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Steven Soderbergh's biopic of the pianist is a bizarre anti-Pinocchio parable in which toxic love transforms a handsome young man into a deeply unhappy latex doll
After Side Effects, supposedly his final work for the cinema, Steven Soderbergh has now apparently performed his post-swansong. Behind the Candelabra was commissioned for HBO television but is shown here in the Cannes festival competition as a standalone feature-length drama: a bizarre anti-Pinocchio parable in which the power of loneliness and toxic love transform a handsome young man into a deeply unhappy, plump-nosed, cleft-chinned latex doll. It's the true-life story of the flamboyant pianist Liberace and his young companion and chauffeur Scott Thorson, taking us from the couple's ecstatic first meeting backstage in Las Vegas in 1976 to Liberace's death from an Aids-related illness in 1987.
The film is mesmeric, riskily incorrect, outrageously watchable and simply outrageous. Unlike ITV's Vicious, which stars two famously gay actors, »
- Peter Bradshaw
A nimble and distinctive cine-essay featuring a mosaic of clips, images and moments of children in the movies
This has to be one of the most beguiling events at Cannes, appropriately presented in the Cannes Classics section. Mark Cousins's personal cine-essay about children on film is entirely distinctive, sometimes eccentric, always brilliant: a mosaic of clips, images and moments chosen with flair and grace, both from familiar sources and from the neglected riches of cinema around the world. Without condescension or cynicism, Cousins offers us his own humanist idealism, as refreshing as a glass of iced water.
He presents movie texts which illuminate and challenge what we imagine to be the "performance" presented to the camera by a child, what we take to be the nature of childhood and by implication the unexamined "adultness" of those grownups variously appearing in, making or watching the film. He suggests that as an artform, »
- Peter Bradshaw
At 48, Molly Shannon is still the kind of woman who turns heads, with her mischievous grin and twinkling blue eyes. And, when she opens her mouth, she’s also the kind of woman who causes you to bust a gut. In short, she’s wildly funny. Shannon is perhaps best known for her six-year run on “Saturday Night Live,” where she brought to life such remarkable characters as 50-year-old Sally O’Malley between 1995 and 2001. But she’s also enjoyed a memorable presence on many other TV shows as well, appearing on everything from “Seinfeld” to “The Middle” to HBO’s “Enlightened.”
Born in 1964 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Shannon endured a horrific tragedy early on that would shape the rest of her life. »
- The Huffington Post
The best thing I can say about this episode is that we’re one closer to the end of the season. While Bates Motel has been threatening to go out with a bang, it appears that it will go out with a Goo Goo Dolls flavored whimper. As this show rolls merrily along, the consistencies seem to be that every female character is sexually unfulfilled so they attempt to ravage a Bates boy, Vera Farmiga’s performance grows increasingly wacky (if she continues down this path I think we’re in for some sweet Judy Garland channeling in the next season) and this town is really, really okay with drug and sex trades.
The episode kicks off with Shelby’s body being removed once again from the Bates motel. Norma is on edge so she takes it out on the stoners staying in her rooms and informs them they’re »
- Alexandra West
Some of the most influential and famous women in the world like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy all relied on one man to do their hair and make them feel beautiful — Kenneth. Although his full name was Kenneth Battelle, he was known as just Kenneth to his legions of fans. He died in his home in Wappingers Falls, New York, on May 12, according to The New York Times.
Kenneth Battelle Dead — Hairdresser To The Stars Dies At Age 86
In 1961, Vogue magazine said “almost every famous female head in the world has gone or will go” to see Kenneth and his magic hands. According to The New York Times, Lucille Ball »
- Dory Larrabee
His full name may have been Kenneth Battelle, but to a half-century's worth of fashion editors, First Ladies and society women, he was simply "Kenneth." Sunday at his home in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., two years after his retirement, he died at age 86, his company announced to The New York Times. Among his clients: society doyenne Brooke Astor, stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy, whose hair was done by Kenneth right before she accompanied her husband on the fateful trip to Dallas in November 1963. Mrs. »
- Stephen M. Silverman
Winner of three glittering Oscars, British director Tom Hooper's all-singing, all-dancing big screen adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel (as well as the subsequent stage musical) Les Misérables has certainly managed to capture the imagination of many. After conquering all and sundry at with breakthrough hit The King's Speech (2010), Hooper had set the bar intimidatingly high for his eagerly awaited follow-up. It was almost excruciatingly disappointing then, to see such a competent filmmaker undone more by his own bemusing misdirection and false steps, than by any preconceived, lofty ambition.
Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Hooper's Les Misérables tells an interconnected, sprawling tale of imprisoned souls, demonised poor and kindred spirits, all fighting for survival amidst a country on the verge of civil unrest. Australian man mountain Hugh Jackman plays ex-convict Jean Valjean (aka prisoner 24601), hunted across the land by lawman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks free of his bonds. »
- CineVue UK
Deanna Durbin: Ephemeral fame (photo: Deanna Durbin in 1981) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: 'Sweet Monster.'"] Unlike Greta Garbo, whose mystique remained basically intact following her retirement in 1941, Deanna Durbin’s popularity faded away much like that of the vast majority of celebrities who were removed — or who chose to remove themselves — from public view. Despite the advent of home video and classic-movie cable channels, Durbin remains virtually unknown to the vast majority of those who weren’t around in her heyday in the ’30s and ’40s. Yet, although relatively few in number, she continues to have her ardent fans. There are a handful of websites devoted to Deanna Durbin and her film and recording careers, chiefly among them the appropriately titled "Deanna Durbin Devotees." Fade Out Charles David, Deanna Durbin’s husband of 48 years, died in March 1999, at the age of 92; Institut Pasteur medical researcher Peter H. David is their only son. Durbin also had a daughter, »
- Andre Soares
She arrives at the support group just as the hugging begins. “This is cancer, right?” she asks, her pallid skin and sunken eyes suggesting she could well be a sufferer. Except this is a support group for testicular cancer and Marla doesn’t have any balls, not the kind that can be removed by surgery anyway. Mischievous Marla Singer: black fur coat, sunglasses, squashed black hat and breathing through a cigarette. On the surface Marla looks like a femme fatale, though in truth she is not manipulative enough to fit the mould. In Tyler Durden’s words she is “rock bottom”. Once mislaid, now gone for good.
As an embodiment of affected audacity, Marla gives off the impression she could not give a damn. She walks in front of traffic, stands in front of traffic, takes a “cry for help thing” overdose of sleeping pills. Yet look at how she »
- Chris Laverty
Deanna Durbin: Highest-paid actress in the world [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin in the '40s: From Wholesome Musicals to Film Noir Sex Worker."] Despite several missteps in the handling of her career, David Shipman states that Deanna Durbin was Hollywood’s (and the world’s) highest-paid actress in both 1945 and 1947. In 1946, Durbin’s earnings of $323,477 trailed only Bette Davis’ $328,000 at Warner Bros. Those are impressive rankings (and wages), but ironically Durbin’s high earnings ultimately harmed her career. By the mid-’40s, her domestic box-office allure was beginning to fade, a situation surely worsened by World War II closing off most of Hollywood’s top international markets. As a result, Universal, since 1947 a new entity known as Universal-International, was unwilling to spend extra money in their star’s already costly vehicles. That’s a similar predicament to the one faced by silent-era superstar John Gilbert at MGM in the early ’30s: the studio had to pay Gilbert an exorbitant salary that made his movies much »
- Andre Soares
Deanna Durbin dies at 91: One of the top stars of Hollywood’s studio era (photo: Deanna Durbin in I’ll Be Yours) According to Hollywood lore, teen star Deanna Durbin saved Universal Pictures from bankruptcy in the mid-’30s, when her movies earned the Great Depression-hit studio some much-needed millions. The story may seem like an exaggeration, but in fact future Universal players such as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Maria Montez, Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and even Jaws‘ Bruce the Shark and the assorted dinosaurs found in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park partly owe their film careers to the pretty, bubbly, full-faced, soprano-voiced Deanna Durbin, the star of immensely successful Universal releases such as Three Smart Girls, One Hundred Men and a Girl, and That Certain Age. Universal should be in mourning this week. Late this past Tuesday, April 30, it was announced that Deanna Durbin had died a »
- Andre Soares
Durbin died on about April 20 in a village outside Paris where she had lived, out of public view, since 1949, family friend Bob Koster of Los Angeles told the Associated Press on Wednesday. Koster’s father, Henry Koster, directed six of Durbin’s films. Bob Koster did not know the cause of death.
At the height of her career, the Canadian-born Durbin, who made her first feature, Three Smart Girls, at »
- Associated Press
Deanna Durbin, one of the shining lights of Hollywood during the ‘30s and ‘40s, has died. She was 91.Born in Winnipeg Canada — her parents were actually from Manchester — Durbin emerged as the dictionary definition of the girl next door, with a clear, light singing voice that belied her technical prowess (she had the vocal range of a soprano) and a sweet, cheerful, wholesome persona that could make apple pie look un-American.She debuted in Every Sunday with Judy Garland in 1936, then signed a contract for Universal and began a ran of films that was generally considered to have saved the studio from bankruptcy; Three Smart Girls (1936), One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937), Mad About Music (1938), Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), First Love (1939) and It’s A Date (1940). Her astonishing talents and joie-de-vivre — she won an Academy Award for “embodying youth” in 1939 — did much to cheer up America in the early stages of the war. »
Child star with a powerful singing voice who played the perfect girl next door in Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s
When a teenage Deanna Durbin appeared on screen in the 1930s, wearing a decorous white dress with her hands clasped together, singing with a bell-like purity, audiences sighed contentedly. And so did film and music executives. In the days when child stars were wholesome, Durbin was everyone's idea of the perfect girl next door, and she was a huge money-spinner. Audiences flocked to see her musical comedies and, after she had trilled numbers such as It's Raining Sunbeams (in the film One Hundred Men and a Girl, 1937), Home Sweet Home (in First Love, 1939) and Waltzing in the Clouds (in Spring Parade, 1940), her fans queued to buy the latest record bearing her name.
