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Obsession, Kink, and Christopher Lee: Mario Bava’s The Whip And The Body (1963)

18 July 2017 2:33 PM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Gothic horror found its way into the American mainstream in the early 1960s courtesy of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations for American International Pictures. Movies with a tortured Vincent Price brooding around darkened castles, longing for the spirits of some long-lost love were reaching audiences on the same screens as Frankie and Annette and the Beach Party series—and from the same studio, no less. Over in Europe, though, it was a totally different story.

Mario Bava’s The Whip and the Body (La frusta e il corpo) is gothic horror of a very different sort. Yes, there are darkened castles and brooding characters and waves crashing against cliffs and possible madness, but it’s of a much, much more adult nature than its American counterparts. After an affair that led to the suicide of a servant’s daughter, Kurt Menliff (Christopher Lee) returns to his family castle »

- Patrick Bromley

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How George A. Romero Changed the Course of American Independent Film

17 July 2017 4:48 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Predictably, most of the memorials for the late great horror director George A. Romero focused on his influence on the zombie and wider horror genre.  Yes, he was important and influential in that area. But his legacy is much wider. More than any other filmmaker, Romero changed the course of independent film making in America.

Independent films have been around as long as movies existed. Indeed, in their infancy all early features from around 1912 were basically independent, before the Hollywood studio system rapidly evolved in the late teens.

Though the majors dominated moviemaking and distribution from their hub in Southern California, many independent filmmakers such as Edgar G. Ulmer, the idiosyncratic Edward Wood, African-American pioneer Oscar Micheaux and various ethnic cinemas flourished on the side. In 1955 Robert Altman was making industrial films in Kansas City when he was hired by a local businessman to make his first feature, the low-budget »

- Tom Brueggemann

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The Valachi Papers

15 July 2017 11:17 AM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Charles Bronson plays a real-life Mafiosi in a period picture with a fine script, some good performances and a production so sloppy that the whole thing could be called The Anachronism Papers. Joseph Wiseman and Lino Ventura bring additional tough-guy star-power, and Bronson actually commits himself to the role — quite a change of pace for one of his later pictures.

The Valachi Papers

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1972 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 125 min. / Street Date June 13, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Walter Chiari, Joseph Wiseman, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Amedeo Nazzari, Fausto Tozzi, Pupella Maggio, Angelo Infanti, Guido Leontini.

Cinematography: Aldo Tonti

Film Editor: Johnny Dwyre, Monica Finzi

Original Music: Riz Ortolani, Armando Trovajoli

Written by Stephen Geller from the novel by Peter Maas

Produced by Dino De Laurentiis, Roger Duchet

Directed by Terence Young

In 2001 I received the plum assignment of editing a »

- Glenn Erickson

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1980 and the Death of the Disco Musical

10 July 2017 9:03 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

The AppleThe musical possesses a unique form of power rarely afforded to other Hollywood genres. In the words of film scholar Rick Altman, “The musical invites us to forget familiar notions of plot, psychological motivation, and causal relationships.” In contrast to other commercial genres, the musical is almost one-of-a-kind in its ability to arrest time and space, to suspend disbelief, to defy our lived understanding of human relationships and even the very conventions of filmgoing. In what other mainstream genre can fictional characters get away with looking into the camera lens so often? Dramatic logic is replaced in the Hollywood musical by spectacle and raw emotional appeal, with singing as the defining device for such purely cinematic priorities.But what happens to the musical when singing is taken out of it? This was the conundrum of the short-lived disco musical, a sub-genre that ended as soon as it began.Popular »

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Juju Chan in talks to star in thriller 'Pepper'

9 July 2017 5:35 PM, PDT | IF.com.au | See recent IF.com.au news »

(L-r) Pam Collis, Antony Szeto, Juju Chan, Janice Eymann, Wayne Borg,Tony Cheng and Kent Chen.

Chinese/American actress Juju Chan, hailed as a female Bruce Lee by her fans, is in negotiations to play the lead role in Pepper, an action-thriller scripted by Janice Eymann.

Australian-born, Hong Kong-based director/actor/producer Antony Szeto is set to direct the film, the saga of a secret agent who comes to Far North Queensland in search of her missing brother, a fellow agent.

