The annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival takes place in Hollywood, August 28-September 1. Vintage movies will be screened and there will be appearances by actresses Diane McBain, Ruta Lee, Margaret O'Brien, Francine York and Barbara Luna, among others. There will also be a dealers room for autographs and memorabilia. Click here for details.
On August 27 and 28, 2014, the New
Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles will be presenting a screening of Ivan Nagy’s
1975 film Deadly Hero. Advertised
with the tag lines “A young girl knows the truth. Now that truth is haunting
her, and someone is hunting her” and “Not since The French Connection and Death
Wish has a movie moved so deep into the heart and soul of the big city”, Deadly Hero runs 102 minutes (the same
length as The French Connection) and
will be presented in 35mm. Deadly Hero stars Don Murray, Diahn
Williams, James Earl Jones, Lilia Skala, Conchata Ferrell, Treat Williams and
The film will be screened at 7:30 pm on
both nights. Actor Don Murray will be
appearing in person following the 7:30 pm screening on August 27. Click here
The New Beverly is located at 7165 West
Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. The phone number is (323) 938 – 4038.
Amir Shervan’s 1991 goofy cop thriller Samurai Cop has developed a cult
following and has been playing to sell-out crowds all across the country. On Thursday, August 28, 2014, the film will
be shown at the Cinefamily Theater in Los Angeles at 10:30 pm. The event will be hosted by actor Douglas
Dunning and scheduled to appear in person following the screening are actors
Matt Hannon and Jimmy Williams, as well as director of photography Peter Palian.
From the press release:
One of our favorite Everything
Is Festival late-night actioners is back — this time, with star Matt Hannon in
person for his first L.A. Q&A ever!Even in an era when action sludge was more common than shoulder
pads or skinny ties, 1989’sSamurai Copstood out as a true anomaly. Perhaps living legend Joe Bob
Briggs summed it up best: a “recently unearthed, soon-to-be-classic kung-fu
action-comedy skin flick with gratuitous gore elements.” That’s a good start,
and yet there’s so much more. Ex-Stallone bodyguard Matt Hannon stars as Joe
Marshall, a rock of a man who will do literally whatever it takes to punish the
guilty — even if that means taking dozens of innocent lives in the process.
Teamed up with truly hilarious sidekick Frank (whose African-American-ness and
genitals are mentioned waaaay more than once), Joe embarks on an adventure so
psychedelically violent and sex-tastic, there’s a chance Hunter S. Thomson will
return from his “space ashes” just to drool along with us. Oh, and fear not,
Robert Z’Dar fans, you’ll see plenty of the chin that made the Z famous, in rare
Dir. Amir Shervan, 1991, digital presentation, 96 min. - See more at: http://www.cinefamily.org/films/everything-is-festival-the-5th-dimension/#samurai-cop-star-matt-hannon-in-person
is located at 611 N Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Phone number is (323) 655 – 2510.
July 16th 2014, Cinema Retro’s Eddy Friedfeld moderated a tribute to
the late Sid Caesar with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Billy Crystal at The Paley
Center in Beverly Hills, which Rotten Tomatoes called “funny, touching, and
illuminating.” The two hour program had
Brooks and Reiner sharing stories and recollections of their time onstage and
in the fabled Writers Room of Your Show of Shows and Caesars Hour, and Crystal
sharing how Caesar influenced him to become a comedian, including a step by
step recollection of how he created the legendary Fernando character. For full coverage on the Rotten Tomatoes web site, click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
Cine-Excess International Film Conference and Festival
brings together leading scholars and critics with global cult filmmakers to
discuss and celebrate cult cinema. Now in its eighth year, Cine Excess
VIII is preparing to explore the rural excesses of cinema with a three day
international conference in Brighton from 14th to 16th November 2014,
which also features plenary talks, filmmaker interviews and UK theatrical
premieres of up and coming cult releases.
With the 2012 relocation of Cine-Excess to the
University of Brighton, a number of new developments and collaborations
connected to the event have been developed. These include the recent 2013
launch of the peer-review Cine-Excess E-Journal (www.cine-excess.co.uk),
which publishes a selection of papers from the event, this year’s festival is
itself a collaboration with the University of Brighton’s C21: Centre for
research in twenty-first century writings.
To coincide with the 40th anniversary of Tobe Hooper
and Kim Henkel’s ground breaking backwoods classic The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, Cine-Excess VIII considers cult representations of
the rural space and its inhabitants, analysing the extent to which depictions
of the countryside often reveal fascinating issues of class, sexuality, race
and regional distinction.
From early moonshine movies depicting ribald rural rule
breaking, to survival splatter epics such as Deliverance (1972), The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Southern Comfort(1981), The
Devil’s Rejects (2005) and beyond, the American countryside and its
inhabitants come to evoke longstanding traditions of humour, horror and morbid
fascination within a range of cult film genres. Beyond this established
Stateside preoccupation with the South, Europe has also used cult imagery to
acknowledge its own regional splits and divisions, which have fed into a range
of representations, myths and case-studies that extended from eugenic
case-study to exploitation cinema. In addition to these territories,
other global cultures frequently figure the rural space as a site of either
erotic emancipation or fearful foreboding in a range of unsettling and iconic
genres that warrant further investigation.
In order to explore these themes further, Cine-Excess
VIII will consider the wide variety of representations of the cult
countryside from a range of differing theoretical and methodological
perspectives, while also considering larger national notions of the rural space
within film, television, literature, comics and digital media. A number of
iconic international filmmakers associated with rural cult cinema classics are
expected to be attendance to discuss their work and interact with academic
speakers. Proposals are now invited for papers on any aspect of
rural excess with a final listing of accepted presentations will be released on
17th September. A selection of conference papers from the event
will be published in the Cine-Excess E-Journal in 2015.
Previous guests of honour to the annual Cine-Excess event
have included Catherine Breillat (Romance, Sex is Comedy), John
Landis (An American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers,Trading
Places), Roger Corman (The Masque of the Red Death, The Little
Shop of Horrors, The Intruder, The Wild Angels, Bloody Mama), Stuart
Gordon (Re-Animator, King of the Ants, Stuck),Brian Yuzna (Society, Beyond
Re-Animator, The Dentist), Dario Argento (Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno) Joe
Dante (The Howling, Gremlins, The Hole), Franco Nero (Django, Keoma, Die
Hard II),Vanessa Redgrave (Blow Up, The Devils, Julia), Ruggero
Deodato (Last Cannibal World, Cannibal Holocaust, House on the
Edge of the Park) Enzo G. Castellari (Keoma, The Inglorious
Bast***s) and Sergio Martino (Torso, All the Colours of the Dark).
THE CAMDEN FILM FAIR IS
BIGGER, BETTER AND BUSIER THAN EVER WITH FOUR SPECIAL GUESTS ATTENDING ON
SATURDAY 16th AUGUST!
Held six times a year at the legendary Electric Ballroom, 184
Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QP, Camden Film
Fair is now looking for even more stall holders to sell
horror, sci-fi, books, comics, toys and other movie and TV-related merchandise
to its ever-increasing number of customers so if you would like to book a stand
at any of the upcoming events or require more information just email email@example.com or
call 01832 731774 (10am - 6pm)!
The next Camden Film Fair is Saturday 16th
August with special guests the lovely MARGARET NOLAN (Goldfinger, Carry
on Cowboy, Carry on Girls, Witchfinder General, Carry
on at your Convenience); the wonderful SALLY GEESON (Bless
This House, The Oblong Box, Carry on Abroad, Cry
of the Banshee, Carry on Girls); cool character actor SHANE
RIMMER (Thunderbirds, The Spy Who Loved Me, UFO, Batman
Begins, Diamonds Are Forever); and cult writer/director MICHAEL
ARMSTRONG (Mark of the Devil, House of the Long
Shadows, The Black Panther, The Haunted House of Horror, Eskimo
Nell). All four are looking forward to meeting movie fans and film
The restored Detroit movie palace, The Redford Theatre, will present a special screening of Christopher Guest's hilarious "Best in Show" on August 3. In attendance will be one of the film's stars, actor/comedian Fred Willard. The program will also include improv comedy on stage. For more click here
It's that time of year again when the Super Monster-Rama is shown at the Riverside Drive-in in Vandergrift, PA. Two nights of 35mm monster flicks that go all through the evening, including some Hammer horror classics. Click here for details.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
the years, Shout! Factory has become a mainstay of Comic-Con International, and
its pedigree of unique home entertainment products, panel events and convention
exclusives elicits a deafening chorus of oohs and ahs from Comic-Con
attendees. As a leading multi-platform
entertainment company, Shout! Factory continues to expand its reach to a
multitude of pop culture fans spanning Shout! Factory, Shout! Kids and Scream
Factory™. This year, Shout! Factory returns
to Comic-Con International 2014 with a dynamic lineup, featuring a revealing
panel event, a showcase of new home entertainment products, Comic-Con exclusive
items and engaging booth activities. Fans
and convention attendees are invited to join in on the excitement at the Shout! Factory booth (#4248) on the
main convention floor.
your idea of fun is binge-watching pop culture entertainment and geeking-out
over enduring cult TV hits, retro-horror/sci-fi classics, outlandish comedies
and fantastical CG-animated movie adventures, you will not want to miss this
year’s panel event: An Inside Look at Shout! Factory,
Shout! Kids and Scream Factory on Friday,
July 25, 2014 at 7pm (Room 23ABC). Join Brian Ward (DVD Producer), Melissa Boag (VP,
Kids & Family) and Jeff Nelson (Sr. Marketing Director) as they make
special announcements and unveil exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming Blu-ray/DVD
collector’s editions and new movies coming to theaters this fall. This is a
fan-driven insider’s event filled with lively discussion and more than a few
surprises. This panel discussion and Q&A will be moderated by entertainment
writer & critic Kyle Anderson (NERDIST.com).
Factory makes its mark at Comic-Con this year with the MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS – RAINBOW ROCKS photo booth,
numerous Comic-Con exclusives, exciting booth activities and special advance
screenings of two highly anticipated CG-animated movies – Slugterra:
Return of the Elementals from Nerd Corps Entertainment and THUNDER
AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC from renowned 3D filmmakers Ben Stassen and Jeremie
Degruson before they hit movie theaters across the country.
and the studio’s Shout! Factory Store
will once again be a must-visit destination on the convention center
floor. Poised to ignite fans and
Comic-Con attendees of all ages, the Shout! Factory booth will showcase the
latest offerings from fan-driven product lines, fan interactive activities, premium
giveaways and much more! The Shout! Factory Store, located in Shout’s booth, is
back at Comic-Con this year with a pedigree of exclusives and upcoming home
updates on Shout! Factory’s Comic-Con activities and news, please follow us on
Twitter @ShoutFactory, hashtag #SDCC14 and the studio’s official Facebook page
(Continue reading for full Shout! Factory schedule of events)
Burt Lancaster and Susan Clark in the excellent 1971 film adaptation of Valdez is Coming.
Commencing July 10, the Anthology Film Archives in New York City will present screenings of movies based on the novels of Elmore Leonard. These will include rare big screen showings of Hombre, Joe Kidd, Valdez is Coming and Mr. Majestyk.
Cinema Retro's Matt Field and Dave Worrall on the red carpet.
By Matthew Field
headlined an exclusive red carpet event at the Odeon Leicester Square in
London, to mark the 50th anniversary of Zulu – the 1964 epic about
the historic 1879 battle at Rorke’s Drift.
Arriving at the cinema, the Prince told Suzannah Endfield Olivier, the
daughter of the film's director Cy Endfield, that Zulu was one of his favourite
films. 'I watch this film every single year before Christmas time,' he said. 'Maybe
once. Maybe twice.'
Matt and Dave with Cinema Retro contributor Paul Adsacks.
Inside and ahead of the film, guests were treated to a screening of rare
behind the scenes footage shot on location in South Africa in 1964. Cinema
Retro’s Dr. Sheldon Hall, gave the 2,000 strong audience a running commentary
to the black and white footage. Film critic Mark Kermode and Historian Dan Snow
both addressed the audience giving the film a cultural and historical context.
