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 Posted:   Jan 8, 2021 - 1:28 PM   
 By:   Bond1965   (Member)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-apted-dead-coal-miners-daughter-director-seven-up-documentarian-was-79-1292671

James

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2021 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Damn, sorry to hear it. He's been a "name" all through my childhood; a reliable director with some great films to his name (and scores!).

 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2021 - 3:20 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

R.I.P.

Stardust, Amazing Grace, Chasing Mavericks, The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader', and his Bond film The World is Not Enough are all strong favorites of mine.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2021 - 11:03 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

SEVEN UP! was not the name of a soft drink (that’s spelled 7 Up), but was a 40-minute documentary short produced by Granada Television for ITV that followed the lives of fourteen British children. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the implicit assumption that each child's social class would determine their future. The first installment was made as a one-off edition of Granada Television's series, World in Action, directed by Canadian Paul Almond, with involvement by "a fresh-faced young researcher, a middle-class Cambridge graduate", Michael Apted, whose role in the initial program included "trawling the nation's schools for 14 suitable subjects".




About the first program, Apted said: “It was Paul's film ... but he was more interested in making a beautiful film about being seven, whereas I wanted to make a nasty piece of work about these kids who have it all, and these other kids who have nothing.”






After Almond's direction of the original program, Michael Apted continued the multi-part series with new installments every seven years, filming material from those of the fourteen who chose to participate. The aim of the continuing series was stated at the beginning of SEVEN UP! as: "Why did we bring these together? Because we wanted a glimpse of England in the year 2000.”




Because the show was not originally intended to become a repeating series, no long-term contract was signed with the participants. According to Apted, participants in the subsequent programs since SEVEN UP! have been paid a sum for their appearance in each film, as well as equal parts of any prize money the film may win. Each subject is filmed in about two days, and the interview itself takes more than six hours. Apted said that it was a poor decision to initially include only four female participants.




The second film in the series was 7 PLUS SEVEN (1970). The third, 21 UP (1977) was the first of the series to break the one-hour mark. All of the remaining entries in the series—28 UP (1984), 35 UP (1991), 42 UP (1998), 49 UP (2005), 56 UP (2012), and 63 UP (2019)—have run two-hours or more.




The format varied slightly with the fourth entry, 28UP, which until that point was the longest in the series. Instead of intercutting from one interview subject to another, Michael Apted devoted their own little section to each in order to be able to fully reveal their story.




Apted commented that one of the big surprises between filming 42 UP (1998) and 49 UP (2005) was the impact of reality television—i.e., that the subjects wanted to talk about their contribution to the series in the light of this genre.




BAFTA gave Apted the Flaherty Documentary Award for both 35 UP and 42 UP. Apted won an Institutional Peabody Award in 2012 for his work on the UP series.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2021 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

After working about 10 years in British television, Michael Apted directed his first feature film with 1972’s TRIPLE ECHO. It's Britain during World War II, and “Mrs. Alice Charlesworth” (Glenda Jackson) has been living alone, except for her pet dog, in her isolated farmhouse since her husband was captured by the Japanese and is now a prisoner of war. One day, she confronts a soldier from the local army base walking across her land, and they strike up a friendship; he is “Private Barton” (Brian Deacon), and he hates the army. Soon, he is spending all of his free time with Alice, and when he receives a few weeks' leave, he forgets about visiting home and moves in with her. Then he makes the momentous decision to desert the army and stay with her.

Marc Wilkinson’s score has not been released. When the film came to the U.S. in the fall of 1973, it received only a limited release.


 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2021 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   Adventures of Jarre Jarre   (Member)

I'm severely going to miss his Seven Up series, the most ambitious project in all of cinema. Richard Linklater tried in Boyhood, but in comparison, there's no topping the master.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2021 - 1:24 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

STARDUST charted the rise and fall of rock singer “Jim MacLaine” (David Essex), in the mid-1960s, with his manager, “Mike” (Adam Faith), and his group, "The Stray Cats." The 1974 film was a sequel to the prior year’s THAT’LL BE THE DAY, which had introduced the Jim MacLaine character. Adam Faith's limping throughout the film was due to injuries he sustained from a severe car accident he suffered prior to filming. However, the limp was consistent with Mike having been beaten up at the conclusion of the previous film.