Eymann and fellow producers Pam Collis and Paul O.Kane are developing the project with Tony Cheng, the chairman of Beijing Tong Fa Group, and Kent Chen, the group.s director/general manager. .

The aim is to shoot the film next year, possibly as a Chinese-Australian co-production, which would benefit from the favorable terms of releasing Chinese films in mainland cinemas.

Juju.s credits include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: »

- Don Groves

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Review: "Frankenstein: The Real Story" And "The Real Wolfman"'; History Channel DVD Release

3 July 2017 7:00 AM, PDT | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

By Sara Reineke

Behind every ghoulish, nightmarish creature brought to life on the silver screen, there are stories that blur the line between history and myth. In this grey area of human history, we are forced to question the limitations of man and contemplate the possibility of the impossible. Two such stories are explored in the History Channel’s double feature DVD release of Frankenstein: The Real Story and The Real Wolfman.

The Real Wolfman (2009) follows a two man investigation team who’ve traveled to France to search for the truth behind the accounts of the fabled “Beast of Gevaudan.” The first half of this unlikely pair of investigators is a cynical, retired New Jersey cop of 25 years. He plans to use modern criminal analysis to prove it was a flesh and blood human behind 102 killings in the summer of 1764. His partner is an experienced crypto-zoologist whose deep knowledge of »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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Exploring the music of Edgar Wright's Cornetto trilogy

29 June 2017 12:43 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

Mark Harrison Jul 3, 2017

Music is a vital part of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End. We take a look in more detail right here...

This feature contains major spoilers for Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End.

Edgar Wright's films are often likened to musicals, with his precise use of editing and shot choices giving us some of the most stylish comedy films of the century. His latest, Baby Driver, isn't a comedy per se, but “a musical with car chases”, or “An American In Paris on wheels and crack smoke”, as an elated Guillermo del Toro described it on Twitter.

Centring around Ansel Elgort's Baby, a getaway driver who does his best work while listening to a personal soundtrack, it seems like the film Wright was born to make. He had the idea for the film after making his first feature, »

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All of the Films Joining Filmstruck’s Criterion Channel This July

26 June 2017 10:33 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This July will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Saturday, July 1 Changing Faces

What does a face tell us even when it’s disguised or disfigured? And what does it conceal? Guest curator Imogen Sara Smith, a critic and author of the book In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City, assembles a series of films that revolve around enigmatic faces transformed by masks, scars, and surgery, including Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960) and Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another (1966).

Tuesday, July 4 Tuesday’s Short + Feature: Premature* and Ten*

Come hitch a ride with Norwegian director Gunhild Enger and the late Iranian master »

- Ryan Gallagher

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Drive-In Dust Offs: Piranha (1978)

24 June 2017 10:16 AM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Homage in film can be a tricky proposition. Hew too close to the original, and you’re just making copies with no new toner; veer too far away and folks will wonder why you bothered. Joe Dante’s Piranha (1978) is that perfect beast then - a Jaws “rip-off” that bows to its source while winking at the audience, and yet still manages to be a wholly separate, wildly entertaining ride.

Released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures in North America in early August (capitalizing on Jaws’ still undulating waves), Piranha was that rare New World phenomenon: It made some good coin ($16 million worldwide against a $600,000 budget) And was well received by critics. Steven Spielberg himself was so won over by Dante’s take and talent that it led to collaborations on Twilight Zone: The Movie, Gremlins, and other projects. Piranha proves that you can hug someone, slap a “Kick Me” sign on their back, »

- Scott Drebit

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How a low budget film led to James Cameron's Aliens

23 June 2017 7:03 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

Ryan Lambie Jul 14, 2017

A cult gem in its own right, 1981's Galaxy Of Terror also gave James Cameron his start in big-screen filmmaking...

In most respects, it's pure Roger Corman: low-budget, swiftly made, and loaded with gratuitous gore and bare flesh. But take a closer look at Galaxy Of Terror, the amiably tawdry sci-fi horror flick released by Corman's New World in 1981, and you'll see the creative fingerprints of one James Cameron.

