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Tallinn Film Review: ‘Asphyxia’

Tallinn Film Review: ‘Asphyxia’
On the international stage and on the festival circuit, Iranian cinema is not immediately associated with genre. The impish, richly ambiguous films of Abbas Kiarostami and the humanist social dramas of Asghar Farhadi have loomed largest in terms of defining the national canon. But while Fereydoun Jeyrani’s “Asphyxia” — a contemporary Iranian take on classic film noir and Gothic horror — doesn’t seem like an obvious hybrid at first, it ultimately makes a compelling case for itself: As the movie progresses, it becomes thrillingly clear that the cruel gender politics of those sinister genres can map themselves in mutually illuminating ways onto an inquisitive critique of female oppression in contemporary Iran.

Still, “Asphyxia” is, first and foremost, an accessible, entertainingly blackhearted, unapologetically Hitchcockian thriller, with a social subtext lurking for those who look. It also manages the tricky business of plausibly updating its throwback genres while keeping the aesthetic — here shot in whispery, shadowy black-and-white
See full article at Variety - Film News »

TCM Remembers Lovely and Talented Brunette of Studio Era

Frances Dee movies: From 'An American Tragedy' to 'Four Faces West' Frances Dee began her film career at the dawn of the sound era, going from extra to leading lady within a matter of months. Her rapid ascencion came about thanks to Maurice Chevalier, who got her as his romantic interested in Ludwig Berger's 1930 romantic comedy Playboy of Paris. Despite her dark(-haired) good looks and pleasant personality, Dee's Hollywood career never quite progressed to major – or even moderate – stardom. But she was to remain a busy leading lady for about 15 years. Tonight, Turner Classic Movies is showing seven Frances Dee films, ranging from heavy dramas to Westerns. Unfortunately missing is one of Dee's most curious efforts, the raunchy pre-Coder Blood Money, which possibly features her most unusual – and most effective – performance. Having said that, William A. Wellman's Love Is a Racket is a worthwhile subsitute, though the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Retrospective: Looking at the Loss of Innocence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca

This is a Cinderella story about a girl who could never quite shake off the soot from her heels. The girl who found her prince, made her way to the kingdom, but still couldn’t fit into her glass slipper—at least, not the way the old princess did, not like Rebecca.

It may seem like Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 murder mystery, Rebecca, is nothing more than a story about a jealous woman succumbing to her insecurities, but the truth is that Hitchcock wasn’t just a master of suspense—he was also the master of subtly injecting deeper layers of meaning into his movies. Yes, it’s true that the second Mrs. de Winter lets her obsession with her husband’s first spouse take over her life, but there’s something else at work here. It isn’t just envy that drives the second Mrs. de Winter mad, as in addition to her identity issues,
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The Films of Val Lewton: ‘Cat People’ and ‘I Walked With a Zombie’

Val Lewton, Russian émigré turned horror master, was a reporter, pulp novelist and MGM publicity writer before moving into film. He spent the 1930s as David O. Selznick’s story editor, directing second unit work on A Tale of Two Cities (1935) and script doctoring Gone With the Wind (1939), warning Selznick it would be “the mistake of his life.” While not Hollywood’s most prescient man, Lewton’s professionalism earned Selznick’s respect, and their collaboration led to Rko offering Lewton a producing job in 1942.

Rko was reeling from Orson WellesThe Magnificent Ambersons, an expensive flop forcing a refocus on low budget films. Charles Koerner headed the studio’s B Unit, envisioning a horror series inspired by Universal Studio’s successful franchises. Where Universal culled from established literature (Dracula, Frankenstein), Rko worked from Koerner’s whim: he created a title and left the filmmakers to handle trivia like plot and characters.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Fox Celebrates its Centennial with 100 Digital Releases

  • Comicmix
Los Angeles, Calif. (October 2, 2015) – In 1915 William Fox founded Fox Film Corporation and forever changed the course of cinema. Over the next century the studio would develop some of the most innovative and ground-breaking advancements in the history of cinema; the introduction of Movietone, the implementation of color in partnership with Eastman Kodak, the development of the wide format in 70mm and many more. Now in honor of the 100th anniversary of the studio, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will celebrate by releasing some of their most iconic films that represent a decade of innovation.

