Nickelodeon


2h 2m 1976
Nickelodeon

Brief Synopsis

A bashful lawyer gets mixed up in the movies' turbulent early years.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Historical
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Synopsis

In the early days of the motion picture industry, lawyer Leo Harrigan and cowboy Buck Greenway are sent to California to shut down a silent film production for a patents violation. But before they know it, the two of them are working on the film crew. This results in Buck becoming a movie star and Leo a well-respected director, with both of them pursuing the same leading lady.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Historical
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Articles

Nickelodeon


Better known as a director and actor, Peter Bogdanovich also has a well-deserved reputation as one of our finest writers about film and as a complete cineaste with an incredible storehouse of knowledge about the art form. Early in his career he served as film programmer for New York's Museum of Modern Art, where he showcased and championed the work of such pioneering (and at the time often underappreciated) directors as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Allan Dwan. His interviews with these talents, along with other great American filmmakers like Raoul Walsh and Leo McCarey, were very influential works of film scholarship. They also gave Bogdanovich a great feel for the early days of cinema, and he drew heavily on these talks for a project he wanted to do for years, a fictional account of Hollywood in its infancy.

Nickelodeon (1976) was aptly named after the first small theaters that ran short movies continuously (so-called because of the standard 5 cent admission). By the time Bogdanovich was ready to make the film, however, he no longer had the creative control he needed to make this pet project work the way he envisioned it. Bogdanovich made a big critical and commercial splash with three features in a row, The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), and Paper Moon (1973). His stock fell considerably, however, with the failure of his subsequent productions, Daisy Miller (1974) and At Long Last Love (1975). As a result, the producers of Nickelodeon insisted he shoot in color in the studio rather than on location in black and white, which the director felt would have conveyed more of the feel of the period.

In the process of bringing the work to the screen, Bogdanovich also veered away, either by choice or the producer's request, from his original concept of a straight drama featuring lesser-known actors John Ritter and Jeff Bridges of The Last Picture Show. What he ended up with was a story that took on various tones, ranging from serious drama to slapstick comedy that most reviewers found poorly balanced and executed. He was also forced to use bankable names, albeit ones he had worked with previously - Burt Reynolds and the stars of Paper Moon, Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum, who had won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for that picture. To achieve some of his original intentions, Bogdanovich and director of photography Laszlo Kovacs worked out a color scheme for the film, foregoing primary colors for a warmer, more monochromatic look in earth tones. But in the end, he felt that what was released was "just another Hollywood picture about the silent era." He got some satisfaction eventually when his director's cut of the film was presented in a black and white print at a Bogdanovich retrospective in San Francisco in 2008.

Although Bridges is nowhere to be seen, Ritter did get a supporting role as the camera operator who teaches lawyer-turned-fledgling-director O'Neal the basics of filmmaking. Also conspicuously absent was Bogdanovich's then on-again-off-again sweetheart Cybill Shepherd, the model-turned-actress who made her debut in The Last Picture Show and starred in the ill-fated Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love. Reports conflict about her involvement in this project (or lack thereof). Some say the director was told by producers he couldn't use her, which led to tension between the lovers and a less-than-pleasant time for Bogdanovich during production. In her autobiography, however, Shepherd claims she turned down the role of the hopeful young actress played by newcomer Jane Hitchcock, another model and a friend of Shepherd, who reportedly suggested her for the part.

Burt Reynolds had also starred in At Long Last Love, Bogdanovich's tribute to the musicals of the 1930s, but with the success of such movies as Deliverance (1972) and The Longest Yard (1974), he had considerably more box office clout than his former leading lady. He had also just completed his first feature film as director, Gator (1976), which may have led to some exhaustion during production on Nickelodeon. Reynolds collapsed suddenly on the set one day, and although doctors could find nothing wrong with him, shooting had to be rescheduled to give him two weeks rest. Rumors about serious health concerns flew around Hollywood, and in order to lay them to rest and convince insurance companies he could still work, Reynolds submitted to a series of tests, including a catheterization, to prove he did not have a heart condition.

Whatever other failings may be evident in Nickelodeon, Bogdanovich's affection for and vast knowledge of movies can be seen throughout, making it a loving tribute and an entertaining inside look at the beginnings of the industry. In the story, the central characters, who have been toiling away at quickie shorts, go to see D.W. Griffith's landmark feature The Birth of a Nation (1915). Using footage from a special tinted archival print of the film, Bogdanovich and his actors convey the sense of excitement and wonder that accompanied the release of Griffith's film and the momentous change in the art and business of moviemaking that it signaled. After the fictional screening in the movie, the producer Cobb (played by Brian Keith), suddenly realizing the power of the medium, remarks that filmmakers are "giving people little pieces of time that they never forget," a quote taken from an early Bogdanovich interview with James Stewart.

As a further homage to his early heroes and inspirations, the end credits of Nickelodeon include "special thanks" to Allan Dwan and Raoul Walsh.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Producers: Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler, Frank Marshall
Screenplay: Peter Bogdanovich, W.D. Richter
Cinematographer: Laszlo Kovacs
Editing: William Carruth
Art Direction: Richard Berger
Original Music: Richard Hazard
Cast: Ryan O'Neal (Leo Harrigan), Burt Reynolds (Buck Greenway), Tatum O'Neal (Alice Forsyte), Brian Keith (H.H Cobb), Stella Stevens (Marty Reeves), John Ritter (Franklin Frank).
C-122m.

by Rob Nixon
Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon

Better known as a director and actor, Peter Bogdanovich also has a well-deserved reputation as one of our finest writers about film and as a complete cineaste with an incredible storehouse of knowledge about the art form. Early in his career he served as film programmer for New York's Museum of Modern Art, where he showcased and championed the work of such pioneering (and at the time often underappreciated) directors as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Allan Dwan. His interviews with these talents, along with other great American filmmakers like Raoul Walsh and Leo McCarey, were very influential works of film scholarship. They also gave Bogdanovich a great feel for the early days of cinema, and he drew heavily on these talks for a project he wanted to do for years, a fictional account of Hollywood in its infancy. Nickelodeon (1976) was aptly named after the first small theaters that ran short movies continuously (so-called because of the standard 5 cent admission). By the time Bogdanovich was ready to make the film, however, he no longer had the creative control he needed to make this pet project work the way he envisioned it. Bogdanovich made a big critical and commercial splash with three features in a row, The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), and Paper Moon (1973). His stock fell considerably, however, with the failure of his subsequent productions, Daisy Miller (1974) and At Long Last Love (1975). As a result, the producers of Nickelodeon insisted he shoot in color in the studio rather than on location in black and white, which the director felt would have conveyed more of the feel of the period. In the process of bringing the work to the screen, Bogdanovich also veered away, either by choice or the producer's request, from his original concept of a straight drama featuring lesser-known actors John Ritter and Jeff Bridges of The Last Picture Show. What he ended up with was a story that took on various tones, ranging from serious drama to slapstick comedy that most reviewers found poorly balanced and executed. He was also forced to use bankable names, albeit ones he had worked with previously - Burt Reynolds and the stars of Paper Moon, Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum, who had won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for that picture. To achieve some of his original intentions, Bogdanovich and director of photography Laszlo Kovacs worked out a color scheme for the film, foregoing primary colors for a warmer, more monochromatic look in earth tones. But in the end, he felt that what was released was "just another Hollywood picture about the silent era." He got some satisfaction eventually when his director's cut of the film was presented in a black and white print at a Bogdanovich retrospective in San Francisco in 2008. Although Bridges is nowhere to be seen, Ritter did get a supporting role as the camera operator who teaches lawyer-turned-fledgling-director O'Neal the basics of filmmaking. Also conspicuously absent was Bogdanovich's then on-again-off-again sweetheart Cybill Shepherd, the model-turned-actress who made her debut in The Last Picture Show and starred in the ill-fated Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love. Reports conflict about her involvement in this project (or lack thereof). Some say the director was told by producers he couldn't use her, which led to tension between the lovers and a less-than-pleasant time for Bogdanovich during production. In her autobiography, however, Shepherd claims she turned down the role of the hopeful young actress played by newcomer Jane Hitchcock, another model and a friend of Shepherd, who reportedly suggested her for the part. Burt Reynolds had also starred in At Long Last Love, Bogdanovich's tribute to the musicals of the 1930s, but with the success of such movies as Deliverance (1972) and The Longest Yard (1974), he had considerably more box office clout than his former leading lady. He had also just completed his first feature film as director, Gator (1976), which may have led to some exhaustion during production on Nickelodeon. Reynolds collapsed suddenly on the set one day, and although doctors could find nothing wrong with him, shooting had to be rescheduled to give him two weeks rest. Rumors about serious health concerns flew around Hollywood, and in order to lay them to rest and convince insurance companies he could still work, Reynolds submitted to a series of tests, including a catheterization, to prove he did not have a heart condition. Whatever other failings may be evident in Nickelodeon, Bogdanovich's affection for and vast knowledge of movies can be seen throughout, making it a loving tribute and an entertaining inside look at the beginnings of the industry. In the story, the central characters, who have been toiling away at quickie shorts, go to see D.W. Griffith's landmark feature The Birth of a Nation (1915). Using footage from a special tinted archival print of the film, Bogdanovich and his actors convey the sense of excitement and wonder that accompanied the release of Griffith's film and the momentous change in the art and business of moviemaking that it signaled. After the fictional screening in the movie, the producer Cobb (played by Brian Keith), suddenly realizing the power of the medium, remarks that filmmakers are "giving people little pieces of time that they never forget," a quote taken from an early Bogdanovich interview with James Stewart. As a further homage to his early heroes and inspirations, the end credits of Nickelodeon include "special thanks" to Allan Dwan and Raoul Walsh. Director: Peter Bogdanovich Producers: Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler, Frank Marshall Screenplay: Peter Bogdanovich, W.D. Richter Cinematographer: Laszlo Kovacs Editing: William Carruth Art Direction: Richard Berger Original Music: Richard Hazard Cast: Ryan O'Neal (Leo Harrigan), Burt Reynolds (Buck Greenway), Tatum O'Neal (Alice Forsyte), Brian Keith (H.H Cobb), Stella Stevens (Marty Reeves), John Ritter (Franklin Frank). C-122m. by Rob Nixon

Hamilton Camp (1934-2005)


Hamilton Camp, the diminutive yet effervescent actor and singer-songwriter, who spent nearly his entire life in show business, including several appearances in both television and films, died of a heart attack on October 2 at his Los Angeles home. He was 70.

He was born October 30, 1934, in London, England. After World War II, he moved to Canada and then to Long Beach with his mother and sister, where the siblings performed in USO shows. In 1946, he made his first movie, Bedlam starring Boris Karloff as an extra (as Bobby Camp) and continued in that vein until he played Thorpe, one of Dean Stockwell's classmates in Kim (1950).

After Kim he received some more slightly prominent parts in films: a messenger boy in Titanic (1953); and a mailroom attendant in Executive Suite (1954), but overall, Camp was never a steadily working child actor.

