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Joe Dante directs this story of the glamour, the glitter, the magical allure of Hollywood... and not a speck of it rubs off on Miracle Pictures, where "If it's a good picture, it's a Miracle." This is a hilarious tribute to the unsung heroes who grind out the B movies massacred by critics, but nursed fondly in the hearts of film fans everywhere. Written by
Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).
I spent the best years of the 1970s at the drive-in, and this film is a most enjoyable look at drive-in movies and the people who made them. If you don't count the Ingmar Bergmans, it may be the best picture ever released by New World Studios. I saw this on big screen, before the print had gotten very many scratches, and more recently on video where it held up as any other classic does.
New World editors Joe Dante and Allan Arkush were allowed by boss Roger Corman to direct a picture, within very strict budgetary limitations, and they produced this classic look at drive-in films and the people who make them, just a few years before the whole genre was kicked into limbo by the VCR. Through clever use of action footage from older New World films, Arkush and Dante brought their film in on budget and earned their first professional directorial credits.
Aspiring actress Candice Rialson (wow!) hits town, fresh from Indiana, and secures the services of scruffy talent agent Walter Paisley (okay!), who gets her work in lowbudget pix from Miracle Studios ("It it's a good picture, it's a Miracle!") -- where they make movies like BAD GIRL IN BOYS TOWN and ATOMIC WAR BRIDES, where director Paul Bartel reminds Godzilla, "Your motivation in this scene is to step on as many people as possible," and where Mary Woronov is the queen of the lot. Skinny snarling starlets blast away with machine guns. Extras from THE HOT BOX fall out of trees in the Philippines. Model-Ts crash in BIG BAD MAMA. Candy jumps to dodge rolling car debris. Wait a minute, somebody is killing the starlets here at Miracle! Rita George dies! Tara Strohmeier dies (NOOO!!!!). Who's doing it? Is Candy next on the list? Who will survive and what will be left of them?
We also visit a glam movie premiere at a Valley drive-in, watch a boy-girl scene scored to a somewhat revised version of "Everybody's Truckin'," with the band serenading the gropers live, and we see Paisley audition Robby the Robot ("Let me hear you say 'Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn'"). Candice Rialson is perfect (in her best role) as the naive Candy, Mary Woronov goes gleefully over the top as movie legend Mary McQueen, and Dick Miller should be in EVERY motion picture that comes out of Hollywood. The treatment of the wacky world of drive-in moviemaking is affectionate, there are a lot of cameos, and anyone who likes Dante's or Arkush's other work will find this well worth the 80-odd minutes it takes to watch. However, I have never been able to spot Belinda Balaski anywhere in this, and she's not named in the IMDB credits. Is this the only Dante film she's not in?
Corman remade the film in 1989 as HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD 2, with Ginger Lynn Allen in the lead, but it is just a remake, not a sequel, and even though the budget is considerably larger it is not as fresh or as funny (though it's not as bad as the remakes of BIG BAD MAMA or ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL).
This film belongs on a drive-in screen, not on your tv set, but since that is the only place you're ever going to see it now, crank up your living room Rolls Canardly and have some fun. I used to give this a rating of 9 on the IMDB scale, but having finally seen THE PASSION OF JEANNE D'ARC in the meantime, I have lowered BOULEVARD to a more realistic 8.
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