Monthly Archives: October 2012

Django Djanuary

Arrow Films in the UK have announced some great Italian cult titles being released on DVD in January 2013. Pick of the bunch are two classic Mario Bava horrors in what look to be definitive editions.

Barbara Steele’s ‘Mask of Satan’/’Black Sunday’ is being issued including three versions of the film High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD of two versions of the film – the European cut ‘The Mask of Satan’ (with the Roberto Nicolosi score) and the re-edited, re-dubbed US AIP version with alternative dialogue and the Les Baxter score. There will be three audio options (Italian language, European English and AIP English re-dub and re-score) and a newly translated English subtitled translation for the Italian audio. In addition, there’s an audio commentary by Bava expert and biographer Tim Lucas, an introduction by film critic Alan Jones, an interview with Barbara Steele, a deleted scene, trailers, TV spots, collector’s booklet with new writings by Matt Bailey and Alan Jones, and ‘I Vampiri’ (1956), co-directed by Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava. It really does sound an impressive package.
‘Lisa and the Devil’ includes both High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition versions of ‘Lisa and the Devil’ and its alternative Alfredo Leone cut, ‘The House of Exorcism’. Again there are many extras, including, optional Italian audio with newly translated English subs, audio commentary by Tim Lucas, audio commentary on ‘The House of Exorcism’ by producer Alfredo Leone and star Elke Sommer, introductions to both films by Alan Jones, plus Lamberto Bava, screenwriter Roberto Natale, Roy Bava and Bava biographer Alberto Pezzotta discuss the making of both films, and there’s a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic and author Stephen Thrower (who wrote the definitive book on Lucio Fulci, ‘Beyond Terror’, which is essential reading).

Also released by Arrow in January is a first UK release for Ferdinando Baldi’s spaghetti western ‘Django, Prepare a Coffin’, also known as ‘Django, preparati la bara!’, ‘Django, Get a Coffin Ready’ and ‘Viva Django!’ It stars Terence Hill in an early role and also features Horst Frank and ‘George Eastman’/Luigi Montefiori as the villains and a supporting cast bolstered by cult movie favourites Luciano Rossi and Jose Torres. It was conceived as an official sequel to Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 original ‘Django’, and the films share scriptwriter Franco Rossetti, cinematographer Enzo Barboni, the coffin and the machine-gun. I’ve researched and written the collector’s booklet for this, looking at the background to the film in detail. ‘Django, Prepare a Coffin’ is being released on DVD to coincide with the ‘Djanuary Django fever’ that will no doubt accompany the arrival of Quentin Tarantino’s new western ‘Django Unchained’.
You can pre-order them from Amazon UK, or from Arrow Films directly: http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/

A DUEL TO THE DEATH

Over on the official 007 Fragrance website, there’s an exclusive look at a brief extract of one of the chapters from ‘The James Bond Archives’, published this October by Taschen. The site is publicising the launch of the fragrance for men, to coincide with the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the famously sophisticated film spy.

The extract is from ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’, one of the four chapters I’ve researched and written for ‘The James Bond Archives’ book. It’s a bit about the making of the film and Scaramanga’s famous prop Golden Gun, made from a cigarette lighter, pen, cuff links and cigarette case. This is a first look at text from the book and gives readers an idea of the book’s ‘oral history’ format.

‘The James Bond Archives’ is the official history of the 007 films, published with the cooperation of EON productions.

You can also order a free sample of the fragrance on the website, which GQ Magazine has called ‘The Most Dangerously Sophisticated Fragrance in the World’.

You can read the extract from ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ here:
http://www.007fragrances.com/exclusive-content/a-duel-to-the-death/

 

LET THE SKY FALL, WHEN IT CRUMBLES

Today is designated ‘Global James Bond Day’ and sees a host of events worldwide to celebrate to 50th birthday of 007, the screen’s most famous, enduring and alluring secret agent. It coincides with the release of the first official James Bond film, ‘Dr No’, in 1962.

Adele’s much anticipated title song, written by Adele and producer Paul Epworth, has been released and can be heard here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HQoqNJtMTQ

It’s a fitting James Bond theme (in the Shirley Bassey tradition) and features a monumental orchestration (which includes references to Monty Norman’s ‘James Bond Theme’) and a smoky-then-powerful vocal from the most popular singer in the world at the moment. It’s Adele’s first new release in over a year and is guaranteed to be a number one hit.   

In the UK Sky launch a devoted James Bond Channel, ‘Sky 007’ (actually their Sky Showcase channel under an alias). For the next four and half weeks the channel will show the Bond back catalogue, along with documentaries, including ‘Bond Girls are Forever’ and behind the scenes Previews from ‘Skyfall’. In the UK, ITV have always had the broadcasting rights to the James Bond films, so Sky must have bought them. Highlights today include ‘Dr No’, ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Thunderball’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, but all the official films will get an airing over the coming month.

