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Gary Kurtz, Star Wars Producer, Dies at 78

  • MovieWeb
Gary Kurtz, Star Wars Producer, Dies at 78
Gary Kurtz, producer of the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, has died at the age of 78. The news was confirmed by his family. Kurtz passed away after losing his battle to cancer. His family had this to say in a statement.

"With deep love and respect, the family of Gary Kurtz is sad to share that he has passed away. He died from cancer on September 23rd 2018, in North London, England. Gary was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, and mentor, whose work and talent spanned filmmaking, photography, music, and cinema history. He was a Marine, a world traveller, an outdoorsman, and a kind, compassionate human being. His life's work was to share the wonder of audio-visual storytelling through the art of film. Well-known for his work as the producer of American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Crystal, Gary was passionate
See full article at MovieWeb »

Gary Kurtz Dies: ‘Star Wars’ & ‘American Graffiti’ Producer Was 78

  • Deadline
Gary Kurtz Dies: ‘Star Wars’ & ‘American Graffiti’ Producer Was 78
Veteran U.S film producer Gary Kurtz, producer of movies including Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and America Graffiti, has died in London aged 78.

Kurtz passed away yesterday, Sunday September 23, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Starting as an assistant director on Montel Hellman’s western Ride in the Whirlwind, starring Jack Nicholson, he also worked on Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and Dennis Hopper’s Queen of Blood. After military service, he was an associate picture on Chandler and Two-Lane Backdrop before meeting George Lucas in 1971. He co-produced American Graffiti, before making a deal with 20th Century Fox to produce Star Wars; he set up the second unit and directed many pick ups, including most of the cockpit dog fight scenes, as well as the special effects.

The UK-based Kurtz then worked on Empire Strikes Back, his last collaboration with Lucas. He helped to direct alongside Irvin Kershner.
See full article at Deadline »

Gary Kurtz, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Producer, Dies at 78

  • The Wrap
Gary Kurtz, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Producer, Dies at 78
Gary Kurtz, a producer on “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” has died. He was 78.

According to a statement by The Kurtz/Joiner Archive, the producer died from cancer on Sunday in North London, England.

“Gary Kurtz, Star Wars producer passed away on Sunday the 23rd of September at 4.47 p.m. after living with Cancer for the last year,” read the statement. “We have him to thank for these wonderful memories that he made for us all. Gary Kurtz helped to create the force and it is with us always. Gary Kurtz left behind Clare Gabriel, Tiffany Kurtz, Melissa Kurtz, and Dylan Kurtz. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Also Read: Gary Kurtz, 'Star Wars' and 'The Empire Strikes Back' Producer, Dies at 78

Actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in various “Star Wars” films, tweeted Monday: “Rip Gary Kurtz. A great filmmaker and man has just passed. Without him
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Star Wars’ Producer Gary Kurtz Dies at 78

  • Variety
‘Star Wars’ Producer Gary Kurtz Dies at 78
“Star Wars” producer Gary Kurtz died of cancer on Sunday, his family said in a statement. He was 78.

In addition to helping bring the Skywalker stories to the big screen, Kurtz produced “American Graffiti” and “The Dark Crystal.” His career was closely aligned with that of George Lucas, but the two parted ways after the troubled production of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Kurtz had championed “Star Wars” through multiple drafts and helped Lucas navigate 20th Century Fox’s lack of enthusiasm for a movie they dismissed as a B-picture. After “Star Wars” stunned everyone by turning into a massive hit, Lucas and Kurtz sat about crafting a sequel. Lucas handed the reins over to director Irvin Kershner, but production went over schedule and Lucas was forced to dip into his own pocket to complete the movie. Kurtz stepped in to direct second-unit work on the film. When it came time
See full article at Variety »

Episode 188 – Monte Hellman’s The Shooting & Ride in the Whirlwind

This time on the podcast, Scott is joined by David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett to discuss Monte Hellman’s The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind.

In the midsixties, the maverick American director Monte Hellman conceived of two westerns at the same time. Dreamlike and gritty by turns, these films would prove their maker’s adeptness at brilliantly deconstructing genre. Shot back-to-back for famed producer Roger Corman, they feature overlapping casts and crews, including Jack Nicholson in two of his meatiest early roles. The Shooting, about a motley assortment of loners following a mysterious wanted man through a desolate frontier, and Ride in the Whirlwind, about a group of cowhands pursued by vigilantes for crimes they did not commit, are rigorous, artful, and wholly unconventional journeys to the Old West.

