September 12: Remembering Psycho star Anthony Perkins

American actor Anthony Perkins, born April 4, 1932 died this day in 1992).

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his second film, Friendly Persuasion but is best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho and its three sequels.

His other films include The Trial, Phaedra, Fear Strikes Out, Tall Story, The Matchmaker, Pretty Poison, North Sea Hijack, Five Miles to Midnight, The Black Hole, Murder on the Orient Express, Mahogany, and Crimes of Passion.

While young, Perkins was a very shy person, especially in the company of women. According to the posthumous biography Split Image by Charles Winecoff, he had exclusively same-sex relationships until his late 30s, including with actors Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; and composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Perkins reportedly had his first heterosexual experience at age 39 with actress Victoria Principal on location filming The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean in 1971. He met photographer Berinthia “Berry” Berenson the following year at a party in New York City. They married when he was age 41, on August 9, 1973 and had two sons: actor Oz Perkins (b. February 2, 1974), and musician Elvis Perkins (b. February 9, 1976).

Diagnosed with HIV during the filming of Psycho IV, Perkins died at his Los Angeles home from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 60. His wife died nine years later, in the September 11 attacks.

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July 27, 1984 in UK cinemas: Star Trek III – The Search For Spock

“A Dying Planet. A Fight For Life. The Search For Spock.

“USS Enterprise, captain’s personal log. With most of our battle damage repaired we are almost home. Yet I feel uneasy, and I wonder why… Perhaps it’s the emptiness of this vessel. Most of our trainee crew have been reassigned; Lieutenant Saavik and my son, David, are exploring the Genesis planet, which he helped create; and Enterprise feels like a house with all the children gone. No… more empty even than that. The death of Spock is like an open wound. It seems I have left the noblest part of myself back there on that newborn planet.”

STIII-Kruge

Admiral James T. Kirk, finding out he made a mistake by leaving Spock on the Genesis planet, must disobey orders and hijack the hobbled Enterprise to retrieve his best friend. However, a rogue Klingon seeking the secrets of the “Genesis torpedo” puts Kirk’s mission – as well as the Enterprise, its crew, and Spock himself – in jeopardy. [memory-alpha.wikia.com]

STIII-TSFSStar Trek III: The Search for Spock is an American science fiction film directed by Leonard Nimoy and based on the television series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry. It is the third film in the Star Trek film series, and is the second part of a three-film story arc that begins with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and concludes with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). After the death of Spock (Nimoy), the crew of the USS Enterprise returns to Earth. When James T. Kirk (William Shatner) learns that Spock’s spirit, or katra, is held in the mind of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Kirk and company steal the Enterprise to return Spock’s body to his home planet. The crew must also contend with hostile Klingons led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) who are bent on stealing the secrets of a powerful terraforming device.

STIII-Destruct

Paramount Pictures commissioned the film after the positive critical and commercial reaction to The Wrath of Khan. Nimoy directed the film, becoming the first Star Trek cast member to do so. Producer Harve Bennett wrote the script starting from the end and working back, and intended the destruction of the Enterprise to be a shocking development. Bennett and Nimoy collaborated with effects house Industrial Light & Magic to develop storyboards and new ship designs; ILM also handled the film’s many special effects sequences. Aside from a single day of location shooting, all of the film’s scenes were shot on Paramount and ILM soundstages. Composer James Horner returned to expand his themes from the previous film.

The Search for Spock opened on June 1, 1984. In its first week of release, the film grossed STIII-Vulcanover $16 million from almost 2,000 theatres across North America. It went on to gross $76 million at the domestic box office, with a total of $87 million worldwide. Critical reaction to The Search for Spock was positive, but notably less so than the previous film. Reviewers generally praised the cast and characters, while criticism tended to focus on the plot; the special effects were conflictingly received. Roger Ebert called the film a compromise between the tones of the first and second Star Trek films. Nimoy went on to direct The Search for Spock’s sequel, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Read more at memory-alpha.wikia.com.

Watch the trailer on the Paramount Movies YouTube Channel.

July 16, 1982 in UK cinemas: Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Khan

“At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance.”

