Bonus Episode: TCM Classic Film Festival back in person
Bonus Podcast: TCM Classic Film Festival
CLIP I can be smart but men don’t like it…
Can Marilyn Monroe teach us anything? Find out as TCM host Alicia Malone shares lessons she’s learned from a life of watching women in movies.
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Welcome back to listener supported KPBS Cinema Junkie, I'm Beth Accomando.
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This weekend TCM Classic Film Festival returns in person to Hollywood. TCM host Alicia Malone and TCM programmer Scott McGee will both be at the festival to sign copies of their new books. Malone’s book is Girls on Film, and it’s a wonderfully personal and engaging journey through the films and the women who influenced Malone the most. McGee’s book offers an action packed tribute to Danger on the silver screen: 50 Films Celebrating Cinema’s Greatest Stunts. Both Malone and McGee join me to discuss their books and the movies in their lives.
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Cinema Junkie is on a season break but I love the TCM Classic Film Festival and did not want to miss an opportunity to talk about films I love with people who are as passionate as I am. Alicia Malone has been a Cinema Junkie Guest before, joining me to discuss classic Hollywood musicals. Scott McGee is joining me for the first time but we bonded over a love for movie stunts. Cinema Junkie will be back next month for a new season but for now enjoy this bonus episode dedicated to all those people who love watching movies.
First up is Alicia Malone. Her book Girls on Film: Lessons from a life of watching women in movies, is not a list of films or an exploration of a genre but rather a very personal look at the films that most touched her life. I began by asking her how she wanted to structure her book.
[00:00:27.810] - ALICIA MALONE
Yeah. This is my first time being quite personal. My first book was about film history and women throughout Hollywood history. My second book was about film analysis and favorite films directed by women. So I saw this as kind of a very loose trilogy where now I would try to mix personal memoir with film history and film analysis.
[00:00:50.070] - ALICIA MALONE
And I started thinking about the idea for this book at the beginning of the pandemic when I was locked in my apartment and I noticed the types of films I would turn to for comfort. And a lot of them were movies I used to watch as a child. And I think that's something we all felt at that time, the need for nostalgia, for something that felt very certain during an uncertain time, a movie that, you know, would end well. So I started to think more about what films have meant to me over my years, and I get a lot of questions about that. Why do you love classic films?
[00:01:23.160] - ALICIA MALONE
How did you get involved with TCM people wanting to know my story? So I thought, okay, here's a challenge. Let's try and write it down and try to structure it in a way that could weave movies and personal memoir together. It's not an entire memoir about my life, but it's snapshots of my life and the films that I was inspired by and the women I was inspired by at that time.
[00:02:01.270] - ALICIA MALONE
Well, I was really interested in that. I always believed that I watched movies for answers. Being such an introverted child, being very shy, and not wanting to ask my parents or any adult anything embarrassing and everything about being a girl was embarrassing to me as a teenager. I always thought that I turned to movies to figure out life's big questions. And I'm sure it taught me a lot of things, a lot of things about world history and politics and some lessons I've had to undo since finding out the real truth.
[00:02:34.930] - ALICIA MALONE
But what I discovered along the way was I actually don't watch movies for answers. Like I thought I watch movies for questions, for more questions. Because every film I watch, particularly classic film, which is often a time capsule of the time and place in which it was made, that sends me into other questions and wanting to know more about the story behind the film, wanting to know more about what was happening in that country at that time about society and leading me into more research and having conversations with people. And that, I think, is what makes watching classic films so much fun to me, is that there's always more to learn, there's always more to explore. Movies change as society changes in our eyes and what we know and don't know and how things progress or not progress.
[00:03:25.270] - ALICIA MALONE
So really, I watch movies for questions and to have these conversations where I don't necessarily have all the answers, but I find such value in that.
[00:04:03.070] - ALICIA MALONE
I've thought a lot about this actually, because that first experience was so traumatizing, seeing what I thought was a real death of a horse on the screen and not understanding that it was a movie. And what I've come to realize is that I'm always somewhat searching for some kind of experience where I go to see a film. I hate going into the movies and walking out and going, yeah, that was okay. I love feeling something, whether it is crying or laughing or feeling fear, just something that moves me. And I do trace it back to that very initial experience with that film.
