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Jun 3, 2012

Fassbinder Continues and OO7 Begins - Screening at the American Cinematheque Week of June 3 - 10, 2012


This is a week that I have been personally excited for at the American Cinematheque as the JAMES BOND AT 50 series kicks off.

Spread over both Cinematheque venues all throughout the month of June, all 22 James Bond films (excluding NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN which is not considered an official entry, nor the 1967 spoof CASINO ROYALE) all intended to get you caught up and ready for SKYFALL which is released in November.  Oh and there is a sweet comprehensive Blu-Ray set being released on September 25 as well.  But in the meantime, here is a chance to see them on the big screen in all their glory.

This week also sees the continuation of the comprehensive series CRUELLY, MADLY, DEEPLY: THE FILMS OF RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER.

THE EGYPTIAN - 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA  90028





Thursday, June 7th - 7:30pm

Cruelly, Madly Deeply: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder

THE AMERICAN SOLDIER (1970, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




A new slant on Film Noir as a German-American returning to his native land after serving in Vietnam helps 3 renegade detectives by taking on a job that would have him systematically killing members of a crime ring.

Followed by...

LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH (1969, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




Fassbinder's feature length debut has Fassbinder in the title role refusing to join a mob.  Befriending the guy they send to kill him they even start sharing the same girl which of course can never go well for one of them.

NO TRAILER available for THE AMERICAN SOLDIER.

A CLIP from LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH:




Link to Information and Tickets HERE.

Friday, June 8th - 7:30pm

A series that is shaken not stirred.

OO7 AT 50: THE COMPLETE JAMES BOND RETROSPECTIVE!

One of the best ideas for a retrospective begins at the Cinematheque.  I don't think I've ever seen all the Bond films screened in chronological order like this before.  Sure there have been pockets of them here and there with a couple of Connerys, a Moore or 2 and a Dalton and Brosnan thrown in - but here we have the entire main series, from DR. NO through QUANTUM OF SOLACE spread out over the month of June at both the Egyptian and Aero.

There has never been series of movies that has been spoofed, homaged or blatantly ripped off from than this one.  And yet it just keeps on kicking and after 50 years there are no signs of dying off any time soon.

It all kicks off on this night with a Connery double feature...

DR. NO (1962, United Artists; Directed by: Terence Young)




Sean Connery - the definitive James Bond - dons his tux and kicks off the series that is now amazingly 50 years old.  I don't think anyone ever thought that this British Secret Service agent, licensed to kill (or be killed as another character once put it in a later movie) would have this much of a big screen legacy.

The series got a boost thanks to President John F. Kennedy stating that one of the Bond books (FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE I believe) was one of his favorites.

Sean Connery is the Bond that most people claim is the best (myself included) and here in DR. NO he is spot on - a man on a mission, willing to use violence and sex to get the job done for Queen and Country.

Being the first of the series, DR. NO is more rough around the edges than the later entries.  However the gun-barrel opening is there, the signature opening credits and of course the iconic theme that has stuck with OO7 for 50 years now.

Followed by...

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963, United Artists; Directed by: Terence Young)




Connery as Bond is back in action for the second time, this time pursued by assassin Robert Shaw and the sinister Lotte Lenya - complete with a knife in her shoe.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE commonly is sited as one of the best - if not the best - in the series (I'm partial to GOLDFINGER myself, but FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is definitely my #2).

THE TRAILER for DR. NO:






THE TRAILER for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE:




Link to Information and Tickets HERE.

Saturday, June 9th - 7:30pm

Cruelly, Madly Deeply: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder

LOLA (1981, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




10 years after the war in Germany, and a building commissioner becomes smitten with a single mother who he has no idea is a singer at a bordello and the mistress of a builder whose profits are dependent on the commissioner's approval.

Second film in the BRD trilogy.

Followed by...

VERONIKA VOSS (1982, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




Third entry in the BRD Trilogy has a former film star trying to recapture the glorious days of her youth and gets hooked on booze and cocaine.  She falls in with a sadistic psychiatrist who keeps her medicated enough in order to keep her on a dependent leash.

Another cynical Fassbinder look at Post-War Germany.

A CLIP from LOLA:





THE TRAILER for VERONIKA VOSS:




Link to Information and Tickets HERE.



THE AERO - 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA  90403





Wednesday, June 6th - 7:30pm

Cruelly, Madly Deeply: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder


SATAN'S BREW (1976, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




A womanizing writer becomes obsessed with a 19th-Century Gay Poet, and in imagining himself as the reincarnation tries to turn gay in order to make the transformation complete.  On top of all this, he runs short of money and does whatever it takes to keep himself afloat.

Followed by...

FEAR OF FEAR (1975, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




Originally made for television, it is hard to imagine a movie more unsuited as a television movie than this one.

A middle class housewife starts losing her mind after her second pregnancy, and finding absolutely no sympathy from anyone (in fact they are outright hostile towards her), takes to valium and alcohol.

