Thursday 18 June 2020

Sergio Leone: Once upon a time in Italy Exhibition, Media Press Kit

I have to thank my long-time friend Dave Worrall today. Dave has been so generous over the years. I’ve often had an unexpected knock at the door with a driver standing there for me to take charge of a large box from him. Today was no exception. Dave is a champion when it comes to supporting the Archive, and has donated many pieces for me to home and take care of.
So today, this beauty arrives, a very large press/media kit for the Sergio Leone: Once upon a time in Italy exhibition which took place July 30th 2005 through Jan 22nd 2006 at the Autry National Center in L.A. It’s a wonderful piece - containing a wealth of information sheets, Exhibition programme, flyers and a great double-sided insert style advertisement on card - all wrapped up and contained within its own open out wallet folder.
I remember Dave attending this as it was being covered within Cinema Retro Magazine at the time. Dave thank you so much for sending in this stuff and supporting the Archive as you do. I hope these pictures do it some kind of justice. You’re a diamond Sir.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

That Firefox poster…

It’s funny how some posters are passed and some are rejected. Here’s one of the most bizarre and undoubtedly infamous examples. The controversial Warner Home Video poster was issued to promote their release of Clint’s latest, Firefox (1982). The poster (approx. 76 x 50.5cm) is a striking image, and features a superb close up of Mitchell Gant - declaring Clint as “The Most wanted man in Movies!”
However, it all goes a bit horribly wrong when it gets to the ‘CLINT’ positioned at the top of the poster, specifically - the colour, the size and the positioning and the gap between the letters L and I in his name. Among collectors of course, the poster is referred to with an affectionate nickname – a name which isn’t too hard to work out. The colour used for Clint’s name doesn’t help much either as the gap sits directly on the matching redness of Clint’s forehead - therefore making the gap between letters virtually invisible. If only the designer had reduced it, and positioned it over the dark area of Clint’s hair, all would have looked perfectly fine.
Regardless of this, it still remains a very collectable and sort after poster – I certainly don’t own one. Nevertheless, friend of the Archive Henry currently has one up on Ebay (HERE) at the moment, so if you feel lucky or feel the urge, or you just want to buy it for me (I jest) then hop on over and take a look. Henry has some great material which also includes a stunning condition original UK quad for The Gauntlet (1977). Thanks for the use of your photo Henry, it’s very much appreciated.  

Saturday 6 June 2020

The Archive on the airwaves for Clint's 90th Birthday

As promised, here is our appearance on BBC WM Radio on June 1st celebrating Clint’s 90th Birthday. My thanks to presenter Paul Franks and his assistant, the delightful Catherine Lund for making it all happen. My thanks also to David Vernall-Downes and Jonathan Downes for putting this together for us to enjoy.

The entire show is available on BBC Sounds for around 30 days or so. However, we have been granted permission to have this here on the Archive for all time. As we mentioned off air, the Archive is not and never has been profit making, and I still resist the whole moneymaking route, such as pop up ads, AdSense etc – our aim is to educate and preserve, not to make money from our interest and/or the love of the subject. 

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Lennie Niehaus, Eastwood’s chosen composer, dies aged 90

Words sometimes fail me. In an almost cruel twist of fate and just days after Clint turned 90, his long-time friend, collaborator and composer dies in California at the very same age. As Eastwood’s favoured composer, Niehaus scored the award winning Unforgiven along with many other compositions for Clint. 
Mike Barnes of The Hollywood Reporter:
His resume includes Bird, Unforgiven, The Bridges of Madison County and an Emmy Award. Niehaus died Thursday at his daughter's home in Redlands, California, under hospice care, his family announced.
Niehaus first met Eastwood in the 1950s in the U.S. Army when the future Hollywood legend served as his swimming instructor at Fort Ord in Monterey, California. A mutual love of jazz sealed their friendship.
Niehaus had orchestrated scores for movies starring or directed by Eastwood including The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), The Enforcer (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Escape from Alcatraz (1979) and Tightrope (1984) before he wrote the score for Pale Rider (1985).
Niehaus then handled the music for the Eastwood-produced and -directed Bird (1988), the biopic that starred Forest Whitaker as famed jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker.
The pair also partnered on Unforgiven (1992), A Perfect World (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), True Crime (1999), Heartbreak Ridge (1986), The Rookie (1990), White Hunter Black Heart (1990), Absolute Power (1997), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Space Cowboys (2000), Blood Work (2002), Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Letters From Iwo Jima (2006), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Gran Torino (2008) and Changeling (2008).

