Posted May 3, 2012 by Paula Hammond - Features Editor in Features
 
 

Magic May


It’s the month when we said hello to George Cloony and Clint Eastwood and good-bye to the voice of Mickey Mouse, Wayne Allwine. It’s symbolised by nightingales, emeralds and lilies.

It’s the month when we said hello to George Cloony and Clint Eastwood and good-bye to the voice of Mickey Mouse, Wayne Allwine. It’s symbolised by
nightingales, emeralds and lilies.
And for millions of sci-fi fans, its the time
to celebrate Towel Day and Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with
you). But for film fans everywhere, May means just one thing: the start of
blockbuster season. Since movies began, studios have always released some of
their biggest and best movies in this magical month. So join us, as we take a
lollop down memory lane and remember those movies of Mays gone by…

Temples
And Crusades

As far as George
Lucas
is concerned, May is a certainly magical month. As any film fan will
tell you, May 1977 was when the world was introduced to the Star Wars phenomena. No film during the
‘70s was as successful and Lucas is rumoured to have become a billionaire on
the merchandise sales alone. However Mr Star Wars seems to have a certain
affection for the magical month – at least enough for him to choose May to
release ten of the films he’s been associated with: Star Wars (25th May 1977), The
Empire Strikes Back
(23rd May 1980), The
Return Of The Jedi
(25th May 1983), Indiana
Jones And The Temple of Doom
(23rd May 1984); Willow (20th May 1988)
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
(24th May 1989); The Phantom Menace (19th May 1999); Attack Of The Clones (16th May 2002); Revenge Of The Sith (19th May 2005) and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (22nd May 2008).
Lucas was also born in May, which is perhaps why he has holds the month in such
high regard?

ChestBursters
And Killer Rabbits

The first of the sequels to Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet
Of The Apes
Beneath The Planet Of
The Apes
– made its debut on 26th May 1960. Although no where near as good
as the original it, never the less, progressed the story and paved the way for
three more, very watchable, films. Not to mention an entertaining, if not
brilliant, TV series. Then, of course there was Alien; Ridley Scott’s seminal,
sci-fi horror, which has since generated its own fair share of sequels,
computer games, comics and collectables. May was also the month which gave us
two British film favourites: James Bond’s Dr
No
(8th May 1963) and Monty Python
And The Holy Grai
l, the film which coined the word “Ni”.

Muscle-Bound
Barbarians

There’s something about Arnie that makes people
laugh. He’s been in some cracking films, but all those muscles and macho posing
is hard to take seriously. Which is why he was so good in Conan The Barbarian. The film, which was released on 14th May 1982,
was the first to bring Robert E Howard’s
classic character to the big screen and was successful enough to merit a
sequel, Conan The Destroyer, two
years later. Although the books are played straight, the film makers realised
that a guy in a girlie wig and loin cloth is going to look pretty silly to
modern audiences, and so used Arnies’ ‘baffled barbarian’ persona to best
effect. The result was a not half bad action movie, with some good fight scenes
and some genuine laugh out loud moments.

Who
& I

If you’re a fan of Dr Who, then May 1996 meant just one thing — the return to TV of a
classic show, after a seven year absence. Although it premiered on the Fox
Network on 14th May, British fans had to wait until 27th to finally see Paul McGann strut his stuff. Sadly, Fox
didn’t take up the rights to the series. However, thanks to his work with Big
Finish, McGann is now one of the longest serving Doctors and rumours abound
that he’ll be back on our screens as Who celebrates its 50th anniversary this
year. Yet, it would be wrong to see McGann as just another Who actor. Its been
25 years since the Liverpool born thesp made his TV debut and, in that time,
he’s regularly appeared on both the big and small screen. Early film roles
include Ken Russell’s adaptation of
The Rainbow as well as the cult
classic Withnail & I, in which
he starred with fellow Dr Who actor Richard
E Grant
. He’s also cropped up in a few surprising big budget US films,
including Aliens 3, Empire Of The Sun and Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned as well
as more recent indie films like My
Kingdom
.

Bruce
And Brandon

There’s no doubt about it, there were some great
May movies made in the ‘90s: Luc
Bessan’s
fabulously fun Fifth
Element
(1997), the first of Mike
Myers
shag-tastic Austin Powers
films (2nd May 1997), Mission Impossible
(22nd May 1996) and Split Second
(1st May 1992). OK, so Split Second might be a low budget cheesy flick, but its
got demons, BFGs, classic one liners and Rutger
Hauer.
What more could any film fan want? However, you can’t talk about May
movies without mentioning Bruce and Brandon Lee. 11th May, 1994 saw the release
of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. From
a production point of view, this was little more than a made-for-TV movie, yet Jason Scott Lee’s uncanny portrayal of
his namesake, Bruce, lifted the whole film. If you’re a martial arts fan, then
this is a must see. Curiously Bruce’s son, Brandon was actually offered the
part in Dragon, but turned it down to play Eric Draven. If he’d taken the role
then history might have been very different. As it was, Brandon was tragically
killed on set while filming The Crow.
However one of the best things about movies is that, time may pass, but every
time you press play on your DVD, the clock stops and all those May memories
come flooding right back. A reminder that, in the world of film, you may be
gone, but you’ll never be forgotton.


Paula Hammond - Features Editor

 
Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com