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12 items from 2011


Our Holiday Favorites: Fitzwilly

12 December 2011 8:00 AM, PST | Slackerwood | See recent Slackerwood news »

Fitzwilly is an underrated, oft-ignored Delbert Mann film from 1967. It might be a cult classic if slightly more people knew about it! I first heard about the comedy through a family friend eight or nine years ago, and I loved it at first viewing. The movie can be watched year-round, but I prefer to wait until December.

Dick Van Dyke plays butler Fitzwilly to Miss Vicki (Edith Evans), a generous benefactress who has no idea of her true financial standing (she's almost broke). He leads her doting staff, compiled of fantastic character actors (John McGiver as Albert is a particular favorite of mine) and soon-to-be-big-names (Sam Waterston plays the chauffeur in one of his first film roles). To keep Miss Vicki in the style to which she is accustomed, Fitzwilly is running several con games. One thing may throw a wrench in his plans -- Miss Vicki decides to write »

- Elizabeth Stoddard

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DVD Review: "The Whisperers" (1967) Starring Dame Edith Evans

8 December 2011 3:49 AM, PST | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

By Lee Pfeiffer

By the way some reviews describe this moody 1967 film, one might think they are dealing with a story about the supernatural. Dame Edith Evans, giving a bravura Oscar-nominated performance, plays an elderly woman who believes she can hear conspiratorial voices plotting against her. She reprimands them but they keep returning. They are the titular "Whisperers"- however, this plot angle is only fleetingly explored in Bryan Forbes downbeat but impressive film. In fact the movie is a character study that illustrated the plight of the elderly in Britain at that time. The Brits may have been on the winning side in WWII, but the social consequences of living in a nation that was financially crippled because of the consequences of that conflict were severe. The popular image of England in the mid to late 1960s was that of London being the epicenter of the pop culture revolution. »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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New this Week: ‘The Big Year,’ ‘The Thing’ and ‘The Tree of Life (DVD)’

12 October 2011 6:00 AM, PDT | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

Hitting movie theaters this weekend:

The Big YearOwen WilsonJack BlackSteve Martin

FootlooseKenny WormaldJulianne HoughDennis Quaid

The Thing - Mary Elizabeth WinsteadJoel EdgertonUlrich Thomsen

Movie of the Week

The Big Year

The Stars: Owen WilsonJack BlackSteve Martin

The Plot: Three avid bird watchers compete to spot the rarest birds in North America at a prestigious annual event.

The Buzz: I was completely unaware of this film until about two weeks ago, when I first saw the trailer. Seems it snuck up on everyone, as there hasn’t been much buzz about it at all. Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin are all, of course, potential of amazing comedy cinema, and it’ll be interest to see how the three play off of each other. If the script is good, these three guys will do it justice. I’m »

- Aaron Ruffcorn

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Diane Cilento obituary

7 October 2011 4:09 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Alluring Australian actor best known for her role in The Wicker Man

Such is the superficial nature of fame that the Australian-born actor Diane Cilento, who has died of cancer aged 78, was best remembered as the wife of Sean Connery from 1962 to 1973, during the height of his fame as James Bond. The attractive, blonde, husky-voiced Cilento would be more fittingly recalled for her roles in a dozen or so British films in the 1950s and 60s, to which she brought a dose of much-needed sexuality. However, her best-known part was in the cultish The Wicker Man (1973), her last British picture before returning to her homeland.

Born in Brisbane, she was the daughter of Sir Raphael and Lady Phyllis Cilento, both physicians. Much to their initial disappointment, Diane decided against following them into the medical profession. After winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, at the age »

- Ronald Bergan

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Diane Cilento Dead at 81: Oscar Nominated for Tom Jones, Formerly Married to Sean Connery

6 October 2011 6:46 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Diane Cilento, a tall, voluptuous, sometimes blonde/sometimes brunette beauty best remembered for her Academy Award-nominated performance in the 1963 Oscar winner Tom Jones, died in Cairns, in the north of Queensland, according to an online report in the Australian publication The Newsport/Port Douglas Daily. The report says Cilento was 81; as per the IMDb, she had turned 78 yesterday. The cause of death, "after a long battle with illness," hasn't been disclosed. Born to a family of doctors on Oct. 5, 1933, in Brisbane, Queensland, Cilento began her film career in British and British-set Hollywood productions of the early 1950s. By mid-decade, Cilento was already getting cast in leads and semi-leads, in mid-level fare such as Roy Ward Baker's Passage Home (1955), opposite Anthony Steel and Peter Finch, and Alan Bromly's The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp (1956), in the title role as an angel who, in order to fulfill her mission on Earth, »

- Andre Soares

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Googie Withers obituary

16 July 2011 7:45 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A striking presence on stage and in the great days of British film, she played the prison governor of TV's Within These Walls

Followers of postwar cinema may well recall Googie Withers's striking presence in It Always Rains On Sunday, an unusually intense film for the Ealing Studios of 1947. A bored wife, she gives shelter to an ex-lover, now a murderer on the run, played by John McCallum, soon to be her real-life husband. The lovers were shown as unsympathetically as they might have been in French film noir, and the weather was bad even by British standards.

