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7 items from 2012

The Big Screen by David Thomson – review

12 October 2012 4:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

John Banville is swept away by passionate love letters to cinema

First things first. This is a very good book indeed, probably the best overview of the cinema ever written. It sparkles with insight, is packed with anecdote, and pulses with passion for the medium that Thomson has been attending to, worrying at and writing about all his life.

Although it may not be an entirely original insight, Thomson again and again presses his case that the attraction of movies is that they play with and on our dreams and deepest yearnings. People go to the cinema, he writes, to sit in the dark "beholding an orgy of their own desires burning on the screen", yet, paradoxically, the net effect can be a deadening of the spirit. Hence his book is not only a paean to "the pictures", as we used to call them, but also an expression of anxiety »

- John Banville

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Stripper of the Day: Gilda

17 July 2012 7:45 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

[Editor's Note: While Magic Mike is in theaters we're revisiting memorable stripteases. Here's Jose to talk Gilda.]

When I was thirteen, I found Madonna's Sex on eBay and bought it. Upon its arrival I showed my new prized possession to everyone including my father who for a while seemed enthralled by the Queen. Upon finishing leafing through the book he came over to me and quoted something he'd said to me many times before and it was this:  "I'd rather have a fully clothed Rita Hayworth than a naked Madonna".

I dismissed him. But then a few years later I watched Gilda.

This sexy noir from 1946 has Glenn Ford playing a gambler who perpetuates the classic Hollywood curse that the more you want to run away from someone, the more you'll run into them. His life becomes a living hell when he runs into his ex-lover, the title femme fatale played by Hayworth. The movie mostly concentrates on having them despise and then love each other and along with evil Germans, »

- Jose

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A briefs history of male stripping on film

6 July 2012 4:03 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

As Steven Soderbergh's latest thrusts on to our screens, it's worth noting that – cinematically speaking – male nudity is often stumpy and underwhelming

Steven Soderbergh's new movie Magic Mike has turned greased-up A-list buttocks into cinema gold: the tale of the male stripping fraternity has taken $39m in the Us in its opening weekend. Bare bums are big business, but it hasn't always been this way as a quick glance over the history of the "genre" will tell you.

We all know the nude male form is essentially ridiculous, built only for floppy comedy. Hollywood recognised this quickly, and kept sexy male stripping to a minimum in early cinema. Even by the 1960s, this attitude remained. So when Oliver Reed and Alan Bates got it all out in 1969's Women In Love, their naked frolicking had to be dressed up as "wrestling".

It wasn't until the 1980s that male »

- Olly Richards

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Doris Day in Pillow Talk: Couture Allure

17 May 2012 5:36 PM, PDT | Clothes on Film | See recent Clothes on Film news »

The perfection of a rose-tinted past, Doris Day’s costumes in Pillow Talk (1959) are some of the most exquisite ever worn on screen. They personify her immaculate character and symbolise the remnants of a dying era; opulence, optimism and the changing face of urbanised fashion.

Costume designer for Pillow Talk was Bill Thomas, although, as became standard with Doris Day pictures, he was not directly responsible for creating her outfits. That job fell to celebrated costume/fashion designer Jean Louis, earning him a ‘Gowns By’ credit on the film. Louis was known for his stylish and often deceptively simple garments, including most famously Rita Hayworth’s strapless black sheath in Gilda (1946). He even created Marilyn Monroe’s sheer ‘President’s dress’, immortalised at John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday celebration in 1962.

Whether or not Jean Louis was working from specification for Pillow Talk we do not know. Bill Thomas would »

- Chris Laverty

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Rita Hayworth: Gilda, The Lady From Shanghai on TCM

7 April 2012 5:04 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Rita Hayworth, Gilda Rita Hayworth is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Evening. TCM will be presenting the quintessential Hayworth in Gilda at 5 p.m. Pt. That'll be followed by the quintessential anti-Hayworth in The Lady from Shanghai, plus Fire Down Below, The Happy Thieves, The Lady in Question, and Affair in Trinidad. If you haven't watched Gilda (1946), you must. Charles Vidor's dark melodrama oozes romance, lust, desire, intrigue — and Nazis, too. All that set in a Hollywood-made Buenos Aires, where Hayworth's Gilda is married to George Macready's forbidding casino boss, but loves the youthful Glenn Ford's Johnny, who loves Gilda and has a deep, huh, respect for her husband, who, for his part, also happens to be, huh, deeply attached to Ford. As a son. Hayworth moves her body beautifully while singing "Put the Blame on Mame" and "Amado Mio," but the voice coming out of »

- Andre Soares

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Clip joint: Siren songs

21 March 2012 10:09 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Listen up as Clip joint seeks out the finest musical moments from leading ladies

This week's Clip joint is by Sophie Monks Kaufman, who is currently watching a film every day and blogging about it at A Truth a Day. You can follow her on Twitter at @sopharsogood.

Think you can do better than Sophie? If you've got an idea for a future Clip joint, send a message to

A fitting song in an otherwise non-musical film can steal the show, especially when the fairer sex is involved. Whether she's seducing, entertaining or laying bare the secrets of her soul, a siren's song can hit notes that lines of dialogue merely circle. Part of this is the undivided attention the singer receives. For a few minutes, the camera's lens is only for her. Armed with lyrics, vocal range and occasionally a dance number, the songstress »

- Guardian readers

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The history of MGM: the golden era

24 January 2012 3:12 AM, PST | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

Zoe’s continues her journey through the turbulent history of one of Hollywood’s most influential studios, as we arrive at MGM's post-war golden era. Plus, a bit of 3D, too...

As the end of World War II approached, a new world dawned for MGM – a world which had changed dramatically. Attitudes and lifestyles had changed, but most importantly audiences had changed. Here was an opportunity: MGM’s chance to start afresh. And so in 1944, MGM embarked on what would become the most successful period in its history. After the war, the slate was wiped clean.

Gone were the tired, tried-and-tested formulas, and gone were the aging names and stars, as a new unit was established at MGM. It was up to this unit, anchored by an experienced producer and made up of bright young talent, to transform MGM’s signature high-production style into something new and modern in order »

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