Stunts (Do Not Use)


1h 30m 1977
Stunts (Do Not Use)

Brief Synopsis

Glen Wilson is a successful stuntman in the movies, as is his brother. When his brother is killed on a movie set in San Luis Obispo, Glen convinces the reluctant producer of the film to let him replace his brother on the project so that he can investigate. Glen is asked to perform a number of danger

Film Details

Also Known As
Stunts, Who Is Killing the Stuntmen?
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1977
Production Company
New Line Cinema
Distribution Company
New Line Cinema

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

Glen Wilson is a successful stuntman in the movies, as is his brother. When his brother is killed on a movie set in San Luis Obispo, Glen convinces the reluctant producer of the film to let him replace his brother on the project so that he can investigate. Glen is asked to perform a number of dangerous stunts, and after learning that his brother had been sleeping with the producer's wife, he begins to suspects him of murder. And a number of unexplained accidents on the set convince Glen that wh ver the killer is, he is after him as well.

Film Details

Also Known As
Stunts, Who Is Killing the Stuntmen?
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1977
Production Company
New Line Cinema
Distribution Company
New Line Cinema

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Articles

Stunts


Stunts (1977) was the first feature film produced by New Line Cinema, a boutique distribution company launched in 1967 from founder Robert Shay's Greenwich Village apartment. The son of a wholesale grocer, Shaye was a Fulbright scholar who understood business (a law degree from Columbia University didn't hurt) but loved art. While working in the stills department for the Museum of Modern Art, Shaye saw a business opportunity in distributing films to the movie-mad university circuit. One of his first acquisitions was the classic anti-pot screed Reefer Madness (1936), whose copyright had lapsed; for that reason, Shay was also able to re-release George A. Romero's seminal zombie shocker Night of the Living Dead (1968). Early, albeit modest, success allowed Shaye to relocate the headquarters of New Line ("New Films for the New Audience") to a makeshift office space above a bar near New York University and in 1972 he initiated a long-term relationship with shock filmmaker John Waters by distributing Waters' Pink Flamingos (1972). Shaye fleshed out his portfolio with affordable foreign imports, such as Werner Herzog's Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), Claude Chabrol's Wedding in Blood (1973), and the Sonny Chiba cult favorite The Streetfighter (1974).

Shaye's artistic ambitions compelled him not only to distribute but to create. In 1976, he obtained financing for New Line's first feature film. Budgeted at $600,000, Stunt (as the project was called into pre-production) was a mashup of The Lost Squadron (1932), RKO Radio Pictures' pre-Code drama about World War I aviators reduced by working as Hollywood stunt men, and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians -- with the murder victims in this setting being not strangers harboring shameful secrets but stunt performers living fast, loving hard, and dying unexpectedly. To direct, Shaye hired up-and-comer Mark L. Lester, a former documentarian turned drive-in auteur. With such titles as Steel Arena (1973) and Truck Stop Women (1974), and Bobby Jo and the Outlaw (1976) already under his belt, Lester understood story and stunts. Shaye also secured a viable leading man in Don Stroud, a Honolulu-born Hollywood badboy who had gotten his start playing sociopaths in Don Siegel's Coogan's Bluff (1968) and Roger Corman's Bloody Mama (1970). Cast as a veteran daredevil who signs on to the crew of a seemingly cursed production to investigate the death of his stuntman brother, Stroud was poised to cross over to more heroic assignments - until a near-fatal motorcycle crash prior to the start of principal photography took him out of the running.

