Buxom Bosoms Back On British Screens? – Showing Russ Meyer Films In The UK by James Flower

6 Nov

So, you’re a UK-based film club/film society/cinema and want to show a Russ Meyer film at your venue? Splendid! You truly haven’t seen all those big heaving bosoms until you’ve seen them on the big screen, where they belong.

Tracking down screening rights to cult films can often be quite a laborious process, especially films made independently; since, however, Meyer retained the copyright to most of his films, it is relatively cut-and-dry here. The issue of who can grant licenses to legally screen the films in the UK, however, is somewhat more thorny. I’ve written the below in a FAQ format that should be easy to follow for both new and experienced film programmers.

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If you’re new to film programming and the below text confuses you completely, I would highly recommend getting in touch with the Independent Cinema Office, who offer excellent advice to both cinemas and amateur programmers alike.

Can I license the Russ Meyer film I want from Arrow Films/Video, since they released it on DVD?

Until earlier this year, it was possible to put on a screening – as long as you didn’t mind showing from DVD in most cases – of basically any of Russ Meyer’s films in the UK (1964’s Fanny Hill, a German-financed director-for-hire job for Meyer, is an exception as its worldwide rights are much more complex. But who in their right mind wants to show that?!). As well as having released an essential, comprehensive DVD boxset of Meyer’s work, Arrow Films also held theatrical rights to many of these films, licenses for which would be granted via Park Circus. This enabled Meyer’s work to stay active on the repertory cinema circuit well into the 21st century, often 50 years after these films were produced.

Unfortunately, Arrow‘s rights to the Meyer films lapsed in early 2013, which means that most of Meyer’s films are now unavailable to screen (at least easily) in the UK.

I still really want to show the film.  Is there someone else who can grant me a screening license?

To clarify for those who don’t know much about copyright: the primary worldwide rights holder for most of Russ Meyer’s films is RM Films International, who sublicensed the UK rights to Arrow. Now that Arrow‘s rights have expired, RM Films are by default the UK copyright holder, at least until they sublicense the films to someone else. If you want to show one of the Meyer films previously distributed by Arrow, you will have to approach RM Films via the following contact details:

RM Films International

P.O. Box 3748 Hollywood, CA 90078 tel. (323) 466-7791 rmf@rmfilm.com

This writer contacted RM Films for a statement on UK rights availability, but a response from either Janice Cowart or Julio Dottavio was not forthcoming. If you do get a reply from them, it’s worth bearing in mind that their price would probably be considerable; think about your budgets, and whether the expense, time and effort to put on such a screening are factors you’re happy to incur. (Incidentally, Park Circus‘ site still lists a few Meyer films as being available for the UK; this is erroneous, and I would not recommend attempting to book the films through them.)

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Are there any Russ Meyer films not owned by RM Films International that I can screen instead?

There are two main exceptions, however, and it’s no coincidence they are both titles not included in Arrow‘s boxset. Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls and The Seven Minutes were both made for 20thCentury Fox, who own all rights to both films in perpetuity, including for the UK. You can organise single screenings of both films via Hollywood Classics, who handle theatrical and DVD rights on library titles from Fox, MGM and other studios.

Are 35mm prints available for either of these films?

No 35mm prints of Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls are in active circulation in the UK, but one was shipped from Fox in LA specifically for a Somerset House screening in 2012; this may also be available should you want to pay for it. There are no materials available in the UK to screen of The Seven Minutes (not even a DVD or a DigiBeta tape), so unless you know where to find a print or you’re happy to screen one of the many fuzzy bootlegs of the latter, BVD is your easiest option for legal UK-based big-screen Meyer thrills. A license to screen either film from Hollywood Classics will usually cost you a £100 minimum guarantee (MG) and a 25% take from the box office, not including print hire or transport if this is applicable.

I want to screen BVD but in a pub/alternate screening space from DVD than a cinema. Does this require a different type of screening license?

If you are just screening BVD from DVD in a pub or similar venue and require a ‘non-theatrical’ screening license, you can also book it via Filmbank (which will normally cost around £100 inclusive of VAT), or it will be covered by an MPLC license.

I know where to find a 35mm print of one of the Meyer films previously released by Arrow. Can I screen it anyway, without a license?

Unfortunately not. Ownership of a film print is very different from ownership of the film’s copyright.; you will still need permission from RM Films to show the film, even if you own a print or have permission from someone who does.

