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Andrew Gilchrist continues our writers' favourite films series with an elegant Scorsese adaptation of an Edith Wharton classic
Does this review need refining? Peel off those silk gloves and get your hands dirty, or waltz on down to the comments thread
One rainy Sunday way back in the 1990s, a bunch of hungover blokes decided to stop lazing around on sofas and get a video out. Something by Martin Scorsese maybe; that was the only advice given to the person who went to the shop. We wanted macho men shooting each other in the face. And we ended up with 19th-century aristocrats wondering whether to buy each other flowers. But it didn't really matter. There are gangsters in The Age of Innocence. It's just that they're all wearing top hats.
They may be, at heart, as cold-hearted and full of malice as any sidewalk hustler, but the upper-class New Yorkers »
- Andrew Gilchrist
Not shilling! I swear!
I’ve written only briefly about film music on the site in the past — something to consider doing more of in 2012, I reckon — partly because I haven’t had many opportunites, partly because it’s a subject I feel terribly incompetent about. I do love a good bit of music on/in film though, so that won’t stop me from recommending a few releases to stuff your stockings with.
To start — in a totally unreleated to Tfh way, unless you’re counting that Last Waltz commentary as enough of a connection to get to Scorsese’s latest film, which is admittedly even stretching for this list of already-stretched connections – how about buying Howard Shore’s lovely score to Hugo, »
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan. 31, 2012
Price: DVD $19.98, Blu-ray $26.98, Collector’s Series Blu-ray $39.99
The high-definition Blu-ray debut of classic Academy Award-winning film To Kill a Mockingbird is a 50th Anniversary Edition.
Originally released in theaters in 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee. The movie stars Gregory Peck (The Guns of Navarone) as Atticus Finch, a lawyer in Depression-era Alabama who defends a black man (Brock Peters, Soylent Green) against an undeserved rape charge and deals with prejudice against his own children.
Nominated for eight Oscars, the drama movie won statues for Best Actor (Peck), Best Art Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also was up for supporting actress Mary Badham (Our Very Own), Russell Harlan’s (Hawaii) cinematography, Robert Mulligan’s (Same Time, »
Digitally Remastered and Fully Restored with Over Three Hours
of Bonus Materials Including Two Full Length Documentaries
To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the screen.s most beloved and critically acclaimed films, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a commemorative Limited Edition Collector.s Series Blu-ray. Combo Pack as well as on Blu-ray. Combo Pack and DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment on January 31, 2012. The powerful and poignant adaptation of Harper Lee.s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel hits the half-century mark, digitally remastered and fully restored from high resolution 35Mm original film elements, plus more than three-and-a-half hours of bonus features chronicling the making of the cinematic masterpiece.
The Limited Edition Collector.s Series Combo Pack of To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition will include a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy of the film, packaged in a hardcover book featuring exclusive movie memorabilia including script pages with Gregory Peck.s handwritten notes, »
- Michelle McCue
Following in the tradition of great What Culture arguments for films such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Jaws, it’s now time for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to step forward and shoot all contenders down for the prestigious title of greatest film of all time. No other film is as iconic, as epic or as purely cinematic as Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti western, which combines everything that’s remarkable about about the work of the late Italian director into one astonishing piece of filmmaking.
Here’s 50 reasons why The Good, the Bad and the Ugly might just be the greatest film of all time.
- Stephen Leigh
Seven soundtracks from the 50s, when jazz was the musical element that defined film noir. From Ziggy Elman's lubricious trumpet at the start of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) to Jim Hall's sparse guitar notes at the close of Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), it's an enthralling collection. Other scores include Elmer Bernstein's The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) and Ellington's superbly bravura Anatomy of a Murder (1959). The notes, by compiler Selwyn Harris, are a model of clarity and insight. All on five CDs in a box, which should make any jazz-fan film-buff's Christmas.
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- Dave Gelly
There was no a-ha! moment, no seeing of the light, no epiphany. I’d loved movies since I was a kid, had been a buff since my early teens, but there was no one, shining instance of enlightenment where my relationship with film graduated to something — … Well, the kind of thing my Sound on Sight colleagues have been talking about this month with their “gateway” films. Instead, it was a cumulative experience for me; my road to that point was a long, winding, gradual one. Here and there along that road something would lodge in the ol’ gray matter, tickle at some deep place, until enough of those somethings gathered up over the years finally coalesced into a critical mass.
But I can tell you where that first turn in that road was; that first stop where I picked up that first something. I was six years old, it was »
- Bill Mesce
We hired Randy to come guard our wine. He brought six friends.
“The Magnificent Seven” is based on the great Japanese film, “The Seven Samurai.” The setting is completely different, of course, and the Magnificent Seven don’t speak Japanese. There’s more stucco than paper in the construction business. Oh, and the western samurai use guns instead of swords. That’s fair, because the bad guys in “The Magnificent Seven” use guns, too. Gun-versus-sword fights don’t usually last too long. See “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for why.
The action’s not the only exciting thing about “The Magnificent Seven.” Elmer Bernstein’s score never fails to thrill, and it may cause you to search around for a Marlboro red to fire up. The soundtrack’s main theme was used in Marlboro TV commercials back in the ’60s. Yes, Virginia, smokes used to be advertised on television. That »
In response to the presently on-going Bernard Herrmann series at Film Forum in New York honoring the composer's centennial, presented here is a selection of short soundtrack music cues by the composer, with brief observations, and information regarding their availability on CD, LP or other formats.
1. “Snow Picture” from Citizen Kane (1941)
It’s amazing to think that Bernard Herrmann scored his first film for Orson Welles, and his last for Martin Scorsese, thirty five years later (he died in his sleep, the evening after finishing the recording sessions for Taxi Driver). This very short cue begins during the Thatcher Library scene, with the Inquirer reporter, Thompson (William Alland), pouring over an immense volume, as the film transitions from over-the-shoulder shot to close-up pan across Thatcher’s handwritten recollections, into a flashback punctuated by a sudden burst of light and music. This musical movement through memory is achieved in less than thirty seconds. »
Los Angeles Film Critics' Macho Career Achievement Award Choices. [Photo: Rouben Mamoulian.] 1976: Allan Dwan 1977: King Vidor 1978: Orson Welles 1979: John Huston 1980: Robert Mitchum 1981: Barbara Stanwyck 1982: Robert Preston 1983: Myrna Loy 1984: Rouben Mamoulian 1985: Akira Kurosawa 1986: John Cassavetes 1987: Joel McCrea and Samuel Fuller 1988: Don Siegel 1989: Stanley Donen 1990: Chuck Jones and Blake Edwards 1991: Elmer Bernstein and Vincent Price 1992: Budd Boetticher 1993: John Alton 1994: Billy Wilder 1995: André De Toth 1996: Roger Corman 1997: Joseph H. Lewis 1998: Abraham Polonsky and Julius J. Epstein 1999: Dede Allen 2000: Conrad L. Hall 2001: Ennio Morricone 2002: Arthur Penn 2003: Robert Altman 2004: Jerry Lewis 2005: Richard Widmark 2006: Robert Mulligan 2007: Sidney Lumet 2008: John Calley 2009: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2010: Paul Mazursky 2011: Doris Day »
- Andre Soares
This year's Los Angeles Film Critics Association (Lafca) Career Achievement Award recipient Doris Day is only the fourth woman to be so honored, following Barbara Stanwyck (1981), Myrna Loy (right, 1983), and Dede Allen (1999). [Los Angeles Film Critics Career Achievement Award Winners.] The selection of Doris Day for the 2011 Career Achievement Award is unusual for a couple of reasons. First of all, Day is a woman. Whether in Los Angeles or elsewhere, whether we're talking about film critics' groups, film academies, or film festivals, men are the ones who almost invariably have their contributions to motion pictures recognized. The issue here is not political correctness on my part; anyone who has read my posts on this website knows I despise and fear political correctness the way I despise and fear any sort of illness that corrodes the mind. It's just that I'm not going to argue with the facts. As for the other reason that makes Day's selection unusual, a »
- Andre Soares
31 – Rosemary’s Baby
Directed by Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski’s brilliant horror-thriller was nominated for two Oscars, winning Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon. The director’s first American film, adapted from Ira Levin’s horror bestseller, is a spellbinding and twisted tale of Satanism and pregnancy. Supremely mounted, the film benefits from it’s strong atmosphere, apartment setting, eerie childlike score and polished production values by cinematographer William Fraker. The cast is brilliant, with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as the young couple playing opposite Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, the elderly neighbors. There is ominous tension in the film from first frame to last – the climax makes for one of the greatest endings of all time. Rarely has a film displayed such an uncompromising portrait of betrayal as this one. Career or marriage – which would you choose?
30 – Eraserhead
Directed by David Lynch
Filmed intermittently over the course of a five-year period, »
There have been many portrayals of werewolves and other shapeshifting man/woman-beasts, in the media of film, but I can’t say there has been many memorable ones. With The Wolf Man (1941) Lon Chaney Jr. transformed into a werewolf at the full moon, and created one of the three most famous horror icons of the modern day. Werewolf fiction as since been an exceptionally diverse genre with ancient folkloric roots and manifold modern re-interpretations – from high shcool basketball players to American tourists hiking through the UK. Here is the list of my personal favourites.
#13- El aullido del diablo/ Howl of the Devil (1987)
Directed by: Paul Naschy
Paul Naschy, also known as Jacinto Molina Alvarez, was a Spanish movie actor, screenwriter, and director working primarily in horror films. His portrayals of numerous classic horror figures—the wolfman, the hunchback, Count Dracula, the mummy—have earned him recognition as the Spanish Lon Chaney. »
The Magnificent Seven is often heralded as one of the greatest westerns ever made. Great acting, memorable characters, and a striking score, all elevate The Magnificent Seven into more than your standard b-movie shoot-em-up western. Unfortunately for Burt Kennedy’s 1966 sequel, it has only one of these three traits working to keep this horse riding high. Given all that is working against it, Return of the Magnificent Seven turns out a little better than expected, even if the Blu-ray doesn’t have much faith in the film.