Durbin, who has died aged 91, was the antithesis of the Hollywood glamour girl – which made her »
- Michael Freedland
Deanna Durbin, a singer-actress who, as a child star, became one of the biggest box-office attractions of the 1930s and ‘40s has died at the age of 91. The announcement of her death was made by her son, Peter H. David, in her official fan newsletter. Durbin made her movie debut at 13 in an MGM short, Every Sunday (1936), in which she co-starred with a 13-year-old Judy Garland. Durbin had originally signed with MGM because the studio was planning to make a movie starring the opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink, and it was looking for someone who could play her »
I hope April was a good month for you. On the other hand, if you, like me, weren't having a 'firing on all cylinders' month, you probably missed some goodies. Herewith ten highlights from the month... I mean, besides Reader Spotlight and Best Shot which are always highlights.
Ryan, Tilda, and T-Rex were the stars of the month here at The Film Experience
Jury Duty my stint at the Nashville International Film Festival and the prizes we gave
Can a Bad Sequel Diminish a Classic? Michael asks Burning Questions with flair
Surprise Podcast Joe, Nick and I discussed The Place Beyond the Pines and 1990s flicks
Jude in the Snow I think the highlight of this year's noncommittal April Showers (sorry) was Andrew's piece on Anna Karenina, don't you?
- NATHANIEL R
Former child star Deanna Durbin has died at the age of 91, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Durbin's son, Peter H. David, was quoted in the "Deanna Durbin Society" newsletter saying his mother had passed away several days ago, but he did not provide any other details about her death.
Durbin gained popularity during the Depression and was known for her "sweet soprano voice" that charmed American audiences, according to the New York Times.
The actress was born Edna Mae Durbin; her British parents moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Los Angeles when she was 2 years old, and she was discovered while still in junior high school. She made her film debut in the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday,” with Judy Garland. Soon after, she signed a contract with Universal, changed her name to Deanna, and was cast in a series of musical comedies, reports Variety.
The Canadian-born actress was reportedly the second-highest »
- Stephanie Marcus
Deanna Durbin has died, aged 91.
The musical actress was one of the most popular and highest-paid young stars in the 1930s.
By the end of the 1930s, Durbin had become one of the biggest box-office stars, appearing in several musical comedies and presented with a special Academy Award with Mickey Rooney, marking their "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth".
She was said to have saved Universal from bankruptcy during the period, while she was also Sir Winston Churchill's favourite star. The Prime Minister would have access to her films before anyone else in the UK, and would allegedly celebrate military victories by watching her 1937 film One Hundred Men and a Girl. »
Singer-actress Deanna Durbin, who was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood in 1947 but permanently exited the movie biz the next year at the age of 26, has died, her fan club announced Tuesday. The announcement did not give a date or cause of death. She was 91.
Durbin initially landed at MGM after a successful audition for a part in a planned biopic of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. She actually made her film debut in the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday,” with Judy Garland (the two were only six months apart in age), and the opera film was never made. Soon thereafter Universal signed Durbin to a contract.
Her first film at U was “Three Smart Girls” (remade decades later as “The Parent Trap”). That big box office hit, in which she played the perfect teenage daughter, paved the way for many more of the same, and Durbin was credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy. »
- Carmel Dagan
I have a confession to make. I only selected A Star is Born (1954) for this week's edition of 'Best Shot' as an excuse to talk about one of the all-time greatest movie scenes. I'm talking All Time All Time. The scene is the shot and the shot is the scene and the scene justifies the whole movie's title... although it might be more accurately titled A Star is Reborn. I can't let it stop me that several people have already chosen it as their Preferred Shot though this will have the unfortunate effect of making a quite extraordinary whole movie look a little front-heavy since The Scene comes very early in the film.
Take it honey. Take it from the top...
And so she does, glancing over sheet music, humming the melodic line, and easing herself into her spotlight as the mood sweeps over her. She then unleashes »
- NATHANIEL R
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