THE ARCHIVES: MY FILMFAX INTERVIEW W/ ROBERT J. GURNEY, JR

Anyone who knows me knows that with precious few exceptions, I am no fan of the science fiction genre. So, with that in mind, I’m the last writer wiling to research, interview, and write up a piece on an unsung Sci-Fi filmmaker. Enter Filmfax Magazine. You never know what you might learn and enjoy being a professional writer and writing for Filmfax is the best example of that. I had recieved a call from the magazine’s publisher, Mike Stein (terrific guy, by the way), telling me such an unsung filmmaker has made his presence known and wanted to speak with Filmfax. It concerned a recent book that had incorrectly stated that Invasion of the Saucer Men was not meant to be a comedy, despite the laughs it garnered from audiences upon its release.
I thought it over, and eventually figured, what the hell, might even be a little enlightening on some level. I was still very much researching  Lee Marvin Point Blank at the time but needed to keep my actually writing chops up. Besides, I needed to pad my resume’ as well as my bank account as best as I could. Keep in mind, this was back in 2002, and my ability to navigate the digital highway, was tenative at best. Any research was done the old-fashioned way, i.e. my local library. Not only had I not heard of Robert J. Gurney, Jr., neither had any of the stalwart genre fanatics I knew personally. The intrigue was rising.
Turns out, Gurney was living in Marina Del Rey and had a voice like a late-night FM  radio announcer with a Southern drawl. Upon meeting with him, I discovered he was a sweet, unassuming, older gentleman with a razor-sharp memory definitely worthy of Filmfax’s auspices, beyond what his valid complaint was. The complaint, by the way, was also a natural lead for the article. Better yet was discovering his life story included eye-opening personal anecdotes with the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Marlon Brando, Roger Corman, AIP’s exectuives Sam Arkoff & Jim Nicholson, a future mutli-Oscar winning cinematographer named Conrad Hall,  and the genesis of some groundbreaking films still in dire need of rediscovery. My favorite example being Gurney’s long-lost late 50s thriller, Edge of Fury. He had a print he had not seen since its release, and because I knew someone who could transfer it to VHS, we were able to watch this strange little thriller together as I took notes on his reactions. Those are the times I love my job. So, posted below, in its entirety, is my eye-opening interview with writer/director/producer and thought-provoking racontuer, Robert Gurney, Jr.
Oh, one more thing. According to Google, at the age of 92, Gurney is still with us, but my contact information for him is long gone. If anybody who reads this knows how to get back in touch with him, please let me know. In the mean time, I give you my cover story interview with Mr. Gurney from Filmfax, 2002. Enjoy…..

Artist Harley Brown rendered the cover art for the Oct/Nov 2002 issue of Filmfax featuring my interview with filmmaker Robert J. Gurney.

Artist Harley Brown rendered the cover art for the Oct/Nov 2002 issue of Filmfax featuring my interview with filmmaker Robert J. Gurney.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 1.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 1.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 2.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 2.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 3.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 3.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 4.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 4.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 5.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 5.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 6.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 6.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 7.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 7.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 8.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 8.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 9.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 9.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 10.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 10.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 11.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 11.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 12.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 12.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 13.

Robert Gurney Filmfax interview, page 13.

-Dwayne Epstein

 

 

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ARCHIVE: MY INTERVIEW WITH SAMURAI WIDOW, JUDY BELUSHI

I recently came across an article stating that a film is in the works based on Judy Belushi’s biography of her late husband, singer/actor/comedian, John Belushi. It stated that Ellen Page might play her and Emil Hirsh would play John. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look likely to happen but it did remind me of the time I interviewed Judy Belushi.
Before I was able to finally get a publisher for Lee Marvin Point Blank, I lucked into some great freelance work for Filmfax Magazine. Interviewing the former Judtih Jacklin in 2006 was a dream come true for this die-hard fan of her late husband. Shy at first, she could tell I had done my homework on her late husband’s career and quickly opened up to me with great tales not even mentioned in her book. The one about Lauren Bacall is but one great example. So, without further ado, here’s that interview from almost 10 years ago (yipes!)….

Judy Belsuhi Filmfax interview, Page 1

Judy Belsuhi Filmfax interview, Page 1

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 2

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 2

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 3

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 3

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 4

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 4

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 5

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 5

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 6

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 6

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 7

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 7

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 8

Judy Belushi Filmfax interview, Page 8

 

 

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LANA WOOD INTERVIEW: FILMFAX, OCT/DEC. 2004

This Lana Wood interview was yet another Filmfax subject I personally pursued while I was also researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank. I had met her at a Hollywood Collector’s Show years earlier and asked her about the possibilty of an interview. She eventually agreed (as did the magazine, thankfully) when the TV-movie she co-produced about her her famous older sister, Natalie had aired.
The only thing I could possibly add to what’s written below is that is indeed all true, even the part about her waiting for the birth of her grandson. What wasn’t written, which I can now add here, is the fact that I was also rather impatient, due to the fact that my father was awaiting surgery. Naturally, such a fact has no place in the actual article but this being my blog, I can state it here and now. For the record, after the interview, I rushed to the hospital to be with my family only to find out the surgery had been cancelled and rescheduled. By the way, it never did take place. Geez!
Okay, enough about that. Read my conversation with the Lovely Lana below and enjoy!
– Dwayne Epstein

Lana Wood, page 1

Lana Wood, page 1

Lana Wood, page 2

Lana Wood, page 2

Lana Wood, page 3

Lana Wood, page 3

Lana Wood, page 4

Lana Wood, page 4

Lana Wood, page 5

Lana Wood, page 5

Lana Wood, page 6

Lana Wood, page 6

Lana Wood, page 7

Lana Wood, page 7

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