Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 6:48 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

Gene Siskel once commented, “The most underwhelming film saga never to be released.” That’s how one might describe the exploits of one of England’s most resourceful detectives. An amalgamation of Agatha Christies’ Hercule Poirot and Ian Fleming’s Hugo Drax, Fivehouse was ironically played by the gifted actor who brought the latter character to life – Michael Lonsdale.

The tales featured themes of murder, intrigue, suspense, revenge, bewilderment, and culinary lust. Brought to you by underappreciated Amercian writer Frederick S. Loftybeck – who never visited the U.K. prior to conceiving the original story – in full glory, he captured the essence of the quintessential London detective. With sharp-witted Drax-like dialogue, he created a mythos that some have perplexingly spent years studying. “I don’t know why – but it works,” often quipped Loftybeck. “I basically wrote Fivehouse on a dare from a school friend. There was this kid we went to school with who looked remarkably like a younger, smaller version of Michael Lonsdale. They both had the same oversized forehead, signature black moustache and goatee. The only distinction that wasn’t carried over was the lisp. The real kid had this godawful lisp in which we used to goof on,” relayed Loftybeck.

Regretfully, Loftybeck never fully realized the appreciation of the myriad of fans around the world. In 2002, he died while relieving himself of bodily excrement, dining at a Las Vegas taco establishment. His legacy goes on, as does the legacy of a man called: ALAN FIVEHOUSE


The Feature Film Series


ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1979)
Directed by John Frankenheimer. While investigating a local murder, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) teams up with an American reporter (James Franciscus) to uncover a much larger plot to blow up Parliament during a crucial vote. Peter Cushing, Nigel Hawthorne, Olivia Hussey, Alan Badel

THE RETURN OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1981)
Scotland Yard Detective Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) is entangled with a French Police investigation of the theft of several tons of sodium chloride. Louis Jordan, Corrinne Cleary, Alan Bates.

REVENGE OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1984)
After his wife is murdered, Scotland Yard inspector Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) avenges her death by tracking down the perpetrators, contemplating whether or not to bring them to justice or eliminating their lives. Suzannah York, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Holm, Patrick Stewart.

THE ALAN FIVEHOUSE MURDERS (1986)
A series of murders of British industrialists piques the interest of Scotland Yard detective Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) and his partner (Simon Ward) in this mystery classic. Helen Mirren, Edward Fox, Michael Palin, Susan Fleetwood.

THE MASK OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1988)
Directed by John McTiernan. Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale), with the help of his son Nigel (Nicholas Rowe) tracks down a maniacal serial killer, whose calling card is a half-eaten pear left on his victims. Charles Dance, Fionnula Flanagan, Willem Dafoe.

SON OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1990)
Scotland Yard Detective Nigel Fivehouse (Nicholas Rowe) tracks a schizophrenic jewel thief (Alan Bates) across Europe. Alan Rickman, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Steven Berkoff.

WHO WEEPS FOR ALAN FIVEHOUSE? (1994)
Chief Inspector Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) is back as he is sent to Italy to help in a joint investigation of the mysterious death of a top sports car manufacturer. Roberto Benigni, Ian McKellan, Abigail Hopkins.

The following was an American effort to jumpstart the franchise, which never quite found its niche audience in the states.

ALAN FIVEHOUSE (2005)
US Remake of smash British police procedural series features San Francisco Inspector Alan Fivehouse (Edward Norton) tracking down a psychopathic cult led by a socio-maniacal (Heath Ledger) misanthrope whose calling card is a half-eaten loaf of sourdough bread left on each of the victims. Mark Ruffalo, Delroy Lindo, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anthony Zerbe.

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 7:02 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Is there some way we can relocate all that Fivehouse gold over to this thread? It certainly would solidify Fivehouse's legacy.

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 7:03 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

Is there some way we can relocate all that Fivehouse gold over to this thread? It certainly would solidify Fivehouse's legacy.

I will try to move over all my stuff.

