20 items from 2013
To mark the release of The Long Goodbye on 2nd December, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray.
When private eye Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is visited by an old friend, this sets in train a series of events in which he’s hired to search for a missing novelist (Sterling Hayden) and finds himself on the wrong side of vicious gangsters. So far so faithful to Raymond Chandler, but Robert Altman’s inspired adaptation of the writer’s most personal novel takes his legendary detective and relocates him to the selfish, hedonistic culture of 1970s Hollywood, where he finds that his old-fashioned notions of honour and loyalty carry little weight, and even his smoking (universal in film noir) is now frowned upon.
Widely misunderstood at the time, The Long Goodbye is now regarded as one of Altman’s best films and one of the outstanding American films of its era, »
The history of Tinseltown is littered with allegations of espionage, as the revelations about the successful producer have reminded us. Welcome to the world of 'thespionage'
The history of Hollywood is littered with spies. So it should come as no surprise that the producer Arnon Milchan began his working life as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer. The billionaire behind Fight Club, Pretty Woman and Heat confirmed rumours of his shady past in an interview broadcast on Israeli television on Monday. At one point, we learned, he ran 30 companies worldwide on behalf of the Israeli government.
He joins a long line of Hollywood power-brokers who have dabbled in the spying game. In the early 1950s, the head of foreign and domestic censorship at Paramount was a CIA employee named Luigi Luraschi. Among Luraschi's many covert triumphs was the insertion of "well-dressed" respectable "negroes" into Us movies, to undermine Soviet »
- Tom Meltzer
Directed by Nicholas Ray
That Rebel Without a Cause was such a success upon its initial 1955 release, and that it still stands as a hugely influential classic of American cinema, is not just a result of James Dean’s most iconic performance, nor is it simply the outcome of director Nicholas Ray’s talents. Why this film is truly a triumph has more to do with how superbly it encapsulates the artistic inclinations of these two particular artists. This is the film Dean and Ray were destined to make. And this was the time to make it.
Ray had been focusing on the outcasts, the rebels, and the loners since his first feature, They Live By Night. This emphasis would continue through In a Lonely Place and Johnny Guitar, before Rebel Without a Cause, and Bigger Than Life, »
- Jeremy Carr
In the world of horror cinema, the best way to fight a monster–be it supernatural, human, or natural one–is with a character that possesses special knowledge and skills. These experts, recruited into battle by other characters or colliding with the conflict intentionally, are the savants of the horror world.
Examples of savant characters include David Warner’s bat expert Phillip Payne in Nightwing, Zelda Rubinstein’s spiritual medium Tangina in Poltergeist, Matthew McConaughey’s dragon slayer Denton Van Zan in Reign of Fire, Lin Shaye’s paranormal investigator Elise Rainier in Insidious, and Otto Jespersen’s monster killer Hans in Trollhunter.
This article, divided into three sections based on what type of monstrous force is being fought, focuses on the greatest savant characters the horror genre has to offer.
Vs. The Supernatural
- Terek Puckett
You want funny? We got funny! From Airplane to Duck Soup, here are the Guardian and Observer critics' pick of the 10 best rib-ticklers
• Top 10 romantic movies
• Top 10 action movies
Peter Bradshaw on comedy
Notionally, one of the most loved of genres, comedy persistently finds that it is somehow ineligible for greatness. Comedies rarely get Oscars. Charlie Chaplin, the great comic, was one of cinema's first international superstars. Keaton, the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy produced sublime gems of film-making, arguably cherished more now than at the time. Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot is one of the most loved films of all time, with a miraculously light touch and a glorious romantic chemistry between Curtis, Lemmon and Monroe. In Hollywood, the screwball tradition came to be supplanted in public taste by Woody Allen, whose DNA can be traced through the cerebral creations of Charlie Kaufman.
Recently, Hollywood comedy »
Written by Richard Sale
Directed by Alan Lewis
An often amusing and enlightening result of a film buff’s tendency to explore movies of the past is discovering how differently people behaved and understood the world and the shifting circumstances around them. After all, common sense and zeitgeists are known to change with the times. The more years and decades elapse, the more or less people can grow accustomed to major or minor world events. In 2013, rumour and threats of presidential assassinations, in the United States or abroad, are sadly more common than was the case in 1954, the year Lewis Allen’s Suddenly was released, at least so far as can be assessed by how some of its characters react.
The quiet town of Suddenly, snuggly ensconced in what looks to be Anywhere, U.S.A., is on the verge of having its tiny world turned upside down. »
- Edgar Chaput
Nicholas Ray reinvents the Western as a psychosexual inferno in this striking oater, brimming with passion, lust, and danger. Sterling Hayden is the wandering cowboy who finds himself caught between Joan Crawford's saloon owner and the dangerously pent-up cattle baroness Mercedes McCambridge (the demonic voice from The Exorcist). Spinning Western conventions, here the outlaws are the good guys and the upstanding folk of the community reactionary automatons commanded by McCambridge. »
New York's Film Forum theater, one of the city's most renowned sites for repertory cinema and indie first releases, has just announced its new student membership program, Film Forum 101. The student membership program is $50 for the year (regular membership is $75). Membership gives you $7 tickets (regular price is $12.50) every day for every screening, and free popcorn on Mondays. As a promotion for the new student membership, Film Forum invites all students (whether or not they're members yet) to join them on Tuesday, September 24 and present a student I.D. to see any of these three films for just $7 (the price you’d pay as a student member) and get a free popcorn: Newlyweeds: a new comic-drama about romance among Brooklyn hipsters Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956), stars Sterling Hayden in a classic film noir After Tiller: a new documentary on the remaining four doctors in America who still perform 3rd »
- Bryce J. Renninger
Natalie Wood: Hot Hollywood star in the ’60s - TCM schedule on August 18, 2013 See previous post: “Natalie Wood Movies: From loving Warren Beatty to stripping like Gypsy Rose Lee.” 3:00 Am The Star (1952). Director: Stuart Heisler. Cast: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood, Warner Anderson, Minor Watson, June Travis, Paul Frees, Robert Warrick, Barbara Lawrence, Fay Baker, Herb Vigran, Marie Blake, Sam Harris, Marcia Mae Jones. Bw-90 mins. 4:30 Am A Cry In The Night (1956). Director: Frank Tuttle. Cast: Edmond O’Brien, Brian Donlevy, Natalie Wood. Bw-75 mins. 6:00 Am West Side Story (1961). Director: Robert Wise. Cast: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass, William Bramley, Tucker Smith, Tony Mordente, David Winters, Eliot Feld, John Bert Michaels, David Bean, Robert Banas, Anthony ‘Scooter’ Teague, Harvey Evans aka Harvey Hohnecker, Tommy Abbott, Susan Oakes, Gina Trikonis, Carole D’Andrea, Jose De Vega, Jay Norman, »
- Andre Soares
Eleanor Parker: Palm Springs resident turns 91 today Eleanor Parker turns 91 today. The three-time Oscar nominee (Caged, 1950; Detective Story, 1951; Interrupted Melody, 1955) and Palm Springs resident is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of June 2013. Earlier this month, TCM showed a few dozen Eleanor Parker movies, from her days at Warner Bros. in the ’40s to her later career as a top Hollywood supporting player. (Photo: Publicity shot of Eleanor Parker in An American Dream.) Missing from TCM’s movie series, however, was not only Eleanor Parker’s biggest box-office it — The Sound of Music, in which she steals the show from both Julie Andrews and the Alps — but also what according to several sources is her very first movie role: a bit part in Raoul Walsh’s They Died with Their Boots On, a 1941 Western starring Errol Flynn as a dashingly handsome and all-around-good-guy-ish General George Armstrong Custer. Olivia de Havilland »
- Andre Soares
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Leigh Brackett
My introduction to classic film was through Humphrey Bogart. I would watch Casablanca (1942) and To Have and Have Not (1944) with my mother, but none of his films had as much of an effect on me as The Big Sleep (1946) and Bogart’s character, Philip Marlowe. Even though I loved the character, I hadn’t sought out Robert Altman’s adaptation of another Raymond Chandler Marlowe mystery, The Long Goodbye (1973), until now.
Updating the time period from the 1950s to the 1970s, The Long Goodbye sees Chandler’s classic private detective Philip Marlowe (Elliot Gould) try to clear his best friend, Terry Lennox, who is accused of brutally murdering his wife. Marlowe is himself implicated in the plot and accused of aiding a fugitive, having driven Lennox to the Mexican border the day before. Marlowe refuses to divulge any »
- Katherine Springer
Wings, Dr. Strangelove: Film preservation and ‘Amazing Tales from the Archives’ (photo: Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Clara Bow, Richard Arlen in William A. Wellman’s Wings) The 2012 San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s edition of "Amazing Tales from the Archives" was perhaps the weakest of the series to date. In the past, they have done a wonderful job demonstrating the excitement of finding lost films and footage, assembling them together, preserving and restoring them. This installment revolved around the "Digital Age," and did not concentrate only on silent film. The reconstruction of William A. Wellman’s Wings (1927), the first Best Picture (or "Best Production") Academy Award winner, was a familiar story of how an old film print could be dusted off and used for the production of a Digital Cinema Package. By now, we all are aware of the importance of film preservation, which is part detective work and part modern technology. »
- Danny Fortune
By Darren Allison, Cinema Retro Soundtrack Editor
When considering the scores for movie Westerns, film music collectors often refer to classics such as Max Steiner's The Searchers, Dimitri Tiomkin's Rio Bravo or Victor Young's Shane, all of which are, of course, fabulous scores. Monstrous Movie Music have again, (and in keeping with their refreshing style), ventured into new territories with the release of Paul Dunlap’s Western score to Hellgate (1952) (Mmm-1972). Rather surprisingly, this CD marks the first full release to feature Dunlap’s film music. The composer was incredibly prolific throughout his career scoring diverse projects which spanned from many of The Three Stooges movies to the cult classic Aip horrors including the Teenage Frankenstein/Werewolf series of films. For a B movie western, there was something a little different about Hellgate – it was really rather good! Hellgate was directed by Charles Marquis Warren, a tough »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
I love these kinetic typography videos and this one featuring Sterling Hayden's speech in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is particularly impressive. I have included the transcript below the video. Ripper Mandrake, I suppose it never occurred to you that while we're chatting here so enjoyably, a decision is being made by the President and the Joint Chiefs in the war room at the Pentagon. And when they realize there is no possibility of recalling the wing, there will be only one course of action open -- total commitment. Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war? Mandrake No. I don't think I do sir, no. Ripper He said war was to important to be left to the Generals. When he said that, fifty years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too »
- Brad Brevet
Locations in films are rarely the thing an average filmgoer remembers after watching a film; it’s always about the story, character and the lines they say that later form the proverbial ‘word of mouth.’ However, when you think of great confrontations, conversations and simple exchanges, they always take place in a nice public setting – although being surrounded by a group of unknowing people rarely dulls the impact of a tense interaction.
An epiphany came after some light people-watching during a mediocre pancake breakfast – they seem to take place in a restaurant, diner or some kind of eatery; a place where some of TV and film’s classic characters can settle an old score of even debate on pop culture over a cup of coffee:
Café des 2 Moulins, Paris (Amélie, 2001)
This quaint coffee shop, where young dreamer Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) worked and interacted with a variety of characters, is based in Montmatre, »
- Katie Wong
The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival continues to expand, with newly added appearances by legendary stars at screenings of some of their most memorable films, including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Polly Bergen,Coleen Gray, Theodore Bikel and Norman Lloyd, as well as producer Stanley Rubin, Clara Bow biographer David Stenn, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) film collections manager Katie Trainor and director Nicholas Ray’s widow, Susan Ray. In addition, TCM’s Essentials Jr. host and Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader will present screenings of Shane (1953) and The Ladykillers(1955).
And The Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein will present a special screening of Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929), complete with live voice actors and sound effects to replace the film’s long-lost soundtrack.Mel Brooks is slated to talk about his comedy The Twelve Chairs (1970). Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan »
- Melissa Thompson
This article is dedicated to Andrew Copp: filmmaker, film writer, artist and close friend who passed away on January 19, 2013. You are loved and missed, brother.
Looking at the Best Actor Academy Award nominations for the film year 2012, the one miss that clearly cries out for more attention is Liam Neeson’s powerful performance in Joe Carnahan’s excellent survival film The Grey, easily one of the best roles of Neeson’s career.
Along with negligence, other factors commonly prevent outstanding lead acting performances from getting the kind of critical attention they deserve. Sometimes it’s that the performance is in a film not considered “Oscar material” or even worthy of any substantial critical attention. »
- Terek Puckett
Director Robert Altman.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the April 1999 issue of Venice Magazine.
It's the Fall of 1977 and I'm a bored and rebellious ten year old in search of a new movie to occupy my underworked and creativity-starved brain, feeling far too mature for previous favorites Wily Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Return of the Pink Panther (1975), and wanting something more up-to-date and edgy than Chaplin's City Lights (1931). I needed a movie to call my favorite that would be symbolic of my own new-found manhood (and something that would really piss off my parents and teachers). Mom and Dad were going out for the evening, leaving me with whatever unfortunate baby-sitter happened to need the $10 badly enough to play mother hen to an obnoxiously precocious only child like myself. I scanned the TV Guide for what »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
A Planet Fury-approved selection of notable genre DVD releases for the month of January.
Effects guru Robert Hall’s semi-autobiographical film about a small town teen (Reaper's Bret Harrison) who has aspirations to become a special effects artist. An opportunity to manage the town’s local haunted house is thwarted by his alcoholic stepfather and the staunchly religious views of the surrounding population. The solid supporting cast includes That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon, Hellraiser’s Ashely Lawrence and Kevin Gage. Written and directed by Hall, it’s an affectionate coming-of-age drama that works in spite of an uneven narrative that falls apart in the final half hour. Hopefully this new extended cut will remedy the scripting problems of the original release.
Special Features include:
* Never-before-released extended cut of the film.
* Making-of Featurette
* Audio commentaries with the writer/director and cast. »
- Bradley Harding
Josh Brolin headlines this weekend's "Gangster Squad" as the tough cop who looks to take down gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) in 1940s Los Angeles. Behind the scenes, Brolin was also instrumental in getting his good friend Penn to star as Cohen (after passing on the role himself), as well as in shaping his own character -- even if that meant cutting his lines. At the film's press conference, Brolin said that his big fist fight with Penn in the movies was tough: "One of us is a smoker and the other an ex-smoker," he explained. When I walked into the room to speak with Brolin -- where he discussed everything from gangster movies to firing a tommy gun -- the pack of cigarettes on the table confirmed that he isn't the one who quit. [Spotting the cigarettes] Ahh, that's why the fight scene was so tough on you. You know, I didn't smoke during the movie. »
- Sharon Knolle
20 items from 2013
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