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Apocalypse Now

Dog eared Apocalypse Now programme

To celebrate the three disc blu-ray release of Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ I have reproduced this extract from the official programme produced for the original theatrical screenings in 1979. It’s a log detailing the shooting of the movie, which in fact became a movie in its own right ‘Hearts of Darkness’ – included in the new release. The author is unknown.

March 20, 1976

First day of shooting. The crew on the navy PBR (Patrol Boat River) is filmed at a salt pond 2 ½ miles outside Manila. The Philippines were chosen because of similarity to Vietnam terrain and availability of US made surplus helicopters and other vital equipment which the US Defense Department refused to make available. Shooting falls behind due to difficulty of coordinating production elements including jets, helicopters, boats and dangerous special effects.

April 26, 1976

Martin Sheen, cast by Coppola after a chance meeting at LA airport, reports to the set in Baler, Luzon. It now becomes clear that that the original sixteen week shooting schedule will have to be extended.

May 15, 1976

Baler shooting is finished, including scenes of Robert Duvall led Air Cavalry attack on village and surfing sequence. A simulated napalm drop consumes 1,200 gallons of gasoline in 90 seconds. Company moves to Iba, near Subic Bay, planning for six weeks shooting.

May 18, 1976

Typhoon Didang destroys sets, equipment and forces evacuation of cast and crew to Manila. Damage is estimated to be at least $1.3 million not including production delays. Most of the company is sent back to the United States to wait while new location is set up in Pagsanjan.

July 27, 1976

Crew returns and relocates to Pagsanjan, a town two hours drive from Manila. New sets are built on high ground because of rainy season now underway. Sets include Intelligence Compound, Vietnamese village, Hau Phat (Playboy Bunny stage), Do Lung Bridge and Kurtz temple compound.

August 7, 1976

Shooting begins on Do Lung Bridge scene in which the 150 foot bridge is blown up by the Viet Cong. The bridge erected by the crew on piling of an old span that had been demolished in World War II, washed away in the typhoon and was reconstructed in order to be destroyed in the film. More than 500 smoke bombs, 100 phosphorus sticks, 1,200 gallons of gas, 50 water explosions of 35 sticks of dynamite each, 2,000 rockets, flares, tracers and 5,000 feet of detonating chord are used in the 1 ½ minute finale.

September 3, 1976

Marlon Brando arrives. He reads ‘Heart of Darkness’ and shaves his head for the Colonel Kurtz role. A tribe of 264 Ifugao Philippine aborigines is quartered at Pagsanjan to play the parts of Kurtz Montagnard followers. The sacrifice of the caribou, one of the films last scenes, is a real ritual slaughter by the Ifugao, caught on film.

Playboy Bunnies with the Director

December 3, 1976

More than a 1,000 Anglo extras are recruited from Manila and environs – students, businessmen, tourists – for filming of the Hau Phat USO Bunny sequence. The Bunnies, introduced by rock impresario Bill Graham, are Cyndi Wood (1974 Playmate of the Year), Linda Carpenter and Colleen Camp.

March 5, 1977

Martin Sheen is hospitalised in Manila as a result of heat exhaustion. Some shooting continues around him using doubles; even his brother is flown in from the US for specific scenes. Sheen, still under medical supervision, returns to work on April 19, 1977.

April 26, 1977

The puppy-sampan scene is shot using Southern Vietnamese refugees who have escaped their country by boat only two weeks previously.

May 21, 1977

The 238th and last shooting day in the Philippines. Coppola addresses the crew at day’s end. “I’ve never in my life seen so many people so happy to be unemployed”. Apocalypse Now, originally budgeted for $12 million is fast becoming a $30 million war epic.

The new release is available from Amazon

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Great Bolshy Yarblockos!

40 Years of Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’

This last week saw A Clockwork Orange receive a gala screening at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate 40 years since release, but the controversy this time will centre round Lars Von Trier’s Hitler comments at the festival rather than the ‘Ultraviolence’ of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, a change that is perhaps not unexpected. Read More Here

posted by Glen Baldwin in Films and have Comments Off

Classic Cover No 19

Christiane F: Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo Soundtrack – (We Children of Zoo Station)

- David Bowie 1981

In celebration of my Archive colleague’s jaunt to Berlin over the next few days, this week’s featured cover is from David Bowie’s soundtrack album to the German film Christiane F, set amongst the teenage drug scene of West Berlin in the late 70s/early 80s.

Christiane F had been a sensation in Germany. In 1978 two journalists from the weekly news magazine Stern had been covering a court case of a man who had been accused of buying sex from under-age girls with heroin, and they approached one witness, who had got clean by this time, Christiane Felscherinow about her background story. An interview that was scheduled for two hours lasted two months and was serialised in the magazine to the shock and shame of German society. The interest in the story of a young girl’s plummet from respectability through family break-up, casual soft drug use to harder drugs and prostitution, was phenomenal as taboos were shattered in discussing teenage sex and drug use openly.

Stern commissioned a book in 1979, duly written by the journos Hermann & Rieck, which covered Christiane’s life from age 12 to 15. Although written from Christiane’s viewpoint, using the original interviews, additions were made by family and friends to give a rounded account of the years 1975-78, depicting other teenage friends who had sunk to the same depths surrounding the Zoo station in central West Berlin. The book was a best-seller bought by worried parents looking for clues on their children’s behaviour, teenagers looking for a person who understood their pent-up frustrations and others with a more voyeuristic tendency looking to uncover the unspeakable.

Imagine the furore of a similar story in Britain, with the Daily Mail condemning all our youth with one broad stroke of a story about alcohol at 11, drugs at 12 and prostitution at 14!

The film was crying to be made and, directed by Uli Edel, was released in 1981. A young, fresh faced 14 year-old actress, Natja Brunckhorst, was cast as Christiane and perfectly captures the downward spiral of her life. Living with her mother in the a high-rise in the Neukoln district of Berlin, Christiane’s only escape from the hum-drum is David Bowie’s music. She sneaks to ‘Sound’ – the most modern discotheque in Europe and meets Detlef who leads her into the drug underworld over the next couple of years.

File:Christiane F OST cover.jpg

The film is hard watching and still shocking, even in these more liberated times. As Christiane’s favourite artist David Bowie was asked to compile the soundtrack, which are mainly tracks from the ‘Berlin trilogy’ of Low, Heroes & Lodger, but also includes three tracks from Station to Station, the title track of which he sings in a live performance as part of the film. The Bowie motif is used throughout the film, his music being the initial release, the symbolic purchase of a duplicate album by her mum’s new lover showing indifference either way and the sale of the precious records and her Bowie jacket for drug money shows the lack of worth of her previous life. Heroes is used in it’s German Helden form in the film but the most appropriate use of Bowie is the instrumental Sense of Doubt, where it’s frightening tones convey the bleakness of her existence. There are two covers, the first reflects a vital early scene in the film when Christiane is caught by her mother after sneaking out, with a corner showing the meat market at the Zoo Station. The other cover has a scene of Bowie from the live performance with Christiane faded into the background.

The film was a massive success in Germany and a cult throughout much of the rest of Europe. Natja Brunckhorst was so overwhelmed by her young success she withdrew from the limelight for a number of years. The director, Edel went on to make Hollywood films such as ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’, while Christiane F became a celebrity, able to live off the royalties of the book and film rights. She got into music with her boyfriend Alex Hacke who was later to be part of an early Einsturzende Neubauten. Although a happy ending in the film shows Christiane clean, she was never able to shrug off drugs completely and despite moving around, living in Greece, Switzerland, the US and Holland as well as Germany, she has been in prison for drug-related offences and has been in the media again in Germany as recently as 2008 when her son was taken from her custody, as she was spotted in Berlin’s current drug hotspots.

Berlin is a very different city these days. The area around Zoo station was cleaned up but became an unlikely pilgrimage for many German disaffected youths for a while as girls adopted the heroin chic look seen in the film! The fall of the Wall meant the claustrophobic atmosphere of the enclosed city disappeared and was replaced by a massive influx of money and design. Enjoy your visit Jim!

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posted by Glen Baldwin in 80's Bands,Albums,Films and have Comment (1)

Source Code

Vera Farmiga star of Source Code

Ever willing to spread our wings, the new movie Source Code caught the Ark’s eye. Released in the UK on Friday this big budget blockbuster is directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) following the success of his directorial debut ‘Moon’. IMDB describes Source Code as ‘An action thriller centred on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train’. Starring Jake Gyllenhall, Michelle Monaghan and the gorgeous Vera Farmiga it sounds like a good old sci-fi romp. It also provides the perfect excuse to showcase Farmiga’s 2007 photo shoot for Esquire in our gallery and this great interview in the Observer.

posted by admin in Films,News and have Comments Off

John Barry 1933 – 2011

Here at Junk Archive we couldn’t let the passing of John Barry go by without comment. In a career of close to 50 years Barry received five Oscars for his film scores as well as a further two nominations but it is for his contribution to the James Bond legend that he will truly be remembered.