Starting today, five classic films from the studio will be made available digitally for the first time ever – Sunrise (1927), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Man Hunt (1941), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Flight of the Phoenix (1965). Throughout the rest of the year a total of 100 digital releases will follow from Fox’s extensive catalog, including 10 films
See full article at Comicmix »

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ ‘Results,’ ‘Saint Laurent,’ and More

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)

Wes Anderson’s leap through the animated realm was a key moment that shifted his filmic characterization toward metaphysical poignancy, thus making way for Moonrise Kingdom, an impressionistically stylized portrait of a pre-Vietnam adolescent bliss. It’s not just Pierret Le Fou for children, but a story about the recreation of storytelling, appropriating aesthetics from low and high arts to burn memories of innocent times as a protection against the fears of adulthood, portrayed here as a melancholic,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Wright Minibio Pt.2: Hitchcock Heroine in His Favorite Movie

Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock heroine (image: Joseph Cotten about to strangle Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt') (See preceding article: "Teresa Wright Movies: Actress Made Oscar History.") After scoring with The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver, and The Pride of the Yankees, Teresa Wright was loaned to Universal – once initial choices Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland became unavailable – to play the small-town heroine in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. (Check out video below: Teresa Wright reminiscing about the making of Shadow of a Doubt.) Co-written by Thornton Wilder, whose Our Town had provided Wright with her first chance on Broadway and who had suggested her to Hitchcock; Meet Me in St. Louis and Junior Miss author Sally Benson; and Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, Shadow of a Doubt was based on "Uncle Charlie," a story outline by Gordon McDonell – itself based on actual events.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Joan Fontaine Passes Away

She had a long and fruitful life, and sadly Joan Fontaine died on Sunday (December 15) at age 96 in her Carmel, California home.

The “Rebecca” actress was born to British parents in Tokyo, Japan on October 22nd, 1917 and moved to California in 1919 with her sister, actress Olivia de Havilland.

Funny enough, Joan once joked about her now-97-year-old sister- "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she’ll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it!”

In addition to her Hitchcock flick, Fontaine also starred in “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” “The Constant Nymph,” “Jane Eyre,” and “Ivy.”
See full article at GossipCenter »

Joan Fontaine Death: 4 of the Actress’ Essential Performances (Video)

  • The Wrap
Joan Fontaine Death: 4 of the Actress’ Essential Performances (Video)
Joan Fontaine’s star burned brightly, but flickered out quickly. The Oscar-winner died Sunday at age 96, having enjoyed successful collaborations with such directors as Alfred Hitchcock and Max Ophuls during her 1940s’ heyday. For a decade, Fontaine was one of Hollywood’s most successful actresses, bringing sophistication and strength to such films as “Suspicion” and “Jane Eyre.” Yet, her film career did not endure into the 1960s, and after the collapse of the studio system she found herself relegated to television and stage work. Also read: Oscar-Winning Actress Joan Fontaine Dead at 96 Fontaine became equally famous for her tempestuous relationship with sister Olivia De Havilland,
See full article at The Wrap »

Fade Out: Joan Fontaine (1917-2013)

I was already in love with movies before someone showed me Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca at the tender age of nineteen, but something about it opened up a whole new world of cinema to me. You’d think it was the film’s acclaimed director or the mastery with which he brought Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic novel to the screen, but no, I can’t claim anything as respectable as that. Instead, it was the smiling woman pictured above who helped ease my way into black & white cinema. Joan Fontaine earned an Academy Award nomination, the first of three, for her performance as the second Mrs. de Winter, and she went on to win the Best Actress Oscar for her very next film, Hitchcock’s Suspicion. (She’s the only actor, male or female, to have ever won an Academy Award for one of his films.) I watched both in rapid succession before devouring several more
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Oscar Winner Joan Fontaine Dead At Age 96

  • CinemaRetro
Joan Fontaine, who won the Best Actress Oscar for Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 classic Suspicion, has died in her California home at age 96. Fontaine began her film career playing attractive but nondescript characters until Hitchcock cast her as the female lead in his 1940 film version of the bestseller Rebecca opposite Laurence Olivier. The film earned her an Oscar nomination and elevated her to one of Hollywood's most in-demand actresses. In 1943 she received a third and final Oscar nomination for The Constant Nymph. Fontaine also won rave notices in the film version of the Gothic novel Jane Eyre, starring opposite Orson Welles. In both films she played an innocent woman whose husband is harboring a shocking secret that is unveiled within the walls of a stately but foreboding country manor. Fontaine's other major films include Ivanhoe, The Emperor Waltz, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, This Above All, The Women, Gunga Din,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