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 7:34 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

ANZALDIMAN,

Imagine in 1979, walking into your local Harmony Hut or Discomat and seeing this gem of an LP in the new release section. Staring you in the face is the score to the smash Twentieth Century Fox production of:


 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 7:37 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

Anzaldiman, Here it is, as you requested. Talk about a parallel universe:

ALAN FIVEHOUSE - MUSIC FROM THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Music Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
Conducted by Lionel Newman
Played by the National Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchestrations - Arthur Morton
Recorded by Eric Tomlinson, Anvil Recording Studios

Side A
1. The Alan Fivehouse Theme (Main Title) 2:28
2. No Accident (1:57)
3. What Happened? (3:00)
4. The Investigation (5:04)
5. Moore's Note (1:45)
6. A Little Patience (2:10)
7. Caroline (2:05)

Side B
1. Westminster Abbey (3:10)
2. An Old Water Closet (1:54)
3. Alan's Theory (3:05)
4. The Pendulum and the Bull Dog (1:49)
5. Unraveling the Past / The Killer (5:22)
6. End Titles (The Alan Fivehouse Theme) (4:10)

Total Time: 39:50

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 9:14 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

THE RETURN OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1981)
Scotland Yard Detective Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) is entangled with a French Police investigation of the theft of several tons of sodium chloride. Louis Jordan, Corrinne Cleary, Alan Bates.


One of my favourite Fivehouse films. Who can forget the immortal line:

"There is sometimes profit to be had, Monsieur L'Inspecteur, by wagging a finger at the dead."

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

THE RETURN OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE (1981)
Scotland Yard Detective Alan Fivehouse (Michael Lonsdale) is entangled with a French Police investigation of the theft of several tons of sodium chloride. Louis Jordan, Corrinne Cleary, Alan Bates.


One of my favourite Fivehouse films. Who can forget the immortal line:

"There is sometimes profit to be had, Monsieur L'Inspecteur, by wagging a finger at the dead."


That was one of my favorite lines in the film. I have to dig up that interview with "Loftybeck" when he describes the writing for "Fivehouse."

MaxB

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 11:51 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

The following is a reproduction of the original article that appeared in Creative Retrospectives in Artistic Prose. It has been reprinted with the permission of the original author, Barry I. Gruever, Editor, C.R.A.P.

Writing Drama For Another Land

By Barry I. Gruever

Many have often lamented that writing for any medium can wear its welcome once the ideas cease flowing. Case in point, Frederick S. Loftybeck has written one of the most infectious detective series since, arguably, Agatha Christie. Although his original novel, THE ALAN FIVEHOUSE MORATORIUM, sold barely 150 copies worldwide, he was determined to develop his ideas into something much more interesting.

FIVEHOUSE had the unique distinction of being a very detailed police procedural, set in London, during the late 1970’s, written by an author who never flew on an airplane before. In fact, some of the imagery was so detailed and original, that many could not believe it was written by a relatively novice and inexperienced writer. I spent some time talking to Loftybeck at his home in the fall of 1998

BIG: How did you come up with the idea of ALAN FIVEHOUSE?

FSL: Well, I find that my best ideas often come to me when I am sitting down, usually in my reading room.

BIG: Is it in your library?

FSL: (Laughs) I usually refer to it as the “Water Closet.” I’d spend hours in there fleshing out the intricacies of many of the plotlines. But, FIVEHOUSE is actually based on some real people – even down to the name.

BIG: You mean, there is an actual ALAN FIVEHOUSE walking the earth?

FSL: (Laughs) Not in a literal sense. He is based on an old school acquaintence that a friend and I knew. He was kind of an idiot, really. I doubt his IQ was over 93 or so. He had this odd look about him. He had this slightly protruding forehead, black hair, moustache & goatee beard. Short fellow, though. Very lanky. When he talked, he had this dreadfully lazy lisp that almost made him sound cartoon-like.

BIG: Definitely, this is not the image of a brilliant detective.

FSL: No, no. Not in the least. It wasn’t until I saw DAY OF THE JACKEL in the mid-70’s did I get the rough foundation for ALAN FIVEHOUSE. I really liked the French detective, played by, Michael Lonsdale in that movie. But there was something quite cold and flat about him. His speech and demeanor were quite wooden. I don’t think it was his fault really, but rather a limitation of [the] character he played. So, I put this idea away for the time being.

BIG: When did the idea finally manifest into your mind?