Admiral James T. Kirk faces his greatest challenge yet. Suffering through doubts about STII-Khanhis place in the galaxy, he is thrust into action once more against his most bitter foe – Khan Noonien Singh, who has escaped his exile on Ceti Alpha V and now seeks revenge on Kirk. With a powerful new device in the wrong hands and a no-win scenario in play, the cost of victory for the starship Enterprise may prove too high. [memory-alpha.wikia.com]

Stat_Trek_II-1982Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is an American science fiction film directed by Nicholas Meyer and based on the television series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry. It is the second film in the Star Trek film series and is a stand-alone sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). The plot features Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the starship USS Enterprise facing off against the genetically engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán), a character who first appeared in the 1967 Star Trek episode “Space Seed“. When Khan escapes from a 15-year exile to exact revenge on Kirk, the crew of the Enterprise must stop him from acquiring a powerful terraforming device named Genesis. The film is the beginning of a story arc that continues with the 1984 film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and concludes with the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

After the lacklustre critical and commercial response to the first film, series creator Gene Roddenberry was forced out of the sequel’s production. Executive producer Harve STII-Spock-DeathBennett wrote the film’s original outline, which Jack B. Sowards developed into a full script. Director Nicholas Meyer completed its final script in 12 days, without accepting a writing credit. Meyer’s approach evoked the swashbuckling atmosphere of the original series, and this theme was reinforced by James Horner‘s musical score. Leonard Nimoy had not intended to have a role in the sequel, but was enticed back on the promise that his character would be given a dramatic death scene. Negative test audience reaction to Spock’s death led to significant revisions of the ending over Meyer’s objections. The production team used various cost-cutting techniques to keep within budget, including utilizing miniature models from past projects and reusing sets, effects footage, and costumes from the first film. Among the film’s technical achievements is being the first feature film to contain a sequence created entirely with computer-generated graphics.

The Wrath of Khan was released in North America on June 4, 1982 by Paramount Pictures. It was a box office success, earning $97 million worldwide and setting a world record for its first-day box office gross. Critical reaction to the film was positive; reviewers highlighted Khan’s character, the film’s pacing, and the character interactions as strong elements. Negative reactions, however, focused on weak special effects and some of the acting. The Wrath of Khan is considered by some to be the best film in the Star Trek series, and is often credited with renewing substantial interest in the franchise. [Wikipedia]

The decision that the film was going to be about old age and friendship prompted Meyer to include a scene in which McCoy visits Kirk in his apartment and tells him that he should get his command back. With every alteration, the themes were woven tighter and tighter into the script. Ultimately, the film presented an aged Kirk in mid-life crisis. Uncertain of his place, of himself, Kirk must make the greatest sacrifice to find out where he truly belongs.

STII-KhaaaanUsing the original series episode “Space Seed” as a building block, Meyer built Khan into the ultimate adversary for Kirk. As he worked on his character, he imagined how enraged a man would be after being exiled on a desert world and losing his wife. Inevitably, Khan became obsessed with Kirk, who he saw as his nemesis. “Kirk was the fiend who had imprisoned him; who had stopped him up in the bottle. I think when Khan makes his appearance in the story, Kirk is flabbergasted. He did not lie awake thinking about Khan; Khan lay awake thinking about Kirk.”

Read more at memory-alpha.wikia.com.

Watch the trailer on the Paramount Movies YouTube Channel.

July 14 in US cinemas: For Whom The Bell Tolls, Son Of Paleface, The Wrath Of God, and The Swarm

Click on a poster…


“All the power and passion of Hemingway’s immortal lovers who clung together in the darkness before a thunderous dawn.”

1943: For Whom the Bell Tolls is an American war film produced and directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, Akim Tamiroff, and Joseph Calleia. The screenwriter Dudley Nichols based his script on the 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls by American novelist Ernest Hemingway. The film is about an American International Brigades volunteer, Robert Jordan (Cooper), who is fighting in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists. During his desperate mission to blow up a strategically important bridge to protect Republican forces, Jordan falls in love with a young woman guerrilla fighter (Bergman).

