Time To Settle A Beef – With Beef!
If you know who Beef is, then you will be thrilled to hear about a terrific new special edition of Beef’s movie! It is, as the movie trailer proclaims:
“A Cinematic Odyssey Through The Rock Universe!”
Yes, welcome to the brilliance that is:
Phantom Of The Paradise!
This is one of my 5 favorite films EVER. It is Director Brian DePalma’s musical masterpiece, a re-telling of “Phantom Of The Opera”, set in the world of rock’n’roll. And it is SO great…it is also one of the most neglected classics of the 70’s – until now…
Here is the trailer:
“Our love is an old love baby, it’s older than all our years….”
The music in “Phantom Of The Paradise” is terrific – a great mix of musical styles that both lampoon – and honor – the musical styles of the 70’s. When my wife Alex and I got married, our first dance was to a song from this film, called “Old Souls.” Here is this beautiful ballad, sung by Actress Jessica Harper in this scene from the film….
Brilliant Music From Oscar-Winner Paul Williams!
That gorgeous ballad was written by the brilliant songwriter Paul Williams, who is a celebrated singer/songwriter – Williams took home the Oscar just a few years later for his song “Evergreen”, from “A Star Is Born” – Barbara Streisand’s re-telling of the classic Hollywood tale!
Paul Williams not only wrote the entire “Phantom” motion picture soundtrack, but he stars in “Phantom” as well!
More on Williams in a moment, but first, a quick recap of the brilliant “Phantom Of The Paradise”!
Paul Williams stars as the mysterious Record producer “Swan” – who steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leach. The disgraced and disfigured Leach plans revenge on Swan and his rock palace, The Paradise, and becomes “The Phantom”.
William Finley stars as Winslow Leach, a talented yet naive songwriter who falls in love with young singer Phoenix, played by Jessica Harper. After being betrayed by “Swan”, “The Phantom” begins to terrorize the Paradise. But there is a deal to be struck: Swan promises to make Phoenix a star if “The Phantom” writes all her music…
Winslow quickly learns there is more to Swan than meets the eye – the moment he has to sign his “lifetime” contact:
Swan: [holding a contract] It’s all here. Read it carefully, then sign at the bottom in blood. Messy, I know, but it’s the only way to bind. Tradition.
Swan: Ink isn’t worth anything to me, Winslow.
The film is a hilarious sendup of the 70’s music scene, as well as a bit of a horror film, and a poignant love story also. The musical soundtrack is full of great pop culture references, and the movie is brilliantly directed by Brian DePalma, whose next film was another of his many masterpieces, “Carrie”!
The movie is a terrific musical and a wicked send-up of the music industry. In one scene, Winslow breaks into a record pressing plant to get his music back…to near fatal results…
Great IMDB Trivia!
According to the website IMDB, the record press that disfigures “The Phantom” was a real pressing plant (it was an injection-molding press at an Ideal Toy Co. plant). Actor William Finley was worried about whether the machine would be safe, and the crew assured that it was. The press was fitted with foam pads, and there were chocks put in the center to stop it from closing completely. Unfortunately, the machine was crushed the chocks and kept closing! It was Finley’s speed and timing that saved him from being hurt, as he got his head out just in time. And his scream in the scene was real!
All Hail The Majesty Of “BEEF”!
Garrit Graham is hilarious in the film as “Beef”, the singer that Swan secretly plans to feature in the opening of The Paradise. “Beef” quickly realizes something is wrong, and wants out – especially when The Phantom visits him in his dressing room in a spot on, classic parody of Hitchcock’s shower scene from “Psycho.”
This is one of the film’s many classic highlights, made all the more enjoyable by the over-the-top performance by Graham:
Beef: “There really is a phantom. He was just in my shower. He threatened my life. He said his music was for Phoenix. Only she can sing it. Anyone else who tries, dies.”
Needless to say, but Beef was right!
The film is full of great songs that parody everyone from The Beach Boys to David Bowie and Kiss – but strangely, “Phantom Of The Paradise” was a box office bomb when it was released – but thanks to home video, it has become re-discovered as one of DePalma’s masterpieces…really worth buying, because as the tour manager says bitterly to someone waiting in line for the show:
“THIS CREEP GETS NO COMPS!”
Another classic line from the film – and now you can get the movie and so much more!
The film was released a few years ago in a blu-ray special edition that includes a new interview between Paul Williams and the Oscar-winning Director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape Of Water), who is a huge fan of the film!
