CineSavant Column

Tuesday July 19, 2022



Watch if you dare!   Correspondent Michael McQuarrie advances a link to chill the blood. Do you remember the song Burning Bridges that received some radio play during the release of the 1970 Clint Eastwood movie Kelly’s Heroes?  Here’s a hip & happening, downright Mod bit of non-choreography with a dance troupe & the composer Mike Curb lip-synching. The color is good, which only makes it more cringe-worthy: The Mike Curb Congregation!

 Mike also sends along this fairly well-known blooper bit with actor Don Rickles giving Clint Eastwood the business for a publicity camera on the set of Kelly’s Heroes. This is the most fun footage I’ve ever seen of Eastwood. He cracks up in a completely human, non-cool, non-controlled way. Pretty cute!
Don Rickles roasts Clint Eastwood on the set of Kelly’s Heroes, 1968.



Interesting news from Criterion: they’re upping their handsome Blu-ray of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead to 4K Ultra HD for an October release!

The not-so fab news is that, after 30 years of flat, open-matte video presentations, Criterion persists in ignoring the film’s original widescreen aspect ratio. It’s still gonna be flat-only.  NOTLD was one of the first Midnite Movies to play for years on Friday and Saturday nights, and it’s true that many theaters had bootleg 16mm prints that were of course shown flat. But the three times I saw it screened in Los Angeles in 35mm it was at a very satisfactory 1:85, and all the more scary for it. It was big and sharp and all the gory close-ups overwhelmed us.

Criterion has their issues like any other label, but we can’t count how many times they’ve gone to extra lengths to make sure a release was complete and correct.  Advisor Gary Teetzel also reminds us that director George Romero was once quoted as saying he preferred it flat, so fine,  let George be contrary.  They could have done an On the Waterfront multi-format release, to pacify the Weavers & Wellses of the world (and more power to those guys).

Is it possible that the rights-holders of Night of the Living Dead just insist that it be shown flat from now on, even though home TVs went widescreen twenty years ago?  Whatever. But hey, an original OAR is important, and not following through on this one smacks of condescenscion: ‘oh, it’s just a campy horror movie.’

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson