Twilight Time Goes to War, Part 2: Under Fire, plus The Package

November 4, 2014 | By

OrionPicturesRelease_logoFrom 1978-1998, Orion Pictures was a company known for producing and releasing films that were more artistically daring, perhaps not wholly commercial, and a studio where independent-minded filmmakers could see their work come to fruition without heavy executive interference – the result of which included Oscar-winning, Oscar-nominated, and unusual films with topics and running times with which some studios may have issues.

Among the company’s high-level roster were Excalibur (1981), Wolfen (1981), Amadeus (1984), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), F/X (1986), The Believers (1987; my review will appear in an upcoming issue of Rue Morgue magazine), No Way Out (1987), Robocop (1987), Colors (1988), Eight Men Out (1988), The Hot Spot (1990), The Addams Family (1991), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991), to name a selective (and subjectively enjoyed) few.

Another attractive feature of an Orion film was it’s very cool animated logo:



UnderFire1983_posterTwilight Time’s release of Under Fire (1983) is a prime example of a film that was topical, provocative, extremely well made, not a full box office hit, and a work that over the past 30 years has aged extremely well, if not being a vivid portrayal of a photo journalist in a nasty crisis zone.

When the film was released in theatres, Leonard Maltin gave it and Jerry Goldsmith’s score high marks, and while I was able to see the film on video, the soundtrack proved much more elusive.

Released on LP via Warner Bros. Records, it was an import no one in Toronto carried, and I lucked out when I visited family friends in Windsor, and found the platter in Detroit, where they had a few great record stores that carried everything.

That album got a lot of play because it was one of the few Goldsmith scores where the electronics didn’t overstate themselves and take away from the orchestral elements. You also had Pat Metheny’s beautiful solos which give the music and the film extra intimacy – quite important since director Roger Spottiswoode and co-screenwriter Ron Shelton were making a drama with adults caught in an awkward love triangle.

Package1989_posterOrion also released a gem that’s been deserving its own Blu-ray special edition for years: The Package (1987), directed by a pre-The Fugitive Andrew Davis.

One of the last great Cold War espionage films, like Under Fire, it starred Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy. I’ve added a review of the film to give it a little spotlight, and maybe Twilight Time might snap this one up for a Blu-ray edition when MGM gives it a 2K transfer.





Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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