3 items from 2015
Despite transparent light and searing heat, all seems frozen. Something clings to the landscape. Amidst Joshua trees and sagebrush, an ineffable presence surrounding even the stinkbugs. This is where George Stevens—who once said that Utah’s western desert ranges “look more like the Holy Land than the Holy Land”—filmed The Greatest Story Ever Told. Soon thereafter, a younger man breathing that same numinous air made a very different kind of movie. In fact, Monte Hellman made two: The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind, displaced and gritty, eternally unblessed, a diptych belonging to the Western, yet standing at a slight angle to it in the same breath. Monte Hellman entertains a few questions on this perennial state of unblessedness, and the peculiar tone of what are, in my opinion, misnomered movies—his “Existential Westerns.” And here, I’m after the concrete processes that actually drive Hellman’s characters, »
- Daniel Riccuito
Robert Drasnin, composer of “The Kremlin Letter” and many classic TV shows including “Twilight Zone,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Mission: Impossible,” died Wednesday, May 13, at Providence Tarzana Medical Center. He was 87. Death was due to complications from a recent fall.
Drasnin, whose credits also include scores for “The Wild Wild West,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” “Lost in Space,” “Police Story” and “Hawaii Five-0,” served as director of music for CBS Television from 1977 to 1991.
He was born Nov. 17, 1927, in Charleston, W.Va., but lived in Southern California from 1938. He majored in music at UCLA, receiving his B.A. in 1949, and was soon on the road playing saxophone, clarinet and flute for bandleaders Skinnay Ennis and Les Brown.
After Army service during the Korean War, he returned to UCLA as a graduate student and became associate conductor of the UCLA Symphony. During the 1950s he also played with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra »
- Jon Burlingame
Let's hope Jack Nicholson has a pleasant birthday on Wednesday, or at least a less disturbing one than the birthday when pal Hunter S. Thompson showed up outside his house, turned on a spotlight, blasted a recording of a pig being eaten alive by bears, fired several rounds from his 9mm pistol, and (when the terrified actor and his kids refused to open the door) left an elk's heart on the doorstep.
Nicholson turns 78 on April 22, and even though he hasn't been in a movie for five years, he still looms large in our collective imaginations. Younger viewers know him from his flamboyant performances in "The Departed," "The Bucket List," "Something's Gotta Give," and "Anger Management," but his older films remain ubiquitous on TV as well, including "As Good as It Gets," "A Few Good Men," "Batman," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Terms of Endearment," "The Shining," and "Chinatown." A late bloomer, »
- Gary Susman
3 items from 2015
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