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Purchase the Film

Roger Corman and Monte Hellman discuss the films
See full article at CriterionCast »

Seeing Clearly in the Dark: A Profile of Monte Hellman in Present Day Los Angeles

  • MUBI
Monte Hellman and Kona. Photo courtesy of Monte Hellman.Two years back, Monte Hellman invited me up to his house to sip vodka tonics in the dark and watch the new restoration of Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), one of a pair of earnest Westerns he made in collaboration with his longtime friend Jack Nicholson. He didn’t know it at the time, but that day was my birthday—and there was no other way I would have preferred to spend it.On a Saturday morning this July, I went up yet again to the Hollywood Hills to pay another visit to Hellman. Best known as the director of Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), a reaction to Easy Rider (1969) and the mother of all existential road movies, Hellman now lives a rather quiet life in a sweet, sequestered hillside bungalow; maybe he’s always preferred solitude and solemnity, but most of the time he
See full article at MUBI »

Harry Dean Stanton, 'Repo Man' and 'Twin Peaks' Actor, Dead at 91

Harry Dean Stanton, 'Repo Man' and 'Twin Peaks' Actor, Dead at 91
Harry Dean Stanton, the legendary character actor and offbeat leading man who starred in Repo Man, Paris, Texas, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Big Love in a career that spanned over seven decades, has died at the age of 91.

Stanton died of natural causes in Los Angeles, Variety reports, with TMZ adding that the actor died peacefully Friday afternoon at the city's Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Director David Lynch, who cast Stanton in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story and the recent Twin Peaks: The Return,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Corman Ahead of Hitchcock: Cult Nature vs. Humankind Sci-Fi Thriller

'The Beast with a Million Eyes': Hardly truth in advertising as there's no million-eyed beast in Roger Corman's micro-budget sci-fi thriller. 'The Beast with a Million Eyes': Alien invasion movie predates Alfred Hitchcock classic Despite the confusing voice-over introduction, David Kramarsky's[1] The Beast with a Million Eyes a.k.a. The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes is one of my favorite 1950s alien invasion films. Set in an ugly, desolate landscape – shot “for wide screen in terror-scope” in Indio and California's Coachella Valley – the screenplay by future novelist Tom Filer (who also played Jack Nicholson's sidekick in the 1966 Western Ride in the Whirlwind) focuses on a dysfunctional family whose members become the first victims of a strange force from another galaxy after a spaceship lands nearby emitting sound vibrations that turn domestic animals into aggressive killers. Killer cow First, the lady-of-the-house is pecked by a flock of chickens and,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Howard Hughes Reviews "Cattle Drive", "Calamity Jane & Sam Bass" And "Black Horse Canyon" UK DVD Releases From Simply Media

  • CinemaRetro
Unbridled Passion by Howard Hughes

Following the release in March of ‘A Man Called Gannon’ (1968), Simply Media in the UK continue to release more Universal-International westerns, this time of 1940s and ‘50s vintage. The new releases, out on 18 April, are ‘Calamity Jane & Sam Bass’ (1949), ‘Cattle Drive’ (1951) and ‘Black Horse Canyon’ (1954). This trio of films are literally ‘Horse Operas’, with the accent on thoroughbred steeds and their importance and role in the working west. Be they cattle drovers, stock breeders or outlaws, where would any of them be without the horse? The answer, of course, is walking.

I’ll review the DVDs in the order I watched them. First up is ‘Cattle Drive’, a 1951 western directed by Kurt Neumann. Chester Graham Jnr (Dean Stockwell), the spoilt, arrogant son of railroad magnet Chester Graham Snr (Leon Ames), is accidentally left behind when the train he is travelling on makes a water stop.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

A Few Queries for Monte Hellman

  • MUBI
Despite transparent light and searing heat, all seems frozen. Something clings to the landscape. Amidst Joshua trees and sagebrush, an ineffable presence surrounding even the stinkbugs. This is where George Stevens—who once said that Utah’s western desert ranges “look more like the Holy Land than the Holy Land”—filmed The Greatest Story Ever Told. Soon thereafter, a younger man breathing that same numinous air made a very different kind of movie. In fact, Monte Hellman made two: The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind, displaced and gritty, eternally unblessed, a diptych belonging to the Western, yet standing at a slight angle to it in the same breath. Monte Hellman entertains a few questions on this perennial state of unblessedness, and the peculiar tone of what are, in my opinion, misnomered movies—his “Existential Westerns.” And here, I’m after the concrete processes that actually drive Hellman’s characters,
See full article at MUBI »

