Charlie Chaplin – The Kid

This 1921 movie by Charlie Chaplin teamed him up with young Jackie Coogan. You may remember the adult Coogan as Uncle Fester on the Addams Family. It’s a great film with some classic scenes between Chaplin and Coogan. This was Chaplin’s first feature film. He was finishing up his First National contract as he co-founded United Artists with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith.

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The Jackie Coogan and Chaplin…Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester

The story starts off with a woman (Edna Purviance) that abandons her baby in the back of an expensive car hoping that the owners will give her baby a life that she can not. The car is then stolen and the baby is left on the street. The Tramp (Chaplin) finds the baby and takes it home and raises him. Five years pass and he loves the kid and together they have a great scheme going on.

The kid goes around throwing rocks through windows and out of nowhere later on comes The Tramp who would just so happen to have glass and materials with him to fix the window for a price.

The authorities soon find out that the Tramp is not the kid’s father. While this is going on the mother who is doing really well now is looking for her child. The Tramp and Kid are pursued and in this film, Chaplin had some serious and tender moments combining comedy with pathos which at the time was a turning point. The movie was considered a masterpiece when it was released.

One scene that jumps out is the scene where social services are physically taking the child away and Chaplin fights…not comically but really fights to keep the Kid.

The film was written, directed, produced and starred… Charlie Chaplin. Edna Purviance makes her last appearance acting with Chaplin. She would be directed by him one more time in a drama as a leading lady. This movie kicked off Coogan’s very successful child acting career.

Jackie Coogan would become a star in the twenties. He earned 3-4 million dollars acting and when he turned 21 in 1935 he thought he was set for life only to find out the money was gone. His mother and step-father spent all of his money on furs, jewelry, and cars. His mom said that Jackie enjoyed himself acting and no promises were ever made to give him any of the money. Jackie sued his mom in 1938 and only received 125,000 dollars of his money.

Coogan had financial problems for a long while and even went to Chaplin for help which Chaplin gladly gave him money.

One good thing came out of it. The “Coogan Act” which made parents set aside at least 15 percent of their child’s earnings to a trust fund.

If you get a chance this is a great short entertaining movie.

 

 

This is Spinal Tap

I remember seeing this movie with some buddies in the 1980s and we all loved it. A great mockumentary of the fictional rock group Spinal Tap and their dying drummers. There are many quotable lines in this movie and they have stayed with me since I saw it the first time. I’ve met some people who didn’t get this movie at all and some who loved it.

The movie starred Michael McKeon as singer/guitarist David Saint Hubbins, Christopher Guest as guitarist Nigel Tufnel (reminded me of Jeff Beck), Harry Shearer as bassist Derek Smalls, Tony Hendra as manager Ian Faith, David Kaff as keyboard player Vic Savage and R.J. Parnell as drummer Mick Shrimpton…also Rob Reiner as the Marty DiBergi the filmmaker.

Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest actually wrote, played, and sang the music.

The movie was released in 1984 and started slow but built a cult following. At first, some people thought it was about a real band and they would ask Reiner why he would do a documentary on a band no one had heard of.

Christopher Guest said he was inspired at an LA hotel in 1974 when a British band came in and the manager of the band asked the bass player if he left his bass at the airport. The bass player replied I don’t know if I left it…did I leave it? Do you get my bass at the airport? Guest said this went on for 20 minutes back and forth and it stuck with him.

They did have a basic story but the movie was ad-libbed with no script. They had over 100 hours of film and had to edit it down. They have regrouped many times and played live concerts as Spinal Tap.

This Is Spinal Tap was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry because it is a film that is considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.

My favorite bits? Stonehenge, Nigel’s “Mach” piece, these go to 11, Nigel’s bread, you can’t dust vomit… there are too many to name them all. check the videos out at the bottom.

 

Some of it hits home according to some rock stars.

Quotes about the movie

The Edge – “It’s so hard to keep things fresh, and not to become a parody of yourself,”. “And if you’ve ever seen that movie Spinal Tap, you will know how easy it is to parody what we all do. The first time I ever saw it, I didn’t laugh. I wept. I wept because I recognized so much and so many of those scenes.”

