In a breakthrough moment in the entertainment industry, a female director has won the coveted Directors Guild of America award. Kathryn Bigelow was honored for her work on the Iraq War film The Hurt Locker. The award makes her a favorite to win the Best Director Oscar, which- in -turn- generally means her film will win Best Picture. There have only been six occasions since 1948 when the DGA winner didn't get the Oscar for directing. Adding drama to the decision was the fact that Bigelow was competing against ex-husband James Cameron, whose Avatar is now the top-grossing film of all time. Cameron is also considered to be a shoo-in for a Best Director Oscar nomination. For more click here
There are indications that James Cameron's next film project may be based on survivor's accounts of the destruction of Hiroshima in WWII. Cameron recently met with the only verified survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts (talk about bad luck!) prior to the man passing away last week at age 93. For more click here
Although James Cameron's Avatar might bring up to $1 billion in pre-tax profits to Fox, the New York Times reports that major studios are not rushing to jump on the bandwagon to emulate the film's technical aspects. The reason is the risk of making such a huge investment. Fox gambled a staggering $400 million+ on the project and if Cameron had come up with a clunker, the studio would have faced some serious problems in terms of finances and credibility. The realization that the second film to take such a plunge would not have nearly the clout of Avatar is making Hollywood cautious. (The Times points out that no one remembers Tenderloin, the film marketed as the second movie to feature full sound following the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927). There are rumors that the next Star Trek film might employ some of the 3-D technologies, but Paramount isn't talking. For more click here
I absolutely love the Where Eagles Dare Special Tribute Issue. It is
the best behind the scenes history of a film magazine that I have ever
seen. I hope that this will be the first of many special film tribute
issues that you will release in the future. May I suggest that the
following films would make for very interesting special tribute issues
in the future.
2. The Great Escape
3. Kelly's Heroes
4. The Magnificent Seven
5. The Wild Bunch
I hope that you will seriously consider my suggestions for future special film tribute editions. Keep up the good work!
Retro responds: Thanks for the kind words, Jay. We really appreciate all the support that our readers gave us for the Where Eagles Dare issue. We especially appreciate the efforts of over twenty contributors from around the world to make this issue a reality. Your suggestions are all great ones and are on our "must do" list. We're now researching for a major article on Kelly's Heroes for a future edition of the magazine, though it won't be a Movie Classics special. As for The Great Escape, we did some extensive coverage on the making of the film in Cinema Retro issue#1, which is still available as a back issue. Stay tuned for some announcements regarding our most ambitious project ever, the forthcoming Movie Classics special on the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone Dollars films that will include an abundance of rare photos, including some that have never been published before. Meanwhile, if you don't have Where Eagles Dare issue, supplies are rapidly dwindling. Click here for ordering info.
On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Bill Marx
will be the featured guest on KSAV’s broadcast of “Dave White Presents.” Bill
will discuss life with his famous father (Harpo Marx), his famous mother (the
girl with the “Million Dollar Legs”), his legendary uncles (Groucho, Chico,
Zeppo, Gummo), not to mention Bill’s own musical career which included working
with his Dad. And, of course, we’ll talk about Bill’s new book, Son of Harpo Speaks, now available as an
audiobook Bill read himself for Bear Manor Media. You don’t have to be a Marx
Brothers fan to enjoy this one—Bill Marx is more than entertaining in his own
Competing with Bill for your
smiles and laughs will be one Dave White who promises to be more “predictably
unpredictable” than usual, if that’s possible. We’ll hear a new “Poor David’s
Almanac,” comic songs from years past, and new products from Dave’s questionable
Altogether, this will be a very
special occasion not only due to our guest of honor, but because, for the very
first time, listeners can catch the debut airing of the 90 minutes of variety
entertainment at one of two times. Starting with this program, “Dave White
Presents” will air at 7:30 p.m. EST and then later at 7:30, Pacific Time
Warner Brothers will become the only Hollywood movie company to have their own major studio in the UK when it buys Leavesden Studios on the outskirts of London. The company will spend up to $100 million to purchase and revamp the former Rolls Royce factory which became an unlikely movie studio in 1995 when Eon Productions shot most of the James Bond movie GoldenEye. Bond production designer Peter Lamont and his team performed a Herculean task in making the conversion to a working studio. Since then, many major feature films have been shot there. Warner Brothers, which will be a major competitor to Pinewood Studios, intends to make the public welcome by offering tours and other events. For more click here
Season 6 of Cinema Retro begins with issue #16,which has now been mailed to all subscribers in North America and other non-European territories as of today. As always, subscribers get the latest issue in advance of retail shops. Due to particularly heavy demand for this issue, we won't know for a while whether we will have any individual copies of #16 for sale. As of this moment, it is only available from us on a subscription basis.
As a courtesy to subscribers, when a new season starts we reserve a copy of the latest issue in anticipation of your renewal. If you have not renewed from last season yet, please be aware that as of today, we are no longer keeping an issue reserved for you. Due to very heavy demand, the present inventory of issue #16 will be sold on a "first-come,first-serve" subscription basis. As always, we are especially thankful to our subscribers, without whom this magazine would not exist.
this issue are as follows:
The making of the lesbian-themed Hammer horror film Lust for a Vampire with an abundance of rare and provocative photos.
Exclusive interview with director Norman Jewison, who gives the inside story on the making of such classics as In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof and The Thomas Crown Affair.
Exclusive interview! James Caan recalls A Bridge Too Far and The Killer Elite
Exclusive! The full inside story of the making of Errol Flynn's ill-fated adventure epic William Tell. In
an interview with the film's director, the late Jack Cardiff, the
inside story is revealed about why Flynn's comeback project was stopped
in mid-filming. There is an abundance of never-before-seen photos from
Producer David V. Picker relates the making of the 1970s disaster film Juggernaut starring Richard Harris and Omar Sharif.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Godfather Part II - and making the case why it's an even better film than the original
Exclusive! Acclaimed character actor Joe Turkel recalls making films with Stanley Kubrick including Paths of Glory and The Shining, as well as other film classics such as The Sand Pebbles and Blade Runner.
Exclusive! Shirley Anne Field recalls making the cult hits These Are the Damned and Doctor in Clover.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature films series continues with How to Steal the World starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum
Raymond Benson's 10 best films of 1975
plus the usual news about DVD releases, soundtrack albums and movie books
if you would like to subscribe for season six and receive issues 16, 17
and 18. Remember, if you live in the US or UK, postage is free! Click here to subscribe instantly through our Ebay store - and shop for your back issues, too!
It seems our mention of TCM"s broadcast of 55 Days at Peking has unleashed a lot of pent up enthusiasm about the film among readers. Here is a subscriber from the UK's update on what the alternatives are for those who are seeking the film on DVD:
Interesting to see you featuring
55 Days At Peking. I have five different DVDs of this now, all with their
own shortcomings. But I just got the best of the bunch – a Swedish Region 2 pressing.
Correct ratio (even though it says otherwise on the box), good picture and
sound, and complete except for the Overture/Intermission/Exit music. It has
subtitles (Danish and Norwegian), but you can easily turn them off, and bingo –
you have a straight English version !
And you’re right to
say the latest Miriam DVDs of El Cid and Roman Empire are
excellent – but dear oh dear ! Why did they put the Intermission Music on the
end of the first disc ? They clearly didn’t understand how these movies were
shown. The intermission music is the Overture to the second half, not the
playout to the first. Which makes it impossible to play the Intermission music,
dim the lights and open the curtains (assuming you have them, which of course I
do !) and go straight into the movie. Grrr !!!
Sadly none of the above area as good as the LD versions (which I also
have, of course).
Johnny Seven, a character actor who appeared in countless TV series and feature films, has died at age 83. Among his credits: Ironside, Bonanza, CHIPS, Sgt. Bilko, Gunsmoke, The Apartment and the Western Navajo Run, which he wrote produced and directed. In recent years, he ran a successful real estate business. For details click here
John Williams' terrific soundtrack to the 1977 classic thriller Black Sunday has been issued as a limited edition CD by Film Score Monthly. The film was directed by John Frankenheimer and starred Robert Shaw, Bruce Dern, Marthe Keller and Fritz Weaver. For more info click here
Lee, Actually I own a copy of this great film on DVD . . . it's
available as part of the Tohokushinsa Classic Library collection in
Japan: Region 1, 160 minutes . . . and the artwork is fabulous!
