samedi 23 janvier 2010

La Preuve par... Bond ? Pas vraiment...

For once , this article hasn't been typed in English . Since it is mainly a log of some franco-french misadventures of mine with the wonderful world of garlic French TV production companies , I figure it wouldn't really be of interest to my US, UK ...Errr , ' Rest of the World ' friends . ( But if you insist ? )

Exceptionnellement cet encart se fera non pas dans la langue de Shakespeare mais bien dans celle de Molière , plus propre à frapper les esprits hexagonaux ...Qui sait une version destinée à l'exportation verra peut-être aussi le jour ...

L'histoire de notre télèvision nationale regorge littéralement d'anecdotes qui feraient le bonheur d'un romancier ; entre les pré-projets improbables vendus au Mipcom , les annonces grandiloquentes d'achats de produits mirifiques , et les transferts en vase-clos de têtes d'affiches censées appâter la ménagère de moins de cinquante ans , les arcanes de la petite lucarne feraient passer Alexandre Dumas pour un aimable scribouillard...

Bref , avec sa carte de visite ' spécialiste ès 007 ' le créateur de ce Blog s'est retrouvé plus d'une fois embriqué dans des projets qui auraient fait verdir de terreur Ed Wood himself si il en avait connu tous les tenants et les aboutissants... Et justement , lecteurs fidèles , je m'en vais donc vous narrer une de ces dernières mésaventures ( en prenant grand soin de modifier toute identité par respect pour les organismes et individus impliqués dans l'histoire ) .

C'est donc l'histoire d'un certain Brett Sinclair , énergique journaliste / critique de Cinéma traumatisé par la vision ( trop) précoce des Diamants Sont Eternels à l'âge de 7 ans en 1971 . Au fil des années notre homme , nanti d'une jolie Maîtrise de Journalisme ( qui ne lui servît au demeurant pas à grand'chose dans le métier ) , fît ses classes à Mad Movies , Travelling, Vision , Vidéo 7 , Le Journal de Pif ,Ciné-Live, La Semaine du Charcutier ( avec Odile Deray ) avant de se servir de sa British attitude pour aller squatter les Studios de Pinewood dès 1992 et y tourner le tout premier doc inédit consacré aux coulisses de l'agent 007 sur un coup de tête finançé par Ellipse Productions , charmée par l'applomb du jeune blanc-bec ...

Il se trouve que par un hasard curieux, ces mêmes Britanniques qu'affectionne tout particulièrement notre journaliste décidèrent en 2008 sur un coup de folie de célèbrer le centenaire de la naissance d'un obscur auteur de romans de Gare ( dixit Raymond Chandler himself) , le peu connu Ian Lancaster Fleming , père du tout aussi peu connu James Bond 007 , fonctionnaire assermenté au Service Secret de Sa Majesté ...

2008 vit donc fleurir au pays du Chapeau Melon & des Bottes de Cuir une foultitude de commérations James Bond : entre les fastueuses expositions thématiques ( For Your Eyes Only à l'Imperial War Museum , Bond Bound à la galerie Fleming pour ne citer que les deux plus emblématiques ) , les inaugurations de plaques officielles , les rééditions de bouquins et enfin et surtout l'année suivante la géniale rétrospective du British Film Institute qui consacra plusieurs mois à la projection en copie neuves des 22 films officiels en présence de guests de choix ( Producteurs, réals, Sfx men, comédiens et Bond Girls ...), le James Bond Fan était aux anges .
La vague se répercuta bien sûr aux Etats-unis , qui amplifièrent le mouvement avec leur modestie coutumière ( expo officielle au Musée d'Arts Modernes de New-York...).

Et en France me direz-vous ?
En France donc, pays qu'appréciait Ian Fleming à un tel point qu'il décida de situer toute l'intrigue de son premier roman dans la ville normande fictive de...Royale-les-Eaux ( eh oui, pour les nuls : Casino Royale ne se passe donc pas en Tchechoslovaquie comme dans le film de 2006 mais bien chez les mangeurs de grenouilles ! ) ; en France donc , patrie des Arts et des Lettres ...Eh ben...Rien !

Certain journalistes bûtés essayèrent dès 2007 de convaincre des Musées de monter des rétrospectives 007 thématiques ...Mais après l'acceuil tonitruant de rigueur , l'aspect bassement financier de ce type de projet fît reculer tout ce joli monde ( et certains s'empressérent alors en lieu et place de monter une rétrospective StarWars au Musée des Sciences de la Villette . Ce qui leurs coûta effectivement sûrement beaucoup moins cher en terme de licences et de droits d'exploitations ! Bref ) .

Echaudé – mais pas rebuté ! - par ces experiences enrichissantes dans le monde de la Culture , notre journaliste donc décida de revenir à ce qu'il sait faire de mieux : courir après les Bond Girls les moins décaties et les interviewer live pour la télé ... Commença alors un autre parcours du combattant qui ferait passer le chemin de croix d'un certain J.C pour une aimable ballade dans une bourgade du Club Med' ...

Histoire de protéger ses fesses , vu qu'il aimerait bien encore travailler en Télèvision dans son pays natal, notre héros ne va pas s'épancher sur les pourtant véridiques expériences qu'il rencontra face à des décideurs et autres chargé(e)s de Production hexagonaux ...
La somme de ces anecdotes toutes plus vraies que nature pourrait donner matière à un roman satyrique consacré au système , dans la plus pure tradition d'un San Antonio ou d'un Pierre Dac aux meilleurs de leurs formes respectives...

Petit florilège quand même de certains points évoqués en rendez-vous avec productions :
- Et Ian Fleming, vous pourrez l'interviewer ?
- Filmer Sean Connery chez lui, pas de problème ! Euh, il est américain c'est ça ?
- C'est un beau projet . Il faudrait que Daniel Craig accepte de faire une voix off en Français comme fil directeur ...Et gratuitement si possible...
- C'est qui , Ian Fleming ???


Toutes ces profondes réflexions m'ont bien été faites par des responsables plus ou moins haut plaçés de boîtes de Productions télèvisuelles...
Quelle attitude adopter devant des gugusses pareils , je vous le demande ? Soit on choisit d'être diplomate façon Montand contre DeFunès dans ' La Folie Des Grandeurs ' , soit on craque et on éclate de rire .
Hélas , dans les deux cas , le pronostic vital du projet est déjà à l'agonie...

Voilà , j'arrête là mes jérèmiades qui vont finir par lasser .
D'ailleurs Max Pécas vient de m'appeller pour me dire qu'il est partant pour tourner une Bio de Fleming avec Aldo Maccione dans le rôle-titre . Problème : il ne dispose d'une villa pseudo-Jamaïcaine à la Tronche-sur-Mer que le temps d'un week-end ( la villa appartient au beau-frère du Producteur qui a des parts dans la société ) et il n'a pas eu le temps d'écrire son scénario .
Qu'à cela ne tienne : je me colle à mon traitement de texte ...
K.B.C – Janvier 2010
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jeudi 21 janvier 2010

MythBusters : The Guys Who Loved The James Bond Films ...

Courtesy of Miss A. Stamos ( who posted it originaly on her FB page . Don't kill me for borrowing that one , Athena , please ! ) I remember receiving two or three years ago from the Discovery Channel Network which also aired that show in France the two-parts one dedicated exclusively to some Bond Stunts ( the Live and Let Die speedboat jump , the Casino Royale Gas tank explosion , etc.,etc ... ). Love that one !!! ( specially the part where the guys kept trying replicating Daniel Craig shooting at the Gas Tank in the Nambutu Embassy yard , and then virtualy destroying said embassy . They finally had to use...Plastic explosive put on said gaz tank to achieve the very same effect ...). Movie magic indeed ! :D
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mercredi 20 janvier 2010

James Bond's smarter brother ...Really ?

That's one of the great mystery of life : why the heck did Loïs Maxwell , Bernard Lee and , yes , the rather acting-gifted Neil Connery accepted to sign and appear in ' Operation Kid Brother ' ( besides ...Money ) ???
That's precisely the question I asked Miss Maxwell when finally meeting her in 1995 . " Oh Lord , so you do know about that ! " she exclaimed " we all thought then it would pass under the radar ... You see , Bernard and I were a bit...Fed up with Cubby paying us peanuts for the Bond series , so we went to Italy and did that movie . Sean's brother , Neil , was the star , but he wasn't an actor and had a terrible time ..." That was more or less confirmed by director of said movie , Alberto De Martino , whom I had invited at the Valenciennes Film Festival in 2006 for the Italian Genre Hommage section : " Neil was under constant pressure from his brother Sean, who kept urging him not to do the movie , fearing it would damage his own image . I think we also had to deal with Eon's lawyers at one point ...Surprisingly , the film finally did very well at the Italian B.O though ..."
Let's be honest : for the sheer fun of it , every true James Bond Fan must see ' Operation Kid Brother ' . Despite Neil Connery's , errrrr , performance , the film makes up with the supporting cast ( besides Miss Mawxell and Bernard Lee , film reunited Daniela Bianchi , Anthony Dawson & Adolpho Celi ) , the scenery ...and the sheer nonsense of the story ( having a dentist becoming a secret agent to replace his missing 00 brother...Better than Austin Powers indeed ! ).
Oh , and the catchy theme song by Ennio Morricone & Bruno Nicolai will have you humming all day long ( there's also an Italian lyrics version ) ...
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Miss Taro N° 1 : Martine Beswick


1964. Martine Beswick was my favourite Bond Girl. (Well, I didn’t come across Ursula until 1966). After losing the Dr No role of the dangerous minx, Miss Taro, she merely danced in the credits - and then became first girl to be a Bond Babe twice: Zora, the gypsy cat-fighter in FRWL and the bikinied agent, Paula, committing suicide in Thunderball. “She wasn’t in the book. I know because I read it never thinking... I’d be in a second film. In fact, they told me that. They even scrapped the part, then got so desperate (they needed an extra girl in the plot), they put the part back and me in it!”
1967, Twickenham Studios. While shooting The Penthouse, Martine told me she’d never been a Miss Jamaica. “Baloney, just Bond publicity. I was Miss Auto Car - and made sure I was going to win, making sure my hair, figure, was perfect. I was after the prize - a car - in order to sell it back. They didn’t like that. Nor did I. Hah! It was a second-hand car. It still paid my way to London... Sean is great. Terence Young is fantastic. An actors’ director. He takes an interest in each actor individually in a scene - not just the star. He even encourages the extras. Terry used to say I was Miss Jamaica... in 1927.”
Tony Crawley
[Every 007 film has a page on Tony’s website, crawleyscasting calls.com]

mardi 19 janvier 2010

How to raise the tension while posing for a damn lucky Film critic ...





She got the sticky end of the lollipop, did Mollie Peters - the first nude Bond Girl (in Thunderball). She was the only one of the four girls to miss out on the sunny locations of Bahamas where the global media was. She stayed home, wed to a London copper. Good. She was available when photographer pal Marc Sharratt and I wanted her for a beauty layout in Showtime magazine. We booked a room at the Skyway Hotel at London Airport (why so far out of town I’ve no idea). We arrived, set up camera and lights. Mollie arrived and took off all her clothes and said: “Where do you want me?” Silence. A long silence. We recovered and I started directing her, seated at the dressing table, brushing her flaxen hair. Bingo! All over in 40 minutes.
Imagine trying that today with six producers, five publicists, two agents, a two make-up team, three coiffeurs... and months of e-mails.
Took me one phone call and one delightful lady.
Yeah, yeah, it’s Molly in the credits, but she always told me ’twas Mollie. And that’s how I remember her. Not as 007’s “physical”-therapist Patricia Fearing - but brushing her hair at the Skyway Hotel.
It’s a toss-up about which became the major (or kinky) fashion statement of Thunderball - Claudine Auger’s swimsuit. Or The Glove - a mink affair, used by masseuse Mollie Peters at the Schrublands health farm. And, yes, indeedy, used by Sean upon Miss Peters - “it reduces tension” - minutes before she cut herself a slice of history as the first Bond Babe to be seen nude in the franchise albeit through a steamed-up glass wall of a shower.
Mollie, who missed all the fun (and publicity) of shooting in the Bahamas, won the role of Patricia Fearing after tough opposition from Uschi Bernelle, Elizabeth Counsell and Justine Lord.
Justine went on to make six chapters of The Saint with a chap called Moore. Elizabeth had been seen - just! - in From Russia With Love. Or, at least, one of her knees was seen as Woman In Punt gliding by with actor Michael Culver... while Bond was on the river bank with, bien sur, another girl.