Ozzy Osbourne reportedly thought it was a real documentary. ” “They seemed quite tame compared to what we got up to”

Joe Perry from Aerosmith –  “It was great, every bit as brilliant as it was supposed to be, so good. Even then, we had been through it all six times. I told Steven the next day, ‘You’ve got to see this movie! It’s so good. It’s hilarious.’”

Steven Tyler from Aerosmith – “That movie bummed me out, because I thought, ‘How dare they? That’s all real, and they’re mocking it’

Pete Townsend –  “Keith Moon “was ‘Spinal Tap incarnate.”

Stonehenge

 

These go to 11

 

Nigel’s Bread

 

Can’t dust vomit

 

Trailer

 

 

 

Lost Horizon 1937

I just watched this movie for the 3rd time this past week. It was directed by Frank Capra and starred Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt and featured Sam Jaffe, H.B. Warner (Mr. Gower in It’s A Wonderful Life), and the great character actor Thomas Mitchell.

It’s about a group of people on a plane and crashing in the Himalayas and being taken to a wonderful place called Shangri-La. Shangri-La is a place that is beautiful and everyone lives and works in harmony. It is directed by Frank Capra. Ronald Colman is great as a British diplomat named Robert Conway. Jane Wyatt is gorgeous and she plays Sondra a resident of Shangri-La that falls for Conway and him for her.

One of the things they get right is the human element. Who would not want to live in a perfect place, live long, be healthy, and be in peace? Well, there is always one in every crowd and you have a couple here.

The movie has a few minutes with stills and audio because the footage is missing. It’s not a lot of the movie and it doesn’t get in the way. I will recommend this movie to anyone.

 

 

The Paul McCartney Bruce Mcmouse Show…quick review

Last night my son and I went to see this film in Nashville at the Belcourt Theater at the screening. It opened up with Paul McCartney and Wings in very early seventies attire talking about how they met the Mcmouses. The one thing that surprised me…it was a smaller amount of animation that I anticipated. I thought it would be 60-40 animation but it was around 30-70 with Wings playing live on their 72 European tour and various film clips with the music. I’m not unhappy with the ratio because I wanted to hear Wings live more than seeing the animation.

They did use some soundstage shots mixed in with live shots also.

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My biggest complaint was the voices of the mice were a little too animated…no pun intended but you could not understand what they were saying without straining. Wings were great though. This is the earliest video I’ve seen of Paul playing outside of the Beatles. The sound was great. The songs I can remember were Big Red Barn, Wild Life, Long Tall Sally, Seaside Woman, My Love, Hi Hi Hi, Mary Had a Little Lamb, C Moon, Blue Moon Over Kentucky, Maybe I’m Amazed, and there are a few more I’m forgetting.

The film is only 55 minutes long but a good representation of Wings in 1972. The band looked like they were having a lot of fun. I will get the film when it is released.

It’s a nice film that was made right before Live and Let Die and Band on the Run. The Bruce Mcmouse Show is not the best thing Paul has done…but a fun film all the same. It’s also a nice time capsule of the early seventies… Also, it was cool that at least 80 percent of the audience were college students…that gives me hope…and it was packed.

Now Paul…release the 1976 tour to the Theaters, please.

 

 

 

Paul McCartney’s Lost ‘Bruce McMouse Show’ Film Heading to Theaters

Found the below article in Rolling Stone  about this long-shelved concert footage/animation coming to select theaters January 21, 2019

Paul and Linda started this project in 1972 combining the 72 tour with animation about a mouse…Bruce McMouse to be correct.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/paul-mccartney-lost-bruce-mcmouse-show-movie-theaters-777090/

More details about the showings

https://www.denofgeek.com/us/culture/music/278570/paul-mccartney-will-release-lost-concert-film-in-theaters

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Never-before-seen, The Bruce McMouse Show is a concert film with a difference. Paul McCartney opens with the story of how the band came to meet the inimitable impresario Bruce McMouse. Featuring the original Wings line up, live concert footage from Wings’ 1972 European tour is interspersed with animated scenes, introducing a family of mice living under the stage. After opening the film with ‘Big Barn Bed’ – taken from Wings’ LP Red Rose Speedway – the camera takes us down through the floorboards into this charming animated world. We see Bruce McMouse regale his children with stories from his past, when son Soily rushes into the room in a whirlwind of excitement announcing that “The Wings” are playing above them.

