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No 77: Grace Kelly 1929-82
Born in Philadelphia, the beautiful daughter of a model and a self-made Irish-American multi-millionaire who won gold medals as an Olympic oarsman, Kelly was Hollywood's ice queen of the McCarthy era, a cold war figure of upper-middle-class Catholic rectitude. One uncle was the vaudeville star Walter Kelly, another the Pulitzer-winning playwright, George Kelly, and she determined on an acting career while at college. In the late 40s and early 50s she worked as a model and on live New York TV. She entered the movies playing a minor role in Fourteen Hours in 1951, just after the banishment of Ingrid Bergman, the Hitchcock blonde who preceded her, and she retired in 1956, the year Bergman returned in triumph.
She grew up in a world of cafe society where show people, media folk, the nouveau-riches and other conspicuous consumers mingle, and she didn't leave it when, in a carefully engineered marriage, »
In the first of a new fortnightly series, Phil Hoad reviews an as-yet-unfilmed movie script. Today: Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon
This is Draft excluder, the Guardian's fortnightly review of unproduced screenplays. Whether it's the latest hot item that's got the development execs thumb-wrestling over it in the parking lot, or the great unfinishable obsession that has defeated many a director, we'll be dicing it, slicing it and making nice (or not) with it.
Remember: the scripts reviewed here are works-in-progress, and will differ from the finished film.
This week: Napoleon by Stanley Kubrick
The rise and fall of history's greatest general by history's greatest director (if you subscribe to Empire magazine). Napoleon dynamite, surely?
Doesn't come any higher, really. In a career that saw a fair few get away, Napoleon became Kubrick's cream cetacean. Having tackled the entire history of humanity in 2001: A Space Odyssey, »
- Phil Hoad
Those upset (myself included) that Criterion had to withdraw their planned Blu-ray edition of Ran due to a rights issue can cheer up as the holder of those rights was making the same plans. Lionsgate Home Entertainment in cooperation with StudioCanal are set to release Ran as well as 1955's The Ladykillers starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers and Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt (Le Mepris) on Blu-ray on February 16, 2010.
Unfortunately there isn't any box art available yet, but below are the list of features for each:
Ran 1080P High Definition Widescreen format with Japanese, English, Spanish, French, German and Italian DTS Master Audio "A.K." - the acclaimed feature-length documentary on the making of the film "Akira Kurosawa: The Epic and the Intimate" - documentary on the director Portrait of Akira Kurosawa by Japanese cinema expert and interpreter Catherine Cado "The Samurai" - documentary on Samurai art "Art of the Samurai »
- Brad Brevet
Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra in High Society Turner Classic Movies‘ Grace Kelly series comes to a close with a screening of the actress’ last three films: Alfred Hitchcock’s comedy-adventure To Catch a Thief (1955), co-starring Cary Grant; Charles Walters‘ musical High Society (1956), a remake of The Philadelphia Story (1940) with Kelly as the woman between Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby; and Charles Vidor’s romantic drama The Swan (1956), in which Kelly has to make up her mind between plebeian Louis Jourdan or blue-blooded Alec Guinness. I wouldn’t call any of those three films a masterpiece, but both To Catch a Thief and The Swan have their own particular charms. In the former, Grace Kelly is at her most relaxed as [...] »
- Andre Soares
In “Ways of Love” three vignettes directed by three top film makers add up to the year’s best foreign release. Marcel Pagnol’s “Jofroi” is about a senile farmer (Vincent Scotto) who shams suicide thirty times to protect some lovingly nurtured trees. This director feels that there is nothing more delightful than pondering the virtuosity of character actors—earthy types who immobilize the screen with chattered wisdom and time-wasting mannerisms. In Jean Renoir’s “A Day in the Country,” a pretty Parisian (Sylvia Bataille) is seduced while the camera fastens on the countryside in tender mimicry of Papa Renoir’s paintings. As usual Renoir maneuvers his motorless plot into splendid landscape to press home the idea that man is a handsome spot in nature. Rossellini’s controversial “The Miracle” is a powerful, messy slab of life, starring Anna Magnani as a talkative idiot made pregnant by a silent stranger she believes to be St. »
Emil Jannings, Warner Baxter, George Arliss and Lionel Barrymore. Wallace Beery and Fredric March simultaneously. Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Victor McLaglen. Paul Muni and Spencer Tracy². Robert Donat, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper and James Cagney. Paul Lukas, Bing Crosby, Ray Milland and Fredric March, who was worth returning to. Ronald Colman, Laurence Olivier, Broderick Crawford, José Ferrer and Bogie. 'Coop' again. William Holden and Marlon Brando a few years late. Ernest Borgnine, Yul Brynner and Alec Guiness. David Niven, Charlton Heston and Burt Lancaster. Maximillian Schell, Gregory Peck and Sidney Poitier who made history. Rex Harrison, Lee Marvin, Paul Scofield, Rod Steiger, Cliff Robertson and 'The Duke'. George C Scott though he refused. Gene Hackman. Marlon Brando by way of Sacheen Littlefeather. Jack Lemmon, Art Carney, Jack Nicholson and (posthumously) Peter Finch. Richard Dreyfuss, Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro and Henry Fonda. Ben Kingsley, Robert Duvall, F Murray Abraham, »
- NATHANIEL R
What’s the best movie from the late 70’s that features light sabers, an enormous space fortress capable of annihilating entire planets, wisecracking robot sidekicks, and dogfights between interplanetary spaceships? If you said Star Wars, you’d be wrong! Leave it to the wacky Italians, always quick to exploit a popular trend, to rip off George Lucas’s cash cow resulting in a film so spectacularly cheesy that over 30 years later it has actually aged better than the film it emulates. That movie is of course is the insane 1978 sci-fi “epic” Star Crash, an infamously harebrained but entertaining-as-hell Star Wars knockoff that is Not available on DVD.
Like Star Wars, most of Star Crash is comprised of a string of Flash Gordon-inspired cliffhanger adventures. Caroline Munro stars as Stella Star, an intergalactic smuggler who, along with her alien companion Akton (Marjoe Gortner), is captured by some sort of galaxy-wide »
This week, I spoke at the Film Nite discussion group in London on the 60th anniversary of Robert Hamer's Ealing classic Kind Hearts and Coronets. It was a chance to revisit that old chestnut: is it true that you can only make great films from terrible books, and that conversely, great books always get turned into terrible films?
Kind Hearts and Coronets is the elegant black comedy about a suburban draper's assistant, Louis Mazzini, played by Dennis Price, who by a quirk of fate is distantly in line to a dukedom and sets out to murder every single nobleman and noblewoman ahead of him in the succession so that he can get his hands on the ermine. All the »
- Peter Bradshaw
South African actor who helped break the taboos of apartheid
On a steamy evening in a rundown Johannesburg club in September 1961, two actors premiered The Blood Knot, a play about brothers with different fathers, both men black but one light enough to enter white society. For each of them, the black actor Zakes Mokae, who has died aged 75, and the white playwright Athol Fugard, the night launched their careers. Fugard's play toured South Africa for six months, and although he travelled first-class on the train while Mokae travelled third, the two had broken a taboo by being the first black and white actors to appear on a public stage in apartheid South Africa. The success of The Blood Knot brought Fugard to international attention and kickstarted Mokae's long and varied career in theatre, film and television.
Mokae was born and grew up in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, the son of a policeman and a housemaid. »
I bought the old black and white RCA television from a garage sale for one dollar. For this thirteen year old, the purchase was a secret defiance of the no television after, or no television before rule in the house; and surprisingly, once it was installed into the basement rec room, the second screen in the house, was met with very little parental disapproval. The indifference was perhaps a nod to my bargain-hunting skills; more likely it was the fact that the television produced a beautiful pattern of electronic snow, and little else. After a couple of days of initial disappointment, I decided to take the back off the unit and see what could be done about saving it from the trash (I had already offered it to a neighborhood kid for 50% off my purchase price, but to no avail). Staring at a bunch of plugs, wires and one big cathode ray tube, »
- Terrance Grace
Enter for your chance to win tickets to see Lawrence Of Arabia at The Egyptian Theatre Hollywood!
Famous Monsters is giving away tickets, courtesy of American Cinematheque and the Egyptian Theatre, to Five Lucky winners!!!
Event Details: Friday November 27, – 8:00 Pm
Lawrence Of Arabia, 1962, Sony Repertory, 216 min. This sweeping epic of Arab infighting and British colonialism is as timely as ever, and as beautiful. In his first feature, Peter O’Toole stars in director David Lean’s masterpiece, lensed to perfection by Freddie Young, set to Maurice Jarre’s majestic score. The amazing cast includes Omar Sharif (in his first major English-speaking role), Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains and Alec Guinness. Made to be seen on the big screen!
To enter to win tickets: 1. Find the image of Lawrence of Arabia (pictured to the left) hidden in one of our articles. 2. Email the title of that article in which »
It shouldn’t be completely surprising that an actor of Anthony Hopkins stature has decided to take the role of Odin, the father of Thor and Loki, in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming big screen adaptation of the comic Thor. After all, famous actors playing parts such as this in big budget fantasy or genre movies is not completely unheard of.
As an example, take a look at the original Clash of the Titans, which featured the great Laurence Olivier as Zeus. Or, how about a little movie called Star Wars, which cast the great Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi. Plus, Hopkins himself has been in a few genre movies previously, including Dracula and The Silence of the Lambs.
In case you’re not familiar with Thor, the film, which is scripted by Mark Protosevich and Zack Stentz, centers on partly disabled med student Dr. Donald Blake’s discovery of his Norse god alter ego, »
- Joe Gillis
The idea of one actor playing multiple characters in a film isn't a new one even though many people begin and end the conversation with Eddie Murphy for his performances in films such as Nutty Professor and Norbit all while forgetting the comedy he brought us in Coming to America.