Retro responds: Thanks for the tip, Phil. The Weinstein Company owns the rights to the Samuel Bronston films they did a magnificent job of releasing both El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire as deluxe DVD editions, packed with extras. The plan was to also release 55 Days at Peking and Circus World, but to date, they have not appeared. By the way, if you search under these titles on Amazon, you'll see some DVDs come up. Be wary: the ones that say "all region" are bootlegs and the quality can be something to be desired. It appears as though Peking was released on DVD officially, but apparently never in an English-speaking country.
I'm happy that you mentioned the upcoming broadcast of
55 Days at Peking on TCM. Like you, I really like that film, too,
and think it's terribly underrated. I have an Asian DVD of the film which,
while it isn't perfect, at least is in the correct 2:35 ratio and anamorphic as
The film has a fascinating and very troubled production history. The original
director Nicholas Ray (who does a cameo as the American ambassador in the film)
was fired after several weeks of shooting when he suffered a heart attack after
taking speed to cure his alcoholism. he was replaced by Andrew Marton, who was
already working on the film as the second unit director for the action
sequences, which is the reason why the action sequences are so good. (I read an interview with Marton in which he said his first day as the main
director was the ball sequence that Heston and Ava Gardner attend together in
the film) Gardner, who was also heavily drinking at the time,walked off
the film the day after character actor Paul Lukas called her out about her
habit in front of the crew. This is why there's no final death scene between
her and Heston in the film, as there was in the original script (which, of course,
was written by several writers - credited and uncredited)
Retro responds: Thanks for the insights, Sergio. The film was clearly a troubled production and set in motion the decline of Bronstan's career. He was a good filmmaker but a terrible businessman. Still, Peking makes for magnificent entertainment. It makes true the cliche that "they don't make 'em like that anymore".
Miramax, the independent production studio that was founded in 1979 by the mercurial Bob and Harvey Weinstein, has officially gone out of business. Under their guidance, the company enjoyed financial and critical success, having backed off-beat films that most major studios would have ignored. The brothers sold the company to Disney in 1993 but they continued to exert an astonishing amount of autonomy in running Miramax. However, after clashing with Michael Eisner, the Weinsteins left Miramax and Disney to form The Weinstein Company in 2005. Miramax died a slow death in the ensuing years and Disney finally officially closed the company today. For full details click here
Cinema Retro contributor Matthew Bradley has started his own film blog to occasionally opine on classic films. Matthew is an expert on all things relating to Richard Matheson and has a penchant for Matt Helm movies. (Who can blame him?) Click here to read his new blog, Bradley on Film. Click here to read his archived blog on the literary and cinematic Matt Helm.
Kritzerland Records has released a very limited edition (1,000 copies) CD of Ernest Gold's classic soundtrack for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The CD is a remastering of the original vinyl album along with bonus tracks never released before. This will sell out quickly! To order click here
Clint Eastwood’s son Kyle, a well-respected jazz musician in
his own right, has collaborated with Michael Stevens to produce a terrific
score for Invictus. However, ‘Dad’
lends a hand, and the opening song ‘9,000 Day’s was written by Eastwood Sr
along with Stevens and even has lyrics by Dina Eastwood (Clint’s wife) – talk
about keeping it in the family! The result is a highly impressive CD soundtrack
release. This is a magnificent score, and unlike Eastwood’s previous forays on Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Changeling and Gran Torino - which were dramatic, dark and moody - this music,
like the film itself, is really uplifting. There are several songs in the film,
all performed by Overtone a South African acapella band that was discovered by
Dina Eastwood, who saw them in a show in Cape Town while her husband was
filming Invictus. The soundtrack is a
blend of traditional South African music mixed with an almost tribal chant/drum
beat sound and orchestral overtures. It’s powerful stuff, with vocalist
Yollandi Nortjie sounding very much (on ‘9,000 Days’) like Jamie Cullum’s song
for Gran Torino , with similar jazzy, bluesy vibes. As in previous
films, Clint Eastwood delivers one of his simplistic piano-based themes but
this time (in ‘Invictus Theme’) it is accompanied by a wonderful trumpet
underscore which, for this writer, is so reminiscent of the legendary Chet
Baker, and is a joy to hear. Kyle Eastwood and composer Michael Stevens have,
once again, produced a great sounding score – this time one that perfectly blends
a beautiful haunting cinematic theme with that of South African traditional
music. Highly recommended – and one of my favourite Eastwood scores to date.
Given the fact that the new medical drama Extraordinary Measures has received decidedly ordinary reviews, I wasn't particularly enthralled about seeing it. However, big screen appearances by Harrison Ford (who was executive producer on the film) are as rare as hen's teeth nowadays, so I thought I'd give it a try. The movie is the first to be released by CBS Films, the theatrical side of the TV network. The company intends to make modesty-budgeted films for wide audiences. The jury is still out as to whether the venture will succeed (Extraordinary Measures opened softly at the boxoffice). However, from an artistic standpoint, the company deserves praise for concentrating on stream-lined films that appeal to the intelligence of the audience, instead of bloated blockbusters. More importantly, the film - which has received modest praise for being workmanlike - is actually a completely engrossing and moving story that is wonderfully enacted under the direction of newcomer Tom Vaughan.
The bad news for James Cameron is that Titanic has lost the title of #1 Boxoffice Champion of All Time. The good news: he's displaced himself, as Avatar took that honor with an incredible worldwide gross to date of $1.859 billion compared to Titanic's gross of $1.843 billion. Cameron looks set to blow away the record by a wide margin, as Avatar has plenty of mojo left: it was still #1 according to last week's boxoffice grosses. For a list of the top-grossing films of all time click here
Pernell Roberts, the last remaining cast member of Bonanza, has died from cancer at age 81. Roberts played the role of Adam, brother of Dan Blocker and Michael Landon, on the smash hit TV series between 1959 and 1965. He felt frustrated that his character was never fully developed and thought it was ridiculous that a man in his 30s would constantly defer to his father's (Lorne Greene) wishes. Like so many other stars who left hit TV series, Roberts' career stagnated for many years. However, in 1979 he was back in a hit, playing the title role of Trapper John, M.D., based on a character from the M*A*S*H TV series. The show lasted until 1986. For more click here
The assembly-line quality of contemporary action films is illustrated through their trailers, which all use the the exact same chorus singing ominously. It's somewhat similar to Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Omen. CNN reveals that the track is actually called Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and it is used by virtually every company in the business of making trailers. Forget the fact that for years, one man (now deceased) had a monopoly on voice-over work for trailers. Now, even the music doesn't have a specific identity. Ever notice how trailers are also cut the exact same way? Just when you think it's over and the title splash comes on screen, it always cuts back to one last line of dialogue, usually a wisecrack uttered by the star. Click here for the story.
Reader David Jackson has taken us to task for reporting that Conan O'Brien willingly wasted NBC's money in the final wee of his show by spending it on frivolous skits. For the record, it was quite apparent that most of his claims were indeed obviously jokes (no one believed he spent millions just to set up a sight gag). However, a couple of "expenses" were reported in the mainstream media as being legitimate, such as paying extravagant licensing costs to play Beatles music. Turns out even that was bogus, we're happy to say. Mr. Jackson points out that NBC has disputed O'Brien's claims that any segment of his show went beyond the normal budget. We're quite glad to hear that. We've always liked O'Brien and feel he was treated badly in the NBC debacle. Our biggest beef was having him ask viewers to donate to Haiti relief while he may have been wasting large sums of money to spite NBC. So we're setting the record straight- Conan is a good guy after all! For more click here- Lee Pfeiffer
Will Smith has purchased the rights to the 1974 hit crime comedy caper Uptown Saturday Night which starred Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. The project, which has been languishing for quite some time, seems to be picking up steam and Denzel Washington may be coming aboard. For details click here
We know you are probably among the legions of movie-goers who hate Tim Burton's misguided "re-imagining" of the classic 1968 sci-fi film Planet of the Apes. Yet, it still made a boat load of money and where Hollywood smells profits, you can't count out studios revisiting a bad idea. Now rumor has it that a remake may be in the works of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the fourth entry in the original series and perhaps the most controversial. The film depicted how the oppressed ape population turned on their masters and took control of earth. Here's an idea: instead of attempting another Ape remake, why not just reissue the original? For more click here
Sandra Bullock's The Blind Side was one of the top hits of 2009.
