Hollywood Boulevard (1976 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Allan Arkush|
|Produced by||Jon Davison|
|Written by||Danny Opatoshu (as "Pat Hobby")|
|Music by||Andrew Stein|
|Edited by||Allan Arkush|
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
|Box office||$1 million (United States and Canada rental)|
Hollywood Boulevard is a 1976 film directed by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. It is the feature film directorial debut of both directors. This film stars Candice Rialson as an aspiring actress who has just arrived in Los Angeles, and was made as a result of a bet between Jon Davison and Roger Corman to make the cheapest ever film for New World Pictures. This was accomplished by extensive use of footage from other New World films.
In a prologue, pompous film director Eric Von Leppe (Paul Bartel) is shooting a skydiving sequence for low-budget Miracle Pictures in which an actress is killed. Candy Wednesday (Candice Rialson) arrives in Los Angeles to make it as an actor. She gets an agent, Walter Paisley (Dick Miller), but struggles to find work until she inadvertently gets involved in a bank robbery as a getaway driver. This gets her a job for Miracle Pictures as a stunt driver. She meets Eric Von Leppe, temperamental starlet Mary McQueen (Mary Woronov), sleazy producer PG (Roger Doran) and friendly scriptwriter, Pat (Jeffrey Kramer). Candy and Pat fall in love and she starts to get work as an actor, becoming friends with fellow starlets Bobbi (Rita George) and Jill (Tara Strohmeier).
Everyone goes to the Philippines to make a movie, Machete Maidens of Mora Tau, starring Candy, Mary, Bobbi and Jill. Candy has to play a character who is raped, which upsets her. Later on during the shoot, Jill, Bobbi and PG have a threesome. During the filming of a battle sequence, Jill is shot dead by an unseen attacker.
Back in the US, Candy, Walter and Pat all go to see Machete Maidens at a local drive in, where the projectionist tries to rape Candy but she is rescued by Walter. While shooting a chase scene in a science fiction film, Mary, Candy and Bobbi are almost killed in a car accident. Bobbi is called back to the studio late at night and is stabbed to death.
Candy begins to suspect Patrick is the killer. But it turns out the real culprit is Mary. She tries to kill Candy at the Hollywood Sign but it falls on her and crushes her to death. Candy is reunited with Pat and becomes a film star.
- Candice Rialson as Candy Wednesday
- Mary Woronov as Mary McQueen
- Rita George as Bobbi Quackenbush
- Jeffrey Kramer as Patrick Hobby
- Dick Miller as Walter Paisley
- Richard Doran as PG
- Tara Strohmeier as Jill McBain
- Paul Bartel as Eric Von Leppe
- John Kramer as Duke Mantee
- Jonathan Kaplan as Scotty
- Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
The movie came out of a bet made between producer Jon Davison and Roger Corman that Davison could make a film cheaper than any other that had been made at New World Pictures. Corman granted him a budget of $60,000 and only allowed ten days of shooting instead of the usual 15. The filmmakers achieved this by coming up with a story about a B-movie studio which could incorporate footage from other movies that Corman owned.
The film was shot in October 1975 on short ends of raw stock left over from other movies. The script was a send up of the "three girls" movies New World were making at the time such as Summer School Teachers, with the murder plot borrowing heavily from an old Bela Lugosi movie, The Death Kiss (1932).
The movie was also known as The Starlets, Hollywood Starlets, The Actresses and Hello, Hollywood. Dante says at one stage Corman wanted to call it Hollywood Hookers but the directors did not like that "even though it probably would have made more money if it was called Hollywood Hookers".
According to the audio commentary on the film's DVD by Joe Dante, Jon Davison and Allan Arkush, Roger Corman originally wanted Roberta Collins to play the lead, but they fought for Candice Rialson. They also state the part of producer PG was turned down by Barry Gordon and Dwayne Hickman. Rita George was dating Dean Martin during filming.
Paul Bartel credits the film with launching his acting career. He later said they were worried the film would not be long enough so they improvised a series of "TV interviews" in which each of the major characters sketches in something of his background. Bartel tried to mimic "the kind of spiel Roger [Corman] used to feed the press, speaking of the exploitation films which he often loaded with doses of ersatz social consciousness: "In this film we've taken the myth of Romeo and Juliet, combined it with high speed car action and a sincere plea for nuclear controls in our lifetime.""
The film uses footage from the following Corman pictures:
- Battle Beyond the Sun (1962) - film seen at drive in
- The Terror (1963) - film seen at drive in
- The Big Bird Cage (1972) - battle sequence
- Night of the Cobra Woman (1972) - shot of a cobra
- The Hot Box (1972) - battle sequence
- Night Call Nurses (1972) - the opening sky diving sequence
- Unholy Rollers (1972) - a rollerderby sequence
- Savage! (1973) - battle sequence
- Big Bad Mama (1974) - a movie stunt performed by Candy
- Crazy Mama (1975) - the bank robbery sequence involving the red car at the beginning
- Death Race 2000 (1975) - car chase film sequence
The movie features a number of in-jokes:
- Paul Bartel plays Eric Von Leppe, the name of the Boris Karloff character in The Terror (1963).
- Dick Miller plays Walter Paisley, the name of the character Miller played in A Bucket of Blood (1959).
- John Kramer plays Duke Mantee, the name of the Humphrey Bogart character in The Petrified Forest (1936).
- Jeffrey Kramer plays Patrick Hobby, the name of the hero of a series of stories by F Scott Fitzgerald (this name was also used as a pseudonym for writer Danny Opatoshu because it was a non-union movie).
- Tara Strohmeier plays Jill McBain, the name of the Claudia Cardinale character in Once Upon a Time in the West (1969).
- Dick Miller watches himself in a scene from The Terror (1963).
- Machete Maidens of Mora Tau is a homage to the film Zombies of Mora Tau (1957).
- Cameos from directors Charles B. Griffith, Jonathan Kaplan, Joe Dante, Danny Opatoshu and Lewis Teague; along with Forrest J. Ackerman, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland; film writers Todd McCarthy and Joseph McBride; and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956).
The Los Angeles Times called the film "a hilarious, often outrageous spoof of the zany world of low budget exploitation filmmaking." "Definitely not for people who are looking for anything elegant or high tone," said the Washington Post.
- Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009 p 93-95
- "Big Rental Films of 1976". Variety. January 5, 1977. p. 14.
- Jon Davison on Hollywood Boulevard at Trailers From Hell accessed 10 June 2012
- Chris Nashawaty, Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses - Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, Abrams, 2013 p 150
- Bartel, Paul (Sep–Oct 1982). "Paul Bartel's Guilty Pleasures". Film Comment (18.5 ed.). p. 60-62.
- MOVIE REVIEWS: Corman Gang Spoofs Itself Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 Apr 1976: f17.
- Hollywood: Born To Be Bad: Film By Kenneth Turan. The Washington Post (1974-Current file) [Washington, D.C] 14 Oct 1976: 51.