The Omen


1h 51m 1976

Brief Synopsis

The young son of an American diplomat and his wife, living in London, turns out to be marked with the sign of Satan, the infamous "666". It soon becomes apparent that he could be the Anti-Christ incarnate and possesses the evil powers to stop anyone who stands in his way.

Film Details

Also Known As
Birthmark, The, Omen
MPAA Rating
Genre
Horror
Religion
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

The young son of an American diplomat and his wife, living in London, turns out to be marked with the sign of Satan, the infamous "666". It soon becomes apparent that he could be the Anti-Christ incarnate and possesses the evil powers to stop anyone who stands in his way.

Film Details

Also Known As
Birthmark, The, Omen
MPAA Rating
Genre
Horror
Religion
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Wins

Best Score

1976

Award Nominations

Best Song

1976

Articles

The Omen Legacy


With Halloween looming, Image Entertainment has prepped for DVD release The Omen Legacy (2001), a reasonably diverting made-for-cable celebration of Fox's apocalyptic fright franchise. Laden with war stories from a fairly comprehensive cross-section of creative contributors to the Omen series, the program's wealth of content offers revelations for even hardcore buffs, while casual fans should remain consistently intrigued.

The Omen Legacy begins by trying to set up a cultural context for the early '70s era in which the series was birthed, and showing how the successes of Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) laid the groundwork for allowing the public and the studios to be receptive to the notion of a thriller about the coming of the Antichrist. Producer Harvey Bernhard, who shepherded the series through its theatrical and telemovie incarnation, speaks at length about the intrigues behind the development of The Omen (1976). A number of his original collaborators are on hand as well, including Robert Munger, who originally pitched him on the notion; screenwriter David Seltzer; director Richard Donner; co-producer Mace Neufeld; and then-Fox production chief Alan Ladd Jr. The production tidbits shared (from the decisive moment leading to young Harvey Stephens' casting to how Lee Remick's banister plunge was achieved) make for involving viewing.

The Omen Legacy fortunately spends the bulk of its focus on the original installment, and goes as far to make quiet concessions concerning the diminishing artistic and financial returns that each successive sequel (Damien: The Omen II (1978); The Final Conflict (1981); the made-for-TV Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)) and an abortive TV pilot wrought. For the series' biggest fans, its calling card has always been the grisly demises that await anyone who seeks to ward off Damien's grand destiny. Just as the actors and filmmakers are willing to share their reminisces of creating the death scenes, the makers of The Omen Legacy are equally enamored of repeating them at handy junctures. Still, it stops short of becoming wearisome, and the buffs who are being played to will be appreciative.

The Omen Legacy makes its most interesting points when it touches upon the franchise's impact on its own studio. In the era in which The Omen was developed, Fox was awash in red ink, and the film's then-monstrous $76 million in grosses allowed the studio to right itself financially and ultimately guarantee its long-term strength by putting money into Star Wars (1977). Less welcome is the documentary's overdone speculation regarding the manner in which the series had impacted the religious convictions of its viewers, as various theologians (including one Satanist) weigh in on the relative merits of the filmmakers' approach to the issues.

Further, while it's a given that the "Omen Curse" that was tied to very production mishap can't go without mention, both as part of the original film's massive marketing push and as franchise lore, both Bernhard and the makers of The Omen Legacy milk it to the extreme. Overall, though, director Brent Zacky has culled together more than enough to make his film worthwhile, from the behind-the-scenes footage and photos to new interviews with series players David Warner, Lee Grant, Lance Henriksen, Michael Lerner and Martin Benson.

The Omen Legacy has been cleanly mastered by Image in the original broadcast 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and provided with a soundtrack in Dolby Digital Stereo. For supplemental materials, the disc provides the original trailers for all four installments in the series, as well as the period "making of" featurette, Power and the Devil: The Making of Damien: Omen II, which clocks in at just over 7 min.

For more information about The Omen Legacy, visit Image Entertainment. To order The Omen Legacy, go to TCM Shopping.

