April 02, 2014

Flashback 1980 - APOCALYPSE NOW, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK...

My selection of movie magazine pages from 1980 is much shorter than 1979's. I was seeing just as many films, at the University film society (three different films a week) and the local BFI cinema, the newly-opened Cinema City.

But I was buying fewer Film Review and Photoplay magazines that make up the bulk of these flashback articles. The photo layouts had become overlapped wonky collages, with the subjects cut out and removed from the backgrounds. Added to that, the photographic reproduction was notably poorer, fainter. I was also far less dependent on them for their tricklefeed of movie news and images.

There were now far more movie magazines available than the ones sold in cinemas, but most of them I daren't reproduce here because they are ongoing organisations - like Omni, Fangoria, Starburst and Starlog. Though, for reasons I don't fully understand, most back issues of Starlog have recently appeared online to view, legally, here.




Photoplay Annual 1980
In an article about actors-turned-directors, here's a shot of Burt Reynolds in charge of Gator, the sequel to White Lightning. His very tall co-star, William Engesser, is just behind him.





Two current genres offered blockbusters to start the year. The ultimate Vietnam movie Apocalypse Now, and sci-fi adventure Star Trek - The Motion Picture

Film Review, January
I saw Apocalypse Now at the ABC 2, Shaftesbury Avenue and was startled by the use of multi-channel Dolby Stereo - that sounded like helicopters were actually flying overhead. The end of the film simply faded to black and the end credits were handed to the audience as they left cinema, as a booklet. This is one of several endings that the film has had.

Film Review, January
Just as they did with Superman - The Movie, the press focussed on the budget, in particular Marlon Brando's fee compared to his time on screen. His face on the posters was worth every penny.

Film Review, January
The Star Trek movie franchise started here, with the stars of the 1966 TV series and a crew full of Trekkies (the speech Captain Kirk gives the crew was filmed with using a crowd of fans in futuristic costumes and alien masks). 




Film Review, January
Meteor proved that Irwin Allen wasn't the only one struggling with disaster movies. Despite a great cast (including Sean Connery and Natalie Wood) and a potentially interesting premise (basically the same as Armageddon), the climax is a long slow launch of hundreds of missiles.





Disney's outer space adventure The Black Hole opened in London the same week as Star Trek - The Motion Picture. Both studios had barely enough time to cash in on the success of Star Wars before The Empire Strikes Back arrived!





Photoplay, February
Perhaps it was the return of Superman that inspired TV to attempt so many superhero series. The feature-length pilot episode for The Incredible Hulk was released in cinemas in Britain. The added attraction of an old Lassie film didn't tempt me. If we were patient, it would appear on TV soon enough.




Photoplay, February
Another franchise that launched in 1979, The Amityville Horror followed the huge success of the book. Perhaps it was the cursed house that soon led to star James Brolin returning to TV and Margot Kidder doing nothing more famous than Superman sequels. Despite taking his performance deadly seriously, Rod Steiger's career continued on downwards and he even made two more horror movies, The Kindred and American Gothic.





Photoplay, February
The winning combination of director Don Siegel and star Clint Eastwood (Coogan's Bluff, Dirty Harry...) ended with this prison break film, Escape From Alcatraz.




Films and Filming, March
William Friedkin's success with The Exorcist and The French Connection had been cancelled out by the poor reception to Sorcerer. But Cruising was a controversial return to form, with a serial killer stalking the sado-masochistic leather bars of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Despite a relatively honest and explicit portrayal, and the fact that he'd already made a very different 'gay film' before (The Boys In The Band where all the characters are gay), the gay community urged a boycott and straight audiences weren't in a rush to see Al Pacino struggle with his sexuality.

It remains a dark thriller making the most of New York locations, with a great cast and plenty of surprises. I keep confusing the imagery from the opening scene with that of Zombie Flesh Eaters...




Photoplay, June
Besides Star Wars launching a fleet rip-offs, it also inspired renewed interest in science fiction stories set in outer space. Alien had also skewed a sub-genre towards horror, though dark thriller Saturn 3 opted to be cut down to an 'A' certificate. Several scenes build themselves up to unseen nastiness and Farrah Fawcett's sexy hallucination disappeared completely.





Photoplay, June
Advanced publicity for The Elephant Man, with a shaven-headed John Hurt out of make-up and director David Lynch looking like James Spader. The publicity photos, TV clips and cinema trailer all avoided revealing the face of John Merrick before the film was released. It also downplayed Mel Brooks involvement - the comedy director had produced this and hired David Lynch to make his first studio film.





And then, this happened. The first Star Wars sequel struck for the school holidays.

Photoplay, June
Unlike Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back only opened in one West End cinema - the Odeon.





Film Review, July
Film Review, July
Empire builders (above): director Irvin Kershner, producers Gary Kurtz and George Lucas, writer Lawrence Kasdan.




Film Review, June
Opening the same week as The Empire Strikes Back (!!!) the second Battlestar Galactica movie, The Cylon Attack, was again bumped up from American TV. Just like the first film, it was shown at the Empire, Leicester Square in Sensurround sound. 





Hmm. A Clint Eastwood comedy western, the Village People movie or the Star Wars sequel?




Film Review, August
Interesting photo comparison of Roy Scheider playing Bob Fosse's alter-ego, and the man himself directing All That Jazz. I'm not big on dance movies but this is superbly made. A revealing and honest look behind the scenes of Broadway musicals with many immaculate dance routines, also choreographed by Fosse.




Film Review, August
Director Alan Parker refused to be categorised, following up the successes of Bugsy Malone and Midnight Express with his first American film, Fame - a huge hit that also span off a hit TV series. Hollywood felt briefly threatened (for a few minutes) that they were about to be swamped by British directors (like Ridley Scott and Hugh Hudson...).




Film Review, August
The Final Countdown was sold like a 'Bermuda triangle' sci-fi mystery on the scale of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. What we got was a B-movie adventure with a big cast (Martin Sheen and Kirk Douglas) that looked like a million dollars because of the spectacular use of an actual US Navy aircraft carrier. It's no Close Encounters but still an enjoyable watch because of the cast, the score and the king of Troma, Lloyd Kaufman, both acting and producing!

The Final Countdown reviewed on blu-ray, here.




Film Review, August
While disco had been proclaimed dead (news reports of vinyl being burned in football fields, and an elaborate joke at the end of Airplane!) Can't Stop The Music presented itself as a musical comedy, the comedy notably missing. However, this caption in Film Review is funny...

Film Review, August




Film Review, August
How about this for a double-bill?

More about Exorcist II: The Heretic here.




Film Review, December
My first taste of John Carpenter's The Fog. Spoilt a little by a weak comedy caper as the support film. Note that the censors thought that The Fog uncut was okay for 14-year olds despite the director improving the graphic scares with boathooks.




Film Review, December
After The Deep failed to cause a ripple, The Island was another attempt at adapting a Peter Benchley novel. Michael Caine stars, years before his Jaws sequel.




Film Review, December
I've not got every cinema magazine from these years, but it was strange that I didn't find any mention of John Carpenter's Halloween. Other, lesser-known slashers had full page treatment though. He Knows You're Alone briefly includes Tom Hanks' screen debut!





No comments:

Post a comment