13 items from 2013
Eleanor Parker today: Beautiful as ever in Scaramouche, Interrupted Melody Eleanor Parker, who turns 91 in ten days (June 26, 2013), can be seen at her most radiantly beautiful in several films Turner Classic Movies is showing this evening and tomorrow morning as part of their Star of the Month Eleanor Parker "tribute." Among them are the classic Scaramouche, the politically delicate Above and Beyond, and the biopic Interrupted Melody, which earned Parker her third and final Best Actress Academy Award nomination. (Photo: publicity shot of Eleanor Parker in Scaramouche.) The best of the lot is probably George Sidney’s balletic Scaramouche (1952), in which Eleanor Parker plays one of Stewart Granger’s love interests — the other one is Janet Leigh. A loose remake of Rex Ingram’s 1923 blockbuster, the George Sidney version features plenty of humor, romance, and adventure; vibrant colors (cinematography by Charles Rosher); an elaborately staged climactic swordfight; and tough dudes »
- Andre Soares
Did you see David Lynch's teaser on Vine? The real announcement is here: he'll be dropping a new album, The Big Dream, on July 16th. Watch the album trailer above and listen to the new track, "I'm Waiting Here", below:
"Using a structure known from literature Nymphomaniac consists of chapters, encapsulating both Volume I and Volume II and during the next eight months, starting from June and like domino pieces counting down to the release, small bites of these chapters will be published exclusively by a community of selected newspapers around the world.
Each chapter teaser is defined by a headline, a still and a short narrative that playfully unveils the multilayered universe of Nymphomaniac with which Lars von Trier wants to introduce a new film genre: Digressionism."
We've said it once, »
- Adam Cook
Boy meets girl meets typewriter in this thoughtful, witty French take on classic Hollywood romcoms
There was an old but not inaccurate joke that romantic movies from the Soviet Union were about triangular affairs between a boy, a girl and a tractor. The attractive new French movie Populaire, the feature-length debut as writer-director of Régis Roinsard, is about a boy, a girl and a typewriter. A typewriter originally meant the female operator, and the machine in this picture takes on a dramatic identity of its own.
In many ways Populaire is a companion piece to Michel Hazanavicius's Oscar-winning The Artist in its knowing love for American cinema. It also has the same star, Bérénice Bejo (though not here in the leading role), and the same photographer, Guillaume Schiffman, who grew up in the movie business as the son of Suzanne Schiffman, the long-time assistant to François Truffaut, with whom »
- Philip French
Veteran he-man actor Steve Forrest, probably best remembered for starring in the TV series S.W.A.T., has died at 87. Forrest, who was the younger brother of the actor Dana Andrews, labored in movies for a decade, in tiny, mostly uncredited bit parts (including, among others, the 1943 Val Lewton production The Ghost Ship, Vincente Minnelli’s 1952 Hollywood expose’ The Bad And The Beautiful, and the Minnelli-Fred Astaire musical The Band Wagon) before winning a Golden Globe for Most Promising Male Newcomer for his performance in So Big (1953). Movie stardom failed to materialize, but he worked »
A nimble and distinctive cine-essay featuring a mosaic of clips, images and moments of children in the movies
This has to be one of the most beguiling events at Cannes, appropriately presented in the Cannes Classics section. Mark Cousins's personal cine-essay about children on film is entirely distinctive, sometimes eccentric, always brilliant: a mosaic of clips, images and moments chosen with flair and grace, both from familiar sources and from the neglected riches of cinema around the world. Without condescension or cynicism, Cousins offers us his own humanist idealism, as refreshing as a glass of iced water.
He presents movie texts which illuminate and challenge what we imagine to be the "performance" presented to the camera by a child, what we take to be the nature of childhood and by implication the unexamined "adultness" of those grownups variously appearing in, making or watching the film. He suggests that as an artform, »
- Peter Bradshaw
This week at Trailers from Hell, director John Landis takes a look at Vincente Minnelli's musical, "Cabin in the Sky," released in 1943. The hit 1940 Broadway musical version of the Faust legend made it to the screen three years later, with original stars Ethel Waters and Rex Ingram heading an all-star African-American cast and first-time director Vincente Minnelli behind the camera. Jack Benny foil Eddie Anderson replaced Casablanca pianist Dooley Wilson in the lead because "Rochester" was popular enough to allay objections from exhibitors in some of the race-averse Southern states. Released in "glorious Sepiatone." »
- Trailers From Hell
Deanna Durbin: Highest-paid actress in the world [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin in the '40s: From Wholesome Musicals to Film Noir Sex Worker."] Despite several missteps in the handling of her career, David Shipman states that Deanna Durbin was Hollywood’s (and the world’s) highest-paid actress in both 1945 and 1947. In 1946, Durbin’s earnings of $323,477 trailed only Bette Davis’ $328,000 at Warner Bros. Those are impressive rankings (and wages), but ironically Durbin’s high earnings ultimately harmed her career. By the mid-’40s, her domestic box-office allure was beginning to fade, a situation surely worsened by World War II closing off most of Hollywood’s top international markets. As a result, Universal, since 1947 a new entity known as Universal-International, was unwilling to spend extra money in their star’s already costly vehicles. That’s a similar predicament to the one faced by silent-era superstar John Gilbert at MGM in the early ’30s: the studio had to pay Gilbert an exorbitant salary that made his movies much »
- Andre Soares
The beach party film featuring bikini-clad girls and beefcake guys became a B-movie Californian genre in the 1960s and ultimately led up to TV's vacuous Baywatch. It's generally thought to have been launched in 1960 with MGM's highly popular Where the Boys Are, based on a sober, sociological novel by Glendon Swarthout about a quartet of female midwestern students spending their spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It had a title song by Connie Francis and was produced by the prolific Joe Pasternak, now best remembered for saying of Esther Williams, "Wet she was a star."
Camille Paglia regards Where the Boys Are as a significant and truthful comment on changing social and sexual mores in the 1960s, and Harmony Korine's brash homage to Pasternak's film has attracted similar, if rather more equivocal tributes. Korine made his name as screenwriter on Larry Clark's dubious 1995 film Kids about the spread »
- Philip French
One of the Most Amazing Silent Movies (or Movies of Any Era, Period) Ever Made Tops the List of Best of Movies Released in 1921 Rex Ingram’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Metro Pictures' film version of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez’s epic novel -- from a scenario by the immensely powerful writer-producer June Mathis -- catapulted Mathis’ protégé, the until then little known Rudolph Valentino (photo, left), to worldwide superstardom, as The Four Horsemen became one of the biggest box-office hits of the silent era. Ingram’s wife, the invariably excellent Alice Terry (right, dark-haired in real life; a light-haired in her many movies), played Valentino's love interest. Ninety-two years after its initial launch, the Four Horsemen remains a monumental achievement. Released by MGM, Vincente Minnelli's 1962 remake of this Metro Pictures production featured an all-star cast: Glenn Ford, Ingrid Thulin (dubbed by Angela Lansbury), Charles Boyer, Lee J. Cobb, »
- Andre Soares
"Gigi," the musical celebration of all things French, is being freshened up for a possible Broadway run, producers said Wednesday. The Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe ("My Fair Lady") confection served as the basis for Vincente Minnelli's 1958 Best Picture-winning musical. A later stage version was not as successful with critics or audiences, closing after 103 performances when it was mounted in 1973. Producers are hoping that this time will be different and they've enlisted Eric D. Schaeffer ("Follies") to direct a new adaptation by British playwright and Emmy-nominated screenwriter Heidi »
- Brent Lang
It just doesn't feel like awards season until the Academy has annoyed you. This year's Oscar nominations were no let-down, with Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck among the more egregious snubs, but often the ceremony itself stimulates even more rage than the nominations.
In preparation for this year's potential travesties, Digital Spy takes a look back on ten of the Academy's most outrageous blunders.
1953: Best Picture
It's difficult to decide which is more aggravating - being nominated and losing out to a less deserving competitor, or not even being nominated in the first place. We've got nothing against The Greatest Show on Earth, a flamboyant bit of escapism which features Jimmy Stewart as a mysterious clown, but it's nothing more than entertaining. The non-nominated Singin' in the Rain has entertainment value in spades on top of wit, heart, stirring dance numbers and a unique kind of cinematic energy that »
Actor who starred as the troubled pupil in Tea and Sympathy on stage and screen
The actor John Kerr, who has died aged 81, won a Tony award in his first starring role on the Broadway stage, as Tom in Tea and Sympathy in 1953, and subsequently appeared in the 1956 film version directed by Vincente Minnelli. Robert Anderson's play, in which a schoolboy "confesses" to his housemaster's wife that he might be homosexual – only to be seduced out of the notion by the sympathetic listener – was considered so controversial that it was restricted to a "members only" theatrical run in London, and Minnelli's film received an X certificate, despite modification, notably in the suggestion that the housemaster was gay.
- Brian Baxter
The Two Kerrs: John and Deborah in Tea and Sympathy play and movie [Please see previous article: "John Kerr Has Died: (Possibly) Gay Adolescent in play and movie versions of Tea and Sympathy."] Playwright Robert Anderson's psychological drama Tea and Sympathy is notable for a number of reasons: it marked Hollywood/British cinema star Deborah Kerr's Broadway debut (coincidentally, on her 32nd birthday, Sept. 30); one of the play's key characters (the one played by English Rose Kerr) turns out to be a sympathetic adulteress; and Anderson's play tackles homosexuality, a topic that, despite Elia Kazan's movie version of A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan also directed the play), remained taboo throughout the 1950s. Also worth mentioning is that Tea and Sympathy shows that the last sixty years haven't necessarily led to a major lessening in cultural or social prejudices, as the narrative would still be considered quite daring in the early 21st century -- even if for not the same reasons. (Above movie still: The two Kerrs, John and Deborah, »
- Andre Soares
13 items from 2013
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