THE ICS FILES
1. THE DREAM HAS BECOME A REALITY!!!
2. ANYONE GOT A SPARE STEREO RECEIVER?
3. OUR MAY MEETING WAS SMALL BUT NICE!
4. MINIATURE GOLF ANYONE?
5. NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
6. WELCOME TO OUR GUESTS (AND FUTURE MEMBERS), STEVE & BETH
7. MINI-DEALER'S ROOM ON JUNE 10TH
8. THE GLASS TEAT
With reports on TENCHI MUYO!; BLAIR WITCH 2: SET REPORT; SCIOGRAPHY; WITCHBLADE; SOUTH PARK; FIRST WAVE; ROSWELL; The "Saturday Night Thrillogy;" MANHATTAN, AZ.; KILL, KILL, KILL; DAY ONE; THE OUTER LIMITS and MYSTERIOUS WAYS.
9. WE BID YE FAREWELL
News of canceled shows
10. SCULLY-HEADS RAISED MONEY FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
11.THE FUTURE OF THE X-FILES:THE RETURN OF MULDER
12. THE FUTURE OF THE X-FILES: AGENT SCULLY
13. THE FUTURE OF THE X-FILES: EVERYONE ELSE
14. FOX DEMONSTRATES ITS COMMITMENT TO IMAGINATIVE TELEVISION
15. UPN LOOKS TO SCIENCE FICTION FOR ITS SALVATION
16. THINGS TO COME
News about SHORE LEAVE 22 and MIDNIGHT MARQUEE'S CLASSIC FILM FEST 2000 .
17. UNCLE FORRY WINS!
18. THE 1999 NEBULA AWARDS
19. JOSS WHEDON WRITES A COMIC
20. DEEP SPACE NINE CONTINUES AS A COMIC
21. SCIENCE FICTION STORIES ONLINE
22. WILL THIS BE THE SPIDER THAT SAVED A COMPANY?
Hopes for Marvel's movie ventures
23. MARVEL HAS TEAMED WITH ARTISAN FOR UPCOMING PROJECTS
24. ANAKIN SKYWALKER HAS BEEN FOUND
25. CASTING FOR WES CRAVEN'S DRACULA
26. DON'T TRY TO GET KEEANU REEVES--HE'S BUSY
News of THE MATRIX II and III.
27. BATTLEFIELD EARTH: A MOVIE THAT DESERVES A SEQUEL?
28. BATTLEFIELD EARTH: A DEVIOUS ATTEMPT AT MIND CONTROL?
29. BIBLICAL SCI-FI RETURNS
A sequel to THE OMEGA CODE
30. WOODY ALLEN FACES A NEW CONTROVERSY
31. IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
News of GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS, FANTASIA 2000 theatrical release, SHAFT, TITAN A.E.,and THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE.
32. IMAGINATIVE CINEMA COMING THIS SUMMER
33. INTERNET MOVIES: A QUANTUM LEAP?
34. INTERNET MOVIES: THE DGA SAYS GO FOR IT!
35. BLOCKBUSTER AND DIRECTV FORM A PACT
36. DTS GAINS GROUND
37. THE DVD REVOLUTION--FUELED BY SCI-FI!
38. INCOMPATIBLE DVD RECORDERS INDUCE DEJA VU
39. BIG BLUE SAYS, "PSST, HEY MEESTER, WANNA RENT AMERICAN BEAUTY
Blockbuster plays hide-n-seek with AMERICAN BEAUTY.
40. GEORGE LUCAS OUT DOES HIMSELF!
STAR WARS I has to compete with GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE.
Imaginative cinema releasing to video and DVD in June.
42. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
We remember Steve Reeves; Douglas Fairbanks, jr.; Lewis Allen; Paul Bartel; John Gielgud; Al Simon; Edward Bernds; Francis Lederer
43. THE JUNE CALENDAR
1.THE DREAM HAS BECOME A REALITY!!!
The result of our dreams and shared sacrifices has taken form! Debuting at our June meeting will be our new VIDEO PROJECTOR! After hours of searching and several special meetings the Board of Directors has secured an excellent projector that should be with us for years to come. The make is Video Plus. It is a seldom-used demo model that we bought at Nelson White, here in Baltimore. It has all the features and benefits that we need. The cost on it, with tax, is $2,625. This is a very good system that can easily handle the demands that we put on it. This gizmo could even make THE HEADLESS GHOST look good! Thanks to all of you who selflessly donated to make this happen. Thanks are also due to the Board for their sacrifices of time and money to secure this excellent system. Welcome to the big leagues folks. There is one more addition that we're looking for . . .
2. ANYONE GOT
A SPARE STEREO RECEIVER?
It would be wonderful to have great sound to match our great new picture. For the moment we've got the option of hooking up to a boom box to it, but that won't quite give us a stereo effect. We've got small speakers. Does anyone have an old (but functioning) stereo receiver laying around that's looking for a good home? If you do, or know someone who does, let us know.
3.OUR MAY MEETING
WAS SMALL BUT NICE!
Our May meeting was sparsely attended but those of us there had a swell time! Some of that had to do with the relaxed atmosphere thanks to the new starting time for the meetings. And allot of it had to do with the nicely done panels (thanks to DAVE HENDERSON and his discussion of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and GARY ROBERSON telling us about the cult show, WOOPS!) and to Gary's screening of the movie, THE MIRACLE MILE. Due to nasty whether we weren't able to squeeze in our miniature golf game which leads us to our next item . . .
4. MINIATURE GOLF ANYONE?
They're was a consensus that it would be nice to play a round of goofy golf at the neighboring putt putt place. If there are any Tiger-Woods-wannabes out there, whether permitting, show up at 4:00 at the course next to the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church on our next meeting day. Which leads me to . . .
5. NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our June meeting will be held on Saturday June 24th at 6:00 P.M. (SHARP!) at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. We're starting the meetings promptly at 6:00 to give us a more relaxed atmosphere during the evening. Remember that there are always folks there by 5:00. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 410-598-8005. That's Dave Henderson's cell phone. He'll talk you in.
TO OUR GUESTS (AND FUTURE MEMBERS), STEVE & BETH
At out May meeting we were visited by Steve and Beth Vaught. They were introduced to the Imaginative Cinema Society by John Ward. We enjoyed having them with us. We look forward to welcoming them in as new members soon.
ROOM ON JUNE 10TH
The Board has looked at the possibility of having a booth at a convention. We've had to rule it out due to cost. They usually run a couple hundred dollars. Then along came the Midnight Marquee Movie Marketplace sponsored by Gary and Sue Svehla. We've gotten a table there for $25! It's on Saturday June 10th at the Timonium Holiday Inn located at 2004 Greenspring Drive, from 10 to 6. At the moment our schedule looks like Joe Plempel and John Ward will be there for setup and from the opening of the show until noon. Jerry Pleines will be there from noon until 3:00. Vince DiLeonardi and Dave Henderson will be there from 3:00 until the show closes. We need someone to work with Jerry from noon to 3:00. We'll also need some standby people in case any of our workers can't attend. If you can volunteer contact Dave Henderson at HENDO8@JUNO.COM or at 410-254-4869.
