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Victor Fleming directed two of the greatest films ever, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. Yet he has rarely been given credit for their success. As the first critical biography of him is released, Philip French reassesses the legacy of the combative and intruiging director who created film magic with Judy Garland, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Seventy years ago, on 15 December 1939, one of Hollywood's most legendary movies, Gone With the Wind, a celebration of what the American South endured as a result of the Civil War, had its whites-only world premiere in Atlanta, Georgia. Its stars were there – Vivien Leigh, who played the brave, capricious, head-strong, thrice married heroine Scarlett O'Hara, and Clark Gable, Hollywood's democratically elected king, who played the handsome, pragmatic hero Rhett Butler; and also present, of course, was its producer, the "boy wonder" David O Selznick, who had been developing the film for three years, »
- Philip French
Chicago – On this Christmas Eve, we will bask in the light of sparkling film stars, and honor their legacy. Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine, Tippi Hedren and Larry Hagman met admirers at the Hollywood Celebrities Show.
The older stars are the most fascinating and best attended towards at these type of events. There is a sense of regal elements to their bearing, but at the same time a knowledge that they were possessed in another era, simpler perhaps, but still significant in this time of online and DVD assess to the older canon.
Let us spend time briefly this Christmas Eve with the following legends of film, as HollywoodChicago and the ace of all aces, photographer Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto, connect to the living embodiments of our film history past at the Hollywood Celebrities Show in Rosemont, Illinois.
Mickey Rooney, Film and Box Office Titan for Metro Goldwyn Mayer
The Mickster, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Tanga is selling a Back to the Future Flux Capacitor T-Shirt for only $5.99 (plus $1.99 shipping and handling). Amazon has a few last minute holiday deals: Gold Box Deal of the Day (24 hours Only): The King of Queens: The Complete Series on DVD for $89.99, 61% off the $233 msrp/ The Wire: The Complete Series for $89.99, 64% off the $250msrp Gone With The Wind (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) Blu-Ray Set for $39.99, 53% off the $85 list price Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection Blu-ray set for $59.99, 57% off the $140 msrp. Set includes: The Motion Picture / The Wrath of Khan / The Search for Spock / The Voyage Home / The Final Frontier / The Captains Summit Bonus Disc. Deadwood: The Complete Series for $74.99, 58% off the $180 msrp. Band of Brothers Blu-Ray for $37.49, 63% off the $100 msrp. Rome: The Complete Series on Blu-Ray for $64.99, 54% off »
- Peter Sciretta
Still holding out for some great holiday deals? Amazon has just thrown up some amazing deals which benefit no one as far as gift giving goes since it’s too late to order your gift and get it here in time for Christmas. Still, if you want to get something nice for yourself, these are some pretty sweet bargains.
First up, they have Deadwood: The Complete Series on DVD for $74.99, which is 58% off the list price of $179.97. Then they have the Blu-ray editions of Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection for $59.99 (list price: $139.99), the 4-Disc Combo Editions of Up and Monsters, Inc. together for $29.98 (normally $39.98 together), and the Gone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition for $39.99 (list price: $84.99).
Have a Happy Saturnalia and remember to put your tree back outdoors and take your lights back inside.
- Matt Goldberg
“As God is my Witness I’ll Never be Hungry Again.” And, you won’t ever be hungry again after picking up the 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Gone With The Wind. At least, you won’t be hungry for a quality home video release. That’s because as of 2009, Warner Home Video has officially taken the title of lead publisher of quality DVD and Blu-ray Ultimate Collector’s Editions. The Gone With the Wind DVD Ultimate Collector’s Edition is no exception. In 1939, Victor Fleming brought to life Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The film captivated audiences with its cinematic storytelling of a timeless love affair. The story highlighted the several periods of the Civil War in the South, while simultaneously calling into question issues of race, sex and class. Clark Gable stars as Rhett Butler, a handsome bachelor who has had his heart stolen by »
Mrs Simon, Mrs Selznick, Mrs Walker, Phylis Isley, Jennifer Jones – all of those names were offered her, like landlines in the storm, and she gazed on all of them with insufficient belief or conviction. There was a time, in the 80s and the 90s, when I did everything I could to get Jennifer Jones to speak to me, or just to see me so that she might decide she could speak to me. And all the time I was asking her, or her lawyers, I had another Mrs Selznick crowing in my ear in her best Pierre Hotel witch act, "She doesn't have anything to say. She won't remember. She doesn't care to remember."
Well, she's dead now, at 90. Gore Vidal »
- David Thomson
The Fall of the Roman Empire is one of the films examined in the TCM special.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Premiering on Turner Classic Movies without the usual fanfare, The Gigantic World of Epics is a truly superb one-hour production produced by Dreamworks and filmed by the ubiquitous Laurent Bouzereau. The special manages to condense the genre of Hollywood epics into a coherent, though far from comprehensive, study. Bouzereau wisely concentrates on a select number of films including Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, Bridge on the River Kwai among others. There are intelligent commentaries by noted film historians and technicians as well as directors Kenneth Branagh, Steven Spielberg, John Milius, along with actors such as Martin Landau and Omar Sharif and Fraser Heston, son of Charlton Heston (who provides some tantalizing glimpses of the family's home movies on the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Turner Classic Movies will present a four-film tribute to Jennifer Jones, who died yesterday at the age of 90, on Thursday, Jan. 7, beginning at 5 p.m. (Pt). The four films are: Duel in the Sun (above, 1946), a campy Western in which Jones plays a fiery "half-breed" desired by two brothers, dour Joseph Cotten and smirky Gregory Peck. Veteran King Vidor was one of the men who directed this attempt by David O. Selznick — Jones was his protegee and future wife — to achieve two goals with one single megaproduction: to create another Gone with the Wind and to transform his beloved Jennifer into a superstar. Selznick failed on both counts even though Duel [...] »
- Andre Soares
Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun Jennifer Jones, the Oscar-winning star of the 1943 blockbuster The Song of Bernadette and the wife of Gone with the Wind producer David O. Selznick, died of “natural causes” earlier today at her home in Malibu. Jones was 90. In addition to her Bernadette Soubirous in Henry King’s film about the young French peasant who claimed to see and talk to the Virgin Mary, Jones also received Oscar nominations for playing Claudette Colbert’s all-American daughter in John Cromwell’s Since You Went Away (1944, in the supporting actress category), an amnesiac who may have murdered her husband in William Dieterle’s psychological noir Love Letters (1945), a wilful "half-breed" in King Vidor’s scorching Duel in [...] »
- Andre Soares
The difference between the two obsessive quests in The Searchers (1956) and French Connection II (1975) is one of quantity: Popeye Doyle’s one goal, revenging himself on the hedonistic narcotics king, Charnier, to hell with everything else! involves more staccato cuts, more bits of cheerful Mediterranean color, more focus changing, and, especially more mobility and paranoia in Hackman’s acting than occurs during the entirety of Ethan Edward’s (John Wayne) endless Monument Valley search for little white Debbie (Natalie Wood) who, unthinkable for a Wayne-Ford adobe epic, has been cohabiting rather sensibly with a Comanche chief named Scar.
Effulgence, luxuriance . . . the new Hollywood film multiplies everything, trying to get the mythic aspect as well as a very contemporaneous attitude about candidness, what does candidness mean as a way of life? Old studio works like Double Indemnity (1944) stick to one hard-boiled attitude about the Forties in the L.A. suburbs: the camera-lighting-acting-language is dry, »
Jose here with a post seventy years in the making.
On December 15th, 1939 the city of Atlanta celebrated what President Jimmy Carter would later call "the biggest event to happen in the South in my lifetime." The entire city had been holding a celebration for the previous three days which had them decorate their houses in Civil War era style, lined their streets with Confederate flags and hold the largest costume ball seen to the date.
The worldwide premiere of Gone With the Wind would become an event of such magnitude that even a recent bestseller dedicated an entire chapter to the effect it had on its characters.
If that was only the premiere, can you imagine the effect the movie had on the world?
Unrivaled to this day in scope, box office and critical acclaim (although that has come with its share of controversy...) the film remains the epitome of Hollywood's Golden Age. »
I was shocked to look over my DVD/Blu-ray collection and find I didn't actually own a single title from Kino, the eclectic home entertainment studio. They have several noteworthy films in their collection and on top of The General there's Battleship Potemkin, the Griffith Masterworks, Ballast, Metropolis, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari and their collection of F.W. Murnau films is impressive. Yet, I own none of them, which makes the addition of Buster Keaton's classic silent comedy The General on Blu-ray a special occasion.
First off, this film is great without any kind of high definition clean-up. My first time watching it was September of 2008 and it was on Netflix's Instant Play service and I loved it then as much as I loved it this time around, but the comparison stops there. Kino's restoration and presentation is immaculate. The General was released in 1927 and is now the oldest »
- Brad Brevet
The prices plummeted this year, so Blu-ray players are likely to be under plenty of Christmas trees. Phelim O'Neill advises what to play on them
Jj Abrams's rebooted Star Trek (Paramount) was not only the sole moment of unbridled fun in this year's blockbuster season but the best, full bells and whistles Blu-ray issue, too. With its sparkling HD visuals (not a given for Blu-ray), vibrant soundtrack and exhaustive supplementary material, it's ideal for showing to anyone who dares ask, "Why all the fuss about Blu-ray?"
Let's not forget the educational importance of Blu-ray. Actually, let's do, as the picture quality on series like David Attenborough's Planet Earth and Life (BBC) is so gobsmackingly pristine that the senses are too overloaded to take in any useful information. Better to go for slightly lower-fi stuff, documentaries where the pictures do all the talking »
- Phelim O'Neill
I've sent you over to the Warner Blu Facebook Page before, but I really want to impress upon everyone out there with Blu-Ray capability that becoming a fan is a must. Considering the general scope of Facebook's potential, the people at Warner Brothers are really trying to get everything they can into this, and being a fan isn't much work. You'll get all the info on new titles coming to Blu-Ray, whether they're the things first hitting release, or classics coming to Blu-Ray like Gone With The Wind. Best of all, from my perspective anyway, you get the early scoop on the special features that will be available on these releases, with not only trailers, but clips from the bonuses as well. You've got to take a look, and become a Fan of Warner Blu on Facebook. Today I have a great prize for you, as you already know, The »
- Marc Eastman
Jose here with a look at one of the most misunderstood performances of the decade.
Nicole Kidman is arguably the actress of the decade. The woman did everything in the past ten years: thrillers, Ingmar Bergman redux, classy biopics, astonishing musicals, big special effects epics and even Lars von Trier. The last few years however have been full of incomprehensible Kidman hate (if this were the 1930's she'd be deemed box office poison and sent to oblivion).
The backlash began with the release of Cold Mountain Anthony Minghella's Civil War epic which some had decided would be the new Gone With the Wind the minute it started shooting. When it was released and Nicole's Ada Monroe just wasn't Scarlett O'Hara, it was as if people decided Nicole had cheated them from what they all thought would be a third consecutive Best Actress Oscar nomination (it says a lot that »
Packed in a velvet box filled with three discs full of bonus features, a 20-page reproduction of the original program, a 40-page book about the production, eight art prints, and a CD sampler, one might accuse Warner Home Video of gilding the lily for their premier release of Gone With the Wind on Blu-ray. Amazingly, however, the set manages to seem like exactly the amount of excess that would be necessary to properly celebrate one of American cinema's earliest masterpieces. Newly remastered in high definition and arriving with some eight hours of supplemental material, Gone With the Wind remains a classic by which all others should be judged, and now the same can be said of its home-entertainment iteration.
Initially I considered covering this film in Cinematical's "Shelf Life" column, but watching just a few of the film's opening scenes I knew it would be redundant to re-christen Gone With the Wind as amazing, »
- Todd Gilchrist
Despite its antebellum subject (it opens with a text scroll that suggests slave ownership was somehow 'gallant'), Gone with the Wind was the first 'modern' film, the first color epic to make extensive use of special effects (albeit matte paintings) and to replicate the sweep and depth of a novel, while instilling it with the excitement of live action drama. »
No 76: Errol Flynn 1909-1959
Flynn was born in Tasmania, the son of an eminent marine biologist, and early on developed a passion for the sea and a reputation as a rebel. Spotted by a Warner Brothers talent scout while a young, very minor actor in England, he became an overnight Hollywood star in 1935 as a last-minute replacement for Robert Donat as the swashbuckling hero of Captain Blood. By 1936 he was the leading contender to play Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind.
Flynn was tall, slim, graceful, debonair with a neatly trimmed moustache, a winning smile, a hearty, self-mocking laugh. Everything he did, both on screen and off, contributed to his legendary status: the colonial background (he claimed to be a descendant of Fletcher Christian); the celebrated characters he played (General Custer, Robin Hood); his sexual conquests; his prodigious phallic dimensions (according to Truman Capote in Music for Chameleons, »
- Philip French
Tyrone Power VII: Popularity If there is a failing in name recognition, I blame Turner Classic Movies for not licensing more Fox films. People who watch Turner think that the only stars worked for MGM, WB, and Rko. In point of fact, Tyrone Power was #5 in the world — above Gable — for the Gone with the Wind year, 1939, and #2 in 1940, and unlike Errol Flynn, who only made a top box-office list once, Power stayed a mega movie star until his death, demanding a percentage of his films’ gross. If one looks at the Top Ten Reviews list, which lists actors according to box office and reviews, Power is listed as the #151st most popular actor. That [...] »
- Andre Soares
The Academy has decided to extend the shortlist for next year's best picture Oscar from five to 10 films. Is that a good idea? We can't quite decide…
It has to be a bad idea, doesn't it?
Ten best picture nominations in the Oscars instead of five? It's a cynical move by the Academy to boost viewing figures by opening the field to crowd-pleasers such as The Dark Knight, the exclusion of which last year caused fanboy outrage. The Oscars aren't exactly the gold standard where quality is concerned, but they remain the most important fixture in the movie calendar and the nomination process is not to be treated lightly. Now the list will be swamped with button-pressing blockbusters such as Avatar and Star Trek, which may deserve their box-office receipts but absolutely should not be honoured alongside the all-time greats: All About Eve! Lawrence of Arabia! The Godfather!
True, but »
- Killian Fox
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