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 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 9:01 AM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

Noted Producer - Writer Martin Ransofhoff has died at age 90.

Documentary Filmmaker Bruce Brown has died at age 80.

Prolific Actor Shashi Kapoor has died at age 79.

Director and Editor Anthony Harvey has died at age 87.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 2:43 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Martin Ransohoff's first production was the 1962 sex comedy BOYS' NIGHT OUT. Michael Gordon directed the film, which has an unreleased score by Frank DeVol. Ransohoff got Frank Sinatra to sing the film's title song, which he recorded on March 6, 1962, more than three months before the film's premiere. For reasons unknown, the Sinatra version was not used, and Patti Page re-recorded the song. Sinatra's version was not heard until 1995, when it got a CD release.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE WHEELER DEALERS was a 1963 comedy starring James Garner as "wheeler-dealer" "Henry Tyroon," who comes to New York to raise a million dollars to finance a business scheme. There he meets "Molly Thatcher" (Lee Remick), a Wall Street stock analyst. The film had the distinction of being the last major studio film released before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Arthur Hiller directed the Ransohoff production. Frank DeVol again provided the unreleased score.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 2:54 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

From THE WHEELER DEALERS, James Garner, producer Martin Ransohoff, and Filmways Pictures re-teamed for the 1964 comedy-drama THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY. In this wartime tale, set just before D-Day, Garner starred as "Lieut. Comdr. Charlie Madison," an aide to eccentric "Rear Admiral Jessup" (Melvyn Douglas), who specializes in supplying the top Navy officers with luxuries such as party girls. Julie Andrews is "Emily Barham," Madison's British motorpool driver. (Lee Remick, from THE WHEELER DEALERS, had also been considered for the role.)

Producer Ransohoff removed original director William Wyler from the picture because Wyler wanted to change Paddy Chayefsky's script. It was a rare instance in which a producer supported a screenwriter over a director, particularly one of Wyler's caliber. But since Chayefsky was known to have guarantees written into his contracts protecting his scripts, Ransohoff may have had no choice. For his part, Wyler said that the needed script re-writes would have interfered with his upcoming work on THE SOUND OF MUSIC (from which he later also resigned). Blake Edwards was considered as a possible replacement, and the Los Angeles Times claimed that Robert Wise, who took over for Wyler on THE SOUND OF MUSIC, turned down a $400,000 contract because he “didn’t like the story.” Ultimately, Ransohoff hired Arthur Hiller, whom he had first used on THE WHEELER DEALERS.

Filming concluded in early January of 1964. However, on 27 January 1964, James Garner, James Coburn, and Judy Carne were called back to re-shoot a scene in which Carne appeared nude. Throughout production, Ransohoff had become embroiled in a dispute with Production Code Administrator Geoffrey Shurlock over several instances of nudity by Carne, Janine Gray, and Kathy Kersh. Ransohoff filmed the material in defiance of Shurlock’s objections, but he was forced to back down in order to obtain a Code Seal of approval from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Ransohoff’s decision to cut the scenes was prompted by warnings from MGM executive Robert H. O’Brien, who refused to release the picture without a seal. Ransohoff planned to include the excised footage in the European release, and publicly admonished the MPAA for its strict censorship regarding nudity. News stories suggested that Ransohoff may have amplified the controversy as a way to promote the film and increase its box-office prospects, although he denied such accusations.

Although Ransohoff hoped for a quick opening, he had agreed to wait until Disney released MARY POPPINS (27 August 1964), which was a hit at the box-office. THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY premiered 27 October 1964 at the Loew’s State Theatre in New York City.

Johnny Mandel's score, which contained the popular tune "Emily," was issued on a Reprise records LP. An expanded version of the score was released by Film Score Monthly in 2009.

In 1967, the film was re-released as EMILY in order to to capitalize on the recent popularity of James Coburn in the FLINT films and considerable stardom of Julie Andrews, who had since won an Academy Award for MARY POPPINS and enjoyed success in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, HAWAII, and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 3:50 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In February 1962, it was announced that Harold Jacob Smith was developing the screenplay for THE SANDPIPER, the first original screen story by Filmways, Inc. chairman Martin Ransohoff. Smith’s involvement was brief, however, as a 13 December 1962 Daily Variety news item stated that a new draft was being completed by Irene and Louis Kamp.

In the spring of 1963, Ransohoff began negotiations with Elizabeth Taylor to star as “Laura Reynolds.” Taylor was to receive $1 million against ten percent of the gross profits—a fee that had become standard for the actress since she appeared in CLEOPATRA (1963). William Wyler agreed to direct the $4 million production, and subsequently stalled his commitment to THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Following Taylor’s public affair with CLEOPATRA co-star Richard Burton, many sources suggested that the two would work together once again if arrangements could be made to accommodate Burton’s schedule.