The film was directed by Michael Apted. A two-LP set of songs from the film (both from the “Stray Cats” and other 1960s hits) was issued by Arista in the U.S. and Ronco in the UK. It has not been re-issued on CD.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2021 - 11:23 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In December 1926, Agatha Christie's husband (played in the film by Timothy Dalton) asks for a divorce. AGATHA (Vanessa Redgrave) leaves her home and car and goes missing for eleven days. She books into a hotel as Mrs. Neele. In this fictional take on what happens next, an American reporter, “Wally Stanton” (Dustin Hoffman) looks for her and investigates.

Screenwriter Kathleen Tynan, wife of British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, became interested in the true, but unexplained, story of Agatha Christie’s eleven-day disappearance while reading articles about the author following her death in 1976. After extensively researching the topic, Tynan considered making a documentary until producer David Puttnam offered to create a feature film as a fictional account of what happened during the eleven-day period.

Puttnam recruited director Michael Apted, and financing was arranged through The Rank Organisation. However, Rank withdrew from the project after realizing that Christie’s first husband, “Archie Christie,” an unsympathetic figure in the story, had served on their board. At that point, Michael Apted brought the screenplay to Dustin Hoffman, who agreed to star in the movie and produce it. Hoffman and First Artists Production Company, in which Hoffman was a partner, acquired the project from Rank. At that point Puttnam left the project as producer.

Although Hoffman’s contract gave him artistic control of the project, the film ran over budget and over schedule, and eventually, the project was taken out of Dustin Hoffman's control. There were lawsuits, and delays in post-production. Eventually, Michael Apted managed to calm the waters enough to convince Hoffman to complete the movie.

Apted stated he was “sympathetic to Dustin all along,” describing him as crucial to getting the film made. Apted also assisted in convincing Hoffman to eventually finish the necessary looping for the film’s soundtrack, which had been holding up post-production. The $3.5 million production was a minor success at the box office, grossing $7.1 million.

Composer Howard Blake did a romantic score for the film, which was rejected and not used. Composer Carl Davis once did a re-recording of a few cues for BBC radio. On February 13, 2020, Dragon's Domain Records released a limited edition CD of Blake's rejected score. Johnny Mandel’s replacement score was released on a Casablanca LP, but has not been re-issued on CD.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 14, 2021 - 11:03 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER told the life story of Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek), the dirt-poor Appalachian Mountain girl who rose from humble beginnings to become the "Queen of Country Music." Beverly D’Angelo co-starred as singer Patsy Cline.

Although Loretta Lynn handpicked Sissy Spacek to portray her on screen, original director Joseph Sargent was against the casting, feeling that Spacek didn't have enough of a resemblance to Lynn. Universal Pictures felt otherwise, bought out Sargent's contract and hired Michael Apted to direct.

D'Angelo and Spacek did all their own singing. Michael Apted also wanted Spacek to sing all of the songs live, feeling he could capture the realism in all of the performing scenes. Luckily Spacek and D'angelo were both accomplished singers in their own right and could easily handle this request.

Sissy Spacek praised Apted and his design team for the high degree of authenticity they lent to the story without falling into the cliché of portraying "hillbillies" living in squalor. "The costumes were perfect, and the sets were exquisitely accurate, from the corn cribs in the back of Loretta's home to the newspapers used for wallpaper inside the cabin to keep out the drafts," she later wrote.

Michael Apted and cinematographer Ralf Bode would watch the actors rehearse a scene and design the shot around them, rather than having the shots planned out in advance and directing the actors to conform to the visual plan. "Michael Apted trusted his actors," Sissy Spacek said. "It felt extraordinary--even revolutionary."

Michael Apted received a nomination from the Director’s Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. He lost to Robert Redford for ORDINARY PEOPLE. COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER was the #5 film at the U.S. box office in 1980, with an $81.5 million gross. The film had no original score. Sissy Spacek’s songs were released on an MCA LP, which was re-issued on CD in 2000 by MCA Nashville.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 14, 2021 - 1:31 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Chicago Sun-Times newspaper reporter “Ernie Souchak” (John Belushi) is investigating a crooked alderman named “Yablonowitz” (Val Avery) when he is beaten by two of Yablonowitz’s men. Souchak’s editor, “Howard McDermott” (Allen Garfield), wants him to leave town for a few weeks, and Howard’s wife “Sylvia” (Carlin Glynn) convinces a reluctant Souchak to write a piece on “Nell Porter” (Blair Brown), an ornithologist studying eagles in the Rocky Mountains up on the CONTINENTAL DIVIDE.

