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His Girl Friday

One of the greatest newspaper pictures ever (can there be many more in our future?), Howard Hawks’ gender-bending remake of The Front Page stands as a comedy classic. Its improvisational-sounding overlapping dialog still impresses as modernistic. Such stars as Ginger Rogers, Jean Arthur, Irene Dunne, Carole Lombard and Claudette Colbert turned down Rosalind Russell’s revamped Hildy Parks role. Cary Grant’s surprised reaction to one of Russell’s unexpected ad-libs was directed directly to Hawks: “Is she going to do that?”. And it’s in the movie. Unfortunately all we could find was a textless trailer on this one.
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Jerry Lewis and the Time the Oscars Ran 20 Minutes Short

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Jerry Lewis, a three-time Oscar host, landed that job for the first time in 1956, just days after turning 30, and shared his duties with Claudette Colbert and Joseph L. Mankiewicz; he was brought back in 1957, alongside Celeste Holm; and returned two years later, in 1959, as the final member of a rotation of six hosts (the others being Mort Sahl, Tony Randall, Bob Hope, David Niven and Laurence Olivier). But that third and — perhaps not coincidentally — final time, Lewis encountered a situation that no Oscar host before or since has faced: a ceremony at which...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel

Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel
'The Magnificent Ambersons': Directed by Orson Welles, and starring Tim Holt (pictured), Dolores Costello (in the background), Joseph Cotten, Anne Baxter, and Agnes Moorehead, this Academy Award-nominated adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel earned Ricardo Cortez's brother Stanley Cortez an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. He lost to Joseph Ruttenberg for William Wyler's blockbuster 'Mrs. Miniver.' Two years later, Cortez – along with Lee Garmes – would win Oscar statuettes for their evocative black-and-white work on John Cromwell's homefront drama 'Since You Went Away,' starring Ricardo Cortez's 'Torch Singer' leading lady, Claudette Colbert. In all, Stanley Cortez would receive cinematography credit in more than 80 films, ranging from B fare such as 'The Lady in the Morgue' and the 1940 'Margie' to Fritz Lang's 'Secret Beyond the Door,' Charles Laughton's 'The Night of the Hunter,' and Nunnally Johnson's 'The Three Faces
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Cortez Part IV: Leading Ladies and Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Wife

Cortez Part IV: Leading Ladies and Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Wife
Ricardo Cortez in 'Ten Cents a Dance,' with Barbara Stanwyck. No matter how unthankful the role, whether hero or heel – or, not infrequently, a combination of both – Cortez left his bedroom-eyed, mellifluous-voiced imprint in his pre-Production Code talkies. Besides Barbara Stanwyck, during the 1920s and 1930s Cortez made love to and/or life difficult for, a whole array of leading ladies of that era, including Bebe Daniels, Gloria Swanson, Betty Compson, Betty Bronson, Greta Garbo, Florence Vidor, Claudette Colbert, Mary Astor, Kay Francis, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Joan Blondell, and Loretta Young*. (See previous post: “Ricardo Cortez Q&A: From Latin Lover to Multiethnic Heel.”) Not long after the coming of sound, Ricardo Cortez was mostly relegated to playing subordinate roles to his leading ladies – e.g., Kay Francis, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert – or leads in “bottom half of the double bill” programmers at Warner Bros. or on loan to other studios. Would
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade
Ricardo Cortez biography 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez' – Paramount's 'Latin Lover' threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino, and a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon.' 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez': Author Dan Van Neste remembers the silent era's 'Latin Lover' & the star of the original 'The Maltese Falcon' At odds with Famous Players-Lasky after the release of the 1922 critical and box office misfire The Young Rajah, Rudolph Valentino demands a fatter weekly paycheck and more control over his movie projects. The studio – a few years later to be reorganized under the name of its distribution arm, Paramount – balks. Valentino goes on a “one-man strike.” In 42nd Street-style, unknown 22-year-old Valentino look-alike contest winner Jacob Krantz of Manhattan steps in, shortly afterwards to become known worldwide as Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez of
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Lgbt Pride Month: TCM Showcases Gay and Lesbian Actors and Directors