See related  8 Star Wars games we'd like to see

Directed by Bruce D Clark - who also co-wrote - Galaxy Of Terror slams together the plots of Ridley Scott's Alien and the 50s classic, Forbidden Planet. A group of explorers land on the planet Morganthus, where they discover a huge ancient pyramid; one by one, the visitors are terrorised and killed by monsters from their subconscious. One luckless character is torn apart by claws and tentacles »

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Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

21 June 2017 11:07 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A few days ago, my colleague Owen Gleiberman wrote a scathing essay questioning whether Colin Trevorrow was the right choice to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” suggesting that the “Jurassic World” helmer’s in-between indie, “The Book of Henry,” is such an abomination we have reason to think he could ruin the franchise that has already weathered the likes of Gungans and Ewoks.

It was a tough essay, so much so that I genuinely feared Trevorrow’s job could be in danger. And then a funny thing happened. “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy fired the directors on a completely different “Star Wars” movie, axing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo project. What!?!?

The universe needs directors like Lord and Miller more than ever these days — and not just the “Star Wars” universe, mind you, but the multiverse of cinematic storytelling in general. Lord and Miller represent that rarest of breeds: directors with a fresh and unique vision, backed by the nerve to stand up for what they believe in.

Related

Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)

Just look at their track record: After starting their careers as TV writers (they created the MTV cartoon series “Clone High” and wrote for “How I Met Your Mother”), the duo made their feature directorial debut with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a wildly imaginative reinvention of a 32-page children’s book that heralded them as bold, outside-the-box comedy storytellers.

Then they made the jump to live-action, bringing their trademark brand of hip, pop-savvy self-awareness to the feature-length “21 Jump Street” remake. Few animation directors have survived the leap from animation to live-action (just consider the likes of “John Carter” and “Monster Trucks”), but Lord and Miller took to the new medium like naturals (technically, they had experience from their TV writing days — and I remember hearing stories that they’d actually taken a break from “Cloudy” to write an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” just so they wouldn’t lose their Writers Guild insurance benefits, but that’s another story about animators don’t enjoy the same protection in this industry).

“21 Jump Street” took the concept of a tired old ’80s TV show — two baby-faced cops go undercover as high-school students — and rebooted it with a playful twist, turning the ludicrous setup into one giant joke. Then came “The Lego Movie,” in which they cracked one of the weirdest assignments in 21st-century filmmaking — bring the popular line of kids toys to life — in a wholly original way, embracing the fact that Legos had spawned an almost cult-like sub-genre of fan films (to capitalize on the trend, the Lego company had even released a “MovieMaker Set” in 2000, complete with stop-motion camera and Steven Spielberg-styled minifigure) to make the ultimate wisecracking meta-movie.

After that string of successes, Lord and Miller had become two of the hottest names in town, able to pick their projects. But like so many directors of their generation — children of the ’70s whose love of cinema had been inspired by George Lucas’ game-changing space opera, what they wanted was to make a “Star Wars” movie. For a moment, that seemed possible, since the producers were hiring indie directors like Rian Johnson (“Brick”) and Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) to helm these tentpoles.

On paper, Lord and Miller’s irreverent sensibility seemed like a perfect match for Han Solo, the franchise’s most sardonic character. One has to assume that it was precisely that take Kathy Kennedy and the “Star Wars” producers wanted when they hired the duo. But this is where modern critics, columnists and the fan community at large fail to understand a fundamental change that is happening at the blockbuster level in Hollywood: These directors are not being chosen to put their personal stamp on these movies. They are being hired to do the opposite, to suppress their identity and act grateful while the producers make all the key creative decisions.

Want to know why Trevorrow was picked to direct “Jurassic World” when his only previous credit was a nifty little sci-fi indie called “Safety Not Guaranteed”? It’s because he plays well with others, willing to follow exec producer Steven Spielberg’s lead when necessary. Going in to the assignment, Trevorrow had no experience directing complicated action sequences or overseeing massive-budget special effects. He didn’t need it, because those aspects of the movie were delegated to seasoned heads of department, while Trevorrow focused on what he does best: handling the interpersonal chemistry between the lead characters. (Personally, I hold Trevorrow responsible for the decision to film Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels, but not the turducken-like gag where a giant CG monosaur rises up to swallow the pterodactyl that’s eating Bryce’s assistant. Surely someone else oversaw that nearly-all-digital sequence.)

Independent schlock producer Roger Corman memorably observed that in the post-“Jaws,” post-“Star Wars” era, the A movies have become the B movies, and the B movies have become the A movies — which is another way of saying that today, instead of taking risks on smart original movies for grown-up sensibilities (say, tony literary adaptations and films based on acclaimed Broadway plays), the studios are investing most of their resources into comic-book movies and the equivalent of cliffhanger serials (from Tarzan to Indiana Jones).

To Corman’s equation I would add the following corollary: On today’s tentpoles, the director’s job is to take orders, while producers and other pros are called in to oversee the complicated practical and CG sequences that ultimately define these movies. It’s an extension of the old second-unit model, wherein experienced stunt and action-scene professionals handled the logistics of car chases and exotic location work — except that now, such spectacular sequences are the most important part of effects-driven movies. Meanwhile, the one ingredient the producers can’t fake or figure out on their own is the human drama, which is the reason that directors of Sundance films keep getting handed huge Hollywood movies: to deliver the chemistry that will make audiences care about all those big set pieces.

How times have changed: In the 1980s, the only one who would make a movie like “Fantastic Four” was Corman, which he did for peanuts, whereas two years ago, Fox dumped more than $125 million into the same property. And the director they picked? Josh Trank, whose only previous feature had been the low-budget “Chronicle.” Let’s not forget that Trank ankled his own “Star Wars” spinoff, which I suspect had everything to do with realizing what happens when forced to relinquish control of a project in which he’s listed as the in-title-only director.

Back in the ’60s, a group of French critics writing for Cahiers du Cinéma coined what has come to be known as “the auteur theory,” a relatively quaint idea that the director (as opposed the screenwriter, star or some other creative contributor) is the “author” of a film. In the half-century since, critics everywhere have fallen for this fantastical notion that directors have creative autonomy over the movies they make — when in fact, as often as not, that simply isn’t the case.

The auteur theory makes for a convenient myth, of course, and one that lazy critics have long perpetuated, because it’s much to difficult to give credit where it’s due when confronted with the already-cooked soufflé of a finished movie. Critics aren’t allowed into the kitchen, after all, and though countless chefs (or heads of department, to clarify the metaphor) contribute to any given film production, it’s virtually impossible to identify who was really responsible for the choices that make the film what it is.

How much of “Citizen Kane’s” creative genius can be attributed to cinematographer Gregg Toland? Would “Jaws” or “Star Wars” have been even half as effective without composer John Williams? Did editor Ralph Rosenblum save “Annie Hall”? And most relevant to the discussion at hand: Is it correct to think of “Rebecca” as an Alfred Hitchcock movie (he directed it, after all), or does the result more thoroughly reflect the hand of producer David O. Selznick?

This is all complicated by the fact that an entire class of filmmakers — the so-called “film-school generation” — seized upon the auteur theory, turning it into something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the likes of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas and so on left their signature on the movies they made. Meanwhile, the Cahiers critics (several of whom went on to become directors, among them Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut) were protected by a uniquely French copyright law dating back to the 18th century, known as the “droit d’auteur,” which entitled them to final cut (a privilege precious few Hollywood directors have).

But these remain the exception, not the rule. In the case of the “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars” franchises, the director is decidedly not the auteur. To the extent that a single vision forms the creative identity of these films, it’s almost always the producer we should hold responsible. To understand that, we need only look back to the original “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” a movie “directed” by Irvin Kershner, but every bit George Lucas’ brainchild (he reportedly hand-picked Kershner for his strength with character development). The same goes for Richard Marquand on “Return of the Jedi.”

This shouldn’t be a scandalous revelation. It just doesn’t fit with the self-aggrandizing narrative that many directors have chosen for themselves. Yes, the 1989 “Batman” is without question “a Tim Burton movie”: Burton has such an incredibly distinctive aesthetic, and the personality to push it through a system that’s virtually designed to thwart such originality. But when it comes to the incredibly successful “X-Men” franchise, there’s no question that producer (and “Superman” director) Richard Donner deserves as much credit as those first two films’ director, Bryan Singer. Simply put, that franchise owes its personality to both of their involvement.

