5 items from 2015
Patrick Macnee as John Steed
Born into a wealthy English family, Macnee studied at Eton until he was expelled for selling pornography, went on to serve in the Royal Navy and then travelled to Canada to try his hand at acting, launching a career that would last until his retirement 12 years ago.
Following an early appearance in The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, he went on to deliver notable performances in films including The Howling, Waxwork, A View To A Kill and This Is Spinal Tap. He lent his vocal talents to Battlestar Galactica and challenged Columbo. Alongside the Avengers, he appeared in other classic TV series like Rawhide and Magnum Pi. He played both Sherlock Holmes and Doctor. »
- Jennie Kermode
One of the great experiences of British cinema in the mid-20th century was to sit in the stalls as the curtain drew aside and an arrow hit a bull’s-eye on a target, announcing a film by the Archers, the team of British director Michael Powell and Hungarian émigré screenwriter Emeric Pressburger. They took a joint credit as “writer, director and producer”. This logo presaged a wartime movie such as 49th Parallel or The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, which took a subtler, more humane view of the conflict than the usual black-and-white propaganda, or it proffered a thoughtful view of a possible postwar world the way A Canterbury Tale and A Matter of Life and Death did.
In the 1940s and 50s, the Archers stood apart from the prevailing social realism of that period in their feeling for the mystery of the landscape, »
- Philip French
Part I. Anger, Suez and Archie Rice
“There they are,” George Devine told John Osborne, surveying The Entertainer‘s opening night audience. “All waiting for you…Same old pack of c***s, fashionable assholes. Just more of them than usual.” The Royal Court had arrived: no longer outcasts, they were London’s main attraction.
Look Back in Anger vindicated Devine’s model of a writer’s-based theater. Osborne’s success attracted a host of dramatists to Sloane Square. There’s Shelagh Delaney, whose A Taste of Honey featured a working-class girl pregnant from an interracial dalliance; Harold Pinter’s The Room, a bizarre “comedy of menace”; and John Arden’s Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, which aimed a Gatling gun at its audience. Devine encouraged them, however bold or experimental. “You always knew he was on the writer’s side,” Osborne said.
Peter O’Toole called the Royal Court actors “an »
- Christopher Saunders
Editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who has collected three Oscars (“The Aviator,” “Raging Bull” and “The Departed") shares with Martin Scorsese, her collaborator on 22 movies over three decades, an infectious enthusiasm for the movies she loves. Last week I got on the phone with her in Taiwan, which Ang Lee suggested to Scorsese as a location for shooting “Silence,” which is set in 17th century Japan. They’ve been shooting for almost a month. I told her that when I was working for editor Richard Corliss at Film Comment Magazine in the early 80s, British director Michael Powell submitted via mail his typed Guilty Pleasures manuscript. “Marty probably put him up to that,” Schoonmaker said. I adore Powell and his writer-producer partner Emeric Pressburger’s output in the 40s and 50s, from the stunning color masterpieces “The Red Shoes,” “Black Narcissus,” and “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” to the black-and-white »
- Anne Thompson
Chicago – The old fashioned paranoid thriller lives, with the release of ‘Black Sea,’ a submarine movie that combines elements of the silent running of those underwater tin cans with the motivation of finding treasure – in this case Nazi gold – that has been buried where it sunk 70 years ago. The director of this film, Kevin Macdonald, creates a nail biting tension in the will-they-or-won’t-they survival mode of the British and Russian members of the submarine’s crew, led by Captain Robinson (Jude Law).
The Scotland-born Macdonald began his career as a notable documentary maker, winning an Oscar for his documentary “One Day in September” (1999), about the raid by Palestinian terrorists of the 1972 Munich Olympics. But he has also spun some Oscar gold in the narrative category, as Forest Whitaker won Best Actor for the Macdonald directed “The Last King of Scotland.” He continued to produce both features (“State of Play, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
5 items from 2015
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