Jack Nicholson Facts: 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Iconic Actor

Let's hope Jack Nicholson has a pleasant birthday on Wednesday, or at least a less disturbing one than the birthday when pal Hunter S. Thompson showed up outside his house, turned on a spotlight, blasted a recording of a pig being eaten alive by bears, fired several rounds from his 9mm pistol, and (when the terrified actor and his kids refused to open the door) left an elk's heart on the doorstep.

Nicholson turns 78 on April 22, and even though he hasn't been in a movie for five years, he still looms large in our collective imaginations. Younger viewers know him from his flamboyant performances in "The Departed," "The Bucket List," "Something's Gotta Give," and "Anger Management," but his older films remain ubiquitous on TV as well, including "As Good as It Gets," "A Few Good Men," "Batman," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Terms of Endearment," "The Shining," and "Chinatown." A late bloomer,
See full article at Moviefone »

Monte Hellman Double Feature: “The Shooting” / “Ride In The Whirlwind” (1966) Starring Jack Nicholson, Criterion Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
Once Upon A Time In The Existential West

By Raymond Benson

I never had a chance to see these two legendary westerns that were made back-to-back in the mid-1960s, presented by Roger Corman, directed and co-produced by Monte Hellman, and starring a young Jack Nicholson (among others), for they were elusive. I’d heard they were quirky, moody, and very different takes on the western genre, so I was excited to hear that The Criterion Collection was releasing both pictures as a double-bill on one Blu-ray disc. Now you, too, can view these strange little movies in all of their high definition glory.

Hellman was one of the few directors that producer Corman would let helm pictures for his studio, which at that time was famous for low-budget horror films, youth-in-rebellion pictures, and, later, rock ‘n’ roll counterculture flicks. Jack Nicholson was also involved with Corman since the late fifties,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Bridging Ford and Antonioni with Jack Nicholson: Monte Hellman on The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind

In July of 1964, director Monte Hellman and actor Jack Nicholson went to the Philippines to shoot two war movies back to back: Flight to Fury, which Nicholson also wrote, and Back Door to Hell. By June of 1965, Hellman and Nicholson had shot two more movies, the Westerns The Shooting (written by future Five Easy Pieces scribe Carole Eastman under the pseudonym Adrien Joyce) and Ride in the Whirlwind (scripted by Nicholson). Four movies in twelve months, and not one of them shows any sense of a director straining against limitations of time and money. To the contrary, The Shooting is a flat-out masterpiece, a […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Bridging Ford and Antonioni with Jack Nicholson: Monte Hellman on The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind

In July of 1964, director Monte Hellman and actor Jack Nicholson went to the Philippines to shoot two war movies back to back: Flight to Fury, which Nicholson also wrote, and Back Door to Hell. By June of 1965, Hellman and Nicholson had shot two more movies, the Westerns The Shooting (written by future Five Easy Pieces scribe Carole Eastman under the pseudonym Adrien Joyce) and Ride in the Whirlwind (scripted by Nicholson). Four movies in twelve months, and not one of them shows any sense of a director straining against limitations of time and money. To the contrary, The Shooting is a flat-out masterpiece, a […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

'How to Train Your Dragon 2', 50% Off Criterion, 'Tammy', 'True Blood' & More on DVD & Blu-ray This Week

While we have some new titles to look at this week, I want to point out to you that Barnes & Noble is having its 50% off Criterion sale right now and I've already posted a massive article offering a look at several titles I would personally recommend, including The Complete Jacques Tati and Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman as well as a selection of favorites and new 2014 titles to consider... Here's a snippet of that: A Selection of My Absolute Favorites Persona Breathless 8 1/2 Seven Samurai Yojimbo and Sanjuro The Battle of Algiers The Seventh Seal Sweet Smell of Success The Wages of Fear The Night of the Hunter New Recommendations for 2014 2014 offered plenty of new titles to consider from top directors and classics in desperate need of a proper upgrade. Here are a few of my favorites. New David Lynch and David Cronenberg Eraserhead Scanners read my review here New Federico Fellini
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Shooting / Ride in the Whirlwind

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 11, 2014

Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95

Studio: Criterion

Jack Nicholson in the 1966 western The Shooting.

