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Quarantine Cinema: Part 1

March 29, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 12.18.54 PM

QAURANTINE CINEMA: PART 1 (Reposted from The Vintagent)

Since our relaunch in 2016, The Vintagent has been committed to hosting motorcycle-related films every week.  We produce our own films (Vintagent Originals), host new films (Vintagent Selects) as well as showcasing the best or even most obscure films about bikes (Vintagent Classics).  Our Editor for Film, Corinna Mantlo, founded the original Motorcycle Film Festival in NYC in 2013, and hosted a weekly motorcycle film night in New York City (Cine Meccanica) for a decade.  The Vintagent was a proud sponsor of the Film Festival, and our founder Paul d’Orléans was the Chief Judge of the Festival, being a committed cinephile since his pre-teens.

What better way to pass the time while the world is on lockdown than catching up on all those movies you’ve missed, or never even heard of?  This is the first of what we hope will be a short run of recommended films to keep your mind on wheels during the necessary curtailment of public activity. We call it Quarantine Cinema.
The Best Biker Movies Set
Eight films from Corinna Mantlo’s Choppertown film set. [Amazon]
This biker documentary anthology was curated by Corinna Mantlo for Choppertown.  For a mere $1.99 on Amazon Prime, you’ll get 8 fascinating documentaries on everything from the Isle of Man TT, a Bonneville Salt Flats expedition, a women’s sidecar racing team, artist Richie Pan, and more. Best of all, a percentage of sales goes direct to the independent filmmakers featured.  Follow this link and check it out.
Catching up with the Classics
Lee Marvin as Chino in ‘The Wild One’: Marvin was an actual motorcyclist, and based his character in real members of the 13 Rebels and Boozefighter motorcycle clubs of the 1940s. [The Vintagent Archive]
We know a shocking number of you haven’t seen the most important motorcycle film of the 20th Century.  ‘The Wild One’ changed the way the whole world looked at motorcyclists, and for the worse! On the other hand, a whole lot of motorcyclists embraced the bad boy image: ‘The Wild One’ established what Paul d’Orléans calls the Dark Rider trope, with motorcyclists representing everything repressed about 1950s America: freedom from suburban normalcy, distrust for Law and Authority, and an embrace of the impulsive and dangerous.  ‘The Wild One’ was based on two layers of fake news: a posed photo of a drunk on a bike in Hollister in 1947, which became the basis of the story ‘Cyclists Raid’ in Harpers Magazine, which became the basis for the film.  Watch the full version of ‘The Wild One’ for $3.99 on YouTube.
Artists Who Paved the Way
The amazing 1928 film ‘Impatience’ is explicitly an art film, and almost never seen until we brought it back to life on The Vintagent.  ‘Impatience’ (1928) was the first film to eroticize the motorcycle.  Other films of the Silent Era relied on motorcycles for their kinetic energy, but none made an explicit connection between a moving, vibrating motorcycle and a woman’s nude body, a landscape, a woman rider, and even swaying abstract shapes!  ‘Impatience’ is the pioneering film of Charles Dekeukeliere, a Belgian artist, whose work fits into the great artistic movements of the era – Futurism, Dada, and Suprematism.Charles Dekeukeleire sought to create  a pure cinematic experience, without a narrative.  ‘Impatience’ has four characters – the motorcycle, the woman, the mountain, and abstract shapes, with the woman played by Yonnie Selma.  With no story, ‘Impatience’ is visual poetry.  The impact of this rarely-seen film can only be guessed at – did director Jack Cardiff know of it before he directed ‘Girl on a Motorcycle’ in 1968?  The parallels are striking, and some scenes are nearly identical – ‘Impatience’ clearly set the pattern for sexualizing the motorcycle, and relating the machine to a woman’s body, with the possibility of an erotic bond between them.  This one is free, as it’s already on The Vintagent.
Keep safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the films!
Corinna Mantlo is the Editor for Film at The Vintagent. She is also the owner / lead designer at custom seat maker Via Meccanica. She is also the founder of both Cine Meccanica and the Motorcycle Film Festival.  She has contributed to several books, including “The Chopper; The Real Story” (Gestalten 2014) by Paul d’Orleans. In her spare time, Corinna travels as a professional daredevil with the American Motor Drome Co. Wall Of Death.

Sunday Morning CAR-toons! Mouse & Duck

September 3, 2017

The Dognapper (1934)

Police officers Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, chase Pegleg Pete down in a sidecar outfit after he dognaps Fifi, Minnie Mouse’s pet Pekingese.

