18 items from 2013
A few weeks ago I watched The Searchers, the 1956 John Ford horse opera that is routinely described by critics as one of the greatest films of all time. In 2008 the American Film Institute named it the finest western ever, as well as the 12th best American movie, while the British Film Institute slotted it in at number seven on the all-time greatest list.
Are these guys serious? The Searchers, which deals with a mysterious, morally ambivalent Johnny Reb's relentless quest to find – and perhaps kill – a niece abducted by marauding Comanches, is padded out to epic length with all sorts of daffy comedy. The gags and slapstick fistfights undercut the serious message of the film: that most white »
- Joe Queenan
On Friday, Kelly used the first 18 minutes of her program, “The Kelly File,” to discuss the “firestorm of controversy” unleashed, as she put it, by her statement earlier in the week that Santa Claus and Jesus were both white – the former expressed as a reassurance to any children who might happen to be watching.
Yet Kelly’s ultimate explanation for the hubbub – which was driven as much by the sheer comedy of her earnestness, given the subject matter, as anything else – was the following: “Fox News, and yours truly, are big targets for many people.”
That’s true, of course, but returning again and again to that response – that Fox is being attacked by “vile” people who are “smear merchants,” as »
- Brian Lowry
[Spoiler Alert: Stop reading if you have not watched the finale of Breaking Bad, titled "Felina." This story contains discussion of major plot points.]
You’ve now had a few minutes to gather your breath, wipe away the tears and start to process that brutal and poignant series finale of Breaking Bad. Whether your predictions were on the money barrel or off-base, you will most certainly want to read what series creator Vince Gilligan had to say about this satiating last-ever episode, which saw the fall of meth kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston). “Ours is nothing if not a definitive ending to the series,” says the show’s mastermind, who also wrote and directed the episode. It’s a heady challenge to wrap up »
- Dan Snierson
Based on television series and movies, no show can compete with the prolific legacy of Star Trek. Through all of the adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s brain child, the storied crews of Starfleet have encountered a number of enemies and assorted characters that have threatened to destroy their ships or conquer the universe. In honor of those fiends and the show’s heroes, Paramount has released a compilation of five episodes dedicated to the greatest heroes and adversaries of Star Trek: The Original Series. With Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter) or Captain Kirk (William Shatner), the crew of the Starship Enterprise faces down foes with varied villainous vendettas from Klingons to Khan (Ricardo Montalban) to…tribbles? Really?
- Lex Walker
Call it Star Trek: Cliff’s Notes. This release brings many of the episodes that make up the references that populate Star Trek: Into Darkness. This release is more intended for the newbie Trekkie than anyone who already owns the three seasons of Star Trek that have already been released on Blu-ray. “Explore the origins of Pike, Khan, Kirk, Spock, Klingons, and Tribbles” touts a sticker on the front of the Blu-ray. Odd including Kirk and Spock in that list but this does feature their original incarnations and not Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, but the rest of the list apply. Original episodes included: The Cage: the pilot that started it all and introduces Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter) and »
- Jeff Swindoll
Jeanne Crain: Lighthearted movies vs. real life tragedies (photo: Madeleine Carroll and Jeanne Crain in ‘The Fan’) (See also: "Jeanne Crain: From ‘Pinky’ Inanity to ‘Margie’ Magic.") Unlike her characters in Margie, Home in Indiana, State Fair, Centennial Summer, The Fan, and Cheaper by the Dozen (and its sequel, Belles on Their Toes), or even in the more complex A Letter to Three Wives and People Will Talk, Jeanne Crain didn’t find a romantic Happy Ending in real life. In the mid-’50s, Crain accused her husband, former minor actor Paul Brooks aka Paul Brinkman, of infidelity, of living off her earnings, and of brutally beating her. The couple reportedly were never divorced because of their Catholic faith. (And at least in the ’60s, unlike the humanistic, progressive-thinking Margie, Crain was a “conservative” Republican who supported Richard Nixon.) In the early ’90s, she lost two of her »
- Andre Soares
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
Written by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Robert Butler
Produced in 1964-65, Aired October 15th, 1988 in syndication
“Where No Man Has Gone Before”
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
Directed by James Goldstone
Aired September 22nd, 1966 on NBC
“The Man Trap”
Written by George Clayton Johnson
Directed by Marc Daniels
Aired September 8th, 1966 on NBC
Star Trek is a beloved series and, thanks to its longevity in syndication and on DVD, its sequels, and its recent big-screen reboot, it remains as pop-culturally present now as it’s perhaps ever been. The USS Enterprise and her crew have become iconic but as with most shows, Star Trek faced a difficult development process. The series shot two very different pilots, “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, neither of which were actually used to premiere the show to audiences. That privilege went to “The Man Trap”, and while »
- Kate Kulzick
There's been a lot swirling recently about what's happening with Megan Draper on "Mad Men." Is she pregnant? Is she Sharon Tate? Was she really in "Hot Tub Time Machine"? But one of the underrated elements of Megan (Jessica Pare) this season has been her role in the slow and subtle demise of the Draper marriage.
Everyone is caught up in whether or not she's going to die -- she's not, according to Matt Weiner -- but I think the real angle as this season plays out could be found more in how she exists within her marriage to Don (Jon Hamm).
Here are a few reasons why Don might not be the only one cheating in this marriage.
1. Cuckolded by Her Career
In a sense, she's been cheating on Don ever since the end of last season. Regardless of how you feel about the socio-political elements at play within the Draper relationship, »
I caught the movie musical version of Les Miserables recently (and I will thank my brain to stop playing snippets of the soundtrack over and over and over again) and was struck by a line sung by the hero, Jean Valjean, late in the story: “To love another person is to see the face of God.” That line has always pierced me (I’ve seen the stage version of the show several times).
