Five More Films about Filmmaking

To celebrate our screening of Maurice Hatton’s Long Shot (1978), about a couple of filmmakers struggling to get their dream project set up at 1977’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, and after the first five, we recommend another five films about filmmaking…

Crime Wave

Crime Wave (John Paizs, 1985). Dunno what it is about Winnipeg, but they unaccountably love Phantom of the Paradise more than anywhere on Earth and every so often they produce an outsider filmmaker par excellence. Perhaps most notably, Winnipeg gave us Guy Maddin and John Paizs – the latter responsible for this, unfortunately (and barely) released the year before Sam Raimi’s Crimewave (1986), condemning it to be overlooked in perpetuity. Which is a shame, because it’s great – a tongue-in-cheek homage to 1940s/1950s American screen culture, it features Paizs himself as a struggling screenwriter who can only write beginnings and endings.

Barton Fink2

Barton Fink (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, 1991). Speaking of writer’s block, has there ever been a better take on it than the Coens’? Never mind that the brothers insist they don’t suffer from it (work on Miller’s Crossing had simply slowed to a crawl, so they took a break to develop Fink), or that no-one really agrees on what it’s about. It’s still John Turturro’s signature role, give or take a Jesus, the root of an excellent Simpsons joke and still one of the Coens’ all-time best.

Living

Living In Oblivion (Tom DiCillo, 1995). Still pretty much the go-to reference point for films about indie filmmaking, this was inspired by DiCillo’s experiences making the extremely early-90s Johnny Suede and not making his passion project Box of Moonlight, ultimately his follow-up to Oblivion). Particularly notable for the shade it casts on Johnny Suede star Brad Pitt via his stand-in character, Chad Palomino (James LeGros), and Peter Dinklage’s diatribe against Hollywood  cliché (“I don’t even have dreams with dwarves in them!”).

Cecil B Demented3

Cecil B Demented (John Waters, 2000). One of the best late-period Waters but weirdly not the most loved. Cecil B Demented (Stephen Dorff) is the leader of a cell of kamikaze filmmakers – the SprocketHoles – who kidnap film star diva Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) to force her to act in their film. Maybe it’s a little inside baseball – it’ll help if you know your Premingers from your Peckinpahs – but that’s almost part of the joke. It’s a Matchbox favourite (we screened it in April 2015) with a ridiculously prescient cast (early roles for Michael Shannon and Maggie Gyllenhaal among many others) and really just gets better with age.

The Independent

The Independent (Stephen Kessler, 2000). From the celebrated director of Vegas Vacation (1997) and featuring playing-themselves cameos from Peter Bogdanovich, Karen Black, Roger Corman, Ted Demme, Ron Howard and Fred Williamson, this is a mockumentary portrait of Morty Fineman (Ben’s dad Jerry Stiller), a Lloyd Kaufman-style master of the B-movie. He’s over the hill and down on his luck, but banking on an unlikely comeback – in fact, his struggle to get  a dream project made and his career on track mimics that of the stars of Long Shot. How’s that for putting a bow on it?

Sean Welsh


Long Shot screens at CCA on Thursday 21/07. Tickets are on sale now.

Lost and Found: LONG SHOT

We’re honoured to present Dylan Cave’s excellent article on our July film, Long Shot (Maurice Hatton, 1978), from the Sight & Sound series on overlooked films currently unavailable on DVD or Blu Ray.

Long Shot Sight and Sound
Click image to read full article

Our rare screening of Long Shot, on 35mm, is followed by a Q&A with special guests, discussing Scottish filmmaking, all from 7pm on Thursday 21st July at CCA, Glasgow. Tickets are on sale now.


Used with permission, courtesy Sight & Sound. Unauthorised use is forbidden. This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue. www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound.

Long Shot (1978) + Q&A

Long Shot

Matchbox Cineclub’s July screening and the debut of our monthly residency at CCA is a very rare, 35mm outing for Long Shot (Maurice Hatton, 1978), followed by a Q&A discussion of the state of Scottish filmmaking with some special invited guests. The screening takes place at 7pm on Thursday 21st July. Matchbox’s residency continues on the third Thursday of every month at CCA.

