>John Carpenter’s Escape from New York is one of the greatest movie of XX Century.
Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in a then-near future 1997 in a crime-ridden United States that has converted Manhattan Island in New York City into a maximum security prison. Ex-soldier Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is given 22 hours to find the President of the United States, who has been captured by prisoners after the crash of Air Force One. Carpenter wrote the film in the mid-1970s as a reaction to the Watergate scandal, but proved incapable of articulating how the film related to the scandal. After the success of Halloween, he had enough influence to get the film made and shot most of it in St. Louis, Missouri.The film is co-written with Nick Castle, who already collaborated with Carpenter previously by portraying Michael Myers in the 1978 film Halloween.
>About 9mins were on beginning deleted and only years later we can enjoy them :
Snake Plissken Chronicles : the ten-minute Colorado bank robbery deleted opening sequence.MGM’s special edition of the 1981 film was not released until 2003 because the original negative had disappeared. The workprint containing deleted scenes finally turned up in the Hutchinson, Kansas salt mine film depository. The excised scenes feature Snake Plissken robbing a bank, introducing the character of Plissken and establishing a backstory. Director John Carpenter decided to add the original scenes into the special edition release as an extra only: “After we screened the rough cut, we realized that the movie didn’t really start until Snake got to New York. It wasn’t necessary to show what sent him there.
>Famous quote :
Bob Hauk :
There was an accident about an hour ago.
A small jet went down inside New York City.
The President was on board.
Snake Plissken :
President of what?
>We found 2 different video games released for Commodore64 :
-And most known and popular :
> ESCAPE FORM NEW YORK – Review by Nexus23 Labs :
The film is set in the near future that sees the New York district of Manhattan transformed into a maximum security prison of the United States where they are locked up all criminals sentenced to life imprisonment.
Once entered no one can exit.
Who tries, is promptly bombarded by guards who patrol the wall that surrounds the island.
But the unbelievable happens:
Air Force One, the plane on which the President travels, is taken hostage by a group of terrorists and did crash into the World Trade Center.
The President will be saved, but will be picked up and held hostage for ransom :
the release of all detainees.
Bob Hauk, high commissioner of the maximum security penitentiary in New York, offers a war hero
to seek the president and lead him out from Manhattan in less than 24 hours.
Carpenter had written a screenplay before Escape from New York in 1976, a time of great uncertainty and lack of trust in institutions due to the Watergate scandal,
the story that inspired him especially in the characterization of the cynical and ruthless President.
The idea was to make an action movie with elements of Westerns.
But it was probably mainly the reversal of reality to be of interest to the director of Carthage:
the place where every day is focused on power and money, the district of Manhattan for the note,
which becomes a prison populated by the worst criminal scum.
Carpenter also drew inspiration from another film, the Executioner of the night,
for the grim depiction of New York nightlife, and a novel,
“The Planet of the Damned”, by Harry Harrison.
Yet all those who had a chance to take a look at the script were not much confident:
the film appeared on the paper too everything: violent, scary, weird.
But especially expensive: play in the studio in a city full breakup meant millions and millions of dollars. Everything changed after the success with Halloween.
Carpenter and Debra Hill’s former partner had signed a contract with the AVCO-Embassy to make two films.
The first was The Fog, the second was to be “The Philadelphia Experiment”.
But due to some problems in the script, Carpenter convinced lenders to focus on Escape from New York.
Shelved The Philadelphia Experiment, which will come out in 1984 and directed by Stewart Raffill,
Debra Hill sent around the whole country Barry Bernardi, the location manager, looking for the worst city in America.
Bernardi returned with the solution: East St. Louis, southern Illinois, on the opposite bank to the more florid Saint Louis, which had suffered a fire in 1976 that devastated several neighborhoods scary leaving rows of dilapidated buildings and uninhabited.
But above all a stone’s throw away was the Chain of Rock Bridge which resembled the Queensboro Bridge,
fundamental to the final escape.
The bridge was also in bad shape:
Carpenter was sold for a dollar to avoid any security problem and subsequently bought back,
always for the same amount.
The production could begin: Carpenter had available $ 6 million, the film grossed 25 it only in the United States. The shooting was carried out in a constant darkness,
with the crew devastated by its scary, devoured by mosquitoes and upset by the fact of not seeing virtually never the full light of day for about two months.
Dan Cunley, cinematographer, was available to a new generation of lens that allowed him to capture the best light even in semi-darkness.
Charles Bronson, something which Carpenter was inspired to create Jena Plisskin, was the first choice for manufacturers but for the director the actor was too old for the part and, above all, too famous to time to keep it under control. Carpenter wanted to bet heavily on Kurt Russell, who immediately liked the part, and he wanted to take off the label of actor for children who already had been buckled after playing some Disney movie. Russell intervened heavily on character, losing weight and exercising to be more rude and massive.
As he reminds himself, Jena Plissken born mixing skills of Bruce Lee with the determination of John Eastland, the destroyer of the film of 1980, the wickedness of Darth Fenner and the voice of Clint Eastwood,
however, sounded out for the role.
Even the bandage was his idea: the actor chose to wear an evening to see if it worked. Going back to the hotel he ran into a man who tried to beat him like hell. He spoke of the incident to Carpenter, who approved. On the set he used were two: a real close-ups, the other with a plot less dense to allow Russell to see better in the dark during the scenes with more action.
Russell went into complete harmony with the character so much to go dressed as Jena even when turned.
Its also the leather jacket, bought in Paris a few months earlier.
However the name of our antihero is due to Carpenter that, actually, as a young man in Cleveland knew a Plissken nicknamed Snake of which, however, the gossips had circulated the rumor that he was dead.
