9 items from 2017
In the latest instalment of Flickering Myth’s film class, Tom Jolliffe looks at how to pull off an ensemble film…
The art in pulling off the ensemble film. It’s a tricking balance. In the vast majority of cinema you may be limited to one or two clearly defined protagonists with a cast of supporting artists. On occasions though, a writer wants to create an ensemble piece. It may have one particular character who dominates the screen a little more than the others, but you could have four or more characters who share screen near equally.
How do you do it right? Well firstly, whether you have four characters, six, ten, or whatever, the most important element is to have clearly definable characters. You could call them archetypes certainly, but it is important to ensure that ‘character one’ is different from the rest. If you craft one character who »
- Tom Jolliffe
Casey Meadows (Deborah Foreman) is a young and free-spirited girl who although full of spunk and ambition – is trapped in a Californian restaurant cleaning dishes as well as trying to clean the crust off the idea of the American Dream. With seemingly no hope aside from sinking evermore deeper in to the scummy dishwater before her – Casey’s life may be on the up. One day at work, she receives a letter from a company named Brentwood Limousine Agency – the Rolls-Royce of Limousine Services – offering her a role as one of their drivers. Excited by the prospect of being part of such a prestigious organisation (and all that sick dough of course!), Casey takes no time in turning up for her first day of work. »
- Mondo Squallido
What’s the best true-story WW2 combat film for pure-grit, no-nonsense tanks ‘n’ bombs ‘n’ crazy mayhem action on a giant scale? This non-stop battle epic gets my vote. George Segal and Ben Gazzara’s infantry dogs are suitably tough, cynical and desperate, especially when they’re repeatedly sent into danger. The history is fairly accurate — there was indeed a race to seize the last bridge across the River Rhine.
1969 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 117 min. / Street Date June 13, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95
Cinematography: Stanley Cortez
Original Music: Elmer Bernstein
Produced by David L. Wolper
Directed by John Guillermin
- Glenn Erickson
It’s the hottest day of the year and a dozen men – not universally perturbed at this point – are put in a room and asked to consider the guilt of a young man accused of killing his father. It’s premeditated murder in the first degree and the sentence is death. The jury takes their first vote and it’s unanimous. Almost.
Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) is the sole dissenting voice. It’s not that he believes the kid did not do it; he’s just not sure. Over the next 90 real-time minutes, #8 will test his doubts against the others, to understand whether or not those doubts are reasonable.
12 Angry Men began life as a teleplay. Written by Reginald Rose (inspired by his own experiences as a juror »
- Rupert Harvey
Latanya Richardson Jackson’s career is about hard work and continuity. Last year, she appeared in “The Taming of the Shrew” at the Public Theatre, a relationship that began in the 1970s. And this month marks the 40th anniversary of her first mention in Variety, when she was cast in “Perdido (Lost),” a play by Soledad at the Henry Street Settlement. She has directed and acted in numerous productions at the Lower East Side site for social services and arts.
Richardson started acting as a teen in Atlanta, where she also met her future husband, Samuel L. Jackson. They’ve been together 47 years. Richardson was Tony-nominated for the 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” with Denzel Washington. This month, she concludes her guest arc on “Grey’s Anatomy,” as the mother of Maggie (Kelly McCreary).
Next up for Richardson Jackson: More work with the philanthropic Samuel L. & Latanya R. Jackson Foundation, more »
- Tim Gray
Abortion. Alcoholism. Pedophilia. Slumlords. Assisted suicide. Civil rights. Criminal justice reform.
These are all timely topics for television drama in 2017. But they were also tackled, with gritty realism, more than a half century ago on two landmark CBS series: “The Defenders” (1961-65), starring E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as crusading father-and-son defense attorneys, and “East Side/West Side” (1963-64), featuring George C. Scott as a New York City social worker, with Cicely Tyson as his able secretary. Tyson’s series regular role, coupled with the fact that she appeared with her natural hair, was groundbreaking in a fraught period of civil rights struggles.
The New Frontier era ushered in by President John F. Kennedy’s election marked a moment when the networks made room for “prestige” narrative series that dealt with weighty social issues. The appetite for serious fare was stoked by the May 1961 declaration by Kennedy’s FCC chairman, Newton »
- Cynthia Littleton
“A Long Day’S Journey Into A Little Night Silence”
Woody’s Allen’s first dramatic feature film, Interiors, released in 1978 on the heels of his hugely successful and Oscar-winning masterpiece, Annie Hall, was met with praise by some and head-scratching by others. Most critics, however, acknowledged that the picture was a step the artist needed to take in his evolution as a filmmaker.
Prior to Annie Hall, Allen’s films were zany comedies—the “early funny ones,” as facetiously described in a later work, Stardust Memories. Beginning with Annie, Allen made a quantum leap forward in originality, confidence, and stylistic maturity. He reinvented the romantic comedy. In many ways, Annie Hall is a movie with a European sensibility. It could be argued that Allen’s body of work post-Annie resembles the kind of material made by a director like, say, Francois Truffaut—small, well-written, intimate gems about people, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
This classy Fox production was considered the epitome of sick film subject matter in the pre- Psycho year of 1959, the true story of jazz-age thrill killers Leopold & Loeb. Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman are the nihilistic child murderers; Orson Welles stops the show with his portrayal of Clarence Darrow, going under a different name.
Kl Studio Classics
1959 / B&W / 2:35 widescreen / 103 min. / Street Date March 7, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95
Cinematography: William C. Mellor
Film Editor: William Reynolds
Original Music: Lionel Newman
Produced by Richard D. Zanuck
Directed by Richard Fleischer
- Glenn Erickson
As A Lawyer, Ralph Bellamy Was Indefensible
It’s a good thing this story wasn’t part of the actual series. Otherwise we might not all be here right now.
I’m so old, I watched Perry Mason first run not on the reruns playing on every channel this side of C-span. But it’s not why I became a lawyer. Perry Mason was unrealistic. A murder trial every week where the real murderer was dumb enough to sit in the courtroom and watch. No, Perry Mason didn’t make me want to become a lawyer. The Defenders did.
The Defenders was a show about a middle-aged attorney – played by E.G. Marshall – and his fresh-out-of-law-school son – played by a young, pre-permed Robert Reed. Although the show had some murder mystery episodes, most dealt with some of the complex and serious issues of the time; abortion, religious intolerance, capital punishment, civil rights, »
- Bob Ingersoll
9 items from 2017
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