Reflecting on Harold Robbins’ Big Mip Experience in 1969

  • Variety
Fifty years ago, 1,500 individuals from 53 countries attended the fifth edition of MipTV at Cannes. It’s a small fraction of the estimated 10,500 expected this year, but organizers in 1969 were ecstatic at the turnout. They were also ecstatic to welcome celebs such as Harold Robbins, plugging “The Survivors,” starring Lana Turner.

On April 30, 1969, Variety reported that the hour-long drama was budgeted at “a new all-time high of $300,000 per episode.” Robbins was hot stuff in the 1960s as he virtually invented sex-and-wealth blockbuster novels with “The Carpetbaggers” and “Where Love Has Gone.” In addition to his Mip-promoted “Survivors,” various companies were planning adaptations of four Robbins works, including big-screen projects “The Adventurers,” “The Inheritors” and “Stiletto,” plus the TV-targeted “79 Park Avenue.” That quartet represented a total investment of $36 million.

“I am the only writer able to make three major companies go broke in one year,” he joked at Cannes.

The Survivors,” which also starred George Hamilton,
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‘Russian Doll’ Star Elizabeth Ashley on Her Early Stage Career

  • Variety
‘Russian Doll’ Star Elizabeth Ashley on Her Early Stage Career
The force of nature born Elizabeth Ann Cole, and rechristened Elizabeth Ashley for stage and screen of the late 1950s, first drew the attention of critics and fans with her work in New York theater, garnering an early-career Tony Award for her portrayal of Mollie in the Broadway production of “Take Her, She’s Mine” in 1961.

Ashley’s big-screen debut in 1964, the hit film adaptation of Harold Robbins’ mega-best-seller “The Carpetbaggers,” earned her a Golden Globe supporting actress nomination and led to decades of work on screens big and small, including an Emmy Award-nominated turn in the Burt Reynolds ’90s comedy series “Evening Shade.”

More recently, Ashley appeared in the hit film comedy “Ocean’s 8” and has lit up the Netflix mind-twister “Russian Doll” as Natasha Lyonne’s unconventional therapist. Her first time in Variety was 60 years ago, when she appeared in a critically trounced 1959 summer stock production of noted
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Razzie Awards: Every Worst Picture ‘Winner,’ From ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ to ‘Holmes & Watson’ (Photos)

  • The Wrap
Since 1980, UCLA film grads and industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy have honored the very worst in cinema with the Razzie Awards. Here’s a look back to the worst pictures of the last four decades.

“Can’t Stop the Music” (1980)

The Golden Raspberry Awards got their start by recognizing this musical comedy, a justly mocked quasi-biopic of the Village People.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 8 percent

Mommie Dearest” (1981)

Faye Dunaway goes full camp as Joan Crawford in a docudrama whose comedy was often unintentional.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 53 percent

Inchon” (1982)

This bloated, over-budget Korean war film starring Laurence Olivier as Gen. Douglas MacArthur was an epic turkey.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 0 percent

The Lonely Lady” (1983)

Pia Zadora followed her mysterious (and widely mocked in retrospect) Golden Globe win for “Butterfly” with this adaptation of a trashy Harold Robbins novel about a schoolgirl/wannabe screenwriter.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 0 percent

Bolero” (1984)

Bo Derek
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Love is a Battlefield in Cocteau’s Portrait of Familial Dysfunction Les Parents Terribles (1948) | Blu-ray Review

If Frank Capra had been around to tackle a Harold Robbins’ novel, it might have a vibe such as Jean Cocteau’s forgotten 1948 masterpiece, the rendering of hist stage play Les Parents Terribles (aka known as its English language title The Storm Within). With only six films to his directorial resume (eight if you count the co-directed 1957 experimental film 8×8: A Chess Sonata in Eight Movements and 1950’s unreleased Coriolan), Cocteau’s influence on the enduring legacy of French cinema is all the more impressive—though to be fair, his written word has been incorporated and re-hashed by a significant number of peers and later generations of filmmakers.…
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Dick Delson, Longtime Hollywood Publicist, Dies at 81

  • Variety
Dick Delson, Longtime Hollywood Publicist, Dies at 81
Dick Delson, a well-known Hollywood publicist who worked with stars including Sylvester Stallone, Walter Matthau and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and on campaigns for films including “The Deerhunter” and “Jaws,” died Sunday in Yarmouth, Maine. He was 81.

His niece, Joanna Delson, said he died in his sleep at a longterm care facility.

