Steve Carver

Steve Carver (April 5, 1945 – January 8, 2021) was an American film director, producer, and photographer.[1][2]

Steve Carver
Born(1945-04-05)April 5, 1945
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 8, 2021(2021-01-08) (aged 75)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationCornell University
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
AFI Conservatory
Occupation
  • Film director
  • producer
  • photographer
Years active1970–1996 (as filmmaker)

BiographyEdit

Carver attended Manhattan's High School of Music and Art and received his BA from Cornell University and his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.[3] He was originally interested in cartooning, commercial art and animation. He was cameraman for the Wide World of Sports for the St. Louis Cardinals and made 30 documentaries in two years while teaching in St Louis area colleges.[2]

American Film InstituteEdit

In 1970, a documentary he shot in grad school got him admitted to the American Film Institute, then in its second year of taking in fellows in Hollywood. While at the AFI he studied under such filmmakers as George Stevens, George Seaton, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck.[4] He worked as an assistant director on Dalton Trumbo's sole effort as director, Johnny Got His Gun (1971).

Carver's final AFI project was a short film based on Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart starring Alex Cord and Sam Jaffe.[5] The Los Angeles Times described it as "an effective mood piece, a beautiful work in ominous life and shadow".[6]

"I loved AFI", said Carver. "It was an opportunity to use some very talented people."[2]

Roger CormanEdit

The Tell-Tale Heart was widely screened and attracted the attention of Roger Corman who had made a number of adaptations of Poe's works. Corman hired Carver to work at New World Pictures.[7]

Carver spent his first year at New World cutting trailers. He later estimated he cut 100-150 trailers in that time.[7] He also wrote a number of scripts for Corman, including one on Admiral Byrd that floundered when they could not secure rights from Byrd's estate. He was working on a script about a black female private eye when Corman gave him the chance to direct with The Arena (1974), a film about female gladiators shot in Italy.[2][8]

Big Bad Mama and CaponeEdit

Corman was pleased with The Arena and gave Carver another directing job, a gangster film starring Angie Dickinson, Big Bad Mama (1974). Paul Bartel, who directed second unit on the film, described Carver as "very well organised" and "having great control of the medium".[2] It was a big success at the box office.

Corman used Carver on another gangster film he made over at 20th Century Fox, Capone (1975), starring Ben Gazzara and John Cassavetes.

In a 1975 interview Carver said "All I want to do for now is a string of good commercial pictures but in my own style. I'm not looking for a multi-million-dollar picture; $1 to $2 million will do for now."[2] The same interview described him "as intense and dynamic as his films... an aggressive achiever who has already accomplished enough for three people."[2]

DrumEdit

Carver was mentioned as a possible director for the third film in the "Billy Jack" series, Billy Jack Goes to Washington,[2] but in the end Tom Laughlin decided to do it. Instead Dino De Laurentiis hired Carver to replace Burt Kennedy as director on Drum (1976). Although the movie was completed successfully and proved profitable, Carver described the experience of taking over another director as "horrible".[7] In a later interview Carver described Burt Kennedy's attitude towards him as "very gracious": "He sat down with me, explained the situation. He warned me that part of the cast would follow him off of the movie. He went over a lot with me."[9]

Carver was going to make a film for Ray Stark with Susan Blakely, Freestyle, about a hotdog skier at the end of her career.[10] However it was never made. Neither was another film Carver was attached to, Summer Camp from a script by Barry Schneider.[11] Instead Carver directed Steel with Lee Majors, then made another for Roger Corman, Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider (1979), starring David Carradine.

He did some uncredited work on a TV movie, Angel City (1980).[12] Carver left the production, because the producers refused to fire actor Ralph Waite, who, according to Carver, came to the set drunk.[9]

Chuck NorrisEdit

Carver made two highly successful films with Chuck Norris, An Eye for an Eye and Lone Wolf McQuade.

The development of Walker, Texas Ranger led to a lawsuit filed by Carver and his production partner Yoram Ben-Ami, which they lost. Carver in 2020: "We failed to convince the Supreme Court that there were similarities. Now, you and I and anybody else knows that there are similarities between Lone Wolf McQuade and Walker, Texas Ranger." [9]

Later careerEdit

His late-'80s movies tended to be less distinguished – Oceans of Fire (1986), a TV movie; Jocks (1987), a teen comedy with a young Mariska Hargitay; Bulletproof (1988), an action film with Gary Busey; River of Death (1989); Dead Center (1993); The Wolves (1996). He also directed a number of movies uncredited. As he explained in an interview from August 2020: "I became known as a “go-to” director with other producers. When a movie got in trouble and a producer needed a director to step in to “save” their picture, they called me. It was fun for a while and good money."[9]

Eventually Carver left directing and went into photography. "Roger spoiled me", Carver reflected later, saying other producers "wore me down and chased me back to doing photography."[4] He opened a photography lab in Los Angeles in 1995.[13]

He is featured in the documentary film That Guy Dick Miller, over the acting and life of Dick Miller.[14]

Carver died in Los Angeles from COVID-19 on January 8, 2021, at age 75, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles, though it was initially reported that he died from a heart attack.[13]

FilmsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Canby, Vincent (July 31, 1976). "Drum (1976)". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Thomas, Kevin (December 21, 1975). "9 Directors Rising From the Trashes: Nine Directors Rising From the Trashes 9 Directors Rising From the Trashes 9 Directors Rising From the Trashes From the Trashes From the Trashes From the Trashes". Los Angeles Times. p. m1.
  3. ^ Steven Carver | LinkedIn
  4. ^ a b "Steve Carver: Director, Photographer, Dog-Lover, Mensch". Beverly in Movieland. August 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "Rare New Alex Cord Art Movie Revealed: An Interview with Director Steve Carver". Novel Ideas. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Thomas, Kevin (December 30, 1971). "Short Subjects in Race for an Oscar". Los Angeles Times. p. e19.
  7. ^ a b c "Steve Carver". Legends of Film (Podcast). February 21, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  8. ^ The Epic Film: Myth and History
  9. ^ a b c d "Steve Carver interview". THE FLASHBACK FILES. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  10. ^ Kilday, Gregg. (October 24, 1977). "FILM CLIPS: Newcomer in a Crowded Field". Los Angeles Times. p. e9.
  11. ^ Kilday, Gregg. (December 4, 1978). "FILM CLIPS: Directorial Debut for Wynn". Los Angeles Times. p. f11.
  12. ^ Taylor, Tadhg (October 14, 2015). Masters of the Shoot-'Em-Up: Conversations with Directors, Actors and Writers of Vintage Action Movies and Television Shows. McFarland. p. 65. ISBN 9780786494064.
  13. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (January 9, 2021). "Steve Carver, Director of 'Lone Wolf McQuade' and 'Big Bad Mama,' Dies at 75". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  14. ^ That Guy Dick Miller Making the Rounds
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin (January 4, 1974). "Movie Review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  16. ^ "Capone Stays in the Dark". The Age. July 11, 1975. Retrieved April 30, 2010.[dead link]
  17. ^ Canby, Vincent (April 16, 1983). "Villainy Dispatched in El Paso". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.

External linksEdit