Alien Influencers Double Bill! It, The Terror from Beyond Space and Mario Bava’s Terrore nello Spazio

Written by Joe D on June 1st, 2021

Hey film programmers listen up. Here’s a great double bill of two very inexpensive sci fi films that definetley influenced Alien. First up the B&W 1958 Classic It, The Terror from Beyond Space!  A monster sneaks in the hold of a space ship and starts killing the crew. This movie scared the heck out of me as a kid. They really make you wait to see the monster and it’s very effective. Alien follows suit. Smart because the monster in both after all is a guy in a rubber suit. I won’t tell you too much about it, watch it and see the parallels for yourself. here’s the trailer

Then we have Mario Bava’s masterful Space Opera, Terrore Nello  Spazio. Released in the USA as Planet Of The Vampires.  The crew lands on a weird planet. They find an ancient Space ship with a dead Alien at the controls. Very similar to ALIEN! But you should watch the movie for yourselves. Here’s the trailer. PS Check out the baddass Italian Leather space uniforms! Super Cool!

The Sunchaser

Written by Joe D on May 27th, 2021

Here is one of my favorite scenes from The Sunchaser, a movie I edited for Michael Cimino. This was the last film I edited on film, in 35mm on a KEM editing machine, with splicing tape! It was a lot of work. But I did get to work with some amazing talents, Woody, Jon Seda, Anne Bancroft, Maurice Jarre, Michael Cimino. PS The whole part of them following the hawk to the sacred mountain was created by me. Wasn’t shot that way or in the script, I did it all in editing.  Thanks to the person who put this clip up, and if any of you are interested in watching the entire movie please make sure to get the Scope version not the square 4X3 that they put out. It’s a totally different experience.

Cry Danger

Written by Joe D on May 25th, 2021

Robert Parrish

Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming

Here is a supercool film noir, Robert Parrish’s Cry Danger.  It’s worth watching for several reasons, the cast which is great, the locations, including a great trailer park that must have been on Bunker Hill before it was razed. Directed by Robert Parrish, a talented guy who was a child actor in Chaplin films, he wrote a terrific book, Growing Up in Hollwywood that I whole heartedly reccomend. I saw this at a Film Noir festival and Rhonda Fleming was there. I talked to her about this film and we emailed each other. She was real nice. Unfortunately I just read that she passed on in 2020. Farewell! She was 92 I think. Anyway take a trip down Noir Alley into old L.A. and relax.

GBU IN 4K!

Written by Joe D on May 18th, 2021

They have released a new transfer of Sergio Leone’s Masterpiece  The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in 4K! This film deserves it! One of the greatest films ever made. And Ennio Morricone’s magnificent score accompanying these hi rez visuals is a delight for any lover of Cinema. Be sure to pay close attention to the title sequence as this is the best it has ever looked on something you can watch at home. In all honesty some of the exteriors were a bit bright for my taste but you judge for yourself. I did think the final duel was spot on. Really looked great. So here it is from youtube. Check it out.

Monte Hellman

Written by Joe D on May 1st, 2021

 

I just heard Monte Hellman has passed on to the next dimension. God Speed! I met him a few times and he was a very nice guy. One time he hosted a readsing of a script by Dennis Bartok at his Hollywood Hills Home, which was a real nice thing for him to do. I used to know Rudy Wurlitzer, a good friend of Monte’s and the screenwriter of Monte’s seminal Road Movie Two Lane Blacktop. the film that gave Lew Wasserman nightmares. I met Rudy through Bob Downey. When I mentioned Rudy to Monte, he broke out in a smile and said”I talk to him everyday.” Monte, I hope you are happy wherever you are, talking film with the greats up there in Film Heaven. Here’s the trailer for 2LBT

Luis Bunuel

Written by Joe D on April 26th, 2021

Here is a great documentary about the iconoclastic filmmaker Luis Bunuel. A very complicted person and artist. He set out to shock people especially with his first films, Un Chien Andalou and L’Age D’Or. They caused terrific scandals when they premiered. L’Age D’Or was banned, the negative was seized and burned. It only survived because a print was smuggled out of France and buried. Is it still possible to shock people today? Not like it was then. Anyway enjoy this glimpse into Bunuel’s world.

Tangerine Dream, Sorcerer, Wages Of Fear

Written by Joe D on April 5th, 2021

Here is a clip of the great synth band Tangerine Dream playing at Coventry Cathedral. They really made a big impact and did a lot of film scores as well. Including the score for a great film, William Friedkin’s Sorcere. My pal Bud Smith edited the film and also edited the trailer to their music. Sorcerer based on Clouzout’s Wages Of Fear. another great movie worth checking out. Check it out.

Radley Metzger’s The Lickerish Quartet, Music by Stelvio Cipriani

Written by Joe D on April 1st, 2021

 

Here is a scene from The Lickerish Quartet, featuring a score by the great Stelvio Cipriani,what a genius! When I was working with Quentin Tarantino he sent us some autographed CDS of his music. Thanks again Stelvio! Enjoy this time travel to a more innocent sensual universe.

