Monday, May 31, 2010

Monte Hellman on CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37

From: Cable Column
"A Conversation with MONTE HELLMAN"
Z Channel Magazine - unknown date

Monte Hellman: TWO LANE BLACKTOP probably had the most success of any of my pictures because it was really widely distributed. It was booked into a lot of theatres in America even though it wasn't ever really promoted. But I think CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 actually made more money in a realistic sense for the people who were involved because it was made so cheaply and everybody that sold it, sold it at a profit. TWO LANE BLACKTOP, I'm sure made money for the distribution company but the production company claims that it's still in the red or something. I don't know. CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 made more money because everyone who's touched it has essentially doubled his money.

(Z: Was TWO LANE BLACKTOP the biggest budget?)

MH: No, actually CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 was the biggest budget. TWO LANE was $900,000 and CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 was $1,100,000, actually. Just to show the difference now, one film I'm preparing to be shot essentially the same way as the other pictures, in Jamaica, is budgeted at $2,700,000. And that's the cheapest we can make it. That's how much the cost of films has gone up in the last two or three years.

(Z: Why are all three of your Westerns so different?)

MH: When I made the first two Westerns, I was really trying to do something different because I thought everybody had already made all the traditional Westerns that needed to be made. So I decided to make a couple of anti-Westerns. And having done that, I got it out of my system. When it came to CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 I really wanted to make a pro-Western, a traditional Western. And I guess I did it to the best of my ability. I think it didn't quite come out that way, but I gave it my best shot. (laughs.)

[The film Hellman was preparing was IGUANA (1988).]

Friday, May 28, 2010

Robert Woods on Sicily and stuff

From: That's With An "S" IV
An interview with, and a look at the films of, Robert Woods
by William Connolly
with research by Michael Ferguson, Tom Betts and Gordon Harmer
Spaghetti Cinema #53, June 1993

Robert Woods: (On MY NAME IS PECOS...) Demofilo Fidani did the costumes. Demofilo and Mila Fidani. They did the costumes and that sort of stuff. And he became very big.

WC: Fidani?

RW: Yeah, as Miles Deem. The guy released films in South America and made fortunes. I did his first film. They begged me to do for nothing. It was called PEONYS and it was a piece of garbage. I hated that film. And I die in the end, and in Naples they tore out the seats of the cinema and threw them at the screen, because you don't kill the hero. You just don't. Not in a Latin country. You just do not kill the hero.
That's Naples, though. The Southern Italians, man, they just, "Arrgh! This isn't what I want to see. I want him to win."
Rome and the South are kind of weird people; kind of strange people. Arab almost. I mean there's sort of this Arab influence.

WC: I understand that Italy and Sicily are almost like two different countries.

RW: Oh, yeah. Indeed.
I did a film in Yugoslavia, I can't remember the name of it, with Gianni Grimaldi.
And he was Siclian and I went down to visit then. I love Sicily. What a beautiful place. We went fishing all night, Elga Andersen and I. The lights on the water, and fish flying - the flying fish - and the moon. Ah, man it was great! It was great! It was one of those unforgettable experiences where even the smells around you; everything was sensual. Great time. Great time.

WC: And, of course, we have Sicily to thank for Claudia Cardinale.

RW: I've got a Claudia Cardinale story. I was sitting on the set with Hank Fonda one day when we were doing BATTLE OF THE BULGE and she was down doing something... She was down getting ready to do something, and somebody brought her in and introduced her to Fonda. And he introduced her to me. I hadn't met her either. And he talked; he was very congenial - Fonda's a great guy. And as she walked away, he said, "Beautiful girl."
And I said, "Yeah."
He said, "Fat ass."
She's got this huge butt, you know?
And that was shocking from Fonda, because he wouldn't usually do that.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sergio Corbucci on DUEL OF THE TITANS

From: Cine Zine Zone #50
Interview by Carlo Piazza, May 1989
Translated into French by Pierre Charles and then translated into English by Arcides Gonzales

Sergio Corbucci: Seeing it again, I wonder how I was able to do such a film, in the sense that today it wouldn't be possible to do it again. Not for financial reasons, as people think, but rather for technical reasons.
This film, received bad reviews at the time. Critics said that it resembled a Western; that the actors brandished the sword as if it were a gun.

CP: Yes, but at the time you stated, "I am shooting a Western."