Dave and Matt with Welsh Guards.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who played King Cetshwayo the leader of the
Zulus in the film, was also in attendance. He said in a short recorded piece to
camera “My portrayal of King Cetshwayo, my maternal great-grandfather, was not
only a privilege, but almost inevitable once the idea was conceived. Cy
Endfield and Sir Stanley Baker came to see me at KwaPhindangene to request my
assistance in enlisting the thousands of extras for the Zulu regiments and the
part of King Cetshwayo. But when Endfield saw me, he was struck by the family
resemblance, and persuaded me to play the role myself.”
The Choir of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards performed Men of
Harlech on stage before a specially filmed message from Michael Caine. The
event benefited three very worthy charities - Walking With The Wounded, The
David Rattray Memorial Trust and Sentebale.
Zulu actor Dickie Owen and Henry Coleman a historian of the film who supplied rare footage. Henry also runs a Zulu web site that can be accessed by clicking here.
Finally the audience enjoyed the gorgeous 50th anniversary
digitally restored print of the film. As the lights came up, we began talking
to an elderly gentleman sitting next to us, only to discover, he was in fact 88 year old actor Dickie Owen, who played
Corporal Schiess in the film. In all, a memorable commemoration of a very
memorable British film classic.
It was 70 years ago today that the greatest invasion in modern history took place, as Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of France to liberate Europe from the yoke of totalitarianism. Their sacrifices were not in vain. Brave men from forces of America, Great Britain and Canada led the charge with free French and Polish forces and supporting contingents from other nations including Australia,Norway and New Zealand. From the carnage, a better world emerged, though Eastern Europe would still suffer under the oppression of Communism for decades to come. West Germany would become a beacon of freedom and democracy, eventually reuniting with East Germany after the fall of the Soviet empire. There aren't many men still alive who can recall serving in the momentous events of June 6, 1944. But freedom loving people from across the globe owe them a debt of gratitude, along with those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Appropriately, President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Elizabeth are scheduled to attend the ceremonies at Normandy Beach.
For those readers who are history buffs, this is the most appropriate day to recognize so many sacrifices. The two best films made about the invasion- The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan- should be shown to young people in your family so that they gain an understanding of the cost of freedom.
(For Cinema Retro writer Howard Hughes' tribute to The Longest Day, click here)
The New York City Horror Film Festival will take place this year on November 13-16. The promoters are soliciting qualified applicants to submit their films to be showcased at the festival. Troma founder and cult filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman will receive a lifetime achievement award at this year's event, which will be held at Tribeca Cinemas. Click here for full details.
Cinema Retro's Gareth Owen is in Cannes covering the film festival for us. He advises that initial reports that For a Few Dollars More would be the closing night's film were erroneous. In fact, it will be A Fistful of Dollars, the first of the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood "Dollar" trilogy. Gareth advises that the erroneous information had been broadcast by Riviera Radio, which is an official news outlet for the film festival. The station obviously received the news from an equally incorrect official press release.
By Gareth Owen
In a surprising but
welcome announcement the 2014 Cannes Film Festival will close with a screening
of a digitally remastered copy of the 1964 Sergio
Leone classic western, A Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood. The festival's closing ceremony takes place a day earlier than
usual on the 24th of May, due to the European elections on the 25th. The
unusual move by organisers, who always choose an upcoming new release to end
the world's most glamorous film gathering, followed news of the other two “Dollar”
films screening on the beach to mark the 50th anniversary of the Eastwood/Leone
Eastwood himself, a veteran of the festival,
will not be in town due to him completing editing of The Jersey Boys film in
LA, however it will be introduced
by none other than Quentin Tarantino in his absence.
The festival opens with the controversial Grace of Monaco and amongst
the many other films, this writer is particularly looking forward to The Go Go
Boys which charts the rise and fall of prolific filmmaking company Cannon.
Golan and Globus will, themselves, introduce the documentary.
For more on A Fistful of Dollars, check out Cinema Retro columnist Darren Allison's Clint Eastwood blog here
Lorcan Otway, owner of the legendary New York theater, starts off the festivities.
Actress Arlene Dahl ("Journey to the Center of the Earth") introduces Alan Cumming.
Alan prepares to be "immortalized" in cement for the theater's walk of fame.
On Monday night, Cinema Retro was invited to attend a private party in honor of actor Alan Cumming at New York's legendary and quirky Theatre 80 St. Marks on St. Marks Place. The venue has its own mini "walk of fame" that dates back many decades. The Theatre/bar also houses the Museum of the American Gangster, as it once had a sordid history that included a gangland rubout. Alan Cumming graciously signed the cement block, having been introduced by the theater's owner Lorcan Otway and actress Arlene Dahl. After the party, everyone thundered to the famed bar, where plenty of good brews and live Irish music (and Irish whiskey) rounded out the evening. (Alan Cumming is currently reprising his Tony Award-winning role in Cabaret on Broadway.)
If you are in New York and would like to visit Theatre 80 St. Marks, click here for info.
(All photos copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
There are precious few things in life that reach the status of absolute perfection. Off-hand I can think of three:
1. A top notch Cuban cigar.
2. A wee-small hours meal in a New Jersey White Castle.
3. Any performance by the New York Philharmonic.
Last night, I had the opportunity to cover the latter for Cinema Retro, as the Philharmonic, under the direction of the esteemed conductor David Newman, presented a magnificent tribute to the music of the Pixar animated film classics. The event took place at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City and was the latest production in the legendary orchestra's tie-ins to major motion pictures. Last year, I reported on the Philharmonic's similar celebration of the films of Alfred Hitchcock. (Click here for coverage) However, the Pixar event was even more impressive. My one gripe with the Hitchcock event was that the film clips included dialogue which distracted from the fact that a live orchestra was providing the background music. Obviously those concerns were shared by others because the clips used in the Pixar tribute were silent, thus allowing the full impact of the magical music scores to be appreciated.
