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In honor of the month-long retrospective of the films of the great Barbara Stanwyck starting today at Film Forum in New York, I thought I’d select my favorite Stanwyck posters. Brooklyn-born Ruby Catherine Stevens made 85 films over 37 years in Hollywood so there is an awful lot to choose from. But the remarkable thing about looking back at these posters is how artists seemed to have had a hard time capturing her likeness. The poster for one of her earliest films, Capra’s 1932 Forbidden, above, captures her beautifully, but the poster for Stella Dallas (1937), her first Oscar-nominated role (she never won, shockingly), seems to be of a different actress entirely. As for the sexed-up illustration on the flyer for The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933), in that she looks more like Jean Harlow. Some of my favorite posters for her films are the Swedish and Danish designs, »
- Adrian Curry
I started writing this piece a little over two years ago when, wondering if this was a debate whose terms I wanted to propagate, I thought twice. After the recent Godard retro in New York, however, thinking thrice, I've decided not to think about it again. With very special thanks to Sam Engel, Matthew Flanagan, Danny Kasman, Andy Rector, Gina Telaroli, who provided so much of the source code for this piece. There's no greater fount of wisdom in the world for a guy to plagiarize.
“Pauvres choses! Elles n’ont que le nom qu’on leur impose.”
“Poor things! They have nothing but the name imposed upon them.” — Film Socialisme
“You can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll.
Very sorry baby, doesn’t look like me at all.” — Leonard Cohen, “Tower of Song”
"Three Jewish characters, it's a lot for a single film. The fourth »
- David Phelps
When did a film last blow you away? The pair behind the restoration of an old silent classic about Napoleon say it's a reminder of how magnificent pure cinema can be
Napoleon is a silent film directed by Abel Gance, dramatising the youth and early career of Napoleon Bonaparte. Its most complete screening, said to be nine hours long, took place in Paris in 1927 – but this version was subsequently lost. British film-maker Kevin Brownlow saw a version as a schoolboy and subsequently restored the film to close to its original length from various prints. His restoration was first shown in London in 1980 with a score by Carl Davis. It will screen again on 30 November at the city's Royal Festival Hall.
Kevin Brownlow, restorer
It was 1953 and I was still at school. I'd borrowed a silent French film from the library for my 9.5mm projector. It was by Jean Epstein and it was awful. »
- Pamela Hutchinson
From its humble beginnings six years ago, Mono No Aware has grown into a major annual expanded cinema event, as well as a wonderful organization promoting a deep appreciation for the art of filmmaking.
The 7th annual edition of Mono No Aware’s signature event will screen for two nights at Lightspace Studios in Brooklyn, New York on December 6 and 7. Both nights feature one-time-only cinematic performances utilizing 16mm, 8mm and 35mm film projection, as well as “alternative light” projections, performed live by filmmaking artists.
The one performance that the Underground Film Journal highly recommends is Jodie Mack‘s “Let Your Light Shine,” featuring an abstract animated film watched through special prismatic glasses worn by audience members. The Journal experienced a screening of “Let Your Light Shine” in Los Angeles that we considered might be the future of cinema.
Other performances include, also on the 6th, a return by Mono No Aware regular Joel Schlemowitz, »
- Mike Everleth
Think silent films reached a high point with The Artist? The pre-sound era produced some of the most beautiful, arresting films ever made. From City Lights to Metropolis, Guardian and Observer critics pick the 10 best
• Top 10 teen movies
• Top 10 superhero movies
• Top 10 westerns
• Top 10 documentaries
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
10. City Lights
City Lights was arguably the biggest risk of Charlie Chaplin's career: The Jazz Singer, released at the end of 1927, had seen sound take cinema by storm, but Chaplin resisted the change-up, preferring to continue in the silent tradition. In retrospect, this isn't so much the precious behaviour of a purist but the smart reaction of an experienced comedian; Chaplin's films rarely used intertitles anyway, and though it is technically "silent", City Lights is very mindful of it own self-composed score and keenly judged sound effects.
At its heart, »
Odd List Ryan Lambie 20 Nov 2013 - 06:57
The constantly busy Ridley Scott always has lots of potential films in production, so here's a look at what he might be up to next...
Since his debut in 1977 with the historical drama, The Duellists, director Ridley Scott has gradually built up an eclectic body of work. His Hollywood career began with the stunning one-two sci-fi punch of Alien and Blade Runner, before heading off into fantasy (Legend), thrillers (Someone To Watch Over Me, Black Rain) and road-trip drama (the Oscar-winning Thelma And Louise).
