Ask 411 10.22.12: Make Sure This is Column is in its Full and Upright Position!
Posted by Leonard Hayhurst on 10.22.2012
What would have happened with the 007 franchise if Pierce Brosnan had become Bond before Timothy Dalton did? Is Argo a great movie? Is the Richard Gere/gerbil story true? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
What Leonard Recently Watched
I saw Argo and call it the second best film I've seen this year behind The Avengers. I think Ben Affleck could develop into the next Clint Eastwood. Both have a straight forward, no nonsense style and rely on the performances and story to carry their films while putting in the little touches to set off the characters and dramatic tension. Even though history tells us the outcome of events, the final half hour is still pretty riveting. Alan Arkin and John Goodman are great in their small, but pivotal parts, with polished performances. The whole style and composition reminded me of a 1970s political thriller, which fits perfectly and was what Affleck was going for.
Obscure Television Series of the Week
Title: Sister Kate
Air Dates: Sept. 16, 1989, to July 30, 1989
Cast: Sister Kate Lambert as Stephanie Beacham, Jason Priestley as Todd Mahaffey, Erin Reed as April Newberry, Hannah Cutrona as Frederika Marasco, Penina Segall as Hilary Logan, Harley Cross as Eugene Colodner, Alexaundria Simmons as Violet Johnson, Joel Robinson as Neville Williams, Gordon Jump as Lucas Underwood
Premise: Redemption House was a church ran orphanage with some precocious youngsters that had driven away three priests. Enter Sister Kate, who was transferred without her request from an archeological dig. Why a nun was on an archaeological dig, I have no clue. The kids eventually learn they can't drive Kate off and they form a sort of dysfunctional family dealing with standard sitcom plot lines.
Ask 411 Remembers
Actor and talk show host Gary Collins, 74, died Oct. 13 of natural causes. He was married to former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley and was the host of Hour Magazine and The Home Show. He was a regular on The Wackiest Ship in the Navy, The Iron Horse, The Sixth Sense and Born Free. He also hosted the Miss America pageant for several years.
Soft core adult film star Sylvia Kristel, 60, died of cancer Oct. 17. She was star of the Emmanuelle series and did some legitimate films such as The Fifth Musketeer and Concorde...Airport '79, which is talked about below.
English actor John Clive, 79, died Oct. 14. He was an author and stage actor, but was in several films such as The Italian Job, A Clockwork Orange, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Yellow Submarine as the voice of John Lennon.
Q: If you have seen "Concorde ...Airport '79" do you think it was intended as a thriller/disaster movie with some funny moments or as a 100% comedy parody of previous movies in the "Airport" franchise? The movie definitely has some intended laughs such as Martha Raye with her urinary "urgency" and the cameo with Charo. But so much of the action and plot looks like a joke: George Kennedy sticking his hand out the cockpit window to fire a flare gun, Cicely Tyson traveling with a heart for an operation in France, all passengers reboarding the same jet one day after the flight from hell. The only good performance in the movie was Avery Schreiber as the Soviet coach with a deaf daughter.
A: As Michael L mentioned in the comments last week, Roger Ebert did a hilarious review of the movie questioning all of the scientific impossibilities in the script. An overview of the whole Airport series was actually part of my first column.
The original Airport was a huge hit and launched the disaster movie craze of the 1970s, even though critics hated it and it's considered to be one of the worst movies ever to earn a best picture Oscar nomination. Naturally, sequels followed the first successful movie and devolved with every outing. They kept trying to top themselves with the situations the plane and passengers found themselves in, which also upped the camp and soap opera elements. While it doesn't seem intentional by producers, Airport '79 can't help but be a self-parody thanks to finally reaching the bottom of the barrel in direction, writing and star power. The budget was actually pretty robust for the time at $14 million, but it only earned around $13 million at the box office and film goers finally caught up with the critics on their hate.
Q: Last week you were talking about the transitions between the actors that played James Bond and how Pierce Brosnan almost stayed on for Casino Royale. I know he was supposed to take over the part back in the late 1980s, but it went to Timothy Dalton instead. How do you think the franchise would have gone if Brosnan would have took over then? Would his movies have been successful where they weren't with Dalton?
A: Roger Moore decided to retire from the James Bond franchise following A View to a Kill when he discovered he was a few years older than the mother of Bond girl Tanya Roberts. Producers settled on Pierce Brosnan for the new Bond, who was starring on Remington Steele for NBC. Ratings were down and it looked like the program would be canceled at the end of the fourth season. However, due to fan support and a ratings spike based on people wanting to see the new Bond, the show was renewed. Due to filming commitments for the series Brosnan couldn't play Bond and female lead Stephanie Zimbalist lost out on the female lead in RoboCop, which went to Nancy Allen. Without Brosnan being Bond, the ratings went back down and the show was canned halfway through the fifth season.
