When this was filmed Arias was alive
When this was filmed Arias was alive
The main problem is that what is shown has already been shown in other films; even more accurately. About a year after Hughes died the made for TV movie "Howard the Amazing Mr. Hughes" depicted the 1927-1947 phase of Hughes life even more realistically than this movie does EXCEPT for one area, and that area is the strength of this movie and probably the reason, other than the centennial issue, why it was made. As I mentioned before other films have already shown this part of Hughes' life in realistic detail as this part of his life was very well documented. In one area though it was NOT well documented and that was about the intimate relations between Hughes and Katherine Hepburn. It was not until her death very recently that letters and notes and other writings between them were discovered in her personal effects. This represented the last known treasure trove of Hughes writings (until his infamous missing will is found) to be discovered. That gives a look at Hughes that had not been seen before. It also shows a lot of Hepburn that is not seen very often as it is part of her life that predates Spencer Tracey. That is, I believe, one of the main reasons why this film was made; not only as a tribute to Hughes but also to Hepburn- who was adored by the movie industry in her later years. The movie also implies that the breakup between the two started Howard Hughes over the edge, but I doubt that was the case in real life. Still, the scenes with the young Hepburn and Hughes are a refreshing part of the movie and I have no doubt that Cate Blanchett shows the young Hepburn as she really was in private with Hughes.
Speaking of romance- One of the problems with this film is the omission of even mentioning Hughes' first marriage- to the daughter of the founder of Rice University. They were married for five years and did not divorce until the filming of Hell's Angels (shown in this movie) was well underway. Why Katherine Hepburn's first marriage is mentioned in the movie and Hughes' is not is probably something of an oversight as it causes him to appear as a playboy who simply cannot commit whereas in reality he was married three times.
The technology used to film this movie was very sophisticated for its time and gave results that would challenge the technology of today. Film cameras instead of video cameras were used by the skydivers; nevertheless they obtained tremendous aerial shots that are thrilling even today. It is hard to believe that these scenes were filmed thirty six years ago.
The documentary film on the DVD about the making of this movie is absolutely essential to fully enjoy and understand the skydiving associated with this movie; including the "Bat Wing" stunt skydiving that forms a sort of particular drama with this movie. A better film documentary film about this movie, which I doubt exists or will be shown, would be about the making of the love scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. The had a love scene, of sorts, in the 1953 movie, "From Here to Eternity". That scene, on the beach, is quite well known. However, due to the Code restrictions then not really that much could be shown.
I believe that one unspoken reason this movie was made was to allow a reunion between Lancanster and Kerr. Also, she was willing to be naked in a movie, very rare for the late 1960s. Those would be the primary reasons why she was in the movie as she was actually somewhat miscast due to her accent; a definite British accent in Kansas is somewhat incongruous (nowhere in the movie are we told that she is, say, a war bride or a British girl who somehow otherwise married a Kansas man).
Having said that I am actually very glad they cast her! Nowadays I look a lot like her and worry about whether or not I can find another husband (divorced and looking). Debby showed that a girl could still get a gorgeous hunk like Burt even when she was 48! You guys just can't imagine what us middle aged gals feel when we see Debby and Burt finally doing the wild thing in that living room! It gives us hope that we can still get a man! Deborah Kerr still had a great body at 48, and that is why I think she did not mind doing the nude scene. I think she was not near as nervous showing off as Burt was and certainly not near as nervous as the director. Her performance was certainly a highlight of this movie.
Puzzling was the performance of William Windom; who portrayed her husband. His role is somewhat out of place; and I don't understand why his fine acting skills weren't use more than they were. His role is disjointed at best and it is hard to understand how the character is supposed to fit within this movie. There are absolutely no husband-wife dynamics shown between him and Kerr. Even in the most disjointed of marriages (such as the second of my two marriages) there is generally some sort of attachment between the two even though they may both be in the divorce court! Interestingly enough, when Lancaster was on this film he had just gone through a divorce. His wife was upset due to all the flings he had been through while married to her. Well, it is easy for this gal to see why he was not totally loyal to his wife; he had all those sexy women throwing themselves at him! And, if I had been around that area when this film was being made I would have been one of them! He was a good looking fellow then! Debby, you were a lucky gal!
