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Exclusive: In April 1945, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force ordered that footage shot by combat and newsreel cameramen during the liberation of Occupied Europe be aggregated into a documentary film that would be shown to the German prisoners of war as irrefutable proof of what had occurred under the Nazi regime. The producer from the British Ministry of Information, Sidney Bernstein, assembled a first-rank team of editors for the project and eventually brought Alfred Hitchcock over to help organize the footage and accompanying narration. (Later, Billy Wilder would also be brought in to work on the documentary.)
Post-war events quickly overshadowed the painstaking work. The last official action on the film, according to the Imperial War Museum in London, was a screening of the five-reel rough cut on September 29, 1945, after which it was shelved. Seven years later, the material, including 100 more reels of unedited footage, a script for the narration »
- Jeremy Gerard
Love can be a many splendid thing…both in triumph and sometimes in tragedy. The emphasis of this sentiment is mainly on the latter as tragedy can be defined in various degrees of despair. Consequently, we have endured all sorts of conflict between lovers in cinema throughout the history of frequenting the movies.
In You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling: Top Ten Tragic Lovers in the Movies we will look at a selection of films where the tragic circumstances have shaped the foundation of film lovers convincingly. The tragic overtones come in all varieties: marital discourse, criminal activity, fraud, addiction, etc. Granted that there are probably bigger and better choices for lovey-dovey antagonism that could be cited in You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling but hey…the outcome remains the same: hampered relationships that are creatively rooted in turmoil.
The spotlight of “lovers” are open to discussion in the realm of combative married couples, »
- Frank Ochieng
Luis Buñuel movies on TCM tonight (photo: Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle de Jour') The city of Paris and iconoclastic writer-director Luis Buñuel are Turner Classic Movies' themes today and later this evening. TCM's focus on Luis Buñuel is particularly welcome, as he remains one of the most daring and most challenging filmmakers since the invention of film. Luis Buñuel is so remarkable, in fact, that you won't find any Hollywood hipster paying homage to him in his/her movies. Nor will you hear his name mentioned at the Academy Awards – no matter the Academy in question. And rest assured that most film critics working today have never even heard of him, let alone seen any of his movies. So, nowadays Luis Buñuel is un-hip, un-cool, and unfashionable. He's also unquestionably brilliant. These days everyone is worried about freedom of expression. The clash of civilizations. The West vs. The Other. »
- Andre Soares
Today's roundup of news and views opens with entries on new books about Kira Muratova, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert De Niro and Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. Plus: a computer program Chris Marker wrote in the 80s; a rave for the new film by Ryuichi Hiroki; an appreciation of Julianne Moore; Jafar Panahi's statement on why he makes films despite Iran's ban; good news and bad news for Martin Scorsese; J. Hoberman on Aleksei German; Ruben Östlund and Peter Greenaway on their next projects; a Maggie Smith season in London—and more. » - David Hudson »
Everyone knows Woody Allen. At least, everyone thinks they know Woody Allen. His plumage is easily identifiable: horn-rimmed glasses, baggy suit, wispy hair, kvetching demeanor, ironic sense of humor, acute fear of death. As is his habitat: New York City, though recently he has flown as far afield as London, Barcelona, and Paris. His likes are well known: Bergman, Dostoevsky, New Orleans jazz. So too his dislikes: spiders, cars, nature, Wagner records, the entire city of Los Angeles. Whether or not these traits represent the true Allen, who’s to say? It is impossible to tell, with Allen, where cinema ends and life begins, an obfuscation he readily encourages. In the late nineteen-seventies, disillusioned with the comedic success he’d found making such films as Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), and Annie Hall (1977), he turned for darker territory with Stardust Memories (1980), a film in which, none too surprisingly, he plays a »
- Graham Daseler
Jenni Olson begins The Royal Road, her latest emotional excavation of Hollywood nostalgia via Benning-esque 16mm landscape portraiture, by self-referentially quoting Michel Chion on the shadowy pretext of off screen voiceover after reflecting in her own dryly articulated voiceover on the monologue that opens Billy Wilder’s classic allegory of broken La dreams, Sunset Boulevard. Though Olson’s film revolves around another stretch of California highway, the 600-mile El Camino Real strip, the cinematic reference leads us down a winding poetic path on which Hollywood history, the neglected record of the Mexican American War and Olson’s own unrequited romantic pursuits come together with the same sort of mannered meditation that won her San Francisco Film Critics Circle’s Marlon Riggs Award for The Joy of Life back in 2005.
Pitting rigorously composed images of modern day Los Angeles and San Francisco against her own gender dysphoric voice, she explicates an »
- Jordan M. Smith
Image Courtesy of Newsweek
Alfred Hitchcock made films in which birds attacked mankind, in which a psychopath killed women in the shower, and in which a man holed up in his room could witness a murder about to unfold. Yet his most disturbing film was never seen by the public and has been buried for 70 years.
In 1945, Hitchcock was commissioned to make German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, a documentary to be filmed at the Bergen-Bensen concentration camp during the Holocaust at the end of World War II. Hitchcock and a crew of filmmakers captured unspeakable horrors at the hands of the Nazis. But for a variety of reasons, in part because Billy Wilder was commissioned to make another film, in part because diplomacy was moving forward and in part because the footage was so gruesome, that Hitchcock’s work was buried and unfinished.
- Brian Welk
In September 1999, an American television news broadcast featured a human interest story on Nigel McGuinness, one of many young athletes attempting to make a name for themselves on the burgeoning scene of independent pro wrestling. McGuinness had left his native England for the United States, spurred on by his childhood dream of becoming a pro wrestler. His final goal was the then-wwf — but the bingo halls he was wrestling in during his early days in the ring were a far cry from the pomp and ceremony of the big leagues.
Ten years later, much had changed for all the involved parties. McGuinness had gone on to be part of a talented generation of independent wrestlers who forged an industry of their own. Ring of Honor was the focal point of this movement, the jewel in the crown of independent wrestling in America. The Philadelphia-based promotion was a proving ground for future stars like Cm Punk, »
- Brad Jones
Every time a new medium debuts, all the old classics are restored and re-released. This long overdue Blu-Ray collection of some of Audrey Hepburn’s greatest hits does not disappoint. One could really see this tantalizing trifecta of grand glamour as the “Master Directors and Audrey Hepburn Collection,” with each film toting one of the top names of her golden age: Billy Wilder helming Sabrina, William Wyler’s command of the eternally adored Roman Holiday, and Blake Edwards rounding out the incomparable trio with his leadership of the most well remembered of the bunch, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Thanks to a painstaking and attentive restoration, and the directors’ seamless craftsmanship, this collection lets you sit back and bask in the wonder that was Audrey Hepburn.
- Kyle North
I read Manfred Hermes's excellent book on Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) in German a couple of years ago and have just now learned that it's available in English. So first off, let me recommend Hystericizing Germany: Fassbinder, Alexanderplatz. David Bordwell's posted an entry on three new books, a collection of nonfiction writing by Donald E. Westlake, Patton Oswalt's Silver Screen Fiend and "It's the Pictures That Got Small": Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age. Plus: Michael Guillén on Adrian Martin's book on mise en scène, Matt Zoller Seitz on Wes Anderson, Farran Smith Nehme's debut novel and Shawn Levy's new biography of Robert De Niro. » - David Hudson »
In today's roundup of goings on here and there: Films by and about Giuseppe Andrews plus Djibril Diop Mambety's Touki Bouki (1973) and Mati Diop’s A Thousand Suns (2013) in New York, a John Waters exhibition and a Kenji Mizoguchi retrospective in Los Angeles, films by Dan Sallitt, Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Doillon in Chicago, a Billy Wilder retrospective in Berkeley, Noir City in San Francisco, shorts in London, a Vittorio De Sica retrospective in Vienna and a documentary festival in Tokyo. » - David Hudson »
Paris– Alexandre de la Patelliere And Matthieu Delaporte, the scribe-helmer duo behind arthouse comedy hit “What’s In The Name” (box office France: 21 million Euros) based on their play, are back with the script of a subversive comedy, “Daddy or Mommy” whose catchy concept has lured exhibitors and distributors alike. A twist on traditional divorce-themed movies, the film stars two of France’s best-known comedians, Marina Fois and Laurent Lafitte, as a couple battling to not get custody. Produced by Dimitri Rassam and distributed by Pathe, “Daddy or Mommy” will come out on more than 500 screens across France on Feb. 4 and is playing this week as part of the Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris.
