Saturday, November 10, 2007

No. 34 - The Front Runner

Paul Newman plays a track coach who falls in love with one of his runners. The Front Runner would have been one of the first Hollywood films to deal with homosexuality, if it had actually been made. But Newman got cold feet, and did the decidedly macho Slap Shot instead. A Variety headline from 1976 summed it up: "Front Runner on back burner."

There are other lost films from the 70's. Steve McQueen starred in a cinematic version of Ibsen's Enemy of the People in 1978. It saw a very limited release, and was quickly withdrawn. I didn't even know this film existed until it happened to play on the late show a long time ago. If only McQueen had starred in The Driver in 1978 instead.

One other tantalizing title is These Bases Are Loaded, a comedy about drug abuse, groupies and gambling in major league baseball that was set to star Charles Durning, Richard Gere and Billy Dee Williams. Too bad the plug was pulled at the last minute.

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