Tony Crawley Photos © Eon Productions, 1965 / Media Bis , 1992
[Every 007 film has a page on Tony’s website, crawleyscasting calls.com]

samedi 16 janvier 2010

How Sir Michael Caine attended the birth of the Goldfinger theme song...And wishes he hadn't !









I will always remember the hilarious Michael Caine introduction of the memorable 1998 Royal Albert Hall John Barry Concert in London ...

The acclaimed actor told a packed house about how , broken and houseless , he came to ask for shelter at his friend's doorstep in 1964 ...The night the James Bond composer precisely rattled his brain to try to find a correct tune for the third James Bond movie ...

In his typical no-nonsense fashion, the actor told the audience ( of which I was a fortunate member ) that he desperatly tried to find some sleep while his musician friend kept on banging on his piano next door , and ended his little speech , having the audience rolling with laughter , with those immortal words :

" In the early morning , I tried to make a good face - fortunately we actors always have some make-up with us , no , not that kind of make-up ! - and then ask John what was the tune he had been working on the whole damn night .
- It's called ...Goldfinger , a harassed and obviously gutted composer simply answered before collapsing to bed .
So that was it . I've been fortunate enough to litteraly attend to the birth of the greatest James Bond song ever ! "


Pics copyrighted Media-Bis ( April 1998 )

Never Say Never Again for Young James Bonds...






As I have already written in the very first entry of that Blog , I've been peripherally involved into the French promotion of ' that film ' in 1983 .
You know : the ' Canada Dry Bond ' , which looks like a Bond film, reads like a Bond film , even stars some of the best Bond comedians ...But ultimately fails to even mimic the indomitable Eon one and only recipe to success...

Anyway , some really curious things must have passed through the heads of the Warner Publicity execs desperatly trying to outdo the competition , such as those games designed primary for a target audience between 6 and 8 ( I cannot honestly see any adult doing those ! ) and which should have been inserted into various medias ( newspapers,etc.)...

Those demented NSNA themed mind games ( ? ) were part of the UK official Exhibitors Campaign book , released by Warner around July 83...

All documents property of MEDIA BIS ( courtesy of Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors . U.K )

jeudi 14 janvier 2010

A James Bond TV series ? Cubby Broccoli raised the prospect back in 79'.



London, June 1979.
The UK opening of Moonraker was the last time I chatted with Cubby Broccoli. Full of his usual affability. “I’ve done the farming. I’ve raised the broccolis, now I’m raising the Bonds.” Not tired of him yet? “Never!” he roared. “It’s a very exciting venture and when you work with friends - Derek Meddings, Ken Adams, Bob Simmons - and this pretty young lady [Corinne Clery was sitting between us], it inspires you to keep making more. So does finding new, exciting people like Michael Lonsdale, the best villain since Goldfinger... I like Rog but he’s not contracted. He works from picture to picture... Yes, we have rights for a Bond TV series, but I don’t see us making TV at this stage.
Why not keep making the films? I hope I play the most important part of doing that, as the one that sits there, making the decisions, working (I hope) as a creative producer, writer and ideas man. For example, Jaws was my creation. I’d met Richard in America and told the boys to write an idea for him. We write the impossible and we shoot the impossible... I have to make the ultimate decisions (I have the bills to prove it) so if there’s a mistake I like it to be my mistake and not somebody else’s... We’ll survive only if we make good films. If we make lousy films, we’ll go down the drain like everybody else.”

Tony Crawley
[Every 007 film has a page on Tony’s website, crawleyscasting calls.com]

samedi 9 janvier 2010

One Man Too Many ( sounds like an U.N.C.L.E movie ! )


Contrary to his Eon / Danjaq partner , co-producer Harry Saltzman sometimes veered off the Bond canon towards other type of movies .

Such as this ' One Man Too Many ' ( word-for-word translation of the original French title ) which seems to be some kind of mix between the Dirty Dozen and...Unglorious Basterds !

Synopsis tells us this : in 1943 , a group of resistants managed to save twelve prisonners from death penalty . Problem : once they think they're safe at last they realized there's...One man too many amongst the group .

Released in 1967 and directed by no less than a young Costa Gavras , film boats an impressive line-up and is co-produced by Les Artistes Assoçiés ( french counterpart of United Artists ) , Sol Produzioni ( Italy ) and Compania Cinematographica Montoro ( Italy ) .

