Retro-View: QT III Film Festival (1999)

I originally wrote these excessively in-depth posts on my former site last year, so to honor the first official poster releases for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and the 10 year anniversary of QT III Fest, I thought I’d re-post them here with some revisions. Gotta fill space!

47f1Hard to believe it was a decade ago this weekend that I attended Quentin Tarantino’s Third Film Festival, or QT lll if you will, at the Original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin (and this would be the first one held at the Alamo). For 125 bucks I got the full pass for the whole nine days. A very exciting time in my life and it felt great to be cruising into downtown Austin at the cusp of the weekend with nothing but the prospect of watching supercool movies with QT. I entered the cozy cavern of the Alamo, already my favorite theater in the world due to the vibe, beer and pizza. Scratchy trailers for bizarre kid’s toys and films were on a surreal hilarious loop. I was lovin’ it. It’s important to note the importance of showing a variety of ads and trailers to get people in the proper cultural frame o’ mind. My favorites were for the WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT remake from 1970, PUSSYCAT PUSSYCAT I LOVE YOU (yes, that’s right) and MAID IN SWEDEN, a slick Scandinavian sex opera with the amazing Christina Lindberg. It just felt awesome to quaff a brew, scarf pizza and viddy the grindhouse cine-ephemera on a Friday night in Austin. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

Action With An Edge/Epic Adventure Night:

THE THREE/FOUR MUSKETEERS (1973-74)

ZULU DAWN (1979)

250px-alamo_drafthouse01After the mad clips, Richard Linklater entered to whoops and applause to intro Quentin. He asked people not to bug The Man for autographs because then he has to sit through Quentin telling them, in a good imitation: “Hey, this is my church, and we’re all just hanging out watching movies, okay?” He then brings out Tarantino to great applause. An online journal, MONK, has his very savvy opening speech, tho James Crotty’s preface is a bit snarky. And though Crotty claims QT was not to be questioned, that is untrue, as I and others can attest. He talked to anybody as long as it was about films, music, etc. During his introduction, he said that this was actually his genuine “vacation,” just hanging out with friends and watching cool movies. And Crotty leaves off Tarantino’s final wry words to the audience: “And if anybody has a script they want to give me, I’d love to read it.”

So after Quentin does his thing, we get to view the two non-scope prints of the THREE and FOUR MUSKETEERS from 1973/4. I’ve seen chunks of these on TV over the years but never sat proper through them both. Altho Tarantino claimed to not be a Lester fan, he loves these movies, especially for the big star cast, all doing some of their best work, from Michael York to Oliver Reed to Chris Lee to Charlton Heston to Faye Dunaway to Raquel Welch. I am a Lester fan and these two films — that were actually filmed as one without telling the actors — rank as some of his best work. There’s a 70’s naturalism to the way Lester shoots the fight scenes, with quick brutality and raw violence. Check this scene out. And it’s all about Oliver Reed. As Tarantino pointed out, Reed is indeed “a god in this.”

Unknown-2Onto ZULU DAWN, a sort of sequel to the hit 1964 imperialist epic, ZULU, that helped push Michael Caine into stardom. Fatigued by a hard day’s work and an easy night’s double feature, I recall little of ZD, except for some very cool battle scenes and a more complex perspective on the imperialism of the earlier ZULU film. It all boils down to, how do you cheer White Colonialists mowing down African warriors who are only defending their land? Well, in this film, you start by showing the White Colonialists get outrageously slaughtered in Britain’s most deadly war loss. The sheer chaos is effective in cinematic terms.

So the first evening of QT lll 99 ends quiet with the smokey remains of a battlefield and Quentin promising more greatness to come with Saturday’s All-Nite EXPLOITATION MARATHON! My pals Bethany and Manny have promised to join me for this test of movie endurance. I walk into the cool air, passing the archetypal Sixth Street flock going strong in search of one more beer. My sleep is sober and peaceful, bouyed by visions of raging cheerleaders and heroic swordsmen spooling through my head.

And this was only the beginning…Next up: Exploitation Marathon!

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7 Responses to “Retro-View: QT III Film Festival (1999)”

  1. What an experience, Christian! And like you say at the end, this was only the beginning. I love the posters for Tarantino’s new film.

  2. Yes, they look very cool. And yes, this is only the beginning…get ready.

  3. Bob Hoskins in Zulu Dawn is as good as he ever gets. It’s funny, Hoskins’ first role listed on imdb.com is as a sergeant in another film. Although he has spectacular range and a perfect ear for accents, this is the core of Bob Hoskins, yelling at pasty-white Eton lads in the blazing Traansveldt sun.

    It is said every generation gets the Three Musketeers it deserves. Unfortunately, our generation was only able to mount a feeble Kiefer Sutherland / Oliver Platt mess (WASTING one of my favorite actors, the cool as hell Michael Wincott). Better was Gene Kelly’s dancing Musketeers in the ’40’s, but Lester’s films are by far the best. Some of the greatest swordfights in cinema history–not for their technical execution so much as their realism (as you say) and their lightheartedness. Their ease. Working on a Shakespeare comedy right now and when this one actor starts waving his sword around like it’s an object he’s never before held I am much aggrieved. Also, Lester in the ’70’s was able to be more frank about the sexual conventions of interregnum France than Disney was in the ’90’s.

    Isn’t it time for the next generation of Musketeers? Shouldn’t we be preparing our scripts? Who would you cast? Let’s hear it.

  4. I didn’t even remember Hoskins in there. Can’t believe you’ve seen this.

    Lester’s MUSKETEERS are great and what an amazing cast. Just wish this was available in anamorphic form on DVD. A shame.

    We’ll have to brainstorm on the new Musketeers…maybe the Jonas Brothers?

  5. […] Dreams Film, Culture, Politics & SKIDOO « Don’t Look Back In Anger Retro-View: QT III Film Festival (1999) […]

  6. […] and clarity since the best way to watch this French-press version of Quentin Tarantino’s Alamo Drafthouse Festivals is by rickety drive-in light or a VHS tape from 1985. Barring those, I’ll take this and a […]

  7. […] TRASHORAMA DRIVE IN SHOW VOL.III disc before the main feature (which I enjoyed in the company of an Alamo Drafthouse crowd during QT III Film Fest), and tonight will be no different, except that I’ll probably shed a tear during the trailer […]

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