David Newman addressed the packed auditorium prior to the concert and gave some fascinating insights into his family's long ties with film compositions. His father, Alfred Newman, was one of the most acclaimed movie composers of all time, having been accorded an astonishing 45 Oscar nominations and 9 wins. David is a noted film composer in his own right, his brother Thomas has been nominated for 12 Oscars and cousin Randy Newman has been nominated for 16 Oscars and won twice. It's doubtful there will ever be such a family legacy again in the course of motion picture history. David Newman's enthusiasm for the event was evident. He put his heart and soul into the performance. Drenched with sweat but clearly brimming with family pride, he provided an encore of Randy Newman's classic "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the original "Toy Story". It brought down the house. Kudos also to the editing team that so painstakingly put together the film clip montages that perfectly accompanied the scores. In all, there were selections from "Toy Story", "Finding Nemo", "Ratatouille", "A Bug's Life", "WALL-E", "Toy Story 2", "Cars", "Up", "The Incredibles", "Monsters, Inc.", "Cars 2", "Toy Story 3", "Brave" and "Monsters University". All but five of these scores were written by Randy or Thomas Newman. Four of the remaining scores were written by Michael Giacchino, with the score for the Scottish-themed "Brave" composed by Patrick Doyle. (There was a bagpiper brought out on stage to perform with the Philharmonic for themes from this film.)
We've written frequently about the fact that most contemporary movies lack memorable film scores. Composers are treated today like necessary evils rather than valued contributors to the finished movie. Often, they are brought on board after the movie has been completed and given an abbreviated time table to knock out a score. Compare that to the old days when composers were viewed as integral members of the production team who were often scoring sequences while the movie was still in production. The Pixar films still provide high profile presentations of major composer's work. Hearing these superb scores played by one of the world's greatest orchestras was a truly thrilling experience. Even more pleasing was the fact that there were many children in attendance. What better way could there be to illustrate to a young person the the contributions of musical scores to films?
The concerts opened last night and run tonight and tomorrow, May 3. Do not hesitate to attend if you possibly can. (Click here for ticket info)
Now I have to get those two other "perfect" things in life, so I'll have to track down a Cuban cigar while I head off to a White Castle here in Jersey.
BIGGEST SELLING ORCHESTRAL SOUNDTRACK OF ALL TIME PRESENTED LIVE FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME BY OSCAR AND GRAMMY AWARD WINNING COMPOSER JAMES HORNER.
TITANIC LIVE- WORLD PREMIERE
ROYAL ALBERT HALL
27 APRIL 2015
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
London, 21 March; Avex Classics International and the Royal Albert Hall today announce one of the major music events of 2015, the world premiere presentation of Titanic Live at the iconic London venue on 27th April 2015.
James Horner’s epic score will be brought to life like never before, with the composer himself conducting a 90-piece orchestra, choir and Celtic musicians whilst the film is projected on a vast HD screen. Titanic Live promises to be the live cinematic event of the year, re-creating the uniquely familiar soundtrack which will forever be a part of cinematic history.Horner has composed for over 100 motion pictures, frequently collaborating with directors such as James Cameron and Ron Howard. Other scores include Avatar (the only film to surpass Titanic in box office sales), Braveheart, Aliens, Apollo 13, Star Trek II and more recently, The Amazing Spiderman.
The 1997 blockbuster Titanic, written and produced by James Cameron, became one of the most prolific movies of all time, grossing over $2 billion at the box office and winning 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director and more importantly, Best Original Song and Dramatic Score.Audiences worldwide echoed Hollywood’s appreciation of Horner’s musical score as the CD release became the best-selling orchestral soundtrack in history. Moreover, its lead single, “My Heart Will Go On” performed by Celine Dion was the biggest selling single of 1998, winning Record Of The Year at the 1999 Grammy ® Awards.
James Horner commented: “I am very flattered, and delighted to have been invited to perform the score of Titanic live with orchestra. Usually, putting the music into a film is a highly technical process that the audience never gets a chance to see. By performing the music live with the film, you, the audience, will experience the magic of seeing the live musicians, literally playing the music score as the film runs.”
“There are so many wonderfully talented people that perform the music of film scores, so it is a great honour for me to have the opportunity to share the experience, the musicians’ performances, all the ‘behind the scenes’ magic, with an audience."
Maggie O’Herlihy, Head of Europe and the Americas, Avex Classics International commented: “We are thrilled to announce the world premiere of Titanic Live at the Royal Albert Hall. When Titanic’s epic score takes centre stage, audiences will be able to immerse themselves in the hauntingly beautiful sound-world James Horner crafted like never before.”
Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the venue, said: “The Royal Albert Hall’s unique connection to the Titanic continues with the world premiere of Titanic Live.
“It was on this stage that the Titanic Band Memorial Concert took place in 1912, held to commemorate the eight heroic musicians who played on as the doomed ocean liner went down. A century later, the Royal Albert Hall was the venue for the world premiere of Titanic 3D. On that unforgettable evening, James Horner took the baton to conduct a 20-minute suite from his score – the most popular orchestral soundtrack of all time – the emotion and romance of the music sending shivers down the spine of everyone in the auditorium.We are delighted that James will now return to conduct the world premiere performance of Titanic Live, with his incredible score performed live and in full for the first time to accompany a high definition screening of the blockbuster film.”
Presented by the Royal Albert Hall and Avex Classics International, a branch of Japan’s leading entertainment business, the Avex Group, Titanic Live marks the start of a series of bespoke live events offering new and innovative ways to experience classical music.
Further worldwide dates for Titanic Live will also be announced shortly.