[00:04:39.950] - ALICIA MALONE
And like you say, with many other children's films that were quite scary. I mean, even The Wizard of Oz is terrifying. The witch would terrified me as a child. And so I think just looking for films that make me feel something, even if it's scared, is something that I constantly chase. And I love the fact that children's films, particularly from that time in classic films, deal with really dark issues.
[00:05:07.320] - ALICIA MALONE
I mean, even the never ending story is about grief and the huge, big blackness, the nothingness of depression and dealing with grief as a young child. And that's quite heavy. And whether I understood everything as a child or not, I still see that there is so much value in that, in treating kids as intelligent and being able to start to sneak in some of these larger issues into children's entertainment.
[00:05:49.610] - ALICIA MALONE
Yeah. I think one that I question is Mad Love from 1095, starring Drew Barrymore. This is a film that not many people saw at the time. People still don't really know. It didn't do well with critics.
[00:06:06.130] - ALICIA MALONE
I mean, Chris O'Donnell still says that he's never seen it. He costarred withdrew Barrymore, but for some reason, the time when I watched it, when I was 14 years old, that it hit me so hard that I felt like I could relate to Drew Barrymore's character in a really strong way. So I knew all the words to the film. I listened to the soundtrack over and over. I cut my hair like Drew.
[00:06:32.850] - ALICIA MALONE
I got my friends to call me Casey, her character's name. I tried to wear all the same outfits, and it was so aspirational to me as a child. And watching that now I can revert back to how I felt at that time. But I can't quite understand as someone who now has watched a volume of films why that film in particular spoke to me for some reason. And I think that's something that films do.
[00:07:00.560] - ALICIA MALONE
It can really sometimes you have those movies that you see the floors, but it doesn't matter because you love them, because you needed to see that film at that particular time in your life.
[00:07:35.950] - ALICIA MALONE
Yeah, I think Marilyn Monroe is an actress that I continue to revisit. She's someone that has beguiled me as a child in trying to figure out who she really was, who this enigma was, what that performance of womanhood actually means, and whether that was something good for me to watch as a child or not. I revisited Gentlemen for Blonde, and that's a film that when I watched it as a kid, I just fell in love with the bright colors and the fantasy of the film and the beautiful women and those costumes and tried to do all the songs and dances. But now as I've grown older and I've become a feminist and I can look at movies through that lens, I see something totally different, and I see someone who was performing a character that she created for herself, not only playing Laurel I Lee, but she was playing Marilyn Monroe. And I think this is true of her.
[00:08:36.410] - ALICIA MALONE
Throughout the years, we keep revisiting her life and keep trying to figure her out because she was a mess of contradictions. She didn't really make sense. I mean, I was even involved with the CNN documentary that had earlier this year that was called Reframing Marilyn Monroe, as we're doing that a lot with female figures in popular culture these days. And she's one that I still find really fascinating, and I haven't quite worked out, but I have a different relationship to her throughout my years as I've grown older, I'll be doing a signing at the festival on Sunday at 02:00 P.m. In the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel, and that'll be really fun just to get to see the viewers again.
[00:09:35.290] - ALICIA MALONE
Now it's been two years since we've been able to do a festival in person, and the theme is about reuniting and reunions, and I think it's just going to be such a big party to see our viewers in person. Finally, after two very long, very hard years. I mean, I never took the festival for granted, but this year especially, I am just thrilled at the idea of sitting in a dark room with strangers watching great movies.
[00:10:11.910] - ALICIA MALONE
Yes, I am really looking forward to speaking with Paula Abdul about Singing in the Rain, because, A, I loved Paula Abdul as a child and Singing in the Rain. And B, I find it really fascinating that she has said in the past that watching Singing in the Rain as a child was an informative experience for her and led her to want to start dancing in the first place. So I'm really interested to learn more from her about, A, what she feels about the movie, how it changed her life or her experience with the film. And B, also just about the dancing from a choreographer. Singing in the Rain is a film that we've spoken about so many times, and it's always fun when you can find a unique angle on it.
[00:10:56.100] - ALICIA MALONE
So I'm interested to talk to her about the dancing itself.