FSL: I was extremely depressed around 1977. John Wayne and Elvis Presley died within a short time of each other. The Son of Sam serial killer was loose in New York City at the time that I worked there. My heroes were no longer there to protect me from a cold and cynical world, so I felt it was time to invent new ones. I saw James Mason on stage once and always wanted to use him as the model for a great detective. So, it was important that my hero be British. I began writing FIVEHOUSE around that time.

BIG: So, your paradigm for FIVEHOUSE was James Mason?

FSL: Yes, in the beginning, he was. And then, long after the book was published and deemed unsuccessful, I had an epiphany when I saw a picture of my original archetype for FIVEHOUSE – Michael Lonsdale. I had seen several production photographs of him as the villain in the upcoming James Bond film. My mind was spinning at that point. He looked exactly like my childhood acquaintance. Everything was exactly the same, down to the protruding forehead. It was amazing.

After the poor sales of ALAN FIVEHOUSE, Loftybeck was sure that this was the end and began to accept the inevitable. That is, until he received a surprising phone call.

FSL: I got a call one day in 1978 from Fox. Someone over there went nuts for the FIVEHOUSE novel. Essentially, they felt it would make a very good translation to film and wanted to know if I’d be interested in selling the rights? (Long Pause) My mind was in a fog at that point. I might have been drinking around that time also. I don’t know. I blurted out that I’d only be interested if I got the chance to write the screenplay and do the translation myself. (Laughs). We belted it out for weeks over that point, but they let me do it in the end. I don’t know why they wanted the rights so badly. The book tanked.

END OF PART ONE

Next: The film that was ALAN FIVEHOUSE

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 4:44 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

Gentlemen: thankyou for the best long laugh I've had in a long time.

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2007 - 8:33 PM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

C.R.A.P. Interview PART II:

American Author Frederick S. Loftybeck seemed unaffected by the failure of his novel, THE ALAN FIVEHOUSE MORATORIUM. Critics didn’t seem to have an opinion about it. No real scathing reviews or praise could be noted. It seemed to provoke a "neutral" reaction amongst most experts.

BIG: So, the whole Fox situation caught you by surprise?

FSL: (Laughs) You have no idea. (Long Pause) I suppose, that if things didn’t turn out the way that they had, then I might have resumed my work at the time.

Loftybeck had been employed as a freelance Obituary writer for several New York City newspapers and periodicals.

FSL: I remember I had just finished preparing a retrospective on Elvis for the Daily News when I got the call from Harvey Bernhard at Fox. He just finished on the Omen sequel and was looking for something fresh, or so he told me at the time. His secretary handed him a copy of FIVEHOUSE one day and he couldn’t stop reading it. It turns out that I knew his secretary’s sister from some drunken night where we, uh, well, uh (Laughs).

BIG: (Laughs) Shared intimacy?

FSL: (Laughs) Studied Romanian poetry.

Little did Loftybeck know at the time, but Bernhard was working out the details to bring ALAN FIVEHOUSE to the big screen, which would include an impressive ensemble of filmmakers and actors.

FSL: I always knew that Lonsdale was FIVEHOUSE. This was definitive. He had the look and the demeanor. But, Fox was reluctant at first. They wanted someone more bankable and could attract an audience.

BIG: Who did they want?

FSL: Well, I heard a few names being mentioned. Originally, they wanted Robert Shaw, but he got sick and couldn’t do it. I loved Shaw’s work, but thought he wasn’t right for it. Then, they mentioned Edward Fox, Timothy Dalton, and Alan Bates. (Laughs) It’s funny about Bates, because they cast him as two different villains in the original and one of the sequels.

BIG: I take it that they forgot he was already in a previous film (laughs)?

FSL: (Laughs) They forgot.

BIG: What about the screenplay? How difficult was it for you to now write a feature film based on your book?

FSL: Queer. Odd. The first draft came in at about 335 pages. The producers were not enthusiastic and were going to hire another writer to work with me. But Harvey got Frankenheimer on board and that’s when things began to change. Frankenheimer was a New Yorker and I was a Jersey guy. We loved each other. He used to take me to all of his old haunts in the city. My mother used to cook us Sunday dinner back in Paterson. He’d always compliment my mom’s meatloaf. Very beautiful man. Johnny was good people……but we finally got the script down to around the 145-page mark. Fox was happy at that point. Then, Lonsdale was onboard. I was a bit disappointed with his reaction, though. He was a consummate professional, but he wasn’t that enthusiastic at first about what we were doing. What came as a surprise to me was their choice for the American reporter, Stanton Moore. They got Jimmy Fransiscus. Another Wonderful man. Loved him. He was a Yale graduate, Very smart man. Not sure why he wanted to be in this picture, but he really liked the book. In fact, I think I got the most feedback from Jimmy about the book. He brought up details that I forgot about or used in my follow-up book (Laughs).

