18 items from 2014
Seventy-five years after the premiere of "Gone With the Wind" (on December 15, 1939), it seems that nothing -- not the passage of time, not the movie's controversial racial politics, not the film's daunting length, and not even the release of certain James Cameron global blockbusters -- can diminish the romantic Civil War drama's stature as the most popular movie of all time.
The film is certainly a formidable artistic achievement, a cornerstone of movie history, and a highlight of a year so full of landmark films that 1939 has often been called the greatest year in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. Each viewing of the four-hour epic seems to reveal new details. Still, even longtime "Gwtw" fans may not know the behind-the-scenes story of the film, one as lengthy and tumultuous as the on-screen romance between Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Producer David O. Selznick spent fortunes, hired »
- Gary Susman
Fiddle-dee-dee y'all it's Jason from Mnpp here with today's sweeping Southern epic edition of "Beauty vs Beast." Yes indeedy today is the 75th anniversary of the biggest movie that ever was and probably ever will be - David O. Selznick's Gone With the Wind (if any movie's ownership belongs to its producer, it's this one) premiered in Atlanta on this day in 1939. Three hundred thousand people lined the streets surrounding the Loews Grand Theater, the cap of three days worth of festivities which brought over a million people to the city. Most of the stars attended, save Leslie Howard who'd returned to England because of WWII, as well as Hattie McDaniel and the other black actors in the film who would've been segegrated from the rest of the cast thanks to Jim Crow. (A situation echoed several months later when McDaniel had to make her way from the back »
Howard Hughes movies (photo: Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in 'The Aviator') Turner Classic Movies will be showing the Howard Hughes-produced, John Farrow-directed, Baja California-set gangster drama His Kind of Woman, starring Robert Mitchum, Hughes discovery Jane Russell, and Vincent Price, at 3 a.m. Pt / 6 a.m. Et on Saturday, November 8, 2014. Hughes produced a couple of dozen movies. (More on that below.) But what about "Howard Hughes movies"? Or rather, movies -- whether big-screen or made-for-television efforts -- featuring the visionary, eccentric, hypochondriac, compulsive-obsessive, all-American billionaire as a character? Besides Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays a dashing if somewhat unbalanced Hughes in Martin Scorsese's 2004 Best Picture Academy Award-nominated The Aviator, other actors who have played Howard Hughes on film include the following: Tommy Lee Jones in William A. Graham's television movie The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977), with Lee Purcell as silent film star Billie Dove, Tovah Feldshuh as Katharine Hepburn, »
- Andre Soares
Best British movies of all time? (Image: a young Michael Caine in 'Get Carter') Ten years ago, Get Carter, starring Michael Caine as a dangerous-looking London gangster (see photo above), was selected as the United Kingdom's very best movie of all time according to 25 British film critics polled by Total Film magazine. To say that Mike Hodges' 1971 thriller was a surprising choice would be an understatement. I mean, not a David Lean epic or an early Alfred Hitchcock thriller? What a difference ten years make. On Total Film's 2014 list, published last May, Get Carter was no. 44 among the magazine's Top 50 best British movies of all time. How could that be? Well, first of all, people would be very naive if they took such lists seriously, whether we're talking Total Film, the British Film Institute, or, to keep things British, Sight & Sound magazine. Second, whereas Total Film's 2004 list was the result of a 25-critic consensus, »
- Andre Soares
Christopher Reeve Foundation for spinal cord and stem cell research (photo: Darryl Hannah and Christopher Reeve in 'Rear Window') (See previous post: "'Superman' Christopher Reeve and his Movies: Ten-Year Death Anniversary.") In his 1998 autobiography Still Me, Christopher Reeve recalled: "At an especially bleak moment [prior to an operation that might result in his death], the door [of his hospital room] flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay." The "old friend" was the recently deceased Robin Williams, whom Reeve had befriended while both were studying at Juillard. Eventually, Reeve became a staunch advocate for spinal cord and stem cell research, sponsoring with his wife the Christopher Reeve Foundation — later renamed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (and formerly known »
- Andre Soares
This fall, Turner Classic Movies is teaming up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Fathom Events and the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin to celebrate the 75th anniversary of one of the most successful and beloved films of all time: the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind. The multi-tiered celebration is set to include a new Blu-ray collection of the movie, screenings at more than 650 movie theaters nationwide, a fascinating exhibit and book on the making of the film and, of course, a special presentation of the movie on Turner Classic Movies.
“TCM’s wide-ranging celebration of Gone With the Wind is a great chance for fans to experience and explore this monumental classic in a variety of ways,” said Dennis Adamovich, senior vice president of digital, affiliate, lifestyle and enterprise commerce for TCM, TBS and TNT.“We’re very excited to be working with our friends at Warner Bros. »
- Melissa Thompson
Lauren Bacall, the sultry presence who first hit movie screens in 1944 and then went on to play a series of sophisticated, tough-as-nails roles for the next six decades - even in real life - has died, it has been confirmed to People. "Ms. Bacall passed away peacefully at her home in New York City earlier today," Robbert de Klerk, co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart estate, said Tuesday evening. Bacall's son, Stephen Bogart, personally told him the news. She was 89 and a longtime resident of Manhattan's Upper West Side. Launched by a Harper's Bazaar cover when she was a 19-year-old model, »
- Stephen M. Silverman, @stephenmsilverm
Lauren Bacall, the sultry blonde siren who became an overnight star via a memorable film debut at age 19 opposite Humphrey Bogart in Howard Hawks’ “To Have and Have Not,” died Tuesday of a suspected stroke at her home in the Dakota in Manhattan. She was 89.
The Bogart estate confirmed the news on Twitter.
Variety’s review of the 1944 film described her as “a young lady of presence,” and audiences immediately embraced her gravel-voiced and sultry persona. The voice was said to have come from a year shouting into a canyon. Regardless, “the Look,” her slinky, pouty-lipped head-lowered stare, influenced a generation of actresses.
After a 50-year career, she received her first Oscar nomination for supporting actress for her role as Barbra Streisand’s mother in 1997’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” Though considered a shoo-in, she didn’t win. However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences gave her a 2009 Governors Award for life achievement. »
- Richard Natale
To say that the comic book movie is here to stay may seem like a glib understatement. In 2014 alone there are no less than five massive scale mainstream blockbuster movies being released based on Marvel Comics properties alone (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Big Hero 6). Yet it was barely a decade ago that film critics, audiences and analysts perceived the raft of contemporary big screen comic book adaptations as a passing fad, a bubble that would soon burst.
Of course films based on comic books (or comic strips) are nothing new, but just how did we get from a time when movies and TV were strictly y’know for kids, cheap and throwaway, to the current dominance of comic adaptations as the blockbuster form? Just as paper comics have their own ages, from »
- Jack Gann
Blu-ray Release Date: Sept 30, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $49.99
Studio: Warner Home Video
Classic romance drama Gone With the Wind — perhaps The classic romance drama film — turns 75 and is celebrated with another Ultimate Collector’s Edition, but the set does have some new features.
Limited and numbered with new memorabilia, packaging and special features, the Gone With the Wind 75th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set includes a replicaof Rhett Butler’s handkerchief and a music box paperweight playing Tara’s theme with an image on top of the Rhett-Scarlett kiss.
Also included is a 36-page companion booklet featuring a look at the timeless style of the film, written by New York fashion designer and Project Runway finalist Austin Scarlett, whose signature look reflects the romantic elegance of the Gone With the Wind era.
The new special features on the Blu-ray disc are:
‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Mary Anderson dead at 96; also featured in Alfred Hitchcock thriller ‘Lifeboat’ Mary Anderson, an actress featured in both Gone with the Wind and Alfred Hitchcock’s adventure thriller Lifeboat, died following a series of small strokes on Sunday, April 6, 2014, while under hospice care in Toluca Lake/Burbank, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Anderson, the widow of multiple Oscar-winning cinematographer Leon Shamroy, had turned 96 on April 3. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1918, Mary Anderson was reportedly discovered by director George Cukor, at the time looking for an actress to play Scarlett O’Hara in David O. Selznick’s film version of Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller Gone with the Wind. Instead of Scarlett, eventually played by Vivien Leigh, Anderson was cast in the small role of Maybelle Merriwether — most of which reportedly ended up on the cutting-room floor. Cukor was later fired from the project; his replacement, Victor Fleming, »
- Andre Soares
Australian actress Wendy Hughes dead at 61 (photo: Wendy Hughes in ‘Newsfront’) Australian film, television, and stage actress Wendy Hughes, best known internationally for the big-screen dramas My Brilliant Career and Careful, He Might Hear You, died of cancer early today, March 8, 2014, in Sydney. Hughes (born on July 29, 1952, in Melbourne) was 61. Wendy Hughes’ film career kicked off in the mid-’70s, with Tim Burstall’s psychological drama ‘Jock’ Petersen / Petersen (1974), in which she plays the wife of a college professor who becomes romantically involved with a married student (Jack Thompson). "I spent a lot of the time naked and doing sex scenes," Hughes would later recall about her work in ‘Jock’ Petersen, "because in the seventies you all had to do that." In 1979, Hughes landed a key supporting role in the international arthouse hit My Brilliant Career, Gillian Armstrong’s late 19th-century-set tale of an independent-minded young woman (a Katharine Hepburn »
- Andre Soares
Seasons of Bette. Episode 2. Nomination #1
As a sidebar to Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate" series (which I hope you're all enjoying as much as I am - see why I comissioned it?), I'm investigating each of Bette Davis's Oscar nominated performances as they appear within the Katharine Hepburn timeline. They're the two titan actresses of Old Hollywood so why not pair them even if indirectly? We previously looked at Of Human Bondage (1934) due to its write-in votes at the Oscars but technically-speaking Nomination #1 arrived the following year in Dangerous (1935).
This second Oscar hopeful is so like the first it's as if someone yelled "Do over! And get the nomination this time."
- NATHANIEL R
Maria von Trapp dead at 99: ‘The Sound of Music’ character played by Heather Menzies was last surviving member of the singing von Trapp family (photo: The singing von Trapp family) Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the singing von Trapp family portrayed in The Sound of Music, died in her sleep at her Vermont home on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Baron Georg von Trapp’s second-eldest daughter, Maria Franziska (born in Zell am See, Salzburg, Austria, in 1914) was 99. Heather Menzies played Baron von Trapp’s second-eldest daughter, renamed Louisa von Trapp, in 20th Century Fox’s 1965 blockbuster directed by Robert Wise, and starring Julie Andrews as singing nun-to-be Maria Kutschera (later Baroness Maria von Trapp) and Christopher Plummer as the Baron. (See Heather Menzies, Charmian Carr, Kym Karath, and Angela Cartwright at 2008 event.) Financially ruined during the Great Depression, Baron von Trapp and his family began performing as a »
- Andre Soares
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple, and Oscar movies: Library of Congress’ March 2014 screenings (photo: Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in ‘Capote’) Tributes to the recently deceased Shirley Temple and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and several Academy Award-nominated and -winning films are among the March 2014 screenings at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theater and, in collaboration with the Library’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, The State Theatre, both located in Culpeper, Virginia. The 1934 sentimental comedy-drama Little Miss Marker (March 6, Packard) is the movie that turned six-year-old Shirley Temple into a major film star. Temple would become the biggest domestic box-office draw of the mid-1930s, and, Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Sonja Henie, Don Ameche, Loretta Young, and Madeleine Carroll notwithstanding, would remain 20th Century Fox’s top star until later in the decade. Directed by Alexander Hall (Here Comes Mr. Jordan, My Sister Eileen), Little Miss Marker — actually, a Paramount »
- Andre Soares
The Observer's film critic remembers the tough guy, whose presence alone always made him watchable
Many of us must have been saddened by the news of Humphrey Bogart's death. Some of us have known him on the screen for 21 years. We can remember the day in 1935 when, as "Dook" Mantee in The Petrified Forest, he lounged into the garage cafeteria in the desert and held up waitress Bette Davis, poet Leslie Howard and other benighted travellers at the point of a gun. He was very quiet and sparing of his movements. His voice was rasping, and he had a hint of a lisp, which turned the "S's"into "Sh's". He was lightly built. It took him about 30 seconds to dominate both characters and audience and send a message to the mind that the screen had found a man who must be watched hereafter. We watched him steadily through the remaining 30s, »
‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Alicia Rhett dead at 98; was oldest surviving credited Gwtw cast member Gone with the Wind actress Alicia Rhett, the oldest surviving credited cast member of the 1939 Oscar-winning blockbuster, died on January 3, 2014, at the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community in Charleston, South Carolina, where Rhett had been living since August 2002. Alicia Rhett, born on February 1, 1915, in Savannah, Georgia, was 98. (Photo: Alicia Rhett as India Wilkes in Gone with the Wind.) In Gone with the Wind, the David O. Selznick production made in conjunction with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM head Louis B. Mayer was Selznick’s father-in-law), the stage-trained Alicia Rhett played India Wilkes, the embittered sister of Ashley Wilkes, whom Scarlett O’Hara loves — though Ashley eventually marries Melanie Hamilton (Rhett had auditioned for the role), while Scarlett ends up with Rhett Butler. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller, Gone with the Wind was (mostly) directed by Victor Fleming »
- Andre Soares
The oldest surviving cast member of 1939's Gone With the Wind has died. Alicia Rhett, whose only movie role was in the Oscar-winning drama, passed away at the age of 98 from natural causes around 5 p.m. Friday, a spokesperson for he Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community in Charleston, S.C., where Rhett was living, told People. George Cukor, the original director of Gone With the Wind, discovered the Savannah, Ga. native while she was performing in a theater production in Charleston, S.C.. He later cast Rhett as India, Ashley Wilkes' (Leslie Howard) sister in the film, after considering her for the role of Melanie Hamilton, which later went to Olivia De Havilland. Rhett reportedly »
18 items from 2014
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