John Barry had formed a jazz group – The John Barry Seven which had some hits during the 1950s and worked with arrangements for other singers and the BBC. When one singer he had arranged, Adam Faith, moved from popstar into films, Barry continued to work with him and composed his first soundtrack to Beat Girl in 1960 – in fact the first of almost 100!

It was two years later when Barry was invited to work on the soundtrack for the first James Bond film ‘Dr No’.  Monty Norman had been working on the soundtrack but the story goes that the producers. the mighty Broccolli and Saltzman, were not happy with his first treatment of the theme he had written. Barry was asked to arrange the theme and he claimed that he then wrote the music as we know it. A court case in 2001 concluded Norman was the sole composer but it was Barry that was asked to return for the next film.

For ‘From Russia With Love’ he composed the whole soundtrack, apart from the theme, and contributed the first of his undoubtable Bond legacies with the wonderful percussive ‘007 theme’ used during the film’s gypsy camp fight and the concluding chase across the Balkans. Subsequently re-polished and reused, this alternative theme was used in four other Bond films, always highlighting a tense action-packed chase. For the next Bond film, Barry was to break loose, going back to his jazz roots, composing a bold and brassy theme for the boldest and brassiest Bond movie to date, ‘Goldfinger’. Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley added the lyrics to the theme and after Newley moved aside for Shirley Bassey, the rest is history!

Barry would be involved with the Bond franchise through to ‘The Living Daylights’ in 1987, missing only three films due to tax exile reasons. In amongst his other soundtracks were the Oscar winners, ‘Born Free’, ‘Lion in Winter’, ‘Out of Africa’ and ‘Dances With Wolves’ as well as some real stinkers – ‘Raise the Titanic’, ‘Howard the Duck’ or ‘The Legend of the Lone Ranger’ anyone? John Barry was an influence on many and the current Bond composer, David Arnold, is one of those that acknowledge the legacy that he leaves us.

My Top  Ten John Barry Moments

10 – The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair – from the sweeping brass and strings that begin this piece, it’s unmistakably Barry, but used in a hairspray commercial in the 1970s!

9 – Goldfinger -not the Shirley Bassey version for me, but the slower and more threatening original Anthony Newley song with key instrumental parts used throughout the film.

8 – All The Time In the World – the alternative theme from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service co written with Hal David and sung by Louis Armstrong. Used as a Guinness commercial for further fame!

7- The Ipcress File – the theme from the alternative Bond, Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer. More understated than a Bond film theme for a more understated spy!

6- You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra reportedly was so nervous singing this theme that at least 25 takes were spliced together to get the final product that captured both East and West! Robbie Williams may have sampled the heart out of it for Millenium but this is still the greatest Bond song!

5- Midnight Cowboy – the languid harmonica with gentle strings is a bleak closing to the film and yet you can’t help but visualise Jon Voight’s innocent happy stride through New York in bright sunshine as it plays.

4- Space March – from You Only Live Twice, Barry shows any film composer how to countdown to an event we can see happening but can’t believe. How tense can music make you feel?

3- The Persuaders Theme – one of the first TV themes to use a Moog synth to an amazing squelchy effect. The height of sonic cool for the hyper-cool pairing of Roger Moore and Tony Curtis set in the South of France.

2- 007 Theme – as said above, used as an alternative theme and conjures up the image of Sean Connery running through groups of SPECTRE bad guys deploying punches, kicks, chops and headbutts as needed. Covered by Soft Cell and used by B.A.D.

1- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Theme – once it was decided that the film title could not be incorporated into a song, Barry was let loose and creates the ultimate Bond theme. The Moog is played big and up front, brass makes both deep and scratching inserts throughout, strings and guitar drive the background along at a pace,  with undertones of 70s funk before it existed. True aural bliss that makes you want to jump over the furniture at home and wrestle the cat or jump in your Ford Fiesta and drive at nearly 60! Superb – watch, listen and enjoy!

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posted by Glen Baldwin in Films,Music,Obituaries and have Comments Off

Undercover Cops

This weeks fascinating news story of Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy, who has been acting undercover for seven years infiltrating a Climate Change pressure group and ended up turning native, had me scuttling around to find the movie gem ‘ID’.

