On TCM: Oscar Winner Colbert

Claudette Colbert movies on Turner Classic Movies: From ‘The Smiling Lieutenant’ to TCM premiere ‘Skylark’ (photo: Claudette Colbert and Maurice Chevalier in ‘The Smiling Lieutenant’) Claudette Colbert, the studio era’s perky, independent-minded — and French-born — "all-American" girlfriend (and later all-American wife and mother), is Turner Classic Movies’ star of the day today, August 18, 2014, as TCM continues with its "Summer Under the Stars" film series. Colbert, a surprise Best Actress Academy Award winner for Frank Capra’s 1934 comedy It Happened One Night, was one Paramount’s biggest box office draws for more than decade and Hollywood’s top-paid female star of 1938, with reported earnings of $426,944 — or about $7.21 million in 2014 dollars. (See also: TCM’s Claudette Colbert day in 2011.) Right now, TCM is showing Ernst Lubitsch’s light (but ultimately bittersweet) romantic comedy-musical The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), a Best Picture Academy Award nominee starring Maurice Chevalier as a French-accented Central European lieutenant in
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The Ealing Studios Collection Vol. 1 Blu-ray Review

Directors: Robert Hamer, Charles Crichton, Alexander Mackendrick

Starring: Alec Guinness, Dennis Price, Stanley Holloway, Joan Greenwood, Valerie Hobson, Sid James, Alfie Bass, Cecil Parker, Michael Gough

Running Time: 272 Minutes

Certificate: U

Ealing comedies are so wonderful aren’t they? Transporting us back to post-war Britain at a time when it seemed much easier to mix darkness and comedy. This collection of three films, each starring Alec Guinness (one of which stars him 8 times), is a reminder of the incredible talent and unique tone that British films once possessed. Not only does each film deliver the laughs and the more sinister plotlines, but they also make interesting observations on society.

Kind Hearts And Coronets sees a man kill his way through his estranged family in order to inherit the family title and see his mother buried in the family graveyard. Dennis Price takes the lead as the sociopathic and righteous Louis
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10 Actors Who Achieved Cult Villainy On The Strength Of One Movie

When you’re on a role you’re on a role! Once again here is a list of ten actors who achieved cult movie villainy on the strength of one movie. Some of the actors faded into obscurity while others continued their careers without scaling the heights of their defining cinematic performance. Perhaps I should do a one for heroes! Nah! Villains are much more fun!

[Spoilers follow]

Rudolph Klein-Rogge (Metropolis – 1927)

Although dated, Fritz Lang’s utopian masterpiece still has the unique power to fascinate. Not only did the film make a star of Brigitte Helm, it introduced the father of all mad scientists, C A Rotwang, played with eye rolling relish by Lang’s favourite actor Rudolph Klein-Rogge. The Austrian born star specialised in villainous roles so he was a natural for playing the nutty inventor who creates the legendary female robot used to impersonate Helm’s freedom fighter. With his exaggerated mannerisms and facial expressions,
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Movie Alert! "Hell Drivers" Starring Stanley Baker, Patrick McGoohan, Sean Connery And David McCallum On TCM Tonight!

  • CinemaRetro

Tonight, Turner Classic Movies (North America) presents a rare showing of the 1957 British B&W gem Hell Drivers. The film centers on the conflicts that occur when an honest driver for a lorry company (Stanley Baker) confronts corruption in the organization and takes on the criminal ring leader (Patrick McGoohan). The film, directed by Cy Endfield, was regarded as a "B" movie in its day, but has developed a cult following that appreciates its intelligent script and fine cast. Shot mostly at Pinewood Studios, featured actors include Sean Connery, Herbert Lom, David McCallum and his real-life wife Jill Ireland, Sidney James, Gordon Jackson and Alfie Bass. A trivia note is that McGoohan, Connery and McCallum would all shoot to stardom in the next decade playing legendary cinematic spies.
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Giveaway – Win The Beatles’ Help! On Blu-ray

Calling all Beatles fans… the group’s second feature film, 1965’s Help!, will be released on Blu-ray on Tuesday, June 25 and Wamg is giving away copies to 2 lucky readers.

Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the band’s debut feature film, 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night, Help! follows The Beatles as they become passive recipients of an outside plot that revolves around Ringo’s possession of a sacrificial ring, which he cannot remove from his finger. As a result, he and his bandmates John, Paul and George are chased from London to the Austrian Alps and the Bahamas by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the London police.