Considering everything that's been happening on the planet in the last several months, you'd have thought we're already in November or December – of 2117. But no. It's only June. 2017. And in some parts of the world, that's the month of brides, fathers, graduates, gays, and climate change denial. Beginning this evening, Thursday, June 1, Turner Classic Movies will be focusing on one of these June groups: Lgbt people, specifically those in the American film industry. Following the presentation of about 10 movies featuring Frank Morgan, who would have turned 127 years old today, TCM will set its cinematic sights on the likes of William Haines, James Whale, George Cukor, Mitchell Leisen, Dorothy Arzner, Patsy Kelly, and Ramon Novarro. In addition to, whether or not intentionally, Claudette Colbert, Colin Clive, Katharine Hepburn, Douglass Montgomery (a.k.a. Kent Douglass), Marjorie Main, and Billie Burke, among others. But this is ridiculous! Why should TCM present a
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Cinema's Pioneering Women at American Cinematheque

One of cinema's early comediennes, Dorothy Devore: between 1918 and 1930, the Ft. Worth-born actress was seen in nearly 100 movies, both features and shorts. Among them were 'Salvation Sue,' 'Naughty Mary Brown' and 'Saving Sister Susie,' all with frequent partner Earle Rodney. 'Comediennes of the Silent Era' & film historian Anthony Slide at the American Cinematheque Film historian and author Anthony Slide, once described by Lillian Gish as “our preeminent historian of the silent film,” will attend the American Cinematheque's 2017 Retroformat program “Comediennes of the Silent Era” on Sat., May 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the Spielberg Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Slide will be signing copies of his book She Could Be Chaplin!: The Comedic Brilliance of Alice Howell (University Press of Mississippi), about the largely forgotten pioneering comedy actress of the 1910s and early 1920s. The book signing will take place at 6:30 p.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Someone pitch a "Beulah" Miniseries. Hear me out.

Imitation of Life (1934) starred Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers who went into the pancake business

On this day in 1902 Louise Beavers born in Cincinatti. Though she was never as famous as the similarly cast Hattie McDaniel she also had her own big film moments in the studio system including the original Imitation of Life in which Claudette Colbert got wildly rich off of her recipe while she Beavers struggled with her light-skinned daughter. Free Pitch Idea For Writers Of Color: Don't you think a prestige miniseries on Black Hollywood throughout the years would be fascinating?

More on Louise Beavers and other "on this day" items after the jump...
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‘Moonlight’ is the Most Frugal Best Picture Ever: See Analysis of the 10 Lowest-Budget Winners of all Time

  • Indiewire
‘Moonlight’ is the Most Frugal Best Picture Ever: See Analysis of the 10 Lowest-Budget Winners of all Time
With a budget of $1.5 million, 2017 Best Picture winner “Moonlight” cost less than a 30-second ad during the Oscars (reported price: $2.2 million). And, among the category’s 89 winners, it stands as the lowest-budgeted film in the Academy Awards’ history.

To determine the 10 least expensive Best Picture winners, we looked back at each year, researched reported budgets, and then calculated them at 2017 dollar values. Although independent films have dominated the Oscars for the last decade, the only indie to make the cut from that period was “Crash.” Nor did Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall,” or some black-and-white studio classics like “Casablanca” or “The Lost Weekend.”

The 10 straddle almost every decade of the Oscars and come from either independent producers or smaller distributors (four of the 10 were released by United Artists).

For comparison, the most expensive film to win remains “Titanic;” its adjusted budget was $300 million more than “Moonlight.” That total dwarfs the
See full article at Indiewire »

David Reviews Michael Curtiz’s Mildred Pierce [Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review]

  • CriterionCast
With the new release of Mildred Pierce, the Criterion Collection appears to be solidifying a trend over the past couple years of providing a showcase for some of the greatest female actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Since late 2014, stars like Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night, The Palm Beach Story), Rita Hayworth (Gilda, Only Angels Have Wings) and Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday) have made their first appearances in the Collection, in what can be considered career-defining roles. These additions seem to be addressing a notable blind spot for Criterion. As impressive as their reach has been in bringing many of the most iconic women from the past hundred years of world cinema to the forefront, the continuing absence of silver screen legends like Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Greta Garbo and Elizabeth Taylor, just to name a few, seems like a lingering oversight, a problem yet to be
See full article at CriterionCast »