There’s also an auction at Christies, online from September 28 to October 8:
http://www.christies.com/sales/50-years-of-james-bond-september-2012/sale-info.aspx

There are 40 Lots and 11 of the most interesting are covered at this website:
http://www.businessinsider.com/james-bond-auction-at-christies-2012-10?op=1

Among the lots on offer, there’s a programme for the ‘Octopussy Circus’, suction pads from ‘You Only Live Twice’, the Aston Martin Coupe from ‘Quantum of Solace’, and Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford two-piece dinner suit worn in ‘Skyfall’.

One of the lots is a new book called ‘007: The James Bond Archives’ published by Taschen. It’s the official book of the 50th anniversary celebrations and I was one of the team of writers who worked on this earlier in the year. It will be published in the UK on October 26 (to coincide with the release of ‘Skyfall’) and on November 9 in the US. The 600-page full-colour volume is the result of two-and-half-year’s research by the book’s editor Paul Duncan and is the definitive story of the James Bond films, from ‘Dr No’ to the present day. It includes a closely-guarded chapter on ‘Skyfall’ and initial copies also feature a film cell from ‘Dr No’. With the complete cooperation of film production company EON (Everything or Nothing), the Bond guardians, and co-producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the archives have been opened and the book is a treasure trove of rare documents, stories, interviews, on-set photographs, and other Bonderania, which provide insights into how, where, when and why the films were made over the last half-century.

There’s a link with some page previews here:
http://www.hypemeanseverything.com/2012/10/03/the-james-bond-archives-by-taschen-book-early-christmas-gift/

There’s quite a bit of interesting info on the book here, including details of  limited special edition print runs (2x 250) with signatures from Ken Adam and Daniel Craig:

http://www.theestablishingshot.com/2012/10/taschen-release-ultimate-james-bond.html

You can pre-order the book from Amazon UK here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Bond-Archives-Paul-Duncan/dp/3836521059/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1349442549&sr=1-1-catcorr

And from Amazon US:
http://www.amazon.com/James-Bond-Archives-Paul-Duncan/dp/3836521059/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349443036&sr=1-1&keywords=007+the+james+bond+archives

VIOLENT CITY ON CD

Intermezzo Media Records have recently released the ‘colonna sonora originale’ (that the original soundtrack to you and me) from Sergio Sollima’s 1970 crime flick ‘Violent City’ (GDM4218).

The score is one of Ennio Morricone’s finest albums and this expanded edition, with 21 tracks, is limited to 500 units. Previously tracks from this film appeared on a very good RCA ‘Cinematre’ album that paired the soundtrack with another classic continental crime film, ‘The Sicilian Clan’ (1969). This original release only included seven tracks from ‘Violent City’: Citta violenta (titoli), Rito finale, Momento estremo, Con estremo dolcezza, Norme con ironie, Sospensione sovrapposta and Riassunto. All these are included in this new release (as tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 17, 21), but there are 14 new tracks too, taking the total running time to over 60 minutes of the Maestro’s music. The orchestrations are excellent, from the pulsating, scything theme tune (and its many reworkings) to the oppressive moods of the incidental cues, from groovy nightclub psychedelics to delicate love themes. The CD is accompanied by a collector’s booklet featuring liner notes, a selection of great colour stills from the movie and original CD and poster artwork.

Click here to order ‘Violent City’ (billed as ‘City of Violence’) from Italian film soundtrack specialist Hillside CD Productions:
http://www.hillsidecd.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p1746_CITY_OF_VIOLENCE.html 

After Sollima’s spaghetti westerns with Tomas Milian – ‘The Big Gundown’, ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Run Man Run’ – ‘Violent City’ is the director’s most famous work. Also known in the wake of ‘The Godfather’ as ‘The Family’, it’s a tale of betrayal and revenge. Professional hitman Jeff Heston (Bronson) finds himself duped into knocking off key members of crime syndicate The Organisation by crooked attorney Steve (Umberto Orsini) and Jeff’s one-time girlfriend Vanessa Sheldon (Bronson’s wife, Jill Ireland). Violent City sees Bronson at the peak of his Euro-stardom. It was conceived with the working title Final Shot and was to have starred Tony Musante and Florinda Bolkan in the leads. Sollima shot the movie’s interiors at Cinecittà and exteriors in the US Virgin Islands, in New Orleans and at the Michigan International Speedway track at Irish Hills, for a memorable scene when Jeff makes one of his assassinations appear to be a tyre blow-out.
The film opens with a great car chase, staged by stunt driver Remy Julienne, from The Italian Job (1969) and the James Bond films.

The first version of this film I saw (on video) was considerably cut – as was all Sollima’s work for international release – to 92 minutes. The full uncut version of the film at 109 minutes is now available in various editions:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brotherhood-Justice-Violent-City-Action/dp/B0006683KM/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1349105768&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Violent-City-DVD-Region-NTSC/dp/B00114UURC/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1349105768&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Violent-City-Charles-Bronson/dp/B00114UURC/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1349105906&sr=1-1&keywords=violent+city+bronson

‘Violent City’ and Sollima’s other great crime thriller ‘Revolver’ (starring Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi) are discussed in detail in my book ‘Cinema Italiano: the Complete Guide from Classics to Cult’. This volume has received another positive review, this time from Scott Eyman of the Palm Beach Post, who hopes I write companion editions on French and German cinema:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/defining-italian-cinema/nRP26/