Review: "The Big Knife" (1955) Starring Jack Palance And Ida Lupino; Blu-ray Special Edition From Arrow

  • CinemaRetro
By John M. Whalen

In 1988 Oscar-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant (“In the Heat of the Night”, “The Poseidon Adventure”) got fed up with what he called “the eel pit of Hollywood,” and moved to Thailand to start a new life. According to the La Times, he’d grown tired of the power plays, the egos, the hypocrisy and the dictum that homage must be paid to the box office. He left and never came back.

Hollywood has always had its dark side-- just read “Hollywood Babylon.” Silliphant’s “eel pit” was never a more apt description than when, a few years later in 2015, the film industry was rocked by WikiLeaks release of some really nasty Sony emails that gave a glimpse into what powerful producers and studio execs really thought of some of their stars. Scott Rudin called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat.” Clint Culpepper called Kevin Hart “a whore,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

'In the Heat of the Night' at 50: Why Sidney Poitier Wouldn't Go South of the Mason-Dixon Line (Guest Column)

'In the Heat of the Night' at 50: Why Sidney Poitier Wouldn't Go South of the Mason-Dixon Line (Guest Column)
was a young Canadian filmmaker who had made the transition from TV when producer Walter Mirisch sent him a script. Written by Stirling Silliphant, it was a low-budget drama set in the South — an adaptation of a 1965 novel by John Ball ­— about a black police detective who gets caught up in a murder investigation. Jewison liked it immediately, but he put Silliphant through six months of rewrites to create what would became 1967's In the Heat of the Night. The film won five Oscars, including best picture, adapted screenplay and lead actor for Rod...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Review: Manos: The Hands of Fate, a B-movie for the ages

Manos: The Hands of Fate is a film I’ve been reading about for quite some time. Infamous for its ineptitude, it’s one of those “so bad it’s good” kind of movies that has achieved cult status due to its terrible acting, nonsensical plot, and technical errors. Shot in the 60s, it was written and directed by Harold P. Warren, an insurance salesman who, according to legend, made a bet with visiting location scout Stirling Silliphant that he could film a horror movie with an extremely limited budget. And that he did. What he didn’t do, however, was direct a particularly compelling or even scary motion picture. The stories about Manos are infamous, and could be considered more interesting than the film itself. It...

[Read the whole post on]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Newswire: R.I.P Tom Neyman, “The Master” from Manos: The Hands Of Fate

Tom Neyman, best known for his role as The Master in the 1966 cult classic Manos: The Hands Of Fate, died on Saturday. His daughter, Jackey Neyman, who also appeared in the film as young Debbie, shared the news on Facebook, stating that Neyman “has now transcended to become Manos. #HeIsAlwaysWithUs.” He was 80.

Born in 1935, Neyman—a professional artist—was active in community theater throughout the ‘60s. His only film credit is Harold P. Warren’s Manos: The Hands Of Fate, made famous by Mystery Science Theater 3000 and deemed “The Worst Movie Ever Made” by Entertainment Weekly. Made as a result of a bet with In The Heat Of The Night screenwriter Stirling Silliphant for a budget of $19,000, Manos featured local theater actors and models and was shot on 16mm, with all dialogue and sound effects dubbed in during post-production. Manos premiered on November 15 ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Five Days One Summer

The great Fred Zinnemann's last feature is a very personal story, a fairly uncomplicated drama with a mountain climbing backdrop. Sean Connery plays older than his age as a Scotsman on an Alpine vacation, toying with social disaster. With excellent, non- grandstanding performances from Betsy Brantley and Lambert Wilson. Five Days One Summer DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1982 / Color / 1:85 enhanced widescreen / 108 96 min. / Street Date July 12, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Sean Connery, Betsy Brantley, Lambert Wilson, Jennifer Hilary, Isabel Dean, Gérard Buhr, Anna Massey, Sheila Reid, Emilie Lihou. Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno Film Editor Stuart Baird Original Music Elmer Bernstein Written by Michael Austin from the story 'Maiden Maiden' by Kay Boyle Produced and Directed by Fred Zinnemann

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Fred Zinnemann is a filmmaker that I've come to admire, as much for his personal integrity as for the movies he made. He could be inconsistent and
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Drive-In Dust Offs: Village Of The Damned (1960)

Presenting murderous moppets on screen is always a dicey proposition. For every The Bad Seed or The Omen, there is always The Good Son or Mikey skulking about. It’s all about the fear – making a five or ten year old believably frightening is hard to do. As audience members, we put our faith in filmmakers to produce tension, conflict, and danger in a palpable (but not necessarily plausible) way, and when it’s tested we end up wading through Children of the Corn. But when our faith is rewarded, we find ourselves in the Village of the Damned (1960), a seminal killer kid chiller.