8. THE GLASS TEAT
The Cartoon Network goes demonic! The Cartoon Network has purchased the rights to a Japanese Anime' entitled TENCHI MUYO! It's about a child who releases a demon. Look for it (in English) this summer. . . . Sci-Fi to air another BLAIR WITCH documentary. This October Sci Fi will air BLAIR WITCH 2: SET REPORT, a one-hour special coinciding with the release of BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS. The special, a companion show in the tradition of last year's CURSE OF THE BLAIR WITCH, will parallel the plot of the sequel to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. The SET REPORT will follow a film crew as it investigates bizarre happenings that occurred on the set of BLAIR WITCH 2. . . . The history of science fiction television. Beginning on July 16th, the Sci-Fi Channel will examine the history of science fiction television with a monthly documentary series called SCIOGRAPHY. The series looks at the history of science fiction series and what those series meant to the genre and era. . . . TNT juggles WITCHBLADE. TNT has bumped up their movie/pilot film airing of WITCHBLADE from October to August 27th at 8 P.M. The show is based on a popular Top Cow comic of the same name. . . . Parker and Stone commit to Comedy Central. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators and producers of SOUTH PARK, have signed a contract to produce new episodes for Comedy Central until 2003. They've also gotten a commitment to produce a live-action show next year. . . . How to salt-ceed in protest. Fans of the Sci-Fi Channel series, FIRST WAVE, have been protesting the channel's treatment of the show by sending in packets of salt (no word yet as to whether Lot's wife may join the protest). They're upset over the lack of new episodes that have aired in the second season. They've taken a page from the fans of ROSWELL, who bombarded the WB with bottles of Tobasco sauce (the favorite condiment of the aliens). Salt is like heroin for the FIRST WAVE invaders. . . .Tobasco works. The WB, responding in large part to fan protest, has announced that ROSWELL will be back for another season. . . . The next big King. Stephen King has resumed work on ROSE RED for ABC. The miniseries will be set in a haunted house. He'd been working on the six hour teleplay last June when he was struck by a van. Look for it in November, 2001. . . . Saturday Night Massacre. NBC has canceled it's "Saturday Night Thrillogy," (see below). NBC has not given up on imaginative television. They have a show debuting next season called NEWS FROM THE EDGE, a one-hour drama about paranormal investigators. . . . THE OTHERS seeks a new home. In light of the preceding item, Dreamworks is talking to Fox, the WB and the Sci-Fi Channel about a new home for THE OTHERS. Morgan and Wong ended the first season with a cliffhanger in which all the main characters were killed. They'd written a resolution to that but may leave it if the show needs re-casting if and when it's able to make the move. . . . USA has two new fantasy sit-coms debuting in July. USA Network will be premiering MANHATTAN, AZ. and KILL, KILL, KILL this summer. The former is about a big city policeman who settles in a small Southwestern town, where the social graces and physical laws are a little different. The latter is about a secret agent forced from retirement when his arch-nemisis demands a showdown. Each week they fight to the death, with one of them winning. The loser is resurrected for a challenge for the following week. . . . Piller and Piller. Michael Piller (formerly a STAR TREK producer) and his son, Shawn are developing a pilot for the WB based on a British Sci-Fi series called DAY ONE. It's about survivors emerging sixty years after a massive meteor strike and the world they find. It's being considered for a mid-season replacement. . . . OUTER LIMITS goes out in style. When Showtime polishes off THE OUTER LIMITS this August, they'll do it with some star studded style. The last episode, entitled "Final Appeal," brings back Amanda Plummer as Dr. Theresa Givens, who first appeared in the episode "A Stitch in Time" and for which Plummer won an Emmy Award. The finale also features Charlton Heston, Robert Loggia, Cicely Tyson, Swoosie Kurtz, Kelly McGillis, Michael Moriarty and Hal Holbrook. This will be their 132nd episode. . . . PAX cable channel to air X-FILES-like show. PAX has signed on to broadcast a season of MYSTERIOUS WAYS. Adrian Posdar plays an anthropologist who investigates paranormal phenomena. Rae Dawn Chong plays a skeptical psychiatrist reluctantly assisting him.
9. WE BID YE FAREWELL
Below is a list of shows that have recently been canceled. There is always the possibility that someone else could pick them up (though this seldom happens). And there's certainly a decent opportunity to catch re-runs on the Sci-Fi Channel (or one of the other cable outlets).
LA FEMME NIKITA
NOW AND AGAIN
THE OUTER LIMITS
PETER BENCHLEY'S AMAZON (re-run rights purchased by TNT)
SECRET AGENT MAN
SCULLY-HEADS RAISED MONEY FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
The Order of the Blessed Saint Scully Enigmatic and the Gillian Anderson Web Site have sponsored a fund drive for medical research (but not to find out what's wrong with them!). This is a viewing marathon to raise money and awareness for Neurofibramatosis Inc. as well as other groups that combat the debilitating disease. This is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on the nervous system. Anderson, whose brother has the disease, has given her blessing to the fans' fund-raising effort. The fans encourage X-Philes everywhere to sponsor a day watching "Scullycentric" X-FILES episodes and donate the proceeds to NF Inc. or other NF charities. Fan organizations have also organized group viewings in cities around the world. Last year, fans raised more than $13,000.
FUTURE OF THE X-FILES:THE RETURN OF MULDER
David Duchovny has re-signed (as opposed to "resigned") for an eighth season of the show. He issued a brief statement that read, "I am pleased we were able to come to an agreement that enables me to remain part of THE X-FILES. Now that all the business issues have been settled, I'm looking forward to going back to work." While no official numbers were discussed by either party, rumor had it that Duchovny agreed to appear in about half of next season's 22 episodes, earning $350,000 to $400,000 per episode. When asked by a reporter to confirm that the official number is "11" episodes Duchovny simply replied, "It would be far less." When asked how the show would deal with his absences he responded, "That's not my problem. It's theirs." Duchovny reportedly also settled his lawsuit against Fox, in which he charged the studio sold reruns of THE X-FILES at below-market rates. Variety reported that the total value of Duchovny's agreement was about $20 million. Chris Carter's contract also expired this season. He'd made his return conditional on Duchovny.
FUTURE OF THE X-FILES: AGENT SCULLY
Gillian Anderson's obligated through next year, even though she's said that she's burned out and would like to have left. Look for her to be partnered with someone new. Chris Carter's said, "Certainly Scully's character has evolved to this point now where she is a believer of sorts. I think that the partner would probably be a skeptic. And more likely than not, it will be a man." As for this year's season finale, when Scully discovered that she was pregnant, Carter was coy about who the father might be. "There was an episode written and directed by Gillian that began and ended in Mulder's bedroom," Carter said. "That would certainly bring up some questions for me."
