Thursday, November 11, 2010

RIP: Dino De Laurentiis - November 11, 2010

Funny how things pan out when you're a film geek. Just last night I was showing my girlfriend "Visions of Light", the must-see documentary about cinematography. In the latter half of the film they start talking about the work done on "Blue Velvet". I thought to myself how funny it is that Dino De Laurentiis never gets recognition for putting this movie out; only for Kong, Conan, Barbarella, eg enjoyable schlock. Then this morning I wake up and find out Dino, at the age of 91, has finally passed on into the great big director's chair in the sky.

I just recently wrote a required reading bit about the book by Ray Morton about the makings of all the King Kong movies. Dino's story is probably one of the most interesting in there. I have a soft spot not just for his '76 Kong, but for his much-maligned '86 sequel. Likewise, he had a hand in making the Conan movies, Flash Gordon, tons of movies that were staples of my childhood. But he also was one of the first major producers to bring the Italian avant-garde to the US and the rest of the world. He made big splashy comic adaptations like Barbarella and Danger: Diabolik before that would become the norm. He produced over 500 movies in his lifetime, all the way up until the day he died.

I have a pass to Universal Studios and the tour always drive you past the production bungalows. Every time we whizzed past them I had a smile on my face seeing Dino and his daughter still had assigned parking spaces and offices right in the front.

Like Corman, Dino is a hero of mine. To many this seems tantamount to sacrilege. but anybody who loves movies this much and loves making movies this much needs to be any film geek's hero. Oh yeah, fuck the Medveds! You know what I'm talking about.


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