It's getting harder to indulge in the annual ritual of eviscerating the Oscar ceremonies as boring and ineptly staged. As Cinema Retro readers may know, in recent years I have been among the few critics who have defended the staging of most of the telecasts. They certainly are lengthy but, with the exception of one or two ceremonies, most have been creatively staged and well-paced. Last evening's presentation of the 86th annual Oscar awards held true to that trend. Host Ellen DeGeneres, returning after a seven year absence, was genuinely funny and kept the action rolling at a brisk clip even though the show went a half-hour over its allocated three hour time slot. DeGeneres also worked surprisingly clean with the only tasteless joke made at the expense of a virtually unrecognizable Liza Minnelli. DeGeneres infused the often stuffy ceremonies with a sense of -dare I say it?- gayety. Her mood was infectious with the crowd and it became immediately apparent that even the losers were having a hell of a great time. If DeGeneres overdid any angle, it was working the audience- literally. She spent so much time running amidst the star-packed audience that it began to resemble an old "Stump the Band" segment on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Some of this schtick worked better than others but DeGeneres' gamble on having pizzas delivered to the cavernous auditorium went over very well. Good thing, too...it was a risky gag that, if it had not been successful, the result would have been cringe-inducing. Similarly, DeGeneres put together an impromptu star-packed "selfie" of superstars that resulted in her meeting her goal of making this the most "Tweeted" photo ever.The ceremony was rather awkwardly built around an ill-defined theme of screen heroes. This resulted in a padded running time as montages of clips of famous screen heroes were shown. They were fun to watch but the segments were rather pointless as we watched disjointed examples of cinematic bravery that ranged from The Terminator to Atticus Fitch, James Bond and Batman.
The ceremony continued to the trend of having major stars show up to support the Oscars. Some years ago, it was considered chic not to attend. But last night featured a powerhouse lineup that included most of the nominees as well as genuine legends like Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford and even Kim Novak, who emerged from self-imposed exile. It was also great to see a true icon, Sidney Poiter (frail, but dignified), on stage fifty years after his ground-breaking Oscar win for Lilies of the Field. Bette Midler, looking better than ever, rendered a wonderful rendition of The Wind Beneath My Wings following the always-moving memorial film clip montage of all the great artists we have lost in the last year. Pink appeared on stage to sing a lovely version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow in tribute to the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. It was a beautifully staged segment that was made all the more poignant by the presence in the audience of Judy Garland's daughters. The four Best Song nominees were well-staged including a soulful performance by U-2 that couldn't quite compensate for the fact that most of the songs were merely pleasant, but hardly memorable. A seemingly ageless Jim Carrey did a dead-on imitation of nominee Bruce Dern in the 1972 film The Cowboys. Sally Field made a presentation and looked wonderfully elegant. The Oscar winner's speeches seemed classier and more heartfelt this year. Jared Leto, winner of Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, gave a very moving speech that seemed to set a trend in which several Oscar winners took pains to thank their moms, a nice gesture that was enhanced by the fact that some of those moms were in the audience. Lupita Nyongo'o's speech showed sheer, sincere exuberance at having won, in contrast to some of the more pretentious "surprise" moments shown by some winners in previous years. Cate Blanchett's win for Blue Jasmine was well-deserved but her heartfelt speech droned on so long that one thought she would acknowledge every person in the Sydney phone book. John Ridley, winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, was quite moving in thanking a mentor who gave him solid advice throughout his years as a screenwriter. Matthew McConaughey reined in his eccentric behavior and gave a rambling but still inspiring acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for his triumphant performance in Dallas Buyers Club.
As for the prizes themselves, virtually all were justified. Surprises were few and included Spike Jonez winning for Best Original Screenplay for the little-seen comedy Her and Alfonso Curaon winning Best Director for Gravity but seeing his film lose Best Picture to 12 Years a Slave. American Hustle became the third film in Oscar history (along with Gangs of New York and the remake of True Grit) to score ten nominations only to end up being shut out.
In all, a solid evening of classy entertainment...and here's hoping Ms. DeGeneres is up for hosting next year.
The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts will present "An Evening with Jerry Lewis" on March 15. The comedy legend will appear on stage for two performances on that date. Click here for more details and to view film clips of the show.
Cinema Retro's London photographer Mark Mawston is always on the "A" list when it comes to covering top entertainment events. Mark provides these remarkable candid photos from the BAFTA red carpet arrivals.
(All photos copyright Mark Mawston. All rights reserved. For more about Mark's work, visit www.markmawston.com)
American Hustlers Christian Bale, David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper.
David McCallum with event host Bruce Crawford. (Photo: Steve Gray)
By Jon Heitland
On any list of the best films based on World War II, The Great Escape, directed by John Sturges
and based on the novel by Paul Brickhill, will always rank near the top.The compelling story of a group of British
and American prisoners of war and how they outwitted their Nazi captors
observes its 50th anniversary this year, and actor David McCallum,
who plays Ashley-Pitt in the film, travelled to Omaha, Nebraska on November 9,
2013, to help celebrate the classic film. Proceeds went to the Nebraska Kidney
Foundation, which was why McCallum took time from his busy television schedule
to make an appearance.The evening event
centered around a showing of the film at the large, concert-style theater at
the prestigious Joslyn Museum, to an enthusiastic, full house crowd of 1000.
Great Escape 50 year retrospective was another in a long running series of
film tributes organized by Omaha film historian and documentary producer Bruce
Crawford, who, since 1992, has produced similar events for other classic films,
with major sponsorship from Jerry and Patti Gress. Crawford is a lifelong lover of cinema, and
his retrospectives include appearances by the film’s stars or director to share
their recollections with an appreciative audience. Crawford has also produced
two radio documentaries on classic film composers, including Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, Psycho, Taxi Driver, The Day
The Earth Stood Still, Vertigo, North By Northwest, etc.) and Miklos Rozsa
(El Cid, Quo-Vadis, Julius Caesar, King
of Kings, and Ben-Hur).
His past film retrospectives have included a tribute to special
effects legend, Ray Harryhausen, with screenings of Mysterious Island, and Jason
and the Argonauts in 1992; a 35th anniversary screening of Ben-Hur with director William Wyler's
family as special guests in 1993; and The
Longest Day, with director Ken
Annakin and the family of producer Darryl F. Zanuck in 1994. In subsequent years he honored Alfred Hitchcock
with a showing of Psycho, with Janet Leigh and her daughter Kelly as honored
guests; Gone With The Wind with Ann
Rutherford; and Mr. Smith Goes To
Washington, with Frank Capra, Jr.
