19 items from 2017
Found: a must-see Film noir in all its brutal glory, restored to a level of quality not seen in years. Anthony Mann and John Alton made their reputations with ninety minutes of chiaroscuro heaven — it’s one of the best-looking noirs ever. With extras produced by Alan K. Rode.
1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat full frame / Special Edition / 92 min. / Street Date October 10, 2017 / 39.99
Starring: Dennis O’Keefe, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, Charles McGraw, Jane Randolph, Art Smith, Herbert Heyes, Jack Overman, John Wengraf, June Lockhart, Keefe Brasselle, James Seay, Tito Vuolo, John Newland, Reed Hadley.
Cinematography: John Alton
Film Editor: Fred Allen
Original Music: Paul Sawtell
Directed by Anthony Mann
Wow — I’ve seen T-Men many times, but never like this. It’s always listed as a significant success, a trend-starter, a career-launcher, but only »
- Glenn Erickson
Rock Hudson and Donna Reed star in a kidnapping-vengeance-pursuit western filmed in large part in gorgeous Sedona, Arizona, in 3-D and (originally) Technicolor. It’s another 3-D treasure from the 1950s boom years. The trailer is in 3-D too.
Gun Fury 3-D
1953 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 82 min. / Street Date September 19, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95
Cinematography: Lester WhiteMusical Director (Stock Music): Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Produced by Lewis Rachmil
Directed by Raoul Walsh
I have a new theory for why the 1950s 3-D craze only lasted about 2.5 years: they couldn’t find any more one-eyed directors to make them.
- Glenn Erickson
Forgotten amid Robert Aldrich’s more critic-friendly movies is this superb suspense picture, an against-all-odds thriller that pits an old-school pilot against a push-button young engineer with his own kind of male arrogance. Can a dozen oil workers and random passengers ‘invent’ their way out of an almost certain death trap? It’s a late-career triumph for James Stewart, at the head of a sterling ensemble cast. I review a UK disc in the hope of encouraging a new restoration.
Region B Blu-ray
(will not play in domestic U.S. players)
Masters of Cinema / Eureka Entertainment
1965 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 142 min. / Street Date September 12, 2016 / £12.95
Starring: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea, George Kennedy, Gabriele Tinti, Alex Montoya, Peter Bravos, William Aldrich, Barrie Chase.
Cinematography: Joseph Biroc
Stunt Pilot: Paul Mantz
Art Direction: William Glasgow »
- Glenn Erickson
Many of MGM’s productions were scraping bottom in 1958, yet the studio found one more acceptable western vehicle for their last big star still on contract. Only-slightly corrupt marshal Robert Taylor edges toward a showdown with the thoroughly corrupt Richard Widmark in an economy item given impressive locations and the sound direction of John Sturges.
1958 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 86 min. / Street Date September 12, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Cinematography: Robert Surtees
Film Editor: Ferris Webster
Produced by William B. Hawks
Directed by John Sturges
- Glenn Erickson
Another enormous Samuel L. Bronston historical spectacle with big stars and epochal Euro production values, directed by the perennially underrated Anthony Mann, fresh from his being fired from Spartacus. »
- TFH Team
Any list of the greatest foreign directors currently working today has to include Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The directors first rose to prominence in the mid 1990s with efforts like “The Promise” and “Rosetta,” and they’ve continued to excel in the 21st century with titles such as “The Kid With A Bike” and “Two Days One Night,” which earned Marion Cotillard a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Read MoreThe Dardenne Brothers’ Next Film Will Be a Terrorism Drama
The directors will be back in U.S. theaters with the release of “The Unknown Girl” on September 8, which is a long time coming considering the film first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. While you continue to wait for their new movie, the brothers have provided their definitive list of 79 movies from the 20th century that you must see. La Cinetek published the list in full and is hosting many »
- Zack Sharf
In honor of the great director’s career, eight members of the IndieWire staff — William Earl, Kate Erbland, David Ehrlich, Eric Kohn, Michael Nordine, Zack Sharf, Anne Thompson, and this author — individually ranked the director’s films, which have been averaged together to result in the following list. While Kubrick only made 13 films over a 46-year span, he made more than his fair share of masterpieces. As a sign of just how deep the quality of this list runs, six different titles received first-place votes, while in the final tally the difference between #1 and #7 was razor thin.
