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The first time a comedy swept the Academy Awards was in 1934, when Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night took home the prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), and Best Screenplay. (The next time all five major awards were snagged by one picture was in 1975 for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.)
It was the beginning of the screwball comedy movement. It Happened One Night may not have been the first screwball comedy, and it may not even really be a screwball comedy (according to critics Molly Haskell and Phillip Lopate, in a video conversation supplement in which they discuss screwball comedies, Happened is lacking in the chaotic elements that one would find in, say, Twentieth Century, which came out the same year, or even Bringing Up Baby, perhaps the quintessential screwball comedy). But while Capra »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
By Anjelica Oswald
Oscar buzz continues to follow Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher after its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and its screenings at various film festivals, including the Telluride, Toronto and New York film fests. The film is set to close AFI Fest Thursday and open in Theaters on Friday. Sony Pictures Classics will be pushing for three of its stars to land Oscar nominations: Channing Tatum and Steve Carell for lead actor and Mark Ruffalo for supporting. If the film was to score all three nominations, it would be one of 15 films to land that many actor nominations and the first film since 1991’s Bugsy.
The biographical crime drama about Benjamin Siegel, the infamous gangster known as Bugsy, landed Warren Beatty a lead actor nomination for his role as Bugsy and supporting actor nominations for Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley. None of the actors won. »
- Anjelica Oswald
During Amy Schumer's set at Carnegie Hall Friday night as part of the New York Comedy Festival, she joked about being labeled a sex comic. Her show is, after all, called Inside Amy Schumer. While sex is a large part of Schumer's comedic persona, however, her work is wide ranging—and her Comedy Central show has been labeled the "most feminist show on TV." So before she and her writers took the stage for a panel at the Paley Center for Media Saturday, EW asked Schumer what she would call the show if she were really describing it. "It »
- Esther Zuckerman
Blu-ray Release Date: Dec. 2, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $19.99
Directed by Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) and starring James Stewart (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation), the classic drana concerns an idealistic, newly-appointed senator (Stewart) who heads to Washington, where he single-handedly battles ruthless politicians out to destroy him. And although his plans promptly collide with political corruption, he doesn’t back down.
Originally released in 1939, the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning one for Best Writing (Original Story).
The Blu-ray, digitally restored & mastered in 4K, is presented in collectible Digibook packaging, featuring photos and a new essay by film historian Jeremy Arnold. Bonus content includes commentary by Frank Capra Jr., the original theatrical trailer, a rare international »
Throughout the summer, an admin on the r/movies subreddit has been leading Reddit users in a poll of the best movies from every year for the last 100 years called 100 Years of Yearly Cinema. The poll concluded three days ago, and the list of every movie from 1914 to 2013 has been published today.
Users were asked to nominate films from a given year and up-vote their favorite nominees. The full list includes the outright winner along with the first two runners-up from each year. The list is mostly a predictable assortment of IMDb favorites and certified classics, but a few surprise gems have also risen to the top of the crust, including the early experimental documentary Man With a Movie Camera in 1929, Abel Gance’s J’Accuse! in 1919, the Fred Astaire film Top Hat over Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in 1935, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing over John Ford’s »
- Brian Welk
Voice actor Richard Percy “Dickie” Jones has died at the age of 87.
Jones began as a child actor and maintained his career into his 30s, becoming a familiar face in TV and low-budget westerns. As “Dickie” Jones, the native Texan landed small parts in films like the Laurel and Hardy classic “Babes In Toyland” (1934) as well as “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” (1939) and “The Adventures of Mark Twain” (1944), where he played a young Samuel Clemens.
Still, Jones is probably best remembered for, at the age of 12, voicing the title role in Walt Disney’s animated classic “Pinocchio” — a film that Variety dubbed its 1939 review to be “a substantial piece of entertainment for young and old.”
Jones’ final screen appearance was in the 1965 western “Requiem For A Gunfighter,” after which he retired from acting to pursue a career in real estate.
Jones passed away at his Northridge, Calif. home of apparent natural causes. »
- Shelli Weinstein
The title star's conscience may have been Jiminy Cricket, but his voice in the 1940 Walt Disney animated feature Pinocchio belonged to 10-year-old Dick Jones, who made millions of fellow youngsters cry when his screen character was reunited with his father and then turned into a real boy. Jones, not only the voice of Pinocchio but the veteran of 40 movies before he landed that role, died Monday night after a fall in his San Fernando Valley, California, home, his son, Rick Jones, told the Los Angeles Times. He was 87. Inducted in 2000 as a "Disney Legend" at the studio that produced the beloved movie (which, »
- Stephen M. Silverman
Some years ago I showed the 1939 classic Destry Rides Again to my class at USC; most of the students had never seen it. Following the screening I introduced Dick Jones, who appeared in the film and was featured in the penultimate scene with James Stewart. We talked about the fact that he worked with Stewart that same year in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and also spent some time at the Walt Disney studio recording the dialogue for Pinocchio. I turned to the class and said, pointedly, “He was the voice of Pinocchio.” This was greeted by a chorus of oohs and ahhs and immediately changed the tenor of the evening. Pinocchio gave Dick a kind of immortality, but if it affected him he...
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- Leonard Maltin
The short answer: because Hollywood declared it so. Of course, that was before 1939 came along and actually became the unofficial greatest year of movies of all time, including the releases of Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, Dark Victory, Wuthering Heights, Of Mice and Men, Ninotchka, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Love Affair and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. And those were just the Best Picture nominees, excluding The Rules of the Game, The Women and Gunga Din and many more. Well, 1938 did have Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, Jezebel and Best Picture winner You Can’t Take It With You, which I honestly adore. Yeah, there’s something of an imbalance there. The claim that 1938 was the greatest came before the year was through as part of a marketing campaign to get Americans back to the movies. It was still the Great Depression, and by some theories that should’ve meant people sought out more escapist »
- Christopher Campbell
Episode 25 of 52: In which Kate confronts Angela Lansbury onscreen and the Blacklist offscreen and manages to beat both.
Early on, I stated that sometimes Kate’s career seems charmed. I’d venture 1948 is one of those charmed years. As we saw last week, Song of Love failed--Kate’s first failure at MGM. Yet some strange circumstances and good luck landed Kate in State of the Union, based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play. I say “good luck” because in the fall of 1947, the storm that would become the Hollywood Blacklist was brewing, and Kate nearly got caught in the center of it.
Though not as cloyingly obvious as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - no light from the Lincoln Memorial in this film - State of the Union nevertheless delivers the classic Capra Corn package: nostalgia, patriotism, and a happy ending snatched from the jaws of tragedy at the last second. »
- Anne Marie
This may be the tamest birthday party ever for legendary rocker Steven Tyler, but the Aerosmith frontman still knows how to get the party going. Tyler was honored in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at the National Music Publishers' Association Celebration of the American Songwriters, where he accepted an award for his advocacy work on behalf of songwriters. The rocker was also on Capitol Hill Monday to speak to members of Congress about protecting artists' rights to control how their songs are used. "It's a bit like Mr. Smith goes to Washington," he joked. "Mr. Aerosmith in this case." He »
- Liz McNeil
The 2013 Academy Awards telecast was a mess, but it was an understandable mess. Seth MacFarlane was going to do Seth MacFarlane things, regardless of whether they were appropriate to the setting. And the show featured multiple tributes to the 10th anniversary of "Chicago" because the Oscar-cast was being led by "Chicago" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — and, as we were reminded of by the end of Matthew McConaughey's speech tonight, people in Hollywood like to pat themselves on the back when an opportunity presents itself. Zadan and Meron were back as producers of the 2014 Oscar-cast, but the ways in which this year's show went so badly awry, so often — beyond the usual bloat and predictability of any Oscar show in this century — were harder to see coming. In lieu of an 11th anniversary "Chicago" tribute — or a random ode to the Zadan and Meron-produced "Smash" — we got a theme of "Heroes In Hollywood, »
- Alan Sepinwall
This year’s Best Actor race is shaping up to be one of the greatest of all time. And by greatest, I mean both the most competitive and also the most outstanding, in the sense that each nominee is excellent — hypothetical winners in almost any other year. They also reflect the depth of superb male performances in 2013. Consider: Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Joaquin Phoneix (Her), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) all missed the cut.
EW’s Owen Gleiberman recently analyzed this year’s Best Actor race, calling it the most “fiercely, »
- Jeff Labrecque
David Cross Graduates from Small Screen Satire, Inviting Hipsters and Libertarians to the Party
David Cross translates sketch comedy prowess into organized chaos, marking his directorial debut with Hits. Measuring small-town idiocy against narcissistic hipster activism, disparate characters are cleverly strung together by collective delusions; much like Cross’ subversive cult series “Mr. Show” was prided on the strangely interconnected nature of its sketches. His assessment of the well-meaning but helpless Generation Y, prefaced by the fatalistic words “based on a true story that hasn’t happened yet”, could easily be read as misanthropy. Cross puppeteers easy-prey caricatures, not simply to bash their offscreen counterparts (mustachioed Brooklynites could realistically be debating the estrogen levels in soy-milk at this very moment), but to critically shame certain cultural absurdities like celebrity-worshiping and Internet image-crafting.
Shot on location for an inimitable aura of economic depression, Hits welcomes us to Liberty, New York; a town »
- Caitlin Coder
I turn 40 today. Happy birthday. More importantly, some Amazing movies turn 40 this year. Several classic films were released in 1974, and will celebrate an anniversary this year. It.s part of the reason why I consider 1974 to be, not only the year of my birth, but "The Greatest Year in Movie History." You might not agree. Cinema historians regularly cite 1939 as the best year, as films like The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach and Gone With the Wind reached theaters during that frame. Others point to the years 1982 and 1984 as seminal years for remarkable films. Others argue that 1977 was shockingly fantastic, with Annie Hall, Close Encounters and Star Wars rolling out. There are even a few movie journalists making the argument that 2013 will be one of those years we point back at to say, "Look at how good we had it back then." Could a year that »
A little bit of a different movie watching week for me than normal as I did catch a couple movies in theaters -- That Awkward Moment and Need for Speed -- as well as watching Dr. Strangelove on the film's 50th Anniversary, but more on that soon enough. However, I ended up watching a lot of movies on cable. I caught Mission: Impossible, which, for whatever reason, still surprises me it was directed by Briad De Palma. I watched about 75% of Warm Bodies and even went On Demand and had Michael Mann's Thief playing in the background while I did a little work. Finally, it's Turner Classic Movies' 31 Days of Oscar month and I have several films set up to record, many I've seen, many I haven't and last night I watched one I had seen, Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It's been some time since I »
- Brad Brevet
Yesterday’s announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that the The Wizard of Oz will be celebrated at this year’s Oscars was met with widespread enthusiasm. After all, it’s one of Hollywood’s most beloved films, multiple generations have grown up singing its tunes, and it’s celebrating its 75th anniversary.
But The Wizard of Oz wasn’t the only classic movie to come out in 1939. That prolific Hollywood year also boasted Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, John Ford’s Stagecoach, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Ninotchka (“Garbo laughs!”), Gunga Din, William Wyler »
- Jeff Labrecque
Academy voters try to adhere to the organization’s myriad rules during Oscar season — except for the one barring them from talking about their vote. A convivial lot, Academy members (I’ve been one for 30 years) habitually chat about their likes and dislikes, but this year the most frequent topic is the lack of zeal for any specific film.
Indeed, this year’s Oscar race is among the most wide open in many years. I have a theory about why, but the critics won’t like it.
Though film critics contend that 2013 brought forth some exceptional movies, Oscar voters aren’t launching crusades in support of any specific picture — there’s no “Avatar” or even “Slumdog Millionaire.”
The Golden Globes, an event that is usually both surreal and instructive, provides a case in point. Sure, there were winners and ovations from the audience, but there was also an absence of passion. »
- Peter Bart
As Tina Fey joked in her Golden Globes monologue on Sunday, there are still plenty of roles available in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over the age of 60. The actress received her 18th Academy Award nomination earlier today for her performance in August: Osage County and she is still a formidable box office draw. Naturally, mogul Harvey Weinstein wants to work with Streep again (and nab another chance at Oscar gold) and he plans to do so with The Senator’s Wife, a story that the executive explains will be a fierce indictment of the National Rifle Association gun lobby.
In an announcement on The Howard Stern Show, Weinstein explained that the movie would be like a contemporary version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, except the subject matter may not be so Capraesque. “We’re going to take this issue head on, and [the NRA is] going to wish they weren’t alive »
- Jordan Adler
Harvey Weinstein and Meryl Streep are planning their own version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- only this time, the storyline will take on the lobbying organization the National Rifle Association. Weinstein revealed the project, titled The Senator's Wife, while appearing on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show. There's no writer or director yet attached, insiders tell The Hollywood Reporter. Photos: 2014 Oscar Nominees “We’re going to take this issue head-on, and they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them,” Weinstein told Stern, adding that he believes the film will do damage to gun manufacturers.
- Pamela McClintock
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