Meanwhile, alternative actors in consideration included Rock Hudson, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, and Marlon Brando. Taylor likely requested that Ransohoff and Wyler postpone production until Burton completed THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964) in Mexico, where she accompanied him during the shoot. The delays ultimately caused Wyler to drop out of the picture altogether. It was rumored that Taylor would also leave the project to be replaced by Kim Novak.

Over the next few months, Filmways pushed ahead with location scouting and other pre-production work while the screenplay underwent revisions by Michael Wilson and Dalton Trumbo. In October 1963, Ransohoff entered discussions with British director Tony Richardson and his TOM JONES (1963) star Albert Finney. Although the new script had since made its way back to Taylor, Novak was still in the running, while another plan was devised to reunite THE SOUND OF MUSIC’s Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

By summer 1964, however, production moved from Columbia Pictures to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). In September 1964, Ransohoff bought back the property for $300,000 following disputes over costs related to the casting of Burton and Taylor, who had both become available. MGM presumably agreed to honor the couple’s salary demands, ($1 million for Taylor and half a million for Burton). In June 1964, Vincente Minnelli was confirmed as the director.

Sammy Davis, Jr. had agreed to take a hiatus from the Philadelphia, PA, tryout run of his Broadway play, “The Golden Boy,” to appear as “Cos Erickson,” but he was displeased with recent script revisions and unwilling to pay the $40,000 necessary to take a hiatus from “The Golden Boy” to shoot the role in its current iteration. The day after his departure, It was reported that Sidney Poitier was considered to replace him, and actor Bill Gunn told Variety that his submission for the role was rejected in favor of Nat King Cole. The character was ultimately played by a white actor, Charles Bronson.

Filming took place in Northern California at Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, and the Doud Estate outside Carmel. Ransohoff planned to commission a special $40,000 portable soundstage that could be used to integrate the sets and exteriors on the actual locations; however, the 22 September 1964 Los Angeles Times noted that a similar amount ($35,000) was used to purchase an existing glass cottage home for Taylor’s character, Laura Reynolds.

Early in production, the title was briefly changed to “Flight of the Sandpiper” when Twentieth Century-Fox and director Robert Wise filed an arbitration against MGM due to the title’s similarity to THE SAND PEBBLES, which was based on an existing property. MGM eventually prevailed.

Just over a month after filming began, the unit moved to Paris, for interior shoots, which was done to abide by income tax laws limiting the number of days Burton and Taylor could work in the U.S. The production occupied stages at both the Studios de Saint-Maurice and Billancourt Studios, and included a replica of Big Sur’s famous Nepenthe restaurant used in one of the final sequences. On 7 December 1964, Daily Variety announced the completion of principal photography for $7.5 million. MGM planned to spend an additional $1 million on advertising and promotions. This included a paperback novelization of the script by Martin Ransohoff.

Composer Johnny Mandel received various accolades for both his music and the title theme song, “The Shadow of Your Smile,” which he co-wrote with lyricist Paul Francis Webster. These included an Academy Award for Music (Song); Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Score – Motion Picture and Best Original Song – Motion Picture; and Grammy Awards for “Song of the Year” and Best Original Score. The score was released on a Mercury LP, and re-issued (with a bonus track) on a 1996 Verve CD.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 4:35 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Author Evelyn Waugh was inspired to write his novel The Loved One (1948) after becoming disillusioned with Hollywood amid failed negotiations over the rights to Brideshead Revisited. Despite his reluctance to return to the film industry, Waugh eventually lost control of his works when they were transferred to his estate, and Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel acquired rights to THE LOVED ONE in the mid-1950s. Several years passed without development, however, and the option was dropped until 1961, when Filmways, Inc. producer John Calley and cameraman Haskell Wexler heard about the property while on location in Italy and offered to purchase it from Buñuel. In February 1962 executive producer Martin Ransohoff reported news of Filmways’ acquisition of the property.

In March 1962, Elaine May joined the project for her first motion picture writing assignment. May’s script went through revisions by Arthur Ross, Charles Eastman, Christopher Isherwood, and Terry Southern, with only the latter two eventually receiving screen credit.

Ransohoff said that he hoped to hire Richard Burton for the leading role. The property attracted both Burton and wife Elizabeth Taylor, much to the displeasure of director Tony Richardson. Believing they were inappropriate for the film, Richardson temporarily dropped out until it was decided that Filmways would be unable to accommodate the couple’s request to shoot in Spain for tax purposes.

The 1965 film went steeply over schedule and $1 million over budget. It was a major box-office failure. Ransohoff made his onscreen debut as studio art director “Lorenzo Medici” in a scene opposite John Gielgud. The score by composer John Addison, who had worked with director Tony Richardson on TOM JONES, has not had a release.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   dragon53   (Member)


 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 10:47 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In February 1964, Ransohoff’s production company Filmways purchased screen rights to Richard Jessup’s new novel THE CINCINNATI KID. Jessup was also signed to write the script. A few months later, it was reported that Paddy Chayefsky had assumed writing duties. At this time, Spencer Tracy was attached to star, and Steve McQueen joined shortly after. Just before production was set to begin, the 11 November 1964 Variety announced Tracy’s departure following a dispute over script approval in which the actor unsuccessfully lobbied Ransohoff to have his role expanded. While Edward G. Robinson quickly signed on to take his place, McQueen was disappointed, as he had joined the project partly to work opposite Tracy.

Principal photography began 30 November 1964 under director Sam Peckinpah. After just one week, Peckinpah was fired and replaced by Norman Jewison. Peckinpah’s dismissal occurred following an incident in which he excused the principal cast for the day so he could recruit a female extra to film an unauthorized nude scene that was not in the script. Studio executives asked Peckinpah if he intended to use the scene for a “European version” of the picture, to which Peckinpah replied, “It’s for my own version.” Shooting was temporarily suspended to allow Jewison time to prepare, and all early footage was disposed.

Meanwhile, Ring Lardner, Jr., had briefly taken over scripting, but Terry Southern and Charles Eastman were hired to collaborate on a new draft. The official designation of screen credit only acknowledged Lardner and Southern.

After a brief hiatus, photography resumed in late December 1964 at the MGM studios in Culver City, CA. An eighty-person unit spent eight days on location in New Orleans, before returning to California. Filming concluded on 12 March 1965. Once filming wrapped, the 15 September 1965 Variety announced that Ann-Margret would record the picture’s title theme for RCA Victor; however, the version that appeared on the official soundtrack was performed by Ray Charles.

Lalo Schifrin’s score was released on an MGM LP which was part soundtrack and part recordings made for the LP. That program was reissued on CD by Chapter III in 2001. Schifrin re-recorded the score for his own Aleph label in 2002, and Film Score Monthly released the complete original soundtrack in 2010.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 11:19 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In November 1964, producer Martin Ransohoff announced that he had acquired Philip Loraine’s novel Day of the Arrow, which would be filmed in Ireland. Screenwriter Robin Estridge actually wrote the novel, which was credited to his pseudonym, "Philip Loraine." Terry Southern wrote the first screenplay, but Estridge ultimately took over the writing himself, and the film script is credited under Estridge’s real name.

In the film, retitled EYE OF THE DEVIL, vineyard owner marquis “Philippe de Montfaucon” (David Niven) is called back to his castle Bellenac because of another dry season. He asks his wife and children to remain in Paris, but they still come after him. His wife “Catherine de Montfaucon” soon discovers that her husband is acting mysteriously and that his employees are following old pagan rituals that call for the life of the marquis himself to save the crops.

Originally Kim Novak was cast in the role of “Catherine de Montfaucon.” Filming began in the fall of 1965 in France. Nearly every scene had been filmed when Novak fell from a horse and wasn't able to complete her scenes. Novak and co-star David Hemmings apparently had an affair during the filming of the movie. Hemmings claimed in his autobiography that Miss Novak was actually fired after an argument with producer Martin Ransohoff. In any event, Deborah Kerr was hired to take over the role, and every scene that featured Miss Novak had to be re-shot with Kerr.

Michael Anderson was originally announced as director, but J. Lee Thompson finally made the movie. Both Sidney J. Furie and Arthur Hiller also directed additional scenes. Gary McFarland’s score was announced for release on a Verve LP, but that release never happened. Film Score Monthly finally released the soundtrack in 2008.

Filming was completed in the early part of 1966, but the film’s American release was not until late 1967, and its British one not until the Spring of 1968. David Hemmings made this film before his breakthrough role in BLOW-UP, and it is quite possible that the great (and unexpected) popularity of that film was what finally pushed MGM into releasing this one. (They mentioned BLOW-UP in their advertising for EYE OF THE DEVIL.) Many commented with surprise on the smallness of Hemmings's role. It is likely that his co-star billing (along with that of Sharon Tate) was an afterthought to disguise the fact that they had supporting parts. Although this film was supposed to launch Tate, she had, because of its protracted shelf-life, already been seen in DON’T MAKE WAVES, which she had made subsequently.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2017 - 11:41 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Originally director Roman Polanski wanted to shoot his film DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES (in which he also co-starred) on location in and around a castle in Switzerland which he saw during a vacation, but as this was impossible, other locations in the Alps were found, along with studio shoots in England. While on location, Polanski employed dozens of local artisans to make the large numbers of coffins needed in the film. Unfortunately tourists were rather unnerved by the sight of these, and hotels had to erect signs to assure their guests that the area hadn't been struck by plague.

Producer Martin Ransohoff discovered Sharon Tate on the set of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and insisted that Polanski use her instead of Jill St. John (who withdrew shortly before shooting) as Polanski had planned. Tate and Polanski would later marry.

The film began shooting in standard spherical widescreen. However, in the early stages of production the format was changed to wider, anamorphic Panavision. This resulted in some of the spherical shots having to be reframed and cropped in order to be as wide as Panavision.

Polanski was most displeased with the American version of this film. In addition to changing the title from DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES to THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck, Ransohoff cut the film by about 16 minutes, and, because the plot had been made incomprehensible by these cuts (so Polanski claimed), an animated prologue was added to make the plot a little clearer.

In addition, the two leading actors --Jack McGowran and Polanski himself--were dubbed by others. However, Polanski's version of the film, under its correct title, was shown in Europe. The film was shown on British television under its proper title for some years, but has been known as THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS in the UK, both on TV and on DVD, since the mid-1990s, although it is otherwise as Polanski intended it to be. No-one seems to know why the title has been changed, and a generation has grown up believing THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS to be the film's original title.

Krzysztof Komeda's score finally received a truncated release on the Polish Polonia label in 1998.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 12:08 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In September 1961, Variety reported that director Vincent Sherman was interested in making a screen adaptation of Ira Wallach’s 1959 satirical novel Muscle Beach, but two years later, film rights were picked up by Martin Ransohoff of Filmways. Wallach was attached to write the screenplay, with MGM set to distribute. It was noted that there was a potential marketing conflict over the title with American International Pictures’ identically named sequel to BEACH PARTY. Although AIP was not required to register the title with the Motion Picture Association of America, they proceeded with release of their film as MUSCLE BEACH PARTY in 1964.

Development stalled for another two years until March 1965, when Theodore J. Flicker was named as the new director of the Wallach project, which was now without a title. Flicker was slated to collaborate on the screenplay with Maurice Richlin, and Ann-Margret was in talks for a role. Around this time, the film was officially retitled DON’T MAKE WAVES, and by the summer, it was reported that script duties had shifted to Tom and Frank Waldman for director Blake Edwards.

That trio’s attachment to the project was likely brief, however, since neither the Waldmans nor Edwards were mentioned again, and the following spring, Variety confirmed the casting of Tony Curtis under director Alexander MacKendrick, who had directed Curtis in 1957’s SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS.

This was billed as co-star Sharon Tate's film debut by producer Martin Ransohoff, who had her under contract. However, she had already appeared in several films, including an unbilled bit in Ransohoff's THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964) and in his 1967 British horror film EYE OF THE DEVIL. One report said that she was brought in as a replacement for Julie Newmar. Tate's salary on the film was $750 per week. Supposedly, Tate's character of “Malibu” inspired the Malibu Barbie doll.

Principal photography began 6 July 1966 at the MGM studio backlot in Culver City, CA, and on the Malibu coast. “Carlo Cofield’s” (Curtis’) cliffside beach house was built three times to scale—twice on MGM’s Stage 30 (for a price of $75,000), and once on location. Additional miniatures used for a mudslide sequence cost $215,000.

On 27 July 1966, just a few weeks into production, skydiving photographer Bob Buquor died while performing a stunt to record footage of skydivers Leigh Hunt and James Dann, who were doubling for actors. Buquor was expected to touch down on land, but was carried out to sea by a gust of wind and drowned due to the weight of his 35mm camera equipment. His body was recovered the following afternoon, some 225 yards offshore.

DON’T MAKE WAVES was scheduled to premiere 9 June 1967 as part of Myrtle Beach, SC’s Sun Fun Festival. The New York City showcase engagement began 20 June 1967, followed by a Los Angeles opening on 2 August 1967. Reviews were largely negative.

Vic Mizzy’s score for the film was released on an MGM LP, which was re-issued on CD by Chapter III in 2000.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 12:27 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1967’s OUR MOTHER’S HOUSE, when their deeply religious mother dies, the seven Hook children bury her in the garden and continue life as normal. Then their absent father, “Charlie” (Dirk Bogarde), reappears. Three of the seven juvenile actors who play the Hook children--Margaret Leclere (“Elsa”), Pamela Franklin (“Diana”), and Phoebe Nicholls (“Gerty)--went on to further success and developed enduring film and TV careers as adults. Mark Lester also had later successes, most famously in the title role in OLIVER! (1968). He gave up acting in the early 1980s and became an osteopath, but returned to film after more than 30 years to play the role of King Harold in "1066" (2015).

