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Recreating the Golden Age

It largely began with Raiders of the Lost Ark, a period-fantasy movie that harkened back to the pulp novels, comic books, and movie serials of the 1930s and 40s. Raiders was a huge hit, spawning two sequels, and over the years has encouraged other filmmakers to recreate the golden age of pulps, though with mixed success. Raiders still remains the yard-stick by which all of these films are measured.

Making a "golden age pulp movie" offers a unique set of challenges. First of all, you’re making a period movie, but one that has fantasy or science fiction elements. The fact that it has these elements shouldn’t be used as a crutch to cheat on the period aspects. Golden age pulp generally has as much do with film noir as it does with sci-fi or fantasy, all of which are challenging genres by themselves, let alone combined.

Making a golden age pulp movie offers several advantages, as Peter Jackson expressed in several interviews as to why he set his King Kong in the 1930s. Some stories just need to be period in order to work, such as Tarzan, or Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. They just aren’t as believable in a modern setting. The sci-fi/fantasy elements need to work within this setting as well. Technology that is beyond the period can be used, but it has to LOOK like it could have existed then. It’s a fine line that must be traversed carefully.

I love movies inspired by golden age pulps, but have always found them a mixed bag. Every few years, filmmakers try again, but usually fall short, as evidenced by the box office. The Shadow, Dick Tracy, The Rocketeer, and Sky Captain were all planned to be franchises like Indiana Jones, but none of them made enough at the box office to warrant a sequel. Is there really a market for a true golden-age pulp? Perhaps we’ll never know for sure until another one comes along that truly meets the standard set by Raiders.

With these thoughts in mind, I have created a group of categories for scoring a number of films that have attempted to recreate the golden age of pulps. I have graded each category as hit, miss, or near-miss. Before we get into the films* themselves, though, I offer the following explanations for the categories.

Scoring Categories

The Hero: Usually dictated by the property itself. Most golden age pulp movies are based on existing characters, which is the sole reason for these films being made. The Shadow, The Phantom, and the long-in-development Green Hornet all have built-in audiences. Their heroes need to be handsome, strong, and dashing. But most of all, they need to be faithful to the source material.

The Dame: One of the biggest pitfalls, and where many of the films discussed below fall short. There are only a handful of actresses who can play 1930/40s period without looking too modern. Now, take a look at the example pulp cover to the right. That’s the goal, and a tough one to reach.

The Villain: Like the hero, usually dictated by the property. The Shadow's villain, Shiwan Khan, came straight from the pulps, as did Dick Tracy’s rogue’s gallery. The villains are usually colorful and entertaining -- one of the major benefits to doing golden age pulp.

The Score/Songs: Every pulp hero needs a rousing theme, but one that also fits with the period. For extra points, a film can also include songs from the period, which helps establish the setting even more. This is the age of night clubs with tables, tuxedos, and torch singers. A perfect setting for the Hero to meet the Dame.

The Script: By far the most challenging. In order to write a successful golden age pulp, the writer has to clearly "get it." He or she has to be completely in-tune with the material, someone who knows film noir, who knows radio, who knows how to write a pulp, and who knows the period. It’s an elusive thing to describe, but is quickly obvious when it isn’t there. Furthermore, the plot has to be serious and plausible, not silly and "comic-bookish." If the script doesn't work, then the rest of the movie won't work either.

Special Effects: Yet another pitfall. Because these movies harken back to an age before modern special effects, their inclusion can become an instant "shiny penny" (a reference to Somewhere In Time [1980], in which a shiny penny breaks the illusion). Special effects work has to be even more realistic to not stand out. Computer effects have certainly helped in this area. One advantage has been to give the films a "dreamlike quality," as evidenced by Sky Captain (2004) and King Kong (2005).

Shiny Pennies: One of the biggest pitfalls of recreating golden age pulps (or any period film, for that matter) is the use of anachronisms, or "shiny penny moments." A perfect example is in the recent The Legend of Zorro (2005). Zorro's young son, Joaquin, challenges the villain to a fight and says, "You want a piece of me?" A cute line that gets a nice chuckle, but pulls you completely out of the moment. For a modern movie that would be just fine (though it’s getting to be a cliche), but it just doesn't work for 1850s California. Another shiny penny is the usage of humor. While every story needs a dose of humor, the temptation for pulp films is to make it too tongue-and-cheek. The filmmakers need to take the stories just as seriously as they would any other project, and resist the temptation to just make it silly. That shows disrespect for the material. They should also resist the urge to insert pithy one-liners, or deliberate "catch-phrases" from the hero. This practice was largely initiated when The Terminator (1984) said, "I'll be back." Only then it wasn't deliberate. Any time filmmakers try to create a catch-phrase on purpose, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Final Score: From zero to four stars.


This is the target...

Direct Hit! Jean Rogers in Flash Gordon (1936) **

The Movies and How They Rate

The Indiana Jones Trilogy (1981, 1984, and 1989)

Raiders screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan; story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman
Temple of Doom screenplay by Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz; story by George Lucas
Last Crusade screenplay by Jeffrey Boam; story by George Lucas and Menno Meyjes
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones got the ball rolling, and his success can be clearly seen in the movies that follow. You can't make a golden age movie set in the desert without immediately thinking of Indiana Jones (see The Mummy and The Mummy Returns). What more can be said about Indiana Jones? Though Temple and Crusade may have drifted a bit, Raiders is a classic and remains to this day the high-mark of golden age pulp.

The Hero: Hit. Though Indiana Jones is an original creation, he’s clearly based on the pulp heroes of the 1930/40s movie serials. The character proved so popular that he spawned two sequels (with a possible third on the way), and a TV series. Lucas and Spielberg hit the nail on the head with Indiana Jones, and then some.
The Dame: Near-Miss (Raiders), Miss (Temple), Hit (Last Crusade). In Raiders, Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood) certainly doesn’t fit the mold of a pulp mistress, but what she lacked in sex appeal, she certainly made up in likeability and chemistry with Harrison Ford. In Temple, Kate Capshaw (Willie Scott) certainly had more sex appeal, but was just too modern (Spielberg seemed to really like her though). The Indy series finally got a solid Hit in this category with Allison Doody (Dr. Elsa Schneider) in Last Crusade. She made an excellent pulp temptress in the Veronica Lake mold.
The Villain: The Indy series generally scored well on the villains, mainly for its use of Nazis in two films. You can't get much more villainous than the Nazis, and they reinforce the period like nothing else.
The Script: Raiders was a definite Hit, while Temple a little less so, and Last Crusade, while being a crowd pleaser, tended to ditch established history (such as Brody’s character) in favor of easy laughs. Still, the addition of Sean Connery as Indy’s father makes up for most of Last Crusade’s shortcomings.
The Score/Songs: Hit. Raiders set the stage with its iconic score, immediately recognizable to anyone, even today. Temple scored a Hit in the Songs category with an Buzby Berkley-style opening number featuring Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." You can't go wrong with Cole Porter.
Special Effects: Mostly a Hit. While each of the Indy films feature some excellent, seamless effects (particularly the finale of Raiders), there’s also a number of cheesy shots that kill the momentum. In Temple of Doom, the mostly incredible mine car chase (largely done with miniatures, is followed by some of terrible optical work with the flooding tunnels. Last Crusade has its share of bad optical work, too, especially with the plane in the tunnel (what is it about tunnels?).
Shiny Pennies: With the exception of the spotty effects work and the too-modern looks of Karen Allen and Kate Capshaw, the Indy films are largely penny free. All three films do an excellent job of capturing the period.
Final Scores: Raiders: four stars, hands down. Temple: two and a half stars. Last Crusade: Three stars.

Dick Tracy (1990)

Screenplay by Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr.; based on the comic strip by Chester Gould
Directed by Warren Beatty

Following the success of Batman (1989, not included because it isn’t specifically period), Dick Tracy is remembered for its great ad campaign (which also mimicked Batman’s) and comic-strip color palette. While Dick Tracy did okay at the box office, it didn’t do as well as The Walt Disney Company hoped, which nixed any possible sequels (though Warren Beatty is still trying) and theme park rides (Dick Tracy’s Crime Stoppers, which was to be built at Disney-MGM, eventually morphed into Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom).

