11 items from 2013
Think silent films reached a high point with The Artist? The pre-sound era produced some of the most beautiful, arresting films ever made. From City Lights to Metropolis, Guardian and Observer critics pick the 10 best
• Top 10 teen movies
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• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
10. City Lights
City Lights was arguably the biggest risk of Charlie Chaplin's career: The Jazz Singer, released at the end of 1927, had seen sound take cinema by storm, but Chaplin resisted the change-up, preferring to continue in the silent tradition. In retrospect, this isn't so much the precious behaviour of a purist but the smart reaction of an experienced comedian; Chaplin's films rarely used intertitles anyway, and though it is technically "silent", City Lights is very mindful of it own self-composed score and keenly judged sound effects.
At its heart, »
Vivien Leigh: Legendary ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ star would have turned 100 today Vivien Leigh was perhaps the greatest film star that hardly ever was. What I mean is that following her starring role in the 1939 Civil War blockbuster Gone with the Wind, Leigh was featured in a mere eight* movies over the course of the next 25 years. The theater world’s gain — she was kept busy on the London stage — was the film world’s loss. But even if Leigh had starred in only two movies — Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire — that would have been enough to make her a screen legend; one who would have turned 100 years old today, November 5, 2013. (Photo: Vivien Leigh ca. 1940.) Vivien Leigh (born Vivian Mary Hartley to British parents in Darjeeling, India) began her film career in the mid-’30s, playing bit roles in British »
- Andre Soares
In this piece, I delve into the murky multiple origins of ‘The Clown Prince of Crime’ and come out offering both a history lesson and a splash-page headache.
Spoiler Alert (well, sort of)…
In this newest genesis, the villain formerly known as The Red Hood falls into a vat of toxic chemicals, as usual, but this time he does so with an (literally and figuratively) explosive twist. Its revisionist history, yes, but it isn’t without precedent. You see The Man Who Laughs has been born (and then re-born) a great many times before.
When comic book readers first met The Joker, he was fully formed and ready to create chaos. Initially a homicidal prankster, The Golden Age Joker’s character would be smoothed over during the McCarthy/Wertham era, »
- Chris Quicksilver
Fred MacMurray movies: ‘Double Indemnity,’ ‘There’s Always Tomorrow’ Fred MacMurray is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" today, Thursday, August 7, 2013. Although perhaps best remembered as the insufferable All-American Dad on the long-running TV show My Three Sons and in several highly popular Disney movies from 1959 to 1967, e.g., The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, Boy Voyage!, MacMurray was immeasurably more interesting as the All-American Jerk. (Photo: Fred MacMurray ca. 1940.) Someone once wrote that Fred MacMurray would have been an ideal choice to star in a biopic of disgraced Republican president Richard Nixon. Who knows, the (coincidentally Republican) MacMurray might have given Anthony Hopkins a run for his Best Actor Academy Award nomination. After all, MacMurray’s most admired movie performances are those in which he plays a scheming, conniving asshole: Billy Wilder’s classic film noir Double Indemnity (1944), in which he’s seduced by Barbara Stanwyck, and Wilder »
- Andre Soares
Paul Henreid in ‘Casablanca’: Freedom Fighter on screen, Blacklisted ‘Subversive’ off screen Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of July 2013, Paul Henreid, bids you farewell this evening. TCM left the most popular, if not exactly the best, for last: Casablanca, Michael Curtiz’s 1943 Best Picture Oscar-winning drama, is showing at 7 p.m. Pt tonight. (Photo: Paul Henreid sings "La Marseillaise" in Casablanca.) One of the best-remembered movies of the studio era, Casablanca — not set in a Spanish or Mexican White House — features Paul Henreid as Czechoslovakian underground leader Victor Laszlo, Ingrid Bergman’s husband but not her True Love. That’s Humphrey Bogart, owner of a cafe in the titular Moroccan city. Henreid’s anti-Nazi hero is generally considered one of least interesting elements in Casablanca, but Alt Film Guide contributor Dan Schneider thinks otherwise. In any case, Victor Laszlo feels like a character made to order for Paul Henreid, »
- Andre Soares
The hit sound film The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson and directed by Alan Crosland, fueled the mainstream appetite for newfangled "talkies"... and brought on the death throes of the ol' fashioned silent film. Over the next few years, silent motion picture production around the world slowed, withered, and died. Before this era came to a close, however, the horror genre took root, clawed its way into mainstream popularity, and spawned a wealth of atmospheric and unsettling thrillers. These films built the foundation upon which a century of horror movies would be constructed. The art of film was still in its infancy, and this silent era of experimentation gave rise to some of the most striking and fascinating horror movies ever made. While Germany would soon rise to dominate horror of the silent era, Italy helped get the ball rolling with their first feature length film, Dante's Inferno (1911), directed by Giuseppe de Liguoro. »
- Eric Stanze
Eleanor Parker: Palm Springs resident turns 91 today Eleanor Parker turns 91 today. The three-time Oscar nominee (Caged, 1950; Detective Story, 1951; Interrupted Melody, 1955) and Palm Springs resident is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of June 2013. Earlier this month, TCM showed a few dozen Eleanor Parker movies, from her days at Warner Bros. in the ’40s to her later career as a top Hollywood supporting player. (Photo: Publicity shot of Eleanor Parker in An American Dream.) Missing from TCM’s movie series, however, was not only Eleanor Parker’s biggest box-office it — The Sound of Music, in which she steals the show from both Julie Andrews and the Alps — but also what according to several sources is her very first movie role: a bit part in Raoul Walsh’s They Died with Their Boots On, a 1941 Western starring Errol Flynn as a dashingly handsome and all-around-good-guy-ish General George Armstrong Custer. Olivia de Havilland »
- Andre Soares
Even casual horror fans are familiar with the silent Universal classics The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which starred the legendary “Man of a Thousand Faces” Lon Chaney, Sr. in his two most iconic screen roles. The box-office success of those two films led the studio in 1928 to adapt The Man Who Laughs, a story by Hunchback author Victor Hugo, into one of their first sound productions, with music and sound effects (but no recorded dialog). While Chaney did not return for this one (he was under contract to MGM by that time), the lead role was taken on by another screen legend, Conrad Veidt – best remembered by horror fans as the creepy sleepwalker Cesare in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Just as in Hunchback, the title character here is not technically a “monster,” but a sympathetic figure who happens to be horribly disfigured... but like the grotesque Quasimodo, »
- Gregory Burkart
In Robert Wiene’s 1920 dreamlike horror classic, veteran German actor Werner Krauss plays the mysterious Dr. Caligari, the apparent force behind a creepy somnambulist named Cesare and played by Conrad Veidt, who abducts beautiful Lil Dagover. The finale in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has inspired tons of movies and television shows, from Fritz Lang's 1944 film noir The Woman in the Window to the last episode of the TV series St. Elsewhere. In addition, the film shares some key elements in common (suppposedly as a result of a mere coincidence) with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio's 2011 thriller Shutter Island. The 1920 crime melodrama Outside the Law is not in any way related to Rachid Bouchareb's 2010 political drama. Instead, the Tod Browning-directed movie is a well-made entry in the gangster genre (long before the explosion a decade later). Browning, best known for his early '30s efforts Dracula and Freaks, »
- Andre Soares
Submit your vote for Reviewer of the Year!
Every year, the Classic Horror Film Board recognizes the best in the horror/sci-fi/fantasy realm with the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. Fans of the genre can vote for their favorites in over thirty categories, and this year, Cinelinx would like to ask you to vote for one of our own, staff writer Victor Medina, as Reviewer of the Year (Category 29)! We've even included the ballot below so you can vote!
Votes must be submitted by copying and pasting the ballot into your personal email, making your choices, including your name, and sending it in. Votes for Reviewer of the Year are write-in only, so you must be sure to include Vic's name yourself under Category 29 when you vote. Pre-filled ballots are not allowed, so we can't do it for you! Remember, you must write in "Victor Medina, Cinelinx.com" yourself. »
- email@example.com (Jordan Maison)
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 19, 2013
Price: DVD $19.98, Blu-ray $24.98
Studio: Cohen Media/Entertainment One
Fantasy takes flight in 1924's The Thief of Bagdad.
Raoul Walsh’s 1924 film The Thief of Bagdad, a dazzling Arabian Nights adventure fantasy starring Douglas Fairbanks and set in the city of Bagdad, remains one of the most imaginative of all silent movies.
The classic film’s fantastical family-friendly story finds Fairbanks portraying the titular recalcitrant thief Ahmed who vies with a duplicitous Mongol ruler (Sôjin) for the hand of a beautiful princess (Julanne Johnston).
Filled with Fairbanks’ acrobatic and energetic stuntwork, elaborate and lush settings, and backgrounds and massive sets by William Cameron Menzies (who would later design Gone with the Wind), The Thief of Bagdad was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Further, the American Film Institute’s 2008 poll of the creative community ranked the movie among the »
11 items from 2013
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