[00:11:10.870] - ALICIA MALONE
Yeah. I mean, always the precode films are a lot of fun, and they allowed a lot of freedom for women at that time and precode movies always really entertaining to watch with a crowd live, they're fast, they're fun, they're risque. And one that I would highlight is Queen Bee which stars Joan Crawford and it's Joan Crawford in her most Joan Crawford esque role. She plays this socialite who is, after all, the men and the men cannot help but fall for her. I think technically it can't come later than precode, but it's one that came to mind when I thought about that question because Joan Crawford she's such a force on screen and a really interesting actress to look at from a feminist perspective of thank you.
[00:12:06.870] - ALICIA MALONE
I so appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about my book. Thank you.
That was Alicia Malone, her new book is Girls on Film. Scott McGee’s book Danger on the silver screen: 50 Films Celebrating Cinema’s Greatest Stunts, is also personal but in a different way. McGee began by explaining where the impetus for writing the book actually began.
[00:05:04.950] - SCOTT McGEE
The impetus for starting this book probably began when I was about ten years old, when I saw in the summer of 1981, Raiders of the Lost Dark. And I saw it three times. And a lot of kids my age or my generation, their touchstones were Star Wars or Jaws. And of course, those were certainly some touchdowns for me. But the major one was Raiders.
[00:05:32.310] - SCOTT McGEE
I saw Temple of Doom three times. Also in 84. I saw The Last Crusade in 1989, ten times at the theater really ridiculous. But it was just something about those films that really resonated with me in terms of there were actual people doing these stunts. This was a stunt man being dragged underneath the truck.
[00:05:57.870] - SCOTT McGEE
I'd never seen anything like it. And when I got into graduate school, I looked at some of the silent films of Harrow, Lloyd and Buster Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks and wrote a paper on how their stunt works contributed, how their stunt work contributed to the overall reception of their films.
[00:06:22.650] - SCOTT McGEE
And then when I started at TCM in the fall or, sorry, in the summer of 2000, I shortly thereafter had the chance to recommend some programming ideas. And one of them was, have we ever done anything on stunt people, stunt men, stunt women. And they hadn't at that point. And so I had a chance to tag along with a couple of producers to Los Angeles for three days and interviewed a number of Legends in the business, people like Terry Leonard, Lauren James, Bobby Hoy, Jean Label, Tony Brewbaker, Rick Siemen, so many other people that your listeners may not know, they may not know their names. And there's a reason why.
[00:07:13.950] - SCOTT McGEE
And that just sort of stayed with me, that experience. And as the years went by, I just started to do research on this topic. And I just started to amass more and more. And so I almost felt like I needed to do something with all this research. So I said, okay, well, let me try a book.
[00:07:38.760] - SCOTT McGEE
I've never written a book before, so that's pretty much how it came about. So I did serious research on it for about ten years.
[00:07:55.810] - SCOTT McGEE
Sure. First of all, this is not a full history of stunt work in cinema. There have been books written like that one called by a Guy Named John Baxter was released in the 70s. But this book, what it does is it tries to tell the evolution of stunt work through the lens of 50 films. And so I tried to draw a through line in terms of how stunts were perceived, how they were executed in the films themselves.
[00:08:32.710] - SCOTT McGEE
And I tried to make the point that stunt work is a serious craft in filmmaking, much like choreography or editing or cinematography is particularly when it comes to choreography, because when you look at a car chase or a fight scene or any other thing that requires a stunt person, you can look at it as a dance of sorts. And so I look at musical choreography, musical dance numbers, and stunt work in action films to be very similar. And so I wanted this book to sort of remind the reader that Gosh stunt work really is important. And if it wasn't for these men and women taking the breaks and earning the scrapes, then a lot of the most famous, most memorable moments in motion picture history wouldn't be around. Like Ben Her the chariot race that would not be there had it not been for some people.
[00:09:46.120] - SCOTT McGEE
And indeed, the filmmakers have been her just as an example. They knew that if the chariot race was no good, the film was no good. So everything was writing on what they were able to pull off in that one scene. And I think the same thing applies for a lot of the films that I write in the book.
[00:10:42.690] - SCOTT McGEE
Sure. I think that the revealing of the hesitancy to reveal the magic used to be part of it. I don't think it's quite there anymore because there's so many people who are familiar with how movies are made, so they're not fools. They know that there are stunt people involved. But I think it goes back to what I was saying about comparison to other disciplines.
