In the flesh at Anthology Film Archives Dec 5-8th, 2013
The first of many “In the Flesh” series had ended Sunday night December the 8th, with the grand finale 35mm print of Larry Revene’s Wanda Whips Wall Street, and many stars were in attendance.The festival was a complete success on many levels. Each night a different person or persons who were involved with each film came out and got to experience the 35mm screenings as well as participate in the Q/A sessions afterward. Each session was more amazing then we even expected, I mean none of us ever expected, brilliant -83 year old composer, Jack Urbont, to bust out with the Bumble Bee Tuna Jingle, which we wrote. More on that later. But anyone, who cared about the golden age 0f erotica and was in the NYC area was there!
The festival started on Thursday night Dec. 5 , where famed composer and lyricist, Jack Urbont, was on hand to discuss his role in Danny Steinman’s, High Rise, 1973. This film is about a woman(Tamie Trevor) who goes on one of the most amazing apartment hunts in NYC history. The film features a stand out performance by adult industry veteran, Harry Reems, where he, a model train set and Tamie Trevor all share in on the fun. There is also in insanely erotic threesome,featuring Jamie Gillis, and not too mention that over the top climax– a 20 minute orgy scene, with some great cinematography and editing. One of the best of 1973.
The 35mm print was in decent shape, and was UNCUT. There was laughter and the crowd was around 75-80 people. It was wonderful to see on the big screen. Before the film, a trivia session was performed were movie related questions were asked and the correct answer earned some really great golden age ephemera, like original press books, posters and even original 1/4 inch radio spots.
Afterward, there was a Q/A session with Jack Urbont-How was he involved? Why was he chosen?etc, etc, etc. He answered all of this and much more. First and foremost he brought a bunch of wonderful guests with him, including his wife, and he mentioned how proud he was of the job he did on the film so many decades before. The music is solid and it holds up. Jack also mentioned that the way he intertwined the theme of High Rise throughout the film was his biggest challenge and biggest success. He went on to let the audience know just how famous he was and it sort of stole the show. All of a sudden the patrons who stick around for the Q/A, including myself, were mesmerized with all of his musical conquests. Besides the fact that his father was a musician, he was clearly driven to let his music pave the way for his success. His resume reads like a “best of’ list of jingles and tunes from all the shows we grew up with. Don’t believe me? Have you ever heard the Soap Opera The Guiding Light? What about Mission Impossible?What about the Surperhero themes we all grew up with?The Hulk? What about Iron Man?How about that old famous Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bumble-Bee Tuna? Well, he wrote them all and so much more. That is really just the tip of the ice berg and what I was able to remember off the top of my head.
JACK URBONT- MARVEL SUPERHERO THEME SONG
Jack was very friendly with Herbert Steinman, Imago Films, and through Herbert, Jack met his son Danny. Danny Steinman was shooting this incredibly wacky and possibly ahead of its time film, in the apex of the Deep Throat Explosion and he needed someone to helm the music. Jack was friends with Herbert, he was also incredibly talented and the composer was found. He worked closely with Danny and was able to have the total freedom of playing with the theme and making it fit with each mini-segment of the film. The film itself plays like mini scenes and each one has a different theme, so the same music is used, but in way that is so sophisticated, it has not been done ever before. And remember this is not canned or library music, but original music and lyrics, composed specifically for this theatrical motion picture.
After the film ended, Jack was particularly impressed with his job, mainly in the sense that it has been decades since he has even seen the film and he still thinks the composition is sophisticated and even with his youth was produced with much professionalism. He also specified that they musicians that he was working with ,were the real deal, and had chops to prove it. He even mentioned it would be something that he would like to potentially revisit in the future. One thing for sure about Jack Urbont, is that he loves what he does and that is so refreshing.
Thankfully, we will be able to capture more of the magic of Jack’s life and his experiences in the film, when we do our commentary and interview for the re-release of the brand new scan from the negative. This is slated for a 2014 release and will have a remastered soundtrack as well!
HIGH RISE(1973) Hilarious and underrated classic telling the story of a girl looking for an apartment in the Big Apple. Top production values provided by Danny Stone (“Friday 13th”), with highlights including Harry Reems and a model train set, an extremely erotic lesbian threesome, and an 20 minute climactic orgy featuring the best adult film theme song ever. Featuring Jamie Gillis and Tamie Trevor.
The second night of the festival was to be all about Jonas Middleton’s, 1976, horror and sexually charged thriller, Through The Looking Glass. It is possibly the most sought after cult film of the golden age erotic filmmaking, but this one also has a soft or ‘R’ version. I have met with Jonas before and after contacting Middleton on a whim, he was more than wiling to fly into NYC and be involved with the screening and Q/A session to follow. We all met for a Ukranian meal a few blocks from Anthology and it was quite pleasant. Afterward, we headed into the theater in the rain and wet snow, but made it just in time for the screening to begin. His fiance was so gracious to allow me to share her umbrella with her. Both of them were dressed for success and it certainly showed.
As usual we did the trivia for the night. the items given away were TTLG DVD, posters, press book and most amazingly, an original radio spot on 1/4 tape. Jonas came up and introduced the film, he was so gracious and very poised.
The attendance was the highest for this night with approximately 120 patrons, lots of good energy. We knew it would be a good draw, as the films has roots in both Horror and Adult film communities. The characters, the plot and the music are tops notch, just like the other films in the series. For example, the composer for TTLG, was the same composer who worked on Friday the 13th, Henry Manfredini, and the similar string arrangements can easily be heard. The print was again totally complete, but had it fair amount of fade and splices.