Jill Clayburgh agreed to play the female lead if Universal Pictures consented to cast James Caan, Christopher Walken or John Belushi as the male lead. Even so, Belushi was an unexpected choice for the romantic hero. Apted was credited for casting Belushi, believing that the heavy-set comedian could make the change to light comedy. Belushi reportedly lost forty pounds and worked daily with uncredited trainer Bill Wallace.

However, Clayburgh did not star in the film as promised, and casting of the female lead was delayed by the 1980 Screen Actors Guild strike. Although Apted and producer Bobby Larson wanted to cast Blair Brown, they could not guarantee a date for the start of production due to the strike, and weather conditions necessitated that filming on the continental divide start in the fall. As the strike neared its end, Brown was finally cast as “Nell.” Belushi and Brown arrived in Colorado before the start of principal photography to study mountain climbing with uncredited technical advisors Bob Culp and Duncan Ferguson, allowing the actors to participate in many of their climbing scenes.

The Colorado mountain cabin, built with an exterior and an interior, was originally located at a higher elevation on the mountain. Production designer Peter Jamison, in selecting the cabin's original site with director Michael Apted, did not consider the site's elevation until shooting began. The elevation's thin air caused major problems for both cast and crew, especially John Belushi in his overweight condition. Belushi had to be constantly revived with oxygen by the medic. The production made the decision to move the cabin site to a 1000-foot lower elevation.

The entire cabin, and all the bushes and trees, were moved lock, stock, and barrel to the new site. In Canon City, CO, a duplicate interior cabin had been constructed in a warehouse for interior filming, without the exterior log frame. During this logistic cabin move, Belushi put himself on a diet, realizing his weight prevented him from performing his character at mountain elevations. Watching scenes filmed at the exterior Colorado cabin, you see the weight change on his body frame. With the drop in his weight, moving with the film company to film the Chicago scenes, Belushi actually began to visualize himself as a romantic leading man, and kept at his diet to lose more of his body fat.

Michael Small’s score for the 1981 film has not had a release. The $9 million production came away with $15.6 million at the U.S. box office.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 14, 2021 - 4:10 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In Cold War Soviet Union, three mutilated bodies are discovered in Moscow’s GORKY PARK. The skin on the victims’ faces and fingertips was stripped away to conceal their identities, and militsiya police officer “Arkady Renko” (William Hurt) concludes the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union (KGB) is responsible for the executions. He grudgingly offers to turn the case over to his nemesis, “Major Pribluda” (Rikki Fulton), but the corrupt KGB agent declines to accept responsibility for the investigation. Lee Marvin co-stars as “Jack Osborne,” an American fur trafficker. “William Kirwill” (Brian Dennehy), is an American police detective who is conducting an investigation of his own.

In April 1981, it was announced that producers Gene Kirkwood and Howard W. Koch, Jr., purchased screen rights to Martin Cruz Smith’s bestseller Gorky Park for over $250,000, and John Schlesinger was hired to direct. Two months later, the budget was set at $15 million, and principal photography was scheduled to take place in Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. By 14 October 1981, screenwriter Dennis Potter had completed a first draft of the adaptation. Koch/Kirkwood Productions was eager to start filming, but Schlesinger had scheduling conflicts with THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN (1985), and production was postponed.

The project remained in limbo another year. During that time, the Soviet Union was protesting the production, claiming the novel promoted negative stereotypes of Russians and the Communist Party. Despite the controversy, Orion Pictures acquired distribution rights, and Schlesinger was replaced by director Michael Apted, whose hiring was announced in a 6 October 1982 Variety column.

Producer Howard W. Koch said "We couldn't even get into Russia to film it, and I can't say any of us were surprised. But that's what makes it so special. We're chalking up a first here. Nobody ever made a modern thriller like this set in Russia. It's just a pity they don't like us doing it." Koch added: "They kept telling us 'There's no crime or corruption in Moscow'. But it's like any urban city in the world; of course there's crime. They just don't tell anyone about it. That's what you get with a closed society."