The son of a violinist who played in an orchestra that accompanied silent movies, Niehaus was born in St. Louis on June 11, 1929.
"I liked Harry James, and when I heard tenor saxophonist Corky Corcoran play 'The Mole' in 1942, I wanted to play the tenor saxophone," he recalled in a 2009 interview. "My father was in shock. He said, 'The saxophone! You play either the piano or violin, not the saxophone. You'll wind up playing in a house of prostitution.' Actually, he was right. I did play in small funky clubs later."
Niehaus studied music at Los Angeles City College and earned his degree in music education from Cal State Los Angeles in 1951. He played alto saxophone and arranged for Phil Carreón and his orchestra, then went on the road with Kenton for six months before being drafted into the Army.
After his discharge in 1954, Niehaus played in Kenton's band through 1959, leaving to compose music in Hollywood and arrange music for The King Sisters, Mel Tormé, Dean Martin and Carol Burnett. In 1965, he worked as an uncredited orchestrator on the TV comedy Hogan's Heroes.
Niehaus began orchestrating for film composer Jerry Fielding, and they collaborated on features including Straw Dogs (1971), Lawman (1971), The Mechanic (1972), The Gambler (1974), The Bad News Bears (1976), Semi-Tough (1977), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and The Enforcer (1977).
Niehaus' Hollywood résumé also included Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Back to School (1986) and The Two Jakes (1990).
He wrote the music and won his Emmy for the 1993 Showtime movie Lush Life in which Whitaker played a jazz saxophonist. He was nominated again in 2008 for his work on the ABC telefilm Mitch Albom's For One More Day.

His 91st birthday would have been Monday. Survivors include his wife, Patricia, daughter Susan, son-in-law Owen and grandchildren Josh and Emily.
Thank you for the Magic, RIP Sir. 

Monday 1 June 2020

Anthony James, Actor in High Plains Drifter and Unforgiven, Dies at 77

Last week I was very sadly informed that actor Anthony James had died at the age of 77. I felt that Mike Barnes of the Hollywood Reporter wrote a very fine and apt obituary:
He often played bad guys in a career bookended by those two appearances in Oscar-winning best pictures. Anthony James, the lanky character actor who played sleazy, menacing types in such films as In the Heat of the Night, Unforgiven and High Plains Drifter, has died. He was 77.
James died Tuesday of cancer, according to an obituary announcement posted by a funeral home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Remarkably, James' career was bookended by appearances in two best picture Oscar winners: He made his big-screen debut as Ralph Henshaw, a racist manning a diner counter, in Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night (1967), then wrapped things up as Skinny Dubois, a hostile owner of a bordello, in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992).
In between, the 6-foot-6 James appeared in Vanishing Point (1971), Hearts of the West (1975), as a spooky chauffeur in Burnt Offerings (1976), Blue Thunder (1983) and The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991), in which he parodied his evil image in an over-the-top performance.
An only child, James Anthony was born to Greek immigrants on July 22, 1942, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. His father, George, built and owned a restaurant called The Mayflower but died when the boy was just 8.
When he was 18, he and his mother, Marika, took a train to Union Station in Los Angeles after selling all of the family possessions. He cleaned bathrooms to pay for acting lessons, then made his onscreen debut with a one-line role on a 1966 episode of NBC's T.H.E. Cat, starring Robert Loggia.
(He took the stage name Anthony James when he discovered there was another actor known as Jimmy Anthony.)
James appeared seven times on Gunsmoke — four as Elbert Moses — and also appeared on The Big Valley, Hawaii Five-O, Mod Squad, Police Story, Starsky and Hutch, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The A-Team, Simon & Simon, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Married … With Children.
After retiring from acting in the mid-'90s, James, who never married, moved to the Boston area to focus on a career as an artist, and his abstract paintings were shown across the U.S. (He gifted one to Eastwood.) A book of his artwork and poems, Language of the Heart, was published in 1994.
In 2014, James published his memoirs, Acting My Face, which he dedicated to his mom. "I never considered myself a celebrity, just a sometime recognizable face," he said.
Donations in his memory can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
RIP Sir.

Celebrating Clint at 90, eventually

It was a pitiful case of bad timing that stopped me from posting this on Clint’s actual birthday, yesterday. Unfortunately, there was a major problem with my internet on Friday which rendered me without any form of connectivity with the internet. Today, 3 days on it was finally repaired and put right, so my thanks to Virgin for their swift work. I had the above montage all designed and finished last Thursday and it was all good to go. I wanted to create something simple but effective that represented Clint through the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and the 2000s.

Knowing Clint as we do, we know he’s a gentleman who is not one for fuss. So, as we always do, it’s a simple gesture from everyone here at the archive, and of course, on behalf of his millions of fans around the world when we say Happy Birthday Sir, we wish you continued health and happiness. Sincere congratulations on meeting this milestone birthday.  

The Archive on the airwaves-
Thankfully, I’m glad to report that the 90th celebrations were not an entire wipe-out on our part. Today I was very pleased to accept an invitation from BBC WM Radio to appear on their show and discuss Clint on his career and reaching his 90th Birthday. It almost didn’t happen due to my home phone also out of use with my server down and out of action. I have to thank two of my closest, Davy and Jayne who were rushing around in the background, taking messages and calls from the Radio Station and in order to try and get hold of me. Anyway, it eventually all happened and it turned out to be a nice little piece. So my thanks also to presenter Paul Franks and his assistant, the delightful Catherine Lund not only for their patience, but for making it all happen.
Catherine is sending me over an MP3 version, so I will get my A/V team on the job and will get it posted here very soon.