If for whatever inexplicable reason you have not been introduced to Supersonic Man then the pleasure falls to me. From 1979 properly the best, worst film ever made a genuine classic.
One of the cool things about being a year older than most of the kids on the street I was brought up in 1968, was the difference between wanting a replica Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the iconic Mustang drove by Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Both films were released in 1968, I was 8, and very much appreciated that I got both. One for my birthday and one for Christmas, only the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang survives to this day in a well- battered form, but what of that Mustang!
By the 1970s a whole sway of films featured iconic cars. In 1972s blaxploitation film Super Fly we had the Cadillac Eldorado, grotesquely named ‘the pimp machine’. James Bond drove and spun over a river in his AMC Hornet, 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun. in 1977 Burt Reynalds had kicked off his Smokey and the Bandit franchise, which often featured the Pontiac Trans Am. But nothing compared to McQueen’s Mustang, not even (sacrilege) James Bonds, Aston Martin DBS. which made an appearance in Sean Connery’s last great Bond film Diamonds are Forever.
McQueen always, to me, cut the cool maverick anti-hero in his Ford Mustang GT Fastback and before videos, DVD’s, satellite and cable this impatient youngster would endure the whole film just to watch the mesmerising car chase through San Francisco.
Plenty of people have lusted over that Highland Green Mustang, which has over-time achieved legendary status. Although it was not until much later that I fully appreciated Lao Schifrin’s original score that tracks the various moods and action of the film to perfection. It took until 2009 for the never-before-released original recording of the score, as heard on the movie, to be made available.
My tribute to McQueen’s Ford Mustang GT Fastback is the Shelby (Cobra) GT-350, built between 1965 and 1970 by the American the high-performance vehicle manufacturer founded by former racing driver Carroll Shelby. The most famed car in American cinema, sold for $3.4 million at auction in Florida during 2020.
Tom Waits awakes from his hibernation with a collaboration with Marc Ribot. An anti-fascist folk song with an accompanying video, which also has a very strong anti-Trump theme. The track is taken from Robot’s album Songs of Resistance 1948-2018, which is due for release on 14th September 2018 via ANTI-.
Consciously, or subconsciously every now and then a film comes back into your life. I remember watching The Last Picture Show in the mid to late 1970s and had not seen it until this week. The film was directed and co-written by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry.
Poignantly filmed in black and white and set in a small town in North Texas between November 1951 to October 1952. The plot focusses on the coming of age of Sonny Crawford played by Timothy Bottoms and his friend Duane Jackson played by Jeff Bridges. The cast also includes Cybill Shepherd (in her film debut). The film features a stellar soundtrack with Peter Bogdanovich insisting that all the music had to originate from the period the film was set in. Featuring many songs by Hank Williams Sr. and other recording artists the music provides an authentic backdrop to the unwinding stories, which collide throughout the 2 hours of the movie. The film was nominated for 8 Oscars, (including Best Picture, Best Director) and won 2.
In 1992, Bogdanovich re-edited the film to create a “director’s cut”. This version restores seven minutes of footage that Bogdanovich trimmed from 1971 release, including the infamous sex scene in the pool hall after the hall close for the night. A visual and audio treat the film is one of those classics that can be forgotten in the faded memories of my younger years, but when reviewed again leave a lasting impression. Filmmaking at its finest.
Ways & Means features original ‘grown up’ children’s story collaborations by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art. The project supports NGOs and nonprofit organisations advancing children’s causes around the world including Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National and more. View a literary mixtape that explains the project here