Helsinki, Finland has architecture which is similar to Russian architecture, so it stood in for Moscow in this movie. Michael Apted felt compromised by the refusal of the Russian authorities to let him film in Moscow, as he wanted to really make a big thing about the unusual locations. Instead, he was limited to showing only the drab and ordinary parts of “Moscow” since the actual city’s recognizable landmarks (e.g., the Kremlin, Red Square) could not be duplicated in Helsinki.

When Lee Marvin arrived in Helsinki, he was sent to the local hospital because of his long-time illness due to alcoholism. So, director Michael Apted rehearsed with Marvin in his hospital room.

Michael Apted said of Lee Marvin's casting against type as Jack Osborne: "Yes, a lot of people are surprised. In fact, they're in blank astonishment at the casting. They think I've gone bonkers. But I talked to people about him, and everyone who knew him said what an intelligent sophisticated man Lee really is. I felt he didn't have to play the cursing, swearing, stubble-chinned ex-Marine everyone knows. It's good to go against type-casting sometimes."

During filming, Apted remarked: "Every time we see a stranger in a shiny raincoat standing on the fringe of the crowd, someone jumps and mutters ‘KGB.’ But I think we'll be left alone. There's nothing they can do about it, and they're too smart to get into any kind of situation they can't control.”

James Horner’s score for the 1983 film was released on LP, and later on CD, by Varese Sarabande. In 2011, Kritzerland remastered the release and presented it in both film and album order. Intrada released the full score, with alternates, in 2014. After prints and advertising costs, GORKY PARK didn’t quite break even, with a $16 million U.S. gross.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 14, 2021 - 7:20 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In suburban New Jersey, fifteen-year-old “Jake Livingston” (Christopher Collet) lives with his eleven-year-old brother, “Brian” (Corey Haim), and their divorced mother, “Wendy” (Teri Garr). Soon after his father tells the boys that he is getting remarried, Jake and Brian meet “Sam” (Peter Weller), their mother’s new love interest. A few weeks later, when Jake asks what type of work Sam does, he claims to be raising capital to start his own security systems company. Soon, Sam convinces Wendy to buy Jake a motorcycle, and finds other ways to ingratiate himself to the boys. But after Sam leads Wendy into taking cocaine and then starts dealing in the drug, Jake, the FIRSTBORN, decides that he must step up to protect his mother from Sam’s influence.

Michael Apted directed this domestic drama. EMI released an LP of songs from the film, which has not been re-issued on CD. Michael Small’s score was released by Intrada in 2014. The film opened in theaters the same day as THE TERMINATOR, the #13 film of the year at the box office. FIRSTBORN barely edged into the top 100 films, with a weak box office gross of $6.1 million.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 15, 2021 - 12:54 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Con man “Kevin Lennihan” (Richard Pryor), framed for jewel smuggling, tries for an insanity plea, and is sent to a hospital for review, where he is mistaken for a doctor and takes over the hospital when a major storm hits, in the 1987 comedy CRITICAL CONDITION.

The great New York City blackout of 1977 and the failure of Bellevue Hospital’s backup generator was the inspiration for the film. Producer Ted Field was long fascinated by blackouts and collected many clippings about the New York City one. He gave that clipping file to screenwriters Denis Hamill and John Hamill, who had previously written the script of TURK 182! (1985) for Field’s Interscope Communications production company. The pair turned out a first draft of the screenplay in seven days, then spent another eighteen months on revisions. Director Michael Apted and actor Richard Pryor both requested changes upon coming aboard, to make the film more comedic.

Richard Pryor, Michael Apted, and Rubén Blades on the set of CRITICAL CONDITION



Locating a hospital for filming proved difficult until producers found two suitable hospitals in North Carolina, one in Tarboro, another in High Point. The about-to-be demolished High Point Memorial Hospital was selected because of convenient access to the regional airport in nearby Greensboro. When filming was completed, the hospital was torn down to create a parking lot for the new High Point Regional Hospital next door

Alan Silvestri’s score was released by Quartet in 2014. CRITICAL CONDITION finished just out of the top 50 films of the year, with a $20.2 million gross.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 15, 2021 - 3:53 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In May 1984, it was announced that the newly launched theatrical film operation of Fries Entertainment Inc. planned to adapt Dian Fossey’s 1983 novel, GORILLAS IN THE MIST. Carroll Ballard and Caleb Deschanel were considered to direct, with “someone like Debra Winger” in the starring role. However, the project never came to fruition, and film rights to Fossey’s novel passed to Universal Pictures in late 1984. Producer Arnold Glimcher hoped Fossey would participate in the film and traveled to Rwanda to meet with her just hours before her murder on 26 December 1985. Regardless, Glimcher decided to pursue the project in the interest of raising awareness for Fossey’s work, and her tragic death was incorporated into the screenplay.

