Thursday 28 March 2024

Toby Roan talks about The Gauntlet and his new book

Toby Roan talks about The Gauntlet and his new book

Author and friend of the Archive Toby Roan recently appeared on the Forgotten Filmcast to discuss his latest book and his admiration for The Gauntlet. It’s an entertaining hour or so, taking in the cast, the music, the action sequences and the general change of direction for an Eastwood character role. Roan also talks about how the film came to Eastwood, it’s box office and how it became a forerunner for the modern action film genre that we know today. 
Well worth a listen HERE  

Mal Baker: A Personal Collection

Mal Baker: A Personal Collection
Friendship is an enduring bonus among Eastwood fans, solid bonds have formed over a great many decades. It’s often built around a shared sense of respect and loyalty. Mal Baker is one such friend. Mal, like a great deal of us, became an Eastwood fan from a very early age. Mal (originally from the West Midlands) formed part of a very special group of people including Dave Turner and Dave Worrall, all of which formed and worked behind the scenes on the much-loved British fan club, The C.E.A.S. (The Clint Eastwood Appreciation Society) – a whole section of which can be found HERE on the Archive. 

I’m happy to say, these special guys still remain close friends. Mal, along with his lovely wife (and personal secretary) Jayne. contacted me recently to inform me that they had moved – and in the process of that stressful task, Mal took the opportunity to gather some of his collection together. I know that likeminded fans and collectors enjoy these little snapshots which often reflect and capture a lifetime worth of dedication and commitment. So, it’s great to share this short video and some photos here.

*It's not the first time that Mal has had some of his collection seen. Several years ago, Mal appeared on the ITV show Dickinson's Real Deal, when Mal took along a couple of spare posters to see what interest there was. It always made me smile, as the opposing dealer was slightly critical that the poster’s text wasn’t in English! 
My thanks to Mal and Jayne 
Below: Some of Mal's excellent collection
Below: Mal goes Nationwide with a couple of his spare posters

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Rare Memorabilia: Kelly’s ‘Helte’ Danish Movie Program

Rare Memorabilia: Kelly’s ‘Helte’ Danish Movie Program

Danish Movie Programs are quite small and compact in size. If you go back some 30 years, these could often be found in dealers’ boxes that sat on top of their tables at film fairs – and could be picked up fairly cheaply. Today is a different story, they have become a great deal harder to find and a great deal more expensive to buy. 

These were typically about 15.5 x 12 cm in size and contained about a dozen pages on thin paper stock. I’ve chosen Kelly’s Heroes as an example – A) it is one I still don’t have, and B) it is one that you don’t generally see too much. Back in the day, you would probably pay £2-3 for one of these, however, these days you can expect to pay more like £20, and often more if it was any of the more collectable ‘dollar’ titles from Leone’s trilogy of films. 

Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Enforcer Original Magazine Preview

The Enforcer Original Magazine Preview
I have had these pages in a binder for many years, and I really know very little in terms of what magazine they appeared in. Probably from 1976, and I do know it is an American publication, thanks to an advert in dollars on the reverse of one of the pages. Thought I’d give it a scan while the binder was out.  

Monday 25 March 2024

Juror #2 Hoping for a Cannes Premiere

Juror #2 Hoping for a Cannes Premiere

Hopefully, by next month we may receive some news on a possible release date for Clint’s latest movie Juror #2. 
 One of the real drawbacks of the SAG-AFTRA strike was the production halt of Clint’s, supposedly, “final film,” which finally restarted shooting, post-strike, in November. A month later, Clint was all smiles, sporting a recently grown beard, on the set of “Juror #2.” That’s because shooting was about to wrap on the film. 
Clint works very quickly, so we shouldn’t be surprised if he’ll be done post-production on the film very soon. It’s supposed to come out in the fall of 2024, and a Cannes bow was never out of the question. It looks like that might actually happen.
Apparently, Warner Bros and Eastwood are “hoping” and “working” to screen “Juror #2” this coming May on the Croisette which will be great news news. There’s no better place to show his final film than at Cannes, and in France, where critics have always welcomed and celebrated his work.
Below: Clint in Cannes for Changeling in 2008
The last Eastwood to premiere on the Croisette was 2008’s Changeling. A year later, in 2009, Eastwood became only the second person to receive an honorary Palme d’Or from the festival. 15 years later, he may well return with his final film.
Last year Eastwood said he “wanted to find one last project in order to be able to ride off into the sunset with his head held high.” He found the script for “Juror No. 2” and said this is “the one”. This will probably be the narrative used by Warner Bros. during next year’s, awards season: “Clint’s final film”.
“Juror No. 2” stars Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult, Kiefer Sutherland and Zoey Deutch. The film is “set during a murder trial where one of the jurors slowly realizes he killed the victim in a reckless-driving accident and tries to save the defendant without incriminating himself.”
Clint’s last film Cry Macho, proved a little disappointing to a great deal of fans, but we know he’s consistent as a filmmaker, Richard Jewell was an exceptionally good film, and we’re hoping the same for Juror #2 – final film or not.

