Friday, October 30, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
“I met this 6-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply…evil.”
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Director and Producer William Castle was known throughout Hollywood as someone who could make a low budget film and turn it into a box office Dynamo. His specialty was the horror genre, where it was easy to gain attention with gimmicks. One of his most successful and renowned films was House on Haunted Hill, which starred Vincent Price.
For this film, Mr. Castle came up with "Extremo" which was sure to send many a chill to the audience. This gimmick merely consisted of a hidden skeleton hung from the theater ceiling. At various points in the film, the skeleton would be dropped from the ceiling to frighten the audience.
The gimmick was successful and the modestly budgeted film earned a large haul at the box office. The film caught Alfred Hitchcock's attention, inspiring him to make his own modestly budgeted film- Psycho.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Alfred Hitchcock always preferred that his audiences not know much about the stories he told onscreen before the films' conclusion. Of course, this was always made more difficult when the film was based on a book.
In the case of Psycho, Sir Alfred was particularly upset about the secrets behind its ending. So much so that he attempted to buy up every copy of the book he could locate from wholesalers, the publishing house and even any copies he or his secretary might come across in bookstores. The scheme worked; the movie went on to become a huge hit for Mr. Hitchcock.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
“Every star has that certain something that stands out and compels us to notice them. -As for me I have always believed my most compelling quality to be my inner strength, something I am easily able to share with an audience. I'm very comfortable in my own skin. I never thought my looks would have anything to do with becoming a star. Yet it seems that in some ways they did.”
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Hollywood legend Maureen O'Hara has passed away at age 95.
Ms. O'Hara was born in Ireland in 1920 and wanted to become an actress from an early age. Her father, a practical man, discouraged her from pursuing an acting career and she compromised by taking courses in secretarial skills. Her first screen test was a disaster, but the actor Charles Laughton saw it and became entranced by the fiery redhead. He soon recommended her to his business partner who quickly signed her up. Ms. O'Hara was now a movie star.
While Ms. O'Hara was a standout actress in black and white, she was even more so in technicolor when audiences could see her red hair.
Ms. O'Hara's characters were always outspoken, brash and brave. She made her Disney debut in the classic film The Parent Trap opposite a young Hayley Mills who played her daughter.
Ms. O'Hara retired from the screen, occasionally reappearing to meet her fans and share stories about her famed roles during the golden age of Hollywood. One of her last roles was as the feisty mother of John Candy in Only the Lonely.
Always witty, intelligent and strong willed, Ms. O'Hara was one of our last ties to the Golden Age of American film. Her feisty presence on the screen has never been matched and she will forever be missed. Luckily her great performances will always be with us.
Friday, October 23, 2015
With all the attention being paid to Back to the Future this week, let's take a look at one of the more interesting characters from the film- Marty McFly's brother Dave McFly.
Depicted as a loser who works at a fast food restaurant, he's also a bit of a dork, as shown in the infamous disappearing picture.
By the end of Back to the Future, Dave McFly is apparently a successful businessman who wears a suit to work. All because of his brother Marty's careless fiddling with the past. Does the actor playing Dave McFly look familiar? He should. It's Marc McClure and here he is with the original cougar Barbara Harris in the Disney film Freaky Friday:
In the scene shown above, Barbara Harris is really playing her daughter Annabelle, who has a crush on Marc's character. Guys of a certain age most certainly envied him. His biggest role would come not long after- the role of a lifetime- as Jimmy Olson in Superman.
Marc played Jimmy Olson in all four original Superman films plus Supergirl. He even braved the Golan and Globus debacle Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Marc continues to work in Hollywood, taking roles in the 2003 Freaky Friday, Smallville and Cold Case.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
On July 3, 1985, Back to the Future premiered, sparking an interest in science and technology in many impressionable children. Marty was essentially a misfit of sorts, who uses science (albeit fanciful science) to change his destiny and help his friend Doc Brown.
The trilogy's bright take on science and technology changing the world provided an optimistic view of the future. While most of the predictions made by the film didn't come true, it doubtless inspired many to follow the steps of Doc Brown and dare to innovate and dream. Doc Brown might have been a bit eccentric, but it's often the folks who are considered crazy and eccentric who change the world.
We can never be totally certain about what the future holds, but we can try to change it for the better. We can build the future of our dreams. We can use creative thinking to do things people didn't even think was remotely possible. We can create our own roads. The real future belongs to all of us.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
After Back to the Future was given a huge budget by Universal Studios, the company began trying to recoup its money through product placement deals. One of the smaller deals was with the California Raisin Cooperative, who wanted to promote its raisins in the film. This placement didn't go over so well.
