7 items from 2012
Katharine Hepburn, Bob Hope: The Iron Petticoat TCM premiere Starring Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope, The Iron Petticoat became a movie rarity for decades, unavailable for viewing (at least in the United States) since 1966. But no more. The 1956 Anglo-American remake of the 1939 Ernst Lubitsch / Greta Garbo classic Ninotchka is now available on DVD/Blu-ray, and will have its Turner Classic Movies premiere today at 5 p.m. Pt. (Photo: Katharine Hepburn The Iron Petticoat.) A box-office disappointment at the time of its release, [...] »
- Andre Soares
Attention, fans of Kevin James or Ayn Rand (or both!): This is your week at the movies! Enjoy your moment, for the rest of us -- at least those who aren't into action or horror films -- must settle for a middling group of new releases. (Question of the day: Is Atlas Shrugged Part II a horror film? Discuss.)
As always, there are some interesting alternatives. The Texas Independent Film Network presents Man on a Mission (pictured above), a terrific documentary about Austin billionaire Richard Garriott's 2008 trip to the International Space Station on a Russian rocket. This inspiring film by Austin filmmaker Mike Woolf -- which the Austin Chronicle calls "a first-class seat to stargazing" -- screens at the Violet Crown on Tuesday.
- Don Clinchy
There are few directors that had a career like Billy Wilder‘s. There are probably none that reached his level of skill and notability while staying as diverse as a storyteller. The man did drama and comedy with equal acuity, but his dominance of filmmaking almost didn’t happen. Born in what is now present-day Poland, Wilder left for Paris during the initial rise of the Nazi party in Germany and soon left for the States. He got out early, yes, but it’s difficult to think about the magic he’s delivered without being reminded that but for a few years he may have found himself a victim of the fear-mongering and murder that befell European Jews at the height of Hitler. Fortunately, he did get out and did go on to craft some of the best scripts and movies of the era (and, you know, of all time). His breakout was writing the hilarious Best »
- Cole Abaius
"I want to thank three persons,” said Michel Hazanavicius, accepting the 2012 Best Picture Oscar for “The Artist.” “I want to thank Billy Wilder, I want to thank Billy Wilder and I want to thank Billy Wilder.” He wasn’t the first director to namecheck Wilder in an acceptance speech. In 1994, Fernando Trueba, accepting the Foreign Language Film Oscar for "Belle Epoque" quipped, "I would like to believe in God in order to thank him. But I just believe in Billy Wilder... so, thank you Mr. Wilder." Wilder reportedly called the next day "Fernando? It's God."
So just what exactly was it that inspired these men to expend some of the most valuable seconds of speechifying airtime they'll ever know, to tip their hats to Wilder? And can we bottle it?
Born in a region of Austria/Hungary that is now part of Poland, Wilder's story feels like an archetype of »
- Oliver Lyttelton
The Loves of Pharaoh
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch is best known for his work in Hollywood, operating as a master of comedies until his death in 1947. He left behind a legacy of films that includes the much beloved likes of The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not to Be, Cluny Brown, Ninotchka, Heaven Can Wait, and Trouble in Paradise. Prior to making the transition to American filmmaking, Lubitsch operated in his native Germany. He enjoyed a great deal of international success, though some of this was for large-scale productions and dramas that would not be a prominent feature of his Hollywood career. One of these films was The Loves of Pharaoh, or Das Weib des Pharao, a historical epic rivaling Metropolis in terms of ambitious German silent cinema, and Lubitsch’s last film made in the country. Incomplete »
- Josh Slater-Williams
From Fred and Ginger to Jennifer and Ashton, romantic comedies used to be one of the safest bets in Hollywood. But it seems that rom is just not into com any more
Is it the end for the romcom? You can imagine the celebrity mag headlines: "Romcom's relationship on the rocks?" "Com: I'm just not that into Rom" "Rom: Com doesn't make me laugh any more."
After all, who says romance and comedy go together like a horse and carriage? It seems to be a chiselled Hollywood commandment that the two shall be forever conjoined in cinematic matrimony, but perhaps it's time they went their separate ways. Sure, they got off to a great start: in those early years it was all fun and games and sparkling repartee, but recently they haven't quite looked the happy couple; the spark just hasn't been there.
They've been stuck in the same repetitive formula: boy meets girl, »
- Steve Rose, Richard Vine
Our look back over the history of MGM continues, as the silent era gives way to the talkies and musicals of the 20s and 30s...
It’s 1928, and the success of Warner Bros’ musical, The Jazz Singer, has ushered in a new age of talking pictures. Audiences adored it, and it was sink or swim time for MGM. Suddenly, the silent cinema rule book was thrown out of the window and numerous opportunities opened up in Hollywood.
Composers were in demand, and song and script writers, along with voice coaches, were needed more than ever. White Shadows In The South Seas was the first MGM sound picture, although not a talkie. Originally filmed as a silent picture, MGM realised that sound wasn’t just a passing fad and, like most studios at the time, swiftly added sound effects to its music. But they did make one character speak – and that was Leo the lion, »
7 items from 2012
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