Sunday, 19 August 2007

(SEP 12 / NOV 7) Steve McQueen and The Blob

Image: © Paramount Pictures. (fair use)

The film that launched the careers of both Steve McQueen and Burt Bacharach, The Blob is now a pop culture artifact, written and produced outside of Hollywood with no distribution deal lined up, by people who wanted to do something different with their portrayal of teen culture by depicting teenagers as good kids instead of out-of-control delinquents, which was more customary at the time. It was directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr, a man more accustomed to making religious films. After it was completed a deal was struck with Paramount, who liked it, and The Blob was meant to ship to theatres paired with I Married a Monster from Outer Space, a movie that Paramount justifiably believed would flop. By mistake the distributors ended up shipping The Blob on its own and, unshackled by any association with an inferior movie, its cult status was born on 12 September 1958.

McQueen received only $3,000 for the film; he’d turned down an offer for a smaller up-front fee with 10% of the profits because he didn’t think the movie would make any money, but it ended up grossing $4 million. According to Irvin Yeaworth and Billy Graham, when McQueen died of lung cancer on 7 November 1980 in Juárez, Mexico, he died in a room in which he had also hung a film poster for The Blob.

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