The Hero: Hit. Newspaper strip character Dick Tracy, looking to follow in the footsteps of Batman and Superman. Producer/Director Warren Beatty did a decent job with the character, even if he couldn’t completely capture Tracy's "ruggedness."
The Dame: Double Hit. While Glenne Headly doesn’t exactly match the pulp ideal, she was perfect for her character, Tess Trueheart. Beatty scored a double-win by casting Madonna as chanteuse Breathless Mahoney. Madonna plays period very well, and can do well in roles with mostly singing and little or no dialogue, as evidenced by her two greatest successes – this and Evita (1996).
The Villain: Major Hit. Dick Tracy scores again on the Villain front, with a colorful rogues’ gallery of Chester Gould’s original creations. Al Pacino knocks it out of the park as Big Boy Caprice.
The Script: Sort-of Hit. This is the only area where Dick Tracy underperforms, though not by much. It just lacked that certain something to push it into greatness. It just doesn’t seem to go anywhere – Tracy wants to take down Big Boy (as does someone else), but Big Boy doesn’t really have a diabolical plot.
The Score/Songs: Danny Elfman’s score easily evokes the mood, though it didn't stand a chance of matching his iconic Batman score. But what could? Song-wise, the film scores another Hit by having Madonna perform a number of torch songs as Breathless Mahoney.
Special Effects: Hit. Beatty scored a major winner (who knew he was that creative?) by limiting the color palette to the six colors used in the comic strip: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, plus black and white. It was a bold move and gives this film a look like no other.
Shiny Pennies: Can't think of a single one, except for maybe Madonna when she talks (and the scenes of her rehearing seem a bit modern for some reason). But that's just more of just her amazing ability to suck the life out of the screen whenever she speaks.
Final Score: Two and a half stars.

The Rocketeer (1991)

Screenplay by Danny Bilson & Paul De Meo, story by Bilson, De Meo, and William Dear; based on the graphic novel by Dave Stevens
Directed by Joe Johnston

In Disney's second attempt at a comic-book inspired franchise (never say die), this time they went with Dave Steven's popular graphic novel as their source material. Unfortunately, this attempt didn't succeed, either. The first two-thirds are pretty darn good (though perhaps the big nightclub scene goes on too long), but the film completely fails in the third act. Sinclair and his Nazi henchmen kidnap Jenny and try to make their escape in... a Zeppelin. Not the fastest moving airship around. Then, Cliff flies up to the Zeppelin, still fumbling around like he has the whole movie (isn't he ever going to learn how to fly this thing?), and once inside, he takes the rocket pack off. No big aerial battles, no derring-do in the skies, just a fist fight with the villain, and then it gets worse. The villain takes off with the rocket pack and dies due to a fuel leak. What? Then comes the crushing blow, the hero and his girl both have to be rescued by the sidekick and Howard Hughes in a silly gyro-copter. What a bummer. You sit through the entire movie wanting to see some amazing "rocketeering," waiting for the hero to kick butt, and this is what you get. There's no pay off.

The Hero: Debatable Hit. The Rocketeer was knocked by critics for having a bland hero in Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord. I don’t generally agree with that assessment, because that was part of the point in the original graphic novel.
The Dame: Major Hit. Jennifer Connelly does period very well (as evidenced in Mulholland Falls, Inventing the Abbots, and A Beautiful Mind), and is one of the few actresses who is not only talented, but completely fits the bill for pulp noir. Sadly (and understandably, since this is Disney), her character was changed from the Bettie-Page inspired vixen in the graphic novel to a more family-friendly "girl next door" type (Jenny), but Jennifer Connelly could have done either with ease.
The Villain: Near Hit. The idea was good for Timothy Dalton's Errol Flynn-like Neville Sinclair, but Dalton is no Flynn. Likewise, as much as I like Paul Sorvino, he comes across as more of a cartoon character than a threatening mobster. The Nazis are brought in towards the end, but could have used a bigger role. The film Hits big with a minor villain, Lothar, modeled after B-movie actor Rondo Hatton.
The Script: Near Hit. This is where The Rocketeer falls apart in the third act, unfortunately, as described above.
The Score/Songs: Hit. James Horner’s score is flat-out excellent and evokes the period perfectly. But the movie really scores with Melora Hardin’s take on Cole Porter’s (remember what I said about Porter) "Begin the Beguine," which was the best version I’d ever heard until Sheryl Crow knocked it clear out of the park in De-Lovely (2004).
Special Effects: Big Miss. This is the other place where The Rocketeer really falls short. This film could have really benefited from a bigger effects budget.
Shiny Pennies: It's worth repeating here just how bad the special effects are.
Final Score: Two stars. Could have easily been three, or even four, with a better ending.

The Shadow (1994)

Screenplay by David Koepp; based on The Shadow stories by Walter B. Gibson
Directed by Russell Mulcahy

This movie almost succeeded. It had all the right elements: a great scriptwriter, David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, War of the Worlds); Russell Mulcahy was a great director (Highlander, though Highlander 2 sucked royally); great cast (mostly); great costumes; great production design (love that Monolith Hotel); and great cinematography. But, unfortunately, the film is less than the sum of its parts. First, the cheese factor creeps in during the opening scenes in Tibet, with Alec Baldwin looking downright silly in that fright wig with his ultra-hairy chest. It’s worth noting, though, that a pre-Gandalf/Magneto Ian McKellen appears as Margo Lane’s goofy scientist father.

The Hero: Hit. The Shadow is one of the great pulp characters, and he’s handled pretty well here. Alec Baldwin was a good casting choice, though sometimes he’s just playing Alec Baldwin and isn’t yet the actor he’s become today. Still, the coolness of the Shadow makes up for most shortcomings.
The Dame: Miss. I’ve always liked Penelope Anne Miller (Margo Lane) and she plays period okay, but she just doesn’t have the sex appeal required for the role.
The Villain: Hit. John Lone is a great actor who doesn't work enough. He pulls off the part very well. If only it had been better written.
The Script: Almost a hit. Koepp did an artful job of combining the two different Shadows that exist – the radio Shadow and the print Shadow, which are surprisingly different. The plotline of the atomic bomb is a bit lacking, though, and Shiwan Khan could have been put to better use. Finally, the whole idea of hypnotizing all of New York so that they don’t see an entire building is a bit silly.
The Score/Songs: Good score and there's even a nightclub scene with a torch singer. Not overly memorable, but not detracting, either.
Special Effects: Another mixed bag. Most of the Shadow effects are great (they appear to be digital), such as where The Shadow appears in smoky bursts during the fight scenes, but those are marred by some scenes in which his shadow is clearly animated. Worst of all, though, are the bad optical effects, especially the wicked knife that comes to life.
Shiny Pennies: Poor optical effects, some of Alec Baldwin's line deliveries.
Final Score: Two and a half stars.

The Phantom (1996)

Screenplay by Jeffrey Boam; based on the comic strip by Lee Falk
Directed by Simon Wincer

The Phantom's chief problem, to me, is his costume. It's one of those, like the X-Men's yellow spandex, that looks good in print, but not so good in real life. Perhaps if they'd made it a dark purple and had the hood and mask come together. The other problem I have with this movie (aside from the cheese factor) is that it's too bright. It's needed darker tones and more shadows. More of a noir approach. A better director could have made a much better film, but he/she would also have needed a better screenplay, too.

The Hero: Near Hit. The Phantom is a cool character and Billy Zane does a decent job, but he’s undermined by the costume and his plastic ring and belt.
The Dame: Double Hit. Kristy Swanson (Diana Palmer) pulls off period extremely well, and comes across as sexy even with that cute bob of a hairdo. But then the film also has a pre-Mask of Zorro Catherine Zeta-Jones (Sala) in one of her first US film roles. My only complaint is that they didn't capitalize on Kristy Swanson's sex appeal -- no long hair, no evening gowns, no reduction in clothing during the jungle scenes. Anytime you have a dame in the jungle, she needs to find her "Inner Jane" (see Tarzan and His Mate, Romancing the Stone, even George of the Jungle). Still, when most of these movies miss in the Dame category, this one scores a double.
The Villain: Miss. Treat Williams’ Xander Drax just isn’t threatening at all, and comes across as too comical. They should have put James Remar in the Drax role and let Williams play the henchman. Remar's got more "villainy" in his little finger than Williams has in his whole body.
The Script: A bit of a copy of the Indiana Jones formula, which isn't surprising since it was written by Last Crusade writer Jeffrey Boam. Could have easily been better with a better villain and getting rid of the cheese factor. Another problem is this whole Brotherhood of the Singh thing, which smacks of Last Crusade (Indy again). They don't show up until the end and aren't very menacing, either.
The Score/Songs: The score wasn't very memorable, and this movie definitely could have used a night club scene with Kristy Swanson in an evening gown. And Catherine Zeta-Jones in an evening gown, too.
Special Effects: Surprisingly decent. There's a few obvious miniature and matte shots, but otherwise, everything seems to have been shot for real. A major plus.
Shiny Pennies: Just knowing that Billy Zane wears a wig, and wondering if he's wearing eye shadow, too.
Final Score: Two and a half stars. Could have easily been three with some darker scenes, less cheese, and letting Kristy find her Inner Jane.

