18 items from 2015
BBC iPlayer experienced its best month on record in January 2015.
The on-demand service received 343 million requests last month, with TV content seeing record viewership at 264 million.
Mobile and tablet requests accounted for 48% of that figure in January, breaking another record for the platform thanks to a surge in TV and radio customers.
Christmas and New Year specials of EastEnders, Top Gear and Miranda attracted around 2 million customers per episode, while The Voice UK, Silent Witness, Wolf Hall and The Dumping Ground were also popular.
The BBC's upcoming epic adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel has begun principle photography in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Also joining the cast are Rebecca Front as Anna Mikhaylovna, Kenneth Cranham as Uncle Mikhail, Aneurin Barnard as Boris, Tuppence Middleton as Helene, Callum Turner as Anatole and Jessie Buckley as Prince Marya.
Set in 1805 during Alexander I's reign, War and Peace follows five »
Principal photography has started on the six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic War And Peace which is being made by BBC Cymru Wales in partnership with The Weinstein Company and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point. Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton are already aboard to star, with new additions to the cast including Jim Broadbent, Gillian Anderson, Brian Cox and Ken Stott. The epic drama is written by House Of Cards and Bridget Jones‘ Andrew Davies. Anderson was… »
In Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella,” four mice are ballooned into elegant white horses, two lizards are forced to serve as makeshift footmen, and an oblivious old goose gets zapped into driving a pumpkin carriage. But as the American Humane Assn. can attest, no animals were harmed in the making of this delightful if overly safe update of the gold-standard toon classic. More importantly, the underlying property emerges untarnished, as director Kenneth Branagh reverently reimagines Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale for a new generation the world over, spelling countless opportunities to exploit fresh interest in the story throughout the Disney universe.
The latest in a trend to rework the most precious treasures in the Mouse House vault, “Cinderella” is by far the studio’s most calculated retelling yet, to the extent that those who know the toon by heart may find Chris Weitz’s serviceable script a wee bit dull. »
- Peter Debruge
The actor said that it is strange to think Christian Grey is inspired by his Twilight character Edward Cullen.
Speaking to Reuters at the Berlin Film Festival, he said: "It's kind of weird, and also I've known Jamie [Dornan] for about 10 years.
"I haven't actually read the book but I think it must be very, very different. I don't see how it can work if it's not different."
He also praised the strong following of the Fifty Shades and Twilight series, but added that he has never worked out why some have such a "profound connection" to the material.
"It's amazing; it's that fan base. There's some kind of profound connection that a bunch of people have to it and I've never figured out quite what it is. It's just very strange, »
Ben Stephenson, the head of drama at the BBC, is planning a shift to the U.S., with J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot and Starz being suggested as potential targets, according to press reports.
Stephenson is believed to be looking to move into an internationally focused role, in which he can help forge co-production deals for big-budget drama projects.
Since replacing Jane Tranter in 2008, Stephenson has commissioned ratings hits like “Call the Midwife,” “Sherlock” and “Wolf Hall.” Other shows have included “Peaky Blinders,” “The Honorable Woman” and the upcoming adaptation of “War and Peace.” Many of these BBC productions have relied on U.S. co-production coin and foreign sales to get them made.
- Leo Barraclough
Ian Ogilvy: Saints, Sorcerers and Secret Agents
Cinema Retro's Mark Mawston recently caught up with the legendary Ian Ogilvy to discuss projects past and present.
Ian Ogilvy: Well, when we were 15 years old we made a couple of amateur movies together after we were introduced by a mutual friend and we became great friends. I used to stay at his mother’s house with him in Norfolk and over two years we made these two little amateur movies. I then lost contact with him as I went off and did different things like attending drama school and he went »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Update, Sunday 4:10 Pm: Adds anecdote about Back From Eternity, below: The blond beauty who added a smoldering Swedish sensuality to the pantheon of European 1950s and ’60s screen sirens that included Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot, died Sunday in Rocca di Papa, near Rome, according to reports confirmed by Deadline. She was 83.
