Category Archives: Forgotten Films

Have you ever wished for a list of the BEST forgotten films over the years? Here it is. We list the best movies that have been forgotten over the years. This will give you a great movie to watch on Netflix or Amazon Instant if you have no idea what to watch. Give us a chance to suggest a great film for you.

Bringing Up Baby, What’s Up, Doc?

 

These are two of my favorite films of all time, and the saddest thing is that no-one seems to know about them!  I mention them to people and no-one has ever watched the films.  They’ve been overlooked and forgotten over time.

Peter Bogdanovich, being a huge film fan, loved the screwball comedies of old.  A very good example of this type of film is Bringing Up Baby (1938) which has 5 main elements that make for a very successful screwball comedy; Cary Grant, the bumbling absentminded professor type, Katherine Hepburn, the smart crafty and manipulative woman that wants the Cary Grant character to fall in love with her at all costs, the object the Cary Grant character is after, in this case, a dinosaur bone, this is where number four comes in, the giant mix-up (helps to have a dog and leopard for this) and then last is very fast dialogue.whts up baby

This formula has been repeated multiple times since and soon after developed it’s own genre within comedy, the screwball.  I would argue that this wasn’t the first screwball comedy, Twentieth Century (1934) may have been first, but I’m not entirely sure if all the elements were in place.  I will give credit to figuring out the formula to Howard Hawks, who really seemed to be great at putting together the right elements, just think about how he changed the Hildy Johnson role in the play The Front Page into a woman (Hildebrand turned into Hildegard) instead of a man and turned it into another fantastic film, His Girl Friday (1940) as an example of truly how good he was at it.  I’m giving credit to the term screwball comedy due to the fact that to even be considered to be a so-called “screwball comedy” director Howard Hawks thought there couldn’t be any “normal” people in the movie, and that everyone had to be a “screwball.”

Now, let me take the opportunity to say that these elements are my opinion, but to me, seemed to be the five elements that make for a successful screwball comedy. If a screwball comedy is missing one of these items, it can still be a screwball but will be less successful.

All these elements are in What’s Up, Doc? and it’s no surprise that the title even includes “up” in both movies.  The bumbling absent-minded professor is Ryan O’Neal, Barbra Streisand is the smart crafty manipulative woman, the object Ryan is after is a suitcase full of igneous rocks, the mix-up includes 3 other identical suitcases that include secret documents, diamonds, or just plain clothes, and finally it also has the incredibly fast dialogue.whats-up-doc-cinema-lobby-card

As a side note, Barbra Streisand has gone on record to say she didn’t get this movie at all and thought the comedy wouldn’t work, she said she never knew what was really going on.  She said recently, “I was just a hired actress on that film. Just following orders.” Which is truly a shame, because I think she was brilliant in this movie and really is a natural at comedy!  Her instincts are dead on and she could have had a huge career in the comedy genre, but since she always felt a little awkward in the genre, concentrated on drama and thus we only have her in a handful of comedies.  I think she could have rivaled Lucille Ball at comedy if she would have decided to go that way early on in her career.  Not to say it hurt her at all, she’s a fantastic dramatic actor as well, I just wish we had more comedies from her.whats streisand

It’s interesting to me that Katherine Hepburn had a similar experience on her film, Bringing Up Baby.  She initially was so bad at comedy it drove Howard Hawkes crazy.  They brought several people in to help her with her comedic timing, including Walter Catlett and even silent film comedian Harold Lloyd.  She was a very fast learner, although, and Howard Hawks grew to respect Katharine Hepburn tremendously for her comic timing, ad-libbing skills and physical control. He would tell the press, “She has an amazing body – like a boxer. It’s hard for her to make a wrong turn. She’s always in perfect balance. She has that beautiful coordination that allows you to stop and make a turn and never fall off balance. This gives her an amazing sense of timing. I’ve never seen a girl that had that odd rhythm and control.”whats katherine

