Vintage Trailer of the Day

Few trailers are as iconic as this one – its infamy coming from playing at every single Butt-Numb-a-Thon. Then again, few trailers speak so loudly for themselves. You’ll be compelled over the edge of sight and sound as these crazed men play hard rock, let their on-stage magician blow things up, and fly the farthest flights. Whether the movie itself is any good is up for debate, but the trailer for Stunt Rock is certainly a pool of adrenaline created by Brian Trenchard-Smith‘s insanity pouring right out of his skull. Seriously, just watch the damned thing. It’s genius shoved into a Marshall stack, lit on fire, and shoved off a cliff.

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If there’s one group of mutants fighting the wrong-doers of the world that you should see this weekend, it’s probably the X-Men, but if there’s two, you could do worse than to revel in the exploits of Accion Mutante. Alex de la Iglesia’s first film is absurd, insane, action-packed, and takes place in a world where the beautiful people have taken over the planet. Science fiction, or real life? Difficult to say. Sorry, English speakers. I couldn’t snag a subtitled version, but you really don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to get hip to what’s going on here. A kidnapping, an unlikely crew of heroes, and some heavy artillery. That’s the same in every language.

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Oh, Jerry Warren. Duke of Schlocky Horror Films (he wasn’t prolific or notable enough to be The King). The Wild World of Batwoman is a blatant rip-off of several films and a desperate attempt to piggyback on the popularity of the Batman television series of the 60s. It makes no sense, except for the fact that Batwoman and her Batmaidens fight evil by Go Go Dancing. This method is still used in the NYPD to this day. At some point, Batmania wasn’t catching fire like it used to, so Warren changed the title to She Was a Hippy Vampire. Both trailers are included here, but no explanation for the movie’s plot could be found.

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This trailer is the kind of efficiency that will make you proud to live in the era you live in. Before Star Wars, there was THX 113. Newcomer George Lucas expanded his short film Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB while shortening the title to create this vision of the future. He also wrangled Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence for this sci-fi epic about what all sci-fi Dystopian epics are about: two humanoids finding love in a drug-addled world that forbids it. Also like most Dystopian futures, some of the dialogue (SEN’s) is drawn directly from Richard Nixon’s speeches.

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Movies teach us many lessons, but perhaps the most important one is that, if you’re a young college woman, don’t waste your time off from school by researching witchcraft in New England. Christopher Lee (who else?) leads this exercise in terror as this particular blonde young college woman (Nan Barlow) stumbles upon a hotel where the inhabitants are over 300 years old and live off the blood of humans. Just like her! None of them sparkle.

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Decades before Scream made us afraid of the telephone, Midnight Lace scared Doris Day to death with the damned thing. Rex Harrison plays her loving husband, whose accent is the most frightening thing of all. It’s a truly terrifying thriller where nothing is ever clear, everyone is suspect, and Day’s character might even be making the whole thing up. Or she might be insane. That’s always an option. Everything is on the table in this incredible mystery that makes great use of its twist ending. Fortunately, the trailer dares the audience not to be fully creeped out by the first few lines.

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Few modern war movies exemplify the courage of a fighting force quite like Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg deftly drew out performances from a varied cast of veterans and newcomers, and he even had a few tricks up his sleeve. For one, all of the actors went through military training except for Matt Damon so the cast would be bitter toward him. A more technical trick was attached drills to the sides of the cameras in order to make them shake the way he wanted them to. It wasn’t until they started shooting that Spielberg was informed that there were lenses that would create the effect (and that he didn’t invent some crazy new technology).

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There are no war films more storied than this one. Audie Murphy starring as himself in a retelling of the real-life hell of war that he braved his way through in order to save lives and do his duty. It is the courage of one soldier, and of all soldiers, brought to vivid life through film. Most know that Murphy, a young man turned down by three military branches, became the most decorated soldier of WWII, but the movie was also a giant success. In fact, it was the highest grossing picture for Universal until the streak was beaten by Jaws twenty years later.

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Recently covered for Old Ass Movies, this comedy classic is one of the few that effectively takes down Hitler, but that wasn’t the consensus when it was released. The US has entered WWII a year earlier, and not many were interested in laughing at what seemed like a genuine threat to humanity. Fortunately, through today’s eyes we can see a vibrant comedy that’s hilarious throughout while maintaining a dark sense of drama and the sly nuance of a spy thriller.

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Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Richard Burton as Mark Antony. Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar. There’s nothing quite like the huge spectacle of Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s take on the Queen of the Nile. Everything about it is larger than life, including the egos. It’s possibly going to be remade with Angelina Jolie under the starring crown (why they aren’t casting Monica Bellucci is a mystery), so we’ll get to see whether they try to make it even more expensive, whether they’ll need to hire special guards to protect extras/slave girls from having their butts pinched, or if they’ll dust off the old Todd-AO system for 60s authenticity. Probably not. On all counts. But we can still enjoy the original trailer.

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WE DARE YOU to see the most amazing trailer of our time! That’s how American International would most likely market this column if they were still around to do so. Michael Landon (yes, that Michael Landon) stars here as a troubled young man, but his therapist decides to use him for a ghastly experiment that involves closed eyes, hypnotism, and talking about sinking his teeth into people. That’s how you create a monster. Sadly, this one isn’t nearly as good at basketball as he should be.

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This trailer is a trip. It seems completely unnecessary considering the source material but absolutely believable considering the year of release. Nineteen Eighty-Four is an incredible film, but it’s not one you want to show at two in the morning when everyone’s already feeling sleepy. It’s a slow-burn featuring some damnable performances from John Hurt, Suzanna Hamilton, and Richard Burton (in his last film appearance). There are a ton of fascinating things about this adaptation of George Owell‘s seminal novel, but the best piece of trivia involves the shooting schedule. As most know it was released in 1984, but it was also shot in 1984, and the days (which you can keep track of by watching Winston write in his journal) are the actual days they filmed on. An example? When Winston jots down that it’s April 4, 1984, it’s because the cast and crew were shooting that scene on April 4, 1984. Pretty clever. Has any other movie shot in fake real-time?

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“Bye Bye Birdie is all about that certain something that excites young people when they reach that certain age.” It’s sex. They’re talking about sex. This movie is percolating with it even if they never even say the word. It’s got Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh comparing pajamas, Ann-Margret putting on pants, and the entire thing revolves around the marketing of a kiss. After all, you have to make the publicity count when you’re about to go off to war. This parody on the real-life drafting of Elvis Presley was the first feature film for Van Dyke, and even though the focus is supposed to be on Elvis, the name their spoofing is Conway Twitty’s. Because it’s far, far funnier.

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Today’s trailer is a public service announcement for anyone out there who feels like their family is dysfunctional. Here’s the message: it’s not. Or at least, the royal family of The Lion in Winter would give it a run for its money. Some of the harshest things ever said by familial characters take place in this flick (when Katharine Hepburn talks about peeling her husband like a pear? Messed up.), and it’s all done to bombastic trumpet blasts. Hepburn and Peter O’Toole own this movie, of course, but it was also the filmic debut of Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton who tear up the screen, keeping pace with the veterans. It’s good to know that even though he broke his arm during his first film, Hopkins kept acting. Plus, legend has it that Hepburn and O’Toole would drink wine and smoke cigarettes everyday after wrapping, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that after yelling at your co-stars for hours on end, you’d need a bonding break. As proof, even this trailer gets the blood boiling.

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John Wayne was not only King of the Western but also King of the Comedy Western when the need arose. McLintock! may be one of the best in that regard, but if you watch the trailer, it seems like the entire movie is about people sliding down a hill into a pile of watery mud. But this is far more than just a big brawl in a muddy hole. This film is actually a kind of remake of “Taming of the Shrew” which sees Wayne going toe to toe with Maureen O’Hara for the fourth time in their acting career. The Quiet Man might be their most famous work together, but this is probably their funniest. Plus, yeah, there’s a big fight in a pile of mud. And it’s pretty awesome.

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What kind of man does Errol Flynn play in his debut on screen? The kind of man you like. A man with money. Not only did this film launch Flynn, it also launched 8 more movies where Flynn and Olivia de Havilland would share romance (and a little swashbuckling). It’s a fantastic example of the genre with big set pieces, great action, and a salty amount of fun. Oddly enough, it was also the first of 12 films where iconic director Michael Curtiz would work with Flynn, a man he hated (and who hated him right back). Funny how business works out.

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What happened to Joe Clay? Blake Edwards might not be the first name that springs to mind when talking about the story of an alcoholic, status-obsessed ass who tries to get the love of his life just as addicted to the sauce, but he may have been the only director to really capture the humor and humanism of the movie. Jack Lemmon threw himself into this role (and into his straightjacket), delivering a monumental performance. In fact, he was so dedicated to this film and to the way it needed to be presented that he left the country after wrapping so that they couldn’t order reshoots.

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This is not at all the first film adaptation of the classic tale, but the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty featuring Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard and Richard Harris might be the most iconic. This trailer boasts that the ship involved in Lewis Milestone‘s film is the first built from the keel up specifically for a motion picture. In a time where matte paintings replaced real world backgrounds, Milestone took his crew over the ocean to film, and the result was something as frighteningly realistic as possible. It also doesn’t hurt that his cast is one of the strongest ever assembled. With On Stranger Tides coming out tomorrow, it seems even more fitting that we should head out for the open sea with a couple of strong personalities.

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It’s hard to believe that Robert Preston, who owned the role of flim-flam man Harold Hill, had to wait until Cary Grant turned it down in order to be asked for the part. Thankfully, Grant passed. Oddly enough, Warners’ first choice was Frank Sinatra (which definitely would have been interesting), but Meredith Wilson (who wrote the music) demanded Preston’s presence in order to make the movie version. The result is an incredible musical that focuses on the long con, a sweet librarian, and the letter T.

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Owning the Oscars that year, this brilliant war film from perfectionist William Wyler tells the story of three men returning from WWII to discover that the home front has changed and so have they. Alongside bigger stars like Myrna Loy and Virginia Mayo, Wyler also cast Harold Russell, a vet who had lost both hands. Samuel Goldwyn sent him to get acting lessons which infuriated Wyler (who wanted a completely naturalistic performance), but whichever method stuck, the performance was incredible. This was the first film (and one of the only) that Russell made, and he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor that year. Not bad for a first timer.

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