[00:11:14.430] - SCOTT McGEE
When you have, like a costume designer, for example, I think people know, wow, that took quite a lot of artistry to put those gowns together. But I think that a lot of people assume that crashing a car or setting yourself on fire, how hard is that? How hard could that be? So I think they dismiss it as being just a journeyman type endeavor that anybody can do it. And while it's true, anybody can crash a car, but it takes an art and a science to really do it cinematically.
[00:11:59.120] - SCOTT McGEE
And that is, I think, something that a lot of the general public are missing when it comes to how important great stunts are in the movies.
[00:12:41.610] - SCOTT McGEE
That's right. That's why you still today have stunts being referred to as gags by people in the profession. Stunt work was largely the purview of comedy films in the early days of the silent era, starting with the films of Mac Senate and even into the superstars of Keaton and Lloyd and even a little bit of Chaplin, but also Douglas Fairbanks before he became a serious period piece adventurer in films like The Marcusoro and the Black Pirate he actually starred in a number of comedies that depended on his athleticism and his willingness to take some risks for the camera. So again, it was all about the funny. It was all about the gag of listening a laugh.
[00:13:38.850] - SCOTT McGEE
There were some exceptions to this, like I write about in the book in reference to Way Down East, the DW Griffith film, where the thrilling ice flow river scene did require a great deal of risk from the stars Louie and Gish and Richard Bartleness. But that's kind of one of the exceptions, really, to the overall general rule that, yeah, it was really the domain of comedy.
[00:14:27.490] - SCOTT McGEE
That's a good question. I don't know if it uncovered films that I missed. I will say that I did uncover a bit of research that really, frankly, astounded me and I do make mention of it in the book. It's in the chapter where I discuss the James Bond film Live and Let Die. And the reason why I wanted to include that is because Live and Let Die was one of the first major motion pictures that really took advantage and hired a number of African American stunt people.
[00:15:06.730] - SCOTT McGEE
It may have even been the first one where an African American was credited as a stunt coordinator. That film had a number of stunt coordinators, actually. But that wasn't what was revealing to me. What was revealing to me is when I and again, I included in the book, in the chapter on Living Let Die, I uncovered a piece of information from an early 20s film. It was a Thomas NZ production, I believe it was called Her Reputation.
[00:15:34.990] - SCOTT McGEE
And Thomas Inc went through the trouble of damming up a portion of the Colorado River. I believe it was in Arizona. And he created a flood intentionally for the cameras for two films he actually shot there. But the one for, I believe, again, I think it was Her Reputation. He had hired a number of AfricanAmerican experts from a nearby town and hired them to stand on the set that was to then be flooded once the waters were released.
[00:16:20.270] - SCOTT McGEE
This is according to ENS's own publicity material. They rightly refused because they realized this is really dangerous. And again, according to the publicity material, they were told to stay there by gunpoint. A Sheriff held them by gunpoint until they finished the scene. Reportedly, no one was hurt.
[00:16:46.210] - SCOTT McGEE
But that showed me a lot of how cavalier people were about safety and particularly when it came when it came to race. And so I wanted to juxtapose the coming to prevalence of black stuntmen and women in films like Living Let Die in the early 70s to how they were treated in the early days of cinema. So that was something that really surprised me and kind of sickened me. Of course, there was the production of The Sand Pebbles, which was directed by Robert Wise, shot in Hong Kong. And so they had worked with a number of I don't know if you would call them actors, but I don't know if they were technically stuntmen local stuntmen from Hong Kong.
[00:18:06.160] - SCOTT McGEE
But these actors, these Marshall, I think a lot of them did specialize in martial arts. They learned a lot of techniques of how to pull off stunts for the camera. And once the Sand Pebbles production closed, a lot of these new stunt people in Hong Kong continued to train and to learn from what they had been taught on the set of that film. And indeed, there's a rumor and I never could corroborate this, but there was a rumor that Jackie Chan was a little boy near the set of the Sand Pebbles. I think that's apocryphal.
[00:18:55.410] - SCOTT McGEE
But it is true that according to Lauren James and I got this also from stunt coordinator named Jeff Amada, that there is a direct line from Hollywood stuntman to Hong Kong action cinema, particularly when it comes to stunts.
