The essential guide to movies of the ‘60s & ‘70s
Edited by Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall
Published by Solo Publishing
PO Box 1570
BH23 4XS, England
With its third edition now available, Cinema Retro
continues to mine the films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, predominantly those genre pictures that range anywhere from Don Knotts comedies and Hammer vampire movies to Jaws
and The Wild Geese
. Following the lead of their previous issues, the magazine is literally crammed with pictures, articles brimming with production anecdotes, interviews, the proverbial kitchen sink.
In this issue the central feature is author/filmmaker Mike Siegel’s extensive and heartfelt tribute to Sam Peckinpah. Starting with an overview of the director’s topsy-turvy career, Siegel examines the creation, post-production debacle and recent restoration of Major Dundee
, provides an equally dense essay on The Getaway
and a diary on the making of Passion & Poetry
, his own Peckinpah documentary: “Filming took place in four countries on two continents for a period of almost two months…The highs and lows included meeting movie legends on a very personal level…searching for rare footage (and finding it)…and glorious prospects.” Navigating away from academic readings of Peckinpah’s films, Siegel balances sober reflection with ardent fan appreciation—and just in time to whet one’s appetite for the upcoming North American DVD editions of Ride the High Country, The Ballad of Cable Hogue
, and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
There are scads of rare photographs from cover to cover, lending a ‘scrapbook’ feel and giving the impression of having been assembled in a sweaty romantic fervor. It carries over into the writing as well, and the magazine really has less to do with the history or art of cinema than skillfully conveying an unabashed passion for a specific time, place and product. When Don Knotts relates the creative process that fueled such ‘60s matinee chestnuts as The Shakiest Gun in the West and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken—the interview is titled “Knotts Landing”—it’s delivered with unwavering respect and admiration.
Hence, the zany chasm distancing Knotts from Peckinpah—How to Frame a Figg
from Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
, say—becomes immaterial. Earnest and committed, the editors and contributing writers derive equal pleasure from the sublime as well as the mundane. You’ve gotta love it: colorful reminiscences of Sophia Loren and the James Bond movies by stuntman Vic Armstrong; actress Madeline Smith expounding on her ‘modest’ cup size (“A frantic producer…feared I might not be able to satisfy the euphemistic ‘Japanese market’”), breast enlargement through yogurt (!), and her Hammer movie, The Vampire Lovers
; to such present-day concerns as three-day festival at Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the filming of Jaws
, and the ribbon-cutting ceremony for ‘Once Upon a Time in Italy,’ an exhibition dedicated to Sergio Leone at the Autry National Center in California.
Slick in appearance but a fanzine in spirit, Cinema Retro
doesn’t devote space to high-priced ads, and claims that paid subscribers are necessary for its survival. Given that it’s generally as entertaining as the films it profiles, a subscription could be a reasonable and sound investment.
Copyright © 2005 by Ray Young