For more information about The Omen Legacy, visit Image Entertainment. To order The Omen Legacy, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg
The Omen Legacy

The Omen Legacy

With Halloween looming, Image Entertainment has prepped for DVD release The Omen Legacy (2001), a reasonably diverting made-for-cable celebration of Fox's apocalyptic fright franchise. Laden with war stories from a fairly comprehensive cross-section of creative contributors to the Omen series, the program's wealth of content offers revelations for even hardcore buffs, while casual fans should remain consistently intrigued. The Omen Legacy begins by trying to set up a cultural context for the early '70s era in which the series was birthed, and showing how the successes of Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) laid the groundwork for allowing the public and the studios to be receptive to the notion of a thriller about the coming of the Antichrist. Producer Harvey Bernhard, who shepherded the series through its theatrical and telemovie incarnation, speaks at length about the intrigues behind the development of The Omen (1976). A number of his original collaborators are on hand as well, including Robert Munger, who originally pitched him on the notion; screenwriter David Seltzer; director Richard Donner; co-producer Mace Neufeld; and then-Fox production chief Alan Ladd Jr. The production tidbits shared (from the decisive moment leading to young Harvey Stephens' casting to how Lee Remick's banister plunge was achieved) make for involving viewing. The Omen Legacy fortunately spends the bulk of its focus on the original installment, and goes as far to make quiet concessions concerning the diminishing artistic and financial returns that each successive sequel (Damien: The Omen II (1978); The Final Conflict (1981); the made-for-TV Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)) and an abortive TV pilot wrought. For the series' biggest fans, its calling card has always been the grisly demises that await anyone who seeks to ward off Damien's grand destiny. Just as the actors and filmmakers are willing to share their reminisces of creating the death scenes, the makers of The Omen Legacy are equally enamored of repeating them at handy junctures. Still, it stops short of becoming wearisome, and the buffs who are being played to will be appreciative. The Omen Legacy makes its most interesting points when it touches upon the franchise's impact on its own studio. In the era in which The Omen was developed, Fox was awash in red ink, and the film's then-monstrous $76 million in grosses allowed the studio to right itself financially and ultimately guarantee its long-term strength by putting money into Star Wars (1977). Less welcome is the documentary's overdone speculation regarding the manner in which the series had impacted the religious convictions of its viewers, as various theologians (including one Satanist) weigh in on the relative merits of the filmmakers' approach to the issues. Further, while it's a given that the "Omen Curse" that was tied to very production mishap can't go without mention, both as part of the original film's massive marketing push and as franchise lore, both Bernhard and the makers of The Omen Legacy milk it to the extreme. Overall, though, director Brent Zacky has culled together more than enough to make his film worthwhile, from the behind-the-scenes footage and photos to new interviews with series players David Warner, Lee Grant, Lance Henriksen, Michael Lerner and Martin Benson. The Omen Legacy has been cleanly mastered by Image in the original broadcast 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and provided with a soundtrack in Dolby Digital Stereo. For supplemental materials, the disc provides the original trailers for all four installments in the series, as well as the period "making of" featurette, Power and the Devil: The Making of Damien: Omen II, which clocks in at just over 7 min. For more information about The Omen Legacy, visit Image Entertainment. To order The Omen Legacy, go to TCM Shopping. For more information about The Omen Legacy, visit Image Entertainment. To order The Omen Legacy, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

TCM Remembers - Leo McKern


TCM REMEMBERS LEO MCKERN, 1920-2002

The recent death of Leo McKern, 82, marked the passing of one of Britain's finest and most respected character actors. He was suffering from ill health in recent years and was moved to a nursing home a few weeks before his death on July 23 2002 in Bath, England. An actor of commanding presence with a deep-throated voice, the portly, bulbous-nosed McKern had a long, distinguished career spanning more than half a century, earning numerous plaudits along the way in all major mediums: theatre, film and television.

Born Reginald McKern on March 16, 1920 in Sydney, Australia; he served with the Australian Army during World War II and worked in regional theatre in his native Sydney before immigrating to England in 1946. It was a slow start, but after a three-year apprenticeship of painting scenery, stage-managing and acting, McKern eventually joined the celebrated Old Vic theatrical company in 1949 and proved one of the more versatile actors in the troupe tackling diverse roles in comedy, the classics and serious contemporary parts.

