18 items from 2010
Los Angeles — Blake Edwards, the director and writer known for clever dialogue, poignance and occasional belly-laugh sight gags in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "10" and the "Pink Panther" farces, is dead at age 88.
Edwards died from complications of pneumonia late Wednesday at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, said publicist Gene Schwam. Blake's wife, Julie Andrews, and other family members were at his side. He had been hospitalized for about two weeks.
Edwards had knee problems, had undergone unsuccessful procedures and was "pretty much confined to a wheelchair for the last year-and-a-half or two," Schwam said. That may have contributed to his condition, he added.
At the time of his death, Edwards was working on two Broadway musicals, one based on the "Pink Panther" movies. The other, "Big Rosemary," was to be an original comedy set during Prohibition, Schwam said.
"His heart was as big as his talent. He was an »
Part I: Super Chiefs — Calley, Evans, Zanuck and the Passing of the Studio Torches
From the 1960s into the 1980s, one by one, the legendary studios of old – MGM, United Artists, Warner Bros., Paramount, Columbia, 20th Century Fox — were gobbled up by conglomerates, some of which had had almost no previous interests in the entertainment business, such as Paramount’s acquirer, Gulf + Western (a motley collection of properties ranging from Caribbean sugar companies to auto parts), and Kinney National Service (a hodgepodge of funeral homes and parking lots which bought up Warner Bros.). This corporatization of the major studios – the once mighty fiefdoms of the old moguls subjugated by invaders with little or no practical or emotional affinity for movies – is often viewed disparagingly as a sea change signaling the end of the grand Old Hollywood; the Hollywood of Gable and Garland, of Casablanca (1942) and Gone with the Wind (1939).
- Bill Mesce
Movie executive who saw United Artists' fortunes plummet
When Andy Albeck, who has died aged 89, became president of United Artists (UA) in 1978, the days of dictatorial movie moguls such as Harry Cohn, Louis B Mayer and Jack Warner, hiring and firing, making and breaking people, were long past. However, the relatively unknown Albeck, who had been with UA for almost 30 years, was suddenly in a position to approve or reject projects.
Albeck became boss of UA when the company had roughly $100m a year to make pictures, $7.5m of which it invested in Apocalypse Now (1979), as well as lending Francis Coppola a few million more to complete the Vietnam war movie. Despite the mounting cost of Apocalypse Now, the summer of 1979 saw UA enjoy the most successful box-office period in its history. The company, however, would be almost wiped out in a few years.
In 1978, the director Michael Cimino »
- Ronald Bergan
Filmmaker and cinematographer Haskell Wexler.
Two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler was adjudged one of the ten most influential cinematographers in movie history, according to an International Cinematographers Guild survey of its membership. He won his Oscars in both black & white and color, for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Bound for Glory (1976). He also shot much of Days of Heaven (1978), for which credited director of photography Nestor Almendros -- who was losing his eye-sight, won a Best Cinematography Oscar. In 1993, Wexler was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the cinematographer's guild, the American Society of Cinematographers. He has received five Oscar nominations for his cinematography, in total, plus one Emmy Award in a career that has spanned six decades.
Born in Chicago to a wealthy family on February 6, 1922, Wexler cut his teeth shooting industrial films, TV commercials and documentaries. He »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
To celebrate the 75th birthday of the great Julie Andrews, our favorite singing governness, our favorite magical nanny, our favorite gender bending toast of Paris. Something big was in order. Why, she's practically perfect in every way... so in her honor, a resurrection of a long dormant exhaustively researched 100% true* series that was once the Film Experience's most popular feature.
1935 Julia Wells is born to Mrs. Barbara Wells in Surrey, England. Mr. Wells is not the father. Scandal! This bastard child will one day become the icon of squeaky clean family entertainment. She won't always enjoy it. At her christening the good fairy Fauna grants her the gift of song
One gift, the gift of song,
Melody your whole life long!
The nightingale her troubadour,
Bringing his sweet serenade to her door.(We figure that's the only way you get a voice that lovely.)
1940 Having already recognized the fairy's generous gift, »
- NATHANIEL R
On Tuesday morning, Wamg was invited to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ special press preview of John Ford’s Upstream (1927), one of 75 films recently found in the New Zealand Film Archive and repatriated to the U.S. with the cooperation of the National Film Preservation Foundation.
The 1927 silent film, that was thought lost for decades, had it’s re-premiere Wednesday night, September 1, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Many of the VIP’s on hand included Silent Film Historians and those involved with the restoration, as well as the general public.
Having seen the film on Tuesday, I must say the transfer is absolutely beautiful. I was so impressed by the special care taken with the film’s clarity and how vibrant the tinting is on the multiple color frames throughout. The smoky special effects combined with the subtle transitions made me forget I was »
- Michelle McCue
My sixth birthday was celebrated in August 1939, five days before the outbreak of war. By that time, I'd begun to make weekly visit to the pictures and embarked on what was to be a lifelong obsession with the cinema. I'd also committed to memory all 50 of that year's Wills series of 50 Great Film Stars cigarette cards (God knows how many packets of cigarettes my father smoked to complete my collection) and so could reel off the names and birth places of the leading movie actors and actresses of the English-speaking world.
On my birthday I'd seen Shirley Temple's first Technicolor film, The Little Princess, and that same week I saw my first Technicolor western, Jesse James, both equally unforgettable. I'd also recently seen and loved two earlier films that were still on release, Alfred Hitchcock's two greatest British pictures, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, which I have »
- Philip French
On a relatively cool August night in Hollywood, "MasterChef" judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot welcome select hungry journalists -- Zap2it included -- to celebrate the launch of Fox's new culinary competition show.
Bastianich is gracious enough to open the doors to the private Jack Warner dining room at Pizzeria Mozza, a restaurant he opened with Chef Mario Batali. The room is lined by wine bottles, while votives flicker and heavy gothic red seats march along each side of the long table that seats 18.
As soon as I walk in, I'm offered a glass of sparkling rose. It's a good start to the evening.
My main aim (besides stuffing myself with savory Italian food) of the night is to get to know Bastianich and Elliot, who aren't as recognizable on TV as their fellow judge Gordon Ramsay. Is Bastianich as forbidding as he seems? Will he stare cryptically and not say a word? »
Judy Garland, every once in a while, could deliver a great performance. It seems now she’s better known for her personal problems, The Wizard of Oz, and her adoring fanbase. But in A Star is Born she gives one of her best performances in what appears to be a mirror of her own life. Garland plays Esther Blodgett, a singer with great pipes discovered by Norman Maine (James Mason). The two fall in love, but he’s a boozy mess and as she finally achieves stardom he recedes from the spotlight. My review of the gorgeous Blu-ray of A Star is Born follows after the jump.
A Star is Born is also known as a saved film, as the film got (and deserved) a restoration in the 1980’s when archivists put together as much of they could of the original “premiere” cut. That version was 181 minutes, the released version »
- Andre Dellamorte
Film-making (and all of its offshoots in film writing and film-whining-about over the internet) tends to attract a certain kind of person; they’re the kind of people who can afford to take the chance on film school. They tend to be from the suburbs, they tend to be male, and they tend to have grown up proving their masculinity in areas other than sports (there’s a reason that so many films on the IMDb top 250 are about crime). As a result, there are some blind spots when film history is considered by our generation, and one of those spots covers up film musicals. Though the notion of people breaking out into song and dance to express their thoughts has generally become fodder for satire (alternative theater festivals are filled with titles like Chlamydia: The Musical and Bosnia: The Musical), there was once a time when the industry devoted »
- Anders Nelson
Cinematographer whose innovative work brought him five Oscar nominations
The American cinematographer William Fraker, who has died of cancer aged 86, worked on dozens of mainstream films – the good, the bad, but never the ugly. Fraker could not be praised or blamed for the direction, acting or script, but the look of a film was, on the whole, his responsibility. Although he saw himself as part of a team who tried to fulfil the director's vision, Fraker began to push the boundaries of cinematography in commercial cinema by using faster and wider lenses, restricting lighting sources and employing techniques such as flashing and deliberate overexposure.
According to Fraker: "The director is the captain of the ship, the cinematographer is the executive officer. You have to really learn who you're working with and what they think. It's like a marriage. As a cinematographer, you can immediately tell a terrific director if they »
- Ronald Bergan
Chicago – Where would Thomas Sullivan Magnum had been without his trusty sidekick Rick Wright? Chicago-born Larry Manetti was Rick Wright on “Magnum P.I,” and has just re-released his book of memories with the show, “Aloha, Magnum.”
Manetti was born in Chicago and as an actor headed to Hollywood in 1972. His connection to another Chicagoan, Robert Conrad, landed him on the series “Baa Baa Black Sheep” [1976-78]. Between TV guest roles and film parts he caught the attention of the producers of Magnum P.I.[1980-88], and portrayed club owner and Magnum friend Rick Wright for the entire series run.
In 1999, he sat down to write about his adventures in Aloha, Magnum. He recently re-released the book, which is available through his website, LarryManetti.com.
Photo Credit: Universal Studio Home Entertainment
HollywoodChicago.com spoke to Manetti recently, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Innovative American film editor best known for her work on Bonnie and Clyde
Dede Allen, who has died after a stroke aged 86, not only broke into the predominantly male preserve of film editing, but developed a style and made innovations so distinctive that a school of editing was named in her honour. She was one of the great practitioners of movie-making.
Yet she worked rarely in Hollywood, did not achieve notable success until the age of 42, and despite receiving several Oscar nominations and the first solo onscreen credit for an editor at the beginning of a film, she was never well known. The job is highly technical and riddled with jargon, yet it is also an art, which is how Allen viewed it.
- Christopher Reed
A few minutes past midnight on Friday, a man in a gray suit and bright red tie took to the stage of the IFC Center's Theater One and, to the applause of the sold-out audience, proudly waved a wire coat hanger in the air like an athlete brandishing the Olympic torch. This borderline deranged behavior would only draw an enthusiastic positive response at two places: a Joan Crawford impersonators' convention or the New York City premiere of "Birdemic: Shock and Terror," a eco-horror romantic thriller that has been dubbed "the next hilariously great cult movie" by no less an appropriate outlet than New York magazine's Vulture blog.
The hanger-wielding man in the suit was "Birdemic" writer/director James Nguyen, a software salesman by day who boasted that he "went to the film school of Hitchcock cinema" during the introductory Q & A. Arguably, he also could've attended the film school of Edward D. Wood Jr. cinema, »
- Matt Singer
(Actor Richard Erdman, left)
by Jon Zelazny
The craft of acting in the 20th century breaks neatly into two distinct phases: before Marlon Brando and after Marlon Brando. He first conquered Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947. Three years later—and sixty years ago—he made his first movie.
A native of Enid, Oklahoma, Erdman spent his teenage years in vaudeville, and began his Hollywood career in 1944. He most recently appeared on the NBC series "Community."
Richard Erdman: Brando and I went out to Birmingham General Hospital in Van Nuys, where all the war paraplegics were still being treated, and we stayed there a few days, learning how to use wheelchairs, and how to get in and »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
It’s a real-life act of Hollywood villainy that ranks with the very worst depicted on the big screen — how Jack L. Warner tricked his brothers into surrendering the studio they’d spent half a century building. “I was always fascinated by my great-uncle Jack, whose name was never mentioned in my house after Grandpa Harry died,” says Cass Warner, who recounts this tragedy of Shakespearean proportions in her documentary “The Brothers Warner,” recently released on DVD. “It took me many years »
- By LOU LUMENICK
Cass Warner takes us beyond the lot with The Brothers Warner While many can say they grew up watching the movies produced on the Warner Bros. lot, few can say that they literally grew up on the lot, but Cass Warner is one of them. The daughter of writer-producer Milton Sperling and granddaughter to Warner co-founder Harry Warner, Cass made the Burbank studio facility her second home, sitting on on story meetings with her father and growing up with the business all around her. Now she has her own production company dubbed Warner Sisters and her latest production is the documentary The Brothers Warner, which hits the shelves on DVD today, March 9. I recently had the chance to speak with Warner, who directed this new documentary, and here's what she had to say.
In the 90s, you wrote the book about your grandfather and their whole story. At what point »
A Star Is Born on Blu-ray June 22nd You can bring home a 1954 film in an impressive new DVD and Blu-ray set this coming June. A Star Is Born will be released in a new DVD and Blu-ray Deluxe Special Edition on June 22. The two-disc standard DVD will be priced at $20.97 Srp and the two-disc Blu-ray will be priced at $34.99 Srp. This set will also come with a 40-page book full of photos and history of the film as well. The film stars Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson and Charles Bickford.
George Cukor directed this classic musical drama about the doomed marriage of an entertainer whose career is on the rise (Judy Garland) and her husband whose career is in decline (James Mason). A Star is Born marked Judy Garland's return to movies after a four-year absence, director George Cukor's first musical and first color film, and »
18 items from 2010
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