Sunday 24 March 2024

Rare Sudden Impact paperback poster

Rare Sudden Impact paperback poster

It was great to see this poster going to my No 2 here on the archive, Davy Triumph. It’s an incredibly rare poster that doesn’t really come along too often. Designed primarily to promote the Hodder and Stoughton tie-in paperback of the 1983 film, it was probably displayed in certain cinemas and selected book stores. The poster measures approximately 37cm by 49.5cm (14.5” x 19.5”) and features the regular ‘enforcer’ facial shot set against the San Francisco skyline. A nice item that doesn’t get seen too much.  

Sunday 17 March 2024


Back in December 2017 I posted Mad Magazine’s Dirty Larry, a parody of Dirty Harry which appeared in the September 1972 issue. MAD magazine has been America’s leading provider of movie parodies for many decades and the vast majority of their satires of well-known films have been reprinted countless times in special magazine editions and collected book editions. A Fistful of Lasagna was of course MAD’s take on the spaghetti western genre. It features some great art by Jack Davis, the man responsible for the Kelly’s Heroes poster artwork. The strip appeared in the MAD SPECIAL #4 of 1971. 

Wednesday 13 March 2024

We all Love Ennio BBC Radio 3

We all Love Ennio
Ennio Morricone (1928-2020) Episode 5 of 5, Friday 15th March 12:00pm BBC RADIO 3
Maestro Morricone is the subject of this weeks Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3. 

Ennio Morricone is cited as one of the most experimental and influential composers of all time, undoubtedly recognised as one of the world’s greatest ever composers of music for film. A legendary figure who over the course of his career won numerous awards, and accolades, his innovative sound worlds helped to define what film music could be for multiple genres of cinema. Morricone’s music extended far beyond the desert landscapes of spaghetti westerns, not just to other genres on the silver screen, but also into the worlds of pop music, and into the concert hall – where his study and composition of avant-garde music gave him the techniques to experiment within his scores for film as well. Over the course of this week, following on the heels of the 2024 Academy Awards, Donald Macleod explores the incredible career of Ennio Morricone, a composer who quite astoundingly wrote over 500 scores for film and television, as well as over 100 classical works.
In Friday’s episode, Donald finds Morricone lauded for his music, and nominated for multiple Academy Awards, but after a series of losses the composer gives up hope of ever winning one. Morricone also begins touring his music, selling out concerts across the world. Donald also explores the circumstances which led to Morricone meeting the Pope, and discovers music Morricone wrote “against racism, in memory of every massacre in human history”

Cinema Paradiso
Studio orchestra
Ennio Morricone, conductor

Miserere & Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission
Barnet Schools Choir, London Voices
The London Philharmonic Orchestra
Ennio Morricone, David Bedford (conductors)

Theme from The Untouchables
Studio orchestra
Ennio Morricone, conductor

Voci dal silenzio (Excerpt)
Studio orchestra

Theme from Il Mercenario
Studio orchestra

Volti e fantasmi from La Migliore Offerta
Anna De Martini, Edda Dell'Orso, Paola Ronchetti, Raffaela Siniscalchi, Roberta Frighi, vocals
Alexander Zoltan, Glass Harmonica
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Ennio Morricone, conductor

L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock from the Hateful Eight
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Prague
Ennio Morricone, conductor

On Earth as it is in Heaven from The Mission
Orchestra and Chorus of dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Ennio Morricone, conductor

Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Audio Wales & West
Running Time 59 minutes
My thanks to Peter Coggins for the heads up!

