't really remember that...

Columnist Barbra Paskin reports from Hollywood about such luminaries as Henry (The Fonz) Winkler and Raquel Welch meeting with veteran Barbara Stanwyck at a function.

Herbie, the loveable Volkswagen with a mind of its own returns for a third film, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo. This time it's The Love Bug itself that falls in love with a Lancia. The Lancia's lady driver is as bemused as Herbie's own driver, played by Dean Jones, but inevitably...

We all remember Harmony Hairspray and the "Is she or isn't she" TV adverts, but here's a full page advert for Harmony Colour which I can't remember at all. (I used to be a red head - every summer when we had good weather...) The model looks slightly familiar however, though I admit it could be wishful thinking perhaps! Can anyone identify her?

Alan Bates plays one of the admirers of Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman. It's a "completely realistic film" the magazine tells us; "so realistic in fact that it's been given an 'X' Certificate". Er... ok...

The last couple of issues have been a bit disappointing on the movie adverts front, but this one makes up for it with a whole string of full page adverts. Yippee! More to come...

"Tick-a Tick-a Timex" went the old TV adverts. I had two Timex watches as a child. The first was a Mickey Mouse watch and the second at around the age of 10 or 11 had a radioactive dial that glowed in the dark. Glowed all night, that is, not the few minutes of today's light memory things that glow after being held up near to a light. I remember I used to hold it right up to my eye under the blankets, giving myself a dose of radiation many many times over what would be deemed safe these days. We even handled radioactive materials in the classroom - picking them up in our fingers when the tweezers that were supplied failed to grasp a round handle...

"Breaker One Nine, that's a Ten Four, What's your Twenty?" Of all the ridiculous things to come out of America to the UK, the language that early adopters of CB radio insisted had to be followed ensured its early disappearance into the mists of time. But as 45 rpm records go, Convoy did have quite an impact in the late 1970s. Two Radio One DJs came out with a British version, the M23 would later provide the venue for the real lines of lorries and this unlikely film came out starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw.

Ernest Borgnine played "Dirty Lyle", the cop (sorry - the bear in CB slang) who employed all sorts of dirty tricks to fine, arrest, or beat up the truck drivers who are the heroes of Convoy.

"Dirty Lyle" is given a demonstration that it is not a good idea to try to sneak between two huge trucks! "Close the door, good buddy!" Ok, enough - move on before I go completely childish... (What do you mean: again ???)

Tatum O'Neal, daughter of Ryan O'Neal plays a girl from teens to thirties in International Velvet.

She was to gain something of a wild child reputation and had some drug problems. She was the youngest recipient of an Oscar in 1974 for the film Paper Moon. She had been aged eight when she started filming and was ten when the Oscar was awarded. She was Michael Jackson's first girlfriend and later married and subsequently divorced tennis player, John McEnroe. I remember her mainly for her role with her father in Nickleodeon (1976) which was set in the days of silent films.

John Travolta hits the centre page spread with none other than that fair dinkum Olivia Newton-John who gained a whole load of new fans once the black skin-tight trousers and top made an appearance. Loaded with good songs: Sandy, Summer Love, You're The One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted To You and Greased Lightning to name but a few (well, pretty much all of the hits if I'm honest...)

I did say this issue had some great adverts in it! We've already seen a still from this film but here is the poster.

What a very unhappy coincidence that on the day I published the last article in this series, the August 1978 issue which featured Revenge Of The Pink Panther on the front cover, should see the passing of actor Burt Kwouk who appears as faithful manservant Cato. He has a very impressive 145 entries on the Internet Movie Database. It's worth mentioning a few highlights that may not be as well-known as some of his later work. He appeared in Hancock's Half Hour (credited as "Burd" Kwouk). He also appeared in an early Cliff Richard film, Expresso Bongo; Hammer Films' Terror of The Tongs; TV's Danger Man; his first appearance as Cato (but credited "Kato" came in 1964 in the second Pink Panther film, A Shot In The Dark. In the same year he appeared in the James Bond film Goldfinger. Further James Bond films include You Only Live Twice and the first comedy version of Casino Royale. There are so many TV series he was in it's hard to take them in but he is well remembered for his turn as Commandant Yamauchi in two series of Tenko. A sample of other TV series: Callan; The Avengers; The Saint; Return Of The Saint; Dr Who; Jason King; Warship; The Water Margin; The Tomorrow People; It Ain't Half Hot Mum; Robin's Nest; Minder; Shoestring; The Bill; Hart To Hart; The Kenny Everett TV Show; Howards' Way; Boon; The House of Eliott; Lovejoy; Silent Witness; Doctors; and of course, Last of The Summer Wine. Rest In Peace: Burt Kwouk (18 July 1930 - 24 May 2016)

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