Radley Metzger’s trailer for Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass darkly

Written by Joe D on March 31st, 2021

                                                          Radley Metzger with Andy Warhol

I read that Radley Metzger, the director of The Lickerish quartet,Camile 2000,Carmen,Baby and other films got his start in fimmmaking editing trailers. He created trailers for Janus Films, an Art House distributor that handled some of the finest European Films actually some of  the finest films ever made! He said he was particulary pleased when he got word back from Ingmar Bergman that he really liked the trailer Metzger had done for his film,Through a Glass Darkly, as it was a very difficult, complex film. I worked editing trailers in NYC as well but many years after Metzger. Anyway here it is.

The Flesh Eaters vs. Gilligan’s Island and Radley Metzger

Written by Joe D on March 25th, 2021

This is a strange combination but check it out. As a kid I became aware of The Flesh Eaters, first on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland.

Then I saw on  Chiller Theater or maybe on Channel 5 late at night. I liked it as a gorey crazy monster movie. A few years later Gilligan’s Island surfaced, there are several aspects of both that are very similar. First off they are both about people stranded on an island as the result of a storm. Both have a Professor, a Movie Star and a Beatnik.

In the case of Gilligan’s Island I’m referring to Gilligan himself. He had just finished portraying the worlds most famous BeatNik, maynard G. Krebs on Dobie Gillis, plus he was a Beatnik in several Beach movies. Anyway maybe Sherwood Schwartz saw Flesh Eaters like I did at midnight on TV and was inspired to make a comedy out of it. Who knows

Interesting side fact, The Flesh Eaters was edited by Radley Metzger, who later went on to fame directing sexy films in Europe, like Camille 2000 and Carmen Baby. These films are great, high production value, great music. Worth checking out.

Fellini!

Written by Joe D on March 17th, 2021

Here is a couple of cool clips abnout the grande maestro del Cinema, Federico Fellini. The first one is footage of hiim directing Juliet Of The Spirits. I have seen this footage in color and it’s even better. I can’t find the color version bnut one day I will and I’ll post it. The other is a small documentary shot on the set of 8 and a half, Otto e Mezzo, it’s so refreshing to see a great artist at work, the characters, thge amazing faces. The circus of Cinema Fellini crteated. Added Bonus , rare footage of the incomparable camerman Gianni DeVenanzo, shooting Juliet of the Spirits. The supercool thing abouit this clip is how cheap the set looks, you can see the grass is fake, the house is fake, everything is fake. But when you watch the film everything is transformed by Cinema into magical beautiful transporting atmospheric beauty.

Invisible Men in Comics and Film- Frank G. Host, Hugh A. Robertson, John Carter

Written by Joe D on February 8th, 2021

I just read a great book, it’s called Invisible Men, it’s about ground-breaking African American Artists that among other pursuits worked in the Comic Book field. They opened the door for other Black artists to make a living as illustrators, portrait painters, comic book creators. I highly recommend it. Ken Quattro did a great job in telling the stories of these under recognized artists. It also reminded me of when I was first starting out in the Film industry in NYC. I was fortunate to have been mentored by a great film editor named Frank G. Host.

He was one of only a few African American Film Editors at the time. I knew another one, John Carter, I worked on some films at his penthouse cutting room on 54th street and Eight Avenue. Another Black Film Editor , who became a director was Hugh A. Robinson.

I never met him but Frank and he had come up together as assitant editors and negative matchers and I heard a lot about him. So I was inspired by Invisible Men to write something about these breakthrough Black filmmakers. Frank told me he got a break because some leftist film people split from California (due to McCarthy witch hunts), came to NYC and were progressive enough to give a young, talented Black man a chance. Hugh Robertson worked with the great editor and director Carl Lerner.

Lerner made a film called Black Like Me where James Whitmore , a reporter, took an experimental drug that turned his skin dark, so he could write an article on what it was like to be a Black Man in America and experience the racism first hand.

Hugh also worked with DeeDee Allen, I spoke to her at a party one time and when I mentioned Frank she immediately asked if I had any news of Hugh, unfortunately I didn’t.

Frank worked with an Editor named Irv Fajans, a Union founder and veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Progressive Americans who voulenteered to so to Spain and fight Fascism.

I don’t really know John Carter’s history, I just knew him as a very nice person, who worked on some big Hollywood films until he passed in 2018. But a quick visit to IMDB gives me some more info on his history. First of all he was born in my hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

He was in the Army and trained in the Signal Corps. A lot of film people wound up in the Signal Corps. Making films for the Army. John was hired by CBS in 1956, and he was the first African American  editor for Network Television in NYC. He was also the first African American to join A.C.E. (the American Cinema Editors Society). My pal Frank G. Host was involved with creating Shell’s Wonderful World Of Golf and won a Peabody Award for documentary work. He attended the Film School of the Sorbonne in Paris on the G.I. Bill. There he worked on Pickpocket for the great Robert Bresson. Later he was invited to sit on a Unesco panel on Filmmaking in Africa. If his wife had not died they were planning on moving to Africa to make films there. I’m sure there are other African Americans that played important roles in opening up the industry but these are the three I had personal knowledge of. In any case buy Invisible Men, it is really great, inspirational. I will write soon about another African American group of artists that are getting some great exposurfe these days. Kamoinge, a workshop of great Black photographers, several of whom I was lucky enough to know and call friends.