Thursday 29 February 2024

The Magnificent Stranger: Rare Unidis design concepts

The Magnificent Stranger: Rare Unidis design concepts 

The Magnificent Stranger, dependent upon what you read, is an oddity, a convoluted piece directed by Herschel Daugherty. The story had Rawhide’s Rowdy Yates attempts to prevent a robbery of a fort. 

The production credit under which this film was released in the Federal Republic of Germany "A production of Jolly Film, Rome” was intentionally misleading. Jolly was one of the three companies that had produced Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars. Before and after this film was shot, Eastwood played one of the leads in the American television Western series - a cowboy named Rowdy Yates. Not content with the millions they earned with A Fistful of Dollars, Jolly bought two episodes of the television series and edited them together to make a feature film, and gave the product the title Il Magnifico Straniero – the original working title for A Fistful of Dollars. In the film, Eastwood’s character is of course, often referred to as "The stranger". The film was put together purely as an exploitation exercise and to cash in on the success of A Fistful of Dollars. Clint later successfully sued to prevent the distribution of this film.

The Magnificent Stranger was compiled from the two episodes "The Backshooter" and "Incident of the Running Man". A few posters and Photobusta sets did appear, but these rare designs are original mock ups from UNIDIS, the Italian film and distribution company.   
Below: One of the rare posters from Unidis that did find a way through (and into my collection), the Italian Locandina – which are commonly around 13" x 28" 

In the Line of Fire: Transparent vinyl LP

In the Line of Fire: Transparent vinyl LP
I have to hold my hands up and admit, this album didn’t come to my attention until only recently. Ennio Morricone’s excellent score to Wolfgang Petersen superb 1993 thriller starring Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich and Rene Russo is a soundtrack I’ve owned on CD since it first became available –  over 30 years ago. 
The film is about a disillusioned and obsessed former CIA agent who attempts to assassinate the President of the United States and the Secret Service agent who tracks him. Eastwood's character is the sole active-duty Secret Service agent who is still remaining from the detail that had guarded John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, at the time of his assassination in 1963.
The movie, still a firm favourite among fans, received some great reviews and was nominated for numerous Academy, ASCAP, BAFTA, Golden Globe and MTV Movie Awards.

The composer, the unique Ennio Morricone also arranged the tense movie score. He composed and conducted more than 500 film and television productions, making him one of the most influential, prolific and best-selling film composers since the late 1950s. For In the Line of Fire Morricone used the Unione Musicisti Di Roma Orchestra of Rome, Italy. 

This release forms part of the Ennio Morricone Classic Soundtrack Series Limited to 1000 numbered copies (number is stamped on the back cover) a non-glossy deluxe cover which is made out of special paper. The record is180-gram audiophile vinyl and comes issued within a high quality plastic sleeve with hype sticker on front and AT THE MOVIES stamped letters logo.
Plastic sleeve backside - At the Movies - Music on Vinyl - Deluxe Limited Edition sticker and barcode sticker. Issued with 2 X 10x10 inserts - 1 x one sided with release related info & 1 x two sided (consisting of advertising). This vinyl edition was originally released in July 2017, but there are still limited copies available out there - I’m just glad I discovered it before they vanished completely. 

Monday 26 February 2024

Eastwood: All night Universal Show 1972

Eastwood: All night Universal Show 1972

Here’s another very rare advertisement, this time for a one night only, all Universal Eastwood show. This took place at the Northmain Drive-In located on Main Street North and Red River Boulevard, Winnipeg on May 21st 1972. 

The 700 car drive-in opened in 1950 and closed for business in 1980. The 4 films presented for this very special night were, Clint’s latest Play Misty for Me followed by The Beguiled, Coogan’s Bluff and Two Mules for Sister Sara. Not a bad night’s entertainment for your $3! 