Filmed and set at Edinburgh International Film Festival, 1977, Long Shot is a deadpan satire about the trials and tribulations of British independent filmmaking, with terrific cameos from Wim Wenders, Susannah York, Stephen Frears, Alan Bennett and John Boorman. A budding Scottish film producer (Charles Gormley) tries to get his ambitious Aberdeen-set western financed, and while he attracts some major stars and directors to the film he finds that with their support come more and more script changes.

Reviewing Long Shot in 1980, Janet Maslin said, “Maurice Hatton’s Long Shot begins as an in-joke and evolves into a film that’s fresh, cheerful and very appealing.”

This screening is by arrangement with Mithras Films. Matchbox are screening the long out-of-circulation Long Shot from a 35mm print straight from the BFI Archives.

Tickets are £4 + £1 booking fee from CCA’s box office, online, in person or by phone, 0141 352 4900.

Forbidden Zone trailer

Here’s the trailer for our upcoming screening of Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1980). The screening is by arrangement with Arrow Video. Seating is limited, tickets are on sale now. Keep up-to-date at the Facebook event page here.

Matchbox Cineclub presents FORBIDDEN ZONE

ForbiddenZoneWeb

Valpuri Karinen designed the poster for our upcoming screening of Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1980). Valpuri also made Matchbox’s Spaceballs poster, and you can check out more of her work at her website, here, or at her Tumblr, here.


Our Forbidden Zone screening is by arrangement with Arrow Video. Seating is limited, tickets are on sale now. Keep up-to-date at the Facebook event page here

COMIN’ AT YA! 3D Films Through The Ages

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3D films have been around for 100 years now, but for the first 40, they were more or less a niche concern, mostly shorts and special presentations. The first full-length 3D film was Bwana Devil (Arch Oboler, 1952). One of Bwana Devil‘s early audiences was captured in JR Eyerman’s iconic photograph, for Life magazine, used later on the cover of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.

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The 1950s was the Golden Era of 3D, at least the first four or so years, since the craze quickly dissipated. Along with some of the finest examples – Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (1954) were less canonical efforts like Robot Monster (Phil Tucker, 1953). Technical difficulties with exhibition and the general expense meant many 3D films were released flat and the format eventually fell out of fashion, although low budget exploitation films kept the ball rolling into the next decade.

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3D was still the province of exploitation for the early 1960s, with notable outliers like The Mask (Julian Roffman, 1961) from the studio system. The late 1960s saw the return of the saviour of 3D, ol’ Arch Oboler himself, with a new system called Space-Vision 3D – which, worth the wait for the name alone. The Bubble (1966) was his big comeback and the system itself provided a cheaper, less tricky technique for producing and exhibiting 3D films.

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The 1970s was super porny for 3D films. The Stewardesses (Allan Silliphant, 1969 – but 70s as a motherfucker) became one of the most profitable films of all time, if not the most. Flesh For Frankenstein (Paul Morissey, 1973) had a good stab at combining horror and porn and Jackie Chan starrer Magnificent Bodyguards (Lo Wei, 1978) was R-rated kung fu fun. On the whole, 1970s 3D films were not so much for kids.

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The 1980s 3D craze began with Comin’ At Ya (Ferdinando Baldi, 1981), a spaghetti western made using a system devised by writer and lead actor Tony Anthony. Comin’ At Ya was shamelessly, some would say ingeniously, designed to exploit the 3D effects, with various items – arrows, handfuls of seeds, dangling babies – bursting off the screen. The same team followed up with Treasure of the Four Crowns (Ferdinando Baldi, 1983), although a second spiritual sequel, Escape From Beyond, was thwarted before it reached production. In the wake of Comin’ At Ya, Dial M For Murder was re-released and the horror genre once again dove face first into 3D. Friday the 13th Part III (Steve Miner, 1982), Jaws 3-D (Joe Alves, 1983) and Amityville 3-D (Richard Fleischer, 1983) all tipped their hats to Baldi and Anthony’s gleeful approach to 3D.

Then, it’s into the 1990s and IMAX and Avatar and fancy Real 3D and diminishing returns once again. But that’s a story for another day and, besides, the posters aren’t as nice to look at.

Sean Welsh


Matchbox Cineclub screen Comin’ At Ya! in anaglyph 3D at The Old Hairdressers, Thursday  19th May, 2016. Details here. Limited tickets available here.