13 items from 2013
By Lee Pfeiffer
The magnificent Oscar-winning best picture of the year for 1968, Oliver!, has been released as a Blu-ray special limited edition (3,000 units) by Twilight Time. This adaptation of the smash stage hit was a dream project for director Lewis Gilbert but, much to his dismay, the director's seat was given to Sir Carol Reed. How Gilbert's version of the film would have differed will never be known but suffice it to say, it's hard to imagine he could have improved on Reed's vision. There had been numerous previous screen versions of Dickens' classic novel Oliver Twist, with the most notable being David Lean's 1948 movie with a star-making turn by Alec Guinness as Fagin. The 1963 stage musical by Lionel Bart was a sensation and it stood to reason that the screen rights were quickly scooped up. The film went against the tide when considering other major musicals of the period. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Alec Guinness: Before Obi-Wan Kenobi, there were the eight D’Ascoyne family members (photo: Alec Guiness, Dennis Price in ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’) (See previous post: “Alec Guinness Movies: Pre-Star Wars Career.”) TCM won’t be showing The Bridge on the River Kwai on Alec Guinness day, though obviously not because the cable network programmers believe that one four-hour David Lean epic per day should be enough. After all, prior to Lawrence of Arabia TCM will be presenting the three-and-a-half-hour-long Doctor Zhivago (1965), a great-looking but never-ending romantic drama in which Guinness — quite poorly — plays a Kgb official. He’s slightly less miscast as a mere Englishman — one much too young for the then 32-year-old actor — in Lean’s Great Expectations (1946), a movie that fully belongs to boy-loving (in a chaste, fatherly manner) fugitive Finlay Currie. And finally, make sure to watch Robert Hamer’s dark comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets »
- Andre Soares
Alec Guinness movies: Pre-’Star Wars’ Guinness runs the gamut from Dickens’ Fagin to Japanese businessman romancing Rosalind Russell Alec Guinness is Turner Classic Movies’ “Summer Under the Stars” star on Saturday, August 3, 2013. The bad news: No Alec Guinness TCM premieres or lesser-known Guinness movies, e.g., A Run for Your Money, Last Holiday, Malta Story, The Prisoner, Star Wars (kidding). The good news: Alec Guinness movies are always welcome, even when the movies themselves are unworthy of his talents — and there were quite a few of those — or when Guinness forces his characters to fit his persona (instead of the other way around), so that we’re watching Alec Guinness play Alec Guinness playing some role or other, instead of, for instance, a Japanese businessman who happens to be both Star Trek‘s George Takei’s father and Rosalind Russell’s platonic paramour. (TCM schedule: Alec Guiness movies.) (Photo: Alec Guinness ca. »
- Andre Soares
Heavyweight boxer, James Bond stuntman and bodyguard to Hollywood stars
The abiding memory that millions around the world will have of Nosher Powell, who has died aged 84, is of him fighting in vain to save his aeroplane after it had been attacked by a seagull in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965). Gert Fröbe may have been the German officer in charge of the plane but it was Powell who, as the stuntman and double, ended up in the water.
Powell's first appearance as a stuntman was in Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944). He also had small roles in David Lean's Oliver Twist (1948) and Cosh Boy (1953), with Joan Collins. In 1952 he was a boxer in Emergency Call, in which he fought the former world champion Freddie Mills. Powell had a decent if not outstanding boxing career himself, reaching No 3 in the British heavyweight rankings.
George Frederick Bernard Powell was born in Camberwell, »
- James Morton
Makeup artist who created Yoda and Chewbacca for the Star Wars films
If there was a film made in Britain between the early 1940s and early 1980s that required innovations in makeup and prosthetics design, chances are that Stuart Freeborn, who has died aged 98, was involved in it in some capacity. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, David Lean's adaptation of Oliver Twist, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Omen, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back: all these benefited from Freeborn's pioneering approach to makeup. When audiences gaze with wonder upon the apes in the "dawn of man" sequence at the beginning of 2001, or fall under the spell of the 2ft tall guru Yoda and his gnomic proclamations, their response is a testament to Freeborn's persuasive artistry.
