Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell was a British film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. His films in the main were liberal adaptations of existing texts, or biographies, notably of composers of the Romantic era. Russell began directing for the BBC, where he made creative adaptations of composers' lives which were unusual for the time, he directed many feature films independently and for studios. He is best known for his Oscar-winning film Women in Love, The Devils, The Who's Tommy, the science fiction film Altered States. Russell directed several films based on the lives of classical music composers, such as Elgar, Tchaikovsky and Liszt. Film critic Mark Kermode, speaking in 2006, attempting to sum up the director's achievement, called Russell, "somebody who proved that British cinema didn't have to be about kitchen-sink realism—it could be every bit as flamboyant as Fellini. In his life he turned to making low-budget experimental films such as Lion's Mouth and Revenge of the Elephant Man, they are as edgy and'out there' as ever".
Critics have accused him of being obsessed with the Catholic Church. Russell was born in Southampton, England, on 3 July 1927, the elder of two sons of Ethel and Henry Russell, a shoeshop owner, his father was distant and took out his rage on his family, so Russell spent much of his time at the cinema with his mother, mentally ill. He cited The Secret of the Loch as two early influences, he was educated at private schools in Walthamstow and at Pangbourne College, studied photography at Walthamstow Technical College. He harboured a childhood ambition to be a ballet dancer but instead joined the Royal Air Force and the Merchant Navy as a teenager. On one occasion he was made to stand watch in the blazing sun for hours on end while crossing the Pacific, his lunatic captain feared an attack by Japanese midget submarines despite the war having ended. He moved into television work after short careers in photography, his series of documentary'Teddy Girl' photographs were published in Picture Post magazine in 1955, he continued to work as a freelance documentary photographer until 1959.
After 1959, Russell's amateur films secured him a job at the BBC. Between 1959 and 1970, Russell directed art documentaries for Omnibus, his best known works during this period include: Elgar, The Debussy Film, Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World, Song of Summer and Dance of the Seven Veils, a film about Richard Strauss. He once said that the best film he made was Song of Summer, that he would not edit a single shot. Elgar was the first time that a televised arts programme broadcast a feature-length film about an artistic figure, rather than a series of shorter segments, it was the first time that re-enactments were used. Russell fought with the BBC over using actors to portray different ages of the same character, instead of the traditional photograph stills and documentary footage, his television films became flamboyant and outrageous. Dance of the Seven Veils sought to portray Richard Strauss as a Nazi: one scene in particular showed a Jewish man being tortured while a group of SS men look on in delight, with Strauss's music as the score.
The Strauss family was so outraged by the film. The film is banned from being screened until Strauss's copyright expires in 2019. Russell's next film after Altered States was The Planets, about Gustav Holst's musical suite of the same name; this 53-minute film was made in 1983 specially for The South Bank Show, the weekly arts programme of the ITV network in Britain. It is a wordless collage that matches stock footage to each of the seven movements of the Holst suite. John Coulthart wrote "familiar Russell obsessions appear: Nazis, naked women and the inevitable crucifixion." After disappearing for decades, in 2016 the film was re-released on DVD by Arthaus Musik. Russell's first feature film was French Dressing, a comedy loosely based on Roger Vadim's And God Created Woman. One of his films there, in 1965, was Always on Sunday, a bio-pic of the late 19th century French naive painter Henri Rousseau; this was followed by Dante's Inferno about the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his tortuous relationship with his wife Elizabeth.
His second major commercial film was Billion Dollar Brain, starring Michael Caine, based on author Len Deighton's Harry Palmer spy cycle. In 1969, Russell directed what is considered his "signature film", Women In Love, an adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's novel of the same name about two artist sisters living in post-World War I Britain; the film starred Oliver Reed, Jennie Linden and Alan Bates. The film is notable for its nude wrestling scene, which broke the convention at the time that a mainstream movie could not show male genitalia. Women in Love connected with the sexual bohemian politics of the late 1960s, it received several Oscar nominations, including his only nomination for Best Director. The film was BAFTA-nominated for the costume designs of Russell's first wife, Shirley; the colour schemes of Luciana Arrighi's art direction and Billy William's cinematography, which Russell used for metaphorical effect, are often referred to by film tex
Women in Love (film)
Women in Love is a 1969 British romantic drama film directed by Ken Russell and starring Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson, Jennie Linden. The film was adapted by Larry Kramer from D. H. Lawrence's novel of the same name, it is the first film to be released by Brandywine Productions. The plot follows the relationships between two sisters and two men in a mining town in post-World War I England; the two couples take markedly different directions. The film explores the nature of love; the film was nominated for four Academy Awards, with Jackson winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role, the film receiving other honours. The film takes place in 1920, in the Midlands mining town of Beldover. Two sisters and Gudrun Brangwen, discuss marriage on their way to the wedding of Laura Crich, daughter of the town's wealthy mine owner, Thomas Crich, to Tibby Lupton, a naval officer. At the village's church, each sister is fascinated by a particular member of the wedding party – Gudrun by Laura's brother and Ursula by Gerald's best friend, Rupert Birkin.
Ursula is a school teacher and Rupert is a school inspector. The four are brought together at a house party at the estate of Hermione Roddice, a rich woman whose relationship with Rupert is falling apart; when Hermione devises, as entertainment for her guests, a dance in the "style of the Russian ballet", Rupert becomes impatient with her pretensions and tells the pianist to play some ragtime. This angers Hermione, she leaves. When Birkin follows her into the next room, she smashes a glass paperweight against his head, he staggers outside, he discards his wanders through the woods. At the Criches' annual picnic, to which most of the town is invited and Gudrun find a secluded spot, Gudrun dances before some Highland cattle while Ursula sings "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles"; when Gerald and Rupert appear, Gerald calls Gudrun's behaviour "impossible and ridiculous", says he loves her. "That's one way of putting it", she replies. Ursula and Birkin wander away discussing love, they make love in the woods.
The day ends in tragedy when Tibby drown while swimming in the lake. During one of Gerald and Rupert's discussions, Rupert suggests Japanese-style wrestling, they wrestle in the firelight. Rupert enjoys their closeness and says they should swear to love each other, but Gerald cannot understand Rupert's idea of wanting to have an emotional union with a man as well as an emotional and physical union with a woman. Ursula and Birkin decide to marry while Gerald continue to see each other. One evening exhausted after his father's illness and death, Gerald sneaks into the Brangwen house to spend the night with Gudrun in her bed leaves at dawn. After Ursula and Birkin's marriage, Gerald suggests that the four of them go to the Alps for Christmas. At their inn in the Alps, Gudrun irritates Gerald with her interest in Loerke, a gay German sculptor. An artist herself, Gudrun is fascinated with Loerke's idea that brutality is necessary to create art. While Gerald grows jealous and angry, Gudrun only derides and ridicules him.
He can endure it no longer. After attempting to strangle her, he trudges off into the snow and cold to commit suicide and die alone. Rupert and Ursula and Gudrun return to their cottage in England. Rupert grieves for his dead friend; as Ursula and Rupert discuss love, Ursula says. He explains that she is enough for love of a woman but there is another eternal love and bond for a man; the plan for the film adaptation of Lawrence's novel came from Silvio Narizzano, who had directed the successful Georgy Girl. He suggested the idea to Larry Kramer, who bought the book's film rights. Narizzano, intended as director, had to leave the project after suffering a series of personal setbacks, he divorced his wife for a man. Kramer commissioned a screenplay from David Mercer. Mercer's adaptation differed too much from the original book and he was bought out of the project. Kramer himself wrote the script. After Narizzano's departure, Kramer considered a number of directors to take on the project, including Jack Clayton, Stanley Kubrick and Peter Brook, all of whom declined.
Kramer's fourth choice was Ken Russell, who had directed only two films and was better known for his biographical projects about artists for the BBC. Ken Russell made important contributions to the script. According to producer Larry Kramer the film came in under budget. Alan Bates, who had the leading male role in Georgy Girl, was interested from the start in the role of Birkin, D. H. Lawrence's alter ego. Bates sported a beard, giving him a physical resemblance to D. H. Lawrence. Kramer wanted Edward Fox for the role of Gerald. Fox fitted Lawrence's description of the character, but United Artists, the studio financing the production, imposed Oliver Reed, a more bankable star, as Gerald though he was not physically like Lawrence's description of the character. Kramer was adamant to give the role of Gudrun to Glenda Jackson, she was well recognised in theatrical circles. As a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company she had gained a great deal of attention as Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade. United Artists was unconvinced, considering her not conventionally beautiful enough for the role of Gudrun, who drives Gerald to suicide.
On, United Artists' executives accepted Jackson as the right person for Gudrun's role, as Jackson had the spontaneous and
The Greatest (1977 film)
The Greatest is a 1977 film about the life of boxer Muhammad Ali, in which Ali plays himself. It was directed by Monte Hellman; the film follows Ali's life from the 1960 Summer Olympics to his regaining the heavyweight crown from George Foreman in their famous "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in 1974. The footage of the boxing matches themselves are the actual footage from the time involved; the film is based on the book The Greatest: My Own Story written by Muhammad Ali and Richard Durham and edited by Toni Morrison. The song "The Greatest Love of All" was written for this film by Michael Masser and Linda Creed, sung by George Benson. Muhammad Ali as Himself Ernest Borgnine as Angelo Dundee John Marley as Dr. Ferdie Pacheco Lloyd Haynes as Herbert Muhammad Robert Duvall as Bill McDonald David Huddleston as Cruikshank Ben Johnson as Hollis James Earl Jones as Malcolm X Dina Merrill as Velvet Green Roger E. Mosley as Sonny Liston Paul Winfield as Draft Lawyer Annazette Chase as Belinda Ali Mira Waters as Ruby Sanderson Drew Bundini Brown as Himself Malachi Throne as Payton Jory Richard Venture as Colonel Cedrich Arthur Adams as Cassius Clay Sr Stack Pierce as Johnson Paul Mantee as Carrara Skip Homeier as the Major David Clennon as the Captain Nai Bonet as Suzie Gomez Chip McAllister as young Cassius Clay/Muhammad AliRahman Ali, Howard Bingham, Harold Conrad, Don Dunphy, Lloyd Wells, Pat Patterson, Gene Kilroy appear as themselves.
There are many uncredited roles in the film including some major characters, such as Ruby Sanderson and his girlfriend, Belinda Board, who became his wife, Herbert Mohammed, son of Elijah Muhammad, Ali's manager at one point. Lonette McKee was going to portray the role played by Annazette Chase. All music composed and produced by Michael Masser, arranged by Masser and Lee Holdridge. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called the film "a charming curio of a sort Hollywood doesn't seem to make much anymore." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "potent pop biography and entertaining, in which the irrepressible world's heavyweight boxing champion projects the image he wants us to have." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4 and wrote, "As a diverting entertainment,'The Greatest' is more than satisfactory." Arthur D. Murphy of Variety wrote that Ali brought the film "an authority and a presence that lift John Marshall's production above some of the limitations inherent in any film bio."
David Badder of The Monthly Film Bulletin stated, "The Greatest delivers what one would expect: a hagiographical account of Ali's best-known exploits, giving full rein to the inimitable, volatile personality but in the process applying liberal coats of whitewash." The Greatest on IMDb The Greatest at Rotten Tomatoes The Greatest at the TCM Movie Database The Greatest at AllMovie
Iguana is a 1988 international film directed by Monte Hellman and starring Everett McGill in the main role. The movie is based on the titular novel by Spanish author Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa, itself based on the life of a real Irish sailor called Patrick Watkins; the movie was shot on location in Lanzarote. Monte Hellman won Bastone Bianco Award for this movie on the Venice Film Festival in 1988. Iguana premiered in theaters on April 1, 1988, was released on DVD on January 30, 2001 via Anchor Bay Entertainment; the movie ends with the titles "For Warren" as Hellman dedicated the film to his friend Warren Oates who died in 1982. The film takes place at the beginning of the 19th century. Oberlus, a harpooner on a whaling ship, is subjected to ridicule and abuse by other sailors; the right half of his face is bizarrely disfigured and covered with hummocky outgrowths, which leads him to being nicknamed Iguana. One night, after a brutal beating, Oberlus escapes to the uninhabited Hood Island, he is soon discovered by a team led by captain Gamboa.
Gamboa brutally tortures Oberlus and ties him up for further punishment, but Iguana manages to escape and hides himself in a cave. The ship leaves the island and Gamboa orders that sailor Sebastian be tied to a post on the coast as punishment for letting Iguana escape. Oberlus finds Sebastian and proclaims himself "King of Hood Island" and Sebastian his first slave, forcing him to cook his food. Declaring revenge upon the world, Oberlus enslaves two other sailors thrown ashore after the shipwreck, he keeps his captives in a cave with a disguised entrance. After some time, a ship holding Carmen and her fiancé Diego, is moored near the island. Oberlus takes them prisoner. Oberlus makes Carmen his concubine; the captain of the ship, assuming Carmen and Diego to have died in the storm, does not look for them, but sails away. One day, Oberlus notices the arrival of his former whaling ship. At night, he climbs on board, kills two sailors on the deck, takes Gamboa prisoner, sets the ship alight, having locked the hull.
Gamboa fights is killed by him. Resigned to her fate, Carmen tells Oberlus. Months the captain of the ship Carmen and Diego arrived on, returns with a group of armed sailors, they begin their search and Oberlus has to flee to the other end of the island with pregnant Carmen and his surviving prisoners. Oberlus plans to sail away with Carmen on the boat. Carmen gives birth. With the child in his arms, he enters the sea, intending to drown the child. Everett McGill as Iguana Oberlus Fabio Testi as Gamboa Michael Madsen as Sebastián Roger Kendall as Roger Robert Case as One Eyed Sailor Maru Valdivielso as Carmen Fernando De Huang as Diego Fernando Cebrián as Ibarra Joseph Culp as Dominic Patrick Watkins known as Oberlus, was a real Irish sailor who, in 1807, spent two years in one of the islands of the Galapagos archipelago during which he captured and enslaved other sailors. In the literature, the life of Oberlus was described in sufficient detail in The Encantadas by the American writer Herman Melville.
An essay on the tyrant-hermit Oberlus inspired the Spanish writer Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa to write the novel "La iguana". In the novel, there appears Carmen, whom Oberlus keeps locked up, raping and making her bear his child. Vázquez-Figueroa discussed a potential adaptation with Italian film producer Franco di Nunzio, who sent him to Monte Hellman; the original script consisted of numerous long monologues, as it was arranged in the form of Carmen's letters to his mother. This option did not suit Monte Hellman, he agreed to become a director only if the script was rewritten. Most of the material was filmed in one of the Canary Islands, it was chosen because of its vast tracts of land covered with basalt and volcanic ash, which are similar to the Hood Island, where the action of the film takes place. All cave scenes were filmed in Rome. According to the memoirs of Monte Hellman, Franco di Nunzio's extreme meanness caused the film's shooting period to extend from six to nine weeks, due to constant delays in the delivery of props and equipment.
Because of legal difficulties associated with the joint production of the film, Franco Campanino was credited as a composer. In fact, the authorship belongs to Joni Mitchell, Amaya Merino, Joseph Culp; the film premiered in 1988 at the Venice Film Festival, where director Monte Hellman received a special film critics prize "Bastone Bianco Award". Franco di Nunzio insisted that the film be shortened by eight minutes. Monte Hellman wrote in his memoirs that "the producer became obsessed with the idea that the movie should be no longer than 90 minutes, he didn't speak English, never understood a word of the film. He made cuts that destroyed the rhythm and logic of the film, made it incomprehensible, as well as longer; as a result, none of the versions appeared in the wide release. In the US, the film was available only on VHS until 2001 when Anchor Bay Entertainment released the 98-minute version on DVD with a two-minute fragment being omitted, the scene in which Diego wakes up and disappears in the dark corner of the cave.