In addition to starring The Beatles, Help! boasts a witty script, a great cast of British character actors, and classic Beatles songs “Help!,” “You’re Going To Lose That Girl,” “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” “Ticket To Ride,
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The Beatles’ Help! Coming To Blu-ray June 25

The Beatles’ second feature film, 1965’s Help!, is on the way on Blu-ray. On June 24 (June 25 in North America), Help! makes its eagerly awaited Blu-ray debut in a single-disc package pairing the digitally restored film and 5.1 soundtrack with an hour of extra features, including a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film, memories of the cast and crew, an in-depth look at the restoration process, an outtake scene, and original theatrical trailers and radio spots. An introduction by the film’s director, Richard Lester, and an appreciation by Martin Scorsese are included in the Blu-ray’s booklet.

Help!’s Blu-ray edition follows the 2012 release of The Beatles’ digitally restored Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour feature films on Blu-ray, DVD and iTunes with extensive extras. Help!’s restoration for its 2007 DVD debut wowed viewers, earning five-times platinum sales in the U.S. and praise from a broad range of
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10 Worst Moments In James Bond Film Franchise

James Bond isn’t always smooth. James Bond isn’t always cool. As a lifelong fan, it pains me to say it — but, sometimes, James Bond = total pants. Over 22 films (oh, all right, Bond geeks: 23 including the non-Eon produced Never Say Never Again) there have been some excruciating hands-over-the-eyes moments that make you go (for want of a better word): “Bleh.”

I don’t mean continuity errors or bloopers. I mean those scenes which make you slap your forehead in disbelief and shout ‘No, no, No!’ at the screen.

You know what I mean: Roger Moore snowboarding to the sounds of The Beach Boys; Roger Moore climbing into a submarine that’s disguised as an iceberg. Roger Moore climbing into a submarine that’s disguised as a crocodile. Roger Moore in space. Roger Moore (do you sense a theme here?) driving a motorised gondola. Grace Jones doing anything. Eric Serra
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Trailer and Clip from Restoration of Ealing Comedy The Lavender Hill Mob

To my mind there’s nothing like a slice of of pure Guinness to ease you into the weekend which gives me a great excuse to flag up the recenty released restoration of Ealing comedy classic The Lavender Hill Mob.

This film is the latest in Optimum’s comendable programme of restoring and, importantly, re-releasing classics of the British film industry’s past into cinemas before the welcome Blu-ray and DVD release.

We’ll have our review of the restored film up on the site shortly but for now we have a clip from the film and its trailer, both of which should have you clicked frantically to see if this film is still playing in your local picture house, then hauling your cyber self across to the nearest DVDery to buy up the disc. It’s that good.

Here’s a synopsis and a hint as to the extras on the new Blu-ray,
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Blu-ray Review: The Lavender Hill Mob – Quintessential British Comedy!

Ealing’s classic crime caper comedy is pure 24-carat gold in HD and is well worth revisiting with this week’s new 60th anniversary Blu-ray release!

Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) is a shy, methodical and trustworthy bank clerk who is responsible for the shipment of gold bullion to the bank. Following the same procedure for many years he has long lusted after the gold and dreamt of the fantastic life such wealth would bring. Understanding that he would have to get the bullion out of the country in order to enjoy it, Holland has refrained from attempting a theft with the knowledge that he’ll get caught. That is until novelty souvenir sculptor Alfred Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) moves in upstairs… Now with an opportunity to export the gold to France in the form of souvenir Eiffel Tower models, Holland entices Pendlebury into his scheme. Holland and Pendlebury set a trap
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DVD Review - The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

The Lavender Hill Mob, 1951.

Directed by Charles Crichton.

Starring Alec Guiness, Stanley Holloway, Sid James and Alfi Bass.


A bank clerk finds himself drawn into a gold smuggling racket.

You may as well know something right now. You will have to get a new mouth after watching The Lavender Hill Mob, because the one you’ve got will have worn out completely from grinning ear to ear for 78 minutes. It’s not just that this film is funny. It is spleen-shatteringly funny, but somehow, that doesn’t quite cover how relentlessly joyful and excitable the whole experience is.

We start at the end, of course. Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) is a man taking very well to being filthy rich. He dishes out banknotes like they were jelly babies; a radiant Audrey Hepburn (in her first film role) pops over for a quick kiss and some walking around money. Holland
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The Lavender Hill Mob — review

First seen in the summer of 1951, year of the Festival of Britain, this heist spoof is one of the most glorious gems in the Ealing crown, with a fine script by wartime copper Teb Clarke and marvellous black-and-white photography by Douglas Slocombe, who shot Hue and Cry and Kind Hearts and Coronets. The Old Vic's Guinness, speaking with a slight lisp that gives his sad, nervous nonentity a curious edge, and music hall comedian Stanley Holloway, all brash confidence, are perfect as the bullion thieves who recruit inept, small-time crooks Sid James and Alfie Bass for the eponymous band of south London villains. Inventive, economic, masterly.

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The Lavender Hill Mob – review

Alec Guinness is the timid bank clerk in one of the classic Ealing comedies celebrating its 60th birthday with a cinema rerelease

A warm welcome back, after 60 years, to this Ealing gem written by Teb Clarke and directed by Charles Crichton. Alec Guinness gives a great performance as Henry Holland, the mousy, bespectacled bank clerk – a creation on which Hg Wells and Dickens might have collaborated – in bomb-damaged postwar London. His job is to accompany gold bullion in the special van with armed security guards and, with the help of his friend Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) figures out a way to pinch the gold and smuggle it out of the country into Paris smelted down into bogus lead paperweights in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. It's tremendously good fun, though lighter in tone than Ealing's two scabrous masterpieces Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers, and not quite matching their
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Cream of the cockney crop

As The Lavender Hill Mob enjoys a 60th-anniversary re-release, let's have a butcher's at cockney characters in the movies

Like the perfect eccentric elderly relative you always wanted as a child (rather than your actual nan), it's always a pleasure to welcome back The Lavender Hill Mob. Ealing Studios' deathless heist caper is about to enjoy a 60th-anniversary re-release and will, as always, represent a slice of pure comic wonderment. But it's also a landmark in the history of the big-screen cockney, bringing with it a distinctive waft of fag ash and dog tracks.

Not that it makes a song and dance about it. That's sort of the point. If the first part of the film's title is a sleight of hand (Battersea's grubby central thoroughfare never actually appearing on camera), the second is a gag in itself – the very idea of Alec Guinness's exquisitely straitlaced Henry Holland
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Bullets and bats: when Hammer Films met 007

“My name is Bond - James Bond". That classic introduction to the cinema’s greatest secret agent is as famous as “I am Dracula, I bid you welcome.” When the box office success of Dr No (1962) turned the unknown Sean Connery into a movie legend, Hammer was never far away from the franchise. With their own films running parallel to the Bond series, Hammer and Eon Productions often made use of the same talent.

Dr No also marked the debuts of Bernard Lee (the first of 11 films as M) and Lois Maxwell (the first of 14 as Miss Moneypenny). Lee had a brief turn as Tarmut in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973) and despite never starring in a Hammer horror, Maxwell turned up in their early fifties thrillers Lady in the Fog (1953) and Mantrap (1954).

As doomed double-agent Professor Dent, Anthony Dawson is best known as the vile Marquis in Curse
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Vampires Suck – review

The most stylish vampire comedy is Polanski's Dance of the Vampires, though it has only one truly memorable joke that involves Alfie Bass as a Jewish vampire. To my mind, the funniest one is the knockabout Love at First Bite, starring George Hamilton as Count Dracula in New York. Had you asked me last week what was the worst, I'd have said the 2009 British movie Lesbian Vampire Killers. However, there is now another contender for the title – the infinitely more expensive Vampires Suck, a witless, slavish pastiche of the series of romantic dramas based on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels. It is a knowing film that knows nothing about comedy.

ComedyHorrorPhilip French © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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Neil Gaiman Says Vampire Movies Should Go Back "Underground"

Vampire movies had been out of vogue since the '90s, taking a "dirt nap" until 2008's Twilight regurgitated them back into popular culture in a big way. Now there's a whole host of vampire-themed movies and TV shows to choose from, supplanting this decade's zombie fixation with their pale-skinned supernatural brethren.

Fantasy author and movie producer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust) was recently asked about the importance of vampires in cinema, and he ultimately said that vampire movies should go back to the grave from whence they came. Gaiman gave credence to a few vampire movies, however, which he said helped to broaden the genre. One movie Gaiman cited was Roman Polanski's Dance of the Vampires (1967), which called into question the long-established belief that vampires are afraid of crosses.

Dance of the Vampires has that wonderful moment where Alfie Bass as the Jewish innkeeper has been bitten and transformed by the vampires.
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See also

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