As the concert plays on, Bruce declares to his wife Yvonne that Paul and the band need his help. Bruce then proceeds to venture on stage to offers his services as producer. As the concert progresses, the animated scenes culminate with dozens of animated mice flocking to the venue to see Wings play. The film was directed by Barry Chattington and produced by Roger Cherrill with the live elements taken from four shows in Holland and Germany in 1972.

Paul viewed the initial concert edit and realized there was great potential in the material captured. Prior to the European tour, Paul had the idea of a family of mice and sketched the characters. Picking up the idea, Eric Wylam took Paul’s sketches and created the final McMouse family. This storyline was incorporated and used as a linking theme within the concert footage. The voice-overs for the animated mice took place at the end of 1973, recorded by Paul and Linda McCartney, Deryck Guyler, Pat Coombs and Derek Nimmo.

Production stretched from 1972 to 1977 when the film was complete, however, with changes in the band’s line-up and music scene, the project was shelved. ‘The Bruce McMouse Show’ has been fully restored in 2018 at Final Frame Post alongside a brand-new audio mix (stereo and 5.1) created at AIR Studios and mastered at Abbey Road.

70’s B Movies: It’s Alive

The below trailer scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. I had that scream in my head at night and I peeked around every corner. This is a 70’s B Drive-in type movie…but I enjoyed it. I could not talk my mom into taking me to see this one in 1977.

It’s Alive was released in a limited run in 1974. It was reissued with the below commercial in 1977 and that is when I heard that damn scream. The budget was $500,000 and the US gross was over $14,000,000 and by 1977 it climbed over $30,000,000 worldwide. Mr. Cohen did very well… there were sequels….but of course.

The Davises have had a baby but they are not sending out any announcements. Most new parents are a little scared when they have a baby. The Davises are terrified. You see there is only one thing wrong with the Davis baby… IT’S ALIVE…(insert scream)

The movie is about a couple who have a killer mutant baby but it does have some social commentary about the medicines and chemicals we take that will cause trouble…as in mutant killer babies.

It was written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen. The couple’s name was Frank and Lenore Davis…Lenore had been given contraceptive medicine and the doctor who prescribed the drugs to Lenore is contacted by a pharmaceutical company executive. The executive acknowledges that the child’s mutation may have been caused by the drugs. He tells the doctor that the child must be destroyed to prevent the discovery of the company’s liability.

It’s Alive Cast… Cast. John P. Ryan as Frank DavisAndrew Duggan as the Professor. Sharon Farrell as Lenore DavisGuy Stockwell as Bob Clayton.James Dixon as Lieutenant PerkinsMichael Ansara as the Captain.William Wellman Jr. as Charley.

The film was followed by two sequels, It Lives Again (1978) and It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987) and a remake, It’s Alive (2009).

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70s B Movies: The Car

This haunted car movie was before Christine and though it’s not as good it is entertaining. It was panned when released but it does have a 6.1 in IMDB which is not terrible. The movie resembles Jaws but with a driverless demon car instead of a shark.

It’s a cross between a science-fiction and a horror film about an angry, driverless automobile that terrorizes a small Utah town for several days, squashing one hitchhiker, two bicyclists, one sheriff, one school teacher, and assorted policemen.

While much of the plot and dialog in The Car is pretty silly, there are some terrific moments in it, like the opening scene, where two bicyclists are rammed off a high bridge, which was reportedly the highest free fall stunt of its time. There’s also a scene where the car hides in the dark, then it flies through the window of a house, running over a woman in her kitchen.

The Car cast James Brolin, Ronnie Cox, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, R.G Armstrong, John Rubinstein, and Elizabeth Thompson.

I talked my mom into taking me to see this movie when I was ten in 1977. She gave it a big thumbs down. As B movies go you can get much worse than this movie.

The Star of the film is The Car! Designed and engineered by legendary car builder George Barris, who was also responsible for such iconic movie vehicles as the Batmobile, The Munster’s Koach and many others, The Car began life as 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III Coupe.

Guillermo Del Toro is known to drive a replica of the Lincoln from the film. He is a fan of the movie.

It has its fans and detractors but it is remembered. Below The Car in this Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode with Maggie driving while chasing and hitting Millhouse.