Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RIP Clint Walker

Veteran American actor Clint Walker died of heart failure in Grass Valley, California on May 21, 2018. He would have been 91 on May 30. Born Norman Eugene Walker in Hartford, Illinois on May 30, 1927, he was discovered as a doorman and security guard working in Las Vegas in the mid-1950s. He was hired to portray Cheyenne Bodie on the Warner Brothers TV series Cheyenne (1955-1962). Clint at 6’6” was a mountain of a man and a favorite of the kids. His career was just starting to expand into films when he had a freak accident while skiing at Mammoth Mountain in 1971. In a fall from a ski lift, Walker was pierced through the heart with his ski pole. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. However, a doctor detected faint signs of life and rushed Walker to surgery, where his damaged heart was repaired. Within two months, Walker was working again. He would go on to appear in over 40 films and TV series often portraying the Cheyenne character. Clint appeared in only one Euro-western as Scotty in 1972’s “Pancho Villa” starring Telly Savalas.


By Howard Hughes

Just to report on the ‘Fistful of Dollars’ screening in Manchester at HOME on Sunday afternoon (May 20). It was well attended – difficult to say exact numbers, as we were seated towards the front, but maybe 150+. Considering it was a scorching afternoon in Manchester and the Simplyhealth Great Manchester 10K Half-marathon was on that day, it was very encouraging. In fact Olympian Mo Farrah (the eventual marathon winner) ran past us on the way to the cinema (us, not him).

The film was introduced by freelance film educator Maggie Hoffgen, in the cinema’s ‘Classics’ slot in Cinema One. The 4K restoration (credited to Cineteca Di Bologna and Unidis Jolly Film and using the original Techniscope negative with, the opening credits stated, a 1965 Technicolor print as reference) is very impressive. The opening and end titles have been restored to the English language ones – Ripley’s Home Video version has the Italian language titles – and the picture, in the 2.35:1 ratio Techniscope, looks tremendous. The level of detail unveiled when you see one of Leone’s films in the cinema on a big screen is always a revelation, no matter how many times you’ve already seen them. The details of costumes, the faces of background characters, the use of perspective, of the minutiae of buildings, weapons and furniture, and of course of Leone’s great close-ups and use of landscape. You could see clearly the faces of the Baxter gunmen in the background of the scene when Eastwood’s mule is spooked. The landscape, especially the scenes shot in Almeria, benefitted greatly from the widescreen cinematography, even for the night scenes, which in some prints can be too dark. The hostage exchange too, with its formal groups of figures, windblown leaves and dust, and that zoom-in on Marisol and her son, was also impressive.

The edges of the framing in this 4K restoration confirmed that the only home video release that includes the whole widescreen image so far is the Italian Blu-ray [see image below]: 

Increasing the images’ impact even more were the music and sound effects, which were VERY LOUD.  

The electronic whine that builds up in Eastwood’s confrontation with Baxter men early on (‘My mule don’t like people laughing’) and before the final showdown with the Rojos is absolutely ear-splitting, as were the gunshots.  The trumpet deguello too was at full volume, to create a showdown that pales in comparison when seen on TV. The music mix also revealed aspects of the score I’d never noticed before. This is probably the best presentation of a Leone film I’ve seen in a theatre. As it was such a sunny afternoon, we headed off for a pint at the Albert Square Chop House and a late spaghetti lunch at Caffé Grande by Piccolino, an Italian restaurant on Clarence Street overlooking Manchester’s magnificent town hall and Albert Square, which was filled with throngs of successful marathon runners.

Danny Lou & Donna Starr

Danny Lou & Donna Starr – International title
Lucky Luke: En Ensam Cowboy – Swedish title

A 2016 Swedish production [Korkek (Stockholm)]
Producer: Leif Sandqvist, Emil Erlandsson, Lotta Edin Johansson
Director: Leif Sandqvist
Story: Leif Sandqvist
Screenplay: Leif Sandqvist
Cinematography: Marcus Möller
Running time: 87 minutes

Story: Danny Lou's teenage love is getting married. At the wedding show she gets shot. Why, how, and who killed Donna Starr?

Danny Lou – Gustaf Nyberg
Donna Starr – Maria Karpathakis
Felicia Thompson – Li Åkerman
Milhouse Dixon – David Thoresson
Jeff MacAnger - Emil Kekonius
Sheriff Thompson – Thomas Flodin
Johnny Ponny Andersonny – Mathias Hjelm
Mister Corps – Martin Dagman
Domare Stark – Maria Lindh
Gabriel Hoistalog - Robert Follin
Bingo Star – Janne Lindqvist
Buffy Hopshop – Karin Floengard Jonsson
Mitch Confusion – Mikael Brolin
Jane Jumperhat – Åsa Ingvarsson
Betsy Shakesheep - Camilla Rensgård
Mister Maggot – Gunnar Carlström
Paul Hoffmeister – Johan Kekonius
Trudy Throwstuff – Sandra Boman
Amanda Corps – Ronja Kruus
Harriet Hanger - Stina Nyman
Hedda Hunt – Emma Nilsson
Paddy Strangler - Robert Söderberg
John Jumpfromtree - Ibrahim Alberm
Stunts - Janne Lindqvist

Special Birthdays

Nikita Bokoslovsky (composer) would have been 105 today, he died in 2004.

Nino Terzo (actor) would have been 95 today, he died in 2005.

Monica Bielenstein (actress) is 70 today.