She had lived in Italy for decades since a starring role, opposite Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini’s groundbreaking 1960 La Dolce Vita, made her an international sex symbol. In the film she she played Sylvia, a Swedish-American movie star who arrives in Rome and captures the attention of Mastroianni’s night-crawling paparazzo, who takes her on a moonlit tour of the city. In one of the episodic film’s most famous scenes, Sylvia — poured into a strapless, form-fitting black gown — wades into the Trevi Fountain, beckoning her suitor to follow.
Later she pointedly, and frequently, remarked that »
- Jeremy Gerard
I've made no secret about loving Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita as noted in my essay on the film last year and today, which makes today's news of the passing of Anika Ekberg that much more sorrowful. As evidenced on the DVD edition of La Dolce Vita from Koch Lorber, Ekberg had a bit of a quick wit about her, though in the last few years she fell on hard financial times, several years removed from the memory we have of her, wading in Rome's Trevi Fountain with Marcello Mastroianni. Ekberg landed a contract with Universal back in the early '50s after appearing at the 1951 Miss Universe contest, after which she would land roles in films such as King Vidor's War and Peace as well as three other Fellini features -- I clowns, Intervista and Boccaccio '70. Ekberg's passing comes as the result of a complications with a long illness, »
- Brad Brevet
With the Golden Globes set to get underway a little later tonight, the movie world has become a little less glamorous as iconic screen actress Anita Ekberg has passed away at the age of 83. There is no cinema lover who doesn't know Ekberg from her most famous role, playing "the most wonderful woman created since the beginning of time" in Frederico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." She landed the role after capturing Hollywood's attention as the Swedish beauty who arrived in the United States to compete in the 1951 Miss Universe contest. She didn't win, but she was nonetheless signed to a contract with Universal Studios. She appeared in a string of films — including King Vidor's "War and Peace" with Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, "Back from Eternity," "Interpol," and others. But it was "La Dolce Vita" that would be her defining role, and the one that launched her to international stardom. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
The world lost two famous supporting screen talents this weekend. Firstly, comedian and famed character actor Taylor Negron died at the age of 57 after a long battle with cancer. You may not recognise the name, but his deadpan delivery and complete lack of fear about tackling all sorts of topics will long be remembered.
Negron is best known for numerous bit roles in various films and TV shows including "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "The Last Boy Scout," "Easy Money," "River's Edge," "Punchline," "Angels in the Outfield," "Spy Hard," "Bio-Dome," Chairman of the Board," "The Thin Pink Line," "Stuart Little," "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas ," "The In Crowd," "Loser," "The Hughleys," "So Little Time," "Funky Monkey," "The Aristocrats," "Three Days to Vegas," "Vamps" and more.
Sadly he isn't the only one to have passed on though as screen actress Anita Ekberg also died over the weekend at the age »
- Garth Franklin
By Lee Pfeiffer
The cruel loss of legendary cinematic figures continues into the new year with the death of Anita Ekberg in Italy at age 83. The precise cause of death is not known at this time but she had suffered from a long illness. Ekberg was Swedish by birth but was often mistaken as a native of Italy because of her close association with Fellini and his films. She was named Miss Sweden as a teenager and competed in the Miss Universe contest before her statuesque figure ensured a career in show business during an era when full-bosomed sex sirens were all the rage. Hollywood studios were particularly on the lookout for the next exotic European beauty and Ekberg filled the bill perfectly. She slogged through bit parts uncredited in major studio productions before landing a prominent role opposite John Wayne and Lauren Bacall in the 1955 hit "Blood Alley" (in »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Anita Ekberg, the Swedish pageant queen whose beauty bewitched director Federico Fellini in La Dolce Vita, died in a hospital outside of Rome at the age of 83. Known in some gossip rags as "The Iceberg," Ekberg was known as one of the sex symbols of Hollywood, and played opposite a number of Hollywood stars throughout her career like Audrey Hepburn in War and Peace and Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Four for Texas. She also toured with Bob Hope on a number of U.S.O. tours and starred in a number of movies with him. And long before the uproar over Scarlett Johansson's casting as the lead in Ghost in the Shell, Ekberg played a Chinese woman, Wei Ling in Blood Alley, for which she won a Golden Globe award in 1956.Ekberg was born in Malmo, Sweden in 1931, and grew up as one of eight children. She »
- E. Alex Jung
It’s not every actor that can claim to have seared themselves a place in the cinematic pantheon with just one stroll through a fountain, but Anita Ekberg certainly fits that bill. The Swedish star, who most famously graced the screen in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, has died at the age of 83.Born in Malmo, Sweden in 1931, Ekberg came from a large family, with seven siblings, and enjoyed close relationships with her parents. At the age of 20, she won the Miss Sweden title, parlaying that into a chance at the Miss Universe crown. She didn’t win, but Universal Pictures immediately snapped her up into a contract, kicking off a film career with a variety of small and uncredited parts, but moving her up the roster with a role as Helene Kuragina in 1956’s adaptation of War And Peace.From there, she starred in films such as Pickup Alley, »
According to reports (La Stampa), Anita Ekberg has died at age 83.