Though I live overseas now I grew up in the United States in the 1960s (in fact, I still retain my U.S. citizenship). Some of the lines in this 1967 movie are, in fact, anachronisms (they were not in the language in the 1860s or 1870s when this movie was set). The phrase that one U.S. soldier was worth (in combat) 10 Indians was a takeoff on the phrase used at that time in the Vietnam War concerning the kill ratio. Also, the term that General Sheridan used, "Bleeding hearts" comes from the 1960s; not the 1860s. The director of this movie was obviously comparing the moral problems we felt with Vietnam with the same problems the U.S. felt during the Indian Wars a century before. I did not know, of course, any Indian War veterans, but I did know two good men who went to Vietnam and did not come back alive.
Also tearful is the real life love you detect between George and Libby Custer that is portrayed by the real life married couple of Robert Shaw and Mary Ure. Six children between them. She died about ten years later from an accidental overdose of alcohol mixed with sleeping pills. He was so heartbroken that he died a few years later literally of a broken heart.
It is still a magnificent film. The western scenes are indigenous to that part of the United States that it is actually a shock to find out they were filmed not in South Dakota, California, Nevada, Kansas,etc. but rather in Spain!!
Rod Taylor was not the "Russell Crowe" of the 1960s. Russell Crowe is a great actor but I still think of him as the "Rod Taylor" of the 21st Century. Taylor was a fine actor and why he did not make permanent superstar status is something of a mystery but considering the time in which he was a lead actor and the competition he faced; well, as the saying goes "they don't make them like him anymore".
Much has been written about the variance between the film and the original work by H.G. Wells. However, as much a futurist as H.G. was, the fact remains that by 1960 we simply knew more about how the 20th century would develop than what H.G. did at the beginning of that century. So, the variances between book and movie were necessary.
Wells does not play the villain convincingly. He has not a hint of a German accent, yet the movie explains him coming from a German speaking country by having him mention that he is from Swizterland. The war has ended only shortly before; how could he have gotten a teaching job and integrated himself so well in the community in such a short time? How did he romance the daughter of such a respected jurist? Loretta Young is beautiful; she is obviously not desperate for any man- she can take her pick. The plot holes are obvious, but in 1946 the United States was paranoid about Nazi infiltrators; much like the United States is ultra paranoid about Islamic infiltrators.
So, Orson was not a convincing villain. He was much better the next year as "Harry Lime" in the movie, "The Third Man". There he stunningly played a real life secret villain, Kim Philby. I think that in 1946 it was simply very hard to find a Grade A actor to play a Nazi; considering the sentiment at that time. Wells did the best he could with what he had to work with. Yes, Agnes Moorehead would have been great for the role that Edward Robinson plays, but Wells was too far ahead of his time. Having a woman portray a lead investigator in 1946 was simply something the audience would not accept nor believe. And, a middle aged Robinson was still very good even if he was not first choice. Lastly, I referred to Orson Welles being ahead of his time with the desire to use Agnes Moorehead as the lead investigator; actually he was ahead of his time in everything else in the movie industry. In a way, it is VERY frustrating to look at his films; knowing they were done in the film media. His techniques were actually best done in the digital media; which, unfortunately, was not available during his lifetime.
In 1980 there was no AIDS and a lot of free love. I knew Gia was a woman who liked other women so I did not know how she got AIDS. Then I find out she got AIDS from dirty needles; the only way a woman can get AIDS without a man. Being with Linda did not kill Gia; drugs killed her.
In 1957 a U.S. diesel submarine went into Soviet waters on a reconnaisance (spy) mission. It was detected by Soviet destroyers. The submarine tried to surface and run but the Soviet destroyers threw hand grenades into the water as a warning to the submarine not to try to run for the open ocean. The U.S. submarine had no choice but to remain submerged. Finally, after three days (they were NOT nuclear powered; they were like the Soviet submarine in the movie and hence could not remain underwater for long periods of time) their air was very close to running out and they were almost totally out of battery power. The Soviet warships were still on the surface above them. The U.S. Captain realized there was no option and prepared his crew to surface, to try to fight their way out, and probably be taken captive by the Soviets as there was no way they could outfight all the Soviet ships. The submarine surfaced with the last of it's air and battery power. The Soviet ships did not interfere with the submarine as it surfaced. Instead, as the submarine started it's diesel engines the Soviet ships went into a "U" shape in back of the submarine and followed as the submarine made it's way into international waters (i.e. the Soviets simply wanted to direct the submarine to leave in a direct path out of Soviet waters). When the submarine finally made international waters the Soviet ships turned around and let the submarine proceed by itself back home. Just as the Soviet flagship turned about it sent a message by flashing light to the submarine "thanking them for the sonar practice"!