Released in 1995 (but set in the 80’s) ID is a romping good yarn about a group of four police officers who are sent undercover to monitor the activities of the notorious football hooligan gang associated with the fictional football team Shadwell Town FC (nicknamed the ‘Dogs’). Starring the excellent Reece Dinsdale (‘John’) as the main character he slips into the role with vigour and commitment as the transformation from career cop to Shadwell’s top boy unfolds with every scene. Witnessed with shuddering concern by his on-screen partner played by a young Claire Skinner (from ‘Outnumbered’ fame), Dinsdale is supported with a stellar cast that includes Warren Clarke, Philip Glenister (‘Gene Hunt’), a sexy bar-maid played by Saskia Reeves plus a bevy of future East Enders actors.

We witness away day trips and the jollity of the ‘Dogs’ local hostelry the Rock, where Dinsdale and his undercover colleagues ingratiate themselves with the hoolies. This is then interspersed with scenes of deathly boring dinner parties with their partners and hideous police social functions – its no wonder that John turned native!

The film was inspired by actual tactics employed by various constabularies across the country as football related violence became a top priority for the Thatcher regime. But questionable strategy and unclear objectives (worryingly repeated in the recent Kennedy case) on the exact role of the undercover agents which veered from observers and note takers to fully fledged agent-provocateurs. Inevitably it saw many high profile cases collapse either in court or before they reached prosecution.

Interestingly a decade later investigative reporter Donal McIntyre achieved a lot more success when his infiltration of the real-life Chelsea Headhunters gang achieved several prosecutions. He still has the Chelsea tattoo to prove it. One can only presume that the Shadwell Town tattoo slapped over Dinsdale’s arse was a temporary one as it was not apparent when he emerged as Gail’s love interest in Coronation Street as Joe (the schizophrenic kitchen fitter) who seemed intent to reprise the role of ‘John’ as he miserably failed to fake his own death!

Jim Heath

posted by admin in Films,Football and have Comments Off

Classic Cover No.8 – New Year Special

Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings 1973

What more could you ask for on a Bank Holiday than a Bond film! And this cover to the single of the theme of Roger Moore’s first outing, featuring Wings, is a true classic!

Alan Partridge perhaps summed up Wings the best – ‘only the band the Beatles could have been!’ and fresh from their psychedelic years this cover finds Paul, Linda, Denny and the band looking as they have just made an evening camp on the ‘hippy trail’ having had a hard day’s riding on their camels. The ‘Kool in the Kaftan’ look could not be further away from the suave debonair image portrayed by 007 on screen, but it was as a favour to George Martin that Macca had offered to write the theme. Martin had been asked to score Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond, standing in for John Barry, and although McCartney and Martin had not worked together for 3 years, the film’s producers had previously tried to get Wings involved in the theme for the previous film Diamonds Are Forever, and were therefore very keen. The track was written by Paul and Linda although the credit on the soundtrack album says Paul McCartney & Wings.

In keeping with the film’s themes and settings in Harlem and the Caribbean, producer Harry Saltzman wanted to consider a black singer but was told McCartney would only allow the song to be used if Wings sung the theme – hence the version by B.J. Arnau is sung in the ‘Fillet of Soul’ later in the film and makes the soundtrack album.  The single itself was released in June 1973 and became a worldwide hit, and, despite the cover not relating to the Bond theme (can you imagine a film or record company missing that trick now?), it was an ideal precursor to the release of the film. It became the first Bond theme to be nominated for an Oscar (Best original song) and became a staple of Wings live set.

Cover versions include, the trademark screechy vocals in the version by Guns n Roses, a raunchy MTV version by Fergie, a slowed down version for War Child by Duffy and the Pretenders version on David Arnold’s wonderful ‘Shaken Not Stirred’ revision of Bond themes. Wings continued, with many changes of backing line-up to Mr & Mrs Macca and Denny Laine, until the death of John Lennon effected Paul so badly that the band were effectively wrapped up the following year, 1981.

The first rock based Bond theme it was the perfect start to the new era of Bond and as the great man says himself in the film as Solitaire invites him back to bed ‘ There’s no sense going out half-cocked!’

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posted by Glen Baldwin in 70's Bands,Albums,Films,Music and have Comments Off

Carlos The Jackal – Film/DVD Review

I Don't Do Frank Spencer!

If this film was released in the UK it passed me by entirely and I’m glad it did. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but waiting for the Blu-Ray release meant that I could watch the version made for French TV which is in three parts and almost 6 hours long!