Raro Video released the full 100-minute version on Blu-ray in 2014. Allmovie rating of the movie is. Iguana holds a 50 % vote among viewers. Iguana o
Henry Gibson, was an American actor and songwriter. His best-known roles include his time as a cast member of the TV sketch-comedy series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In from 1968 to 1971, the voice of Wilbur in the 1973 film Charlotte's Web, his portrayal of diminutive country star Haven Hamilton in Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville, his role as the "Illinois Nazi" leader in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, his performance opposite Tom Hanks in 1989's The'Burbs, a small role in Magnolia, his role as the family priest in Wedding Crashers, his recurring role as Judge Clark Brown on Boston Legal. Gibson was born September 21, 1935 in Germantown, the sixth of seven children of Edmund Alberts Bateman and his wife Dorothy, he attended Saint Joseph's Preparatory School. After graduating from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. he served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force with the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing in France from 1957 to 1960. Early in his career as a professional entertainer, he developed a comedy act in which he played a poet from Fairhope, Alabama.
He adopted the stage name Henry Gibson, an oronym for the name of famed Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. He is known to have used the name Olsen Gibson. Gibson's performing career began at the age of seven, he appeared in many theater productions. Gibson made many appearances on Tonight Starring Jack Paar between 1957 and 1962 reciting his poetry. In 1962, his appearance coincided with guest-host Jerry Lewis. Lewis, charmed by Gibson's demeanor, subsequently cast him in The Nutty Professor. Gibson's career took off following this film appearance; that was followed in 1964 by his poetry-reciting cowboy character Quirt Manly on the popular show The Beverly Hillbillies. Around this time, Gibson appeared on an episode of My Favorite Martian. Gibson spent three years as part of the Laugh-In television show's cast, where he was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1971, he played "The Poet", reciting poems with "sharp satirical or political themes". Gibson would emerge from behind a stage flat, wearing a Nehru jacket and "hippie" beads and holding an outlandishly large artificial flower.
He would bow stiffly from the waist, state " — by Henry Gibson" in an ironic Southern US accent, again bow stiffly from the waist, recite his poem and return behind the flat. Gibson's routine was so memorable that John Wayne performed it once in his own inimitable style: "The Sky — by John Wayne; the Sky is blue/The Grass is green/Get off your butt/And join the Marine!", whereupon Wayne left the scene by smashing through the flat. Gibson regularly appeared in the "Cocktail Party" segments as a Catholic priest, sipping tea, he would put the cup on the saucer, recite his one-liner in a grave and somber tone go back to sipping tea. In 1962, Gibson had issued a comedy album on Liberty records, entitled Alligator; the album now entitled... by Henry Gibson, following his success on Laugh-In. The liner notes perpetuated the origin story of his being a country boy from Alabama; the album did not reach the Billboard Top 200 in either release. Around this time, Gibson made recurring appearances in the 1969–1974 anthology Love, American Style.
During the 1960s, Gibson had appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show reading the poem "Keep a-Goin'", which he turned into a song in the Robert Altman movie Nashville. Notably, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Haven Hamilton in the film and won the National Society of Film Critics award for the role; the Nashville Tennessean called Gibson "the male superstar most to be in line for an Academy Award" and hailed his performance as being "so real to Music Row habitués as to be frightening." Gibson appeared in three other films directed by Altman: The Long Goodbye, A Perfect Couple, Health. In 1978, he appeared in The New Adventures Of Wonder Woman as the arch-villain Mariposa. Two years he appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard as Will Jason in the second-season episode "Find Loretta Lynn"; the same year, he played the leader of the "Illinois Nazis" in the John Landis film The Blues Brothers. The next year, he appeared in The Incredible Shrinking Woman. In the 1989 Joe Dante comedy The'Burbs, starring Tom Hanks, Gibson played the villain.
He reunited with director Dante a year when Gremlins 2: The New Batch was released in 1990, performing a cameo as the office worker, caught taking a smoking break on camera and fired by the sadistic boss. 1996 saw him playing an unusual dramatic role as former train conductor Robinson in the independent film Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day with Michael Stipe. That year, he was the voice of Adolf Eichmann in Keith Gordon's film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Mother Night. During 1999, Gibson made an appearance in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia as an eccentric barfly who antagonizes former child prodigy Donnie Smith, played by William H. Macy. Gibson worked as a voice actor in animation, most notably portraying Wilbur the pig in the popular Hanna-Barbera children's movie Charlotte's Web, he worked for the company again on the cartoon The Biskitts. Additionally, Gibson's voice work was featured on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy as Lord Pain, King of the Hill as reporter Bob Jenkins, Rocket Power as grouchy neighbor Merv Stimpleton.
