Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Blu-ray / DVD release

A Fistful of Dollars (Special Edition)

Director: Sergio Leone
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte

Country: U.S.A.
Label: Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Blu-ray, DVD
Discs: 1
#UPC: 7 38329 21739 6
Format: Anamorphic, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
Brand New 4K Restoration
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Audio: 5.1 Surround, 2.0 Audio
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Running time: 99 minutes
Extras: Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas, Audio Commentary by Noted Film Historian Sir Christopher Frayling, Interview with Actress Marianne Koch, "Trailers From Hell" with John Badham, “A Fistful of Dollars”: Original Outtakes, Animated Image Gallery (14:52),
Promoting A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS - Animated Image Gallery (15:48), A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS - On the Set - Animated Image Gallery (3:57), Restored Opening UA Logo, The Christopher Frayling Archives: A Fistful of Dollars, A New Kind of Hero: Featurette, A Few Weeks in Spain: Clint Eastwood on the Experience of Making the Film, Tre Voci: Three Friends Remember Sergio Leone, Not Ready for Primetime: Renowned Filmmaker Monte Hellman Discusses the Television Broadcast of A Fistful of Dollars, The Network Prologue with Harry Dean Stanton, Location Comparisons: Then to Now, 10 Radio Spots, Double Bill Trailer, Trailers for All Five Sergio Leone Westerns
Available: May 22, 2018

Who Are Those Guys? ~ Maxwell Caulfield

Maxwell Newby was born in Belper, Derbyshire, England on November 23, 1959. He was born to Oriole Rosalind (née Findlater) an Peter Newby in Belper, Derbyshire — although he later claimed to be a native of Glasgow, reportedly to be "more interesting". By 1965, his parents had divorced. Although not a child actor per se, at age seven he played Ted (under the name Maxwell Findlater, using his mother's maiden name) in the 1967 film, “Accident”. The film's screenplay was written by Harold Pinter and starred Stanley Baker, Dirk Bogarde and Michael York.

The actor's American stepfather, Peter Maclaine, a former Marine, reportedly kicked Caulfield out of the house at the age of 15. Caulfield became an exotic dancer at London's Windmill Theatre in order to obtain an Equity card enabling him to work as an actor. Later he got his green card through his stepfather. He reportedly took his stage surname, Caulfield, from the character in J.D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye. Today he is an English-American film, stage, and television actor who is based in the United States. He has appeared in films such as “Grease 2” (1982), “Electric Dreams” (1984), “The Boys Next Door” (1985), “The Supernaturals” (1986), “Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat” (1989), “Waxwork 2” (1992), “Gettysburg” (1993), “Empire Records” (1995), “The Real Blonde” (1997), and “The Man Who Knew Too Little” (1997) and a recent appearance is as the king in “A Prince for Christmas” (2015).

Caulfield has been married since 1980 to actress Juliet Mills. The couple garnered media attention, as Mills is 18 years his senior, He is the son-in-law of veteran actor Sir John Mills and writer Mary, Lady Mills and brother-in-law to his wife's siblings, Jonathan Mills and actress Hayley Mills, as well as uncle to Hayley Mills' sons, Crispian Mills (lead singer of indie band Kula Shaker), and Jason Lawson.

Caulfield is stepfather to Melissa (née Miklenda; Mills' daughter from her second marriage) and Sean Caulfield (born Sean Alquist; Mills' son from her first marriage).

Maxwell Caulfield became a naturalized United States citizen on 5 September 1991

In May 2015, he toured Australia with his wife, Juliet Mills, and sister-in-law, Hayley Mills, in the comedy “Legends!” by Pulitzer Prize winner James Kirkwood. He’s also a voice actor and voiced James Bond in the video game James Bond 007: Nightfire (2002).

Not known for his westerns he did appear in one Euro-western “Backlash: Oblivion 2” (1994) as the character Sweeney.

