Legendary movie producer David Brown has passed away at age 93. He brought Elvis Presley to the big screen and launched Steven Spielberg's career. In conjunction with Richard Zanuck, Brown became an icon in the film industry, producing such hits as Jaws, The Sting, The Verdict, Driving Miss Daisy and Road to Perdition. A public funeral is planned for Thursday in New York. For more on his life and career click here
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and James Cameron's Avatar tied with his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker for 9 nominations each. For the first time since 1943, the Best Picture nominations have been expanded to ten films, even though the list of nominated directors remains at five (a virtual admission that the other five films are "throw away" nominees with little chance of picking up the prize). Meryl Streep scored her 16th Oscar nomination for Julie and Julia. There were some surprises: key nominations for District 9, Matt Damon and the lack of director or Best Picture nomination for Clint Eastwood's Invictus, even with the expanded list of Best Picture nominees. The awards will be presented on March 7. For the list of nominations click here
Lorraine B. Diehl, wife of famed ABC Radio film critic Bill Diehl, has become quite a prolific author, as demonstrated by the release of her acclaimed new book Over Here! which chronicles life in New York City during WWII. Because America was spared the horror of warfare on its soil, most accounts of the nation during the war era are understandably limited to the combat role of the USA in the European and Pacific theaters.Yet, America played a key role in winning the war even before it officially entered the conflict after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The only person at the book party not impressed by Over Here! is Bill and Lorraine's granddaughter Lyla, who clearly has other priorities. (Photo: Lee Pfeiffer)
Through the controversial lend/lease agreement (enacted rather sneakily by FDR when the nation was still in isolationist mode), America kept England alive as it fought desperately (and alone) to keep Hitler from invading. Diehl has presented a fascinating story of what life was like in Gotham during this period and the war years that followed. She has lavishly illustrated the book with an abundance of mesmerizing photos. For movie lovers, there is ample coverage of the films made during the war for propaganda purposes. Diehl offers a plethora of fabulous candid photos that includes some great movie poster elements (a War Bonds drive in a theater features a great poster for Hitchcock's Spellbound.)
Diehl had a kick off party last week for the book at New York's legendary National Arts Club at Gramercy Park. Since then, Over Here! is generating major buzz and the book jacket displays kudos from the likes of newsman Tom Brokaw, Regis Philbin and documentary maker Ken Burns, who gushes "This is an evocative look at New York City during the Second World War; it's an enthusiastic, personal, immensely entertaining book, and a story about a city joining together to overcome the greatest challenge of the twentieth century. Brava!" Indeed, the book is a major achievement that manages that rare feat of entertaining even as it informs.