FUTURE OF THE X-FILES: EVERYONE ELSE
Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz has said, "We've got a lot of great players on the bench. It makes sense to use those assets more heavily than we have in the past." Expect more screen time for supporting players Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Skinner) and Nicholas Lea (Krycek). Actor William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man) can't get an answer from Chris Carter concerning weather his character is dead. There's speculation that new characters will be introduced next year that could continue THE X-FILES beyond this coming season.
FOX DEMONSTRATES ITS COMMITMENT TO IMAGINATIVE TELEVISION
Fox Television has announced it Fall line-up. It will have several new program of possible interest to us. There's DARK ANGEL, a futuristic drama from James Cameron and Charles Eglee. From the creators of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT there's FEARSUM, a drama about ghosts. There's a new horror anthology show called NIGHT VISION. THE TICK is a live-action superhero comedy based on the animated series and comic book by Ben Edlund, and starring Seinfeld's Patrick Warburton. And of course there's THE LONE GUNMEN, a spinoff of THE X-FILES, from Chris Carter. This will be a mid-season replacement.
UPN LOOKS TO SCIENCE FICTION FOR ITS SALVATION
The United Paramount Network is anticipating life without STAR TREK: VOYAGER as that show heads into its final season. The network is unveiling several science fiction shows for its Fall schedule. On Friday nights, UPN debuts FREEDOM, a martial arts action series with MATRIX-like elements, from that film's producer, Joel Silver. LEVEL 9 also bows on Fridays; it's a high-tech Internet police drama. In mid-season, the network will premiere ALL SOULS, a haunted hospital drama from Aaron Spelling, and SPECIAL UNIT 2, described as a MEN-IN-BLACK-like action series.
16. THINGS TO COME
SHORE LEAVE 22 is coming July 7-9 at Marriott's Hunt Valley in Hunt Valley, Md. This year their featured guests include Claudia Christian (BABYLON 5), Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION), Gerrit Graham (guest on STAR TREK: VOYAGER and STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE), Richard Herd (V, guest on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and STAR TREK: VOYAGER), Marj Dusay (guest on STAR TREK), Lawrence
Montaigne (Stonn in STAR TREK "Amok Time", Decius in STAR TREK "Balance of Terror") and Marjean Holden (BABYLON 5 CRUSADE'S Dr. Chambers, also Stolzoff in DS9's "Empok Nor"). Their guest writers will be Dennis Bailey, Ann C. Crispin, Peter David, Tim DeHaas, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Roberta Rogow, Howard Weinstein and Joan Winston. The science guests include Dr. Kirk Borne (astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center), Dr. Helen Hart (astronomer for the Hubbell Space Telescope), Dr. Leslie Katzel (physician and biophysicist with the University of Md. School and Medicine), Dr. Jesco von Puttkamer (NASA aerospace scientist), Ray Villard (public information manager for the Hubbell Space Telescope) and Skip Westphal and Bill Hathaway (discussing star gazing). There'll be an art show, a masquerade, a Klingon Feast and, of course, a sprawling dealer's room. Tickets are $45 in advance (by May 31st) or an unspecified higher price at the door. For more information visit them on line at http://www.shore-leave.com/index.htm or write them at Shore Leave 22, PO Box 6809, Towson, MD 21285-6809.
MIDNIGHT MARQUEE'S CLASSIC FILM FEST 2000 will be held July 28-30 at the Hyatt Hotel in Crystal City Virginia. Their stellar line-up includes Sam Arkoff (co-founder of American International Pictures), Veronica Carlson (Hammer Film Star), Roger Corman (legendary director), Robert Dwan (director of YOU BET YOUR LIFE), Linda Harrison (PLANET OF THE APES), Jonathan Haze (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), Candace Hilligoss (CARNIVAL OF SOULS), Patricia Hitchcock (daughter of Alfred Hitchcock), Betsy Jones-Moreland (CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA), Janet Leigh (PSYCHO), Kevin McCarthy (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS), Ib Melchior (cult sci-fi director, writer and producer), Yvonne Monlaur (Hammer film star), Paul Naschy (Spanish horror legend), Margaret O'Brien (former child star), Jessica Rains (daughter of Claude Rains), Robert Skotak (Oscar winning special effects artist), Elena Verdugo (HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN) and Dana Wynter (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS). It's $60 for the weekend, $20 daily. For more information go to http://www.midmar.com/filmfest.html or contact Midnight Marquee Press; 9721 Britany Lane; Baltimore, Md. 21234.
17. UNCLE FORRY WINS!
Those who've met publishing legend, Forrest J. Ackerman; collector, raconteur, and founder and editor of the golden years of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" and (some may say) the father of modern-day imaginative film fandom; know that for some time he's been locked in a bitter suit with former business associate Ray Ferry. An L.A. jury has determined that he owns the rights to the name "Dr. Acula," and not Ferry. Ackerman had sued Ferry for breach of contract, trademark infringement and libel. The jury awarded Ackerman $382,500 in compensatory damages and $342,000 in punitive damages. During the trial, movie director John Landis and legendary author Ray Bradbury testified on Ackerman's behalf.
18. THE 1999 NEBULA AWARDS
On the night of our last meeting, May 20, at a ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honored their peers with the Nebula Award for Best Novel, Best Novelette, Best Novella, Best Short Story and Best Script. The Nebulas are presented annually for works published in the previous calendar year. This year's winners and categories are:
Best Novel: Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
Best Novella: "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang
Best Novelette: "Mars is No Place for Children" by Mary A. Turzillo
Best Short Story: "The Cost of Doing Business," by Leslie What
Best Script: THE SIXTH SENSE by M. Night Shyamalan
This year SFWA also gave out three special awards, naming Brian Aldiss a Grand Master, honoring "Flowers for Algernon" writer Daniel Keyes with the Author Emeritus Award, and presenting George Zebrowski and Pamela Sargent with the Service to SFWA Award.
19. JOSS WHEDON WRITES
Joss Whedon, the creative force behind BUFFY and ANGEL, is writing a comic series for Dark Horse comics. Its tentative title is "Fray." It will probably run eight issues. It's set in a version of the BUFFY universe. It focuses on a vampire slayer 500 years in the future. It probably won't be available until summer, 2001.
20. DEEP SPACE NINE CONTINUES AS A COMIC
Fans of the defunct STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE television series now have a comic book series to tell them what's happened to their favorite characters since the show went off the air. Wildstorm Comics will ship "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine--N-Vector" on June 14."N-Vector ," written by K.W. Jeter with art and cover by Toby Cypress, is a four-part series that picks up the story after the disappearance of Capt. Ben Sisko. Major Kira is in charge of the Federation outpost, and the new adventure involves Quark's lending habits, a Romulan researcher and sabotage. The comic book series will introduce new characters who will also appear in a new series of DS9 paperback novels coming from Pocket Books later this year.
