8 items from 2010
One of the titans of modern cinema has passed away. Dino De Laurentiis, a name synonymous with the definition of movie producer, passed away today at the age of 91 in his Beverly Hills home. The son of pasta-making parents that lived in Italy, De Laurentiis was born in 1919. By the age of 20 he was involved with the cinema craft in his home country.
In the early phase of his producing De Laurentiis was noted for making high quality art house pictures like Federico Fellini's La Strada, for which Dino won his first Oscar for. During the 1950s and 60s, there would be single years where six De Laurentiis pictures were released in Italy. His high volume style of movie-making earned him a reputation of can-do man, someone that had found a knack to make movies that were seemingly effortless to make, at least from a producer's vantage point.
- Patrick Sauriol
When I was a kid, I devoured the kitschy fun of producer Dino De Laurentiis' films such as the 1976 "King Kong" remake. His name got branded in my feeble mind. When you see his "Dino De Laurentiis Presents" before a trailer, you know that film would be fun!
So the death of the Oscar-winning Italian film producer saddened me. The Italian media was reporting that Laurentiis, who gave the world nearly 500 films including "La Strada," "Serpico," and "Three Days of the Condor" died in Los Angeles. He was 91.
Here's a lengthy but absolutely wonderful snap shot of Laurentiis' life written by John Gallagher from film reference:
One of the most colorful, prolific, and successful producers in the contemporary motion picture business, Dino De Laurentiis has proven his entrepreneurial skills time and again, growing from an independent Italian producer into an international conglomerate. His product, from low-budget neorealist works to multimillion dollar spectacles, »
Italian movie tycoon whose list of credits featured as many disasters as hits
The Italian-born film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who has died aged 91, will perhaps go down in movie history as the last "transatlantic" tycoon. Over a career spanning more than 60 years, producing films on both sides of the ocean, he had as many flops as hits. But De Laurentiis almost always succeeded in staying afloat.
In Rome, he produced Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning La Strada (1954) and the grandiose spectacular War and Peace (1956), but also made The Bible: In the Beginning (1966) and Waterloo (1970), which never recovered their costs. Relocating to the Us, he enjoyed success with Serpico (1973), Death Wish (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975) and Conan the Barbarian (1982), but had financial disasters including Year of the Dragon (1985) and a failed food emporium, which he opened in New York. De Laurentiis was also a starmaker, both in Italy, where »
- John Francis Lane
Producing more than 500 movies over almost 60 years, Dino De Laurentiis became famous for his grand, sweeping epics such as The Bible: In The Beginning, Battle Of The Bulge and the 1976 remake of King Kong.
Nevertheless, De Laurentiis’ most interesting and fondly remembered films were smaller in scale. 1973’s Serpico, directed by Sidney Lumet, boasted a remarkable performance from Al Pacino, while 1983’s The Dead Zone paired director David Cronenberg with Christopher Walken in unforgettable style.
Inevitably for such a prolific producer, not everything De Laurentiis’ fingers touched turned to gold – Flash Gordon, Dune and Maximum Overdrive (writer Stephen King’s first and only directorial credit) all underperformed at the box office – films such as Death Wish, King Kong and, most recently, Hannibal, were huge commercial successes.
De Laurentiis also produced such cult classics as Barbarella, »
Roman Polanski, 1974
The near perfection of Roman Polanski's Chinatown starts with Diener/Hauser/Bates's haunting art nouveau poster for the film: an emblematic Hokusai wave breaks against Jack Nicholson's silhouette as the smoke from his cigarette floats up to merge with Faye Dunaway's medusa-like hair. The movie ends equally unforgettably with the line "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown!", as lapidary a pay-off as Scarlett O'Hara's "After all, tomorrow is another day."
Behind the angst-ridden film noirs of the 40s and 50s lie the social and political tensions of the second world war and the postwar decade. Similarly, Chinatown was conceived, written, produced and released in the troubled period that included the last years of the Vietnam war, Watergate and Nixon's fraught second term in the White House. But it retained its freshness, vitality and timelessness by being set so immaculately in an earlier period – Los Angeles in the long, »
- Philip French
There are films that test a movie critic, and I imagine that Eat Pray Love is going to become a solid example of such a film.
Back in 1966, a little movie directed by John Huston came out called, The Bible: In the Beginning…. Huston also starred in the film, along with George C. Scott, Richard Harris, Ava Gardner, Peter O’Toole, and several others. You may know it. Upon it’s release, not one critic was heard to say, “That movie was awful. I don’t believe any of that crap happened.”
While the story, whether original or based on a previous work, is certainly fair game in the world of film criticism, the thing has gone wrong when you get to the point that what you are actually doing is reviewing the book, and not the film. It’s difficult, usually, to know just how far is too far, »
- Marc Eastman
The project, called In the Beginning, will be based on the Bible's Book of Genesis which describes God's creation of the world over six days and goes on to tell of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. It's unclear how much of Genesis will be included in the film.
It would be the first big-screen depiction of the creation story since 1966's The Bible: In the Beginning.
That film was directed by John Huston who also played Noah and the voice of God. It depicted the first 22 chapters of the Book of Genesis.
Cecil B. DeMille made Moses' story, »
- David Bentley
Part of a film dynasty, he's unforgettable on screen, but has never had an acting lesson. Is it all in the genes for John's late-flowering son, asks John Patterson
If you don't already know whose son Danny Huston is, the fastest way to figure it out is to close your eyes and listen to him speak. The words waft towards you on a breathy cloud, lent colour and character by a detectable lifelong smoking habit (no emphysema like the Old Man had, though, not yet). In a faded American accent that sounds as if it's been acquired or borrowed or even half-forgotten in exile. All inflected with an Irishman's love of words-as-song and a bullshitter's devotion to the art of speech. Every so often a story – and they're all well-told, like dad's were – will resolve itself into a generous, wheezy burst of laughter that's like an invitation to intimacy and friendship. »
- John Patterson
8 items from 2010
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