Posts Tagged ‘W.C. Fields’

In honour of Fast and Furious 6, let’s talk great car chase movies By Richard Crouse Metro Canada May 21, 2013

Fast-Furious-6This weekend Fast and Furious 6, the latest high-octane installment of the car crazy franchise, hit screens.

Along with it will come squealing tires, revving engines and some of cinema’s wildest car chases.

The auto chase is a movie staple, a tradition that dates back over 100 years of movie history.

The silent Keystone Cops films featured the first recorded car chases — a mix of slapstick, jalopies and rough-and-ready stunts — as far back as 1912.

Early Hollywood often played the chases for laughs. In The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields is taken hostage by a bank robber and forced to drive the getaway car.

In the chaotic chase that follows, the vehicle narrowly misses clipping the heads off bystanders as it flies over a ditch and slowly starts to disintegrate.

“The resale value of this car is going to be nil after you get over this trip,” says Fields.

Emanuel Levy, an American film critic, said, “Bullitt contains one of the most exciting car chases in film history, a sequence that revolutionized Hollywood’s standards.”

Lasting just nine minutes and 42 seconds, the filming of the scene took three weeks pairing Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback against the villain’s 1968 Dodge Charger 440 Magnum.

The chase was planned to run at 75 to 80 mph but ended up racing through the streets of San Francisco at speeds of more than 110 mph.

Several years later, The French Connection made Gene Hackman a star, won five Academy Awards and featured one of the greatest ever chase scenes.

The realistic looking chase was shot without permits on the streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

The sequence got a little too realistic for one car owner.

A hapless driver, at the corner of Stillwell Ave. and 86th St., who was unaware a film was being shot, was side swiped by Hackman’s car.

Director William Friedkin liked the shot and paid off the driver on the spot.

Chase sequences have gotten more expensive since the early ’70s.

Gone are the days where director John Hough could stage a wild chase between a lime green ’69 Dodge Charger and a helicopter in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry for peanuts.

John Moore, director of A Good Day To Die Hard starring Bruce Willis, says the chase scene in that movie cost $11 million.

They destroyed 132 cars, damaged another 518 and even flattened a Lamborghini. That one hurt, he said. “I’m a car fanatic.”

From Beerfest to The World’s End: The drunken buddy comedy strikes again By Richard Crouse Metro Canada August 21, 2013

the-worlds-end-pub632This weekend as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost embark on an epic pub crawl in The World’s End, they are continuing a Hollywood tradition of raising a glass in the movies.

“Tonight, we will be partaking of a liquid,” says Gary King (Pegg), “although we may return with a twinkle in our eyes, we will be in truth blind… drunk.”

Pegg and pals add a sci fi twist to their story, but at its heart it’s a boozy comedy.

W.C. Fields pioneered drinking on film. During his 1930s heyday he made a name for himself with snappy one-liners like, “A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”

He liked a cocktail off screen as well. On set he had an ever-present vacuum flask of mixed martinis he referred to as his “pineapple juice.” While shooting a movie in 1942 a jokester replaced his gin with real pineapple juice. After his first sip Fields shrieked, “Who put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?”

My Favorite Year, the 1982 Peter O’Toole comedy, was a fictional story based on a real life actor with a legendary taste for alcohol. O’Toole, a hellraiser who once went for a drink in Paris and woke up in Corsica days later, plays a character based on Errol Flynn’s appearance on Sid Caesar’s television program Your Show of Shows. Premiere Magazine ranked the performance number 56 on their 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time list.

More recently Beerfest celebrated ale quaffing in a story based on the von Wolfhausen family tradition of spreading relatives’ ashes on the official ground of the Munich Oktoberfest.

This down and dirty ode to drinking beer stars the members of Broken Lizard—the comedy troupe that gave us Super Troopers and Club Dread—and only has a 41% rating at Rotten Tomatoes but is worth a look if only to see someone drink their way out of a vat of lager.

In Barfly Mickey Rourke plays Henry Chinaski, an alcoholic writer and alter ego to real life poet and “crown prince of self-abuse” Charles Bukowski. “Anybody can be a non-drunk,” he slurs. “It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance.” He was so convincing in his portrayal that when Bukowski died The New York Post ran a picture of Rourke from Barfly rather than a photo of the poet.