For Whom the Bell Tolls was Ingrid Bergman’s first Technicolor film. Hemingway handpicked Cooper and Bergman for their roles. The film became the top box-office hit of 1943, earning $7.1 million. It was also nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning one. Victor Young’s film soundtrack for the film was the first complete score from an American film to be issued on record. [Wikipedia]


1952: Son of Paleface is a Western comedy film from Paramount Pictures directed by Frank Tashlin and starring Bob Hope, Jane Russell, and Roy Rogers. The film is a sequel to The Paleface (1948). Written by Tashlin, Joseph Quillan, and Robert L. Welch, the film is about a man who returns home to claim his father’s gold, which is nowhere to be found.

Peter “Junior” Potter (Hope) has graduated from Harvard and now heads west to the town of Sawbuck Pass to claim his Daddy’s fortune. Driving into town in a jalopy and wearing a comical plaid suit, he splashes mud all over a crowd of townspeople. He also discovers to his horror that practically everyone in town claims to be owed a debt, and that his father’s treasure chest is empty.

Junior stalls the townsfolk for as long as he can, continually making allusions to his wealth. He makes the acquaintance of a singing cowboy named Roy (Rogers) and a sexy saloon performer with the masculine name of Mike (Russell), who has to fend off Junior’s persistent advances. A grizzled local character also befriends Junior and continues offering him advice, eventually finding the hiding place of his father’s hidden fortune. Meanwhile, a mysterious masked bandit known only as “The Torch” has been leading midnight raids.

What the wise-cracking, clueless Junior doesn’t know is that the object of his affections, Mike, is in fact The Torch, and that Roy is a government agent with a Smith & Wesson Model 320 Revolving Rifle hidden in his guitar case, bent on capturing her. [Wikipedia]


“Introducing ‘FATHER’ VAN HORNE.  He’s not exactly what the Lord had in mind.”

1972: The Wrath of God is an offbeat Western genre film filmed in Mexico. It starred Robert Mitchum, Frank Langella, Rita Hayworth and Victor Buono and was directed by Ralph Nelson. It is based on the novel by Jack Higgins writing as James Graham.

Van Horne (played by Mitchum), a bank robber dressed like a Roman Catholic priest, is spared from a firing squad in 1922 in an unnamed Central America nation and sent to kill a local desperado (Langella).

Scottish actor Ken Hutchison, who played Van Horne’s sidekick, Emmet Keogh, had a near catastrophic accident near the end of filming in which he cut himself on some broken glass, opening a gash from wrist to elbow. He was discovered by Mitchum’s wife Dorothy, who applied a life saving tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Since Hutchison was in nearly every scene, the insurance company covering the production shut it down for a month for him to heal. When he returned, he was unable to do anything strenuous, and had to keep the arm covered. With the long layoff, the cast and crew just wanted to get the film done, resulting in confusion, continuity gaps and dislocation. [Wikipedia]


“It is more than speculation… it is a prediction!”

1978: The Swarm is an American disaster-horror film about a killer bee invasion of Texas. It was adapted from a novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog.

The director was Irwin Allen, and the cast included Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, Jose Ferrer, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray (in his final film appearance), and Henry Fonda. It received negative reviews and was a box-office failure, and many consider it to be one of the worst films ever made. It did receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Paul Zastupnevich). [Wikipedia]

Killer bees from South America have been breeding with the gentler bees of more northern climes, slowly extending their territory northward decade after decade. Entomologist Brad Crane (Caine) has discovered that something is making them come together in huge, killer swarms. He wants to keep General Slater (Widmark) from using military tactics that might further upset the balance of nature as they join to try to stop the swarms from approaching Houston. [IMDb]

July 13 in US cinemas

Click on a poster…


 

 “IT FLOODS THE SCREENS OF THE WORLD WITH WONDERS NEVER BEFORE SEEN!”

1960: Hercules Unchained is a 1959 Italian-French epic fantasy feature film starring Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina in a story about two warring brothers and Hercules’ tribulations in the court of Queen Omphale. The film is the sequel to the Reeves vehicle Hercules (1957) and marks Reeves’ second – and last – appearance as Hercules. The film’s screenplay, loosely based upon various Greek myths and dramas, was written by Ennio De Concini and Pietro Francisci with Francisci directing and Bruno Vailati and Ferruccio De Martino producing the film.

