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Morgan Freeman’s Biggest Revelation: He Could Shape His Own Destiny

Morgan Freeman’s Biggest Revelation: He Could Shape His Own Destiny
Revelations Entertainment has explored a wide variety of topics since Morgan Freeman and computer-programmer-turned-producer Lori McCreary founded the production company two decades ago: The projects have been both global and universal, tackling South African politics (the 2009 feature “Invictus”) and women in power (CBS’ “Madam Secretary”) in addition to fundamental issues such as love, belief, rebellion and peace (the National Geographic docu-series “The Story of Us”).

But the impetus to form the company came from a deeply personal place in Freeman.

Like many men of his generation, Freeman grew up playing cowboy and watching Westerns. But, as an African-American, he didn’t see many people who looked like him riding high in the saddle on the big screen, literally or figuratively. There were a few who were given respectable but not necessarily fully developed roles, including “Spartacus” gladiator Woody Strode and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” co-star Rex Ingram, but most high-profile black actors appearing in mainstream films, such as
See full article at Variety - Film News »

King Aragorn... and Other Luminaries

It's a big day for your Lord of the Rings fans, even if you don't know it. Read on.

On this day in history as it relates to the movies

1882 Bela Lugosi is born in what was then Hungary (and now Romania). He vants to suck your blood as the original big screen Dracula. A century later Martin Landau will win a justly deserved Oscar for playing him in Tim Burton's wonderful Ed Wood (1994).

1895 Rex Ingram, one of the earliest successful black actors in Hollywood was born. Credits include: The Thief of Baghdad (as the genie), Huckleberry Finn (as Jim), and Cabin in the Sky (as Lucifer Jr)... 

1901 Frank Churchill is born in Maine. He wrote songs people still listen to today including "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Tragically he committed suicide at age 40 mere months after
See full article at FilmExperience »

Examining Hollywood Remakes: Aladdin

  • Cinelinx
Its remake time again. For this article, we’re tackling Disney! We’ll be dissecting a popular animated movie, whose cinematic predecessor is a fantasy classic. This week, Cinelinx looks at Disney’s Aladdin. (1992)

Disney has taken many famous old stories and made them into modern cinematic blockbusters. One of those was 1992’s Aladdin, which was based on the story “The Thief of Bagdad” from Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights. Of course, this was not the first time the story was translated to film. It was done previously in 1940 as The Thief of Bagdad, which has been described by Roger Ebert as “One of the greatest fantasy films ever made, on a level with The Wizard of Oz.” (There was actually a silent version released in 1924, but we’re going to save the old silent films for another time.) Was the Disney remake a worthy follow-up to the 1940 classic?
See full article at Cinelinx »

British Film and Hollywood: What If Hitchcock Had Stayed in the UK? Interview with Film Historian Anthony Slide

Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman: The 'Notorious' British (Hitchcock, Grant) and Swedish (Bergman) talent. British actors and directors in Hollywood; Hollywood actors and directors in Britain: Anthony Slide's 'A Special Relationship.' 'A Special Relationship' Q&A: Britain in Hollywood and Hollywood in Britain First of all, what made you think of a book on “the special relationship” between the American and British film industries – particularly on the British side? I was aware of a couple of books on the British in Hollywood, but I wanted to move beyond that somewhat limited discussion and document the whole British/American relationship as it applied to filmmaking. Growing up in England, I had always been interested in the history of the British cinema, but generally my writing on film history has been concentrated on America. I suppose to a certain extent I wanted to go back into my archives,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

God’s IMDb: A History of Actors Playing the Almighty

  • Vulture
God’s IMDb: A History of Actors Playing the Almighty
God comes to Broadway this month in the form of Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, who will portray the Almighty in the new comedy An Act of God. But he’s not the first to portray the man upstairs. Here’s a history of Gods in movies, TV, and theater.Rex Ingram, The Green Pastures, 1936 Ingram starred as “De Lawd” in this adaptation of several Biblical stories, which featured an all-black cast. Charlton Heston (voice), The Ten Commandments, 1956 Heston wasn’t just Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s classic. He also provided God’s booming voice. John Huston (voice), The Bible, 1966 Along with directing and playing Noah, Huston handled voice-over duties for the Almighty. Jeff Chandler, Elizabeth I, 1972This Broadway show told the story of Elizabethan performers trying to mount a play about their queen. Among other characters, Chandler played an actor playing God. Stephen Elliott, The Creation of
See full article at Vulture »

Several of Grant's Best Films Tonight on TCM

Cary Grant movies: 'An Affair to Remember' does justice to its title (photo: Cary Grant ca. late 1940s) Cary Grant excelled at playing Cary Grant. This evening, fans of the charming, sophisticated, debonair actor -- not to be confused with the Bristol-born Archibald Leach -- can rejoice, as no less than eight Cary Grant movies are being shown on Turner Classic Movies, including a handful of his most successful and best-remembered star vehicles from the late '30s to the late '50s. (See also: "Cary Grant Classic Movies" and "Cary Grant and Randolph Scott: Gay Lovers?") The evening begins with what may well be Cary Grant's best-known film, An Affair to Remember. This 1957 romantic comedy-melodrama is unusual in that it's an even more successful remake of a previous critical and box-office hit -- the Academy Award-nominated 1939 release Love Affair -- and that it was directed
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Now Streaming on Netflix - Watch Sammy Davis Jr and Eartha Kitt Fall in Love in 'Anna Lucasta'

So once again I went down to the basement and searched my secret vault for those rare, forgotten or unknown black films or TV gems such as "Tamango," "Toxi," "Coonskin," "Roll Out" or the Grace Bumbry "Carmen" opera film, to see what can I bring out into the light. This time around it’s the 1959 United Artists film "Anna Lucasta" with Sammy Davis Jr, Eartha Kitt and Rex Ingram - a film I decided to discuss since it’s been mainly overlooked (especially strange as it was pretty unique at the time it came out, which I’ll get into later). Also because I found out four things about the film and the play that it’s based on, that I never knew before, which surprised me (I’ll get to...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

S&A 2013 Highlights: Sammy Davis Jr and Eartha Kitt Fall In Love In 'Anna Lucasta'

So once again I went down to the basement and searched my secret vault for those rare, forgotten or unknown black films or TV gems such as Tamango, Toxi, Coonskin, Roll Out or the Grace Bumbry Carmen opera film, to see what can I bring out into the light. This time around it’s the 1959 United Artists film Anna Lucasta with Sammy Davis Jr, Eartha Kitt and Rex Ingram - a film I decided to discuss since it’s been mainly overlooked (especially strange as it was pretty unique at the time it came out, which I’ll get into later). Also because I found out four things about the film and the play that it’s based on, that I never knew before, which surprised me (I’ll get to those too...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Brash Blonde vs. Sweet Blonde (Long Before Titanic): Farrell Has Her 'Summer' Day

Glenda Farrell: Actress has her ‘Summer Under the Stars’ day Scene-stealer Glenda Farrell is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" star today, August 29, 2013. A reliable — and very busy — Warner Bros. contract player in the ’30s, the sharp, energetic, fast-talking blonde actress was featured in more than fifty films at the studio from 1931 to 1939. Note: This particular Glenda Farrell has nothing in common with the One Tree Hill character played by Amber Wallace in the television series. The Glenda Farrell / One Tree Hill name connection seems to have been a mere coincidence. (Photo: Glenda Farrell as Torchy Blane in Smart Blonde.) Back to Warners’ Glenda Farrell: TCM is currently showing Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939), one of the seven B movies starring Farrell as intrepid reporter Torchy Blane. Major suspense: Will Torchy win the election? She should. No city would ever go bankrupt with Torchy at the helm. Glenda Farrell
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Virgins and Prostitutes: Jones' Movies on TCM

Shirley Jones Movies: Innocent virgins and sex workers galore (photo: Shirley Jones and Burt Lancaster in ‘Elmer Gantry’) (See previous post: “Shirley Jones: From Book to Movies.”) I haven’t watched The Cheyenne Social Club (1970), a comedy Western directed by Gene Kelly, and starring 62-year-old James Stewart as a cowpoke who inherits an establishment that turns out to be a popular house of prostitution. Henry Fonda plays Stewart’s partner. And I’m sure Shirley Jones, as one of the sex workers, looks lovely in the film. Hopefully, director Kelly gave this likable, talented actress the chance to do more than just stand around looking pretty. But then again … For all purposes, The Cheyenne Social Club ended Shirley Jones’ film stardom; that same year she turned to TV and The Partridge Family. Jones would return to films only nine years later, as one of several stars (among them Michael Caine,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Trailers from Hell: John Landis on Faust Musical 'Cabin in the Sky'

Trailers from Hell: John Landis on Faust Musical 'Cabin in the Sky'
This week at Trailers from Hell, director John Landis takes a look at Vincente Minnelli's musical, "Cabin in the Sky," released in 1943. The hit 1940 Broadway musical version of the Faust legend made it to the screen three years later, with original stars Ethel Waters and Rex Ingram heading an all-star African-American cast and first-time director Vincente Minnelli behind the camera. Jack Benny foil Eddie Anderson replaced Casablanca pianist Dooley Wilson in the lead because "Rochester" was popular enough to allay objections from exhibitors in some of the race-averse Southern states. Released in "glorious Sepiatone."
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Clara Bow, Andrei Tarkovsky, Audrey Hepburn Movies

Clara Bow, Mantrap What do Andrei Tarkovsky, Edward G. Robinson, Clara Bow, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Audrey Hepburn have in common? Easy. They'll all be featured in some form or other at the Library of Congress' Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia, in May. [Packard Campus screening schedule.] Andrei Tarkovsky will be represented by the classic sci-fier Solaris (1971), billed as the Soviet Union's answer to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and by the classic period drama Andrei Rublev (1969), a meditation on art, religion, spirituality, and human brutality and stupidity. A technicality: Solaris will actually be screened on April 27. Edward G. Robinson stars in The Little Giant (1933), a pre-Code crime comedy featuring Mary Astor. The (at the time) energetic Roy Del Ruth (The Maltese Falcon, Taxi!, Employees' Entrance) directed. Clara Bow is the star of Mantrap (1926), a fluffy romantic comedy of interest chiefly because of Bow and because neither of her two leading
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Clip joint: thieves who steal hearts

Lock up your daughters' valuables! It seems film people can't help being seduced by that bloke pilfering the family silver

It's not wise to fall in love with a person who sneaks into your house in the dead of night and steals your valuables. And yet the charming thief has light-footed his way into any number of films, finding romance as well as loot. What is it about these smooth-talking characters that make them so irresistible? Is it their position outside of society, which gives them a sense of aloofness and danger? Is it because romance with a thief is fleeting, existing only in the brief moment before they're off on the run or captured by police? Perhaps film-makers hope we'll forget they're picking our pockets at £10 a ticket if we're seduced by a suave fellow in a tuxedo or a femme fatale in a catsuit. Whatever the reason, film
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Conrad Veidt on TCM: The Hands Of Orlac, Casablanca, Nazi Agent

Conrad Veidt is Turner Classic Movies' "Summer Under the Stars" performer of the day. An international star since the 1920s, Veidt worked in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Hollywood — twice. [Conrad Veidt Movie Schedule.] In the late '20s, Veidt was the star of unusual Hollywood fare such as Paul Leni's The Man Who Laughs (1928), in the title role as a man with a grin-like scar where his mouth should be, and Paul Fejos' The Last Performance (1929), as a magician in love with pretty Mary Philbin — a Universal star who also happened to be Veidt's leading lady in The Man Who Laughs. With the arrival of talking pictures, Veidt returned to Germany, but with the ascent of the Nazis he fled first to England and later to the United States. In the Hollywood of the early '40s, Veidt became everybody's favorite Nazi in movies such as Nazi Agent, Escape, and Casablanca.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

26 Criterion Collection Films Will Expire From Netflix Watch Instantly On May 26th

Well we all knew this would happen. Back in February, when Criterion announced their epic digital streaming partnership with Hulu, they also quietly revealed that their streaming options on Netflix would be coming to an end over the course of the next year. While I haven’t been paying close attention to the Criterion Collection films that have been expiring since that announcement was made, I thought it would be helpful to all of you loyal Netflix subscribers to know that in about twelve days, 26 titles will be expiring on the 26th of May, 2011.

I’ve gone and linked to all of the titles below, so you can click on the cover art or the text, and be taken to their corresponding Netflix pages. While this isn’t everything that Criterion has to offer on Netflix, it is a nice chunk of really important films. If you don’t currently have a Netflix subscription,
See full article at CriterionCast »

The effect of effects

I've just been watching "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940), which has probably the most influential special effects of all pre-cgi films. It's going into the Great Movies Collection, not for the effects, of course, but because it is a sublime entertainment on a level with "The Wizard of Oz" or the first "Star Wars." But there are few effects in "Star Wars" (1977) that were not invented for, experimented with, or perfected in "The Thief of Bagdad." And some of them had their genesis in Raoul Walsh's magnificent 1924 silent film of the same name starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Left: Rex Ingram, as the genie, towers over Sabu, as the thief, in "The Thief of Bagdad." The shot was made by combining real footage of Ingram, close to the camera, and Sabu, several hundred feet away.

Details will await my Great Movies article. But in a more general way, I'd like to
See full article at Roger Ebert's Blog »

See also

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