Behind the Scenes : All-Time Top 20

Regular readers will know that this Blog occasionally turns its attention to stories about the “Behind the Scenes” aspects of movie-making. This has become a surprisingly popular element of the Blog, many of these stories generating as many views as straightforward reviews. So I thought you might like to know which “Behind the Scenes” articles have proved most popular in the two years I’ve been writing the Blog.  

  1. The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968). Cult classic starring Marianne Faithful and Alain Delon had a rocky road to release, especially in the U.S. where the censor was not happy.
  2. The Guns of Navarone (1961). The “making of” could have been a film in itself, from director being fired, screenwriter rewriting the Alistair MacLean classic, audacious casting, and life-threatening injuries.
  3. The Satan Bug (1965). Alistair MacLean again as director John Sturges hit a heap of problems adapting the pandemic classic for the big screen.
  4. Ice Station Zebra (1968).John Sturges second venture into Alistair MacLean territory proved as sticky as the first, but with a bigger budget.
  5. Waterloo (1970).Sergei Bondarchuk faced as many problems trying to bring this Napoleon epic to the screen as the French Emperor had fighting the British and Austrians.
  6. The Wicker Man (1973). Now considered a classic, but not then, as a change of management at the British studio virtually sabotaged the picture.
  7. Genghis Khan (1965). A venture into epic European filmmaking with an all-star cast led by Omar Sharif.
  8. Hour of Gun (1967). More problems mounted for John Sturges as he embarked on an ambitious and thoughtful reinvention of the Wyatt Earp legend.
  9. The Godfather (1972). Francis Coppola might have thought twice about making the Mafia epic had he known just how many problems he would encounter.
  10. The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968). British director Ken Annakin had his hands full on this Italian heist picture starring Raquel Welch.
  11. Valley of the Dolls (1967). Translating the biggest bestseller of the decade into a movie proved calamitous.
  12. The Spy with My Face (1965). How MGM broke the rules and managed to turn an expanded episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series into a box office smash.
  13. The Great Escape (1963). How John Sturges created a P.O.W. classic with a little help from Steve McQueen.
  14. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). The story behind Sergio Leone’s masterpiece whose score by Ennio Morricone has conceivably sold more albums than the film sold tickets.
  15. The Cincinnati Kid (1965). What happened after Sam Peckinpah was fired for adding salacious unscripted scenes and filming in black-and-white.
  16. Cast a Giant Shadow (1965). Producer Melville Shavelson faced an uphill struggle bringing an unwieldy biopic starring Kirk Douglas, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra to the screen.
  17. The Secret Ways (1961), Star Richard Widmark turned producer in a bid to improve his box office value but ran afoul of the director.
  18. The Night They Raided Minskys / The Night They Invented Striptease (1968). Convoluted attempt by neophyte director William Friedkin to make a movie celebrating America’s vaudeville past.
  19. The Way West (1965). Long-in-the-works western starring Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum.
  20. The Secret Ceremony (1968). Elizabeth Taylor’s boldest role of the decade was fraught with incident.

Author: Brian Hannan

I am a published author of books about film - over a dozen to my name, the latest being "When Women Ruled Hollywood." As the title of the blog suggests, this is a site devoted to movies of the 1960s but since I go to the movies twice a week - an old-fashioned double-bill of my own choosing - I might occasionally slip in a review of a contemporary picture.

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