The film had a screenplay co-written by the beautiful Israeli actress Haya Harareet ("Esther" in 1959’s BEN-HUR). Location scenes were shot in Croydon, England.

OUR MOTHER’S HOUSE marked the second of five collaborations between director Jack Clayton and French composer Georges Delerue, who had previously written the score for Clayton's THE PUMPKIN EATER (1964). After an interval of 16 years, they reunited for SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983), although the production was troubled, with Disney forcing Clayton to replace Delerue's original music (which was considered 'too dark') with a new score by James Horner. Delerue went on to compose the music for Clayton's last two projects, THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE (1987), and the TV movie SCREEN TWO: MEMENTO MORI (1992), which was broadcast a month after Delerue's death.

Delerue’s score for OUR MOTHER’S HOUSE was released on an MGM LP, but only in Canada. It made its U.S. debut when Film Score Monthly re-issued the LP on CD in 2003.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 3:13 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In spring 1964, producer Martin Ransohoff optioned film rights to Alistair MacLean’s 1963 novel, ICE STATION ZEBRA. No distribution deal was set at that time, although Ransohoff’s Filmways, Inc. was said to have existing deals with both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Columbia Pictures. Filming was scheduled to begin in late spring 1965, with location shooting to be done in the Arctic Circle. The 26 March 1965 Daily Variety stated that Paddy Chayefsky had recently completed the script, and confirmed that MGM would act as distributor.

Gregory Peck was signed to star in the film. Following Peck’s casting, co-stars George Segal, Karl Malden, and David Niven were brought on, and John Sturges was named as director. Ransohoff hoped to cash in on Peck and Niven’s connection to the film adaptation of an earlier MacLean novel, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE. Production was now slated to begin in November 1965, but filming was delayed until January 1967 due to David Niven and George Segal’s scheduling conflicts.

In addition, the United States Department of Defense objected to some of the depiction of Navy life on the submarine in the script by Paddy Chayefsky. As such, Douglas Hayes was brought in to rewrite the screenplay. The project was further postponed, and on 6 February 1967 the Los Angeles Times announced that Rock Hudson now had the starring role, and credited Harry Julian Fink, Jr. as the screenwriter. (He ultimately received story credit.) Hudson revealed in an interview that he had sought out the script on his own and lobbied Ransohoff for the role of “Comdr. James Ferraday.”

In June 1967, Hudson was preparing for the shoot on an atomic submarine based off the coast of Florida. The final screenplay was scheduled to be completed by mid-Jun 1967, at which time the filmmakers planned to send it to the U.S. Navy for approval.

It was estimated that the production would cost between $7 and $8 million, an estimated $2 million of which would be spent on sets. Shooting occurred on the MGM studio lot in Culver City, CA, on Stages 3, 5, 12, 14, and 30. The fictional “U.S.S. Tigerfish” modeled after the U.S.S. Skate and the interior of the U.S.S. Thresher, was an estimated 300 feet long and five stories high, including the sail. Divided into three sections among three soundstages, and partly submersible, the submarine’s thirds were said to be “mounted over tanks for tipping, dunking, and surfacing.” Stage 14 held the section containing the torpedo room and an engine room, while Stage 30 contained the sixteen-foot sail surrounded by fake slabs of ice made of urethane foam. Officers’ quarters and the control room were shot on Stage 12, and a meteorological laboratory was erected on Stage 5. A 3,000 square-foot exterior set, modeled after pictures of the North Pole taken by crewmembers of the U.S.S. Skate, was built on Stage 3, against “an immense starry night and glacier backdrop.” Some submarine parts used in the U.S.S. Tigerfish were said to be obtained at marine salvage yards.

Lloyd Nolan’s character (“Admiral Garvey”) was added during post-production, necessitating re-shoots that took place in late February and early March 1968 at MGM. The studio arranged a reserved-seat, “roadshow” release of the picture, preceded by a mid-Jun 1968 sneak preview at Minneapolis, MN’s Cooper Theatre, less than a month after the U.S.S. Scorpion, a nuclear submarine, had gone missing, prompting rumors about a possible Soviet attack. The 18 June 1968 Daily Variety noted the “accidental and coincidental” similarities between the ICE STATION ZEBRA plot and speculations about the U.S.S. Scorpion’s disappearance, which was said to have spooked some audience members at the preview.

On 23 October 1968, the film had its world premiere at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, CA. The theater had been closed for three days in advance, so that the screen could be opened up to full Cinerama dimensions. The picture was advertised outside the Cinerama Dome by a display measuring twenty-by-twelve feet, which entailed a model submarine crashing through fake polar ice against a “cyclorama of Russian planes and paratroops.

