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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:51 am 
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El Cid
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James Byrne wrote:
I watched THE AWAKENING again last night after finishing work and really enjoyed it. Spotted a couple of Indiana Jones-type scenes in it which really made me smile, knowing that Indy was based on Harry Steele.


I mentioned the fact that THE AWAKENING has a few scenes in it that wouldn't be out of place in an Indiana Jones movie to Indy fans on The Raven site and my old mate Stoo put together a small pictorial comparison.
http://raven.theraider.net/showthread.p ... 45&page=21
There are a couple more Indy-like scenes in THE AWAKENING as well as those two.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:50 pm 
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This is interesting - Stephanie Zimbalist admits she had a teenage crush on Heston for a whole year after seeing BEN-HUR when she was twelve.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 47,5264803


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 Post subject: FULL TANK OF GAS reviews THE AWAKENING
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:01 pm 
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FULL TANK OF GAS reviews THE AWAKENING

The Awakening (1980)
I don’t understand why filmmakers keep returning to the Bram Stoker novel The Jewel of Seven Stars. Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb was released less than a decade earlier than this effort and was just as bad. I wonder whether it would have been revisited had Stoker not written Dracula, one of the cornerstones of the horror genre. Certainly, the makers of this movie must have been aware of the earlier Hammer effort and felt they could do a better job. Well, how wrong they were. An ageing Charlton Heston stars, and claimed at the time that it was his only horror movie. I know The Omega Man and Soylent Green are both SF movies, but I’d have thought they both had some claim to having at least a foothold in the horror genre. Not that it matters, because The Awakening is so poor in nearly every department that it barely qualifies as a horror movie, anyway. The only thing it has going for it is that it was apparently the first Mummy movie actually filmed (partly) in Egypt.

It opens in Egypt in 1962 where archaeologist Matthew Corbeck is busy hunting for the tomb of Kara, a female pharaoh who was so evil that her name has been struck from the history books. He’s assisted by Jane Turner (Susannah York), while his seven

months pregnant wife, Anne (Jill Townsend) mopes around at the camp, growing increasingly jealous of the close working relationship shared by her husband and his assistant. This section of the movie is actually a (fairly lengthy) prologue to the main action, which means Heston and York are both way too old for their parts at this point, and you can’t help wondering just why Corbeck would bring his heavily pregnant wife to such an uncomfortably hot and dusty climate so that she can sit around with nothing to do all day. Anne is alone at the camp when Corbeck finally stumbles upon Kara’s tomb, and each hammer blow he delivers on the seal to her sarcophagus becomes a crippling labour pain for her, and their daughter, Margaret (Stephanie Zimbalist) is stillborn. However, in one of those twists that moviemakers feel needs no rational explanation, the breath of the newly unearthed Kara breathes life into the babe just as nurses have covered her ready for the morgue.

Fast forward eighteen years and Corbeck is a university professor. As Heston wore no make-up to make him look more youthful during the prologue, someone had the bright idea of sticking an unconvincing straggly beard onto his cheeks to show how much he’d aged. They didn’t bother doing anything to York, who looked forty in 1962 and still looks 40 in 1980. She and Corbeck are now a couple, so Anne, who now lives in America with her daughter, was apparently right to have her doubts about them. Just as Corbeck’s daughter approaches her eighteenth birthday, he receives word from Egypt that the mummy of Kara is deteriorating and hurries off to investigate.

Of course, it’s no surprise to anyone other than the characters in this sorry tale just what is going on, and it’s quite astonishing just how badly talented filmmakers and writers can screw up a straightforward story so badly. Newell went on to direct Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Donnie Brasco (1997), while co-writers Chris Bryant and Clive Exton have, respectively, the 1973 horror classic Don’t Look Now and 10 Rillington Place (1971) to their credit. Ok, so Exton also wrote Red Sonja (1985), but he was obviously capable of writing quality material. But this is merely a pale rip-off of previous movies, borrowing elements from The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1975) and unsuccessfully attempting to graft them onto Stoker’s pedestrian tale.

