CineSavant Column

Saturday February 4, 2023



Gary Teetzel forwards this link to the official Syracuse University listing for The Forrest J. Ackerman Papers, which you will be happy to know is a collection that occupies 351 linear feet in the Syracuse Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center.

We of course read ‘4-E’ for years as kids. Plenty of us wrote him and it’s amusing to see names of friends and notables listed in his ‘You Axed for It’ columns. I’ve heard a few odd claims made about Ackerman but believed Bill Warren’s descriptions of him as an earnest enthusiast and self-promoter who could be generous at times. We were hoping that the contents of the Amazing Ackermansion would end up in some organized collection or museum, and weren’t all sure where all those valuable books, posters, props and keepsakes now reside.

This list of the official holdings at Syracuse give an idea of the different sides of Forrest Ackerman’s life as a career—fan, literary agent, and editor. The listings span the history of sci-fi fandom from the earliest days to the 21st century. Forry began by writing figures like Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.P. Lovecraft and ended up trading letters with Peter Jackson. The correspondence list reads like a Who’s Who of science fiction and horror authors.

The introductory notes clear up things a little bit — some of the Ackermansion’s treasures reportedly ended up in Seattle. It’s also amusing to learn that Forry’s own writings earned him the title of ‘honorary Lesbian’ — we didn’t hear that promoted in Famous Monsters of Filmland.

The guy was definitely a big force in fandom. If you’re ready to be bombarded with pro-Ackerman info and accolades, slip over to the Mr. Monster page, at



Seattle is just a week or so away from its 2023 Noir City film estival, to be held at a venue called the SIFF Cinema Egyptian, from February 10-16.

Dapper Eddie Muller, host, raconteur and Noir authority will be there in person for the first three nights — he’s been the voice of the style going on twenty years now. If Seattle’s Noir City gatherings are anything like our Hollywood shows, it should be some guaranteed classy nights out on the town — appreciative audiences, fun distractions, and solid movie experiences of the communal kind. It’s not a ‘museum’ environment.

Eighteen films in seven days — one can parse the full list with other info at the Noir City Seattle page.



What’s this ugly image about?  Helpful correspondent John Charles read last Tuesday’s CineSavant Marco Polo review, and responded to the ‘mystery’ of a ‘missing’ shot in the movie. I explained in the review that when I saw the American-International release as a small boy, I was struck by a gory cutaway to a skewered corpse in the bottom of a treacherous torture pit. In the ‘Export Version’ on Kino Lorber’s disc, there is no cutaway.

John Charles obtained this screen grab, from some awful video from a faded surviving print. Tim Lucas apparently wasn’t kidding when he said the A.I.P. cut of Marco Polo was just not available, nowhere, no-how. Until the Kino disc, this may have been the best the movie looked.

It does look like a shot from the original shoot, with the same actor. In a decent color transfer I think the impression would be a LOT of blood.

But it’s good to know that I didn’t just imagine the cutaway. The lack of a cutaway in Kino’s Export Version plays a little strangely. We don’t know what Marco Polo (Rory Calhoun) sees when he looks into the hole in the floor. I’d assume the poor victim fell into a bottomless pit or something.

Perhaps the Italians provided sub-distributors with a ‘kit’ of extra editorial materials?  Nothing so violent or graphic happens anywhere else in the movie. We can imagine Nicholson saying to Arkoff: ‘Look, nobody complained too loudly at the gore in Black Sunday, and this relatively tame show needs something.‘ Maybe the optical folk that added VFX to Reptilicus painted in some extra gore . . . ?

Thank you, John Charles !

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson