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Hollywood's treatment of Citizen Kane's maker is no surprise from an industry that gives Oscars to so many dud films
• Charles Saatchi's 109 movies not nominated for best picture
How do you handle failure? I handle failure very badly. Bitterly. Indignantly. Girly tears. I once saw a three-hour BBC interview with Orson Welles, and if it is possible to fall for a man just from seeing him on the telly, Mr Welles has had me as his love slave since.
Welles had manifold reasons to be bitter about life's setbacks, not the least being that his unquestioned prowess as a film-maker didn't stop Hollywood treating him like a disease. After years of having to panhandle for backing to fund his film projects – all unwanted by the studios, all later to be recognised as exquisite jewels – he eventually had to rely on appearing in TV commercials, endorsing wines or Spanish sherry, »
- Charles Saatchi
The films that weren't even given a shot at winning best picture
• Charles Saatchi: my love affair with Orson Welles
Here, in no particular order, is Charles Saatchi's list of the post-1950 films that should have been nominated for a best film Oscar. Tell us your picks below.
What's Up Doc?
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
2001: A Space Odyssey
Advise and Consent
King of Comedy
- Charles Saatchi
Blu-ray Release Date: March 6, 2012
Price: Blu-ray $15.00
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
The Blu-ray debut of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 Oscar-winning film To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant (An Affair To Remember) and Grace Kelly (Rear Window), boasts 90 minutes of bonus materials, but none of it is new.
But who needs new special features, when we can have this classic in high-definition?
In the romance movie, Grant plays John Robie, a retired cat burglar living the high-life on the Riviera. When a series of copy cat crimes are committed and fingers start pointing his way, he must uncover the real thief to prove his own innocence. Things get complicated when Robie falls for Frances Stevens (Kelly), an heiress whose mother (Jessie Royce Landis, North By Northwest) was a victim of the copy cat thief.
Chicago – The unmistakable silhouette of the Master of Suspense will be cast over the Music Box Theatre during the final days of the holiday season. Ten of Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved masterworks will be presented on the big screen in inspired double bills that illustrate the startling range and enduring brilliance of the legendary filmmaker.
Even if moviegoers have seen these titles eight dozen times on DVD, they will be amazed at how fresh the films play when screened in a packed theater. No filmmaker knew how to delight and frighten an audience better than Hitchcock. When Robert Osborne held a free screening of “North by Northwest” at the Music Box last year, it felt as if the picture had been made yesterday.
Every punchline scored a belly laugh, every moment of delicious tension caused viewers to lean forward in anticipation, and when the film ended, the packed house broke out into extended, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
As The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo reminds us, a powerful title sequence can have a huge impact. Here’s Ryan’s celebration of a resurgent art form…
David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo opens with a booming, teacup-rattling title sequence, in which hideous forms – some technological, others biological – ooze in and out of black oil and fire. Cut to the howls and thunderous riff of Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin, it’s an aggressive statement of intent, as though Fincher’s violently stamping his authority on a property that was only adapted for the screen two years ago.
Fincher’s no stranger to opening his films with a dazzling display of sound and imagery. Images of pain and suffering are compiled by nimble, evil fingers to the music of Nine Inch Nails at the beginning of Seven. »
Black and white images flicker across absorbed young faces as timeless stories unfold. To the delight of the education charity Filmclub, classic films are captivating children as young as seven.
In the past year, a quarter of all the films watched by its members have been pre-1979 movies and some, such as The Electric Edwardians (1900), date right back to the birth of cinema.
Launched in 2008 by film director Beeban Kidron and educationist Lindsay Mackie, Filmclub (@filmclub) helps schools set up film clubs and supplies a huge range of thoughtfully curated films.
Libby Serdiuk, aged 10, was "pleasantly surprised by The General (1926):
"I had never watched a film without sound or colour. Before I knew it my eyes were glued to the screen! The stunts were exhilarating to watch, Buster Keaton was mind blowing, »
- Judy Friedberg
Eva Marie Saint, Tippi Hedren, Ernest Borgnine, Norman Jewison, Robert Osborne, and Ben Mankiewicz are some of the TCM Cruise passengers shown in the picture above. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) The group pic was posted on TCM's Twitter page. Eva Marie Saint won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954). Her other film credits include Fred Zinnemann's A Hatful of Rain (1957), Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), Otto Preminger's Exodus (1960). Ernest Borgnine won a Best Actor Oscar for Delbert Mann's Marty (1955). Borgnine's other movies include Fred Zinnemann's From Here to Eternity (1953), Richard Brooks' The Catered Affair (1956), and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). Tippi Hedren was an Alfred Hitchcock discovery. Her movies include The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964). She is the mother of Melanie Griffith. Norman Jewison has been nominated for three Best Director Academy Awards: In the Heat of the Night, »
- Andre Soares
As James Bond prepares for his 23rd official outing in Skyfall and to mark next year’s 50th Anniversary of one of the most successful movie franchises of all time I have been tasked to take a retrospective look at the films that turned author Ian Fleming’s creation into one of the most recognised and iconic characters in film history.