The series of ‘mysterious’ deaths that surround events concerning the moving of Kara to London (at the same time that Margaret visits London to pay a surprise visit on her father) were fairly tame even by 1970s standards. One guy falls off a cliff, another gets run over (which might just as easily be due to his lack of knowledge of the Green Cross Code rather than an ancient curse, because he definitely didn’t look left, right, and left again before crossing), one guy gets speared by a booby trap in Kara’s tomb, and Susannah York suffers a watered down version of the fate suffered by David Warner in The Omen. And the closer the movie gets to its anti-climactic final act, the more disjointed and chaotic it becomes. Perhaps I saw an edited version, but one brief scene has Margaret, breathing heavily, watching her father sliding across the floor towards the safe in which Kara’s innards are housed, and that’s it. The next moment, Heston’s having a bloody wrist bandaged with no explanation as to what just happened. Chances are though, that you’ll have given up watching long before this moment in the movie – unless, that is, you’re unfortunate enough to have given yourself the task of reviewing this sorry mess.

(Reviewed 9th September 2013)


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:52 pm 
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What kind of website is Full Tank of Gas?

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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:20 pm 
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Very sparse, Thorn ... as you can see
http://www.afulltankofgas.com/theawakening.html

Richard Cross is the name of the guy who runs it, this is what he wrote about his site-

Hi,

A Full Tank of Gas… was established in 2012 as a repository for close to 2000 movie reviews I had written over the previous 10 years, most of which were posted on the IMDb website under the user-name of JoeytheBrit. I’m slowly transferring these reviews to this site, and am now uploading any new reviews I write directly to A Full Tank of Gas…

There are two types of review on A Full Tank of Gas…, full reviews, with a word-count greater than 400 words, and capsule reviews with a word-count less than 400 words.

Reviews are simply an expression of the writer’s opinion and, by definition, an opinion can be neither wrong nor right. It merely exists. If you disagree with my opinion and feel compelled to contact me to say so, please feel free. However, abusive messages won’t be responded to - life’s too short, and all you’ll get out of it is to know how it feels to be ignored…

Feel free to contact me by e-mail for any other reason, and I’ll do my best to respond promptly.

Cheers,

Richard Cross

P.S. If you’re wondering what this website’s title is all about, you really haven’t seen enough movies…


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:44 am 
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El Cid
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Chrysagon wrote:
Here's what I think is an unusual poster for Heston's horror pic THE AWAKENING (1980):
Image

---- This one harkens back to Hammer Film horror posters of the late sixties/early seventies, I feel... (dunno what country though)


This is the Thai poster, Chrysagon, it actually recreates scenes from the movie, unlike most of the other posters for THE AWAKENING.

I just discovered a review of THE AWAKENING which echo my thoughts on the movie, that it isn't in the least boring.

http://strange-complex.livejournal.com/ ... d=16289359

Sun, Dec. 21st, 2014
We must have taped this off the telly some time in my early teens, as I clearly remember having a copy of it in the family house, really liking it and watching it quite regularly on boring Sunday afternoons. I hadn't seen it since I left home though (and heck knows what's happened to the taped copy), so I borrowed it to see whether it was as good as I remember. It was!

The story is based on Bram Stoker's novel, The Jewel of the Seven Stars, which I must confess I have never read. Wikipedia gives good plot summaries of both, though, so I won't bother repeating either, but will simply link for those who are interested:
The Jewel of the Seven Stars
The Awakening
Judging from those, the essential elements of the stories are pretty similar, but The Awakening updates everything to the present day, and puts more emphasis on the personal and psychological troubles of the Egyptologist who unearths the mummy - his marital problems, his career obsessions, his weird relationship with the teenage daughter he has barely ever seen. And there is no doubt at all about what has happened to both Kara (the mummified princess) and Margaret (his daughter) at the end.

Wikipedia also tells me, in what is clearly a rather contested Reception section, that this film is apparently widely considered rather dull. Indeed, others seem to agree. It's a fascinating phenomenon, this one - you grow up with a film in the pre-internet age, form your own opinion of it, perhaps with input from one single review (my Horror Bible thinks it's great!), and only discover years later that you are utterly out of step with the majority consensus. But in this case I really cannot understand what the people who claim this film is boring are on about. From where I'm sitting, Charlton Heston does a great job as Corbeck, the lead Egyptologist, conveying very effectively the range from his buoyant exuberance when he first makes the find of a life-time to his increasingly-unhinged vulnerability as he begins to realise where it is leading him. And the plot builds just nicely from a straightforwardly-realistic depiction of an Egyptological dig at the beginning, through a series of strange and unsettling events which reflect the parallel development of Corbeck's unhealthy obsession with his find, and via a sequence of inventive and memorable deaths to a poignant ending in which he just has time to witness his own illusions shattering before meeting his own horrible fate. There is a strong sense of inevitability as the events march towards their terrible climax, and yet always tension too as we are given reasons to hope that the characters will manage to overcome the ancient evil and escape their fates.

Watching it now, what I really liked about it was its central concern with academic obsession, and the terribly damaging effect it can have on the person experiencing it and on those around them. I can definitely relate to that. In fact, in many ways Corbeck's character arc reminds me quite strongly of Stourley Kracklite's in Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect, another film of which I am extremely fond. Both characters are obsessed with a little-known historical figure whom no-one else really cares about (Kara, Boulée), both have marital problems, both lose control of their big research projects, both put up undignified fights to get them back, both lose all sense of proportion in the process, both are aware of their own impending doom and helpless in the face of it, and both essentially end up causing their own deaths. It's just that in The Awakening, the drama and tension of this arc is manifested partly via supernatural happenings.

Obviously when I originally saw this as a teenager, I couldn't have related quite so profoundly to the academic-obsession theme, but I was of course already very geeky. I had definitely spent more than my due portion of hours shut away in my bedroom, reading about Egyptian mythology. So I think even then I would have found something that spoke to me in Corbeck's obsession with an ancient Egyptian princess, and his half-hope, half-fear that he might be able to bring her back to life. Certainly, I remember being very much taken by the climactic scene in which he carries out the resurrection ritual, at the end of which he breaks open the mummy's jaw so that she can 'breathe' again, only to first realise to his horror that the magic was all an illusion and all he has done is irreparably damage his precious find, and then realise to his even greater horror that the ritual has in fact worked, but not in the way he had imagined - Kara has indeed come back to life, but in the body of his daughter. This part, of course, is a classic 'be careful what you wish for' story - rather like The Monkey's Paw, for example.

Meanwhile, this is a surprisingly big-budget film for a British horror movie. Even the nay-sayers seem willing to concede that its sets and location footage, including extensive scenes set in actual Egypt, are superb, and the camera crew certainly get good value out of them. The early scenes on the dig are infused with a powerful sense of the close heat of the Egyptian desert - another aspect which had really stuck with me since I last saw this film as a teenager. There is some clever editing work going on as well, usually to suggest terrifying and supernatural things without actually showing them. For example, when Corbeck first finds Kara's tomb, the sounds of his hammer-blows as he opens the outer seal reverberate along the valley, where they are cross-cut with scenes of his wife back at the camp experiencing simultaneous spasms as she goes into a premature labour with their child. This is just enough to suggest, without actually stating, that there is a profound connection between the dead Egyptian princess and the new-born baby - just the right level to leave that suggestion on at this stage of the story, so that it can develop more fully and horrifyingly later on.

I will concede that the young lady who plays Corbeck's daughter, Stephanie Zimbalist, puts in a pretty unexciting performance - but even then, maybe that's only appropriate to the story, given that she is meant to be 18 years old and basically just a cipher waiting to be possessed by an evil Egyptian princess. It's probably a good thing the film ends just as that possession takes full hold, because I'm not sure Zimbalist could have carried full-on evil very convincingly. Other than that, though, I really can't see how or why this film deserves such mediocre ratings on the various review aggregator websites. That said, I note that many of the negative reviews (e.g. this one) draw their unfavourable comparisons specifically with Hammer's earlier take on the same Stoker novel, Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, and I won't dismiss that part of what they say. So it's onto the Lovefilm list with Hammer's effort, for future viewing and a comparison of my own.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:25 am 
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In 1983 my wife and I finally gave in to the constant pleading of our children and purchased a VHS recorder. Renting videos was all the rage from Blockbuster http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film ... emise.html , and cheapo horror movies were the vogue. A man in a van came round our neighbourhood every Friday evening loaning out the latest video releases at a much cheaper rate than Blockbuster, which you could keep for a week. Naturally, we exchanged our videos with our friends and neighbours, and vice versa, and after a few months we had seen practically everything on offer in his van. I asked him if he had any Charlton Heston movies, and lo-and-behold, the next Friday he proudly offered THE AWAKENING for our entertainment. My youngest daughter was delighted when I told her the movie was about an Egyptian princess mummy; she was absolutely crazy about anything to do with ancient Egypt. We borrowed the movie several times because of her mild obsession, which baffled the guy who was renting it to us.

