Maurice Tourneur - News Poster


Gaumont, Eclair to restore 100 feature films

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Gaumont, Eclair to restore 100 feature films
Robert Bresson’s Lancelot Du Lac [pictured] included in deal.

French mini-major Gaumont and Eclair, the European cinema technologies specialists and part of Ymagis group, are joining forces to restore more than 100 feature films.

The films will be selected from Gaumont’s catalogue. The deal is an extension of a pre-existing partnership that has already seen Eclair restore a number of the company’s film library using digital technology.

In 2016, Eclair restored 25 Gaumont features, including Louis Malle’s My Dinner With André (1981), Maurice Tourneur’s Samson (1936) and André Barsacq’s Le Rideau Rouge (1952).

Titles selected for 2017 include Julien Duvivier’s Untel Père Et Fils (1945) and L’homme Du Jour (1937) Jacques Doillon’s La Femme Qui Pleure (1979) and Robert Bresson’s Lancelot Du Lac (1974).

Since Eclair launched its restoration division in 2000, more than 750 films have been restored by the company.

Yves Gringuillard heads up the restoration and preservation side of the business, which has a staff
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Locarno Festival to Be Dedicated to Director Jacques Tourneur

Locarno Festival to Be Dedicated to Director Jacques Tourneur
This years Locarno Film Festival will be dedicated to French filmmaker Jacques Tourneur (1904-1977), featuring a complete retrospective of this work.

Tourneur was the son of director Maurice Tourneur, a pioneer of French cinema. The family moved to the U.S. before the outbreak of World War I.

After the war, the younger Tourneur returned to France to launch his film career, but after four films went back to the States. After working on the second unit of David O. Selznick’s A Tale of Two Cities, he partnered with producer Val Lewton at Rko, collaborating on milestone films including Cat People (1942), The...
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Nyff Sets World Premiere of Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

The already-incredible line-up for the 2016 New York Film Festival just got even more promising. Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk will hold its world premiere at the festival on October 14th, the NY Times confirmed today. The adaptation of Ben Fountain‘s Iraq War novel, with a script by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), follows a teenage soldier who survives a battle in Iraq and then is brought home for a victory lap before returning.

Lee has shot the film at 120 frames per second in 4K and native 3D, giving it unprecedented clarity for a feature film, which also means the screening will be held in a relatively small 300-seat theater at AMC Lincoln Square, one of the few with the technology to present it that way. While it’s expected that this Lincoln Square theater will play the film when it arrives in theaters, it may be
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Rare Black History Sample, Chinese Spider-Women, Capra Silent by Accident: Sfsff 2015 Highlights

African-American film 'Bert Williams: Lime Kiln Club Field Day.' With Williams and Odessa Warren Grey.* Rare, early 20th-century African-American film among San Francisco Silent Film Festival highlights Directed by Edwin Middleton and T. Hayes Hunter, the Biograph Company's Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913) was the film I most looked forward to at the 2015 edition of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. One hundred years old, unfinished, and destined to be scrapped and tossed into the dust bin, it rose from the ashes. Starring entertainer Bert Williams – whose film appearances have virtually disappeared, but whose legacy lives on – Lime Kiln Club Field Day has become a rare example of African-American life in the first years of the 20th century. In the introduction to the film, the audience was treated to a treasure trove of Black memorabilia: sheet music, stills, promotional material, and newspaper clippings that survive. Details of the
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Remembering Cat People Star Simon on 10th Anniversary of Her Death (Fully Revised/Updated Part I)

Simone Simon: Remembering the 'Cat People' and 'La Bête Humaine' star (photo: Simone Simon 'Cat People' publicity) Pert, pretty, pouty, and fiery-tempered Simone Simon – who died at age 94 ten years ago, on Feb. 22, 2005 – is best known for her starring role in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie classic Cat People (1942). Those aware of the existence of film industries outside Hollywood will also remember Simon for her button-nosed femme fatale in Jean Renoir's French film noir La Bête Humaine (1938).[1] In fact, long before Brigitte Bardot, Annette Stroyberg, Mamie Van Doren, Tuesday Weld, Ann-Margret, and Barbarella's Jane Fonda became known as cinema's Sex Kittens, Simone Simon exuded feline charm – with a tad of puppy dog wistfulness – in a film career that spanned two continents and a quarter of a century. From the early '30s to the mid-'50s, she seduced men young and old on both
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Remembering Actress Simon Part 2 - Deadly Sex Kitten Romanced Real-Life James Bond 'Inspiration'

Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine' 1938: Jean Renoir's film noir (photo: Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine') (See previous post: "'Cat People' 1942 Actress Simone Simon Remembered.") In the late 1930s, with her Hollywood career stalled while facing competition at 20th Century-Fox from another French import, Annabella (later Tyrone Power's wife), Simone Simon returned to France. Once there, she reestablished herself as an actress to be reckoned with in Jean Renoir's La Bête Humaine. An updated version of Émile Zola's 1890 novel, La Bête Humaine is enveloped in a dark, brooding atmosphere not uncommon in pre-World War II French films. Known for their "poetic realism," examples from that era include Renoir's own The Lower Depths (1936), Julien Duvivier's La Belle Équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937), and particularly Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939).[11] This thematic and
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Notebook's 7th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2014

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How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?

Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.

All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch
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The Forgotten: Mr. Monster

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Lon Chaney didn't speak during early childhood, as his parents were deaf and mute, and he communicated with them via sign language. When silent movies came along, he was a natural. And at the end of his life, stricken with throat cancer, he lost his voice and again relied on pantomime to make himself understood. He came from silence and went back to silence.

Chaney was a unique kind of movie star, in that his success rested more on variety than reliability: if his audiences had any expectations going into a Chaney film, surely they must have been expectations of surprise, perhaps of an encounter with the unfamiliar and bizarre.

Outside the Law (1920) was Chaney's second film for director Tod Browning, whose concerns seemed to merge with his own in a particularly conducive way: separately and apart, both men pursued stories of humiliation, disfigurement, and revenge, featuring bizarre, displaced menageries and elaborate and uncomfortable disguises.
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From Mexican to German: Watch Beery Deliver Various Phony Accents

Wallace Beery from Pancho Villa to Long John Silver: TCM schedule (Pt) on August 17, 2013 (photo: Fay Wray, Wallace Beery as Pancho Villa in ‘Viva Villa!’) See previous post: “Wallace Beery: Best Actor Oscar Winner — and Runner-Up.” 3:00 Am The Last Of The Mohicans (1920). Director: Maurice Tourneur. Cast: Barbara Bedford, Albert Roscoe, Wallace Beery, Lillian Hall, Henry Woodward, James Gordon, George Hackathorne, Nelson McDowell, Harry Lorraine, Theodore Lorch, Jack McDonald, Sydney Deane, Boris Karloff. Bw-76 mins. 4:30 Am The Big House (1930). Director: George W. Hill. Cast: Chester Morris, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Robert Montgomery, Leila Hyams, George F. Marion, J.C. Nugent, DeWitt Jennings, Matthew Betz, Claire McDowell, Robert Emmett O’Connor, Tom Wilson, Eddie Foyer, Roscoe Ates, Fletcher Norton, Noah Beery Jr, Chris-Pin Martin, Eddie Lambert, Harry Wilson. Bw-87 mins. 6:00 Am Bad Man Of Brimstone (1937). Director: J. Walter Ruben. Cast: Wallace Beery, Virginia Bruce, Dennis O’Keefe. Bw-89 mins.
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Beery Is Loving Father of Future Superman Newspaper Editor in Oscar-Winning Blockbuster

Wallace Beery: Best Actor Academy Award winner and Best Actor Academy Award runner-up in the same year (photo: Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery in ‘The Champ’) (See previous post: “Wallace Beery Movies: Anomalous Hollywood Star.”) In the Academy’s 1931-32 season, Wallace Beery took home the Best Actor Academy Award — I mean, one of them. In the King Vidor-directed melodrama The Champ (1931), Beery plays a down-on-his-luck boxer and caring Dad to tearduct-challenged Jackie Cooper, while veteran Irene Rich is Beery’s cool former wife and Cooper’s mother. Will daddy and son remain together forever and ever? Audiences the world over were drowned in tears — theirs and Jackie Cooper’s. Now, regarding Wallace Beery’s Best Actor Academy Award, he was actually a runner-up: Fredric March, initially announced as the sole winner for his performance in Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, turned out to have
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Movie Poster of the Week: “The Virtue King” and the Posters of Gustav Mezey

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Above: Gustav Mezey three-sheet poster for Le Rosier de Madame Husson (Bernard Deschamps, France, 1932).