Next up is a great film noir from 1978, starring Art Carney and Lily Tomlin, in what I think is here greatest film work:
“You wanna know somethin’, punk? You were born dumb and you’re gonna die dumb.”
Time to celebrate an Oscar-winning Actor who was also an action star – Art Carney! With so much celebration of the Academy Awards, here is a film starring Oscar winners and nominees, directed by an Oscar-winning Director – so much talent on such a neglected classic!
In 1974, legendary “Honeymooners” TV star Art Carney won Best Actor for his work in the film “Harry And Tonto.”
Here is one of the most unique Oscar photos ever: Best Actor Art Carney hugging Francis Ford Coppola, who won that year for the brilliant “The Godfather Part II”!
Now only was Carney brilliant in this sweet road movie about an old man and his cat, but he parlayed it into a multitude of film roles, including his work as an action star!
“The Nicest Movie You’ll Ever See About Murder And Blackmail!”
Time to celebrate one of the greatest 70’s films ever, the classic:
The Late Show!
Director Robert Benton created one of the best films of the decade – with a terrific cast including Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy and Joanna Cassidy. Benton would go on to win an Oscar for “Kramer Vs. Kramer”, but this late 70’s film noir look at LA is a neglected gem.
“Back in the Forties, this town was crawlin’ with dollies like you. Good-lookin’ coquettes tryin’ their damnedest to act tough as hell. I got news for you: they did it better back then. This town doesn’t change – they just push the names around. Same dames… screwin’ up their lives just the same way.”
That’s Art Carney speaking: a broken down gumshoe struggling to make rent, who has seen it all. He gets a new client, Lily Tomlin, who needs help finding her cat.
“Boy, it’s really lucky for you that I just happen to be a very self-destructive person.”
Tomlin has never been better as a woman full of self-doubt, paranoia and big big dreams! What happens next is one of the best tales of Hollywood noir ever, with terrific acting and a ton of recognizable faces in small roles.
If you only know Art Carney from The Honeymooners, his performance here is amazing, and Lily Tomlin is also outstanding – her best film work ever…
“The Late Show” is poignant, touching, full of action and twists, and oozing with the smell of Hollywood glitter and grime. Director Robert Benton was oscar-nominated for his script…
Carney Kicks Ass!
The best part of the film is Carney as a washed up private eye – who gets a chance to show that he’s a tougher guy than he looks…
There are SO many great supporting characters in this film, but none more memorable than Bill Macy, a veteran character actor from TV’s “Maude”, who is pitch perfect as a small time Hollywood hustler…
Macy captures perfectly the kind of small time hustler who Carney has to deal with as he tries to find Tomlin’s cat…the plot, however, is much much more than that, and a truly great gem of a movie…
Here is the film’s trailer – enjoy:
Finally, here’s a great moody thriller starring a very young Donald Sutherland, who is tracking down a missing businessman, right into the arms of Oscar-winning call girl Jane Fonda…
Jane Fonda won the Oscar For Best Actress in 1971 for her portrayal of a call girl who dreams of being a great Actress – and the killer she attracts in the process…
Donald Sutherland is John Klute – a small-town Detective whose friend has disappeared in New York City. The only clue is the friend’s connection with a call girl, Bree Daniels…
The film is a mystery, a thriller as a meditation on 70’s New York as well. According to her autobiography, Jane Fonda hung out with call girls and pimps for a week before beginning this film in order to prepare for her role. When none of the pimps offered to “represent” her, she became convinced she wasn’t desirable enough to play a prostitute and urged the director to replace her with friend Faye Dunaway.
The film highlights Jane Fonda’s ability to get under the skin of her character, making you believe she really is a prostitute who just wants to be a star…as she says:
“And for an hour… for an hour, I’m the best actress in the world, and the best fuck in the world.”
Jane Fonda’s Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech for this movie was one of the shortest in movie history: “Thank you…thank you very much members of the Academy and thank all of you who applauded. There’s a great deal to say and I’m not going to say it tonight, I would just like to really thank you very much.”
Bree Daniel: Tell me, Klute. Did we get you a little? Huh? Just a little bit? Us city folk? The sin, the glitter, the wickedness? Huh?
John Klute: Ah – that’s so pathetic.
Bree Daniel: Fuck off!
Here’s the film’s trailer:
There you go, three ways to explore 70’s cinema!
I you need more, try this incredible film about the destructive power of the media:
“Network” is more relevant today than ever!
See the story here:
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Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, Music, New York, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities