Time to catch up on some business:
- Ricardo Montalban, effective star of Mystery Street, the first commercial movie to extensive use Boston-Cambridge action, recently passed on. Along with Anthony Mann's Border Incident, this thriller is a great reminder that, long before he become a kitschy presence on Fantasy Island, Montalban was a sturdy leading man. Check out the trailer.
- Like Montalban, Paul Benedict passed away recently and was also better known for his less interesting TV work--in his case, on The Jeffersons. But Benedict also had a crucial role in the development of Boston moviemaking, being the most experienced cast member in Jan Egleson's Billy in the Lowlands (1979), the most important Boston indie film ever made. Benedict gives a funny-sad performance as an estranged father who's not the success his teenaged son had hoped, and Benedict's and co-star Henry Tomaszewski's nervous energy works great together. Egleson and Benedict had worked together in The Theater Company of Boston, where--despite the occasional presence of such folks as Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, Benedict was the kingpin. Of course, it's also perfectly fine to remember him as the snooty hotel clerk who's called a "pooftah" by the band members in This is Spinal Tap.
- The Boston Society of Film Critics awards ceremony was a blast, and I am very thankful to the Herald's Jim Verniere for the amazing introduction he gave me. Joyce Kulhawik was also her usually classy self as the MC. In case you've missed it, Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke sent in a funny little video in which they thank the BSFC for their joint prize for Best Actor. Turns out Mickey's a big Nomar fan. Who knew!?
- Harvard Film Archive will be hosting a very rare big-screen showing of 1978's The Brink's Job, as part of its William Friedkin retrospective. The screening of this amusing, rumpled little comedy--one of the most chequered productions ever to deal with the vagaries of shooting in Boston--is Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3 pm. Unfortunately, Friedkin is not scheduled to attend this screening, though he'll be at some of the earlier films.
- There are book excerpts on all the above films in the archives section of this site. Happy Hunting!
- And, of course, if you want to buy the book, click on the PayPal box on the right margin...