7 items from 2017
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. »
- Andre Soares
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...
- NATHANIEL R
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 »
- Tom Brueggemann
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 »
- David Blakeslee
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. »
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. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
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 »
- David Blakeslee
7 items from 2017
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