For The Great Escape
event, local World War II re-enactors appeared in uniform along with a local
modeling club’s display of vintage model planes from the era, along with a
model of a prisoner of war camp. Attendees particularly enjoyed a motorcycle identical to that ridden by
Steve McQueen in the film when he tries to jump a barbed wire fence to elude
German soldiers. A United States Postal Service commemorative envelope for the
50th anniversary of The Great
Escape was also unveiled, featuring scenes from the film involving both
McCallum and Steve McQueen.
Commemorative envelop by the artist Nicolosi.
In introducing the film, McCallum recalled how he got the acting
“bug” at a young age: “My life as an
actor started when I was about 10 years old. I did a scene from King John, from Shakespeare, as a very small prince
in the tower, and there this jailer with a red hot poker is about to put out
his eye, and he pleaded for his life. I did this in a very small theater in a
church, and at the end I got a standing ovation. The scene got a standing
ovation, but I assumed it was for me. At
that moment I realized I had come home, I had found the place where I was going
to be for the rest of my life.”
Memorabilia display (Photo: Jon Heitland)
McCallum, a native Scot, was the son of professional classical
musicians, his father David, Sr., first violinist for the London Philharmonic,
his mother Dorothy a cellist. Young David took up the oboe at age eight, and
attended the Royal Academy of Music for a time, but he left school at age 15 to
attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for two years to become an actor. He
then went into repertory theater, but that was interrupted when he was
conscripted into the National Service. McCallum recalled “I became second in
command of C company, Third Battalion of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal
West African Frontier Force.” McCallum noted with pride this unit distinguished
itself earlier in World War II because of the enemy lines of communication it
captured, adding “I mention this because the wonderful thing about being in the
British army is you learn how to put the uniform on, how to march, how to
salute, and that all came in very useful
later on, on several occasions, The Great
Escape being one of them.”
(Photo: Steve Gray)
After leaving the army, McCallum did a lot of television in
Great Britain, with an occasional movie role in such films as The Long, The Short And The Tall, with
Laurence Harvey; Billy Budd, directed
by Peter Ustinov; and Freud with
Montgomery Clift, directed by John Huston. It was while filming Freud that
McCallum met director John Sturges, who would remember him later when casting The Great Escape. Sturges had directed Bad Day At Black Rock, in 1955, one of McCallum’s favorite films.
Sturges had also directed the iconic western The Magnificent Seven, in
1960, which starred Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn, three of
the stars he would feature in The Great
Escape, along with Robert Vaughn, McCallum’s future co-star on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Upon being cast as Ashley-Pitt in The Great Escape, McCallum remembered “When I arrived on set, John
Sturges, the director, gave me a letter, and in the letter it said ‘Let us know what you want, do you need a
babysitter, where would you like to live, would you like a car, would you like
a driver?’ Which was welcoming in a way
which I never thought possible.” McCallum noted he had not done a major
Hollywood type movie before, and he appreciated the respect and care with which
the cast was treated.
On the set of The Great
Escape, McCallum stated the cast all got along well, although they formed
small social groups for their off time: “We had a wonderful time together. The Germans went off with the
Germans, and the British went off with the British, and I went off with Donald
Pleasance., who was a good friend of mine.” McCallum soon also became friends with James Garner, as most of Donald
Pleasence’s scenes were with Garner. The three men remained friends from then
on. McCallum did not see much of Steve McQueen, who played one of his most remembered
roles in the form of Hilts, the cocky American flier whose motorcycle escape
has become a classic sequence, because for many of the ensemble scenes,
McQueen’s character was in the “cooler”.
McCallum also enjoyed the fact his wife, actress Jill Ireland,
and son Paul were with him during the filming, and they would sight see on his
days off in Starnberg, Germany. His
mother also visited the set, and McCallum drove her around Austria. Another member of the Great Escape cast, Charles
Bronson, also became lifelong friends with David McCallum, their friendship
even surviving McCallum’s divorce from Ireland and her later marriage to
Bronson. McCallum has been happily married to his wife Kathy Carpenter since
Although most attendees were interested in re-experiencing the
inspiring film, many were there to meet McCallum, popular today for his role of
Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on televisions’s N.C.I.S.,
as well as a substantial contingent who fondly remembered him as Illya
Kuryakin, the enigmatic Russian spy on The
Man From U.N.C.L.E. from 1964 to 1968. McCallum as Illya created a sensation at the time, resulting in mob
scenes and rock star-like status for McCallum.
The experience of being a “sex symbol”, especially for teen age
girls, caught McCallum by surprise at the time. His character was originally intended to be a a sidekick to Robert
Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo, but quickly became a co-star that helped make the
series a hit in the 1960s and a lasting icon in popular culture. Many of those
teen age girls, now in their 50s and 60s, stood in line after the film to meet
McCallum and get an autograph, which the 80 year old actor graciously supplied
to about 300 attendees anxious to meet him, finishing just before midnight. He also enjoyed seeing a large display of Man From U.N.C.L.E. memorabilia
featuring his image at the event supplied by this writer, a fan from Iowa and
author of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book:
The Behind The Scenes Story of a Television Classic.
McCallum and Cinema Retro's Jon Heitland in front of a display of Man From U.N.C.L.E. memorabilia. (Photo: Mike Beacom)
Today McCallum, besides appearing on N.C.I.S., also does voice over work on video games, which he
describes as a wonderful opportunity to over act. He commutes regularly from Los Angeles back
to New York City to see his family. He
looks forward to raising a glass of wine to another 50th anniversary
next year, the golden anniversary of the premiere of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
In concluding his remarks on The
Great Escape to the appreciative audience, McCallum emotionally recalled
that the cast first saw the film when it premiered in London at the Odeon
Leicester Square Cinema (the scene of many later James Bond premieres): “The
balcony seats had been reserved for the cast. I sat down in my seat, not
knowing what to expect. And for the very
first time, as the curtain parted, and the music of Elmer Bernstein came up, I
watched that film. And I will never,
ever, forget that moment.”
Barbara Feldon and Cinema Retro's Lee Pfeiffer at the Episcopal Actors Guild in New York City.
On November 21, Cinema Retro hosted an Evening With Barbara Feldon at the historic Episcopal Actors Guild in New York City. The event benefited indigent people in the arts. Ms. Feldon was interviewed by Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer, who asked her about her career prior to her Emmy-nominated performance in "Get Smart". She revealed that she had come to New York as a young woman from her native Pittsburgh with the desire to enter show business. Good looking and statuesque, Feldon was soon hired for a three month stint as a chorus girl at the famed Copacabana. She said it was the most thrilling time of her life, to be young and in New York with unlimited possibilities before her. Shortly thereafter, she became one of the top fashion models of the era, which- in turn- led her to be the face of Revlon in print and on TV ads. Those ads helped elevate her status and brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers. She played some bit roles in TV series before the producers of "Get Smart" (created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry) approached her for the role of Agent "99" opposite Don Adams. She initially turned down the offer, as she already had a lucrative career in modeling. She had also been offered a plum role in Sidney Lumet's film "The Group". She credits her agent at the time for convincing her to accept the part of "99" on the basis that Candice Bergen had the prime role in the Lumet film because she played a lesbian, which was a sensational notion at the time. He cautioned Feldon that she would just be lumped in with the other talented actresses who were to appear in the film and that Bergen would get all the attention. She accepted his advice and reluctantly flew to Hollywood, leaving behind her beloved New York. She immediately knew she made the right decision. The friendly bond between cast and crew on "Get Smart" was addictive and she said the show was a pleasure from day one. She credited Buck Henry for setting the tone of the early episodes, as Mel Brooks had already departed to work on his first feature film, "The Producers". After viewing a screening of the "Satan Place" episode with Cinema Retro's own Joe Sirola as the villain, Feldon remarked at how well the writing held up. Amusingly, she said she still feels self-conscious about how she towered over the much-shorter Don Adams and was reminded of how she attempted to minimize the height difference by slumping a bit in their scenes together or finding an excuse to sit down. Feldon said that when the show's ratings fell in the fourth season and the show moved from NBC to CBS for the fifth and final season, the idea of marrying "99" and Maxwell Smart was done simply as a gimmick, as was the introduction of their twin children who she laughingly said "disappeared rather quickly". Feldon also discussed the fact that the character of "99" was one of the first independent female characters on television. Pfeiffer mentioned that there were precious few such role models aside from Emma Peel and Cathy Gale of "The Avengers" and April Dancer of "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E". Feldon agreed, saying that she was happy that "99" was given more to do than simply being "the skirt" but said that, even then, it was clear that her character was often there to comfort or console the male hero, Maxwell Smart. She said, however, that given this was before the Women's Lib movement, it was rather progressive for the medium of television.
Feldon signs a commemorative shoe phone for contributing Cinema Retro photographer Tom Stroud.
Feldon said that, despite working with Adams for years, she knew very little about his personal life. It was only when they reunited for the TV movie "Get Smart Again!" in 1989 that they truly bonded and became close friends until Adams' death in 2005. Asked about why she didn't appear in the rather anemic "Get Smart" 1980 feature film, "The Nude Bomb", she said bluntly that she simply hadn't been asked. She said she was philosophical about the snub, saying that they were obviously looking for younger women to play against Adams. Pfeiffer asked Feldon to reflect on the contributions of Edward Platt, whose spot-on performance as "The Chief" is often overlooked in evaluations of the show. She said he played an integral part in the show's success and was a truly lovely man who was also a trained professional opera singer. She also discussed her post-"Smart" career when she wrote and performed a one woman show because she thought her acting skills might be getting stale and wanted a challenge that would "terrify" her. She also spoke about her lucrative career as one of New York's top voice-over talents. Speaking of feature films, she said that, at the time, being a TV star had made it difficult to transfer into theatrical films, although she loved working with Dick Van Dyke on the 1968 Disney film "Fitzwilly" and was especially pleased to star with Bruce Dern in the acclaimed 1975 comedy "Smile". She also spoke about how, after a failed marriage and relationships, she came to the conclusion that people don't need committed relationships in order to find happiness. She said her book, "Living Alone & Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life", extols the virtues of living an independent life. She said living alone doesn't mean you are living a lonely life. She said her life is filled with wonderful people and great times, but she has chosen not to engage in a monogamous relationship.
"...and loving it!" Barbara expresses her appreciation to "Get Smart" scholar Nate Sears for flying in from Utah for the event.
Cinema Retro reader Tony Latino with Barbara Feldon.
Prior to the event, Barbara Feldon was interviewed for ABC News Radio by film critic Bill Diehl.
Following the interview, Ms. Feldon graciously answered questions, signed autographs and posed for seemingly endless photos with fans. She said she was genuinely touched by the fact that so many people still take an interest in her work. In all, a fun and informative evening with the ultimate New York "independent woman"- who still cites her three month stint as a chorus girl as the most fulfilling time of her career.
(Click here to find out how to join the Episcopal Actors Guild, which is non-sectarian. Dues are only $35 annually and you will get invitations to many exclusive entertainment-related performances and events. Proceeds go to aid charitable causes relating to the arts.)
(Click here to order Barbara Feldon's book "Living Alone & Loving It" from Amazon)
Director Nicholas Ray's 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause has been restored by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation. Cinema Retro L.A. correspondent Mark Cerulli attended the recent premiere. Here is his report:
November 1st, Warner Bros. unveiled a loving restoration of the
James Dean classic, Rebel Without A Cause at a special screening at the Los
Angeles Museum of Art.The project was funded
by the Italian fashion house Gucci, which also threw a cocktail party at
LACMA’s Japanese Pavilion before the show.Their party was attended by some of LA’s glitterati including actress
Camilla Belle and original Rebel cast member Jack Grinnage (“Moose”).
Premiere cocktail party.
(Photo copyright Mark Cerulli. All rights reserved.)
this restoration was supported by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, the
director was supposed to introduce the film personally. Work commitments kept him elsewhere, but he
came up with a crowd pleasing last minute substitute – his frequent
collaborator, Leonardo DiCaprio. The
actor seemed relaxed and genuinely excited to be there as he read Scorsese’s
statement about how the film was instrumental in fostering his interest in and
love of movies – especially its palette of rich and vivid colors. (And unlike most celebrity presenters who
duck out of events as soon as the lights go down, DiCaprio took an aisle seat
and stayed for the entire film!)