Around this time, Skip Steloff of Heritage Entertainment read about Fossey and immediately began developing a book with author Farley Mowat, titled “The Strange Life and Death of Dian Fossey,” which he planned to adapt into a feature film. In October 1986, eighteen years’ worth of Fossey’s diary entries, photographs, and other work-related artifacts were turned over to her parents, who agreed to give the material to Heritage in exchange for a share of the film’s profits.

Meanwhile, in the autumn of 1986, Warner Bros. Pictures and The Guber-Peters Company announced plans to begin production on another Fossey biopic, “Heaven and Earth,” with director Bob Rafelson and screenwriter Tab Murphy. Although Skip Steloff possessed some of the most critical documents about Fossey’s life, Universal and Warner Bros. had already completed their scripts by the time Heritage began research in Africa. Intimidated by the pressure of competing with two major studios, Heritage opted instead to develop its material as a four-hour, two-part miniseries for CBS Television. A few months later, Universal filed a $5 million lawsuit against Fossey’s mother, Hazel Fossey Price, whose cooperation with Heritage violated a promise Fossey had supposedly made to Universal in March 1985, which would allow the studio access to biographical information and an option on her novel. Although Heritage won the suit, new management at CBS dropped the miniseries shortly after.

As doubts arose over the commercial viability of two competing Dian Fossey projects, Universal and Warner Bros. decided to join forces to produce and distribute GORILLAS IN THE MIST. Each studio had reportedly spent more than $4 million on pre-production, before agreeing to a total budget of $24 million.

Amid the changes, Rafelson left the project and was replaced by Michael Apted. Jessica Lange, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, and Vanessa Redgrave expressed interest in the role of Dian Fossey, which ultimately went to Sigourney Weaver.




Despite his former deal with Heritage, Farley Mowat wrote the biography, “Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa,” which was published in 1988. As Fossey had become a somewhat controversial figure in the years before her death, Apted struggled with the issue of how to best represent her tough and often violent crusades “without losing the audience’s sympathy for her.” The director also chose to omit Fossey’s possible rape by Congolese soldiers when she was evicted from the country in 1966—an incident which likely affected Fossey’s attitude toward the African people but was highly disputed by her friends and associates.

Two weeks before production, Warner Bros. president Terry S. Semel threatened to pull out of the project, citing that the film was already $4 million over budget. Determined to continue working, Glimcher, Apted, Weaver, and several other crewmembers relinquished at least $3 million of their combined salaries, with Glimcher taking a percentage of the backend.

A 19 September 1988 Hollywood Reporter article recounted the unique challenges Michael Apted faced while filming. Although he initially considered using “tourist gorillas,” the animals were too accustomed to human contact and did not interact with Weaver, forcing the filmmaker to seek out the wild gorillas near Fossey’s remote camp in Rwanda. As a result, all locations were determined by the gorillas, whose grazing habits kept them in constant search for more food. For several hours each day, two cameras closely followed the movements of the gorillas, while a third cameraman documented the main narrative. Government restrictions only allowed five crewmembers to enter the gorillas’ habitat at a time, while Weaver’s contact with the animals was limited to just one hour per day. Although a tracker taught Weaver the essential primate communication techniques, members of the wildlife unit used an earpiece to coach the actress through her interactions.

The killing of Fossey’s favorite silverback, “Digit,” was the only scene that did not feature live gorillas. For these stunts, four human performers wore gorilla suits constructed by special makeup designer Rick Baker, who had won an Academy Award for his work on the 1984 British film, GREYSTOKE—THE LEGEND OF TARZAN. The estimated cost of the radio-equipped costumes was $4 million.