If I don’t get a response from RM Films, can I just go ahead and screen the film anyway?

You can try, but it is at your own risk. If you are caught out by RM Films, there is nothing to stop them from demanding a penalty fee from you (even after the screening has taken place), or even threatening legal action. Having had a US-based rights holder do this to me in the past, I would strongly advise against it!

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One hopes that RM Films will eventually sublicense the rest of the Meyer oeuvre back to Arrow (or some other enterprising UK distributor) so classics like Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Supervixens can be put back on UK screens.

Links

RM Films International: http://www.rmfilms.com/

Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls on Hollywood Classics: http://hollywoodclassics.com/Movie/Beyond_the_Valley_of_the_Dolls

The Seven Minutes on Hollywood Classics: http://hollywoodclassics.com/Movie/Seven_Minutes_the

Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls on Filmbank: http://www.filmbank.co.uk/film_details.asp?id=50620

James Flower runs Savage Cinema, a London-based cult night that has shown films such as William Friedkin’s SORCERER, the UK premiere of Bill Gunn’s GANJA & HESS and a night devoted to British filmmaker Philip Ridley. By day he works for UK independent film distributor Soda Pictures, and by night he thinks about how to win the annual FrightFest quiz, after coming second place in 2013.

Geek To Geek Chic – Happy Friday the 13th!!

13 Sep

I love Friday’s where the thirteenth day of the month falls on them! Am I superstitious? Not really. I just love the slasher franchise Friday The 13th! Last year I spent one Friday the thirteenth in my favourite cinema watching a marathon of films featuring the iconic killer Jason Voorhees. It was a lot of fun, but ultimately left me with little will to live by the early hours where I was struggling with the latter films which, lets face it, aren’t that great. Knowing a lot of people like cake, this year I thought I’d do something different! So here are a few of the best Friday The 13th themed cakes I could find online! If any of these are one of your cakes let me know so I can give credit!

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Linda Lovelace & Her Loops

11 Sep

For many, it started with one film, the film. Linda Lovelace was a no-one before Deep Throat, but upon its release, the whole world knew who she was. Yet what many don’t know is that Lovelace had quite a prolific career and gained a significant amount of notoriety by starring in a number of 8mm loops before going on to do the infamous feature. Shot in dirty motel rooms and sold underground or on the streets of New York, this is where her career in pornography, or her private hell as she referred to it later on in her life, began…

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The start of Linda’s pornographic career begins on a sunny Florida day in 1970. Linda Boreman (her real name) was staying at her parents, recovering from a bad car accident (which included a lacerated liver and a broken jaw, the scars of which were always cleverly hidden or as best as in her films and pictorials). Lounging outside the house in her bikini, Boreman was spotted by Chuck Traynor, a then bar owner and pimp who was driving past her family house. Approaching her, he offered her a joint and a ride in his car, and that was it. They became an inseparable couple and within a few weeks they had moved in together. She, by admission (a lot of which is in her first book Inside Linda Lovelace), knew nothing about sex, whilst Traynor was physically possessive, very rough and promised to use hypnotherapy on her to help her deep throat, a technique he’d taught her after studying it whilst in the Army. It seemed to ‘work’ and eventually Traynor was pimping Boreman out to customers in one of his clubs. In 1971, the couple married.

That year Traynor had an idea; he’d move them to New York City where he would try to sell Boreman’s skills and services to Xaveria Hollander, the famous author of The Happy Hooker and a successful call girl and brothel owner. After moving to New Jersey, Hollander turned her down, and so Traynor moved on to plan number two; loops.  Loops, also known as stag films or peeps, were short films shot on 8mm film cameras that were illegal and sometimes funded by the Mafia. They’d be shot in dingey, dirty apartments with an ‘anonymous’ cast and crew and were then usually sold privately or shown in peepshows.

