Posts Tagged ‘1971


Hollywood to Redux 1971

“Fiddler on the Roof.” “Billy Jack.” “Dirty Harry.” “A Clockwork Orange.” “The Last Picture Show.” Even “The Million Dollar Duck.” This can only mean one thing:

Hollywood is remaking 1971. The entire year.

Close sources have revealed that the Studio heads for Warner Bros., Fox, Universal, Sony, and Lionsgate, had a midnight meeting and discussed the possibility of remaking one entire year of movies; specifically 1971. According to an anonymous insider, “We were asked to write down our favorite films, or at least ones we wanted to see remade. The majority of those movies came from 1971. Then one thing leads to another and they’re carving up slices of the 1971 pie.”

In a society where cinematic remakes, reboots, and re-ignites have became status quo, we have to wonder if maybe this is a bit too much. With the recent remakes of “Friday the 13th,” and “The Last House on the Left,” horror has proved that remaking the genre itself can be profitable. However, how would a remake of the classic “The French Connection” do? Would “Dirty Harry” or “Billy Jack” still be relevant?

“It’s not a matter of relevancy,” says Roman Weinandeinme, Professor of Film at Columbia University School of the Arts New York. “The culture itself has backlogged twenty years. It’s like we’re living in a muddled fax copy of the Eighties. That aside, humans have this attachment to their youth. They want their kids or nieces or nephews to enjoy, to grow up on, what they watched when they were younger. As for delving back to the early Seventies, I have no answer on that. But we’re living in post-modern times. Cinema redux has now become a way of life, at least for the Studios.”

There are others who are proponents of Studio Remaking. Arthur Proyas, an avid entertainment blogger, had this to say: “Why is everybody soooooooo uptight when it comes to movie remakes? I mean, c’mon! We got better special effects! Better actors! Better directors! Better action sequences! It’d be awesome if Michael Bay remade something like… ‘Dirty Harry’ or ‘French Connection.’ I mean, why do all these film critics and failed film students have to cry because something they love is being remade? I’ve made it a policy not to even bother watching the original.”

But the real reason may be the money. According to current statistics the Writer’s Guild of America registers at least forty-thousand scripts a year. With even a portion of those being submitted to producers, it may be that they have no time for “original works.” It’s easier to rent a movie and say, “That needs to be remade!” and pay on the royalties than incorporating new writers into the Hollywood system.

Independent filmmakers echo the sentiment of these hard times for cinema. “When you go to pitch an idea, they want it all: the script, how much it will cost, how much it will make, and all ‘stars’ that are attached to it. With the current depression it’s even worse. The execs are going to Blockbuster video, picking up a movie and taking it home, then deciding if they wanna have it re-done. They already own the rights so it’s just a matter of getting new writers and a new director. Then: viola! Crap.”

Either way names are being tossed around and all the titles are up for grabs. Recent rumors include: Harvey Keitel in “Dirty Harry,” Keifer Sutherland playing the role his dad made famous in “Klute,” Shia LeBeouf in “A Clockwork Orange,” and even a re-igniting of “Shaft” with Terrence Howard. No word on directors attached to any of the projects.

Of the Studios who would make the most from this midnight agreement: Warner Bros. With last year’s failure of “Speed Racer,” which earned $50 mil against its reported cost of $120 million, the Warners need a hit. In 1971 the WB released four movies to hit the box office Top Ten: “Billy Jack,” “Summer of ’42,” “Dirty Harry,” and “A Clockwork Orange.” With any luck, next year will be their year again.


Movies on DVD Review: The Bank Job




Bank heist movie, Seventies style.


Starring Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, and Richard Lintern. Directed by Roger Donaldson


Terry Leather (Statham) owns a small car dealership/ garage in London. Constantly harassed by thugs he owes money to, opportunity knocks in the form of Martine Love (Burrows). Love lets him in on a foolproof score: the Lloyds Bank on Baker Street. Terry rounds up his friends Dave (Mays) and Martine’s former lover Kevin (Moore) to help him plan it out, along with “proper” Englishman Guy Singer (Faulkner) and on lookout with a walkie-talkie, Eddie (Michael Jobson). What Terry doesn’t know is that the bank job is a setup being orchestrated by Tim Everett (Lintern), a member of MI5 (which is akin to CIA covert operatives) which doesn’t want to be connected to the crime. MI5 want to get a series of photographs being held in a safe deposit box at the Lloyds Bank by Michael X, the British version of Malcolm X. When a ham radio operator listens in on the walkie-talkie conversations and alerts police, events take a turn. When Terry realizes the objective of the caper (the photos of a Princess in a ménage a trios) wasn’t just money or jewels, everyone is at risk. The heat is turned up when a porn producer’s “real” ledger is being held by the group, unbeknownst to them. Terry must try to keep the group together and keep from being killed by the porn producer’s thugs, the cops, MI5, and the guys he owes money to.


Honestly, I didn’t think I would like this movie as much as I did. For the more “Americanized” movie watcher, it’ll take a bit to get into London circa 1971. My only experience with British gangster movies is “Snatch,” “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” and “Get Carter” and this is an interesting addition to the genre. Playing more as a drama than action/adventure, the film is a little slow on the setup of the principal characters. However, once the job is pulled off everything shifts into high gear and you’ll want to stay to the end to find out how it all works out.


With it being “based on a true story,” is it all true? The movie does a great job at suspending disbelief. In reality, the bank job was a success. A group of people did rent out a shop and tunneled under it to break into the lockbox area of a bank .A ham radio operator did intercept and record the calls, notifying the police. While four people were supposedly sentenced to twelve years none of the money was ever recovered, the “take” being valued at over $5 million. The rest is speculation. Were the newspapers given a D-note, telling them not to talk about the robbery for the purposes of National Security? Was MI5 really afraid of Michael X and the pictures he had? Couldn’t they have just went into the bank and retrieved them? One of the biggest mysteries is that Michael X’s “file” is closed until 2054; most criminals’ records stay closed for 25 years, spies for 100. Guess we won’t know until then.


Overall, a good British caper movie.


My grade: a recommended B