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Carol for Another Christmas, an updating of Dickens by screenwriter Rod Serling and director Joseph H. Mankiewicz, missing in action for 47 years, makes a welcome and timely return by way of TCM this Christmas. It's a fascinating piece, possibly major Serling, though its placement in Mankiewicz's career is a little trickier. As befits the marriage of Dickens and Serling, it's a preachy allegory that relies on sentiment and humanism rather than urging any specific political course. Mankiewicz was rarely an advocate for anything in his movies, but he orchestrates this affair with typical elegance.
Take the phrase "Peace On Earth" as its watchword, the scenario makes Scrooge a wealthy recluse advocating the stockpiling of nuclear weapons and a foreign policy that combines isolationism with "get our retaliation in first" belligerence. The casting of Sterling Hayden in this role, very satisfactory in itself, has the additional effect of evoking memories of Dr. Strangelove, »
- David Cairns
The anxiously anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens today, and moviegoers have a choice of watching in standard 24 frames per second (fps) or 48fps and 3D at a few select theaters in Austin. The Hobbit is the first major studio release shot in 48fps. Supporters claim that the new technology adds sharpness and realism to the film, but I found the projection distracting. Characters with makeup and prosthetics are quite obvious and the movement appears jerky at time. I look forward to seeing the movie again soon at 24fps so I can focus on the epic story itself.
Austin Film Society Essential Cinema presents the 1962 film Only Two Can Play on Tuesday, December 18, 7 pm at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Peter Sellers plays a henpecked Welsh librarian who is propositioned by the wife of a local councillor. I encourage fellow Sellers fans »
- Debbie Cerda
The recent remake of the 1960s caper Gambit, starring Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Cameron Diaz, has drawn comparisons to the work to Blake Edwards, whose Pink Panther films continue to bring joy to millions. While Gambit’s reviews have been decidedly lukewarm it has performed fairly handsomely at the box office, meaning that it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood’s ruthless remake machine turns on Edwards’ back catalogue.
The question is: which of Edwards’ films could perhaps prove worthwhile as a remake? Obviously the Pink Panther series is out of the picture, at least for now, with the two Steve Martin films failing to set the world alight. And while there are many talented young actresses out there who could step into Audrey Hepburn’s shoes, a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is unlikely considering the Oscar success of the original. At the very least, »
- Daniel Mumby
Are you more likely to see a movie in the theater if it’s followed by an exclusive, live Q&A event featuring that movie’s stars? What if it’s free? What if the Q&A is only via satellite and only temporally but not locally exclusive, and so no possibility of autographs or hugs? What if you still have the chance to submit a question to a relatively reclusive living legend of screen and song, such as Barbra Streisand? What if her answer is that she smoked pot with Peter Sellers? “I was married to Elliot [Gould] and he was with Britt Ekland,” the actress said while being broadcast to viewers in 20 theaters nationwide following a sneak preview of her upcoming film, The Guilt Trip, “and the funny thing is that we went to a restaurant and we started to riff on, like, should we have steak ice cream? It »
- Christopher Campbell
When Tony Hancock failed to turn up for three episodes of his radio show in 1955, producers simply replaced him with Harry Secombe as if nothing had happened. The fourth episode followed Hancock and Sid James as they travelled to Swansea to thank him – where they found him singing down a coalmine.
The recorded episode was wiped and continues to be lost, but the script – along with a host of others – has now emerged. They have been catalogued by the actor turned rare books dealer, Neil Pearson.
It is a true treasure trove, featuring scripts by and for comedy stars such as Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams. "It is a rather extraordinary and rather moving collection of material that reminds us of how we used to »
- Mark Brown
Bjarne Melgaard: A New Novel by Bjarne Melgaard Luxembourg & Dayan Through December 22, 2012 I open one eye. Sunlight pours in through my Zaha Hadid-designed venetian blinds, casting horizontal shadows on the walls, turning the room into a recumbent prison cell. I was supposed to meet James Franco (who is still a little sore at me for beating him out for the part of Cocktimus Prime in Sue de Beer's hardcore version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) in Central Park an hour ago, but my Philippe Starck alarm clock (which I fully believe is haunted) failed to wake me. I open both eyes, decide that it is probably safe, and dress quickly: black crinolined Brioni smoking jacket, Hello Kitty T-shirt, baby seal-skin pants, and boots hand-carved in Brazilian rosewood (by some guy in Tokyo, whose name is comprised entirely of consonants and who has a nine-year waiting list) which resemble small cats, »
With the mad success of the James Bond films as produced by partners Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and (Canadian) Harry Saltzman, which had run from 1962’s Dr. No to 1965 Thunderball, it was only natural for the Hollywood system to create a great number of other spy genre pictures. After all, like it or not, copycats make for good business, oftentimes regardless of the quality of the films themselves. Without the shadow of a doubt, the most curious imitator of them all, one that has earned, for both right and wrong reasons, a cult status throughout the decades, was the brainchild of producer Charles K. Feldman. Determined to cash in on the 007 craze, Feldman did not just make a copycat of Bond, he tried to make a Bond film, albeit one »
- Edgar Chaput
Jake Wardle selects his top ten movie presidents...
As the Us of A nears the end of a near 2-year election campaign, they face a choice, an enormous, historic choice, between the charismatic, compassionate Barack Obama and the Tyrell Corporation’s most sophisticated android, Willard Mitt Romney. The polls point to a close result, but whoever prevails, they face a tough task – historic levels of Government debt, an unstable Middle-East, and the very real possibility of a hostile alien invasion. Still, if movies have taught us anything about American Presidents, it’s that they’re uniquely equipped to deal with the latter. Here then, to celebrate the 57th election for the President of the United States, are ten of the best movie presidents:
The Bond franchise wouldn't have made it to 50 years without its high-tech gadgets and exotic locales, but that's not what sells tickets. No, the real selling point: 007's lineup of beautiful, scantily clad women. Bonds may come and go, but a woman in a bikini is a thing of beauty forever, right, James? To rank our favorite Bond Girls, we concocted a formula (top secret, of course) based on looks, brains, resourcefulness, relevance to the plot and iconic stature. We also factored in ones James (all six of him) loved the most. Check out all 25 in the gallery below. (Fyi, femme fatales, such as Xenia Onatopp, are on our Best and Worst Bond Villains List.) Photos Correction: A previous version of this story said that there had been five James Bonds, when there have, in fact, been six (not including Peter Sellers' version). We apologize for the mistake »
- Sharon Knolle
Oh, yes. Sweet yes. Survivor jumped to the merge this week, brought together a heap of disagreeable, aloof players, and forced them into a prickly, weird-ass tribal council that left everyone looking pretty stupid. This? This is my heaven. Wednesday's episode was undoubtedly the most entertaining of the season, and I'm not just saying that because one of my least favorite people was banished (along with her cream-colored pantsuit from an abandoned Talbot's outlet). It wasn't just that. But it was a lot that.
Plus, plenty our favorite players kept being great. And a couple of beleaguered contestants outsmarted some heavy-hitters and earned our respect. Let's reinspect the episode's greatest hits.
Can I still be gay and marry the hell out of Denise?
The hardest-working, hardest-losing contestant on Survivor maneuvered her sinew in a winning fashion this week, destroying her competitors in an immunity challenge that amounted to the following »
Character actor best known for his role in The Italian Job
The distinctive character actor John Clive, who has died aged 79, will be best remembered by cinemagoers for his appearances in a string of films that gained cult status. In The Italian Job (1969), the British-flag-flying yarn about a daring heist in Turin using Minis as getaway cars, Clive was the garage manager gleefully receiving a wad of banknotes from the released convict Michael Caine as payment for storing his Aston Martin DB4 convertible. The scene was said to have been ad-libbed between the two actors, with Caine putting his enforced absence down to tiger shoots in India. "You must have shot an awful lot of tigers, sir," said Clive as he counted the notes enthusiastically. "Yes, I used a machine gun," retorted Caine.
Two years later, Clive was the tormentor forcing Malcolm McDowell's psychotic teenager into licking his boot »
- Anthony Hayward
Help! us explore the many ways in which John, Paul, George and Ringo have influenced film, then and now
With Magical Mystery Tour getting the bells-and-whistles reissue treatment this week, here's a look back at the multifaceted and often downright bizarre impact the Beatles have made on the moving image.
1) The Beatles as Oscar-winners
Let It Be was filmed in January 1969, but remained unreleased until May 1970, by which point the band had officially announced its split. The Beatles were keen to see the film buried; they had little desire to return to this testing period in their career or to air some of the more fractious moments it contains – most famously the tiff between Paul and George ("I'll play, you know, whatever you want me to play or I won't play at all"). And yet, ultimately, they're probably happy they did. In April 1971 the Beatles picked up their one and only Academy award, »
A new issue of one the most essential film publications, La Furia Umana, is now available online. As always, alongside a rich collection of disparate texts, the issue has separate dossiers devoted to specific filmmakers, including ones on René Vautier (edited by Nicole Brenez) and Ida Lupino with Claire Denis. The amount of must-read coverage is daunting: included, too, are homages to Chris Marker and Stephen Dwoskin, a new video by David Phelps, and much more to explore.
In this issue, our pride and joy is to be found in the monograph-length dossier on Hollywood auteur William A. Wellman, a dossier edited by Gina Telaroli and Phelps. Our editor Daniel Kasman has contributed anoverview to Wellman's filmography; Telaroli has an incredible image-based piece on Good-bye, My Lady (alongside "scraps" and "findings" pointing the way for even more coverage of this filmmaker's wide oeuvre), filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier has a new piece, »
There's a lot of death in Bond films - 1,300 people dying in the official films alone. Find out where and when
• Interactive guide
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• More data journalism and data visualisations from the Guardian
• More on Skyfall
What has Blackwell, Texas got in common with James Bond? The British agent has used his license to kill to bump off a population the same size as its 354 inhabitants since the films began in 1962.
