19 items from 2013
Stuntman and Burt Reynolds director Hal Needham dead at 82: Received Honorary Oscar in November 2012 Veteran stuntman and stunt coordinator Hal Needham, whose stunt-work movie credits ranged from John Ford Westerns to Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, and who directed a handful of popular action comedies starring Burt Reynolds, died today, October 25, 2013, in Los Angeles. Needham, who had been suffering from cancer, was 82. (See also: "Stunt Worker Hal Needham: Honorary Oscar 2012".) Born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 6, 1931, Hal Needham began his long Hollywood stuntman career in the mid-’50s. A former tree trimmer and paratrooper, and a motorcycle and car racer, Needham performed stunts in both big-screen and small-screen Westerns, such as John Ford’s 1962 classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, starring John Wayne and James Stewart; the all-star 1963 Best Picture Academy Award nominee How the West Was Won; and the television series Have Gun - Will Travel, doubling for star Richard Boone. »
- Andre Soares
He wrecked hundreds of cars, fell from tall buildings, got blown up and was dragged by horses. As a stuntman, he broke 56 bones, including his back twice! Memphis-born Hal Needham revolutionized the art of the stuntman in films such as How The West Was Won, Stagecoach (1966), Hellfighters, Little Big Man, and hundreds of TV shows. He was a regular stunt double for Burt Reynolds and began his movie directing career with Burt as his lead in Smokey And The Bandit, the second highest-grossing film of 1977 next to Star Wars. He would direct Reynolds in four more films including Stroker Ace, Cannonball Run, and Hooper, which was not a tribute to just stuntmen in general, but to Needham’s hero Jock Mahoney , considered the greatest stuntman in Hollywood (and the stepfather of Hooper co-star Sally Field). Needham’s Megaforce (1982) is an ‘80s time capsule kitsch masterpiece and the delirious The Villain »
- Tom Stockman
Hal Needham, a stuntman and film director, died in Los Angeles on Friday morning at 82, a representative for Needham told TheWrap. The cause of Needham’s death was not immediately available. Also read: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2013 Born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1931, Needham got his break in the business as a stunt double in the TV western “Have Gun, Will Travel,” and provided stunt work in films such as “How the West Was Won,” “The War Lord” and “Little Big Man.” He frequently served as a stunt double for actor Burt Reynolds. Needham’s working relationship with Reynolds extended when Needham branched. »
- Tim Kenneally
Stuntman-turned-movie director Hal Needham has died, at the age of 82. Needham broke into TV and movies in the late 1950s, doing stunt work in such films as Pork Chop Hill, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, How The West Was Won, Donovan’s Reef, Major Dundee, In Harm’s Way, The War Lord, Hells Angels On Wheels, Little Big Man, and many others. His big break, in terms of steady work, came in 1957, when he was hired as Richard Boone’s stunt double on the Western TV series Have Gun—Will Travel, where he also served as stunt »
Hal Needham, longtime stuntman and director of “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Cannonball Run” for Burt Reynolds, has died in Los Angeles after a short battle with cancer, his manager confirmed. He was 82.
At one time the highest paid stuntman in the world, he was said to have broken 56 bones, broken his back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth while working on 4500 TV episodes and 310 feature films.
Needham, a native of Tennessee, broke into show business as a stunt double for Richard Boone on the series “Have Gun, Will Travel.” He worked as a stuntman on “How the West Was Won,” “The Bridge at Remagen,” “McLintock!” and “Little Big Man.”
He became friends with Reynolds, who offered Needham the opportunity to direct “Smokey and the Bandit,” for which Needham had written the screenplay. Needham also directed “Hooper,” “The Cannonball Run,” “Stroker Ace” and “Rad.”
Needham received »
- Dave McNary
Shirley Jones: From book to film A few weeks ago, Shirley Jones, 79, made headlines following the publication of her book of memoirs, concisely titled Shirley Jones: A Memoir. But why the headlines? Does Shirley Jones twerk like Miley Cyrus? Nope. (And that may explain why the release of Jones’ book wasn’t selected as CNN.com’s Top Story of the Day.) So, were The Media and The People interested in Jones’ Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Elmer Gantry, or maybe they were curious about her work in several major 1950s musicals and 1960s comedies? Are you crazy? Who gives a damn about that? The Answer: Let’s just say that the furor had something to do with sweet and innocent all-American bare breasts and three-ways. Keep that in mind next time you watch Oklahoma! (Photo: Shirley Jones ca. 1955.) (On TCM: “Shirley Jones Movies: Innocent Virgins and Sex Workers Galore. »
- Andre Soares
With movie music nights having become de rigueur at concert halls and amphitheaters across the land — not to mention recently sprung festival showcases — it might be important to note the event that started it all. Fifty years ago next month, an extraordinary collection of film composers gathered to celebrate the great songs and scores of Hollywood history.
It was Sept. 25, 1963, at the Hollywood Bowl, and although it was a hot night in the middle of the week, an estimated 10,000 gathered to listen to the movies’ greatest hits as conducted by the men who originally wrote them.