In 1966, the maverick American director Monte Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop, Road to Nowhere) conceived of two westerns at the same time – The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind.

Dreamlike and gritty by turns, the two films would prove their maker’s adeptness at brilliantly deconstructing genre. As shot back-to-back for famed producer Roger Corman (The Wild Angels), they feature overlapping casts and crews, including Jack Nicholson (Chinatown) in two of his meatiest early roles.

The Shooting, about a motley assortment of loners following a mysterious wanted man through a desolate frontier; and Ride in the Whirlwind, about a group of cowhands pursued by vigilantes for crimes they did not commit, are rigorous, artful, and wholly unconventional journeys into the American West.

Criterion’s double-feature DVD and Blu-ray editions of the films include the following
See full article at Disc Dish »

'It Happened One Night', 'Tootsie' and 'L'avventura' Coming to Criterion in November

Criterion has announced their November slate of releases and among them is Frank Capra's romantic-comedy classic It Happened One Night and Blu-ray upgrade of Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura and Sydney Pollack's Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman. First off, and most exciting as far as I'm concerned, is Capra's It Happened One Night, which I speculated previously would be added to the collection sooner rather than later. Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, this is an all-timer in terms of romantic comedies and Criterion is delivering it with an all new 4K digital restoration, new conversation between critics Molly Haskell and Phillip Lopate, the 1997 feature-length documentary Frank Capra's American Dream, Capra's first film, the 1922 silent short The Ballad of Fisher's Boarding House, the American Film Institute's tribute to Capra from 1982 and the film's trailer. The release arrives on November 18. The other title I'm excited about is Antonioni's L'avventura, the
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Gary Kent Prepares You to Meet the "Danger Gods" on Friday

By Ellie Kotapish

Prepare yourself for jaw-dropping tales and a night in Austin with five of the most daring men in Hollywood. Starting in the 1960s, these "Danger Gods" have been performing stunts of extreme levels for many years. But they are capable of more than just crashing cars and freefalling from tall buildings.

I had a sneak preview of what's to come at Friday night's "Our Dinner with the Danger Gods" event, as special guest Gary Kent (pictured at right in his early stuntman days) discussed revolutionary cinema in the 1970s along with his experience as a stuntman and filmmaker.

Counterculture takeover:

The '60s were a time of revolution in the streets as well as the studios. This change is evident not only in the content of the films but also in the filmmakers themselves. Kent entered into this counterculture takeover fully aware of this "new energy," as he described it.
See full article at Slackerwood »

Director & Actor Teams: The Overlooked & Underrated (Part 2 of 2)

Following are some supplemental sections featuring notable director & actor teams that did not meet the criteria for the main body of the article. Some will argue that a number of these should have been included in the primary section but keep in mind that film writing on any level, from the casual to the academic, is a game of knowledge and perception filtered through personal taste.

****

Other Notable Director & Actor Teams

This section is devoted to pairings where the duo worked together at least 3 times with the actor in a major role in each feature film, resulting in 1 must-see film.

Terence Young & Sean Connery

Must-See Collaboration: From Russia with Love (1962).

Other Collaborations: Action of the Tiger (1957), Dr. No (1962), Thunderball (1965).

Director Young and actor Connery teamed up to create one of the very best Connery-era James Bond films with From Russia with Love which features a great villainous performance by Robert Shaw
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Roger Corman's Digital Drive-In

  • MUBI
“A small band of efficient, dedicated, highly trained warriors can defeat any number of rabble. That’s my theory of filmmaking.”

Roger Corman

What sort of creature is 21st century cinema going to be? Two-headed beast or tentacular jellyfish? Branded or brain-dead entertainment? Elitist pastime or popular food for thought? To be on the safe side and remind future generations of the genetic foundations of this untamed living being called cinema, at the venerable age of 87 year-old, Roger Corman has opened his own YouTube channel. From king of the drive-in to elder librarian of the digital cinematheque of Babel, Corman’s protean genius is anything but nostalgic. Instead of mourning the cyclical “death of cinema” the legendary producer keeps injecting new life and ideas into the changing shape of films. While his output has significantly decreased throughout the years his relevance has not, nor, it would appear, has his maverick spirit.
See full article at MUBI »
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