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.

29 Dec 2016

Coogan’s Bluff (USA, 1968)

Coogan’s Bluff (USA, 1968). Director: Don Siegel. Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee J. Cobb, Susan Clark, Don Stroud...

This movie is sortof the missing link between his westerns and Dirty Harry-type stuff. He plays an Arizona (desert scene, like in his westerns) cop who is sent New York (the big city) to extradite a prisoner. The latter escapes and Harry, I mean Coogan encounters various members of the crime element and some hippies along the way trying to find him.

Hippie-chick Tisha Sterling takes Clint into a pool hall, and a fight ensues... we can spot a couple of pretty old machines. Here in the corner is a Thing (Chicago Coin, 1951) machine...



“Thing” was based on a novelty song that was a big hit in 1950, recorded by Phil Harris and others (listen here: https://youtu.be/JNAGir88An8 ).

Holy smokes, this Big Town (Genco, 1940) woodrail was about 28 years old when the movie came out! Clint punches the guy who goes flying into the machine and it slides a few feet over...



Bonus:
Bronco Billy (USA, 1980)
Director: Clint Eastwood. Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Scatman Crothers...

As Clint and his gang walk out out of some joint, we can spot a bowling machine, a “Sunstar” jukebox (Seeburg, 1976) and a 4-player pinball machine, which appears to be Strato-Flite (Williams, 1974)...



Bonus II:
The Enforcer (USA, 1976). Third installment of the Dirty Harry series. Whilst he plays pool, there’s a glimpse of a Big Indian (Gottlieb, 1974) and a Spin-A-Card (Gottlieb, 1969)...



Bonus II Part 2:  Also, in the fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact (USA, 1983), there’s a scene in a bar and we can hear the classic chimes of a machine being played in the background, but we never see it. Pinballhearing? No, that’s not a thing!

TILT.

Road Games (Australia, 1981)

Road Games (Australia, 1981). Director: Richard Franklin. Stars: Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Killer (the dingo)...

I can’t say it’s a great film, but it’s classic Keach, if you know what that means. An Australian film, definitely shot there, but the two main stars are American. Anyway, Keach plays trucker Pat Quid with a pet dingo, trying to haul a load of “Meat! M. E. A. T. as in meat!” to Perth but along the way suspects a van driver on the same route is a serial killer.

At a truck stop in Yellowdine along the Great Eastern Highway, he calls up the police and tries to explain his theory about the killer, but gets embroiled by questions and having to spell out his name (and what he’s hauling, which is where the above meat quote comes in) whilst the most unfriendly locals in the place most unhelpfully make noise playing a jukebox and pinball. The machine is obviously a Playboy (Bally, 1979)...



The scene is pretty cool because the camera does a slow 360 pan of the place whilst he’s on the phone and the locals are playing pool, buying stuff from the vending machine etc. According to the trivia on IMDB, the studio wanted the director to cut that scene, feeling it was too slow, but I’m glad he didn’t.

The jukebox is pretty cool, with a round infinity mirror built in. It’s a Seeburg 100-78D “Celestia” circa 1977-79 (or a 100-79M “Celestia” by Seeburg-Stern 1979-80)...


Quicksand (USA, 1950)

Quicksand (USA, 1950). Director: Irving Pichel. Stars: Mickey Rooney, Jeanne Cagney, Peter Lorre, Barbara Bates...

Rooney makes one stupid decision after another. To impress his date (Jeanne Cagney), he’s gotta have cash, so he borrows money from the cash register where he works... of course things go wrong, and get worse and worse...

In the diner where Jeanne works we can spot an aviation-themed pinball...
Fleet (Bally, 1940)...

Nick (Peter Lorre) runs a penny arcade (I include these shots because there are a lot of other vintage coin-operated amusement machines that may interest someone)...




Rooney and Jeanne go for some pinball, and we can spot a Big Hit (Exhibit, 1946) partially visible on the left, and a Ballerina (Bally, 1948) that she plays...

Jeanne Cagney wins a payout after one ball (she knows the trick because she used to work at the arcade)... “Hey Nick! Pay me! I hit the jackpot.” Lorre begrudgingly comes over...

He pays her, but then puts an “Out of Order” sign on it saying “That’s all for you.”...

Later there’s a reverse angle on Ballerina, with a card-themed game (not necessarily a pinball) on the left...

The Man with the Golden Arm (USA, 1955)

The Man with the Golden Arm (USA, 1955). Director: Otto Preminger. Stars: Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker, Darren McGavin...

Sinatra plays Frankie Machine, arriving home to a run-down Chicago neighborbood, fresh off the bus from a rehab/prison facility, tries to avoid his old life as a skilled card dealer and heroin addict...

Chicago was of course the pinball capital of North America, being home to the giants of the industry, so perhaps it’s normal that one finds a couple of old machines on the sidewalk?! In the opening scene, we can spot a pair of “Majors - 1941” (Chicago Coin, 1941), which were already pretty old by the time the movie was shot...


In Frankie’s hangout bar, there’s a headless machine probably from the early-to-mid 1930s. By about 1936 or so, machines with backboxes (heads) were taking over, even if the heads were often only a few inches tall. It’s hard to identify the actual machine because back in the 1930s, there were so many machines being made... for example, according to the Internet Pinball Database, there were 309 machines made in 1935 alone, by some 54 different companies!



Thieves’ Highway (USA, 1949)

Thieves’ Highway (USA, 1949). Director: Jules Dassin. Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb, Millard Mitchell...

Written by A.I. Bezzerides (based on his novel), who also wrote They Drive By Night (1940), which I featured near the beginning of this blog in this post.

The subject matter is similar... dealing with truckers driving long hours to haul loads as quickly as possible, but this one focuses more on greed and the nasty dealings in the produce industry. I prefer They Drive By Night, but there are a couple of great scenes in this one.

Valentina walks into a restaurant in the market area and we can spot the backboxes of two machines through the window...

The first machine is a Smarty (Williams, 1946)...


The second machine is a Super Score (Chicago Coin, 1946)...


Both pinball machines were originally manufactured flipperless. However, since the first flipper machine came out in December 1947 and made flipperless ones obsolete overnight, operators may have retrofitted them with flippers by the time the movie was filmed. It’s impossible to tell from what we can see in the footage.

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (USA, 1979)

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (USA, 1979). Directors: Allan Arkush, Joe Dante (uncredited). Stars: The Ramones, P.J. Soles, Vincent Van Patten, Clint Howard...

This movie is mandatory viewing for Ramones fans. It’s silly, but it’s fun, and the Ramones play some classic tunes live.

In a backstage scene, the group brings in a stack of pizzas and Dee Dee gives Riff Randell a slice of pizza which she keeps as a souvenir.

In the room is an Op-Pop-Pop (Bally, 1969) pinball machine with the backglass painted over. On the left is a machine I can’t identify... some sort of driving-themed slot or pachinko / "10-yen" game thing?


?

Flyer for original machine...


No pizza for you, Joey...

Flesh and Bone (USA, 1993)

Flesh and Bone (USA, 1993). Director: Steve Kloves. Stars: Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, James Caan, Gwyneth Paltrow...

Quaid plays a guy who operates a bunch of vending machines, jukeboxes, etc in rural america. At one point he checks out a cigarette machine in a warehouse filled with coin-operated machines of all sorts.

From left to right: 3 of the same bingo machine, Night Club (Bally, 1956). Then some pinballs: Fireball Classic (Bally, 1985), Doozie (Williams, 1968), Big Shot (Gottlieb, 1973), and a Target Alpha (Gottlieb, 1976)...


Bonus:
After being being ripped off by the claw crane machine (Quaid explains that the watch prize she was trying to grab is greased), Meg wanders around the various machines and amusements...

She finds a Gypsy Grandma fortune teller machine  (Genco, 1957) and gets her fortune...


Other bonus:
Brainy Betty: 10 cents to play tic-tac-toe against a live chicken! I couldn’t find any info about this particular machine, or even if the chickens were trained or it was some sort of electro-mechanical computer trick. This type of thing existed in the 60s, and apparently even into the early 90s in NYC’s Chinatown... Quaid’s advice to a curious kid: save your dimes for the jukebox....

Bird wins.

Tchao Pantin (France, 1983)

Tchao Pantin (France, 1983). Director: Claude Berri. Stars: Coluche, Richard Anconina, Agnès Soral, Philippe Léotard...

Coluche was a famous stand-up comedian in France, and this was one of his few dramatic roles (for which he won a César award for best actor). Here he plays a sad, middle-aged, solitary gas-station attendant on the night shift, with a bottle for company. The atmosphere is dark and often rainy, in a working-class neighborhood in North Paris. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young small-time drug dealer (Anconina) who comes into his station one night.

The latter hangs out in cafés and bars, and in one of them, we can spot a couple of pinball machines, Devil’s Dare (Gottlieb, 1982) and Pink Panther (Gottlieb, 1981)...


In a later scene, we can spot a Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball (Bally, 1982)...


Bonus: Anconina playing a Barcrest “Ambassadeur 2000” slot machine...



Ida Lupino: Out of the Fog (USA, 1941) and Road House (USA, 1948)

Out of the Fog (USA, 1941)
Director: Anatole Litvak. Stars: Ida Lupino, John Garfield, Thomas Mitchell, Eddie Albert, George Tobias...

I’ve seen this movie many many times, but mostly in the 80s and early 90s. It was one of the three movies with the great Ida Lupino in it that CBC had in their Warner Bros. late night movie collection. But I had not remembered the scene with pinball machines in it until seeing my friend Mark Loeser’s supercut video that is projected in a loop at the North Star bar in Montreal.

Ida walks into a drug store / soda shop, and there’s a kid playing a Snooks (Stoner, 1939)...

The “kid”, played by Walter Tetley (better known as a voice actor due to his perennially adolescent voice) wins a payout, exclaiming “I hit it! I hit it! For once in my life I beat the machine!” then he rushes over to the bartender and says “Fourty-eight thousand! Pay me nine nickels!”. In those days, pinballs were flipperless gambling machines...

There’s something a bit strange about the backbox... it has a second section on top which isn’t seen in the flyers on IPDB.

Behind the Snooks machine is the one with the famous mysterious cabinet which could be a Rink (Genco Manufacturing Co., 1939), as seen in They Drive By Night (1940), also starring Ida Lupino, which I wrote about previously in this post.



Road House (USA, 1948)
Director: Jean Negulesco. Stars: Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Celeste Holm, Richard Widmark...

An Argentine (Genco, 1941) pinball machine can be spotted in the opening credits and a few scenes...


Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark (who plays Jefty, the owner of the titular road house) walking by the machine...

And to my knowledge, this is the only other movie scene where Ida appears in the same frame as a pinball machine...