19 items from 2013
With Cannes screening Cleopatra (marking its 50th anniversary) two nights ago and yesterday’s re-release screenings at 75 theaters countrywide, we’re feeling the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton love. The twice-divorced, Vatican-condemned couple continues to capture the public’s imagination and interest. In the past three years, we’ve seen Sam Kashner’s Furious Love and Richard Burton’s diaries become bestsellers, Liz & Dick being the most notable thing in Lifetime’s line-up, and John le Carré writing in The New Yorker just last month about working with Burton on The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and those are just a few things that spring to mind. Although their film collaborations have gotten a bit of a bum-rap over the years (somewhat deservedly), here are five Taylor-Burton films that we think are worth watching, out of the eleven that they made together. Feel free to share your own »
- Diana Drumm
Hitch’s 10 hottest gents, suspicious and sinister for your pleasure.
Yesterday, Google celebrated the birth of legendary graphic designer Saul Bass with an awesome little animation on its main page. Bass was most known for his movie title sequences, which included three of Alfred Hitchcock‘s staples: Vertigo, North By Northwest, and Psycho. Just as Google intended, this got me thinking about how hot the male stars of Hitchcock movies are — specifically the 10 hottest dudes in the Hitchcock oeuvre. The results of my heavy contemplation are in.
Call “Mother!” because these 10 gents are psychotically hot.
What could be hotter than a debonair man with mood swings? In Rebecca, Laurence Olivier (or as I prefer to call him, Mr. Vivien Leigh) basically traumatizes his new wife (Joan Fontaine) by bringing her into his ghostly old estate and subjecting her to an evil housekeeper (Judith Anderson »
- Louis Virtel
New York — Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad will star on Broadway this fall in a modern take on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," a revival that will add an intriguing element of racial contrast to the classic tale of two star-crossed lovers.
"The last thing we wanted to do was to do a sort of pompous, classic version of `Romeo and Juliet,'" said director David Leveaux, a five-time Tony Award nominee. "I'm just taking away all the wallpaper and mantelpieces, all the kind of pompous stuff we associate with grand Shakespeare productions, and try to go as simple as possible."
Producers said Monday that previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre will begin Aug. 24 with an opening night set for Sept. 19. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on April 8.
Some joke that William Shakespeare is Hollywood’s most prolific screenwriter. You can thank Kenneth Brannagh mainly for that – but it shows the popularity of film adaptations. The statistic is said to be that over 66% of films come from other sources; novels, TV, comic books and – as I will focus on specifically in this article – plays.
I’ll keep it brief here, as I feel I may have over indulged on the word count later on in this article! Excluding the work of Willy Shake himself (the bloke gets enough credit!), I’m going to put forward my favorite movies you may or may not know, were originally written and/or performed as plays.
This is not a definitive list – it’s not the be all and end all of play adaptations and I’m fully aware that others exist. I have not seen them all. Please don’t get upset because I haven’t. »
- Toby McShane
Marlon Brando didn't show up to collect his second Best Actor Oscar in 1972 for "The Godfather," sending an actress in his stead to decline as a protest to Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans. However, back in 1954 Brando was keen to win the award, after being skunked three previous times. His losing streak began in 1951 when his "Streetcar Named Desire" castmates (Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter) prevailed in the other three acting categories but Brando was bested by Humphrey Bogart ("The African Queen"). The following year, he lost his bid for "Viva Zapata!" to Gary Cooper ("High Noon") while in 1953 his nod for "Julius Caesar" was edged out by William Holden ("Stalag 17"). Brando had been surly and uncooperative while on the derby track those three times. So he switched strategies. First up was the Golden Globes on Feb. 24. As the La Times reported, “Unusual was the fact that B. »
London, Mar 5: A series of scandalous affairs and her fragile mental health may be the reasons why Vivien Leigh was snubbed twice from being made a dame.
Astonishingly beautiful yet emotionally fragile, Leigh was one of the most talented actresses of her generation, winning Oscars for her performances as the feisty, wilful, Southern belle Scarlet O'Hara in 'Gone With The Wind' and as vain, fading beauty Blanche Dubois in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'.
Yet her personal problems meant she suffered debilitating psychiatric treatment while her romantically restlessness caused her to be openly flirtatious and to embark on a number. »
- Lohit Reddy
Welcome to SpeciaLists, a new weekly feature here at WhatCulture. SpeciaLists differ from our regular articles in the fact that they’re extremely specific and take a far more intimate approach to niche topics. This week, we take a look at classic scenes involving those immortal distance-bridging devices we couldn’t live without: stairs.
February is the month of love. It is a time for heart-shaped cards, over-priced flowers, cheeky one-night stays in cheap hotels, and lung cancer. That’s right: every February, after all the loveliness of Valentine’s Day, the next thing on our minds should be lung cancer, because February is also the month of “Hustle Up The Hancock,” a charity endurance event to raise funds for cancer research.
Details of the event can be found here, but essentially, the last Sunday of every February is when over 4,000 people climb 94 floors (nearly all 1,632 steps) of the John Hancock Tower in Chicago, »
- Brad Williams
Feature Aliya Whiteley Feb 12, 2013
Leslie Howard is best known for playing Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind, noble and yet ineffectual against the machinations of Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett. It was a great role, but not one of his best performances; he could be funny, charming, wise, driven, intense, comedic, tragic – take your pick. He had a pale, thin face with a high forehead and a pointed jaw, giving him an intelligent look over which directors loved to throw shadows.
I always thought he was one of those actors that black and white suited better than colour; he looked more handsome, more interesting that way. I was mesmerised by the old movies of his that appeared on television on a Sunday afternoon, where he would »
Kerr in the 1958 box-office blockbuster musical South Pacific (seen above with love interest France Nuyen) and his (few) other post-Tea and Sympathy efforts [Please check out the previous article: "The Two Kerrs in the stage and film versions of Tea and Sympathy."] Director Curtis Bernhardt's Gaby (1956) was a generally disliked remake of Waterloo Bridge, with Kerr and leading lady Leslie Caron in the old Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh roles (1940 movie version -- and even older Douglass Montgomery and Mae Clarke roles in the 1931 film version). Jeffrey Hayden's The Vintage (1957), starring Kerr and Mel Ferrer absurdly cast as Italian brothers, also failed to generate much box-office or critical interest. MGM leading lady Pier Angeli played Ferrer's love interest in the film, while the more mature and married French star Michèle Morgan (a plot element similar to that found in Tea and Sympathy) is Kerr's object of desire. (Pictured above: South Pacific cast members John Kerr and France Nuyen embracing.) Also in the mid-'50s, John Kerr »
- Andre Soares
Makeup artist who created Yoda and Chewbacca for the Star Wars films
If there was a film made in Britain between the early 1940s and early 1980s that required innovations in makeup and prosthetics design, chances are that Stuart Freeborn, who has died aged 98, was involved in it in some capacity. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, David Lean's adaptation of Oliver Twist, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Omen, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back: all these benefited from Freeborn's pioneering approach to makeup. When audiences gaze with wonder upon the apes in the "dawn of man" sequence at the beginning of 2001, or fall under the spell of the 2ft tall guru Yoda and his gnomic proclamations, their response is a testament to Freeborn's persuasive artistry.
He was born in Leytonstone, east London, where it was assumed that he would follow in the footsteps of his father, »
- Ryan Gilbey
Freeborn's granddaughter Michelle Freeborn said the make-up legend died of a combination of age-related ailments, reports thesun.co.uk.
After joining the "Star Wars" team, he created characters including 7ft Chewbacca and Jabba.
"His artistry and craftsmanship will live on for ever in the. »
- Amith Ostwal
LucasFilm confirmed Wednesday that Freeborn had died, "leaving a legacy of unforgettable contributions".
"He brought with him not only decades of experience but boundless creative energy," Lucas said. "His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations but at their heart they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films."
Freeborn's granddaughter, Michelle Freeborn, said he died on Tuesday in London from a »
British make-up great Stuart Freeborn has died. The prosthetics designer, the man who gave Yoda his distinctive look and worked closely with actors of the calibre of Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, was 98.Born in East London as the Great War began, Freeborn was a pioneer in cinema whose refusal to follow a traditional career path led him to Alexander Korda's door in the 1930s. At the producer's Denham Studio he worked with Alec Guinness to create the haggard Fagin in David Lean's Oliver Twist, and with movie stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh. "I never stopped from that moment," remembered Freeborn of a career that took in The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove. He created the 'Dawn of Man' sequence on the former, and worked with the director to pinpoint Sellers' many looks in the latter. »
Remember that time when Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant? This is a bit like that. In the rural university town of Exeter, England, an academic has uncovered thirteen versions of a lost screenplay for Laurence Olivier’s "Macbeth." Exploring the library’s Laurence Olivier Archive (probably a good bet when hoping to come across such documents), the lecturer discovered a final shooting script adorned with intricate set designs and technical instructions, despite the theatrical icon’s life-long protestations that a mere “sketch” was all that remained. While eighteen screen versions of Macbeth have been produced to date, Olivier’s was never made. Financially beleaguered, the project, which was to star Olivier and his then-wife Vivien Leigh, and would have seen them reprise what were widely believed to be their finest roles of the English stage, was derailed and abandoned. Things get a bit Da Vinci Code when one looks. »
- India Ross
Laurence Olivier’s ‘Macbeth’ Screenplays Unearthed A British professor has stumbled across Laurence Olivier’s screenplays for a 1950s movie version of Macbeth which were thought to have been lost. The University of Exeter’s Jennifer Barnes was researching Olivier’s film version of Richard III at the British Library’s Laurence Olivier Archive when she came across references to Macbeth scripts. Olivier had tried to mount the filmed version of Shakespeare’s play, but it was shelved due to financing problems. He would and wife Vivien Leigh would have played not only Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, but also two of the three witches, the screenplays reveal. Olivier also planned to cut out the “Is this a dagger I see before me?” line, The Guardian reports. While he was still alive, Olivier contended there were no surviving copies of his screenplay, but Barnes said “I was going through the catalog »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
English lecturer stumbles across 'nonexistent' screenplay in British Library for film scuppered by financial problems
For more than 50 years it has been one of the great questions of British cinema: what would the celebrated actor and director Laurence Olivier have done with Shakespeare's Macbeth if he had managed to make a big-screen version?
Olivier, who was bitterly disappointed when his attempt to film the play was scuppered by financial problems, tried to shroud the project in mystery during his lifetime, saying there were no surviving copies of his screenplay and teasing fans and critics that nobody would ever have any idea how his version would have compared with those of Orson Welles or Roman Polanski.
But now an academic searching for something quite different has stumbled upon 13 versions of the lost screenplay among papers and discovered that Olivier had some surprises in store.
For example, Olivier and his then wife »
- Steven Morris
It's Oscar season, so let's dive into my favorite place: the past. Over the next few weeks I'll revisit old winners and rank 'em however I see fit, and you're invited to disagree and show me how proud you are of caring about Johnny Belinda or whatever. Today, we begin with the best of Best Actresses. Ready to rank? Let's go.
10. Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Under-discussed fact: Though the character of Martha is a crucial and brutal part of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, George is a far more interesting character. It's almost easy to root against Liz for that fact, but her rancor and timing are so electric and natural that she's a shoo-in for this list. What a flop those other actresses are!
La Vie En Rose tries to be intriguing with its out-of-sequence storytelling but nearly succumbs to »
If you've ever watched Oscar acceptance speeches on YouTube, you know what a vortex it is. You start innocently with Tilda Swinton, work your way through both of Hilary Swank's, then barrel head-first into Eileen Heckart territory, and before you know it you're face-down, dead-drunk in Ingrid Bergman's ankle-length peasant gown from '74. You can't be saved.
But in preparation for tomorrow's Oscar nominations, I say we go back into the vast netherworld of Oscar speeches for the sake of self-definition. The challenge is this: Pick one Oscar speech and why it fits you. Which Oscar speech is your Spirit Animal, boys? I know precisely who I'm picking, but I'll offer some suggestions for the under-initiated Oscar fans out there.
Perhaps you're Vivien Leigh for Gone With the Wind, because although you're stilted and overly poised, you're intelligent, gracious, and the obvious winner. And also, a stunning-beaut-the-likes-of-which-we'll-never-seen-again-omg-omg-omg. Yes, »
A suppressed inferiority complex lies behind Hollywood's attitude to New York mobsters
Many nations experience antipathy between one end of the country and the other. In England, "gritty" northerners scorn "soft" southerners. Like those southerners, most of the French too think it's grim up north: Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, which celebrated this aversion, was a box-office knockout.
In America, north-south discord produced the bloodiest war in the country's history, as Spielberg's Lincoln will soon be reminding us. Today however, the northern rustbelt and southern sunbelt seem to rub along. It's on the east-west axis that animus persists. Surely this can only be light-hearted?. A feud between east coast and west coast hip-hop fans in the 1990s yielded a wave of night-club brawls; shootings were blamed on it.
In August 2011, the Atlantic coast was stricken by the first serious earthquake that most easterners had experienced. Time, you might have thought, for »
- David Cox
19 items from 2013
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