Friday, November 16, 2018

Spaghetti Western Trivia ~ actor/stuntman was a plus

Actor Alex Cord who played Cord in 1968’s “A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die” did all his stunts. This was something Italian producers looked for to save money when they were hiring leading actors to appear in their western productions. Burt Reynolds was another example as Navajo Joe in the movie of the same name. 

RIP Rolf Hoppe

King from "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel"

Rolf Hoppe is dead


The actor Rolf Hoppe died at the age of 87 years.  He was one of the most famous actors of the GDR - among other things, he was in the Christmas classic "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel" to see.

The Dresden actor Rolf Hoppe is dead. This confirmed his family to the German Press Agency and the "Dresdner Latest News".

Hoppe was also known internationally as a GDR actor and filled out more than 400 film and stage roles during his lifetime.  Just last year, Hoppe won several prizes - the Märchenfilmfestival Prize for his life's work in Annaberg-Buchholz and the Order of the Dresden SemperOper Ball.

Since 1977 he has been a member of the ensemble of the Dresdner Schauspiel.  In addition to his theatrical work, Hoppe has appeared in numerous movies and TV films, in the Christmas fairy tale "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel" by Václav Vorlícek he played the king alongside Karin Lesch.

In 1995, Hoppe - born in Ellrich in Thuringia - bought a farm on the outskirts of Dresden and founded the Hoftheater Dresden, as it is called on the website of the theater.  At the Salzburg Festival he was the Mammon in "Everyman" several times.

 In 1982, the feature film "Mephisto" by István Szabó , in which Hoppe appeared in the role of Nazi Prime Minister Hermann Göring , received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.  His much praised Göring presentation helped Hoppe to international breakthrough.  After that, Hoppe was long considered a "villain of the service".  Also in the ARD "Tatort" he was seen several times.

Born: 12/6/1930, Ellrich, Thuringia, Germany
Died: 11/16,/2018 Dresden, Saxony, Germany

Rolf Hoppe’s westerns – actor:
The Falcon’s Trail – 1967 (Bashan)
Fatal Error – 1969 (Allison)
White Wolves – 1969 (James Bashan)
Apaches – 1973 (Captain Brown/Burton)
Kit & Co. – 1974 (Shorty)
Ulzana – 1974 (Captain Burton)
The Long Ride from School – 1983 (trapper)

RIP Rolf Hoppe

German theater and film actor Rolf Hoppe died at his home in Dresden, Germany on November 16, 2018. He was 87 years-old. Born in Ellrich, Thuringia, Germany on Decebmer 6, 1930. Even as a teenager he played in a amateur theater group.  After an acting education he came 1961 to Dresden.  At the Staatstheater he played hundreds of roles - for him the artistic breakthrough. The actor became internationally known in 1981 through the film "Mephisto".  In addition to Klaus Maria Brandauer, he played a Nazi general - demonic, brutal and seductive at the same time.  The film received an Oscar.  In the fairytale classic "Drei Haselnüsse für Cinderella", which has been on television for many years at Christmas, Hoppe plays the king. He became a regular in the DEFA westerns usually playing a villain or army officer. His roles included:  The Falcon’s Trail – 1967 (Bashan), Fatal Error – 1969 (Allison), White Wolves – 1969 (James Bashan), Apaches – 1973 (Captain Brown/Burton), Kit & Co. – 1974 (Shorty), Ulzana – 1974 (Captain Burton), The Long Ride from School – 1983 (trapper)

NEWS! James Mangold's 'Boba Fett' standalone movie has been cancelled

Although all of the Star Wars standalone movies have been paused, it looks like James Mangold's 'Boba Fett' standalone movie is the first to be frozen in carbonite for good.

Deadline is reporting that Disney and Lucasfilm have cancelled the movie, bringing to an end a short run of standalone movies from the franchise. Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy reportedly said that the project is '100% dead' and focus has shifted to the live-action television series, 'The Mandalorian'.

The most obvious reason for 'Boba Fett' being dropped is due to the utter sh*t-show that was 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' and the poor box office returns for it, not to mention the fact that maybe audiences just aren't ready for the glut of content that's coming from the franchise.