This stunning Austrian deco poster, which I came across on a Berlin antiquarian site, stands a magnificent 9 foot tall (110" x 49" to be precise) and comes in three sections. The poster is for a 1932 French film, whose German title, Der Tugendkönig, translates as “The Virtue King.” In the Us the film was titled He (or He - the Virgin Man), but the original title is Le Rosier de Madame Husson. Based on an 1887 Maupassant novella of the same name, the story concerns the titular Mme. Husson who seeks to promote chastity in her village by crowning a rosière, or a Rose Queen: a girl of unimpeachable virtue. But when none of the young women in town are equal to the title she selects the village idiot (played in the film by Fernandel) as her rosier.

Above: Roger
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The Best Movies of Everybody's (Second) Favorite Year: From Caligari to Pollyanna

In Robert Wiene’s 1920 dreamlike horror classic, veteran German actor Werner Krauss plays the mysterious Dr. Caligari, the apparent force behind a creepy somnambulist named Cesare and played by Conrad Veidt, who abducts beautiful Lil Dagover. The finale in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has inspired tons of movies and television shows, from Fritz Lang's 1944 film noir The Woman in the Window to the last episode of the TV series St. Elsewhere. In addition, the film shares some key elements in common (suppposedly as a result of a mere coincidence) with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio's 2011 thriller Shutter Island. The 1920 crime melodrama Outside the Law is not in any way related to Rachid Bouchareb's 2010 political drama. Instead, the Tod Browning-directed movie is a well-made entry in the gangster genre (long before the explosion a decade later). Browning, best known for his early '30s efforts Dracula and Freaks,
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Top Movies of the Teens

Everybody's favorite movie decade: Which ones are the best movies released in the 20th century's second decade? Best Film (Pictured above) Broken Blossoms: Barthelmess and Gish star as ill-fated lovers in D.W. Griffith’s romantic melodrama featuring interethnic love. Check These Out (Pictured below) Cabiria: is considered one of the major landmarks in motion picture history, having inspired the scope and visual grandeur of D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance. Also of note, Pastrone's epic of ancient Rome introduced Maciste, a bulky hero who would be featured in countless movies in the ensuing decades. Best Actor (Pictured below) In the tragic The Italian, George Beban plays an Italian immigrant recently arrived in the United States (Click below for film review). Unfortunately, his American dream quickly becomes a horrendous nightmare of poverty and despair. Best Actress (Pictured below) The movies' super-vamp Theda Bara in A Fool There Was: A little
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The National Film Registry Adds The Matrix, A Christmas Story, Dirty Harry and More

The National Film Registry has added 25 more films that will be preserved in the Library of Congress. To be included in the registry the film needs to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” They have to be at least ten years old and are chosen from a list of films nominated by the public.

There's some great films that have been added this year. We've got the original 3:10 to Yuma, The Matrix, A Christmas Story, A League of Their Own, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Dirty Harry, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and several more.

Check out the full list of films that were added this year below, and you can head over to the Registry website to nominate films that you think should be added in 2013!

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Considered to be one of the best westerns of the 1950s, “3:10 to Yuma” has gained in stature since its original release as
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The Forgotten: Mysterioso

Louis Feuillade's great serials of the nineteen-teens (Fantomas, Les Vampires etc) inspired numerous imitations, sequels and parodies: they still lurk behind the makeshift digital scenery of the modern action film, making threatening shadows and cackling mutely.

I've long been fascinated by the followers of Fantomas—and how I long to see Zigomar (a.k.a. Zigomar the Eelskin, 1911), directed by somebody rejoicing in the name of Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset, which actually predates the screen adaptation of Allain & Souvestre's master-criminal. The slippery Zigomar even manages a spectacular escape from the electric chair itself, reverse-rappeling into the ceiling at the crucial moment.

Above: "It's a severed hand, isn't it?"

What I have managed to see is La secta de los mysteriosos (The Mysterious Sect, 1914), or those parts of it which survive. Spain's answer to Feuillade, Alberto Marro, serves up an elaborate adventure in Barcelona, with a trio of black-masked desperadoes, known as
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The Forgotten: Mean Streets

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Concluding our short series celebrating the films of the Pathé-Natan company, 1926-1934.