Among his other clients were James Coburn, whose Oscar campaign for “Affliction” Delson designed, Robert Culp, Peter Graves, Lou Gossett, Jr., Marsha Mason, George Segal, Fred Dryer and Roddy McDowall, as well as authors Harold Robbins and Iris Rainer Dart.

Before forming his own firm in 1984, Delson was national director of publicity/promotion and television advertising at Walt Disney Productions, where he worked on campaigns for films including “Tron,” “Tex” and “Fantasia” as well as for “Splash” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Prior to Disney, he served as national director of publicity for Filmways Pictures, promoting titles like “Dressed to Kill,
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Lewis Gilbert, Esteemed British Director/Producer, Dead At 97

  • CinemaRetro
Gilbert on the set of the 1977 James Bond blockbuster The Spy Who Loved Me with production designer Ken Adam and producer Albert R. Broccoli at Pinewood Studios, London.

By Lee Pfeiffer

Cinema Retro mourns the news of director/producer Lewis Gilbert's death in London at age 97. Gilbert was a good friend to our magazine and gave what is probably his last interview to our correspondent Matthew Field several years ago. It ran in three consecutive issues of Cinema Retro (#'s18, 19 and 20). 

Gilbert had a remarkable career that began early in life as a music hall performer and an actor in small roles in British films. During WWII he served in the Raf, producing and directing documentaries for the military. His first feature film as director was "The Little Ballerina", released in 1947. Gilbert toiled through directing low-budget, often undistinguished films, honing his craft along the way. He earned praise for
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National Gay Killers Day. What? Ewww!

Because we're having fun with this little feature we'll continue. On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1881 Ahead of her time Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross. She doesn't get a biopic because Hollywood is only interested in "Great Man" biopics

1916 Happy Centennial to author Harold Robbins who penned 25 best-sellers some of which became famous movies like The Carpetbaggers (1964), the Elvis flick King Creole (1958), and the notorious Pia Zadora Razzie winner The Lonely Lady (1983)

Rope (1949) and Swoon (1992) - two great movies inspired by the Leopold & Loeb case

1924 Chicago college students Leopold & Loeb murder a teenage boy in a "thrill killing." Their crime inspires the story of the gay deviants in Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1949), the Cannes Best Actor winning Compulsion (1958) and is recreated in the New Queer Cinema classic Swoon (1992)

1926 Kay Kendall of Les Girls (1957) fame is born

1952 Two time Oscar nominee John Garfield (best
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Collins' Sex Novels Have Enjoyed Unexpectedly Few Film Versions (The Stud, The Bitch)

Joan Collins in 'The Bitch': Sex tale based on younger sister Jackie Collins' novel. Author Jackie Collins dead at 77: Surprisingly few film and TV adaptations of her bestselling novels Jackie Collins, best known for a series of bestsellers about the dysfunctional sex lives of the rich and famous and for being the younger sister of film and TV star Joan Collins, died of breast cancer on Sept. 19, '15, in Los Angeles. The London-born (Oct. 4, 1937) Collins was 77. Collins' tawdry, female-centered novels – much like those of Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz – were/are immensely popular. According to her website, they have sold more than 500 million copies in 40 countries. And if the increasingly tabloidy BBC is to be believed (nowadays, Wikipedia has become a key source, apparently), every single one of them – 32 in all – appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list. (Collins' own site claims that a mere 30 were included.) Sex
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King of the Gypsies | Blu-ray Review

A forgotten gem of the late 1970s comes to Blu-ray for the first time, Frank Pierson’s adaptation of the novel King of the Gypsies. Notable for several reasons, namely as the credited debut for actor Eric Roberts and a star studded cast packed to distraction, this is the kind of pulp oddity often whisked off the shelves of the bestseller list for glossy cinematic reinterpretation. This gypsy saga was based on a novel by Peter Maas, better known as the biographer of Serpico, which resulted in the novel inspiring Sidney Lumet’s classic 1973 film starring Al Pacino. Eventually, Maas’ works, often revolving around sensational true crime treatments, would be adapted mainly for television (including the 1991 Valerie Bertinelli Lifetime film, In a Child’s Name), and this sometimes outlandish antique feels like an exaggerated heirloom in the Harold Robbins’ vein (The Carpetbaggers; The Betsy; The Adventurers), a frumpy comparison
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The Men Who Would Be Hughes (Plus Hepburn and the end of Rko)