Enough of politics. This film has much more of his music than "Bride of the Wind" and that is certainly enjoyable. VHS does not give adequate quality of sound reproduction for the music so I highly recommend DVD with good stereo speakers for viewing this film. His work was incredible and he was definitely the greatest German composer after Beethoven. One item of note: Most of this film seems to take place at Mahler's summer residence- where he composed most of his music. Yet, during most of the year(s) he was in Vienna conducting. Was Mahler unfaithful to Alma in Vienna? Well, when you consider the conductor of any great philharmonic was then as popular to women as hard rock singers are now; Let's just say that he was probably not as unfaithful to Alma as he could have been.
This is not the best movie or work made about Ayn Rand. That is because it comes from the viewpoint of a person who is (was) personally bitter about the founder of the Objectivist school of philosophy. She does not see the entire point about this movie as she is obviously quite bitter, and such people quite frequently are not very objective and miss their own shortcomings.
The sad fact is that had she provided sexual fulfillment for her husband; he certainly would never had strayed from her. Ayn was having problems being fulfilled by her husband, Frank (probably due to his age). Ayn soon discovered that Barbara was not fulfilling the sexual needs of her young husband; therefore as Barbara seemed not to care about her husband's sexual satisfaction and Ayn needed a young man, Ayn quite rationally reasoned there was justification for the affair.
Controversial, yes, but I do not believe that it should be immediately condemned. If Barbara had really wanted her husband she should have immediately (upon hearing of the proposal ) called Ayn a "bitch" and grabbed her own husband and said "Honey, let's get out of here. I love you too much to share you with this woman and I will do the best I can from now on to satisfy you." As Barbara did not do so I can only conclude that she did not actually love her husband (enough) and should stop complaining about what happened afterwards.
Ladies, stand by your man!
In the mid to late 1980s the State of Louisiana was trying to attract the movie industry and have portions of movies made in the state. This was to cash in on Louisiana's "different" culture at the time when it's economy was in a terrible slump. The filmmakers were probably given tax breaks, free police escort, that kind of stuff (or so I was told at the time) to induce them to film there. That is probably why the story was amended somewhat to include Louisiana scenes. One error in the movie comes to light- in one scene of the film the detective, played by Mickey Rourke, is clearly shown sitting in the colored section of a street car (presumably the Royal Street street car); being 1955 segregation is still the law of the land except in public schools. Though whites, technically, could go into the colored areas of public establishments or transportation, in reality the other whites would not allow them to do that. It certainly would not be casually done as shown in that movie.
Perhaps the movie is right in showing Harry Angel as being a down-on-his-luck gumshoe. In the book he wears a suit and carries a gun quite carefully; taking the legal ramifications of his actions in consideration. Though the book Harry Angel is still somewhat on the shady side he probably is not as realistic as the detective portrayed in this movie, or it is at least not as likely that the book detective would be the sort of person to be involved with such a evil business.
Lisa Bonet is great in her role and the movie should be seen if only for that reason. One of the interesting points about a segregated Louisiana is that whereas there was not as much casual race mixing as shown in the movie there was an exception to that where white men were allowed to have a black woman, so long as it was done discreetly. And, this movie shows that quite well.
Regardless of why, this movie got a lot less credit than it deserved. I hope it comes out on DVD in the near future.
The most descriptive comment concerning this series came from a Radio DJ on a morning show during the time this series was on it's original run. Some group or society had labeled "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." as the most violent show on TV. Which, to anybody who ever saw it, was patently absurd. The DJ put it properly, after he stopped laughing about the violence statement, as he doubted the show could be too violent as "it doesn't even have a plot!" And, it really never did. Still nice to see an episode after all these years, though.