Based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, Village was produced by MGM’s British division and distributed there in July, with a December rollout in the States. The film was a great success, both with critics and audiences alike, luring them in with
See full article at DailyDead »

200 Greatest Horror Films (140-131)

Special Mention: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

Directed by Dario Argento

Screenplay by Dario Argento

1970, Italy

Genre: Giallo

One of the most self-assured directorial debuts of the 70’s was Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Not only was it a breakthrough film for the master of Giallo, but it was also a box office hit and had critics buzzing, regardless if they liked it or not. Although Argento would go on to perfect his craft in later films, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage went a long way in popularizing the Giallo genre and laid the groundwork for later classics like Deep Red. A difficult film to discuss without spoiling many of its most impressive and famous scenes, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a fairly straightforward murder mystery, albeit with many twists, turns and one of the best surprise endings of all time. But
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on the Relevance of ‘Bridge of Spies’ and Coens’ Contributions

Reteaming for the first time in over a decade, Steven Spielberg‘s Bridge of Spies follows Tom Hanks the true story of James B. Donovan as an unblemished Brooklyn lawyer who becomes involved in defending a suspected Kgb agent (Mark Rylance). The snappy, propulsive part-courtroom drama, part-international thriller held its world premiere at the New York Film Festival, but shortly before the director and his cast gathered to discuss the making of the project.

We’ve highlighted the most worthwhile discussion points, including an original iteration half-a-century ago that never went into production, the relevance of the film today, collaborating with Joel and Ethan Coen, who co-wrote the script, Spielberg’s updated thoughts on the state of Hollywood, and much more. Check it out below.

Steven Spielberg on Finding the Story and Gregory Peck’s Original Iteration

Upon coming to the material, Spielberg said, “I knew nothing about this story two years ago.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Dirty Harry’s Dregs, or a Franchise Learns Its Limitations

Clint Eastwood revisited Harry Callahan three more times, usually whenever his career was in the dumps. If Dirty Harry was a cultural phenomenon and Magnum Force a respectable follow-up, the rest are uninspired cash-ins. The main law Harry enforces in these sequels is the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Given Dirty Harry‘s San Francisco setting, something like The Enforcer (1976) was inevitable. After all, San Fran hosted Haight-Ashbury, hippie capital of the world; was a favored site for Black Panther and Sds protests; headquarters of the nascent gay rights movement; victim of Weathermen bombings and the racially-charged Zebra murders. Writers Gail Morgan Hickman and S.W. Schurr based their script, originally titled “Moving Target,” on the Symbionese Liberation Army which kidnapped Patty Hearst. Dean Riesner (who cowrote the original Harry) and Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night) polished the film.

Harry battles the People’s Revolutionary Strike Froce, led by
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Trailers from Hell Inspects 'The Lineup'

Trailers from Hell Inspects 'The Lineup'
Today on Trailers from Hell, Josh Olson takes a look at Don Siegel's savage 1958 thriller "The Lineup," the big screen adaptation of the 1950s TV series starring Warner Anderson. Warner Anderson, star of the long-running early fifties TV show "The Lineup," repeated his role in 1958's big screen version but the real stars of director Don Siegel's brutal thriller were Eli Wallach and Robert Keith as a pair of sociopathic crooks and, of course, Siegel himself who masterminded several lethal set pieces including the hair-raising climax (involving a chase on an unfinished freeway). Seasoned TV writer Stirling Silliphant ("Route 66," "Naked City") was responsible for the screenplay and cinematographer Hal Mohr ("The Wild One," "Destry Rides Again") lensed the appropriately gritty black and white San Francisco landscapes.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The Lineup

Warner Anderson, star of the long-running early fifties TV show The Lineup, repeated his role in 1958's big screen version but the real stars of director Don Siegel's brutal thriller were Eli Wallach and Robert Keith as a pair of sociopathic crooks and, of course, Siegel himself who masterminded several lethal set pieces including the hair-raising climax (involving a chase on an unfinished freeway). Seasoned TV writer Stirling Silliphant (Route 66, Naked City) was responsible for the screenplay and cinematographer Hal Mohr (The Wild One, Destry Rides Again) lensed the appropriately gritty black and white San Francisco landscapes.

