Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Philadelphia Story

I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, so I am quite familiar with the entire Delaware Valley surrounding the city.  I always like seeing movies and TV shows that are shot in the area, so let's look at Rocky from 1976. 

Is it a classic film?  What makes a classic film?  Rocky won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and was nominated for seven more.  It won 15 other awards in the industry, including Best Foreign Language Film by the Japanese Academy.  It also had a great cast and it made Sylvester Stallone a star.  I think it may qualify.

Of course, it would never win for location accuracy.  Anyone familiar with Philly would know that Rocky could never have made that early morning run as shown in the film.  He was all over the city!  But it did show a lot of neighborhoods.  And no, I never tried to run up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In one of the sequels to Rocky, the city dedicates a statue at the museum to him.  In real life, the Art Museum didn't want the statue.  It wasn't really art, you know.  It was moved to one of the sports stadiums called the Spectrum, where the fights were supposed to take place.  The Spectrum is now scheduled for demolition, and the Rocky statue is back at the Art Museum...this time at the bottom of the steps.

As far as bit actors go, Rocky is full of them.  Stallone, up until 1976 and Rocky, was a bit actor.  This movie shot him up to being a superstar  Talia Shire had a much better resume, having already made The Godfather and Godfather II

My favorite actor in this film is Burgess Meredith. He outclassed everyone else and is definitely not a bit player.  I have always considered Burt Young to be a bit actor, but he keeps showing up in films and on TV, sometimes in starring roles.  Let's call him a character actor. 
  • Bill Baldwin (not Alec's brother) played a fight announcer.  He has 131 credits on IMDb, mostly as announcers or news casters.  A type casted career.
  • Stallone's younger brother Frank, had two parts in this film.  He was a street singer and a timekeeper. 
  • You can also catch Michael Dorn from "Star Trek" as a bodyguard.  He should have used his Klingon makeup and nobody would mess with him!
Most of the rest of the bit players and extras are not noteworthy, but some have quite a few roles in their list.  Just for fun, look here for a list of the films of Lloyd Kauffman, who played a drunk.  I am not sure I would want to list many of his movies on my resume!

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