SC: Well, true. Several sequences are really Western in style. The final scene, for example, when the Sabines appear high above like the Indians in a Western, is a Fordian reminiscence. The American Western was too important for our generation. We make them even when we don't want to.
As for ROMULUS AND REMUS, I have to say that I never had so many beautiful people at my disposal for a film: Reeves, Scott, Girotti, Sernas, Virna Lisi and Orenella Vanoni.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Robert Woods on MY NAME IS PECOS

From: That's With An "S" IV
An interview with, and a look at the films of, Robert Woods
by William Connolly
with research by Michael Ferguson, Tom Betts and Gordon Harmer
Spaghetti Cinema #53, June 1993

Robert Woods: I think I might have dubbed MY NAME IS PECOS, because I did some of them, but I was so busy that I have very little time... You'll find that most of the actors were so busy that they could not dub themselves. You'd have it in your contract; 'cause I always wanted to dub myself - I mean I do voice-overs and things like that, and I thought it was right to do things like that.
I dubbed alot of Brad Harris films, as a matter of fact.

WC: When I saw you in the makeup for Pecos, I wondered if you had had an accident. It looked rather odd.

RW: I liked the look; I liked the idea. You see, the whole thing about becoming an actor is... I like any kind of thing where you can... Okay, maybe I was playing myself with the Pecos makeup, but it was a way out of myself, you know? Acting for me is an escape. I'm not basically a shy person anyway, but I like to do something different. I played Ned in THE THREEPENNY OPERA and I liked it. I liked to be deformed, you know what I mean? I prefer that to being clean and...

WC: Was it a conscious idea in MY NAME IS PECOS to have the Mexican hero be sort-of a representative of the "Third World" getting back at the Ugly Americans?

RW: Of course. The whole thing about the Europeans is that they don't look at Americans as individuals; they look at us as a suppressive country, because we're the country in power. I mean I'm not kidding; we're very hated almost every where. If you learn the language, they respect you and like you more; you can get along with them, and everything works. I have alot of friends because of that. If you don't bother to learn the language, you're a hated individual or a collective society in Europe.
Many times I've sat in an outdoor cafe and heard Ugly Americans come in and say, "What the hell do you mean 30 thousand lira? We won the war."
And you just want to go: "Whoa...", you know? Or "back to Mom" or something. The worst feeling in the world is to watch Americans behave badly in a place that isn't their's, but Americans have this attitude that, "Hey, we won the war; it's our's, and you should bow-down to me. I'm American."

WC: I figured that that was probably why PECOS was so popular in places like Africa.

RW: Sure, that's why it was. Basically, it had a social message. There were a lot of these films that you might laugh and say they're campy and they're this and that, but they said a few things in those films. Not all of them... PECOS happened to one of them.

Monday, May 24, 2010


From: The Best Sergio 3
by William Connolly
Spaghetti Cinema #52, March 1993

A number of sources, including THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HORROR MOVIES and FILM DIRECTORS A COMPLETE GUIDE - not to mention UNITALIA -, have listed Sergio Corbucci as a co-director of MACISTE CONTRO IL VAMPIRO (aka GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES). In CINE ZINE ZONE #50, editor Pierre Charles added a footnote to the part of Carlo Piazza's interview in which Corbucci described how he was persuaded by the producer of DANZA MACABRA (U.S. title: CASTLE OF BLOOD) to shoot at least 50% of that film before he had to begin a previously contracted production:

"Under the same conditions, Sergio Corbucci confirmed to us how he started the shooting of MACISTE CONTRE LE FANTOME, finished by Giacomo Gentilomo, who later directed MACISTE CONTRE LES HOMME DE PIERRE (HERCULES AGAINST THE MOONMEN), a lot less successful on many levels."

However, during a brief chat on January 11, 1993, star Gordon Scott discounted that story.
(Thank you to Walter Barnes for helping to put me in contact with Mr. Scott.)

WC: Do you remember which was the first film that you did in Italy? Most people seem to think that it was DUEL OF THE TITANS.
Gordon Scott: No, it wasn't. It was the one in Yugoslavia for Dino De Laurentiis. The MONSTER... What the hell name was it?
WC: Oh, GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES. One of the stories that's come up is that Sergio Corbucci directed some of it.
GS: No. When we shot it there, Corbucci came over from Italy - we shot it in Yugoslavia -, and Corbucci came over and he had the script for ROMULUS AND REMUS, which you know is DUEL OF THE TITANS. He gave me the script there, but he was never involved in THE VAMPIRES.
WC: How did you like working with him on ROMULUS AND REMUS?
GS: Oh, he was great. You know he had a great sense of humor, and he put everybody at ease. He was very easy to work with. Yeah, we both liked him.
WC: You both? You mean with Steve Reeves?
GS: Yeah, with Reeves.
WC: I don't know if you remember, but in GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES you have to fight with yourself.
GS: Yeah. I really had to move quick. (laughs) The guy that did that (with me) was a kid called Giovanni Cianfriglia.
WC: He was Steve Reeves double.
GS: Yeah, for a long time. He was good, too, you know? Not a bad actor, either. I think later on he did second unit work with a bunch of the people over there. He was very good.
WC: I remember he did Westerns under the name Ken Wood.
GS: Oh, did he? I didn't know that.
WC: Any particular memories about either of those films? Does anything come to mind?
GS: Yeah, the one thing that comes to mind is that it was a long time ago.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Giulio Questi on DJANGO KILL!