Reserved-seat screenings began at the Cinerama Dome the day after the premiere, on 24 October 1968. While the New York City opening was initially scheduled to take place in early 1969, the release date was moved up to 20 December 1968, displacing another MGM roadshow attraction, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, from its Cinerama theaters.

Following mixed reviews, the picture grossed a cumulative $4.6 million in domestic film rentals. Director of photography Daniel L. Fapp received an Academy Award nomination for Cinematography, while H. E. Millar, Sr. and J. McMillan Johnson were nominated for Special Visual Effects.

Michel Legrand’s score was released on an MGM LP, which was re-issued on CD by PEG in 1997. The complete score was released by Film Score Monthly in 2003.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 10:54 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Martin Ransohoff was the executive producer for the 1968 British adaptation of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Peter Hall directed the film, which did not get a theatrical release in the U.S. Instead, it went directly to American television, where it was broadcast on CBS on 9 February 1969. There, it was shorn of its nude sequences, which showed the considerable charms of the then 34-year-old Judi Dench as “Titania.” The film’s score, by Guy Woolfenden, has not had a release. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM received an Emmy nomination as “Outstanding Dramatic Program,” losing to TEACHER, TEACHER, a Hallmark Hall of Fame production.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

CASTLE KEEP (1969) was set during the Battle of the Bulge, and looked at an anachronistic count (Jean Pierre-Aumont) as he shelters a ragtag squad of American soldiers in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans, but without bringing harm to the castle or its priceless art treasures. Burt Lancaster, playing one-eyed Infantry Major “Abraham Falconer,” led the soldiers, with Patrick O’Neal and Peter Falk among their number.

The production proceeded slowly, and director Sidney Pollack confessed that the shooting in Yugoslavia took too long to complete, which meant that warm weather began to melt the snow. The cast also became very erratic, since actors had to act in warm weather as if it were in deep winter.

Eight minutes of Michel Legrand’s score appeared in a 2005 Legrand box set from Universal Music France.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 11:47 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Martin Ransohoff delved into Shakespeare again, with the 1969 production of HAMLET, the first film of the play to be produced in color. Star Nicol Williamson had created a sensation on the British stage with his adaptation of the play, which he turned into a film with director Tony Richardson. The cast also included Anthony Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull, and in a minor part, Anjelica Huston. The film had its U.S. theatrical release through Columbia. Patrick Gowers provided the unreleased score.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 12:34 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The paradoxical term “Catch-22” is defined in the script as follows: Bombadier “Captain John Yossarian” (Alan Arkin) says to “Doc Daneeka” (Jack Gilford), “Let me get this straight. In order to be grounded I have to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded—that means I’m not crazy anymore and I have to keep flying.” The doctor replies, “You got it. That’s Catch-22.”

In February 1966, Columbia Pictures, which had bought the film rights to Joseph Heller’s best-selling 1961 novel, CATCH-22, a year-and-a-half earlier for $150,000, sold the property to producer Martin Ransohoff at Filmways, Inc. During the time Columbia tried to develop the project, actor Jack Lemmon wanted to portray Yossarian, and directors Richard Brooks and Richard Quine separately worked on pre-production, but none of these men were involved after Filmways took over the project.

Heller was reportedly unhappy with Brooks and Quine because he felt them “incapable of pursuing the wildly satirical (and anti-military) point of view of his novel.” Filmways had already attached director Mike Nichols to the project at the time of purchase. Filming was slated begin in late 1967-early 1968 in Italy and Yugoslavia, and reportedly Andre Previn would score the picture. The following year, Nichols switched the main location to Mexico, because he and producer John Calley were unable to find the right terrain in Italy, Sicily, or Sardinia that had not been built up and developed since the end of World War II.

Nichols wanted Walter Matthau and Al Pacino to join the cast, but neither was involved with the film. Nor was Stacy Keach, who was listed as a cast member a month before filming began. Keach was originally co-starring as “Col. Cathcart” when shooting began, but things did not work out. He was fired by Nichols, and Charles Grodin (who had already been cast as “Capt. Aarfy Aardvark”) was asked to take over. Since the Cathcart part was written for an older man, old-age make-up was experimented with for a few days, until it was decided to cast Martin Balsam instead, and Grodin returned to his original part. Andre Previn was also not involved in the final production. The film ended up not having an original score. The film’s budget was $15 million.

Principal photography began 13 January 1969 in the state of Sonoma, Mexico. Nora Ephron, writing for the 16 March 1969 New York Times, visited the set on a desolate coast, twenty miles from the small town of Guaymas. Flanked by the Pacific on one side and mountains on the other, the location “was reachable only by boat” until the production spent $180,000 to build a five-mile highway and “$250,000 more for [a] 6,000-foot runway,” both of which were constructed by the mayor of Guaymas, who owned a contracting company. Seventy-five local Mexicans cleared a one-square-mile site with machetes, “leaving only mesquite trees, which resemble the small olive trees native to Italy.”

