A Tall Glass Of Hennessy

  • videoarchives
  • March 7, 2023

This week’s Video Archives After Show is a certified corker! Quentin, Roger & Gala share more background on The Choirboys, Hennessy and Amphibian Man, including the creation of Robert Aldrich’s Aldrich Studios, the Choirboys bit that works best for Gala, what Pussy Riot thought of Amphibian Man, and plenty more. You’ll also hear about the night Quentin spent at LA’s Cameo Theater. I’ve got movie posters and more about the historic Cameo on this week’s Counter Talk, so let’s get started…

Let’s start with this hilarious design that could hang in Quentin’s Tel Aviv office – an Israeli poster for The Choirboys. I think that’s Barbara Rhoades as No Balls Hadley with the lamp running down the fist-headed officer’s baton:

The French Choirboys poster has “A bas les bavures!” or “Down with blunders!” graffiti’d across it - in France, the term “bavure,” or “blunder,” is a a euphemism for a ‘regrettable’ police encounter that ends in brutality. A cheeky addition to this comedy of police misbehavior.

After releasing last week’s episode, we were contacted by the Motion Picture Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, who shared these incredible news clippings from shortly after the release of Hennessy, concerning the use of real footage of Queen Elizabeth that left Buckingham Palace completely off guard.

Courtesy Of The Margaret Herrick Library

Courtesy Of The Margaret Herrick Library

In a classic example of “No publicity is bad publicity,” the makers of Hennessy leaned into the controversy surrounding the film hard in this poster:

There are so many gorgeous posters for Amphibian Man I can’t include them all in this newsletter. The official Russian posters are perfectly stark, expressive and Soviet:

This Hungarian poster might be my favorite, painting the film’s underwater world in psychedelic blue, green and turquoise. (I should note a correction, for those wondering - the film’s beautiful locations were not filmed in Cuba, but in Crimea and the USSR.)

The Romanian poster takes a similar tack, adding the contrast of red sea anemones (I think?) and the sleek white silhouette of the Amphibian Man.

Finally, this unreal Arabic poster for a “Sovexportfilm” looks like the cover of greatest pulp novel I’ve never read.

The Cameo Theater, as Quentin vividly illustrates this episode, was unique even among LA’s many historic movie palaces. Opening in 1910 (when it was known as Clune’s Broadway, named after exhibitor W.H. Billy Clune), the Cameo was the longest continuously operating movie theater in California. (Some have even claimed it was the longest running theater in the United States, but that honor most likely goes to Washington, Iowa’s State Theater, which opened in 1897 and is still operating today!)

The Los Angeles Conservancy says “The theater originally seated 900 people and had space for a nine- to sixteen-piece orchestra to accompany silent movies.…In 1924, the theater was remodeled and renamed the Cameo by H. L. Gumbiner, who later built the nearby Tower and Los Angeles Theatres.” By the time Quentin had his late night screening, however, the theater, and the entire district surrounding it, had fallen on hard times: “As the Broadway Theatre District declined, so did the Cameo. Today, the Cameo Theatre is a retail store with electronics for sale in its former foyer and lobby.” Even today, you can still make out the distinctive facade in downtown LA.

Today’s Video Archives merch spotlight comes courtesy of Alicia Bashi, pausing Straw Dogs to show off her Video Archives hoodie! She says “I love my new hoodie, and figured I’d rock it for my screening of Straw Dogs. I’ve been a fan of Quentin and Roger for decades and really enjoy hearing them, along with Gala, break down films. I look forward to my weekends off when I can check out these classics. Keep up the great work Video Archives!”

Next week on The Video Archives Podcast, we’ve got another killer triple feature, including possibly the strangest film we’ve covered so far…try to guess what it is! Until then, though, you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and rate and review us on Apple and Amazon. Check out our fan Reddit too – they had a great thread recently on single films they’d love to see discussed. See you next week.