19 items from 2015
Best Actor could once again (as it almost always is these days) be an ultra-competitive race full of some of major A-listers. Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Bradley Cooper (going for his fourth nomination in a row), Robert Redford (who has never won for acting, and is coming off that "All Is Lost" snub) Michael Fassbender (with three juicy roles), Jake Gyllenhaal (with two, and coming off not being nominated for "Nightcrawler") and Don Cheadle -- all of whom have never won -- have films coming out this year that scream Oscar (at least on paper) and all of them are due. They might have to compete against someone who is definitely not due, though, as Eddie Redmayne could be in the running again for his role as a transgender artist in Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl." Could Eddie Redmayne be the next Tom Hanks or Spencer Tracy, »
- Peter Knegt
Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major British stage star Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Born on May 15, 1910, actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned about six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., would have turned 105 this year. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received stage performances – is all but forgotten. »
- Andre Soares
Robert Louis Stevenson’s literary horror classic Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published in 1886, just a decade before the birth of cinema and only two decades prior to its first screen adaptation (William N. Selig’s now lost Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). Since then a lengthy list of cinematic interpretations have come to fruition, from the 1931 film directed by Rouben Mamoulian which earned Fredric March an Oscar for his performance in the starring role, to the 1941 remake that boasted of names like Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner, through a TV movie featuring Mickey Rooney in his very last screen performance. Despite the lengthy list, there is certainly no adaptation quite like Walerian Borowczyk’s hyper sexualized The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne.
By 1981, the year of the film’s release, Borowczyk had (somewhat unwillingly) been pegged as an art house »
- Jordan M. Smith
We’ve been following the Yellow Brick Road for three-quarters of a century and Dorothy hasn’t aged a bit. It's been over 75 years since The Wizard of Oz debuted, quickly becoming a classic film that has delighted generations of the young and young at heart.
The beloved film recently celebrated its diamond anniversary with an impressive remastered blu-ray/dvd release and a tribute at last year’s past Academy Awards ceremony. Now, the movie is once again coming to the big screen this Saturday, May 9th as part of the Family Favourites programme at participating theatres with each ticket available for $2.99.
Originally released wide in theatres on August 25, 1939 (and a whole week earlier in select theatres in Canada), the move has been subject to many a myth, homage, and parody over its lifetime.
Bust out those ruby red slippers and your little dog too and check out ten facts »
- Rachel West
There are some actors who most people tend to agree are unquestionably great: Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Tom Hanks, Spencer Tracy, Laurence Olivier, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck. When famous names like these crop up in conversations about the craft of acting, there are very few who would likely disagree over their talents.
That isn’t always the case, though. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, after all, and actors have long split public opinion. Movie-goers tend to thrive on the conflict derived from slating a popular actor, posing questions like: “Why does everybody think they’re so great?”
But there’s a fundamental difference between somebody saying that they love Gary Oldman and another person saying that they think Gary Oldman is a bit overrated – there are some actors who polarise audiences to the point at which the »
- Sam Hill
By Alex Simon
The Tennessee state House voted Wednesday to adopt the Holy Bible as the official state book. The chamber approved the measure 55-38. It is sponsored by Republican Rep. Jerry Sexton, a former pastor, who argued that his proposal reflects the Bible's historical, cultural and economic impact in Tennessee. In addition to the measure ignoring serious constitutional issues, it brings to mind a legendary legal case held in Tennessee nearly a century ago.
The Scopes “Monkey Trial” was held in the small town of Dayton, Tn. in 1925. A substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The trial drew intense international publicity, as two of the nation’s most high-profile attorneys, William Jennings Bryan (prosecution) and Clarence Darrow (defense), argued the case, one of the earliest examples of Fundamentalist vs. Modernist »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1967.
Directed by Stanley Kramer.
