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Available for the first time on Blu-ray or DVD and remastered in high definition is forgotten film noir Witness to Murder, a 1954 Barbara Stanwyck potboiler also starring George Sanders and Gary Merrill. As written by Chester Erskine (The Egg and I, 1947), the film feels like plenty of other narratives, though its frustrating contrivance of hysteria as dramatic tension places it squarely within a particular male dominated paradigm. In particular, the film feels eerily reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, which actually opened a month after this Roy Rowland directed venture, doomed to be overshadowed and quickly forgotten. But, magnificently photographed by John Alton, it’s a shadowy and angular motion picture, enjoyable for its considerable melodrama as a portrait of misinformed and misogynistic gender politics.
Cheryl Draper (Barbara Stanwyck) witnesses a young woman being murdered in the apartment complex adjacent to her own. She calls the police to report what she sees. »
- Nicholas Bell
Exclusive: “ ‘Eff You!’ ” I answered. Garry Marshall already knew when he asked me, but he wanted to see whether I knew what I was talking about. We were discussing Neil Simon, who I said had written the all-time funniest line ever. “Which line?” Marshall asked. “F.U.,” I answered.
“I can’t take it anymore, Felix, I’m cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you’re not here, the things I know you’re gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. Told you 158 times I can’t stand little notes on my pillow. “We’re all out of cornflakes. F.U.” Took me three hours to figure out F.U. was Felix Ungar!”
Marshall concurs and reminds me that the line is from the Broadway script of The Odd Couple »
- Jeremy Gerard
Netflix giveth and Netflix taketh away.
While everyone's favorite subscription streaming service is adding a ton of awesome movies and TV shows in December, it's also yanking a huge list of popular titles from its library. Below is said list. I'm especially sad to see "Dirty Dancing" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" go. Those movies are the sh...
Watch them while you can!
Movies Being Dropped by Netflix on December 1st
"The Apostle" (1997)
"Audrey Rose" (1977)
"The Believers" (1987)
"Better than Chocolate" (1999)
"Blood & Chocolate" (2007)
"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (2008)
"The Choirboys" (1977)
"The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County" (1970)
"Coffee and Cigarettes" (2003)
"The Cold Light of Day" (1996)
"The Constant Gardener" (2005)
"Count Yorga, Vampire" (1970)
"Dirty Dancing" (1987)
"Double Indemnity" (1944)
"En la Cama" (2005)
"Event Horizon" (1997)
"Eye for an Eye" (1996)
"Fairy Tale: A True Story" (1997)
"First Knight" (1995)
"Five Easy Pieces" (1970)
"Foreign Student" (1994)
"Free Men" (2011)
"Funny Lady" (1975)
"The Ghost and Mrs Muir" (1947)
- Tim Hayne
Move that Thanksgiving feast to the couch, because you have a lot of Netflix-watching to do before December 1, when these movies will disappear from the streaming service. (But given how Netflix has worked in the past, they may be back at some point in the future.) Here they are, in alphabetical order, though if you only have a limited amount of time, can we steer you toward Spice World? No? Well, take your pick.1941 (1979)An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)The Apostle (1997)Audrey Rose (1977)The Believers (1987)Better Than Chocolate (1999)Blood & Chocolate (2007)The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)Chaplin (1992)The Choirboys (1977)The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970)Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)The Constant Gardener (2005)Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)The Return of Count Yorga (1971)Cry-Baby (1990)Dirty Dancing (1987)Double Indemnity (1944) En la Cama (2005)Event Horizon (1997)Eye for an Eye (1996)Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997)First Knight (1995)Five Easy Pieces (1970)Free Men (2011)Funny Lady »
- Lindsey Weber
Martha Stewart: Actress / Singer in Fox movies apparently not dead despite two-year-old reports to the contrary (Photo: Martha Stewart and Perry Como in 'Doll Face') According to various online reports, including Variety's, actress and singer Martha Stewart, a pretty blonde featured in supporting roles in a handful of 20th Century Fox movies of the '40s, died at age 89 of "natural causes" in Northeast Harbor, Maine, on February 25, 2012. Needless to say, that was not the same Martha Stewart hawking "delicious foods" and whatever else on American television. But quite possibly, the Martha Stewart who died in February 2012 -- if any -- was not the Martha Stewart of old Fox movies either. And that's why I'm republishing this (former) obit, originally posted more than two and a half years ago: March 11, 2012. Earlier today, a commenter wrote to Alt Film Guide, claiming that the Martha Stewart featured in Doll Face, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now, »
- Andre Soares
