2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival screens film by undervalued American director
1: Not considered an auteur, like, say, Alfred Hitchcock, this great American director has been undervalued by critics and film historians. Like Robert Wise and John Huston, Fleischer was a versatile craftsman who was able to turn his eye to many kinds of films. As a result, he enjoyed a long career spanning six decades during which he consistently combined action and spectacle with storytelling complexity, and mainstream appeal with controversial subject matter: The Narrow Margin, Che!, Soylent Green and The Jazz Singer.
4: While the now better-known Hollywood mavericks (Scorsese, Friedkin etc) were busy establishing their reputations, Fleischer made what has been described as the only ever Hollywood studio-funded exploitation film, Mandingo. This ultra-violent southern states-set slavery drama heavily inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
5: Having cut his teeth directing cartoons produced by his father Max Fleischer (Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman), Fleischer Jnr moved into live action films. Five years later he won an Academy Award for producing the 1947 documentary Design for Death, a look at Japan’s imperial expansion during World War II that was co-written by Theodor Geisel (later known as Dr Seuss). 1947 was the year EIFF was launched as a documentary film festival: kismet!
Fantastic Voyages: The Films of Richard Fleischer is part of Edinburgh International Film Festival, various venues, Sat 22–Sun 30 Jun. The retrospective then continues at Filmhouse, Edinburgh, until Sun 7 Jul.
Cast: Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Edward G Robinson
Film adaptation of Harry Harrison's highly-regarded novel 'Make Room! Make Room!' sets up a plausible vision of a future world teeming with hungry millions. Heston is a tough cop trying to discover exactly what the ingredients of Soylent Green are, a synthetic foodstuff that's been cooked up to help feed the planet. The…
Cast: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Fast and furious film noir as detective tries to protect gangster's moll from hitmen. False identities and shock revelations abound in this twisty noir, starring gravel-voiced Charles McGraw. Set mostly on a train beset by assassins, it shows director Fleischer making inventive use of confined space, building tension and…
A brilliant account of a case that rocked the United States in the early 20th century: the real-life triangle of famous architect Sanford White; his teenage mistress, Evelyn Nesbit; and her rich, unstable husband, Harry Klaw. One of Fleischer’s best.
Cast: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, Donald Pleasence
UK release: 14 October 1966
A top Russian scientist is critically wounded after defecting to the West. The only hope of saving him lies in miniaturising a surgical team and injecting them into his bloodstream to operate on his blood clot. A classic of Sixties pop cinema.
A city under attack by a serial killer-rapist. A true story comes to kaleidoscopic life in a film that vividly captures the atmosphere of terror that pervaded Boston in the 1960s and the desperate attempts by the police to catch an elusive killer. Tony Curtis shatters his iconic pretty-boy image to give a brilliant…