As James Clayton pointed out in his recent Friday column, the 70-something Sir Ridley shows no sign of slowing down, and if anything, his slate of forthcoming films is somewhat bewildering - in what seems like every other interview, the director will mention another project of one sort or another, which makes working out what he's likely to be »
Power cuts, ganja and electro knitting needles – as a new volume of the Beatles' BBC recordings is released, we look back at six of the corporation's best pop moments
The Beatles on Juke Box Jury/It's the Beatles
The Beatles' appearances on two TV programmes on the evening of 7 December 1963 was a cultural earthquake. The Fab Four began the year as a mostly teenage concern and ended it on the screens of 41% of the population – British pop's own big bang.
Reading on mobile? Click here to watch 'It's the Beatles' live video
Kevin Howlett (author of The Beatles – The BBC Archives): "You didn't see much pop music on television back then, so for the Beatles to be on two programmes at peak time was unheard of. Brian Epstein [their manager] jokingly said that for one night it was the Beatles Broadcasting Corporation.
"They filmed Juke Box Jury – a musical panel show »
- Dave Simpson
It's the most all-American of film genres, filled with he-men and black hats. But the western has given us some great movies: the Guardian and Observer's critics pick the 10 best
• Top 10 crime movies
• Top 10 arthouse movies
• Top 10 family movies
• Top 10 war movies
• Top 10 teen movies
• Top 10 superhero movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
10. Rancho Notorious
Like Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang moved effortlessly between genres; his "western period" scattered throughout his "urban crime" and "film noir" periods. Even now, 60 years on, Rancho Notorious remains one of the strangest westerns ever made, furthering Lang's fascination (obsession?) with retribution, which arguably started with the 1936 lynch-mob drama Fury, his first film as a German émigré in the Us.
Perversely, although the protagonist is the wronged Vern (Arthur Kennedy), whose fiancee has been raped and killed by bandits unknown, Lang's film - which, as we are constantly reminded by its theme song, tells a tale of "hate, »
★★★☆☆As well as being the man behind universally acclaimed masterpieces Metropolis (1927) and M (1931), famed Austrian-born director Fritz Lang is also renowned for a career-long infatuation with a criminal mastermind. His first foray into the underworld of this twisted manipulator was a four-and-a-half hour epic from the silent era, Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), which has now been brought lovingly to Blu-ray courtesy of Eureka's Masters of Cinema series. He went on to revisit this devious maniac twice more in talkies - with The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) arguably the more successful rendering.
Read more » »
- CineVue UK
Define Gothic and Dracula immediately comes to mind. The high-arches and cobwebs, the creatures that scurry across the floor and the long drapes that falls from the ceilings – blood on the tips of fangs and white-skin like moonlight in the night. Kim Newman goes as far to state that 1931’s Dracula this “was the true beginning of the horror film as a distinct genre and the vampire movie as its most popular sub-genre”. Indeed, only in this month’s Empire magazine, they have noted how 31 actors have portrayed the fanged-villain – and Bela Lugosi’s unforgettable performance surely remains the most defining portrayal. The double bill of Dracula and The Mummy may initially appear to be connected by their supernatural content alone, but the Universal Horror films are joined by their »
- Gary Collinson
Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time for one reason: the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. Enjoy!
Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking dance routines and unique vocals have influenced generations of musicians, dancers, and entertainers. He was one of entertainment’s greatest icons, and like most gifted individuals, he was always pushing boundaries, reinventing himself, and testing his limits. One of his biggest accomplishments was Thriller, a 14-minute »
A long time ago, in a land far away... there were no space movies. Luckily, we have lots and the Guardian and Observer's critics have picked the 10 best ever
• Top 10 romantic movies
• Top 10 action movies
• Top 10 comedy movies
• Top 10 horror movies
Peter Bradshaw on sci-fi
Science fiction has produced some of cinema's boldest and most glorious flights – in every sense. Sometimes patronised as kids' stuff, the genre seeks to look beyond the parochialism of most realist drama: to see other worlds and other existences, and therefore to look with a new, radically alienated eye at our own. Maybe something in the limitless possibilities of cinema itself spawned sci-fi.
George Meliès's A Trip to the Moon (1902) was one of early cinema's biggest hits. In the middle of the 20th century, sci-fi inhabited the B-picture world of monsters and rockets and intuited a "red scare" anxiety about aliens. At the end of the 60s, »
The official schedule of events for SpectreFest has just been announced. The first annual horror event is taking place in Hollywood this October from SpectreVision, the company founded by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller.
“SpectreVision, the company founded and partnered by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller has announced their first annual SpectreFest in partnership with Cinefamily to be held in Hollywood from October 19-31.
“Our aim with SpectreFest is to provide an immersive, visceral experience beyond mere entertainment,” says co-founder Daniel Noah. “Genre films, as well as cinema’s close cousin, music, can tweak our minds to show us new ways of interpreting the world we live in. SpectreFest is an offering of some of the best of both from around the world.”