Close-Up on Leo McCarey’s "The Awful Truth": Love and Remarriage

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Leo McCarey's The Awful Truth (1937) is showing February 13 - March 15, 2017 in the United Kingdom in the series The Rom Com Variations.Leo McCarey’s 1937 screwball classic The Awful Truth is the epitome of a sub-genre dubbed by philosopher Stanley Cavell the “comedy of remarriage.” In the film, husband and wife Jerry and Lucy Warriner (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) succumb to their marital suspicions and embark on an easier-said-than-done divorce. He returns home from an unspecified dalliance, complete with fake Florida tan (ever the gentleman, he bronzes so as to save Lucy the embarrassment of getting asked why her husband looks pale after spending time in the sun), but upon his arrival, Lucy herself is nowhere to be found. She must be with her Aunt Patsy, Jerry assures his guests, that is until Aunt Patsy (Cecil Cunningham) shows up sans niece.
See full article at MUBI »

An American story by Anne-Katrin Titze

Ma director Celia Rowlson-Hall with Anne-Katrin Titze, editor Iva Radivojevic and Dp Ian Bloom at IFC Center Photo: Ed Bahlman

A quintet comprised of Lena Dunham, Hailey Benton Gates, Durga Chew-Bose, Siobhan Burke, and myself moderated the post-screening discussions for Celia Rowlson-Hall's American fairy tale Ma on its opening weekend in New York.

Ma stars Rowlson-Hall with a terrific speechless supporting cast including Andrew Pastides, Amy Seimetz, Jason Kittelberger, Neal Bledsoe, Matt Lauria, Kentucker Audley, Peter Vack, William Connell, George McArthur, and Bobbi Jene Smith. In the tradition of Claudette Colbert in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night or Uma Thurman thumbing a ride in Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, a modern-day Virgin Mary hitchhikes across the Southwest, ultimately arriving in Las Vegas where she meets Nevada showgirls and a tiny singing Queen Victoria lookalike.

Celia Rowlson-Hall: "I really wanted to tell an American story.
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

David Reviews Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday [Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review]

  • CriterionCast
News Flash! (Dateline: Chicago Il. January 10, 2017.) The Criterion Collection launches its 2017 campaign today with a raucous one-two punch that summons fond memories of Hollywood’s Golden Age while jabbing its finger into the chest of today’s corrupt media hacks. His Girl Friday, that epitome of classic screwball comedy, gets the deluxe treatment in a handsome dual-disc Blu-ray edition that also serves as a fancy showcase for its influential predecessor The Front Page. This winning effort by the whipsmart Criterion team spares no expense, as both flicks leap off the screen with a frenetic urgency that almost seems improper for relics of such venerable age.

But it’s not the longevity that sells this package, it’s the the relevance of how concisely the parallel stories, each with their own sharp accents of distinction, speak to today – how the brilliant cynicism of Ben Hecht’s snappy dialog simultaneously captures the
See full article at CriterionCast »

Tracy and Hepburn State Of The Union Saturday Morning at The Hi-Pointe

“Oh, that’s silly. No woman could ever run for President. She’d have to admit she’s over 35!”

State Of The Union plays on the big screen at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-Pointe Theater this weekend as part of their Classic Film Series. It’s Saturday, November 12th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117. Admission is only $5.

It’s election week so the Hi-Pointe is rolling out a vintage political film to screen for this month’s Classic Film Series. State Of The Union is a 1941 Frank Capra film that comes off fresh and timely. A plain speaking, likable man, Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) is convinced to run for President by the publisher of a newspaper, Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury) who is also his mistress, and before he knows it, his words and intentions are no longer his own. Because he wants to win,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

The Top Ten Funny Ladies of the Movies

The recent box office success of The Boss firmly establishes Melissa McCarthy as the current queen of movie comedies (Amy Schumer could be a new contender after an impressive debut last Summer with Trainwreck), but let us think back about those other funny ladies of filmdom. So while we’re enjoying the female reboot/re-imagining of Ghostbusters and those Bad Moms, here’s a top ten list that will hopefully inspire lots of laughter and cause you to search out some classic comedies. It’s tough to narrow them down to ten, but we’ll do our best, beginning with… 10. Eve Arden The droll Ms. Arden represents the comic sidekicks who will attempt to puncture the pomposity of the leading ladies with a well-placed wisecrack (see also the great Thelma Ritter in Rear Window). Her career began in the early 1930’s with great bit roles in Stage Door and Dancing Lady.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

‘It Happened One Night’ Blu-Ray Review

Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas, Alan Hale, Arthur Hoyt, Blanche Friderici | Screenplay by Robert Riskin | Directed by Frank Capra

Spoiled but spirited socialite Ellie (Claudette Colbert) flees her privileged life commandeered by her overbearing father and ends up sharing a bus ride across America with cynical, hard-drinking newspaperman Peter (Clark Gable). If you think you know how that story ends you’re probably right, but audiences in 1934 wouldn’t have seen the inevitable romantic and comedic scenes coming; we may be used to the road-trip, odd-couple romance by now (it’s practically a subgenre all by itself), but It Happened One Night was the first of its kind.

Following a row aboard her father’s boat, Ellie dives into the harbour and enlists the help of an older woman so that she can buy a Greyhound bus ticket cross-country to Miami. The motivation behind
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Phoenix

What's contemporary Europe got that we ain't got? Powerful, serious filmmaking like that by Christian Petzold, starring the impressive Nina Hoss. Their sixth collaboration is a loaded narrative that takes some pretty wild narrative themes -- plastic surgery, hidden identities -- and spins them in a suspenseful new direction. Phoenix Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 809 2014 / Color / 2:39 widescreen (Super 35) / 98 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date April 26, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf, Imogen Kogge. Cinematography Hans Fromm Film Editor Bettina Böhler Original Music Stefan Will Written by Christian Petzold, Haroun Farocki from ideas in the book Le retour des cendres by Hubert Monteilhet Produced by Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber Directed by Christian Petzold

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

I had seen only one Christian Petzold feature before this one. 2012's Barbara is an excellent Deutsche-Millennial thriller starring Barbara Hoss as an East German doctor trying to do
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Blu-ray Review – It Happened One Night (1934)

It Happened One Night, 1934.

Directed by Frank Capra.

Starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Kerns and Jameson Thomas.

Synopsis:

Ellen ‘Ellie’ Andrews, a spoiled heiress, runs away to elope with her handsome pilot fiancee. Along the way, she meets down on his luck reporter Peter Warne, and realises maybe her future isn’t what she expected at all…

A picture perhaps these days lost underneath the more famed ‘screwball comedies’ of the Golden Age of Hollywood, It Happened One Night nonetheless may be the very first example of that formative genre within early Hollywood. It sits among cinematic legend for more than one reason – its position on the cusp of enforcement of the infamous ‘Hays Code’ which imposed a moral stricture on Hollywood for decades, akin to photographic prohibition almost; and it’s place as the very first movie to win in all five major categories at the
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The Forgotten: Hobart Henley's "The Big Pond" (1930)

  • MUBI
I find it impossible to believe anyone called Hobart Henley could ever be a great film director, but on the other hand, I also find it impossible to dislike a film director called Hobart Henley. It's too much fun reading his name in a credits sequence.Henley had been an actor, which seems to account for his preposterous, alliterative name, except it seems that really was his name, not a stage contrivance. He directed numerous silent films from the teens on, all of them obscure, but his late-career outpouring of a few cute pre-Codes is better remembered. Night World (1932) is enjoyable, and Roadhouse Nights (1930) is remarkable for being the only official adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest (unofficial source material for Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars, Last Man Standing...), only you wouldn't know it because it reached the screen as a Jimmy Durante musical. The only thing it has
See full article at MUBI »

Cleopatra remake gets new writer, Angelina Jolie still attached

Deadline is reporting the long-gestating remake of classic epic Cleopatra has scored a new writer to help bring the story back to the big screen.

David Scarpa (The Day The Earth Stood Still) has signed on to the project, which is based on the bestselling book Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. Producers Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal are behind the film, which has Angelina Jolie (By The Sea) still attached to play the title character.

A new version has been in the offing for many years, with both James Cameron (Avatar) and David Fincher (Gone Girl) at one time or another attached to direct.

The two most famous versions of Cleopatra were released in 1934 and 1963 respectively: the earlier version starred Claudette Colbert and Warren William, with the latter starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, which – despite its famous production problems that closed the doors of 20th Century Fox
See full article at Flickeringmyth »
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