From: I Made One, And To Tell the Truth I Only Like One
An interview with director Giulio Questi by Stephane Derderian
translated from the French by Alain Petit
Spaghetti Cinema # 67, July 1997

I am Giulio Questi. I was born on March 18, 1924, - Yes, I am very young! - at Bergamo, a town in the north, near Milan; very near the mountains. I was in the war of liberation [from the Fascists] for two years; I was eighteen then.

What do you think of Italian Westerns?

I never liked Italian Westerns. I made one, and to tell the truth, I only like one; the one I did.

Why did you make one?
I can't answer. They asked me to make others, but I didn't do it, because the Western genre didn't interest me. When I say I didn't like Italian Westerns, it isn't presumtion; it is personally true. When I say I only like mine, it is because I always considered it different from other Italian Westerns. For me, the Italian Western was only a way to tell stories that I had more than in the head - in the heart. I tell you again, in SE SEI VIVO SPARA, I didn't use the movie Western formula, only the look; but I wanted to recount all of the things, the cruelty, the comradary with friends, the death, all the experiences I had of war, in combat, in the mountains. SE SEI VIVO SPARA is for me an unique experiment that I can't repeat mechanically. The Italian Western didn't interest me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gordon Mitchell on Emimmo Salvi

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

WC: Emimmo Salvi died young, didn't he?
Gordon Mitchell: Emimmo committed suicide because he got diabetes. He was just like Dan Vadis; he thought he could do anything he wanted to. He did films for nothing because he was a great organizer. And then his legs started to go, and all that. In fact he called me the day before. He said, "Look, I'm in a hospital. But in the morning we're going to meet with the producer and we're going to make this film, ZEUS." They had already spent six months working on the technical part; really beautiful. Bonati made all the... like E.T. Bonati actually made the masks for the gorilla in KING KONG [The Dino De Laurentiis production.]. He made the masks for E.T. Anyway, Emimmo on the phone was crying; he was so happy we were going to make another film.
The next day, a friend of mine told me that Emimmop killed himself. They couldn't find the gun, though. I just felt so sorry about it. The guy knew more about making a low-budget film...
IL GIGANTI DI METROPOLIS, if you look at the thing. It's got tremendous interior decoration. It's very rich - very rich in atmosphere.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lino Ventura appraised in 1972 by an American

Jean Gabin and Lino Ventura in 1957's LE ROUGE EST MIS, a film I've not seen and greatly want to.

April 1972, Vol. XXIII No. 4
"Films On TV" by Jack Edmund Nolan

In the last decade so many US "art houses" have turned to out-n-out pornography that television has become the only means whereby those who study run-of-the-mill foreign films can continue to do so. It's not an idle hobby. I have found foreign programmers a rather good way to learn what the non-US masses - to use a now almost obsolete word - are being fed.
I grant you have to look at some horrible dreck - the snobs who say "I like foreign films" should see some of it - but there are compensations (in addition to serious sociological and political ones). One compensation is watching the waxing and waning of the careers of players who are stars in Europe but haven't yet or may never, become such here.
Of late, I've been following, on the miniscreen, the career of Lino Ventura who, in the last decade, has never rated lower than eighth among France's top boxoffice draws. Thirty-four of his 57 theafilms he's appeared in have been shown on US-tv, where more than half of the 34 have had their US premiere. The French regard Ventura as a new purveyor of the image Gabin exploited so successfully, despite the fact that he is not nearly as handsome.
Ventura's real name is Angelo Borrini and he was born in Parma, Italy, on 7.14.19 His publicity claims that his father's "trade unionism" caused the family to escape from Mussolini's fascism in the '20s by emigrating to France. Those who are not part of Ventura's claque say the family went to France because farm-laborers were needed there. Whatever the truth may have been, Ventura worked for some years in France as a professional boxer.
He was becoming a bit portly when, in the summer of '53, director Jacques Becker, on the look-out for types who could personify gangsters, gave him a part as one of the hoods in TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (called in the US both PARIS UNDERWORLD and GRISBI). A big boxofficer throughout Europe, it gave Ventura grade-A exposure. It was Becker, incidentally, who changed Ventura's name.
He played gangsters in three of his next four films (BAZZIA SUR LA CHNOUF; LA LOI DES RUES; LE FEU AUX POUDRES) but in CRIME ET CHATIMENT ('56), which in the US was called THE MOST DANGEROUS SIN, he played a most phlegmatic bartender. In the next three years he appeared in some 17 French-made theafilms, most of which can be seen on US-tv. He is merely a French secret agent in four of them (US titles; ACTION IMMEDIATE; OPERATION COPLAN; GREETINGS FROM THE GORILLA; THE TIGER ATTACKS) but in the Gabin-starrer called MAIGRET TEND UN PIEGE (US: INSPECTOR MAIGRET) he is Inspector Torrence, the Simenon character who pretends to type reports while Maigret is shouting at a murderer who professes innocence.
In five of the 17 films Ventura made between the fall of '56 and the fall of '59 he had good, dramatic roles, and three of them accounted for his becoming a European star: MONTPARNASSE 19 (US: HERO OF MONTPARNASSE), in which he is the merchant who witnesses Modi's death; SURSIS POUR UN VIVANT, in which he is the director of the Edelweiss Hotel; and Duvivier's neglected masterpiece, MARIE-OCTOBRE, in which he is the ex-maqui turned bar owner.
In the rest of the 17 he is a crook - and this fact is not without its significance in appraising the reasons for his success (and in understanding contemporary Europe). He is the second-in-command gangster in LE ROUGE EST MIS (US: SPEAKING OF MURDER) whose semi-cowardice Gabin flushes out. He is a hunted suspect, rather than an actual evil-doer, in several pictures. And in director Claude Sautet's CLASSE TOUS RISQUES he has his first really big role (an aging, dissolute gunman on his own, except for the wife and children he has to take with him as he tries to elude the law, who seeks a solitary death and is dealt the final blow before a crowd of onlookers.)
Ventura was then 40 years old and he had enough showbiz savy to begin insisting on "good guy" parts. He played one in William Dieterle's DIE HERRIN DER WELT (US: MISTRESS OF THE WORLD); is a stubborn, but admirable French soldier in UN TAXI FOR TOBRUK; a shrewd, resourceful maqui in L'ARMEE DES OMBRES; an anti-evil proletarian in several films (LE BATEAU D'EMILE; LES GRANDES GUEULES; LES AVENTURIERS); and an honest cop or secret agent in several others, most notably in LE CLAN DES SICILIENS (US: THE SICILIAN CLAN). The gangster roles he accepted usually had the racketeer be retired. In two such roles - Alphonse in LE MATAMORPHOSE DES CLOPORTES ('65) and Gu Menda in LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE - he is so good the reasons for his European reclame are obvious.
His success, some say, went to his head, and early in the '60s he began showing up on a set hours late, and began being replaced. Jean-Paul Belmondo replaced him in UN NOMME LA ROCCA; he was supposed to be police chief Brown in the '63 DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER but is not in that role in the print I saw; and ONT-ILS DES JAMBES, on which he worked in '64, has not, to my knowledge, ever been screened publicly.
Whatever went wrong was overcome, and since '70 he's been in eight films. I've seen only the first two, but they're near masterpieces. In the first, DERNIER DOMICILE CONNU, based on Joseph Harrington's fine '65 novel, he is an avenging cop endeavoring to follow the scent on a very cold trail, and in the second, the surrealistic FANTASIA CHEZ LA LES PLOUCS, he is a swindler in Las Vegas - and other places.
Parts of some Ventura pictures have been shot in the US but it will not be until THE VALACHI PAPERS is released that we will see him in a US-made film (he will play Vito Genovese).
An English friends tells me he has a luxurious home in France - and that it's always guarded.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gordon Mitchell on cheating for the camera

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

Gordon Mitchell: When you watch MACISTE NELLA TERRA DEI CICLOPI (U.S. title: ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS), Paul Wynter - all the time through the whole film, there's not one dagger on him. And then, the scene at the end of the film, all of a sudden, I turn my back and he pulls a dagger out of his thing. I mentioned it to the director, and he said, "Forget it. They'll never notice."
But, I'll tell you. On some of these films things like that happen. You jump off a horse, and the next day they can't get that horse, so you get another horse. Alot of times for director Demofilo Fidani, to help him... Like I escape on my horse, and he needed some more people to make the band following me a little bit bigger, so I'd put a Mexican hat on and I'd ride after myself.
I mean if you talk to people they have no idea of the crazy things... especially when you did low-budget films, because you really had to really help as much as you can. Alot of times you even help the cameraman, or help set the lights up on some films for some buddies of mine. Help set the lights, help with the camera, set up the fight scenes and do it, and then change two or three times your clothes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dean Reed in the late 1960s.