‘The Dognapper’ was Donald Duck’s third film and was the first to feature both Mickey and Donald together. This was the second of only three B&W cartoons to feature Donald Duck, the other two being ‘Orphan’s Benefit’ (1934) and ‘Mickey’s Service Station’ (1935). Because the color of Donald’s feet doesn’t show in black and white, his feet were black in these cartoons.

Directed by David Hand, ‘The Dognapper’ features the voices of Clarence “Ducky” Nash as both Mickey and Donald, and Billy Bletcher as Pete. This was the first and only time that Mickey was voiced by Nash, as Walt Disney was in Europe at the time and was unavailable to record his lines, and Nash took over. – wikipedia

In ‘Hollywood Cartoons, American Animation In The Golden Age’, author Michael Barrier discusses how in these early years of talky cartoons, dialogue was sparse, and it was Donald Duck’s distinctive voice brought to life by Nash that landed him the roll in his first film ‘Orphan’s Benefit’, and launched his career.

Mickey’s Service Station (1935)

Mickey, Goofy & Donald have 10 minutes to fix Pete’s car. Or else!

The film, which stars Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as car mechanics, is notable as the first to feature the three characters as a comedy trio. The film was also the final black-and-white appearance of Donald, Goofy, and Pete, and the penultimate animated black-and-white film produced by Disney after Mickey’s Kangaroo which was released later the same year. Mickey’s Service Station was directed by Ben Sharpsteen, who at the time, had directed only Silly Symphony shorts, and starred the voices of Walt Disney, Clarence Nash, Pinto Colvig, and Billy Bletcher. – wikipedia

Orphans Benefit (1934)

While this film features no vehicles, it’s included here as the first film in the trilogy of Black & White Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse team-up cartoons. Enjoy!

Corinna

A Trip To The Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune) 1902

September 1, 2017

Released today in 1902, ‘A Trip To The Moon’ directed by Georges Méliès, was the first of the science fiction genre (and one of the first vehicular) to grace the screen. The film was inspired in part by Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon (1901), and shot on one reel (825 feet of celluloid) at an astronomical cost of over 10,000 francs. 

The film follows a group of astronomers who travel to the Moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore the Moon’s surface, escape from an underground group of Selenites (lunar inhabitants), and return to Earth with a captive Selenite.

“The greatest difficulty in realising my own ideas forced me to sometimes play the leading role in my films … I was a star without knowing I was one, since the term did not yet exist.” – Georges Méliès

Created by the pioneering french filmmaker and magician, Méliès made over 500 films, inventing groundbreaking directorial, production, and special effects techniques as he went. He is estimated to have acted in over 250 of those films as well.

While the film received critical acclaim, it was also widely bootlegged. less than 20 years later most printed were lost or melted down for boot heels during the war effort.

The film was almost entirely lost for decades, and until 1993 it was unknown that the film was originally released in hand painted color as well as black and white. The discovered print dating to before 1906, was restored and released at the Cannes Festival in 2011. The New York Times noted that the discovery and re-release was “surely a cinematic highlight of the year, maybe the century.”

A  Trip To The Moon fits snuggly into the Cine Meccanica vehicular film collection, for the mechanical ingenuity of production at the time, and the limitless reach of the industrial revolution to transport the body and mind to another place by way of machine. Set your sites on the moon, light the cannon fuse and away we go!

Corinna

 

A Chip off the ‘ol motor block

July 22, 2017

Cartoons have shaped much of my life. Perhaps not something to boast about, but in my dad’s house Bugs Bunny was king, and Jim Henson a god for whom green candles were lit in memoriam on May 16th 1990. I may not be terribly well adjusted as an adult, but I haven’t dynamited anyone in the face…yet; in part due to the fact that somewhere in among the falling Acme anvils, nose dives off of  impossible cliffs, exploding everything,  and never-ending senseless brutality between the animal species, there were wonderful tidbits of morality left to seep their way into our violence clouded brains and settle into our subconscious. This sweet vehicular gem, directed by Tex Avery for MGM in 1952 touches on the dilemmas of parenting, responsibility, and the timeless trials of coming of age.

– Corinna Mantlo

One Cab’s Family (1952)

The lineage of a cartoon:

One Cab’s Family (1952) is based, if not entirely lifted from the 1937 classic, Streamlined Greta Green (1937) made for Merrie Melodies by the Leon Schlesinger Studios…

Streamlined Greta Green (1937)

…In 1953, MGM and Tex Avery released yet another version, Little Johnny Jet. The premise is the same, but this time around the cast is a family of airplanes.

Little Johnny Jet (1953)

 

*originally published on Cine Meccanica in 2013

Hell On Wheels!

December 28, 2016

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Road Racers (1994)

Thursday, December 29th

Film starts at 8pm

at Aunt Ginny’s Bar (652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385)

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

Hey, now you pay attention to something here. These kids ain’t the same anymore. And you know what’s behind it all? Rock ‘n’ roll. That music is turning the kids into a bunch of sex hungry, beer drinking, road racing werewolves. 

Where should I begin? Well this film has it all, all as far as this film critic has any concerns. From action to comedy to romance to sci-fi and most important, Rock-n-roll.

Nixer: Little dab’ll do ya.
Dude: Hell on wheels. 
Yes, from the very first scene which is a car chase to the last scene which is also a car chase. I first viewed this gem with my former bandmate/roommate at the time Harley Davidson. A younger Robert Rodriguez directed this retro made modern timeless tale which stars David Arquette (Dude) and Salma Hayek (Donna) as the two estranged lovers caught in a small Texas early 60’s town which Gene Pitneys’ ” Town without pity ” tune comes to mind to describe their harrowed romantic plight which only they can truly appreciate.

I know you hate this town. I know you hate Teddy; I do, too. But I also know you love your music. So fight for what you love… not for what you hate.
Before this film came out I really did not take note of David’s prior or later performances. He truly earned my respect though after this Made for Showtime TV film was created. I always considered Salma to be pretty but after Roadracers I thought her downright sizzling.

Sarge: Y’know, I’m so close to kicking your ass right now, I can damn near taste it. 
Dude: It’s got a bit of a wing to it, don’t it? 
For the music score there is everything from Link Wray to Hazil Adkins to Gene Vincent. The comedic parts are almost cartoon like in their absurdness yet they are real life actors, actresses. From the race with the Sheriffs son (Arquette’s Antagonist) to the roller rink hi jinks and the discovery of Arquette’s favorite local band being sell outs. You will meet J.T., a greasy spoon Cook who deals out poignant words of philosophical nature alongside his not so appreciated burgers and fries. You can’t ever forget Dudes’ sidekick Nixer whose antics and chemistry add even more to this flick. Then there is the evil Sheriff who apparently is trying to either incarcerate Dude or chase him out of town as he did to Dudes’ father. The evil sheriff has an evil spawn who the Sheriff is trying 24/7 to get him to take care of eradicating dude from the picture. Let us not forget the sci-fi movie that tends to permeate the theme of this movie. The main actor (Miles) from ” Invasion of The Body Snatchers ” has a great bit part as well making one think (just a little) as one rolls off ones chair with raucous laughter.

You’re just a fadin’ image in my rearview mirror 

Even the quotes in this film are witty and unforgettable. From the Sheriffs philosophy of the then youth “Nothin’ but a bunch of beer drinkin’, road racin’ werewolves” and lets not forget what the good Sheriff tells his number one in regards to not getting rid of Dude in a timely manner…”If excuses were worth a cent you’d be a silver fuckin’ dollar” My personal fave is when Dude is givin’ his last regards to Donna….Donna says with big lamb eyes all prettied up” Where does that leave me? ” where Dude replies before leaving rubber “You’re just a fadin’ image in my rearview mirror”.
If you do anything worthwhile anytime soon make sure you go check this flick out….and soon!!!

Les Vegas, Entertainer, bad poet and sophisticated drunk

The making of a Degenerate Hot Rod Flick

Rebel Highway was a short-lived revival of American International Pictures created and produced by Lou Arkoff, the son of Samuel Z. Arkoff and Debra Hill for the Showtime channel in 1994. The concept was 10-week series of 1950s “drive-in classic” B-movies remade “with a ’90s edge”. The impetus for the series, according to Arkoff was, “what it would be like if you made Rebel Without a Cause today. It would be more lurid, sexier, and much more dangerous, and you definitely would have had Natalie Wood‘s top off”. Originally, Arkoff wanted to call the series, Raging Hormones but Showtime decided on Rebel Highway instead. Arkoff and Hill invited several directors to pick a title from one of Samuel Arkoff’s movies, hire their own writers and create a story that could resemble the original if they wanted. In addition, they had the right to a final cut and select their own director of photography and the editor. Each director was given a $1.3 million budget and 12 days to shoot it with a cast of young, up and coming actors and actresses. According to Arkoff, the appeal to directors was that, “They weren’t hampered by big studios saying, ‘You can’t do this or that.’ And all the directors paid very close attention to the detail of the era. We want these shows to be fun for the younger generation and fun for the older generation”.

The series premiered with Robert Rodriguez‘s Roadracers on July 22, 1994.

The Rebel Highway films

Motorcycle Duel…With Death To The Loser!

December 19, 2016

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Motorcycle Gang (1957)

Thursday, December 22nd

Film starts at 8pm

at Aunt Ginny’s Bar (652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385)

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

motorcycle_gang_poster_02Hey what’re you trying to do, start a fire.

Nick, the leader of a small town sickle gang returns after a 2 year stretch in the clink for clipping an old man during a drag. To his surprise, the new head cat, Randy (who walked form that same wrap with only a suspended sentence), has taken the club square. He’s got them teamed up with the local race set, and their priorities have switched form tearing up the town, to qualifying for the regionals. Nick tries to take the gang back, but Randy’s not quite as square as he looks. IMG_0629I uh thought I knew every sickle cat in town.

Teresa ‘Terry the Terrible’ is new in town. Staying with her uncle for the summer, she’s got only one thing on her mind…burning rubber.

IMG_0630You’re a ‘shol’…a sharp doll

She’s hard to miss, and the local bike set is quick to spot her. Randy’s smitten and invites her down to the Blue Moon to meet the rest of the kids.

IMG_0655Burning rubber is my one big vice. Last guy who tried this lost an arm and a leg.

Pretty quick, Terry gets herself involved with both Nick and Randy, which only fuels their riff. Randy’s still on probation so street fights are out. He challenges Nick to the next PNG event, a 100mile off rode race.

IMG_0661You’ve got a one cylinder mind

Racing neck and neck, Randy wins by a hair even with Nick riding dirty. Of course, Nick’s a sore loser and challenges Randy to a race of his own. Pushed too far, Randy agrees. IMG_0681Look who’s having trouble with their clutch assembly.

After a series of stunts, Randy wipes out riding the rails after Nick sabotages the track. Now, Randy’s in the hospital and the kid’s aren’t impressed with Terry’s antics playing both sides anymore. She’s lost her fella, her friends and ruined her and Randy’s shot at the regionals. IMG_0678Remember when you told me that maturity was setting in, and I told you I hoped it wasn’t contagious?…well, it is.

Nick doesn’t mind her tactics however, and he still wants her, but now Terry has seem the error of her ways and is disgusted. Terry gets  Randy to forgive her and take her back. PNG also forgives them and Randy is allowed to race the regionals.

IMG_0622These aren’t PNG men…these are alley cats on motor cicles. There’s a big difference.

Nick and his sore loser goons resort to booze and rebel rousing. They terrorize a local café and take the owners hostage. Randy and the gang come to the rescue with the help of he race organizers…Nick and the hods land back in the clink. Terry and Randy settle down, and all is well in Coolsville, daddy-O!

Corinna Mantlo

Teenage cycle hounds out for one thing…Thrills!

Motorcycle Gang was remade in 1994 by John Milius and starring Gerald McRaney and Jake Busey as part of Showtime’s series Rebel Highway.

motorcycle-gang-movie-poster-1994-1020232342

Rebel Highway was a short-lived revival of American International Pictures created and produced by Lou Arkoff, the son of Samuel Z. Arkoff and Debra Hill for the Showtime channel in 1994. The concept was 10-week series of 1950s “drive-in classic” B-movies remade “with a ’90s edge”. The impetus for the series, according to Arkoff was, “what it would be like if you made Rebel Without a Cause today. It would be more lurid, sexier, and much more dangerous, and you definitely would have had Natalie Wood‘s top off”. Originally, Arkoff wanted to call the series, Raging Hormones but Showtime decided on Rebel Highway instead. Arkoff and Hill invited several directors to pick a title from one of Samuel Arkoff’s movies, hire their own writers and create a story that could resemble the original if they wanted. In addition, they had the right to a final cut and select their own director of photography and the editor. Each director was given a $1.3 million budget and 12 days to shoot it with a cast of young, up and coming actors and actresses. According to Arkoff, the appeal to directors was that, “They weren’t hampered by big studios saying, ‘You can’t do this or that.’ And all the directors paid very close attention to the detail of the era. We want these shows to be fun for the younger generation and fun for the older generation”.

The series premiered with Robert Rodriguez‘s Roadracers on July 22, 1994. This is incidently also next weeks film. Be there or be square!

The Rebel Highway films

“Speed’s expensive…How fast you wanna go?”

December 14, 2016

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Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)

Thursday, December 15th

Film starts at 8pm

at Aunt Ginny’s Bar (652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385)

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

Larry: Nice ‘lil town

Deke: Any town’s a nice ‘lil town, when you nail a broad

Hi, Asshole

After a one night stand, amateur race car driver and Nascar hopeful, Larry (Peter Fonda) leaves a sleeping Mary in bed, and heads out to pull of a heist with washed up race car mechanic, Deke. While Deke holds a supermarket manager’s (Roddy McDowell) wife and daughter hostage, Larry collects the $150,000 in cash from the supermarket safe.

Ok Miss Mary, have it your way, but any time you want out, you just holler

The plan goes off without a hitch, until Larry returns to the escape car, a 1967 Chevy Impala, to find Mary sprawled in the front seat. Having followed him to the scene of the crime in her grandaddy’s 1947 Chevy 3100 pickup, Mary refuses to give back the keys, unless they let her come along for the ride.

Alright so I didn’t say goodbye…I had a robbery to pull off, woman!

On the road the trio bicker relentlessly. Mary’s all over Larry, but pissed that he slept with her and then bailed. Larry rags on Mary in a painful yet entertaining grade school crush sort of way, and Deke just wants her gone.

Yea, ok so we’re off to a bad start…Know what a bad start means to a guy like me…Not a god damned thing!

On the road, they try to get rid of Mary, but every time they end up needing to take her back. She gets pissed and walks, but Deke needs her help as a third to fix the car. Then they try to ditch her at a road stop but she knew to take their getaway map with her as collateral, and they soon return to pick her up.

You get over to Steve’s and pick up that Interceptor

Captain Everett Franklin (Vic Morrow), an odd ball cop with long hair, and a problem with authority, who refuses to wear a gun or badge, takes the heist and escape personally. He obsessively sets out to capture the trio in a dragnet, calling in a souped up police interceptor, and a Bell JetRanger helicopter to track the convicts.

Car 13 out of commission

Questioned at every turn by the sheriff, only Franklin seems to know how Larry thinks, and tries to use his race driver mentality against him, only to find his patrol cars woefully inadequate to catch Larry, Mary and Deke after they switch from the Impala to a souped up 1969 Dodge Charger.

He’s crazy Deke, crazier than I am!

Utilizing the 2 way radio, Captain Franklin sends confusing roadblock instructions, sending the Charger into a tail spin as it tries to evade the cop’s plan…Franklin knows the only way to beat Larry is to make him out drive himself, as no one else is a match for him.

Remember Robert Mitchum at Thunder Road…I’m gonna powder his face!

Having crashed the Interceptor, and run the copter out of gas, it’s just the charger and the outlaws on the wide, open road. Larry and Deke congratulate themselves on the heist and plan for their return to the race circuit. It finally looks like they made it. Mary, for the first time gets a contented look on her face as she comments to herself, “you know what? I think I’m ready to unload”….

….Just then…WHAM…The Charger slams into a passing freight train and goes up in flames.

Check out all the cars from the film HERE

See hundreds of images from the film HERE

Back story:

“Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” is based on the novel originally titled “The Chase” (later renamed “Pursuit”) by Richard Unekis, and published in 1963. The story incorporated a phenomenon that was relatively new in 1963: major auto manufacturers were putting powerful V-8 engines into mid-sized cars (the dawn of the “muscle car” era), and young thieves behind the wheel of these cars were now able to out run the economy 6-cylinder sedans driven by police in many jurisdictions. The protagonists of “The Chase” used such a vehicle, a Chevrolet, and made use of the checkerboard of roads in the farm country of Illinois to outrun the police. – wikipedia

Stranger than fiction:

In the late 50’s, My father, Comic Book writer, and real life Legal Aid super hero, Bill Mantlo was taken hostage in a heist almost identical to this film’s plot. My grandfather William Mantlo worked as a bank manager in Long Island and was met one morning at the bank by a man who said he had my Grandmother Nancy, and their 3 boys, Arthur, Mike and Bill held hostage at gunpoint at their home near by. My grandfather of course complied with the robber, and my grandmother was let go. My father and uncles, just young boys at the time, knew nothing of the incident as they were upstairs asleep. I looked high and low for the newspaper article of this that I’ve had forever, with no luck….details to follow when I find it in the archives.

Corinna Mantlo