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January 1970



Jeremy Paul Kagan was a 23 year-old Harvard graduate from New York. He was one the new breed of filmmakers arising from the college scene, which had recently introduced filmmaking as a major. After winning a Schlitz fellowship, Kagan attended the American Film Institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies in Beverly Hills, armed with a $15,000 grant.

For the National Student Film Festival, Kagan made the 20-minute, 16mm comedy, Mate Game. Kagan would go on to direct a handful of motion pictures, including Heroes (1977), with Henry Winkler. You can discover more through UCS's Change Making Media Lab

Maverick filmmaker, Robert 'Prince' Downey's 16mm pastiche film No More Excuses (1968) intercut footage from five shorts, notably the black and white Balls Bluff (1961). As part of the New American Cinema, Downey was refered to as a prolific and audacious satirist.




February 1970



A man boldly calling himself Limp Irving directed The Flesh Hustler (1970), starring Mark Royal, Charles Pohl, Fred Shaw and Frank Starr. The salacious title came from Bob Thorpe's California-based Clamil Productions, who also distributed the sadisitic-lesbian themed And Five Makes Jason (William Stagg, 1969), Precious Jewels (William Stagg, 1969) and The Party at Kitty and Stud's Place (Morton Lewis, 1970).




February 1970



Four Star Theater
 5112 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Magic Christian was the story of a wealthy eccentric Peter Sellers, disillusioned with mankind and adopts and renames a young tramp, played by Ringo Starr. Directed by Joseph McGrath and written by Terry Southern (Barbarella, Easy Rider, The Loved One), The Magic Christian opened in New York in 1970.

Reviews for the satite were mixed, "Seeing The Magic Christian is like listening to a drawn-out joke when the speaker forgets the punchline.", wrote Fresno's Gordon Young for his column, On The Aisle. He did however find merit in the casting, "The price of ticket, however, is worth it if only to see the brief scene of Racquel Welsh playing a scantily clad galley slave master".

Many theatres opted to put The Magic Christian together with Michael Lindsay-Hogg's Let It Be (1970). Other co-features at U.S. drive-ins included, Viva Max and Joe.

By the mid-'70's, when The Magic Christain was a double feature with The Ruling Class, newspaper advertising played up the cast to attract a newer college crowd, "Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr and 2 Monty Pythoners Aboard The Magic Christian". The "Pythoners" being John Cleese and Graham Chapman, two of the writers on Monty Python and the Holy Grail released a year earlier.

Ringo of course was no stranger to the big screen. The genial drummer appeared in every Beatles picture. This time marked the second occasion the genial drummer worked with writer Terry Southern, having appeared in Christian Marquand's bewildering mess Candy (1968), based on Southern's novel.

But Ringo would display superior acting chops in Claude Whatham's 1972 rock 'n roll fable That'll Be the Day. Ray Connolly's fictional tale of pop idol Jim Maclaine, played to perfection by David Essex, was essential viewing. Despite his limited screen time, Ringo is undeniably memorable as Jim's friend, Mike - a charming, lechorous old sod working the bumper cars at a seaside resort.

A sequel from director Michael Apted, Stardust hit screens the following year, and is also not be missed.

Prior to its regular run starting January 30th, a Gala Premiere was held at the Four Star Theatre, with Ringo in attendance. Audiences worldwide were relieved to know that Octopus's Garden was not performed.




February 1970




Picfair Theater
 5879 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019

Century Theater
 5115 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Without a Stitch was another Scandanavian export with a court case to its name. Cincinnati joined the fight when the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court granted an order to halt a showing at the Guild Fine Arts Cinema in 1971. The prosecutor called the movie "a public nuisance... an offence to public decency, morals, peace and health." Apparently the 'initiation of a 17 ½ year-old girl into a promiscous sex life' didn't go over too well.

After the X-rated movie duked it out with U.S. Customs, it was allowed for viewing pleasure in 1970 in most places. And although the movie contained its fair share of sex and nudity, it wasn't your typical 'skin flick'.

One critic looked past the dubious content and saw its comical side, "Without a Stitch is a sort of 'Candy' made with good taste and an alert sense of humor. Often times the film is funny - the rest of the time it's hilarious". Business was good, very good in fact. New York's Lowew's theatre, where it opened, saw long lines. And why not? As Tom Green for the Sun-Telegram reported, "The land where pornography is legal has sent us a new movie heralded to make 'I Am Curious-Yellow' pale by comparison. By all means of sexual explicitness, they have succeeded".

And by all accounts, the movie was a success at the drive-ins. For it's 1974 run with an R-rated version, New Jersey's Razorback Drive-In did the smart thing and paired it up with the French slave-trade movie, The House of Missing Girls (Jean-François Davy, 1969) aka Erotic Trap. The sex double continued at Abeline's Park Drive-In, where it was co-featured with The Golden Box (Donald A. Davis, 1970) "The kind of women all men want... but shouldn't have!". Both films were shown in "throbbing color". Not sure what kind of audio they had though.




February 1970



Based on the 1965 John Le Carré suspense novel of the same name, The Looking Glass War starred British actor Christopher Jones in a ruthless espionage game where the stakes are world peace (which is pretty high). Frank Pierson's thriller had a top-notch British cast, including Susan George - never better as sultry Amy Sumner in Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, Timothy West, Ralph Richardson and Anthony Hopkins (actually Welsh, but that's nitpicking).

Despite the stellar cast, reviews were tepid. Critics noted the "slow, dry script". New York magazine called Pierson's directorial debut "Another disastrous contrivance... a major disappointment". They concluded in a similar vein "If there's to be an end to the cold-spy genre, The Looking-Glass War may well signal it - or at very least mark the nadir".

According to his seasoned costars, newcomer Christopher Jones was unable to rise to the material. Jones, who appeared nude in Three in the Attic (Richard Wilson, 1968) was once married to actress Susan Strasberg. The handsome actor also enjoyed a brief fling with Jim Morrison's girlfriend Pamela Courson, and alludes to a liaison with Sharon Tate in Rome, during filming of A Brief Season (Renato Castellani, 1969).

The British secret service thriller was co-feature with A Walk in the Spring Rain (Guy Green, 1970). Other theaters paired with the espionage drama with Getting Straight (Richard Rush, 1970).




February 1970



One newspaper called Generation (George Schaefer, 1969) "A sassy new comedy". New York magazine didn't see it the same way, "A drearily-directed, tasteless and tedious film... about do-it-yourself obstetrics". They might have a point. What's sassy about a postpartum period?

Kim Darby won recogntion as Mattie Ross alongside John Wayne in True Grit (Henry Hathaway, 1969) and achieved nerd status on television when she appeared on Star Trek, playing the title role of Miri, which aired 27 October 1966.

According to my Log Entry, stardate 2713.5, "The Enterprise discovers an Earth-like planet that was devastated by a horrific degenerative disease and is now populated entirely by impossibly old children". This episode also marked the first appearance of McCoy's portable biocomputer.

Darby would fall in love with her Generation co-star Pete Duel during production.




February 1970



New View Theatre (closed).
Renamed Pussycat Theatre (mid-1970's).
Renamed Ritz (1989}.
6656 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

New View Theatre

February 1970



The big-screen version of Futz was based on the 1968 short play by young writer Rochelle Owens. Futz was a rural fantasy about a farmer who loves his animals more than people. When his love interest becomes spurned and enraged by his intimate relationship (a pig named Amanda), the farmer's wife incites the town against him. After a series of events, he is persecuted and killed.

Directed by Tom O'Horgan, the off-off Broadway play premiered at New York's La Mama Experimental Theater Club in March 1967. The show was received as expected, "I am not against healthy vulgarity, or even unhealthy vulgarity in moderation. But 'Futz' is, at best, low camp...", wrote New York magazine.

Without mincing words, the same magazine called Futz "that pretentious piece of theatrical pap."

Life magazine saw the play differently, "It is firmly-built, well-written and oddly moving. Futz is a pigsty pastoral with undeniable moral fervor."

