September 12, 1981
SAN FRANCISCO – It all must have seemed sort of preposterous to Gene Quintano. Here he was, looking around at a group of Bat Area film writers in a fancy Wine Bin Room of the Stanford Court Hotel, finally a show-business triple threat – writer, actor and producer.
Ever since quitting his job as a Xerox salesman, Quintano, 35, has been struggling mightily for some kind of creative recognition. It’s what he wanted while he tried to make some money as a program director for retarded children. It’s what he wanted while he supplied himself as an English instructor and as a basketball coach.
After joining Xerox in Washington, D.C., he did surprisingly well for himself, even becoming sales manager for the D.C. area. He was as unhappy as ever.
After 4 ½ years, he quit and started an office-supply company, and then with friends Tony Anthony and Marshall Lupo, formed MadeEasy Ltd., a company that publishes and distributes games and books.
In between all these steps were moments of doubt and poverty, while he worked on the great American novel.
“First I read about 14 books of those in a couple of days and then I started writing. Actually, I wrote it with my mother (Dorothy Palmer Hines, an author),” he says. “We called it Weekend at the Villa. You know, one of those books where the promotion line reads: “What was the terrible secret behind the closed doors?”
But Quintano won his bet. Doubleday published the book, his one novel so far.
Then Quintano tried acting and appeared in some films and plays, but not in a role you’d remember. Finally, he and his buddies Anthony and Lupo headed for Europe to produce and star in spaghetti westerns in Spain.
That term is used to indicate the almost camp cowboy films the Italians still come up with. Spain is a major filming ground for these epics, which have their loyal audiences, mostly in Europe and the Far-East.
Finally, finally, the trio came up with their current gimmick – 3-D. They have made a spaghetti western, Comin’ At Ya, using a new 3-D camera and projector that, supposedly, improves the art that flourished briefly about 25 years ago.
Why make a spaghetti western with the same gimmick used for such films as Dial M for Murder and Kiss Me Kate?
“We went with our strength,” Quintano says seriously. “We knew how to make this kind of movie and we knew about production costs and problems in Spain. This wasn’t intended to be Shane or High Noon.”
Quintano admits that the movie’s storyline – which he wrote with Lloyd Battista and Wolf Lowenthal – hasn’t received raves from the critics, but the lines outside the theaters are very long in such places as Phoenix, Kansas City and Washington.
This happens to be a moment when special effects are especially exciting to movie audiences, the preponderance of whom have never seen 3-D before.
The Quintano-Anthony-Lupo film uses an Optimax Three camera. Unlike the 3-D of the ‘50s, the Optimax Three system converts an ordinary camera to 3-D simply with a contraption that fits on the lenses. It includes two separate lenses and a series of prisms.
Audiences still receive plastic eyeglasses that are polarized and bring the screen separations together. These are clear, but a word of warning: Don’t touch the plastic lenses. It will distort the polarization.
[submitted by Mike Hauss]