SpectreFest’s opening night event, in association with Cinespia and Cinefamily, will be a screening of the classic horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London, »
- Jonathan James
Elijah Wood’s company SpectreVision Wednesday announced the first annual SpectreFest, a 13-night celebration of horror and music to be held in Los Angeles from October 19-31 in partnership with the Cinefamily cinema. SpectreVision is an independent horror film company founded by Wood, Daniel Noah, and Josh C. Waller.
SpectreFest’s opening night event will be a screening of John Landis’ horror-comedy classic An American Werewolf in London held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in conjunction with Cinespia. SpectreFest will also host screenings of E.L. Kat’s jet-black comedy Cheap Thrills (see pic above), the Elijah Wood- and John Cusack-starrer Grand Piano, »
- Clark Collis
SpectreVision, founded by actor Elijah Wood ("Wilfred"), writer-director Daniel Noah ("Max Rose") and director Josh C. Waller ("McCanick"), has announced their first annual SpectreFest in partnership with Cinefamily. It will be held in Hollywood, running October 19-31.The opening night event is classic horror-comedy "An American Werewolf in London," to be held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with special guest DJs Wooden Wisdom.The new fest will also host the La premiere of E.L. Katz’s award-winning "Cheap Thrills" (Israeli thriller "Big Bad Wolves" has been pulled). Other premieres scheduled include "Grand Piano," starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack, and Waller's own "Raze" IFC's horror/action film starring Zoe Bell and Rachel Nichols, due in 2014.Avant-garde rocker Ariel Pink will provide musical accompaniment to experimental shorts curated by the Cinefamily, while Chrome Canyon will add their electronic/synth music to Fritz Lang’s "Metropolis."Wood, »
- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
Films are almost always shot in an extended fashion, before they’re reduced and cut down to a final, coherently-constructed work. That’s what the public get to see. At times, though, you’ll find huge differences between the studio and preview versions of a film – and then, of course, there are “Director’s Cut” versions, too, which tend to emerge in the aftermath of a dividing theatrical cut.
In certain instances, studio executives get so involved in the editing process, that they end up destroying a film with their incessant meddling. Their aim? To make a movie as commercially appealing as possible – as was infamously the case with both Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons and Von Stroheim’s Greed.
Other times, scenes are cut because they leave loopholes, aren’t imperative to the overall storyline, or because they are deemed too graphic or politically controversial for public audiences. These cuts »
- Josh Cornell
Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they march with the masses to the factory while dreaming of Utopia by exploring the more-than-spectacle magic of Metropolis. In the #36 (tied) movie on the list, a madman fuels a robot with his obsession, but it will lead to his downfall when the people form an uprising. But why is it one of the best movies of all time? Scott: So how perfect is it that we’re talking about Metropolis on the day that our »
- FSR Staff
Jon Kilik, who has been producing films big and small from New York for as long as I can remember, gave Sunday’s keynote address to open the Ifp Market. He makes some compelling points about the viability of film, countering warning cries from the likes of Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. I’ve trimmed it a bit, but here’s the speech by Kilik, who produced the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher which bows December 20, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which opens November 22, and the Spike Lee-directed Mike Tyson one-man show The Undisputed Truth, which airs on HBO next month. “I live near the Film Forum and last Saturday I went to see Jean Luc Godard’s “Contempt”, on it’s 50th anniversary. In the film, Fritz Lang plays the director of a commercial treatment of “The Odyssey”. His line near the end of the film sums »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
A friend recently sent along a link, posted last year, to a 1927 article about the making of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis from a 1927 issue of Science and Invention. As this was new to me, and fascinating, I felt honor bound to pass it on to you. Metropolis may have been a financial albatross for Ufa but it definitely attracted attention for its futuristic design and innovative visual effects. I daresay it will always be considered modern.Scientific magazines frequently turned their attention to motion pictures in the 1920s and '30s, as when Popular Mechanics ran a 1930 cover story on a floating theater that screened films along the canals of Holland! Later that decade the magazine ...
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- Leonard Maltin
Written by Alfonso Cuarón and Jonas Cuarón
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
In 1902, the French screen pioneer Georges Melies made Le Voyage Dans La Lune, an interstellar breakthrough in special effects and fantastical imagination that beguiled and bewildered audiences. Since that film, the science-fiction genre has passed through evolutionary wormholes every decade or so, due to the pioneering cognition of the likes of Fritz Lang, Stanley Kubrick, Andrei Tarkovsky, and, from a purely technological standpoint, James Cameron, where the very mechanics of cinematic representation and realization are docked with technical advances in optics, film stocks and lenses, or the crushing and retexturing of digital blizzards of zeroes and ones and post-production manipulation as the medium moves from physical celluloid to analog abduction. Arguably the last major change was a mere 4 years ago, with Cameron′s Avatar, where the logarithmic facsimiles and world-building achieved a new standard of photo-digital representation. »
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