Mr and Mrs Drayton are in for a shock when their daughter brings home her new fiance – Dr. John Prentice Jr, an African-American…
At one point in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Sidney Poitier, the African-American husband-to-be, tells Spencer Tracy, the father-of-the-bride, how their potential children may become Presidents of the United States. Poitier, lightening the mood, acknowledges that he’ll accept Secretary of State – of course, his wife-to-be is possibly too ambitious. Made in 1967, it seems the filmmakers weren’t too ambitious, and only six years prior to the cinema release date, in Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Hussein Obama II was born. It is difficult to imagine the era in fact. We know the horror stories and the necessity of the civil rights movement, »
- Simon Columb
Teresa Wright: Later years (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon.") Teresa Wright and Robert Anderson were divorced in 1978. They would remain friends in the ensuing years. Wright spent most of the last decade of her life in Connecticut, making only sporadic public appearances. In 1998, she could be seen with her grandson, film producer Jonah Smith, at New York's Yankee Stadium, where she threw the ceremonial first pitch. Wright also became involved in the Greater New York chapter of the Als Association. (The Pride of the Yankees subject, Lou Gehrig, died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 1941.) The week she turned 82 in October 2000, Wright attended the 20th anniversary celebration of Somewhere in Time, where she posed for pictures with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. In March 2003, she was a guest at the 75th Academy Awards, in the segment showcasing Oscar-winning actors of the past. Two years later, »
- Andre Soares
Teresa Wright and Matt Damon in 'The Rainmaker' Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright vs. Samuel Goldwyn: Nasty Falling Out.") "I'd rather have luck than brains!" Teresa Wright was quoted as saying in the early 1950s. That's understandable, considering her post-Samuel Goldwyn choice of movie roles, some of which may have seemed promising on paper. Wright was Marlon Brando's first Hollywood leading lady, but that didn't help her to bounce back following the very public spat with her former boss. After all, The Men was released before Elia Kazan's film version of A Streetcar Named Desire turned Brando into a major international star. Chances are that good film offers were scarce. After Wright's brief 1950 comeback, for the third time in less than a decade she would be gone from the big screen for more than a year. »
- Andre Soares
Zeb Larson reviews Bullet Gal…
Bullet Gal, a comic book series by Australian author Andrez Bergen, is a fascinating series to just fall into. Bullet Gal is a neo-noir science fiction dystopia, set in the fictional city of Heropa. However, the series is meant to be much more than its plot: the really important parts are concerned with deeper questions about the creative process.
Mitzi is a seventeen year-old new arrival to the city of Heropa, a new city founded just after WWII. With her father’s two pistols, she adopts the identity of Bullet Gal, and begins assassinating the city’s criminals. This attracts attention from the city’s heroes, including Lee, a man split into eight identical copies of himself, and the city’s villains, including French femme-fatale Brigit and her gangster boyfriend, Sol Brodsky. Yet there’s something else that’s not quite right about Heropa, and »
- Zeb Larson
Teresa Wright movies: Actress made Oscar history Teresa Wright, best remembered for her Oscar-winning performance in the World War II melodrama Mrs. Miniver and for her deceptively fragile, small-town heroine in Alfred Hitchcock's mystery-drama Shadow of a Doubt, died at age 86 ten years ago – on March 6, 2005. Throughout her nearly six-decade show business career, Wright was featured in nearly 30 films, dozens of television series and made-for-tv movies, and a whole array of stage productions. On the big screen, she played opposite some of the most important stars of the '40s and '50s. It's a long list, including Bette Davis, Greer Garson, Gary Cooper, Myrna Loy, Ray Milland, Fredric March, Jean Simmons, Marlon Brando, Dana Andrews, Lew Ayres, Cornel Wilde, Robert Mitchum, Spencer Tracy, Joseph Cotten, and David Niven. Also of note, Teresa Wright made Oscar history in the early '40s, when she was nominated for each of her first three movie roles. »
- Andre Soares
The Interview and the geopolitical crisis it caused is arguably the most important movie-related story of recent weeks.
The story device featured in The Interview, the idea of a film featuring the assassination of the current ruling leader, is nothing new, and in fact is seen through much of film’s history. In 1941 a German-in-exile Fritz Lang shown an unsuccessful attack on Adolf Hitler in Man Hunt (this story was also told in BBC’s Rogue Male from 1976 starring Peter O’Toole). The Shaw Brothers used the actual newsreel footage of Queen Elisabeth visiting Hong-Kong (then a British colony) in their 1976 martial arts flick A Queen’s Ransom (a.k.a. The International Assassin) starring post-James Bond George Lazenby as an Ira assassin and Angela Mao as a heroine trying to stop him. In fact, the Queen of England might be the most popular assassination target among actual world leaders »
- Jakub Mejer
Captain T. G. Culpeper Spencer Tracy J. Russell Finch Milton Berle Melville Crump Sid Caesar Benjy Benjamin Buddy Hackett Mrs. Marcus Ethel Merman Ding Bell Mickey Rooney Sylvester Marcus Dick Shawn Otto Meyer Phil Silvers J. Algernon Hawthorne Terry-Thomas Lennie Pike Jonathan Winters Monica Crump Edie Adams Emeline Finch Dorothy Provine Cabdriver Eddie “Rochester” Anderson Tyler Fitzgerald Jim Backus Man driving in the desert Jack Benny Union official Joe E. Brown Biplane pilot Ben Blue Police sergeant Alan Carney Detective Chick Chandler Mrs. Halliburton Barrie Chase Mayor Lloyd Corrigan Police chief William Demarest Sheriff of Crocket County Andy Devine Ginger Culpeper (voice) Selma Diamond Cabdriver Peter Falk Detective Normal Fell Colonel Wilberforce Paul Ford Deputy sheriff Stan Freberg Billie Sue Culpeper (voice) Louise Glenn Cabdriver Leo Gorcey Fire chief Sterling Holloway Mr. Dinckler Edward Everett Horton Irwin Marvin Kaplan Jimmy the Cook Buster Keaton Nervous motorist Don Knotts Airport »
- Sam Moffitt
Television and film-makers tend to avoid depicting the annual address. Is it too expensive to film, too sacred – or too boring?