The budget was frequently adjusted to lengthen the shooting schedule and maximize the amount of available film stock. Since postproduction equipment and facilities were not accessible in the jungle, Apted was forced to “mentally edit” each day’s work. Apted ended up with roughly 300,000 feet of unused gorilla footage, which he offered to release to any parties interested in using the material.

Universal was greatly concerned about the film’s commercial prospects after initial research revealed that the subject matter appealed mostly to women over twenty-five. As a result, Universal opted to test the film at just fifteen theaters in twelve cities beginning 23 September 1988, while running a variety of television advertisements which separately highlighted the story’s romance and action elements. Once reviews began generating positive word of mouth, the film expanded to a 550-theater national release on 30 September 1988.

Maurice Jarre received a Golden Globe Award for his score and was nominated for an Academy Award. Jarre lost the Oscar to Dave Grusin for THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR. Jarre’s score was released by MCA. GORILLAS IN THE MIST finished just out of the top 40 films of the year, but with a domestic gross of only $24.7 million. Fortunately, international receipts pushed the worldwide gross over $61 million, putting the film into the black.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 16, 2021 - 12:12 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In the legal drama CLASS ACTION, attorney “Jedediah Tucker Ward” (Gene Hackman), who represents a traumatized accident victim, , finds that his opponent is a very familiar defense attorney - his own daughter, “Maggie” (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Fred Thompson played a doctor in the 1991 film.

Director Michael Apted considered Sean Connery as his first choice for the role of "Jedediah Tucker Ward." Coming from a documentary background, specifically with his "UP" series, Apted was very keen to depict the legal process as accurately as possible.

Varese Sarabande released James Horner's score. CLASS ACTION fell just outside of the top 50 films of the year with a $24.3 million domestic gross. Overseas grosses were minimal.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 16, 2021 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The controversial incarceration of Native American political activist Leonard Peltier, who was accused of the 26 June 1975 killings of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, was first considered as the subject of a feature film in the early 1980s, when writer Peter Matthiessen published an account of the trial titled “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” (1983). Around that time, Robert Redford, a longtime advocate of Native American civil rights, met with Matthiessen to discuss optioning the screen rights to “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” which he wanted to adapt into a fictional narrative.

After speaking with Peltier, Redford was determined to bring his story to mass audiences as a motion picture. Redford stated that he “had no position as to his [Peltier’s] guilt or innocence,” but “felt sure he was railroaded,” and hoped the film would prompt public demand for a new, fair trial. Redford was concerned that Peltier had been overlooked; he had been one of Peltier’s first visitors since his imprisonment in 1977.

The 1983 publication of “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” was met with multi-million-dollar libel lawsuits from several contributors, including FBI agent David Price and the former South Dakota (SD) Attorney General William “Bill” Janklow. Although controversy kept the book out of circulation for nearly a decade, it sparked new attention in the media, and the Peltier case was back in the news. Since filmmaker Oliver Stone was competing for film rights at that time, Redford decided to change course and pursue the story as a documentary. He recruited British director Michael Apted, and the pair embarked upon the filming of INCIDENT AT OGLALA.

The production was met with antagonism from both Native Americans, who were initially mistrustful of the filmmakers, and the U.S. government, which did not want to expose the trial’s inconsistencies. Despite setbacks, Apted began filming in late fall 1990 in Rapid City, SD. The picture was financed for $2 million by Carolco Pictures and its subsidiary, Seven Arts, as part of Carolco’s three-picture deal with Redford, which included THE DARK WIND (1991), a film not released theatrically in the U.S., and A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT (1992).

The documentary made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 19 January 1992, introduced by Robert Redford, who was a festival chairman. Nearly two weeks later, the Miramax Film Corp. acquired distribution rights. The picture was initially scheduled for release by Seven Arts, but the company had recently gone bankrupt, and Miramax was committed to placing the film in at least 100 domestic markets throughout 1992. The film grossed $537,000 in its theatrical release.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 16, 2021 - 2:05 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Director Michael Apted would follow up his documentary, INCIDENT AT OGLALA, about Sioux Indian activist Leonard Peltier, with THUNDERHEART, a fictional story inspired by events on Sioux and other tribal reservations in the 1970s. In the film, a young mixed-blood FBI agent, “Ray Levoi” (Val Kilmer), is assigned to work with cynical veteran investigator “Frank ‘Cooch’ Coutelle” (Sam Shepard) on a murder case on a poverty-stricken Sioux reservation.