The post The Lineup appeared first on Trailers From Hell.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

‘The Sopranos’ Leads WGA List of Top TV Series

The Writers Guild of America on Sunday unveiled its list of the “101 Best Written TV Series of All Time,” topped by HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

The mob drama created by David Chase (pictured above right with “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini) led the list over such perennial faves as “Seinfeld” (which ranked No. 2), “All in the Family” (No. 4), “Mash” (No. 5) and “The Wire” (No. 9).

On the other end of the list was a three-way tie between the original NBC “Late Night with David Letterman,” FX’s “Louie” and HBO’s intense prison drama “Oz.”

The list, the results of online voting by members of the WGA West and WGA East, immediately spurred debates over the rankings and omissions. The TV tally was a follow-up to the WGA’s “101 Greatest Screenplays” member survey conducted in 2006.

The WGA’s complete list of TV series follows:


The Sopranos


Created by David Chase


See full article at Variety - TV News »

100 + Greatest Horror Movies (Pt.1)

Throughout the month of October, Editor-in-Chief and resident Horror expert Ricky D, will be posting a list of his favorite Horror films of all time. The list will be posted in six parts. Click here to see every entry.



150: Session 9

Directed by Brad Anderson

Written by Stephen Gevedon and Brad Anderson

2001, USA

If there was ever a perfect setting for a horror movie, it would be the abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital. Built in 1878 on an isolated site in rural Massachusetts, it was a multi-acre, self-contained psychiatric hospital rumoured to have been the birthplace of the pre-frontal lobotomy. The hospital was the setting for the 2001 horror film Session 9, where an asbestos clean-up crew discover a series of nine tapes, which have recorded a patient with multiple personalities, all of which are innocent, except for number nine. With a shoestring budget and no real special effects, Session 9
See full article at SoundOnSight »

'In the Heat of the Night': 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Sidney Poitier Classic

They called it the "Slap Heard 'Round the World." It happened partway through "In the Heat of the Night" -- a movie released at the height of racial tensions during the Civil Rights Era exactly 45 years ago (on August 2, 1967) -- in a scene where a bigoted Southern cotton plantation owner slaps Sidney Poitier (and Poitier slaps back just as hard). Years of deferential behavior, both from Poitier in saintly role-model performances, and from every black actor ever to perform in a Hollywood movie, halted with a mighty thwack. It's one of the most memorable moments in film history and helped earn "In the Heat of the Night" the Best Picture Oscar that year. Even today, the scene remains brutally effective, a reminder of how much has changed in 45 years, and how much has not. The film -- in which a racist Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger) and a haughty black police
See full article at Moviefone »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Slender Thread

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Oct. 16, 2012

Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95

Studio: Olive Films

Anne Bancroft and Steven Hill star in The Slender Thread.

The 1965 film drama The Slender Thread marks the filmmaking debut of director Sydney Pollack (The Firm).

The movie deals with a young woman named Inga Dyson (Anne Bancroft, The Graduate), who takes an overdose of prescription pills and calls a crisis clinic for help. College volunteer Alan Newell (Sidney Poitier, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?) fields the call and tries to keep the suicidal woman on the line while asking the police to trace down the caller.

Boasting a supporting cast that includes Telly Savalas (TV’s Kojak), Ed Asner (JFK) and Dabney Coleman (TV’s Boardwealk Empire), The Slender Thread was written by Stirling Silliphant (The Towering Inferno) and based upon an actual incident reported in Time Magazine. Additionally, the film features a rousing score by Quincy Jones
See full article at Disc Dish »

China is Making a Post-Apocalyptic Movie Based on an Unfinished Bruce Lee Script

Apparently sometime between his untimely death in 1973 and becoming the biggest Asian movie star in the world, martial arts legend Bruce Lee was working on a script called “The Silent Flute” with actor James Coburn and Hollywood screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. The film is supposedly set 800 years in the future, in a post-apocalyptic dystopian society. Although it’s apparently sci-fi-ish, given that Lee came up with the idea and was writing it, I’m guessing it’s also heavy on the martial arts. Originally titled “The Silent Flute”, the film is now on the slate of China’s National Film Capital, the country’s State-run/State-financed/State-controlled investment into films that will incorporate Chinese actors/storylines with Hollywood moviemaking know-how. “The Silent Flute” will feature two male leads, one from China and one from Hollywood (re: an Asian and a Caucasian actor), with an eye towards International markets. (Update: I’ve
See full article at Beyond Hollywood »

Restoring 'Manos': Cult Film's Fate in Good Hands

Harold P. Warren’s Manos: the Hands of Fate is one those adorably odd micro-budgeted films that have garnered a strong cult following because of an astonishing, unclassifiable “otherness.” Complete with actors who appear to be hypnotized, bizarre dubbed dialogue and myriad moments of 'whaaaa?', Manos is less a film than it is an experience. A fairly trippy experience.

It was made far and away from the typical Hollywood system, defying category, logic and basic narrative structure. Shot in El Paso, Texas, in 1966, the film was the result of a bet Warren made with screenwriter Stirling Silliphant (The Poseidon Adventure). The two struck up a conversation at a coffee shop while the writer was in town shooting a film. Warren told Silliphant that making a movie would be easy and bet him that he could shoot one entirely on his own. Using local theater actors and a script that
See full article at Planet Fury »

Ten Terrific War Movies You Probably Never Heard Of

I’ve always been a war film buff, maybe because I grew up with them at a time when they were a regular part of the cinema landscape. That’s why I read, with particular interest, my Sound on Sight colleague Edgar Chaput’s recent pieces on The Flowers of War (“The Flowers of War Is an Uneven but Interesting Chinese Ww II Film” – posted 2/20/12) and The Front Line (The Front Line Rises to the Occasion to Overcome Its Familiarity” – 2/16/12) with such interest. An even more fun read was the back-and-forth between Edgar and Sos’s Michael Ryan over the latter (“The Sound on Sight Debate on Korea’s The Front Line” – 2/12/12), with Michael unimpressed because the movie had “…nothing new to add to the war genre,” and Edgar coming back with “…‘new’ is not always what a film must strive for. So long as it does well what it set out to do…
See full article at SoundOnSight »

DVD Release: Route 66: The Complete Series

DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

Price: DVD $129.99

Studio: Shout! Factory

George Maharis( l.) and Martin Milner get their kicks on Route 66.

Shout! Factory gets its kicks with the release of the 1960 road tip drama television show Route 66: The Complete Series which marks the first time all four seasons of the show have been issued as one set.

Created by Academy Award-winning writer Stirling Silliphant and producer Herbert Leonard, Route 66 follow the lives of two young men: Yale graduate Tod Stiles (Martin Milner, TV’s Adam-12), an intellectual who has led a privileged and sheltered life, and Buz Murdock (George Maharis, TV’s The Most Deadly Game), a tough young man raised in “Hell’s Kitchen” who’s been struggling his entire life just to survive. When his wealthy father dies, Tod finds himself unexpectedly penniless with just one possession, a Chevrolet Corvette. On a quest to find
See full article at Disc Dish »

David Rayfiel obituary

Hollywood script doctor favoured by Sydney Pollack

Like certain potentates who travel with a personal physician, the director Sydney Pollack almost always had his own script doctor close at hand to revitalise a sick screenplay. David Rayfiel, who has died of congestive heart failure aged 87, was called in on the majority of Pollack's features, usually for a few weeks, in order to fix specific problems, rewrite here and there, and add and subtract lines. Though well remunerated for his work, Rayfiel was usually given no screen credit.

However, the spotlight was sometimes turned on him, such as when Robert Redford called Rayfiel "the unsung hero of almost every picture Sydney Pollack and I have made together". When Out of Africa (1985) won the Oscar for best picture, Pollack thanked Rayfiel for "keeping us honest" and Kurt Luedtke, upon accepting the Academy award for his screenplay of the same film, also acknowledged Rayfiel.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Credited With | External Sites