The Search For Dean Reed
by Reggie Nadelson

In Moscow, after the peace conference at Helsinki, Dean arranged to interview Valentina Tereshkova for Argentine television. The first Soviet woman in space, she would not kiss Dean and was embarrassed. Back in Buenos Aires, where he was then living, Dean was questioned by the police and, when the military took over the country - the sequence of South America coups is always hard to keep up with - he was expelled. In 1966, still married to Patty, he went to live in Madrid, made a couple of pictures, and moved on to Rome.
For the next half dozen years, Dean commuted between South America and Europe and the Soviet Union. Deported from Argentina, threatened by the Right, he tried to get in again by travelling to Uruguay. He was arrested. The the world who knew him, he had the glamour of a political cowboy, moving faster and faster, and he wrote it down in his autobiography that was printed on the crappy paper. So did the FBI and the State Department. It took two years for Dean's file to arrive on my desk, courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act. But when it did, the account of his exploits in South America, was, so far as I could tell, absolutly accurate.
After an illegal entry, a policeman in Uruguay, who had previously arranged his deportation, recognized him. 'Hello, Dean, I always suspected we would meet again,' said the policeman.
By 1967, Dean was living in Rome where he made Spaghetti Westerns (This wasn't a life, it was a mini-series!). He made eight altogether: in 1967, there was BUCKAROO; in 1968, 20 STEPS TO DEATH, THE THREE FLOWERS and ADIOS, SABATA. In 1969 came DEATH KNOCKS TWICE, PIRATES OF GREEN ISLAND and my favourite, MACHING GUN BABY FACE.
Sometimes, late at night, you could still catch ADIOS, SABATA on television. In it, Dean worked with Yul Brynner. Dean was taller than Yul, but Yul was the star. Dean played their scenes standing in a hole on the beach that had actually been specially dug for him. Dean told the story for the laughs, but it clearly got up his nose that he was less important than Yul.
When Dean went to Santa Domingo to get the divorce from Patty, he laughingly told the press about how he was taller than Yul. Next thing he knew, he saw a story in the paper that Yul had arrived in Santa Domingo.
And in 1970, when Dean applied for a new passport - his old one had expired - his height was listed not as six foot one, as it was on his original document, but as six foot four, but then, by 1970, perhaps Dean felt he had grown taller.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Enzo Barboni on why no more Westerns.

Enzo Barboni: It has always seemed to me that there's no need to keep going for the gold. It's also risky. So I only did the first two comic Westerns, and then I did something different. I believe in moving on from a genre at the proper moment, even it other then follow and do excellent business. But when Zingarelli and I did the Trinity series, they weren't even making Westerns anymore. Times change, other things come along. Who can believe in a gunslinger on horseback anymore, when a purse-snatcher on his Vespa motor scooter does things Jesse James wouldn't have dared? Your average thief on his motorbike does acrobatics that would make a poor horse's head spin. When I did the second Trinity - there was a gag that a friend wryly responded to: "Well, if a fanatic on horseback can do that, what would I do with 218 horsepower in my engine?"
The motorcycle has definitely replaced the horse.

[Of course, Barboni did make a third Western. After negotiations with Terence Hill and Bud Spencer to make a third Trinity film in 1995 fell through, Barboni made TRINITA & BAMBINO... E ADESSO TOCCA A NOI, aka SONS OF TRINITY. Hill and Spencer made BOTTE DI NATALE, aka THE FIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, aka THE TROUBLEMAKERS, as Travis and Moses.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gordon Mitchell on Clint Eastwood

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

Gordon Mitchell: I remember when Clint Eastwood made his first Western with Sergio Leone. People have no idea; he worked for nothing on that film. He was probably getting 3 or 4 thousand dollars a week. But after that, he just went up and up.
You saw FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, didn't you? Did you look at it real well at the beginning of it? They shot that twice after they got a bit more money. You see where he comes in at the very beginning of the film, they have it raining. He's sopping wet. Then you see him walk in dry as a bone into the saloon. And then when he rides away, that street's a dusty as can be. They got a little extra money to do that first scene.
I mean that's just one of the things.
People never really pay any attention to it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sergio Corbucci on the revival of the Western

Sergio Corbucci: They often ask me to do a Western again, partly because at one time I made two films with Terence Hill, who is the third great Italian Western actor after Giuliano Gemma and Franco Nero. I don't think Westerns, be they Italian or American, can ever make a comeback. All the attempts in this direction in America have failed miserably. Every so often I think to myself: "Hmm, a Western, who knows?" But it's an idea that vanishes as quickly as it occurs to me, because I no longer know what I would make, or how I'd make it: dead serious, a spoof, what? For now, the youth - kids - those who've always been the commercial backbone for this type of film - have discovered science fiction, or Westerns with policemen; yes, those films with cops in the streets of New York where the skyscrapers have taken the placed of the Rocky Mountains. Today, if you walk into a toy store in any town in the world, you can no longer find a Cowboy hat or a Western pistol. Kids couldn't care less: they want space monsters. So, who'd go to see a Western anymore? Maybe only a nostalgic old man...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gordon Mitchell on Dan Vadis