While travelling, Hercules is asked to intervene in a quarrel between two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, over who should rule Thebes. Before he can complete this task, Hercules drinks from a magic spring and is hypnotized by a harem girl who dances the “Dance of Shiva”, loses his memory and becomes the captive of Queen Omphale of Lydia. The Queen keeps men until she tires of them, then has them made into statues. While young Ulysses tries to help him regain his memory, Hercules’ wife, Iole, finds herself in danger from Eteocles, current ruler of Thebes, who plans on throwing her to the wild beasts in his entertainment arena. Hercules slays three tigers in succession and rescues his wife, then assists the Theban army in repelling mercenary attackers hired by Polynices. The two brothers ultimately fight one another for the throne and end up killing each other; the good high priest Creon is elected by acclaim. [Wikipedia]


“A TROPICAL PARADISE, UNTOUCHED BY MAN…WHERE A BIZARRE CIVILIZATION EXISTS.”

1977: The Island of Dr. Moreau is a science fiction film, and is the second English-language adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel of the same name, a story of a scientist who attempts to convert animals into human beings. The film stars Burt Lancaster, Michael York, Nigel Davenport, Barbara Carrera, and Richard Basehart, and is directed by Don Taylor.

This movie is the second in A.I.P.’s H.G. Wells film cycle, which includes The Food of the Gods (1976) and Empire of the Ants (1977). [Wikipedia]

Shipwrecked Andrew Braddock washes ashore on a remote, tropical island in the Pacific. There he is attended to by the seemingly kindly Dr. Moreau and his dour assistant Montgomery. Also living in Moreau’s stockaded fort is the beautiful and exotic Maria, to whom Braddock is immediately attracted. The island’s natives appear very strange to Braddock, who questions both Moreau and Montgomery on their unusual appearances and behavior. Not satisfied with their explanations, Braddock discovers that these monstrosities are actually wild predator animals that have been imported to the island and, as a result of genetic manipulation and surgery, have taken on human characteristics, including rudimentary speech. Lionmen, hyenamen, bearmen, and other mutant monsters are kept in check by their fear of Moreau’s whip and surgical laboratory, “The House of Pain.” Disgusted by these unnatural experiments and cruelty, Braddock attempts to stop Moreau’s work… with tragic consequences. [IMDb]


 

“The greatest cowboy ever to ride into the Wild West. From Poland.”

1979: The Frisco Kid is an American western comedy film directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Gene Wilder as Avram Belinski, a Polish rabbi who is traveling to San Francisco, and Harrison Ford as a bank robber who befriends him. [Wikipedia]

It’s 1850 and newly-ordained orthodox rabbi Avram Belinski sets out on horseback from Philadelphia to San Francisco, knowing only that California’s “somewhere near New York.” Cowpoke bandit Tom Lillard hasn’t seen a rabbi before. But he knows when one needs a heap of help. And getting this tenderfoot to Frisco in one piece is going to cause a heap of trouble — with the law, Indians and a bunch of ruthless killers. [IMDb]


“The adventure of a lifetime is about to begin.”

1984: The Last Starfighter is an American space opera film directed by Nick Castle. The film tells the story of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), an average teenager recruited by an alien defense force to fight in an interstellar war. It also features Robert Preston, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Norman Snow, and Kay E. Kuter.

The Last Starfighter, along with Disney‘s Tron, has the distinction of being one of cinema’s earliest films to use extensive computer-generated imagery (CGI) to depict its many starships, environments and battle scenes. It is one of the first films to use CGI to represent “real-life” objects instead of digital graphics.

The Last Starfighter was Preston’s final film role. His character, a “lovable con-man”, was a nod to his most famous role as Harold Hill in The Music Man. There was a subsequent novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster, as well as a video game based on the production. In 2004, it was also adapted as an off-Broadway musical.

July 13, 1990 in UK cinemas: Blind Fury

“Nick Parker is quick as a snake, strong as bull…not to mention blind as a bat.”

Blind Fury is a 1989 American samurai action film written by Charles Robert Carner and directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a loosely based, modernized remake of Zatoichi Challenged, the 17th film in the Japanese Zatoichi film series. The film stars Rutger Hauer as Nick Parker, a blind, sword-wielding Vietnam War veteran, who returns to the United States and befriends the son of an old friend. Parker decides to help the boy find his father, who has been kidnapped by a major crime syndicate.

