Friday, February 12, 2010

The Little Old Ladies from Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio

Kicking off our month-long tribute to Ohio-made horror films is the peculiar and obscure Homebodies, about homicidal seniors taking on the developers that want to evict them from their apartment building.

The film was directed by Larry Yust, who had a long career before and after Homebodies making documentaries and educational films, many of them for the Encyclopedia Britannica (his father Walter was the Britannica editor). He continues to work as a photographer, and you can see some of his work here.

I found TIME magazine's review online, and I've pasted a number of related articles below. I was especially impressed with the elaborate local premiere (free prunes!), particularly since the film appears to have had a somewhat limited distribution run upon its initial release. I have seen notices for screenings of the film as late as 1978 or 1979, though, and it had a VHS release. I couldn't find a trailer, but you can watch the whole film (in segments) on YouTube.

From: Boxoffice, Aug. 5, 1974

Actress Frances Fuller in Avco's 'Homebodies'

NEW YORK -- Frances Fuller, veteran character actress and director of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts since 1954, makes a rare film appearance in Avco Embassy Pictures' "Homebodies." She plays a member of a "grey power" hit gang violently resisting eviction form an old brownstone house being demolished to make way for a high rise office complex.

Miss Fuller is married to producer Worthington Miner, co-director of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, with whom she appeared in the film "They Might be Giants" (1971). Not to be confused with the late Frances Farmer, Miss Fuller was a Paramount star in the '30s opposite Gary Cooper in "One Sunday Afternoon" (1933) and George Bancroft in "Elmer and Elsie" (1934).

"Homebodies," described as a heart-warming horror story, world premieres in Cincinnati this month prior to its national release. Marshall Backlar and James Levitt produced for their Cinema Entertainment Corporation, with Larry Yust as director.

From: Boxoffice, Aug. 26, 1974

Homebodies Debut Follows Offbeat Gala

CINCINNATI -- The world premiere of Avco Embassy's "Homebodies" was held here with a two-day gala, the like of which never has been seen before anywhere, Monday and Tuesday nights (12, 13). Have you ever been to a "hard hat" cocktail party held in a deserted area of abandoned buildings, with dirt and rubbish all around? Of course not! But it happened here, Monday (12), with guests wearing hard hats, the same type worn by construction workers.

A buffet supper was served under a canopy (similar to a scene in "Homebodies") at the Queengate site for invited guests, including city officials, members of the press and radio-TV personalities. Fortunately, the weather was good, with no dusty swirls of wind to discomfort those attending or to spoil the food.

And the entertainment? Knocking down buildings was the piece de resistance. Guests were invited to try their luck up on the cranes at breaking windows or dislodging a brick or two. Those who tired included Cincinnati Mayor Theodore M. Berry; a member of the redevelopment program; chiefs of the police and fire department; Bob Braun, WLW-TV star, and Don Wirtz, Mid States Theatres, who planned the stunt. Paula Trueman, the star of "Homebodies," stood by to cheer them on!

At the Skywalk Cinemas Tuesday night (13) there were fireworks, a parade led by the famed Roger Bacon Band and Paula Trueman, star; Marshall Backlar, producer; Larry Yust, director, and James Levitt, executive producer. They arrived, not in limousines, but in cleaned-up dump trucks. There was a combo on the elevated stairway leading to the Skywalk Cinemas, red carpets, proclamations, wine, flowers, and free prunes -- and finally the showing of "Homebodies" before an enthusiastic audience.

"Homebodies" is a film about elderly people being evicted from their homes to make way for urban renewal and their futile efforts to defy progress. Most of the exterior scenes were filmed here in the Queengate area, now being developed in the city's renewal program. The motion picture contains some shots of the Fountain Square Plaza, Burnet Woods and the Western Viaduct.

Starring Paula Trueman, "Homebodies" currently is playing the Skywalk Cinemas and the Princeton Cinemas.

From: Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio, July 27, 1974

1 comment:

  1. I actually saw HOMEBODIES during its premiere run at the Skywalk Cinemas. A good cast but just okay. I remember it turning up on cable a few times in the eighties.