August 2015 Highlights at the New Beverly Cinema
With Quentin Tarantino re-opening the New Beverly Cinema as a celluloid-only picture house, we are taking a closer look at some of the great movies he is programming each month. NOTE: We are not affiliated with the New Beverly Cinema.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Dir: Sergio Leone)
The film that gave birth to the genre now known as the “Spaghetti Western”. Clint Eastwood, a young TV actor on the show Rawhide took the role of a mysterious, gunslinging drifter that comes upon a small Mexican town and plays two warring factions against each other. The result was one of Clint’s most iconic roles and a cinematic benchmark from Sergio Leone. A brilliant, stylized remake of Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO, also playing this month.
For A Few Dollars More (1965, Dir: Sergio Leone)
In the Old Southwest, two bounty killers (Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef) who begin as competitors decide to put their differences aside and team up to go after a wanted bandito (Gian Maria Volonte) to rob a cache of money he and his cohorts have stolen from an El Paso bank, as well as collect the ransom for him. An example of spaghetti westerns at their best.
Day of Anger (1968, Dir: Tonino Valerii)
A poor stableboy from Arizona named Scott (Giuliano Gemma) is looked down on by everyone and treated like dirt. That is until a stranger named Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef) rides into town and teaches him how to be a tough basterd and ace gunfighter. When Scott and Talby later take over law and order, things look bright on the horizon. That is until a conflict of interest causes them to end up becoming adversaries.
Death Rides A Horse (1967, Dir: Giulio Petroni)
After training for many years to be a superb gunfighter, Bill (John Philip Law) sets out to get revenge on the men who massacred his family when he was a child. Meanwhile, a convict named Ryan (Lee Van Cleef) has been released from prison and is out to get the same gang of outlaws for his own reasons. The two men meet and form an alliance not knowing that they share a connection in their past.
The Naked Spur (1953, Dir: Anthony Mann)
In this thrilling Western, Jimmy Stewart stars as Howard Kemp a bounty hunter who is seeking a killer and needs help from men that he has distrust for. Co-starring Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan and Ralph Meeker.
Run of the Arrow (1957, Dir: Sam Fuller)
A Confederate soldier named O’Meara (Rod Steiger) that will not accept the Union winning the Civil War, decides to leave his family behind to join a Sioux Indian tribe. A US Army fort being built on the tribe’s land soon complicates O’Meara’s new lifestyle choice. One of Sam Fuller’s best efforts. Co-starring Sara Montiel, Brian Keith, Charles Bronson. Trivia: This was the first studio film to use special live effects known as blood squibs.
Scream and Scream Again (1970, Dir: Gordon Hessler)
Based on the novel “The Disorientated Man” by Peter Saxon, this AIP sci-fi thriller has a fractured narrative that focuses on a series of mysterious and horrifying attacks. Starring Alfred Marks, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Michael Gothard.
Sol Madrid (1968, Dir: Brian G. Hutton)
A crook named Harry (Pat Hingle) steals half a million dollars from the Mafia and heads to Acapulco with his girlfriend. Not long after, the mob send a hitman (Rip Torn) to get revenge and retrieve the cash. Meanwhile an undercover narc, Sol Madrid (David McCallum) tries to reach Harry first so he can convince him to testify against the mafia and save his life. A tense crime thriller with an exotic backdrop. Co-starring Stella Stevens Telly Savalas and Ricardo Montalban.
The Spy With My Face (1965, Dir: John Newland)
During its run in the 1960s, The Man From UNCLE TV show released several two part episodes as single theatrical features. In this exciting installment, Secret Agents Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) must stop the evil terrorist organization THRUSH from stealing a deadly weapon by using a body double with Solo’s face. Co-starring Senta Berger and Bill Gunn.
The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers (1973/1974, Dir: Richard Lester)
A rollicking action adventure classic based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Young D’Artangnan (Michael York) wants to become one of King Louis’ daring musketeers. During his travels around Paris he encounters a trio of the elite bodyguards, Athos (Oliver Reed), Porthos (Frank Finlay) and Aramis (Richard Chamberlain), each of whom he challenges to prove himself worthy. While the muskeeters are occupied, the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton Heston) wants to secure more power over the King. The Four Musketeers follows the continuing adventures of the group of merry men as they face a new battle with the diabolical Milady DeWinter (Faye Dunaway).
Minnesota Clay (1965, Dir: Sergio Corbucci)
Cameron Mitchell is the steely eyed, gravelly voiced Minnesota Clay, an ailing veteran gunfighter being held at a prison camp. He was put there due to a setup by Fox, the corrupt sheriff of Clay’s hometown. Since that time, Fox has been forcing the townspeople to pay taxes for protection from a bandit named Ortiz. When Clay busts out of the stir he heads to get some revenge but is ensnared in a deadly battle between Ortiz and Fox. Due to Clay’s worsening eyesight his ability to defend himself becomes near impossible and he must depend on extra help to win the day. This film was actually closer to the the traditional westerns that came out before Leone’s groundbreaking hit A Fistful of Dollars which influenced the genre forever after. It remains an exciting and important entry from the early Italian Western era. Co-starring Fernando Sancho, Ethel Rojo, Georges Rivière, Diana Martin.