Timothy Dalton was actually a candidate to be Bond all the way back in 1967 with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but he declined the part thinking he was too young at 23. He starred in two Bond movies, The Living Daylights in 1987 and License to Kill in 1989. Both were box office flops, mostly due to being a huge tonal shift from the lighter and campier Roger Moore flicks. There was also a huge tonal shift in popular culture with the end of the cold war. I think the Bond franchise needed a break and it wouldn't have mattered if Brosnan was in the role at that time or not. I think the movies probably would have came off about the same and the films would have done just about as well with fans and critics.
Dalton had signed for four pictures and The Property of a Lady was set to come out in 1991. However, the failure of License to Kill, the death of screenwriter Richard Maibaum and legal wrangling over rights halted the production. The six year break wasn't by design, but I think it was needed as a palette cleanser. Dalton was reportedly offered to come back for what became Goldeneye, but declined. So, it's possible that Brosnan could have stayed on for Goldeneye and history would have been the same. However, it's also possible that producers wouldn't want him back or he wouldn't want to come back because of what happened with the previous two films. Could Dalton have been given his shot then? Hard to say as he might have been too old to start in the role at 50. Others considered for the part at the time were rumored to have been Mel Gibson, Sam Neill, Hugh Grant, Lambert Wilson and Liam Neeson, Today, we realize how bad ass Neeson is and apparently Cubby and Barbara Broccoli were very high on Neill, going back to the previous casting round in 1986. It's incredibly hard to say who would have wound up with the part and how that would have effected the success of Goldeneye, but I get the general sense that Brosnan probably would have hung on.
Q: How do certain trailers get put on certain movies? Can it change after a movie comes out? I ask, because I saw Ted a few weeks after it came out and turned out to be a surprise hit. The trailers before it were a bunch of B-comedies, which fits Ted before they knew how big it was going be. You would think for a big movie they would want to promote other big movies before it.
A: According to an article I found on Slate, there are usually six trailers before any given movie. The studio of the released film picks two and the other four usually comes from theater executives after consultation with studio executives. Most stick to the quadrant system, targeting one of the four different key audience demographics. These would be men under 25, women under 25, men over 25 and women over 25. So, a comedy like Ted that appeals to men under 25 predominately would have trailers for other movies that hit that age range.
Sometimes an R-rated film will get red band R-rated trailers, because they can't be shown in front of other movies. Sometimes 3D movies will have trailers for other 3D movies, because they can't be shown before a 2D movie because people aren't wearing 3D glasses. Theater chains will also try to keep major studios happy by showing an equal amount of trailers from one studio across all its theaters. So Warner Bros. gets 20 percent, Paramount gets 20 percent, etc. One a movie is released, the trailers are pretty much set. So, even if a movie like Ted proves to be a bigger hit than first thought, the trailers before it probably won't change.
Q: Count on me to bring the discussion down in to the gutter here but many years ago, there was rumor about Richard Gere and a "gerbilling" incident. Did anything ever come of that? Has he ever addressed the rumor? And have their been any other A-lister Urban Legends out there similar to his situation. Thanks and I'm sorry?
A: According to Snopes, the main website for debunking myths and urban legends, gerbiling is not a common sexual practice and there has never been a documented case of a hospital or doctor having to remove a gerbil from a person's rectum. While it is practice for homosexuals and heterosexuals to shove objects up their rear for sexual gratification, the gerbiling story is usually meant to show how depraved homosexuals are and will be leveled against celebrities who are suspected to be gay.
Apparently the story has been circulating since the mid-1980s with it being most associated with Richard Gere. Following the release of Pretty Woman and a rise in Gere's popularity, some prankster faxed a press release to various Hollywood area businesses allegedly from the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals claiming Gere abused a gerbil. A reporter from The National Enquirer researched the story and could find no truth to it, and that's coming from the Enquirer.
One of the first major Hollywood scandals involved alleged kinky sexual practices of silent film comedian Fatty Arbuckle. In short, aspiring actress Virginia Rappe died of a ruptured bladder shortly after attending a party Arbuckle was at. Rappe's friend claims Arbuckle raped her, although there was not evidence to support the claim. At first it was said Arbuckle's overweight frame caused the rupture, then it was that he raped her with a chunk of ice, then later still the rumor became he raped her with a Coca-Cola or champagne bottle. Apparently, Rappe suffered from chronic bladder infection that really flared up when she drank. She was also the subject of several back alley abortions. It's been theorized by author Andy Edmonds, as posted on Wikipedia, that Arbuckle possibly bumped or struck Rappe during the horseplay at the party, which caused the rupture due to her medical conditions. Rappe apparently did say something like "Arbuckle did it" and "he hurt me" without accusing him of rape and Arbuckle did use ice to rub on her stomach to help alleviate the pain at the party according to witnesses.
"Governments change... the lies stay the same."