11 items from 2017
On the day a U.S. appeals court lifted an injunction that blocked a Mississippi “religious freedom” law – i.e., giving Christian extremists the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, etc. – not to mention the publication of a Republican-backed health care bill targeting the poor, the sick, the elderly, and those with “pre-existing conditions” – which would include HIV-infected people, a large chunk of whom are gay and bisexual men, so the wealthy in the U.S. can get a massive tax cut, Turner Classic Movies' 2017 Gay Pride or Lgbt Month celebration continues (into tomorrow morning, Thursday & Friday, June 22–23) with the presentation of movies by or featuring an eclectic – though seemingly all male – group: Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Tab Hunter, Dirk Bogarde, John Schlesinger, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. After all, one assumes that, rumors or no, the presence of Mercedes McCambridge in one »
- Andre Soares
Turner Classic Movies continues with its Gay Hollywood presentations tonight and tomorrow morning, June 8–9. Seven movies will be shown about, featuring, directed, or produced by the following: Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Edmund Goulding, W. Somerset Maughan, Clifton Webb, Montgomery Clift, Raymond Burr, Charles Walters, DeWitt Bodeen, and Harriet Parsons. (One assumes that it's a mere coincidence that gay rumor subjects Cary Grant and Tyrone Power are also featured.) Night and Day (1946), which could also be considered part of TCM's homage to birthday girl Alexis Smith, who would have turned 96 today, is a Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant as a posh, heterosexualized version of Porter. As the warning goes, any similaries to real-life people and/or events found in Night and Day are a mere coincidence. The same goes for Words and Music (1948), a highly fictionalized version of the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical partnership. »
- Andre Soares
If you’re a fan of actress, camp icon, and anti-fascist Marlene Dietrich or want to learn more about her, you’re in luck. The Metrograph theater in New York City is hosting “Marlene,” a retrospective featuring 19 of Dietrich’s films. The festivities kicked off May 23 and will continue until July 8.
Marie Magdalene “Marlene” Dietrich was born in Berlin in 1901. Dietrich began her career as a vaudeville performer in Weimar Germany. She moved to Hollywood and eventually became a revered film actress, “bisexual sex symbol, willful camp icon, [and] paragon of feminine glamour” — “comfortable in top hat and tails, ballgown, or gorilla suit.” But the actress did not forget about what was happening back home in Germany; Dietrich became involved in the fight against fascism during WWII. She “used her likeness to fundraise for Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Germany and performed on Uso tours, earning her the Metal of Freedom and Légion d’honneur by the French government,” the press release details. Dietrich died in 1992 at the age of 90.
The “Marlene” retrospective will feature Dietrich’s seven films with director Josef von Sternberg: “The Blue Angel,” “Morocco,” “Blonde Venus,” “Dishonored,” “Shanghai Express,” “The Devil Is A Woman,” and “The Scarlet Empress.” The actress’ collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock (“Stage Fright”), Orson Welles (“Touch of Evil”), and Billy Wilder (“A Foreign Affair”) are among the other films screening at the Metrograph. A documentary about Dietrich, Maximilian Schell’s “Marlene,” will also screen. All of the films, besides “Marlene,” will be shown in 35mm.
Head over to The Metrograph’s site for showtimes and more information. The featured films and their synopses are below, courtesy of the Metrograph.
1937 / 91min / 35mm
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
While English statesman Herbert Marshall worries over international affairs, his glamorous wife (Dietrich) concerns herself with, well, international affairs, beginning a tryst with a dashing stranger (Melvyn Douglas) who she only allows to know her as “Angel.” Dietrich’s last film on her Paramount contract is a spry, surprising love triangle, one of the least-known of Lubitsch’s essential works from his Midas touch period.
1932 / 93min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
A.k.a “The One with the Gorilla Suit,” which Dietrich dons to perform her big number “Hot Voodoo.” It’s all for a good cause: she’s an ex-nightclub chanteuse who’s gone back to work to pay for husband Herbert Marshall’s radium poisoning treatments, though she later allows herself to become the plaything of Cary Grant’s dashing young millionaire, earning only contempt for her sacrifice.
1930 / 106min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
Mild-mannered, uptight schoolteacher Emil Jannings lives a faultlessly law-abiding, by-the-book existence, but it’s all over when he gets a glimpse of Dietrich’s nightclub chanteuse Lola-Lola, and is immediately ready to ruin himself for her amusement. The first collaboration between Dietrich and von Sternberg made her an international star, and linked her forever to her seductive, world-weary delivery of the song “Falling in Love Again.” We’re showing the German-language version, preceded by a four-minute-long Dietrich screen test.
