Family Honor (1973)

The long long unseen NY crime thriller Family Honor (1973) has finally surfaced by way of what looks to have been the director himself uploading his own copy to YouTube, more proof that if you look and wait long enough most things eventually turn up!

family-honor-movie-poster-1973

I’d first heard of this very obscure thriller by stumbling on the trailer via YouTube, which made it looks like a total must see, take a watch here:

Looking around I was surprised to find that there was no way at all to see this great looking 70s crime Mafia thriller, there was no VHS, DVD, online version or seemingly any other way of watching this.

I’d filed it away in the back of my mind and hoped that one day it would surface, well that day is now here as we can now all watch it over on YouTube. The uploader shares the same name as the director: Clark Worswick, and the info says this copy if taken from one of only 3 film prints known to exist, so yes it looks like the director himself has had his own print transferred to digital and then uploaded it to YouTube.

So how is it? Well it’s a fun watch that feels so authentic as it’s all shot on grimy locations which really give you a feel for the time and the place. It’s quite talky as well, really more of a drama than a thriller, but I still had a great time watching this, plus the directors use of extreme close ups gives the whole things a tight claustrophobic feel. There also seems to have been a strange effect picked up in the transfer, in a lot of close up scenes the background seems to wobble and warp quite often, I kind of enjoyed this unexpected effect as it just adds to the strangeness of finally being able to see this film.

You can watch all 4-parts of the great Family Honor right here, just to note Part 4 is only about 5-minutes long, with a lot of black screen at the end. Enjoy this super rarity!

 

Grindhouse Cinemas are back on 42nd Street, sort of…

01 42nd

Before heading to Philly for Cinedelphia I stopped off in New York for a few days, this was my first time back in the city for a few years and of course I took a walk down 42nd Street. What I found was something that really made my day, in the simplest way possible the grindhouse cinemas were back on the street, at least in picture form. Yes covering a section of work boarding was a nearly life size photo recreation of what the street looked like back in 1987, complete with a series of incredible theatre marquees. I still don’t fully understand why this was there, now that the street has been cleaned up so much I can’t tell if this is meant to show you how bad the street was, or if it’s a wistful look back to all the character that used to infuse the area.  Either way it was so great to stumble on, watch the video below and take a look at the pictures to get a slice of the 42nd Street experience.

And if you like the picture you can actually get a print from the original via Battman Studios right here. Only $25 and it’s 5-feet long, which seems like a great deal!

02 42nd

03 42nd

04 42nd

05 42nd

The Mysterious Man on 42nd Street

I spend a lot of time digging around on ebay trying to find interesting things, one thing I like to do is comb through the huge photo archives for sale on there, always looking for anything interesting of unexpected. Yesterday I was looking for photos from New York’s 42nd Street and found this interesting picture:

NYC42ndStreet

At first look I assumed that the bloke lying on the floor had been blown over by what looks like the extreme weather conditions, everyone else in the photo is battling the wind and rain and it looks like 42nd street is in the middle of a full-blown storm.  So him being bowled over by the brutal wind made sense, but that’s not what actually happened… Luckily for us the photo seller had also put up the reverse of the photo which gives us a breakdown of what had actually happened just seconds before it was taken:

NYC42ndStreet2

Here’s what the text from the photo actually says:

New York Bureau – END OF ROUND ONE

NEW YORK: With tempers a bit short on this stormy morning in New York City Nov. 12th the pedestrian at left finds himself in an unusual position – prone – at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. He got that way after taking exception to a chauffeur’s driving ability. The driver got out of his car, flattened the pedestrian and continued on his way. The storm continues unabated. 11/12/68

So what a terrible start to the day for this poor pedestrian, he’s probably on his way to work, battling the weather, he then finds himself being punched in the face, ending up on the cold wet floor, getting no help from anyone (the chauffer has had time to get back into his car and drive away before the picture is taken and still no one is helping him!), plus he’s got the final insult of it being captured on film by this photographer from the other side of the street! And now, were here 46-years later still looking at him lying prone on a cold, damp, windy, unforgiving 42nd street!

Welcome to New York!

New York Chinatown (1984)

Today we’re taking a look at the very obscure 1982 Hong Kong gangster thriller New York Chinatown, a film that’s truly unique in that’s it’s all shot on location in a gloriously grimy early 1980s New York!

Image

This is a fully Asian production, but one that swaps the crowded crime filled streets of Hong Kong, for the equally corrupt and crowded streets of Manhattan. The film itself is great and would work in any location, but that fact that we get to see 90-minutes of Triad action taking place mostly in New York’s Chinatown area is such a total treat, you can almost smell the NYC grime coming off the screen.

In fact that filmmakers seem to go to great lengths to show you that they’ve actually shot the entire thing on location, take a look at this screengrabs from one early scene here, in one angle you get the World Trade Towers and in the other you get the Statue Of Liberty:

Image

Image

By the way, that’s the brilliantly named Fatso in the shot above, what’s fantastic is that he’s not fat at all, he’s actually really slim looking. Which brings up to another good point, sadly the only version of this film we could find is a fullscreen DVD, which crops the image quite a bit, but the worst thing is that it also crops out a lot of the burnt in English subtitles!

Image

What’s he saying?!?!

Image

More confusion!

Plus when you do get to see the full sentence the subtitles them selves can be strangely literal in their translation, here’s a good example:

Image

But to be honest the issues with the disc and subtitles are really secondary, this a is a great film and one well worth tracking down if, like us, you love reveling in the dark and dangerous world of old NYC. Here’s a great action clip from the film to give you an idea of what it looks like, this is a brilliantly staged action scene shot on location in New York’s Chinatown:

Plus it’s obligatory in every vintage NYC film to have a 42nd Street scene:

Image

Do take the time to track down New York Chinatown, it’s a fantastic film with great action scenes, some very odd scenes and all that amazing location work!