21. SCIENCE FICTION
The Sci-Fi Channel has launched "Sci-Fiction." The site features original and classic works of science fiction each week. It's text based (as opposed to sound or film based). Check out http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/. You might like it.
22. WILL THIS BE THE SPIDER THAT SAVED A COMPANY?
Marvel Enterprises is hoping that upcoming features based on Spider-Man and its other superhero characters will reignite interest in the characters and lift sales of its comic books and merchandise, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Tuesday). The newspaper observed that at least five live-action features based on the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man are due to be released in coming months, with the first, X-MEN: THE MOVIE (2000) due to open on July 14th. Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo said "All of the merchandising and promotional activities we're doing with our characters are bound to have a tremendous impact." Cuneo observed that Marvel will only get a cut in box office receipts for the Spider-Man movie, since his predecessors elected to make cash deals for the other Marvel-character movies.
MARVEL HAS TEAMED WITH ARTISAN FOR UPCOMING PROJECTS
Marvel Comics has buddied up with Artisan Entertainment to produce more movies based on their superheroes. At the moment, they're considering "Black Panther," about a black Indiana Jones-style character. Wesley Snipes (Blade) may produce and star in it. "Deadpool," is about a disfigured mercenary who becomes a hit man. "Iron Fist," features an orphan with mystical martial arts powers. "Morbius," is a scientist who becomes a vampire while trying to cure a rare blood disease. "Longshot," is about a genetically-engineered marksman slave from another dimension. "Power Pack," is featuring a family of four kids with superhuman powers. "Mort the Dead Teenager," tells the story of a kid who comes back to life after dying in a car crash."Antman," is about a scientist who can make himself a giant or shrink himself to the size of an ant. Figure if any of the upcoming Marvel releases tank all bets are off.
24. ANAKIN SKYWALKER
HAS BEEN FOUND
Hayden Christensen, a 19 year old actor known to fans of the Family Channel's HIGHER GROUND, has won the plum role of the grown up Anakin Skywalker, beating out some well-known A-list actors. In the official announcement Lucas said, "He is very talented, has a great command of his craft, and I know that he has the physical and emotional attributes to play Anakin Skywalker at perhaps the most complex stage of Anakin's life." He'll be playing opposite Ewan McGregor, who has been asked to grow a beard for his coming portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Producer Robert McCallum said, "He's really an unknown. I think the casting sends the signal that we're living by our word, and that we are anxiously working to deliver something new with this film."
25. CASTING FOR
WES CRAVEN'S DRACULA
The cast is being assembled for WES CRAVEN PRESENTS: DRACULA 2000. Christopher Plummer will play Professor Van Helsing. Musician Vitamin C, best known for her pop song "Graduation (Friends Forever)," will play a woman whom Dracula seduces. The woman shares an apartment with the daughter of Van Helsing. Vitamin C, whose real name is Colleen Fitzpatrick, is the former lead singer of the alternative rock band Eve's Plum. Patrick Lucier will direct. The central role of Dracula has not yet been cast.
TRY TO GET KEEANU REEVES--HE'S BUSY
Keeanu Reeves has been turning projects down like crazy. He's cleared his schedule in order to make the next two installments of THE MATRIX. He talked about how much he enjoyed working with the Wachowski brothers. "It's about the directors, Andy and Larry Wachowski, and the material. For their imagination, for the vision and the way they direct. And for the people that they are." The next two chapters are quite a commitment for an "A" list actor. They'll be filming in Australia for the 1 1/2 years.
BATTLEFIELD EARTH: A MOVIE THAT DESERVES A SEQUEL?
Roger Christian, director of BATTLEFIELD EARTH, said that at least one and possibly two sequels are in the works "We are definitely doing [a sequel]," Christian said. Shooting of part two would begin in late 2001, with some of the film set in Africa, where a Psychlo tele-transportation station is erected, Christian said. Christian explained that the first movie only covers events in the first half of L. Ron Hubbard's 1,000-page novel of the same name. "I'm just warning them that I don't think I can get [the rest of the book] into one [sequel]," the director said. "So I think in effect we're going to have to have two. There's so much to come. The last half of the book is gigantic, and it's a necessary part of the revolution and a necessary part of the resolution of the whole of the saga. I think we're talking about shooting maybe late next year. . . . But we're definitely doing it. [Earth screenwriter] Corey [Mandell] is being commissioned to write it. And because we made the film for such a low budget, our costs are covered already. Whatever we do now is icing on the cake. So, doing it this way means we can fulfill our dreams."
BATTLEFIELD EARTH: A DEVIOUS ATTEMPT AT MIND CONTROL?
John Travolta, star and producer of BATTLEFIELD EARTH, denied claims that the movie--based on the novel of the same name by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard--contains subliminal recruitment messages for the church. Travolta said of such claims, "I think they're hilarious. . . . the movie is so not about any of that. And I love the idea that there's even someone that suggested that. [laughs] Because it never worked in the 1950s, so the idea that even someone would think it would work now cracks me up." Church critics and Web sites such as F.A.C.T.net claim that filmmakers have inserted subliminal advertising into Battlefield Earth to win new recruits to Scientology, and they have urged Warner Bros. to cease distribution of the film. The studio, apparently concerned about perceptions that the movie is a church recruitment film, has even taken the unusual step of including Travolta disclaimers in its publicity materials. "People have asked me if there is a connection between BATTLEFIELD EARTH and Scientology," Travolta said in the press materials. "There is no connection. ... Other than being created by the same person, the two have virtually nothing to do with one another." One anonymous Warner Brothers exec cracked that the only subliminal message was, "eat more popcorn."
29. BIBLICAL SCI-FI RETURNS
Before BATTLEFIELD EARTH (with its alleged Scientology links) we had last year's OMEGA CODE. OMEGA CODE never tried to hid its ties to its fundamentalist Christian roots. It was heavily promoted in churches and through such media outlets as THE 700 CLUB and across the Trinity Broadcasting Network. It did extremely well. Well enough that filming will begin next year on MEGIDDO (named for the prophecy relating to the site of Armageddon). Michael York will return as the evil Alexander Stone. It will begin filming in October in Nairobi, Rome, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Santiago, Chile and Madrid.
30. WOODY ALLEN FACES A
In May the Catholic League denounced the movie PICKING UP THE PIECES starring Woody Allen, as a work "that thrashes Catholicism from beginning to end." The film, directed by Alfonso Arau (LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE) made its debut on Cinemax after failing to pick up a theatrical distributor. In a statement, Catholic League president William Donohue said, "We will ask our members to cancel their subscription to Cinemax and to write to Woody Allen and Alfonso Arau asking them to explain the source of their bigotry. The only saving grace is that the film is such a bomb that it is not likely to make it to the big screen." In the plot a New York butcher living in Texas (Allen's character's nickname is "Tex") is in for a handful of trouble after he murders his cheating wife and buries her in pieces. When her dismembered hand turns up and seemingly cures a woman of blindness, the hand suddenly becomes a religious icon...much to the killer meat man's dismay! An all-star ensemble cast also includes Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Cheech Marin, David Schwimmer, Kiefer Sutherland, Andy Dick, Elliott Gould, Fran Drescher and Lou Diamond Phillips.
CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
JUNE 9TH: GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS is a remake of the 1974 cult classic. Nicholas Cage plays a retiring car thief, compelled into one last heist to save his brother's life. His gang has to steal 50 cars in a single night. The film was produced by action junkie Jerry Bruckheimer (responsible for the none-too-subtle TOP GUN, DAYS OF THUNDER, ENEMY OF THE STATE, CON-AIR and ARMAGEDDON) and directed by Dominic Senna. Senna's last movie, KALIFORNIA (1993), help to make stars of David Duchovny and Brad Pitt.
JUNE 16TH: FANTASIA 2000, for those of you who missed it in IMAX, will be making the rounds of local theaters starting today.
SHAFT is more of a sequel than a remake. John Shaft is played by Samuel L. Jackson. This Shaft is a police detective instead of a private investigator. We discover that this is the nephew of the first Shaft (Richard Roundtree makes a brief appearance, reprising his original role). In this one Shaft (Jackson) has to fight to save the life of a witness to a murder.
TITAN A.E. is an animated sci-fi epic featuring the voices of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Hank Azaria, Drew Barrymore, Jim Breuer, Janeane Garofalo, Nathan Lane, John Leguizamo and Lena Olin. In this movie a young man must lead what's left of humanity to safety after Earth's destruction at the hands of aliens. They're bound for a ship called the "Titan" that contains mankind's last hope. Fox had wanted to do this movie with all CGI animation. The budget forced them to scrap those plans and go to traditional cell-animation. The movie's site allows registrants to play "Operation: Afterearth," a game in which players can join ships to save the human race. Visitors may also download an animated Earth Day greeting card with a tongue-in-cheek message themed to the film.
JUNE 30TH: THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE features live actors (Jason Alexander as Boris Badenov, Rene Russo as Natasha Fatale, Robert DeNiro as Fearless Leader, Randy Quaid as Cappy van Trappment and Jonathan Winters) mixing it up with an animated moose and squirrel (June Foray, the voice of TV's Rocky, is on hand to reprise her original role). The setting is a Roger-Rabbit-like world where humans and cartoons live side by side. The film takes place years after their TV show has been canceled, and Rocky and Bullwinkle are barely making ends meet on the residual checks from the show. Things in their lives pick up when Boris and Natasha escape from their cartoon status into flesh and blood bodies and go about planning to take over the world. Fearless Leader has a plan to hypnotize the world into mindless zombies who will elect him president, using TV signals. Can Moose and Squirrel stop their dastardly deeds? Stay tuned at a theater near you!
CINEMA COMING THIS SUMMER
Here's a brief preview of imaginative cinema coming your way this summer. It should go without saying that release dates are subject to change at some paranoid executive's slightest whim. Watch coming issues of "The ICS Files" for more details.
There will be several science fiction releases this summer. Look for THE X-MEN (7/14), THE HOLLOW MAN (8/4), SPACE COWBOYS (8/4), GODZILLA 2000 (8/11) and THE CELL (8/18).
Horror is a little tougher to come by in the coming season. We have WHAT LIES BENEATH (7/21) and the action/fantasy HIGHLANDER: END GAME.
Finally, there'll be a trio of comedies joining us. SCARY MOVIE (7/7) is a horror spoof. NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS and BEDAZZLED are both fantasy/comedies.
33. INTERNET MOVIES: A QUANTUM LEAP?
Quantum Project, the first multimillion-dollar film ever made for the Internet, is now available for downloading at $3.95 a pop at <www.SightSound.com>, apparently tailored to appeal to "Webheads." Webheads with plenty of time on their hands! With a 56K modem, it takes some four hours to download. AP writer David Germain said, after viewing it, that while the music-video-type editing makes the visual effects appear "reasonably impressive" on the computer screen, the film itself amounts to "little more than a collage of impressionistic images stitched together by a loose plot." Germain added: "If the Internet is going to become a new outlet for first-run films, the requirement is the same as it is for television and movie theaters: If you want an audience, tell a good story." There are actually three completely different versions of the movie, with the other two upcoming.
MOVIES: THE DGA SAYS GO FOR IT!
The Directors Guild of America said that it will encourage members to become involved in the production of movies made for the Internet. The DGA's Warren Adler said, "We think it's very important that our members are able to work in what could be very exciting, could be very big." The DGA has already approved new guidelines for directors making films for the Internet. But Adler said, "Like films with sound, Internet features could have a vast future. And Hollywood doesn't want to stop the flow of progress; it just wants to make sure it's going along for the ride."
AND DIRECTV FORM A PACT
In a startling example of trying to co-opt the competition, video renter/retailer Blockbuster has signed a deal with DirecTV to sell the satellite company's receivers in its 5,000 U.S. outlets. At the same time DirecTV reportedly plans to use the Blockbuster name in association with its pay-per-view service and cut Blockbuster in on a percentage of its pay-per-view revenue. Blockbuster will also receive additional revenue from sales of the receivers. Blockbuster chief John Antioco said that he expects revenue from the deal should more than make up for lost rental revenue. This is a merger so bizarre that it makes the marriage of Michael Douglas to Catherine Zeta-Jones look commonplace!
36. DTS GAINS GROUND
There's a battle being waged. You can't see it. But you can definitely hear it! It's the war for our ears! The battlefield is the DVD market. DTS 5.1 Surround Sound is duking it out with Dolby Digital to see which will own the ears (and dollars!) of consumers. The two formats are dense enough to make placing both of them on a single disc impratical. DTS is partially owned by Steven Spielburg. When SAVING PRIVATE RYAN got released last year, consumers had to choose which version that they wanted. Several companies are following in this vein. Others are choosing sides in the battle. DTS just had it's DVD launch early last year. So far more than 265 titles have it. And more come on board every day.
37. THE DVD
REVOLUTION--FUELED BY SCI-FI!
It's no secret the DVD is spreading like wildfire. There are now 5,300 titles currently in release with thousands more waiting in the wings. So what's been the chief engine powering the new wave? SCIENCE FICTION! Michael Stradford, executive director of DVD marketing for Columbia TriStar Home video, voiced what has become the consensus view in Hollywood, "Science fiction's appeal, to a great extent, derives from futuristic technology. And since DVD represents a quantum leap in picture and sound quality, it's the ideal format to represent a filmmaker's vision of the future." Representatives from Fox, Artisan, New Line and Paramount have echoed the same sentiments. Maybe this will get them to release classics like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THEM! and THE THING onto disc.
