Thursday, December 06, 2007

Alert! "At Long Last Love" and "The Victors" sightings

Two lost films recently showcased here have been sighted...

Peter Bogdanovich's brilliant and criminally misunderstood film musical, "At Long Last Love," profiled here last May, has been plucked out of movie purgatory by San Francisco-based film buff Jesse Hawthore Ficks for a one-time showing at S.F.'s legendary Castro Theater at 7:30 p.m., Friday, December 7th.

The long-neglected film - Fox never bothered to issue it on home enterainment in any format - is part of a Burt Reynolds evening at the Castro, which will also include Reynold's other film musical, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982), also underrated; "Smoky & The Bandit," which gets a midnite screening, and scores of trailers from other Reynolds films.

Last May, I wrote of "ALLL": "Bogdanovich was arguably at his most creative on this movie, filming it in color but designing it largely in black-and-white, so that the only colors in the film are his actors' skin tones. He also enlisted his cast of game, nonprofessional singers to perform their songs live, every one of them, and despite the hasty assumptions that were made at the time of the film's release, the singing is fine here - more than fine actually, given that Shepherd, Kahn and Del Prete all sport trained voices, while Reynolds affects a soothing Dean Martin-style croon.

"To complement the stress-free singing, choreographer Rita Abrams kept her dance routines light and easy-going. The result is that the dancing here has the off-the-cuff, scratch-pad casualness of the in-between numbers in the Astaire-Rogers films. The film doesn't feel choreographed."

For more information, check out Fick's terrific site, Midnites for Maniacs (

* * *
In an August 29th essay, I profiled Carl Foreman's missing war epic from 1963,"The Victors."

The film will be televised on the Military Channel on January 19th. Hopefully, the three-hour epic, once considered a major film by its studio, Columbia, and now all but abandoned, will not be cut for broadcast.

(Artwork: Poster art for Peter Bogdanovich's "At Long Last Love" and Carl Foreman's "The Victors")


Julie said...

Thanks for the tip on ALLL. I love that movie!

Brian N. said...

I've always thought that this film got a raw deal - that the reviewers crituiqed the Bogdanovich-Shepherd relationship and not the wonderful film they made. The same thing happened to "Gigli," which isn't as awful as the press made it out to be. Of course "At Long Last Love" is much, much better than "Gigli." It deserves to be on DVD, dammit!

David said...

A bit of web surfing for info about "The Victors" brought out the piece you wrote on it. I consider myself tremendously fortunate to have seen it on Times Square in New York, uncut, just days after it opened. Unfortunately, this has also been a curse. Just weeks later, I excitedly dragged a friend out to see it and saw the devastation that had been perpetrated on the original version by studio hacks, apparently over-reacting to the mixed reviews that greeted its premiere. What a horror! The radically shortened edition is a decent film but wonderful sequences are gone and so much of its special atmospheric richness, the very thing that REALLY set it apart, was torn out of it.
Ever since then, I have been trying to discover if the excised footage went the way of the deleted scenes from Peckinpah's "Major Dundee". These were scrapped and lost forever. Do you imagine that anyone knows the truth about this? Might a decent copy of the original version still exist? Have you read the numerous statements that Pentagon brass so despised the film that they did everything possible to help bury it? Where can one turn for reliable answers to such questions? The internet seems so vast, yet so devoid of good leads regarding "The Victors".

Charly Mann said...

Hey Joe - At Long Last Love has been my favorite film since it was released. I even got a movie projectionist to dupe me a copy on 3/4 inch video tape in 1976 which cost me $900. Since then I have watched it at least 100 times and of course have several versions of the film.

I would love Bogdanovich to do a commentary of the movie. I wonder if you could contact him about doing this - and see if perhaps I could even pay him to sit down a record one.

joe baltake said...

Thanks, Charly! Check out this post on ALLL: