Audrey Hepburn promoting My Fair Lady in 1964: was the beloved actress over-rated in the film?
By Lee Pfeiffer
Distinguished British actress Emma Thompson is drafting a screenplay for a remake of the classic musical My Fair Lady, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1964. It's controversial enough to be remaking a film that many consider near-perfect, but Thompson has ruffled feathers by assaulting the legend of Audrey Hepburn, saying her performance as Eliza Doolittle was over-praised and that the beloved Hepburn couldn't act. She attributes the film's success to others, saying: "It was (costumer) Cecil Beaton's
designs and (Hepburn's co-star) Rex Harrison that gave it its extraordinary
quality. I don't do Audrey Hepburn. I think that she's a guy thing ... It's high
time that the extraordinary role of Eliza was reinterpreted, because it's a very
fantastic part for a woman." In fact, Hepburn's voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon for the song sequences- a trait that was common in those days but which did muddy the effectiveness of a an actor's performance, especially in a musical. Still, the general consensus is that Hepburn's work in the non-singing sequences was marvelous. Thompson says she's bringing a feminist viewpoint to the remake. Although she is to be commended for her honesty, she's setting herself up for a major fall by comparing her reworking of a classic as a distinct improvement. Click here for more
Oscar winner Michael Douglas has confirmed he has been diagnosed with cancer. The 65 year-old son of screen legend Kirk Douglas has a tumor in his throat and will undergo chemotherapy treatments. He predicts he will make a full recovery. For more click here
Not long ago, Sylvester Stallone was relegated to the hell of "direct-to-video" feature films. However, his well received return to the Rocky and Rambo franchises yielded decent, if unspectacular box-office. The question has been whether Sly had any other arrows in his quiver other than his most reliable characters. The release of his star-packed adventure film The Expendables seems to prove that he has. The film opened #1 at the weekend box-office with $36 million. Those are not blow-away numbers by industry standards, but given the fact that August represents the dog days of summer movie releases, it is enough to demonstrate Stallone has got some of his mojo back. Also performing well: Julia Roberts' chick flick Eat Pray Love, which follows her disappointing run at the boxoffice. Click here for more
Shock-O-Rama Cinema is yet another independent DVD label trying valiantly to give exposure to B movies that might otherwise have been forgotten. In a move that will certainly please every misogynist male out there in Retroland, the company has released a Women in Prison triple feature containing 2 DVDs with the following exploitation titles from the 1970s: Escape From Hell, The Hot Box and Women in Cell Block 7. One of the tag lines from the DVD box states "Drug smuggling, car chases, cat fights and shower scenes!" Talk about truth in advertising...It doesn't take long for these oppressed females to find consolation from each other in seemingly omnipresent shower stalls. The films are Italian-made low-budget affairs that basically follow the same premise: various women are imprisoned in the kind of hell holes that make Papillon's cell look like the Ritz. They are exploited and sexually abused by guards and the prison hierarchy and also have to contend with butch lesbians who rule the cell blocks. Naturally, as in all "WIP"-themed films, the good ladies persevere and never let their personal appearance suffer too greatly, even when being threatened by snakes and mad killers. It should be noted that while the Shock-O-Rama release is fun to indulge in, the master prints used for the films leave a lot to be desired. The company has included some bonus trailers of other exploitation films, and some can be viewed by clicking here.