That said, James Mangold seemed like the perfect choice to take on 'Boba Fett', primarily because the character was based on Spaghetti Western gunslingers. Even the visor helmet and the shawl was inspired from Clint Eastwood's squinting eyes in 'A Fistful Of Dollars'. Mangold's 'Logan' drew heavily from 'Unforgiven', Clint Eastwood's final Western, and the director also made neo-Western 'Cop Land' back in 1997.

No air date has been set for 'The Mandalorian' as of yet.

When Franco’s army built the set for ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’

‘Sad Hill Unearthed,’ a new award-winning documentary, follows a quixotic quest to restore the neglected set of the iconic cemetery scene from the classic Sergio Leone western

Santiago de Compostela        
By Silvia R. Pontevedra
English version by Susana Urra
October 22, 2018

“In July 1966, the Spanish army built an enormous cemetery in Burgos. That graveyard had over 5,000 tombs... but nobody buried in them.”

At a time when dictator exhumations and the future of a colossal cemetery located in a Madrid valley are taking up many headlines, Spain is releasing Sad Hill Unearthed, a documentary about a group of people’s quest to resuscitate the set of a crucial scene in Sergio Leone’s timeless spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The film by Guillermo de Oliveira, which was released on Friday, follows the painstaking restoration of a circular cemetery that Leone created out of nowhere in the mountains near Santo Domingo de Silos (Burgos), and which he used in one of the final scenes for a showdown between the three main characters, played by Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef.
Association founder Sergio García paints the fictitious grave marker for Eli Wallach. ampliar foto
Association founder Sergio García paints the fictitious grave marker for Eli Wallach.

The 20-minute scene has gone down in the annals of movie history as a monument to human emotions, and Leone himself described the place, which he called Sad Hill, as “the circus of destiny.” The Good, The Bad and The Ugly provided a critical vision of civil war, and it also included a cemetery built in a silent valley, just like Spain, but the story’s backdrop was the American Wild West, and the Franco regime welcomed the initiative with open arms.

Just like Oliveira explains, Franco even offered the production company thousands of young men who were doing their military service, and who ended up not just building the sets, but even participating in the battle scenes and playing dead. For every day of shooting during that scorching summer of 1966, the company paid each soldier 250 pesetas (€1.50), and some officials received as much as 900 pesetas (€5.41). In the film, three of those youths who were doing their military service at the barracks in San Marcial (Burgos) share their memories of that adventure.

Originally devised as a modest documentary, the project ballooned into a 83-minute film with appearances by, among others, score composer Ennio Morricone, actor Clint Eastwood (the only surviving star of the original movie), technicians who worked under Leone, Metallica vocalist James Hetfield, who is a devoted fan of the film (for the last 30 years, Metallica has been opening all its concerts with the music from the cemetery scene), the film directors Joe Dante and Álex de la Iglesia, and Leone’s biographer, Christopher Frayling.
Aerial view of Sad Hill in July 2016. ampliar foto
Aerial view of Sad Hill in July 2016.

The documentary was initially set in the Sierra de la Demanda, the mountain range where Sad Hill was built – and restored decades later – but Oliveira ended up traveling to Rome, London and L.A. to complete the project. In so doing, he managed to contact individuals who had seemed completely out of reach in his bid to uncover the inner workings of Leone’s masterpiece, and to divulge the quixotic work of the Sad Hill Cultural Association, the group that began restoring the site in October 2015.

[Eastwood and Van Cleef chatting with a Spanish Civil Guard during a break]

Love of a legend

Sad Hill Unearthed is a love story about chasing down a legend until it comes within reach. It is also a story about “stubbornness,” jokes David Alba, one of the most active members of the Sad Hill Cultural Association. With help from volunteers who trekked to the cemetery site from several countries, and using nothing more than spades and hoes, the association slowly cleared the 15 centimeters of accumulated earth and vegetation from the stone circle where Eastwood, Wallach and Van Cleef once faced off.

Then, in order to restore the 5,000 graves (although Leone had dreamed of 10,000), it occurred to them to launch a Sponsor-a-Grave campaign to get people to contribute €15 and have their name marked on one of the crosses. As a result, volunteers have placed 4,500 crosses with the name of living people (and some deceased) in the spots that still stood out from the earth despite years of neglect.

Even before its formal release on Friday, Sad Hill Unearthed has already received several prizes, including one for best movie in the New Visions section of the Sitges Film Festival, and best technical and artistic contribution to the western genre at the Almería Film Festival.