The film also stars Terry O’Quinn, Meg Foster, and Nick Cassavetes. [Wikipedia]

Nick Parker was a Vietnam vet who was blinded during the war. He was found by one of the local tribes, who taught him to enhance his remaining senses and to expertly wield a sword. On his return to the United States, he goes to visit an old Army buddy, Frank Devereaux (O’Quinn), but discovers that he and his wife (Foster) are divorced, and Frank no longer lives there. What they don’t know is that Devereaux was playing in a crooked casino in Reno and accumulated a large debt. The casino boss is willing to forgive his debt if he does something for him: Devereaux is a chemist, and they want him to make designer drugs. In order to make sure he does it, they try to kidnap his son. But Nick is there, and Nick saves the boy. Thus begins a road trip to Vegas to protect the boy and save his friend, with the boss’ henchmen in pursuit. [IMDb]

July 12 in UK cinemas: Doctor At Sea (1955) and Doctor In Love (1960)

“THAT DOCTOR IS BACK…and She-Sick!”

Doctor at Sea is a British comedy film, directed by Ralph Thomas, produced by Betty E. Box, and based on Richard Gordon’s novel by the same name. This was the second of seven films in the Doctor series, following the hugely popular Doctor in the House from the previous year. Once again, Richard Gordon participated in the screenwriting, together with Nicholas Phipps and Jack Davies, and once again Dirk Bogarde played the lead character Dr Simon Sparrow. The cast also includes James Robertson Justice and Joan Sims from the first film, but this time playing different characters. This was Brigitte Bardot‘s first English-speaking film.

With a view to escaping his employers’ daughter, who has amorous designs on him, Dr Simon Sparrow (Bogarde) signs on as medical officer on a cargo ship, “SS Lotus”. The ship is commanded by hot-tempered and authoritarian Captain Wentworth Hogg.

Sparrow overcomes initial seasickness and settles into life on board. After arriving in a South American port (unspecified, but possibly in Ecuador), Sparrow meets Hélène Colbert (Bardot), a sexy young French nightclub singer.

The misogynist Captain Hogg is forced to take on two female passengers, Muriel Mallet (Brenda De Banzie), the daughter of the chairman of the shipping company, and her friend, Hélène, for the return trip. Romance blossoms between Simon and Hélène, and when they reach home, Helene receives a telegram offering her a job in Rio de Janeiro. She and Sparrow return together.

Throughout the trip, Hogg has been romanced by Muriel and eventually becomes engaged to her – with almost certain promotion to Commodore.


“TAKE A DEEP BREATH…then laugh your head off at the comedy where the girls are medically chaste”

Doctor in Love is a British comedy film, the fourth of the seven films in the Doctor series, starring James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt and Michael Craig as Dr Richard Hare. This was the first film in the series not to feature Dirk Bogarde, although he did return for the next film in the series Doctor in Distress.

Dr Richard Hare is a recently graduated medical intern at St Swithin’s Hospital. When his new romantic interest, nurse Sally Nightingale (Moira Redmond), suddenly leaves the hospital, he is devastated. He also leaves after being offered a job in private practice. But when his senior partner, Dr Cardew (Nicholas Phipps), has to visit California for a few months, Hare is left in charge. Dr Nicola Barrington (Virginia Maskell) joins the practice and Hare is suddenly in love again.

The romance doesn’t go well, especially when Sally re-appears and takes the job of practice secretary. Nicola is hurt and stalks off. She is replaced by Dr Tony Burke (Leslie Phillips) who proceeds to airily order expensive equipment that the practice cannot afford. Hare struggles through various comedic and other complications, mainly stemming from Burke’s amorous attentions to female patients.

After enlisting Sir Lancelot Spratt’s assistance to save a young dying boy, he diagnoses Spratt with appendicitis and decides to operate, despite Spratt’s loud objections. He objects even more when Dr Burke fills in at the last moment as the anaesthetist. Despite Spratt’s vociferous protestations, the operation is a success.

Hare in reunited with Nicola and returns to St Swithins.

