Saturday, November 17, 2012

70'S FOCUS : UP IN THE CELLAR.. 1970 ..


Reissued as
LARRY HAGMAN as Maurice Camber
JOAN COLLINS as Pat Camber
WES STERN as Colin Slade
JUDY PACE as Harlene Jones
DAVID ARKIN as Hugo Cain
NIRA BARAB as Tracy Camber

   Assistant Director - Gary Grillo  Director of Photography - Earl Rath  Music by Don Randi
  Written by Theodore J Flicker  Based on the Novel "The Late Boy Wonder" by Angus Hall
         Edited by Richard Halsey  Produced by James H Nicholson & Samuel Z Arkoff
                                                       Directed by Theodore J Flicker

When Colin Slade loses a college scholarship on the advice of the college computer, he appeals to the college president Maurice Camber's (Hagman), better nature.But when the politically ambitious, womanising Camber dismisses him, Colin sets out on a course of sexual revenge! Firstly seducing Camber's troubled daughter Tracy, then his astrology mad wife Pat and finally Camber's mistress Harlene! Will Colin's poetic justice be his downfall? Can there be room for one more liaison Up In The Cellar?

(c) 1970  AIP ..  94 MINS .. COLOR ..

This 1970 comedy is definately a film of it's time, as viewed today it seems very dated, but still interesting. It is also a novelty in seeing two of TV's most famous villians in one movie, namely Larry Hagman (JR) and Joan (Alexis). The film although low budget has many unusual characters and was based on a novel by Angus Hall. It was shot on location in Las Cruces in New Mexico. The then Governor of New Mexico, David Cargo makes an appearance as an official. He also arranged of the demolition of a building for a scene in the film. The building had been cited for an urban renewal project. It was also the first starring role for Wes Stern, whose previous job was a hawker for The Merv Griffin Show, where he had to get people from the street into the theatre for the show. The director Flicker said of his young star.
" I chose Stern, because he is totally vulnerable. He believes in life and it's essential goodness. We of the older generation need him more than he needs us! That is why we must find and develop young actors who can express the humour, the problems and the truth of their age."
He also said of co-star Nira Barab...
" She struck me as a girl, in total rebellion, angry, impatient with old values, bracing for a change. Beneath the surface, Nira is sensitive and quite spiritual."
To obtain extra's for the film, Flicker came up with a novel idea! He organised a raffle with the prize been a plymouth car, anyone obtaining a ticket had to commit to been in the scene! They would be filmed in the Pan American Auditorium of New Mexico, for a protest scene. Both Joan and Larry appear in this scene, which gives Joan's character Pat a very funny speech to present, much to the horror of her husband Maurice! The raffle was success and provided the film with 3,000 extras! Joan found other interests during the shoot and while on a day off from filming, she accompanied Stern to nearby Juarez. There they both attended the local bullfight, the famed matador Jose Garcia El Charro, even dedicated a bull to her!
The film did good drive-in business as did most of American International's releases.  As usual critics hated it...
" A tasteless, dull piece of idiocy titled "Up In The Cellar", is the latest satirical jape aimed at the campus front of the establishment. What makes it bearable is a genuinely funny, sharply defined performance by Larry Hagman as the symbolical villian of the piece, a mutton headed college president, who refuses to heed the outraged yelps of a campus poet. Director Flicker has done some fresh, interesting things, but this is not one of them! Joke for joke, it all goes down the  up staircase!"

Joan is very funny in the film and provides a good American accent and she certainly lights up the proceedings!

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