Television work included a guest role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing the Ferengi Nilva in the 1998 episode "Profit and Lace". Gibson had a leading role in a sea
Monte Hellman is an American film director, producer and editor. Hellman began his career as an editor's apprentice at ABC TV, made his directorial debut with the horror film Beast from Haunted Cave, produced by Roger Corman, he would gain critical recognition for the Western Ride in the Whirlwind starring Jack Nicholson, the independent road movie Two-Lane Blacktop starring James Taylor and Dennis Wilson. His directorial work has included the 1989 slasher film Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! and the independent thriller Road to Nowhere. Monte Hellman was born July 12, 1932, in New York City to Gertrude and Fred Himmelbaum, who were vacationing in New York at the time of his birth; the family ended up settling in Albany, New York, before relocating to Los Angeles, when Hellman was 5 years old. Hellman graduated from Los Angeles High School, attended Stanford University, graduating in 1951, he attended graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, but did not complete his studies.
Hellman is among a group of directing talent mentored by Roger Corman, who produced several of the director's early films. According to film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon, Hellman began by working on "low budget exploitation films with a personal slant," yet learned from Corman the art of producing commercially viable films on a tight budget while staying true to a personal vision. Hellman's most critically acclaimed film to date has been Two-Lane Blacktop, a road movie, a box office failure at the time of its initial release but has subsequently turned into a perennial cult favorite. Hellman's two acid westerns starring Jack Nicholson, Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting, both shot in 1965 and released directly to television in 1968, have developed cult followings the latter. Hellman and his stuntman Gary Kent talk about the making of the westerns in the 2018 documentary Love and Other Stunts. A third western, China 9, Liberty 37, was far less successful critically, although it too has its admirers, as do Cockfighter and Iguana.
In 1989, he directed the straight-to-video slasher film Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! In addition to his directorial career, Hellman worked on several films in different capacities, he was the dialogue director for Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, second-unit director on Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop. Hellman finished two pictures in post-production that were started by other directors who died after the movies were shot, the Muhammad Ali bio The Greatest and Avalanche Express, he shot extra footage for the television versions of Ski Troop Attack, Last Woman on Earth, Creature from the Haunted Sea, Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars. Among the movies on which Hellman served as editor are Corman's The Wild Angels, Bob Rafelson's Head, Sam Peckinpah's The Killer Elite and Jonathan Demme's Fighting Mad. Hellman was an executive producer on Quentin Tarantino's debut feature Reservoir Dogs. In 2006, he directed "Stanley's Girlfriend," a section of the omnibus horror film Trapped Ashes.
Hellman's section of the film was presented by the Cannes Film Festival that year as an "Official Selection," and Hellman was named president of the festival's Un Certain Regard jury. In 2010, he completed a new feature film, the romantic noir thriller Road to Nowhere, which competed for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, he teaches in the Film Directing Program at the California Institute of the Arts. At the 2010 Venice Film Festival, he was awarded with a special career prize. Beast from Haunted Cave The Terror Back Door to Hell Flight to Fury The Shooting Ride in the Whirlwind Two-Lane Blacktop Cockfighter A Fistful of Dollars The Greatest China 9, Liberty 37 Inside the Coppola Personality RoboCop He directed several action scenes. Iguana Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! Reservoir Dogs Trapped Ashes Road to Wheeler Winston. Film Talk: Directors at Work. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-4078-8. Monte Hellman on IMDb Interview: Monte Hellman on Roger Corman and Cockfighter Monte Hellman on La furia umana
Billion Dollar Brain
Billion Dollar Brain is a 1967 British Technicolor espionage film directed by Ken Russell and based on the novel of the same name by Len Deighton. The film features Michael Caine as the anti-hero protagonist; the "brain" of the title is a sophisticated computer with which an anti-communist organisation controls its worldwide anti-Soviet spy network. Billion Dollar Brain is the third of the Harry Palmer film series, preceded by The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin, it is the only film in which Ken Russell worked as a mainstream'director-for-hire', the last film of Françoise Dorléac. A fourth film in the series, an adaptation of Horse Under Water to be released by United Artists, was tentatively planned but never made. Caine played Palmer in two films, Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in Saint Petersburg; the film's credits show the title as "$1,000,000,000,000,000,000.00" and "BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN" This is the British definition of one trillion – 1 followed by 18 zeros is one quintillion in the short scale or one trillion in the long scale.
Harry Palmer, who has left MI5 to work as a private investigator, is told by a mechanical voice on the phone to take a package to Helsinki. The package contains six virus-laden eggs that have been stolen from the British government's research facility at Porton Down. In Helsinki, he is met by Anya, Harry's old friend Leo Newbigen. Leo is in love with Anya. Leo takes Harry to a secret room where a computer issues daily instructions to Anya; the computer speaks in the same voice as the one. After determining that he cannot trust either Leo or Anya, Harry is abducted by his former MI5 superior, Colonel Ross, who coerces him into working once more for the British government in pursuing the conspiracy. Harry is ordered to Latvia where he embeds with some rebels to obtain intelligence for Leo's operation. After being captured and left for dead, Harry is extracted from Russia by Colonel Stok, an old acquaintance from the KGB. Back in Helsinki, Anya tries to kill Harry while seducing him confesses that the computer told her to kill him.
Harry waits for Leo at the computer's location. Leo offers to pay off Harry for his trouble, but Harry insists on half of the money Leo is getting from whatever the conspiracy is all about; the pair go to Texas. The General proudly displays his billion-dollar'brain', a room full of computers that dispenses orders to his agents around the world; the General is in the midst of planning a rebellion in Latvia which he thinks will trigger the fall of the Soviet Union. His plan is to infect the Red Army with the viruses, while using his Latvian agents to begin a rebellion as his own private army invades. Meanwhile, Leo subverts the General's computer escapes with the eggs; the General realises Harry is a double agent. Back in Helsinki and Anya board a train for the Soviet Union with the eggs, but Harry, accompanied by two of Midwinter's men, intercepts them and escorts Leo off the train with the eggs. Anya shoots Harry's bodyguards. Leo hands the eggs to Anya; as he tries to pull himself up, Anya pushes him off the train and shrugs as he looks at her in bewilderment.
"She used me," Leo tells Harry. He offers to help Harry stop the General's insane plan, which could trigger World War III. In personnel carriers made from oil tanker trucks from his company, the General leads his private army across the frozen Baltic Sea into Latvia. Harry and Leo attempt to catch up with the General, but he orders their car to be fired upon and Leo is killed. Meanwhile, Col. Stok is aware of the invasion and orders bombers to intercept the convoy. Rather than dropping their bombs directly on the convoy, they drop the bombs on the ice in the convoy's path, breaking the ice; the entire convoy plunges into the freezing water, all the vehicles and soldiers — including the General himself — sink below the ice to a cold, Baltic grave. Harry awakes alone on an ice floe. Col. Stok arrives in a helicopter with the eggs, he gives the eggs to Harry. "We don't need them," he says, "We have our own ideas." Stok confirms. Back in London, Harry delivers the eggs to Colonel Ross, who agrees to reward Harry with a promotion.
However, when he opens the package to inspect the eggs, he finds they have hatched and the box is full of baby chicks. Cast notes: Donald Sutherland has a small appearance as the computer technician who asks Karl Malden "What's going on?". Actress Susan George makes an early appearance as a young Latvian girl on a train who offers her copy of Isvestia to Michael Caine. Principal photography took place from 30 January to the end of May 1967. Five weeks on 26 June, Françoise Dorléac was killed in an automobile accident in Nice, France, it is unclear. Location filming for Billion Dollar Brain took place in Helsinki and other parts of Finland, including Turku; the Riga scenes were filmed in Porvoo in Finland. Scenes involving "The Brain" were filmed in Honeywell facilities and featured a Honeywell 200 mini-computer; the remainder of the film was shot in the United Kingdom. Scenes on the ice were filmed on a disused airfield, covered with a la