Last Man Standing (1996, Dir: Walter Hill)
Say what you want, but aside from A Fistful of Dollars, this is the best Yojimbo remake that exists. There is a certain Van Damme movie that hardly anyone knows about, but that one is of course not a top notch movie. This one is I think. It’s got a great soundtrack, great cast, tough action and violence, and amazing gunfights. Bruce Willis just knocks it out of the park in this one. And hell, it’s got akimbo Colts, Christopher Walken, and a hot damsel in distress. Bring it on, what a movie! Co-starring David Patrick Kelly, Bruce Dern and William Sanderson. (Seb)
Modern Times (1936, Dir: Charlie Chaplin)
The continuing adventures of the iconic “Little Tramp” who is trying to adjust to working in a modern factory. One of Chaplin’s most famous comedy classics is also a commentary on The Great Depression, which was, as he saw it, caused by the effects of an industrialized society. An influential and brilliant work of silent cinema with iconic sequences featuring the Tramp frantically trying to keep up the pace on an assembly line and being force fed by a newfangled automatic food machine. Co-starring Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Stanley Sandford, Chester Conklin.
Stone (1974, Dir: Sandy Harbutt)
The story focuses on a gang who are being assassinated one by one. Enter an undercover cop named Stone (Ken Shorter) who is sent to find out who is behind the killings. Stone undergoes a life changing experience as he spends time with the gang and gets closer with the members. A main aspect that set this movie apart from the American movies is the actual bikes the gang ride, instead of Harley choppers, they’ve got Kawasaki 900s. The film is particularly special because it was able to capture a certain period in Aussie biker culture that was never seen again. It remains a loved cult classic along with other Ozploitation films of its era like Mad Max.
Mad Max (1979, Dir: George Miller)
Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is a good hearted police officer in the Main Force Patrol of Australia. After chasing The Nightrider, a criminal who dies in a car crash, Max and his fellow cops are targeted by his brethren, a group of nomadic bikers led by the maniacal Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne). The stunt sequences which feature motorcycles and cars are some of the greatest ever filmed. Director George Miller had been a medical doctor in Victoria, Australia and witnessed many victims of car and motorcycle accidents. Much of the film is inspired by that time he spent in hospitals. Mad Max was essentially a spaghetti western with cars instead of horses it also had aspects of a comic book with its colorful characters and stylized direction/editing. There were two editions released: the original Australian cut and an American dubbed version which was made because distributors felt people wouldn’t be able to understand the Aussie accents.
The Road Warrior (1981, Dir: George Miller)
In this second installment of the series, Max has become a scavenger-like drifter following a World War and total collapse of civilization due to a global gas shortage. A new threat has emerged on the roads in the form of a roving band of outlaws led by “The Humungus” (Kjell Nilsson), a masked, musclebound brute who has set his sights on attacking one of the last oil refinerys in the Outback wasteland. It is being guarded by a group of self styled warriors who are promised safe passage out of the territory if they give it up to him. Max finds himself thrown into the middle of a mini war after he makes a deal with the oil refinery’s leader Papagallo (Michael Preston), to retreive a large freighter than can haul their fuel in return for some gas. This leads Max on an epic road chase that has become one of the most celebrated for action film fans.
Yojimbo (1961, Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
The tale of a drifting samurai (Toshiro Mifune) who arrives in a small town where he plays two warring factions against each other. This masterpiece would inspire two excellent remakes: Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing. Both playing this month.
Suspicion (1941, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock)
Cary Grant is Johnnie Aysgarth, a dashing rogue who meets and woos a young unsuspecting woman named Lina (Joan Fontaine) on a train. While Johnnie appears to be a charming playboy with everything together, he hides a secret that leads his relationship with Lina down a dark path. One of Hitch’s greatest romance themed psychological thrillers. Co-starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty.
The Oblong Box (1969, Dir: Gordon Hessler)
In 1865, Sir Edward Markham (Alister Williamson) is kept hidden away by his brother (Vincent Price) due to his disfigurment in a voodoo ritual for misdeeds against the African people. When Sir Edward decides to escape his confines he has a witchdoctor create a potion that will make it appear he has died. He is then put into a coffin and buried. When he is later dug up by graverobbers and brought to Dr. Neuharrtt (Christopher Lee), Sir Edward uses his knowledge of the Doctor’s illegal activities to blackmail him. Without anyone knowing Sir Edward is still alive he decides to get his revenge on those he believes wronged him. Co-starring Rupert Davies, Uta Levka, Sally Geeson.
Curse of Frankenstein (1957, Dir: Terence Fisher)
This British take on the classic Frankenstein tale (first produced by Universal Studios) was Hammer Studios’ first color film. Due to the film’s immense popularity, co-star Christopher Lee would be cast as another horror genre character which would become his iconic role: Count Dracula. Starring Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein, Hazel Court and Robert Urquhart.