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Remembering Cortez: Biographer Van Neste Discusses Paramount's 'Valentino Threat'

Remembering Cortez: Biographer Van Neste Discusses Paramount's 'Valentino Threat'
Ricardo Cortez: Although never as big a star as fellow 1920s screen heartthrobs Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, and John Gilbert, Cortez had a long – and, to some extent, prestigious – film career, appearing in nearly 100 movies between 1923 and 1950. Among his directors: Allan Dwan, Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith, James Cruze, Alexander Korda, Herbert Brenon, Roy Del Ruth, Frank Lloyd, Gregory La Cava, William A. Wellman, Alexander Hall, Lloyd Bacon, Tay Garnett, Archie Mayo, Raoul Walsh, Frank Capra, Walter Lang, Michael Curtiz, and John Ford. See previous post: “Remembering Ricardo Cortez: Hollywood's Silent “Latin Lover” & Star of Original 'The Maltese Falcon'.” First of all, why Ricardo Cortez? Since I began writing about classic movies and vintage filmmakers roughly 30 years ago, people have always been curious why I choose particular subjects. It sounds kind of corny, but I have always wanted to do original work and perhaps make a minor contribution to film history at the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade
Ricardo Cortez biography 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez' – Paramount's 'Latin Lover' threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino, and a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon.' 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez': Author Dan Van Neste remembers the silent era's 'Latin Lover' & the star of the original 'The Maltese Falcon' At odds with Famous Players-Lasky after the release of the 1922 critical and box office misfire The Young Rajah, Rudolph Valentino demands a fatter weekly paycheck and more control over his movie projects. The studio – a few years later to be reorganized under the name of its distribution arm, Paramount – balks. Valentino goes on a “one-man strike.” In 42nd Street-style, unknown 22-year-old Valentino look-alike contest winner Jacob Krantz of Manhattan steps in, shortly afterwards to become known worldwide as Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez of
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Top Directors Banking on Nostalgia

Top Directors Banking on Nostalgia
Mel Gibson, Warren Beatty and Robert Zemeckis have a trio of films on offer this month that could appeal to Academy voters longing for a throwback vibe, while Ben Affleck has another on the way in December.

Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” a World War II epic centered on conscientious objector Desmond Doss, feels like a prestige battle picture cut from the Allan Dwan/William Wellman mold.

“One of the best compliments I’ve received is, ‘Wow, it’s like the way they used to make films,’” Gibson said recently on Variety’s “Playback” podcast. “I said, ‘You mean like back in the ‘40s?’ And they said, ‘No, like back in the ’80s’ — like it’s ancient history!”

Such comments are a reflection, the director says, of the fact that the character of the feature-film business has changed. “It’s like chain restaurants or something,” he said. “I believe that if something is good,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

AFI Fest: Ida Lupino, the Sole Woman Director in Hollywood in the 1950s

AFI Fest: Ida Lupino, the Sole Woman Director in Hollywood in the 1950s
Ida Lupino was the first woman to direct a classic noir film. In fact, she was the only woman working within the 1950s Hollywood studio system to direct a feature and she directed seven features and more than 100 TV episodes. She was the only woman to direct episodes of the original “The Twilight Zone” series, as well as the only director to have starred in the show.

She was born in London on Feb. 4, 1918, during a German zeppelin bombing. Her father’s forbears were traveling players and puppeteers in Renaissance Italy. Later generations migrated to England in the 17th century. Her father, Stanley Lupino, was a noted comedian, and her mother, Connie Emerald, was an actress who was also descended from a theatrical family. A cousin, Lupino Lane, was an internationally popular song-and-dance man.

As a child, she improvised and acted scenes with her younger sister, Rita, in a small
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

NYC Weekend Watch: Queer 90s, Jonas Mekas, Kieślowski, Shakespeare & More

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

Metrograph

“Queer ’90s” continues with the likes of Basic Instinct, The Crying Game, and Priscilla.

Films from George Cukor and Azazel Jacobs can be seen on Friday.

The Disney documentary Oceans plays this Saturday; Allan Dwan’s The Inside Story screens this Sunday.

