Wednesday, November 14, 2018

RIP James Greene

James Greene, a character actor with an illustrious stage career perhaps best known for his four-year stint on TV’s “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,” died on November 9, 2018 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 91. Born in  Lawrence, Massachusetts on December 1, 1926. He graduated from Emerson College in 1950 and made his Broadway debut in 1951 in Romeo and Juliet starring Olivia de Havilland. His films include Road to Perdition, Patch Adams, The Hustler, The Lincoln Conspiracy, The Missouri Breaks, and The Philadelphia Experiment II. His most recent television appearances were in “Parks and Recreation” as Councilman Milton, “Modern Family,” “Cold Case,” and “Las Vegas.” Frank appeared as Frank McLowery in the 1971 Euro-western ‘Doc’ starring Stacy Keach and Faye Dunaway.

Lee Van Cleef was an iconic presence in the veteran villain category of film

Poughkeepsie Journal
By Larry Robinson
October 17, 2018

Veteran villain Lee Van Cleef was reportedly preparing to retire when he got a call from director Sergio Leone, offering him a plum role in "For a Few Dollars More," the second of Leone's trio of Man with No Name Westerns, starring Clint Eastwood.

The movies were international blockbusters, and while Eastwood made a triumphant return to Hollywood, Van Cleef stayed in Europe, becoming the most readily  recognizable Americano in the Spaghetti Western genre, along with Charles Bronson ("Il Brutto"!) and Jack Palance.

Many of the films Van Cleef made were low budget throwaways, like the truly terrible "The Grand Duel," with a plot that couldn't be unraveled by Agatha Christie. He did make a few good ones, like "The Big Gundown," with Walter Barnes, and the 1967 "Death Rides a Horse," an intense revenge oater directed in a no-nonsense manner by Giulio Petroni. He was no Leone, but he did have an eye for parched landscape and staging of gun duels.

I first saw Van Cleef as one of the Miller gang in "High Noon." In 1957 he got knifed by Kirk Douglas in "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and was later manhandled by the Duke himself, in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Van Cleef also made gangster movies, like Phil Karlson's excellent "Kansas City Confidential."

It's said that Van Cleef gave three directives to all his directors, even John Ford: He would not menace a child, kill an animal or murder a woman, no matter how evil his character. Except for his rough treatment of a dance hall hostess in Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," he pretty much stuck fast to his code of bad guy conduct.

In "Death Rides a Horse," Van Cleef is Ryan, an aging outlaw released from a brutal desert prison. He was left for posse bait by his very own gang, and now wants to say an unfriendly hello to those who betrayed him, and then escaped.

The film begins with a shocking massacre in a small ranch house, which Petroni lit only by flashes of gunfire and lightning, during a ferocious storm. The gang wants a payroll, though Ryan never draws his gun and, instead, runs outside to mind the horses.

A sole survivor of the slaughter is Bill (a laconic John Phillip Law) who grows into an expert with weaponry and a quick-draw whiz. Bill wants the same outlaws Ryan seeks, but also wants Ryan, as he can recognize him by a tattoo, and believes him one of the murderers. It's a stewpot of nitro, and director Petroni knows when and where to set it off.

While the rousing climax is a steal from "The Magnificent Seven," it's a terrific large-scale action sequence, with Ryan and Bill acting as very wary allies. I won't spoil the ending, but it's hardly a surprise. Petroni wisely confronts the clichés in the genre without blinking.

Van Cleef always played "his age" so Ryan is a pipe-sucking father figure, dispensing gunfighter advice to the reckless Bill. With anything Van Cleef did there was always a "tension" created by his past villainous roles. We wonder — is he a "good/bad guy" or a "bad guy"? Van Cleef, by 1969, was an iconic presence, for sure!

I first saw "Death Rides a Horse" in a perfect setting: a fully packed Times Square "grindhouse" with a loud and quite happy male audience. Petroni knew he wasn't making a classic, but his movie is trim, taut and enjoyable.

Too bad Leone and Van Cleef never worked together again; with or without the Man with No Name.

Who Are Those Guy? ~ Michel Charrel

Michel Pierre Victor Charrel was born in Tarare, Rhône, France on September 13, 1936. Coming from a family of peasants and miners, Michel Charrel was a miner in Saint-Etienne for seven years, then worked in Paris as a writer, before starting a career of intermittent entertainment, as an actor and TV technician. He offered his pen to a help young Muslim woman to testify to her physical and psychological suffering. He is an actor whose career began in 1962 and he’s appeared in over 140 films and TV series. He’s also been an assistant director and is best known for his appearances in “Belle de Jour” (1967), “Her and She and Him” (1970) and “Gandahar” (1988). Charrel has also been active as a theater actor in over 10 plays and stage productions. His lone Euro-western appearance was as Ringo in the 1973 film “The Girls of the Golden Saloon”

CHARREL, Michel (Michel Pierre Victor Charrel) [9/13/1936, Tarare, Rhône, France -     ] – asisstant director, theater, film, TV actor.
The Girls of the Golden Saloon – 1973 (Ringo)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Enzo Castellari interview

Enzo G. Castellari: "My tough cinema between cowboys and executioners"
The director of "Keoma" and "The citizen rebels" from the mess with his father to the association with Franco Nero up to the tribute of Tarantino.