What Withers, who has died aged 94, brought to that performance was to define her strength in some of her most powerful roles. Too strong a face and too grand a manner prevented her being thought conventionally pretty, but she was imposingly watchable because of an obvious vigour and sexuality. Thus equipped, »

- Dennis Barker

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Googie Withers obituary

16 July 2011 7:45 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A striking presence on stage and in the great days of British film, she played the prison governor of TV's Within These Walls

Followers of postwar cinema may well recall Googie Withers's striking presence in It Always Rains On Sunday, an unusually intense film for the Ealing Studios of 1947. A bored wife, she gives shelter to an ex-lover, now a murderer on the run, played by John McCallum, soon to be her real-life husband. The lovers were shown as unsympathetically as they might have been in French film noir, and the weather was bad even by British standards.

What Withers, who has died aged 94, brought to that performance was to define her strength in some of her most powerful roles. Too strong a face and too grand a manner prevented her being thought conventionally pretty, but she was imposingly watchable because of an obvious vigour and sexuality. Thus equipped, »

- Dennis Barker

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Margaret Tyzack obituary

28 June 2011 10:56 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

One of Britain's most distinguished actors, known for her roles on stage and screen

Margaret Tyzack, who has died aged 79, was one of Britain's greatest and most popular actors, working on stage, television and film for more than half a century. Sometimes described as being in the mould of Edith Evans and Flora Robson, she will be remembered particularly for performances in the golden age of BBC TV drama – Winifred in The Forsyte Saga (1967), Antonia in I, Claudius (1976) – as well as for stage performances such as Martha in the National Theatre's revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1981), for which she won an Olivier award for best actress, and Lottie with Maggie Smith in Lettice and Lovage (1987 and 1990), which earned her both Tony and Variety Club stage actress of the year awards. In 2008, well into her 70s, she scored perhaps one of her finest triumphs on stage as the wily, »

- Carole Woddis

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Margaret Tyzack obituary

28 June 2011 10:56 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

One of Britain's most distinguished actors, known for her roles on stage and screen

Margaret Tyzack, who has died aged 79, was one of Britain's greatest and most popular actors, working on stage, television and film for more than half a century. Sometimes described as being in the mould of Edith Evans and Flora Robson, she will be remembered particularly for performances in the golden age of BBC TV drama – Winifred in The Forsyte Saga (1967), Antonia in I, Claudius (1976) – as well as for stage performances such as Martha in the National Theatre's revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1981), for which she won an Olivier award for best actress, and Lottie with Maggie Smith in Lettice and Lovage (1987 and 1990), which earned her both Tony and Variety Club stage actress of the year awards. In 2008, well into her 70s, she scored perhaps one of her finest triumphs on stage as the wily, »

- Carole Woddis

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Michael Ward obituary

18 May 2011 11:28 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

News and portrait photographer with an eye for the unexpected and the authentic

Michael Ward, who has died after a long illness, aged 82, was a news photographer for almost 40 years and once calculated that his archive of prints and negatives covered 5,500 assignments, mainly though not exclusively for the Sunday Times. And yet he came late to his career and never felt confident that he completely understood it. Towards the end of his life, after half a century with a camera, he wrote that he knew "as much or as little about the processes of photography as a decent amateur". Technically, he knew he was far from accomplished. Aesthetically, he was never sure what separated a good picture from an indifferent one.

He had several exhibitions – the venues included the National theatre and the National Portrait Gallery – but he always remained suspicious about photography's claim as art. Nevertheless, many of his pictures are sympathetic and memorable. »

- Ian Jack

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Living in a television time warp | Peter Preston

2 January 2011 11:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

To be young in front of a TV is to be suddenly old, in a world where the past eternally survives

It was a child's straightforward question: "Are they dead, grandpa?" And yes, indeed, they are. Georgina and I were watching Kiss Me Kate on its umpteenth TV outing: with Howard Keel (Rip 2004, aged 85), Ann Miller (2004, aged 81) and Kathryn Grayson (who died only 11 months ago , aged 88). But Georgina, just 10, knew none of that, of course. She loved Miller's tap-dancing and Keel's barrel-chested booming. She just wanted to know whether these particular stars of the great Christmas/New Year movie banquet were still around.

And the answer, inevitably, counted them out. Along with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Alec Guinness and dozens more. Say goodbye to Eric and Ernie, one more time? No: this New Year they jig and joke again via a drama-cum-biog, after Christmas, and Ronnie Barker returns from beyond the grave. »

- Peter Preston

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Living in a television time warp | Peter Preston

2 January 2011 11:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

To be young in front of a TV is to be suddenly old, in a world where the past eternally survives

It was a child's straightforward question: "Are they dead, grandpa?" And yes, indeed, they are. Georgina and I were watching Kiss Me Kate on its umpteenth TV outing: with Howard Keel (Rip 2004, aged 85), Ann Miller (2004, aged 81) and Kathryn Grayson (who died only 11 months ago , aged 88). But Georgina, just 10, knew none of that, of course. She loved Miller's tap-dancing and Keel's barrel-chested booming. She just wanted to know whether these particular stars of the great Christmas/New Year movie banquet were still around.

And the answer, inevitably, counted them out. Along with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Alec Guinness and dozens more. Say goodbye to Eric and Ernie, one more time? No: this New Year they jig and joke again via a drama-cum-biog, after Christmas, and Ronnie Barker returns from beyond the grave. »

- Peter Preston

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2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

12 items from 2011


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