CAULFIELD Maxwell (aka Maxwell Findlater) (Maxwell Newby) [11/23/1959, Belper, Derbyshire, U.K. -     ] – producer, film, TV actor, dancer, singer, married to writer, actress Juliet Mills (Juliet Maryon Mills) [1941-    ] (1980-    ) stepfather of Sean Caulfield (Sean Alquist Mills), Melissa’ Miklenda Mills, uncle of director, musician singer Crispian Mills (Crispian John David Boulting) [1973-    ], Jason Lawson.
Backlash: Oblivion 2 – 1994 (Sweeney)

Special Birthdays

Nigel Davenport (actor) would have been 90 today, he died in 2013.

Joan Collins (actress) is 85 today.

Klaus Dahlen (actor) would have been 80 today, he died in 2006.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RIP Clint Walker

Veteran American actor Clint Walker died of heart failure in Grass Valley, California on May 21, 2018. He would have been 91 on May 30. Born Norman Eugene Walker in Hartford, Illinois on May 30, 1927, he was discovered as a doorman and security guard working in Las Vegas in the mid-1950s. He was hired to portray Cheyenne Bodie on the Warner Brothers TV series Cheyenne (1955-1962). Clint at 6’6” was a mountain of a man and a favorite of the kids. His career was just starting to expand into films when he had a freak accident while skiing at Mammoth Mountain in 1971. In a fall from a ski lift, Walker was pierced through the heart with his ski pole. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. However, a doctor detected faint signs of life and rushed Walker to surgery, where his damaged heart was repaired. Within two months, Walker was working again. He would go on to appear in over 40 films and TV series often portraying the Cheyenne character. Clint appeared in only one Euro-western as Scotty in 1972’s “Pancho Villa” starring Telly Savalas.


By Howard Hughes

Just to report on the ‘Fistful of Dollars’ screening in Manchester at HOME on Sunday afternoon (May 20). It was well attended – difficult to say exact numbers, as we were seated towards the front, but maybe 150+. Considering it was a scorching afternoon in Manchester and the Simplyhealth Great Manchester 10K Half-marathon was on that day, it was very encouraging. In fact Olympian Mo Farrah (the eventual marathon winner) ran past us on the way to the cinema (us, not him).

The film was introduced by freelance film educator Maggie Hoffgen, in the cinema’s ‘Classics’ slot in Cinema One. The 4K restoration (credited to Cineteca Di Bologna and Unidis Jolly Film and using the original Techniscope negative with, the opening credits stated, a 1965 Technicolor print as reference) is very impressive. The opening and end titles have been restored to the English language ones – Ripley’s Home Video version has the Italian language titles – and the picture, in the 2.35:1 ratio Techniscope, looks tremendous. The level of detail unveiled when you see one of Leone’s films in the cinema on a big screen is always a revelation, no matter how many times you’ve already seen them. The details of costumes, the faces of background characters, the use of perspective, of the minutiae of buildings, weapons and furniture, and of course of Leone’s great close-ups and use of landscape. You could see clearly the faces of the Baxter gunmen in the background of the scene when Eastwood’s mule is spooked. The landscape, especially the scenes shot in Almeria, benefitted greatly from the widescreen cinematography, even for the night scenes, which in some prints can be too dark. The hostage exchange too, with its formal groups of figures, windblown leaves and dust, and that zoom-in on Marisol and her son, was also impressive.

The edges of the framing in this 4K restoration confirmed that the only home video release that includes the whole widescreen image so far is the Italian Blu-ray [see image below]: 

Increasing the images’ impact even more were the music and sound effects, which were VERY LOUD.  

The electronic whine that builds up in Eastwood’s confrontation with Baxter men early on (‘My mule don’t like people laughing’) and before the final showdown with the Rojos is absolutely ear-splitting, as were the gunshots.  The trumpet deguello too was at full volume, to create a showdown that pales in comparison when seen on TV. The music mix also revealed aspects of the score I’d never noticed before. This is probably the best presentation of a Leone film I’ve seen in a theatre. As it was such a sunny afternoon, we headed off for a pint at the Albert Square Chop House and a late spaghetti lunch at Caffé Grande by Piccolino, an Italian restaurant on Clarence Street overlooking Manchester’s magnificent town hall and Albert Square, which was filled with throngs of successful marathon runners.