(US - 1974)
Directed by Albert Victor (Al Adamson) and Leon Klimovsky. Written by Charles Johnson and Joy Garrison. Cast: Clifton Brown (Dobie Gray), Dennis Safren, Luciana Paluzzi, Lang Jeffries, Tracy King (Marilyn Joi), Bedi Moratti, Albert Cole, Al Richardson, Elizabeth Chauvet, Dick Poston, Irv Saunders, Barta Barri. (R, 87 mins)
Throughout his prolific career in Z-grade schlock, Al Adamson was no stranger to stitching together pieces of his various finished or unfinished projects with newly-shot scenes to to create completely different movies. He managed to get two more films out of copious amounts of stock footage from 1965's PSYCHO A GO GO (1967's THE FIEND WITH THE ELECTRONIC BRAIN and 1972's BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR). He turned his unreleased 1968 spy movie THE FAKERS into the 1970 biker flick HELL'S BLOODY DEVILS, and transformed the biker-turned-mad doctor horror flick THE BLOOD SEEKERS, uncompleted and abandoned in 1969, into 1971's DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN by adding Dracula and Frankenstein. In the case of 1970's HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS, where astronauts visit a prehistoric planet to stop a vampirism epidemic on Earth (?!), he used tinted footage from a black-and-white Filipino caveman movie as well as dinosaur shots from 1940's ONE MILLION B.C. Adamson's Independent-International partner Sam Sherman acquired a 1971 European thriller called RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, directed by Spanish journeyman and frequent Paul Naschy collaborator Leon Klimovsky (DR. JEKYLL VS. THE WEREWOLF, VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES). The story dealt with an American Vietnam War deserter (Dennis Safren) making his way to Rome and getting involved in jewelry smuggling and a kidnapping plot, but upon further review, Sherman didn't see much potential for it being a success at drive-ins and on the grindhouse circuit.
|Original 1971 Spanish poster
for RUN FOR YOUR LIFE
(US - 1977)
No director credited (Geza von Radvanyi, Al Adamson). No writer credited (Fred Denger, Geza von Radvanyi, Al Adamson). Cast: John Kitzmiller, Herbert Lom, Olive Moorefield, Mary Ann Jenson, Prentiss Moulden, Erwin Fuller, Jean Clark, Biff Yeager, J.C. Welles, Chuck Welles, Vincent Isaac, Marilyn Joi, O.W. Fischer, Gertraud Mittermayr, Catana Cayetano, Charles Fawcett, Vilma Degischer, Thomas Fritsch, Bibi Jelinek, Harold Bradley, Aziz Saad, George Goodman. (R, 98 mins)
Speaking of Bond actors utterly oblivious to their presence in an Al Adamson movie, John Kitzmiller probably would've been shocked to find himself starring in the director's 1977 version of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, especially since he died in 1965. Best known as Quarrel, the islander who helps 007 get to Crab Key in 1962's DR. NO, Kitzmiller was born in Battle Creek, MI in 1913 and joined the US Army after graduating with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He was stationed in Italy during WWII and just stayed there when the war ended. He fell into acting after a chance encounter with a young Carlo Ponti, which led to him becoming a regular presence in postwar Italian neo-realist films, including one of the lead roles in Federico Fellini's 1950 directing debut VARIETY LIGHTS. He worked all over Europe, even winning the Best Actor award at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival for the Yugoslavian war drama VALLEY OF PEACE. It didn't lead to bigger and better roles--being a black actor in Europe, Kitzmiller found his options were limited, so he usually ended up playing a variety of soldiers, servants, or jazz musicians, and as time went on, he fell into depression and alcoholism. But in 1964, he landed the starring role in UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, a prestigious, three-hour West German/French/Italian/Yugoslavian adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's legendary 1852 novel. As Uncle Tom, Kitzmiller headed an international cast that included Herbert Lom as Simon Legree, German-based American singer Olive Moorefield as Cassy, and other respected European actors like O.W. Fischer, Mylene Demongeot, Eleonora Rossi Drago, Charles Fawcett, and Juliette Greco. It was directed by Hungarian filmmaker Geza von Radvanyi, best known for the 1958 version of MADCHEN IN UNIFORM. UNCLE TOM'S CABIN won acclaim in Europe when it premiered in West Germany in April 1965, but it still didn't provide a career bump for Kitzmiller: the actor died two months before the film's release, succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver at just 51.
|Poster for the 1965 German version
|John Kitzmiller (1913-1965)
Al Adamson's revamp of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN
opening in Toledo, OH on 3/11/1977