For those of you unfamiliar with Carlos, or Illich Ramirez Sanchez as he was baptised in Venezuala,  he was one of the most wanted terrorists in the 70s and had links with just about every rebel organisation of the period, the Baader Meinhoff’s, Black September, Red Army Faction, Japanese Youth Militants and the Popular Front for The Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It seemed that the enemy of his enemy was his friend and he is also reported to have had links with the Stasi, the KGB, Colonel Gaddafi and the Syrian government. He was eventually captured in 1994 and successfully prosecuted for the murder of two policemen and an informant in Paris in 1975. Imprisoned for life there have been attempts to try him for other crimes it is believed he committed, most notably major bombings that killed eleven in the early 80s.

The film (or films) are the sprawling story of  the rebellious period of his life. Although made in France and shown as French language, the actual language is as spoken by the protagonists in the scene and much of the soundtrack is anything but French – with English, Spanish, German and Arabic featuring heavily. We see a young idealistic Carlos, willing to take on the capitalist, imperialists in any arena, turn into a more bloated ‘gun for hire’  prepared to take out Romanian dissidents at the behest of the Ceausescu regime for large sums of money. The major set piece of the trilogy is an attack on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna during a conference, that involved three murders, the taking of more than sixty prisoners and eventually the shuttling of a plane between ‘friendly’ Arab states that do not want to be seen as condoning terrorist action. Eventually the hostages are released for an enormous amount of money – believed to be in excess of $20 million.

The acting is excellent and considering the length of the story it does not dip as one incident leads to the next. Locations change regularly as Carlos is ‘moved on’ by the authorities before he uses them as base for his mayhem. This story is also excellent as a window back in to the days of youth rebellion, when young people around the world stood up and tackled the inequalities they saw face on. A real 70s period piece, it is amazing to see airports with security so lax that a terrorist fighter could drive up to the front building and fire a stinger missile at a taxing Israeli plane – missing it but hitting two others! Arms are smuggled using  no more than a false bottomed suitcase and someone found with foreign passports from around the globe is given a telling off and sent back home! Equally the young idealists are ruthless and see nothing wrong in bombing a shop without warning as it is Jewish – equality does not extend to Israel! The speculation about government sponsorship is almost just as shocking.

The trilogy of films is highly recommended, but see the shortened theatrical release if you prefer, and keep an ear out for some classics by Wire on the soundtrack.

posted by Glen Baldwin in Films and have Comments Off

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest – Film Review

This Punk’s Not Dead!

I wasn’t a fan of Steig Larsson’s Millenium novels as I haven’t read them, so my first encounter with his campaigning journalist Kalle Blomkvist and anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander was in the Beckenham Odeon, where I sat one Thursday afternoon enduring the most graphic rape scene with a small accompaniment of ladies my mother’s age, watching ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.’

I enjoyed the Nazi-hunting, serial killer plot and the very Swedish feel to the film and so I made sure I saw the next film in the series ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire.’ In that film a whole new conspiracy is uncovered as Lisbeth ensures Blomkvist is released from prison and she hunts down her own father. There is a gratuitous scene as Lisbeth indulges in some serious girl on girl action for those who need to know and at the end of that film we are left with Lisbeth, on the verge of death, being taken to hospital, having put an axe in her father’s head.

So to the latest release, bringing the end to the Millenium trilogy written by Larsson before his death. Once again we have Michael Nyquist as Blomkvist and the gorgeous Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth and the film takes off where the second ends – not surprising since they were filmed together with the intention of being split into four parts for Swedish TV. Lisbeth is in her hospital bed recovering and therein lies the problem of this film for me; the main character, in whom we have invested so much time and emotion, has more of a peripheral role in this episode and the main story is the unravelling of the corruption at a high level that has caused her pain and suffering throughout her life, with a sub-plot involving her genetic freak of a half-brother. The loose ends are brought together through Blomkvist’s investigations and Lisbeth’s court case, which could result in her re-committal to the institution that housed her abuse, but allows her to take the dock with one of the greatest punk mohicans seen this side of ‘Jubilee’.

The trilogy is nicely wrapped up – after the detective story and the action film we have the courtroom thriller – but it is a little too slow paced for my taste and although there are one or two shocks, the overall outcome is more predictable than the earlier stories. There is enough for fans but certainly don’t try and watch this film in isolation as it is not a stand alone piece! With no more novels published there would seemingly be no more of the Swedish Lisbeth, but the film was left open, and if Larsson’s long term partner and his family settle their differences over his estate, there is a rumour of a partially completed fourth book and a plot line for up to ten! Until then we wait for the Hollywood remakes with Daniel Craig and hope they don’t spoil it completely.

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posted by Glen Baldwin in Films and have Comments Off