3 items from 2015
Exclusive: Karen Kramer is going on the offensive again against Lionel Chetwynd, who again has called her late husband, legendary filmmaker and liberal icon Stanley Kramer, an “enabler” of the Hollywood blacklist. She has accused Chetwynd, a darling of Hollywood conservatives, of defaming her husband, who produced and directed such classics as High Noon, Inherit The Wind, Judgment At Nuremberg, On The Beach and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
The blacklist, which ended some 55 years ago, is still a polarizing issue.
There is no doubt that blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman felt betrayed by Kramer in connection with the 1952 masterpiece High Noon. Foreman, who died in 1984 and was a longtime friend of Chetwynd’s, said as much in a lengthy letter to New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther after his glowing review of the film. Foreman never forgave Kramer for denying him associate producer credit on the film. Foreman »
- David Robb
By Dean Brierly
Japanese actor Ken Takakura, iconic leading man in countless yakuza and action films, died at 83 of lymphoma on November 10 in Tokyo. He had long since achieved legendary status in Japan with his portrayals of brooding samurai, gangsters and hit men. The characters he portrayed were usually on the wrong side of the law but adhered to a chivalric code of honor that, while not reflective of reality, nevertheless struck a deep chord among Japanese filmgoers of the 1960s. Takakura was most familiar to American audiences for his roles in The Yakuza (1975), directed by Sydney Pollack and co-starring Robert Mitchum; Black Rain (1989), with Michael Douglas; and Mr. Baseball (1992), with Tom Selleck. In each of these he more than held his own against his high-powered American co-stars.
Born Goichi Oda in Nakama, Fukuoka, Takakura was witness to real-life yakuza street clashes during his formative years, which may have informed »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Having finally found acclaim as a writer/director with critical successes like The Defiant Ones (1958) after a brief period serving as a producer for others at Columbia on films such as Death of a Salesman (1951), The Juggler (1953), and The Wild One (1953), Stanley Kramer took it upon himself to follow-up his politically controversial nuclear war drama On the Beach (1959) with yet another topically contentious production – Inherit The Wind. Based on the stage play of the same name written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, the film fictionalizes the famed 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, in which a high school teacher named John Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in any state-funded school. Riding high on the creation/evolution controversy, as well as a genius ploy to exploit the witch hunt narrative to discuss the dangers of McCarthyism, which had previously seen Nedrick Young, »
- Jordan M. Smith
3 items from 2015
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