19 Nov 2017

La belle captive (France, 1983)

La belle captive (France, 1983)

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet. Stars: Daniel Mesguich, Cyrielle Clair, Daniel Emilfork, Gabrielle Lazure, Arielle Dombasle...

80s-style music video style and I can't say that there's much substance. Anyway, the main character walks into a café and we spot a Genie  (Gottlieb, 1979) pinball machine...



11 Nov 2017

The Stunt Man (USA, 1980)

The Stunt Man (USA, 1980)

Director: Richard Rush. Starring: Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey...

The film's director talks about the opening credit sequence which is a chain of seemingly innocuous little events, each one leading to the next and that eventually bring us to the introduction of the main character.

The credits are still going when we spot the pinball machine, and in the director's commentary on the film he says "The random bumping of the balls, like random events in life, striking each other, being the cause of other events, kind of a definition of fate. Very topically correct for the film."...

While the guy is playing, a friend walks by and comments:  "Hey, Morton! Is your ass attached to that machine? You wiggle it, that's gonna make ball go where you want it to, huh?!"

Then there's a shot with an anxious man in the foreground watching the cops walk into the place, and we see the whole pinball machine, which is a Fireball (Bally, 1971)...

The cops go to order some food and the anxious guy (Cameron) walks over to the pinball machine, trying to play it cool, but the cops come over...


Cop 1: You're lucky. Someone left you a free ball.
Cameron: Uh-huh.
Cop 2: Hey, you got 20,000. You're gonna win.
Cameron: Win what?
Cop 2: A free game.
Cameron: Terrific. Just what I need, one more chance to lose.


Then they cuff him. And then....

29 Oct 2017

Girls Just Want To Have Fun (USA, 1985)

Girls Just Want To Have Fun (USA, 1985)

Director: Alan Metter. Stars: Biff Yeager, Kristi Somers, Helen Hunt, Sarah Jessica Parker, Shannen Doherty...

Not a very good movie. Early days for a couple of actresses who went on to become more famous.

There's a scene in the house of the "rich enemy girl", wherein she's playing pool with her father in the game room.  We can spot an Old Chicago (Bally, 1976)...

There are also some slot machines (the two on the right might be manufactured by O.D. Jennings & Co.)...



15 Oct 2017

Pinballspotting: Unidentifiables

Several pinballspottings that are too blurry, far in the background or just plain too difficult to identify due to lack of clues. Here are a few, in chronological order...

Black Angel (USA, 1946)
Director: Roy William Neill.  Stars: Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford...

Two flipperless and headless machines. Flippers arrived in 1947, i.e. after this movie was released, and headless machines were pretty much over by the later 30s, in favor of backboxes with illuminated backglasses. However, these are too tough to identify without more clues. For example, for 1935 alone, ipdb lists 309 machines from 54 different manufacturers!



Criss Cross (USA, 1949)
Director: Robert Siodmak.  Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea...

There's a flipperless and headless pinball machine, and the cabinet artwork looks like one of the ones in the above-mentioned Black Angel, as well as The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) (see this post) and it could well be the exact same machine. e.g. the set dressers ask for an old pinball machine and this is what they have in their props department...




Midnight Cowboy (USA, 1969)
Director: John Schlesinger.  Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, Brenda Vaccaro...

Voight is playing a rifle game, probably a mid-50s Williams (the backglass is similar to Cross Fire but with a different theme). Far in the background, three pinball machines, two of which are the same...


The guy talking to him is in front of another rifle game with a space theme, in the background are two of the same rifle game...


Five Easy Pieces (USA, 1970)
Director: Bob Rafelson.  Stars: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush, Sally Struthers...

Jack and friends are in a bowling alley, and we can spot a row of pinball machines in the background, too blurry to easily make out...




Porky's (USA, 1981)
Director: Bob Clark.  Stars: Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight, Kim Cattrall, Susan Clark...

Set in Florida in 1954. A couple of machines in the corner of Porky's place. In a bad movie like this, I highly doubt that the machines are even remotely from the same time period, so even though I cannot identify them, I will declare this another pinball anachronism.

As an aside, the neon-ringed clock looks just like the one in Montreal's Le cheval blanc brewpub, which I used to frequent...


10 Oct 2017

Escape From New York (USA, 1981)

Escape From New York (USA, 1981) 

Director: John Carpenter.  Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau...

Brain (Harry Dean Stanton) rescues the POTUS (Donald Pleasence). In the corner is a very old flipperless pinball machine, which is an Oklahoma (United, 1944), with a repainted cabinet. According to ipdb, it was a conversion of Leader (Exhibit, 1940)...

The machine was already about 36 years old when the movie was shot, and the movie is set in the "future" of 1997, so it's pretty odd to see a machine like this.

Adrienne has to take out some bad guys...
and one of them jostles the machine as he falls...

30 Sep 2017

Project X (USA, 1987)

Project X (USA, 1987)

Director: Jonathan Kaplan.  (Human) Stars: Matthew Broderick, Helen Hunt, William Sadler...

Most of the cast are chimpanzees, but alas none of them play pinball.

There is a short scene in a bar where we can spot some machines behind Broderick's buddies...

From left to right:
- Jungle Hunt (Taito, 1982) video game (but the front of the cabinet seems to be wrong)
- Contact  (Williams, 1978)
- Firepower  (Williams, 1980)
- Skylab (Williams, 1974)
- Asteroids (Atari, 1979) video game



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.

One would expect pinball machines to be rather rare in Iceland due to high import duties and its remote location. Pretty much all of them were brought in for R & R purposes by the US military when they maintained a base there (so it's a little doubtful that one would be in a bar as depicted in this movie). Nowadays there are only about 60 machines in the entire country. Here's a little article about Keeping pinball alive in the land of fire and ice.

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