8 items from 2015
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
8 items from 2015
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