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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hollywood Boulevard (1976) review

Poster: google images


Candice Rialson (Candy Hope), Mary Woronov (Mary McQueen), Rita Georg (Bobbi Quackenbush), Jeffrey Kramer (Patrick Hobby), Dick Miller (Walter Paisley), Paul Bartel (Erich Von Leppe), Jonathan Kaplan (Scotty)

Directed by Joe Dante, Allan Arkush

The Short Version: This 'made on a wager', No Fat Calorie, New World Free For All is high on pizza and popcorn thrills, chills, spills and all manner of gratuitous goodness. It's a 'Laff a Minute' riot of all the best bits and pieces of the Corman canon and what made New World Pictures so damn amazing. If you see just one exploitation movie in your lifetime, make it HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD.

***WARNING! This review contains violence, nudity and images of a lude, crude nature that may have an adverse effect on your intelligence***

"...This is not a film about the human condition, this is a film about tits and ass!"

Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, Candice Rialson and Jeffrey Kramer, fresh off JAWS as Brody's deputy

Sex & Violence explodes on the screen in this sordid tale of the glitz, glamour and broken dreams within the seedy world of exploitation moviemaking! Candy Hope heads out to Tinseltown with big dreams, a big chest and big plans of makin' it in Hollywood! Instead, cute Candy finds unscrupulous producers, vindictive co-stars, low budget pictures and violence amidst the cruel underbelly of independent filmmaking! This globetrotting $60,000 trash epic goes from the concrete jungles of Los Angeles to the endless dangers of the Filipino rain forests!! SEE The Machete Maidens of Mora Tau! SEE The Atomic War Brides! You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll shriek in amazement at stock footage from other movies! From Miracle Pictures--"If it's a good picture, it's a miracle!!!"

Mary has reservations about what looks like one of the lead villains from the set of the Japanese Tokusatsu show, SPECTREMAN.

The above synopsis is just as nonsensical as the actual film itself. Quite possibly, HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD is the ultimate exploitation movie; The last word in Drive In trash, no less. The way the production was mounted is a monumentally amazing piece of cinematic impulsiveness. The film became woven around a bet between Corman and some of his enterprising crew members. The pitch was that this mystery production would be done far cheaper than any film Roger Corman had made since New World's inception in 1970 and completed in just 10 days. Corman agreed, but stated the film had to be done for $80,000, but he was only going to give them $60,000 to start.

Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen--the name derived partially from the old serial program RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON

Completed in ten days and under budget at a little over $54,000, this New World wonder production is crammed so full of in-jokes and references to the glorious world of Drive In cinema, if you blink, you're likely to miss something. Thankfully, this fly by night flick holds up well to repeat viewings and is a great party movie for those who appreciate and love these kinds of movies. Not only do you get a mega ton of Corman crudity, but you get an up close look at the West coast version of 42nd Street and a friggin' out of left field performance by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen (remember 'Hot Rod Lincoln'?) belting out an expletive fueled country-rocka-billy tune! In addition to the non stop madness, there's both Robbie the Robot serving drinks at a Hollywood premiere and a stunt man dressed in a Godzilla suit (or, as the credits state, Godzina)!

Kramer, Rialson and Dick Miller enjoy THE TERROR (1963)

Among the array of stock footage, you'll see great scenes from the likes of THE BIG BIRD CAGE (1972), BIG BAD MAMA (1974), CRAZY MAMA (1975), DEATHRACE 2000 (1975) and several other New World pictures. There's a wet T-Shirt contest (Jonathan Kaplan mans the hose), a staged bank robbery that turns out to be real, scantily clad babes with machine guns and Dick Miller (playing his character from Corman's A BUCKET OF BLOOD) going to the Drive In and watching himself in THE TERROR (1963). Speaking of THE BIG BIRD CAGE, one of the best in-jokes concerns a key effects moment (ingeniously improvised by Jack Hill for the film) woven into a brawl in the projection booth of the Drive In. All this stock footage is cannily implemented into the new picture in such a way, you don't always realize you're looking at bits and pieces of film from other movies.

"This stuff is disgusting! How can they expect people to swallow this muck?! John Wayne would never make a picture like this! We're gonna get our money back and we're gonna go home! Depravity! Filth! This is worse than television!!"

Exploitation starlet and super hottie, Candice Rialson (PETS, CANDY STRIPE NURSES) plays Candy Hope, the naive young spitfire from Indiana. Too tall and sexy Mary Woronov (EATING RAOUL, CANNONBALL) is the foul mouthed primadonna Mary McQueen and bald and brash Paul Bartel (DEATHRACE 2000, EATING RAOUL) chews what's left of the scenery as the director who treats each of his trashy endeavors with the utmost of artistic integrity. Among the plethora of talent putting in cameos are the one and only Forrest J. Ackerman, the monstrous creator of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine; Lewis Teague (director of LADY IN RED, ALLIGATOR) and also Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), hidden under the Godzilla costume. Charles B. Griffith (EAT MY DUST), Miller Drake (as 1st mutant) and Joe Dante (GREMLINS, INNERSPACE) put in appearances as well.

Dick Miller, Robbie the Robot and check out Uncle Forry to the far right!

The film plays like a heartfelt ode to everything Roger Corman and New World Pictures were all about. Every aspect of the production covers nearly all of Corman's cinematic predilections--New World's preponderance for T&A, Corman's time shooting movies in the Philippines, more busty girls, monsters (there's even a brief sexual jab at Corman's foreign sci fi pick up VOYAGE TO THE SEVENTH PLANET), car crashes, a heavy ambiance of the Drive In (including intermission time) and one of the most crucial components of New World and Roger Corman's movies--Dick Miller. It also meets noted Drive In critic, Joe Bob Brigg's criteria of the three 'B's'--Blood, Breasts & Beasts.

Godzina displays disapproval of the ATOMIC WAR BRIDES script

Guy in car at Drive In: (honks horn)"Move your ass!"

Patrick: "Hey, fuck you, buddy! I wrote this picture, I can stand in front of it if I want to!"

More classic crap includes Candy donning Frankenstein's mask from DEATHRACE 2000 for a proposed futuristic flick and a great reworked line from Criswell taken from that awe-ful Ed Wood trash classic, PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE (1956); one of the sleazy producers is named P.G., Godzilla reads the script for 'Atomic War Brides' then tosses it into the toilet and there's also a slasher subplot with a Gialloesque touch as someone is bumping off the starlets of Miracle Pictures. There's even a Hitchcockian finale at the big Hollywood sign.

Those were the days!

CUT!! That's a wrap!

HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD is truly something special and if it weren't a movie, you'd swear you were watching a documentary on the wild world of shooting "major motion pictures" on the cheap with Roger and company crossed with a Zucker Brothers KENTUCKY FRIED mentality. Not only is it representative of the Corman school of 'Shoot Fast, Edit Well & Make A Tidy Profit', but it's a loving tribute to the Passion Pit, now almost nothing more than a memory of a bygone era when you could make a special movie with some lint, spare change and a bare chest, or two.

This review is representative of the New Concorde DVD


Carl Manes said...

So incredibly added to my wishlist, how did Toho let that one slide? And worse off, how is it that your e-mail was the first I had ever even heard of this film before the review?!

venoms5 said...

Not sure how they got that past. They never refer to the creature as 'Godzilla', but the credits mention it as 'Godzina'. Possibly, Toho wasn't as strict back then? Oddly enough, it would be New World who would import GODZILLA 1985 in a severely altered cut. Supposedly, they were planning to import BIOLLANTE as well, but financial troubles kept that from happening.

I don't know, Carl, I figured you'd of heard of this one since it was sort of made in your back yard. If you're a fan of New World movies and Roger Corman, you should love this flick as it's ABOUT making those movies. Seriously, it's so jam packed with sight gags, homages to other movies and lines of dialog taken from cult flicks, if you blink, you will miss something.

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