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 Post subject: Re: The Call of the Wild
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:50 am
Posts: 598
Watched it finally during the Christmas vacation. Beautiful locations, the sense of suspense and wildness has been built up quite well. It is true that Heston does not have much to do in the movie, though he fits well into the role of a tough adventurer and dog-owner *** businessman. Nevertheless, if the story fell into the hand of a better director, he could have made really an interesting work out of it. Jack London's text is a masterpiece, it needed better handling, that's all.

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 Post subject: Re: The Call of the Wild
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:17 pm 
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El Cid
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 1137
Location: Lincoln, England
My two favourite books as a child were THE CALL OF THE WILD and TREASURE ISLAND.

Thankfully, the Heston version of the Stevenson classic is easily the best cinematic production.

Jack London's book is so good I read it about three or four times as a kid. I love dogs, you see. I couldn't wait to see Chuck in this classic tale, but it was a major disappointment. Chuck and the dog were good though, and the scenery was beautiful.


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 Post subject: Re: The Call of the Wild
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:51 am 
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El Cid
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:11 pm
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Location: Lincoln, England
I watched CALL OF THE WILD last night, and I'm now warming to it. The very first time I saw it, at the ABC cinema in Lincoln, UK, it played to an almost empty house, no doubt due to the terrible reviews by the British critics. Back then in 1972, I was shocked by the amateurish dubbing and the terrible acting by the bit players, and considered it Chuck's worst movie (like Chuck himself).

When videos first came out in the 1970's I was purchasing a VHS film at Woolworth's when a lady at the counter beside me was trying to return a VHS copy of CALL OF THE WILD to the assistant.

"Is the video faulty, madam?" asked the salesgirl.

"No - it's just terrible quality - awful!"

"What do you mean, it's terrible quality, does the video play in your machine?"

"Yes, it plays, but it's just awful - a terrible film, it doesn't seem like a proper film!"

At this point I smiled to myself, as I knew exactly what the customer was trying to say about the film, but decided not to intervene because it wasn't my business.

"Well, if the video isn't faulty then I can't refund your money, madam - just because you don't like the actual film itself!" said the assistant, in a firm and this-is-the-end-of-our-conversation manner.

Because I disliked the movie so much on my first viewing of it, I decided to give it another go last night and see if my opinion has altered any over the last 40 years. Well, the good news is, I sort of really enjoyed it in a weird kind of way. Even the ridiculous acting by the bit players didn't interfere with my new found enjoyment - in fact, it enhanced the fun!

The music and the location shots are quite beautiful, Heston is marvellous, the dogs are really great, but the unintentionally funniest bits for me were the over-made up extras who were playing the prostitutes in the Skagway saloon. They looked like overweight drag queens ... it was quite hilarious.

All in all, CALL OF THE WILD isn't quite the terrible mess I first thought it was on my initial viewing of it, in fact, its really entertaining, and its far better than SOLAR CRISIS, which really is Charlton Heston's worst movie.


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 Post subject: Re: The Call of the Wild
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:46 pm 
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Damned Dirty Admin
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Location: Sweden
So this was only your second viewing of it?

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 Post subject: Re: The Call of the Wild
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:57 pm 
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El Cid
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Location: Lincoln, England
Oh no, Thorn, I have five different dvd's of it and have seen it on numerous occasions. This was the first time since my initial viewing in 1973 that I watched it without prejudice, should I say. My children, like me, are all dog lovers and they liked watching it on VHS in the 1980's.

I might do a review of CALL OF THE WILD sometime next week, time permitting.


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 Post subject: Re: The Call of the Wild
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:39 pm 
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El Cid
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 1137
Location: Lincoln, England
fendell wrote:
Actually CALL OF THE WILD was released all over the world back in the early 70's. I myself saw in a theater in Milwaukee, WI in 1974. It is a bit of a mess, but a very releasable mess for the time. I have no doubt the producing company made a tidy profit on it.


Fendell is correct, THE CALL OF THE WILD was released in the U.S. in November 1974, I have three American newspaper reviews of it, even though IMDb claims it was released in America in March 1975. I was surprised that Jeff Rovin was unable to write anything of note on the film in his book "The Films of Charlton Heston" which was published in 1977, and just quoted a small excerpt from Variety magazine. He reckoned it had "vanished from view" which I thought was very strange, since it cropped up on British tv quite a lot around that time. On one occasion, a television airing of it was reported in the national press a week later, as one irate lady from Manchester phoned up the RSPCA during a transmission complaining about the cruelty to the dogs. Maybe she had a point there, my family watched it with me on VHS in the 1980's and my young son asked me if the dogs really were trying to kill each other in one scene. "No, son, there are certain rules film makers must obey regarding animal cruelty .... these dogs are specially trained to fight like that for the film." My son looked at the screen, with the dogs seemingly ripping themselves to shreds, and asked, "Do the dogs know it's a film Dad?" which was a difficult question to reply, especially to an eight year old. Heston, in his journals, reckons that the dogs used for the film were not trained very good for movie work, like they are in Hollywood, which now leads me to suspect that some of the dog fighting in THE CALL OF THE WILD is for real. It certainly looks real enough as I look at it now.

We complain that SECRET OF THE INCAS has never had a legitimate release in the UK and America, but fans of this movie (there are loads - look at the Amazon reviews) can't complain, can they? I have seven versions of it, all by different distributors, and if you google "call of the wild Heston vhs videos" you will see some really ludicrous video covers from the 1980's when it was in the Public Domain. There are some really cheap and cheerful covers, all with a dog howling, of course, plus a picture of Heston, and not necessarily from THE CALL OF THE WILD, either! One has Chuck from EL CID next to a howling wolf, three different ones have Heston from THE MOUNTAIN MEN, and then there's photos of Chuck from MIDWAY, GRAY LADY DOWN, and there is one British video and a Spanish dvd which has Chuck in a scene from 55 DAYS AT PEKING, http://cloud10.todocoleccion.online/cin ... 937842.jpg next to a doggie howling at the moon. Take a look ... they will make you chuckle. When I first saw the CALL OF THE WILD video cover with Heston as El Cid on the cover I was tempted to scream "Yukon not be serious!" (sorry about that!)

This is yet another Heston movie in which he is in a bathtub with a pretty lady washing him, see also WILL PENNY, THE PIGEON THAT TOOK ROME, THE HAWAIIANS, etc. He also had a shower scene with Ava Gardner in EARTHQUAKE, and in NUMBER ONE, I think.

It is also the second time in his illustrious career that Heston played a mail carrier; the other one was PONY EXPRESS.


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