Harrison Ford’s E.T. cameo — up at YouTube

I have long known that Harrison Ford had a cameo in a scene that was deleted from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

And I have long wondered how this cameo was shot, given that roughly the first two-thirds of Steven Spielberg’s film do not show the faces of any adult characters except for Elliott’s mother.

Well, thanks to YouTube, now I know.

Incidentally, Damian Arlyn at Windmills of My Mind has been blogging a different Spielberg film every day this month, as part of a series called “31 Days of Spielberg“. Check it out.

Yet another film not screened for critics?


Lou Lumenick at the New York Post reports that The Last Legion, the latest flick to draw a link between actual Roman history and Arthurian legend, “is not being screened in advance for critics“. But while that might be true in New York, it is not true here; I saw the film at a press screening in Vancouver last Friday, and my review will appear at CT Movies tomorrow. The Weinstein Co. is one of the film’s distributors, and I am reminded me of how at least one other film of theirs — Doogal, AKA The Magic Roundabout (2005) — was screened for the press in Canada but not in the United States. Weinstein films are distributed by Alliance-Atlantis in Canada; perhaps the two companies have different policies, at least where European acquisitions like these are concerned.

Deathly Hallows — the article’s up!

My article on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now up at CanadianChristianity.com.

Newsbites: Morris! Maher! Voyage! Escape!

Just a few more news items while they occur to me …

1. Errol Morris, who is currently making a documentary about Abu Ghraib, has a long and fascinating post at his blog on the role that photographic images have played in the public discussion about that prison — including some discrepancies as to who, exactly, was wearing the black hood in perhaps the most famous (or, rather, infamous) photo to come out of that scandal.

2. Bill Maher talked to Larry King last night about the upcoming documentary that he and Larry Charles are working on:

KING: This is the atheist view of religion.

MAHER: Well, yes. It’s certainly the doubter’s view. How much of an atheist a person is, even I, who I’m not a believer, say, look I can’t know. My main proposition is I don’t know, and, therefore, if some other human being tells me or anybody else what happens when you die, my answer to them I don’t know what happens when you die so how do you know? The answer is you don’t know, so to purport to present yourself as someone who can tell in such great detail, and the detail is amazing, isn’t it, about what happens when you die you?

We have to get away from a system of faith. Mitt Romney always says we need a person of faith in the White House. They all would say the same thing who are running for president. No, we need a person of doubt in the White House. Stop with the faith and start with the doubt.

KING: Where do you — give me what I will see. Do you talk to religious leaders?

MAHER: Oh, we talk to everybody. We went everywhere. We went to every place where there’s religion. We went to Vatican City and we went to Jerusalem and we went to Salt Lake City and, you know, I think I’ve insulted everybody, you know. It’s across the board, and we got amazing access. I mean, we were …

KING: Really?

MAHER: We were at the dome — we were standing right next to the rock, the Dome of the Rock where Mohammed flew up to heaven. We were — we were in that mosque, places they never filmed before. The Wailing Wall you’re not allowed to have cameras, inside the Vatican. We just found out that even though the sign says you’re not allowed to enter here there’s so many tourists with cameras and such and nowadays when you make a documentary like this it’s kind of guerrilla shooting. You don’t need a big crew. You just pretend you’re tourists and you’re shooting and then can you make a movie.

KING: Is this like Michael Moore in a sense?

MAHER: I would never compare myself to Michael more because, first of all, he’s a genius. He does what he does incredibly well, but I think …

KING: This isn’t that type?

MAHER: This is — You know, I hope that people laugh — we’ve shown 10 minutes. That’s all we have so far. We’re still cutting it together. But the 10 minutes that we’ve shown I’ve seen it shown to audiences twice. They laugh so hard because the topic of religion is just so inherently funny. I mean, politicians are funny because they promise things that they can never deliver on, and the gap between what they promise and what they deliver is great fodder for humor, as people from Mark Twain up into our own day have demonstrated but what religious people have promised, your own planet, come on, that’s a little beyond Social Security.

3. Variety reports that Roland Emmerich — director of Stargate (1994), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Patriot (2000) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004), among other films — will direct a remake of Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage (1966; my comments). Remember: the last remake this guy made was Godzilla. But I’m a sucker for movies that take place inside the human body, so I will probably buy this one on DVD anyway.

4. Jason Apuzzo at Libertas says the upcoming remake of Escape from New York (1981) cannot help but be “irrelevant”:

What made Escape From New York so interesting was it pushed to its logical extreme what was happening to New York at that time. Before Giuliani became mayor, crime was rampant, Times Square was a den of drug pushers and prostitutes, and the subways were filled with graffiti and beggars. Surveys at the time showed close to a majority of residents wanted to move out of NYC if they could. Escape From New York was the best of the NYC going to hell movies, for example The Warriors, that came out during the 70s/80s. Just to show how times have changed anybody remember the looting that occurred during the blackout of 1977. Compare that to the calm in the city after 9-11 or during the blackout of 2003. How can one make a remake when NYC is now one of the safest major cities in the world?

5. Two months ago, RKO Pictures announced it would co-produce remakes of four of its classic horror films — though only three titles were revealed at the time. Today, The Hollywood Reporter said the fourth film on the list is Isle of the Dead (1945) — which, like the other three films, was produced by Val Lewton:

In the 1945 film directed by Val Lewton, Karloff played a Greek military commander on an island where a plague breaks out. He orders the isle quarantined and as residents fall ill and die, some begin to suspect that a vampire-demon might be the cause of the deaths.

RKO plans to set the remake against the backdrop of a viral outbreak in Afghanistan.

6. The Fox Faith Movies website has not been updated in a while, so it still says their next theatrical release will be The Redemption of Sarah Cain. However, today, Christians in Cinema noted:

This weekend, the Lifetime Network is premiering “Saving Sarah Cain” on Sunday, August 19th, at 6 PM (Eastern & Pacific), 5 PM (Central), and 4 PM (Mountain). The latest film from partners Michael Landon, Jr., and Brian Bird (The Last Sin Eater) is based on Beverly Lewis’ novel “The Redemption of Sarah Cain.”

So the title has been changed? And the film is being shown for free on TV? Without being released to theatres first? Um, okay. And what will become of The Final Inquiry, which is the other film listed on the Fox Faith Movies website as “coming soon”?

The end is near … and yet still so far …

I have wanted to see Abel Gance’s La fin du monde (1931) — one of the first talking pictures made in France — ever since I first read about it while researching an article on apocalyptic movies for Christian History magazine back in 1998.

The film concerns a comet that is heading for Earth, and it reportedly has a fair bit of religious imagery, too. But it has never been available on video, to my knowledge — at least not in North America — despite its similarities to recent disaster-from-space movies like Deep Impact (1998) and Armageddon (1998; my review); it also seems to have inspired Guy Maddin‘s excellent retro-silent short film The Heart of the World (2000).

So imagine my joy when The ScreenGrab provided a link to this site which allows you to download a copy of Gance’s film here. There’s just one problem. The film is in French, and the subtitles are in Italian, and I don’t speak either of those languages.

Oh well, hopefully I can get by on the visuals, and on what little I remember of my high-school French. (Which isn’t much.)

UPDATE: Apparently Turner Classic Movies does sell a DVD of the 54-minute version of this film that was released in the United States. The version linked above is about 90 minutes.

Woody Allen and the Zionist conspiracy

Check out this take on the films of Woody Allen from Iranian TV:

YouTube Preview Image
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

(Hat tip to Faisal A. Qureshi at The ScreenGrab.)


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