The launch of Skyfall is sure to increase that number. James Bond films are famous for two things: one is his awesome sex life; the other is the sheer numbers of people who get shot, poisoned, eaten by sharks or sliced up by a circular saw.
How violent are Bond's films? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the body counts are extremely controversial, with several sites with competing counts and methodology.
- Simon Rogers
This 50th anniversary doc has enough for fans to enjoy, but it's missing real 007-style thrills and spills – and a word or two from Sean Connery
It's the Bond movies' 50th birthday: time for an official documentary celebrating the franchise. This is very much Eon Productions' corporate love letter to itself, of course, and the 1967 spoof movie Casino Royale, starring Peter Sellers – a non-Eon rogue product – is not mentioned. But any Bond fan will find it entertaining, and what emerges is a remarkable movie-industry bromance, between Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, two classic Hollywood moguls. They were never-say-die entrepreneurs who loved Ian Fleming's novels, and found exactly the right way to make them work on screen. ("Eon" was the acronym for their gutsy motto: Everything or nothing.) But there were more than two people in this marriage. Scottish unknown Sean Connery was the star they created. Connery knew »
- Peter Bradshaw
Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau's crazed boss in the Pink Panther films
Herbert Lom, who has died aged 95, spent more than 50 years in dramatic roles, playing mostly smooth villains, but he was best known for his portrayal of Charles Dreyfus, the hysterically twitching boss of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) in the series of slapstick Pink Panther comedies. "Give me 10 men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world," blurts out the bewildered Dreyfus in A Shot in the Dark (1964).
Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru was born into an impoverished aristocratic family in Prague. He studied philosophy at Prague University, where he organised student theatre. In 1939, on the eve of the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, he arrived in Britain with his Jewish girlfriend, Didi, but she was sent back at Dover because she did not have the correct papers. Her subsequent death in a concentration »
- Ronald Bergan
Nobody slow-burned better than Herbert Lom. The Czech-born character died Thursday at the age of 95, the Associated Press reports. His son Alec Lom said he died in his sleep. In seven "Pink Panther" films, Lom was able to find fresh ways to go berserk over Inspector Clouseau's cluelessness. Nearly every scene he performed opposite star Peter Sellers became a comic ballet of rage, as his character Chief Inspector Dreyfus gradually lost his cool and eventually his grasp on sanity while dealing with Clousau's incompetence. Also read: Notable Celebrity Deaths of 2012 It was »
- Brent Lang
Herbert Lom has died aged 95. The veteran actor - who was best known for playing Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus in the 'Pink Panther' film franchise - passed away peacefully in his sleep today (Sept. 27), his family said. Herbert starred as the annoying boss of Inspector Clouseau - who was portrayed by Peter Sellers - in six movies in the series, including 1975's 'The Return of the Pink Panther', 1983's 'The Curse of the Pink Panther' and more recently in 1993's 'Son of the Pink Panther'. He first appeared as the police chief in 1964's 'A Shot in the Dark' and his alter-ego became increasing incompetent as the film franchise went on. The Czech-born star appeared in more than 100 movies during his 60-year acting career including hit films such as 'Spartacus' - which saw him star opposite Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis - and 1955 black comedy ' »
The great character actor Herbert Lom has died at age 95. He was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated to England just before the outbreak of WWII. (His beloved girlfriend was not allowed to stay in England and was deported back to Europe, where she ultimately died in a Nazi death camp.) With his imposing looks, Lom quickly became a mainstay in British films, often playing the heavy. A rare exception was his performance in the 1955 comedy classic The Ladykillers. Lom often appeared in B movies, as well as epic films such as Spartacus and El Cid. His poignant performance in the 1962 Hammer Films remake of Phantom of the Opera was largely overlooked at the time of the movie's release, but is now considered to be among his finest achievements. Lom is best known as Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering superior Dryefus in the Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies that greatly increased his name recognition. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
We look back at the work of Herbert Lom, the much-loved Czech-born actor who has died aged 95. His career took in everything from low-budget noir to the Pink Panther movies
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A refugee from the Nazis at the age of 22, Lom arrived in London in 1939 and immediately set about continuing the acting career he'd started in his home city of Prague. His first role was a small but eyecatching one: Napoleon, in the Fox-produced biopic The Young Mr Pitt, with Robert Donat as the wily but principled British prime minister – starts at 6:30. (He would play Boney again in 1956, in the Audrey Hepburn War and Peace.)
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Lom's unmistakeable charisma quickly won him admirers: though lead roles would be few and far between later on, he quickly scored one as the mysterious hypnotist in Brit thriller The Dark Tower, where he exerts his fateful, »
- Andrew Pulver
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