[01/14/05 - 12:00 AM]
Wiseguys, Goodfellas, Hoodlums & Thugs: Encore's Original Documentary, 'Bullets Over Hollywood,' to Chronicle History of Gangster Films

[via press release from Starz]

Wiseguys, Goodfellas, Hoodlums & Thugs: Encore's Original Documentary, 'Bullets Over Hollywood,' to Chronicle History of Gangster Films

From D.W. Griffith's 'Musketeers of Pig Alley' to Tarantino's 'Kill Bill'

Featuring Interviews With James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Anjelica Huston, Chazz Palminteri, and Others

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Jan. 14 (TCA Tour) -- Encore is making subscribers an offer they can't refuse -- an original documentary called "Bullets Over Hollywood" chronicling the blood-soaked landscape and never-ending appeal of the American gangster movie -- from its origins in the silent film era to modern times. Based on the acclaimed book of the same name by John McCarty, "Bullets Over Hollywood" is slated to premiere Fall 2005 on Encore.

"Bullets Over Hollywood" will feature a historical perspective, insightful analysis, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and details about the connection between real-life hoods and their cinematic alter egos. The documentary chronicles films such as D.W. Griffith's "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" (the 1912 classic that began it all), 1930's and '40s classics including "Little Caesar," "The Public Enemy," "The Roaring Twenties," "The Petrified Forest," and "High Sierra" to such modern tales as "The Godfather," "Scarface," "Goodfellas," "The Untouchables," "Gangs of New York," "Road to Perdition," "Pulp Fiction," and many more. It explores the actors who became synonymous with the genre, including those who defined the classic gangster character like Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, and Humphrey Bogart, to their modern counterparts Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and more. Interviews with "The Godfather's" James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Anjelica Huston, Chazz Palminteri, Roger Corman, the real goodfella Henry Hill, and others are slated to appear in the documentary.

Notes author McCarty, "The gangster, like the gunslinger in Westerns, is a classic American character. The gangster movie, like the Western, is one of American cinema's most enduring film genres, standing the test of time. They both explore similar themes such as gunplay and the violent struggle for power and territory. But while the Western typically focuses on the "good guy" who comes to rid the town from evil, the gangster film usually spotlights the bad guy, the anti-hero who yearns for power and position." Following Prohibition, the Great Depression and World War II, gangsters emerged as figures in the public eye, and the gangster movie began to replace the Western as America's quintessential mythic cinematic tale of good vs. evil.

As American society has evolved, so has the gangster film. Historical period films are occasionally still currently made about gangsters, such as "Road to Perdition" and "Gangs of New York." But today, the Tommy Gun toting thug of the 1930's has largely been replaced by anti-heroes in more modern settings, such as urban neighborhoods, as reflected in films like "New Jack City" and "Menace II Society." Gangster characters can be seen as protagonists in a wide variety of film genres. "Made men" can be found in comedies like "Analyze This," "Get Shorty," "Prizzi's Honor" and "Bullets Over Broadway." They pop up in music-driven movies like "It's Always Fair Weather," "Guys and Dolls," "West Side Story," and "Chicago." They're the stars of martial arts action films like Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill," get their own screen biographies in films like "Bugsy," "Casino" and "Donnie Brasco," and make the art house circuit in films such as "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown," and "The Usual Suspects." The bottom line is -- movie gangsters are everywhere.

"The public's love affair with mobsters in movies and television certainly lives on," says Stephan Shelanski, Senior Vice President of Program Acquisitions, Planning and Scheduling for Starz Entertainment Group (SEG). "The themes, characters and stories of the gangster genre have proven enduring, enough to be updated, reshaped, and expanded upon to connect with today's teens and young adults."

"Bullets Over Hollywood" will be produced by Elaina Archer whose previous documentaries on Hollywood lore include: "Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl," "Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu," "Mary Pickford: A Life on Film," "Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies and Rita (Hayworth)," all produced for Turner Classic Movies.

About the Author -- John McCarty is the author of more than thirty books, many of them dealing with film and entertainment subjects. His affection for the horror film genre led to his writing the cult classic "Splatter Movies: Breaking the Last Taboo of the Screen," followed by two companion volumes. Some of his other books about the world of movies and television include "Hammer Films," "The Films of Mel Gibson," "Movie Psychos and Madmen," "The Complete John Huston," and "The Sleaze Merchants." Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of cinema at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Other recent Starz Entertainment Group originals exploring the world of films and filmmakers include "Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade"; "John Ford Goes to War"; "The Art of Action: Martial Arts in the Movies"; and most recently "The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing," which premiered December 2004 on Encore.

Starz Entertainment Group LLC (SEG) is the largest provider of premium movie services in the United States with approximately 167 million pay units. SEG offerings include the Starz Super Pak(R), with up to 13 digital movie channels and more than 750 movies per month, Starz On Demand(R), the only on-demand pay TV subscription service available on the cable and satellite platforms, and its broadband equivalent, STARZ! Ticket(SM). SEG also offers a suite of advanced video offerings, including STARZ! HD(SM), Encore HD(SM), and Starz On Demand HD(SM). Starz Entertainment Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L, LMCb), http://www.starz.com.

SOURCE Starz Entertainment Group, LLC
Web Site: http://www.starz.com

  [january 2005]  

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