[00:19:30.610] - SCOTT McGEE
And he's not been shy about sharing his love of silent cinema. And you see his allusions to various people like Harold Lloyd or sorry. Well, yeah, Harold Lloyd. He did a gag in one of his films where he's hanging on a clock and another one where he is there's a wall fall that falls on top of it, much like Keaton did in Steamville, Bill Jr.
[00:20:12.930] - SCOTT McGEE
So a second unit director, what that person does is they often shoot scenes that don't necessarily require dialogue or the main actors. So, for example, second unit directors are still prevalent today, of course, and it can be something that they shoot as complicated as the chariot race from Ben Hur. Or it could be just an establishing shot. They can have a camera unit that shoots an overall scene or a setting to establish, okay, we're now in a different place in terms of the narrative. But in the book, I really make a point of saying how important second unit directors are because often they were the ones actually directing the scenes that so many of these stunt people took part in in the book.
[00:21:19.170] - SCOTT McGEE
So again, Ben Hurt, there were two second unit directors employed on there. One was Yakima Kanut and another one named Andrew Martin. And this scene was so huge, so complicated and ambitious, that it really took more than 1 second unit director to pull it off. And William Wiler, the credited director of Benhurt, said, yeah, make no mistake about it, Andrew Martin and Yakima Kanut, they directed the chariot race. So second unit directors are, I think, a largely unsung profession in Hollywood for that very reason.
[00:22:00.800] - SCOTT McGEE
But again, we wouldn't have a lot of these scenes without a lot of these stunts, really without the expertise of the second unit director.
[00:22:34.130] - SCOTT McGEE
Oh, yeah, those are all my ideas. So starting in 2013, I had proposed we do a panel discussion with three stunt Legends. And so I conducted a conversation in Club TCM with Lauren James Jeannie Upper and Conrad Paul Masano. And then two years later, I believe in 2015, we were brainstorming. Okay, who do we honor as a tribute for this year's festival and for your listeners?
[00:23:07.200] - SCOTT McGEE
Just so they know, when TCM has a tribute, we usually do about three tributes per year. We try to honor people that don't often get celebrated, people that maybe a lot of people don't even know. And so I said, you know, there's a stuntman, a stunt coordinator and a second unit director named Terry Leonard. And I gave a brief rundown of his credits. I said, I think this would be a really fantastic idea.
[00:23:39.950] - SCOTT McGEE
Not only can we have a Club TCM conversation, but we can also show Raiders of the Lost Ark. And that was Terry doubling Harrison Ford and the truck gag gets dragged underneath and then the Wind of the lion. And so, yeah, so that was me. I did the conversation with Terry and Club TCM as well and talked to him in front of the Wind of the lion. And I worked with Terry once more when FilmStruck was around, and then I sent him my book because I dedicated it to him, actually.
[00:24:20.510] - SCOTT McGEE
So, yeah, that's one of the great things about the film festival is you get those opportunities to celebrate people that sometimes are overlooked.
[00:24:56.410] - SCOTT McGEE
Yeah, that's something that's very true. And I believe that if I were to say to a stunt person, you really are an artist, they would probably laugh at me because I think a lot of them think of themselves as craftsmen, people who are there to do is what John Ford said, a job of work, and they do whatever it takes to get it done. First and foremost, they want to do it safely, but they also want to help fulfill the vision of the director, the vision of the screenplay, and do it in a way that puts some jingle in their pocket and able to go home to a job well done. The other thing that occurred to me when I witnessed the stunt people when I was on that shoot in 2002, they reminded me a lot of firefighters, people who are very close knit, even though there are some rivalries in the business. But they're largely very close knit and they are rough around the edges.
[00:26:17.630] - SCOTT McGEE
A lot of them, I found in my research and talking to people are actually very spiritual, which I guess you'd have to be if you're putting your life on the blind sometimes. But I think your assessment is right. They are very matter of fact, and let's just get it done.