Michael Apted offered Marlon Brando the role of Frank "Cooch" Coutelle. Richard Gere was offered the role of Ray Levoi, but he was busy with FINAL ANALYSIS (1992).

Several Lakota Indians near Rapid City, SD, were upset when they learned sacred Lakota ceremonies were to be filmed. They threatened to file an injunction against the filmmakers. However, producers assured the Lakota tribe that the scenes would not be filmed, and noted the objections were based on earlier versions of the script. Joan Eisenberg, the film’s unit publicist, stated that the producers were “sensitive” to the issue and had been collaborating with Sonny Richards, a “spiritual advisor” and member of the Lakota tribe. Richards is credited as “Lakota language/Ceremonial advisor.”

James Horner’s score was released by Intrada. THUNDERHEART was the 55th biggest grossing film of 1992, pulling in $22.7 million.

In 1998, when it was announced that THUNDERHEART was to air on the Fox television network, the filmmakers were upset that TriStar planned on editing out nearly thirty minutes for the broadcast. Despite Michael Apted’s objections, TriStar made 270 edits that cut twenty-two minutes from the film. TriStar also electronically compressed the picture to lose an additional four minutes, and sped up the end credits. Apted and his team were supported by the Directors Guild of America (DGA), with DGA spokesman Chuck Warn claiming that the Fox network broadcast would present a “new version of THUNDERHEART, that is not the THUNDERHEART that Michael Apted and [producer] John Fusco made.” Warn believed the version was so different it amounted to “consumer fraud.”

Apted was shocked by the edits made to THUNDERHEART, and wanted his name removed from the film when it aired. TriStar Pictures refused, claiming the DGA contract only reserved that right for directors prior to theatrical releases, not television broadcasts. A DGA arbitration ruled in favor of Apted, and ordered TriStar to include a detailed disclaimer, or change Apted’s credit to the pseudonym Alan Smithee, often used by directors unhappy with alterations to their films. TriStar chose to use the Smithee credit. However, the studio filed a lawsuit to challenge the DGA’s ruling. A U.S. District Court judge upheld the DGA arbitration. TriStar appealed the court’s ruling, and a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld the DGA arbitrator’s ruling, with Judge Alex Kozinski agreeing that TriStar’s alterations were so severe, the studio breached its obligations under its contract with the DGA.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 16, 2021 - 10:53 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

“Emma” (Madeleine Stowe), a blind violinist who had recently undergone a revolutionary surgery, joins with police “Detective John Hallstrom” (Aidan Quinn) to track a serial killer after she was an inadvertent witness to his latest crime, in BLINK.

Michael Apted directed this 1994 thriller. Brad Fiedel’s score was released by Milan. The film took in a moderate $16.7 million at the domestic box office.


 
 
 Posted:   Jan 17, 2021 - 1:28 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In a remote woodland cabin, small town doctor “Jerome Lovell” (Liam Neeson) discovers NELL (Jodie Foster) - a beautiful young hermit woman with many secrets. Jodie Foster originally planned to direct the film herself, but turned it over to Michael Apted instead.

Jodie Foster and Michael Apted on the set of NELL



Mark Isham’s score was nominated for a Golden Globe award, losing to Hans Zimmer for THE LION KING. Fox Film Scores released Isham’s score in the U.S.; Decca/London handled the rest of the world. NELL landed just outside the top 40 films of 1994, with a $33.7 million U.S. gross. But international audiences flocked to the film, adding $73 million to its take.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 17, 2021 - 3:39 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In the 1996 medical thriller EXTREME MEASURES, “Dr. Guy Luthan” (Hugh Grant) is on a late-shift when a mysterious man wanders in off the street and dies under his care. When the body disappears without a trace, Guy begins to dig deeper and finds that the patient’s records have vanished also. Something is amiss at New York’s Gramercy Hospital. Gene Hackman plays an esteemed physician at the hospital, and Sara Jessica Parker is Grant’s co-worker and only ally.

Michael Apted and Hugh Grant on the set of EXTREME MEASURES



This mystery was directed by Michael Apted, who felt the pressure of working for first time producers Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley. Varese Sarabande released Danny Elfman's score. EXTREME MEASURES barely broke into the top 100 films of the year, with a $17.4 million domestic gross.


 
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