Shaye and Lester ultimately made do with Robert Forster, a former 20th Century Fox contract player who had scored critical kudos for his early work in John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) and Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool (1969) but who was by 1975 experiencing career doldrums on the heels of such big screen flops as Pieces of Dreams (1970) and The Don Is Dead (1973) and two failed TV series. Though Stroud and Forster were wildly different performers, Forster as methodical and measured as Stroud was mercurial and manic, Forster was able to bring true authenticity to the role of Glen Wilson, a veteran "fall guy" out to nail the killer who sabotaged his brother's fatal final stunt. Shaye was able to pick up a bargain leading lady in British actress Fiona Lewis, who had traded the United Kingdom for Hollywood after decorous supporting roles in Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) and Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975); Lewis' first jobs in North America included posing for Playboy and playing shark bait in the Mexican Jaws ripoff Tintorera (1977). To play the crew members of the move-within-the-movie who might be the killer or the next victim, Shaye cast Bruce Glover (memorable as the gay hitman Mr. Wint in the 1971 James Bond vehicle Diamonds Are Forever), Richard Lynch (who had just played an extra-terrestrial hermaphrodite in Larry Cohen's God Told Me To), a pre-fame Ray Sharkey, and a dues-paying Joanna Cassidy a few years short of her own career-defining turns in Blade Runner (1982) and Under Fire (1983).

Shot on location in San Luis Obispo, Stunts (1977) offered a then-rare look behind the scenes of the magic of the movies - and the price paid by the men and women hired to take the falls. Modestly successful, the film not only launched New Line Cinema to bigger and better things (the company scored its first Oscar with the import of Bertrand Blier's Get Out Your Handkerchiefs in 1979 and went on to cop eleven in one night when Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the Academy Awards in 2004) but seemed to initiate a vogue for stuntman stories. Following close on the heels of Stunts was the Burt Reynolds romp Hooper (1978), Brian Trenchard-Smith's Stunt Rock (1978), and Richard Rush's cult favorite The Stunt Man (filmed in 1978, released in 1980), as well as the 1981-1986 ABC-TV series The Fall Guy, starring Lee Majors as a stuntman turned bounty hunter. Stunts also helped launch the career of film composer Michael Kamen, who subsequently contributed memorable and acclaimed scores to such films as David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone (1984), Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985), Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986), and the lucrative film franchises launched by Richard Donner's Lethal Weapon (1985) and John McTiernan's Die Hard (1988).

by Richard Harland Smith

Sources:

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy: The Making of West Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street by Thomas Wolfenden (Simon & Schuster, 2016)
"New Line: The Lost Tycoons" by Frank DiGiacomo, Vanity Fair, March 2009
Interview with Mark L. Lester by John Cribbs, www.thepinksmoke.com, 2011
"Dial D for Disaster: The Fall of New Line Cinema," The Guardian, April 15, 2008
Interview with Fiona Lewis by Dick Kleiner (Newspaper Enterprise Association, April 7, 1977)
Interview with Robert Forster by Bernard Weinraub, The New York Times, January 2, 1998
Stunts