The production then built the novel’s “Pianosa airfield,” complete with tents, huts, buildings, and a control tower. Stunt pilot Frank Tallman was given the task of “rounding up a group of authentic fighter pilots” and “assembling a squadron of B-25s—18 of them, each purchased, repaired and made sky-worthy at an average cost of $10,000.” Director Mike Nichols wanted 36 B-25s to create the big Army Air Force base, but the budget couldn't stretch to more than 17 flyable Mitchells. An additional non-flyable hulk was acquired in Mexico, made barely ferry-able and flown with landing gear down to the location, only to be burned and destroyed in a crash landing scene. The wreck was then buried in the ground next to the runway, where it remains to this day. After the first week of shooting, Nichols sent more than 200 extras back to the U.S. because he wanted the military base to have a more sparse, surreal look.

Midway through the production’s Mexican sojourn, Orson Welles arrived for two weeks to portray “General Dreedle” in a couple of scenes. Having tried without success to buy “Catch-22” for himself in 1962, Welles signed on in order to earn enough money to direct one of his own independent films. He flew to the location with an entourage that included a cook and Peter Bogdanovich, who was filming a documentary about him. The cast and crew were initially intimidated by Welles’s towering presence, but by the time he finished his eight days of shooting, most were reportedly relieved to see him leave. However, Nichols, who remained conciliatory toward Welles during filming, told the 18 May 1969 Los Angeles Times that he later received “an extremely generous letter [from Welles] that means a lot to me.” A year later, when Welles appeared on “The David Frost Show,” he stated that Mike Nichols was the only director in current Hollywood who had “the same sort of control” on his films that Welles had on CITIZEN KANE in 1941.

Folk musician Arthur “Art” Garfunkel made his film debut in CATCH-22. His singing partner Paul Simon was originally going to be in the film, but his role was written out. The Mexico location shooting took six months to complete because cinematographer David Watkin would only film between 2 PM to 3 PM to get the same lighting. Since shooting took longer than planned, Garfunkel wasn't able to make it back to New York in time to start creating harmonies for and recording the Simon & Garfunkel album "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Angered by the delay, Paul Simon wrote the track "The Only Living Boy in New York" about the incident. The lyrics "Tom, get your plane right on time / I know your part'll go fine / Fly down to Mexico" were a thinly veiled attack aimed at Garfunkel (who was "Tom" of Simon & Garfunkel's earlier incarnation, Tom & Jerry). Simon was left alone in New York to prepare and produce the bulk of the album himself.

While supervising two cameramen in an airplane, second unit director John Jordan fell to his death over the Pacific Ocean on 17 May 1969 when a gust of wind knocked the aircraft off balance and sent him through an open door. The production spent a week of night shooting in a flower market outside Rome, Italy’s Palazzo Farnese. However, when filming moved to the Piazza Navona, one of the city’s most picturesque squares, for three days, local residents protested the many real and cardboard World War II tanks, along with production trucks, that crowed the space. They were also unhappy that municipal authorities were charging the film company only $80 a night in fees.

After five months of filming on location, Nichols left Rome on 12 June 1969 and returned to Hollywood for two months of final interiors and process photography involving Alan Arkin and Charles Grodin.

CATCH-22 debuted in Westwood, CA, on 24 June 1970 to record opening grosses. Reviews, however, were mixed. Variety called it “the most expensive Cinema-of-the-Absurd film ever made,” while the Los Angeles Times reviewer found it “awfully good, and also a disappointment” because of its “chilly detachment.” But A month later, Variety praised CATCH-22 as Paramount’s “heftiest breadwinner…with gross to date of approximately $2,500,000 from 22 first engagements.”

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1970’s THE MOONSHINE WAR, revenue agent “Frank Long” (Patrick McGoohan) schemes to make a profit from moonshine before the repeal of Prohibition by acquiring a large quantity of whiskey from his old army buddy, “Son Martin” (Alan Alda), who operates a still in Kentucky. (Location scenes were filmed in Stockton, California.) Richard Quine directed this comedy-drama, which had an unreleased score by Fred Karger.

Henry Farrell, who wrote the script for 1971's WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN?, wrote the novel on which WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? was based. Director Curtis Harrington and producer George Edwards, who at the time were working for Universal Pictures, were so impressed by WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? that they asked Farrell if he had any other properties available. Farrell was at the time working on a story called “The Box Step,” a contemporary story about two ladies who ran a dance school, but it had already been optioned by Farrell’s agent. The property was assigned to another director at Universal, and Farrell was commissioned to write the screenplay.