He was born in Leytonstone, east London, where it was assumed that he would follow in the footsteps of his father, »
- Ryan Gilbey
The film world has lost one of the giants of movie makeup and creature design. Stuart Freeborn, whose credits go back to the 1930s, died earlier this week from a combination of ailments due to his age, according to The Guardian. He was 98. He worked for David Lean on 1948's Oliver Twist, setting up Alec Guinness with his prosthetic teeth, and later worked with Guinness and Lean on The Bridge on the River Kwai.Freeborn was brought to my attention thanks to another series of films starring Guinness. As the principal artist behind the creature shop on the first Star Wars film, Freeborn was responsible for the team that created Chewbacca. The costume was designed based upon designs that had been created for Stanley Kubrick's earlier...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
During his six-decade career, he was celebrated for creating characters such as Yoda, the 7ft tall wookie Chewbacca and the slug-like Jabba the Hutt.
He also worked on classic films such as Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey', where he created the apelike human ancestors in the 'Dawn of Man' sequence.
"He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His 'Star Wars' creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films."
- The Huffington Post UK
LucasFilm confirmed Wednesday that Freeborn had died, "leaving a legacy of unforgettable contributions".
"He brought with him not only decades of experience but boundless creative energy," Lucas said. "His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations but at their heart they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films."
Freeborn's granddaughter, Michelle Freeborn, said he died on Tuesday in London from a »
Stuart Freeborn, the legendary British makeup artist who worked on films for Stanley Kubrick and David Lean and created such creatures as Yoda and Chewbacca for the Star Wars films, died Tuesday in London. He was 98. Freeborn transformed Alec Guinness into Fagin for Lean's 1948 version of Oliver Twist and aged Roger Livesay through the decades in another British film classic, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943). Photos: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2013 His other makeup credits include Powell’s The Thief of Bagdad (1940), Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957),
- Mike Barnes
Stuart Freeborn, the makeup artist who designed Yoda, Chewbacca and a number of other memorable "Star Wars" characters, died Wednesday in England. He was 98. Freeborn began his six-decade career in the movie business with uncredited work on 1936's "Rembrandt" before creating makeup magic for 75 other films, including "Oliver Twist," "Dr. Strangelove," 2001: A Space Odyssey," four "Superman" films and the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Also read: Disney Planning 'Star Wars' Spin-Off Films "Stuart was already a makeup legend when he started on 'Star Wars,'" George Lucas said in a statement on StarWars.com. »
- Greg Gilman
News Ryan Lambie Feb 6, 2013
Yoda is surely among the most recognisable and loved characters in sci-fi cinema, and it says so much about the enduring fan affection for the old sage that, more than 30 years after he first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back, there are rumours that he may soon appear in his own Star Wars spin-off movie.
How sad, then, to hear that Stuart Freeborn, the makeup designer who created Yoda's distinctive green features, has passed away at the age of 98.
The credits in Freeborn's long career include The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, David Lean's Oliver Twist and The Bridge Over The River Kwai. He was responsible for the makeup effects in Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove, which transformed Peter Sellers into an effete British army captain, »
British make-up great Stuart Freeborn has died. The prosthetics designer, the man who gave Yoda his distinctive look and worked closely with actors of the calibre of Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, was 98.Born in East London as the Great War began, Freeborn was a pioneer in cinema whose refusal to follow a traditional career path led him to Alexander Korda's door in the 1930s. At the producer's Denham Studio he worked with Alec Guinness to create the haggard Fagin in David Lean's Oliver Twist, and with movie stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh. "I never stopped from that moment," remembered Freeborn of a career that took in The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove. He created the 'Dawn of Man' sequence on the former, and worked with the director to pinpoint Sellers' many looks in the latter. »
Prolific make-up artist Stuart Freeborn has died in England earlier today at the age of 98. Per Film Buff Online, his career spanned almost six decades and included classic films such as Victoria The Great, The Thief Of Bahgdad, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, and David Lean's Oliver Twist. His best-known work began with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb by transforming Peter Sellers into three different characters. Freeborn continued to work with Stanley Kubrick by designing the apes in the "Dawn of Man" sequence. But perhaps Freeborn's most famous work was serving as make-up supervisor on the original Star Wars trilogy, and helping to craft the look of Chewbacca, Yoda, and Jabba the Hutt. Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Freeborn's family and friends. »
- Matt Goldberg
13 items from 2013