Howard Hughes movies (photo: Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in 'The Aviator') Turner Classic Movies will be showing the Howard Hughes-produced, John Farrow-directed, Baja California-set gangster drama His Kind of Woman, starring Robert Mitchum, Hughes discovery Jane Russell, and Vincent Price, at 3 a.m. Pt / 6 a.m. Et on Saturday, November 8, 2014. Hughes produced a couple of dozen movies. (More on that below.) But what about "Howard Hughes movies"? Or rather, movies -- whether big-screen or made-for-television efforts -- featuring the visionary, eccentric, hypochondriac, compulsive-obsessive, all-American billionaire as a character? Besides Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays a dashing if somewhat unbalanced Hughes in Martin Scorsese's 2004 Best Picture Academy Award-nominated The Aviator, other actors who have played Howard Hughes on film include the following: Tommy Lee Jones in William A. Graham's television movie The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977), with Lee Purcell as silent film star Billie Dove, Tovah Feldshuh as Katharine Hepburn,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Blood Ties | Review

Blood Simple: Canet’s English Language Debut an Enjoyably Prostrate Epic

For his English language debut, actor/director Guillaume Canet arrives with Blood Ties, a remake of Rivals, a 2008 French film of which he was the star, from director Jacques Maillot. While it’s original running time has been cut by about half an hour after a premiere at Cannes (aligning it with its predecessor’s running time), the film is undeniably a slow burn. Set in 1974 vintage heavy Brooklyn, Canet’s film has drawn mostly unfavorable comparison to the works of Sidney Lumet and Martin Scorsese that were actually made in the era. While it’s not on par with similar masterworks it evokes (maybe more of a Harold Robbins version of Lumet), it does manage to be an engrossing faux saga, nonetheless, despite a handful of foibles that work against its success.

After serving a 12 year prison
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"Zulu": What Went Wrong?

  • CinemaRetro
By Brian Hannan

With all the (deserved) appreciation of Zulu, it’s hard to imagine it was a massive flop in the Us. Independent producer Joe Levine planned a double whammy for summer 1963 – The Carpetbaggers, an adaptation of the sizzling Harold Robbins bestseller, and Zulu. He even arranged for Zulu to follow The Carpetbaggers into the prestigious Palace first run cinema in New York. Spending big, Levine, whipped up a huge marketing campaign for Zulu, which had notched up record grosses in the UK.

But the two films could not have been further apart. Where The Carpetbaggers stormed to $862,000 from 25 theatres in the New York area, Zulu could only manage $190,000 from 30 in Los Angeles. Zulu scored well in first run in Detroit (running four weeks) and Chicago, but was quickly (perhaps too quickly) consigned to drive-ins. Failure to find a niche was not for want of trying. In successive weeks in La,
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Soundtrack Review: "Stiletto" From Vocalion; Music By Sid Ramin

  • CinemaRetro
By Darren Allison

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Our good friends at Vocalion Records have released three excellent CDs. First is the super score to Bernard Kowalski’s 1969 B-movie thriller Stiletto (Vocalion Cdsml 8501). Starring Alex Cord in the lead role and with support from Britt Ekland, Patrick O’Neal, Joseph Wiseman and Roy Scheider, the film was based on the Harold Robbins novel of the same name. Whilst Stiletto was never going to be an Oscar contender, as so many of these great little thrillers proved, it did gather something of a cult following. More often than not, restricted budgets and tight schedules surprisingly lead to great production values, with artists and crews having to think instinctively on their feet and with little time to elaborate. Stiletto music by American composer Sid Ramin is a truly evocative score. Ramin’s work was often uncredited and as a result,
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DVD Review: :"The Adventurers" (1970) Starring Bekim Fehmiu, Candice Bergen And Ernest Borgnine; Warner Archive DVD

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

When it opened in 1970, director Lewis Gilbert's film version of Harold Robbins' best-seller The Adventurers was reviewed by New York Times, which referred to the production as "a spectacular blast-furnace lulu of human waste". Indeed, Gilbert himself said of the film a few years ago that it was "terrible" and that he regretted having been involved with it. With such a reputation, it's no wonder that even retro movie lovers such as myself have never made the effort to watch the movie. However, the Warner Archive has just re-issued Paramounts original DVD release of the film and, upon receiving the screener, I had enough morbid curiosity to give it a try. How, after all, could a film by a major director and featuring a big all-star cast go so completely wrong? The answer is: it didn't. The Adventurers is not high art, but it doesn't
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Harold Robbins had 'open' affairs, says author's ex

New York, Jun. 2: Harold Robbins' former wife has revealed in her new book, the author's demands for an "open marriage" and his affairs ranging from Beverly Hills to Cannes.