[Enzo G. Castellari with Franco Nero on the set of Keoma]

Il Tempo
By Davide Di Santo
October 30, 2018

The name of the Girolami family is carved in the history of Rome. Literally, because the statue of the boxer at the Stadio dei Marmi has the features of Marino Girolami, then European champion and later director of comedies among the most prolific and appreciated. Gathering the witness, since the '60s, the founder of a family that has gone through Italian cinema since the post-war period has been Enzo G. Castellari (where G. stands for Girolami), cult director like Keoma, Il grande racket , The shark hunter, I go ... I kill him and I come back, The police incriminates, the law acquits ...

Nero, the protagonist of many of his films, said: "I chose to work with Castellari because they all spoke ill of me". Why, according to you?
«After some experience to help I immediately switched to directing and this has caused some envy. Also because in those years the films to do were many and the competition was very high. Being a son and nephew of directors and an actor's brother, they thought I had a lot more chances. And it's true, what luck I had! I had left to do something else. I graduated in architecture but the DNA eventually won. And then I had to help my father make a movie a month. While he was preparing the scenes and shooting, I was dedicated to editing and mixing the previous film and so on, it was a chain. He also directed six films a year, and I enjoyed myself like crazy. "

What was the most important meeting for your career?
"There are many. Like the one with Alberto De Martino in '66 (director and screenwriter: Il Consigliori, L'assassino è ... on the phone) at the western village of the Balcazar brothers in Barcelona. So many people walked around there, they gave you horses and extras, but it was quite disgusting. I had to help in a spaghetti western by José Luis Madrid, a bad director. When we found ourselves in Rome, De Martino proposed me as an aid to a film in which they did not want "horse", that is stuntman and masters of arms. So I started walking alone. The first director was a film that my uncle Romulus could not shoot. The stroke of the class was the choice of the title: I go ... I kill him and I come back, like Eli Wallach's sentence in Il buono, the ugly and the ugly of Sergio Leone. He made a bang, also because the title often decrees the success of a film. It is the theory of mecoglioni and 'sti cazzi, which I learned from De Martino. Just say the title of the film aloud, and see which one of the two options comes out spontaneously ... Another dogma of De Martino was: the lame laughs, the blind man blows, the mother who speaks little more! They are the small "laws" of genre cinema ".

Do you like today's Italian cinema?
"No, because boredom reigns. The great beauty of Sorrentino will also have won the Oscar, but two balls ... Beautiful images, eh, but it is a copy of Fellini. Among the directors of today I like the Manetti Bros and Matteo Garrone. With Marcello Fonte, the protagonist of Dogman awarded in Venice, I also shot a short film in which he played a pedophile ».

Manetti and Garrone, directors who often draw from the genre cinema ...
"They're not the only ones. Stefano Sollima (directed the TV series Romanzo criminale and Gomorra </ CF> and the films Suburra and Soldado) knows all my films. De Cataldo, the magistrate author of Romanzo Criminale, I met him in court and he told me: «Maybe I did you the movie ...».

The directors of "policemen" have always been branded as fascists. You have the aggravation of always wearing the black shirt ...
"I've got it right now, but that's because I'm a little color-blind, so I have all the same coats so I can not be wrong! I tell you one thing. A few years ago I was in a social center where they projected The citizen rebels. At the time of the debate I took the floor: "They always gave me the fascist and the right-wing extremist, but do you know that my grandfather was killed by a squad because he was a friend of Matteotti?" Frost. My father later found them all. One pretended to be a priest, another had moved to a village. And he charged her, one by one. But the point is another. In that film criminals ruin the life of a good person who, while the state does nothing, is forced to take justice alone. Well, if this means being fascist then yes, I'm fascist. Even the boys from the social centers proved me right ».

The Rome of the 60s was the cradle of cinema, but not only.
"I think I lived in the most beautiful moment of humanity. In the most absolute sense. In Fregene I often met Ennio Flaiano. What a genius. With my wife we ​​often entertained with her daughter, who had great health problems. He knew about this couple who dedicated time to that unfortunate creature, and came to thank us. A beautiful relationship was born ".

Even the meeting with his wife seems like the beginning of a film.
"I knew that we were kids, at the slow motion of editing. I chased it for years. "

Quentin Tarantino was inspired by his Inglorious bastards for the almost homonymous film. It's a nice tribute.
"A great honor. When we reviewed my film together, he played all the lines by heart. He laughed like crazy, and he smashed my shoulder with punches! Fuck you man !, he repeated. What laughter. He is a fan of our cinema, he has seen everything. Even The hateful eight, in certain atmospheres remembers Keoma, my best movie. Among my favorites there is also Il grande racket, with Fabio Testi. And the Shakespearean western Johnny Hamlet. Too bad for the Italian title, That dirty history of the west. It makes you say: and sticazzi ... ".