Anthology Film Archives

A series on voyeurism and surveillance brings Citizenfour, Haroun Farocki’s Prison Images,
See full article at The Film Stage »

HFPA Donates Half a Million Dollars to Renovate Historic Egyptian Theater, Site of First Movie Premiere

by Daniel Crooke

While known most casually as the Cool Mom of awards ceremonies – here, you and your friends can drink as much champagne as you want but make sure you do it under my roof, in front of my cameras – the Hollywood Foreign Press Association accomplishes much more every year than pulling off Oscar season’s liveliest, sloppiest party. At their annual Grants Banquet last week, the HFPA awarded over two million dollars worth of grants to non-profit arts organizations, higher education fellowships, professional trainings, and other film-centric or adjacent projects and spaces.

To Angelino cinephiles, film history buffs, and fans of landmark cultural sites, one additional grant announcement might spark some interest: a $500,000 grant to renovate and restore the legendary movie palace, the Egyptian Theater. Home to reams of Golden Age Hollywood lore and, contemporarily, the encyclopedic repertory organization American Cinematheque – the recipients of the grant, and masterminds
See full article at FilmExperience »

The Forgotten: Allan Dwan's "Black Sheep" (1935)

Relatively few films from Fox Pictures (before they became Twentieth Century Fox) are readily available: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is the big one. The modest caper Black Sheep wouldn't be high on the list for reissue: stars Edmund Lowe and Claire Trevor aren't too well-remembered, though he's in Dinner at Eight and she's in Stagecoach. Despite a large cast of supporting players, rotund character man Eugene Pallette is the only other really familiar figure, though founding Keystone Kop Ford Sterling has a good bit as a ship's detective.We're on a transatlantic liner, see, and there are warnings posted about professional gamblers: The Lady Eve territory, before Sturges thought of it. Lowe is such a gambler, but he's a swell guy really. Trevor plays an actress, which is no stretch, and the two have real chemistry. He has a debonair manner and a mellifluous voice—and a drunk scene,
See full article at MUBI »

Kansas City Confidential | Blu-ray Review

After falling into the public domain, Phil Karlson’s 1952 film noir Kansas City Confidential became unfairly lumped into B-grade bracket, a disservice considering the title’s odd narrative and eventual influence on contemporary filmmakers. Karlson, who would eventually turn to mainstream efforts starring the likes of Dean Martin and Elvis Presley in the 1960s and 1970s, contributed several enjoyable minor noir efforts in the 1950s. These would include 1952’s Scandal Sheet with Donna Reed and Broderick Crawford, Kim Novak casino heist effort 5 Against the House, and that same year’s Tight Spot with a peculiar role for Ginger Rogers. But none have enjoyed the staying power of this particular heist drama, now restored with its most accomplished transfer yet.

Kansas City delivery man Joe Rolfe (John Payne) is at the wrong place at the wrong time when he’s nabbed by the cops as the driver of a heist involving
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

The Comic Timing of ‘Speedy’ and Psychology of ‘Gunfight at Dodge City’

As a supplement to our Recommended Discs weekly feature, Peter Labuza regularly highlights notable recent home-video releases with expanded reviews. See this week’s selections below.

Speedy (Criterion)

Harold Lloyd’s mastery of comic timing comes through his respect for environment. While other slapsticians bent reality into a joke, Lloyd’s joke is blending himself into the cruelty of reality. Speedy — his final silent feature — brought him to the streets of New York City to put his Glasses Character into the bustling metropolis, attempting to hold a job and save a fledgling horse-drawn trolley business from corporate conspiracy. Lloyd’s natural comic timing — less mannered than both Keaton and Chaplin — makes him just odd enough to pratfall around the streets with his one-track (or one-baseball diamond) mind, managing to be overly polite and overly clueless at the same time. When he attempts to get a trolley seat for his gal on a crowded car,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Cummings Pt.2: Working with Capra and West, Fighting Columbia in Court

Constance Cummings in 'Night After Night.' Constance Cummings: Working with Frank Capra and Mae West (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Actress Went from Harold Lloyd to Eugene O'Neill.”) Back at Columbia, Harry Cohn didn't do a very good job at making Constance Cummings feel important. By the end of 1932, Columbia and its sweet ingenue found themselves in court, fighting bitterly over stipulations in her contract. According to the actress and lawyer's daughter, Columbia had failed to notify her that they were picking up her option. Therefore, she was a free agent, able to offer her services wherever she pleased. Harry Cohn felt otherwise, claiming that his contract player had waived such a notice. The battle would spill over into 1933. On the positive side, in addition to Movie Crazy 1932 provided Cummings with three other notable Hollywood movies: Washington Merry-Go-Round, American Madness, and Night After Night. 'Washington Merry-Go-Round
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshal

We've already got a fine domestic disc with both versions of John Ford's fine Henry Fonda western. This Region B UK release duplicates that arrangement with different extras, and throws in a fine HD transfer of an earlier Allan Dwan version of the same story -- with strong similarities -- called Frontier Marshal. It stars Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Cesar Romero and Binnie Barnes and it's very good. My Darling Clementine +  Frontier Marshal Region B Blu-ray Arrow Academy (UK) 1946 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 97 + 103 min. (two versions) / Street Date August 17, 2015, 2014 / Amazon UK / £19.99 Starring Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature, Cathy Downs, Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Ward Bond, Alan Mowbray, John Ireland, Roy Roberts, Jane Darwell, Grant Withers, J. Farrell MacDonald, Russell Simpson. Cinematography Joe MacDonald Art Direction James Basevi, Lyle Wheeler Film Editor Dorothy Spencer Original Music Cyril Mockridge Written by Samuel G. Engel, Sam Hellman, Winston Miller Produced by Samuel G. Engel,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

From Robinson's Toyboy to Intrepid Drug Smuggler: Fairbanks Jr on TCM

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ca. 1935. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was never as popular as his father, silent film superstar Douglas Fairbanks, who starred in one action-adventure blockbuster after another in the 1920s (The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad) and whose stardom dates back to the mid-1910s, when Fairbanks toplined a series of light, modern-day comedies in which he was cast as the embodiment of the enterprising, 20th century “all-American.” What this particular go-getter got was screen queen Mary Pickford as his wife and United Artists as his studio, which he co-founded with Pickford, D.W. Griffith, and Charles Chaplin. Now, although Jr. never had the following of Sr., he did enjoy a solid two-decade-plus movie career. In fact, he was one of the few children of major film stars – e.g., Jane Fonda, Liza Minnelli, Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis – who had successful film careers of their own.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Two-Time Best Actress Oscar Winner Shines on TCM Today: Was Last-Minute Replacement for Crawford in Key Davis Movie of the '60s

Olivia de Havilland on Turner Classic Movies: Your chance to watch 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' for the 384th time Olivia de Havilland is Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” star today, Aug. 2, '15. The two-time Best Actress Oscar winner (To Each His Own, 1946; The Heiress, 1949) whose steely determination helped to change the way studios handled their contract players turned 99 last July 1. Unfortunately, TCM isn't showing any de Havilland movie rarities, e.g., Universal's cool thriller The Dark Mirror (1946), the Paramount comedy The Well-Groomed Bride (1947), or Terence Young's British-made That Lady (1955), with de Havilland as eye-patch-wearing Spanish princess Ana de Mendoza. On the other hand, you'll be able to catch for the 384th time a demure Olivia de Havilland being romanced by a dashing Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood, as TCM shows this 1938 period adventure classic just about every month. But who's complaining? One the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Weekly Rushes. 29 July 2015

  • MUBI
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.Above: the first trailer for controversial Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul, a prizewinner at Cannes.You may have noticed that the first round of the Toronto International Film Festival's program has been revealed. We're particularly excited about news films by Johnnie To and Terence Davies.The 72nd Venice Film Festival lineup has been unveiled, and includes new films by Martin Scorsese, Marco Bellocchio, Jerzy Skolimowski, Aleksandr Sokurov, Frederick Wiseman, and more. The jury has also been announced: Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Hou Hsaio-hsien, Lynne Ramsay and others, all led by Alfonso Cuarón.Above: A film still from Prelude, a new film by Nathaniel Dorsky that will premiere during the New York Film Festival's retrospective of the director.David Davidson's Toronto Film Review is featuring an epic compendium of "interviews with cinephile directors,
See full article at MUBI »

After Vanda? New Directions

  • MUBI
6. After Vanda? New DirectionsWeekend 6 - March 7 - 9The films explored over the course of the past five Harvard-Gulbenkian programs have boldly, brilliantly anticipated and defined new directions explored by 21st century world cinema. Aesthetically, politically and formally, the films of Reis-Cordeiro, Rocha, Dias, Viegas and Mozos have each in their own way pioneered new modes of narrative cinema, at times radically intermingling of fiction and non-fiction while always searching always for a new relationship between sound and image, between poetry and politics. In Tras-os-montes and Mudar de vida, we see clearly anticipated the brand of “docu-fiction” so important in world cinema today. In Dias 48, nuanced meta-cinema becomes a way to interrogate the political meaning of the image at its most profoundly level. In Viegas’ Gloria and Mozos Xavier, meanwhile, we discover a new kind of cinematic sensorium—an emotional tactility—as well as an alternate concept of film history told
See full article at MUBI »

Arrow Films announces August Blu-ray line-up

It’s the start of a new month, and as ever in film and Blu-ray circles, nothing gets the fans salivating more than the upcoming release slate from the awesome folks over at Arrow Films. Its line-up of releases for August has been unveiled (both UK and Us), and you can view all the information below, including the stand-out title, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, which is getting a very special, limited edition release in a collector’s package.

Videodrome: Limited Edition

Combining the bio-horror elements of his earlier films whilst anticipating the technological themes of his later work, Videodrome exemplifies Cronenberg’s extraordinary talent for making both visceral and cerebral cinema. Max Renn (James Woods) is looking for fresh new content for his TV channel when he happens across some illegal S&M-style broadcasts called ‘Videodrome’. Embroiling his girlfriend Nicki (Debbie Harry) in his search for the source, his
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Daily | Goings On | Japan Cuts, Labruce

The Centerpiece Presentation of this year's Japan Cuts in New York will be the North American premieres of Shingo Wakagi's Asleep and Masaharu Take’s 100 Yen Love. The star of both films, Sakura Ando, is also this year’s honored recipient of the Cut Above Award for Outstanding Performance in Film. More goings on: Joel McCrea and Bruce Labruce in New York, Iranian cinema in Los Angeles, Gus Van Sant and Nicholas Ray in Portland, Allan Dwan in Melbourne, Polish cinema in London, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy throughout the UK, Agnieszka Holland in Berlin and Gregory J. Markopoulos in Basel. » - David Hudson
See full article at Keyframe »

Remembering Cat People Star Simon on 10th Anniversary of Her Death (Fully Revised/Updated Part I)

Simone Simon: Remembering the 'Cat People' and 'La Bête Humaine' star (photo: Simone Simon 'Cat People' publicity) Pert, pretty, pouty, and fiery-tempered Simone Simon – who died at age 94 ten years ago, on Feb. 22, 2005 – is best known for her starring role in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie classic Cat People (1942). Those aware of the existence of film industries outside Hollywood will also remember Simon for her button-nosed femme fatale in Jean Renoir's French film noir La Bête Humaine (1938).[1] In fact, long before Brigitte Bardot, Annette Stroyberg, Mamie Van Doren, Tuesday Weld, Ann-Margret, and Barbarella's Jane Fonda became known as cinema's Sex Kittens, Simone Simon exuded feline charm – with a tad of puppy dog wistfulness – in a film career that spanned two continents and a quarter of a century. From the early '30s to the mid-'50s, she seduced men young and old on both
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

La Bête Humaine and Cat People Actress Remembered Part 1 (Revised and Expanded Version)

'Cat People' 1942 actress Simone Simon Remembered: Starred in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie classic (photo: Simone Simon in 'Cat People') Pert, pouty, pretty Simone Simon is best remembered for her starring roles in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie Cat People (1942) and in Jean Renoir's French film noir La Bête Humaine (1938). Long before Brigitte Bardot, Mamie Van Doren, Ann-Margret, and (for a few years) Jane Fonda became known as cinema's Sex Kittens, Simone Simon exuded feline charm in a film career that spanned a quarter of a century. From the early '30s to the mid-'50s, she seduced men young and old on both sides of the Atlantic – at times, with fatal results. During that period, Simon was featured in nearly 40 movies in France, Italy, Germany, Britain, and Hollywood. Besides Jean Renoir, in her native country she worked for the likes of Jacqueline Audry
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

The Noteworthy: On Sundance, Carpenter Speaks, Peckinpah in Locarno

  • MUBI
Plenty of coverage has come out of the Sundance Film Festival, which wrapped up last week and among our highlights is Wesley Morris's 5-part Sundance Diary for Grantland (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Another Sundance favorite is Manohla Dargis's festival report for The New York Times:

"Every January at the Sundance Film Festival, a movie or two will pop, exciting a cinematic congregation that descends on this resort town praying for the next big thing and at times finding it. Last year the festival got the party started with “Whiplash,” one of its opening selections, and then sent attendees into raptures with “Boyhood.” No single title has dominated this year’s event, yet after a slow start that had some writing off the event before it really got going, good and great movies — from coming-of-age tales like The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to documentaries
See full article at MUBI »
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