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Above image courtesy of Eric Danville at The Complete Linda Lovelace

Chuck ended up meeting Bob Wolfe, a successful 8mm producer, and eventually introduced him to Linda. They started working together, using an apartment on 48th Street and a guy named Rob Everett as Linda’s partner, and Wolfe would wind up directing five of the eight loops she filmed (another one directed by Gerard Damiano and the other two by Traynor). The loops they shot are pretty impressive, and its very clear to see Boreman’s appeal. Not overly stunning but naturally pretty in a girl-next-door way, Boreman has charm and, more importantly, is really up for it. You can tell in her face and the way she moves that she’s enjoying what she’s doing and the girl really does have talent. after watching a few of them, it seems hardly surprising that Deep Throat happened when it did. If the film was never made, I think Linda would have eventually become famous anyway from escalating projects off the success of the loops. Initially the short films started out as basic hardcore loops, with Linda doing lesbian scenes and getting involved in a threesome. After a while, the content of the hardcore loops started to cater for more select fetishes. In one loop Traynor had Linda quite literally fuck a foot (which is actually rather impressive to watch and quite easy to find on the internet if you’re interested), whilst another was entitled Piss Orgy and the most infamous one involved a session between Linda and a dog, cryptically named D-1 and D-2 (but also known as the more convenient Dog Fucker and Dogorama). Need I say anymore. All were successful on the Manhattan 8mm scene with Dogorama released into some ‘raincoat theatres’ (porno cinemas) whilst the other loops were eventually released in cinemas as poorly edited compilations with titles such as The Confessions of Linda Lovelace and Linda Lovelace Meets Miss Jones (a film which spliced together scenes from another famous porno The Devil in Miss Jones).

In later years, Linda would completely denounce her career, saying she was forced into prostitution and pornography by Traynor and was, on occasions, held at gunpoint until she finished her work (the bestiality loop being one instance). On the other hand, Traynor has always said that he never forced her into anything, and that she was free to leave at any time. Even Everett and other people she had worked with in the past have said that she ‘loved’ what she did and was always willing to do anything (even Dogorama, with some internet rumours purporting that more than one bestiality loop was made) with none of them seeing any violence against her. It’s a very difficult side of the story to navigate, one that I might explore at another time…

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If vintage erotica interests you, or you’ve never seen Lovelace in anything prior to Deep Throat, her loops are well worth checking out. They’re available on most porn websites and are pretty much stag quality, i.e. grainy picture, jump cuts, blurry from wear on the film itself, however most videos seem to be a compilation of different scenes from different loops cut together (which tend to have an added soundtrack of 70s music so if you hear that you should instantly know you’ve got yourself a mixed video) so if you’re wanting to see a certain loop in its entirety, you may have to visit a few websites. That said, I’ve never seen D-1 or D-2 and don’t intend to so don’t ask for any advice one that one (The Foot or Open Pussy, Insert Foot isn’t that bad).

Traynor and Boreman would wind up meeting with loop director Gerard Damiano, who was at the time shooting a picture called Changes, through Linda’s loops. Damiano had seen a few and eventually directed Linda in one, which also starred future Deep Throat co-star Harry Reems. Damiano was already quite taken with Linda when they met and was also impressed by her skills and ended up writing a script for her. That script would go on to become Deep Throat and the rest, as they say, is history…

‘The Returned’ aka ‘They Came Back’ (2004) review

2 Aug

My review for French zombie drama The Returned is now up over at Cigarette Burns! I really can’t recommend this film enough  by the way, if you can check it out (either before you watch the television series or since, it’s not disappointing) you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

‘The Car’ (1977) review

1 Aug

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My review of 1977 cult classic The Car is now up over at Cigarette Burns! Go read!

Geek To Geek Chic – Wedding Cake Belles

30 Jul

Lets get two things clear. One, I love cake. Two, I’m not getting married. No, as it turns out, my team at work is currently all over weddings. One’s just got married, one is getting married and one has a daughter who is about to be married, and when talk of one wedding starts, it spreads to the whole team. Which eventually leads us to cake. Not only is cake generally amazing, but one of the best things about a wedding. And being the youngest at work, I often get asked what I’d do if I got married (which is apparently a very interesting and hilarious topic going by the responses I get from my colleagues…). So when me and my co-worker got talking about what cakes we’d love to have (turns out she’d have a Star Trek one too), I eventually wound up looking at geeky cakes again. So here are some beautiful cakes I found, enjoy folks! Oh and if any of these are your creations, please let me know so I can give credit and tag you.

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And finally this amazingly beautiful Gustav Kilmt cake!

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WWE Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History

12 Jul

My review of the latest WWE documentary/countdown Top 25 Greatest Rivalries in Wrestling History is now up over at Screenjabber. This is one of the best discs the company have released recently and is both enjoyable and informative. A must for wrestling fans, and I don’t say that lightly!

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