Above: Maurice Tourneur invents the film noir style while nobody's looking in Justin de Marseille. 

Bernard Natan, CEO of Pathé, was as conservative in his tastes as any studio boss, but he can be considered a brilliant talent scout on the basis of a few risks he took: casting Jean Gabin in his first feature (Chacun sa chance, 1931, an operetta-film), giving Jacques Tourneur his first directing job (Tout ça ne vaut pas l'amour, 1932, a comedy), and allowing Pierre and Jacques Prevert to make their first film (L'affaire est dans le Sac, 1932) on leftover sets, although admittedly he was so baffled by the resulting film he refused to release it.

But Natan often preferred to work with tried and true filmmakers with the added insurance of long track records. Leonce Perret, who made his directing debut in 1909, was
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The Forgotten: Transparent Lovers

According to a title card at the end of Laissez-Passer, Bertrand Tavernier's fact-based drama of the French film industry in wartime, Maurice Tourneur hated the scripts of the few movies he made post-wwii. So there's that.

But his last film, Impasse des Deux Anges (1948), fascinates. If the script has a flaw, it's that it takes a very simple, predictable story (actress runs away from groom the night before her marriage, with an old lover who's also a jewel thief—pursued through the night by gangsters, they conclude their relationship so she can move on) and attempts to reinvigorate it at regular intervals with dizzying tonal shifts, implausible new characters and sub-plots, and ghostly, somnambular flashbacks. But the flaw is also a strength, since it makes the film jazzy, offbeat and strange.

As the "two angels" (though the title really refers to a dead-end street where they made love in
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Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille: The Birth of Hollywood on TCM

Mary Pickford in Maurice Tourneur's The Poor Little Rich Girl (top); Dustin Farnum in Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man (bottom) The Birth of Hollywood, part II of the seven-part documentary Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood, will be shown again tonight on Turner Classic Movies. In addition to the documentary narrated by Christopher Plummer, TCM will present several early silent films, including several seminal early Hollywood productions. Those include The Squaw Man (1914), Cecil B. DeMille's early Western that is "officially" the first movie made in Hollywood; the popular Mary Pickford vehicle The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), directed by Maurice Tourneur (father of Cat People's Jacques Tourneur); and the Fred Niblo-directed Douglas Fairbanks costumer The Mark of Zorro (1920), which marked Fairbanks' departure from his usual modern all-American roles and his arrival in the world of period adventures and swordfighting. Also of interest is Reginald Barker
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Directors We Love: Jacques Tourneur

Directors We Love: Jacques Tourneur
In the grand scheme of father and son/daughter directors, Jacques Tourneur is the one clear case of offspring surpassing his parent. It may not have seemed so at the time, since father Maurice Tourneur had been in charge of big movies like The Last of the Mohicans (1920), while Jacques was "merely" the director of "B" horrors like Cat People (1942). But now it's fairly obvious that Jacques was much more than his "B" movie budgets. Of the major second-stringers, he was the only one who never seemed to be scrounging, digging to discover art within trash. Rather, he elevated his films to some kind of new level of ethereal, mysterious, shadowy beauty.

One of his many hard-to-find movies, Nightfall (1957), gets a released on DVD this week as part of Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II. It has a particularly wretched little plot, from a David Goodis story: Aldo Ray stars
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The Forgotten: The Phantom of Puberty

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So, Luis Buñuel had a couples of sons, one of whom, Juan Luis Buñuel, worked as his assistant director from 1960, before going on to a directing career of his own. So, is he Jacques to his father's Maurice Tourneur, a worthy successor, or is he another Kinji Fukasaku II?

On the strength of Au rendez-vous de la mort joyeuse (At the Meeting with Joyous Death), sometimes known, fatuously, as Expulsion of the Devil, there's a talent worthy of further exploration. This 1973 drama behaves like a stereotypical restrained arthouse drama, but charts a story beginning in territory familiar to anybody who has read accounts of poltergeist activity, before heading for more uncharted terrain.

Don Luis Buñuel would probably never have troubled himself with as straightforward a set-up, and indeed his unique sensibility might have rendered him simply incapable of attacking any story as simply as his son does. But the idea of a no-frills,
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