Elmer Bernstein opened with “The Magnificent Seven.” Henry Mancini, who would become a Bowl regular in years to come, made only his second appearance there, conducting “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Peter Gunn.” Alfred Newman brought the house down with his rousing “How the West Was Won” overture.
- Jon Burlingame
Gregory Peck from ‘Duel in the Sun’ to ‘How the West Was Won’: TCM schedule (Pt) on August 15 (photo: Gregory Peck in ‘Duel in the Sun’) See previous post: “Gregory Peck Movies: Memorable Miscasting Tonight on Turner Classic Movies.” 3:00 Am Days Of Glory (1944). Director: Jacques Tourneur. Cast: Gregory Peck, Lowell Gilmore, Maria Palmer. Bw-86 mins. 4:30 Am Pork Chop Hill (1959). Director: Lewis Milestone. Cast: Gregory Peck, Harry Guardino, Rip Torn. Bw-98 mins. Letterbox Format. 6:15 Am The Valley Of Decision (1945). Director: Tay Garnett. Cast: Greer Garson, Gregory Peck, Donald Crisp. Bw-119 mins. 8:15 Am Spellbound (1945). Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll, Rhonda Fleming, Bill Goodwin, Norman Lloyd, Steve Geray, John Emery, Donald Curtis, Art Baker, Wallace Ford, Regis Toomey, Paul Harvey, Jean Acker, Irving Bacon, Jacqueline deWit, Edward Fielding, Matt Moore, Addison Richards, Erskine Sanford, Constance Purdy. Bw-111 mins. 10:15 Am Designing Woman (1957). Director: Vincente Minnelli. »
- Andre Soares
Gregory Peck movies: Memorable miscasting in David O. Selznick’s Western Gregory Peck is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" star today, August 15, 2013. TCM is currently showing Raoul Walsh’s good-looking but not too exciting Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951), with Peck in the title role and Virginia Mayo as his leading lady. (See “Gregory Peck in ‘Duel in the Sun’: TCM movie schedule.”) (Photo: Gregory Peck ca. 1950.) Next in line is Zoltan Korda’s crime melodrama The Macomber Affair (1947), based on a story by Ernest Hemingway about a troubled married couple and their safari guide. This is another good-looking film — black-and-white cinematography by veteran Karl Struss, whose credits ranged from the 1920 Gloria Swanson melo Something to Think About to Charles Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. Unfortunately, the psychology, the romance, and some of the acting found in The Macomber Affair is — at best — superficial. Joan Bennett and Gregory Peck look great, »
- Andre Soares
Origin stories, even non-fiction ones, often make good movies, showing us "How the West was Won" or how demonic possession entered pop culture, pre-"Exorcist" and Amityville ("The Conjuring").
"Drift" is about the birth of the Australian surfing scene and the industry it spawned. It's a fictional goulash of invented characters, arch situations and a predictable journey from enthusiastic hobby to business, with a detour into the drug trade in between.
But it's a lovely thing to look at and an entertaining ride through myth, a well-shot and acted film that stays just ahead of the curl and rarely wipes out.
A prologue introduces us to the Kelly brothers as their mom (Robyn Malcolm) sneaks them out of their abusive Sydney household and sets out for a new life without their brute of a father. The boys convince her to stop in remote Seacliff, in Western Australia. That's where they can surf, »
If Cleopatra signalled the demise of Hollywood epics, Heaven's Gate ended the reign of the all-powerful director. Should these films' reputations be rescued? And has the film industry lost its kamikaze tendency?
Sexual intercourse must have been invented earlier in New York than in Yorkshire because all that Robert Benton could think about in 1963 was movies. One movie in particular. But it was not Hollywood's current grandest offering, Cleopatra, which Joseph L Mankiewicz directed for 20th Century Fox, with Elizabeth Taylor in the leading role. Benton was thinking about another love story – another portrayal of a woman loved by two very different men. The director was François Truffaut. The star was Jeanne Moreau. Benton saw Jules et Jim 12 times after it was released in the Us, and his obsession was crucial to what happened next.
"You cannot see a movie that often without beginning to notice certain things about structure and form and character, »
- Leo Robson
The History of Aspect Ratio
In this 18-minute educational video by FilmmakerIQ, John Hess details the history of the cinematic aspect ratio, from 4:3 to 16:9, 1.85:1 to 2.39:1.
Here is a timeline of each aspect ratio as well as some notable films that utilized them.
Original Silent Film (1892) - 1.33:1
- All sound films from 1932 to 1955 were shot in Academy ratio Cinerama (1952) - 2.59:1
- The Robe, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Seven Year Itch VistaVision (1954) - 1.85:1
- Oklahoma!, Cleopatra, The Sound of Music MGM Camera 65 (1957) - 2.76:1
- Raintree County, Ben-Hur Ultra Panavision 70 (1957) - 2.76:1
- How the West Was Won, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, »
In 1982, Rex Allen, Jr. released a single entitled “Last of the Silver Screen Cowboys,” in which he bemoaned the way Western heroes in the movies had become “a fast dyin’ breed,” and how the days of folks like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and their ilk, when “we knew good would win in the end,” were being rapidly supplanted by the sort of shady fella who you couldn’t necessarily count on to be “standin’ tall for what he believes is right.” Thing is, that breed of cowboy had actually begun its slow death almost 20 years earlier, and it started, ironically enough, not long after the release of one of the most epic Westerns of all time. 1962’s How the West was Won is the sort of film you just don’t see any more, a sprawling saga which tells a 50-year tale of four generations of a family over the course of 162 minutes and five segments: “The »
- Will Harris
Cinelinx knows as long as we've got each other, and the Growing Pains Season 3 DVD set, we've got the world spinning right in our hands.