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001)

Mummy screenplay by Nina Wilcox Putnam (story, uncredited), Richard Schayer (story, uncredited), John L. Balderston (1932 screenplay, uncredited), Stephen Sommers (screen story, screenplay) Lloyd Fonvielle (screen story), and Kevin Jarre (screen story)
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Mummy Returns Written and Directed by Stephen Sommers

Finally, another box-office hit for a golden age pulp, and it even garnered a sequel and a "prequel" (The Scorpion King, 2002) The Mummy is clearly a cross between the original Universal film and Indiana Jones, but it works, despite being a bit heavy on the cheeky humor at times.

The Hero: Hit. Yes, Brendan Fraser (Rick O'Connell) is a little more comical than Indiana Jones, but he’s a likeable actor who really carries the role. Tough enough to go head to head with the undead (hey, that sounds like a tagline), but vulnerable enough to make you care for him.
The Dame: Double Hit. Rachel Weiss (Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell) has got that same vibe as Kate Winslet and Myrna Loy -- smart and attractive. You completely buy her as both, and she plays period very well (hence, the resemblance to Myrna Loy). But I still believe that many guys went to see this movie solely for Patricia Velasquez's costume as Anck Su Namun. The shots of her in the trailer were a real selling point.
The Villain: Major Hit. Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep is one tough dude, even without the special effects. He looks like he could crush Fraser's head between his fingers.
The Script: Near Hit. Here’s where the Mummy movies lose their polish. Both scripts are a bit too jokey, and I still don’t know what to make of the Pygmy Mummies in Mummy Returns. With a little more polish, the Mummy script could have been a hit. Would have taken a bit more polish for Mummy Returns.
The Score/Songs: Score was good. No period songs, though.
Special Effects: Hit. There’s a few spots here and there that could have been better, but overall the effects were top notch. The only place they fail miserably is with The Rock’s Scorpion King in Mummy Returns. That just plain sucked.
Shiny Pennies: Camp humor, similarities to Indiana Jones.
Final Score: Mummy: Three stars. Mummy Returns: Two and a half (could have been three without the terrible “scorpion man” effects with The Rock).

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Written and Directed by Kerry Conran

Finally, someone who really "gets it" on pulp noir. Too bad the box office didn't react in kind. First-time writer/director Kerry Conran did an incredible job coming out of nowhere and making a movie that truly captures the movie serial, the 1940s Superman cartoons, pulp science fiction, German expressionism, and everything in between. Unfortunately, the film is weak in a couple of areas -- mainly the script. For that I don't actually blame Conran. Producer Jon Avnet had the cajones, God bless him, to take Conran's vision and put it on the screen, but he should have gotten someone to help with the script (Conran had no experience as a screenwriter and originally wrote it in multiple chapters – would have been cool to see it that way on the DVD). Another thing that would have helped would have been to film some parts (like the office scenes) on an actual set. The CGI backgrounds get to be a bit much sometimes, especially when they're used in normal environments.