Stunts

Stunts (1977) was the first feature film produced by New Line Cinema, a boutique distribution company launched in 1967 from founder Robert Shay's Greenwich Village apartment. The son of a wholesale grocer, Shaye was a Fulbright scholar who understood business (a law degree from Columbia University didn't hurt) but loved art. While working in the stills department for the Museum of Modern Art, Shaye saw a business opportunity in distributing films to the movie-mad university circuit. One of his first acquisitions was the classic anti-pot screed Reefer Madness (1936), whose copyright had lapsed; for that reason, Shay was also able to re-release George A. Romero's seminal zombie shocker Night of the Living Dead (1968). Early, albeit modest, success allowed Shaye to relocate the headquarters of New Line ("New Films for the New Audience") to a makeshift office space above a bar near New York University and in 1972 he initiated a long-term relationship with shock filmmaker John Waters by distributing Waters' Pink Flamingos (1972). Shaye fleshed out his portfolio with affordable foreign imports, such as Werner Herzog's Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), Claude Chabrol's Wedding in Blood (1973), and the Sonny Chiba cult favorite The Streetfighter (1974). Shaye's artistic ambitions compelled him not only to distribute but to create. In 1976, he obtained financing for New Line's first feature film. Budgeted at $600,000, Stunt (as the project was called into pre-production) was a mashup of The Lost Squadron (1932), RKO Radio Pictures' pre-Code drama about World War I aviators reduced by working as Hollywood stunt men, and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians -- with the murder victims in this setting being not strangers harboring shameful secrets but stunt performers living fast, loving hard, and dying unexpectedly. To direct, Shaye hired up-and-comer Mark L. Lester, a former documentarian turned drive-in auteur. With such titles as Steel Arena (1973) and Truck Stop Women (1974), and Bobby Jo and the Outlaw (1976) already under his belt, Lester understood story and stunts. Shaye also secured a viable leading man in Don Stroud, a Honolulu-born Hollywood badboy who had gotten his start playing sociopaths in Don Siegel's Coogan's Bluff (1968) and Roger Corman's Bloody Mama (1970). Cast as a veteran daredevil who signs on to the crew of a seemingly cursed production to investigate the death of his stuntman brother, Stroud was poised to cross over to more heroic assignments - until a near-fatal motorcycle crash prior to the start of principal photography took him out of the running. Shaye and Lester ultimately made do with Robert Forster, a former 20th Century Fox contract player who had scored critical kudos for his early work in John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) and Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool (1969) but who was by 1975 experiencing career doldrums on the heels of such big screen flops as Pieces of Dreams (1970) and The Don Is Dead (1973) and two failed TV series. Though Stroud and Forster were wildly different performers, Forster as methodical and measured as Stroud was mercurial and manic, Forster was able to bring true authenticity to the role of Glen Wilson, a veteran "fall guy" out to nail the killer who sabotaged his brother's fatal final stunt. Shaye was able to pick up a bargain leading lady in British actress Fiona Lewis, who had traded the United Kingdom for Hollywood after decorous supporting roles in Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) and Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975); Lewis' first jobs in North America included posing for Playboy and playing shark bait in the Mexican Jaws ripoff Tintorera (1977). To play the crew members of the move-within-the-movie who might be the killer or the next victim, Shaye cast Bruce Glover (memorable as the gay hitman Mr. Wint in the 1971 James Bond vehicle Diamonds Are Forever), Richard Lynch (who had just played an extra-terrestrial hermaphrodite in Larry Cohen's God Told Me To), a pre-fame Ray Sharkey, and a dues-paying Joanna Cassidy a few years short of her own career-defining turns in Blade Runner (1982) and Under Fire (1983). Shot on location in San Luis Obispo, Stunts (1977) offered a then-rare look behind the scenes of the magic of the movies - and the price paid by the men and women hired to take the falls. Modestly successful, the film not only launched New Line Cinema to bigger and better things (the company scored its first Oscar with the import of Bertrand Blier's Get Out Your Handkerchiefs in 1979 and went on to cop eleven in one night when Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the Academy Awards in 2004) but seemed to initiate a vogue for stuntman stories. Following close on the heels of Stunts was the Burt Reynolds romp Hooper (1978), Brian Trenchard-Smith's Stunt Rock (1978), and Richard Rush's cult favorite The Stunt Man (filmed in 1978, released in 1980), as well as the 1981-1986 ABC-TV series The Fall Guy, starring Lee Majors as a stuntman turned bounty hunter. Stunts also helped launch the career of film composer Michael Kamen, who subsequently contributed memorable and acclaimed scores to such films as David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone (1984), Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985), Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986), and the lucrative film franchises launched by Richard Donner's Lethal Weapon (1985) and John McTiernan's Die Hard (1988). by Richard Harland Smith Sources: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy: The Making of West Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street by Thomas Wolfenden (Simon & Schuster, 2016) "New Line: The Lost Tycoons" by Frank DiGiacomo, Vanity Fair, March 2009 Interview with Mark L. Lester by John Cribbs, www.thepinksmoke.com, 2011 "Dial D for Disaster: The Fall of New Line Cinema," The Guardian, April 15, 2008 Interview with Fiona Lewis by Dick Kleiner (Newspaper Enterprise Association, April 7, 1977) Interview with Robert Forster by Bernard Weinraub, The New York Times, January 2, 1998

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1977

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1977