Variety: “Daddy or Mommy” shows two parents who are divorcing and playing the worst tricks on their kids to not get custody — it’s one of the most subversive comedies I’ve seen. Would you say that »
- Elsa Keslassy
There’s an old Hollywood truism that good movies are made from second-rate books, not the classics. On Broadway, the new musical “Honeymoon in Vegas,” which opened Thursday at the Nederlander Theatre in New York, uses a second-rate movie from 1992 for its source material. Have its makers been able to turn it into a good musical? Or is this one effort that should have stayed in Vegas?
- Robert Hofler
Written by Andy Bellin
In Billy Wilder’s excellent 1951 drama Ace in the Hole, which is a classic showcase of media manipulation, ambitious city-slicker reporter Chuck Tatum (played by an enthusiastic Kirk Douglas) finds himself stuck in Albuquerque, New Mexico with hopes to find that one big story that will jettison him to the big-leagues again. Tatum lucks out when he is informed about a man trapped in a cave-in and uses this opportunity to break big. When Tatum’s photographer asks why this will make a big story, Tatum responds that it’s a “human interest” subject and that if you can get readers to sympathize with the narrative then you have the reader’s attention. But, he also elaborates that a human interest story has to focus on one person; if you focus on others involved with the story, »
- Christopher Koenig
Miranda July's debut novel, The First Bad Man, has been garnering some pretty solid reviews, and we're collecting them in an entry on new books: The Los Angeles Review on Nicholas Rombes’s "haunting" debut novel, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing, Film Quarterly's interview with the editors of The American Film History Reader (plus a free chapter and Claudia Gorbman on Philip Seymour Hoffman's voice in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master), Vince Keenan on "It’s the Pictures That Got Small": Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age—and more. » - David Hudson »
Watch Golden Globes 2015 online - Red Carpet arrivals and awards ceremony George Clooney will be present at the Golden Globes 2015 ceremony to pick up his Cecil B. DeMille Award. Will Tina Fey and Amy Poehler sink or swim – or both, alternately? Well, the Golden Globes 2015 ceremony will begin shortly. Would you like to watch it online? Here are a few possibilities. First of all, when it comes to the Golden Globes 2015 Red Carpet arrivals, depending on where you are in the world you can watch them right now on the NBC website or here or here or on the Golden Globes website itself. According to various online sources – and, in all honesty, I can't vouch for their accuracy – you can watch the Golden Globes 2015 live streaming online here. That's supposed to be the actual ceremony, which kicks off at 8 p.m. Et / 5 p.m. Pt. So, will Selma and Into the Woods really win, »
- Steve Montgomery
Just now catching up with the news at cinematographer Gerry Fisher passed away on December 2. He was 88 and, as the Telegraph notes, he "worked with some of the most renowned film directors of the second half of the 20th century, including Carol Reed, John Huston and Billy Wilder. However, he will be best remembered for his long collaboration with the cinematic auteur Joseph Losey, for whom he shot eight films, including Accident (1967) and The Go-Between (1971)." We've gathered remembrances from two cameramen he worked with, Richard Andry and Pierre-William Glenn as well as an assessment of his work by Verina Glaessner in Film Reference. » - David Hudson »
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
If you're curious about all the awards season fuss over Richard Linklater's epic project, here's your chance to catch it on Blu-ray. Filmed over the course of 12 years, "Boyhood" charts the life of a young Texas boy as he grows up -- it doesn't sound too exciting, but watching young Ellar Coltrane grow into adulthood is pretty trippy for everyone involved. Lorelei Linklater co-stars as his sister, alongside Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as their estranged parents. Maybe next up we could get "Motherhood"? Get a taste of the award-worthy movie with an exclusive clip below.
- Jenni Miller
It’s hard to top a singing lesson delivered by Brad Pitt to 2,400 people, and that’s exactly what the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Awards Gala got on Saturday night in the desert resort 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
Toward the beginning of the Cartier-sponsored gala that annually showcases many of the year’s top awards hopefuls, Pitt took the stage of the huge Palm Springs Convention Center to give an award to “Selma” star David Oyelowo, and immediately took it upon himself to teach the audience how to pronounce the British actor’s name (his name is »
- Steve Pond
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