If you haven't seen this delightful 1968 comedy crime caper, you're really missing out. Peter Ustinov stars as a charismatic con man who impersonates a computer expert at a big company run by manic top exec Karl Malden. He's also saddled with a dumb blonde girlfriend, played against type by Maggie Smith in one of the most enjoyable performances of his career. Ustinov's motive is to gain access to computer data that will allow him to rob the company of millions. It's a hilarious romp that earned Ustinov and co-writer Ira Wallach a Best Screenplay Oscar nomination. The three leads are simply superb, and there is able support from Bob Newhart. (See Lee Pfeiffer's full review of the film in his Take Two column in Cinema Retro issue #19) Click here to view trailer. Click here to order from Warner Archive.
Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson were known as two of the film industry's most private stars. Bronson rarely gave interviews or discussed his personal life. When Brynner did discuss his personal life, he intentionally teased the press by telling outrageous and often conflicting tall tales. In this rare unguarded moment from the set of Villa Rides that ran in British Photoplay in 1968, they appear to be in an unusually unguarded state- and Brynner even let his little daughter climb on co-star Robert Mitchum's chair.
In a candid 2010 BBC interview, Britt Ekland discusses her ill-fated marriage to Peter Sellers and how she got the role of Mary Goodnight in the 1974 James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun. The interview was done to promote a 007 festival organized by Bondstars.com which participants in Cinema Retro's Movie Magic tour attended. Click here to view
The Last Airbender has won several major "awards" in the annual Razzies ceremony, designed to honor the worst achievements in filmmaking for the previous year. Click here for the full list of "winners".
An unbilled Walter Huston delivers The Maltese Falcon to Sam Spade.
Uncredited movie cameos by famous personalities are a grand tradition. Philip French, a writer for The Guardian newspaper of London, lists his favorite 10 cinematic cameos. They include Alfred Hitchcock, Sean Connery, Raymond Chandler and Walter Huston. Click here to read
Director Lewis Gilbert in action inside Ken Adam's magnificent volcano set for You Only Live Twice at Pinewood Studios.
If you doubt that the mid-60s were a golden age of filmmaking, consider what Cinema Retro uncovered relating to the movies that were shooting simultaneously at England's most prominent studios during the week of October 6, 1966:
ESLTREE STUDIOS: The Saint and The BaronTV series
BRAY STUDIOS: The Hammer horror film The Mummy's Shroud
MGM BOREHAM WOOD STUDIOS: 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Dirty Dozen and The Prisoner TV series
SHEPPERTON STUDIOS: Half a Sixpence, Casino Royale
PINEWOOD STUDIOS: You Only Live Twice
SHOOTING ON LOCATION in England and Europe: Far From the Madding Crowd, How I Won the War
Landis, photographed in London, by Cinema Retro's Mark Mawston.
Director John Landis knows a thing or two about horror movies and now the director of An American Werewolf in London and Burke and Hare has announced he's authoring a book about the genre for DK Publishing. The volume, titled Monsters in the Movies, will be largely photo-driven with stills from his favorite horror flicks, but there will also be accompanying essays and comments from notable people associated with the genre. For more click here
The Ventures had a big hit back in the 1960s with their cover version of the title theme from Hawaii 5-0. However, if you long to hear composer Morton Stevens' entire original soundtrack album from the classic TV series, Film Score Monthly has it available for only $12.95. This is the complete album that was issued on vinyl during the show's original run. Click here to order and to listen to sample tracks. These may be in short supply, so book 'em, Dan-O!
Dismayed by their perception that the highly-touted and highly-troubled mega budget Spiderman Broadway extravaganza has strayed too far from the essentials of the comic book, a new team is planning to open their own musical version tribute titled The Spidey Project. It will premiere in March, one day before the official opening of the oft-delayed $65 million stage epic. With a budget of "zero dollars", the team will get around legal obstacles from Marvel by emphasizing it's a satire. For more click here
Pinewood Studios Group has signed a deal with Indomina Group, a major producer and distributor of films and TV series in the Latin American market, to open a major film studio in the Dominican Republic near Santo Domingo. Pinewood Indomina Studios will provide state-of-the-art facilities and hopes to attract major productions from around the world. The British-based Pinewood, long time home of the James Bond series, operates the legendary studio facility on the outskirts of London and has recently expanded its reach into other nations. For more click here
Grammy-winning film composer David Arnold has been named Music Director for the closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics. Arnold is the long-time composer of the James Bond films. For more click here
Would Timothy Dalton's testimony scare the living daylights out of Mel Gibson?
It could be a titanic battle between two legendary action heroes when James Bond goes head-to-head with Mad Max. However, this is not fiction and it would take place in the courtroom, not on a battlefield. Former James Bond star Timothy Dalton may end up giving evidence against Mel Gibson in the sordid court battle between Gibson and his ex-lover Oksana Grigorieva in the well-publicized case in which she accuses the Oscar winner of domestic abuse. Dalton was in a previous relationship with Grigorieva and fathered her son. Grigorieva says Dalton will testify in court that he witnessed physical evidence that Gibson had abused her. She and Gibson are embroiled in a seemingly endless battle for the court of public opinion that has been highlighted (or lowlighted) by Grigorieva releasing voicemails allegedly left by Gibson in which he unleashes a string of profanities and implied threats. For more click here
If you think all that's wrong with the film industry today can be cured by a remake of the 1983 Michael Keaton comedy Mr. Mom, you'll be able to sleep better: MGM is planning to redo the film now that it is operating with cash from new investors. Also in the possible remake stage: Poltergeist and Robocop. Yes, folks, this is the studio that once gave us Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. For more click here
Our Man in London, acclaimed photographer Mark Mawston was invited to cover the recent BAFTA awards ceremony. As usual, Mark got up close and personal to get some terrific photos. Here are a few choice shots from the event. Click here to visit Mark's web site.
(All photos copyright Mark Mawston. All rights reserved)
A.M.P.A.S. is still desperately trying to attract younger viewers for its annual Oscar telecast. Once considered to be "must-see" TV, the broadcast's ratings have declined in recent years. This resulted is an annual pledge to do something radical to attract younger viewers. The most contentious plan was to change the rules to include ten nominees for Best Picture, double the usual number. However, since only five director's can be nominated, everyone realizes that the other five are largely superfluous choices designed to honor films that stand no chance of winning. Consider this a sop to fans of The Dark Knight who complained that the Academy wasn't hip enough to nominate the blockbuster for Best Picture. Changes this year include getting rid of the tag-team of Barbie and Ken types who present an Oscar together amidst the God-awful "spontaneous" banter. Instead, there will be more responsibility on the two hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, who are the youngest people ever to host the event. The fact that most people over the age of 30 may not have even heard of them may result in a lack of enthusiasm for the older audience that remains Oscar's most loyal viewers. There also won't be film montages of classic genres. The gimmick is being retired after last year's awful tribute to horror movies that was compiled by people who think modern slasher films merited more time than the Universal monsters classics or Hammer horror flicks. They are also going to do away with dispensing with the Best Song nominees in a collective number and once again present the songs in their entirety. Given the fact that it seems there hasn't been a memorable song nominated since Ronald Reagan sat in the White House, this should ensure plenty of bathroom breaks for those viewers with weak bladders. There will also be the cringe-inducing gimmick of watching a selected groups of mothers and grandmothers, who will be referred to as "Mominees", to Tweet their observations about the broadcast on their Twitter accounts. That's the final straw for me. I'll be on vacation in the Dominican Republic and I was reluctant to leave the temptation of island drinks and cigars to be cooped up in a hotel room watching the Oscar broadcast. I'll now leave it to friends who are house sitting for me to give me their observations, but it might constitute cruel and unusual punishment. For the Hollywood Reporter's story about the changes to Oscar, click here
Coming in 2012: Strech Armstrong, a movie you won't want to see based on an action toy you never heard of.
In an insightful piece for GQ, writer Mark Harris examines the sad state of today's film industry. Executives are more timid than ever about investing in off-beat, envelope-pushing movies and meaningful, adult dramas are left to the realm of art house films. Instead, the industry is stuck in a pattern of investing in mega-budget but "safe" action movies based on comic book characters, amusement park rides and toys. Click here to read
Although he was one of the most beloved people of the 20th century, Walt Disney's personal life has always been controversial. Among the less-than-flattering aspects to his life were accusations that he was an FBI informant, an anti-Semite and that, as a boss, he made Captain Bligh look like a saint. For more click here
The Hollywood Show is always a favorite with retro movie and TV lovers. Cinema Retro contributor Graham Hill attended the most recent event. Click here for details about the April show in Burbank. (All photos copyright Graham Hill. All rights reserved)
The good folks at the retro movie site Cinebeats have us blushing over their kind words about Cinema Retro and our latest issue. If you haven't found our solicitations to get you to subscribe to be effective, then maybe Cine Beats can make you join the ranks of classic movie lovers who support our magazine. The site's owner, Kimberly Lindbergs rightly points out that many a fine movie magazine has folded in the age of the web, but there are still a number of us kicking around and fighting the good fight. All of those dear, departed magazines had one thing in common: many people read their web sites regularly, but never thought to support the venture by buying issues. That's why we're always so grateful to everyone who not only reads our site, but takes the plunge and subscribes. If the film magazines currently on the market that cover the golden age of moviemaking were to disappear, imagine that the remaining periodicals would provide little beyond Justin Bieber's plans for his next movie. So whether it's our magazine's web site or any other that you enjoy, try to occasionally purchase an issue every now and then. It's not only greatly appreciated, but goes a long way to ensuring that magazines that cover these great eras of filmmaking continue to thrive. Click here to read, and while on the Cinebeats site, prepare to spend a few hours browsing through a treasure trove of great articles.
In a terrific, in-depth interview with entertainment writer Brad Balfour, the legendary Robert Duvall talks about his career-topping performance in Get Low (which Oscar inexplicably snubbed), running his independent production company and his dream of playing Don Quixote for Terry Gilliam. Click here to read
If you haven't seen the remarkable film Get Low, click here to order from Amazon
The estate of writer J.R.R. Tolkien has sent a cease-and-desist order to a Texas novelist who has written a fictional book about the the legendary author. The estate claims it controls the rights to market his name in commercial ventures. The author is suing the estate, claiming they have no such right, as long as he doesn't utilize any of the characters that Tolkien created. He cites the Fair Use premise under American copyright law as a legal precedent to defend his case. For more click here
There is a fund-raising drive on behalf of Robocop fans to erect a statue of theor hero in his "home town" of Detroit. Just what the city needs- a depiction of the notion that it is a crime-ridden hellhole that has to rely on a super hero to keep order. That should really help spur the tourist trade! Click here for more
Albert Stroller, the charismatic con-man played by Robert Vaughn, was the influence for a real-life scammer.
British retired millionaire Derek Voysey wasn't satisfied with his loot- so he decided to emulate elegant TV con man Albert Stroller, played by Robert Vaughn in the hit TV series Hustle. He concocted a fraudulent land sales scheme that conned pensioners out of their savings. Voysey, who was nicknamed "Albert Stroller", had a different fate than his TV counterpart and was caught, which proves that life doesn't always imitate art. For more click here
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Farrelly brothers give insights into their vision of the long-delayed Three Stooges feature film was is finally going into production soon. Among the nuggets: they want to approach Cher to star as a Mother Superior who is victimized by the Stooges' antics. For more click here
I have to admit that I hadn't a clue as to what Intruder in the Dust was about until I viewed the new DVD released through the Warner Archive. The film is a powerful indictment of the horrors of racism, filmed by MGM during a period when the American Civil Rights Movement was just begining to heat up. We have a tendency to accuse Hollywood studios of relegating African-American actors to being mere window dressing in films of this era, or worse, casting them as comic relief in often degrading ways. However, this 1949 achievement should be much higher on the radar of retro movie lovers. While most studio productions steered clear of the problem of racism in the American South during the period when segregation was still law, this excellent film addresses the issue head-on. There were some talented people who brought the story to the screen in 1949. Esteemed director Clarence Brown was behind the camera and the screenplay was written by the great Ben Maddow, based on a novel by William Faulkner.
Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney has filed with the court to get a restraining order against his stepson, whom he accuses of keeping him a prisoner in his own home. The 90 year-old Oscar winner also says his stepson is manipulating his finances, forces him to make personal appearances to raise money and verbally abuses him, leaving him in fear. A temporary retraining order has been granted, pending a court hearing on February 24. For more click here
I've just become acquainted with your website, having read David Hedison's reflections on working with Richard Basehart on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". It was one of my favorite shows as a kid and I've purchased the series on dvd. I've asked around, but have you any knowledge of a DVD release of another of my long-ago favorites, the 1960's "Tarzan" series starring Ron Ely? Thank you, I'll be enjoying more of your website now! -Lanny Hamilton
Retro responds: Lanny, to our knowledge the series is one of many gems that has yet to be released to DVD. The fact that it was not a major hit at the time probably hinders the prospects of a traditional video release. However, the studios do read our site regularly, along with others that gripe about unreleased product, and its possible the show might be made available on a burn-to-order basis. These programs have proven to be far more successful than the studios imagined. -Lee Pfeiffer
Poitier's 1964 Oscar win: the breakthrough may have been largely symbolic.
New York Times film critics Manphla Dargis and A.O. Scott collaborate on a fascinating and thought-provoking examination of the state of race in contemporary American cinema. The two critics review the various signs of progress when it comes to providing stories pertaining to the African American community and conclude that, despite some high profile exceptions, the situation is regressing. Click here to read.
Character Len Lesser, who appeared in 15 episodes of the classic Seinfeld TV series, has died from pneumonia at age 88. Lesser gained popularity as Seinfeld's obnoxious Uncle Leo, a loudmouth, unscrupulous schemer. Lesser had a long career in films and TV. Among the features he appeared in: Kelly's Heroes, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Birdman of Alcatraz, Papillon and Some Came Running. For more click here
Borders, the evergreen chain of high end book stores, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The move was anticipated after years of drastically declining sales. The company will still continue to operate but will close about 30% of its 508 superstores in the United States. "Brick and mortar" traditional book stores are having a hard time competing from web sites like Amazon, which often sell items at razor-thin margins because they have much lower overheads. Borders remains a popular spot with book and video lovers, as the chain provides an upscale atmosphere complete with cafes. The chain also offers a wide range of books,magazines, DVDs and CDs that are hard to find in smaller venues. For more click here
Columbia Pictures is going back to the basics with the title of the next Spiderman movie, which is now shooting. The official title will be The Amazing Spider-Man, with the hyphen harkening back to the hero's first appearance in his own comic book for Marvel. (He was actually introduced in Amazing Fantasy comics #15). The Social Network's Andrew Garfield will star. For more click here
Mars with Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel in Mel Brooks' The Producers.
Comic actor Kenneth Mars has died from pancreatic cancer at age 75. Mars was a master of good timing in sitcoms and comedy feature films. He did extensive voice-over work in animated series beginning with The Jetsons in 1962 and extending to recent years with the Land Before Time children's films. He made an unforgettable feature film debut in Mel Brooks' classic 1968 movie The Producers, playing zany neo-Nazi Franz Liebkin, whose play Springtime for Hitler provides the perfect vehicle for two shady Broadway producers to ensure making a fortune off the the show's inevitable failure. Much to their chagrin, the plan goes awry when the audience mistakes the musical for a satire of Adolf Hitler instead of the love letter to him that Liebkin had envisioned. The show's instant success leads to ruin for the schemers. Brooks was impressed enough with Mars to cast him as the police inspector in his 1975 smash hit Young Frankenstein. In the ensuing years, Mars worked steadily on TV and in films, with roles in two Woody Allen movies: Radio Days and Shadows and Fog. For more click here
Much is being made of several images from the James Bond films taken by famed photographer Terry O'Neill that are said to be unpublished. The photos will be on display next month in London as part of a celebration of O'Neill's long career. However, one of the photos, showing Goldfinger star Honor Blackman in a bathing suit with "Pussy" written in the sand, was published previously. I recall seeing it in a 1965 paperback about the 007 phenomenon titled For Bond Lovers Only. Another photo shows Sean Connery back stage on the set of Diamonds Are Forever with topless showgirls. Click here for more
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
The Sammy Awards (or Sammys) are named after movie lyricist Sammy Cahn (1913-1993), who received 4 Oscars for his songs, and was nominated more than any other songwriter, 26 times in all. Cahn said he was “flattered and honored” to have these movie music awards named after him. His Oscar-winning songs are: “Three Coins in the Fountain”; “All the Way”; “High Hopes”; and “Call Me Irresponsible.” All four songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, a big fan of Sammy’s lyrics. Now in their twenty-third (23rd) year, the Sammys are the longest running awards for film music recordings. The Sammys are chosen each year by Roger Hall, a film music historian, member of the International Film Music Critics Association, author of the book, A Guide to Film Music – Songs and Scores, and editor of the long-running online magazine, Film Music Review – www.americanmusicpreservation.com/fmr.htm Here are the Sammys for film music CDs of 2010:
Best New Film Score CD: THE KING’S SPEECH – Music by Alexandre Desplat (Decca)
Best Overlooked Film Score CD: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER – Music by David Arnold (Sony Classical)
Most Overrated New Film Score CD: INCEPTION – music by Hans Zimmer (Water Tower Music)
Best Golden Age Film Score CD: CITIZEN KANE and HANGOVER SQUARE - music by Bernard Herrmann (Chandos CD)
Best Silver Age Film Score CD: THE ALAMO (Complete Score) - music by Dimitri Tiomkin (Prometheus 3 CD Box Set)
Best Bronze Age Film Score CD: PATTON – music by Jerry Goldsmith (Intrada 2 CDs)
Best Vintage Compilation CD: THE SEA HAWK – music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (RCA CD)
Best Newly Recorded Vintage Score CD: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Complete Score) – music by Maurice Jarre (Tadlow 2 CDs)
Special Preservation Award - Best Album Producer: Robert Townson for SPARTACUS (6 CDs, 1 DVD with illustrated book)
Lifetime Achievement Award: John Barry (1933-2011) – 5 Oscars
Robert Redford's forthcoming directorial effort The Conspirator deals with unanswered questions about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Looks like quite a good period thriller. Click here to view trailer
As anticipated, The King's Speech has swept the BAFTA awards - with one notable exception. The low-budget film that has taken Britain and much of the rest of the world by storm is the kind of old-fashioned, intelligent movie-making that many people thought might be obsolete in the age of special effects-driven epics. The film won Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Best Original Screenplay and all three leads - Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter- all took home awards. In one of those inexplicable, bizarre scenarios, however, the film's driving force, director Tom Hooper, was passed over in favor of David Fincher for The Social Network. Movie fans have often pondered how the Best Film could not go hand-in-hand with the Best Director award. Despite the glaring snub to Hooper, the BAFTA attention should only reinforce the film's status as the favorite for the major Oscar awards later this month. For full coverage, click here
In an age of dumbed-down celebrities, it's easy to overlook some of the seminal giants of American culture. Such a man was Tennessee Williams, the masterful playwright whose work was adapted for many memorable films. This past weekend, an extraordinary gathering of stars associated with his plays gathered at New York's 92nd Street Y for readings and discussions about the literary genius. Click here for report
The tangled web that is the Church of Scientology is getting more tangled. The New Yorker reports that the FBI is investigating charges that church members were used as virtual slave labor to perform personal tasks for prominent Scientologists. How all of this involves Tom Cruise and Oscar winning director and ex-Scientolgist Paul Haggis is too complex to summarize here. The Church maintains it is the victim of a witchhunt. Church critics call it a cult, not a legitimate religion. Click here for more info
Spiderman is making a new move- and joining the legendary Fantastic Four- or rather the Fantastic Three. Seems that Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch, was recently killed off in the group he has been a part of since debuting in the Marvel comic book in the early 1960s. Spidey will now join Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and the Thing to fight crime when the group changes its name to The Future Foundation. I dunno...do you like it? Sounds like some firm by those financial planning representatives you go out of your way to avoid at cocktail parties. Maybe Spidey is looking for more secure employment in case things don't work out in his trouble-plagued Broadway musical production. For more click here
The Los Angeles Times reports that talks are well under way between MGM and Sony for the latter company to release the next James Bond movie, slated to premiere in November 2012. Cash-strapped MGM recently emerged from bankruptcy but doesn't have the financial resources to properly market its films. Under the proposed deal, Sony would distribute a couple of MGM titles that have been sitting on the shelf, co-finance and distribute future movies including those in the Bond series. Sony handled distribution for the last two 007 films, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace. The studio reportedly has a good working relationship with the Bond producers, Eon Productions. Details are still being worked out, but if the deal goes through, Sony would also take possession of DVD distibution for MGM's massive back catalog, currently being marketed by Fox under an agreement that terminates in September. For more click here
Warner Brothers has confirmed that Rachel McAdams will make a cameo appearance in the new Sherlock Holmes film, presumably as Irene Adler, the character she played in the last film. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law will reprise as Holmes and Dr. Watson. McAdams' presence became known when a French TV crew released footage of the shoot and she was seen on the set. Not be unchivalrous, but McAdams was the weakest link in the otherwise highly enjoyable previous movie. She made no attempt to act as though she was in the Victorian period and delivered her lines like she was in an episode of Desperate Housewives. The Girl With Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace will have the female lead this time around. This film will feature Holmes' nemesis Prof. Moriarty, who will be played by Jared Harris of Mad Men. Click here for more and to view the French video report from the set.