Universal eventually decided to abandon the property and asked Harrington and Edwards if they still wanted it. At that time, Harrington and Edwards changed the period to the 1930s and offered the lead to Joanne Woodward, who turned it down. Months later, after leaving Universal, Harrington and Edwards took the project to Edward S. Feldman at Filmways, who was looking for a script for Debbie Reynolds. Filmways had co-produced "The Debbie Reynolds Show" with Reynolds' own company, Raymax. As part of her contract with NBC for "The Debbie Reynolds Show," NBC was committed to produce a film with Reynolds. She loved Henry Farrell's story outline, as well as the notion of taking a dramatic role in a horror movie. NBC put up $750,000 and Reynolds invested $800,000 of her own, producing the film anonymously, except for her company's credit.

The film is set in the small town of Braddock, Iowa, in the 1930s, where "Adelle Bruckner" (Debbie Reynolds) and "Helen Hill" (Shelley Winters) become pariahs when their sons are sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of Ellie Banner. The film began production under the title "The Best of Friends," but Otto Preminger protested to the Motion Picture Association because he had already registered the similar title "Such Good Friends" (1971). Producer George Edwards quickly responded by changing the title to a line from the script: "What's the Matter with Helen?".

According to Debbie Reynolds, Shelley Winters' psychiatrist advised her not to portray a woman having a nervous breakdown because, at the time, she was having a real-life nervous breakdown. "She's the kind of actress who becomes the part she's playing..." said Reynolds, "so all through the film she drove all of us insane!" Reynolds drove Winters to work each day. One morning on her way to pick up Shelley, Debbie noticed a woman standing on Santa Monica Boulevard in a nightgown trying to flag down a ride. It was Winters. When Reynolds stopped and asked why she wasn't waiting at home, Winters replied, "I thought I was late."

David Raksin's score appeared on a limited release LP and was re-issued on CD by Quartet in 2012.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 1:28 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

10 RILLINGTON PLACE was based on the famous case of John Reginald Christie, who reportedly suffered from sexual dysfunction and experienced sexual pleasure from raping women and then strangling them. One day, Christie (Richard Attenborough), the landlord of 10 Rillington Place, rents his upstairs flat to Timothy John Evans (John Hurt) and his wife Beryl (Judy Geeson).

In 1961 journalist Ludovic Kennedy wrote Ten Rillington Place, a biography of Christie. In June 1962, producers Elliott Kastner and Stan Shpetner bought the film rights to Kennedy's novel. In March 1968, Shpetner’s Forest Park Productions announced that they would team with William Dozier’s Greenway Productions and CBS Films to produce the film version of the book. They hoped to star James Mason and Dirk Bogarde, with Joseph Losey directing. Dozier would serve as executive producer and Shpetner as producer. The producers had signed Sean Graham to write the screenplay.

By March 1970, however, it was announced that Filmways would produce 10 RILLINGTON PLACE as a Columbia release. Although Columbia’s European production chief, John Van Eyssen, and Filmways head Martin Ransohoff announced that Basil Appleby would serve as executive producer, he is listed onscreen as associate producer. Director Richard Fleischer stated that he had wanted to make the picture for years, but was prohibited by a British law requiring fifty years to pass before a real-life murder could be shown onscreen. The law, however, was changed to thirty years shortly before the production began.

The film renewed interest in the case and in the location of Rillington Place, by then renamed Ruston Close. A Jun 1970 article described the area as “like a vacation resort,” frequented by tourist buses and squatters. Because filming could not take place at the actual building, most scenes were shot at the house next door. In 1970, the street was demolished and rebuilt as Bartle Road.

Richard Fleischer directed this 1971 crime thriller. John Dankworth's score has not been released, except as an isolated score track on the Twilight Time Blu-ray of the film in 2016. John Hurt was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. He lost to Edward Fox for THE GO-BETWEEN.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2017 - 1:48 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Producer Martin Ransohoff used director Richard Fleischer again for 1971’s SEE NO EVIL. The film was a straight-forward thriller about a young blind woman (Mia Farrow) who is pursued by a maniac while staying with family in their country manor.

As noted onscreen, the film was shot on location in Berkshire, England. SEE NO EVIL was originally scored by star Mia Farrow’s then-husband, composer André Previn, but the filmmakers eventually replaced his music with a score by Elmer Bernstein (after hiring David Whitaker as the first replacement. Previn, who had been hired at Farrow’s behest and used the London Symphony Orchestra to play the music, later declared to reporters that he had always disliked the movie. The dispute was widely publicized in the British press.

Ransohoff stated that the film had cost $1.1 million and made less than $1 million in the United States. He blamed this on the fact that Farrow starred in a television movie, “Goodbye, Raggedy Ann,” at the same time that the film opened.

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