Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
January 17, 1975
January 17, 1975
Now that Columbia Pictures is releasing catalog titles as on-demand DVD-R’s, it’s safe to say that we'll never get a special edition DVD of THE GRAVY TRAIN/THE DION BROTHERS (1974). Because Bob Plante and I have no idea when we'll be finishing our book Racing with the Devil: The Action Cinema of Jack Starrett, we offer this quick hit of GRAVY/DION history, with an article about the making of the movie to follow before the end of the year. Original director Martin Scorsese dropped out to make ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE and was replaced by Starrett, hot off the success of CLEOPATRA JONES. Screenwriter Terrence Malick, fancying himself an auteur thanks to BADLANDS, removed his name from the credits (Contrary to what is reported as "trivia" on the IMDb, he was never slated to direct THE GRAVY TRAIN). A role rewritten for William Smith ended up being filled by one-time Tarzan Denny Miller. After a disappointing three-week run in New York in June of 1974, executive producer Roger Gimbel - afraid that moviegoers were confusing THE GRAVY TRAIN with the popular dog food of the same name (!) – instructed Columbia to change the title to THE DION BROTHERS. New title snipes were affixed to existing publicity materials until an updated ad campaign could be created. Sporting THE DION BROTHERS title and bland artwork depicting the titular characters in silhouette, the new and "improved" campaign piled on glowing quotes from film critics as a lazy last-ditch attempt to lure in ticket buyers (Meanwhile, the promo art Columbia chose for the film’s stateside Spanish-language release kicks ass -– a beautifully rendered painting of the film’s climactic dodge-the-wrecking-ball shootout -– and would’ve sold the film in a big way to urban and rural audiences). The ad above illustrates the studio's lack of interest in the movie: Relegated to second banana status, THE DION BROTHERS opened first-run in Philadelphia in January 1975 -- six months after its New York debut -- as a co-feature to another Columbia throwaway, the British sex comedy CONFESSIONS OF A WINDOW CLEANER.
Friday, May 25, 2012
NORTH SIDE OF THE STEET
Rialto II: SUPERSTAR LADIES / COFFEE, TEA OR ME / COVER GIRL
Rialto I: SECRET SERVICE OF THE IMPERIAL COURT / A FORCE OF ONE / FORCE: FIVE
Victory: HOT GIRLS IN LOVE / FRISKY TEEN NYMPH / EROTIC BLONDES
Lyric: NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER / STAND ALONE
Times Square: DANGEROUSLY CLOSE / MURPHY'S LAW
Apollo: STITCHES / NURSES' REPORT
Selwyn: MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE / THE INITIATION
SOUTH SIDE OF THE STREET
Theater I: IN THE SHADOW OF KILIMANJARO / AGENT ON ICE
Theater II: POLICE ACADEMY III / KRUSH GROOVE / PRAY FOR DEATH
Harris: JO JO DANCER, YOUR LIFE IS CALLING / FRIGHT NIGHT
Liberty: TRAP THEM AND KILL THEM / co-feature
Empire: DANCE OF THE DRUNKEN MANTIS / MANTIS VS. FALCON CLAWS / LEGEND OF A FIGHTER
Sunday, May 20, 2012
World Premiere - May 24, 1974 - Syracuse, NY
“Hard to Say Which Fad ‘Italian Graffiti’ Exploits”
by Doc Halliday
Cedar Rapids Gazette
June 15, 1974, p.6
It is difficult to say just which American fad “Italian Graffiti” is trying to exploit. There is the title, of course. But on top of that is a wealth of 1920s paraphernalia reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby,” an underworld godfather who resembles Marlon Brando, and the sort of slapstick fistfights which have made the “Trinity” pictures so popular. Unfortunately, it has very little else to offer.
The movie begins as Salvatore Mandolea arrives in Chicago – a poor boy from Sicily who is determined to make good. Naturally, he joins the local underworld mob led by Bugs Morano. (Obviously, this is the sort of gangster film that Italian-American civil liberties groups find so terribly delightful.)
The Morano gang is locked in a mortal struggle with “the Holy Terror,” a rival gangster who uses a Salvation Army soup kitchen as a front.
There follow the standard bootleg whiskey heists and speakeasy busts. Morano’s henchmen come out on the short end of these encounters largely because they refuse to listen to Salvatore. Frustrated, he goes over to “the Holy Terror’s” side and kidnaps Morano’s beloved daughter. He then betrays “the Holy Terror” by offering to sell the daughter back to Morano.
This enrages both gangs and presently every gangster in Chicago is looking for Salvatore.
All this would be reasonably entertaining were it not for the bewildering meanderings of plot which mark these Italian comic shoot-em-ups.
In addition, the only consideration give to the dialog is that it matches the lip movements of the cast.
Attempts at farce amount to little more than sophomoric puns, dopey sight gags and trick camera shots.
A director the likes of Richard Lester can get away with this sort of thing. The makers of “Italian Graffiti” apparently cannot.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Sunday, May 06, 2012
World Premiere - October 10, 1969 - New York, NY
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Fear Ye, Hear Ye!
PREVUES FROM HELL Is Back For Gore!
And It Will Be A CELLULOID BLOODBATH!
Special Spooktacular News & Grues
from Temple of Schlock
by Terry Blass
Fear Ye, Fear Ye! It is with the gravefest of pleasure Temple of Schlock announces the world scream-fear of the advance trailer to MORE PREVUES FROM HELL, the sequel without eeek!-quell to MAD RON'S PREVUES FROM HELL, itself the world's beast ever Kongpilation of monsterous horror movie trailers, ever. Fans of the gore-iginal can catch the first showing of CELLULOID BLOODBATH: MORE PREVUES FROM HELL's own preview on Youtube this very night, I SAID this scary fright, with gutmunch more tomb follow in the coming wEEEK!s.
"B" there and "B" scared!
Meanwhile, you can read our two-part review of the first PREVUES FROM HELL here and here.