The sequel begins much in the same way as the original. In fact, the film is set in the same village that was first mistreated in the original. A megalomaniac bent on revenge rides with a group of bandits into the village abducting all of the men and leaving behind the women and children. Chico (Originally played by Horst Buchholz and »
- Michael Haffner
The 1960 film The Magnificent Seven was one of the last rounds in the chamber of the American Western. In 1952 you had the Gary Cooper flick High Noon. In 1956 you had John Ford’s masterpiece The Searchers. Then, in 1959 you had the Howard Hawks western Rio Bravo. By 1960, the American western was on its last legs and a new wave of more stylized westerns was about to be ushered in. Akira Kurosawa, who was the source of inspiration for The Magnificent Seven with his samurai epic Seven Samurai, released a double dose of western infused “lone fighter” films in ’61 and ’62 with Yojimbo and Sanjuro, which went on to inspire Leone’s “The Man with No Name Trilogy.” The combination of Kurosawa’a films and Magnificent Seven’s darker elements certainly triggered the grittier “Spaghetti Westerns” that took over for the “American Westerns.” Let’s see if this film still stands as »
- Michael Haffner
Directed by: John Sturges
Running Time: 2 hrs 8 mins
Due Out: August 2, 2011
Plot: Seven cowboys are put under contract to protect a town from a destructive bandit named Calvera (Wallach).
Who’S It For?: Fans of classic westerns have probably already seen it, but likely not to this quality. Even individual fans of Charles Bronson or Steve McQueen will enjoy seeing the younger versions of these future action stars. Newcomers to the movie looking for a “Red Dead Revolver”-like action will be rewarded with something bigger, and more meaningful.
It doesn’t take a film historian to see that The Magnificent Seven is a special moment in Hollywood, with its alignment of future stars and the whole franchise that it kicked off. This movie alone can stand as a highly entertaining western, »
- Nick Allen
DVD Playhouse—September 2011
By Allen Gardner
In A Better World (Sony) Winner of last year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar, this Danish export looks at two fractured families and the effect that the adult world dysfunction has on their two sons, who form an immediate and potentially deadly bond. Director Susanne Bier delivers another powerful work that maintains its drive during the films’ first 2/3, then falters somewhat during the last act. Still, well-worth seeing, and beautifully made. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Deleted scenes; Commentary by Bier and editor Pernille Bech Christensen; Interview with Bier. Widescreen. Dolby and DTS-hd 5.1 surround.
X-men First Class (20th Century Fox) “Origins” film set in the early 1960s, traces the beginnings of Magento and Professor X (played ably here by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy), and how the once-close friends and colleagues became bitter enemies. First half is slam-bang entertainment at its stylish best, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
The Movie Pool moseys up to Return of the Magnificent Seven, on Blu-ray for the first time!
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rating: Not rated
Audio: English 5.1 DTS HD-ma
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French
Chris (Yul Brynner) reunites the surviving members of the Magnificent Seven when one of their own is kidnapped in Mexico.
Director: Burt Kennedy
Screenplay: Larry Cohen
A colossal misstep that should have never been made, Return of the Magnificent Seven has so many things going against it. It is really too bad, because the film, at its core, is not bad; it is just average. What makes Return such a disappointment is the buildup of expectation the viewer has going in. Only Yul Brynner returns from the original; Steve McQueen and the other cast members (who were not killed) did not return. »
You sent us your top tunes on the box – we broadcast the results
"Your name, please."
Um, Jon Dennis.
"Your special subject?"
What makes a good TV theme.
And I'm glad you asked me that, Magnus. The name of the music accompanying the opening titles (that chair!) of the long-running quiz show Mastermind was appropriately titled Approaching Menace, by Neil Richardson. Like many memorable TV themes, it began life as a piece of library music – not, in other words, commissioned especially for the show. Yet it stirs the necessary emotions in the viewer – tension, dread – before Mr Magnusson has uttered a word.
Another thing – you don't need to have seen the show to appreciate its music. As I mentioned last week when I asked you to recommend some TV themes, I don't watch much telly. I hadn't even heard of Friday Night Lights, evidently a drama series centred around the »
- Jon Dennis
The Movie Pool jumps on the bandwagon for the classic The Magnificent Seven on Blu-ray for the first time!
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Running Time: 128 minutes
Rating: Not rated
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-hd Master Audio, English Mono 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Special Features: "Guns for Hire: The Making of the Magnificent Seven" documentary, "Elmer Bernstein and The Magnificent Seven" featurette, "The Linen Book: Lost Images from The Magnificent Seven" featurette, Original theatrical trailers, still gallery.
A group of gunfighters gets more than they bargained for when they head south to protect a town of farmers terrorized by a ruthless bandito (Eli Wallach) and his men.
Director: John Sturges
Screenplay: William Roberts
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