His film debut came in Murder in the Cathedral (1952) but it took a few years before he made his mark in cinema. Some of his best film work included roles as Peter Sellers' comic henchman in the classic satire The Mouse That Roared (1959); a bungling train robber in the charming Disney film The Horse Without a Head (1963); a nefarious professor who kills off his colleagues for amusement in the brilliant black comedy A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964); Clang, a cartoonish villain in the Beatles' pop film Help! (1965); Cromwell, the persecutor of Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons (1966) and as Thomas Ryan in the David Lean drama, Ryan's Daughter (1970).

Yet despite all the accolades McKern earned in theatre and films, it was television where he foundinternational fame as the wily, irascible barrister Horace P. Rumpole in John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey in 1975. Infusing the character with beguiling skill and energy, McKern made the acerbic, wine swilling, Tennyson-quoting Rumpole a much loved figure that was adored by critics, audiences and even its creator Mortimer. Perhaps Mortimer offered the most fitting tribute when he once referred to McKern - "His acting exists where I always hope my writing will be: about two feet above the ground, a little larger than life, but always taking off from reality." Enough said.

By Michael T. Toole KATY JURADO, 1924 - 2002

Katy Jurado, an Oscar nominee and major actress in Westerns, died July 5th at the age of 78. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on January 16th 1924 as Maria Cristina Estella Marcela Jurado Garcia, daughter of a cattle rancher and an opera singer. Jurado started to appear in Mexican films in 1943. After 15 films in her native country, director Budd Boetticher saw Jurado attending a bullfight (Jurado wrote about the subject for Mexican newspapers) and cast her in his Bullfighter and the Lady (1952), her Hollywood debut. For much of her career Jurado alternated between the two film industries. In the US, she was memorable for the sensual energy she brought to roles in High Noon (1952), One-Eyed Jacks (1961) which was directed by Marlon Brando, Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) and John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984). She was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for Broken Lance (1954). Jurado's Mexican films were in a broader range of genres and included Luis Bunuel's El Bruto (1952), Ismael Rodriguez's We the Poor and Miguel Littin's The Widow Montiel (1979). She won three Ariel Awards (Mexican equivalent to the Oscars) and one special award. She was married to Ernest Borgnine from the end of 1959 to summer 1963. One of her final films was The Hi-Lo Country (1998), a contemporary Western directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup and Penelope Cruz.

by Lang Thompson

DOLORES GRAY, 1924 - 2002

Broadway and nightclub star Dolores Gray died June 26th at the age of 78. Her movie career was brief but consisted of high-profile MGM musicals which guaranteed her a place in film history. Gray was born in Chicago on June 7th, 1924 (and where, according to a common story, she was accidentally shot by a gangster as a child and had a bullet in her lung her entire life). As a teenager she began singing in California until Rudy Vallee featured her on his radio show. Gray moved to Broadway in 1944 and then to the London stage in 1947, solidifying her reputation as a singer/actress while constantly giving the gossip columnists plenty to write about. She had two small singing roles in Lady for a Night (1941) and Mr. Skeffington (1944) but didn't really light up the big screen until It's Always Fair Weather (1955) even though Gray reportedly didn't much care for the role. Her rendition of "Thanks a Lot, But No Thanks," which has her gunning down a slew of male dancers on-stage and kicking them through trap doors, is a genuine showstopper. Three more unforgettable musical roles quickly followed: Kismet (1955), The Opposite Sex (1956, which Gray turned down Funny Face to do) and Designing Women (1957). That was it for Gray's film career. She kept busy with TV appearances (mostly singing though she did one 1988 episode of the cult show Dr. Who) and a busy recording and nightclub schedule. In 1987, she appeared in a British production of Follies at Stephen Sondheim's request.