Title seems unfortunately not to be available on DvD . Sigh .

vendredi 8 janvier 2010

Liebegrusse aus dem Casino Royale in Karlovy Vary





In May 2006 a group of Members of the german James Bond Fan-club "Bondklub Deutschland" travelled for one Day to Karlovy Vary. At this time the First Unit of "Casino Royale" was in the City for filming Scenes around the Grand Hotel Pupp (alias Hotel Splendide in the Film) and the "Kaiserbad" (an old Bath (Cesars Bath), used in the Film as the Casino Royale).
The most interesting thing was, that everything was open, so we could go into the Hotel. We have been in the Foyer, have seen the Lift,  have been inside in an Resting Room and in the Restaurant of the Hotel We have also seen  the Area, where the Dinner was served between 007 and Vesper Lynd.

There was no fence around the Hotel (as f.e. in Bregenz at the filming of QofS). So we could see in the Restaurant Daniel Craig drinking Coffee (after Jogging) , Eva Green outside the Hotel walking with her dog, Lindy Hemming with her Assistant in the City and Martin Campbell walking between Hotel and the Kaiserbad.

When we arrived in Karlovy Vary we have been first to the Mühlbrunnenkolonade, which was seen in CR as the Train Station. After  a nice and long walk through the old City we have been to the Grand Hotel Pupp and have been surprised, that there was no Security or a Fence around the Hotel against Visitors or Fans. Interesting is that in the Film the driving from the Train Station to the Hotel is in Reality the vice versa direction, as they would drive from the Hotel to the Mühlbrunnenkolonaden.

And it was funny, that we heard from other Tourists that they thought the Hotel was really renamed ' Hotel Splendide ' . It was great to see that really each plate with the Name of the Hotel, or the Restaurant was changed. 
First we went into the Restaurant of the Hotel, which is also usable for guests who don`t stay in the Hotel.
We had a drink and met other friends. We were finally a group of 10 Persons. Then we saw a staircaise into the Hotel and we went into . There was a great Restroom, where we could have also a few drinks.
From there we had a view to the table, where 007 and Vesper had Dinner after the Victory over Le Chiffre at the Pokergame.
We had also a short glimpse of Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who rushed through the Restroom.
Then we went to the Foyer and we saw the lift, which is different to the lift in the Film.

When we went back to the Restaurant, we saw Daniel Craig drinking a Cup of Coffee in a small corner of the Restaurant.
A Member of our group asked him for a Photograph, but Daniel said no, because he didn`t wanted to be photographed in his Jogging Clothes.

Afterwards we walked along the Car Park of the Hotel, which was closed for Public Use and full of Security people, because there was standing the Aston Martin and the Bentley (used as the Hotel Transfer).
The we made a walk to the Kaiserbad, which was decorated as Casino Royale and prepared for a filming in the Evening. Later we saw a group of Extras, which filmed later in the Night a scene inside the Kaiserbad.
In the Evening, before we left Karlovy Vary, we saw the Preparation of the Street in Front of the Hotel. It was made wet, for filming a Night sequence as we heard (probably the Sequence when 007 follows the kidnapped Vesper and runs to his car)
It was a wonderful day ,which made great memories.

Wolfgang Thuerauf - January 2010 .

Text and pics copyrighted .
The Pictures are from Sascha Braun, Heiko Lorson (signed at the Pics) and from Alexander Stundner (not signed).

