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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Satan Bug (1965). Alistair MacLean again as director John Sturges hit a heap of problems adapting the pandemic classic for the big screen.
- Ice Station Zebra (1968).John Sturges second venture into Alistair MacLean territory proved as sticky as the first, but with a bigger budget.
- 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.
- The Wicker Man (1973). Now considered a classic, but not then, as a change of management at the British studio virtually sabotaged the picture.
- Genghis Khan (1965). A venture into epic European filmmaking with an all-star cast led by Omar Sharif.
- Hour of Gun (1967). More problems mounted for John Sturges as he embarked on an ambitious and thoughtful reinvention of the Wyatt Earp legend.
- The Godfather (1972). Francis Coppola might have thought twice about making the Mafia epic had he known just how many problems he would encounter.
- The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968). British director Ken Annakin had his hands full on this Italian heist picture starring Raquel Welch.
- Valley of the Dolls (1967). Translating the biggest bestseller of the decade into a movie proved calamitous.
- 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.
- The Great Escape (1963). How John Sturges created a P.O.W. classic with a little help from Steve McQueen.
- 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.
- The Cincinnati Kid (1965). What happened after Sam Peckinpah was fired for adding salacious unscripted scenes and filming in black-and-white.
- 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.
- The Secret Ways (1961), Star Richard Widmark turned producer in a bid to improve his box office value but ran afoul of the director.
- 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.
- The Way West (1965). Long-in-the-works western starring Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum.
- The Secret Ceremony (1968). Elizabeth Taylor’s boldest role of the decade was fraught with incident.
2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes : All-Time Top 20”
I’m hearing the siren call of an Alistair Maclean documentary….
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Hopefully. I’m working on it.