R.I.P. Joan Fontaine (1917-2013)

It has been a very sad weekend, as two of cinema's most revered talents have passed away. On Saturday, it was Peter O'Toole, and just a day later, Joan Fontaine has left us at the age of 96. While her big screen career was relatively brief—her last theatrical role was in the 1966 film "The Witches"—her impact was undeniable. In the span of three years, she was nominated for an Oscar three times, winning for Best Actress in Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Suspicion" (she was nominated in the same category for "Rebecca" in 1940 and "The Constant Nymph" in 1943). And in general, the 1940s found her doing some of her most memorable work including roles in Robert Stevenson's "Jane Eyre" opposite Orson Welles, Max Ophuls' "Letter From An Unknown Woman" and "Ivy." By the '60s, Fontaine had begun working more steadily in television and on stage, where she
See full article at The Playlist »

Goodbye Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine

The iconic actress Joan Fontaine has died at the age of 95. Star of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, she went on to win an Oscar for her work in Suspicion, setting the standard for the director's many cool blondes. She also gave the screen a memorable Jane Eyre and appeared in the likes of Gunga Din and Letter From An Unknown Woman.

The sister of Olivia de Havilland, Fontaine began her career on the stage but was quickly signed by Rko and groomed for stardom, starring alongside Katharine Hepburn in Quality Street. Alongside her film career, she worked in television and became a successful radio star. She retired in 1994 to spend more time with the dogs she adored.

Fontaine died peacefully at her home in Carmel-by-the-sea, California. She is survived by a daughter from her second marriage, Deborah, and by an adopted daughter, Martita, from whom she had become estranged.
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

R.I.P. Joan Fontaine (1917 - 2013)

Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine has passed away at her home in Carmel, California on Sunday aged 96, it has been announced. Born in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan to British parents and the younger sister of fellow Academy Award-winner Olivia de Havilland, Fontaine began her acting career in 1935 and soon signed a contract with Rko Pictures, making her debut with a small part in No More Ladies before enjoying her first starring role in 1937's The Man Who Found Himself.

After appearing alongside Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress (1937), Fontaine went on to secure the lead role in Rebecca, the Hollywood debut of director Alfred Hitchcock, which saw her receiving a nomination for Best Actress. Although she lost out to Ginger Rogers, Fontaine was nominated again the following year for Suspicion, taking home the award and making her the only star to win an acting Oscar in a Hitchcock picture. Her subsequent
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Oscar Winner Joan Fontaine Dead at 96

  • newser
Joan Fontaine, who won the Best Actress Oscar in 1941 for her role opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion , died peacefully in her sleep at her Carmel, Calif., home yesterday at age 96, the AP reports. Fontaine was also nominated for Oscars for her lead roles in The Constant Nymph and Hitchcock's Rebecca ; played Jane Eyre opposite Orson Welles; appeared in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, and Nicholas Ray; played opposite stars including Bing Crosby, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Crawford; and was nominated for an Emmy in 1980. She was also involved in what the AP calls "one...
See full article at newser »

Joan Fontaine, Best Actress Oscar Winner For '.Suspicion,'. Dies At 96

Joan Fontaine, the legendary Oscar-winning actress, died on Sunday at her home in Carmel, Calif. She was 96.

Joan Fontaine Dies

Fontaine rose to fame during Hollywood’s Golden Era in the 1930s and ‘40s, starting off in supporting roles before landing the lead in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. The part earned the actress her first Academy Award nod. Her second time teaming up with Hitchcock, for 1941 film Suspicion in which she starred opposite Cary Grant, saw her take home the statuette for best actress in a leading role.

Following the pair of Hitchcock films, Fontaine’s career maintained its steam with The Constant Nymph, earning her third Oscar nomination. The actress went on to receive praise for her turns in the titular role in Jane Eyre (1944), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), September Affair (1950), Ivanhoe (1952) and Island in the Sun (1957).

Throughout the ‘60s, Fontaine made a number of TV appearances and
See full article at Uinterview »

Oscar-Winning actress Joan Fontaine dies at 96

Oscar-Winning actress Joan Fontaine dies at 96
Washington, Dec. 16: Joan Fontaine, who won an Oscar for her role in Alfred Hitchcock-helmed 1940 film 'Suspicion', has passed away due to undisclosed reasons. She was 96.

According to People Magazine, the Hollywood star died on Sunday at her northern California house.

Apart from starring in another Hitchcock-helmed 1939 film 'Rebecca', the iconic actress' other well-known movies included 1943's 'The Constant Nymph', 1944's 'Jane Eyre' and 1952's 'Ivanhoe'. (Ani)
See full article at RealBollywood »

R.I.P. Joan Fontaine

Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine has died, per the AP and multiple news reports. She was 97. Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland to British parents in Japan, Fontaine began her film career under contract with Rko in films like The Man Who Found Himself (1937), her official onscreen “introduction,” A Damsel in Distress (1937) opposite Fred Astaire, and George Cukor’s The Women (1939). A year after leaving Rko, Fontaine starred in the gothic thriller Rebecca as a woman haunted by her new husband’s (Laurence Olivier) dead wife. The film, Alfred Hitchcock‘s American debut, was nominated for 11 Oscars and won two including Best Picture. Fontaine earned her first Best Actress nod and reteamed with Hitch the following year for another domestic thriller, Suspicion, which won her the Academy Award over sister Olivia de Havilland, who was herself nominated for Hold Back The Dawn. Fontaine’s third Best Actress nomination was awarded for 1943′s The Constant Nymph.
See full article at Deadline TV »

Joan Fontaine: 1917 - 2013

  • IMDb News
Joan Fontaine: 1917 - 2013
Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, the leading lady known for her string of roles as demure, well-mannered and often well-bred heroines in the 1940s, and the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, died today at her home in Carmel, California; she was 96.

Known best for her back-to-back roles in two Alfred Hitchcock thrillers -- the 1940 Best Picture winner Rebecca and the 1941 film Suspicion, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar, making her the ony actor in a Hitchcock film to receive an Academy Award -- she and her sister were enshrined in Hollywood lore as intense rivals, and their rivalry reached a peak of sorts when Fontaine beat de Havilland for the 1941 Best Actress Oscar.

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan, Fontaine suffered from recurring ailments throughout her childhood, resulting in her mother moving both her and Olivia to California. While her mother, stage actress Lillian Fontaine, desired for both her daughters to be actresses, it was only Olivia who initially pursued an acting career, as Fontaine returned to Japan for two years when she was 15 years old to live with her father, who divorced Lillian in 1919. Upon returning to the states, Fontaine found that Olivia was already becoming an established actress, and began to embark on her own career. Starting out in theater, Joan initially changed her name to Joan Burfield, then Joan Fontaine (so as to avoid confusion with her sister), and soon found herself in moderately noteworthy parts in such films as You Can't Beat Love (1937), A Damsel in Distress (1937, opposite Fred Astaire) and Gunga Din (1939, alongside Cary Grant, her future leading man in Suspicion). Though she garnered more notice in 1939 in the supporting part of naive newlywed Peggy Day in the classic comedy The Women, she was far eclipsed in fame and reputation by her sister, who had already starred along Errol Flynn in a number of romance adventures, and who received her first Oscar nomination for the blockbuster Gone With the Wind.

It was the same man who cast de Havilland in Gone With the Wind who would make Fontaine into a major star. Looking to follow up the monstrous success of Gone With the Wind with another noteworthy literary adapation, producer David O. Selnick snapped up the rights to the Daphne du Maurier bestseller Rebecca, in which an unnamed, demure heroine -- known only as "the second Mrs. de Winter" -- is taunted by the memory of her husband's first wife, the beautiful and seductive title character. Selznick brought director Alfred Hitchcock over for his first American production, cast matinee idol and rising star Laurence Olivier as moody, mysterious husband Maxim de Winter, and embarked on a Scarlett O'Hara-style talent search for his leading lady. Rejecting Loretta Young, Margaret Sullavan, Vivian Leigh (then Olivier's wife), and a then-unknown Anne Baxter along with hundreds of other actresses, Selznick decided on Fontaine, who though not an established star projected the right mix of beauty, insecurity, and tenacity needed for the part. Fontaine's insecurity, however, was heightened by Olivier's sometimes cruel treatment of her on set, as he had lobbied aggressively for Leigh to get the role, and Hitchcock capitalized on her inferiority complex to shape her performance. The resulting film, released in 1940, was an unqualified critical and financial success, catapulting Fontaine into the tier of top Hollywood leading ladies, establishing Hitchcock firmly in the United States, and nabbing the film 11 Academy Award nominations, includine ones for both Fontaine and Olivier; it would go on to win Best Picture.