1969 : 007 POSITION VACANT - REPLACEMENT NEEDED PRONTO

“It’s a slight problem if we have to get a new Bond ” Cubby Broccoli told me. “But there’s always somebody lurking out there that would be a good Bond. Or a bad ’un!” Right! Althougfh it was inconceivable that two producers who chose as correctly as Connery could have made the enormous error as Lazenby. He wasn’t the only guy in the frame... Roger Moore was set until shooting clashed with his Persuaders schedule. And so a new search began for - what else - “a young Connery.” Ian Ogilivy was approached (he became Roger's Saint successor in 1978). Also seen: Michael Billington (soon enough, an Eon house pet) and a certain Timothy Peter Dalton. Cubby was also was keen on Jeremy Brett, who became the ultimate Sherlock Holmes, 1984-94). Ironically, Ian Fleming’s own sketch of Bond greatly resembled Holmes. Broccoli’s most surprising idea was... Oliver Reed. An ex-Hammer Films werewolf (he once asked me if he should move to France, “where they like ugly men - look at Belmondo!”), Reed had too many problems: drinking, brawling, weight, etc.. Cubby decided that the need “to destroy his image and re-mould him” was too great. Two telly-Americans were tested - Adam Batman West, bordering on the plump, and Roy Thinnes from The Invaders, bordering on the boring. And a third ran: Tom Selleck. “I was asked to screentest but I turned it down. I’m sure that being between Roger and Sean wouldn’t be a good career move.” Finally, from an alleged 413 contenders, George Lazenby, beat the other finalists: Robert Campbell, Anthony Rogers, Hans De Vries (who immediately joined the Cubby’s dream team of Connery/Bardot in Shalako) and John Richardson, husband of double Bond Girl, Martine Beswick Soon as he became Bond, all his 32 minutes of Lazenby’s 1965 screen debut as “British Spy” suddenly disappeared from Spain’s Marc Mato, agent S.077/Espionage in Tangiers. “Cubby Broccoli will tell you that I was a failure and difficult to work with,” said Lazenby later “Unfortunately, he told a lot of people that and it meant that it was impossible to get employment.” What Cubby actually said was: “You’re only a star when the public says so.” Even after a further 59 roles in 34 years, the public never said that about George.

Tony Crawley Photos © Eon Productions, 1969 [Every 007 film has a page on Tony’s website, www.crawleyscasting calls.com]
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mardi 5 janvier 2010

The GoldenEye Pierce Brosnan signed cut storyboarded sequence


Back in 1995 , I supplied some colleagues of Canal +'s Journal du Cinéma some 007 merchandise to be presented to Pierce Brosnan during a Live TV interview ( notably a big 1965 German manufactured toy Aston Martin - the one operated with batteries -, which Pierce failed to correctly activated : he pushed buttons randomly until the ejector seat suddenly popped out and launched its passenger ...Much to the visible surprise of the Star , whose reaction wasn't faked ! )
To thank me for my participation , the TV crew then asked him to sign me that storyboard of an unused sequence of the movie ( was it ever shot ? I wonder ... )

Document property of Media Bis 1995 - Not to be reproduced .

dimanche 3 janvier 2010

The " Could someone please tell me what the heck is exactly happening ? " Affair


From the Sunday Times edition of 2010, January the 3rd

"Pre-production on ' Bond23 ' has been halted and filming postponed while the future of the Bond franchise hangs in the balance.

The 23rd Bond film was to have been bankrolled by MGM but the Hollywood studio is up for sale in a bid to clear mounting debts.

The 007 blockbusters are a lucrative franchise and could be sold off. “In the words of another great British hero, Antarctic explorer Captain Oates, the next James Bond movie may be some time,” said Terence Doyle, editor of British Film Magazine.

Michael G Wilson, who produces the Bond films with Barbara Broccoli, admitted: “We just don’t know enough about the situation to comment but we know it’s uncertain.”

The earliest a new film is likely to go into production is at the end of this year, for release in 2011, a full three years after the last Bond, Quantum Of Solace.

Pre-production work on the film, which will again star Daniel Craig, pictured above with Quantum love interest Olga Kurylenko, is on hold until next month.

The sale of MGM, which owns the Pink Panther franchise, comes after a year in which it released only the failed remake of Fame. Potential bidders include Time Warner, Lionsgate and other undisclosed parties ."

And then ,less than 24h later , all the Fan websites headlined ' Sam Mendes IS the Bond23 director ' ...While Variety ( the media from which originated the leak ) remains a triffle bit more cautious about said info .

Patience you must learn , Bond Fans from all over the World ...

vendredi 1 janvier 2010

The Year We Make Contact !

HAPPY NEW YEAR , EVERYONE !!!
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Below the belt parodies...Literally ( part 1 )





Being the notoriously dedicated completist that I am, I felt obliged to post those, ahem, very subtile parodies (advertised at the Cannes International Film Market in the 90's ) ...
I hasten to say I've never watched any of them .
As Oscar Wilde would say " copying is the most sincere form of flattery "...Indeed !