But when it comes to “Jurassic World,” that movie probably wouldn’t look much different in the hands of someone other than Trevorrow. And the same can almost certainly be said for the “Star Wars” movie he’s been hired to direct, because in both cases, it’s the producers who are steering the ship. When the stakes are this high, it would be downright reckless to give complete autonomy to relatively unproven directors.

That’s increasingly the case in Hollywood these days. Director Dave Green (who’d made a tiny Amblin-style movie called “Earth to Echo”) went through it on a franchise project produced by Michael Bay. He was tapped to helm “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” only to discover that he had no autonomy. Granted, Green was still wet behind the ears and had no experience with a nine-digit budget or big union crew. But that wasn’t the job, because Bay never expected him to handle everything. Instead, the producer pulled in more experienced professionals to oversee much of the action and visual effects, while Green followed orders and worked his magic with the actors.

You can bet Tom Cruise’s paycheck that the same thing happened on “The Mummy,” in which Alex Kurtzman is listed as director, but the producer-star was reportedly calling most of the shots. How appropriate that a Universal monster movie reboot should be the victim of what amounts to a kind of creative Frankenstein effect.

Likewise, Marvel has had more success (both financially and artistically) forcing directors to conform to an inflexible set of aesthetic guidelines than it did when art-house “auteur” Ang Lee experimented with his own ideas on 2003’s “Hulk.” And though Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón is celebrated for the personal touch he brought to the Harry Potter franchise, it was relatively malleable British TV director David Yates whom writer-producer J.K. Rowling approved to direct four more films in the series.

So where does that leave us with “Star Wars”? On one hand, it’s perfectly understandable that the producers would want Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, since he’s already demonstrated his capacity to play along with the producers. Meanwhile, it’s disheartening — but not altogether surprising — that a directorial duo as gifted as Lord and Miller have been fired from the Han Solo film, since they’ve been known to fight for the creative integrity of their vision.

But it’s a loss to the “Star Wars” world, since Lord and Miller’s previous credits demonstrate the kind of unique take they might have brought to the franchise. Warner Bros. trusted the duo enough on “The Lego Movie” to let them poke fun at Batman — arguably the studio’s most precious IP, previously rendered oh-so-serious in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Lord and Miller’s minifigure Dark Knight was a brooding egomaniac and the funniest thing about that film, so much so that Warners ran with it, producing a spinoff that stretched the joke to feature length.

Sony Pictures Animation (where Lord and Miller made “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) was similarly enthusiastic about their input on Spider-Man, greenlighting the pair’s high-attitude idea for an animated movie centered around Miles Morales, the Black Hispanic superhero who took over web-slinging duties after Peter Parker’s death. Though they’re not directing, the script is said to bear their fingerprints — which it seems is exactly what Kennedy and company don’t want on the Han Solo project.

With any luck, Lord and Miller will see the “Star Wars” setback as the opportunity that it is: Rather than being forced to color within the lines of a controlling producer’s vision, they can potentially explore the more individual (dare I say, “auteurist”?) instinct they so clearly possess on a less-protected property. Heck, maybe Sony’s Spider-Man project will be the one to benefit. Or perhaps they’ll be in the enviable position of pitching an original movie. Not all directors have such a strong or clear sense of vision that they can be trusted to exert it over a massive studio tentpole, but Lord and Miller are among the few actively reshaping the comedy landscape. Now is their moment, although as Han Solo would say, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”

Related stories'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)'Star Wars' Han Solo Film Loses Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller »

- Peter Debruge

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Lord and Miller: 12 other directors who left/got fired from movies during production

21 June 2017 5:52 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Luke Owen looks at directors who left/got fired from movies during production…

With the shocking news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have vacated the director’s chairs for the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo movie over “creative differences” (some sources say they were forced out), I thought it was time to look at some other directors who faced similar issues.

It’s no secret that making a tentpole movie for a studio is tricky. Duncan Jones has been very vocal as of late about the issues he had with last year’s Warcraft, and it was rumoured a few years ago that Gareth Edwards faced an uphill battle with Warner Bros. and Legendary on 2014’s Godzilla reboot. The 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie had its script re-written the weekend before production started with no input from the directors, who were then locked out of the editing room during post-production (they were eventually let back in).