Jeff Bridges, who recently won the Best Actor Golden Globe for the little-seen film Crazy Heart, continued to build momentum for an Oscar win when he was awarded the Best Actor Screen Actor's Guild award. Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for The Blind Side. The ensemble cast award went to Inglourious Basterds. For more click here
As major web sites become frustrated by literally giving away their product, The New York Times has made a major decision that could have a wide impact on the future of free web access. The Times, facing big fall-offs in advertising revenue that most newspapers are suffering, is thriving on its web site, which attracts a staggering 20 million unique users every month. However, the only revenue it derives from the site is through advertisers and the profits have been weak. The Times is about to announce a plan that will allow infrequent visitors to their site to read a certain number of stories for free. However, frequent visitors will have to pay a subscription fee. The Times tried this approach several years ago but withdrew the plan when its own columnists complained that their readership dropped significantly. Additionally, no other major newspapers followed their lead, leaving the Times out on a limb alone. This time, however, others may adopt the same plan. Publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch has been making loud noises about the fact that only the print medium is expected to give away the fruits of its labor force for free, even though they still have to pay reporters and staffers for doing the work. There is a chance that Murdoch may also jump on board with some sort of pay model.Murdoch has a point: consumers don't expect to download their favorite music and movies for free, nor would anyone expect to plunk themselves down in a Broadway theater or a concert without paying for the privilege. In the near future, Variety will go the way of a subscription plan for its on-line site. Although these sites are expected to lose a major amount of traffic, the bottom line is what counts: and having a fraction of readers pay for the stories they read is ultimately far more rewarding to the companies than simply boasting of the number of web surfers they attract. Click here to read the New York magazine web site article for more (and yes, it's free!)
The state of current movie posters may be in free-fall, with most marketing campaigns uninspired and boring. However, creativity is alive and well on the fan circuit, as evidenced by this "poster" making the rounds on the web that blends two icons of pop culture - Seinfeld and Star Wars- in a hilarious one sheet design. Why aren't the people who created this in charge of designing real movie posters?
Nicholas Cage claims he is under new management and has taken drastic steps to get his troubled financial house in order. In recent years, Cage and his former business manager have traded charges over whose negligence resulted in Cage's financial meltdown. Despite making mega millions over the years, Cage has had to liquidate assets and endure embarrassing press coverage of his tax problems. Cage says he is now current on his tax bill and has paid an additional $14 million to the IRS. For more click here
On January 25th Heroes:The Greatest
War Movies Ever is being released on DVD by Revolver Entertainment. Region
2 only, this DVD costs £9.99., with every penny of the profit (approx £7.50)
going to the charity Help the Heroes, which supports wounded British servicemen and
women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. The one-hour film is a collection of
clips from famous wartime films made over the last sixty years, including
Saving Private Ryan, Ice Cold in Alex, The Guns of Navarone, Platoon, Bridge
on the River Kwai, Schindler's List, Dr Strangelove, The Hurt Locker, and
many more. It will be available in most UK stores and major online stockists
such as Play.Com and Amazon UK.
Actress Jean Simmons has died from cancer at age 80. Simmons began acting in the mid-1940s and won acclaim for her performance as Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's Oscar-winning screen version of Hamlet in 1948. Major roles followed in films such as The Blue Lagoon, The Robe, Guys and Dolls, The Big Country, Spartacus, Elmer Gantry and The Happy Ending. By the late 1960s, however, the major roles in big screen productions stopped coming her way, although she did continue to act (often in independent films) up until last year.In the 1980s, she won an Emmy for her performance in the hit TV mini-series The Thorn Birds. Simmons had been married to Stewart Granger, and later to director Richard Brooks. For more click here
La Dolce Vita, one of the director's greatest films.
A feud has broken out between Federico Fellini's niece and the Fellini Foundation, which carries out high profile events in the memory of the legendary director, as well as dedicates itself to preserving his heritage. The niece has resigned from the board of the foundation and removed Fellini's massive library as well as his five Oscars. This all comes with some irony: the movie musical Nine, which is based on Fellini's 8 1/2 is about to open in Italy. For more click here
Author Jackie Collins in 1954 at age 16: too much for Brando to resist.
