Born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne first worked in the film business as a laborer on the Fox lot during summer vacations from University of Southern California, which he attended on a football scholarship. He met and was befriended by John Ford, a young director who was beginning to make a name for himself in action films, comedies and dramas. It was Ford who recommended Wayne to director Raoul Walsh for the male lead in the 1930 epic Western,
Written and Directed by Michael Mann.
Starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld, James Belushi, Willie Nelson, Dennis Farina, William Petersen and Robert Prosky.
A professional safecracker’s plan for going straight spirals out-of-control when he becomes indebted to a crime boss.
The limited Blu-ray slipcase edition of Michael Mann’s theatrical film début Thief (1981) comprises a whole host of insightful features. Offering an in-depth study and analysis of the starkly morally ambivalent crime thriller, the release is a timely reminder of what a fantastic introduction it was to the stylish and iconic world of Mann. Provided by Arrow Films as another in their series of cult classics, the release shows off the film as a true original and a remarkable piece of inspired visualisation.
Focusing on the professional safe-cracker Frank’s (James Caan) attempts to navigate the modern world after a young adulthood spent in prison, the film itself
Directed by Michael Mann.
Starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Dennis Farina and William Petersen.
A professional safecracker starts working for the mob in order to make enough money to quit his criminal lifestyle but things don’t go according to plan.
You have to hand it to director Michael Mann, he knows how to make crime thrillers. A quick trawl through the special features on this Arrow Video Blu-ray release will reveal several tales of a filmmaker who spent a lot of time with professional criminals in his quest for authenticity. Thief is his debut feature film and was adapted by Mann from the novel The Home Invaders by Frank Hohimer (real name John Seybold), himself a convicted thief, and although Mann would go on to perfect his storytelling craft in 1995’s classic Heat it’s quite startling how much of his style is already present here.
Perhaps the most important indication of the esteem in which the film is now held
By Adrian Smith
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Cecil B. DeMille will always be remembered for his lavish historical epics like The Ten Commandments (1923 and again in 1956), Sign of the Cross (1932) and Samson and Delilah (1949). However, with over one hundred and sixty credits as either director or producer, he also worked in plenty of other genres. Following two flops, This Day and Age (1933) and Four Frightened People (1934), Paramount head Adolph Zukor insisted he try to replicate the success of Sign of the Cross with another visual spectacle. DeMille agreed and cast Claudette Colbert in the lead role of Cleopatra (she had already starred in both Sign of the Cross and Four Frightened People and was about to win the Oscar for It Happened one Night (1934)).
The plot focuses on Cleopatra's
While most film historians consider She Wore a Yellow Ribbon to be the best of John Ford's fabled "Cavalry Trilogy", for my money Fort Apache was far and away the strongest of the films. Ribbon and Rio Grande are certainly excellent films but they are primarily compromised by Ford's penchant for overt sentimentality. Fort Apache, however, is a far more sinister look at the West, one that was decades ahead of its time in terms of presenting the case of the Native Americans in a sympathetic fashion. It's ironic that people like Marlon Brando, who extolled the cause of Native American rights, would cite Ford's films as having been detrimental to the Indian cause. In fact, Ford was so highly regarded by the Navajo that he was made an honorary member of the tribe, primarily because of his consistent efforts to improve their lives. Ford became
This tribute includes footage for the film and interviews with people such as Scott Aukerman, Q. Allan Brocka, Edward Bunker, Kevin Eastman, F.X. Feeney, Richard Gladstein, Chris Hardwick, Monte Hellman, Michael Jace, Tad Lumpkin, Christopher McDonald, Drew McWeeny, Gregory Nicotero, Brett Ratner, Andrea Savage, Rob Schmidt, Julie Strain, SuicideGirls, Quentin Tarantino, Judy Tenuta, Steven Wright,
The interplay of low-lifes and big spenders in Luck's pilot is distinctly Milch's. It's clear from the episode's structure alone—a lot of jargony horse-racing intrigue spinning around a story about four track regulars who finally win it
Unforgiven: 20th Anniversary on Blu-ray (Srp $34.99) will be packaged in a Blu-ray book case that includes 54 pages of rare Eastwood observations, filmmaking insight, trivia and more. Bonus features on the disc include the following:
Commentary by Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel All on Accounta Pullin - a Trigger, featuring interviews with Morgan Freeman and others Eastwood A Star Eastwood & Co.: Making Unforgiven Eastwood on Eastwood: A career retrospective from Time critic/biographer Richard Schickel Maverick TV series episode 'Duel at Sundown' (1959), in which Eastwood plays a virtual younger incarnation of his Unforgiven role Theatrical trailer
In addition to Unforgiven, Warner is
America Lost And Found: The Bbs Story (Criterion) Perhaps the best DVD box set released this year, this ultimate cinefile stocking stuffer offered up by Criterion, the Rolls-Royce of home video labels, features seven seminal works from the late ‘60s-early ‘70s that were brought to life by cutting edge producers Bert Schneider, Steve Blauner and director/producer Bob Rafelson, the principals of Bbs Productions. In chronological order: Head (1968) star the Monkees, the manufactured (by Rafelson, et al), American answer to the Beatles who, like it or not, did make an impact on popular culture, particularly in this utterly surreal piece of cinematic anarchy (co-written by Jack Nicholson, who has a cameo), which was largely dismissed upon its initial release, but is now regarded as a counterculture classic. Easy Rider (1969) is arguably regarded as the seminal ‘60s picture, about two hippie drug dealers (director Dennis Hopper
As bad luck would have it, I didn't write up my thoughts on Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter when I watched it for the first time a couple of years ago.
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
The Criterion Collection has had a spectacular year in the world of Blu-ray and their two-disc set for “The Night of the Hunter” stands as one of the best. With hours of fascinating special features, a perfect video transfer, and quite simply one of the best movies of its kind ever made, this is a must-own. The fact that “The Night of the Hunter” was widely-dismissed
Love. Hate. Two of the most polar opposite emotions a human has, yet ones that can be interestingly intertwined into a gray area, like how “Preacher” Harry Powell intends to use for evil. Night of the Hunter might be one of the most misunderstood American classics; a critical and box office failure at its time of release, only to find its (and how thematically fitting) resurrection to its masterpiece status. It’s a simple picture, yet its mixture of genres – ranging from horror to black comedy to its Christmas ending – makes for a rich, complex experience, worthy of the time down the river.
With its Southern Gothic style, Night of the Hunter is a horror film with a Recession as its backdrop (well, here it’s the Great Depression), which makes for its horrors to come vividly to life. The “Preacher” uses His word for no good, a clever Father of Lies,
While researching the aspect ratio of Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955) on DVDBeaver.com, I noticed something rather telling in the review. In each DVDBeaver review, there are links to books related to the film. For instance, if you look at the review of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), you'll find links to books on Kubrick. For the review of Night of the Hunter, DVDBeaver supplied a list of film noir book titles including Alain Silver's appropriately titled Film Noir, which features Hunter's antagonist Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) on the cover. Re-watching the film, I couldn't help but wonder what classified it as noir (for my classical noir retrospective, click here).
Sure, I can see on the surface where one might brand the film a noir. The film owes its aesthetic to German Expressionism, is shot in black and white,
Watchmen—Director’S Cut (Warner Bros.) Director Zack Snyder’s film of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ landmark graphic novel is as worthy an adaptation of a great book that has ever been filmed. In an alternative version of the year 1985, Richard Nixon is serving his third term as President and super heroes have been outlawed by a congressional act, in spite of the fact that two of the most high-profile “masks,” Dr. Manhattan (Billy Cruddup) and The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) helped the U.S. win the Vietnam War. When The Comedian is found murdered, many former heroes become concerned that a conspiracy is afoot to assassinate retired costumed crime fighters. Former masks Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman) and still-operating Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley, in an Oscar-worthy turn) launch an investigation of their own, all while the Pentagon’s “Doomsday
Milk (Universal) Sean Penn deservedly captured his second Best Actor Oscar (and Dustin Lance Black a statuette for his original screenplay) in director Gus Van Sant’s portrait of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold public office in the U.S. Alternately heartbreaking, infuriating and very funny, a film that both captures a bygone era and is still very timely. Fine support from Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, James Franco and Emile Hirsch. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Three featurettes. Widescreen. Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround.
Slumdog Millionaire (20th Century Fox) The Best Picture of 2008 is a kinetic, clever audience-pleaser about a determined lad (Dev Patel) from the slums of Mumbai, who has his chance at literal and financial redemption as a contestant on India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Best Director Danny Boyle dazzles
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