Friday 24 April 2020

Plague Times Diary (19) - Rediscovering the Bands (father and son) and their contribution to film culture

Charles Band
In a recent Film Alert 101 post (click on the link)  Rod Bishop drew to attention his discovery of the first coronavirus movie, Corona Zombies  directed by a man described  by Rod as “veteran schlocker Charles Band”. Rod mentioned as well that “68-year-old Charles Band has directed 43 features and has producer credits on over 290 films”.
This prompted the inveterately enthusiastic cinephile David Donaldson to wonder whether two and two should be put together and came up with the confirmed info that Charles Band, veteran schlocker, “is the son of Albert Band who was in the production of The Red Badge of Courage. That is an arc for a story.”

To which Rod asked;
Albert Band

How would somebody ever know that?

To which David replied, channeling Victor Hugo, "Just a hunch, confirmed by of all things  on IMDb (Click for the link)"

David went on to say:"I had remembered the Band name from Lillian Ross's book 'Picture' (1953 Gollancz) as assistant to John Huston, persisting through the whole mind and career searing debacle of The Red Badge of Courage at MGM. Band is credited for Adaptation on the Warner DVD released in Australia perhaps as a print-on-demand (I have a spare for someone).

"Albert Band produced and directed FACE OF FIRE in 1959 in Sweden with some elements linked to The Red Badge of Courage. It obtained critical favour then and now has an enthusiastic following in IMDB. It was released in New Zealand, (though evidently not in Australia), presumably by Paramount who handled Allied Artists "product" at the time. It is now on DVD in US from Warner. Band had a long and interesting but not notable career in the movie business. Thus we come to Charles Band the son."

"The Ross book was named in the Top 100 Works of U.S. Journalism of the Twentieth Century chosen by the New York University Department of Journalism. It is still in print. Anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker had already written 'Hollywood the Dream Factory' (1951), also about MGM (and also still in print). Together, they tell us how the once-mighty MGM was ready to fall into the convoluted corporate convulsions that have persisted to this day."

Rod was impressed. He passed the exchange to his friend Philip Brophy, esteemed film-maker, teacher, musician and writer who responded further:

"Ha! That movie sounds pretty awful – not because of B-Grade Band, but because it’s a complete clich√© to even mention the word “corona”.  Charles Band definitely made better films back in the golden heyday of 80s exploitation, as my column for Video Age then attested"

Philip’s column is indeed informative and contains much on Charles Band’s career that I for one was totally unfamiliar with, similar I suppose to the fact that until I saw Dolemite is my Name  I had no idea who Rudy Ray Moore was.  

If anything more comes to mind about Charles or Albert Band or if someone is prompted to use these plague times to write up Charles’ career, or even his career highlights, the Film Alert blog stands ready to publish. …and if anyone knows how to pass on this excited chatter to Charles Band don’t hesitate to do so. It may be more publicity than he has had in quite awhile.

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