About that No Time to Die release date Part II

No Time to Die poster

Almost two months ago, the blog raised the question of whether No Time to Die’s November release date is that secure.

Things haven’t firmed up since.

Here in the United States, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is worse than ever. Los Angeles, a major movie viewing market, is one of the hot spots. And the U.S. itself is the worst place on Earth for the virus, according to information tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

As a result, movie studios are still juggling release dates. Ask Warner Bros., which keeps changing the dates for movies such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984.

What’s more, non-movie venues are also in flux.

This week, the Geneva Motor Show, one of the leading global events in the auto industry, announced its 2021 edition, scheduled for March, was canceled. That’s an indication any event where crowds will gather is uncertain.

Again, turning to the U.S., Major League Baseball wants to attempt an abbreviated 60-game season starting in late July. But is that possible given the current COVID-19 situation? As things stand now, MLB games will be played in empty stadiums. Meanwhile minor league baseball has been canceled for 2020.

Granted, it’s a little more than four months before No Time to Die is due out. Things can change.

Also, should Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studio) and Universal (handling international distribution) write off the U.S. and release the 25th James Bond film in Europe and Asia where COVID-19 seems more under control while writing off the U.S.?

Who knows? Still, it’s not much of a reach to say No Time to Die’s current release date is as uncertain as ever.

Joe Sinnott, Marvel’s ace inker, dies at 93

Splash page to a 1967 Nick Fury story, drawn by Jim Steranko and inked by Joe Sinnott

Joe Sinnott, an inker who contributed to the look of Marvel titles such as the Fantastic Four, died today at 93, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Monthly comic books, because of their deadline pressures, typically had one artist draw in pencil with another going over the drawings in ink.

Sinnott drew particular praise for inking Jack Kirby’s work on the Fantastic Four in the 1960s.

Sinnott’s “smooth, stylized ink work” brought “a new sheen and consistency” to Kirby’s pencils, THR said.

The artist came aboard the FF as the title, primarily plotted by Kirby, exploded with new characters such as the Silver Surfer, Galactus, the Inhumans and the Black Panther.

Sinnott also worked with other Marvel artists, including Gene Colan, John Buscema and some issues of the Jim Steranko written and drawn run of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Sinnott retired in the early 1990s but continued to appear on the comic book show circuit and do paid commissions.

Writer and artist Walter Simonson issued a tribute to Sinnott on Twitter.

UPDATE (10:35 p.m. New York time): Jim Steranko also issued his own tribute to Joe Sinnott on Twitter.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Bond 25 questions: The score edition

New No Time to Die poster

It’s still a long way off before people can see No Time to Die. But thanks to an interview with Variety, composer Hans Zimmer has provided the blog with some questions to ask about the movie’s score.

Should the title card read, “Music by Steve Mazzaro and Hans Zimmer”?

Well if you take Zimmer at his word, maybe yes.

Steve should really be the top name on the Bond film,” Zimmer told Variety.

Mazzaro is one of the composers affiliated with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company. In the interview, Zimmer said he asked No Time to Die producer Barbara Broccoli “if it was okay that Steve Mazzaro, who is one of the most fabulous composers I know, could do it with me, because there was very little time.”

Was Zimmer perhaps just being polite?

Maybe yes, maybe no. One way Zimmer manages to do so many film scores is by enlisting the help of other composers.

On some films, Zimmer gets the primary “music by” credit while other Remote Control composers get secondary “additional music by” credits. Examples: Man of Steel, Dunkirk, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.

On still other films, such as Batman v Superman and Blade Runner 2049, Zimmer actually shares the “music by” credit.

Regardless, in addition to Mazzaro, other Remote Control composers who’ve helped out Zimmer include Junkie XL and Lorne Balfe. The latter got the gig to score Mission: Impossible-Fallout and is slated to score the next two M:I movies.

Anything else in that interview catch your eye?

Zimmer’s quote about how “there was very little time” is worth noting. Eon was trying to meet an April release date before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down movie theaters.

Zimmer (and Mazzaro) replaced Dan Romer, who had worked with director Cary Fukunaga on other projects. Since Skyfall, Eon Productions has generally deferred the choice of composer to the directors of Bond films. No Time to Die initially seemed to continue that pattern until Romer’s departure.

A common fan theory is that Romer produced a score deemed too extreme. Meanwhile, Eon had worked with Zimmer and Mazzaro on The Rhythm Section (Mazzaro as composer, Zimmer as music producer, with the latter getting top billing on the music title card).

Zimmer suggests his NTTD co-composer did a lot of work

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer, the lead composer on No Time to Die, suggests in a new interview with Variety that his assistant composer did a fair amount of work on the 25th James Bond film.

Zimmer told Variety of how he was approached by producer Barbara Broccoli about scoring the movie.

“And I asked her if it was okay that Steve Mazzaro, who is one of the most fabulous composers I know, could do it with me, because there was very little time,” Zimmer said. “And of course she said yes. Steve should really be the top name on the Bond film. I hope we’ve done it justice.” (emphasis added).

Mazzaro scored The Rhythm Section, the non-Bond spy film that Eon produced, which was released by Paramount in January. Zimmer was the producer of that movie’s soundtrack. Zimmer and Mazzaro shared the music title card, with Zimmer getting top billing.

Mazzaro also is one of the composers affiliated with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

In the Variety interview, Zimmer also discussed recruiting guitarist Johnny Marr to perform on No Time to Die.

Zimmer replaced Dan Romer as the composer for No Time to Die. Zimmer’s name is on No Time to Die posters that include credits but Mazzaro’s is not.

The article examines other movie projects Zimmer is working on. You can view it by CLICKING HERE.

The blog’s favorite character actors: Murray Hamilton

Murray Hamilton, left, with Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws.

Part of an occasional series.

Murray Hamilton, after a long career as a character actor, has been reduced to a meme in the 21st century.

In Jaws (1975), Hamilton played a mayor who didn’t care about the safety of the citizens of his town. The mayor just wanted to be sure everybody went to the beach despite a killer shark.

These days, various social media postings refer to the “mayor from Jaws.” This is amid a pandemic when a lot of politicians are talking about “opening” the economy without seeming to care that much about safety.

The thing is, Hamilton had a long career as an actor. He often played unsympathetic characters (such as the mayor in Jaws). But he sometimes played sympathetic characters such as James Stewart’s partner in 1959’s The FBI Story.

Hamilton was also among the members of the unofficial group of the QM Players,  who frequently appeared as guest stars on various series produced by Quinn Martin.

One of Hamilton’s best performances was in an episode of The Twilight Zone, One for the Angels. Hamilton plays the character of Death and portrays him as a bureaucrat. He has a quota to meet.

A canny street merchant (Ed Wynn) tricks Death. So Death instead movies to take the life of a young girl. The merchant distracts Death with the best sales pitch he’s ever made. Death misses the appointed time to take the girl’s life. So the merchant will be taken in place of the young girl.

Before they go, the merchant asks where they are going. Death reassures him they are going up, toward heaven.

Hamilton died in 1986 at the age of 63. Here’s a clip from one of his appearances on The FBI, the QM-produced series.

Robert Mintz, writer and Fox TV post-production executive

Robert Mintz title card (along with others) on an episode of The Time Tunnel

One in a series os posts about unsung figures of television.

The name Robert Mintz seemed to be everywhere in the 1960s — if you knew where to look.

Mintz was a post-production executive in the television division of 20th Century Fox.

That meant his name showed up in the end titles of Fox-made TV shows. Everything from Peyton Place, to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, to Lost In Space, to Batman, to The Time Tunnel. He had the title of post production coordinator.

Earlier, Mintz was a writing partner of Allan Balter. The duo wrote an episode of The Outler Limits titled The Hundred Days of the Dragon, which mixed espionage and science fiction and is remember as one of the best outings of that anthology show.

Despite his post-production duties, Mintz did find time to write a Batman two-parter, The Black Widow Strikes Again and Caught in the Spider’s Den.

Mintz died in February at the age of 90, according to the Writer’s Guild West In Memoriam 2020 page.

Official @007 Twitter feed publishes its wittiest post

Eon’s official @007 Twitter account went live in the fall of 2011. The blog has criticized it on occasion (including how long it took to acknowledge the existence of Eon co-founder Harry Saltzman).

However, the Twitter feed has shaped up recently. In particular, a tweet on June 17 had a little fun with the Daniel Craig era.

Without further ado, here it is, comparing images from Skyfall and Quantum of Solace. The tweet plays off the COVID-19 pandemic that’s still a major factor in life today.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

NTTD’s U.S. release date moved up to Nov. 20

New (well, tweaked) No Time to Die character poster

The U.S. release date for No Time to Die is now Nov. 20, moved up from Nov. 25 previously.

Eon’s various social media accounts, including its Twitter feed, confirmed the new Nov. 20 date for the U.S. The U.K. date is still Nov. 12.

The Nov. 20 date had shown up on IMDB.com earlier this week.

In the U.S., this is something like the sixth different release date (November 2019 and in 2020, Feb 14, April 8, April 10, Nov. 25 and Nov. 20).

Movie theaters are starting to open up after being shut down because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Some theaters are showing older films while waiting for studios to begin putting new movies into circulation.

No Time to Die is being distributed by United Artists Releasing, the joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna, in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

Here’s the tweet with the new date:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Anthony Spinner, writer-producer for QM, U.N.C.L.E., dies

Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Carol Lynley in The Prince of Darkness Affair Part II, produced by Anthony Spinner

Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Carol Lynley in The Prince of Darkness Affair Part II, produced by Anthony Spinner and written by Dean Hargrove

Anthony Spinner, a writer-producer who worked on a number of series for QM Productions as well as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., died in February at 89, according to the In Memoriam 2020 page of the Writer’s Guild West website.

Spinner’s work as a writer had a recurring theme of betrayal. A few examples:

–In The FBI episode The Tormentors, written by Spinner, kidnapper Logan Dupree (Wayne Rogers) brutally murders one of his confederates, John Brock (Edward Asner).

— In The Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode The Secret Sceptre Affair, written by Spinner, Napoleon Solo is manipulated and betrayed by his commanding officer from the Korean War.

— In The FBI episode The Assassin, plotted by Spinner, an international assassin (William Windom) sets up an idealistic traitor (Tom Skeritt) to be killed as part of an assassination plot aimed at a bishop (Dean Jagger).

–In The Name of the Game episode The Perfect Image, plotted by Spinner, Howard Publications executive assistant Peggy Maxwell (Susan Saint James) has been manipulated by an old friend as part of a plot to discredit a reform mayor of Chicago.

Anthony Spinner’s title card for Survival, the final episode of The FBI

After writing for a number of QM Productions shows, Spinner was associate producer for the first season of The Invaders. QM’s only science fiction show had a paranoid feel as David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) battled invaders from another world who took human form to take over Earth.

Spinner’s next job was producing the fourth (and final) season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Spinner, in effect, tried to bring the “QM Gravitas” to U.N.C.L.E. following that show’s very campy third season.

The fourth-season debut, The Summit-Five Affair, showed how Spinner was taking the show in a different direction. In the episode, written by Robert E. Thompson, Solo (Robert Vaughn) undergoes torture — by another U.N.C.L.E. operative (Lloyd Bochner), determined to show that Solo is a traitor.

Summit-Five also featured a major double-cross, something that would occur in other Spinner-produced U.N.C.L.E. episodes.

Not everyone involved appreciated the new direction. Veteran U.N.C.L.E. writer Dean Hargrove, in a 2007 interview for a DVD release, said Spinner came from “the Quinn Martin School of Melodrama.” He didn’t mean it as a compliment. In the interview, Hargrove described his disagreements with Spinner during production of the two-part story The Prince of Darkness Affair.

U.N.C.L.E. ran out of time and was canceled in mid-season. Spinner would return to QM Productions. His time there would have its ups and downs.

Anthony Spinner title card for an episode of Dan August

For example, Spinner produced the QM police drama Dan August (1970-71). Spinner pushed to have more topical scripts.

“Quinn said to me, ‘Are we doing propaganda here?,'” Spinner said in an interview with Jonathan Etter for the author’s Quinn Martin, Producer book. “I said, ‘Yeah, because I’m tired of diamond heists and kidnapped girls and all that stuff.'”

Regardless, boss Quinn Martin consistently utilized Spinner’s talents on multiple series.

Shelly Novack and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in a publicity still for The FBI's final season, produced by Anthony Spinner.

Shelly Novack and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in a publicity still for The FBI’s final season, produced by Anthony Spinner.

Spinner produced the final season of QM’s The FBI. Even before that show was canceled, Martin re-assigned Spinner to Cannon. Spinner finished work on The FBI on a Friday in 1974 and began work on Cannon the following Monday, according to the Quinn Martin, Producer book.

In 1975, Martin had Spinner producing two QM series simultaneously, Cannon and the short-lived Caribe. The latter was a cross between Hawaii Five-O (tropical climate) and U.N.C.L.E. (agency with multi-national jurisdiction).

Also, while working at QM, Spinner and his story editor, Stephen Kandel, rescued Cannon scripts during a large fire at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, the home base for Cannon, according to the Etter book.

His credits also included being producer of The Return of the Saint in the late 1970s, with Ian Ogilvy as Simon Templar.

Spinner’s career extended into the 1990s with the TV movie The Lottery.

In 2009, Spinner sued ABC saying he actually created the television series Lost. Spinner in 1977 had written a pilot for the network titled Lost which he said contained ideas and concepts that ended up in the 2004-10 series. ABC won the case in court in 2011. a finding that was upheld on appeal in 2013.

Denny O’Neil, who helped revive Batman, dies

Splash page to the Batman story “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley,” written by Denny O’Neil

Denny O’Neil, a comic book writer and editor who returned Batman to his dark origins, has died at 81, the Games Radar website said.

The character’s comic stories had turned light-hearted during the run of the 1966-68 television series starring Adam West.

After that show ended, editor Julius Schwartz assembled contributors who’d take the character in a darker direction.

O’Neill, artist Neal Adams and inker Dick Giordano were among the key contributors, though there were others.

Those stories ended up being an influence on the 1989 Batman feature film directed by Tim Burton. O’Neil and Adams also created the villain Ra’s al Ghul, who appeared in the 2005 Christopher Nolan-directed Batman Begins. Also, some of the O’Neil-written comics stories were adapted by a 1990s Batman cartoon series.

O’Neil and Adams also worked together on a run of Green Lantern and Green Arrow comics in the 1970s intended to take on contemporary issues, such as drug addiction.

O’Neil left DC for a time to work at Marvel. He was editor of Daredevil when writer-artist Frank Miller rejuvenated that character in the late 1970s and 1980s. O’Neil also wrote Daredevil for a time after Miller departed.

O’Neil later returned to DC, where he edited the Batman titles from 1986 to 2000.

Tributes to O’Neil were published on social media, including one by retired comic book writer Gerry Conway.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js