Star Is Critic Of All Screen Violence (The Desert Sun/Aug 07/1981/US) By
Nancy Anderson


When Boston Russell, Kurt Russell's baby son, reaches school age, dad may not be welcomed by the PTA, that sturdy and outspoken opponent of all screen violence.

Because not only has Kurt made a violent movie, Escape From New York, he's an outspoken proponent on violence on screen.

In the film, an Avco Embassy release, Russell plays Snake Plissken, a criminal sent to Manhattan which in 1991 has become a maximum security prison. In exchange for pardon, he must rescue the president of the United States who's become a hostage following a plane crash on the island.

The action and language are rough.

The picture, according to Russell, "is a spaghetti western."

"I'm a big advocate of violence," he says. "I love violence in films. When I was 8 years old and a kid playing cowboys and Indians, I'd get shot and double up and pour a bottle of catsup on my head and hollar.

"And that's all it is. People don't realize the difference between make-believe and the real world - I just don't have any truck with them. If they can't deal with it, and I have to, that's their problem, and that's my problem."

As to the theory that screen violence produces violence, Kurt retorts, "If you're going to even think about accepting that a s a theory, then stop writing books, stop drawing pictures, stop radio, television, motion pictures, plays - stop doing anything that might give any jerk anywhere an idea."

The fact that someone may not be able to distinguish between real life and make-believe "is not something someone in the business of make-believe should have to deal with."

"I never heard it said better," says Lee.

Veteran of bloody spaghetti westerns (The Good The Bad and The Ugly, for instance), Lee is about to make a movie called Spaghetti Western. And he doesn't see anything wrong with flying bullets and flying blood on screen.

"I'm in complete cahoots with putting violence on the screen," he proclaims. "I think it belongs there. I think sex belongs there. I think the whole thing belongs there, because if you have it there, you won't have it somewhere else."

Producer Debra Hill and writer-director John Carpenter who worked together on Halloween and The Fog brought in Escape From New York for
7$ million.

Hill says they didn't want to shoot in New York City for fear residents would take offence at the picture's concept. So St. Louis doubled for the Big Apple.

"We sent a man out to scout slums," Hill says. "He'd call back and say, 'The slums aren't bad enough here.'"

"At least, though, he arrived in St. Louis and found an inner city to meet his standards. But even so, the movie company had to litter streets with wrecked cars and garbage which had to be removed or moved regularly to accommodate the life of the city.

The massive effort produced a film city filled with violence and trash (human and otherwise) which could be readily taken for New York.
  
Only a Statue of Liberty sequence was actually shot in the Empire State.