Six weeks after they met, Bette Midler and Martin Von Haselberg tied the knot - at a 2 a.m., $45 ceremony in Las Vegas. But don't laugh: This Dec. 16 will mark the couple's 30th wedding anniversary - practically a record-breaker by Hollywood standards. "It's rare," Midler, 68, tells People. "I think the secret is giving each other a lot of lead and a lot of room and not being in each other's faces all the time," the singer, actress and comedian - whose first album in eight years, It's the Girls, debuts Nov. 4 - says in the "What I Know Now" section »
- K.C. Baker, @kcbaker77777
We were all hoping that the London production of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour would mark Keira Knightley's Broadway debut (she got great reviews in 2011 starring opposite Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss), but we'll take her however we can get her. Next fall, she will make her Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company's adaptation of the tragic novel Thérèse Raquin, continuing with Knightley's affinity for period dramas. In other news, Big Brother standout Frankie J. Grande (the bro of another famous Grande, Ariana) will take on a supporting role in Rock of Ages for two months beginning Nov. »
- Jason Clark
In today's roundup of news and views: David Phelps on Robert Beavers, Richard Kelly on Brad Bird and Ratatouille, Todd Haynes on his forthcoming Carol with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, a new short story by Tom Hanks, Glenn Heath Jr. on David Mackenzie, an interview with Mike Hoolboom, more from Reverse Shot on Martin Scorsese, Glenn Kenny on Bill Morrison, Julianne Moore's interview with Sarah Paulson, Charles Isherwood on a play about Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler writing Double Indemnity, Richard Brody on Alain Resnais's Muriel, remembering Oscar de la Renta, Misty Upham and more. » - David Hudson »
Now that Mad Men has wrapped filming the second half of its final season, Vincent Kartheiser has time for pursuits that allow him to keep his natural hairline. Starting this week, he'll swap Pete Campbell's deliciously Waspy accent for an Austrian one: He's playing Billy Wilder in the new Billy & Ray — about the director's time making the noir classic Double Indemnity with Raymond Chandler — Off Broadway at the Vineyard Theater (Garry Marshall directs). Kartheiser spoke to Vulture about his leotard-wearing, theater-kid past and the end of the road for Pete Campbell. (You can listen to a portion of the interview over at The Frame, Southern California Public Radio's new arts and entertainment show.) I was just reading the headlines of past interviews we’ve done with you. They include “You Cannot Make Vincent Kartheiser Buy a Car.”Bought one. Bought two! “Vincent Kartheiser Has Some Unique Methods by Which »
- Rebecca Milzoff
Film noir cognoscente Eddie Muller defines noir as "the flip-side of the all-American success story." On his website he has posted the list 25 Noir Films That Will Stand the Test of Time, a drool-worthy selection of classics that also happen to be some of our own favorites. Thus, in spirit, we present our picks below, including such Muller faves as "In a Lonely Place," "Double Indemnity," "Sweet Smell of Success," "Touch of Evil" and "Detour." Also looming in November and of interest for Bay Area cinephiles is a French film noir series at San Francisco's Roxie Theatre, a delicious program of classics from Clouzot, Clement, Duvivier and more. (For those lovers of more contemporary noir, here are our 15 favorite neo-noirs.) Anne Thompson's Top 5: 1. "Touch of Evil" (1958): Orson Welles' bravura noir starts out strong with a delirious sustained single shot, as newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Vargas (Charlton Heston. »
The Fade Out #2
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics
Using the murder of a Hollywood starlet as a catalyst to expose the web of dark secrets that runs through the City of Angels, the award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have put together the most intriguing comic of 2014. Brubaker & Phillips’ new crime noir is just getting started but its already destined to be a cult classic. Brubaker’s name has been synonymous with the noir genre from the very start of his career, but The Fade Out is different from his books that came before it. Set in the Hollywoodland era of the 1940s, with painstaking attention to historical detail, The Fade Out relishes in classic Hollywood tropes – so much so – that every page looks like a storyboard from an Anthony Mann film. This is clearly, a labor of love from its creative team who »
Screen violence doesn’t get much cheaper or more gratuitous than in “Kill Me Three Times,” a sun-drenched, blood-spattered Australian thriller that seems to fancy itself the first movie ever to feature characters shot to death at point-blank range. Playing like a beach bum’s “Double Indemnity” with a few sub-Tarantino chronological backflips thrown in, director Kriv Stenders’ tiresome tale of scheming adulterers, cruel spouses and one bemused hitman (Simon Pegg) feels like poser noir all the way, never achieving the darkly comic flair or freshness of style needed to sell its fatalistic twists. Although picked up for Stateside release by Magnolia, “Three” will add up to very little commercially.