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

Gordon Mitchell: Danny was probably one of the most incredible actor-athletes. He came to the Mae West Show, the last one we did in Vegas in '59. He had a couple of weeks leave from the Navy and he came to see us.
And then a couple of years later, I'm doing very well in Italy, and I asked for Sammy Burke, and then Dan came, and I got Dan in a couple films. They all lived with me; Sam Burke and Dan Vadis. And Sam Burke was a great champion himself. But Dan could jump off rails as high as seven feet, and do fight scenes with alot of jumping around. He and Brad Harris did alot of fight scenes. In THE YELLOW EYE, he jumped from the building to that tree; he could do things that were just incredible.
One day, Dan and I were walking in the Piazza di Spagna and at that time you could drive a car, and a guy in a MG; a big guy. He almost hit Dan. And Dan walked very nicely to the guy and said, "You should be more careful."
And the driver said, "Oh, you think you're a smart guy."
And, boom, Dan smacks him.
And a policeman saw it, who was a friend of mine. "Just get him out of here," he says.
That was just one of the things. I mean it was constant; and Sam Burke, too. We'd walk down the Via Veneto - these big monsters.
"What are you looking at?"
WC: It was quite a shock to find out that he had died.

GM: Yeah, but he had...
The trouble was he thought that he could do anything; control anything. And he started taking drugs and he thought he could control it. And that's why he took an overdose and the last time you saw him he had wacked himself out in a car. His sister was a very good friend of mine; Kitty. She has a store down in San Diego or Oceanside; very nice.
Dan, I saw him in '83 or '84 when Lou was over in Rome (for THE SEVEN MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS). Of course, he was skinny then because somebody blew him out over there.

WC: Blew him out?

GM: Yeah, shot his liver out. He was skin and bones then. He was half of what he really was.

WC: I think the last time I saw him was in BRONCO BILLY.

GM: Then he was very smart with Shelley Winters (on THE SCALPHUNTERS). He wacked her out. He messed up on that, too. He knew Shelley Winters, but she had a mouth. He knocked her out. So they got him off the set.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Clint Eastwood talks in 1971

From: Answers At San Francisco
Were Somewhat Better Than The Usual
Publicity-Shrewd Pap
by Cathy Furniss
Films In Review Vol. XXII No. 10
December 1971

[A report on the 1971 San Francisco Film Festival]

The violence in every film, old and new, shown at this year's San Francisco Film Festival, was hissed and booed, as were lines of dialog, when spoken by a woman to a man, like "Life means nothing to me without you."...
Serious cinemaddicts may wonder why the Festival staged a Clint Eastwood retro. Well, it did, and it consisted of clips from A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS; FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE; THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; COOGAN'S BLUFF; THE BEGUILED; PAINT YOUR WAGON; DIRTY HARRY; and PLAY MISTY FOR ME. The violence and Establishment-aura in the latter were especially booed. But during question-period the audience treated Eastwood with respect. At his press conference he was unjustly regarded as a hick.
Asked where he had learned to sing he replied with a smile: "In the bathroom." To an assertion that PLAY MISTY FOR ME looked as though it had had two directors, he said he wished it had because "I could have used another person's help." He was similarly forthright, and modest, in most of his replies. He said he had not had a stand-in nor been injured in the violent scenes, especially the billiard-parlor scene, in COOGAN'S BLUFF, and added that Don Siegel is "the best director I've ever worked with." Siegel, incidentally, plays a bartender in PLAY MISTY FOR ME, which Eastwood directed.
He said A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS was definitely a re-make of Kurosawa's YOJIMBO. To "Are you aware your films are oppressive to women" he side-stepped with: "I'm stuck for an answer." On the subject of violence in his films he said: "There are a lot of ways to look at violence in films. I don't think violence makes a film successful." Nevertheless, he thought he'd prefer less violence and "if I could tone it down I would."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Enzo Barboni on E.B. Clucher and Hill & Spencer.