13. “Fear and Desire” (1953)
At the age of 23, Kubrick »
- Chris O'Falt
On paper it’s a western with everything — a major star, decent supporting players, a cult director and sideways references to the blacklisting years. But even with its ya-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it high noon showdown scene, Joseph H. Lewis’s last feature film is still a lower-tier United Artists effort. Sterling Hayden goes up against Sebastian Cabot and Nedrick Young, armed with a, with a . . . aw, you probably know already.
1958 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 80 min. / Street Date July 11, 2017 / Available from Arrow Video / 39.95
Cinematography: Ray Rennahan
Original Music: Gerald Fried
Produced by Frank N. Seltzer
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
- Glenn Erickson
30 June 2017 10:30 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
C.O. 'Doc' Erickson, whose long Hollywood career included working as a unit production manager or executive producer on movie classics like Chinatown, Blade Runner and Groundhog Day, has died. He was 93.
During a near-50 year career in Hollywood where he had a front row view of film history, Erickson was a production manager for Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Lumet, John Huston, Anthony Mann, Roman Polanski and Ridley Scott, among other directors.
Erickson died on Wednesday in Las Vegas owing to heart complications, according to the Gersh Agency. Born in Dec. 1923 in Kankakee, Illinois, he began his career at Paramount »
- Etan Vlessing
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were dumped from the Han Solo spinoff film this week after more than four months of production, an unusually late date to make a shift behind the camera. That leaves the “Star Wars” production scrambling to find a replacement with weeks left of shooting and a scheduled five weeks of reshoots coming later this summer, an unenviable position for one of the biggest franchises in the entertainment industry and all involved.
The film, which is still untitled, isn’t the first to change its director in midstream. Classics such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” cycled through filmmakers, while duds like “The 13th Warrior” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau” also brought in fresh blood in the middle of shooting. But despite plenty of precedents, Lord and Miller’s firing is setting tongues wagging.
“It has certainly happened on a number of occasions, but not under such scrutiny and not usually this far into production,” said Leonard Maltin, a film critic and historian.
Frequently, a director is dropped after he finds himself on the losing end of a power struggle. During “Gone With the Wind,” Clark Gable pushed to have George Cukor replaced with Victor Fleming because Gable felt that the filmmaker was paying too much attention to his co-star, Vivien Leigh. While shooting “Spartacus,” Kirk Douglas used his clout to have Anthony Mann replaced with Stanley Kubrick because he believe that his hand-picked substitute could better handle the film’s epic scope. And in “Waterworld” it was Kevin Costner, and not credited director Kevin Reynolds, who handled the film’s final cut after the two clashed on the notoriously troubled and costly production.
More recently, Steven Soderbergh left “Moneyball” due to his desire to shoot documentary-style, while Pixar parted ways with the the directors of several of its films, from “Ratatouille” to the “Brave” to “The Good Dinosaur,” over differing creative ideas about the animated offerings. In most cases, these movies survived their filmmaking shuffles to succeed financially and artistically, proving that a rocky path to the big screen does not necessarily foretell doom.
That’s to say nothing of the pictures whose financial backers probably wished in retrospect that they’d pulled the plug on a director. Costly overruns on “Heaven’s Gate,” Michael Cimino’s brooding Western epic, essentially bankrupted United Artists, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra” went so egregiously over budget that it brought Fox to the brink of financial ruin. Perhaps another filmmaker would have been able to rein in some of the spending?
But there are reasons why studios have historically been loathe to make a change after cameras start rolling.
“Once a film begins production it’s a runaway train and the backers of the film are reluctant to remove the conductor from the train for fear of it being even more of a disaster,” said Howard Suber, a professor of film history at UCLA. “It becomes a decision between cutting your losses and possibly starting all over again or hoping that things somehow are able to get better.”
It’s harder to overhaul a project without drawing a lot of scrutiny. In the days of “The Wizard of Oz” or “Gone With the Wind,” the public wasn’t as versed in film production — studios might expect a report of a production shakeup in a trade paper such as Variety, but it rarely filtered out across the mass media. That’s no longer the case. From Entertainment Tonight to the New York Times to Twitter, news of Lord and Miller’s ouster was ubiquitous this week.
“The public is now reading about controversies on films and who gets hired here and who gets fired there,” said Dana Polan, professor of cinema studies at Nyu. “That was not a thing before.”
In the case of the Han Solo spinoff shakeup, insiders say that Lord and Miller clashed with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and writer and executive producer Lawrence Kasdan over their vision for the film and its execution. Lord and Miller wanted to inject more cheekiness into the “Star Wars” universe and encouraged improvisation on set. Kasdan and Kennedy believed in adhering more tightly to the script and were concerned that the directors were deviating too far from the franchise’s “house style.” They preferred something that was more reverent, which they might get if Ron Howard or Joe Johnston, both rumored to be in the running for the gig, take over as director.
The Lord and Miller firing is also a reminder of a new cinematic reality. Auteur theory, a popular school of thought in film criticism, once held that the director is the true author of a film because he or she makes the key audio and visual decisions. That view was given so much credence that 1980’s “The Stunt Man” offered up Peter O’Toole as a God-like film director, an artistic zealot willing to trample over anyone and everyone in order to get the perfect shot.
Miller and Lord’s ouster, however, demonstrates the limitations of a director’s power in a rapidly changing movie landscape. It’s a caste structure in which brands, be they costumed heroes or robots, are the true stars in Hollywood. As Lord and Miller discovered, no filmmaker is more important than the Jedi mythology that lies at the heart of the “Star Wars” universe. With billions of dollars in box office and merchandising at stake, studios aren’t as receptive to a director who wants to take an iconoclastic approach to the material.
12 Directors Who Were Pushed from the Director’s Chair
As studios have grown more corporate and more dependent on a few major franchises, productions have become more bureaucratic. It’s Kennedy and her team at Lucasfilm who are making most of the major decisions about where to take the “Star Wars” universe, just as executive teams at DC (Geoff Johns and Jon Berg) and Marvel (Kevin Feige) are exerting enormous control over the gestations of the various sequels and spinoffs that they churn out annually. In the old days, the first move would be to hire a director. Now, a filmmaker is often brought onto a project after a script has been written and even storyboarded.
There’s a lot less job stability when you’re a mercenary.
Related storiesRon Howard to Take Over as Director of 'Star Wars' Han Solo SpinoffWhy Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive) »
- Brent Lang
Luke Owen looks at directors who left/got fired from movies during production…
With the shocking news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have vacated the director’s chairs for the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo movie over “creative differences” (some sources say they were forced out), I thought it was time to look at some other directors who faced similar issues.
It’s no secret that making a tentpole movie for a studio is tricky. Duncan Jones has been very vocal as of late about the issues he had with last year’s Warcraft, and it was rumoured a few years ago that Gareth Edwards faced an uphill battle with Warner Bros. and Legendary on 2014’s Godzilla reboot. The 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie had its script re-written the weekend before production started with no input from the directors, who were then locked out of the editing room during post-production (they were eventually let back in).
Most of the time directors leave before production actually starts, and someone new is brought in. Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, Patty Jenkins left Thor: The Dark World, Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith both left The Flash, Ben Affleck stepped down from The Batman, Stephen Herrick left Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; the list goes on. But very rarely does a director leave (or get fired) while the movie is in production. Usually if a studio loses faith in the director at that point, they would bring in someone else to “oversee” the movie and get it over the finish line. The aforementioned Godzilla saw this very occurrence, as did Mission: Impossible II when the legendary Stuart Baird was brought in to “fix” the movie Jon Woo originally helmed. Baird in fact has a long history with this, being a fixer on titles such as Superman: The Motion Picture, The Omen and Lethal Weapon.
There are still four or so weeks left on the Han Solo movie (plus the already planned reshoots), so let’s look back at a few other directors who left/got fired from their films.
The Wizard of Oz, 1939
It seems crazy to think that one of the most beloved movies of all-time had such a tumultuous production, but The Wizard of Oz in fact saw six different directors helm the movie. Norman Taurog originally shot test footage, but was quickly replaced with Richard Thorpe who shot for around two weeks when Taurog was moved to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Producer Mervyn LeRoy felt that Thorpe was rushing the production, and his short time on the film was probably not helped when original Tin Man Buddy Epsen was hospitalised after the metal make-up coated his lungs and left him on an Iron Lung.
None of Thorpe’s footage made it into the final cut (although he did shoot Dorothy’s first meeting Scarecrow and several scenes at The Wicked Witch’s castle), and George Cucker came in after Thorpe was fired. However, Cucker didn’t actually shoot any footage, and was there to simply oversee the plans to re-shoot all of Thorpe’s work until Victor Fleming came in. Although he was eventually the only credited director, Fleming left before production ended to film Gone with the Wind, and the shooting was finished by King Vidor and LeRoy.
Gone with the Wind, 1939
Speaking of Gone with the Wind, George Cucker had been developing the movie with producer David O. Selznick for around two years, but was removed from the project three weeks into production. According to reports, the decision to remove Cucker was Clark Gable’s and it angered fellow co-stars Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland who went to Selznick’s office to demand he be re-hired. In Cucker’s place was Victor Fleming, who shot the majority of the movie over ninety-three days (although Cucker was secretly coaching Leigh and Havilland behind the scenes). Fleming wasn’t the final name on the movie however, as he had to take a short break due to exhaustion and Sam Wood shot for around twenty-three days.
Although considered a Stanley Kubrick movie, he wasn’t the first name attached to Spartacus. After David Lean turned down the movie, it was offered to Anthony Mann who was then fired by star Kirk Douglas after just one week of production. According to Douglas in his autobiography, Mann was “scared” of the size and scope of Spartacus and wasn’t capable of finishing the film.
Superman II, 1980
Shooting for Superman II was done alongside Superman: The Motion Picture in 1977 with Richard Donner doing both films. However the film was under a lot of pressure, with overrunning schedules and budget, which producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler attributed to Donner. After everything was shot for Superman: The Motion Picture, Superman II was placed on hiatus. Once Superman: The Motion Picture was an instant hit, the producers brought in Richard Lester to replace Donner on Superman II and shoot around the footage already filmed. Why Lester replaced Donner is still up for debate. Spengler has claimed that Donner was asked to come back but refused, while Donner claims he only found out Superman II was getting underway when he received a fax from the Salkinds telling him his services weren’t required.
The cast and crew did not take the replacement lightly, with creative consultants Tom Mankiewicz and editor Stuart Baird refusing to return for the sequel, along with Gene Hackman who was replaced with a body double. Although Marlon Brando had already shot everything for both movies, he successfully sued the Salkinds who then cut him out of the sequel. Years later, Warner Bros. released the Richard Donner cut of Superman II on home video as Superman II: The Donner Cut.
Piranha II was originally set to be directed by Roger Corman graduate Miller Drake, who envisioned a version of the movie which saw the return of Kevin McCarthy (who died in the original film). Drake was then replaced with James Cameron who was working on the film’s special effects department, and he then re-wrote the script under the pseudonym H.A. Milton. However around two weeks into production, Cameron was fired by producer Ovidio G. Assonitis who felt he wasn’t doing a good enough job. Assonitis wouldn’t let Cameron review any of the footage he’d shot during his time on the movie, and was even making all of the day-to-day decisions.
A regularly reported story was that Cameron broke into the editing room while the producers were in Cannes to cut his version of the movie, which was then re-cut by Assonitis. “Then the producer wouldn’t take my name off the picture because [contractually] they couldn’t deliver it with an Italian name,” Cameron said in a 1991 La Times interview. “So they left me on, no matter what I did. I had no legal power to influence him from Pomona, California, where I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I didn’t even know an attorney. In actual fact, I did some directing on the film, but I don’t feel it was my first movie.”
WarGames began life as a very different movie titled The Genius in 1979 about a much older gentlemen, but this changed when writers Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker discovered a large youth-movement in the computer world, who would later be known as hackers. The character of David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick) was even modeled after hacking enthusiast David Scott Lewis.
When the film went into production it was being helmed by Martin Brest who was then removed from the movie 12-days into shooting after a disagreement with the producers. In his place was John Badham, whose first act was to lighten the tone of the movie. “[Brest had] taken a somewhat dark approach to the story, and saw Matthew’s character as someone who was rebelling against his parents, and who was just kind of stewing inside,” he told The Hollywood Interview in 2009. “There was that tone to it. I said ‘If I was 16 and could get on a computer and change my grades or my girlfriend’s grades, I would be peeing in my pants with excitement!’ And the way it was shot, it was like they were doing some Nazi undercover thing. So it was my job to make it seem like they were having fun, and that it was exciting, but it wasn’t this dark rebellion.” »
- Luke Owen
Since the late 1950s countless large and sometimes legendary Hollywood films have been shot in or near Madrid.
Samuel Bronston-produced blockbusters, Anthony Mann’s “The Fall of the Roman Empire” and Nicholas Ray’s “55 Days at Peking” partially shot near crag-strewn La Pedriza, 30 miles north of Madrid. Charlton Heston’s “El Cid” lensed in the castle of Manzanares El Real.
Film Madrid Energizes Shooting Support
In 1964, the medieval square of Chinchón, southeast of Madrid, hosted Henry Hathaway’s John Wayne-starrer “Circus World,” which also turned Madrid’s El Paseo de Coches in El Retiro Park into Paris’ Champs Elysées.
Denise O’Dell, one of Hollywood’s favorite Spain-based producers, who ran shingle Kanzaman before launching Babieka, co-produced 2006’s “Goya’s Ghosts”: Shoots included »
- Emiliano De Pablos
The film world was deeply saddened when news broke today that Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs” director Jonathan Demme had died in New York at the age of 73. Demme was a brilliant and versatile auteur, traversing genres with rarely a misfire. He is remembered by those who worked with him, and those whom his work inspired.
Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of a lawyer dying of AIDS in Demme’s “Philadelphia,” wrote: “Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living. He was the grandest of men.” Meryl Streep, who worked with Demme on 2015’s “Ricki and the Flash,” said: “A big hearted, big tent, compassionate man- in full embrace in his life of people in need- and of the potential of art, music, poetry and film to »
- Jude Dry
The “Game of Thrones” creators sparked debate last month at a SXSW panel with the comment that they viewed their hit HBO show as a “73-hour movie.” It’s a common conceit for showrunners to believe that calling what they do “cinematic” is a mark of quality. And there are plenty of cinephiles and prominent movie critics, like the New Yorker’s Richard Brody, who haven’t been shy about what they believe are the limits of television as a medium.
However, “cinematic” is sloppy — for television and for movies. It’s become a hat tip to pretty lighting, majestic backdrops, and lavish sets, stylized camera movement and composition, or a sense of scale — epic battles, explosive visual effects, sweeping tales – that “deserve the big screen.”
David Fincher can probably make something cinematic shooting a short in our conference room with a $500 camera on a tripod. That is to say: »
- Chris O'Falt
Before he became the flag bearer for cinema violence, Sam Peckinpah made his reputation with this unique western, a marvelous rumination on ethics, morality and personal responsibility. MGM all but threw it away in the summer of 1962 but it immediately became a critical favorite.
1962 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 92 min. / Street Date April 4, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Cinematography Lucien Ballard
Film Editor Frank Santillo
Original Music George Bassman
Written by N.B. Stone Jr.
Produced by Richard E. Lyons
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
- Glenn Erickson
Conceived in Busan and born in Seoul, Cho Jinseok is a filmmaker who also developed the Cholol Technique for philosophical inquiry by blending contemporary western and Korean practices of argumentation. He studied media and communications theory and Chinese language at university. Colonel Panics is his debut film.
We talk to him about his life, the film, history, technology, art and many other topics.
How does an S.Korean who deals with philosophy, and has studied media and communications theory, and Chinese language, ends up shooting a Japanese film?
A friend in Tokyo approached me a couple of years ago and asked me whether I wanted to housesit their place as they were going away for quite a while. I agreed, made the move to Tokyo and lived there for a while, soaking up the culture, the history and the people. I found the political situation in Japan very fascinating and »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
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Kl Studio Classics
1951 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 99 min. / Street Date February 7, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95
Starring : James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Glynis Johns, Jack Hawkins, Janette Scott, Niall MacGinnis, Kenneth More, Ronald Squire, Elizabeth Allan, Jill Clifford, Felix Aylmer, Dora Bryan, Maurice Denham, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Bessie Love, Karel Stepanek.
Cinematography: Georges Périnal
Film Editor: Manuel del Campo
Original Music: Malcolm Arnold
Produced by: Louis D. Lighton
Directed by Henry Koster
A few years back, whenever a desired title came up on list for a Fox, Columbia or Warners’ Mod (made-on-demand) DVD, my first reaction was disappointment: we really want to see our favorites released in the better disc format, Blu-ray. But things have changed. As Mod announcements thin out, we have seen an explosion of library titles remastered in HD. »
- Glenn Erickson
Author: Dave Roper
The prospective candidates for admission to MiB were hand-picked because they were the best of the best of the best. That’s a lot of superlatives. Eric Roberts and Chris Penn were two of the more unlikely members of a Tae Kwon Do team that took on Korea in The Best of the Best and across pretty much every athletic and artistic theatre of endeavour you can think of, debate rages as to who is the best of the best. Today we look at the greatest movie actors.
This new series of articles is not intended to lay such arguments to rest. Instead it will hopefully prompt some discussion and (polite) debate as we consider, within certain film-making disciplines, who might be considered to be the best and what is their best work. Highly subjective, of course, but that is whence springs healthy debate. We’ll get to actresses, »
- Dave Roper
19 items from 2017
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