The annual State of the Union address is one of those times when even people who would rather hear about the next season of Game of Thrones or Jennifer Aniston’s secret wedding pay attention to politics. And that’s not only true because the speech takes over the airwaves. It’s a night that brings everyone together with lots of pageantry and shared concern for the country. It’s full of drama and conflict. You would think that it would be all over movies and television. You would be wrong.
The 1948 film State of the Union, where Spencer Tracy plays an airline tycoon who tries to become president, doesn’t actually include a State of the Union address. The American President, a 1995 movie about the president falling in »
- Brian Moylan
Nine actors. Eighteen Best Actor Oscars. Let's rank these legendarily thespians much in the way we took a hard look yesterday at the 13 women who scooped up two Best Actress wins. The contenders: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Sean Penn. Damn. Put on your spurs, Will Kane, because this is a battle of men's men. »
- Louis Virtel
By the 1950s, Texas-raised actress Joan Blondell (see earlier column) must have resigned herself to filling supporting roles in film. In 1952, the former Miss Dallas received her lone Oscar nomination for her work as supporting actress in The Blue Veil. Five years later, she appears as Katherine Hepburn's wisecracking best friend, Peg Costello, in Desk Set. Her character may not be the focus of the comedy, but Blondell helps make the movie memorable.
I chose Desk Set for this month's column as a sort of counterbalance to the hoopla surrounding the 2014 film The Imitation Game (Marcie's review). This movie is a more humorous take on the early days of computing machines, and actually includes more than one woman in its plot -- whereas the British biopic ignores the many women who worked at Bletchley Park.
In the 1957 film, four reference librarians work for the fictional Federal Broadcasting Company, answering »
- Elizabeth Stoddard
Having finally found acclaim as a writer/director with critical successes like The Defiant Ones (1958) after a brief period serving as a producer for others at Columbia on films such as Death of a Salesman (1951), The Juggler (1953), and The Wild One (1953), Stanley Kramer took it upon himself to follow-up his politically controversial nuclear war drama On the Beach (1959) with yet another topically contentious production – Inherit The Wind. Based on the stage play of the same name written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, the film fictionalizes the famed 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, in which a high school teacher named John Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in any state-funded school. Riding high on the creation/evolution controversy, as well as a genius ploy to exploit the witch hunt narrative to discuss the dangers of McCarthyism, which had previously seen Nedrick Young, »
- Jordan M. Smith
“It never occurred to me that I would fall in love with a Negro, but I have, and nothing’s going to change that!”
Guess Who’S Coming To Dinner screens this weekend at The Hi-Pointe Theater as part of their Classic Film Series. It’s Saturday, January 10th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117. Admission is only $5
Guess Who’S Coming To Dinner (1967) is an essential comedy drama about a progressive father and mother who are forced to face their own ideals when their daughter wants to marry a Black doctor. The cast is spectacular from top to bottom including Spencer Tracy, receiving his last Best Actor Academy Award nomination (posthumously) for his final role and Katharine Hepburn (her second of four Best Actress Oscar wins) as the married parents, Katharine Houghton as their daughter, Sidney Poitier as the aforementioned doctor, Cecil Kellaway, »
- Tom Stockman
It’s December. And you know what that means? It means for every popcorn blockbuster, we get about three Oscar bait movies that are made solely to appease that body of somewhat stodgy Academy voters. Don’t get me wrong – a good portion of the Best Picture winners in history are still some of the greatest films ever made – “The Godfather” (Parts I and II), “Schindler’s List,” etc. But what about those historically good movies that got the nomination, but didn’t take home the prize? What about those popular movies that carried fan support, but lost out to a smaller, most of the time better, film? Well, here they are. This list focuses on those films that may or may not have been produced as Oscar bait, but earned the recognition of “Best Picture nominee,” only to walk away without the big prize. As usual, not in order of worst to best. »
- Joshua Gaul
19 items from 2015
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