38. INCOMPATIBLE DVD RECORDERS INDUCE DEJA VU
A new battle between consumer electronics companies that is reminiscent of the VHS-Beta battle 15 years ago is shaping up over DVD recorders. On the one side are DVD recorder/players (DVD-RW) meant to interact with home video equipment the way VCRs do today. They are backed by Pioneer, Sony and Sharp. On the other are incompatible units (DVD-ROM) backed by Matsushita, Toshiba and Hitachi that permit playback and editing on personal computers. Matsushita announced this week that it will bring these DVD recorders to market on June 30. Every time there's a format war the battlefield seems to be our wallets. I'm getting shell shocked!
39. BIG BLUE SAYS, "PSST, HEY MEESTER, WANNA RENT AMERICAN BEAUTY
In a bizarre contest of wills over revenue sharing between Dream Works and Blockbuster, the retailer has opted, in most of its stores, to buy light on one of the most anticipated video title of the year, Best Picture winner AMERICAN BEAUTY, hide it under their counters and only provide it to customers who've asked for it. They would normally buy 100-300 copies per store. Most stores have 8-15 copies. . . . I'm trying to think of some appropriate shoot-youself-in-the-foot wisecrack to make here. Words, for once, fail me. Think of the dumbest image that you've ever seen and insert it here. That's how stupid this is.
40. GEORGE LUCAS
OUT DOES HIMSELF!
Amazon.com has the AmazonAdvantage program, providing independent film makers an avenue for distribution to the public. For a heavenly 12 hours in May, a nine-minute title released as a part of this program called GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE (a parody of Lucas's early days at USC with a form borrowed from SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE), rocketed to the top 20, past STAR WARS: EPISODE I--THE PHANTOM MENACE. So far it has sold over 2,000 units. Upon seeing it George Lucas said, "this movie is the life story I wish I had."
Rental titles releasing 6/6: THE REAPER makes his grim debut today. A serial killer seems to be copying his gruesome murders from the plot of a novel. The beautiful detective teams up with the novelist to hunt the fiend. According to the novel's plot she's the next victim and the novelist may not be what he appears to be. . . . DR. DEATH: THE RISE AND FALL OF FRED A. LEUCHTER, JR. is a quirky documentary from documentarian Errol Morris (THE THIN BLUE LINE) about Fred Leuchter, an engineer who became a wizard with execution devices. It discusses his unusual career and his fall into disfavor when, at the behest of revisionist historian Ernst Zundel, he publicly proclaimed, after examining Auschwitz, that the Holocaust never happened. . . . GIRL INTERRUPTED features Angelina Jolie's Best Supporting Actress winning performance as a resident in a mental institution.
Rental title releasing 6/13: THE GREEN MILE is a Stephen King-based feature about a guard working on death row in depression-era Southern prison and his encounter with a remarkable prisoner. . . . THE EMPEROR AND THE ASSASSIN is set in the 20th century (B.C.!) and tells the story of power-hungry monarch and his plot to take over all of China. . . . THE BICENTENNIAL MAN is based on an Isaac Asimov novel. It features Robin Williams as a robot named Andrew who aspires to become mortal. . . . THE THIRD MIRACLE features Ed Harris, Anne Heche and Armin Mueller-Stahl in a story about a "spiritual detective" (!) investigating a statue that is weeping blood. . . . DRAGONBALL: THE MAGIC BEGINS is a fast moving live-action version of the popular Japanese animated series. . . . IRON MONKEY 2 is an explosive sequel to the martial arts classic. . . . LA CUCARACHA is a strange combination of neo-noir and contemporary Western. Eric Roberts is a desperate aspiring novelist living on the edge of oblivion in a tiny Mexican town. He accepts $100,000 to kill the man who raped and killed the 16-year-old son of a local mobster.
Rental titles releasing 6/20: TWIN WARRIORS is a 1993 Jet Li action film set in China of centuries. Li plays a Shaolin priest thrown out of the temple because of a friend's betrayal, eventually teaming with a band of rebels. . . . SWEET AND LOWDOWN is Woody Allen's story of a 1930's jazz guitarist (Sean Penn) and his misadventures with gangsters and women. . . . VAMPIRE FEMMES features nasty vamps doing naughty things. . . . LIBERTY HEIGHTS is a fun film for folks who want to see a tale of 50's Baltimore and it's first encounters with racial integration. If you look very very closely, you'll see my kisser in there. . . . KILL ME TOMORROW features a seductive teen sorceress out to kill all of the youth in a small upstate New York town.
Rental titles releasing 6/27: LET THE DEVIL WEAR BLACK is sort of a dark sexy neo-noir take on "Hamlet." A college student suspects foul play when his wealthy father is murdered and his newly widowed mother (Jacqueline Bisset) quickly marries his uncle. The ad line for the film proclaims "Something is rotten in the City of Angels." . . . TRIP FALL features a family (with John Ritter and Rachel Hunter as husband and wife) taking a much-needed California vacation. The trip takes a bad turn when the wife and kids are kidnapped by a violent and unpredictable career criminal (Eric Roberts). The husband has one day to comply with the demands or loose his loved ones forever. . . . SIDESHOW, a horror film from Full Moon Releasing, comes out today. . . . EYE is a Canadian thriller starring Genevive Bujold as a prominent attorney involved in the most sensitive negotiation of her career--trying to placate a kidnapper for the life of her daughter. To make matters worse the kidnapper has planted cameras everywhere. He knows her every move.
Sell through titles releasing 6/6:MEET JOE BLACK and PATCH ADAMS get re-released today. Both contain behind-the-scenes footage not previously shown. The tape is $14.98. The disc is $24.98. . . . The DVD of THE FIGHT CLUB comes out today in a two-disc set. Besides the usual bells and whistles, there will be multiple camera angles available with multiple commentary tracks. There will be paintings featured that will detail how sets were constructed, how scenes were staged and how the movie was storyboarded. There will be tracks of commentary from the director, from the principal stars, from the original author and the screenwriter and from the special effects team. . . . THE ROBOCOP COLLECTION rolls out today. You can buy the the original 1987 film along with parts 2 and 3 for $9.94 each, or a boxed set for $24.98. . . . DEEP BLUE SEA, the movie where smart sharks went against the delicious humans, gets repriced today down to $19.98. . . . CHILL FACTOR, THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE, SPHERE (collector's edition), CONSPIRACY THEORY and TWISTER get re-issued today at $14.98 each. . . . The DVD of TWISTER, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE and the first three LETHAL WEAPON movies get released at $24.98. . . . The "Midnite Movie Collection" releases today from MGM. Available for $12.95 each are ANGELS UNCHAINED, ANGRY RED PLANET, I BURY THE LIVING, THE MAN FROM PLANET X and VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. . . . INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, SPECIAL EDITION gets issued today. The tape is $19.98. The DVD is $24.98.
Sell through titles releasing 6/13: BRITANNIC tells the story the story of the Titannic's sister ship and it's same unfortunate fate. It sells for $19.98.
42. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Steve Reeves, the most successful strong man ever to become a movie star before Arnold Schwarzenneger, died of lymphoma on May 1st, just eight weeks after the diagnosis. He had an odd, unforeseeable life from his roots in Glasgow, Montana, where his father died when he was 3. He spent the next several years riding horses on his uncle's ranch before moving to Oakland, California with his mother. He remembered once, "When I was in junior high school, I could beat anybody at arm-wrestling. Then when I started high school, there was this guy, Joe Gambino, who was about 5-foot-5. I was already 6-foot, but Gambino could beat me at arm-wrestling and I just couldn't figure out how. One day I went to his house and asked his sister, 'Where's Joe?' and she said, 'Oh, he's out in the garage working out with weights.' So I went to the garage and he taught me how to lift weights. He used to charge me 50 cents a lesson. Joe became a barber. I became Mr. Universe." After serving his country in World War II he returned to become Mr. America in 1947 and Mr. Universe in 1950. His powerful physique; measuring up at an imposing 6-foot-1, 215-pound build, with broad shoulders, a 52-inch chest, a 29-inch waist and matinee-idol good looks; made him a natural for the movies--just not in this country. American producers didn't know what to make of him. After making a couple of movies in the states ( including his first speaking role in 1954 in the Ed Wood film JAIL BAIT as "Lieutenant Bob Lawrence") he traveled to Italy and became a legend. He made a total of 19 films in his career. Critics panned him. The public adored him. If you grew up in the 50's and early 60's Steve Reeves was your model of what a strong man should be. His most successful film, HERCULES, earned him just $10,000, but eventually he made $250,000 a film, then good money for a leading man. Despite his fame, he was, at heart, an introvert. "I never enjoyed being an actor. What I enjoyed was the challenge. I always came to work on time. I always knew my lines. But I also knew that nothing lasts forever, which is why I invested the money that I was making from the films while I still had it." Reeves invested in stocks, bonds and real estate, which made him financially secure for life. That allowed him to tend to his first love: raising horses. He had ranches, first in Oregon and then in California. He became very financially secure. Reeves said that he could afford to live another century. At least, he said, "I want to make it to 100, because if I don't, it would be bad for my reputation." He passed away at 74. His reputation will remain undiminished forever.
Craig Stevens, the actor who helped create a new genre of television detective heroes in the role of suave private eye PETER GUNN, a series created by Blake Edwards, passed away at the age of 81 from cancer. With its film noir style, deadpan humor and jazzy instrumental score by Henry Mancini, PETER GUNN featured one of the first of the coolly aggressive, lady-killer private detectives to be seen on television. He was born Gail Shikles Jr. in Liberty, Mo., Stevens was on his way to a career in dentistry when he got the acting bug at the University of Kansas. He moved to California and was signed in 1941 at Warner Bros. He met his future wife, Alexis Smith, there and appeared with her in several films. He had steady work as a second lead throughout the '40s and '50s in films such as HUMORESQUE, SINCE YOU WENT AWAY and NIGHT UNTO NIGHT before moving into television with Gunn and then as a regular guest on various shows. He was tough on monster bugs. First he duked it out with THE DEADLY MANTIS in 1957 and then took on THE KILLER BEES in 1974. His last role in a major film was in Blake Edwards' S.O.B. in 1981. Alexis Smith died of cancer in 1993 at the age of 72.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. could have had his picture in the dictionary next to the word "movie star." He was everything that that image embodies--suave, smooth and rakishly handsome. While we know him as a screen idol, a man who appeared in over 100 films from 1921 to 1981, he was so much more. To his intimate circle he was always known as "Young Doug," even by his death at 90, out of respect for his father, the silent screen superstar, Douglas Fairbanks. "Young Doug," born Dec. 9, 1909, in New York City, was the only son of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and his first wife, cotton heiress Anna Beth Sully Fairbanks. The couple divorced when the son was 9 and he lived with his mother, whose family soon lost its fortune. Schooled at military academies and with private tutors in New York, Pasadena, London and Paris, Fairbanks permitted Hollywood to exploit his famous name and put him in his first movie when he was 13. He said his mother and he urgently needed the money. The senior Fairbanks took little interest in his son's career, confessing that he had "no more paternal feelings than a tiger in the jungle for his cub." So Douglas Jr. carved his own way in the Hollywood jungle, taking bit parts, acting as camera assistant and even writing titles for silent films, including some of his father's pictures. He also acted in small Los Angeles theaters, beginning more than six decades on stages from Hollywood to London's West End. At 6 feet, taller than his father, Young Doug gave up being a boy and posed as a man. Earning his first major attention in the 1925 version of STELLA DALLAS, he was only 15 but had no trouble obeying instructions to grow a mustache. He kept it as part of his dapper persona throughout his life. Reflecting on his career in the shadow of his father, he once said, "I never tried to emulate my father. Anyone trying to do that would be a second-rate carbon copy." Yet the comparison would always be made. "Young Doug" was the first to note that the famous name opened untold doors for him, and though he never became close to the bigger-than-life parent until Doug Sr.'s last years, the son became an unabashed fan of the father. Both were movie star handsome and were, well, movie stars. Adept on stage with commanding voices, both crossed easily from silent films to talkies, albeit near the end of Doug Sr.'s career and the beginning of Doug Jr.'s. Both buckled swash on screen. The father indelibly in THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920), THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1921), ROBIN HOOD (1922), THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924), THE BLACK PIRATE (1929) and THE IRON MASK (1929). The son in releases such as THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937 in a thrilling performance as the villain, Rupert of Hentzau), GUNGA DIN (1939 as one of the three leads), THE CORSICAN BROTHERS (1941 in the dual leading roles of Mario and Lucien) and SINBAD THE SAILOR (1947 in the title role). He concluded his movie career in 1981 with GHOST STORY. But his adventures off screen, particularly during World War II, rivaled his exploits in film. King George VI, gave him an honorary knighthood in 1949 for "furthering Anglo-American amity," partly for his work as a U.S. Navy officer for the commando corps of British Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle to Prince Philip, and partly for his postwar work raising money for the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) which sent more than $150 million worth of food and other goods to war-torn European countries. Fairbanks' war exploits earned him a chestful of medals, including the American Silver Star, the British Distinguished Service Cross and the French Legion of Honor. A spokesman at Buckingham Palace said the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh "will both be sorry to learn of his death." Named prior to World War II by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an envoy to South America, and adept at bridging gaps between Hollywood and European royalty, Fairbanks indicated he might have preferred to be a diplomat. Looking back over his life, he mused in 1980, "I'm not sure I ever liked acting that much." Yet, born a prince of Hollywood, with his name and his genes, he had no choice but to earn his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Lewis Allen was an English-born director who gave American cinema some great moments. He debuted in this country directing the ghost story, THE UNINVITED in 1944. The result was one the best haunted house movies ever done and, arguably, deserved it's place with the films of Val Lewton as one of the creepiest films of that decade. He then directed the less successful THE UNSEEN in 1945 (with a script by Raymond Chandler). He went on to become famous for his work with Hollywood "tough guys." He directed a young Burt Lancaster in DESERT FURY (1947), Ray Milland in the film noir, SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948), Alan Ladd in CHICAGO DEADLINE (1949) and APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER (1951), Frank Sinatra in SUDDENLY (1954), Edward G. Robinson in ILLEGAL (1955) and A BULLET FOR JOEY (1955) and a youthful Sean Connery in ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE (1958). He eventually directed episodes in such classic TV series as BONANZA, PERRY MASON, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and THE INVADERS. Mr. Allen passed away at the age of 95.
