B.C. movie time capsule: 5

Vancouver features (1970-71)

Published: Dec 30 2013, 01:01:am

Prepared for Chuck Davis and The Vancouver Book — August,  1975

[PART 5: 1970 - 1971]

 (Feature films produced in whole or in part in and around Vancouver)

EXPLOSION (drama, colour, 1970): p. Julian Roffman; w./d. Jules Brlcken; w. Alene Bricken: l.p. Don Stroud, Gordon Thompson, Michele Chlcoine, Cece Linder, Richard Conte, Robin Ward. A U.S. draft dodger (Thompson), upset by his older brother's death in Vietnam, takes up with a hippie (Stroud) in Vancouver. Together they become involved in murder and flee to the Interior.
    The first Vancouver film to be made with Canadian Film Development Corporation money, this rebel-youth epic was produced by Montreal-born Julian Roffman. A former National Film Board director, Roffman had previously tried making features in Toronto, producing The Bloody Brood (1959) and The Mask (1961), the latter being Canada's first [and, for many years, only] 3-D feature.

THE GROVE (fantasy-drama, colour, 1970): p./d. Barney Girard; l.p. Robert Culp, Samantha Eggar, Sheila Sullivan, Mike Lane, Clarence "Big" Miller, Wally Marsh. A successful architect (Culp) returns to his rundown family home only to fall in with hippie cultists, and be haunted by fantasies, some of them sexual (Eggar).
    Financial problems caused M-G-M to shelve this picture. It later was sold to Penthouse Magazine's film division, re-edited and released in 1973 as A NAME FOR EVIL. Also known as THE FACE OF EVIL.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHESTER ANGUS RAMSGOOD (comedy, colour, 1970): p. Don Wilson; w./d./ph. David Curnlck; l.p. Robert Matson, Mary-Beth McGuffin, Michael Storgeoff, Judi Sommer, Ed Astley, Margaret Hunter, Cecil Glass. Assisted by his friends, an awkward youth (Matson) plots elaborate schemes to win the love of a girl (McGuffin).
    A first feature from a young Vancouver production-direction partnership determined to be part of the expected film boom.

McCABE & MRS. MILLER (western, colour, 1970): w./d. Robert Altman; w. Brian McKay, based on the novel McCabe by Edmund Naughton. l.p. Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, Shelley Duvall, Keith Carradine, Michael Murphy. Arriving in a Northwest mining town, a drifter (Beatty) goes into partnership with an English madam (Christie) to build a luxury brothel. They succeed in the business, and refuse to sell out to a large mining company, with tragic results.
    Between the making of 1969's That Cold Day in the Park (noted in Part 4) and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, director Altman had returned to California, where he turned out his classic comedy M*A*S*H. With that major success to his credit, his enthusiasm for filming in Vancouver dampened.

MADELEINE IS . . . (fantasy, colour, 1970): w./p. Ken Specht; w./d. Sylvia Sprlng; ph. Doug McKay; l.p. Nicola Lipman, John Juliani, Wayne Specht, Gordon Robertson, Ron Ulrich. Fleeing from Quebec to the West Coast, a young French-Canadian girl (Lipman) arrives In Vancouver seeking freedom from her emotional, political and sexual confusion. She lives in a world that is half fantasy and half reality, one peopled by a Felliniesque clown (Specht) and a domineering political radical (Juliani).
    With the help of a $15,000 CFDC grant, Spring expanded Madeleine, a l4-minute short, to feature length. In doing so, she became the first woman to direct an English-Canadian feature film.

THE CRADLE OF HERCULES (mystery, colour, 1970): w. Gene R. Kearney, based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers; d. Daryl Duke; l.p. Ross Martin, Leslie Nielsen, Louise Sorel, Graeme Campbell, Neil Dainard, Joe Austin, John Juliani. Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan (Martin) comes out of retirement when a murder is committed on a Greek shipping tycoon's yacht. Alternate title: THE RETURN OF CHARLIE CHAN.
    The Honolulu-based movie sleuth from the 1930s and 1940s attempted a come-back in this updated made-for-TV film, a pilot for a series that was not to be, nor would the feature be broadcast until 1979. In 1975, Vancouver-born director Duke, a CBC-TV alumnus, was a partner in the group awarded the licence to operate Vancouver's third television station, CKVU.

ANOTHER SMITH FOR PARADISE (comedy-drama, colour, 1971): w./d. Thomas Shandel; l.p. Henry Ramer, Frances Hyland, Vladimir Valenta,  Roger Dressler, Pia Shandel, Sam Payne. A self-made man (Ramer) of Eastern European extraction attempts to gain the approval of the WASP Establishment and the Ukrainian community with one grand gesture. Complicating his plans are a philandering wife (Hyland) and federal tax investigators.
    Pia Shandel, who starred in Morrle Ruvlnsky's Plastic Mile (1969), and who appears here as Smith's college-aged daughter, was the wife of director Tom Shandel.

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (comedy-drama, colour, 1971): p./d. Mike Nichols; w. Jules Feiffer. l.p. Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Candice Bergen, Ann-Margret, Rita Moreno. A multi-year look at two men who were infatuated with the same girl in college (Bergen), and go through life discussing their sexual adventures. One of them (Garfunkel) married her and settled down to a series of affairs; the other (Nicholson) continued as a bachelor.
    Nichols, director of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967), was encouraged by Robert Altman to shoot his film in Vancouver. The bar used in he movie is now a fixture in Alberni Street's Horse and Carriage Inn.

THE DEADLY HUNT (adventure-drama, colour, 1971): p./d. John Newland; w. Eric Becovici, Jerrold Ludwig, based on the novel by Pat Stadley; l.p. Tony Franciosa, Peter Lawford, Anjanette Comer, Jim Hutton, Tim Mclntyre, Tom Hauff, Wally McSween. Hired assassins (Franciosa, Lawford) are trapped in the same forest fire as their target, a young wife (Comer).
    An action vehicle for Franciosa, this U.S. made-for-TV feature was intended as a series pilot. Producer Newland, once the host of the occult anthology show One Step Beyond, later teamed with BellIngham's KVOS-TV and Vancouver's Canawest Films to develop a similar program concept but it, too, would fail to generate U.S. network interest.

THE GROUNDSTAR CONSPIRACY (science-fiction, colour, 1971): p. Trevor Wallace; w. Matthew Howard, based on The Alien by L. P. Davies; d. Lamont Johnson;  l.p. George Peppard, Michael Sarrazin, Christine Belford, Cliff Potts, James Olson. Following a series of explosions in a secret space-research centre, a man (Sarrazin) wakes up in confinement. Though he remembers nothing, he is interrogated by a relentless security agent (Peppard). Escaping, he seeks out the woman (Belford) who might have some clue to his identity and involvement.
    Filmed at the futuristic-looking Simon Fraser University, this Universal Pictures feature  was the first local project developed by producer Wallace, a former British TV executive who based himself In Vancouver.

PROXYHAWKS (fantasy-drama, 1971): w./p./d. Jack Darcus; ph. Terry Hudson, Hans Klardie; m. John Gray; l.p. Jack Darcus, Susan Spencer, Ed Hutchings, Leslie Rachuk, Barry Jones. Living alone on a farm, a man (Darcus) and his woman (Spencer) commune with one another and with their birds and animals.
    A complex socio-political allegory, Darcus's second film, like his first, has been seen primarily by university audiences.

The above is Part 5 of a seven-part restoration of a Vancouver Book article by Michael Walsh originally published in 1976. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

B.C. Feature Films — Part 1 [Introduction; the Silents]; Part 2 [Outside Vancouver, 1932-38]; Part 3 [Outside Vancouver, 1942-75]; Part 4 [Vancouver, 1932-68]; Part 5 [Vancouver, 1969-71]; Part 6 [Vancouver, 1972-75]; Part 7, [Miscellany & Sources].