This Warner Archive release is a Manufacture-On-Demand (Mod) DVD. It is made to be played in "play only" DVD devices, and may not play in some DVD recorders or PC drives. This disc, however, played fine in the Toshiba DVD recorder used for this review. This title is available directly from WBShop.com by clicking here.
The Seaver family faces the trials and tribulations of suburban life in the 1980s. This DVD set includes all 26 episodes of season three (1987-1988). Included are the following episodes: "Aloha (Parts 1 and 2)," "Taking Care of Business," "Not Necessarily the News," "Michaelgate," "Big Brother is not Watching," "A Star Is Born," "Gone but Not Forgotten," "Who's Zoomin' Who?" "This Is Your Life," "Broadway Bound," "The Scarlet Letter," "A Reason to Live, »
- email@example.com (Victor Medina)
We think that most of us can agree that moms are the best and they do a lot for us! Now it’s time to return the favor and celebrate this Mother’s Day by giving mom the movie night she deserves! Watching a classic flick together is the perfect opportunity to catch up and share stories with your family.
Thanks to Warner Bros., Sound On Sight is giving away the Best of WB 100 Film Collection valued at $597.92. This includes all 22 of Warner Bros. Library’s Best Picture™ winners on 55 discs presented in book style premium packaging. Plus two all-new documentaries: Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot and The Warner Bros. Lot Tour. The set is piled with hours of commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more on select films. It also includes a limited edition 27” x 40” poster, plus a postcard series of Warner Bros. movie posters designed by legendary Bill Gold. »
Today, it seems audiences know "Bye Bye Birdie" only from the prominent mention of it on "Mad Men," when the Sterling Cooper agency tried to copy Ann-Margret's minimalist opening number for a diet soda commercial. But when the movie musical premiered 50 years ago (on April 4, 1963), it was a huge smash. It made an instant star out of the Swedish-born actress, as well as boosting the fame of co-stars Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde. Based on the Broadway hit musical, "Bye Bye Birdie" was seen as a trenchant pop cultural satire at the time. Everyone knows that Conrad Birdie, the hip-swiveling rocker who is drafted into the Army, and who stages a publicity stunt on the Ed Sullivan show by agreeing to kiss a teen fan before reporting for duty, is inspired by Elvis Presley, who had to put his career on hold in 1958 when he was drafted. But »
- Gary Susman
When they say, "They don't make 'em like that anymore," this is what they're talking about. "How the West Was Won," released in America 50 years ago this week (on February 20, 1963) was probably the most ambitious western ever made, an epic saga spanning four generations, 50 years, two-and-a-half hours, five vignettes, three directors (well, actually four), the widest possible screen, and an enormous cast of A-listers, including James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, and Spencer Tracy. It's hard to imagine any movie, let alone a western, being made on such a grand scale today, when it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Naturally, in a production that massive, there was a lot of chaos behind the scenes. Even fans of the movie may not be aware of the off-camera feud between Peck and his director, the technical challenges imposed by the untried widescreen format, »
- Gary Susman
“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, film critic Jason Whyte highlights one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Seattle Cinerama Location: 2100 4th Avenue, Seattle, Wa Opened: January 24, 1963, as the Martin Cinerama. Re-opened in 1999 following a decades-long decline and near-demolition. No. of screens: 1 (technically 2 screens but they alternate for one auditorium) Current first-run titles: A Good Day to Die Hard Repertory programming: On February 28, the Cinerama will present a 35mm print of the 1966 Batman: The Movie with a special exhibit of Adam West’s costume. In the past, the theater has been home to Cinerama festivals, showing such classics of the format as This is Cinerama and »
- Christopher Campbell
The Western was a movie staple for decades. It seemed the genre that would never die, feeding the fantasies of one generation after another of young boys who galloped around their backyards, playgrounds, and brick streets on broomsticks, banging away with their Mattel cap pistols. Something about a man on a horse set against the boundless wastes of Monument Valley, the crackle of saddle leather, two men facing off in a dusty street under the noon sun connected with the free spirit in every kid.
The American movie – a celluloid telling that was more than a skit – was born in a Western: Edwin S. Porter’s 11- minute The Great Train Robbery (1903). Thereafter, Westerns grew longer, they grew more complex. The West – hostile, endless, civilization barely maintaining a toehold against the elements, hostile natives, and robber barons – proved an infinitely plastic setting. In a place with no law, and where »
- Bill Mesce
19 items from 2013
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