Most of the time directors leave before production actually starts, and someone new is brought in. Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, Patty Jenkins left Thor: The Dark World, Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith both left The Flash, Ben Affleck stepped down from The Batman, Stephen Herrick left Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; the list goes on. But very rarely does a director leave (or get fired) while the movie is in production. Usually if a studio loses faith in the director at that point, they would bring in someone else to “oversee” the movie and get it over the finish line. The aforementioned Godzilla saw this very occurrence, as did Mission: Impossible II when the legendary Stuart Baird was brought in to “fix” the movie Jon Woo originally helmed. Baird in fact has a long history with this, being a fixer on titles such as Superman: The Motion Picture, The Omen and Lethal Weapon.

There are still four or so weeks left on the Han Solo movie (plus the already planned reshoots), so let’s look back at a few other directors who left/got fired from their films.

The Wizard of Oz, 1939

It seems crazy to think that one of the most beloved movies of all-time had such a tumultuous production, but The Wizard of Oz in fact saw six different directors helm the movie. Norman Taurog originally shot test footage, but was quickly replaced with Richard Thorpe who shot for around two weeks when Taurog was moved to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Producer Mervyn LeRoy felt that Thorpe was rushing the production, and his short time on the film was probably not helped when original Tin Man Buddy Epsen was hospitalised after the metal make-up coated his lungs and left him on an Iron Lung.

None of Thorpe’s footage made it into the final cut (although he did shoot Dorothy’s first meeting Scarecrow and several scenes at The Wicked Witch’s castle), and George Cucker came in after Thorpe was fired. However, Cucker didn’t actually shoot any footage, and was there to simply oversee the plans to re-shoot all of Thorpe’s work until Victor Fleming came in. Although he was eventually the only credited director, Fleming left before production ended to film Gone with the Wind, and the shooting was finished by King Vidor and LeRoy.

Gone with the Wind, 1939

Speaking of Gone with the Wind, George Cucker had been developing the movie with producer David O. Selznick for around two years, but was removed from the project three weeks into production. According to reports, the decision to remove Cucker was Clark Gable’s and it angered fellow co-stars Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland who went to Selznick’s office to demand he be re-hired. In Cucker’s place was Victor Fleming, who shot the majority of the movie over ninety-three days (although Cucker was secretly coaching Leigh and Havilland behind the scenes). Fleming wasn’t the final name on the movie however, as he had to take a short break due to exhaustion and Sam Wood shot for around twenty-three days.

Spartacus, 1960

Although considered a Stanley Kubrick movie, he wasn’t the first name attached to Spartacus. After David Lean turned down the movie, it was offered to Anthony Mann who was then fired by star Kirk Douglas after just one week of production. According to Douglas in his autobiography, Mann was “scared” of the size and scope of Spartacus and wasn’t capable of finishing the film.

Superman II, 1980

Shooting for Superman II was done alongside Superman: The Motion Picture in 1977 with Richard Donner doing both films. However the film was under a lot of pressure, with overrunning schedules and budget, which producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler attributed to Donner. After everything was shot for Superman: The Motion Picture, Superman II was placed on hiatus. Once Superman: The Motion Picture was an instant hit, the producers brought in Richard Lester to replace Donner on Superman II and shoot around the footage already filmed. Why Lester replaced Donner is still up for debate. Spengler has claimed that Donner was asked to come back but refused, while Donner claims he only found out Superman II was getting underway when he received a fax from the Salkinds telling him his services weren’t required.

The cast and crew did not take the replacement lightly, with creative consultants Tom Mankiewicz and editor Stuart Baird refusing to return for the sequel, along with Gene Hackman who was replaced with a body double. Although Marlon Brando had already shot everything for both movies, he successfully sued the Salkinds who then cut him out of the sequel. Years later, Warner Bros. released the Richard Donner cut of Superman II on home video as Superman II: The Donner Cut.

Piranha II: The Spawning, 1981

Piranha II was originally set to be directed by Roger Corman graduate Miller Drake, who envisioned a version of the movie which saw the return of Kevin McCarthy (who died in the original film). Drake was then replaced with James Cameron who was working on the film’s special effects department, and he then re-wrote the script under the pseudonym H.A. Milton. However around two weeks into production, Cameron was fired by producer Ovidio G. Assonitis who felt he wasn’t doing a good enough job. Assonitis wouldn’t let Cameron review any of the footage he’d shot during his time on the movie, and was even making all of the day-to-day decisions.

