The Fall of the Roman Empire
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6 items from 2012


Railroaded!

29 December 2012 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

(Anthony Mann, 1947, Blue Dolphin, PG)

Anthony Mann (1906-67) is best known for 11 major Hollywood westerns made in the 1950s and two European epics (El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire) in the 60s. But in the 40s he directed a succession of noir movies, the second being Railroaded, made by B-feature specialists Prc (Producers Releasing Corporation), whose shooting schedules were rarely more than a week. Shot in high-contrast black and white, the film begins with an economically staged heist at an illegal gambling joint that goes wrong when a cop is killed and an innocent man is framed for the murder. The handsome hero's a dull guy. More interestingly, the killer (John Ireland) is a brutal fetishist who rubs perfume on his bullets, strokes his gun and abuses his drunken moll. Hardboiled screenwriter John C Higgins wrote five noir movies for Mann.

This is the first film in a new series, »

- Philip French

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Frozen in time: Sophia Loren, June 1964

15 September 2012 4:10 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Outrageous beauty, a million dollar movie deal and a dream home outside Rome: it's hard being Sophia Loren

Many actresses have loved, before friends and certainly for the still camera, to play the "homebody": to show they can combine red-carpet smiles with a down-to-earth way in the kitchen garden; whistle up a rustic lunchtime banquet for 30 and serve it without fussings or frissons or primping about drips. Yet none with such verisimilitude as Sophia Loren; waiting tables, juggling seven hands and six different smiles, had been living through some very difficult teenage years.

Even here in 1964, living in her and producer Carlo Ponti's 50-room mansion near Rome's Lake Albano, complete with acres of poplars and sheep, and stuffed inside with medieval hangings and masters both old and modern, and having just made headlines for her $1m advance for The Fall of the Roman Empire, there's an earthy authenticity. »

- Euan Ferguson

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Tiomkin: The Greatest Film Scores – review

9 August 2012 3:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Playfoot/London Voices/Lso/Kaufman

(Lso Live)

Among the greatest Hollywood composers, Dimitri Tiomkin once made an Oscar acceptance speech in which he thanked Brahms, Strauss, Beethoven and Rimsky-Korsakov for teaching him his craft. He was much derided at the time, though in fact his classical pedigree was impeccable. Born in the Ukraine, he studied composition with Glazunov in St Petersburg and established himself as a pianist, specialising in Scriabin, before the Us beckoned. His music remained rooted in Russian late Romanticism. Borodin is never far away from his score for The Alamo, while the famous title theme for the TV series Rawhide gravitates, more than once, towards Glazunov. Elsewhere, Rimsky collides with Wagner in The Fall of the Roman Empire, while clotted, Scriabinesque harmonies accompany Ray Milland's terrorisation of Grace Kelly in Dial M for Murder. This fine selection was recorded at the Barbican last year, and is »

- Tim Ashley

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Hail Caesar! What's Good & Bad About the New Sword & Sandal Movies

4 April 2012 7:02 AM, PDT | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

I come to praise Sword & Sandal movies -- not to bury them. But with Wrath of the Titans and the Sword & Sandal/sci-fi mash-up John Carter not exactly setting the world on fire -- along with recent disappointments like Immortals and Conan -- it's getting more difficult by the day to believe that the Sword & Sandal movie can survive the recent fumbling of this otherwise great genre. And that's a shame, because the Sword & Sandal movie -- known for its gladiatorial games, pagan orgies, depraved emperors, and the occasional snarling cyclops -- may represent the most colorful and enduring movie genre of all time. So for the uninitiated, what exactly is a Sword & Sandal movie? Like its cousin the Biblical epic, a Sword & Sandal movie -- or 'peplum,' named after a type of ancient Greek garment -- is typically set in the ancient Mediterranean world, and dramatizes the fight for freedom. »

- Jason Apuzzo

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Omar Sharif Jr: Gay, Half-Jewish, Egyptian Political Woes

19 March 2012 7:17 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Omar Sharif Jr., grandson of the Doctor Zhivago star, is currently in the news because he has come out as a gay man who happens to be half-Jewish (on his mother's side) in an essay found in The Advocate — one accompanied by a photograph showing a hairy, buffed-up, bare-chested man (Sharif Jr.?) holding the Egyptian flag. In the essay, the 29-year-old Montreal-born actor explains he wrote the piece out of "fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself." As per Sharif Jr., the problem is that in Egypt "the full spectrum of equal and human rights are now wedge issues used by both the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Islamist parties, when they should be regarded as universal truths." Further down in his piece, he adds: And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay. »

- Andre Soares

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Christopher Plummer Photo: SAG Awards 2012

2 February 2012 2:30 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Christopher Plummer Christopher Plummer — SAG Award winner for Male Actor in a Supporting Role — poses in the press room during the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The SAG Awards ceremony was broadcast on TNT/TBS from the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage.) After expressing his pride in being a member of the world's "second oldest profession," Christopher Plummer went on to say that actors may be "wacky" and the like, but winning an award from them is like to be "lit by the Holy Grail." Plummer also thanked his Beginners co-star Ewan McGregor, who "makes acting look so easy," and the film's writer-director Mike Mills for creating "such a human story." Inspired by Mills' relationship with his own father, Beginners is the tale of a son (McGregor) who learns that his elderly father (Plummer) is gay. Plummer's competition consisted of Kenneth Branagh »

- D. Zhea

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2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

6 items from 2012


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