Saturday, November 16, 2013


The year is 1975…and…

I cut out and pasted movie advertisements in a spiral notebook during that transitional movie year all those many, many movie years ago. Looking at it now, much of the print from the faded pages has yellowed, but yes, I still have it! So I’ve decided this month to stroll down memory lane and comment on some of the film ads from my movie scrapbook.  I’ll also try to fit in a suitable 1001 movie entry at the end of each post since that is still the point of this blog.

1975 Movie Scrapbook (Post 6: Bombs)

1. Mandingo

Expect the savage. The sensual. The shocking. The sad. The powerful. The shameful. Expect all that motion picture screen has never dared to show before. Except the truth. Now you are ready for Madingo.

The whole ad for Mandingo is trying to make the potential moviegoer think of Gone With the Wind with lots (and lots) of sex…Interracial sex at that! I do remember this as an infamous movie of its day, but never saw it. It did have a prominent display in the 1975 Playboy Sex in Cinema review...or so I am told. Ahem.

2. The Great Waldo Pepper

Not really a bomb, but according to writer William Goldman, this Robert Redford/Geroge Roy Hill follow up to The Sting didn’t really didn’t live up to expectations either. What I still remember about the ad is the quote from Albert Weis (the film was playing at his Weis Cinema in Atlanta.) “I Love Waldo! Money back guarantee! If you don’t agree, your money will be cheerfully refunded” I still wonder if he had any takers for those who didn’t find Waldo all that appealing.

3. Gable and Lombard

They don’t make love like this anymore..but two of Hollywood’s greatest stars did and this is their hilarious and touching story.

I couldn't find a copy of the ad in my scrapbook on the Internet, so I just posted a Spanish language poster for no reason in particular. A much ridiculed movie in its day in any language before being pretty much forgotten as time passed. At least Jill Clayburgh went on to have a successful movie career and James Brolin went on to marry Barbara Streisand.

4. Whiffs

Speaking of Streisand husbands…let’s look at Elliot Gould. Definitely a prime example of William Goldman’s being a star doesn’t last long adage. MASH and Bob and Carol Ted and Alice made him a front line star…and a few movies like Whiffs took him down just as quickly. “The most hilarious military farce since MASH!” “It’s a real gasser.” The ad does feature some neat animated pictures of the cast, but nifty animated renderings of Harry Guardino and Godfrey Cambridge do not necessarily make a hit. Do you know anyone who has actually seen Whiffs?

5. The Fortune

When I was reading the book on 70’s cinema, Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, it discussed in some detail the making of The Fortune. Apparently they had a script that made very little sense and nobody involved with the film understood what was going on. The film’s pedigree of Mike Nichols directing Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty probably looked good on paper, but obviously didn’t work out that way. The ad says “You may never stop laughing!” But given this films reputation, the ad probably should read, “You may never stop scratching your head in confusion.”

Today’s 70’s movie "Bomb" experience is...

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

I first became aware of Sam Peckinpah, as with many other things, through the jokes and cartoons that mentioned him in MAD magazine. Usually these jokes referred to violence and bloodbaths in his movies. I later watched and certainly would list as two of my favorites of this director as The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs. But I could never bring myself to watch Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Possibly because it was listed in Harry and Michael Medved's 1979 book The 50 Worst Movies of All Time. This is why I am listing it here under the bomb category. My old original Leonard Maltin movie guide didn’t think much of it either. But something apparently happened to the reputation of the film. Due to my past bias toward the film, I was pretty surprised to see it in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. “The book” even states that “this is one of those rare films that divides audiences into those who rate it a five-star classic and those who see it as a one-star dog.” After finally seeing it, I have to admit that this story of a bartender who attempts to fetch a decapitated head from a Mexican graveyard and deliver it for a bounty really is something that I enjoyed watching. And yes, I know it sounds like quite the feel-good movie! The bartender is played by character actor Warren Oates (Race With the Devil, Two-Lane Blacktop and Stripes). His prostitute/singer/girl friend/ is played by the often topless Ilesa Vega. I don’t recall seeing a couple quite like them ever on the screen before, and I appreciated that. Once again, I have to give the 1001 movie book some credit for pushing me to watch something I probably would have never bothered with otherwise.

By the way, if you get the DVD, it includes an audio commentary by no less than 3! Peckinpah scholars. I’d just like to say it somehow warms my heart that there are any Peckinpah scholars, let alone three on one commentary track!

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