The California Raisins logo was displayed on a park bench that was being used by a vagrant as a bed. The cooperative was very angry and ended up getting its money back.
Two more successful promotions were for Pepsi and Texaco. The studio had originally lined up Coke and Shell for the film, but the producers vetoed those choices because Shell and Coke's 1955 logos were very similar to the ones used in 1985. Pepsi and Texaco's were dramatically different, so they would stand out in the film.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Originally called "Mockingbird Square" because the classic film To Kill a Mockingbird was filmed there, the landmark of the Universal Studios backlot became "Courthouse Square" after it was used extensively in Back to the Future. The courthouse became a huge part of the films, as its iconic clock provides the energy needed to get Marty McFly Back to the FUTURE!
However it wasn't originally supposed to be that way. The original script called for the climactic scene to take place in the Nevada desert. The project went over budget, however, so a cheaper locale was needed. The producers found a perfect substitute right on the Universal Studios backlot. The courthouse would become an icon, still seen by millions of Universal Studios guests each year on the famed backlot tram tour.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
Universal Studios had backed itself into a corner. It had committed to a solid release date in the summer of 1985. When Robert Zemeckis dismissed Eric Stoltz, he put the production in jeopardy of missing its target release date. As a result, everything had to be put into overdrive. If the film missed its release window, Universal would have
been in violation of several marketing agreements and the bad publicity could have sunk the film's box office prospects. As a result, the film was the first to take just ten weeks from the end of filming to being released into theaters.
When Universal greenlit the Back to the Future sequels, it originally wanted to make just one. And it wanted that one sequel to be open-ended. Robert Zemeckis, however, wanted a trilogy. He feared that if he committed to just one film, he wouldn't be permitted to finish the trilogy if that film didn't succeed. Even worse, he might watch part III get farmed out to someone else. That's why he decided to try something that had never been done before- produce two films back to back. It would not only save money, but it would ensure that he got to complete his trilogy the way he wanted it.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Even classic films like Back to the Future aren't born fully formed. Script and story elements are often changed, sometimes for the better. Like Doc's fearless friend Einstein-
Instead of a dog, he was originally supposed to be a chimpanzee:
And that amazing time machine- the Delorean?
It was originally supposed to be a refrigerator:
The character of Biff Tannen? Tim Robbins was once considered for that:
And Eric Stoltz wasn't the only alternative Marty McFly. Ralph Macchio was considered for the role as well.
Films are merely the sum of their parts. Change one thing and they might fall down. Change many things and they might just be remembered for generations.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Universal Studios considered multiple actors to play the eccentric Doc Brown. Actors like Dudley Moore:
And John Lithgow:
Or what about Jeff Goldblum?
Of course, their final choice was the one and only Christopher Lloyd. He was a perfect Doc Brown.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis had found his perfect Marty McFly- Michael J. Fox. Unfortunately, NBC wasn't willing to release him or alter the Family Ties shooting schedule to accommodate the movie's production. Zemeckis decided to settle for his second choice- Eric Stoltz. Production began and Universal's millions of dollars started flowing out the door.
Production continued for a month while Eric was struggling through the role. Zemeckis noticed that the movie seemed off. He came to a difficult decision- he had to convince the studio to throw away a month's worth of footage and millions of dollars to re-film everything with Michael J. Fox. Convinced that the film would not succeed with Eric Stoltz, Universal authorized the re-shoots and sought to get Michael J. Fox at any cost. NBC agreed to release him this time, but required Universal to work around Family Ties' shooting schedule. The film finally had the Marty McFly it had wanted.
As shown above, many pictures of Eric Stoltz from the lost month of filming have now been leaked from the production. Many of the exterior shots of the Delorean chase scene from the mall parking lot at the beginning of the film were not reshot and Eric was actually behind the wheel. Remember this classic picture of Marty and his siblings? The one where they were disappearing right before Marty's eyes?
The original photo with Eric Stoltz is quite similar:
Would the world have embraced a Back to the Future featuring Eric Stoltz? Maybe, maybe not. It did embrace the one it got, however.
Monday, October 12, 2015
When the idea for Back to the Future was originally being shopped around Hollywood, it was rejected twice before being picked up by Universal Studios.
Columbia Pictures rejected it for not being sexy enough and suggested that the film be taken to Disney to see what they thought about it.
At Disney, the relationship between mother and son was deemed too racy and sexual. This was the Pre-Touchstone era, so the company was unwilling to produce such a film.
Universal Studios found the script to be just right for them. History was made and production began!