Friday, June 23, 2006

Camera Obscura - New Star Trek, Petulia, and The Best Movie Posters Ever

It isn't often a TV series gets so big it outlives its maker, takes on the movies, gets remade again and again, has its own postage stamp, line of books and collectibles, and becomes almost a modern myth, but Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek" does all that and more.

I'll give you some insight into what's new in the Trek world, point to some classic movies now on DVD,provide a sneak peek at a Superman-ish hero poised to land in the U.S., and give you a chance to select the best movie poster ever - all in today's humble offering.

My sister was the first Trekkie I knew - and she was there at the beginning. She had 8 by 10 glossy black and white photos on her wall from NBC of Kirk and Spock and Chekov, copies of scripts from the show and more, all while the show was still in its first run in the 1960s. Someone gave her (or me, I cannot recall exactly) a model of the Enterprise spaceship, which somehow got lost or tossed over the years. That really makes me angry when I think of that - it would be a rare prize these days. And thanks to the vast resource of the internets, I located a site that has many details on all the history behind the props used as the spaceship - and a major attraction on the page - a way for you to order your own Enterprise model. Just go here. And you're welcome.

Over the years I made friends with deeply loyal and committed fans - one of them provided me a link to this page, where you can read about J. Michael Straczynski's ("Babylon 5" creator) pitch to studios on a re-invention of classic Trek which has the fans worked up. It is a must-read for fans or the curious. The internets is humming away too talking about the possibility that Matt Damon may play a young Kirk in a movie from J.J. Abrams ("Lost", "Alias").

A very interesting, well-made and continuing Trek series following the adventures of the Starship Exeter, all made by fans which took years to complete and is continuing to provide "new" episodes, can be found here. That's bona fide devotion, people.

I think I hit my tipping point about Trek one Christmas, circa 1993, when I saw a Christmas tree decorated with Trek ornaments. I knew then the fans had become much, much more than fans - they were an economic and religious force to be reckoned with and they continue to expand faster than Wal-Mart.

William Shatner is not just an actor, he is an Icon of America, all thanks to the repeated broadcasts and the simple but powerful writing of Roddenberry and many other fine science fiction writers. Forget John Ford/John Wayne - no fans or groups ever did so much to keep and uplift an actor.

Since we're on the 1960s, two of my favorite movies from that decade got new DVD treatments this week - a tragic romance and a satire beyond compare.

Tragedy and love set in San Francisco starring the beautiful Julie Christie can be found in "Petulia." The movie blends in the madness of the late 1960s and the madness of love as Petulia gets involved with a doctor named Archie, expertly played by George C. Scott - the pair go to the Fillmore and dance to the Grateful Dead - as they sort through their troubled lives and attempt to comfort each other. Director Richard Lester and cinematographer Nicholas Roeg made a masterpiece, in this terrific snapshot of the 1960s. The DVD is long overdue and if you haven't seen it, you are in for a real tearjerker and a brilliant movie.

I love the poster for this movie (this is one of several made for the movie), which I mention since, at the end of this post, you'll find a link to a great collection of movie posters and your input can round out the top 100.

The other movie that landed on DVD is the hilarious creation of writers Evelyn Waugh and Terry Southern called "The Loved One". The movie starts as a satire of business and funerals and becomes a shotgun blast of offbeat humor with a cast of Hollywood's most famous names. Man, were the 1960s surreal and strange. When else would you find a poet in a Hollywood cemetery and Liberace and Rod Steiger filling out the background?

Newscoma has a fine post about the top 100 movie posters of all time.

I think too many of the posters in the listing are new, and given the hundreds of thousands of movies made, they could have done better. I was glad to see mention made of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" poster and of course "Jaws" and "Alien" are on the list.

I have just two of many suggestions I could make to the list, starting with:

And another fine one:

Go and add your faves to the list.

Finally - as Superman is about to return to theatres, moviegoers in India and beyond have Krrish. Somehow, I don't see that name catching on quiet as well.


  1. Matt Damon as Kirk?! Genius

  2. Bah. It didn't have Donnie Darko.
    Apparently I can't link it, but you know which one I'm talking about, right?

  3. Donnie is a good one, no doubt.

    My collection of posters is way higher than 200 and one of the llatest I got was Sin City.

    I need to find the link I had for posters that have been altered for foreign markets- amazing stuff!