Enzo Barboni: Having been a director of photography for so many years, I thought producers might be a bit resistant to seeing me as a director and I changed my name to E.B. Clucher. Clucher was my mother's maiden name, a "lanzquenet" name originally, I believe. I decided this at the very last moment - only Zingarelli and I knew about it. And so when the film was released they all asked who this Clucher was.
It's been a lucky charm for me that I wouldn't part with for the world.
The team of Bud Spencer-Terence Hill had been formed for a film by Giuseppe Colizzi, which had done good commerical business but hadn't taken off like THEY CALL ME TRINITY. Ten years later, they're still together with many successes behind them. They have no problems as a team: one lives in Rome, the other in the States, and they only meet up for the films. I believe Terence Hill is an American citizen by now, he married an American, has two kids, and lives there full time. I think they do one film a year together, and otherwise have separate careers.
There isn't a dominant person in the pair, they complement each other, each with his own individuality, so much so that they've done many films apart, though without the success they enjoy as a team.
Bud Spencer has always stayed close to the conception of the character from the first films, whereas Hill has tried to change his a little. Bud is a bit infantile, completely instinctive, not very intelligent: the other is a bit aggressive, without being nasty. Naughtier. Pedersoli dedicated his life to sports, then he did something in a production capacity and he became acquainted with, and wed, the daughter of Peppino Amato. He's one of those who gives his all; a great fellow. With me, and I think with others, he's very attentive, very respectful of the director's ideas, which I always discuss ahead of time with the actors, and once accepted there are no problems. I try and involve myself with every part of the system: producers, distributors, actors. I prefer to start only when everyone believes in it and is in agreement. If the film goes well, they can share the responsibility, and likewise if it fails - if it doesn't hit the mark.

Friday, May 7, 2010


My favorite Italian police drama is CONFESSIONE DI UN COMMISSARIO DI POLIZIA AL PROCURATORE DELLA REPUBBLICA and now there's an U.S. DVD release that has the entire 2.35:1 widescreen picture on view. And the DVD also has a splendid interview with Franco Nero talking about the making of the film and many of his collaborators. As if that wasn't enough, there's a second feature in the package - Spanish director Antonio Isasi's UN VERANO PARA MATAR. It may not be as exciting as his earlier film THEY CAME TO ROB LAS VEGAS, but it inspired Quentin Tarantino enough for him to reused some of its music in KILL BILL Vol. 1.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Enzo Barboni on Italo Zingarelli

Enzo Barboni: I have various producers read the script of TRINITY... and many of them, leafing through their copy, noted that the right half - with the dialogue - was unusually full, to which they'd respond: "He talks too much and shoots too little."
Until one day I spoke about the project with Zingarelli. He'd already done some producing, and he read it attentively, rapping a paperweight rhythmically on his desk as was his habit, and then he called me and said, "Let's make the film!"
Wisely, he didn't say, "The director is inexperienced, let's do this cheaply." He said, instead, "Let's try and make a good film and get it right."
Those were difficult times - Westerns were doing badly, and yet he invested good money without imposing his own ideas, allowing me to do what I wished.
Zingarelli's one of those who has always been in movies, he popped out of a movie camera at birth. He started out as a cascatore as a young man. He's a big cordial man, a little dogmatic in his judgments, but sharp; brilliant. I'm happy things went well. THEY CALL ME TRINITY cost 400,000 million lire, and brought in six to seven billion back then, with tickets still 1200 lire. It had such a big success in Italy, that other countries were intrigued, and it did nearly as well in Germany.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gordon Mitchell on FOUR FOR ALL

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

WC: The film you did in Turkey with Richard Harrison; FOUR FOR ALL...

Gordon Mitchell: We did all fights in that...
And that one there, I tore my leg up in a chase scene. We're doing a chase scene on the street... We just had to hide the camera truck.
I'm chasing this other guy fromt he sauna in a big towel and it's snowing. It's below zero.
They would set the camera up and wave to us and we'd go running through the crowds. Now you do that for two or three hours...
And I put tape on the bottom of my feet because it was just killing me.
And the last part. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. And so he, the director, said, "Okay, this last one now, you got to really speed up and catch him."
And then you see me running and running and all of a sudden a "pop". It just tore. So, for the rest of the film, I'm limping around in there.
WC: Do you remember who directed that film?

GM: It was a Turkish director, but Richard and I, most of the time, were doing the directing. That's what happens with these films, you have no idea.
Richard... The first day he put me in a sauna and I'm fighting four of these Turkish men. And then Richard said, "Why don't you bounce his head some more?"
I said, "Richard, we're 17 hours... I've lost five pounds in there."
And I can't speak Turkish; they can't understand English. I'm doing hard work trying to explain to these guys how to do... you know, 'cause Turkish boys are real tough guys, to make a good fight scene, I had to go through all the talking trying to explain to them and all that.
So, Richard said, "Bounce him."
And I said, "Richard, I've been here 17 hours, and you're in a hotel room in a nice warm bed. I'm trying to direct the thing and fight..." 17 hours.

WC: Do you remember much about Tony Tiger?

GM: That's Irfan Atasoy. He was the producer of the film; he co-produced it.

TB: And he acted under the name Tony Tiger?

WC: He looked like he was trying to be a Turkish Bruce Lee.

GM: Oh, and Richard had a thing to deal with him.