1936 / 95min / 35mm
Director: Frank Borzage
Dietrich and Gary Cooper reunite in this delightful urbane comedy by Borzage, a master of romantic delirium, here working somewhat after the style of producer Ernst Lubitsch. La Dietrich’s stylish jewel thief stashes a clutch of pearls in the pocket of an upstanding American businessman, and while trying to get back the goods she can’t help but notice the big lug isn’t half bad-looking. An excuse to recall the following lines from the 1936 Times review: “Lubitsch, the Gay Emancipator, has freed Dietrich from von Sternberg’s artistic bondage.” Those were the days.
1939 / 94min / 35mm
Director: George Marshall
Jimmy Stewart, still in his rangy, impossibly-good-looking phase, is a marshal who sets out to clean up the wide-open town of Bottleneck without firing a shot in this charming Western musical comedy. The local roughnecks present him one kind of challenge; Dietrich’s saloon singer Frenchy, belting out her rowdy standard “The Boys in the Back Room,” quite another.
1935 / 80min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
Dietrich and von Sternberg’s final collaboration, and an apotheosis of sorts. In Spain in the early years of the 20th century, Lionel Atwill’s loyal suitor Pasqualito and the revolutionary Cesar Romero are teased into a frenzy by legendary coquette Concha (Guess who?). The coolly scrolling camera and baroque compositions are courtesy of an uncredited Lucien Ballard and Von Sternberg himself, doing double duty as cinematographer.
1931 / 91min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
Dietrich plays X-27, a Mata Hari-esque spy for the Austrian Secret Service tasked with using a bevy of costume changes (Russian peasant, feathered helmet, leather jumpsuit) to gather information on the Russians during World War I. Outrageous plotting, high chiaroscuro style, and the star’s earthy sensuality mark this unforgettable pre-code treasure, beloved by Godard and Fassbinder both. Says Victor McLaglen: “the more you cheat and the more you lie, the more exciting you become.”
1948 / 116min / 35mm
Director: Billy Wilder
Against the backdrop of a ruined postwar Berlin, another conflict is just heating up, as Dietrich’s cabaret singer with rumored Nazi ties vies with Jean Arthur’s Iowa congresswoman-on-a-fact-finding-mission for the affection of American officer John Lund. Wilder’s penultimate collaboration with co-writer Charles Brackett is a black comic delight full of crackling, piquant dialogue, and Dietrich’s knowing slow-burn has never been better.
1961 / 186min / 35mm
Director: Stanley Kramer
Dietrich’s last truly substantial screen appearance came as part of the ensemble for Kramer’s courtroom drama, playing the widow of a German general executed by the Allies who’s befriended by investigating judge Spencer Tracy in this fictionalized retelling of the events of a 1947 military tribunal addressing war crimes by civilians under the Third Reich. Rounding out the all-star cast are Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Judy Garland, William Shatner, and Maximilian Schell, who would win the Academy Award for Best Actor, and later directed a portrait of Dietrich.
1942 / 92min / 35mm
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Leisen, considered a comic talent on-par with Lubitsch during the screwball era, lends characteristic sparkle to this mid-career attempt at reconfiguring Dietrich’s very 1930s star persona to fit the needs of the 1940s women’s picture; here she plays a glamor-gal diva whose life changes when she discovers a baby on Eighth Avenue and decides to adopt, passing through melodramatic coincidences and a vale of tears before falling into the arms of Fred MacMurray.
1981 / 113min / 35mm
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Dietrich had for all purposes retired from the screen by the time that Fassbinder began his frontal assault on West German popular culture, but her image and her unlikely combination of cool irony and torrid emotion left a profound mark on his films. Lola, the candy-colored, late-1950s-set capstone of his “Brd Trilogy” in particular draws heavily from The Blue Angel, with bordello singer Barbara Sukowa torn between Mario Adorf’s sugar daddy and Armin Mueller-Stahl’s incoming building commissioner in boomtown Coburg.
1984 / 94min / Digital
Director: Maximilian Schell
More than twenty years after Schell had co-starred with Dietrich in Judgment at Nuremberg, during which period she’d retired to a life of very private seclusion, he tried to get her to participate in a documentary about her life. She finally gave in — sort of. Dietrich offered only her memories and her famous voice, refusing to appear on camera, but necessity became a boon to the resulting film, a sort of guided tour of Dietrich’s life and work, which simultaneously reveals much and deepens her mystery.
1930 / 92min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
After The Blue Angel, shot in Germany, was a hit, von Sternberg was given full run of the Paramount backlot, where he would conjure up all manner of exotic destinations out of thin air. First stop: North Africa, where French legionnaire Gary Cooper competes with sugar daddy Adolphe Menjou for the favors of Dietrich’s cabaret star Amy Jolly, who in one scene famously rocks a men’s tailcoat and plants a smooch on a female fan.
1952 / 89min / 35mm
Director: Fritz Lang
Teutons Lang and Dietrich team up in a Technicolor wild west of deliberate, garish artifice in this singularly claustrophobic oater, in which a revenge-mad Burt Kennedy goes looking for his fiancée’s killers at a hideaway inn run by Dietrich, and discovers dangerous, unbidden desires instead. As the chant of the film’s recurring, persecutorial Brechtian ballad goes: “Hate, murder, and revenge.”
1934 / 104min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
Have ever a screen persona and a historical personage found such a hand-in-glove-fit as did Dietrich and Empress Catherine the Great of Russia? While the Motion Picture Production Code was preparing to chasten American movies, Dietrich and von Sternberg got together to throw one last lavish S & M orgy, a flamboyant film of 18th century palace intrigues and ludicrously lapidary décor.
1932 / 82min / 35mm
Director: Josef Von Sternberg
“It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily,” proclaims Marlene Dietrich with the disdain of an empress, though in fact she’s a high-class courtesan, re-encountering former lover Clive Brook on an express train rolling through civil war-wracked China. The fourth of Dietrich and von Sternberg’s collaborations is a riot of delirious chinoiserie artifice and sculpted shadowplay — Dietrich’s co-star Anna May Wong was never again shot so caressingly.
1933 / 90min / 35mm
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
So often the instrument of corruption, Mamoulian’s film allows Dietrich to be the corrupted one, playing a country girl, Lily, who comes to big-city Berlin and quickly becomes the model and muse of sculptor Brian Aherne. Lionel Atwill’s preening decadent Baron von Merzbach admires Lily’s nude form in marble, and decides to bring the original home with him, where she slips into the role of the cynical sophisticate, though her heart remains with the artist.
1950 / 110min / 35mm
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock’s last film in his native England until 1972’s Frenzy is an audaciously-structured thriller, making use of an extended flashback and a whiplash narrative about-face. Acting student Jane Wyman tries to save beau Robert Todd from taking the fall for a murder committed by stage star Dietrich, who shows her hypnotic charm in a show-stopper performance of “I’m the Laziest Gal in Town.”
1958 / 95min / 35mm
Director: Orson Welles
It’s not the size of the part, but what you do with it. Playing a brothel keeper in a seedy border town in Welles’s magnificently baroque late noir, Dietrich only has a clutch of lines, but they’re the ones you remember, whether her famous requiem for crooked cop Hank Quinlan, or her reading of his “fortune”: “Your future’s all used up.” Bold and self-evidently brilliant, you could use Touch of Evil to explain the concept of great cinema to a visiting Martian.
Marlene Dietrich Retrospective Screening at the Metrograph in NYC was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Fans of Ryan Murphy‘s Feud: Bette and Joan have come to learn all about the tumultuous and tense relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, including the infamous story behind the 1963 Oscars ceremony — in which non-nominee Crawford convinced eventual winner Anne Bancroft to allow her to accept the award on her behalf, leaving Crawford’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane co-star Davis (who was actually nominated) out and in the cold and bested by her longtime rival.
It was a juicy plot point in the FX’s series. But did it actually go down like that?
To find out the truth, »
- Dave Quinn
Come on and check Collin's second (and final) day at the TCM Film Festival!
My second day at the TCM Film Festival started off with a healthy dose of frustration. Apparently, Saturday morning in Hollywood wasn’t only home to the TCM Film Festival, but also to the Hollywood Half Marathon. I drove my normal route from the Valley and when I noticed Hollywood Boulevard was closed, I assumed it was for filming or some red carpet set-up so I drove east on Franklin hoping to make my way to Sunset and double-back to the parking garage within a block or two. Boy, what a bad move. I spend half an hour driving east, past Los Feliz waiting for the roads to open, and ended up driving all the way back to where I was before, going one block west—where, what do you know, folks? Hollywood was open for business. »
- email@example.com (Collin Llewellyn)
The actress is mostly remembered for her good looks, but what about her impressive performances?
In Richard Dyer’s book Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, he writes that Marilyn Monroe was “the most visible star”: an actress whose life was put on display, and remains so over 50 years after her death. She is one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of all time, her face instantly recognizable to even those who have never seen any of her movies. She is a symbol of beauty, glamor, cinema, femininity, blondness, sexuality, and tragedy. While the world speculates about her personal life — who was she romantically involved with? How did she die? What was she really like? — her career as an actress is overshadowed by her fame.
While she may not have been the greatest actress of all time, she certainly had her fair share of talent and intelligence, and always worked incredibly hard to bring her »
- Angela Morrison
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveriesNEWSJohn Huston, Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich on the set of The Other Side of the WindWe're still holding our breath, but it looks like we may all get to see Orson Welles' beleaguered film project The Other Side of the Wind, to be released in some fashion by Netflix.The Tribeca Film Festival, running April 17 - 30, has announced its full lineup. Robert Osborne, Turner Classic Movies host and defacto representative in the United States for the appreciation of older films, has died at the age of 84. With his passing, the number of venerable, welcoming advocates for classic cinema is dropping precariously low.Recommended VIEWINGThe proof is the pudding: Director Terrence Malick actually participated in a public, recorded conversation! He was at SXSW to promote his new film, Austin-set Song to Song, and took place in a discussion with Richard Linklater »
1975 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 112 & 123 min. / Street Date February 14, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Production Design: Stephen Grimes
Art Direction: Yoshiyuki Ishida
Original Music: Dave Grusin
Directed by Sydney Pollack
The Warner Archive Collection is on a roll with a 2017 schedule that has so far released one much-desired library Blu-ray per week. Coming shortly are Vincente Minnelli’s Bells are Ringing, Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon Ken Russell’s The Boy Friend and Val Guest’s When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, and that only takes us through February. First up is a piercing action drama from 1975.
There are favorite movies around Savant central, »
- Glenn Erickson
With all due respect to the Eagles: On TV, high school is the real Hotel California. You can and probably did check out years ago, but television of every genre makes sure that you never escape it. The pressure cooker of nascent adulthood, structured days, uncertain futures, and wildly fluctuating hormones makes for a well of creativity with endless iterations — teenage superheroes, deadly secrets, pop music covers, introspective voiceover.
“Riverdale,” the CW’s new teen drama based on the Archie comics, is an eerie and offbeat take on the high school mythos — both addictive and confusing in equal parts. Its incredibly attractive leads, secret backstories, complex buried relationships, and unreliable, unethical adults are reminiscent of Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars” and the CW’s “Gossip Girl.” But where those shows, and most teen shows, serve as titillating coming-of-age narratives, hovering between the wholesome bubble of innocence and the seductive call of the wider adult world, “Riverdale »
- Sonia Saraiya
It’s unusual, at the Sundance Film Festival, to see a drama about a subject like the Iraq War. The economics of scale required to stage an authentic combat scene don’t tend to mesh with indie-film budgets — and besides, there are enough towering war films in our time that the bar for them has been set extraordinarily high. So say this much for “The Yellow Birds”: When it plunks the audience down into a crumbling urban war zone, where every dirt road and alleyway could be a path to oblivion, the movie, if nothing else, creates a physically convincing atmosphere of instability and fearful tension. The movie opens with U.S. soldiers walking across a dark field, past palm trees (one of which is on fire), in a grimly patterned death march that evokes — ironically — the final moments of “Full Metal Jacket.” And, indeed, Stanley Kubrick’s great »
- Owen Gleiberman
After key roles in “24” and “The Unit,” Dennis Haysbert returns to series television in Syfy’s new dystopian drama “Incorporated,” about a world altered by climate change. Haysbert spoke with Variety about the show, which was created by brothers David and Àlex Pastor and executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Also on tap for Haysbert are several films, including the Warner Bros. comedy “Fist Fight,” with Christina Hendricks and Ice Cube.
How did you get involved with “Incorporated”?
They offered it to me, and I enjoyed the script. I saw growth potential in it. And I liked the pedigree — I knew that it was going to be a quality project. I love sci-fi; I was excited about that. My character, Julian, is a detective, a grand inquisitor.
What kind of developments can we expect from Julian?
I think you can safely say that there’s an evolution of Julian through the rest of the season »
- Sarah Ahern
11 items from 2017
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