[00:26:51.810] - SCOTT McGEE
Very excited. Drunk and Master Two, which was released in, I believe, 94, is one of his best films. It is a perfect encapsulation of what makes Jackie Chan so charming and so imminently watchable. I mean, just to watch Jackie Chan move on screen, it belies what he sees in Gene Kelly, because Gene Kelly, when he's in his dance numbers or even in just a regular scene involving dialogue. Nobody moved like Gene Kelly and Jackie Chan is the same way.
[00:27:39.070] - SCOTT McGEE
So much of his character, so much of his persona is wrapped up in just how he moves across the screen. And you certainly get this sense in Drunken Master, too. It's also hilarious.
[00:28:25.710] - SCOTT McGEE
You're going to have to edit this out because I always blank on these kinds of questions, particularly when it comes to the film festival.
[00:28:44.450] - SCOTT McGEE
We live with the festival for so long that it just kind of overwhelming.
[00:28:56.010] - SCOTT McGEE
Yeah, that's very true. Let me take a quick look.
[00:29:12.250] - SCOTT McGEE
Okay, I got it.
[00:29:19.550] - SCOTT McGEE
One of the films that I would highly recommend, anybody who's interested in stuntwork see is a film called Spy Smashers Strikes Back. Spy Smashers Strikes Back is actually a new cut of a twelve chapter serial called Spy Smasher. But there's a filmmaker, an Academy Award winning sound designer and editor, whom we have worked with many times named Ben Burke. Ben is a legend in the business, and he is one of the most gregarious people I've ever met. Well, he had this idea of taking the 12th chapter serial and cutting it down to a 90 minutes feature.
[00:30:10.950] - SCOTT McGEE
And so Paramount, who is the right holder of the cereal, said, sure, go for it. And so what it is. It's a distillation of some of the greatest stunt men working in Hollywood at the time. Spy Smasher was produced at Republic Studios, which was known as being pretty much a farm team for stunt people. That's where they really learned and honed their craft and learn how to do stunts safely again, but also quickly, because serials back then where you didn't have time to dillydally, you had to get the shot done fast.
[00:30:53.550] - SCOTT McGEE
There was a squad of stunt people led by Yakima Kanut, who routinely pulled off these stunts. And there were other people like Dale Van Sickle and Carrie Lofton, Davey Sharp, Tom Steele, others who are all over Spy Smashers Strikes Back. Now at the event, Ben Burke will give the introduction, and he'll go through all of this history, particularly when it comes to the stunt guys. But you will see some really amazing work in Spy Smasher Strikes Back. And you could do it not without having to sit through 12 hours of chapters, but in a 90 minutes feature.
[00:31:38.950] - SCOTT McGEE
So it's really a lot of fun.
[00:31:46.810] - SCOTT McGEE
So will I. Oh, and speaking of Ben, I should also mention The Flame in The Arrow. So Ben is joined by his colleague and friend, Craig Barron, also an Academy Award winner, and they do presentations every year at the festival. Well, they're doing one on The Flame and The Arrow, which is a swashbuckling film starring Burt Lancaster. Bert does do a lot of his own stunts in The Flame in The Arrow.
[00:32:14.750] - SCOTT McGEE
And so that's going to be and I can tell you a few stories behind it, but I don't want to steal their Thunder for the flame in the Arrow, but that's another one you really should see.
[00:33:00.930] - SCOTT McGEE
I believe that people become more invested in what is happening on the screen and in the story when they know that real flesh and blood is being bruised. Going back to Raiders of the Lost Dark, when you see Indiana Jones being dragged behind a truck or doing all sorts of other daring dues, you know that that's a real person. You know that somehow they have manufactured a real life human being to being dragged underneath a diesel truck. And so even though you may know well that Harrison Ford isn't doing that, it's a stunt guy. Your brain still allows you to become invested and to suspend disbelief that that is actually hair support.
[00:33:58.150] - SCOTT McGEE
That's really Indiana Jones. And if I could contrast it to the last Indiana Jones film, which was The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, there was so much CGI in that film that it really took me out of it. There were some exceptions. The opening scene inside a massive warehouse. There was also a chase scene on a College campus.
[00:34:29.010] - SCOTT McGEE
Those were all done practically, and that felt like the old Indiana Jones that I grew up with. So to get back to your question, I think people become more invested when they know that people are actually doing this stuff. And I think people just enjoy seeing human bodies in motion. Again, it's like what I said about choreography. People enjoy watching people move in a way that they can't.
