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Marvin Hamlisch's Big Oscar Haul. And Other Stories...

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Dr Duran Duran and the Orgasmatron

1835 P.T. Barnum and his circus begin their first tour of the Us. Wasn't Hugh Jackman supposed to play him in an original movie musical? Is that still on or did the endless Wolverine show derail it? (sigh)

1840 Novelist Thomas Hardy is born. Movies adapted from his work include multiple versions of Jude, Tess,  and Far From the Madding Crowd

1904 Johnny Weissmuller is born. We just wrote about Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which you should definitely see

1926 Character actor Milo O'Shea, aka Dr Duran Duran who tried to kill Jane Fonda by excessive pleasure in Barbarella, is born.

1937 Sally Kellerman, the original " 'Hot Lips' O'Houlihan" is born

1944 Egot composing legend Marvin Hamlisch (of "A Chorus Line") fame is born...or as Cher calls him "Marvin Hamilsmisch". Classic songs include the Oscar winning "The Way We Were
See full article at FilmExperience »

Send in the Clouds: James Benning's "Farocki"

  • MUBI
"Charlie Brackett summed it up beautifully, I think, when he said that in Europe you could open a picture with clouds, dissolve slowly to clouds, and dissolve again to more clouds. In America, though, he said, you open with clouds, you then dissolve to an airplane, and in the next shot the airplane's gotta explode." —John Sturges

“The black sky was underpinned with long silver streaks that looked like scaffolding and depth on depth behind it were thousands of stars that all seemed to be moving very slowly as if they were about some vast construction work that involved the whole universe and would take all time to complete. No one was paying attention to the sky.” —Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood

Who'd be a haruspex? In ancient Rome, members of this holy profession pored over the entrails of freshly slaughtered animals, seeking portents among blood and guts. Divination as a
See full article at MUBI »

Barbarella TV Series in Development at Amazon Studios

Barbarella TV Series in Development at Amazon Studios
The 1968 cult classic movie Barbarella is being developed as a new TV series for Amazon Studios. The studio is currently seeking a showrunner, in anticipation of a pilot order.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Skyfall) wrote the pilot script based on Roger Vadim's movie, which starred Jane Fonda as a sexy astronaut who tries to stop a nefarious weapons inventor. The character was created by Jean-Claude Forest, which debuted in 1962 in the French publication V-Magazine. The comic strips were later published as a stand-alone graphic novel in 1964. No story details were given regarding this new adaptation.

Nicolas Winding Refn is attached to executive produce and will direct the pilot episode, with Martha De Laurentiis, the daughter of the late Barbarella producer Dino De Laurentiis, also executive producing. Gaumont International Television, which produces NBC's Hannibal and Netflix's Hemlock Grove, have been developing the project for a year and a half.
See full article at MovieWeb »

"Drive" Director Mounting "Barbarella"

From SneakPeekTV, take a look @ the full feature of producer Dino De Laurentis' sci-fi sex comedy "Barbarella"(1968) that is being developed and rebooted by "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn.

From a screenplay by Joe Gazzam, Refn promises the look of his film will adhere close to the languid illustrations of Jean-Claude Forest, creator of the French-language "Barbarella" comics.

The original Paramount Pictures release was directed by Roger Vadim, starring Vadim's wife at the time, actress Jane Fonda :

"...in the year 40,000, 'Barbarella' (Fonda) is assigned by the 'President of Earth' (Claude Dauphin) to retrieve 'Doctor Durand Durand' (Milo O'Shea) from the planet 'Tau Ceti'.

"Durand Durand is the inventor of the weaponized 'Positronic Ray'.

"Earth is now a peaceful planet, and weapons are unheard of. Because Tau Ceti is an unknown region of space there is the potential for the weapon to fall into the wrong hands.
See full article at SneakPeek »

Milo O'Shea obituary

Irish stage and screen character actor who appeared in Barbarella, The Verdict and the BBC's 1969 sitcom Me Mammy

For a performer of such fame and versatility, the distinguished Irish character actor Milo O'Shea, who has died aged 86, is not associated with any role in particular, or indeed any clutch of them. He was chiefly associated with his own expressive dark eyes, bushy eyebrows, outstanding mimetic talents and distinctive Dublin brogue.

His impish presence irradiated countless fine movies – including Joseph Strick's Ulysses (1967), Roger Vadim's Barbarella (1968) and Sidney Lumet's The Verdict (1982) – and many top-drawer American television series, from Cheers, The Golden Girls and Frasier, right through to The West Wing (2003-04), in which he played the chief justice Roy Ashland.

He had settled in New York in 1976 with his second wife, Kitty Sullivan, in order to be equidistant from his own main bases of operation, Hollywood and London. The
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Milo O'Shea obituary

Irish stage and screen character actor who appeared in Barbarella, The Verdict and the BBC's 1969 sitcom Me Mammy

For a performer of such fame and versatility, the distinguished Irish character actor Milo O'Shea, who has died aged 86, is not associated with any role in particular, or indeed any clutch of them. He was chiefly associated with his own expressive dark eyes, bushy eyebrows, outstanding mimetic talents and distinctive Dublin brogue.

His impish presence irradiated countless fine movies – including Joseph Strick's Ulysses (1967), Roger Vadim's Barbarella (1968) and Sidney Lumet's The Verdict (1982) – and many top-drawer American television series, from Cheers, The Golden Girls and Frasier, right through to The West Wing (2003-04), in which he played the chief justice Roy Ashland.

He had settled in New York in 1976 with his second wife, Kitty Sullivan, in order to be equidistant from his own main bases of operation, Hollywood and London. The
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Actor Milo O'Shea Dead At Age 86

  • CinemaRetro
 

O'Shea squares off in court against Paul Newman in The Verdict.

The acclaimed Irish actor Milo O'Shea has died after a brief illness at age 86. The Dublin-born O'Shea had lived in New York City since 1976. He was described as a giant talent of stage, screen and TV. His memorable feature film performances include the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, Barbarella, Ulysses and as the compromised judge who argues with attorney Paul Newman in Sidney Lumet's 1982 film The Verdict. O'Shea, an "actor's actor", also appeared in many popular American and British TV shows including The Golden Girls, Cheers, The West Wing and Me Mammy. For more click here
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Milo O'Shea dies: 'West Wing's' Chief Justice Ashland was 86

  • Pop2it
Irish actor Milo O'Shea has passed away in New York after a short illness, reports the Irish Times. He was 86 years old.

O'Shea was known for several great film roles in his younger days, but we instantly remembered him as Chief Justice Roy Ashland on "The West Wing," a small, but memorable role on the political drama's fifth season. Matthew Perry guest-starred as Joe Quincy, Ashland's former clerk. It was O'Shea's last acting role.

In his youth, O'Shea received acclaim for his role as Leopold Bloom in "Ulysses," for which he received a BAFTA nomination, and for his portrayal of Friar Laurence in the Zeffirelli "Romeo and Juliet" film adaptation.

O'Shea also starred as Durand Durand in cult classic "Barbarella" alongside Jane Fonda. The band Duran Duran would go on to take its name from the film character and O'Shea would reprise his role for the band's concert film "Arena.
See full article at Pop2it »

"Drive" Director Gets Into "Barbarella" Series

  • SneakPeek
According to new reports, the 1968 De Laurentis feature "Barbarella", based on the sci fi comic strip, will be developed by executive producer Martha De Laurentiis and Gaumont International Television into a "Barbarella" TV series, with "Drive" director Nicolas Refn directing the pilot episode.

Episodes will be scripted by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade ("Skyfall"), with the series adhering closely to the style of illustrator Jean-Claude Forest, creator of the French-language "Barbarella" comics.

Paramount Pictures "Barbarella" was directed by Roger Vadim, starring Vadim's wife at the time, actress Jane Fonda :

"...in the year 40,000, 'Barbarella' (Fonda) is assigned by the 'President of Earth' (Claude Dauphin) to retrieve 'Doctor Durand Durand' (Milo O'Shea) from the planet 'Tau Ceti'. Durand Durand is the inventor of the weaponized 'Positronic Ray'.

"Earth is now a peaceful planet, and weapons are unheard of. Because Tau Ceti is an unknown region of space there
See full article at SneakPeek »

"Drive" Director Mounting "Barbarella"

The buzz being generated by Disney's upcoming Marvel Studios  outer space fantasy, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" has kick-started producer Dino De Laurentis' Paramount remake of the 1968 sci-fi comedy, "Barbarella: Queen Of The Galaxy".

To be directed by Nicolas Winding Refn ("Drive") from a screenplay by Joe Gazzam, Refn promises the look of his film will adhere close to the languid illustrations of Jean-Claude Forest, creator of the French-language "Barbarella" comics.

Although actress Rose McGowan was originally considered to play 'Barbarella', casting continues for a suitable actress to play the lead.

The original Paramount Pictures release was directed by Roger Vadim, starring Vadim's wife at the time, actress Jane Fonda :

"...in the year 40,000, 'Barbarella' (Fonda) is assigned by the 'President of Earth' (Claude Dauphin) to retrieve 'Doctor Durand Durand' (Milo O'Shea) from the planet 'Tau Ceti'. Durand Durand is the inventor of the weaponized 'Positronic Ray'.
See full article at SneakPeek »

Phyllis Diller: 1917-2012

Phyllis Diller: 1917-2012
Phyllis Diller, the wild-haired, eccentrically-dressed performer credited with opening the doors of stand-up comedy to women, passed away at her home in Los Angeles. She was 95 years old.

She was born Phyllis Ada Driver on July 17, 1917 in Lima, Ohio to Perry Marcus and Frances Ada (Romshe) Driver. After graduating from Central High School, she headed to Chicago's Sherwood Music Conservatory, where she continued to study piano, with dreams of one day becoming a concert pianist. From the Conservatory, she transferred to Bluffton College in Ohio, where she became the school's newspaper editor and oversaw the publication of humor pieces.

In November 1939, at the age of 22, she married Sherwood Anderson Diller and gave birth to a son, Peter, in 1940. She would have five more children: Sally (1944), a son who died two weeks after being born (1945), Suzanne (1946), Stephanie (1948), and Perry (1950). Perry would later manage his mother's business affairs. Contrary to popular belief, she is no relation to Susan Lucci.

During WWII, the fledgling Diller clan moved to Michigan, where she began to mine her home-making experiences for jokes. She also worked as an advertising copywriter at this time. After the war, the Dillers moved to San Francisco, where she found work as a secretary at the radio station KROW. Later that year, she was in front of the camera for the first time with a program titled "Phyllis Dillis, the Homely Friendmaker" for Bay Area Radio-Television. She continued working in Bay Area television, this time at KGO-TV, where she was invited to participate in the station's show "Belfast Pop Club", co-hosted by Willard Anderson and Don Sherwood.

Both Anderson and Sherwood encouraged her to pursue her stand-up comedy ambitions, and in 1955, she landed a two-week gig at the venerable San Francisco nightclub, The Purple Onion, where her self-deprecating wit and unique laugh kept her on the stage for the better part of two years. The buzz created by her act reached Hollywood, and she made her first rounds on talk and variety shows with the likes of Jack Benny and Red Skelton.

Her appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jack Parr was her breakthrough, and led to recurring gigs as a contestant on "You Bet Your Life" with host Groucho Marx, "What's My Line?", "I've Got a Secret", and "Hollywood Squares". She appeared on the silver screen as well, making her debut in William Inge's drama, Splendor in the Grass. In 1961, she made her stage debut in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Appearances in films with Bob Hope -- Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, and Eight on the Lam -- began a lifelong bond between the two performers, who would co-star in numerous TV specials; in fact, Diller would be featured in every Bob Hope Christmas Special from 1965 through 1994. At the height of the Vietnam war in 1966, Diller joined Hope's USO troupe overseas.

As her star rose, husband Sherwood managed her career, though the relationship broke down and the couple divorced in 1965. By this point, however, Sherwood had become a staple of her act, as she made jokes about a husband named "Fang," while she smoked from a exaggerated cigarette holder -- which would become the comedienne's signature prop, paried with her increasingly outlandish wardrobe and hairstyles. Soon after her divorce, she married Ward Donovan, whom she met while appearing on stage in "Wonderful Town". Worth noting is the fact that Joan Rivers was one of her writers at this period in her career.

In the late 1960s, she starred in a pair of short-lived series, "The Pruitts of Southampton" and variety show "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show", though she found her greatest success elsewhere, from her continued guest appearances on talk, variety, and game shows. Toward the end of the decade, she began a successful string of guest spots on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In". Harkening back to her film debut, she gained notices for her work in the drama The Adding Machine with Milo O'Shea.

For three months, at the start of the 1970s, she appeared on Broadway in "Hello, Dolly!", stepping in for Carol Channing. On TV, she frequented on Dean Martin's celebrity roast specials and "the Mike Douglas Show". She cut hit comedy records, published her first books, and continued working the stand-up circuit. A new source of laughs -- her own plastic surgery -- stood in humorous contrast with other Hollywood performers.

Her on-screen career began to wane in late in the decade and into the 1980s, with guest appearances on "The Love Boat", "Celebrity Hot Potato", and a revamped version of "Hollywood Squares".

In the 1990s, roles in B movies Dr. Hackenstein and Silence of the Hams were minor cultural blips, but in 1998 she regained the spotlight for her voice role as the Queen ant in the second Pixar movie, A Bug's Life. She also had a recurring role on "The Bold and the Beautiful". A year later, she suffered a heart attack and was fitted with a pacemaker.

By 2002 she mostly retired from the stage and screen, though she appeared in the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats, notable because Diller, who steered clear of graphic material, did not recite the content of the famous dirty joke. An autobiography, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse, was published that same year; in 2006, a DVD version of the project was released, and she voiced several roles for "Robot Chicken" and, later, "Family Guy". She cameoed in 2007 on "Boston Legal" as a supposed lover of William Shatner's Denny Crane. A planned appearance later in the year for her 90th birthday on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was canceled when she fractured her back.

Diller was a long-time member of the Society of Singers, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping singers in need. Two cities proclaimed "Phyllis Diller Day"s: Philadelphia (2001) and San Francisco (2006).

She is survived by daughters Sally and Suzanne and son Perry.

Simon Ward obituary

Stage and screen actor known for his roles in The Three Musketeers and Young Winston

In 1971 the actor Simon Ward, who has died after a long illness aged 70, was plucked from virtual obscurity by the director Richard Attenborough to play Winston Churchill in the film Young Winston, supported by actors of longstanding reputation including Robert Shaw, Anne Bancroft and John Mills. After the film's release a year later, Ward found himself a star on several continents. "That was a frightening role," he recalled. "You were playing someone whom everyone had very strong feelings about. As a movie, it had the most extraordinary mixture of adventure – the fighting, riding, running up and down mountains – and some wonderful dialogue scenes shot at Shepperton."

Swashbuckling and tongue-in-cheek slapstick were added to the mix when Ward, known for his aristocratic looks and high cheekbones, was cast as the Duke of Buckingham in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Simon Ward obituary

Stage and screen actor known for his roles in The Three Musketeers and Young Winston

In 1971 the actor Simon Ward, who has died after a long illness aged 70, was plucked from virtual obscurity by the director Richard Attenborough to play Winston Churchill in the film Young Winston, supported by actors of longstanding reputation including Robert Shaw, Anne Bancroft and John Mills. After the film's release a year later, Ward found himself a star on several continents. "That was a frightening role," he recalled. "You were playing someone whom everyone had very strong feelings about. As a movie, it had the most extraordinary mixture of adventure – the fighting, riding, running up and down mountains – and some wonderful dialogue scenes shot at Shepperton."

Swashbuckling and tongue-in-cheek slapstick were added to the mix when Ward, known for his aristocratic looks and high cheekbones, was cast as the Duke of Buckingham in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Films Of Sidney Lumet: A Retrospective

It has been a year since Sidney Lumet passed away on April 9, 2011. Here is our retrospective on the legendary filmmaker to honor his memory. Originally published April 15, 2011.

Almost a week after the fact, we, like everyone that loves film, are still mourning the passing of the great American master Sidney Lumet, one of the true titans of cinema.

Lumet was never fancy. He never needed to be, as a master of blocking, economic camera movements and framing that empowered the emotion and or exact punctuation of a particular scene. First and foremost, as you’ve likely heard ad nauseum -- but hell, it’s true -- Lumet was a storyteller, and one that preferred his beloved New York to soundstages (though let's not romanticize it too much, he did his fair share of work on studio film sets too as most TV journeyman and early studio filmmakers did).

His directing career stretched well over 50 years,
See full article at The Playlist »

Barbarella Blu-ray Debuts July 3rd

Barbarella Blu-ray Debuts July 3rd
Who can perform a zero-gravity striptease, seduce an angel and still have time to save the universe? Sexy, sultry, space adventurer Barbarella, that's who! Coming in for a landing on Blu-ray for the first time ever on July 3, 2012, the terrifically titillating sci-fi romp Barbarella continues to entertain with its outrageous, out-of-this-world story and brazen sexuality.

Jane Fonda stars as the titular heroine who lands on the planet Lythion in the year 40,000. Faced with robots, monsters and evil of varying stripes, she must vanquish her enemies, all while attempting-and failing-to keep her skin-tight spacesuit on. Along the way she receives assistance from a variety of handsome men, each of whom receives her uninhibited appreciation. Directed by Roger Vadim (Fonda's ex-husband), Barbarella is a kind of sexual Alice in Wonderland of the future and the film is replete with psychedelic set designs, far-out characters and an outrageously entertaining story set amongst the stars.
See full article at MovieWeb »

David Kelly obituary

David Kelly obituary
The distinctive and beguiling Irish actor David Kelly, who has died aged 82, was as familiar a face in British television sitcoms as he was on the stage in Dublin, where he was particularly associated with the Gate theatre. But he was perhaps best known in recent years for playing Grandpa Joe in Tim Burton's movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), an engaging performance that was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Film and Television Academy; Johnny Depp, who played Willy Wonka, paid a touching tribute on a video link from Hollywood to Dublin.

Kelly was a tall and flamboyant figure who was often cast as a comic, eccentric Irishman, notably as Albert Riddle, an incompetent, one-armed dish-washer in the late 1970s British sitcom Robin's Nest; he
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

David Kelly obituary

Irish stage and screen actor who was a familiar face in many British TV sitcoms

The distinctive and beguiling Irish actor David Kelly, who has died aged 82, was as familiar a face in British television sitcoms as he was on the stage in Dublin, where he was particularly associated with the Gate theatre. But he was perhaps best known in recent years for playing Grandpa Joe in Tim Burton's movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), an engaging performance that was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Film and Television Academy; Johnny Depp, who played Willy Wonka, paid a touching tribute on a video link from Hollywood to Dublin.

Kelly was a tall and flamboyant figure who was often cast as a comic, eccentric Irishman, notably as Albert Riddle, an incompetent, one-armed dish-washer in the late 1970s British sitcom Robin's Nest; he
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Paddie O'Neil obituary

Versatile entertainer and Mrs Alfred Marks

The actor and singer Paddie O'Neil, who has died aged 83, was best known for many stage and screen appearances with her husband, Alfred Marks, but she was also a notable performer in her own right.

Her first film, Penny Points to Paradise (1951), also featured the big-screen debuts of Marks, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. Harry Secombe starred in the knockabout farce, which was released in the same month that he, Sellers and Milligan were first heard on BBC radio as the Goons. Like the others in this low-budget picture, which was shot in Brighton over three weeks, O'Neil had a background in variety and was able to recreate some of her act, including impersonations of Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson.

Already known as compere of the BBC radio series Navy Mixture, O'Neil had also starred with Marks in a television sketch show, Don't Look Now
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Donal Donnelly obituary

A talented Irish actor on stage and in films for Ford and Huston

For an actor who worked with two of the greatest movie directors of the last century and appeared in the world premieres of plays by Brian Friel, Ireland's leading contemporary dramatist, Donal Donnelly, who has died after a long illness, aged 78, was curiously unrecognised. Like so many prominent Irish actors in the diasporas of Hollywood, British television, the West End and Broadway – all areas he conquered – Donnelly was a great talent and a private citizen, happily married for many years, and always seemed youthful.

There was something mischievous, something larkish, about him, too. He twinkled. And he had a big nose. He had long lived in New York, although he died in Chicago, and had started out in Dublin, although born in England.

In John Huston's swansong movie The Dead (1987), the best screen transcription of a James Joyce fiction,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Film review: Ulysses

This is a bold and high-minded stab at the ultimate unfilmable book, writes Peter Bradshaw

In 1967, the American film-maker Joseph Strick took a bold and high-minded stab at the ultimate unfilmable book: Joyce's Ulysses. Inevitably, it's a disappointment, though watched again now for this rerelease, it doesn't seem as much of a disappointment as all that. Milo O'Shea gives a very decent performance as Leopold Bloom: he is dignified, vulnerable, sensitive and tragicomic. However, Maurice Roëves's Stephen Dedalus is flat and uninteresting; his opening dialogue scenes with Mulligan and Haines in the Martello Tower are odd and stilted, yet maybe there's no other way of doing them. I was reminded of Manoel De Oliveira's 2002 film I'm Going Home, in which John Malkovich plays a film-maker directing a new version of Ulysses, and unhappily attempting to direct Michel Piccoli's elderly French actor, whom he has stupendously miscast as Buck Mulligan.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

See also

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