I was raised Roman Catholic but I am now a Practicing Agnostic by which I mean that I don’t know that there is a god but I don’t know that there isn’t, either. Lately, I’ve come to accept the possibility of something like a god out there without subscribing to any of the versions that different religions put out as the One True Version. Even within Christianity, there’s no one vision of Jesus. »
- John Ostrander
London, May 6: Original 'Star Trek' series' pilot episode bombed with the test audience and was on the verge of getting scrapped, a new documentary has revealed.
The Channel 5 documentary shows that the NBC decided that the pilot was "too cerebral," and almost pulled the plug on the first series.
Neither series creator Gene Roddenberry nor Herb Solow wanted to give up on their idea and eventually pestered NBC into agreeing to an almost unheard of second pilot, the Daily Express reported.
But there was a problem, during a meeting with the cast, the wife of the lead actor Jeffrey Hunter came in and loftily announced that Hunter is a movie star and will no longer do television.
Hunter's desertion prompted. »
- Lohit Reddy
A prop phaser rifle designed for one of two original pilot episodes for the original 'Star Trek' TV series has been sold at auction for an astronomical $231,000. The rifle was designed by Reuben Klamer for producer Gene Roddenberry and was wielded by William Shatner in a pilot episode for NBC. A previous pilot episode had been filmed with Jeffrey Hunter in the lead role, but the episode was rejected by NBC brass. Still, the network saw promise in Gene Roddenberry's creation and authorized a second pilot episode. The rests, as they say, is history. Click here for more about the gun, as well as film clips. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
What's bigger than a flower pot from "The Wizard of Oz," a costume worn by Christopher Reeve in "Superman IV" and a night shirt that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe? Capt. Kirk's phaser rifle that was so big, he only used it in one episode. The rifle, used by William Shatner in the second "Star Trek" pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before," sold at auction over the weekend for $231,000. That was more than the flower pot ($15,000), Superman's flying outfit ($25,000) and Monroe's pajama drawer item ($15,000) ... combined. The rifle itself was created by Reuben Klamer in 1965 after NBC ordered a much larger weapon for the new captain, trying to get a more action-packed pilot compared to the more cerebral "The Cage" that starred Jeffrey Hunter. Klamer has invented more than 200 toys and »
Directed by Edmond O’Brien
Some people offer to keep promises whereas others are either forced or compelled to offer payback in return for another person’s deeds. The former sounds very much like a nice, virtuous act while the latter tends to fall into a more sour category, like a chore.. Funny then how easily those notions can be flipped on their heads, subverting expectations in the process. For instance, one can promise to avenge an affront or gladly pay back someone who was kind enough to assist them in the past. Both notions easily intertwine depending on the circumstances and neither is necessarily an indication of a purely good or evil intent. What one advertises as a promise to fulfil a good deed may hide ulterior, more nefarious motives. Edmond O’Brien, one of the great »
- Edgar Chaput
Malachi Throne, the man who played Commodore Jose Mendez in the original "Star Trek" episodes "The Menagerie" died last week following complications of lung cancer. He was 84. Throne, who had already established himself as a character actor when he appeared on the original science-fiction series in 1966, helped NBC and Desilu Pictures make back some of their money in television's first failed pilot that earned a show a second chance. "The Menagerie" was actually a two-part envelope episode for "The Cage," which was the original "Star Trek" pilot starring Jeffrey Hunter and Leonard Nimoy. Throne played Mendez, the commander of a space station where Hunter's character of Capt. Christopher Pike (this time played by Sean Kenney) was severely injured, and then kidnapped by Nimoy's Spock. »
Argo is a 2012 feature film Hollywood thriller loosely based on a memoir written by Antonio "Tony" Mendez, a CIA operative, who led the rescue of six Us diplomats from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film stars Affleck as Mendez, was co-produced by Affleck, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov, and was directed by Ben Affleck. The film is well done and satisfying as a thriller, and is now being touted for awards consideration for the Golden Globes and Oscars.
Although there are many issues with the historical accuracy of the plot, as well as the portrayal of Canadians and the Iranian people, I understand these issues, as I have made a career of producing historical films and biographies where I have striven to be as accurate as possible. I »
- Moctesuma Esparza
By the time fans were introduced to his character of Capt. Christopher Pike, the original commander of the USS Enterprise was confined to a wheelchair, only able to communicate through a single light. But Jeffrey Hunter was a pioneer in terms of what would become television and movie history, taking the captain's chair ahead of everyone else in the original "Star Trek" pilot, "The Cage." While he didn't return for the second pilot, instead being replaced by William Shatner, it seems Hunter did have a fondness for the franchise, and what could become of it. Except that fans really never heard that since Hunter died in 1969 after an explosion on a Spain movie set. That was long before "Star Trek" the series would become Star Trek the franchise, and develop a fan following unrivaled by »
The “adult” Western – as it would come to be called – was a long time coming. A Hollywood staple since the days of The Great Train Robbery (1903), the Western offered spectacle and action set against the uniquely American milieu of the Old West – a historical period which, at the dawn of the motion picture industry, was still fresh in the nation’s memory. What the genre rarely offered was dramatic substance.
Early Westerns often adopted the same traditions of the popular Wild West literature and dime novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries producing, as a consequence, highly romantic, almost purely mythic portraits the Old West. Through the early decades of the motion picture industry, the genre went through several creative cycles, alternately tilting from fanciful to realistic and back again. By the early sound era, and despite such serious efforts as The Big Trail (1930) and The Virginian (1929), Hollywood Westerns were, »
- Bill Mesce
18 items from 2013
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