Well, it's official! The first movie about the Persian Gulf war went into production this month. It's title? What else? "Desert Storm."
Described as "the first motion picture about the coalition conflict in the Persian Gulf," shooting began in Twentynine Palms, Calif., last week.Twentynine Palms?
Do they have palm trees in the Persian Gulf?
A press release for the film says Lois Hamilton stars as an Israeli Mossad agent involved with a U.S. Stealth fighter pilot. Scheduled release is the Fourth of July, this year.
Let's see, that allows about three months for shooting, post-production and release. This one should be a real winner.
Meanwhile, you may be asking just who is Lois Hamilton?
Well, let's see. The press release says she had a "co-starring role" with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in "The Electric Horseman" and "starred" in the Burt Reynolds comedy "Cannonball Run," the Bill Murray hit "Stripes" and "Summer Rental," with John Candy.
The press kits for those movies tell it a bit differently, however.
Her co-starring role in "The Electric Horseman" received 16th billing, as Lois Areno, the name she also used when she "starred" in "Cannonball Run" (30th billing) and "Stripes" (23rd billing).
She was Lois Hamilton for "Summer Rental" (12th billing), and you may remember her if you saw that movie. She was the next-door bimbo who, with her back to the camera, opened her bikini top in front of Candy.
The press release also says Hamilton is a "licensed private pilot . . . (who) has logged over 600 hours of flight time."
If that's as accurate as the rest of the release it probably means she has been an occasional passenger on commercial airliners.
- HAMILTON'S "DESERT STORM" may be the first movie that features the Persian Gulf conflict as a backdrop, but according to the trade paper Variety, a couple of other films have changed titles to exploit the war and are rushing into theaters next month.
"Desert Shield" was originally about the Iran-Iraq conflict, focusing on U.S. forces patrolling the Persian Gulf. It's title was "S.E.A.L.S." But since we saw "Navy S.E.A.L.s" last year, it was due for a title change anyway.
"Shield of Honor" is a Roger Corman film, originally about Libyan bad guys. Now it's about Iraqi bad guys.
This is the sort of thing that makes you proud to be a moviegoer.- A PAIR OF 30-SECOND ads currently making the rounds on television for movies from the Disney Studio could not be more misleading.
One is for "Oscar," the current Sylvester Stallone comedy about a gangster who tries to go straight. The ad in question gives the impression that the film is a youth-oriented romantic-comedy about a young woman whose overbearing father won't let her marry the man she loves. That touches on one of the film's many subplots, but is hardly representative of what the movie is about.
The other is for "One Good Cop," a new Michael Keaton film that opens next week. The ads give the impression it is a shoot-'em-up in the vein of "Out for Justice," the Steven Seagal gorefest that has been the nation's No. 1 film for two weeks. That may explain why the studio felt "One Good Cop" should be sold as an action film, but it's actually about Keaton's relationship with the three orphaned children of his late partner.
So much for truth in advertising.
- IN A RECENT ISSUE OF New Yorker magazine there was a cartoon that made me laugh out loud. It shows an elderly man standing at the door of an old Southern mansion, his "horseless carriage" parked in front. An elderly woman has answered the door and says, "I'm sorry, Rhett, but now I don't give a damn."
The joke, of course, is a twist on the last line from "Gone With the Wind," implying that Rhett Butler has finally regretted his leaving Scarlett O'Hara . . . but too late.
There is a similar gag on the cover of a riotous new oversized paperback "The Book of Sequels" (Random House, $16.95). It depicts Rhett and Scarlett, drawn to resemble Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, in an embrace as Rhett leans in and says, "On second thought, I do give a damn!"
Inside are some hilarious "remakes, updates and spin-offs of the world's best-loved masterpieces," as the cover intones. Included are spoofs on everything from literary classics to comic books, from movies to TV miniseries.
Some are hilarious - the children's book "The Big Fat Balding Prince," sequel to "The Little Prince"; a movie poster for "I Was a Teenage Beowulf," which promises to be loaded with "Saxon violence"; Stephen King's "Pujo," "The car that chases dogs"; Jane Austen's "Pride and Extreme Prejudice," with the new Bennet sister, "Dirty Harriet"; "Force 10 from Casablanca," with the adline, "Problem: Get Hitler. Solution: Send in the gang from Rick's Place"; the comic book, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Heckle," featuring the cartoon magpies; the miniseries, "War and Peace and Remembrance," etc.
Some are a bit tasteless (as you might expect since the book comes from a team that includes former "National Lampoon" editors, one being Christopher Cerf, rightly described as "the sequel to Bennett Cerf").
But on the whole this is a very funny collection of parodies that should delight moviegoers, readers and anyone else in need of a good laugh.
- ANOTHER BOOK THAT crossed my desk recently was "Visions from the Twilight Zone," an oversized paperback (Chronicle Books, $19.95) that is more of an art book, reproducing eerie scenes and some of Rod Serling's introductions for the classic '50s TV series.
This one is, obviously, strictly for fans - but if you're "Twilight Zone" freak you'll find it irresistible.
Author Arlen Schumer has managed to conjure up the spirit of the program with pieces from some of the most memorable episodes. This would be a great gift for the "Zonie" in your family.
- SPEAKING OF MOVIE ADS, have you seen that action-packed trailer (preview) for Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" currently being shown in movie theaters?
Does anyone else think it makes the film look like it's going to be "Raiders of Sherwood Forest"?
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Robert Townsend, the black writer-director-actor ("The Five Heartbeats," "Hollywood Shuffle"), interviewed by Elaine Dutka for the L.A. Times:
"I don't want to be competing in the `Special Olympics,' yet critics often bend over backwards where we're concerned. Just because a black filmmaker crosses the finish line with a can of film under his arm, it's no cause for praise. For that matter, I hate it when the work isn't up to par and everyone screams `racism.' "