The film concluded with a Q/A session between the director, Jonas Middleton and the curator of the series, Casey Scott. It was a very informative conversation. Many topics were covered, including the fact that Jonas is a recovering alcoholic, and has also taken god into his life in a very serious manner. He is a devoted Christian. He is not ashamed, but rather proud of his short stint in adult films. He also explained a bit more about is mindset and his intent fro making this film. He specified that he really wanted people to pay attention to the underlying themes of the film, sex, taboo, desire and consequence.
Jonas seems very excited to continue to work on the re-release of the film and we are in the process of working on details for the best possible restored release of this epic film. Since Jonas, has particular interest in the ‘R’ rated version, it will also be receiving a full restoration, and not just a transfer. This will possibly allow Jonas, to find some new and interested mainstream outlets for the film.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS(1976) Cult film par excellence, successfully blending adult and horror cinema into a legendary package. One of only 3 films made by the mysterious Jonas Middleton, “Through The Looking Glass” shows the descent of a beautiful rich socialite (Catherine Burgess) into a surreal, sexual hell. Featuring a career-best Jamie Gillis, the ever wonderful Terri Hall.
Saturday night was again another stellar event. The film was Take Off and our special guess was legendary director, Larry Revene. Larry did not direct this film, but he was on the second unit and also took a mass amount of stills from the set, all of which are in my possession. Many cast and crew showed up for the screening and it was a pleasure to welcome them all. Make-up artists, costume, music and actors- they were all there, it was very exciting and they were all proud to see their work on the big screen after all these years.
Trivia again was very special as original posters, press books and original radio spots were given away as prizes.
The Q/A was a bit leisure and ended up being a very welcome free for all, where many were standing up, yelling out questions, etc. It was really great and Larry just went with the flow.
After the Q/A there was a very nice vibe in the upstairs lobby of the theater where many of the cast and crew were able to catch up on lost time and reunite.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was that legendary adult industry veteran, Carter Stevens, came in to see the film, all the way from the Poconos. It was amazing to meet him after all these years and the fans were equally excited. I think he had fun.
(1978)One of the greatest adult films of all time. Superlative on every level, Armand Weston made a stunning visual treat that looks as fresh today as it did 30 years ago. The film is plot heavy, starting in the 1920s and following the hero’s escapades decade by decade through the 1970s. Starring Georgina Spelvin, Annette Haven & Leslie Bovee.
Then came the snow. Sunday night was the last night of the series and another storm of wet rain and snow hit the city. I was cold and windy, and kept a few people from coming out, but all in all, the outcome was very solid. The film for this night was Wanda Whips Wall Street,1982, a very witty and well shot film, with director Larry Revene in person, along with lead actress, Veronica Hart ( Wanda). Veronica was actually a surprise guest who flew in last minute to be a part of the series. Her presence lit up the event. The print itself was in very good condition, and Larry was thoroughly impressed with how the film has held up after all these years.
The trivia was quick and we introduced Larry and Veronica( Jane Hamilton), the crowd was very pleased with them both. The film went off with a theater full of laughter, some great music and lots of one liners. It is one of the co-sponsor’s, Joe Rubin’s, favorite films of the genre, so he conducted a thorough Q/A, which soon took on a force of it’s own. As with previous nights, many of the films cast and crew were in attendance, and on this night, the screenwriter, was gracious enough to show up with his wife and he even got involved with the Q/A, he just came right down the stage and grabbed the mic, it was gold. They all spoke of the film, Chuck Vincent, Editing and other topics. Afterward, there was a very long line of people waiting to see Larry, Jane and all the others.
It was an amazing night. Many of Jane’s friends had come out to the event as well. I got to finally meet Candida Royalle and spend some time with her, as well as reacquaint myself with Veronica Vera. Many people had said that it felt like a class reunion of the golden age.
Wanda Whips Wall Street(1982)
This is the first adult motion picture to probe and expose the sexy and exciting world of Big Money. Wanda, played by Veronica Hart, sets out to gain complete financial domination of a major securities firm. She uses methods both illegal and immoral in her quest for more of the corporation’s stock. Also starring Samantha Fox, Sharon Mitchell, Jamie Gillis.
Wanda Whips Wall Street is directed by Larry Revene, who was not only an excellent director in the 80′s, but has a tenure that goes back to the early 60′s, and continues through today, 2014. His early adult work began, when he helmed the camera for Bob Wolf and made many of the first loops in NYC, during the second half of the 1960′s. He also went on to continue to shoot for Wolf Productions on actual mini features or shorts. He became an incredibly pivotal part of the golden age of erotica in NYC, throughout the 70′s and 80′s, as a cinematographer, director, still photographer. He is certainly very well known for working with Chuck Vincent, of Platinum Pictures. Without going into great detail, Larry was literally one of the ‘GO TO” guy for the majority of directors of the day, from the Amero Brothers, Ron Sullivan, Armand Weston and others. He was a true professional and he got the job done. As the golden age came to end, Larry’s career and love for filmmaking continued to thrive, let’s just say it is in his blood. from Viet Nam to Iraq, Larry has been filming all over the world, he continues to make feature films as well as documentaries. Larry is an accomplished artist and painter as well. His work and his life are both full of absolutely incredible experiences, they are ones that books are written about, and that is just what Larry has done. He recently finished his first book, which is essential reading for any true fan of the golden age of erotic filmmaking.
Larry had copies of his books on hand and he sold quite a few of them, and signed them as well. Please do yourself a favor and grab your copy today.
All in all, In the Flesh ,was a total success, and the best part was being able to gather after each night and go out with a group of people for a few drinks, laugh and have some fun. I got to meet dozens of Facebook friends, and make new acquaintances. In fact, the conversation I had with Larry, over several pints of Blue Moon, after the Take Off screening, was one of the best times I ever had.That is what I will remember most about this series.