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'Sunset Blvd.': Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. The Charles Brackett Diaries: Gay Rumors quashed, troubled Billy Wilder partnership discussed in Q&A with Anthony Slide See previous post: “Charles Brackett Diaries: Politics and Gossip During the Studio Era.” First of all, how did you become involved in this Charles Brackett project? And what did your editorial job entail? I discovered the diaries about six years ago when I was asked by Brackett's grandson, Jim Moore, to place a financial value on them during the process of his donating them to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was clear to me that these diaries had not only considerable financial worth, but also, and perhaps more importantly, they were primary resources in the study of Hollywood history. Happily, Charles Brackett's family (who own the copyright) gave permission for me to edit the diaries, »
- Andre Soares
Charles Brackett ca. 1945: Hollywood diarist and Billy Wilder's co-screenwriter (1936–1949) and producer (1945–1949). Q&A with 'Charles Brackett Diaries' editor Anthony Slide: Billy Wilder's screenwriter-producer partner in his own words Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is a film legend. He is renowned for classics such as The Major and the Minor, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. The fact that Wilder was not the sole creator of these movies is all but irrelevant to graduates from the Auteur School of Film History. Wilder directed, co-wrote, and at times produced his films. That should suffice. For auteurists, perhaps. But not for those interested in the whole story. That's one key reason why the Charles Brackett diaries are such a great read. Through Brackett's vantage point, they offer a welcome – and unique – glimpse into the collaborative efforts that resulted in »
- Andre Soares
Bob Fosse's All That Jazz starring Roy Scheider with Ann Reinking and Ben Vereen; John Ford's Drums Along The Mohawk starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert; John M. Stahl's Leave Her To Heaven with Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde; Stanley Donen's Two For The Road with Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn; Elia Kazan's Wild River starring Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick; and Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy with Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis are the six free New York Film Festival Opening Day screenings.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Although in real life, United States troops haven’t fought on native soil since World War II, in the confused alternate reality of Dito Montiel’s “Man Down,” there’s an urgent battle raging at home today. For countless American veterans — and one scuzzy-faced ex-Marine played by Shia Labeouf in particular — the armed conflicts they face abroad are nothing compared to what awaits them upon their return. With that in mind, Montiel reunites with Labeouf (whose star has dramatically skyrocketed — and just as swiftly plummeted — since “Saints”) in this appallingly manipulative psychological thriller, which scolds audiences for not caring enough about our veterans, while counting on the well-meaning message to excuse this otherwise awful mess of a movie.
“America, we have a problem!” screams the bold, blood-red graffiti scrawled across the bombed-out remains of some American city, delivering what amounts to the subtlest message “Man Down” has to offer. What that problem is (zombies? »
- Peter Debruge
By Todd Garbarini
Elia Kazan’s 1960 film Wild River, which stars Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, Joan Van Fleet, and is Bruce Dern’s debut film, celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. The Royale Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles will be holding a special one-night-only showing of the 110-minute film on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 7:30 pm. Actor Bruce Dern is scheduled to appear at the screening and is due to partake in a Q & A and discussion on the making of the film.
From the press release:
Wild River (1960), set in Depression-era America, tells a provocative story of the conflict between an agent from the Tennessee Valley Authority and a proud, defiant older woman who refuses to sell her land in order to make way for a much needed dam. Oscar-nominated actors Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick star, and Oscar-winning actress Jo Van Fleet (only 40 at the time she made the film) plays the stubborn, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Long before the lurid "E! True Hollywood Story" series, there was "Sunset Boulevard" -- maybe the darkest, most cynical movie ever made about what Hollywood is really like.
Released 65 years ago this week (on August 10, 1950), director Billy Wilder's classic explored fame from the perspective of those who had it and lost it (like Gloria Swanson and her "waxwork" friends, playing lightly fictionalized versions of themselves) and those who never quite made it, like the struggling young screenwriter (William Holden) and the failed actress-turned-script reader played by Nancy Olson.