A regularly reported story was that Cameron broke into the editing room while the producers were in Cannes to cut his version of the movie, which was then re-cut by Assonitis. “Then the producer wouldn’t take my name off the picture because [contractually] they couldn’t deliver it with an Italian name,” Cameron said in a 1991 La Times interview. “So they left me on, no matter what I did. I had no legal power to influence him from Pomona, California, where I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I didn’t even know an attorney. In actual fact, I did some directing on the film, but I don’t feel it was my first movie.”

WarGames, 1983

WarGames began life as a very different movie titled The Genius in 1979 about a much older gentlemen, but this changed when writers Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker discovered a large youth-movement in the computer world, who would later be known as hackers. The character of David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick) was even modeled after hacking enthusiast David Scott Lewis.

When the film went into production it was being helmed by Martin Brest who was then removed from the movie 12-days into shooting after a disagreement with the producers. In his place was John Badham, whose first act was to lighten the tone of the movie. “[Brest had] taken a somewhat dark approach to the story, and saw Matthew’s character as someone who was rebelling against his parents, and who was just kind of stewing inside,” he told The Hollywood Interview in 2009. “There was that tone to it. I said ‘If I was 16 and could get on a computer and change my grades or my girlfriend’s grades, I would be peeing in my pants with excitement!’ And the way it was shot, it was like they were doing some Nazi undercover thing. So it was my job to make it seem like they were having fun, and that it was exciting, but it wasn’t this dark rebellion.” »

- Luke Owen

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A Look at Al Capone in the Movies

19 June 2017 7:42 PM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

Al Capone is America’s best known gangster and the single greatest symbol of the collapse of law and order in the United States during the 1920s Prohibition era. Capone had a leading role in the illegal activities that lent Chicago its reputation as a lawless city and an interesting variety of Hollywood stars have had the leading role as Al Capone in the many films that have been made that featured him as a character.

The first film about Capone was produced when he was still making headlines. The main character may be named Antonio Camonte, but there’s little doubt as to who producer Howard Hughes had in mind when he and director Howard Hawks filmed Scarface during the Great Depression. Camonte shares more than the same initials with one Al Capone, who was about to begin his eleven-year sentence for tax evasion when the movie was released »

- Tom Stockman

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8 Million Ways to Die

16 June 2017 3:59 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Tonight on ‘movies we really want to like’ we have Hal Ashby’s final feature, an L.A.- based crime saga with a great cast and spirited direction and . . . and not much else. It isn’t the train wreck described in Kino’s candid actor interviews, but we can see only too well why it wasn’t a big winner when new. Any day that a Jeff Bridges picture doesn’t shine, is a dark day in my book.

8 Million Ways to Die

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1986 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 115 min. / Street Date June 20, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul, Randy Brooks.

Cinematography: Stephen H. Burum

Film Editor: Robert Lawrence, Stuart H. Pappé

Original Music: James Newton Howard

Written by Oliver Stone, David Lee Henry (R. Lance Hill) from the book by Lawrence Block

Produced by Steve Roth

Directed by Hal Ashby

 

Well, »

- Glenn Erickson

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Interview: Alan Ritchson on Going Full Throttle into the Carnage & Comedy of Syfy’s Blood Drive Series

14 June 2017 1:11 PM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Burning rubber on the small screen tonight is the first episode of Blood Drive, a new Syfy series that's both a lurid love letter to Roger Corman's Death Race movies and the gory, glorious drive-in days of old, while also making a mark with its own crimson-stained swagger. Taking place in a world circa 1999 where water is coveted above currency and violence is commonplace, Blood Drive is populated with intriguing characters looking to make it across the finish line in a cross-country race with a big prize and an even bigger penalty for losing. There is nothing else on television quite like Blood Drive, and with the series premiering tonight on Syfy at 10:00pm Et, I had the pleasure of speaking with lead actor Alan Ritchson about playing Arthur Bailey, a moral compass in a world gone mad.

