Thursday, 21 March 2013

Avco-Embassy, Joseph E. Levine guilty pleasure movies

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Joseph E. Levine was a movie producer who founded Embassy Pictures. He once said that you can fool everybody if the advertising is right. And he was a master. He produced classy pictures like "The Graduate", "The Producers", "The Lion in Winter", "Carnal Knowledge" and the war epic "A Bridge Too Far"; but mostly they were trashy but fun movies.

Being a teenager and a young adult in the 70's and early 80's I watched a lot of schlocky Avco Embassy films. Here's my guilty pleasures for what they are worth:

"The Carpetbaggers" 1964 roughly based on Howard Hughes, trashy = sex+Hollywood+planes+power, this ain't Scorsese's "The Aviator".
"Robbery" 1967, based on the Great Train Robbery in 1963.
"The Day of the Dolphin" 1973 Mike Nicholls directed this George C. Scott movie about training cute sea mammals to blow up the US President.
"The Manitou" 1978, Tony Curtis does horror (to pay his debts obviously)
"Murder by Decree" 1979 Christopher Plummer and James Mason (as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson) meet Jack the Ripper in this nifty Canadian production. Directed by Bob Clark - a versatile director - from teen flick "Porky's" (1982) to the delightful "A Christmas Story" (1983). Now that's a big jump!
"The Fog" 1980, John Carpenter horror
"Escape from New York" 1980, John Carpenter sci fi with Kurt Russell kicking butt.
"Scanners" 1980, David Cronenberg horror sci fi
"The Howling" 1981, Ground breaking werewolf makeup, Joe Dante has a lot of fun in this, avoid sequels.
"Swamp Thing" 1982, Wes Craven directed.


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