Monday, July 11, 2011

30 years ago, Snake Plissken escaped from New York

On July 10, 1981, Kurt Russell would become a surprise movie icon in a bleak future-set movie called "Escape From New York". A surprise because the studio probably thought the film would do O.K. but nothing like the cult classic status it ultimately attained.

I actually remember the first time I saw "Escape" in theaters; in an old movie palace in Brattleboro, Vermont a few weeks after it's release. Director John Carpenter was three years out from his phenomenal hit "Halloween" and "The Fog" had been released the year prior to Snake Plissken's debut.

Kurt Russell's gravely voiced war-hero-turned-criminal whose forced to fly into now maximum security prison New York City to rescue the President of the US, would bring cool action, drama and even humor into this dark yet fresh cinematic landscape. A landscape that future director James Cameron would help envision as a budding matte painter.

So many people associate John Carpenter with horror, like those aforementioned classic films. Yet "Escape from New York" will always be on top of my list. Even though the sequel, "Escape from LA", was merely a disappointing remake and not a very good one at that, the original film has stood the test of time and made Kurt Russell's Snake practically a household name.

But who, also, could forget the late Isaac Hayes as The Duke:
"Snake Plissken...I hearda you. I heard you were dead."

Harry Dean Stanton as Brain:
" Just one thing, right now... don't call me Harold!"

And of course Donald Pleasance as the President of the United States! One of my favorite scenes is his Duke payback moment on the 69th Street Bridge during the climax of the film...
[fires machine gun at the Duke] "Ayy! Number Onnee! You're the Duke! You're the Duke!" [stops firing] "You're the... Duke. You're... A-number one."

Tonight at the 10th Box, my 30th Anniversary screening of "Escape From New York". Hopefully at some point soon someone in LA will put together an anniversary event with Kurt Russell and John Carpenter. In the meantime, I got it covered!


At July 11, 2011 at 10:35 AM, Anonymous Allen said...

Ya know, every time I read one of these I'm reminded of how old I am. KNOCK IT OFF!!! :o

What's on the menu? Coney Island Hot Dogs? A slice from Little Italy? Maybe some Manhattan style clam chowder?

I also love the Carpenter/Russell team-up on "Big Trouble in Little China"

At July 12, 2011 at 6:51 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

LOL! Yeah, I know what you mean about the time that's gone by! 30 is a BIG number!

Tonight's 10th Box offering was The Duke's A-Number One Hot Dogs and Barbeau Tater Tots.

They actually had a screening of "Escape" and "Big Trouble" at The Egyptian about two years ago. Unfortunately we couldn't make it. Great movie as well although I never liked it as much as "Escape".

At July 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM, Anonymous Allen said...

Don't you mean: Barbeau Tater Ta-tas?

And don't forget "The Thing" - That movie gave me the willies!

At July 12, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

Yes, that's EXACTLY what I meant!! LOL!

You know, I've never actually seen "The Thing" all the way through. Just bits and pieces really. I'm sure someday I will.


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