5 items from 2017
On this day (April 20th) in history as it relates to showbiz...
1893 Harold Lloyd, silent comedian of excellence, born in Nebraska
1889 Adolf Hitler born. The German Führer has been played in movies by literally hundreds of actors including in recent years Robert Carlyle, Udo Keir, Noah Taylor, and Bruno Ganz. On this awful subject let's consider it a shame that Jodie Foster never made that rumored Leni Reifenstahl (Triumph of the Will) biopic she was interested in doing. That would have made an interesting less covered piece of the ever-harrowing Nazi puzzle.
- NATHANIEL R
World War II taught the world to be distrustful of propaganda, as the public came to realize just how effectively cinema could be used to spread anti-Semitism and a lock-step, sieg-heil conformity to demagogues. And yet, among the many insights of Mark Harris’ richly researched book “Five Came Back” — which fleshed out an oft-overlooked chapter of Hollywood history while shading a far more over-scrutinized one in the vast military history canon — was director William Wyler’s view that “all film is propaganda.” Like a loaded weapon, the power and world-changing potential of a camera is all in who’s holding it, and where that person chooses to point it.
Now, Harris’ terrific book has inspired a glossy, if somewhat snooze-inducing Netflix miniseries, “Five Came Back,” directed by Laurent Bouzereau. Simultaneously released in New York and Los Angeles theaters for an Oscar-qualifying run (offering fodder for those awards prognosticators looking for »
- Peter Debruge
Ryan Lambie Apr 6, 2017
"I looked at American society in a kind of dazed way when I was doing RoboCop," director Paul Verhoeven told us earlier this year. Back in the mid-80s, when he was better known for his Dutch films like Soldier Of Orange and The Fourth Man, Verhoeven was still getting used to the pace and tone of American culture - and his outsider status arguably fed into the wry, spikily satirical edge in all three sci-fi films he made while in Hollywood.
"It was all so different from living in Holland," Verhoeven recalled. "A lot of my, let's say, amazement, at American society is in RoboCop; in the commercials, in »
Robert Keeling Apr 19, 2017
Oliver Stone’s epic conspiracy-thriller JFK, surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the case brought about by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in relation to his murder, was released in 1991 to an astonishing level of critical backlash. Even before JFK arrived in theatres it was being pilloried and attacked by many in the media. The attacks were kick-started by Washington Post correspondent George Lardner, an investigative reporter who wrote a piece called On the Set: Dallas In Wonderland; How Oliver Stone’s Version Of The Kennedy Assassination Exploits The Edge Of Paranoia, which was actually based solely on a leaked copy of Stone’s first draft of the script.
It's been delightful if sometimes gruelling, webchatting to you all. Let's do it again sometime!
Mike Thorne says:
I think it's quite important with Wagner to distinguish between German nationalism as espoused by the new German Reich, from Wagner's conception of a cultural phenomenon, which is a fundamental kind of Teutonic conception of life. Which is semi-mystical, and almost anthropological, with its roots as Wagner conceived of it, in pre-history. Whether this is an attractive or real thing or not is obviously a matter for discussion, but it's a different thing from a specific nationalism of a kind that Wagner was increasingly prevalent in the 19th century across Europe and beyond. Wagner was intellectually an extraordinary mix of influences, he was never as »
- Guardian Staff
5 items from 2017
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