by Lang Thompson

TCM Remembers - Leo McKern

TCM REMEMBERS LEO MCKERN, 1920-2002 The recent death of Leo McKern, 82, marked the passing of one of Britain's finest and most respected character actors. He was suffering from ill health in recent years and was moved to a nursing home a few weeks before his death on July 23 2002 in Bath, England. An actor of commanding presence with a deep-throated voice, the portly, bulbous-nosed McKern had a long, distinguished career spanning more than half a century, earning numerous plaudits along the way in all major mediums: theatre, film and television. Born Reginald McKern on March 16, 1920 in Sydney, Australia; he served with the Australian Army during World War II and worked in regional theatre in his native Sydney before immigrating to England in 1946. It was a slow start, but after a three-year apprenticeship of painting scenery, stage-managing and acting, McKern eventually joined the celebrated Old Vic theatrical company in 1949 and proved one of the more versatile actors in the troupe tackling diverse roles in comedy, the classics and serious contemporary parts. His film debut came in Murder in the Cathedral (1952) but it took a few years before he made his mark in cinema. Some of his best film work included roles as Peter Sellers' comic henchman in the classic satire The Mouse That Roared (1959); a bungling train robber in the charming Disney film The Horse Without a Head (1963); a nefarious professor who kills off his colleagues for amusement in the brilliant black comedy A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964); Clang, a cartoonish villain in the Beatles' pop film Help! (1965); Cromwell, the persecutor of Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons (1966) and as Thomas Ryan in the David Lean drama, Ryan's Daughter (1970). Yet despite all the accolades McKern earned in theatre and films, it was television where he foundinternational fame as the wily, irascible barrister Horace P. Rumpole in John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey in 1975. Infusing the character with beguiling skill and energy, McKern made the acerbic, wine swilling, Tennyson-quoting Rumpole a much loved figure that was adored by critics, audiences and even its creator Mortimer. Perhaps Mortimer offered the most fitting tribute when he once referred to McKern - "His acting exists where I always hope my writing will be: about two feet above the ground, a little larger than life, but always taking off from reality." Enough said. By Michael T. Toole

Quotes

When the Jews return to Zion / And a comet fills the sky / And the Holy Roman Empire rises, / Then You and I must die. / From the eternal sea he rises, / Creating armies on either shore, / Turning man against his brother / 'Til man exists no more.
- Father Brennan
He must DIE, Mr. Thorn!
- Father Brennan
Have no fear little one... I am hear to protect thee.
- Mrs Baylock
It's a bit much.
- Robert Thorn
No, nothing's too much for the wife of the future President of the United States.
- Kathy Thorn
You know, you're pushy.
- Robert Thorn
Something in mind, Mr. Ambassador?
- Kathy Thorn
Oh, I might have a little look upstairs...
- Robert Thorn
What do you know about my son?
- Robert Thorn
Everything.
- Father Brennen
And what is that?
- Robert Thorn
I saw its mother.
- Father Brennen
Its what?!
- Robert Thorn
If there were anything wrong, you'd tell me, wouldn't you?
- Robert Thorn
Wrong? What could be wrong with our child Robert? We're beautiful people, aren't we?
- Kathy Thorn

Trivia

Charlton Heston, 'Schieder, Roy' and 'Holden, William' turned down the lead role. Gregory Peck who hadn't worked for a while accepted the lead. William Holden did eventually accept a role in a sequel.

To make the baboons attack the car in the Windsor Zoo park scene, an official from the zoo was in the backseat of the car with the "leader" baboon, which made all the baboons outside go crazy.

When the fishbowl falls to the ground, (dead) sardines painted orange were used in place of actual goldfish, which director Richard Donner refused to kill for the sake of making a movie.

The shot of Lee Remick falling to the floor was done by building the "floor" on a (vertical) wall and dollying an upright Remick backward towards it.

Having changed its title from The Antichrist to The Birthmark, the film seemed to fall victim to a sinister curse. Scriptwriter 'Seltzer, David' 's plane was struck by lightning; director Richard Donner's hotel was bombed by the IRA; Gregory Peck canceled a flight to Israel, only for the plane he'd chartered to crash, killing all on board; and on day one of the shoot, the principal members of the crew survived a head-on car crash. The jinx appeared to persist well into post-production, when special effects artist John Richardson was injured and his assistant killed in an accident on the set of Bridge Too Far, A (1977).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 25, 1976

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States Summer June 25, 1976