Jackie Collins has finally come clean on the affair with Marlon Brando that she always hinted at. Collins says she met Brando at a party in the 1950s when he was 29 and she was about to turn 16. The top Hollywood swordsman was mesmerized by young Jackie's 39 inch bust and quickly made a successful pass at her. This resulted in a sexual affair that went on for some time, despite the fact that she was legally under the age of consent. Complicating matters was the fact that her sister Joan Collins eventually bedded Brando as well. Talk about bosom buddies...For more click here
Dick Cavett, one of the wittiest social commentators around, takes a look at how fame often is a double-edged sword for those who benefit from it. Cavett uses the recent Tiger Woods scandal to frame how other famous individuals he has known, from Johnny Carson to Jack Benny, coped with the complete lack of personal privacy. To read click here
Sir Christopher Lee continues to pursue new career challenges, even at age 87. He is now collaborating on a high profile musical biography of the emperor Charlemagne, to whom he can trace his family ancestry. The album, which combines metal rock music with biographical insights, will be released in March. According to London's Guardian web site, Lee feels the album will be "sensational". For the story along with a link to the album's official web site, click here
Cinema Retro has been requested to post the the following letter from a relative of actor Ken Clark. If anyone can help locate him, please write to Tim at the E mail address in his letter.(For Dean Brierly's tribute to Ken Clark's Euro spy movies of the 60s click here)
Ken Clark, star of such cult classics as "Attack of the Giant Leeches"
and "12 To the Moon" as well as over a dozen EuroSpy movies in the
1960s is my great uncle.
He is also subject of a family mystery.
his movie career in the States seemed destined to fail, and all he was
being offered was TV roles, he left the US to go to Europe. His career
there is well-documented. However, when he left, he also broke contact
with his entire family.... wife, kids, parents, sisters, everyone.
sister is now 81 and in failing health. I am trying to track down Ken
Clark to see if, after all this time, he has any interest at all in
talking to his sister once again. Even if he wanted to, there would be
almost no way for him to find her. He never knew her married name, and
she moved from their home in Ohio to Rhode Island decades ago.
have tried SAG but they want his SAG membership number in order to give
me any information. Obviously, I do not have that. If anyone has any
means of learning his whereabouts or has any source I might contact to
try and find him I would be most appreciative. Feel free to email me
directly, or to contact me through the web site.
Not so easy rider: Dennis Hopper's personal life has disintegrated into family feuds even has he lies on his death bed.
There is some context being given to Dennis Hopper's deathbed decision to file for divorce from his wife of 14 years, Victoria. Apparently, Hopper's adult daughter Marin is instigating the divisive action, according to The Huffington Post which quotes family sources and friends as saying its all about excluding Victoria from receiving her share of the will. Hopper is battling terminal cancer and is said to have filed for divorce during a period when he may have been mentally unable to comprehend what he was doing. Click here for more on the real life soap opera.
China is pulling all standard prints of Avatar, ostensibly to open the market to more films made within the country. Activists say the real reason is that the plot of the film, which is about government oppressing the masses, is the real reason Chinese officials are eager to reduce the blockbuster's exposure within the nation. Only 20 foreign films a year are allowed to be shown in China. 3-D and Imax runs of the films will still be allowed to be shown. For more click here
It’s that time of year when everyone seems to have a ‘Ten Best Films of the Year’ list. As
this is the last year of the decade, we can also count on being
deluged with ‘Best Films of the Decade’ lists (mine will be coming; be
patient). Before I started writing about classic films for Cinema Retro, I primarily wrote about motion picture and television music.
So, for a change of pace I humbly offer ....
“Bruce’s Baker’s Dozen of Great Film Music: 2000-2009”.
1. A Scanner Darkly – Graham Reynolds
best score of the decade is a dazzling, haunting work from newcomer
Reynolds. The Austin based composer/performer brings all his
considerable skills to bear– he performs and composes jazz, rock, and
classical music- in this wholly original score. To date this is his
only major Hollywood assignment. If it were up to me, Reynolds would
be getting plum assignments like
Watchmen , The Incredible Hulk and 2012 instead of the bland , faceless composers who seem to score film after film. Wake Up Hollywood!
2. The Road To Perdition – Thomas Newman 3. Milk – Danny Elfman
4. & 5. A.I. - Artificial Intelligence & Minority Report John
Williams earns ‘Composer of the Decade’ for these two rich, evocative
scores. Director Steven Spielberg and Williams also teamed up
successfully for yet another science- fiction epic, the spectacular War of the Worlds. Incredibly, John Williams is still producing great music in his mid seventies!
6. Lassie - Adrian Johnston This
faithful and moving adaptation of the children’s classic barely
received a theatrical release in the UK or USA. Just as shameful, is
the lack of a soundtrack album. A beautiful score.
7. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron – Hans Zimmer This
overlooked and underrated animated film from DreamWorks is as good as
anything Disney or Pixar released (with the possible exception of Wall-E ). Along with the terrific score, it also contains the ‘Best Song of the Decade’, “ Sound the Bugle” performed Bryan Adams.
8. Miracle – Mark Isham This
inspiring and exciting sports film contains ‘The Most Memorable Musical
Moment of the Decade’ ; the walk to the ice by the USA Olympic hockey
team for their momentous match with the USSR. If this doesn’t give you
goosebumps, see a doctor!
9. Cast Away - Alan Silvestri The
score for this amazing film totals only 15 minutes yet makes a powerful
impact. Just goes to show you do not have to plaster wall-to-wall music
on every film.
10. A Beautiful Mind - James Horner 11. Thirteen Days - Trevor Jones 12. Rabbit Proof Fence - Peter Gabriel 13. Cold Mountain- Gabriel Yared
With Conan O'Brien on the brink of walking from NBC (albeit with a $30-$40 million pay off), Jay Leno got serious last night and told his audience about the behind-the-scenes drama at the network that will surely go down as one of the great debacles in the history of broadcast television. By forcing top-rated Leno from The Tonight Show and elevating O'Brien to host that show, NBC sowed the seeds for massive ratings drops for both men. Leno told his audience that he never thought the experiment of putting a new show for him in prime time would work, but he went along with the plan anyway. It now appears that Leno will revert back to being host of The Tonight Show, with O'Brien not only paused to compete with him on another network, but to have been paid millions of dollars by NBC to do so...Click here to watch a clip from Leno's discussion.
Erich Segal, whose razor-thin romance novel Love Story became a pop culture phenomenon, has died at age 72 from a heart attack in London. Segal's modest story about two love-struck Harvard college students resonated with a generation that was beset by civil unrest and the protest movement. The story is the ultimate soap opera, with the lead female character developing a terminal illness. Still, Segal's skillful prose tore at women's heartstrings and elevated the book to being a publishing sensation. Segal wrote the screenplay for the 1970 big screen adaptation which was a massive box-office hit and scored key Oscar nominations for the principals involved and elevated Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw to stardom. The film's tag-line "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is still widely quoted today, though often in a satiric context. Segal, who also wrote the screenplay for The Beatles' Yellow Submarine, never enjoyed success on this level again. His sequel to Love Story, titled Oliver's Story, didn't approach the kind of sales that the first book did and a screen version starring Ryan O'Neal was neither a box-office or critical success. Segal continued to write the occasional screenplay but his name remains synonymous with Love Story. For more click here
Intrada has released Jerry Goldsmith's score for the 1966 WWI epic The Blue Max as a 2500 limited edition CD for $19.95. The company gained access to elements of the score not previously released. For sample tracks and to order, click here. (Thanks to subscriber Rory Monteith for the head's up!)
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, the Holmes and Watson image that still endures to moviegoers around the globe.
If James Bond, Batman and Superman earn our respect as long-time screen heroes, they have nothing on Sherlock Holmes, who has appeared in films relatively consistently since since the silent era. The New York Times takes a look at how the image of Holmes has changed over the years and speculates as to how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would treat the latest screen incarnation. Click here to read
Tom Hanks will co-star with Julia Roberts in the comedy Larry Crowne, a film he has written and will also direct. The two stars previously collaborated on Charlie Wilson's War. Although that film was a critical success, it under-performed at the box-office, possibly because it was too "inside baseball" in terms of American politics. The new film is said to have broader audience appeal. Hanks previously directed the acclaimed 1996 retro rock movie That Thing That You Do. Click here for more
Well, the 2010 Golden Globes are history and although I couldn't bring myself to sit through the three hour back-slapping fest, I did listen in from the other room while I worked on my computer. Occasionally, I'd force myself in front of the TV just to catch a glimpse of what someone looked like. I discovered that Sophia Loren, Paul McCartney, Harrison Ford and Pierce Brosnan appear to be aging very well indeed, but I couldn't be enticed to stick around for much more. The acceptance speeches were the usual cringe-inducing embarrassments, proving that many actors can barely manage to improvise "hello" without a script in front of them. There were several of the standard "I didn't think I'd win, so I didn't prepare a speech!" yarns that must have seemed stale and insincere when Mary Pickford was still box-office queen. Ricky Gervais was fairly amusing as host, making a few memorable one-liners. ("I like a drink as much as the next man - unless the next man is Mel Gibson", he said while swigging beer and introducing the scandal-plagued Gibson). There were also plenty of jokes at the expense of NBC, which telecast the event, and most of them related to the on-going Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien debacle. Network execs must have smiling on the outside but hitting the bottle as soon as the ceremonies were over. One highlight was the DeMille award to Martin Scorsese, though I could have sworn Scorsese was given this honor about five times already. Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio presented the honor. The legendary director made a gracious and classy speech about the importance of preserving film and made references to cinematic legends that half that the airheads in the audience probably never even heard of. Scorsese was refreshing because he managed to get through his speech without having to use obscene jokes or references to the toilet in order to prove how "edgy" he can be, as virtually every other person on stage seemed compelled to do. He also informed us that the Hollywood Foreign Press, the farcical "news" organization that sponsors the Globes, actually does help in preserving films. So there's your proof they do something other than throw lavish parties for themselves. James Cameron won best director and Avatar copped best drama, the two big awards of the night. Cameron may be a genius behind the camera but the first line of his acceptance speech informed the worldwide audience that he really had to pee. Nice. Can you imagine Hitchcock or Ford using an awards show to make such a poignant observation? Rather than drone on, click here to read Nikke Finke's no-holds-barred coverage of the snoozefest. With the Globes finally over (they did end right on time, to the producer's credit), I can now turn my attention to something far more entertaining like a Lorne Green Film Festival.