The 1969 stage version had problems in Toronto, where police decided the play was not suitable for theatre-goers and told producers to shut down the play or face arrest. However, Futz continued for two more weeks before ending up in court, where it was ruled obscene. Luckily, Futz wasn't considered obscene in California, as the play opened at the Civic Theater in Santa Cruz.

Regardless of the outrage in certain circles, the play ran for 233 performances (when it moved to the Theatre de Lys at 121 Christopher Street) and turned into a cult hit. Enough interest was generated that the performers were asked to make a big screen version, starting in 1969.

The X-rated film adaptation was called 'a minimalist piece of absurdism'. Taking some elements of the stage version, Futz contained cartoonish characters, strange dialects and over-the-top imagery. The one 'name' in the cast was Sally Kirkland, who was nude, and rode a fat pig. And appearing as one of the villagers, with torch in hand, lynching Cyrus Futz, was none other than (Baby) Jane Holzer.

As some movie ads proudly stated, 'Futz will shake the very foundation of motion picture morality!'. Esteemed critic Leonard Maltin was not impressed with Tom O'Horgan's adapation "... disastrous results... no plot worth desscribing". Interestingly enough, Futz wasn't the only movie that year dealing with barnyard buddy intimacy. Pier Pasolini's Pigsty dealth with similar themes.

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Beginning as a student film and considered a prelude to Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese's Who's That Knocking?, as it was sometimes called, received a limited West Coast release in 1970.

Distributed by Joseph Brenner, the intimate and deeply personal film was given two more titles; J.R. and Bring On the Dancing Girls. According to Scorsese, the distributor didn't like the original title and instead, put the film out as J.R. (the name of Harvey Keitel's character).

Scorsese talked about taking the movie under yet another alternate title I call First to the Chicago Film Festival, where it received a favorable review from Roger Ebert. Another fan was director Brian De Palma. The two directors met a party in 1972 and according to Scorcese, "De Palma liked my film... and felt, like many, that it was the only accurate portrayal of life on the Lower East Side to date."

Near the end of the year, the 8th New York Film Festival featured Scorcese's Street Scenes 1970, as well as Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces and Warner Herzog's Even Dwarves Started Small.

In a piece printed in the L.A. Times in 1972, Scorcese summed up his film, "It's about Italian-Americans. My film is on a level of very small things, psychic things, in the sense of shackles. The church and sex, especially. How the hero can't relate to a girl unless she's a virgin. It even gets down to that. And this is 1968!".

Scorcese's black and white picture, with Michael Wadliegh handling the 16mmm sections, earned good reviews. Under the heading "Another Young Film Maker Scores", film critic Bernard Drew said 'Who's That Knocking at my Door?' is an arresting, profoundly moving, and very real and perhaps the best attempt yet to penetrate and explain the mores and hangups of the Italian-American community in New York."

Drew went on to say "Scorcese makes it seem like a fresh, and certainly very real experience. I believed absolutely every frame of the film, and I don't do that too often".

Indiana's Skyline Drive-In put Scorcese's picture (under the abbreviated Who's Knocking at the Door) on a bill with The Party.




March 1970



Avon Theater
 7039 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Richard Amory's book, The Song of the Loon was part of a trilogy, and widely considered one of the most popluar books of gay erotica in the sixties. Andrew Herbert's 1970 film adaptation was regarded as a classic of independent gay filmmaking. The Long Beach Star added Song of the Loon to it's main attraction, Bull's Market, "An adult escapade whose title speaks for itself". The ad was happy to note that "American Serviceman in Uniform Always Free!"

The "famous homosexual classic" was second billed to The Christine Jorgensen Story at Studio 1 on Sunset.




March 1970



Erotica Theater
 1187 North Western Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90029

Built in 1921, the narrow brick building known as The Felix housed a restaurant called "Bernie's". By the 1960's, under the harmless name of "Chris Studio", the space took out local print ads looking for cover girls and amateur and figure models. A decade later, now calling itself "Erotica #1", the seedy venue screened adult erotica and sold hardcore adult books.

Whatever name it went by in 1970, adult content remained. The business ran ads asking for "Barmaids, Hostesses, Dancers and Entertainers -- Mini-dress, bikini, topless, 18 or over. No exp. needed. We train at no cost to you. Gentleman do prefer blondes but will accept others." One year later, the cozy cinema was the Baron Theatre and showed new first run features in top adult entertainment.

Despite the many furniture stores that lined the Hollywood artery, smut was still the dominant trade. By the mid 1970's, at least half a dozen businesses were X-rated; Projection Room Theatre, Le Sex Shoppe, Stan's Adult Books and Movies Arcade, Flick City and the Libra Den were all on Western Avenue.




March 1970




March 1970



Student film got the treatment at the Cinema theater on Western (usually known for running adult movies).

The National Flower of Brooklyn - Tom McDonough's short was selected as one of the "Critic's Choice" for the American Film Institute's Independent Filmmaker Program in 1977 - a grant program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Four critics met at the AFI's headquarters in Washington to screen the twelve films; Roger Ebert and Judith Christ were among them.

Of those twelve films, two other notable selections were included; Barbara Kopple's Harlan County, U.S.A. and David Lynch's The Grandmother.

In 1989, the film was screened at the Donnell Libary Center at the New York Public Library as part of their "Special Screening... Treasures from the Collection" program.

Ron Finne's Demonstration Movie 1 also screened at the Cinematheque on Sunset as part of the "Genesis II" student film program in 1969. Genesis Films was a subsidiary of Martin Ransahoff's Filmways Company, and gave exposure, financing and distribution to independant filmmakers. Finne's movie was a send-up of instructional films once shown in classrooms. Hailing from Oregon, Finne's other 16mm features include The Whale and Natural Timber Country.

Also screened at the "Genesis II" program was David Lourie's ambitious Project 1 - an abstract, nightmarish projection of man's fear of women. In 1969, the disturbing film took a prize at the Autumnal Film Festival at Cal State College in Long Beach (now Cal State University). Among the judges were Francis Ford Coppola, Haskell Wexler and LA Times film critic, Kevin Thomas.

Kevin Rafferty's underground hit President Nixon's Inaugural Address could be summed up as "film footage of protesters, mini wrestlers and naked people skiing and running over audio of Richard Nixon's 1969 address". Rafferty would collaborate on the documentary The Atomic Cafe (1982) - which took award for Best Documentary from the Boston Society of Film Critics in 1983.

Ron Finne made the 16mm shorts Das Ballett (1968) and People Near Here (1969). Ralph Arlyck was behind An Acquired Taste (1973), Natural Habitat (1973) and Godzilla Meets Mona Lisa (1986).




March 1970

July 1970



Mayan Theater
1038 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Mayan Theater


Directed by Eric Jeffrey Haims, 101 Acts of Love "Everything you wanted to know... but were afraid to ask!!!" played drive-ins with a rock-solid staple of adult films: Easy Virtue, Female Emancipation, Interplay, Tonight... I Love You and best of all, French Throat, from director Ray Dennis Steckler (The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?).

In box office terms, it was considered "record breaking" - that is, according to advertising hype for a Haims' follow up movie, The Mislaid Genie (written as 'Miss Layed Genie' in some papers) - "The producers of the record-breaking 101 Acts of Love now bring you the most sensual and exotic females of every size, shape and color to satisfy every taste. You'll meet the wild erotic harem girls and see Super Soul Brother, The Giant Genie, rise above the crowd."

Haims was also responsible for The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio (1971) with Renne Bond, and The Flanders and Alcott Report on Sex Response (1971)




March 1970



Sticks and Stones was considered quite "conventional" for a gay film. At the start of the decade, there were more attempts to produce gay film that went against the current crop of experimental shorts and dealt with mature themes; coming out, monogamy. Bigger productions meant increased cost and filmmakers, if they could raise the money at all, would still run into issues with distribution and marketing - many newspapers refused to carry ads for gay films.

Stan Lopresto's Sticks and Stones was considered campy and outrageous, and mostly improvised, although praised by some reviewers.

The X-rated 85-minute Fire Island drama which also starred Kim Pope, was "filmed in vague color and uncertain sound", according to a New York Times review. The story about various couples on their way to a party in Cherry Grove, opened at the Andy Warhol Garrick Theater (152 Bleecker Street, since demolished), was full of "soulful looks and smouldering glances", although, as the review pointed out, "the sentiment dissolves into self-pity or self-hatred".