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Another Run through The Gauntlet A new book by Toby Roan and Edward Lamberti

Another Run through The Gauntlet
A new book by Toby Roan and Edward Lamberti 
Self-published, softback, 116pages, 2024, approx. 8” x 5”
Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand had all been offered The Gauntlet before it made its way to Clint Eastwood. It became his sixth film as director, after The Outlaw Josey Wales, and hit theaters in 1977, right before Christmas.
Eastwood’s The Gauntlet is a big, loud, excessive chase movie that Roger Ebert called “fast, furious and funny,” while Judith Crist labelled it “the pits.” Audiences made it a hit. Today, it feels like a prototype for the supercharged action movies that would come a decade or so later.

It’s a great pleasure to feature this new publication from self-confessed fan of The Gauntlet, Toby Roan. If the name is familiar, Toby was responsible for some fine cult movies released through his Laserdisc and DVD label (The Roan Collection) back in the day – and excellent they were too, a good few of which still adorn my film shelves.

However, I first became acquainted with Toby a long time ago – when we came into contact through a shared love of Eastwood and his movies. So, when I heard from Toby again last year with his intention of putting this book together, I was happy to help wherever I could. 
The genuine magnetism of The Gauntlet - Eastwood’s 1977 crash, bang, wallop of a comic book movie is a really curious one. It did some great business at the box-office, yet it was pretty much panned by the critics as a completely, unrealistic, over-the -top exercise in film making. But despite the criticism, it is a film that fans continue to love and for many, it represents the peak of Eastwood’s 70’s superstar power. Yes, it’s a wild, adventurous ride, yes, it’s completely over-the -top, but it’s meant to be! It’s just a shame that some missed that message and failed to grasp its intention?

Roan’s book, is a compact homage to The Gauntlet, a retrospective look at the film and is clearly written from a fan’s perspective. So you won’t find too much negative criticism or heavy analysis here, instead there’s an unashamed love for the film and Roan hits the 116 pages with a genuine sense of head-on affection. Roan’s book follows the film’s entire journey through pre-production, cast and crew, the film’s release and critical response. There is also pretty good, detailed chapter on its promotion and marketing campaign, including, paperbacks, posters and soundtrack recordings. There are of course some minor limitations when it comes to self-published books of this kind, such as the lack of colour images, all images throughout the book are b/w which is a shame, as a great deal of the film’s artwork and several other designs are just begging to be seen in their full colour versions. But self-publishing is not a cheap business, and so often sacrifices have to be made. 
However, rest assured, the real winning element of Roan’s book can be unearthed in the writing, it’s clearly a labour of love, and if you share that love, you’ll no doubt be smiling broadly as you navigate from one page to the next. At the end of the day, ‘Another run through The Gauntlet’ is without doubt an appreciation, and an excellent, practical way of collating a unique overview and presenting it all neatly under one straightforward, no fuss publication.  

A time consuming and nicely detailed read that ultimately deserves respect. The book is a fine example of what fans can actually achieve given the time and commitment - and for that, it should be applauded for its merits. You have to ask yourself, who else was ever going to take the time and make the effort to write a book on this much misunderstood slice of 70’s cinema? Higley recommended, and a fine reminder of Eastwood’s golden period.

To order please visit Amazon HERE

Friday 8 March 2024

Kelly’s Heroes: The story behind the Real Nazi Gold

Kelly’s Heroes: The story behind the Real Nazi Gold 
A lot of people still regard the story of Kelly’s Heroes as simply a piece of fantasy fiction. However, the whole basis of the film began after a piece was discovered in an old edition of The Guinness Book of World Records and makes for quite an interesting story…

The screenplay for Kelly’s Heroes was written by British film and television writer Troy Kennedy Martin. He relied on a true story, featured as "The Greatest Robbery on Record" in the Guinness World Records from 1956 to 2000. On 4th December 1968, Elliott Morgan, MGM's Head of Research, wrote to the Guinness Book of World Records requesting information on this entry: "The greatest robbery on record was of the German National Gold Reserves in Bavaria by a combine of U.S. military personnel and German civilians in 1945". On 10th December the editor, Norris D. McWhirter, wrote back to Morgan, stating that he had very little information and that he essentially suspected that there had been a cover-up, which required that the story should be subject to a "restricted classification". He closed by suggesting that until that security classification was changed, "due to death or efflux of time, "any film made will have to be an historical romance rather than history".
In 1975 British researcher Ian Sayer began a nine-year investigation into the Guinness entry. The results of his investigation, which confirmed a cover up by the U.S. government together with the involvement of U.S. military and former Wehrmacht and SS officers in the theft, were published in the 1984 book Nazi Gold — The Sensational Story of the World's Greatest Robbery — and the Greatest Criminal Cover-Up. The investigation finally led to two of the missing gold bars (valued in 2019 at over $1 million) being handed over by German officials to the U.S. government in a secret ceremony at Bonn on 27th September 1996. The bullion was transported to the Bank of England where it was held to the account of the Tripartite Commission for the Restitution of Monetary Gold (TCRMG). The first disclosure that the Bank was holding the two bars (complete with Nazi markings) came from a press release issued by the bank on 8th May 1997 which confirmed that the two bars were those that had been identified as missing in the book Nazi Gold. Sayer had given information to the United States Department of State concerning the two bars (amongst other things) in July 1978. 

In 1983 they finally agreed to investigate using Sayer's evidence. The State Department investigation did not conclude until 1997. On 11th December 1997 Sayer was invited, by the Secretary General of the TCRMG, to view the two bars in the gold bullion vaults of the Bank of England. In addition to being accorded this rare honour, he was also photographed holding the bars, which he had been instrumental in tracking down.
The Story Behind the True Events that Inspired 'Kelly's Heroes'
Blake Stilwell a writer and former Air Force combat photographer also wrote an interesting piece on the subject:
“Kelly’s Heroes” is a war movie like no other. The 1970 film is set in World War II Europe and features a group of ne'er-do-wells who learn about a cache of stolen Nazi gold behind enemy lines and form a mission to get it for themselves. Not only was the gold far behind enemy lines, the Germans were in the process of making a big push against the Allies while supply problems stalled the push into Europe. The gold was also in a locked bank, guarded by a team of Tiger tanks. It’s not really a spoiler to reveal that Kelly’s makeshift platoon gets the gold in the end -- but it might be a surprise to learn the heist was based in reality.

Screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin (right) first learned about the real-life gold heist in an entry titled “The Greatest Robbery on Record” in the “Guinness World Records” book. In the real world, the gold wasn’t just a bunch of Nazi loot; it was the German National Gold Reserve. On Feb. 3, 1945, a massive Allied air campaign over Berlin wrecked much of the city’s important government fixtures. Among them was the Reichsbank, where Nazi Germany stored its gold reserves. Some 950 bombers flattened the German capital, exposing the bank’s vault. Its valuable contents were left intact, but would not survive another raid like the one on Feb. 3. The vault contained Germany’s gold reserves, as well as those looted from Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Albania, Belgium, Italy, Holland and the Soviet Union. In all, there was more than $21 billion (in 2021 dollars) in the German Reichsbank. Not all of it was in Berlin that day, but there was enough of it that the German government was compelled to move the gold to a potassium mine in Merkers, Germany, for safekeeping. Also in the mine were Germany’s paper currency reserves, pilfered works of art, stolen gold and silver from death-camp victims, and the captured currency from other nations.

Then, Gen. George Patton’s Third Army launched a surprise attack that tore through the Nazi defences. Before his forces captured Merkers and the money hidden in the mines, the Germans moved some of the contents, but much of it was captured by the Americans and moved to Frankfurt. That wasn’t all of Germany’s gold bullion, however. What was left of the Reichsbank reserves were spread out in branches across Germany. The German south became the repository of the rest of the Nazi gold, hidden away in mines, houses and mountains, just to name a few places. An estimated $151 million was sent to Bavaria, specifically the Alpine resort town of Mittenwald, where it eventually was hidden away in a remote mountain lodge. 

The Americans knew the currency and gold were in the area and were looking for it. Two German officers took charge of clandestinely moving the reserves little by little and reburying it in an area adjacent to a friendly alpine lodge. The Americans soon discovered the cache through the help of captured internees and two German informants. The gold was buried in the mountains near Lake Walchen under a false tree stump and was discovered by U.S. armoured engineers -- nine tons of it, 728 bars worth $15,000 each. They took the gold to a depository at the Reichsbank building in Frankfurt.
But 25 crates of 100 gold bars each still were missing. They were not among the 728 dug up in the mountains. Most of the answers regarding the missing gold came from Sgt. Albert Singleton, 10th Armored Division’s provost marshal of the Mittenwald area after the war.
Singleton’s commander, a Capt. Craig, told him that he received orders for the provost marshal to take a couple of guards and a half track into the mountains with some former German officers to find a load of gold buried there. Two American intelligence officers from the Office of Strategic Services met them on the road to the pass with two 2.5-ton trucks.
The OSS agents led the group to a creek and a steep incline in the mountains that levelled off at a certain point. There, they found a trap door that led to a 12-square-foot bunker filled with gold bars. They removed the gold and slid it down the mountain rather than carry it (to prevent injuries). They put the gold in bags and loaded them onto the trucks provided by the OSS.

