It's hardly a revelation that Madonna used the image of her idol Marilyn Monroe to help publicize her career, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. We can all remember specific publicity photos, magazine covers and music video in which the legendary actress was channeled by the up-and-coming entertainment industry icon. However, the full extent of Madonna's Marilyn "tributes" borders on an obsession- and she has been accused of blatantly ripping off every aspect of Monroe's career, from specific poses to scenes from her films. The web site www.antimadonna.darkhost.com lays out the full extent of the evidence in mind-boggling detail.
Clint Eastwood is prepping a new screen version of the oft-filmed A Star is Born. Beyonce is set to star, possibly opposite Tom Cruise. Curiously, this version draws on a more contemporary inspiration for the storyline. Screenwriter Will Fetters says he was motivated by the tragic real life story of rocker Kurt Kobain. Click here to read
Noted Hollywood historian and movie photo collector Marc Wanamaker has donated his collection of 70,000 rare stills to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Wanamaker began collecting the photos in 1971 as part of a research project. Over the years, he managed to unearth a treasure trove of rare images pertaining to early American films, though some of the photos extend to relatively recent past. In some cases, these represent the only known photos from largely forgotten films. The collection will be available to film historians and researchers. For more click here
Warner Archive has released the little-remembered 1969 adventure film Kenner as part of its celebration of Jim Brown movies. The film is pretty much a klunky, under-scripted misfire, directed by Steve Sekely, who specialized in B movies. (His greatest success was Day of the Triffids.) Brown plays the title role of Roy Kenner, a rugged, no-nonsense seafarer who arrives in Bombay ostensibly to locate an old friend who has gone missing. In fact, he's trying to track down a ruthless criminal named Jordan (Charles Horvath), a one-time partner whose double crossing ways resulted in the death of Kenner's best friend. The film's misguided premise is to show the touchy-feely side of Brown when virtually no one went to his films looking for his touchy-feely side. Within minutes of arriving in Bombay, he encounters Saji (Ricky Cordell), an adorable child of the streets who longs to see his American father. His devoted mother Anasuya (Madlyn Rhue) keeps a terrible secret from him: she is a prostitute who doesn't even know who fathered the boy. Saji helps Kenner escape harm at the hands of an angry mob and, as a result, the two become inseparable. Kenner romances Anasuya, but both mother and son become unwitting participants in Kenner's dangerous attempts to track down Jordan. The film meanders from one chase to another, and director Sekely does the best he can to capitalize on the exotic locations in old Bombay and provides a few exciting, well-staged chase scenes. However. everyone seems to realize they are participating in a bottom-of-the-double-feature production. Brown is uncharacteristically bland, phoning in his performance and performing the requisite action sequences with something less than zeal. There is one surprising plot development that does pack some emotional impact, but the film is, in the overall sense, a misfire. The former footballer-turned-action star was overexposed at the time, with six movies released between 1968-1969 though he would later redeem himself with more successful films than this. The supporting cast of Kenner contributes some admirable performances, with old hand Robert Coote as a devious English aristocrat providing a few interesting moments. However, the performance of Charles Horvath as the villain is poor enough to make viewers grateful that he has limited screen time. Unless you have an urgent desire to see what Bombay looked like in 1969, this Brown title will be only for the actor's hard-core fans. The DVD contains the original trailer, which rather disingenuously portrays the film as a Blaxploitation movie.
Click here to order from Warner Archive and to view a clip of Jim Brown fighting it out in an old Bombay movie theater.
The Hollywood Reporter uses a cinematic time machine to revisit the summer of 1975 when Jaws became an international blockbuster and a young director named Steven Spielberg became a household name. Click here to read