As for Ryan O’Neal, his character being inspired by the stuffy professor played by Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby, Ryan O’Neal had a chance to meet and speak with Grant. They had a great time talking, but the only advice he received in shooting the movie was to wear silk underpants.  Both Grant’s and O’Neal’s characters were visually modeled after the silent film comedian Harold Lloyd. Another interesting note is Christopher Reeve based his performance as Clark Kent in four “Superman” movies on Cary Grant’s “David Huxley” from Bringing Up Baby, so you can make an argument that Clark Kent is also Harold Lloyd.whats ryan oneal

whats cary grantThe final chase scene, an idea they had because of the one from the then recent movie Bullitt (1968) which was also filmed in San Francisco, cost $1 million to shoot (a quarter of the total budget), 19 days to shoot requiring 32 stuntmen resulting in 11 minutes of screen time. The segment with the giant pane of glass alone took four or five days to film. The plate glass bit was filmed at the junction of Balboa and 23rd Avenue in San Francisco’s Richmond District.whats car

The fender bender Judy causes as she crosses the street to the Bristol Hotel was added on the spur of the moment. When no stunt cars were available, Peter Bogdanovich instructed a crew member to rent two cars and make sure he got collision insurance. Then he staged the wreck before returning the battered cars.  If you see the moment in the film, it’s actually really scary to think how close they could have come to hitting Barbra, if they were just off by a few seconds.whats car2

This film has been given recognition as the first American film to have the stunt people listed in the credits at the end of the movie (the first film over all to have done this is the British movie, Moonraker).  I’m not sure if this is entirely correct, as the stunt people over the years have just been given different credits as actors or such, but as for the actual “Stunts” credit, this may be true.

Now for the initial releases of these movies, Bringing Up Baby, was an unmitigated flop, going so far as to have Katherine Hepburn branded “Box Office Poison” the next year, but has since gained a following and made it’s money back.  It’s now considered by many to be Howard Hawk’s best film.  What’s Up, Doc? itself, was incredibly successful the year it was released, coming in third to The Godfather and The Poseidon Adventure, but sadly has been virtually forgotten over time.

Things to look up on IMDB:

  • Howard Hawks
  • Peter Bogdanovich
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Cary Grant
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Ryan O’Neal
  • Harold Lloyd
  • Walter Catlett
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • What’s Up, Doc?
  • His Girl Friday

Reveille, a Tribute Video to all Veterans

 

In 2004, twin brothers Adam Montierth and Donovan Montierth along with writing partner, Jason Walters, wrote, produced and directed a little 35mm film that changed their lives. That film, which started out as a tribute to their grandfather, was called Reveille and starred film and American Forces Veteran’s David Huddleston and James McEachin.  Reveille soon was screened at over 50 film festivals, winning over 20 awards and was shown on The Pentagon Channel and the American Forces Network. In 2007, it was viewed by the Armed Forces in Balad, Iraq, became a viral sensation by being viewed to over 5 million people on Google Video (before there was YouTube) and won the twins an Emmy Award.

Adam and Donovan spent the next few years trying to get a feature film based on Reveille produced called Capture the Flag.  At one point, in 2008-2009, the film looked like it was finally going to be made, they had a $5 million dollar budget through a hedge fund and signed actors and Veteran’s James Garner and Louis Gossett Jr.  The recession hit and the hedge fund withdrew the funds before they could start production and the film went into turnaround.

Brothers’ Ink Productions went on to make Locker 13 with Ricky Schroder and a slew of great actors and Capture the Flag wCTF Posteras eventually optioned by Sleeperwave Films and Producer Eric J. Adams. Eric is a producer, screenwriter, journalist and author. He wrote the script and produced (consulting) the feature film“Supremacy” (2015), starring Danny Glover and Joe Anderson, and he co-wrote and produced “Archie’s Final Project” (aka My Suicide) (2011). Archie’s Final Project won 21 major international film festival awards, including the Crystal Bear in Berlin.

Sleeperwave Films is still in development on the project but has already brought Producer Michael Birnbaum (Bandits, The Big White and John Tucker Must Die) and Director Jeremiah Chechik (Benny and Joon, Christmas Vacation, and The Avengers).