The Hero: Hit. Jude Law (Joe "Sky Captain" Sullivan) certainly has that Errol Flynn vibe going (in fact, he even played Flynn in The Aviator), though he’s not a tough as Flynn. Still, he does a decent job, especially acting against nothing. Law also gets extra points for coming aboard as co-producer.
The Dame: Miss/Hit/Hit. I still want to know who thinks Gwyneth Paltrow (Polly Perkins) is sexy. Well, Jon Avnet for one – he’s the person who recruited Law and Paltrow both. She just doesn’t have the look for 1940s period, and she certainly doesn’t have the sex appeal. Bai Ling as the villainous Mystery Woman certainly helps make up for Paltrow, but Angelina Jolie as Frankie really scores a major hit. Why would Sky Captain even want Polly when he could have Frankie? Just ask Brad Pitt.
The Villain: Hit? Miss? The mystery surrounding Sky Captain’s villain is part of the film.
The Script: Near Hit (see above). I just wish Conran had gotten some help to get the script where it really needed to be.
The Score/Songs: Major Hit. The score is fantastic, and really nails the feel of the period, the serials, and everything the movie sets out to achieve. A perfect complement. No songs, though, other than Jane Monheit doing “Over the Rainbow” over the credits.
Special Effects: Major Hit, though there’s a few places where effects weren’t needed.
Shiny Pennies: Gwyneth Paltrow.
Final Score: Two and a half stars (though I really wanted to give it three).

King Kong (2005)

Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, & Philippa Boyens; based on the screenplay by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace
Directed by Peter Jackson

Lastly, we come full circle with another cinematic success, though sadly not as perfect a film as Raiders. This movie is just too darn long. It was like watching the extended DVD version. If Jackson were to trim Kong by 30 minutes to an hour, he would surely have had a masterpiece. I wish Universal had delayed it to Summer 2006 to give Jackson time to really get it right. As it stands now, Kong is a flawed semi-masterpiece. As far as golden age pulp goes, though, it scores on every point (well, almost).

The Hero: Hit. Adrien Brody (Jack Driscoll) plays period so well, he looks like he stepped out of a time machine or something. As a New York playwright, he’s sheer perfection. He’s not as tough and rugged as your usual pulp heroes, though.
The Dame: Hit. Naomi Watts (Ann Darrow) may not be as voluptuous as the girls on the old pulp covers, but she’s got the angelic quality needed for the role. And in this movie, she looks like she stepped right out of the 1930s, too. Watt’s only downfall is that she largely has one expression throughout the film -- staring whistfully off into the sky.
The Villain: Near Hit. The closest thing Kong has to a villain is Jack Black’s Carl Denham. Have to admire Jackson’s casting -- Black was an interesting choice and it mostly pays off. A few of his line readings are off (particularly the last one), but overall he succeeds.
The Script: Mostly Hit. Just a few minor complaints here -- there’s character build-up with the crew that never pays off (should have been edited out and saved for the extended edition on DVD), and more than once Jackson paints his characters into a sticky wicket, only to have someone show up at the last second to rescue them. Totally cliché, but to do it more than once is beyond cliché.
The Score/Songs: Excellent score, which is even more amazing by the fact that the original composer, Howard Shore, was let go and James Newton Howard brought in at the last minute and given only five weeks to score the film. No songs, though.
Special Effects: Mostly hit. For the amazingly incredible Kong effects, the film is marred by some lousy composite work, particularly during the brontosaurus stampede. Could these guys look any more like they’re running on a treadmill?
Shiny Pennies: Jack Black (sometimes), Naomi Watts stepping out of the fog on the streets of New York (not cold at all, though she’s only wearing a thin dress) and looking just a bit too angelic, and her entire climb to the top of the Empire State Building without a railing (Adrian Brody is guilty here, too) and acting like she’s only two feet off the ground.
Final Score: Three stars. Could have easily been four with a good edit.

And there you have it. That’s the list (unless I forgot something) until someone finally makes The Green Hornet, The Shadow comes to Direct-to-DVD (hoping, hoping -- D2DVD means less studio interference), and Warren Beatty succeeds in bringing back Dick Tracy (hoping for D2DVD again). For anyone out there working on these projects, follow this list and call me.


*I have not included Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975), starring Ron Ely, for two reasons: It came before Raiders and I haven't yet seen it.
** Special thanks to Bill Cunningham's DISContent blog for the images. Shadow artwork by Jim Sterenko.