BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Hollywood Boulevard (1976) - Blu-ray Review

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Hollywood Boulevard (1976) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersWith more tits and ass than actual plot, Hollywood Boulevard is probably one of producer Roger Corman’s goofiest films.  We know it was his cheapest.  That was the agreement made when (then) editors Joe Dante and Allan Arkush presented him with their idea for a movie to direct.  We can do it cheap, they promised.  The Movie Orgy’s rising producer Jon Davison was involved and, soon, he was able (with a bet) to get Corman and his New World Pictures to offer them $50,000 to make their feature.  The only catch was that they had no more than 10 days to get it done in.

What. The. Hell? Ten freaking days to put together a comedy; it seems unimaginable.  This would mean around the clock shooting and, mostly, that’s what happened.  The chaos created was intense, but creative.  One-liners were written.  Sharp wit was needed, too.  And they already knew the story they would have to tell; it was one they were all familiar with.  Small town girl comes to the big, bad city to be a star. 

The team knew they could use footage from some of the films Corman already owned, so the script easily took form.  There would be fights with an army (unused scenes from The Big Bird Cage), space battles with aliens (Battle Beyond the Sun), horror elements (from Night of the Cobra), and Dick Miller watching himself star in The Terror while at a Drive-In.  And ALL of that was already filmed; they just needed to shoot all the stuff around the old footage. 

With permission granted to use the short ends of unprocessed 35mm rolls of film to shoot their movie on, the team quickly riffed on everything they new about Corman’s world of moviemaking and used a basic three girl story structure (which was the norm of the time as far as b-movie girl pictures were concerned).  The comedy had no other choice but to embrace a campy attitude toward filmmaking and its use of anything goes humor.  Shame was thrown out the window, too.  Essentially, the b-movie within Hollywood Boulevard roasts exploitation filmmaking with a wink and nudge.

Of course, we now know Dante’s directorial resume (featuring The Burbs and Gremlins) and Arkush’s work (director of Get Crazy and Caddyshack II), but it was Corman who originally took the chance on them.  We have Hollywood Boulevard as the result and it is indeed a smorgasbord of celluloid chaos as Candy Wednesday (Candice Rialson) arrives in Los Angles to become an actress.  Her journey to the silver screen will be a long and winding one.  It is often humorous.   

Wednesday, who is a bit naïve when it comes to trusting strangers promising the moon, winds up being a getaway driver for a couple of bank robbers before she gets an agent, the celebrated Walter Paisley (Dick Miller).  He recognizes her ability to drive a car and gets her a gig as a stunt car driver for a friend, film director Eric Von Leppe (Paul Bartel), whose former stunt person was killed in a skydiving “accident” a few days prior.  Some of the inside jokes - usually the characters and their names - will go over your head.  That's okay.  Just buckle up.      

After rubbing elbows with Leppe and meeting the temperamental Mary McQueen (Mary Woronov in another excellent performance), Wednesday quickly finds herself being cast in one exploitation film after another alongside actresses (and now friends) Bobbi (Rita George) and Jill (Tara Strohmeier).  But the murders continue to happen.  And, pretty soon, everyone is a suspect, including seedy producer PG (Roger Doran) and her scriptwriter boyfriend, Pat (Jeffrey Kramer).  And the killer is getting closer and closer to Wednesday with every passing minute.

Including a hilarious showdown with the letters of the Hollywood sign as a backdrop, Hollywood Boulevard is, ultimately, a love letter to exploitation filmmaking and the people who do it.  It’s completely gonzo and self-referential and, as it is helmed by some pretty amazing talents, a nice preview of things to come…

The film, warts and all, is now available on blu-ray courtesy of Scorpion Releasing, who have extensively color-corrected the transfer from the original negatives.  As this is a limited release, it is not to be missed.

Few other films I know of can boast of a cameo from Forrest J. Ackerman, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland and Forbidden Planet’s Robby the Robot.  If you are AT ALL interested in the behind-the scenes shenanigans of b-movies, then a visit to Hollywood Boulevard is a MUST.

Hollywood Beoulevard (1976) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: Allan Arkush, Joe Dante
Writer:
Danny Opatoshu
Cast:
Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, George Wagner
Genre
: Comedy | thriller
Tagline:
Shamelessly loaded with sex and violence.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Now get it up or I'll cut it off!"
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 25, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 4, 2016
Synopsis: In this satire on 70s B-movie industry, a young ditsy pretty blond arrives in Hollywood to try her luck as an actress. After some mishap, a shady agent finds her a job with a sleazy B-movie crew plagued by strange deadly accidents.

Hollywood Boulevard (1976) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Limited Edition of 1,500 copies

Home Video Distributor: Scorpion Releasing
Available on Blu-ray
- August 4, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Hollywood Boulevard, with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, arrives on 1080p from Scorpion Releasing thanks to a brand new HD master from the original negatives with over 25 hours of scene-to-scene color correction.  The resulting transfer is a glorious spectacle of bright colors and solid black levels.  Lines are good and the damage to the print is dialed back down to a negative number.  I’ve seen many releases of this flick and this is easily the best it has ever (and probably will) look.  The sound is presented in a Dolby Digital MA track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  The feature-length commentary from directors Joe Dante, Allen Arkush, and producer Jon Davison is as AWESOME as it sounds.  This commentary is EASILY worth the price of the blu-ray and should be on your list of commentary musts.

Special Features:

We get brand new on-screen interviews from the talents involved in the shoot.  All of them are fascinating to hear.  The limited (to 1500 copies) blu-ray release also contains the theatrical trailer and an episode of Trailers From Hell.

  • Joe Dante (15 min)
  • Allan Arkush and Jon Davison (15 min)
  • Mary Woronov (11 min)
  • Roger Corman (7 min)
  • Jeffrey Kramer (13 min)
  • Miller Drake (3 min)
  • Trailers from Hell
  • Theatrical Trailer

Hollywood Beoulevard (1976) - Blu-ray Review

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