Reveille, the short film that started it all is now available on Facebook.  Please share and like the film, as the more people that see the short film, the faster we can get the feature film made:

Burt Reynolds is Gator McKluskey

 

Burt Reynolds played Gator McKluskey in White Lightning (1973) and again in Gator (1976). These are two fantastic films about a moonshine-running King of the Bayou, with high octane, super-charged, double-barreled action, mystery, murder and adventure.  I loved these films and really wished they made more of them.1973-white-lightning-movie-poster

The fun starts with White Lightning, that was supposed to be Steven Spielberg’s first theatrical film, as he spent months on the pre-production, but was eventually replaced with Joseph Sargent, who himself was fired from Buck and the Preacher and replaced by Sidney Poitier the year before.   Joseph would go on to make the very successful The Taking of Pelham One Two Three the year after.  Burt Reynolds met the writer, William W. Norton on Sam Whiskey (which he wrote) and Burt loved the idea of this ex-con character that gets drawn into working with the feds to catch a moonshine ring.

Burt’s good friend, Hal Needham, did the stunts in this movie and would eventually direct Burt in several films including Hooper (a film about a legendary stunt man) and the Smokey and the Bandit films. There was a scary moment in the chase sequence that ends with Gator’s car sailing from a river bank onto a barge that went seriously wrong. The plan was for the car (driven by Hal) to land squarely on the mound of soft earth in the barge, on the take he fell short and landed on the rear of the barge with the rear of the car hanging into the water. Hal was hurt and stunned, Burt watching the scene from behind the camera, dove into the water, swam to the barge and helped pull Hal out of the car. Needham recovered from his injuries and would go on to do the stunts in Gator three years later.gator posters

The film was so successful that Burt decided he wanted to do another film with the character and decided to direct the sequel himself. Up until this point he had only directed one episode of the TV Show, Hawk (which only lasted for 1 season) 10 years before, but managed to get the studio to agree to let him direct the film.  Burt got William to write the sequel and also had Hal doing the stunts again.

Hal Needham’s luck didn’t change on this film as he was hurt again on a stunt at the end of the final chase scene.  The truck that Gator (Hal doubling for Burt) gets thrown from flips over and it broke Hal’s back in the process.  He was a very good stunt man, by all accounts, but this does make sense why he turned to directing in the subsequent years.

Great films, both of them are a lot of fun to watch.  Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Kenny Rogers and Six Pack

 

I’m going to start a new series of blogs for the 100 Years Blog, based on great little films that seem to have been forgotten over time.  My first post is with the great little family gem called Six Pack (1982) that came out in the early eighties.  It’s arguably the best movie that Kenny Rogers ever starred in and is most remembered for his hit theme song Love Will Turn You Around that was featured in the film.six pack kenny rogers

My only complaint about the film would be the title that seems to be a play on words and seems to be in direct conflict with it’s family theme because it’s a reference to Beer.  Which is also interesting that Kenny’s name in the film is Brewster and he goes by Brew for most of the film.  I really think that the marketing was a big miss on this one as I think it really kept some families from going to see the film, which is a shame, because it’s really good.  The title makes it feel like an adult contemporary comedy about drunk guys out for a wild night, not a cute family movie. So I guess you could also file this one under missed opportunities.

The film is notable for having a young Diane Lane and you can definitely see the potential for being a great actress even that early in her career.  It also stars Anthony Michael Hall in his first movie role, before he made it big in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Sixteen Candles (1984) and Breakfast Club (1985).  I want to also state that he’s a very under-rated actor!  He’s still fantastic, and I found him to be just hilarious in Psych last year and Rosewood this season. He needs to get more work.six pack kids

The film was directed by Daniel Petrie for 20th Century Fox.  Daniel Petrie is best remembered as the man who directed Sally Field in an Emmy Award winning role for Sybil, and for Fort Apache the Bronx and for the classic film A Raisin in the Sun starring Sydney Poitier.

People and companies to look up on IMDB:

  • Kenny Rogers
  • Diane Lane
  • Anthony Michael Hall
  • Daniel Petrie
  • 20th Century Fox

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