Camp relocated to Chicago in the late '50s and rediscovered his childhood passion - music. He began playing in small clubs around the Chicago area, and he struck oil when he partnered with a New York based folk artist, Bob Gibson in 1961. The pair worked in clubs all over the midwest and they soon became known for their tight vocal harmonies and Gibson's 12-string guitar style. Late in 1961, they recorded an album - Gibson and Camp at the Gate of Horn, the Gate of Horn being the most renowned music venue in Chicago for the burgeoning folk scene. The record may have aged a bit over the years, but it is admired as an important progress in folk music by most scholars, particularly as a missing link between the classic era of Woody Guthrie and the modern singer-songwriter genre populated by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

Gibson and Camp would split within two years, and after recording some albums as a solo artist and a brief stint with Chicago's famed Second City improvisational comedy troupe, Camp struck out on his own to work as an actor in Los Angeles. His changed his name to Hamilton from Bob, and despite his lack of vertical presence (he stood only 5-foot-2), his boundless energy and quick wit made him handy to guest star in a string of familiar sitcoms of the late '60s: The Monkees, Bewitched, and Love, American Style. By the '70s there was no stopping him as he appeared on virtually every popular comedy of the day: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company, and WKRP in Cincinnati.

Eventually, Camp's film roles improved too, and he did his best film work in the latter stages of his career: Blake Edward's undisciplined but still funny S.O.B. (1981); Paul Bartel's glorious cult comedy Eating Raoul (1982); and Clint Eastwood's jazz biopic on Charlie Parker Bird (1988). Among his recent work was a guest spot last season as a carpenter on Desperate Housewives, and his recent completion of a Las Vegas based comedy Hard Four which is currently in post-production. Camp is survived by six children and thirteen grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Hamilton Camp (1934-2005)

Hamilton Camp, the diminutive yet effervescent actor and singer-songwriter, who spent nearly his entire life in show business, including several appearances in both television and films, died of a heart attack on October 2 at his Los Angeles home. He was 70. He was born October 30, 1934, in London, England. After World War II, he moved to Canada and then to Long Beach with his mother and sister, where the siblings performed in USO shows. In 1946, he made his first movie, Bedlam starring Boris Karloff as an extra (as Bobby Camp) and continued in that vein until he played Thorpe, one of Dean Stockwell's classmates in Kim (1950). After Kim he received some more slightly prominent parts in films: a messenger boy in Titanic (1953); and a mailroom attendant in Executive Suite (1954), but overall, Camp was never a steadily working child actor. Camp relocated to Chicago in the late '50s and rediscovered his childhood passion - music. He began playing in small clubs around the Chicago area, and he struck oil when he partnered with a New York based folk artist, Bob Gibson in 1961. The pair worked in clubs all over the midwest and they soon became known for their tight vocal harmonies and Gibson's 12-string guitar style. Late in 1961, they recorded an album - Gibson and Camp at the Gate of Horn, the Gate of Horn being the most renowned music venue in Chicago for the burgeoning folk scene. The record may have aged a bit over the years, but it is admired as an important progress in folk music by most scholars, particularly as a missing link between the classic era of Woody Guthrie and the modern singer-songwriter genre populated by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Gibson and Camp would split within two years, and after recording some albums as a solo artist and a brief stint with Chicago's famed Second City improvisational comedy troupe, Camp struck out on his own to work as an actor in Los Angeles. His changed his name to Hamilton from Bob, and despite his lack of vertical presence (he stood only 5-foot-2), his boundless energy and quick wit made him handy to guest star in a string of familiar sitcoms of the late '60s: The Monkees, Bewitched, and Love, American Style. By the '70s there was no stopping him as he appeared on virtually every popular comedy of the day: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company, and WKRP in Cincinnati. Eventually, Camp's film roles improved too, and he did his best film work in the latter stages of his career: Blake Edward's undisciplined but still funny S.O.B. (1981); Paul Bartel's glorious cult comedy Eating Raoul (1982); and Clint Eastwood's jazz biopic on Charlie Parker Bird (1988). Among his recent work was a guest spot last season as a carpenter on Desperate Housewives, and his recent completion of a Las Vegas based comedy Hard Four which is currently in post-production. Camp is survived by six children and thirteen grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Any jerk can direct.
- Franklin Frank

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States December 1976

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1976

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1976

Released in United States December 1976