Rod Steiger as Marty? Jack Palance in Requiem for a Heavyweight? Paul Newman in Bang the Drum Slowly. Cliff Robertson in Days of Wine and Roses? If you've only seen the big screen versions of these classic stories, you've seen other actors in the leading roles. However, they had their origins as live TV productions in the 1950s with the aforementioned cast members. Now Criterion is presenting these and other live TV broadcasts in a remarkable boxed DVD set that proves why the 50s was indeed the Golden Age of TV. The set is loaded with interviews with the people who created these classics. Click here for more
For the first time ever, Alex North's soundtrack from William Wyler's 1961 film The Children's Hour has been released. The film starred Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn in one of the first major movies to deal overtly with the subject of lesbianism and the consequences of intolerance. To order the limited edition CD and read about the interesting way it finally came to be released, click here
Another Jack Lemmon DVD collection has been released, this time by Fox and featuring four of the legendary actor's films originally released theatrically by United Artists. Each of the titles in the set have been previously released individually, but it's nice having them all in one convenient slipcase. The films included (three of which are directed by Billy Wilder) are:
Some Like It Hot (1959) - The classic comedy never wears out its welcome even after repeated viewings. Lemmon and Tony Curtis are failed jazz musicians who accidentally witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. They flee to Florida with an all-girl band, a feat they accomplish by dressing in drag. Complications arise when they both fall in love with luscious fellow band member Marilyn Monroe. The film is pretty much a picture-perfect exercise in how to make a great comedy. Lemmon received the lion's share of kudos at the time, but Curtis is every bit as good. His famed Cary Grant imitation, as a method of seducing Monroe, is arguably the highlight of the film. This is not the special edition, and includes only the original trailer.
The Apartment (1960)- Billy Wilder's Oscar winner for Best Picture retains all of its power and moving narrative. Lemmon is a hot young Wall Street executive who willingly lends his bachelor pad to his bosses for their illicit trysts with mistresses in order to curry favor and pave his way up the corporate ladder. When he falls in love with elevator operator Shirley MacLaine, who happens to be the mistress of his boss Fred MacMurray, he finds his emotional well-being, as well as his career path, compromised. The film is a masterful blend of humor and pathos with Lemmon and MacLaine both superb. This time around, however, revel in MacMurray's masterful performance as the sleazy boss. It's a pity this magnificent actor became primarily linked to sitcoms and Disney films.This is the standard edition with only a trailer included as an extra.
Real life couple James McAvoy and wife Anne-Marie Duff may be cast as Mr. and Mrs. Ian Fleming.
Actor James McAvoy appears close to signing to play James Bond creator Ian Fleming in a biopic set to start shooting later this year. McAvoy's wife, actress Anne-Marie Duff may be cast in the role of Fleming's wife. The film will be based on the book Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond. Fleming has been the subject of two previous TV biopics, Goldeneye (produced before the feature film of the same name) starring Charles Dance as Fleming and The Secret Life of Ian Fleming starring Jason Connery (Sean Connery's son) in the title role. The film will not have anything to do with the James Bond movie series produced by Eon Productions, which owns the movie rights to Fleming's novels. For more click here