The film also stars Joan Sims, Liz Fraser, Irene Handl, Fenella Fielding, Nicholas Parsons, and John Le Mesurier, alongside a number of uncredited well-known actors such as Patrick Cargill, Joan Hickson, Sheila Hancock, and Peter Sallis. [Wikipedia]

July 12, 1961 in US cinemas: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea

“Voyage To Amazing Atomic Adventure…On Land…In Outer Space…And Under The Sea!”

When the Earth is threatened by a burning Van Allen Radiation Belt, US Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson plans to shoot a nuclear missile at the Belt using his experimental atomic submarine, the Seaview. [IMDb]

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is an American science fiction film, produced and directed by Irwin Allen, released by 20th Century Fox in 1961. The story was written by Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett. Walter Pidgeon starred as Admiral Harriman Nelson, with Robert Sterling as Captain Lee Crane. The supporting cast included Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Michael Ansara, and Peter Lorre. The theme song was sung by Frankie Avalon, who also appeared in the film.

The success of the film led to the 1964–1968 television version on ABC, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. During the run of the series this film was remade as a one-hour episode. The episode was written by Willam Welch and was titled “The Sky’s on Fire.” No mention is made in the episode of the skyfire ever happening before. This is one of several reasons that proves the film is not part of the television series’ continuity. Many of the scenes in the film became scenes or even episodes in the television series. [Wikipedia]

July 12, 1991 in UK cinemas: Henry – Portrait Of A Serial Killer

“The shocking true story of Henry Lee Lucas.”

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a 1986 American psychological horror crime film directed and co-written by John McNaughton about the random crime spree of a serial killer who seemingly operates with impunity. It stars Michael Rooker as the nomadic killer Henry, Tom Towles as Otis, a prison buddy with whom Henry is living, and Tracy Arnold as Becky, Otis’s sister. The characters of Henry and Otis are loosely based on real life serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole.

Henry was filmed in 1985 but had difficulty finding a film distributor. It premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1986 and played at film festivals throughout the late 1980s. Following successful showings during which it attracted both controversy and positive critical attention, it was rated “X” by the MPAA, further increasing its reputation for controversy. It was subsequently picked up for a limited release in 1990 in an unrated version. It was shot on 16mm in less than a month with a budget of $110,000.

There was no plan for a theatrical release for the film. McNaughton himself sent copies of the film to prominent film critics, hoping to attract attention and thus a distributor. The film premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival on September 24, 1986. and played at several festivals throughout 1988 and 1989, where it attracted increasing amounts of attention. This culminated in positive attention from Roger Ebert at the Telluride Film Festival in 1989. Atlantic Entertainment Group expressed interest in releasing the film theatrically but mandated that it have an MPAA “R” rating. The MPAA responded with an “X” rating, which was popularly associated with pornographic films at the time. This film, along with Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, were the instigation for the creation of an adults-only rating for non-pornographic films, NC-17. Its theatrical premiere was on January 5, 1990, during which it grossed $609,000, with a limited run in part due to the continued controversies surrounding the film.

In the UK, the film has had a long and complex relationship with the BBFC. In 1991, distributor Electric Pictures submitted the film for classification with 38 seconds already removed (the pan across the hotel room and into the bathroom, revealing the semi-naked woman on the toilet with a broken bottle stuck in her mouth). Electric Pictures had performed this edit themselves without the approval of the director because they feared it was such an extreme image so early in the film, it would turn the board against them. The film was classified ’18’ for theatrical release in April 1991, after 24 seconds were cut from the family massacre scene (primarily involving the shots where Otis gropes the mother’s breasts both prior to killing her and after she is dead). Total time cut from the film: 62 seconds.

A sequel, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part II, was released in 1996. The film was directed by Chuck Parello and starred Neil Giuntoli as Henry with Kate Walsh, Penelope Milford, Carri Levinson, and Daniel Allar in supporting roles. [Wikipedia]

July 12, 1950 in US cinemas: Winchester ’73

“The Gun that Won the West”

Winchester ’73 is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann starring James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea and Stephen McNally. Written by Borden Chase and Robert L. Richards, the film is about the journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another and a cowboy’s search for a murderous fugitive. The movie features early film performances by Rock Hudson as an American Indian, Tony Curtis, and James Best. The film received a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Written American Western. This is the first Western film collaboration between Anthony Mann and James Stewart. It was filmed in black and white.

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. [Wikipedia]