BIG: Were you on the set daily during the production?

FSL: Yes, John and Harvey wanted me there for all of Lonsdale’s scenes. Like I mentioned, at first he seemed unimpressed by the whole thing. But then, he got it. He wanted me there to work on refining some of his one-liners.

BIG: (Laughs) Yes, the infamous FIVEHOUSE one-liners.

FSL: (Laughs) They were more like “one-paragraphers…”

Next: Part III – Starting to come together.

 
 Posted:   Sep 5, 2007 - 7:04 PM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

C.R.A.P. Interview PART III

The summer and fall of 1978 was a busy period for writer Frederick S. Loftybeck. His unsuccessful book, THE ALAN FIVEHOUSE MORATORIUM was a hot property for Twentieth Century Fox at a time that seemed to be dominant with Space and Fantasy Adventures. STAR WARS was a bonafide blockbuster and the studio was about to release a much more adult Science Fiction film shortly thereafter, called ALIEN. Despite these shifts in genre demand, FOX was still hot over FIVEHOUSE.


BIG: I remember the silent buzz around Hollywood, at the time, was for this remarkably detailed detective story written by an unknown and outsider.

FSL: (Laughs) Yes.

BIG: It seemed like a big deal at the time.

FSL: I haven’t the foggiest idea why. Luck maybe? (Laughs)

BIG: There must have been something there that resonated?

FSL: (Long Pause) Look..Truthfully, I still to this day can’t figure it out. I’m not being humble or anything. (Laughs). I mean, everyone reached out on a limb for this. The book was a failure. I was about to pack it in. In between those leaps of faith, I happened to hit the jackpot several times. I was extremely fortunate that the script turned out to be ten times better than the book!

BIG: What was your process for adapting the book to the screen?

FSL: FIVEHOUSE was always conceived as a three act structure with a twist. We start out pursuing one path, ultimately leading to something far more sinister, concluding with a satisfying resolution. Once I had the basic foundation for the story, the rest was a matter of just filling in the details. I believe in making the story solid, plausible, and unbreakable – first and foremost. The rest of the work was merely coloring in the details. Johnny Frankenheimer, of course, interpolated with his signature.

BIG: Was it Frankenheimer’s idea to include the “Act Title Cards” beginning each segment,

FSL: (Laughs) Probably one of the only American influences in the picture. He wanted it to have that 70’s television cop feel, somewhat, but with a bigger scope. I remember, as a goof, he shot a mock post title crawl that went something like: “ALAN FIVEHOUSE, in COLOR, A QUINN MARTIN PRODUCTION..” He even got the original narrator who did those voiceovers for, I dunno BARNABY JONES or CANNON..(Laughs) It was hysterical. But Harvey didn’t like it. He wanted it to be very serious. Very dramatic. I’m not sure if that excised opening exists any more or if they destroyed the footage. It was a riot!


I asked Loftybeck about his influences in his writing style.


FSL: Good question. I don’t know. I didn’t read much as a youngster, I was dyslexic as a child, so I was easily frustrated. I guess I just was very anal. I wanted things to be very detailed, very antiseptic at times. But, I also wanted some interesting twists along the way. A monkey-wrench in the story line is always a welcomed thing.

BIG: There’s a scene later in the picture when MOORE visits FIVEHOUSE after he’s been disgraced.

FSL: Yes.

BIG: There’s an unnerving silence between the two. MOORE knows that he’s betrayed their trust, but FIVEHOUSE is cooking in that scene. Very few words are exchanged.

FSL: Yes.

BIG: But you get this sense that FIVEHOUSE does not blame MOORE.

FSL: It’s the rebuilding of trust all over again, as these two bond in this moment of revelation.

BIG: Deep significance?

FSL: (Laughs) No, not really. I just thought that we needed something lighter at this moment, but it leads, ultimately, to the revelation of the plot to destroy Parliament.

BIG: But the dialogue is rich.

FSL: (Laughs) If you believe so.

NEXT: The Opening of ALAN FIVEHOUSE

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 5:36 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)



MUSIC FROM THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK
THE RETURN OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE

Composed and Conducted by Ken Thorne
London Studio Symphony Orchestra

Side A
1. Wellington Heights* (3:05)
2. The Theft (2:22)
3. Rising to the Occasion (1:05)
4. Terry's Mantra (2:45)
5. The Bus Stop (4:48)
6. Starting Over* (3:08)

Side B
1. Meeting Claude (4:08)
2. You Can't Win If I Lose (3:10)
3. The Car Chase (5:28)
4. Bad Choice / Grim Ending (3:35)
5. Finale (The Alan Fivehouse Theme)* (5:01)

Total Time: 37:40

*Contains the Theme From Alan Fivehouse
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 5:39 AM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)



MUSIC FROM THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK - REVENGE OF ALAN FIVEHOUSE

Composed and Conducted by Georges Delerue
London Symphony Orchestra

Side A
1. Goodbye, My Love (3:22)
2. The Dark Side of the Law (5:05)
3. Clues (2:38)
4. Sgt. Paddington (4:01)
5. The Usual Suspects (3:00)
6. Murder Offers No Forgiveness (2:50)

Side B
1. Predator and the Prey (3:49)
2. Not Within My Nature (2:01)
3. The Shipyard (3:55)
4. Chevalier's Message (3:00)
5. I Can't Do This Alone (3:55)
6. "Tomorrow is Our Beginning" (Sung by Susannah York, Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Music by Georges Delerue) (3:47)

Total Time: 40:27

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 11:04 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

My Lord, it's now a full-fledged phenomenon!!!

(now if I could only find my Fivehouse Topps trading cards...hope grandma didn't put a rubber band around those!)

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 11:34 AM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

My Lord, it's now a full-fledged phenomenon!!!

(now if I could only find my Fivehouse Topps trading cards...hope grandma didn't put a rubber band around those!)


Where have you BEEN? The annual convention is this weekend and I've got my mac packed and my cards ready for tradin'

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)


Where have you BEEN? The annual convention is this weekend and I've got my mac packed and my cards ready for tradin'


The interview, the interview!!! I was too young and unsophisticated to even afford C.R.A.P. back then! It's very pages were too glossy for the likes of my "stuck in childhood" hands!!!

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 12:43 PM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)


Where have you BEEN? The annual convention is this weekend and I've got my mac packed and my cards ready for tradin'


The interview, the interview!!! I was too young and unsophisticated to even afford C.R.A.P. back then! It's very pages were too glossy for the likes of my "stuck in childhood" hands!!!


I have to dig up the final portion of the interview, tonight. One thing is for sure, this Barry Gruever character surely sucks as an interviewer.

Now, the 2001 HOWARD STERN interview with Loftybeck is, uh, priceless.

MaxB

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)


I have to dig up the final portion of the interview, tonight. One thing is for sure, this Barry Gruever character surely sucks as an interviewer.
MaxB


Wonderful memories evoked by that interview.

More good news - I saw this on Al Jazeera Entertainment:

Disappointed by the financial performance of his revival of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamgoat, English nobleman Andrew Lord Webber Lloyd has announced his next, this time non-blasphemous musical. Entitled Fivehouse! it will star Tardisman John Barrowman as the eponymous infidel detective. Talks are ongoing with Peter O'Toole to take the role of Regimental Colour Sergeant Gilberdyke.

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

I have only vague memories of Fivehouse. I (again, vaguely) remember reading (in the TV Times, maybe) that Loftybeck at first considered christening his creation Alain rather than Alan. Can anyone confirm this?

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2007 - 4:44 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I have only vague memories of Fivehouse. I (again, vaguely) remember reading (in the TV Times, maybe) that Loftybeck at first considered christening his creation Alain rather than Alan. Can anyone confirm this?

Yes. It was changed to Alain for French audiences, as they refused any other spelling.

BTW, if you want to be "contrarian", tell a Fivehouse fan that you prefer Theodore Bikel's potrayal over Lonsdale's. Sacrilege!

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.