A CLIP from SATAN'S BREW:






NO TRAILER available for FEAR OF FEAR.

Link to Information and Tickets HERE.

Thursday, June 7th - 7:30pm

Cruelly, Madly Deeply: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder

THE MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS (1971, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




A man is scorned by his family thanks to his lowly job as a fruit peddler, and takes to drinking and drugs.  However his life goes into an even deeper spiral when he suffers a near-fatal heart attack and upon recovering becomes a success in his business and his family who once reviled him now holds him in the highest regard.  This of course would drive anyone to want to kill themselves.

Followed by...

GODS OF THE PLAGUE (1970, Janus Films; Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder)




A man is released from prison and finds life on the outside unappealing - so instead of going on the straight-and-narrow, tracks down his former criminal colleagues and plans a heist.

NO TRAILER available for THE MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS.

THE TRAILER for GODS OF THE PLAGUE:




Link to Information and Tickets HERE.

Saturday, June 9th - 7:30pm

OO7 AT 50: THE COMPLETE JAMES BOND RETROSPECTIVE!

The OO7 love-fest continues with the entry that I consider the best in the series.

GOLDFINGER (1964, United Artists; Directed by: Guy Hamilton)




The OO7 movie that had all the familiar series elements, and firmly set the standard for the movies to follow, GOLDFINGER has is all - a beautiful love interest, a killer title theme song, a kick-ass car with gadgets galore, a fiendish villain and a wildly imaginative plot that has OO7 attempting to stop a raid on Fort Knox.

There is nothing more iconic than the image of Sean Connery strapped to a table with a laser about to castrate him asking Goldfinger if he is expected to talk (response: No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!).

The main title theme sung by Shirley Bassey became a virtual template for spy movie themes to come, and the John Barry score is one of his all-time best.

Followed by...

THUNDERBALL (1965, United Artists; Directed by: Terence Young)




Bond heads back to Jamaica (the location of DR. NO and also home to author Ian Fleming) to stop a terrorist organization who holds world leaders captive and plots to start World War III (that happens a lot in the world of OO7).

THUNDERBALL has one of the BEST battle scenes ever, an underwater harpoon fight that thanks to John Barry's score plays like a poetic ballet.  Not to mention, the movie begins with James Bond roaring off on a jet pack.

THUNDERBALL later became a source of contention between writer/producer Kevin McClory and producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli as McClory said the story idea was his given he had helped Fleming come up with it (originally planning this to be the first James Bond film), and for years he always tried to lay claim to the Bond series.  McClory was responsible in 1983 for NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN which is a virtual remake of THUNDERBALL, then tried again later on without success during the Brosnan Bond years to relaunch a counter-OO7 franchise with WARHEAD 2000.

The original title theme for THUNDERBALL was originally going to be "Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" but then at the last minute they switched to the title track sung by Tom Jones.

THE TRAILER for GOLDFINGER:





THE TRAILER for THUNDERBALL:





Link to Information and Tickets HERE.

Sunday, June 10th - 7:30pm

OO7 AT 50: THE COMPLETE JAMES BOND RETROSPECTIVE!


Sean Connery's OO7 goes to Japan, then the actor steps aside for the first in a series of actor changes.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967, United Artists; Directed by: Lewis Gilbert)




Scripted by Roald Dahl, OO7 fakes his death and then heads to Japan on a mission that brings him face-to-face with Ernst Blofeld (Donald Pleasance).

Exotic locations, the iconic bald Blofeld villain with white cat (inspiration for DR. EVIL in the AUSTIN POWERS series), Bond walking through a training center for assassins and a villainous layer built into an inactive volcano - everything you expect in a Bond film and more.

Followed by...

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969, United Artists; Directed by: Peter Hunt)




"This never happened to the other Fellow"

Sean Connery turned down this movie, so the producers tapped Australian model George Lazenby to become the 2nd actor to play James Bond.  This ended up to be his only appearance in the role even though the movie is a solid adaptation of the original Ian Fleming novel, and one of the best in the series - and the argument about how good Lazenby was as OO7 rages on still today.  The John Barry score for this film is gorgeous.

Many theories abound why this was his only one - it didn't do well at the box office, he was compared harshly to Connery as he was the first replacement, he was a pompous jerk and annoyed the producers and studio brass, etc.

In ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, Bond skis for the first time as well as GASP (SPOILER ALERT)  gets married to Diana Rigg who is my favorite of all the Bond girls (I crush on her every time I revisit this movie).

Editor of the previous entries Peter Hunt gets a shot at directing and sadly this was the only one he got to do because the direction on this movie is solid and the characters have a lot more depth to them - especially Bond and Diana Rigg's Tracey - than any other in the entire series.

THE TRAILER for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE:









THE TRAILER for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE:





Link to Information and Tickets HERE.

Next week - Fassbinder concludes, and OO7 continues.