Selznick, pleased with the combination of Hitchcock and Fontaine, signed the two on for a follow-up about a demure heiress who begins to suspect that her playboy husband is out to murder her for her money. Initially titled Before the Fact, it would later be retitled Suspicion, and Cary Grant was cast as the charming but caddish husband. Though the final ending of the film was tinkered with -- studio heads thought making Grant guilty would be bad for box office, and insisted on a twist to make him actually heroic -- it was another success, earning three Oscar nominations, including Fontaine's second Best Actress nod. It was at the 1941 Academy Awards that Fontaine, once considered the also-ran to her movie star sister, beat Olivia de Havilland for the Best Actress Oscar (de Havilland had been nominated for Hold Back the Dawn). In what became part of Hollywood and Academy Award legend, Fontaine coolly rejected her sister's efforts at congratulations, and What had always been a fractious relationship since childhood became officially estranged. Hollywood wags often reported that because de Havilland lost to her sister, she would retaliate by winning two Oscars -- in 1946 for To Each His Own and 1949 for The Heiress -- in order to top Fontaine. The two would officially stop speaking to one another in 1975.

Fontaine received a third Oscar nomination in 1943, for the music melodrama The Constant Nymph, and that same year essayed the title role in the commercially successful if moderately well-regarded version of Jane Eyre opposite Orson Welles. She remained a star throughout the 1940s, appearing in the comedy The Affairs of Susan (1945), the thriller Ivy (1947), and opposite Bing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz (1948). Fontaine also gave what many consider to be her best performance in 1948's Letters from an Unknown Woman, Max Ophuls' romantic drama opposite Louis Jourdan. In 1945 she divorced her first husband, actor Brian Aherne, and in 1946 married producer William Dozier, whom she would divorce in 1951. Two years later, she was embroiled in a bitter custody battle with him over their daughter, Debbie, and the ongoing lawsuit would prevent Fontaine from accepting the role of frustrated military wife Karen Holmes in the Oscar-winning drama From Here to Eternity -- Deborah Kerr was instead cast, and received an Oscar nomination for the part.

Though she continued to work throughout the 1950s, most notably in the lavish Technicolor adaptation of Ivanhoe (1952), Ida Lupino's film noir The Bigamist (1953), and in the pioneering if often campy racial drama Island in the Sun (1957), her work in both film and television lessened, and her last film appearance was in Hammer Films horror movie The Devil's Own (1966). Television work followed in the 1970s and 1980s, and Fontaine received a Daytime Emmy nomination for the soap opera Ryan's Hope. She published an autobiography, No Bed of Roses, in 1978, and after the television film Good King Wenceslas (1994), retired officially to her home in Carmel, California.

Fontaine is survived by her daughter, Debbie Dozier.

Joan Fontaine, Oscar-Winning Best Actress, Dies at 96

  • PEOPLE.com
Joan Fontaine, Oscar-Winning Best Actress, Dies at 96
Hollywood stalwart Joan Fontaine, best known for her roles in director Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 Rebecca and her Best Actress Oscar-winning role in his 1940 film Suspicion, died Sunday at her northern California home, according to several reports. She was 96. Details of her death were not immediately available. In addition to playing a mousey spouse in both the Hitchcock films, first alongside Laurence Olivier and then to Cary Grant, Fontaine's other well-known movies included 1943's The Constant Nymph, which got her a third Oscar nomination, 1944's Jane Eyre with Orson Welles, 1952's Ivanhoe with Robert Taylor, and 1957's controversial Island in the Sun with Harry Belafonte.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »
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