From the moment professional assassin Charlie Wolfe (Pegg) opens the movie with a loud “Fuck me!” and proceeds to tell us how he came to meet his death on a gorgeous stretch of beach in Eagles Nest, Australia, you can »
- Justin Chang
The latest stop on the Fall Festival circuit hit the Big Apple Friday night with the opening of the New York Film Festival, which boasts two World Premieres as its key draw for Awards Season attention. They include Warner Bros.’ Paul Thomas Anderson-directed Inherent Vice next Saturday, and of course Friday night’s unveiling of the much-awaited film adaptation of the best seller Gone Girl from 20th Century Fox and New Regency which screened at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to strong reaction from all reports. I wasn’t there, as I am in L.A. and have already seen most of what the Nyff is offering. A lot of it consists of retreads from other fests going as far back as Cannes (too many titles to mention), even Sundance (with the brilliant Whiplash). And Gone Girl was simultaneously screened for west coast awards pundits at 3 p.m. Pt »
- Pete Hammond
Honorary Oscars have bypassed women: Angela Lansbury, Lauren Bacall among rare exceptions (photo: 2013 Honorary Oscar winner Angela Lansbury and Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winner Angelina Jolie) September 4, 2014, Introduction: This four-part article on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Honorary Awards and the dearth of female Honorary Oscar winners was originally posted in February 2007. The article was updated in February 2012 and fully revised before its republication today. All outdated figures regarding the Honorary Oscars and the Academy's other Special Awards have been "scratched out," with the updated numbers and related information inserted below each affected paragraph or text section. See also "Honorary Oscars 2014 addendum" at the bottom of this post. At the 1936 Academy Awards ceremony, groundbreaking film pioneer D.W. Griffith, by then a veteran with more than 500 shorts and features to his credit — among them the epoch-making The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance — became the first individual to »
- Andre Soares
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
Catching up on news & noteworthy we didn't cover the past couple of days...
Vanity Fair the details of the Brangelina marriage that we know. I'm really so happy for them as a longtime fan but...
Time knocks them for not keeping their promise to the gays. I knew this backlash would happen. But they did hold out a long time and they've done so much good for the world including for marriage equality that I think we should let it slide
Gawker asks the intriguing question: "Why is Angelina Jolia a movie star?"
Some of her movies have been well-received acting vehicles. Some of her movies have been gargantuan commercial products. There is no place where those circles overlap on the Venn diagram.
It's worth pondering her atypical celebrity.
Absolute Must Read!
/bent has a fascinating long essay about HBO, Game of Thrones, and the distinct feeling that TV »
- NATHANIEL R
In Billy & Ray—which will get its New York premiere this fall at the Vineyard Theatre—Kartheiser will play Billy Wilder alongside Pine’s Raymond Chandler, as Wilder and Chandler work together to adapt the novel Double Indemnity for the big screen.
The Off-Broadway comedy, directed by Garry Marshall, is set in 1940s Hollywood and tells the story of the birth of the film noir genre. Rounding out the cast is Sophie von Haselberg, who will play Wilder’s secretary, and »
- Samantha Highfill
The release of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For inspires James to look back at its film noir roots, and some classic examples of the genre...
We're at the shadowy back-end of the summer blockbuster season and darkness is entering the frame. Here comes ultraviolence, sleaze, crime and death, all beautifully shot in macabre high-contrast monochrome. Just when you thought you'd got yourself clean and were all peppy after some upbeat family-friendly popcorn thrills, here's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For to darken up the doorways. (And it will light up a cigarette in those doorways and spit out some tough dialogue from between its bloodstained teeth while it's lingering there.)
We're back in the Basin City of Frank Miller's graphic novels again, once more brought to vivid screen life by the comics creator »
It may be in 3D this time around, but Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s monotone, monochrome comicbook universe feels flatter than ever in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Rare indeed is the movie that features this many bared breasts, pummeled crotches and severed noggins and still leaves you checking your watch every 10 minutes. But that’s the dubious accomplishment of this visually arresting but grimly repetitive exercise in style, set against a sordid neo-noir landscape populated almost exclusively by tormented tough guys and femme-fatale fetish objects. Nearly a decade after the first “Sin City” grossed more than $158 million worldwide, it’s doubtful whether the directors’ overlapping fanbases can muster the same level of excitement for a picture about which the best one can really say is, “It sure beats ‘The Spirit.’ ”
- Justin Chang
Movie or Blu-ray? Movie or Blu-ray? That's a tricky question when reviewing the new version of Double Indemnity, unquestionably one of Hollywood's great masterpieces and an absolute must-have for any serious film fans' collection. You can't do any better… despite the fact that the new Blu-ray is about as lazy and uninspired a product as one could hope for. Universal put together a terrific DVD package for the film a few years ago, then apparently decided that that was enough. Hit the jump for my full review. First the movie itself, penned by the great Raymond Chandler from a novel by James M. Cain and directed by Billy Wilder as a highlight of his storied career. It epitomizes the noir movement at its height, conceived by two of the genre's great geniuses and helmed by an auteur coming to grips with the depths of human evil. Wilder arrived in Hollywood »
- Rob Vaux
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