[An Italian distributor named Giulio Giuseppe Negri bought this Turkish production, retitled it QUEI PARACUL... PI DI JOLANDO E MARGHERITO and slapped the name Jerry Mason on it to take writing and directing credit. He then put out a poster to make it look like a Western. A Turkish blog credits the director as Yilmaz Atadeniz.]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Enzo Barboni's thinking before THEY CALL ME TRINITY.

Enzo Barboni: As a Director of Photography, I'd done many Westerns, and one thing about them that made me laugh was their use of violence as an end in itself, which really irked me as a viewer. I believed that Westerns ought to be amusing, there's something inherently comic about the fact in part because they started off from the imitation of a world we'd dreamed about but wasn't our own, one we'd never even seen. Through filming this way, boredom set in. They'd slightly change the costumes, the setting, the faces from film to film, but the music was always the same, the essence of the films never changed. Then one fine day, after having thought a lot about it, I told some friends, "I'd like to demystify the genre." I saw that the idea went over well, and I began to write this story in one of my son's school notebooks, fitting it in among his quizzes and exams. We exploited all the elements typical of the American Western: the old geeze, the killer... no women, they don't enter in; Americans stick them in for commercial reasons, but they don't really fit in these stories. My experience as a Director of Photography on comedies helped me a bit as well. Even some films done with Toto: some of the timing, the bits of business. For example, I transposed a scene from LO SMEMORATO DI COLLEGNO (directed by Sergio Corbucci) with somebody talking and talking, and every time he interrupted him, Toto says, "Oh, really?" It became a tirade delivered by a killer with the responses provided by Trinity. In the case of Trinity, one can't talk of a Spaghetti Western because it was really an Italian style joke that we wanted to make.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gordon Mitchell on the strain of shooting 7X7.

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

Gordon Mitchell: And then on SEVEN TIMES SEVEN I got hurt alot. They were breaking stuff over my back, when I'm nude. And the big fight scene on cement. I could only do it once and it took two days to heal-up afterwards.
People just don't realise the things that you do.
And then like we were shooting 24 hours straight-through.
In the last scene we did, Michele Lupo says, "I want a close-up of you now."

WC: Always at the end.

GM: I know. Things like this - like that happen, and you know, what do you want to say? We had been up about 30 hours straight without stopping. We had to finish because Monday they had to come into the big mill.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sergio Corbucci on the end of the Italian Western

Sergio Corbucci: There was also the fact that the Italian Western, which had opened many doors overseas where the films sold like hotcakes, had gradually declined in quality with paler and pale imitations. My own DJANGO had had cousins, uncles and relatives aplenty. The overuse of his name crippled everything; there were who knows how many of them shot each week. And so the genre dies, partly due to Barboni's mocking shot at the heart, partly through over saturation. Pity, because this type of film could have been an excellent training ground for young directors, and might have continued as a moneymaking genre if done well. It is for these reasons that those of us present at its birth finally abandoned it. Since then, I've moved on to comedy, and I don't think I've done a single dramatic film since. Since then, I haven't killed off a single protagonist.
Directors like Antonioni, Rosi, Petri ought to be grateful to the Western. Having made their heaps of money (from us), the producers could then redistribute a bit of the cash to the more "serious" directors. At that time, producers knew that they could produce a couple of Westerns and make a killing overseas, something that wouldn't be easily done with, say, Italian comedies which didn't travel well, nor even the Italian political films, because their concerns were too peculiarly our own. The economic crisis of Italian cinema pretty much coincided with the decline of the Western, really because there was no longer this production structure which could bring work to huge numbers of people, and unloose a sea of money. Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, themselves, who are still at it, continue to do things that derive from the Westerns, even if they're playing policemen, and have become American citizens.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gordon Mitchell and the fires of JULIUS CAESAR AND THE PIRATES

From: His Name Is Chuck 4
Interview by William Connolly and Tom Betts on April 1, 1990
Spaghetti Cinema #59, December 1994

Gordon Mitchell: Another one that was very scary was when I did GIULIO CESARE CONTRO I PIRATI with Abbe Lane and Gustavo Rojo. They were shooting flaming arrows at us. It was terrible because they had the big pots of gasoline - they were dipping their arrows in and they were lighting them... And then the director hollered, "Stop!" And these boys didn't understand too much and they put those flaming arrows back in the gasoline. And it just blew everything. There were about 20 people wiped out.

WC: Was this on one of the boats?

GM: Yeah, one of the boats that they had built for the thing.

WC: And the boat caught fire?

GM: Oh, it had buring all over...

TB: Gasoline would burn on the surface of the water.

GM: Some guys got saved because they went in and the salt water did help, but they had... The ambulance... They had to wait to get to take them back about sixty miles away.