The next day, Singleton received a telegram from divisional headquarters, saying the gold arrived in Munich. It was just another day in the life of the provost marshal. He remembers because he sent his wife a letter describing the gold, along with a photo he’d taken at the bunker. But Singleton swore his account and the account of the 728 captured bars are different caches.
In fact, all descriptions of the two gold sites differ, from the level of inclines to the presence of a creek and the absence of a trail at the Singleton site. Singleton doesn’t even recognize anyone in the photos taken at the first cache.
And not only does Singleton’s photo back up his memory, there’s no record of the order Capt. Craig received about picking up the gold. The only physical evidence is the telegram he received after the deed had been done, but the gold loaded onto the two OSS trucks never was registered in Munich.
Some 25 boxes of gold bullion, 1.25 tons, disappeared into thin air. It never was recovered, and there are no leads as to where it might have vanished.
The myth of the missing Nazi gold actually was mistaken for the original 728 bars that ended up in Frankfurt, but the 100 boxes faded from memory as fast as they were uncovered in the mountains. It wasn’t until 1957 that any missing gold entered the public consciousness, when it appeared in the “Guinness World Records” book under the heading “Robbery: Biggest Unsolved.” It read:
“The greatest robbery on record was of the German National Gold Reserves in Bavaria by a combine of US Military personnel and German civilians in June 1945, A total of 730 gold bars valued at £3,528,000 together with six sacks of banks notes and 25 boxes of platinum bars and precious stones disappeared in transit but none of those responsible has been brought to trial.”

It was this entry that inspired British film and television writer Troy Kennedy Martin to write the screenplay for what became the film “Kelly’s Heroes.”
To learn more about the details of the world’s biggest unsolved gold heist, check out “Nazi Gold: The Sensational Story of the World’s Greatest Robbery -- and the Greatest Criminal Cover-Up” by Ian Sayer and Douglas Botting.
Below: Mark Felton’s interesting featurette on The Real Kelly's Heroes
A Twist in the Tale:
There’s one final twist. In 1984, Sayer spoke to Members of Parliament in an effort to get information about Nazi gold held by the Bank of England. Jeff Rooker, an MP who he had spoken to on the matter, asked Sayer in 1988 to check out an aid fund to ensure that the money was getting to the veterans it was supposed to serve. It turned out that that the citizen who had asked Rooker about the aid fund had been a survivor of the Wormhoudt massacre, when 90 unarmed British troops were killed by the SS in 1940. The officer responsible for the slaughter was SS General Wilhelm Mohnke, who had also guarded Hitler’s bunker and disappeared after World War II. 
Amazingly, Sayer realised that he’d met Mohnke while researching Nazi Gold without realizing the man’s identity; Sayer informed the authorities, leading to investigations into Mohnke from multiple countries. He was never charged due to insufficient evidence, and lived until 2000.
Today, Kelly’s Heroes is regarded as a classic war film, noted for its ensemble, its humour, and its willingness to show the dark moments of war even among a more light-hearted story. But the story of the film rests atop a much more complex true story, elements of which still remain hidden from view. It’s a good reminder that even as much as we think we know about history, there are always some secrets, and maybe some gold, hidden somewhere.

Friday 1 March 2024

Rare 7” Single from Any which way you can

Rare 7” Single from Any which way you can
It’s always great to find another Eastwood related 7” single for the collection. I discovered this yesterday, purely by accident, as I didn’t honestly know this had been cut as a single release. 

David Frizzell & Shelly West - You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma was of course featured on the original soundtrack album and featured in Clint’s film Any which way you can (1981). It’s recognised today as something of a country classic – but for me it brings back some great memories of a certain time and place. 

It also represents a period where Clint worked closely with producer Snuff Garrett (1938 – 2015). Clint and Garret worked together on projects such as Every which way but loose, Bronco Billy and Honkytonk man. 
While there seems to be plenty of copies of this single available in the United States, it was rare to find one here on these shores – so didn’t hesitate in grabbing it while I could.
Below: Clint with producer Snuff Garrett
Below: David Frizzell & Shelly West - You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma