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After immortalizing a joke in the cement at the Tcl Chinese Theatre — with an extra finger on his left hand — Mel Brooks was in his usual feisty form Tuesday night at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to kick off a 40th anniversary screening of “Young Frankenstein.”
'Ok, Leonard – start the bullshit' – Mel Brooks following a standing ovation at the Academy—
Dave McNary (@Variety_DMcNary) September 10, 2014
Brooks told the Sro crowd that the screening of the first cut — which came in at two-and-a-half hours — didn’t go well but credited himself and editor John C. Howard with key adjustments for the final 105-minute version.
Dave McNary (@Variety_DMcNary) September 10, 2014
Brooks contended »
- Dave McNary
Every once in a while, you’ll hear the details of an event that sounds so, so awesome, that it takes you a moment to properly process what you just heard. Such was the case when my friend Monica invited me to join her for what was being billed as “The Big Picture: Hitchcock!” – A tribute to the great Alfred Hitchcock, one of the greatest directors of all time, and more importantly a tribute to all the wonderful music that has been created for his masterpieces. The concert took place at the legendary Hollywood Bowl theater on August 31st, 2014 with composer David Newman (son of the great Alfred Newman) leading the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra to perform live music from select scenes of 12 Hitchcock pictures.
The performers took to the stage to the narration that opens the record Alfred Hitchcock Presents “Music To Be Murdered By,” which immediately set the fun »
- Rob Galluzzo
Any Hitchcock fan has no doubt looked carefully while watching one of his movies in order to spot his infamous cameos. Hitchcock’s earlier cameos are especially hard to catch, and so Youtube user Morgan T. Rhys put together this video compiling every cameo Alfred Hitchcock ever made.
Hitchcock made a total of 39 self-referential cameos in his films over a 50 year period. Four of his films featured two cameo appearances (The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog UK), Suspicion, Rope, and Under Capricorn). Two recurring themes featured Hitchcock carrying a musical instrument, and using public transportation.
The films are as follows:
The Lodger (1927), Easy Virtue (1928), Blackmail (1929),Murder! (1930), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935),Sabotage (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Rebecca(1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), Suspicion (1941),Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945),Notorious (1946), The Paradine Case (1947), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949),Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train »
Few other filmmakers lived to see their name become synonymous with a specific brand of filmmaking quite like Alfred Hitchcock did. This month, as part of their Summer Classic Film Series, the Paramount and Stateside Theaters have lined up a weeklong tribute to Hitchcock featuring the likes of Psycho and The Birds, among other gems from the master of suspense; each of which, regardless of how many prior viewings, remains a thrilling pleasure to see on the big screen.
"We're playing the hits, and a few B-sides too," proclaims Paramount's official site in describing Hitchcock week. Hits is right with North by Northwest, Vertigo and Notorious also scheduled to screen, while "second-tier" Hitchcock classics Rebecca and Strangers on a Train (screening the following week) also make appearances. However, it's the four interestingly chosen aforementioned B-sides that prove interesting highlights and really speak to Hitchcock's versatility as a filmmaker. »
There are countless missed opportunities in Grace of Monaco, a sponsorship deal with Ferrero Rocher being chief among them. Like the choccies doled out by that cheapnik ambassador, this portrait of Grace Kelly 'the royal years' aspires to refinement and class when, in reality, it's just an afternoon sugar buzz for bored housewives. No wonder the Cannes glitterati turned up their noses, but you don't have to be a connoisseur to know this is a pile of Nutella.
What was Nicole Kidman thinking? For one thing she is two decades too old to be playing Grace Kelly from the late '50s to early '60s (the star was only 26 when she went from Hollywood's High Society to the House of Grimaldi). Kidman does »
The 2014 Cannes Film Festival got off to an excellent start on Wednesday evening, as journalists heralded the arrival of an emotionally wrenching, fact-inspired drama set in a formerly French-ruled colony coming under threat of hostile siege. I am referring, of course, to “Timbuktu,” the deeply stirring new film from the Mauritanian-born filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako, which had its first screening for journalists around the same time that the program’s official curtain-raiser, “Grace of Monaco,” was making its way up the red-carpeted Palais steps — its first high-profile stop en route to its final destination in cinematic oblivion.
It is, by now, a familiar formula: Kick off the proceedings with a lightweight confection that will supply all the glamour and star wattage a hot-ticket event like Cannes demands, while at the same time shocking the press next door with a hard-hitting piece of social realism. That way you get your empty-headed Hollywood frippery, »
- Justin Chang
With apologies to Three Six Mafia, it's hard out here for a princess. In the past year, first-world problem films – the plush brand of non-issue cinema exemplified by last year's Cannes entry “A Castle in Italy,” in which linen-clad lunchers fretted prettily about what to do with their priceless original Brueghels – have been threatened by the Princess Problem Picture, a currently thriving subgenre that sets out to measure the true weight of a tiara. Whether the wearer is a closeted Scandi ice maiden who just wants, Garbo-style, to be left alone (“Frozen”) or a hounded British divorcee who just wants, Lauper-style, to have fun (“Diana”), female royalty hasn't seemed such a drag since the age of Henry VIII. Enter Olivier Dahan's “Grace of Monaco,” a biopic that announces its intention to further remove the scales from our eyes with an opening quote from its subject: “The idea of my life as a fairytale, »
- Guy Lodge
1. The term "gaslight." The Ingrid Bergman thriller "Gaslight" -- released 70 years ago this week, on May 4, 1944, wasn't the original use of the title. There was Patrick Hamilton's 1938 play "Gas Light," retitled "Angel Street" when it came to Broadway a couple years later. And there was a British film version in 1939, starring Anton Walbrook (later the cruel impresario in "The Red Shoes") and Diana Wynyard.
Still, the glossy 1944 MGM version remains the best-known telling of the tale, with the title an apparent reference to the flickering Victorian lamps that are part of Gregory's (Charles Boyer) scheme to make wife Paula (Bergman) think she's seeing things that aren't there, thus deliberately undermining her sanity in order to have her institutionalized so that he'll be free to ransack the ancestral home to find the missing family jewels.
This version of Hamilton's tale was so popular that it made the word "gaslight"into a verb, »
- Gary Susman
Michelle Williams was Oscar-nominated for her critically-acclaimed performance as Monroe in Simon Curtis's My Week with Marilyn (2011). The movie centered on Monroe's fraught relationship with her then co-star Laurence Olivier, played by Kenneth Branagh, during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl in Britain.
Reflecting upon the role, Williams said: "Gosh, sometimes I can't even believe I did it because the challenges were just...
"In a way, you had to remove the fact that she was an »
Ahead of a new TV adaptation this Easter weekend, Julie Myerson revisits Daphne du Maurier's classic tale of Cornish smugglers, and discovers a much darker novel than she remembers reading as a teenager
I was 14 when I first stumbled upon them pleasingly fat, bright yellow, cellophane-covered Gollancz hardbacks, which I carried home from Nottingham library. The pictureless covers with thick, red-and-black lettering were unapologetically, seductively adult. Rebecca. Frenchman's Creek. Mary Anne. The Parasites. Even the titles were sternly bereft of frills. These books meant business and oh, the joy of discovering that your new favourite author had written not just two or three novels, but many.
I read them all at 14 and then re-read most of them as an adult. Jamaica Inn was one of the few I'd not yet got around to, but the ghastliness of certain details had stuck. Who could forget that godforsaken tavern in the »
- Julie Myerson
Five Thirty Eight parses Shakespeare and finds that Romeo & Juliet have a relationship that's not totally based on getting to know one another. Duh!
The Wire reviews Doll & Em, a new miniseries starring Emily Mortimer
Salon on the eve of the release of Divergent, a reminder that not every Ya best-seller aiming for Hunger Games phenom status succeeds: Beautiful Creatures, City of Ember, The Host and more...
Vulture 294 "issues" Glee has addressed in its first 99 episodes
Variety they went really young casting Peter Pan for that self proclaimed "international" and "diverse" Pan film which keeps casting white people in »
- NATHANIEL R
The 85-year history of the Academy Awards is rife with statistical oddities, and one that has the potential to play out this Sunday is among the most intriguing: a split between the films that win Best Picture and Best Director.
Though conventional wisdom has long held that only one film will walk away with both prizes on Oscar night, many pundits are predicting that the awards will instead go to two different movies this year, with "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron expected to snag the Best Director statuette, while "12 Years a Slave" (or "American Hustle," depending on where your loyalties lie) is the favorite to win Best Picture.
While such a split has occurred just 22 times since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started handing out trophies in 1929, four of the first five ceremonies produced a divide between the Best Director and Best Picture prizes. "Wings," dubbed the original »
- Katie Roberts
Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar as Best Director, but the first year he worked in Hollywood he made a pair of memorable films. Rebecca was nominated for 11 Academy Awards (including Best Director) and won two, for George Barnes’ cinematography and for Best Picture. The second release, which appeared in theaters just four months later, also earned a handful of nominations—including Best Picture—but isn’t cited as often as it should among the director’s finest work. Foreign Correspondent is one of my all-time favorites and it’s been given deluxe treatment in a terrific new Blu-ray/DVD release from The Criterion Collection. In a video essay called “Hollywood Propaganda and World War...
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- Leonard Maltin
Why does cinema favor the mad woman? It's easy to see why Oscar does: roles like Jasmine French give an actress space to not only chew but swallow and spit up scene after scene. Cate Blanchett will almost certainly win Best Actress this year for her frittered, diabolical performance in "Blue Jasmine" as cinema's archetypical woman-on-the-verge: that pill-popping, martini-swilling mad Medea who men fear and women sometimes dream of (being? playing? escaping into?).Thus, here are eight classic Oscar snubs in the Best Actress category. Bow down to Gena Rowlands in "A Woman Under the Influence." Watch clips after the jump. Also, check out our Toh! feature on eight scene-stealing female performances from 2013.1940 Who Won: Ginger Rogers ("Kitty Foyle") Who Should've Won: Joan Fontaine ("Rebecca") Who Was Nominated: Bette Davis ("The Letter"), Katharine Hepburn ("The Philadelphia Story"), Martha Scott ("Our Town") Hitchock's delirious and deliciously twisted English gothic »
- Ryan Lattanzio
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
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
As if his British films weren’t evidence enough of his talent, Alfred Hitchcock made quite the impression when he came to Hollywood in 1940. His first picture in the states, Rebecca, was nominated for Best Picture at the 1941 Academy Awards. So was his second, Foreign Correspondent, also released in 1940. While Rebecca would ultimately win, many – then and now – consider the achievement as belonging more to producer David O. Selznick than to the director. This is not without some justification. Though Rebecca bears more than a few notably Hitchcockian touches, between the two features, Foreign Correspondent looks and feels more appropriately like Hitchcock’s previous and later works. The Criterion Collection, recently very kind to Hitchcock on Blu-ray, now gives this latter feature a suitably well-rounded treatment, with a documentary on the film’s visual effects, an »
- Jeremy Carr
After directing more than twenty feature films in Britain, Alfred Hitchcock’s big introduction to Hollywood came in the form of two films released only four months apart in 1940, both of which were nominated for that year’s Best Picture Academy Award. The gothic chamber drama Rebecca ended up taking home the Oscar, while the trans-continental wartime adventure Foreign Correspondent eventually became all but a footnote in the Hitchcock canon. While Rebecca is no doubt a complex, layered masterwork with its fair share of brilliant Hitchcockian touches (check out IndieWire’s excellent take on the film’s lesbian themes), critics and historians have contended that Rebecca was at least as much a David O. Selznick film as it was a Hitchcock entry. In fact, Hitch himself told Truffaut that he didn’t see Rebecca as a Hitchcock picture because of its lack of humor. But Foreign Correspondent (whose Criterion treatment was released this week) displays a more »
- Landon Palmer
Criterion adds another illustrious Alfred Hitchcock title to the collection this month with Foreign Correspondent, which followed hot on the heels of Rebecca in 1940, the beginning of the director’s American period. Though not a perfect film, it does register as one of his most unfairly overlooked films, even as it shows various signs of outside tampering as a film belonging very much to the period in which it was made. Though suffering from the effect of too many cooks in the writing kitchen, it’s a title as filled with plot twists as it is wit, as well as Hitchcock’s signature elaborate set pieces.
Opening with a dedication to the bravery of those foreign correspondents and others that risk their lives in war time, we enter into the realm of a Us newsroom where frustration is running high at the lack of actual coverage worthy news filtering in from the correspondents. »
- Nicholas Bell
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season The naval assault against the Lannisters has failed, and that little prick Joffrey remains atop the throne. Elsewhere, Daenerys is gathering an army to join her and her trio of dragons, Robb Stark is working to mend fences and create allies, and the White Walkers are continuing their ridiculously slow journey towards civilization. I’ve never read the novels, and I can’t imagine doing so without photos so I can recognize who’s who in the enormous list of characters, but this is some wonderfully dense and entertaining television. Season three continues to follow numerous story threads and characters, and while some are more engaging than others there’s not a single dud among them. The production value remains high resulting not only in strong performances »
- Rob Hunter
Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent is exactly the kind of film that benefits from a Criterion Collection release. I don't consider this to be one of Hitch's "best", but at the same time it's got the elements that make his films fascinating, and, most importantly, entertaining. And Criterion always does a great job bringing a focus to some of Hitchcock's less discussed gems. Add to that, Foreign Correspondent carries an additional weight as a result of its place in history as a propaganda film, emphasized most in Joel McCrea's speech at the end of the film amid the bombing of London, warning those back in the U.S. just what exactly Germany was up to. The scene was added after filming had already wrapped, just over a month before the film would actually hit theaters. Following Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent was Hitchcock's second American feature. Both would be nominated for »
- Brad Brevet
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