Following the huge success of the first James Bond film Dr. No, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were keen to start production on a follow-up. With United Artists offering the pair $2 million, double the budget of Dr. No, to quickly get a sequel in the works Broccoli and Saltzman were left to decide which of Fleming’s novels to adapt next.
- Chris Wright
The first Alfred Hitchcock film I ever saw was Psycho. Teenage me scoffed at the notion that a black and white movie that was made during the Eisenhower era could be as scream-inducing as “real scary movies” like A Nightmare on Elm Street or Leprechaun (that little green guy scared the hell out of me). Of course, I quickly realized that my initial impression of the film was 100% wrong. Not only was Psycho genuinely frightening, it’s also an exquisite piece of filmmaking. Even a layman like me knew I wasn’t just seeing a bunch of scenes that were randomly cut together; it was the first time I realized that there’s a true art to good filmmaking. Hitchcock had a knack for telling incredibly rich and layered stories that appealed to both the wide masses and the deeper-thinking cinephiles. Now, arguably five of his best films have been »
- Adam Chitwood
• Not thrilled? Don't leave us in suspense, post your own review – or engage in some covert operations below
The 39 Steps was my first Hitchcock film. I saw it when I was about 13, with a movie-buff uncle on a battered old black-and-white TV set, on a trip to India. Sitting in the clammy heat and darkness that night, praying there wouldn't be a power cut as we were transported from West Bengal to the Scottish moors, it was the first time I grasped the full extent of cinema's escapist power.
It also inspired my appreciation of Hitchcock as a master film-maker – an artisan and sculptor, with a healthy dose of rogue, rolled into one; a man who crafted stories that blended technical ingenuity with aesthetic beauty without you even realising it.
The plot »
- Saptarshi Ray
Carrie Rickey, the Philadelphia Inquirer film critic, tweeted an interesting question yesterday: Is "North by Northwest" the first modern action movie? She thinks yes. I think it’s a great question: What is the first modern action movie? This depends on two factors: how you define action movie, and how you define modern. I think it’s probably safe to say that the James Bond movies of the 1960s set the groundwork for what we know as the action movie today... and North by Northwest set the groundwork for them. Is that going back too far, however? Should we come a little further forward, to, perhaps, The French Connection, which is closer to the “modern” idea of an action movie, in which the action is more relentless. (Then again, North by Northwest and the Bond movies also feature lots of smart, witty comedy, which I suspect many of us feel »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Back in late 2009 we highlighted the exploits of the The Art of the Title Sequence, a fantastic website dedicated to stylish opening and ending credits sequences that bookend the films we all now and love. Earlier this year, the website crafted a video chronicling A Brief History of Title Design as an introduction for the SXSW Title Design Competition. Now this time, in honor of the new book, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design, the site has put together A Brief History of the Title Design of Saul Bass which includes his work in North by Northwest, Spartacus, the original Ocean's 11, Goodfellas, and much more. Here's A Brief History of the Title Design of Saul Bass courtesy of The Art of the Title Sequence: In addition to the video, the site points out that The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will also celebrate the life of Saul Bass »
- Ethan Anderton
I am interviewing The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius on Monday morning and in preparation I watched his two previous films Oss 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and Oss 117: Lost in Rio and wow, I had a lot of fun with these... Oss 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies & Lost in Rio
As a director Michel Hazanavicius has four feature films to his name. At the moment all the attention is on his Oscar contending silent film The Artist, which is currently making a strong bid to win Best Picture at this year's Oscars and will likely rack up nominations, if not wins, in several other categories. However, before The Artist, Hazanavicius directed a pair of successful James Bond spy spoofs (which are also satirical continuations of the original Oss 117 films from the 50s and 60s) beginning with Oss 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, followed by Oss 117: Lost in Rio. »
- Brad Brevet
The 39 Steps, 1935.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
"Clear out, Hannay! They'll get you next..."
With these words on her lips and a knife in her back, Annabella Smith, spy for hire, dies. Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), the man who put her up for the night, is now in mortal danger. From here on, The 39 Steps continues to shift up gears into a breathlessly paced thriller, often imitated, never bettered.
Crucially, Hitchcock doesn’t cheat with rapid-fire edits to get the audiences’ pulses pumping. Scenes are played out to their natural length, teasing out real tension from everyday occurences, planting us so firmly in Hannay »
It came from a throwaway comment made by a friend after the release of Inception (2010) last year: “Nolan’s like a modern-day Hitchcock”. Really? I probably scoffed at the time. Alfred Hitchcock’s name has to be whispered in the kind of hushed, awe-filled tones that a child uses to talk about Santa. Has Nolan already built up that level of admiration? Well, like the chubby, bearded man in red, he does come bearing gifts this Christmas. Has there ever been more anticipation around a trailer – a sneak 6 minute prologue/trailer to be screened at IMAX cinemas before MI4 this December?
Born in London, Christopher Nolan began at the very bottom of the filmmaking ladder. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, he plodded around for years producing corporate videos while working on the script to his first feature film – Following (1998). He shot it over the course of a »
- Robert Munro
In response to the presently on-going Bernard Herrmann series at Film Forum in New York honoring the composer's centennial, presented here is a selection of short soundtrack music cues by the composer, with brief observations, and information regarding their availability on CD, LP or other formats.
1. “Snow Picture” from Citizen Kane (1941)
It’s amazing to think that Bernard Herrmann scored his first film for Orson Welles, and his last for Martin Scorsese, thirty five years later (he died in his sleep, the evening after finishing the recording sessions for Taxi Driver). This very short cue begins during the Thatcher Library scene, with the Inquirer reporter, Thompson (William Alland), pouring over an immense volume, as the film transitions from over-the-shoulder shot to close-up pan across Thatcher’s handwritten recollections, into a flashback punctuated by a sudden burst of light and music. This musical movement through memory is achieved in less than thirty seconds. »
In the first of a two-part feature, Gary Collinson looks at 23 actors who could have found themselves uttering the iconic line, "The name’s Bond. James Bond..."
Despite the fact that Daniel Craig is only just gearing up for the production of his third outing as 007 in Sam Mendes’ oft-delayed Bond 23 (a.k.a. Skyfall), this year has already seen talk shifting towards Craig’s eventual successor, with actors such as Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Clive Owen and Sam Worthington all linked to the coveted role. Of course, such rampant speculation is nothing new and these are just the latest names to join an extensive list of actors said to have been under consideration for James Bond at one time or another during the superspy’s illustrious screen career. Here, we look at twenty-three stars who found themselves in contention for Bond and give our verdict on how they »
Welcome to Film on Tap, a new column about the many ways that beer (or sometimes booze) and cinema intersect in Austin.
October is always one of the biggest months for craft beer in Texas, and this year has been no exception, especially with the revival of the Texas Craft Brewers Festival here in Austin. The second annual Austin Beer Week is in full swing, with over a hundred events taking place from October 22-30 highlighting local breweries and brewpubs. Several movie-related beer events are happening at venues around town, including most of the Alamo Drafthouse locations.
North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery is hosting a free screening of the documentary Beer Wars in the pavilion behind their restaurant at 8 pm tonight. Beer Wars explores the U.S. beer industry from the inside, revealing the truth behind the label of your favorite beer. Told from an insider’s perspective, the »
- Debbie Cerda
My favourite moment in Charade is during the scene in the hotel lift where Audrey Hepburn places a finger in the dimple on Cary Grant’s chin. As he tries to impress upon her the seriousness of her situation, she asks, ‘How do you shave in there?’ She makes the line so offhand and natural that, though I am sure credit should go to Peter Stone’s script, it sounds like she just made it up on the spot. Some critics on the film’s release were harsh on it, feeling the comedy and the darker thriller elements of the plot didn’t sit together well, but watching it now the coupling of these two elements is exactly what keeps it entertaining; its main ambition is to show the audience a really good time.
Released in 1963, the film was already something of a throwback, particularly to thrillers of the 1940s, »
- Adam Whyte
"Let's conduct a thought experiment," suggests Dan Callahan, setting the mood at Alt Screen for Film Forum's two-week, 22-film celebration of the Bernard Herrmann centennial: "what do you hear when you see the name Bernard Herrmann? The low, sleeping-beast woodwinds that signal the eminent death of Charles Foster Kane? The Irish horn-fiddle-cymbal flourishes that slice through The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)? The otherworldly, quivering theremin that hovers over The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)? You might need to struggle to piece together more than bits of those scores, but I'm guessing that you could probably notate almost all of Herrmann's black-and-white strings for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) or the sprightly anxiety of his score for North by Northwest (1959). Even the disturbingly sexy opening theme of Marnie (1964), with its straight-ahead male horn thrust (Yes, Marnie, yes!) and its ascending-descending female squeal of strings (No, Mark, no!). The romantic maximalism of Herrmann's »
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