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Hey Paramount, please release Black Sunday (1977)

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#21 of 31 Ejanss

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Posted February 21 2014 - 10:36 PM

I have disagree with that. It was against the Paramount Degree of 1948 to block book titles. As was splitting films between theatre companies. The circuit I worked for bought Midnight through blind bidding, just as we did Star Wars. They were not attached. While today there is very little teeth in that justice ruling in the 70's it was still in full force.

 

Legal or not, the Fox Midnight/SW story's pretty well established:  I remember reading at the time about Fox taking heat for it, in a press article about the theater industry, and it's already canon among Lucas fans as part of how Fox wanted to "bury" Star Wars on Memorial Day--An exec even mentions it in the "Empire of Dreams" documentary, but if it's an urban legend, it's one that started when the movie was still in theaters.

Midnight never even became that much of a legendary 70's-potboiler-bestseller flop like The Betsy or Bloodline; nowadays, it's just remembered for its illegitimate Star Wars connection AS "the movie Fox thought would be the hit of '77".



#22 of 31 davidHartzog

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Posted February 22 2014 - 08:22 AM

Actually, Damnation Alley was supposed to be the big sifi event that summer. Black Sunday is just an ok film, but does deserve better treatment.
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#23 of 31 Jeffrey:K

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Posted February 22 2014 - 03:21 PM

 I regard it more of a Vietnam movie than a Mid-East terror movie because so much is made of Dern's psychotic war vet schtick.  In this regard it's in the same box as Taxi Driver and many others.  

 

I've always thought it odd that almost every review and discussion of Taxi Driver mentions that Travis Bickle is a Vietnam veteran because the film itself makes nothing of it. We learn in his job interview that he was recently discharged from the Marines, but nothing is ever mentioned about any combat experiences he may have had.

 

It's a good thing too, because I think "explaining" Travis Bickle's psychosis and alienation as the product of war trauma would diminish the movie and reduce Bickle's archetypical status as an urban loner..



#24 of 31 ahollis

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Posted February 22 2014 - 04:19 PM

Legal or not, the Fox Midnight/SW story's pretty well established: I remember reading at the time about Fox taking heat for it, in a press article about the theater industry, and it's already canon among Lucas fans as part of how Fox wanted to "bury" Star Wars on Memorial Day--An exec even mentions it in the "Empire of Dreams" documentary, but if it's an urban legend, it's one that started when the movie was still in theaters.
Midnight never even became that much of a legendary 70's-potboiler-bestseller flop like The Betsy or Bloodline; nowadays, it's just remembered for its illegitimate Star Wars connection AS "the movie Fox thought would be the hit of '77".


Read all you want too. I was involved in film booking then and now. It did not happen in our territory.

#25 of 31 Brian McP

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Posted February 23 2014 - 09:51 PM

I somehow had a feeling that it was because of its very tenuous link with the disaster movie cycle of the time and how that was slowly going down the tubes post-"Jaws" led to its failure at the box office -- disaster movies were doomed after "Star Wars" as these space operas took over from disaster movies as the movies with the best special effects (unbelievable, but true -- despite the great casts these pictures had -- all the kids knew these veteran stars from tv and would often see these pictures because they were in them, but it was hard to resist asteroids,and spaceships blowing up)

 

One could say that "Black Sunday" was a precursor to the action movie from "Die Hard" onwards, but in 1977, nobody knew what to make of it.

 

"The Swarm" certanly was the disaster movie last gasp, everything in it's wake was a flop, similar to the late 60s musicals -- thankfully for the studios by 1978 not to many were in the pipeline and they were all out of circulation "When Time Ran Out" during  Easter 1980.

 

With Bruce Dern and "Nebraska" at the moment, it would be quite an opportune time to rerelease "Black Sunday" as it has one of his greatest performances.



#26 of 31 davidHartzog

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Posted February 23 2014 - 11:56 PM

Hitchcock's North By Northest is generally considered to have set the pattern for action films to follow, with the idea that every 20 minutes or so something had to happen, explosion, shootout, fight, car chase, whatever, with a big closing. The Bond movies, for example, all followed this pattern stealing shamelessly from NBNW. Much like The Great Train Robbery, 1903, set the pattern for all the westerns to come.
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#27 of 31 Jari K

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Posted February 24 2014 - 02:04 AM

"...with the idea that every 20 minutes or so something had to happen, explosion, shootout, fight, car chase, whatever, with a big closing."

With some films, there's indeed this pattern and with some films that pattern will hurt the movie. One example is Terminator Salvation: Some "talk & dark drama", then big action scene. Then more "talk&drama". Etc. With the new Terminator movie, they should go back to the feel of the first film. More low key, more atmosphere, more drama. You don't have to blow stuff in every 20 minutes.
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#28 of 31 Ejanss

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Posted February 24 2014 - 10:23 AM

As the OP mentions, It was a popular action paperback bestseller back then, and made into a movie.  (Hence the Jaws comparison, which wouldn't make much sense, since there were other terrorist thrillers at the time.)
Has nothing to do with action-movie tropes or pace; the book pace back then was to give us lots of backstory, lots of motivation and explanation for what the whole Palestinian issue was, centering the plot on a step-by-step plot, etc.

The iconic poster image (which was trying to stay similar to the book cover) just made it look like a "disaster movie"--especially since we still thought The Hindenburg was one, too--not to mention giving away the whole climax.  



#29 of 31 Steve Tannehill

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Posted February 24 2014 - 10:41 AM

Interestingly enough, the iconic poster image was not on the hardback book, which I have...rather, it showed a blimp hovering over a football stadium.

I also have the paperback, with the poster image but not the Goodyear branded blimp.

I'm really surprised that Goodyear acquiesced and allowed their brand to be used in the movie.

#30 of 31 Ejanss

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Posted February 24 2014 - 11:07 AM

I'm really surprised that Goodyear acquiesced and allowed their brand to be used in the movie.

 

The fact that we get a nice long scene of the "good" blimp showing a complete Goodyear advertising text-scroll on its side probably helped.



#31 of 31 Steve Tannehill

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Posted February 24 2014 - 11:24 AM

I had a toy Goodyear blimp as a child, that had a scrolling message in lights. Got it from a Goodyear tire store.





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