Archive for April 2013
Like a box of See’s candies…which should I try first?…
Bob Furmanek’s web site, www.3dfilmarchive.com, is a great place to read about the golden age of 3D movies. The only problem is selecting which article to read first! They are all well-researched, fun to read, and supported by vintage articles and advertising materials.
I clicked on “Widescreen Documentation,” and got some questions answered about my own films:
“SHOOTS ‘SINS’ at KTTV: Robert L. Lippert, Jr., tomorrow moves his “Sins of Jezebel” company from Chatsworth location site to sound stage at KTTV studio. Ansco color feature starring Paulette Goddard is being filmed for “all-purpose” wide screen. All camera set-ups and Frank Sylos’ sets are planned for 2-to-1 widescreen ratio. Consequently director Reginald Le Borg is shooting a minimum of close-ups.” — Variety 5/15/53:
THE SINS OF JEZEBEL (Lippert/1954) with Paulette Goddard and George Nader, began filming on location in Chatsworth, CA on May 13, 1953, and was the first widescreen feature to begin shooting for the 2.1 ratio. Universal-International adopted it but didn’t begin filming in 2.1 until June 3, with BORDER RIVER. Producer Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me Paulette Goddard, a star on the way down, was paid $20,000 for her role as Jezebel, and she was happy to get it. He said the movie was shot in color, a luxury seldom seen in a Lippert production, because Ansco wanted to get producers to use its “Ansco Color” process, and was willing to extend credit to his notoriously penurious father, studio-head, Robert L. Lippert, Sr.
THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID (Lippert/1954) in Ansco color, starring Willard Parker, Barbara Payton and Tom Neal, began filming April 1, 1953 for 1.37:1. It was released on July 17, 1953 and adapted to widescreen, as was SHANE, THUNDER BAY, YOUNG BESS and many others.
BLACK GLOVE (UK: FACE THE MUSIC) (Lippert/1954) starring Alex Nicol, was the first Lippert-Hammer/Exclusive co-production released in widescreen (1.8). It premiered in the United States on Jan. 29, 1954, and in the U.K. through Exclusive Films on Feb. 22, 1954.
* Ansco also extended lab deferrals on Lippert Jr’s. MASSACRE and THE BLACK PIRATES, both 1956. Some of the trailers were printed in Technicolor. The domestic picture negative to THE BLACK PIRATES is lost, and the Spanish Language picture negative (it was a U.S.-Mexico co-production) survives, but is in poor condition.
AVAILABLE ON DVD FROM VCI ENTERTAINMENT
LEGENDARY OUTLAWS DOUBLE FEATURE:
THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID, RENEGADE GIRL (Screen Guild/1946) with Ann Savage and Alan Curtis, RETURN OF JESSE JAMES (Lippert/1950) with John Ireland and Ann Dvorak, GUNFIRE (Lippert/1950) with Don “Red” Barry and Robert Lowery, DALTON GANG (Lippert/1949) with Don “Red” Barry and Robert Lowery, and I SHOT BILLY THE KID (Lippert/1951) with Don “Red” Barry and Robert Lowery.
MOVIE BAD GIRLS DOUBLE FEATURE
SINS OF JEZEBEL and QUEEN OF THE AMAZONS (Screen Guild/1947) with Robert Lowery and Patricia Morrison
HAMMER FILM NOIR DOUBLE FEATURE VOL. 6
BLACK GLOVE [UK: Face the Music] (Lippert/1954) and DEADLY GAME [UK: Third Party Risk] (Lippert/1954)* with Lloyd Bridges and Simone Silva.
DARN GOOD WESTERNS VOL. 2
MASSACRE (Fox/1956)* with Dan Clark and James Craig, SHOTGUN (Allied Artists/1955)* in Technicolor, with Sterling Hayden and Yvonne De Carlo, FOUR FAST GUNS (Universal/1959)* in CinemaScope, with James Craig and Martha Vickers, DEPUTY MARSHAL (Lippert/1949) with Jon Hall and Frances Langford, THREE DESPERATE MEN (Lippert/1951) with Preston Foster and Virginia Grey and OUTLAW WOMEN (Howco/1952) in Cinecolor, with Marie Windsor and Richard Rober.
*Widescreen 16X9 versions.
When I think of movies like “Hellgate” (Lippert/1952), directed by Charles Marquis Warren, and “The Tall Texan” (Lippert/1953), directed by Elmo Williams (Oscar-winning film editor on “High Noon”), I marvel at how directors like that were able to produce really entertaining films on a minimal budget (and an even more minimal shooting schedule.)
David Schecter does the same, only he thinks of the composers, in this case, Paul Dunlap and Bert Schefter.
“Monstrous Movie Music” is the name of David’s company. He specializes in producing CD’s with music scores from lower-tier science fiction films, but there are a few “A” features as well. These movies were helped immeasurably by the gifted composers, who like their director and producer counterparts, relegated to the demands of low budgets and extremely tight production schedules.
Some bring back fond memories of my going to the movies as a kid at the State and Rio Theatres in Monterey, CA: “The Blob” (Paramount/1958) composed by Ralph Carmichael; “The Last Man on Earth” (AIP/1964), composed by Paul Sawtell and Bert Schefter; “The Brain From the Planet Arous” (Howco/1957), composed by Walter Greene. I remember as the end title on “Arous” came on the screen and thinking I’d just wasted $.50. My disappointment was forgotten after watching the co-feature, “The Alligator People” (API-Fox/1959), composed by Irving Gertz, exemplifying there is no accounting for the taste of an 11-year-old.
David Schecter is a champion of composers, especially the lesser-known ones, many of whom he knew personally, and dedicates himself to making their scores available. He and his staff have gone to the trouble of re-recording the scores utilizing renowned symphony orchestras in Poland and Slovakia when they aren’t releasing original soundtracks. He write superb liner notes as well.
Monstrous Movie Music:
The movies themselves are available on DVD from VCI Entertainment:
“Hellgate,” starring Sterling Hayden, Joan Leslie, Ward Bond, and James Arness (one of my favorites), directed by Charles Marquis Warren, is part of the two-disc DVD collection titled, “Darn Good Westerns” Volume 1, featuring five additional titles, “Panhandle” (Allied Artists/1948) with Rod Cameron, in “glowing Sepiatone,” and four from Lippert Pictures, “Fangs of the Wild” (1954), with Charles Chaplin, Jr., and underrated actress Margia Dean in one of her best roles, “The Train to Tombstone” (1950) which is a Don “Red” Barry western, “Operation Haylift” (1950) with Bill Williams and Ann Rutherford, and “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse” (1945) starring Bob Steele, in Cinecolor, which was the first production from legendary exhibitor turned producer, Robert L. Lippert.
“The Tall Texan,” is a solid western starring Lloyd Bridges and Lee J. Cobb, with cool special features, including “The Making of ‘The Tall Texan’” by Elmo Williams (still alive at age 100!); audio reminiscences by Ross May, a wrangler for the movie; the original theatrical trailer, and Chapter 1 from “Secret Agent X-9” (1945).
On the subject of Elmo Williams, I highly recommend “The Cowboy” (Lippert/1954), a feature length documentary filmed in color. Both “The Tall Texan” and “The Cowboy” were made in DemingNM where in 2005 my wife Donna and I went to produce the commentary featuring reminiscences of four of the original cowboys who starred in the film. Listening to these authentic cowboys fifty years later is a hoot…worthy of a blog of its own.
*Usually credited as a Lippert production, it was actually an independent film from producer by John C. Champion (brother of Gower), under his Commander Films banner. Champion also produced “Panhandle.”
© 2013 Kit Parker Holdings LLC