29 Jun 2017

Pawn Sacrifice (USA, 2014)

Pawn Sacrifice (USA, 2014)

Director: Edward Zwick.  Stars: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard...

Based on the famous chess match for the World Championship which happened in 1972 in Reykjavík, Iceland. It's still the Cold War, and American chess player Bobby Fischer plays against the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky in a tense match.

In the movie, Spassky (Liev Schreiber) plays pinball in an open-24-hours joint, a Stampede (Stern*, 1977)...

 
A limo pulls up and his comrade gets out... we can see the reflection of the pinball cabinet in the window...

His comrade scolds him for disappearing and convinces him it's best that he get back to their hotel to rest up for the big match the next day. Spassky tells him that it's his shot, but his comrade just plunges the ball and walks away disdainfully...

This is another example of pinball anachronism, since the machine was made 5 years after the event depicted in the movie.

* It's possible that this was made by Chicago Coin. Stern took them over in December 1976 and continued to produce the title.

7 May 2017

Harper (USA, 1966)

Harper (USA, 1966)

Director: Jack Smight. Stars: Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner...

Newman plays Harper, a private investigator who gets embroiled in a case and meets some crazy people. His character is a little bit of an S.O.B., tough, but loses some fights, quite witty and very entertaining to watch.

In some joint, he pumps a waitress for information next to a pinball machine...

He then talks to the barman, and finally asks for some dimes, walks over to the pinball machines -- Cross Country (Bally, 1963) and Go-Cart (Keeney, 1963) -- sticks his gum under a table, but before he's able to coin one of them up, he hears a cop car screech in and he goes to hide in the restroom to avoid them...



Although this blog is not about jukeboxes, this one was intriguing and easy enough to identify, so why not... At one point Harper ends up in a bar trying to get some info from Shelley Winters. We can spot a 1963 Rowe/AMI JAL model jukebox with a cool little animation thing (here's a fuzzy animated GIF showing that a bit)...


Not-quite Pinball Bonus:

Nine years later, they made a sequel called The Drowning Pool (USA, 1975)  and Harper embarks on another adventure. It was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starred Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Melanie Griffith...

There's a scene in a bar where Harper talks to Richard Jaeckel and in the background, blurry, I believe is a pinball machine, but of course, too hard to identify. There appears to be a jukebox as well, again, too blurry to identify...


No Pinball Bonus:

Paul Newman also starred in The Hustler (USA,1961) which features several pool halls. There are no pinballs, but there are some interesting coin-operated machines...

Intro scene has an All-Star Deluxe Bowler (Bally, 1958)...



In a later scene in a bus station, we can spot a Deluxe Short-Stop (Williams, 1958) baseball (with part of cabinet painted over in a solid color), a rifle game I can't identify, and a Ten Strike (or Ten Pins), (Williams, 1957), two-player, mechanically animated manikin bowling game...

In the rest rooms, we can spot a "fortune teller" machine. The manufacturer is possibly "Zodiac" and the year is unknown, some sources say late 40s, some say mid-50s. I spotted this machine before, in Dazed And Confused (USA, 1993), see this post...


The "Is this your lucky day?" seems to be an optional topper...


22 Mar 2017

La balance (France, 1982)

La balance (France, 1982).
Director: Bob Swaim. Stars: Nathalie Baye, Philippe Léotard, Richard Berry, Tchéky Karyo...

A gritty crime story in a rough Parisian neighbourhood. After one of the cop's major informants ("balance" in French) is murdered, they go after the crime boss who is responsible and stop at nothing. They put pressure on a streetwalker (Baye) and her boyfriend (Léotard) who used be her pimp and work for the boss, and try to get them to inform on the boss.

We can spot a Devil's Dare (Gottlieb, 1982) through the window as the cops give Baye a hard time...

Later in a café we can see a bit of a Barcrest "Amabassadeur" slot machine with the boss' henchman/psycho Tchéky Karyo about to get nasty...

In one scene, five cops drag Léotard into a noisy busy arcade and work on him a bit. The camera pans by a row of machines and punks... we can spot Devil's Dare (Gottlieb, 1982), Black Hole (Gottlieb, 1981) (European model with no infinity mirror lights in backbox)...


... Mars God of War (Gottlieb, 1981), Spectrum (Bally, 1982), Rocky (Gottlieb, 1982), Haunted House (Gottlieb, 1982)...

The camera pans along, passing a 1970s Kasco Clay Shooting rifle game...

Finally the camera finds where the gang of cops have Léotard cornered, where we can spot a bunch of video games including Namco/Midway's Galaxian (or its sequel, Galaga), King Kong, and Pac-Man, and he's got his back against an Armor Attack (Cinematronics, 1980)...

The scene closes with the camera zooming in on the CRT to show an explosion...

Here in this café, we can spot a Rock-Ola 463 jukebox (1976) on the left, and a glimpse of a Barcrest Ambassadeur slot machine...


Bonus connections:
At the police station, there are a few movie posters, one of which is for The Enforcer (1976) with Clint Eastwood, which has a brief pinballspotting (see this post).

Also in the streets outside of a movie theatre, there's a poster of The Hunter (1980), which also had some pinballspottings (see this post).

In Tchao Pantin (1983), another French film set in a gritty part of town around the same time period, we also saw a Barcrest Ambassadeur slot machine as well as a Devil's Dare pinball machine... see this post.

15 Feb 2017

The Blues Brothers (USA, 1980)

The Blues Brothers (USA, 1980).  Director: John Landis. Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Carrie Fisher, John Candy...

Pure gold comedy classic with Belushi and Aykroyd expanding their characters from a Saturday Night Live sketch into a feature-length film. A fun ride (whilst being chased by cops) and filled with great funny lines. The list of musical talent in cameo and supporting roles is unbelievable...  Cab Calloway, James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, etc. etc.

In the scene where the Blues Brothers invade Bob's Country Bunker (where they have both types of music: country and western), we can spot several machines...

As Jake and Elwood Blues first walk in, they pass by a jukebox that resembles a Seeburg V200 (1955-6)...

Then they pass pinball 3 machines... from left to right: a 4 Square (Gottlieb, 1971) wedgehead, a Monte Carlo (Bally, 1972) and a Blue Chip (Williams, 1976)...


The famous chicken-wire fronted stage, flanked on both sides by a pinball machine. The one on the left is too hard to make out. The one on the right is a wedgehead, which I'm pretty sure is a Buccaneer (Gottlieb, 1976)...


During the set, Bob expresses his appreciation for the "The Good Ol' Blues Brothers Boys Band" whilst his patrons play the 4 Square and Monte Carlo machines seen earlier. On the wall is a warning to minors about a $500 fine, which, if it's for playing pinball, seems pretty steep...

Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke, please. And some dry white toast.

29 Jan 2017

More (France, 1969)

More (France, 1969)

Director: Barbet Schroeder. Stars: Mimsy Farmer, Klaus Grünberg, Heinz Engelmann...

A young German fresh out of college hitch-hikes to Paris and meets up with a lovely American girl, who he ends up following to Ibiza, where they live a hedonistic lifestyle in the sun and eventually become heroin addicts. Of course, the main reason I watched this was because Pink Floyd did the music for it.

Anyway, before meeting the girl, he befriends a guy in a café, who plays a few games of Ship-Mates (Gottlieb, 1964)...




11 Jan 2017

Play It Again, Sam (USA, 1972)

Play It Again, Sam (USA, 1972).  Director: Herbert Ross. Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts...

Great comedy based on Woody's play wherein he gets love advice from an apparition of Humphrey Bogart, and there are several references to Bogie's films, especially of course Casablanca.

Woody and his cute date go into a questionable bar and some bikers are beside a couple of wedgeheads... a Central Park (Gottlieb, 1966) and a Cross Town (Gottlieb, 1966)...



One immediately sits at their table, then calls his friend over and they hassle them and try to steal his date from him... [yes, there is no pinball machine in this photo... just had to get Woody in there...]

Woody ends up snapping his chin down on one guy's fist and hit another one in the knee with his nose.

Game over.

30 Dec 2016

Bottle Rocket (USA, 1994 & 1996)

It appears that Wes Anderson likes pinball, and managed to put a couple in some of his films... and...

There are two versions of Bottle Rocket... the original short, and the feature-length one released two years after. Both have a scene where they play pinball, but not the same machine or location...

Bottle Rocket (short) (USA, 1994)

Director: Wes Anderson. Stars: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Robert Musgrave...

There's a scene where Anthony's playing a Diner (Williams, 1990) whilst Dignan talks about the money they'll get fencing the stuff they just robbed...




Then Dignan mentions something that upsets him so he leaves and Dignan is left to finish the game...  except that suddenly the machine is an Earthshaker! (Williams, 1989)...


Bottle Rocket (USA, 1996)

Director: Wes Anderson. Starring: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Robert Musgrave, Lumi Cavazos, James Caan...

Same scene, different location, and this time they're playing a
Power Play (Bally, 1977)...






Bonus:

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (USA, 2004)

Director: Wes Anderson. Starring: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett...

A repainted / re-themed Gottlieb wedgehead pinball machine is onboard their vessel. There is no shot of the playfield, so it's not possible to identify which machine they used, except that it's a Gottlieb "wedgehead"...



More Bonus:

Wes Anderson designed the interior of an Italian café, the Bar Luce in Milan, including two re-themed Gottlieb wedgehead pinball machines. One of them has a Steve Zissou theme, but is not the same one depicted in the movie (because the latter had a design painted on the side of the cabinet, whereas this one is plain)...

Bar Luce photo: Attilio Maranzano from www.fondazioneprada.org
Both games appear to have the same playfield layout, and are possibly repainted Tiger (Gottlieb, 1975) machines.

More photos of the place in this article: Wes Anderson Designed A Cafe In Milan, And It’s Exactly What You Would Expect.