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Required Reading: Cinema Retro #15

Posted on 02 November 2009 by Rich Drees

CinemaRetro15If editors Lee Pfeifer and Dave Worrall sound proud in the editorial that opens up the latest issue of their magazine Cinema Retro (on stands now), they have every right to be. In an economic climate that has seen numerous print outlets drastically cut their staff or close up shop completely in the facing of falling circulation, for a niche magazine like CR to grow its circulation is an impressive feat and one in which a bit of bragging is perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged.

Not convinced? Well, just a flip through the issue will show you why more people are flocking to read it.

The cover feature, a previously unpublished interview with tough guy actor Lee Marvin is pretty much worth the price of admission. Conducted in 1974 while Marvin was filming the The Klansman, the usually guarded actor spoke candidly about his career, especially some interesting comments on the recently released Hell In The Pacific and why it might not have done so well at the box-office. In an era where celebrity interviews are micromanaged to only promote their current project and avoid saying anything remotely controversial, this interview comes off as remarkably refreshing. And the interview is only one third of the magazine’s Lee Marvin coverage, as it also offers an appreciation of the actor’s 1972 film Prime Cut and a look at the making of The Klansman.

But Marvin’s films aren’t the only tough guy cinema touched on in the magazine. Escape From Alcatraz’s writer Richard Tuggle talks about being a neophyte screenwriter trying to wrestle the true story of an escape from a purportedly escape-proof prison into a shootable script.

While many cinephiles may dismiss the 1960s series of five Fu Manchu movies out of England starring Christopher Lee as the evil doctor as mere B-movie fluff, that hasn’t stopped Cinema Retro from doing a fantastic, eight-page look at the first film in the series The Face Of Fu Manchu.

Of course, as Cinema Retro’s coverage manages to be so in depth, many of its features have to be serialized over several issues. This edition sees the third and final installment of a look at the action films adapted from the novels of Alister MacLean, the second part of a career-spanning interview with James Caan and part seven (!) of their on-going series examining the films that were edited together out of episodes of The Man From UNCLE for European release.

Cinema Retro #15 is on news stands now.

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