Lopresto, a cinematographer, commisioned an earlier feature called In the Beginning. Channel 2 in Los Angeles aired the avante-garde short on the show "Repertoire Workshop" in 1966. Lopresto's other features included Bob & Daryl & Ted & Alex (1972).




March 1970



Written and directed by Leonard Kastle, The Honeymoon Killers (formerly Dear Martha,) was a dramatized, if not always accurate account of the Lonely Hearts Killers - Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez - a dysfunctional duo who crossed paths in the 1940's.

Critics compared the movie to The Boston Strangler and In Cold Blood - both of which recounted grisly crimes in near-documentary fashion.

The New York Times called it "One of the best and, curiously, one of the most beautiful American movies in recent years". In his column Screen Scene, Dick O'Leary said the film "will leave you with feelings of sadness, pity, shock and disgust".

Not all the critics agreed, "The best that can be said for The Honeymoon Killers, is than an intermission gives you the chance to leave gracefully", sniffed The Janesville Gazette in 1970. The direction was called "Voyeurisitic, amateurish and inept", the photography "Terrible" and Dialogue "Sloppy and vulgar." One has to wonder what critics would have made of other films making the rounds: San Francisco Cowboy (1969), Mini-Skirt Love (Lou Campa, 1967) and The Girl Who Couldn't Say No (Franco Brusati, 1968).

Playing the unhappy, troubled nurse "Fat Martha", actress Shirley Stoler was in her words, a "fat Jewish lady from Brooklyn." The eldest of four children, Stoler was raised in Brooklyn by Russian immigrant parents. After graduating Brooklyn's Lincoln High, her first acting experience was the role of Balthazar in the Living Theater's production of The Young Disciple. Memorable big screen roles included the brothel madame in Klute (Alan J. Pakula, 1971).

Director Leonard Kastle might not have been a typical choice for helming such grainy matters. His background was music; as a classical composer and also as an accomplished pianist and harpsichordist. Warren Steibel also came with a lofty backgroud, as producer of William F. Buckley's televison show, Firing Line.

Steibel had seen Scorsese's Who's That Knocking at My Door? and was impressed enough to have Kastle arrange a meeting to discuss Scorsese directing. But there were creative disagreements over how the film should look - Scorsese wanted to shoot in color, the producers prefered a film noir style. A compromise was reached and Scorsese began shooting, although his long takes were not appreciated by Kastle, and Scorsese was promptly fired.

Some of the footage was used (the opening sequence), and Scorsese's own stylistic elements migrated to Kastle - who ended up directing.

Well, the good people at Pennsylvanias's Pine Grove Drive-In understood entertainment. Their totally boss "Big Dusk to Dawn Show" in 1972 put together five big features: The Cheyenne Social Club (Gene Kelly, 1970), Angels Unchained (Lee Madden, 1970), Pretty Maids All In a Row (Roger Vadim, 1971), and then for the Late Late Late Sex Show, The Sexterminators (John A. Grant, 1970) plus The Honeymoon Killers.

That would be enough for most people, but Pine Grove threw in "Free coffee and donuts for breakfast". They're good people.




July 1970



At Amsterdam's first Wet Dreams Festival in 1970, a ten-minute short called Performance Trims received its premiere. By some accounts, the 16mm footage was brought over by producer Sandy Lieberson - perhaps without permission. The footage, sans audio, with Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and Michele Breton in a bedroom scene was taken from the full-length British mushrooms and madness, mind-bending gangster movie Performance, directed by Nic Roeg and Donald Cammell.

Co-producer Donald Cammell summed it up, "It is a movie that gets into an allegorical area and it moves from a definition of what violence is to an explanation of a way of being".

Called one cinema's great individualists, Cammell began as a screenwriter on two 1968 features: The Touchables and the psychedelic heist movie, Duffy.

Cammell's first time directing was Performance. Although made in 1968, the movie endured many script revisions, and was finally released in 1970. Initially hated by executives at Warner Bros-Seven Arts, cuts were ordered for the U.S., in addition to re-edits and re-dubbing. No doubt the septic tanks (Yanks) would have found the British cockney rhyming slang of the gangsters' milieu hard to understand.

Performance featured British actor James Fox (previously in Duffy), Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg (the real life love interest of Keith Richards) and Michele Breton - a barely legal, barely-there androgynous waif.

James Fox suitred up as London gangster Chas Devlin, an enforcer for the Harry Flowers gang. After killing one of his own thugs, Chas needs a place to lay low. Finds a bohemian basement hideout in a run-down part of Notting Hill, Chas crosses paths with Turner, a reclusive rock star and his two female companions, Pherber and Lucy.

Over time, Devlin's conservative persona and sexual identity is challenged and fused by the manipulative and ominous Turner, using mind-games, sex and drugs - mostly hashish and mushrooms.

The grotty flat where Chas hides out was filmed on location. The exterior of the building was shot at 25 Powis Square - renumbered '81' for the movie. The interiors were filmed at 15 Lowndes Square in Knightsbridge.

Cammell was not particularly liked by Jagger's bandmate, Keith Richards. "He was the most destructive little turd I've ever met". Stories exisit about Richards sitting outside the set in his blue Rolls Royce, watching the comings of goings (more likely keeping an eye on girlfriend Anita), but in all likelihood, he rarely visited the set. Richards' disdain of Cammell ran deep, "a Svengali, utterly predatory, a very successfull manipulator of women."

It didn't help matters that Mick was getting cozy with Anita - which developed into something more explicit on the set. The movie has its fair share of nudity, with Mick, Anita and Michele Breton in the bathtub, or a dreamy threesome under a canopy bed.

Of course, Keith could hardly complain, he acknowledged stealing her off Brian Jones.

In the U.S., Performance ('Where underground meets underworld') was paired with The Fox and Robert Downey Jr's Pound. For its 1971 midnight shows, the responsible management at the Del Mar Theater in Santa Cruz had it clearly stated in their newspaper ads, "Rated X - No Kids" - though for some reason, they added cartoons as co-feature. Far more sensible programming was conducted at Tucson's Penthouse Cinema (currently The Loft), where Performance was co-featured with Ken Russell's The Devils.

Musician and arranger Jack Nitzsche scored the music, putting sound effects to excellent use. During one scene, Chas and the boys pay a friendly visit to the Portland Car Service, a cab depot in the City. While they lads are placating the staff and sorting out protection issues, the scene is heightened with the sound of a high-pitched drill.

Nitzche contributed two standout tracks: Natural Magic and the quesy, hypnotic velvety-wave of Harry Flowers. Randy Newman got it done with Gone Dead Train and The Merry Clayton Singers were majestically cosmic on Turner's Murder. And in what might have been the first offical music video, Mick Jagger sings Memo from Turner, heard previously on Stones' compilation Metamorphosis.

For the longest time, the belief was that Roeg was co-director and primarily responsible for the picture. But that thinking was reversed after Cammell's efforts were explored in detail - the result being that Roeg mainly handled cinematography.

Marketed to cash in on Mick Jagger and the open sex angle, "Mick Jagger as Turner - love is what he's all about! He and two girls share a big house, an oversized bed... and each other", a paperback was printed by Award Books in 1970.

In the summer of 1970, Ted Ashley, Warner's president, saw the film, hated it and ordered more cuts. The movie was finally released in early Augustand disliked by the critics. Reviews in the U.S. ran from "worthless" to "sleazy, self-indulgent and meretricious". Between a poorly chosen release date, the redubbing of gang boss Harry Flowers' voice and the general response from mainstream critics, Performance fared poorly. But the film enjoyed a better reception in the Britain. After the January 1971 premiere, the film received coverage in London's underground press, which certainly helped its status. The International Times put Jagger on the front cover, with an enticing warning "A Heavy Evil Film. Don't See it on Acid". Jagger also made the cover of Time Out magazine, which produced a supplement to go along with the movie. Reviews were extremely positive.