Paul Bartel was the creator of movies designed to make us laugh and feel squeamish at the same time. Like many directors working today, he cut his teeth with Roger Corman. After two early Corman-less films in 1969 (NAUGHTY NURSES and SECRET CINEMA) he entered the Corman family by directing the cult favorite, PRIVATE PARTS, for Roger's brother, Gene, in 1972. He became the second unit director for BIG BAD MAMA (1974). This led him, the following year, to direct DEATH RACE 2000. When he couldn't convince Corman to fund his pet project, he entered the world of independent films with the 1982 EATING RAOUL, a dark comedy about a timid middle class couple coping with the world of swingers by engaging in murder and cannibalism. To finance his drive to make more limited release independent productions he began appearing in small roles in several films. By the time of his death this year he acquired a resume' of nearly seventy movies in which he's co-starred. You may have seen him in PIRANHA (1978), HEARTBEEPS (1981), FRANKENWEENIE (1984), CHOPPING MALL (1986), AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON (1987), GREMLINS 2 (1990) or ESCAPE FROM L.A. (1996). He died on May 13th, at the age of 61, at his Manhattan home two weeks after surgery for cancer of the liver ducts.
John Gielgud is (quite properly) remembered as a master of the stage in his native England. The lights in the legitimate theaters across the United Kingdom dimmed to recognize the passing of a legend. His voice captivated live audiences for generations. Sir Alec Guinness, one of the actor's few surviving contemporaries, once called that voice "a silver trumpet muffled in silk." Here in America we honor him for his work on film. He said once, "My career had always been centered principally on the legitimate stage (he made only two silent films and two talkies before World War II), and I used to tell people they were 'irrelevant' to the craft of acting. But it was a cover-up. I was simply scared of films. I hate to fail, so I stuck to the stage." But when he finally determined to make the effort, he was, as he said, "an overnight success after only 40 years' experience." He appeared in over 100 films! But I thought that it would be nice (and relevant to our tastes) to remember him for his roles in yet another medium--the little boxey one that has a place in all of our homes. He lent his venerable name to some highly esteemed productions worth remembering. He was in FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1972), THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1982), FRANKENSTEIN (1984), THE CANTERVILLE GHOST (1986), GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (1996) and MERLIN (1998). Mr.Gielgud died May 14th at his home near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire west of London. He was 96.
Al Simon is a good name to remember as we endure a summer of reruns. He was a producer whose pioneering work led to a method for preserving the live quality of early television shows on film, paving the way for summer reruns and the syndication industry. By all accounts he was a self-effacing man who rarely spoke of his contributions to the TV industry in its early days. He came up with the idea of using three 35-mm movie cameras to record the action in a soundstage. Thanks to his innovation we have a pretty good record of the popular TV shows of the past 50 years. In 1960 Simon became president of Filmways, where he oversaw development of such top-rated programs as THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, PETTICOAT JUNCTION, GREEN ACRES and MR. ED. He died on May 18th from complications stemming from Alzheimer's disease. He was 88.
Edward Bernds' first introduction to making movies was at the beginning of the sound era. As the chief radio operator at Chicago's WENR, he was well suited to the challenges of transitioning to the new medium. He got hired at Columbia and became involved with some of Frank Capra's best known productions. He was the soundman on IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936) and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939). By 1945 he graduated to directing with numerous Three Stooges shorts (and their later features) and Blondie movies. In the fifties he made some of our favorite stinkers. He directed THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTER (1954), WORLD WITHOUT END (1956), SPACE MASTER X-7 (1958), the wonderfully awful QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1958), RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) and VALLEY OF THE DRAGONS (1961). In 1997, Bernds' pioneering role in motion picture sound was recognized with a special award for technical achievement from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. He passed away in May. He was 94.
Francis Lederer's remarkable life reached from his birth in Prague in November,1899; across the entire 20th century and to his recent passing in California on May 24th of this year. He was known for his suave cosmopolitan charms and his old world spirit. Many club members may read his name and think of his Dracula performance in THE RETURN OF DRACULA in 1958 or in the loose re-make of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU from 1959 entitled TERROR IS A MAN. Shortly after doing those films he retired from acting and focused on his real estate holdings. His tremendous wealth in that field gave him the free time to work with young acting students looking to learn their craft. He's touched the lives of many, including the winner of the 1997 Academy Award for best actress, Helen Hunt. At his 100th birthday party last fall, when asked the secret to longevity. Lederer quipped, "live a long time." He's survived by his wife of 59 years.
43. JUNE CALENDAR
TUE. 6TH: VIDEO RENTALS- THE REAPER, DR. DEATH: THE RISE AND FALL
OF FRED A. LEUCHTER, JR., and GIRL INTERRUPTED releases today
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- MEET JOE BLACK, and PATCH ADAMS,
THE FIGHT CLUB DVD, THE ROBOCOP COLLECTION, DEEP BLUE
SEA, CHILL FACTOR, THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE, SPHERE (collector's
edition), CONSPIRACY THEORY, TWISTER (video and DVD), INTERVIEW
WITH A VAMPIRE,the first three LETHAL WEAPON movies, ANGELS
UNCHAINED, ANGRY RED PLANET, I BURY THE LIVING, THE MAN
FROM PLANET X and VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and INTERVIEW
WITH THE VAMPIRE, SPECIAL EDITION all release today.
FRI. 9TH: GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS debuts today.
TUE. 13TH: VIDEO RENTALS- THE GREEN MILE, THE EMPEROR AND THE
ASSASSIN, THE BICENTENNIAL MAN, THE THIRD MIRACLE,
DRAGONBALL: THE MAGIC BEGINS, IRON MONKEY 2 and LA
CUCARACHA release today
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- BRITANNIC releases today.
FRI. 16TH: FANTASIA 2000 (theatrical release), SHAFT and TITAN A.E. premiere today
TUE. 20TH: VIDEO RENTALS- TWIN WARRIORS, SWEET AND LOWDOWN,
VAMPIRE FEMMES, LIBERTY HEIGHTS and KILL ME TOMORROW
TUE. 27TH: VIDEO RENTALS- LET THE DEVIL WEAR BLACK, TRIP FALL,
SIDESHOW and EYE release today.
FRI. 30TH: THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE debuts today