Even if you haven't seen "Sunset Boulevard," you may feel like you have, whether because of the popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical it spawned, the movies that copied it (particularly "American Beauty," with its narration from beyond the grave), and the countless parodies of Swanson's final "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" scene. In honor of the film's anniversary, »
- Gary Susman
Fred Astaire ca. 1935. Fred Astaire movies: Dancing in the dark, on the ceiling on TCM Aug. 5, '15, is Fred Astaire Day on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its “Summer Under the Stars” series. Just don't expect any rare Astaire movies, as the actor-singer-dancer's star vehicles – mostly Rko or MGM productions – have been TCM staples since the early days of the cable channel in the mid-'90s. True, Fred Astaire was also featured in smaller, lesser-known fare like Byron Chudnow's The Amazing Dobermans (1976) and Yves Boisset's The Purple Taxi / Un taxi mauve (1977), but neither one can be found on the TCM schedule. (See TCM's Fred Astaire movie schedule further below.) Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals Some fans never tire of watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing together. With these particular fans in mind, TCM is showing – for the nth time – nine Astaire-Rogers musicals of the '30s, »
- Andre Soares
A prototype of what would come to be familiarly known as the home invasion thriller, 1951’s He Ran All the Way is also an important artifact from the Huac witch hunt during Joseph McCarthy’s pillaging of the entertainment industry. Director John Berry would go uncredited for this and his next several features due to his reputation as a Communist sympathizer, eventually leading him to France for the remainder of the decade.
The film was based on a novel by a more famous blacklisted alumnus, Dalton Trumbo, writing under the pseudonym Sam Ross, also adapting the screenplay. Sadly, the film is also the last performance from 40’s icon John Garfield, who died in 1952 from coronary thrombosis, his health woes credited to his blacklisting following his refusal to name names while testifying in front of Huac, a tragedy co-star Shelley Winters vocalized bitterly for years to come. Though these intense tidbits »
- Nicholas Bell
Coleen Gray ca. 1950. Coleen Gray dead at 92: Leading lady in early Stanley Kubrick film noir classic Actress Coleen Gray, best known for Stanley Kubrick's crime drama The Killing, has died. Her death was announced by Classic Images contributor Laura Wagner on Facebook's “Film Noir” group. Wagner's source was David Schecter, who had been friends with the actress for quite some time. Via private message, he has confirmed Gray's death of natural causes earlier today, Aug. 3, '15, at her home in Bel Air, on the Los Angeles Westside. Gray (born on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Nebraska) was 92. Coleen Gray movies As found on the IMDb, Coleen Gray made her film debut as an extra in the 20th Century Fox musical State Fair (1945), starring Jeanne Crain and Dana Andrews. Her association with film noir began in 1947, with the release of Henry Hathaway's Kiss of Death (1947), notable for showing Richard Widmark »
- Andre Soares
The Conversation is a feature at Sound on Sight bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their seventh piece, they discuss Wim Wenders’s modern classic Paris, Texas (1984).
Throughout Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas (1984), Travis Henderson (played by Harry Dean Stanton) carries with him a photograph of an empty lot he bought in the eponymous city, which he later tells his son is near “the Red River” that borders Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The reference automatically draws to mind Howard Hawks’s beloved 1948 Western, Red River, which drew together an unlikely screen pair with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. That Hawks classic was also featured prominently in Peter Bogdanovich’s canonical 1971 film The Last Picture Show as the “last picture” of the film’s title exhibited at a dwindling moviehouse in an increasingly barren West Texas small town. »
- Landon Palmer
Now playing in theaters is Magic Mike Xxl. Gregory Jacobs takes over as director this time around, though Steven Soderbergh is still onboard as cinematographer, camera operator, and editor. Written by Reid Carolin, the story takes place three years after the events of Magic Mike, as Channing Tatum’s character has bowed out of the stripper game for good…or so he thinks. The rest of the Kings of Tampa decide to throw in the towel as well, but not before one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach with Mike sharing the spotlight. As the boys embark on a rowdy road trip, they renew old acquaintances and make new friends. As you can see in these fifty images, Jada Pinkett Smith plays a club owner, while Amber Heard, Donald Glover, Elizabeth Banks, and Andie MacDowell fill other supporting roles. The film also stars Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
The Misfits, 1961.
Directed by John Huston.
Roslyn – wounded, shivering and cynical after her divorce – meets experienced cowboy Gay and move in with him. Harm to innocent creatures is a recurring theme as Roslyn becomes increasingly distressed by the masculine aspects of Gay’s lifestyle, and is evident when Gay’s friend Perce is injured in a brutal rodeo.
Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable seem to exist in an era, whereby Hollywood is all glitz and glamour. Studio stars dress impeccably and look perfect. The iconic Monroe of Some Like it Hot; the cheeky charm of Gable in Gone with the Wind; the boyish sincerity of Clift in From Here to Eternity. The extended run of The Misfits at the BFI puts all three together in a different dusty landscape, at a point whereby their stars were beginning to fall and tragically, »
- Simon Columb
“If I’m going to be alone, I want to be by myself.” This reissue of what became the last film for both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe (Something’s Got to Give was unfinished) looks even starker and more jarringly isolated today than it did in 1961. Monroe plays the newly divorced waif who meets up with Gable’s grizzled cowboy in Reno. Together, they head off to a ramshackle Nevada cabin to “just live” for a while, teaming up with Montgomery Clift’s damaged rodeo rider who accompanies them on the film’s almost unbearably bleak mustang round-up. The shoot was troubled; Monroe and Clift seem to be falling apart before our very eyes, John Huston directs through a fog of bitterness and booze, and Arthur Miller »
- Mark Kermode
UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday 5th June to Sunday 7th June 2015…
Melissa McCarthy’s latest collaboration with director Paul Feig, the action comedy Spy, has topped the UK box office chart in its opening weekend, with the film earning £2,557,824, including £198k in previews. That’s pretty much on par with 2013’s The Heat, which debuted with £2.5 million, but less than the £3.44 million opening for Bridesmaids back in 2001.
Elsewhere in the chart, horror prequel Insidious: Chapter 3 pulled in £1,440,299 to take third place (matching the opening of the first movie but half that of Chapter 2’s £2.88 million debut), while Secret Cinema’s screenings of The Empire Strikes Back earned £304,115 to claim eighth, followed by Bollywood comedy-drama Dil Dhadakne Do with £212,719 in ninth.
Number one this time last year: 22 Jump Street
1. Spy, £2,557,824 weekend (New)
2. San Andreas, £1,794,747 weekend; £8,334,562 total (2 weeks)
3. Insidious: Chapter 3, £1,440,299 weekend (New)
4. Mad Max: Fury Road, »
- Gary Collinson
In today's roundup of news and views: A new short from Laura Poitras, a profile of Nick Zedd, an excerpt from Jeff Lipsky's forthcoming memoir, a mid-90s interview with Peter Greenaway, an examination of the connections between Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and Robert Wyatt's classic album Rock Bottom, Jonathan Rosenbaum on paintings by Manny Farber, an appreciation of Montgomery Clift, Josh Safdie and Alex Ross Perry on Entourage, interviews with Alejandro Jodorowsky and Roy Andersson, rumors of forthcoming films by Paul Thomas Anderson and Michael Haneke—and more. » - David Hudson »
The first day of June sees a slew of new film journal issues. A roundup of links to essays on Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, Pedro Costa's Horse Money, Lucrecia Martel's La Ciénega, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die, Derek Jarman's War Requiem and more than a few pieces on films by Robert Altman. Plus poems for Montgomery Clift and Claire Danes and considerations of the work of Kevin Jerome Everson, Joan Jonas and Jean Negulesco. » - David Hudson »
It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.
Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.
As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.
57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)
Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense »
- Gary Susman
The all-star cast for MGM’s upcoming remake of The Magnificent Seven just got a little bigger today with word that Magic Mike Xxl actor Matt Bomer, best known for his starring role on USA’s White Collar, has signed on for a supporting role.
Bomer, who won a Golden Globe for his performance in HBO’s The Normal Heart, will play the husband of a woman (Haley Bennett) who attempts to stand up to a villainous robber baron (believed to be played by Daredevil‘s Vincent D’Onofrio). Unfortunately, it doesn’t go so well for him, leading the woman to hire a motley crew of gunslingers to protect her town from the baron’s rampaging gang of bandits.
Saddling up for the action-packed Western are Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Wagner Moura, Jason Momoa, Byung-hun Lee and Luke Grimes, making this one of the more star-studded action pics currently in development. »
- Isaac Feldberg
Hidden necrophilia in Vertigo, glowing milk, an on-set spat with Montgomery Clift … in 1962, Alfred Hitchcock revealed his tricks, and the often shocking meanings behind his films, to fellow director François Truffaut. Now their talks have been turned into the revealing film Hitchcock/Truffaut
There’s a derangingly perverted scene in the 1958 film Vertigo. The femme fatale Judy, played by Kim Novak, appears before Scottie, James Stewart’s retired cop, in a sleazy motel room. She’s dressed as the dead woman with whom he’s obsessed. “I indulged in a form of necrophilia,” the director Alfred Hitchcock told François Truffaut during a week-long series of interviews they did in Hollywood in 1962.
Scottie has insisted that Judy dye her hair blond and wear the outfit he bought. Only then will he be able to have sex with her. But there’s a problem. Scottie can’t consummate his desire because one »
- Stuart Jeffries
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
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