Film Review – THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975)

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975, UK/USA) ***½
Comedy, Musical
dist. Twentieth Century Fox (USA), Fox-Rank (UK); pr co. Twentieth Century Fox / Michael White Productions; d. Jim Sharman; w. Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien (based on the musical play by Richard O’Brien); pr. Michael White; ph. Peter Suschitzky (DeLuxe. 35mm. Spherical. 1.66:1); m/l. Richard O’Brien; ed. Graeme Clifford; pd. Brian Thomson; ad. Terry Ackland-Snow; rel. 14 August 1975 (UK), 26 September 1975 (USA); BBFC cert: 15; r/t. 100m.
cast: Tim Curry (Dr. Frank-N-Furter – A Scientist), Susan Sarandon (Janet Weiss – A Heroine), Barry Bostwick (Brad Majors – A Hero), Richard O’Brien (Riff Raff – A Handyman), Patricia Quinn (Magenta – A Domestic), Nell Campbell (Columbia – A Groupie (as Little Nell)), Jonathan Adams (Dr. Everett V. Scott – A Rival Scientist), Peter Hinwood (Rocky Horror – A Creation), Meat Loaf (Eddie – Ex Delivery Boy), Charles Gray (The Criminologist – An Expert), Jeremy Newson (Ralph Hapschatt), Hilary Farr (Betty Munroe), Pierre Bedenes (A Transylvanian), Christopher Biggins (A Transylvanian), Gaye Brown (A Transylvanian), Ishaq Bux (A Transylvanian), Stephen Calcutt (A Transylvanian), Hugh Cecil (A Transylvanian), Imogen Claire (A Transylvanian), Tony Cowan (A Transylvanian).
A colourful adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s cult musical play sees Sarandon and Bostwick as a newly engaged couple who have a breakdown in an isolated area and must seek shelter at the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-n-Furter (Curry). The production puts a capital C into Camp with Curry giving a powerhouse performance as the transgender doctor. The foot-tapping and witty musical numbers have translated well, and whilst the choreography is a little loose, it adds to the charm. Sarandon and Bostwick make a likeable hero/heroine pair and O’Brien is suitably spooky as Curry’s handyman. Whilst it could never replace the live experience, the film serves as a good document of a truly original work. US release was edited to 98m. Followed by SHOCK TREATMENT (1981).

Film Review – TWILIGHT (1998)

Image result for twilight 1998TWILIGHT (USA, 1998) ***
     Distributor: Paramount Pictures; Production Company: Cinehaus / Paramount Pictures / Scott Rudin Productions; Release Date: 6 March 1998 (USA), 4 December 1998 (UK); Filming Dates: 11 November 1996 – March 1997; Running Time: 95m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Dolby Digital; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: 15 – strong language.
     Director: Robert Benton; Writer: Robert Benton, Richard Russo; Executive Producer: Michael Hausman; Producer: Arlene Donovan, Scott Rudin; Associate Producer: Scott Ferguson, David McGiffert; Director of Photography: Piotr Sobocinski; Music Composer: Elmer Bernstein; Film Editor: Carol Littleton; Casting Director: Ilene Starger; Production Designer: David Gropman; Art Director: David J. Bomba; Set Decorator: Beth A. Rubino; Costumes: Joseph G. Aulisi; Make-up: Bron Roylance; Sound: Maurice Schell; Special Effects: Larry Fioritto, Ric San Nicholas.
     Cast: Paul Newman (Harry Ross), Susan Sarandon (Catherine Ames), Gene Hackman (Jack Ames), Reese Witherspoon (Mel Ames), Stockard Channing (Lt. Verna Hollander), James Garner (Raymond Hope), Giancarlo Esposito (Reuben Escobar), Liev Schreiber (Jeff Willis), Margo Martindale (Gloria Lamar), John Spencer (Capt. Phil Egan), M. Emmet Walsh (Lester Ivar), Peter Gregory (Verna’s Partner), Rene Mujica (Mexican Bartender), Jason Clarke (Young Cop #1), Patrick Malone (Younger Cop), Lewis Arquette (Water Pistol Man), Michael Brockman (Garvey’s Bartender), April Grace (Police Stenographer), Clint Howard (EMS Worker), John Cappon (Paramedic), Neil Mather (Young Cop #2), Ron Sanchez (Crime Scene Detective), Jack Wallace (Interrogation Officer), Jeff Joy (Carl), Jonathan Scarfe (Cop). Uncredited: Stephanie Beaton (Beth Koski), Jennifer Tolkachev (Sunbather), Ron von Gober (Man Walking Down the Street with Boy).
     Synopsis: Private eye Harry Ross lives in the garage of his movie-star, cancer-ridden friend Jack and is attracted to Jack’s wife Catherine. After elderly Lester Ivar shoots at Harry and then dies, Harry learns that Ivar was investigating the disappearance of Catherine’s first husband.
     Comment: Modern neo-film noir tries too hard to create the atmosphere of the 1940s in 1990s LA. The result feels a little incongruous. The strength of the story is with its cast. Newman is as good as ever as the private eye who is torn between his loyalties and doing the right thing. Hackman, Garner and Sarandon all deliver quality performances. Martindale also scores as a chancer with an incompetent accomplice. Bernstein delivers a moody but derivative score. Benton’s script tries hard to be convoluted, but underneath is a straight-forward story of blackmail and murder. The character interaction keeps the plot interesting, but the ultimate solution to the mystery is a little underwhelming.
     Notes: The Ames residence is actually the former Cedric Gibbons-Delores Del Rio home, and a never-completed Frank Lloyd Wright house near Malibu served as the Ames’ ranch house.