The Daily Video: Legless Kung Fu

This is a clip from a 2001 film called The Ghost (also known as ‘Code of the Dragon’ in some countries) which was a forgettable action film about a Chinese soldier going undercover in America as an Asian Internet bride.

For reasons best known to themselves Michael Madsen and Brad Dourif were in it.

However, it involves this soon-to-be-a-viral-classic clip of a guy with no legs beating up some thugs (the bad German dubbing makes it even more surreal).

[Link via Digg]

The Times on the ‘dark’ world of film PR

There is an interesting article on the world of film publicity by Kevin Maher in The Times today.

Using the recent high profile story of Christian Bale getting questioned by police the day after last week’s UK premiere of The Dark Knight, it explores some of the basics of film PR mixed in with some facts from Mark Borkowski’s latest book The Fame Formula.

It says:

Whether that’s true or not, for years PRs – that mysterious and dark breed of fixers, stuntsters and arch media manipulators – have, for more than a century now, been as fundamental to the Tinseltown fantasy as the Hollywood sign itself.

No doubt film PRs have been important in maintaining the mystique and aura of the film business, but isn’t describing them as a ‘mysterious and dark breed’ making them sound a little like followers of Lord Voldemort?

It goes on:

They are, according to Borkowski, in his new book The Fame Formula, the hidden gatekeepers of the Hollywood dream machine “who guard its formula, often to the death”.

Can you name me one publicist in history who has literally guarded the the formula to the death? Or is this just hyperbole?

But here is the interesting bit:

As recounted in his detailed analysis of publicity through the ages, they are an invisible army of Machiavellian schemers who were ferociously protective of their clients.

Joan Crawford had an abortion when she became pregnant from an affair with Clark Gable.

Publicists also covered up the fact that the sexually rapacious Gable had apparently attended orgies with underage girls, organised by the English actor Lionel Atwill.

They hid Spencer Tracy‘s alcoholism and his alleged affair with Judy Garland when she was only 14.

The Crawford abortion story isn’t such a biggie, although no doubt it would have caused a huge outcry at the time, but Gable attending orgies? It certainly makes you look at Gone With The Wind in a different light.

As for Tracy, although his alcoholism was fairly common knowledge, an affair with a 14 year old Garland is another matter entirely. Is this really true?

I know the fact that he’s been dead since 1967 means that the Times legal department won’t be pulling an all-nighter, but some more details on this allegation would be appreciated.

There is also an interesting stat from Charlotte Tudor – a VP of publicity at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK who says that an internal study found that:

“the estimated value of the Pirates of the Caribbean premiere, in print coverage alone, was £1.4 million – ie, if you bought the equivalent space in pure advertising it would cost that much money”.

As for the Bale incident, why didn’t the police question him after the premiere? Maybe it wasn’t because a sinister cabal of film publicists brainwashed them, but because they may have had reason to believe that ruining the premiere was – to paraphrase The Joker – ‘part of a plan’.

> Times article in full
> Mark Borkowski’s blog
> Ryan Gilbey of The Guardian on an interesting episode when PR’s ‘invaded’ the comments section of his blog

Trailer: Somers Town

This is the trailer for the new Shane Meadows film Somers Town.

It follows two teenagers adrift in an adult world, who develop trust and acceptance through their unlikely friendship.

Tomo runs away to London from a lonely, difficult life in the Midlands. Through a chance encounter he meets Marek, a Polish immigrant living with his father in Somers Town, central London.

Directed by Meadows, it stars Thomas Turgoose (This is England), Kate Dickie (Red Road), Perry Benson (Scrum, Sid & Nancy), Elisa Lasowski (Eastern Promises), with debut English film performances by Piotr Jagiello and Ireneusz Czop.

It is produced by Barnaby Spurrier, written by Paul Fraser and has original music composed and performed by Gavin Clarke.

Somers Town is released in the UK on Friday 22nd August

> Official site for Shane Meadows
> IMDb entry for the film
> Listen to our interviews with the cast of This is England (Meadows previous film)

Alicia Keys and Jack White to duet for James Bond theme song

Alicia Keys and the Jack White have recorded a duet called ‘Another Way to Die’ which will be the theme song to the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Columbia Pictures said in a statement released earlier today that it was the first duet in the history of the long running spy franchise:

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the highly anticipated 22nd James Bond adventure “Quantum of Solace,” announced today that multi-Grammy Award-winning and platinum selling recording artists Jack White of the rock band The White Stripes, and Alicia Keys, have recorded the theme song for the film, which will be released worldwide this November.

Their song, written and produced by Jack White, and titled “Another Way to Die,” will be the first duet in Bond soundtrack history.

In addition to writing the song, Jack White is also featured as the drummer on this track.

The soundtrack to “Quantum of Solace” will be released by J Records on October 28, 2008.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in “Quantum of Solace,” the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures release of EON Productions’ 22nd adventure in the longest-running film franchise in motion picture history.

The film is directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay is by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade as well as Paul Haggis and the film’s score will be composed by David Arnold.

Wilson and Broccoli said: “We are delighted and pleased to have two such exciting artists as Jack and Alicia, who were inspired by our film to join together their extraordinary talents in creating a unique sound for Quantum of Solace.”

Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis had previously been rumored as the vocalists for the latest Bond theme.

Quantum of Solace is out in the UK on October 31st and in the US on November 7th.

> Official site for Quantum of Solace
> Check out the trailer
> IMDb entry
> Check out more photos from the launch press conference at Pinewood and a synopsis of the film
> Full press release announcing the new song