Before Murphy we had the likes of Mel Brooks in History of the World and Spaceballs, Alec Guiness in the fantastic Kind Hearts and Coronets and Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove. Outside of Murphy it seems only Mike Myers has endured the same kind of ill treatment, primarily for taking the joke to the point it wasn't funny any longer (debatable) in the Austin Powers films and then dropping the bomb that was The Love Guru.
Looking at the performances listed above I am reminded of some classic films as well as a couple that missed the mark, but we »
- Brad Brevet
The folks over at Sci Fi Wire have unearthed a funny bit of YouTube goodness —a re-edit of a scene from the original Star Wars.
For those who may not know, Serafinowicz is known for voicing Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, playing Pete in Shaun of the Dead, and most recently appearing as Sctanley in Couples Retreat.
Be advised this is definitely Nsfw. Turn the speakers down so that the R-Rated dialogue doesn't make you the subject of tomorrow's informal water-cooler "talk" about work place ethics.
That aside, enjoy...
A good villain is memorable, and impressive, and scary as hell. But bring back the same villain over and over, give him lousy dialogue and have him repeatedly defeated by worthless opponents, and that villain becomes nothing more than an ineffectual bully who doesn't know when to give up. He's like that big, hairy guy down the street who scared the crap out of you when you were a kid, but who now has a pot belly, three obnoxious kids, and a Trans Am on blocks in his front yard. It makes it hard to remember why you ever found him frightening in the first place -- you'd feel sorry for him, but you just don't care enough to bother. Like these five:
Remember how cool Dr. Evil was in the first Austin Powers movie? Very few villains have fallen as far or as fast as Mike Myers' homage to Bondian baddies. »
- Dawn Taylor
Fifteen-year-old singer Justin Bieber has already scored himself a Canadian Platinum single, has a hit video (with a second on the way) and legions of fans. The attention has driven him from his hometown of Stratford, Ontario, to Atlanta, so that he can be closer to his mentor Usher and better focus on making his debut album My World. The transition has been dramatic for Bieber, who went from a small town with a population of under 30,000 to a city of millions.
Everybody knows about Atlanta, a city full of hot hip-hop (Jermaine Dupri, Outkast, Ludacris and Lil Jon all count the A-t-l as home), workmanlike baseball and Coca-Cola. But what about Stratford, Ontario?
Bieber's hometown was originally named for Stratford-upon-Avon, the town in England that William Shakespeare called home. Not surprisingly, the biggest annual event in town is the Shakespeare festival, which actually attracts top-shelf acting talent (Alec Guinness, »
- Kyle Anderson
Priyanka Chopra is set to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by playing twelve different characters in What's Your Rashee? - beating Kamal Hassan's ten for Dasavatharam and Sir Alec Guinness's eight for Kind Hearts & Coronets. "If this does happen, it will be phenomenal," she says, "I'm overjoyed and honoured to be a part of this record-breaking film."
Basking in the success of three big hits in a row, the hard-working Priyanka has confirmed that she will be appearing in Siddharth Anand's Anjaana Anjaani along with Ranbir Kapoor. She tweeted, "Hey guys.. Just got out of a script discussion for the next film I'm starting.. It's called Anjaana Anjaani!! Super story.. Excited!!" The film has a 45-day shoot scheduled for Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco beginning in October.
To put the icing on the cake, it appears that Priyanka has been picked as the »
instead of a tues top 10, a 25.
I did this once for the actresses but I'm always giving the ladies their due. So, here's to the silver screen men that have enriched my movie-life. I admit up front that I haven't investigated Classic Hollywood actors to the extent I've investigated their leading ladies, so this list is highly subject to change the more old movies I see in my life.
Nathaniel's 25 all time favorite leading men
In no particular order and extremely subject to change
Because sometimes you just want to name names
The list is not comprehensive, not set in stone, »
- NATHANIEL R
As we all await the dreaded Matt Reeves-directed remake of Let The Right One In, it's nice to see that the director of the original, Tomas Alfredson, is starting to get a lot of cool opportunities thrown his way. His next project is currently being lined up over at Working Title Films, and it is an adaptation of the John Le Carré spy novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The film will be Alfredson's first English-language picture, with a screenplay written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), who was also recently hired to pen the next James Bond movie . While a cold war thriller is not necessarily what I would have expected from Tomas Alfredson, the truth is I know next to nothing about his filmography prior to Let The Right One In. He is apparently excited to work with Morgan and producer Tim Bevan, calling the project both »
The director of one of last year's best films has finally found his next gig... Tomas Alfredson, director of Let The Right One In, has been hired to make a spy thriller. Per Variety, Alfredson will be directing an adaptation of John Le Carre's classic cold war novel, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." It will be Alfredson's first film in English and the second time the novel has been brought to the screen. The first was for a BBC mini-series starring Alec Guinness. The story is about an aging, retired spy named George Smiley who's brought back to active duty to help identify a possible mole in the upper ranks of the British Secret Intelligence Service. No word on casting yet, but the script is written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland). Alfredson showed with his fantastic debut film that he can handle atmosphere and character with equal skill. The »
- Rob Hunter
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