Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Movie Ads: The VARIETY edition

For this installment of "Random Movie Ads" we sent Quasi-Schlocko, our humpbacked and limping library assistant, deep into the archives to pull out some goodies from the Variety Vault. There's not much left, since he sliced apart so many of the Mifed and Cannes issues we used to have back in the day to illustrate the old 'zine, but a few still exist -- mostly the ones Chris picked up at used bookstores and flea markets over the years. Let's see what we have today.

First up is THE BIG SCORE (1978), a Fred Williamson "Jesse Crowder" adventure that is supposedly based on a rejected Dirty Harry story by Gail Morgan Hickman (who had co-written Moving Target, the spec script that became the third Harry Callahan film, THE ENFORCER). This Po-Boy Production was put on hold when someone named Jesse Crowder took Fred to court to stop him from using the name. Fred won, but by the time he finally made THE BIG SCORE -- five years later -- it was no longer a Jesse Crowder movie anyway. Vic Morrow was dead by then and Robert Webber had better things to do, but Tony King and D'Urville Martin returned for the 1983 reboot [and Fred did bring back Crowder for THE LAST FIGHT that same year].

Gary Graver's THE BOYS. This rural shocker fell into the hands of Edward L. Montoro at Film Ventures International, who forced Graver to do reshoots and turn it into a terrible comedy called TEXAS LIGHTNING (1981).

Uh-oh, look out below! It's CATS, from the makers of DOGS (1976), and it was never produced.

THE DEPARTMENT STORE, a "blockbuster" to be directed by Brian Hutton. Screenplay by Ed Hume, from a treatment by Charles A. Moses.

Another trip to THE DEPARTMENT STORE! Bruce Geller took over for Brian Hutton, and then died in a plane crash the week this ad appeared. The movie was never made.

Below is an unproduced Bert I. Gordon horror movie, with a screenplay by writer-actor Alan Caillou (THE LOSERS, EVEL KNIEVEL, KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS).

DEVIL'S RIFF, a musical mix of live-action and animated fantasy from the people who made YELLOW SUBMARINE and GODSPELL, featuring E.L.O. music. It was never made.

Next up we have an obscure low-budget disaster documentary by Larry Savadove, the guy who brought us the similar CATASTROPHE (1977), only this one didn't get a theatrical release through New World Pictures. We love the tag line, which reads like the lyrics to "Ball of Confusion."

In between THE SECRET DREAMS OF MONA Q. (1977) and MOTHER'S DAY (1980), Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz tried to get this action flick from Charles Kaufman off the ground and failed.

This next one is LA MUJER DE LA TIERRA CALIENTE, which came out in the U.S. as FURY.

An early attempt by Howard Ziehm to produce a sequel to FLESH GORDON (1972). It took him another 12 years to finally get one made.

Years before he directed CLASS OF 1984 and CLASS OF 1999, Mark Lester tried unsuccessfully to make HIGH SCHOOL 2000.

A Mexican Tarzan rehash from Rene Cardona, Jr.

Another unrealized Roger Corman project. You'll find a few more here.

Telly Savalas' only feature as a director, released in 1978 as BEYOND REASON.

Three from New World Pictures, including the unproduced THE PLOT TO KILL CASTRO! Also note the screenwriting credit on AVALANCHE. Gavin Lambert?!

Very obscure action-drama starring Preston Pierce, his WHISKEY MOUNTAIN (1977) co-star Christopher George, and George's wife Lynda Day.

Director William Girdler was killed in a helicopter crash in the Philippines while scouting locations for this sci-fi adventure. He had been dead four months when this ad appeared. Screenplay by...Harry Kleiner?! (OK, that's twice now I've fallen out of my chair reading these screenplay credits)

Ignore the MPAA rating, because this Peter Perry production was never made.

Bill Cosby's plan to turn Al Young's novel Sitting Pretty into a feature film unfortunately never came to fruition (although Young did do uncredited rewrites on the Cosby-Poitier comedy A PIECE OF THE ACTION, also for First Artists).

The Starlog magazine movie, another no-show.

An unproduced Paul Morrissey project from the producer of THE STORY OF O and the executive producers of Joel M. Reed's BLOOD BATH. Torc like poster art!

Gordon Hessler's unmade VAMPIRELLA movie was to star Barbara Leigh (JUNIOR BONNER, TERMINAL ISLAND).

An ad for WINTER KILLS, from when it was still an AIP property and Elizabeth Taylor was still a credited guest star.

Unfinished mondo movie by BRUTES AND SAVAGES and BUDO producer Arthur Davis (More info on this one here).


Robert said...

After William Girdler's death STARLOG ran a brief update of his OVERLORDS project citing that producers Melvin Gordy & Nikita Knatz were going to carry on with Marvin Chomsky in the director's chair. Harry Kleiner was always listed as the film's screenwriter, so that comes as no surprise.

Yonks back - perhaps in "Hammer's House of Horrors" - I read mention of AVALANCHE being underway, from a script by Gavin Lambert. I wonder how much that script varied from the one used for the finished film!

Temple of Schlock said...

Thanks for the info, Robert. I know very little about OVERLORDS. I probably noticed Kleiner's credit on this ad long ago but forgot about it. I never saw that STARLOG piece and had no idea Chomsky was set to do the film.

The Gavin Lambert credit I knew about. I just can't believe it!

Booksteve said...

I used to love going through all those old VARIETY festival issues a few years later and looking for films that were never made or barely released. Eventually, they got too unweildy to keep sadly.