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Magnum Force Rare Academy Screening Advertisement

Magnum Force Rare Academy Screening Advertisement 

Here is an incredibly rare one-page advertisement which originally appeared in the trade magazine Variety in January 1974. The striking advert for Clint’s Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force was an invite to Academy members to view the film at Warner Bros Burbank studios on Monday January 14th 1974 at 8.30pm. The advertisement appeared in Variety for one day only. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Eastwood: United Artists Australian Film Festival 1970’s

Eastwood: United Artists Australian Film Festival 1970’s 

Here’s a cracking rare ad for an Australian Film Festival held in Sydney, Australia. We can’t be sure of the date of this rare ad (kindly sent in by Davy Triumph) – but looking at the line-up of his United Artists films, it must date from at least 1974. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was entered for classification in Australia on 1st June 1974 and went on general release there in October of the same year. There is a possibility that this festival was put together to tie-in with the launch of the film – and a pretty good excuse to pull Eastwood’s previous U/A releases. It certainly made for a great line-up of movies. 
*Dates on the ad may also indicate a February 1975 release.
We also know this must have been before 1981. The Paris Theatre was a cinema and theatre located on the corner of Wentworth Avenue and Liverpool Street in Sydney, Australia and closed for business in 1981. I know that fans love these rare ads, they always prove popular and serve as a rare reminder of an event that might otherwise had been lost in time. 
Below: The Paris Theatre circa 1973

*Footnote information received that this was in fact May 1977 - many thanks

Thursday 15 February 2024

Flashback: The Dirty Harry Boom of 1984

Flashback: The Dirty Harry Boom of 1984

It’s hard to believe that around this time 40 years ago, we seemed to be gripped by a wealth of Eastwood publicity – due largely to the release of Sudden Impact, the fourth Dirty Harry movie. It had been some 8 years since we were treated to a Dirty Harry movie, with the previous outing being The Enforcer (1976). 

With hindsight, it was quite an event at the time. It was the first time Clint had directed a Harry movie – and it would turn out to be his last. Sudden Impact arrived at a time when cinema was under close scrutiny - especially for its graphic portrayal of violence. Films such as Brian De Palma’s Scarface was often pulled into the same argument – as well as films such as Gremlins – all of which seemed to attract negative criticism.

Below: Sudden Impact promo stickers

Nevertheless, Sudden Impact seemed to attract a media frenzy and the publicity campaign that accompanied it was incredibly successful. The film was notable for its catchphrase "Go ahead, make my day", written by John Milius and uttered by Clint Eastwood's gun-wielding character in the beginning of the film as he stares down an armed robber who is holding a hostage. The catchphrase was something of a double-edged sword, on the hand it became incredibly popular in terms of culture and became the key focus of the film’s overall success. On the flip side of that, it would also become too popular and would haunt Clint for several years – it seemed that everywhere Clint showed up – every TV show or public event, he was required to perform the line on cue… and it was becoming obvious he was growing increasingly tired of it. 

Below: Sudden Impact and the Best of Dirty Harry LP


For the fans of course, it was a really fruitful time. It was virtually impossible to open any number of magazines without finding a tie-in feature, Clint was everywhere! If you walked into any pop-up gift shop you could find several things bearing the Sudden Impact artwork, money tins, cigarette tins, storage tins – just about anything. How much of this stuff was officially produced is another question? 

Officially, the merchandise was also generous, we had bumper stickers, window stickers, badges of all varieties, posters, a soundtrack LP, a paperback tie-in and even a novelty record, "Go ahead, make my day". The novelty song was recorded by American country music artist T. G. Sheppard and featured Clint delivering his immortal catchphrase "Go ahead, make my day". It was released in February 1984. The catchphrase became so popular that United States President Ronald Reagan used the "make my day" line in a March 1985 speech threatening to veto legislation raising taxes. And when campaigning for office as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, in 1986, Eastwood used bumper stickers entitled "Go Ahead — Make Me Mayor"

To celebrate the 40 years of that very special time, I thought it would be good to revisit some of those great memories.  

