Tag Archives: Susannah York

The Set of 400: #199 – My Favorite Niagara Falls Excursion

Today! Because these humans are beginning to bore me –

Superman II (1980)

Directed by Richard Lester (and Richard Donner (x3), somewhat)

Starring Christopher Reeve (x2), Margot Kidder (x2), Gene Hackman (x2), Terence Stamp (x4), Sarah Douglas (x2), Jack O’Halloran (x2), Jackie Cooper (x2), Ned Beatty (x3), Valerie Perrine (x3), Susannah York (x3), Clifton James (x2), E.G. Marshall (x2), Marc McClure (x3), John Ratzenberger (x3), Shane Rimmer, Pepper Martin

A good case for being the only solid movie starring Big Blue ever made, Superman II‘s production history is as entertaining as the movie itself – what with the crazy plan to film it concurrently with the original film in 1977 and ’78, the scrapping of this plan partway through, the firing of original film director Donner, a bunch of the actors quitting – including Hackman, requiring massive rewrites and doubling, the death of some key crew members, the lawsuits by Marlon Brando and against Christopher Reeve, and the fact that despite all this turbulence – and replacement director Lester’s decidedly different spin on the sequel – virtually everyone you talk to agrees that this movie is far superior to the original.

You know what? I’m good.

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The Set of 400: #288 – My Favorite Ice Bath

Today! Because I’m gonna get off this merry-go-round. I’m so sick of all sticky things –

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969)

Directed by Sydney Pollack

Starring Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Gig Young, Red Buttons, Susannah York (x2), Severn Darden, Bonnie Bedelia, Bruce Dern, Al Lewis, Michael Conrad, Art Metrano

Part of my favorite nonsensical sub-genre of films (movies with complete sentences as titles), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is based on the very real practice of holding dance marathons during the Great Depression so that poor, hungry people could try to win money and prizes. These folks would have to remain on their feet virtually non-stop for days and weeks at a time, trying to outlast each other not unlike modern contests where people have to keep their hands on a car, or continuously ride a rollercoaster until everyone else quits. The difference, of course, was that these people were desperate, and often died from sheer exhaustion in striving to win. It’s a little talked about, shameful blip in history, with roots back in Roman times – straight-up peasant brutality used to entertain the better off.

Look at the great times these poor bastards are having!

So if that’s your idea of a fun movie, They Shoot Horses is 100% your jam. Gig Young won an Oscar as the fun-loving, heartless ringmaster of this nightmare carnival, but the on-screen suffering and deterioration of Fonda, Sarrazin, Buttons, and York is equally as impressive and shocking. Based on the effective Horace McCoy novel, the movie manages to round complete characters out of this depravity, improving on the source material by adding and/or enhancing the minor roles. The result is Sydney Pollack’s masterpiece (Out of Africa and Tootsie are both great, don’t get me wrong), holding down the odd distinction of being the most nominated movie in Oscar history that didn’t get a Best Picture nod, with nine! But, you know, thank God they saved that spot for Hello, Dolly! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #305 – My Favorite Reversequake

Today! Because you’ll believe a man can fly –

Superman (1978)

Directed by Richard Donner

Starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Valerie Perrine, Phyllis Thaxter, Marlon Brando, Susannah York, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp (x2), Marc McClure (x2), Jack O’Halloran, Sarah Douglas, Maria Schell, Jeff East, Larry Hagman, John Ratzenberger, Harry Andrews

For my entire childhood, this was the only superhero franchise we had. And like a number of other franchises I’ve mentioned, I get the Superman movies waaay mixed up. It doesn’t help that they filmed parts one and two back-to-back, so everyone looks the same, and all the villains from II cameo in I. These two movies are more a single movie than most films with their sequels. Sure, they cut Godfather I and II together effectively as the Godfather Epic eventually, but watching them one after the other in their original form doesn’t bind them together better. But hell, I really have a hard time distinguishing individual scenes from the first two Superman movies to this day. And parts of III, for that matter.

III is bizarre, but I watched it a ton as a kid

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