"Aren't you sick of that film yet?" he enquired, on the third occasion I asked for it, "My other customers don't seem to like it!"

It seems that we, as a family, were the only people on the planet who actually enjoyed this movie, judging by the critical response at the time of its release in the U.K. These headlines in British newspapers will give you an example of how much the critics slated it:

"Oh mummy! horror stoked up with hokum" (Daily Mirror, 21 Nov 1980)
"Curse of the old, old plot" (Daily Star, 22 Nov 1980)
"The dying art of pyramid selling" (The Guardian, 20 Nov 1980)
"Tut, tut, they're opening up the tomb again" (New Standard, 20 Nov 1980)
"Deep trouble for Charlton" (Sunday Mirror, 23 Nov 1980)

You get the picture .... THE AWAKENING wasn't a critical success here in the British Isles, so how come my family and I enjoyed it so much? Like Howard Carter when he first saw King Tut's burial chamber, I saw "Wonderful things!" in this much maligned Heston movie. The fact that it was actually filmed at The Valley of the King's really impressed me, and I have always been a sucker for any movie that has some adventurers hunting for long lost tombs or treasure in exotic locales (my favourite movie is SECRET OF THE INCAS). The music by Clive Bolling was exceptional, especially the opening piece, and Jack Cardiff's location cinematography was beautiful. The performances by the main three actors was credible, and pertaining to the individuals characters desires and obsessions (and who better to play an obsessed archaeologist, than Heston, born with the surname Carter, a year after King Tut's tomb was discovered!)

Another thing I really liked was spotting all the familiar British faces popping up in cameo roles. My children all exclaimed "Moxey!" when Christopher Fairbank http://www.aveleyman.com/Gallery/ActorsF/22460-1022.jpg, as Charlie the porter, made a brief appearance with Heston. "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet!" was an immensely popular comedy/drama on British tv at the time. Heston and Fairbank later appeared in seperate versions of HAMLET. Chuck was the Player King in the Branagh movie, and coincidentally, Fairbank turned up as the Player Queen in the energetic Zeffirelli film.

I spotted a bit player who isn't even credited in IMDb cast list. Barrie Holland is sat at a restaurant table, in a "blink and you'll miss him" appearence. Barrie later acquired cult status for uttering the immortal line, "You rebel scum" to Harrison Ford in RETURN OF THE JEDI. Barrie was also in the first three Indiana Jones adventures - it was his foot that kicks the diamond across the floor when Kate Capshaw is on her knees in TEMPLE OF DOOM, and Barrie paints the stencil figure on the last crate with an ark at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

Another bit player from RAIDERS, John Rees, played Van Hoorn, but all these scenes never made it into the final film, unfortunately. I especially enjoy Miriam Margolyes in anything, particularly on British tv chat shows when she doesn't mind speaking her mind on any subject, however controversial. In THE AWAKENING she was Doctor Kadira http://www.aveleyman.com/Gallery/ActorsM/11081-1022.jpg, who delivers Heston's baby while Chuck is absent digging in a tomb. She gives Heston a giant guilt complex when he does eventually turn up to see his new-born daughter. Miriam tells the weeping Jill Townsend that "All new mother's cry, Mrs. Corbeck," not knowing that the baby is possessed by an ancient Egyptian spirit. Coincidentally, Miriam later made END OF DAYS, another movie about a possessed baby, in which she even went one better than Charlton Heston. Chuck was chosen to intimidate Arnold Schwarzenegger in TRUE LIES, but Miriam actually beats up Arnie in END OF DAYS.