Below: Sudden Impact 1984 Three rare pin badges issued by Warner Brothers (Sudden Impact, Go ahead Make my day and Dirty Harry is at it again) Approx 1" 
Below: Sudden Impact 1984 Large promotional badge from Warner Brothers with its changing face when badge is angled (Clint Eastwood Sudden Impact - Make My Day)
Below: Sudden Impact 1984 very rare transparent promotional window sticker, size 14x11
Below: A couple of examples of the Sudden Impact tie-in paperback novel 

Thursday 8 February 2024

Toby Keith: Country music singer dies aged 62

Toby Keith: Country music singer dies aged 62
Toby Keith, the country music star who sold tens of millions of records, has died at the age of 62.
He passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 5th surrounded by his family, a statement on his social media channels said. Keith rose to fame in the 1990s with songs such as Should've Been a Cowboy which topped the country music chart.
Keith wrote and recorded the song, Don't Let the Old Man In for Clint’s film The Mule (2018).
We were playing golf,” Keith recalls, “and he was telling me about how he was getting ready to shoot this movie about an old man that ran drugs for the cartel, tried to help his family, and tried to help his community. And I told him, somebody said you have a birthday coming up Monday. And Clint said, “Yeah, on Monday I turn 88.”
Keith asked him how he planned to celebrate and Eastwood said he was going to shoot his movie.
“Oh, you’re going to start shooting it on your birthday?”
“Yep,” Eastwood replied.
So, Keith asked the filmmaker what keeps him going.
“He said, I just get up every day and don’t let the old man in,” Keith remembers. “And instantly, I wanted to write a song about that. So, I came home, wrote it, sent it to him, and now it’s in the movie.”
Keith announced in June 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, an illness the star said was "debilitating". The statement said he "fought his fight with grace and dignity".
Over a more than 30-year career, hits including Who's Your Daddy and Made in America were enjoyed by millions. He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, and three children.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to his friends and family. 
RIP Sir 

Wednesday 7 February 2024

The Passing of William O'Connell

The Passing of William O'Connell
It came to our attention just recently that the wonderful Character actor William O'Connell died last month at the age of 94. William O'Connell was born in Los Angeles on May 12, 1929. He served in the Korean War in the 45th Infantry Division. 
Above: with John Mitchum in Paint Your Wagon
O'Connell often worked with Clint, and first appeared in the 1969 musical Paint Your Wagon. In 1972, O'Connell was cast as a nervous barber in Eastwood's second directorial film, High Plains Drifter, released the following year. In 1976, O'Connell appeared as ferryman Sim Carstairs in The Outlaw Josey Wales, also directed by Eastwood. O'Connell's also had memorable starring roles in Every Which Way But Loose and its sequel Any Which Way You Can, where he played Elmo from the comically inept biker gang the Black Widows - constantly being outmatched by Eastwood.
In addition to his film career, O'Connell was very active on TV throughout the 1960s and '70s, appearing in about 50 different roles on such series such as Star Trek, Rawhide, Petticoat Junction, and Quincy, M.E.
O'Connell died at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, on January 15th.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his friends and family. 
RIP Sir 

Saturday 3 February 2024

Escape From Alcatraz: The German Super 8mm Release

Escape From Alcatraz: The German Super 8mm Release
Although we have featured a couple of Universal’s Super 8mm releases here on the archive, this is the first time we have featured Clint’s 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz. It was of course his last collaboration with director Don Siegel and the pairs last film of the golden 1970’s. 
This 3 x 400ft set is the German release from Paramount’s Marketing Film Club. Reel One was titled Die Stunde Null (The Zero Hour), Reel Two was Mut Der Verzweiflung (Courage of despair) and Reel Three Die Todeszone (The Death Zone). Their Catalogue Nos were NR 1086. 1087 and 1088. Each reel would run for approximately 18 minutes, providing just under an hour of home entertainment. 
What’s particularly interesting is the box art for Reel One – which features Frank (Eastwood) and his fight with Wolf (Bruce M. Fischer) in the exercise yard. In the film Frank removes his coat to use on his arm for protection – the box art clearly shows Frank wearing his coat, indicating that this was either taken during a rehearsal or simply as a publicity shot. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this photo used to tie-in with any other Alcatraz publicity. 
These reels are pretty hard to find these days. As the home cinema format which preceded the videocassette tape, not many survive and can demand between £20 -£40 per reel.

Below: Frank defends himself from an attack by Wolf – using the coat on his arm.