Here’s a weird casting choice. Apparently director Woody Allen initially offered the part of the has-been singer Lou Canova to actor Sylvester Stallone for his 1984 “Broadway Danny Rose”. Kind of curious how that would have turned out.
“Do I really want to spend my whole life trying not to die by mistake?”
– Amanda Seyfried, “In Time”
The 1964 film “The Pawnbroker” was the feature film debut of actor Morgan Freeman but, more importantly, it was the first American movie to deal with the Jewish holocaust from the viewpoint of a survivor. Eventually, we all need to face our past and, as Freeman’s stunning career down the line would show, look towards the future for a better tomorrow.
“Do you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life?”
– Dennis Hopper, “Apocalypse Now”
Some films touch people in a way that they become loyal fans to that material…and sometimes helps that material. In December 1973, UCLA student and Marx Bros. fan Steve Stoliar drove to Anaheim, California, to view a rare screening of 1930’s “Animal Crackers” at the Old Town Music Hall theater. Unfortunately, the print shown there was a poor-quality bootleg, probably because the film had not been distributed for theatrical release since the mid-1950s with Paramount Pictures having allowed its licenses to expire, and the rights, therefore, reverting to the authors of the Broadway stage play: the playwrights George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, the composer Harry Ruby, and the lyricist Bert Kalmar. Stoliar impulsively called Groucho Marx, who played the lead character Captain Spaulding, to enlist Groucho’s support for an unlikely campaign to attempt to persuade — or pressure — Universal to re-release the film. Groucho agreed to visit the UCLA campus for a publicity event. They succeeded.
Groucho’s UCLA appearance generated national press coverage. An appearance on the nationally syndicated “Merv Griffin Show” soon followed and in April, 1974, Groucho and Stoliar heard from Universal, whose TV company EMKA, Ltd. (Now Universal Television) had acquired the rights to Paramount’s older movies in 1959.
On May 23, 1974, attempting to gauge public interest, Universal screened a sharp new print of the film at the UA Theater in Westwood, just south of the UCLA campus where Groucho made a personal appearance and walked unescorted into the theatre on the left aisle. He was wearing his trademark beret. People in the audience stood up and started applauding leading to the entire theater joining in. The lines stretched around the block for months and on June 23 the studio screened the film at the Sutton Theater in New York which Groucho as well. To note, a near-riot broke out and a police escort was summoned, but from there “Animal Crackers” went into national release before finally making an appearance on television in July 21, 1979, when CBS broadcast the film after rights issues were resolved.
Some films take awhile before they reemerge, but sometimes when they do you are reminded why the film was a big deal to begin with. As the reaction shows here, great movies are never forgotten.
“Her nose was so high, she’d drown in a rainstorm.”
– Glenda Jones, “Bernie”
The 1969 film “The Secret of Santa Vittoria” revolves around a winery in Santa Vittoria in Italy. In real life, there really does exist a Santa Vittoria winery farm in Italy which still produces the Santa Vittoria wines to this day although the farm predates the film, having been built 300 years ago in the very same location that the Battle of Scannagallo took place in Foiano della Chiana, Arezzo in 1554.
“I think I’ll get saddled up and go looking for a woman. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. I’m not picky. As long as she’s smart and pretty, sweet and gentle and tender and refined and lovely and carefree.”
– Robert Redford, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
Sometimes you need a professional for a team. In the 1994 “I.Q.”, the close-ups of character Ed Walters (Played by Tim Robbins) manipulating the wooden puzzles feature the hands of enigmatologist John Chaneski. Never send an actor to do an enigmatologist’s job.
“Any journey in life, if not done for human reasons of understanding and love, would be a very empty and lonely one.”
– Tim Robbins, “I.Q.”