Episode 17: Elvis (1979, John Carpenter) / The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970, James R. Rokos)

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This week in An Alan Smithee Podcast, Andrew and Matt indulge in John Carpenter’s lost treasures – the 1970 Academy Award winning short film he edited, wrote and composed. Future Escape From New York co-writer and erstwhile Coup De Villes band member Nick Castle, seen here playing keyboards while Carpenter pretends to be a wizard, lensed the short’s black and white photography and co-wrote.

“Broncho Billy” is the tale of a young man in Southern California circa 1970 who wants to be a cowboy. There is lots to read into, knowing what we know now: fans are quick to note the similarity of many Carpenter films like Assault On Precinct 13, Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China and Ghosts Of Mars to Westerns. There’s also some good ol’ film school follies, like having Billy wake up from bed in the very first scene!

Check out the whole thing here!

Also on the roster is the epic two-anna-half hour 1979 TV movie event ELVIS, in which Kurt Russell does a pretty darn good imitation of The King. While Carpenter does not write or produce, his compositions and chemistry with cast make this a fascinating oddity. Airing only two years after Elvis’ death there’s a considerable amount of whitewashing, eschewing the fat years and pills, and instead framing his life in the context of the two most important women in his life: “mommhuh an’ Priscillhuh.” The latter is played by Season Hubley, soon to be real life wife of Kurt, although the dissolution of their marriage (art predicts life) is not shown to be the cause of Elvis’ downfall…

There’s also a ton of songs for padding. Check out this excerpt of “Suspicious Minds,” lip-synched by Russell AND performed by someone other than Elvis:

Come to think of it, they don’t even acknowledge Elvis died in this! A truly reverential tribute, and intermittently very entertaining.

Discover all the hidden details and trivia of these two John Carpenter rarities from two guys who know way too much about the legendary John!

NEXT WEEK: TANGO & CASH (1989, ANDREI KONCHALOVSKY) / CALIFORNIA SPLIT (1974, ROBERT ALTMAN)

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