In her book 'Cinderella and the Carpetbagger,' his third wife Grace Robbins wrote that Harold once told her that he had to have sexual gratification, especially when he is away from her, the New York Post reported.

Grace recalls in her book that Harold, once the world's most-popular author with 750 million books sold, told her that he would need to travel for weeks on end for "research."

She remembered him telling her that all of these affairs would be meaningless. He also told her that while he was gone if she wanted a man to replace him it.
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Real Housewives of Beverly Hills update: Glanville Nyt bestseller, Maloof may quit

E! Online is exclusively reporting that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Adrienne Maloof may leave the cast, as her nemesis and fellow cast mate Brandi Glanville climbs the New York Times bestseller list with her tell-all "Drinking and Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders" book. Glanville appeared at a packed Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Los Angeles Grove last night, meeting a real housewife of Beverly Hills from the 60s and 70s, Grace Robbins, the wife of Harold Robbins, who sold near a billion books that were turned into movies. Notably at this event, Lita Weissman, the Barnes & Noble book event manager, announced that Brandi Glanville had cracked the New York Times bestseller list. Grace
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First Beverly Hills 'Wife' Grace Robbins talks Andy Cohen and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" is an ongoing drama of a scandalous group of ladies who for the most part (there are a few exceptions) couldn't hold the water of Real Hollywood housewives, according to the top wife herself, Grace Robbins. Grace was the third wife of the late American novelist Harold Robbins, and was his longest marriage, and in her words "true love." Together they lived it up in decadent decades of the 1960s through the early 1980s. Notably in the roaring sixties and seventies, Harold Robbins' fiction was more widely read than the Bible. His steamy, potboiler novels sold more than 750 million copies, and created the sex-power-glamour genre of popular literature that
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You've been Djangoed! Ten Spaghetti Cowboys that shaped the genre

Keeping up with his career plan of paying homage to every film genre going, Quentin Tarantino has moved onto the spaghetti western with Django Unchained (2012). It’s not a remake of the pasta classic Django (1966), or indeed a spaghetti western, but it has clearly taken its inspiration from those violent Italian productions that swamped the late sixties.

Hollywood may have dominated the field since the beginning of motion pictures but European westerns are not exactly new; the earliest known one was filmed in 1910. Sixties German cinema made good use of Kay May’s western heroes Shatterhand and Winnetou, and the British produced The Savage Guns (1961), Hannie Caulder (1971), A Town Called Bastard (1971), Catlow (1971), Chato’s Land (1972) and Eagle’s Wing (1979). When the genre showed signs of flagging in the mid-sixties, a clever Italian director named Sergio Leone took it upon himself to reinvent the western – spaghetti style!

What made the spaghettis
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Warner Bros. Want Phil Lord and Chris Miller to ‘Beat the Devil’

Since its publication in 2001, Glen David Gold‘s Carter Beats the Devil has been on Hollywood’s agenda — which isn’t to say that it’s actually got anywhere in those eleven years, though. The most famous attempt at adaptation would involve one Tom Cruise, who, under Paramount, would’ve produced and starred in the period piece about magic, Warren G. Harding (America’s worst President), and a murder conspiracy that mixes both with what most describe as wit, verve, and flavor. It sounds like a book that could make a great film, and it might finally be in motion.

It’s been almost a year since Warner Bros. snatched up rights, and THR says they’ve finally set their sights on someone(s): Phil Lord and Chris Miller, those behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and, most recently, the hilarious 21 Jump Street. The various parties are only
See full article at The Film Stage »

'Mad Men' 507 sneak peek: 'The Fixer' and more from Don Draper's reading list

On Sunday's (April 29) upcoming episode of "Mad Men" -- titled "At the Codfish Ball" -- Don Draper (Jon Hamm) takes a break from his usual wardrobe of sharp suits to lounge in his pajamas and catch up on some light reading. Meanwhile, new wife Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) is opting to stick close to the TV.

So what does Don read in his spare time? In the picture, he's holding a copy of Bernard Malamud's 1966 novel, "The Fixer." The book -- about "a man who finds himself a stranger in his community and a victim of irrational prejudice as a wave of anti-Semitic hysteria engulfs a town after the murder of a boy" -- won that year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction and The National Book Award.

From the Wikipedia book synopsis: "[The main character] finally finds it in his heart to forgive his former wife, who left him just before the novel began.
See full article at Zap2It - From Inside the Box »
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