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In 1973, the New York Times reported that Cammell had written a script for a movie he would also direct. Ishtar (no connection to the 1987 movie) was a drama about the kidnapping of a high U.S. offical in Morocco. Actress Dominique Sanda was named in the cast, with a shoot date set for July. Cammell's movie was never made.

Instead, Cammell went on to direct a string of excellent films - each with unfortunate studio interference; Demon Seed (1977) also known as Generation Proteus, White of the Eye (1987), and his final film, the erotic thriller Wild Side (1995) - needlessly mucked around with by the studio (Nu Image). Sadly, Cammell took his own life on April 24, 1996. He was 62.

Nic Roeg began as cinematographer on pictures such as Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) and Petulia (1968). He would go on to achieve success with Walkabout (1971), Don't Look Now (1973) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1975).

A string of interesting but less successfull pictures would follow; Bad Timing (1980), Eureka (1982), Castaway (1987), Track 29 (1988) and The Witches (1990).

Somewhere in your head there's a wild electric dream...

  Click for Gallery




July 1970



Picwood Theater
 10872 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Student radicalism had spawned a new film genre in the late 60's and Hollywood took notice with a few "youth-cult" pictures - not always with good results. MGM got the political bug with The Strawberry Statement, and Columbia Pictures joined the campus unrest party with two of their own; Getting Straight (Richard Rush, 1967), based on Ken Kolb's novel - starring Elliott Gould as a Vietnam vet/civil rights activist heading back to college to pursue his master's degree. And Stanley Kramer's R.P.M. (1970), written by Love Story author Erich Segal - starring Anthony Quinn, Ann-Margaret, Gary Lockwood and Paul Winfield.

James Simon Kunen was a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Columbia University when he wrote The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary (Random House, 1969), the basic for MGM's anti-war film. Since winning the Jury Prize at the 1970 Cannes Internatinal Film Festival, Hollywood pushed The Strawberry Statement as the ultimate protest film... or as one newspaper put it, "a tragi-comedy probing the causes and consequences of college revolution". But The Strawberry Statement, which referenced both campus shootings, was viewed as a misjudged attempt at exploiting the headlines.

Making his feature film directorial debut was Stuart Hagman, previously known for his television work on episodes of Mission Imposibble and Mannix. Hagman also gained recognition for his work in advertising, which might have explained the hyped-up copy carried in some newspapers; "The Strawberry Statement is not suitable for impressionable young people. We suggest that parents not allow their children to see this film until the parents themselves have viewed it and fully understand the contents."

Not surprisingly, the film featured an eclectic soundtrack on MGM with music from Neil Young, Buffy Saint-Marie (singing Joni Mitchell's The Circle Game) and Crosby, Still Nash & Young -- known for their pro-peace stance. Also making an appearance was Thunderclap Newman's unforgettable Something in the Air. And for the films' climatic showdown between students and police, John Lennon's anthem Give Peace A Chance is sung. Fortunately, Yoko's singing did not add to the unrest.

Time commented, "Strawberry Statement only manages to make the point that Americans can make a comedy of anything, including youthful dissent." The pleasantries continued, as San Rafael's Daily Independent called the film, "A hokey exploitation of student unrest... lots of music and psychedelic photography... unnecessary scenes of sex and nudity inserted and an orgy of police brutailty proves only that riots are very cinematic".

The studio received low marks from Bloomington's Sunday Pantagraph newspaper. In his column, Leo the Lion Turns Revolutionary, Martin Gross discussed the "Gooey Strawberry Statement". "One expects hungry independents to leap into the dollar breach, but the sight of M-G-M's corageous lion - whose roar once preceeded the greatest films - opening The Strawberry Statement at the movie house was the most depressing sight of the new decade."

Goss noted the "cheap and inane symbolism" but saved his disdain for the film's ending, "Then comes the confrontation with the police where the M-G-M coffers are supposed to ring dramatically. The result is the bloodiest, vilest caricature of the American police to appear anywhere west of Peking."

The R-rated college-riot film was paired with an assortment of co-features: The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (Leonard Horn, 1970), No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970), Robert Altman's Brewster McLoud (1970), and William Friedkin's Boys in the Band (1970).




July 1970



Adapted loosely from The Marquis de Sade's Philosophy of the Boudoir, Jess Franco's Eugenie... The Story of Her Journey into Perversion packed a fair amount of gratuitious nudity into 87 minutes. And why not, the southeast coast of Spain was among the sexy locations.

Dressed in a red velvet smoking jacket, Christopher Lee's limited role had him overeeing a few orgies and the odd torture. As was the custom with Euro soft-core films, scenes of a more explicit nature were slipped in at a later date, which explains Lee distancing himself from the film. As it happens, George Sanders was up for the role, but left due to illness.

Tragically, Sanders committed suicide in 1972 - a year that saw many notable celebrities pass away; Oscar Levant, Marilyn Maxwell, Joi Lansing, Akim Tamaroff, Mahalia Jackson, Gia Scala and "Big Hoss Cartwright" - the gentle giant, Dan Blocker.

There were three notable figures during the golden age of Spanish horror; Paul Naschy, Armando de Ossorio and the prodigious Jesús Franco. Jess Franco made over 160 films, usually turned out quickly, on a tight budget and with interesting music scores.

The prolific director who passed away in Malaga in 2013, studied music at the Real Conservatorio de Madrid and trained as a stage actor. In the mid-50's, Franco worked as a director's assiatant and started with short films before embarking on horror and sexploitation films - usually under a variety of pseudonyms.

Eugenie was 'strictly adult entertainment' according to newspaper ads. San Mateo's Palm Adult Theatre kept things titlilating with two knockout co-features; The Wife Swappers (Derek Ford, 1970) and The Sexterminators (John A. Grant, 1970). The Adult Late Show (11:30PM) at the Delmar in Santa Cruz put Jess Franco with the X-rated Nana (Mac Ahlberg, 1970), aka Take Me, Love Me - based on the Emile Zola novel.

And mixing it up, the Apollo in Springdale ran the Spanish sex film with Jacqueline Bisset, Jim Brown and Joseph Cotton in The Grasshopper (Jerry Paris, 1970), 'The story of a beautiful girls lifetime between the ages of 19 and 22'. And where else could you see two adult shockers at one drive-in? The Rooseevelt in Trenton, Pennsylvania, that's where. Audiences could stick around for The Baby Maker (James Bridges, 1970), Babara Hershey's R-rated movie with a most unusual subject.




July 1970

May 1972



The 1969 musical had absolutely nothing to do with the capital of West Bengal, India. It did however, have a lot to do wth nudity. Created in part by British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, Oh! Calcutta! consisted of skits written by a diverse array of noted celebrities that included; Samuel Beckett, John Lennon, Sam Shepard and Jules Feiffer. The show's first U.K. dates were at a refurbished Victorian railway shed, known as the Roundhouse, in London's Chalk Farm neighborhood. The same location was used three years ealier, in October of 1966, for the launch of the International Times "All Night Rave", featuring a pre-Gimour Pink Floyd and Soft Machine. No doubt both bands kept their respective wedding tackles under wraps.

After a successfull run at the Roundhouse in 1970, the show transfered to the Royalty Theatre, which operated as a cinema before being acquired by London's porn magnate, Paul Raymond. Known as the King of Soho, Raymond opened Soho's Raymond's Revue Bar in 1958 as a World Center of Erotic Entertainment. In addition to his strip club, Raymond created a publishing empire with a slew gentleman's lifestyle magazines (ahem); Razzle, Mayfair and Men Only - a tantalizing top-shelf treat featuring some of Britain's finest crumpet.

Paul Raymond passed away in 2008.

The off-Broadway show, later reclassified as "Limited Broadway", landed at New York's Eden Theatre in June 1969 and produced by Hillard Elkins. Choreography was handled by performer Margo Sappington. Front and second row seats were going for $25 (with scalpers reportedly asking as much as $100). The daring musical was directed by Jacques Levy - no stranger to controversy. Levy admitted to helping plan the Yippie "Festival of Life", which set the stage for the riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

During the show's two year run, Elkins (husband of actress Claire Bloom) also produced his first movie, Alice's Restaurant (Athur Penn, 1969), which he considered "more revolutionary than Oh! Calcutta!."

Although the musical Hair had brief nudity, Oh Calcutta gave it the business with full-length scenes featuring full-frontal nudity on a well-lit stage. And while it was all considered a bit silly, the show was successful.

Reviews for the stage play were mixed, "the dirtiest, nothing-type play I've seen... when you get tired of gazing at all the 100 per cent nudity, you can consult your program and find some real humor." Mary Campbell's column in the Register-News commented, "A great deal of it is boring. Far too little is funny. Very little is offensive. Surprisingly little is sexually stimulating."

On the West Coast, drama critic Robery Wylder reviewed the play at the Fairfax, saying "It is mostly very funny, usually refreshing and sometimes even beautiful. It is likely to be offensive, too, to any number of people who decry nudity, simulated sex acts, and earthy language on stage." The harsh reviews kept arriving. Critic Emily Genauer said, "It is the most pornographic, brutalizing, degrading, shocking, tedious, witless concoction I have ever seen."

Apparently the show was offensive to San Francisco's vice squad. During its run at the On Broadway Theater (currently the Broadway Studios Venue) in 1969, they charged two of the shows' players with lewd conduct in public during the final act.

Similar objections happened in New York, where 50 people picketed the production and carried signs that read "We will never have peace until dirty dramas cease". The rumpus was organized by the Catholic Laymen for Purity in the Arts, and a spokesman explained "it's the grossest display of human flesh yet on the legitimate stage." It was reported that none of them had seem the show.

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After running for three years on the London stage, Jacques Levy's film adaptation ran into a few snafu's with the British censor. While the BBFC had earlier refused a certificate for general release, local authorities (which had power to overrule national censors), exercised their right and gave Oh! Calcutta! their approval. But that came with a stipulation; namely, the gratuitious language had to be cleaned up but the full-frontal nudity could stay.

Things weren't so rosy in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1972 the film was seized at three theatres in Fulton County by Solicitor Hinson McAuliffe. After viewing the film, McAuliffe said, "It's nothing but pure filth."

Disgruntled film lovers could have trekked 500 miles north to Middletown, Ohio. Unfortunately the film was banned there too. Vice squad police confiscated the film and charged a theatre manager and projectionist with exhibiting an obscene film.

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July 1970




July 1970



Women's Club of Hollywood
 1749 North La Brea Avenue, Hollywood CA

Noted Beverly Hills gynecologist, Dr. Albert Kapstrom made an appearance, in what might have been his only film; Sex, Marriage and You. The full-length educational film was screened at The Women's Club of Hollywood and attended by marriage counselors, clergymen and doctors. Tickets for the main event were available through numerous beauty and barber shops. Arrangements were handled by the non-profit group, The Inspirational Hour.

That same year, Kapstrom held a new position at County USC Medical Center as an assistant clinical professor. Kapstrom gave an illustrated lecture on venereal disease for the Sharona Chapter of the B'Nai B'rith Women. For some unknown reason, the lecture was held at the Corbin Bowl on Ventura Blvd, Tarzana. The 8:00 PM film and talk invited the teenage daighters of the Chapter's Members.

The double-wood at the Corbin Bowl is still going strong, despite the lack of VD films being shown.

Kapstrom's early 1970's calendar was clearly filling up. As part of the Clergy Counseling Service for Problem Pregnancies, Dr. Kapstrom was invited by the Mission Hills Rotary Club to the Bear Pit Barbecue to give a discussion on abortion. Somehow, the eatery is still serving up a delicious sirloin steak platter.

It didn't stop there. Two years later, Kapstrom was teaching an early-bird prenatal class at the Rogers Park Community Center in Inglewood. Kapstrom went to to become director of the Fertility Center of Los Angeles, and by the mid-1980's, Kapstrom was lecturing for The Southern California Fertility Institute on PMS (How to Detect It, How to Relieve It). Reservations were suggested.

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Before becoming an industry clubhouse, the building on La Brea Avenue was the "Hollywood School for Girls". The Women's Club of Hollywood began meeting at the La Brea building since 1946. An official groundbreaking took place in 1948, presided over by the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. They changed their name in the early 1950's to "Hollywood Republican Women's Club".

In the early 1960's, Church services were held on the premises, namely the "Cathedral of Tomorrow" - an Interdominational and Interacial New Age church, apparently the only one of its kind. Apart from the many religious meetings and various benefits taking place, one of the more interesting would have been given by Dr. Roman Ostoya. In 1953, the noted Yogi/Mystic/Fakir gave a lecture on "Demonstrations of Self-Mastery and Other Psychological Phenomena including Creative Healing". According to sources, the Russian White Yogi headed the healing department of the Self Realization Fellowship.




July 1970



Vixen Theatre
 3007 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Before Santa Monica's Main Street became respectable, there were still a few decent places to see X-rated film.




July 1970



Toho LaBrea
 857 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Japanese cinema gets fair play at the Toho La Brea, with Imamura's Kuragejima (Kamigamai no fukaki yokubo aka The Profound Desire of the Gods, 1968). Shot on the southern island of Ishigakijima, the 170-minute superstition epic was a big budget drama about primitive tribes on a remote island facing Western industrial development. The film was not a commercial success, and Innamura moved on to documentaries for a while.

The Toho kept going with Imamura's sixth film The Insect Woman (aka Nippon konchuki, The Life of a Japanese Insect, 1963). The two-hour story of a simple country girl from rural Tohoku working her way from call girl to ruthless madam received acclaim at the Berlin Film Festival, where the leading actress received recognition.




July 1970



The 1969 political drama was the third film for Greek-born Costa-Gavras and dealt with the May 1963 killing of Gregoris Lambrakis, a Greek pacifist. Shot in documentary style, Z was the first of a trilogy exploring political oppresssion; the other two being The Confession () and State of Siege ().

Taken from a novel by Vassilis Vassilokos, the political melodrama was recognized at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, where the film won the Jury Prize, and lead actor Jean-Louis Trintignant took home an award for Best Actor. The British film If (Lindsay Anderson) took the grand prize that year.

After completing his formal training at the IDHEC (French national film school) in 1958, Gavras spent some years working his way up, and trained with Rene Clement, Jacques Demy and Rene Clair.

Costa-Gavras debuted with the black & white thriller, The Sleeping Car Murder (1965), which garnered a handful of awards; two Oscars, the Palme d'Or at at Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The film starred Yves Montand, who appeared in subsequent films. Gavras followed this up with Shock Troops, a political tale later re-edited by United Artists prior to it's 1969 U.S. release.




July 1970



Earthlight Theatre
 1621 W Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

The West L.A. Film Society
 2113 Stoner Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Watts Writers Workshop
 1690 East 103rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90002

The small space in the historic brick building saw multiple businesses over the years. A furniture store in the 1930's, made way for lodge rooms in the 1950's. The rooms were used by groups such as Knights of Pythias. In 1969, experimental arts group EAT (Experiments in Arts and Technology) rented out the space when it was known as "The Walrus". The following year, the Earthlight Theatre moved in. Known as "A New Theater Experience", the theater group shared their space with workshops such as "Brain Waves and Mind Expansion", hosted by "Venice America" in 1970.

After Earthlight vacated the space, the Gallery Players took over and then the Pacific Motion Dance Studio stepped in around 1979.

No doubt the surreptitiously named film titles at the West L.A. Film Society were due to dodgy prints brought in under the cover of darkness (i.e., without a permit). This little warehouse spot once housed "CJ's", an unusual teen dance club. It was unusual due to the fact that it was approved by parents, police, officials, local churches and for some reason, the teens themselves. Since opening in June 1968, the non-profit club attracted mostly Westside kids, but even teens from the Valley made it over for the snack bar, colorful lights and black-lighted pictures.

Not surprisngly, the orignal moniker "Country Joe's" was scrapped. Local church members sponsored the club and security was handled by off-duty police. It was noted that the head of security wears a turtle neck, peace medal and white Levis. Admission was $1.50 and boys were not allowed to wear club-jackets.

By 1970, "CJ's" expanded to include a youth employment center, coffeehouse and movie theater. The film programs were enhanced with unusual refreshments, such as almond sodas and banana smoothies, which were offered at reasonable prices. According to Jeff Palmer, a University High youngster, "We think this adds a new dimension to CJ's and also appeals to a more sophisticated audience."

The club was clearly succeeding. A year after opening, the City Council praised the establishment for its contributions to the prevention of juvenile deliquency.

The Watts Writers Workshop exisited from 1965 to 1973, and was initially located on 103rd Street in the Watts area of Los Angeles, not far from Simon Rodia's Watts Towers. Soon after its foundation, the Workshop moved to the Watts Happening Coffee House - an abandoned furniture store converted by young residents into an art center. The 'Watts Happening Coffee House' was created in the 1950's across the street from its current location. It burned down during the 1965 Watts riots and was relocated to its current location at 1827 E. 103rd Street, where the Relish House restaurant once occupied the space.

In the fall of 1966, the Worskshop moved to an old house at 9807 Beach Street, a few blocks away.

Herbert Danska's Right On! featured a performance by The Original Last Poets, and spoken word from Gylan Kain, David Nelson and Felipe Luciano. Some newsreel footage is intercut with children and young mothers living in poverty, everyday street life, political and cultural figures - Medgar Evers, James Brown and Malcolm X.

Sources list documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker (Don't Look Back, Monterey Pop) as one of the producers. And not surprisingly, a soundtrack was released on Juggernaut Records.

For 1970, Right On! was an official selection at Cannes' Directors' Fortnight, as was Putney Swope (Robert Downey Sr., 1969).




July 1970



Monica 1 and II
 132 2nd Street, Santa Monica CA 90401

Operated by Laemmle Theatres, the Monica Twin opened as a two-plex in 1970. Laemmle's said it was a "new concept in twin theatres!" and called the Monica I and II "the two most beautiful new, deluxe theatres." The Monica I debuted with Carol Reed's Oliver!, while the II got Downhill Racer and Medium Cool as second feature. Over in Westwood, both the Laemmle-owned Regent and the Plaza both showed Putney Swope.

The comfy arthouse was known for their many revival programs, such as 1978's "RKO Classics Festival". By the mid-1970's Laemmle's had virtually cornered the market on L.A.'s revival houses; the Loz Feliz, the Esquire, the Regent, the Plaza, the Music Hall and the Westland Twins.

Laemmle's christened the building to the newer "Monica 4-Plex" around 1981. In 2014, a major overhaul saw the old Monica's replaced by an upscale Monica Film Center.




July 1970



Holly Cinema
 6523 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood CA 90028

Film critic Bill Lawford had this to say "Myra Breckinridge is pure trash. Even without the salacious screenplay, the acting is terrible". After simmering down a bit, Bill continued his rant, "Rated 'X' (it should be Double X), the film explores castration, rape, sodomy, lechery, autoeroticism, sexual cruelty, lesbianism and homosexuality".

Adapted from Gore Vidal's eleventh novel (published by Little, Brown in 1968) Myra Breckinridge assembled a diverse cast that included Mae West, John Huston, Rex Reed and Raquel Welsh. Directed by Michael Sarnes, the X-rated movie was slammed all over the place, "Myra is not trash. It's a shambles.", wrote David Otis. Daily Variety called the film "strictly sexploitation novelty material of dubious taste." And the Los Angeles Times kept things brief with one word, "putrescence". (From Latin putrescere to become rotten.)

The studio was having a tough time that week with another releases, Russ Meyers' Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Critic Charles Champlin called the film "a treat for the emotionally retarded, sexually inadequate and dimwitted," adding, "The Zanucks, man and boy, ought to have their studio washed out with soap".

And yet MPAA bigwig Jack Valenti, the man who gave Myra Breckinridge its well-deseved X rating, said "I personally found the film a very funny spoof, but a picture children should not see". I'm not sure which other movies Valenti was refering to, as there was little out there for children to see. The following were all playing in August of 1970; Darling Lili, The Out-of-Towners, Woodstock, A Man Called Horse, Aiport, Hello Dolly, Cry of the Banshee, Paint Your Wagon and last but not least, The Christine Jorgensen Story (Did the surgeon's knife make me a woman or a freak?

Awful reviews aside, Myra Breckinridge found itself in legal trouble. A federal judge ruled that two particular film clips to be deleted. An injunction against 20th Century-Fox was issued in a $10 million suit. The suit, filed by actress Loretta Young, whose clips were shown - claimed damage to her reputation.

Despite the debacle of Myra Breckinridge, Gore Vidal's reputation survived. Six years later, Vidal wrote the screenplay for the Bob Guccione/Tinto Brass epic, Caligula - a movie Vidal then distanced himself from.




July 1970



The mult-titled The Artful Penetration was produced by Radley Metzger, aka Henry Paris aka "the aristocrat of the erotic". Metzger directed a slew of classy 1960's X-rated Euro-hits: Carmen, Baby (1967), Score (1973) - described as "a bisexual swingfest", and The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1977).

Following a stint as editor for RKO, Metzger went to work making trailers at renowned art film distributor, Janus Films. In the early 60's, Metzger began his own distribution comapny, Audobon Films. They key was purchasing provocative European titles, repackaging them and distributing the newly edited and redubbed titles into U.S. arthouses.

One such title was 1969's The Artful Penetration (under the title Black on White. Starring the lovely Anita Sanders and Terry Carter, the story of an Italian girl in London was directed by Tinto Brass. It was bad enough that New York magazine called Brass "a fifth-rate Italian cinéaste", they were equally unkind about his "bordello-in-Berlin" effort Salon Kitty (1976), which they called "abominable as well as ludicrous."

The New York Times wasn't chuffed with this particular one either, "As entertainment or art, this Technicolor picture is garbage". Metzger "scraped a British barrel and come up now with something called 'Black on White'." The 89 minute X-rated film had 'images ranging from phallic to explicit, from dull to sickening'.

Music was provided by Freedom, a group led by Ray Royer and Bobby Harrison, of Procol Harum - who also appeared in the film, naked except for their instruments. The sex film also went out as The Artful Penetration of Barbara and played New York's Trans-Lux West and Trans-Lux East... and as the New York Times dryly concluded, "X means excruciating".




July 1970



Crest Theatre
 1262 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90024

Century 21 Theater
 810 North Euclid Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92801

Another in the campus riot youth-cult oeuvre, Getting Straight starred Elliott Gould as twenty-eight year old, liberal-minded Harry Bailey, who wins a girl's heart, joins a student revolution but ends up just wanting a return to the straight life.

The film that Richard Schickel called "a frustrating, even angering, experience" also starred Candice Bergen as Jan, Harry's much younger miltant girlfriend - a girl at war with the establishment and sees Harry's return to teaching as a betrayal of principles. Rounding out the cast were Jeff Corey as Bailey's teacher, Harrison Ford (in a bit part) and the severely underated Robert F. Lyons - who would reign supreme playing a serial killer in The Todd Killings (Barry Shear, 1971) - a film that demands to be recognized.

Released the same year as MGM's underwhelming The Strawberry Statement (Stuart Hagman), Columbia's Getting Straight fared slightly better. One reason being the appearance of Gould, by then an established star. New York magazine agreed, saying "Elliott Gould's fine performance makes this freak-show 'youth' film seem better than it is".

The rave reviews for the "cheap new tear-gas romance" - as one critic called it - were added to the advertising, featuring Gould with handlebar mustache (looking like 70's porn star Harry Reems). CBS-TV annointed Gould, "King of the cool people", and Joyce Haber emphatically exclaimed, "Elliott Gould proves that he's possibly the best young American actor today!"

In the midst of the gushing accolades however, The Harvard Lampoon took a stand for it's Worst Movies Edition. The Cambridge-based publication listed Gould as the worst actor "for his limp performance... and for dumping Barbara Streisand."

Gould's on-screen girlfriend Candice Bergen reminisced that "Elliott was a generous and good-natured co-star, easy and fun to work with." Bergen was relieved she got to play "a real person. A college coed instead of an Ice Queen. Someone with blood in her veins instead of mineral water."

By this time, Gould had two certified hits under his belt; Bob & Carol Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, 1969), for which he earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor (but lost to Gig Young in Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) and M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970).

Gould's fellow nominee that year was Jack Nicholson, up for his role as George Hanson in Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969). Nicholson had previously worked with director Richard Rush in Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) and Psych-Out (1968). Two more films rounded out the year, Move (Stuart Rosenberg, 1970) and I Love My Wife (Mel Stuart, 1970).

While audiences were sitting down with a large Dr. Pepper and delicious box of Whoppers watching big-time 1970's hits; Goodbye Mr. Chips (Herbert Ross, 1969), Airport (George Seaton, 1970), and Catch 22 (Mike Nichols, 1970), Gould's hip movie was paired with Women in Love (Ken Russell, 1970) and even the slightly shocking Soldier Blue (Ralph Nelson, 1970), also with Candice Bergen.

Regardless of the weather (heavy snow not withstanding), the Lynn Auto Theatre in Strasburg, Ohio made sure the kids came to the drive-in. The nice people over there gave you Getting Straight with two demented co-features, "billed as "Sci-Fi Thrillers", The Mind of Mr. Soames (Alan Cooke, 1970) and Torture Garden (Freddie Francis, 1967). And where else would you see "2 College Campus Pictures" together? The Pine Grove in Pennsylvania. They added Ann-Margaret in R.P.M. (Stanley Kramer, 1970).

Time was of the essence at Montana's Plaza I & II Theatre. Gould's liberal activist picture was a llimited showing, as Cue Magazine raved, "We had 'The Graduate'... here's the post-graduate! Elliott Gould is superb!" The co-feature was the Warner Brothers smash with Peter Sellers in I Love You Alice B. Toklas (Hy Averback, 1968).

Gould, who was married to Barbra Streisand for eight years, had a recurring guest role in the nineties on the popular NBC TV sitcom Friends, as Jack Geller, the father of Monica and Ross Geller - which by default, gets his King of the Cool card revoked.




December 1971



"The knock at the door meant the birth of a man and death of seven others!"

Described as a "Cornish western", Straw Dogs told the story of timid mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman), an American professor on a research grant, and his English wife Amy (Susan George). With the couple returning to Amy's hometown, a tiny village in Cornwall, England, David looks to escape the turmoil back home and attempts to complete his book. They duly move into Trenchers Farm, a remote farmhouse left to Amy by her father.

It is isn't long before David senses hostility from the boorish locals, particularly a small group of uncivilized day labourers: Chris Cawsey, Norman Scutt, Riddaway and Charlie Venner - a group David disparagingly refers to as "garage-makers and ratcatchers". The uncultivated mob are led by town patriach Tom Hedden - a hard-drinking man, built like a brick-shithouse.

David is quickly subjected to sneering and taunting from the churlish slackers, who can't stop ogling the very attractive Amy (someone they regard as one of their own). David soon realizes the dubious history between Charlie Venner and his wife.

In one of the film's pivotal moments that gave the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) a conniption, David is lured off the moors on a bogus hunting trip, while Charlie Venner slips back to the farmhouse in hopes of rekindling his past romance with Amy. But Venner isn't there for anything romantic.

After a brief kiss, she slaps him. Amy is then raped by Venner. The brutal assualt is shown with flashbacks of Amy making love to husband David. As Venner holds Amy down, the scene becomes even more problematic (a sequence not in the novel), as in walks oafish cohort Norman Scott pointing a shotgun. Scott proceeds to rape Amy from behind. The viewer is left questioning Amy's personal feelings during her atrocious assault - given that Venner is Amy's ex-boyfriend. Venner also represents everything David is not - macho.

Even with their marriage crumbling, events take a turn for the worse when Henry Niles (David Warner), a suspected pedophile is hunted for the disappearcne of Janice, Tom Hedden's young daughter. With a heavy fog setting in, the dimwitted Niles is on the run. As David and Amy drive back to Trencher's, they accidentaly hit Niles with their car. David takes it upon himself to harbor the injured and simple-minded fellow from what will surely be "rough justice".

Indeed, it's only a matter of time before an extremely inebriated Tom Hedden and his salivating crew arrive at the farmhouse - shotguns ready, screaming bloody murder for the return of Niles.

David's battle has just began. With an injured Niles on their couch, Amy makes her position clear, "I don't want him here". Tom and the lads surround the farmhouse shouting for Niles. Amy just wants no part of it, "Give them Niles, David", she pleads. David knows what'll happen if he cuts him loose, "They'll beat him to death", he replies.

Without missing a beat, Amy quietly says, "I don't care".

But the bespectacled David does care. "No. I care. This is where I live. I will not allow violence against this house". David is confident he can single-handedly keep the baying mob at bay and asserts control. "Amy, go to bed, huh?", he says, drawing the curtains. David won't know just how violent and tragic events are about to get.

Producer Daniel Melnick optioned the 1969 novel The Siege of Trencher's Farrm by Gordon Williams ("a rotten book" in Peckinpah's words). The bare-bones ideas about a couple and their daughter holed up in a remote cottage was used by writer David Zelag Goodman for a first draft. Various elememts of the novel were left out of the movie; changing the nationality of David Sumner from English to American, switching his studies from English literature to mathematics and omitting their young daughter entirely.

Before picking Dustin Hoffman, a few names had been tossed around for the role of timid academic, David Sumner; Donald Sutherland, Stacy Keach and Beau Bridges. And when it came to David's wife Amy, Helen Mirren, Judy Geeson, Diana Rigg and Hayley Mills were listed as candidates. Ultimately the prodcuers met with twenty-year old Susan George. In her 1986 book Girls on Film (Pantheon), author Julie Burchill refered to George as "a pop-eyed starlet acting as the pouting target in 'Straw Dogs'... the first girl to build a career of sorts out of being a punchbag."

Filming was split between two locations: the village of St. Buryan in England's west country for the farmhouse exteriors and shots around the fictional Wakely Arms pub, and then continued at London's Twickenham Studios for various interiors - the church social gathering, Trencher's Farm interiors (where the majority of the film took place) and other shots inside the pub.

After shooting wrapped in April of 1971, Peckinpah recruited a team of editors, one of whom was Roger Spottiswoode - a Canadian director who would go on to helm Terror Train (1980), Turner and Hooch (1989) and the James Bond epic, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).

Throughout the first part of the movie, David's timid nature is shown on mumerous occasions. Upon entering the local watering hole (the Wakely Arms) for "A coupla packs of any American cigarettes", David peers through the window and sees Charlie Venner talking to his wife. "Remember when I took care of you Amy?", Charlie asks. Bristling at Venner's sneering tone, Amy turns and smiles, "But you didn't, Remember?". Rebuffed, Venner leans in very close, strokes Amy's hair and reminds her of their past, "There was once a time, Mrs. Sumner, when you were ready to beg me for it".

David sees this unpleasant exchange (which indicates some history between Venner and Amy) but does nothing to intervene and turns away. It is here that David gets his first taste of the town's behavior.

Initially, the BBFC required cuts to be made, which the filmakers complied with. However, those cuts may have hindered the overall effect. Released in the U.K. in 1971 to dissapointing results. Shortly after, American audiences received the film, albeit with one cut earning an R-rating. In fact, the extended rape scene caused the BBFC to withhold a DVD release until 2002.

Critic Pauline Kael gave a particularly blunt review, calling Straw Dogs "a male fantasy about a mathematics professor's hot young wife who wants to be raped and gets sodomized, which is more than she bargained for, and the timid cuckold/mathematician who turns into a man when he learns to fight like an animal".

Apparently, New York magazine's Judith Christ hadn't seen The Million Dollar Duck (Vincent McEveety, 1971), when she refered to Straw Dogs as "the worst film of 1971". The scathing review continued, "'Straw Dogs' is one of those trash items that tell us violence isn't nice and then wallows in it for hours...". Christ was appalled that "a certain school of young critics, dedicated to discovering a masterpiece a week, has deemed the Peckinpah spew a masterpiece".

Picking up where Judith Christ left off, Life magazine's Richard Schickel led his review with the pithy headline, 'Don't play it again, Sam'. Barbara Bladen's called Straw Dogs, "a terrific film, full of action, suspense and revolting violence". English critics were not so kind. The Evening Standard called the film, "vicious and degrading", while The Sun labelled it, "a mindlessly revolting pornography of violence".

If Peckinpah's tale of redemption wasn't your thing, audiences could have checked out the following attractions; Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971), The Return of Count Yorga (Bob Kelljan, 1971), or Disney's G-rated Song of the South (Wilfred Jackson, Harve Foster, 1946).

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December 1971



Doheny Plaza
 135 South Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

United Artists gave Zappa $650,000.00 to complete the project, which he hoped to show on Dutch TV. This idea was scrapped and 200 Motels was shot on 2-inch videotape in England and blown up to 35mm. It was among the first feature to use this process, and was also shot using the sharper image clarity of the European television system, providing 625 lines of resolution rather than the American 525-line system.

The press release said, "For the audience that already knows and appreciates The Mothers, it will provide a logical extension of our concerts and recordings."

Writing for Billboard in 1971, Nat Freeland's review called Zappa's 99-minute film, "a chaotic bum-trip", and compared it to Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie as the year's most "indulgently pretentious film of the year". Robert Hilburn for The Los Angeles Times noted the film was not just for Zappa freaks and continued to say Zappa has "come up with a minor classic", "an authentic contribution to the literature of rock and roll".

Stoners and film-lovers alike on the West Coast could catch the film with Zacharia (George Englund, 1971). In 1976, the Cabaret Theatre in Detroit put 200 Motels on a triple with Magical Mystery Tour (1967) and The Beatles at Shea Stadium (1966). Tickets were $1.25... and the midnight showing that weekend was Concert for Bangladesh (Saul Swimmer, 1972).

........................

Originally built for Douglas Aircraft's accounting division, the one-storey bulding on Doheny was acquired by Western Airlines and sold to Mid-Town Investement Corporation in 1952. The old office space was more than likely razed, and in 1969, the 575-seat Doheny Plaza was built. Designed by architect George T. Nowak at a cost of $500,000, the Doheny Plaza was operated by the Cinema West Theatre chain (subsequently National Cinema Theatres).

The Los Angeles-based Nowak was also responsible for a number of other building in the city, namely;
At the time, the Dohney Plaza was the first motion picture theater built in Beverly Hills for thirty years. The new building contained indoor parking, stores and was equiped to handle 35mm and 70mm projection. Once opened, the theater began with a diverse range of cartoons (Fleisher), artsy-revival (Bergman triples) and first run features. It was also favored by major studios for sneak previews.

Soon enough, the theater attracted some seriously turned-on, drop-out freaks looking for totally a cosmic space ritual. In 1972, the Plaza was plucky enough to screen Holly Woodlawn's musical-comedy, Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers (Robert Kaplan). The R-rated movie with Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler received overwhelmingly bad reviews. Regardless, it was making the midnight circuit six years later at places like the Nickelodeon in Santa Cruz, as second feature to David Lynch's Eraserhead (1976).

The Doheny Plaza let it rock in 1973 for their "Rolling Stones Film Festival" - offering a trio of Mick Jagger's best on-screen work; Sympathy for the Devil, Ned Kelly and Gimme Shelter. An added bonus was Cream's Farewell Concert, proudly announced as the first L.A. showing in 5 years. Clearly attracting the future "Animal House" crowd, the Doheny Plaza was also the place to see National Lampoon's theatrical version of "That's Not Funny, That's Sick!" in 1978.

Toward the mid-1980's, the site was taken over by the Writers Guild.




December 1971

Named Best Film of the Year by the New York Film Critics, Stanley Kubrick's "brutal, dazzling but uneven look at a teen-traumatized future Britain" played Hollywood's Pacific Theater, while Silent Running had an exclusive showing at the Cinerama Dome.

The controversial film played to sellout crowds in Atlanta. The Greenville News in South Carolina reported moviegoers would have to pay a 20 per cent state tax to view the movie, citing S.C. Legislature made it the law. The Palm Beach Post called Kubrick's film, "Preposterous, Disturbing, Excellent". Interestingly, the movie was not being shown in many Palm Beach County theatres, but only at the Coral Theater, Coral Gables.

The film went through some cuts for the folks in Nashville, Tennessee. After its first-run engagement in Green Hills, all X-rated prints were withdrawn in order to return with an R rating, presumably to gain a wider audience.

The good people in Akron, Ohio were deprived of an X-rated version too... theatres and drive-ins paired it with incredible fare such as; McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971), The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969) and Dealing (Paul Williams, 1972).

Kubrick himself withdrew the film in the U.S. to make cuts, and resubmit to the MPAA, although both R and X-rated versions continued to play.

In one of the oddest footnotes, Kubrick's film was shown at London's Scala Cinema in the late-1980's - despite the long-standing Kubrick-imposed withdrawal from the public. The clandestine showing during one of their famed all-nighters eventually caused The Scala to shut down, after Kubrick took legal action.




December 1971



Ken Russell, the enfant terrible of film, directed MGM's campy romp - a Roaring '20's spoof. Shooting took place at England's Elstree Studios for five momnths. Russell's previous fare was anything but song and dance, having shocked audiences with Women in Love (1969), The Music Lovers (1970) and The Devils (1971).

Making her acting debut, Russell's leading lady was Leslie Hornby, better known as British Supermodel "Twiggy". Film critic Rex Reed summed her up perfectly, "An emaciated rag-doll with a face painted on like a candy box." According to Twiggy, it was her mentor/entrepreneur/boyfriend Justin de Villeneuve who recommended her for the part.

Ken Russell's adaptation was based on Sandy Wilson's original stage play, which marked the Broadway debut of Julie Andrews. The 1954 "smash-hit music comedy" played the Royal Theatre and earned good reviews.

Rounding out the cast were Christopher Gable, Tommy Tune and saucy sexpot Barbara Windsor - familiar to British audiences for her roles in the Carry On... film series, and on television as barmaid Peggy Mitchell in the legendary BBC soap, Eastenders.

Reviews were good but The Boyfriend didn't perform as expected. The films tepid reception was cited as one reason Twiggy's follow up film "Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance" was shelved. However, the cucumber-shaped model went on to appear in the Paramount Studios thriller, W (Richard Quine, 1974).

When The Boyfriend played Los Angeles in 1972, Russell's earlier feature, The Devils was billed with Performance (Donald Cammell and Nic Roeg, 1968) at the Cinema Theater on Western Avenue. Both films rated X. The fluffy Jazz-Age pastiche received an Academy Award nomination for Best Music Score (courtesy of John Williams), but lost to Fiddler on the Roof (Norman Jewison, 1971).

Ken Russell's initial cut of the picture ran 134 minutes, but MGM snipped roughly 26 minutes before its release. This was restored in 1987 and included two songs and a seven minute fantasy sequence.




December 1971



Long before Cybill Shepherd started a detective agency, cracking jokes alongside Bruce Willis on ABC's Moonlighting, the stunningly beautful former model starred in this 1950's coming-of-age drama. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas, The Last Picture Show featured a terrific cast: Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Ben Johnson.

Based on Larry McMurty's novel, the black and white film premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1971 and was chosen as the opening attraction for the first Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex) in 1971.

The film earned rave reviews. Life Magazine's Peter Schickel noted, "It transcends and transforms its near-banal material partly because it contains all the way through the cast, some of the best acting you're likely to see this year". Newsweek called the film a masterpiece and gushed, "it is the most impressive work by a young American director since 'Citizen Kane'."

Things were not so rosy in Alexandria, Louisiana, where district attorney Ed Ware found the film to be, "pure garbage, rough, filth and a fouled up mess." This caused quite a kerfuffle, in light of the fact that Ware admitted to only seeing the first half of the R-rated movie.

By the time Award season rolled around however, The Last Picture Show was nominated for multiple awards, including Best Picture, alongside A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick) Fiddler on the Roof (Norman Jewison), The French Connection (William Friedkin) and Nicholas and Alexandra (Franklin J. Schaffner). Ultimately, Friedkin's drug-smuggling smash took home top honors.

Bogdanovich, who had already made a name for himself with Targets (1968), was hailed as a major new talent and proved he was no slouch by following up with an even more successfull picture, What's Up, Doc?.





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