The Swedish-born actress and sex-symbol of the 1950s and `60s was immortalized bathing in the Trevi fountain in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Ekberg also starred in King Vidor’s War And Peace and alongside Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in 1956’s Hollywood Or Bust which she won a Golden Globe award for “Most Promising Newcomer.”
From the AP:
Ekberg’s lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi confirmed she died in Rome Sunday morning following a series of illnesses. She had been hospitalized most recently after Christmas. Ubaldi said a ceremony would be held in the coming days at a Lutheran church in Rome, and that Ekberg had specified that her remains be cremated.
Ubaldi also said that in her last days Ekberg was saddened by the illness and her advancing age. »
- Movie Geeks
Anita Ekberg, the Swedish actress whose onscreen persona was best encapsulated by a scene of her wading sensually into the Trevi Fountain in “La Dolce Vita,” died Sunday in Rocca di Papa, near Rome. She was 83.
Ekberg, who had long been living in Italy, had been hospitalized recently due to several unspecified illnesses, her lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi said, confirming her death. She had been in a wheelchair for several years after breaking a hip.
Ekberg was one of cinema’s most famous “sex goddesses,” as renowned for her performances as she was for her alleged list of romances with major stars such as Frank Sinatra and Gary Cooper. In addition to “La Dolce Vita,” which made her an international film icon, Ekberg starred in “War and Peace” with Audrey Hepburn, “Artists and Models” with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and “Paris Holiday” with Bob Hope.
She auditioned for, but lost out on, »
- Brent Lang and Nick Vivarelli
A former Miss Sweden who became an international sex symbol after dancing in the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita, Anita Ekberg has died in hospital in Rome at the age of 83. The charismatic star, who set out to make a career in Hollywood even before she could speak English, also enjoyed success as a model.
Best known in cinema for her partnership with Federico Fellini, which also saw her shine in Intervista as late as 1987, she will be remembered for films like War And Peace, The Glass Sphinx, and Poirot thriller The Alphabet Murders. She enjoyed a brief career as a horror icon and also did television and radio work, the latter proving that it wasn't only her body with which she could captivate an audience.
During the last few years of her life, Ekberg fell on hard times following a robbery and fire at her home. »
- Jennie Kermode
"Anita Ekberg, immortalized by her performance in Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita, died Sunday near Rome," reports the Afp. "She was 83." From TCM: "Coming to America after winning the Miss Sweden beauty competition in 1950, Ekberg soon secured herself a contract with Universal Pictures and began a string of appearances in such features as Blood Alley (1955), Hollywood or Bust (1956) and the historical epic War and Peace (1956). Often eclipsing her work on screen, however, were the alleged romantic liaisons with many of Hollywood's most powerful leading men, including Tyrone Power, Gary Cooper and Frank Sinatra. Sub-par genre pictures with titles like Sheba and the Gladiator (1959) were fast becoming Ekberg's stock-in-trade before Fellini cast the stunning actress in La Dolce Vita, instantly making her co-star Marcello Mastroianni an international superstar, but oddly, doing little to advance her career." » - David Hudson »
18 items from 2015
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