Alexander Anderson, who teamed with his fraternity brother Jay Ward, to create the iconic cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle has died at age 90. Among the team's other creations were Crusader Rabbit and Dudley Do-right. The Rocky and Bullwinkle characters made their debut in 1959 and remain iconic figures of 60s pop culture. For more click here
The walking human skeleton named Anna Rexia is only one of some tasteless but amusing Halloween costumes to have surfaced.
The weirdest thing I can remember about trick-or-treaters was the time a teenage girl came to my door and politely rejected the candy that was offered her. Instead, she requested any Heineken I might have had on hand. Well, it's Halloween and the only day where truly eccentric behavior is not only tolerated but encouraged. However, some people cross the line in terms of outrageous behavior when it comes to their costumes. Click here to revel in the most tasteless costumes you ever saw! - Lee Pfeiffer
Daniel Craig's new thriller Dream House was set to be released in February but the actor is too busy to reshoot several key scenes. Thus, the premiere date of the movie has been pushed back indefinitely as the in-demand actor tries to cope with a non-stop work schedule. Click here for more
Actor Richard Kiel will participate in Q&A sessions following screenings of the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker in the San Francisco Bay area on November 5-6. Click here for details
Deadline Hollywood reports that Francis Ford Coppola is "quietly shooting" a new movie with a horror element to it- the first time the Oscar winning director has turned toward the genre since his adaptation of Dracula. Val Kilmer and Bruce Dern will star. While Coppola has made films in recent years, they have tended to be art house movies with limited popular appeal. Click here for more
New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood reviews the new Beatles Broadway tribute show Rain, and at best, damns it with faint praise. Ishwerwood says he enjoyed aspects of the show but compares it unfavorably to Jersey Boys, which provides a compelling narrative behind the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Instead, Rain is simply two hours of cover versions of Beatles songs. Isherwood praises the talents of the faux Fab Four, but says the makeup and costumes are cheesy enough to resemble a Benny Hill sketch. He also says the vintage commercials and film clips shown on screens are more compelling than the show itself. However, he points out that the 70s Beatles tribute show Beatlemania proved critic-proof and ran seemingly forever. (I never understood why people spent the same amount of money on the show's soundtrack album when they could have purchased a Beatles hit compilation for the same price.) Be warned: Rain is primarily for those audiences who enjoy singing along with other fans. I'm afraid I'm generally the skunk at the garden party when it comes to those types of concerts: I don't really want to spend my hard-earned money to hear a butcher from the Bronx's version of Hey Jude. To read the review click here
Cinema Retro columnist Todd Garbarini, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Photo copyright Cinema Retro)
By Todd Garbarini
New York Times theater critic Jason Zinoman
recently held a discussion at the Times Center in mid-town Manhattan about
horror films.He was joined by author
Chuck Hogan and film director Guillermo del Toro who both discussed their
collaboration on “The Fall,” the second book in their best-selling trilogy about
vampires called “The Strain.”For those
of you who only may be familiar with Mr. Del Toro’s work through the cinema,
“The Strain” trilogy comes highly recommended.
During the discussion, Mr. Zinoman pondered as to
why vampires endure, certainly a legitimate question given the audience’s
seemingly insatiable appetite for all things fang-like: Showtime’s “True Blood”
series is enjoying terrific success.Mr.
Del Toro responded that vampires are highly romanticized – for women, they have
chastity.In romantic novels, women are
attracted to the Bad Boy.There is also
the tapping into people’s fear of death and ageing, and wanting to remain
frozen in time; novelists and filmmakers have exploited these fears for
When asked what scares him, Mr. Del Toro replied
that he saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
when he was very young, and became a vegetarian for four years following his
initial viewing of that film.As a
child, his grandmother told him about going to hell as a result of original
sin, and this caused him much distress, fueling much of the horrific visions of
In speaking of his film work, Mr. Del Toro truly
loves the monsters that he has created, and the ultimate compliment came from
ILM’s Dennis Murren – technically and conceptually, audiences have never seen
monsters like the ones that Mr. Del Toro has dreamed up.
A teaser trailer for Mr. Del Toro’s upcoming film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a remake of
the 1973 TV-movie of the same name, was shown to the audience.It is very effective, eschewing the
conventional cookie-cutter style that plagues so many Hollywood trailers.
Jason Zinoman has
also written about films, television, books and sports for publications such
as Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Economist and Slate. His new book is called "Shock Value: How
A Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood and Invented
Modern Horror," and is scheduled to be released by Penguin Press in July
Actress Lisa Blount who was best known for playing Debra Winger's girlfriend in the 1982 boxoffice hit An Officer and a Gentleman, has been found dead in her Little Rock home. She was 53 years old. Cause of death was not announced, but authorities said no foul play is suspected. Blount received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, but her greatest career success came in 2002 when she won the Oscar for producing The Accountant in the category of Best Live Action Short Subject. She also appeared regularly as a guest star on popular TV shows. For more click here
MacArthur starred opposite Jack Lord in Hawaii 5-0 between 1968-1980.
Actor James MacArthur, who played Det. Danny "Danno" Williams on the smash hit CBS series Hawaii 5-0, has died at age 72 of natural causes. MacArthur, the son of legendary actress Helen Hayes and playwright Charles MacArthur, was already a seasoned acting veteran when he starred in the series in 1968. He left in 1980 before the show's final season, saying the scripts and characters had become tired and bland. MacArthur also had prominent roles on the big screen in films such as Swiss Family Robinson, The Light in the Forest, The Truth About Spring, Battle of the Bulge, Spencer's Mountain and The Bedford Incident. In recent years, he enjoyed renewed popularity through his periodic appearances at autograph fairs. For more click here
Dave Worrall, author of The Most Famous Car in the World, is reunited with Jerry Lee after first meeting in the US some fifteen years ago when the DB5 was on display in his home.
(Photo copyright Cinema Retro)
(Photo copyright: Cinema Retro)
By Dave Worrall
A James Bond Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery
in Goldfinger and Thunderball sold for £2.7m in London last night, making it the most expensive film prop and movie-related car in
history. The American bidder, who was in the room, was beseiged by the
press afterward. Sold by RM Auctions on behalf of Jerry Lee, it was hoped the
sale would have topped £3.5m, especially as the proceeds were going to a charity
foundation. However, Mr Lee paid just $12,000 for the car back in 1969, so his
return of $4.1m wasn't such a bad investment after all.
Michael Stever’s Saturday Nightmares: The Ultimate Horror Expo of All-Time! is an encapsulation of the first Saturday Nightmares horror film convention that was held in Jersey City, NJ in March 2010 at the gorgeous Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre, itself a relic of a glorious time in cinema where walking into a theatre was the closest that a mere mortal had to entering heaven.The film will entertain any horror fan who has yet to attend a convention and wants to see what goes on at one, as well as those who have attended this convention and want a souvenir.
The project benefits from Stever’s own enthusiasm and he actually takes the audience on a tour of the Loews Jersey Theatre, to the roof which houses an ornate dragon, and through several areas that are normally off-limits to patrons as the theatre is currently undergoing a massive restoration.
The film begins with a hilarious anecdote about fourteen year-old George Romero being arrested for throwing a flaming dummy off of a Bronx rooftop while filming The Man from the Meteor in 1954.It also highlights many panel discussions with filmmaker Roy Frumkes and cast members from Dawn of the Dead.Yellow subtitles are blessedly provided for those hard-to-hear moments where the dialog is unintelligible.Many scenes are punctuated by Brahms’ Hungarian Dance Number 5, and there are: one-on-one interviews with John Amplas of Martin; Adrienne Barbeau of Creepshow (who admits to being scared of horror films); Joe Pilato’s notorious all-in-fun loudmouth shenanigans; excerpts from the costume contest.
The DVD is definitely worth a look for completists of the horror genre.
Steven Spielberg will return to the sci-fi genre, directing a big screen adaptation of the novel Robopocalypse. The story centers on the struggle of the human race to survive amidst an uprising of deadly robots. Click here for more
The cavernous lobby of the Loews before the thundering herds arrived for showtime. (Photo: Cinema Retro)
Wayne Zimmerman gave an astonishing performance on the organ. He played non-stop, ranging from old fashioned sing-a-longs to a perfect, in-synch performance of the original score for Nosferatu. (Photo: Cinema Retro)
By Lee Pfeiffer
Last Saturday night's screening of F.W. Murnau's classic 1922 horror film Nosferatu may have set an attendance record for the Loew's Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey. The legendary movie palace had been saved from destruction by dedicated volunteers and has been showing classic films again for the last decade. The day began with a well-attended screening of Son of Frankenstein, certainly among the best of the Universal horror classics. However, it was the evening screening of Nosferatu that brought out the masses. The theater management expected a good turnout but admitted they were stunned. The lines of people patiently waiting to buy tickets extended all the way down the street and the show time was delayed by forty minutes just to accomodate the crowds. The draw was not only the opporunity to see the film in one of the great American theaters, but to enjoy the original musical score played on the magnificent Wonder Morton organ by Wayne Zimmerman, who came in from Pennsylvania to perform. He was masterful, to say the least. The jovial Zimmerman not only played non-stop as a warm up while the audience took their seats in the cavernous theater, but then went on to play the film's score in perfect synchronization. The feat earned him several thunderous ovations. Best of all is the fact that so many young people come out to see classic films at the Loew's. For many, this was their first experience with a silent movie. The audiences are always reverent and there are absolutely no cell phones ringing or text messages being sent. It's good to know that there are still so many sophisticated moviegoers to support such ventures. Click here to sign up for the Loew's newsletter.
The Loew's has just been named Best Movie Theatre by the Village Voice. Here is their review:
[As printed in The Village Voice] "Pee-wee's back and all the rage right now, but how many of us who grew up on his Saturday-morning wackiness remember seeing him on the big screen? Fortunately, a drop-dead gorgeous historic movie palace on Journal Square in Jersey City has taken an eclectic approach to programming films. Earlier this year, the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre revisited the decades, the monthly series culminating in a 1990s night that featured Pee-wee's Big Adventure in all its celluloid glory, introduced by a Wonder Morton Organ and all. Then the fall season kicked off with "Three of the Best Films Hitchcock DIDN'T Make"; also, all of October's selections are Halloween-themed. Besides the obvious reason to head to Jersey for a film here ('cause Jersey rules, duh), there are the gilded ceilings, red-velvet tapestries, $6 tickets, and a reminder that movies, when shown in the right place, can be all-out magical—even when they're about a man-child discovering that there's no basement in the Alamo."
Fans of the 1974 Irwin Allen blockbuster The Towering Inferno will want to click here to visit a site dedicated entirely to the film. There is also an option to pay $10 for a VIP membership that will get you even more content.
James Cameron will produce a remake of the 1966 sci-fi hit Fantastic Voyage about a daring team of scientists who are miniaturized and injected into the body of a dying man to save his life in a race against time. The original film was an early starring role for Raquel Welch. Cameron has not decided who will direct the pic for Fox. For more click here
Graham Crowden, the distinguished British character actor of stage, screen and TV has died at age 87. Crowden toiled in many films for years before finding late career success in the 90s British sitcom Waiting For God. He had also once turned down the chance to play Doctor Who, succeeding John Pertwee in the role. Crowden's big screen appearances include If..., Oh Lucky Man, Out of Africa, Jabberwocky and the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Click here for more on his life and career
60 Minutes recently aired an amazing report about the discovery of one of the most important vintage American films. The silent footage was shot in 1906 on Market Street, the main thoroughfare of San Francisco. The remarkable film was shot from a trolley car and shows a world gone forever- women in long dresses, men immaculately clad in suits and derby hats; newsboys hawking the daily paper and a boggling array of horses and carriages mingled with those new-fangled automobiles. Correspondent Morley Safer provides the excellent coverage and focuses on a film historian whose research shed important new light on the relevance of the footage: it was shot just days before the massive earthquake would undoubtedly kill many of the people seen onscreen. Click here to view.
Dimitri Tiomkin's rousing score for the 1967 John Wayne/Kirk Douglas Western The War Wagon has finally been released on CD. It's the first time the soundtrack has been available in any format. The score includes Ed Ames singing the title track, The Ballad of the War Wagon. Intrada, which produced the new CD, has limited this to only 2,000 copies. Click here to order
Legendary Rolling Stone rocker Keith Richards' tell-all autobiography Life may be an instant bestseller, but it's causing Disney execs heartburn. The family friendly studio is nervous about featuring Richards reprising his role in the next Pirates of the Caribbean film. Industry scuttlebutt says that the studio is contemplating cutting Richards from the movie because his book includes advice about how best to indulge in dangerous drugs. Click here for more
Click here to order the book discounted from Amazon
Mel Gibson was all set to film a cameo role as a tattoo artist in The Hangover 2 but it appears that a backlash among the cast and crew have convinced producers to drop the idea of featuring the scandal-scarred Oscar winner. Click here for more
Vetri in Hammer Films' When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
Actress and former Playmate of the Year Victoria Vetri of Rosemary's Baby and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
fame has been arrested for the attempted murder of her husband. Read
more at CNN.com where Cinema Retro contributor Tom Lisanti was interviewed for his comments, as he profiled
her in his book Glamour Girls of Sixties Hollywood.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY AND TOM LISANTI'S COMMENTS
The car in the reception area of the RAC Club, London. The same location it was first display back in 1969. (Photo copyright Cinema Retro)
Author and Cinema Retro publisher Dave Worrall (right) and Don Rose of RM Auctions pose with “The Most Famous Car in The World". (Photo copyright Cinema Retro)
night (21/10/10) saw “The Most Famous Car in The World” return to The Royal
Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London,
for the first time since it was first displayed there in 1969. The car, the
only remaining Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery in the films Goldfinger and Thunderball and now internationally known as “The Most Famous Car
in The World”after the title of Dave
Worrall’s book, is being sold next Wednesday (27/10/10) by RM Auctions, in
association with Sotheby’s. Owned by Jerry Lee of Philadelphia for some forty
plus years, he intends to use the proceeds of the sale towards a charity-based
foundation in America that he has formed, which is a multi-national initiative
dedicated to solving social problems associated with poverty, with an emphasis
on crime prevention. Last night’s private champagne dinner reception hosted by
the RAC Club and RM Auctions was attended by Sir Ken Adam, the world-famous
production designer who designed James Bond’s now-famous gadget-laden car. Also in attendance was automobile enthusiast Nick Mason from the rock band Pink Floyd, London
socialite Liz Brewer, and many influential people in the world of high finance
and the classic car scene. The car is expected to sell in excess of £3.5m.
Entrance to the auction, which is being held at the Battersea Evolution, is via
the purchase of the sale catalogue. Further details available at: www.rmauctions.com Happy bidding!
Screen legend Kim Novak has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 77 year-old Novak only recently came out of self-imposed exile to make a rare public appearance to promote a new DVD collection of her films that has recently been released. Novak is said to be in excellent physical condition and it is anticipated she will make a full recovery. Click here for more
Bondstars, the UK-based web site that offers official autographs from alumni of the James Bond series, has announced that although their 007-themed Christmas celebration at Pinewood Studios on November 14 sold out almost immediately, they are accepting names for a standby list. Click here for the full details and roster of Bond celebs scheduled to attend.
Timothy Dalton hasn't held a cinematic license to kill since he last played James Bond in 1989. However, the former 007 will be re-entering the world of celluloid espionage by playing a recurring character on the NBC TV series Chuck. Dalton will guest star in the comedy show opposite Linda Hamilton. For more click here
To celebrate the 45th anniversary of The Sound of Music's release to theaters, the cast has reunited on an episode of Oprah Winfrey's program that will broadcast on October 29. Both Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer were joined by their on-screen "kids". The show is being done to promote Fox's 45th anniversary Blu-ray release of the film. For more click here
Barbara Billingsley, who turned the character of sitcom mom June Cleaver in the long-running show Leave It To Beaver into a beloved pop culture icon, died earlier this week at age 94. Billingsley's warm and comforting touch epitomized a fantasy view of suburban life that never really existed: the neighborhoods were perfect, violence was non-existence, politics was never discussed and the greatest crisis might be Beaver's attempt to cover up a bad report card. Billingsley co-starred for six years with actor Hugh Beaumont as June's husband Ward. Tony Dow played older son Wally and Jerry Mathers played The Beaver. The show was so popular that it was revived in the 1980s with both actors playing characters who were now coping with the problems of approaching middle age. Billingsley also revived her role as June, but Beaumont had passed away before the new series went into production. Billingsley had initially been under contract with MGM before striking it big on TV. She made a memorable and hilarious cameo appearance in the 1980 film Airplane playing a prim and proper housewife with an unlikely knack for chatting in jive talk. For more click here
The Express newspaper of London has an in-depth interview with former James Bond George Lazenby. It's tales that the one-shot 007 has told often, but his candor remains refreshing. the man who passed up taking on the role in subsequent Bond films discusses the fact that he was despised by the director and co-star Diana Rigg, but compensated for it by bedding a different actress almost every day. (Shades of Sir Hillary Bray!) He also reveals he was Russell Crowe's landlord during the Oscar-winner's lean years. Click here to read
again The Criterion Collection digs into master director Ingmar Bergman’s vault
and brings us his exquisite, enigmatic film from 1958, The Magician (originally titled The
Face in the UK; in fact, the Swedish title, Ansiktet, means “Face”).
sometime in the 1800s, the story concerns a traveling magic and medicine show
called “Vogler’s Magnetic Health Theater.”The troupe consists of Vogler (Max von Sydow), the mute magician of the
picture’s title, his “ward,” Mr. Aman (Ingrid Thulin in disguise, although it’s
no surprise that the character is a woman), Tubal (Ake Fridell), who acts as
manager/spokesman, and the inscrutable Granny (Naima Wifstrand), an old witch
who dabbles in love potions.Picked up
along the road is an alcoholic actor, Spegel (Bengt Ekerot, who was memorable
as Death in The Seventh Seal).
the company can perform in a small Swedish village, they must first prove their
credibility for the Minister of Health, Dr. Vergerus (Gunnar Bjornstrand), the
chief of police, and a government official (Erland Josephson).All three men interrogate the company.Later, the troupe presents a private
performance in the official’s home.It
is the intention of the three townsmen to expose the magician as a fraud—but,
as only Bergman can do it, the tables are turned on the antagonists.
The Magician, in a way, is
Bergman’s Stardust Memories (Woody
Allen, 1980), in which the artist answers his critics.The Vogler character could be interpreted as
representing Bergman himself—an artist who hides behind a mask, creates
illusions for entertainment, but in reality is an insecure and doubtful
man.Bergman himself calls the film a
comedy, and indeed, there are many humorous moments.By making the three townsmen extreme
caricatures, Bergman targets the types of upper class detractors who gave him a
hard time during his formative years as a filmmaker.(As the Swedish playwright August Strindberg
once responded to one of his critics, “I’ll see you in my next play!”)
not on the same level as some of Bergman’s masterworks such as The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin
Spring, Persona, Cries and Whispers, or Fanny and Alexander, The Magician still ranks as a solid
3-star effort from the director.For
fans of the man’s work, it will provoke discussion and head-scratching analysis—and
at the same time manage to be entertaining.
Fischer’s gorgeous black and white photography is never better presented than
in Criterion’s high-definition transfer.Every frame is a work of art.Extras include a new visual essay on the film by Bergman authority Peter
Cowie, and two wonderful vintage interviews with Bergman—one in English!
simply aren’t enough Bergman movies available on DVD in the United States; hats
are off to Criterion for continuing to unearth them.Hopefully the company will soon release Face to Face, From the Life of the Marionettes, Summer with Monika, A Lesson
in Love, Secrets of Women… the
list goes on and on!
Oscar winner Morgan Freeman will receive the American Film Institute's 39th Lifetime Achievement Award next June. "Morgan Freeman is an American treasure," Howard Stringer, chair of
the AFI board of Trustees, said. "Across
decades, whether playing a prisoner, a president or God, he
embodies a calm authority that demands respect for the character
and for the art form. His gifts to the cultural record are also
underscored by his unmistakable voice that echoes through the
hearts and minds of movie lovers around the world." Freeman is only the second African American actor to receive the award. Sidney Poitier was the first. The AFI began honoring the top filmmakers and actors with an award to the legendary director John Ford, who was so frail that when he attended the ceremony, he had the distinction of having his wheelchair guided on stage by President Richard Nixon. Since then, the AFI honor has ranked alongside the Oscar as the gold standard in terms of paying tribute to artists in the American film community. For more click here
Deadline Hollywood reports there are credible indications that James Cameron is exploring the possibility of directing Angelina Jolie in her forthcoming Cleopatra epic. Uh-oh. Doesn't Hollywood ever learn from its past? The 1963 Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton Cleopatra might be magnificent entertainment, but it was seemingly cursed from the start and the massive budget over-runs almost drove Fox into bankruptcy. Cameron, who is not known as a penny-pincher when it comes to spending studio's money, does have a great track record at the box-office, but whether there is enough interest in ol' Cleo to justify the inevitable huge expenditures on the pic will remain to be seen. Cameron has not confirmed his participation, but apparently he is in discussions with Sony.
The biggest companies producing X rated films have voluntarily shut down pending resolution of a crisis caused by the spread of HIV among performers. Ordinarily, the disease has been well controlled by the industry, although there have been previous instances of infection. A clinic that caters to adult film stars confirms the latest infection but would not disclose any specifics about the identity or even the sex of the performer. Actors in X-rated films are required to prove they are HIV- free 30 days before filming. Whether those rules were ignored or the person became infected within the 30 day period is not known. The industry is concerned because many of the performers make quite a number of films in a short period of time, usually with multiple partners. Condom use is virtually ignored in X-rated films because of marketing concerns: viewers find it a turn-off. For more click here
For Fox News' look at the history of porn click here
Director Oliver Stone says he is worried about his friend and colleague Michael Douglas, who is battling throat cancer. Douglas' spokespeople have issued optimistic updates about his condition, but Stone confesses he believes Douglas' health is "precarious". Douglas attended the premiere of Stone's Wall Street:Money Never Sleeps in New York three weeks ago, but had to cancel a European promotional tour. The 66 year-old Oscar winner is in remission from chemotherapy and friends and family remain hopeful he will be able to return to acting.
Regarding the Wall Street film, just a couple of quick personal observations. I found the movie to be highly engaging and extremely well-acted. Stone manages to avoid delving into the types of cliches we might have expected and focuses on how the financial crisis affects the personal lives of the main characters. Douglas is terrific, reviving the role of charismatic scoundrel Gordon Gekko that won him an Oscar in 1988. There's also a wonderful supporting cast including Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan and Frank Langella, who continues to get better with age. The central protagonist is played by Shia LaBeouf, who certainly gives a fine performance even though his name sounds like a sandwich choice on the menu of the Carnegie Deli. There's also a small but key role played by the seemingly indestructible Eli Wallach, who at age 94 is still able to steal scenes from his co-stars. (I love the inside joke that LaBeouf's character uses the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as the ring tone for his phone. There's also a another inside laugh when Michael Douglas visits a posh haberdasher in London and stands in front of a photo of young Kirk Douglas) One other reason to like the film: it actually features opening credits and a theme song, a tradition that most contemporary movies neglect because studio executives believe audiences have such limited attention spans, they'll lose interest before the story begins. Here's hoping Michael Douglas goes on to make many more fine movies like this. For more click here
Kimberly Lindbergs, who runs one of our favorite retro movie sites Cinebeats, also has a gig posting stories about films at Turner Classic Movie's sister site Movie Morlocks. In this column, Kimberly discusses her passion for collecting soundtrack albums from her favorite films- and offers some generous illustrations, as well. For all of you with a basement full of vinyl- here's proof you are not alone! Click here to read
Sir Sean Connery failed to show up in a Spanish court to answer questions about a land deal that has spawned a criminal investigation. There is no indication Connery has personally done anything wrong, but a Spanish judge could issue an international arrest warrant for the former James Bond. Connery sold his estate in Marbella, Spain in 1999 and has lived in the Bahamas since. A scandal has erupted concerning the use of the land after Connery and his wife Micheline left Spain. A developer has built 70 housing units on the property, far in excess of what the zoning laws allow. Connery maintains all he did was sell the land and move on and claims he has nothing to do with the new development. Connery notified the court that due to factors such as age and health, he would not appear in the court. The most likely scenario is that a judge would dispatch a legal team to take a deposition from the Oscar winner. Click here for more
Simon MacCorkindale (L) with Bee Gee Robin Gibb and Susan George at Pinewood Studios last May.
The esteemed British actor Simon MacCorkindale has died from cancer at age 58. The husband of actress Susan George, MacCorkindale got his first major break in feature films in the all-star 1978 Agatha Cristie thriller Death on the Nile. High profile TV and stage roles followed including I, Claudius, Falcon Crest and Jesus of Nazareth. MacCorkindale was best known in his native England, where he gained much popularity as the star of the popular TV series Casualty. Paying tribute to her husband, Ms. George said, "No-one could have fought this disease any harder than he
did since being diagnosed four years ago.He fought it with such strength, courage and belief. Last night, he lost
this battle, and he died peacefully in my arms.To me, he was simply the best of everything, and I loved him with all my
heart. He will live on in me forever." For more click here
The following letter refers to our coverage of the dispute regarding Ron Howard's new film The Dilemma. The controversy revolves around the gay rights group GLAAD's protests about a line of dialogue in the film that they deem insensitive.
can’t believe that you appear to be supporting movie censorship. There is
no evidence that humor from any movie is tied to any crimes against people
because they are gay. It’s hypocritical for GLAAD to go after a movie for a
funny line that makes fun of gays when every other movie and TV series in
America routinely makes fun of white, male, Christian, heterosexual, conservatives and nobody raises an eyebrow. This comes on the heels of a
related story where openly gay entertainer Adam Lambert is scheduled to perform
at a concert in Malaysia where he has been asked by the government to tone down
his act after Malaysia’s Islamist Protest Party has demanded that his concert
be canceled. In Malaysia it is also a crime to be a homosexual, yet GLAAD is
totally silent on this issue and some would say they were cowards. Should we
submit all movies for approval by other politically correct organizations like
NAACP, PETA, NOW, CAIR and others? Maybe the narcissistic, thin skinned,
whining and hyper- sensitive cry babies who can only laugh at jokes aimed at
others, like CNNs Anderson Cooper who called Tea Party members “Tea Baggers”
and GLAAD, should stay out of the censorship business and speak out against
real, rather than imagined, threats to out Freedom an Liberty and get a sense
Retro responds:Doug; Whoa there, big guy! That's sure a lot of hyperbole for a simple story reporting on a dispute over a line in a movie that doesn't even involve politics. In fact, if you read our coverage, we're not advocating anything because there is no opinion expressed one way or the other. Whether or not GLAAD's objections are appropriate or overly-sensitive is left to the individual readers to decide. Similarly, I'll leave it to those readers to decide if "white, male, Christian, heterosexual, conservatives" are being discriminated against. It's a minefield I'd rather not walk across. There seems to be a presumption among some of our conservative readers that, by simply reporting on a story, Cinema Retro is biased against their views. I do have to say that we never get similar complaints from liberals when we run favorable stories that in some ways involve Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush or other conservatives. Nor do we get complaints about our site being a virtual love letter to the ultimate symbol of conservatism, John Wayne - which is a bias I will admit to because he's always been my favorite actor. Likewise, in the most contentious days of the Bush administration, I never received a single E mail complaining about the respectful coverage we gave to the President on those occasions where he figured into a story. None of this means I'm siding with liberals over conservatives, but the mail trends do seem to indicate a sensitivity on one side of the political spectrum that we don't hear from on the other side. To our conservative friends and readers: please just chill out because no one is criticizing your views or beliefs and we are not advocating any political philosophies here.
I've tried hard not to use Cinema Retro's vast readership as a platform to espouse political opinions of anyone who contributes to our site. I confine my personal political views to my circle of friends. We've been passionately arguing our positions for years - without changing anyone's mind. (Isn't the definition of insanity the tendency to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results?) I've had to continue repeating this like a broken record because we keep getting submissions from readers who want to tie in contentious political aspects to their stories. I have not run these articles regardless of whether they are slanted to the left or the right. There are a million web sites where these opinions would be appropriate, but a site about movies isn't one of them. I'm not one for Kumbaya moments, but I'd like to think that a love for classic cinema is a topic that might bring people together, not divide them. As for my opinions about the Tea Party, whether favorable or unfavorable, this is not the appropriate forum to express them. However, if you ever swing by New York City, let me know and I'll be happy to discuss 'em with you mano-a-mano over a few beers- and I'll pick up the tab even if we don't agree. Thanks for writing - Lee Pfeiffer
New York Times film critic A.O. Scott is not an easy man to impress, but he's given an unqualified rave to Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, saying the veteran filmmaker continues to explore new territory in exciting ways- in this case, the realm of the supernatural. Click here to read
The Dilemma, the new Ron Howard comedy, is certainly causing a dilemma for Universal. The Vince Vaughn starrer centers on a man who is torn about whether to tell his best friend that he knows his wife is having an affair. The subject matter is seemingly innocuous but a line in the film that was used in the trailer, as well, has become the subject of contention with gay rights advocates. The scene uses the term "gay" in a demeaning way, even though the connotation would like not raise many objections during ordinary times. However, there have been several high profile crimes against young gay men in recent weeks. One resulted in a man being severely beaten by fellow gang members who suspected he was gay. The other was even more tragic: a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey was surreptitiously videoed by his roommate by a hidden webcam. The camera picked up images of the student having a sexual encounter with another man. When the roommate posted the footage on-line, the victim became so distraught that he committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge.CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was the first to turn the spotlight on the insensitive dialogue used in the trailer for The Dilemma. Bowing to protests from a gay rights group, Universal cut the line from the on-line trailer. However, theatrical trailers still have the line in them and there is pressure building to have these trailers recalled and edited. Click here for more
UPDATE: Vince Vaughn has argued to keep the controversial line of dialogue in the film, telling Deadline Hollywood, "Let me add my voice of support to the people outraged by the bullying
and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those
differences may be. Comedy and joking about our differences breaks
tension and brings us together. Drawing dividing lines over what we can
and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most
importantly, where does it stop?"
Sony has recently released an excellent set of five films starring Kim Novak. The legendary star epitomized glamour and sex appeal in the 50s and 60s before turning her back on Hollywood and going into self-imposed exile. Much of Novak's appeal can be attributed to the fact that, unlike many other actresses who clamored for the spotlight, Novak was content to reside in her rural home and carve out a new life for herself away from the madding crowds. That's precisely why this new DVD collection is so important to fans and film historians alike. Novak contributes insightful comments about the making of the five movies included in the set: Bell, Book and Candle, Jeanne Eagles, Middle of the Night, Picnic and Pal Joey, all of which are making their debut on DVD. In watching the films, one realizes that Novak never quite got her due as an actress. Typically dismissed as attractive, likeable but limited in terms of acting ability, she actually possessed considerable talent and could play light comedy as well as dramatic roles.
The films in the set each have their individual merits but one that most fans will probably be unacquianted with is Middle of the Night, Novak's own personal favorite in which she is cast in a May/December romance opposite the great Frederic March. The film bombed at the box-office despite its merits, and Novak complains that this relegated her to "stupid dumb blonde" movies thereafter - which undoubtedly convinced her to ultimately retire from acting altogether. The most impressive titles are Joshua Logan's excellent Picnic with William Holden as a shiftless drifter who turns a small town into a hotbed of sexual tension and George Sidney's Pal Joey, which teams Novak with two legends: Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth. The latter film is particularly delightful, as it presents three classic songs: My Funny Valentine (Novak laments the fact that her solo was dubbed), Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and The Lady is a Tramp, which Sinatra performs to perfection.
In addition to Novak's excellent conversations with film scholar Stephen Rebello, the set also includes theatrical trailers for every movie. There are also new featurettes about the star, but they mostly consist of her commenting over still photos. Novak does allow the camera to shoot around the grounds of her rural estate and to photograph her indulging in her passion for painting. However, we never do see a close-up of her, which makes her mystique as powerful and intriguing as ever.
Warner Brothers has announced that the new film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will not be released in 3-D. With the November 19 premiere date fast approaching, the studio admits there simply isn't enough time to fine-tune the technical aspects of the movie. Warners is obviously sensistive to increasing annoyance among movie fans that some recent 3-D films had underwhelming special effects. The studio does plan to ensure that the Potter film that follows this one will be in 3-D. Click here for more
Linda Lovelace was a struggling unknown when her one peculiar talent made her an international pop culture figure in the 70s.
By Lee Pfeiffer
There's a new off-Broadway play about the making of the legendary 1972 porn film Deep Throat, which was made for peanuts and grossed over $600 million- much of it funneled into the pockets of organized crime figures. As prurient as the show may be, New York Times theater critic David Rooney says the play is "slapdash" in its presentation of the pop culture phenomenon that made Linda Lovelace a household name. He also says the show "unfolds like a witless Laugh-In sketch." Undoubtedly, the show's producers will find these kinds of notices hard to swallow. Click here to read review
Roy Ward Baker, the esteemed British film director, has died at age 93. Baker was one of the few remaining representatives of the golden age of British filmmaking. He worked in his early years with such giants as Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed before embarking on a directing career of his own. He was one of the pioneers in the early use of 3-D in the 1950s and directed Marilyn Monroe in Don't Bother to Knock, a film that greatly boosted her status as a leading lady. Baker was best known for his direction of the 1958 film A Night to Remember starring Kenneth More, Honor Blackman and David McCallum. The low-budget film was shot primarily at Pinewood Studios and depicted the sinking of the Titanic. Many film historians still believe it's the most dramatic and moving depiction of the tragedy ever brought to the screen. He also directed the off-beat Western The Singer Not the Song with Dirk Bogarde and John Mills. The film became a cult favorite due to its apparent homosexual overtones. In later years, Baker gravitated to Hammer studios where he directed such films as Quatermass and the Pit, The Vampire Lovers and Scars of Dracula. The horror genre seemed to suit Baker and he went on to direct Bette Davis in The Anniversary as well as such popular successes as And Now the Screaming Starts and The Vault of Horror. Baker also directed episodes of popular British TV series such as The Saint, The Avengers, The Persuaders, The Baron and The Protectors. Click here for more.
The inimitable Vincent Price may be gone, but he's certainly not forgotten. The sophisticated actor, artist and culinary master is now starring in his own comic book, Vincent Price Presents, published by Blue Water Productions. In each issue, Price "stars" as a different character. Click here for info on the next issue, with a great cover by artist Patricio Carbajal.
Writer/director Tony Gilroy has clarified the status of the next Jason Bourne film: Bourne won't be appearing in the movie at all, although the character is linked to the story. Huh? Gilroy will use the Bourne framework to introduce an all new character- thus, Matt Damon will not be part of the new project. Click here for more
Eastwood with cast members Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard and Cecile de Franc.
The seemingly ageless and ever-diversified Clint Eastwood opened his supernatural-themed drama Hereafter at the New York Film Festival on Sunday. Star Matt Damon and other cast members also attended. Click here for more Click here to read Time magazine's rave about the film, which it reviewed at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. The review indicates that Eastwood's intelligent use of CGI in the tsunami sequence is one of the most thrilling sequences filmed in recent years.