Hi Alan, thanks for taking the time to talk. I've »

- Derek Anderson

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'Blood Drive': TV Review

13 June 2017 6:32 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - TV News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - TV News news »

Blood Drive, Syfy's new celebration of all things grindhouse, probably won't come up in your next discussion of Prestige TV or Emmy contenders for 2018. But in a medium prone to artistic pretensions, some realized and some damningly elusive, there's some value in a show that just aspires to be a bloody, leering, disreputable hoot and largely succeeds.

Created by James Roland, Blood Drive is the kind of series that would immediately bankrupt Syfy were the network forced to pay royalties to the many schlock and B-movie auteurs who inspired it. Roger Corman would probably be at the front of »

- Daniel Fienberg

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Melvin And Howard June 16th at Webster University ‘A Tribute to Jonathan Demme’

12 June 2017 2:48 PM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

“No one seems to love or understand me. Oh what hard luck stories they all hand me”

Melvin And Howard screens Friday, June 16th at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood). This is the third film in their ‘Tribute to Jonathan Demme’ The movie starts at 8:00pm.

Paul Le Mat is an average Joe named Melvin E. Dummar in Melvin And Howard (1980) an effective combination of drama and comedy from director Jonathan Demme. Melvin often finds it difficult to make ends meet, no matter what line of work he’s in. Then, one day, it seems as if his luck might change. A stranger leaves on his desk a will proclaiming Melvin to be one of 16 heirs to the fortune of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Once upon a time, Melvin had given a lift to an aged, decrepit looking individual (Jason Robards) who claimed to be Hughes. The »

- Tom Stockman

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M.F.A. Acquired for Us Distribution by Dark Sky Films & Mpi Media Group

8 June 2017 2:27 PM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

As scary as a cabin in the woods can be, one of the most disturbing backdrops for a film can be the college culture, where horrors that are all too real sometimes take place. Such is the case in Natalie Leite’s M.F.A., which made its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival (read Heather's review here) and has now been acquired for Us distribution by Dark Sky Films.

Press Release: New York, NY (June 8, 2017) - Mpi Media Group announced today that it has acquired all rights in the U.S. to M.F.A., a critically acclaimed powerful thriller starring Francesca Eastwood in a stand out role. The film, from female director and female screenwriter, takes on the searing current issue of sexual violence on campus. M.F.A will be released domestically this fall under the company's Dark Sky Films banner.

The distribution agreement was negotiated by Nicola Goelzhaeuser, Mpi's »

- Derek Anderson

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Crazy Mama June 10th at Webster University ‘A Tribute to Jonathan Demme’

8 June 2017 9:01 AM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

Crazy Mama screens Saturday, June 10th at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood). This is the second film in their ‘Tribute to Jonathan Demme’ The movie starts at 8:00pm.

A band of beauty shop desperadoes cartoonishly plunder their way from California to Arkansas to reclaim the old family farm in the 1975 hillbilly masterpiece Crazy Mama directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by Roger Corman, who made a whole series of these backwoods desperadoes flicks in the ’70s.

Cloris Leachman stars as Melba Stokes, who runs a beauty parlor in Long Beach, California with her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) and her daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl). When the shop is repossessed by banker Jim Backus (aka Thurston Howell III in a great little cameo) Melba and the ladies head back to Arkansas and the family farm which was stolen away from them when shea was a girl. Along for the ride is Cheryl’s boyfriend, »

- Tom Stockman

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Directors' Trademarks: James Cameron

5 June 2017 10:50 AM, PDT | Cinelinx | See recent Cinelinx news »

Directors’ trademarks is a series of articles that examines the “signatures” that filmmakers leave behind in their work. This month, we’re looking at the trademark style and calling signs of James Cameron as director.

In college, James Cameron decided that he wanted to be a screenwriter. He switched from majoring in Physics to majoring in English, before eventually deciding to drop out and raise money to start his career. During that time, he worked many odd jobs, until he was finally inspired by Star Wars in 1977 to start his career in the film industry. In the early 1980’s he first worked as a miniature model builder at Roger Corman studios, demonstrating a talent for creating innovative special effects. Over time, he became a production designer, and special effects director. In 1981, he was a special effects director for the film Piranha II: The Spawning. Numerous production delays cost the original director his job, »

- feeds@cinelinx.com (G.S. Perno)

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