Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


FLYING THROUGH HOLLYWOOD BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS. Sam Arkoff with Richard Trubo. Birch Lane Press; 1992.

Sam Arkoff of American International Pictures tells how the company was formed, relates behind-the-scenes details of some of its more famous movies [including I Was a Teenage Werewolf and the Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe pictures], and looks at some of the famous actors and directors who got their start at AIP, such as Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola. AIP tapped into a huge audience that the majors were ignoring -- teenagers -- and [when that ran its course and even before] developed new genres, such as beach, hot rod and "blaxploitation" movies, that the major studios eventually copied. Like a wise old owl, Arkoff laments how the movie industry needlessly spends millions on [often terrible] movies and how stars' salaries have become hopelessly inflated, along with other cogent criticisms. Arkoff regrets AIP's merging with Filmways, and later quit that group to form Arkoff International Pictures. Author Trubo skillfully allows Arkoff's personality to come through, with the result that the book is not only informative and entertaining, but a darn good read as well.

Verdict: An insider's view of filmmaking, Hollywood and exploitation pictures. ***1/2.

No comments: