Cinefantastique - first issue

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Cinefantastique - first issue

Post  BoG on Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:27 pm

CINEFANTASTIQUE - - A Sense of Wonder
A tongue-twister of a magazine title - but one of the most successful sci-fi/fantasy genre publications. There was a mimeographed version published in 1967 but the actual first issue, with a rather odd sketch of Alan Arkin from Catch-22 on the cover, came out in 1970. The back cover was a large still of Dave Prowse from Horror of Frankenstein (1970). This was a slick-format mag, though it would be some time before we would see color stills inside - at this point, they were all black-&-white.
So what did Alan Arkin and Catch-22 have to do with sci-fi & fantasy? Not much. But the interior of the first issue set the tone - lengthy, scholarly articles about films in that fantastic sf genre, something which was highly unusual back then - these were the times of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and the soon-to-be published Monster Times - both pretty much aimed at kids, let's be honest. But Cinefantastique seemed to be written for college-age dreamers or maybe even for their professors. This was the brainchild of Frederick S. Clarke, who functioned as publisher/editor, besides contributor. He also wrote the editorial on the first page, How's Your Sense of Wonder?

Clarke admitted to a certain pretentiousness in titling his magazine the way he did but he also criticized mainstream film critics who turned their noses up on certain genres and those filmgoers who are not able to appreciate 2001:A Space Odyssey (oh, oh). He railed against the "mundane" and "intellectual eunuchs" who embody narrow-mindedness in present-day society. Clarke seemed to have issues... but I wager that most members of this board would agree with his points. His annoyance 40 years ago also sounds eerily familiar to the usual problems some of us have with the film industry these days; some things don't really change...
The two main articles in the first issue revolved around RASPUTIN on FILM (Clarke dug up 14 films based on the life of the Mad Monk from 1917 up to 1971 - remember Chris Lee as Rasputin?) and all about Joseph Losey's film The Damned (1963), Losey's only sf film, as part of the 'Rape of the Arts Dept.' Reviews included those on Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, Colossus the Forbin Project, Scream and Scream Again and Skullduggery. Oh, and Catch-22 (which, it can be argued, contained fantasy/sf elements). Also, a late addition review of Latitude Zero, an obscure Japanese production.
In the NEWS AND NOTES section, Trieste '70 is covered. This was the 8th Annual Trieste Science Fiction Festival in Italy. The film The Mind of Mr. Soames was a big winner in this festival. Another section focused on "Holography The Film of the Future" - this was supposedly about director Joseph Strick starting production on the first hologram motion picture. Question Idea Strick felt that Holography was at the same point in 1970 that sound in film was in 1929 Exclamation I guess he was a bit off.

There was also, in the back, a section on COMING films; some of these I never heard of and were probably never made: Behold the Man Idea Blood Lover Idea Blood Sport Idea Color Out of Space (based on Lovecraft) Idea Journey of the Oceanauts Idea Last Place Left Idea The Mind Thing Idea The Planet Venus Idea The Reluctant Dinosaur Idea The Solar Wind Idea To Live Again Idea Tonight You Sleep Idea and When the Sleeper Wakes - this last another long-planned George Pal production which never made it; Pal also had planned a Logan's Run film which was later produced by others.
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