The role of Maggie was built directly on Adrienne Barbeau, while Carpenter’s wife and former heroine of the previous film, The Fog. Curiously, the scene where lies torn apart by the impact with the car of the Duke was shot in front of the garage finished filming the house of Carpenter. To suggest the lack was a very young J.Abrahms that, thanks to his father employee of the production of the film, had been able to attend a pre-assembly noting the absence of proof of the death of “Squinzi” of Mind.
Completing the cast Lee Van Cleef, initially reluctant to accept the part because of a bad injury that happened shortly before falling from his horse, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and Donald Pleasence.
Even the latter initially refused because, having a strong British accent, thought not to be credible as President of the United States. Convinced to participate, Pleasence Carpenter asked to justify his accent making clear in the prologue that the wave of uncertainty in the country had caused a reversal of the laws that had brought the British to become President. But the director does not listen to him.
Many cast members had already participated in previous productions of Carpenter: Barbeau and Pleasence, plus Charles Cyphers, Frank Doubleday and Tom Atkins.
The names of three characters, Romero, Cronenberg and Taylor, are a clear homage to three friends / colleagues of the director: George A. Romero, David Cronenberg and Don Taylor. The name of the character played by Tom Atkins: “Reheme” is a clear homage to the President of AVCO Embassy Robert Rehme.
And speaking of Taylor: the character is present in the credits, played by Joe Unger, although in the film there is no trace because during assembly the long scene in which appeared was cut. The scene in question was the first of the film and tells the robbery, which ended with the death of the aforementioned Taylor and capture Plissken, which opens the doors of the high security prison in Manhattan to our anti-hero.
Ox Baker, in the role of the giant champion of detainees Slag, was actually a professional wrestler.
Kurt Russell remembers that shooting the scene of the fight was incredibly difficult because of the severe blows received.
When once again Baker hit him with the lid of the trash that he used as a shield made Russell really pissed.
So he squeezed his balls and told him to beat less. The wrestler understood.
In the film the battle takes place at Madison Square Garden but actually was shot in the lobby of the train station in East Saint Louis, while closed.
The shooting took place mainly in this city, which gave a big hand to Carpenter: residents of 10 blocks agreed to shut down the generators of electricity, for about a month and a half, to allow a total darkness on set. In New York, was shot one scene, this, under the Liberty Statue : no other films, before that, had permission to shoot at Liberty Island.
This scene, which seems set in Central Park, was actually filmed in San Fernando, California.
A painting on glass, imposed on the camera, thus the buildings that you see behind the trees are a young James Cameron special effects for the New World Picture of Roger Corman.
Cabbie’s character, played by Ernest Borgnine, was not expected in the first draft of the screenplay:
Nick Castle, regular contributor to Carpenter , who had starred as Michael Myers in Halloween.
Castle gave an enormous contribution to the screenplay, by inserting a touch of humor that Carpenter had not anticipated but which served to make the film more appealing especially for New Yorkers.
The script, however, included a final slightly different, with Hauk revealing to Plissken that the explosive ball of poison injected was harmless, and the hero who threw a cigarette butt in the face to the president:
both scenes were filmed but only later recycled for the sequel “Escape from L.A.”.
The images of New York from above as we see on the screens of the glider piloted by Plissken are not the result of computer graphics:
in 1981 it would have been too expensive to implement them.
The director of the special effects found the solution with a rundown on two scale models of Manhattan painted in black on the palaces which was tacked on white reflective tape.
The scale model was re-used in Blade Runner the year after.
There are obviously mistakes, more or less serious, kind of continuity:
by hand on timer Plissken disappearing, to that of a member of the crew that closes the elevator door,
the lights of the car that you turn on and off until the scene of the fight,
with the spiked club that magically reappears on the head of the poor Slag which, however,
before collapsing with his arms on the ropes and then, though dead, is able to step over.
And speaking of mistakes how not to mention the bridge where there is the dramatic escape from New York at the end of 69th street, but really there is no bridge, there is one at the end of the 59th, the Queensboro, and Carpenter has always admitted that he had a scarce knowledge, at the time, of Manhattan.
For the scene of special effects was ordered liquid smoke from Los Angeles. The bins in which it was contained, however, broken off in the aircraft during the landing phase:
panic on board, of course, and security measures explained to the ground.
The head of the special effects, in California, stated that it was flammable material and presented himself smiling at the airport to load the drums, so this unfortunate member of the production passed hours in the police station.
The film brought along for years a mystery that never has been fully clarified:
one related to the voices of the prologue and the scene inside the maximum security prison.
According to sources in both situations the voice is that of Jamie Lee Curtis;
according to others, that of producer Debra Hill.
The internet movie database does not help:
indicates the Curtis as the voice of the prologue and both for each other,
and for the first position, although not confirmed, also indicates such Kathleen Blanchard.
Memorable soundtrack, also a work by Carpenter:
note the presence of the theme Bank Robbery for the scene, as we have seen, was ultimately cut from the final edit.
Trivia: the manholes were too heavy to be lifted by the actors so were replaced with copies of wood.
The production risked great to bring the fuselage broken the presidential on set: there was no time to apply for permits and then to avoid controls was all transported to the middle of the night.
Adrienne Barbeau and John Carpenter were not the only married couple on the set: Kurt Russell and Season Hubley were married and recently had a son, Boston.
The agent who tries to break the door is Steven Ford, son of former President Gerald Ford.
The film finally brings a great lesson:
to never say to someone “I heard you were dead”: everyone in the film have said in Jena Plissken, they made a bad end.