Jill Townsend was thrilled about the film until she found out that she had to dye her hair brown and wear pink contact lenses, to make her blue eyes appear brown. At the time of filming, Jill was quoted as saying, "The part was great and with two actors I admire so much .... and in Egypt!" She has changed her tune somewhat since 1980, recently interviewed by a British newspaper, Jill claimed, "My swansong was the worst film ever made - THE AWAKENING, starring Charlton Heston - but at least I got to see Egypt. I quit acting, I was tired of the enormous egos of some people in the industry."


The director of THE AWAKENING, Mike Newell, has entirely the opposite recollections of making the movie. In Starlog magazine, Nov 2005 he recalls:

"THE AWAKENING - oh boy that's going back a bit," Newell laughs. "I have fond memories of that one. Chuck Heston was so good to me. I was a snotty-ass kid who didn't know anything, and I remember very elaborately and seriously telling him, 'On this shot, we're going to cheat. And what that means, Chuck, is that although the camera shows you in a certain location, we're actually shooting it in another location. Then we're going to change the angle, ... ' At that point, he touched me on the arm and said, 'Mike. 62.' I said, 'What do you mean, Chuck, 62?' he said, 'I've made 62 films.' He didn't have to take that young crap from me as graciously as he did.
"So I'm grateful to him, of course, the film could have been better, but almost any film can be better. I learned a wonderful lesson, and Chuck was generous enough to allow me to learn with him."

I own much of the material connected to THE AWAKENING, about the only things I haven't acquired yet are the screenplay and this fabulous looking LP of Clive Bolling's score
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5049/532 ... 96c4_b.jpg


Last edited by James Byrne on Sat May 27, 2017 11:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:49 pm 
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Great write-up, James! Enjoyed reading that very much and it was nice to read what the director said about Heston.

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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Thanks Thorn,

I have been called the "world's number one fan" of SECRET OF THE INCAS by a large number of people on the net, and also, to my daughter's amusement, by my local newspaper. There is a great possibility that I may be the "world's number one fan" of THE AWAKENING, as well, after finding some stuff in my loft yesterday.

I had forgotten that I own quite a few laserdiscs on Heston movies, that I stored in my loft, and one of them was THE AWAKENING. I also found the VHS video, the dvd, the movie tie-in paperback book, Press Pack, British lobby cards, Front-0f-House in colour and b/w, plus the cd of the soundtrack .... and ... the Belgian and German posters of the film. There was also a folder containing numerous newspaper reviews from Britain and America. Quite a collection, without even trying.

I also found some old stuff that appeared on the IMDb years ago, that has since been deleted, which I can verify as the truth. On Monday, 24 September 1984, THE AWAKENING premiered on British tv and I taped the broadcast. In it, the consulting room scene in which Margaret attacks the doctor has a different sound to the one that is in the dvd. The tv version had Margaret rasping and hissing in an unearthly manner, but in the dvd its clearly Stephanie Zimbalist's voice, instead of the horrific hissing. The tv version was far more frightening in that scene. I wonder why they changed it for the dvd version?

Also, some guy on the IMDb mentioned that there was a Director's Cut of THE AWAKENING, with a completely different ending. In it Heston is supposedly seduced by his daughter, they make love, and then she kills him. I have never heard of this before or since, so I'm very sceptical that it has any truth to it. That leads me to the scene in the movie when his daughter kisses Heston in a not-very-daughterly fashion. My own daughters wanted to know what was going on in that scene and I dodged the issue by telling them to "ask your mother!" My wife explained to them that there is such a thing as Genetic Sexual Attraction and explained all the grisly details to them, as I squirmed in the corner.

By the way, there is a terrific museum called "The Craven Arms" in Shropshire, UK, in which the curator, Stella Mitchell, has Heston's jacket on display that he wore in THE AWAKENING.

http://www.shropshirelifemagazine.co.uk ... -1-1638151


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:16 pm 
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I can just imagine you squirming in the corner! :lol:

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