[00:35:01.760] - SCOTT McGEE
And that's the thing about stunt people, too. They're doing things that people at home or people in the theater they can't do precisely. Or should I do?
[00:35:42.910] - SCOTT McGEE
It's a universal language. I think that's why action films are so prevalent in international markets, because there's not heavy dialogue to follow. And people, viewers from all over the world, they understand action films. They understand stunts. There's another cinema outside of Hong Kong and in America that also uses a lot of stunt work, and that's Bollywood.
[00:36:10.930] - SCOTT McGEE
There's a number of films that I looked at. I didn't include them in the book because I wanted to concentrate just on films that had a major American release. As I mentioned in the forward or I should say, the introduction, Bollywood Indian films do a lot of stunt work in their films. A lot of very elaborate fanciful action films.
[00:36:38.990] - SCOTT McGEE
There's so much work over there, in fact, that they've hired over the years a number of American stunt coordinators to do work over there in those foreign films.
[00:36:57.090] - SCOTT McGEE
Oh, sure, absolutely. Beth, I totally agree. And thank you so much for having me.
[00:37:31.490] - SCOTT McGEE
Yeah, Bond was tricky because you could write a book alone just on the Bond films. So I worked with my editor to come up with a strategy to kind of look at Bond as a generational thing. So I looked at the Connery films within the framework of George Lazen be one shot in honor Majesty secret service. And then I considered Roger Moore alone with two films and then I looked at Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan as a double feature with License to Kill and golden eye and then with Daniel Craig I did a standalone one with Casino Royale but it was hard It was hard to choose just a handful of those films but I tried to name check everyone at the end of each chapter I would have a Sidebar or to just make a cursory reference to some of these other films.
[00:38:45.430] - SCOTT McGEE
I think he's underrated as I said in the book, I think he foretold the Daniel Craig years of being very rough and almost brash and so. Yeah, I love Timothy Dalton. I think he's great.
[00:39:17.190] - SCOTT McGEE
Thank you, Beth. I really appreciate it and I look forward to meeting you.
That was Scott McGee. He and Alicia Malone will be at the TCM Classic Film Festival this weekend as will I.
Thanks for listening to another bonus episode of Cinema Junkie. If you like what you hear, please leave a review or just recommend it to a friend. If you want to follow my adventures at TCM Classic Film Festival and discovers some movies with me then follow me on Twitter or Instagram at Cinebeth.
I’ll be back next month with regular episodes so till our next film fix, I’m Beth Accomando, your resident Cinema Junkie.
TCM Classic Film Festival is back in person in Hollywood. TCM host Alicia Malone and TCM programmer Scott McGee will both be at the festival to sign copies of their new books. Cinema Junkie speaks with both authors.
Alicia Malone's book is called "Girls on Film: Lessons from a Life of Watching Women in Movies." It is a very personal and engaging journey through the films that meant the most to Malone. She explores the trauma of watching "The Never Ending Story" as a young girl and thinking she saw the real death of a horse on screen to her fascination with unraveling the enigma of Marilyn Monroe.
Malone will be introducing such films as "Singin' in the Rain," "Lover Come Back," "The Letter," "Coming Home," and "Somewhere in Time" at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival, and will be signing copies of her book on Sunday.
Scot McGee's book is a kick ass look at the world of stunts in movies called "Danger on the Silver Screen: 50 Films Celebrating Cinema’s Greatest Stunts."
McGee developed a lifelong passion for movie stunts from the moment he saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at the age of ten. He watched all the Indiana Jones films repeatedly and noted, "it was just something about those films that really resonated with me in terms of there were actual people doing these stunts. This was a stunt man being dragged underneath the truck."
His book celebrates the under-appreciated craft and artistry of the men and women who make our jaws drop in awe on a regular basis. The book is limited to 50 films so McGee sets some parameters on what he can cover. He sticks to films released here in the U.S. and takes us from the silents clowns of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd to to the Bond franchise, and introduces us to stunt people, second unit directors, fight choreographers and more.
McGee will be at two events at this year's festival, both on Saturday. He will host the Club TCM "Catch Them If You Can: A Celebration of the Great Movie Chase," and immediately following he will be signing copies of his book.