At this Sunday's BAFTA awards, an oversight will be addressed when Sir Christopher Lee will be awarded an honorary fellowship in recognition of his long career in the film industry. The acting icon has never been nominated for a BAFTA for any of his performances, despite a career that extends back to the 1940s. Sir Christopher is anticipating being at the ceremony in London to personally accept the award. The legendary 88 year-old star also anticipates reprising his role as Saruman in Peter Jackson's film The Hobbit, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. For more click here
Operation C.I.A. is a 1965 adventure that gave an early starring role to Burt Reynolds, who at that time was primarily known as a TV actor. The movie represents that by-gone era in which certain films were specifically created to be the bottom half of double bills. The irony is that many of these "disposable" vehicles now look superior to much of what is produced today at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. What is intriguing about Operation C.I.A. is that it represents one of the last movies to address the hotbed political situation in Vietnam before the war went into full gear. Unlike today, when moviemakers routinely make the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the backdrop for major films, once the Vietnam conflict became very contentious, studios avoided the subject like the plague. Virtually the only movie to openly set a storyline in the midst of the war was John Wayne's The Green Berets. That film took until 1968 to get off the ground and Wayne expended all of his considerable influence before he twisted Jack Warner's arm to provide financing because it took a right wing stand in an era in which protests against the war were at a fever pitch.
We were recently contacted by the good ladies who run the Barefoot Aphrodite web site. The long-running site specializes in reviewing movies that women may find sensuous. Before all you male hounddogs start letting your fantasies get out of hand, we should point out that the site reviews mainstream movies and emphasizes elements in them that many women may find a turn-on. The site came about when some of the women decided to rent porn movies years ago and came to the conclusion that what turns guys on is often what alienates the women in their lives. Sadly, this is true. How many guys think they'll get their date in the mood by watching one woman interact with 35 men simultaneously? The site features reviews from women of different ages and backgrounds and includes such diverse fare as Sirens, Il Postino and Casino Royale (not the Woody Allen version!). In case you think it's prudish, Barefoot Aphrodite also offers links to sites specializing in erotic products and even offers a personal "sensuality test". If they ever have a convention, we'll be the first to buy tickets. Click here to visit the site.
For the benefit of our many international readers who did not see the Super Bowl, we're providing this link to the most memorable ads that were broadcast during this year's game. There was an era when the Super Bowl was about football, but that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Today, it's about overblown hype for products and DeMille-sized musical half time productions (this year's was God-awful). Companies spend amounts equal to a small nation's gross national product to produce ads to air during the game. The big winner in terms of "buzz" was a Volkswagen spot tied into Star Wars, which is rather charming. Click here to view, along with all of the other ads.
The Royal Family has let it be known that Queen Elizabeth was "moved" by the film The King's Speech, which chronicles her father's trials and tribulations at conquering a speech impediment as he prepared to rally the British people against the threat of Hitler. What has become known is that screenwriter David Seidel intended to bring the movie to the screen many years ago, but was asked by the Queen Mother not to do so until her death, as she felt it would have been too emotional for her to have those memories brought to the fore. Seidel bowed to her wishes. The film is now winning many major awards and is the favorite for the Best Picture Oscar. It may sound like faint praise that the Queen is simply said to have been "moved" by the movie, but this is what constitutes a rave among royal watchers. The Royal Family is very careful about public comments that could be misconstrued as blatant commercial endorsements. For more click here
Joe Dante's fabulous Trailers From Hell website, which features prominent people in the film industry providing commentaries on classic and cult trailers, has a week-long tribute to Alfred Hitchcock. Trailers to be shown are I Confess (with commentary by Guillermo del Toro!), Rope (with commentary by Darren Bousman) and Frenzy (commentary by Josh Olson). Click here to view