DiCaprio introduces the restored movie classic.
(Photo copyright Mark Cerulli. All rights reserved.)
goes without saying that the film looked and sounded spectacular. The colors popped and Dean’s iconic screen
presence, Natalie Wood’s fragile beauty and Sal Mineo’s haunting performance all
came across as poignantly as they did on the day of release in 1955. According to Scorsese in the premiere
program, “the original color negative was scanned at 8K resolution” and the
sound had to be digitally sourced and cleaned from the original release print.
the film came out of director Nicholas Ray’s wish to portray “young people
growing up”, it remains a timeless snapshot of 1950s America and a showcase for
the raw power of James Dean.
A couple of years ago we met director Tom Donohue and his colleagues, who were in the beginning stages of their documentary Casting By, which explores the generally neglected contributions of casting directors to major motion pictures. In the ensuing months, Tom and his team have interviewed a remarkable number of prominent directors, actors and producers for their film including Woody Allen, Robert Duvall, Robert Redford, Al Pacino, Robert De NiroMartin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood. The film, which is being touted as a strong Oscar contender, has just opened theatrically in New York. Additionally, Woody Allen, who generally keeps a low profile, was inspired by the film to write an open letter to the movie industry extolling the virtues of casting directors. (To read the letter click here)
Here is a synopsis and play dates for the film:
"Casting is 95% of directing a picture," Martin Scorsese says at the start of Casting By, a "scintillating (THR)", fascinating (NYT)" and "wildly entertaining"(Indiewire) look at an important and vastly under-appreciated craft that will never let you look at movies quite the same way again. Director Tom Donahue focuses his lens on the pioneering contributions of Casting Director Marion Dougherty whose keen eye and gut instincts almost singlehandedly created a profession from the ashes of a dying studio system and helped give birth to the golden era of the New Hollywood. The film combines "the greatest assemblage of talking-head star power in any documentary ever made" (Back Stage) with a rich treasure trove of archival to craft a fun and revealing journey through the last half century of Hollywood. "More than a must-see. It’s a brisk, breezy, enjoyable and often endearing experience." -Film School Rejects
CASTING BY starts today in NYC:
The Elinor Bunim Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center
11:00am.1:10pm. 3:15pm. 5:20pm. 7:25pm. 9:45pm
Q&A with Casting Director Ellen Lewis after the 7:25pm show tonight and tomorrow Click here for tickets
1pm. 3pm. 5pm. 7pm. 9pm
Q&As with casting directors after each screening Fri-Sun
Join Robert Osborne, Ben Mankiewicz, VIP guests and your fellow classic movie fans from around the globe for the fifth annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood.
The central theme of the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival is Family in the Movies: The Ties That Bind. TCM is summoning the family of movie lovers everywhere to join us in Hollywood for a celebration of the cinematic ties that bind us together. Understanding that families come in all varieties, we’ll showcase on-screen clans big and small, happy and imperfect, musical and dramatic. And a spotlight will be placed on the first families of Hollywood -- the filmmaking dynasties that have entertained us for generations. We’ll also acknowledge the kinship that has connected close-knit groups of professionals behind the camera, such as the stock companies of classic Hollywood. From the bond between parents and children to sibling rivalries, TCM recognizes the power of family to touch us all.
Screenings and events will again be held at two of the most historic movie theaters in the world -- the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre -- along with multiple other Hollywood venues. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will again serve as our official hotel for the Festival, as well the home of Club TCM -- the central gathering point for attendees. Additionally, the conveniently located Loews Hotel Hollywood is also an official Lodging Partner.
To book your accommodations at special Festival rates please follow the instructions below. Please note, due to high demand for lodging at our partner hotels we recommend you book your accommodations as soon as possible.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028 (800) 950-7667 Reservation Line
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will again be the home to Club TCM with exclusive special fan gatherings, receptions and panel discussions much more for Festival passholders. To book your accommodations please call the Roosevelt directly at (800) 950-7667 and let the representative know that you will be attending the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival.
Loews Hollywood Hotel 1755 North Highland Avenue Hollywood, CA 90028 (855) 563-9749 Reservation Line
The Loews Hollywood Hotel is conveniently located in the Hollywood & Highland Center, across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and just a few steps from the TCL Chinese Theatre and Chinese Multiplex screening venues. Reservations can be made by calling (855) 563-9749 and asking for the TCM Classic Film Festival Preferred Block or you can book online at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/TCMFF. Reservations must be made no later than Wednesday, March 12th, 2014.
Passes for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival will go on sale in November 2013.
To read the complete press release about the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival please click here.
We look forward to seeing you in Hollywood next April 10-13!
Last evening I had the pleasure of being invited to attend the New York Philharmonic's tribute to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The unique two-night event at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center had commenced on Tuesday with an evening hosted by Alec Baldwin (who helped conceive of the tribute's format.) Last evening, the closing night's performance was hosted by Sam Waterson, who provided insights into the films chosen for inclusion and the composers who created the memorable scores. Under the banner The Art of the Score, master conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos lead orchestra in a presentation of flawlessly performed original music from specific Hitchcock films in synch with dialogue from the film clips shown. It's an impressive feat, given the fact that being off timing by a mere second could wreak havoc on the concept. The film scores honored were To Catch a Thief (Lyn Murray), Vertigo (Bernard Herrmann), Strangers on a Train (Dimitri Tiomkin), Dial M for Murder (Tiomkin), North By Northwest (Herrmann) and Hitchcock's amusing signature theme, Funeral March of a Marionette which was composed by Charles Gounod in 1872. The entire main title sequences of each film were shown as the orchestra performed the themes. The effect was truly wonderful, with both Kitsopoulos and the orchestra in top form. One became even more aware of how vital Hitchcock's composers were to the quality of his films. What struck me is how such unabashedly lush and often romantic scores have been relegated to the past in today's film industry in which composers are relegated to the status of necessary evils. The work of these masters will be performed for generations after today's largely nondescript film scores have long been forgotten. The strongest part of the performance came after the intermission with particularly effective sequences and music from Dial M for Murder and North By Northwest having a mesmerizing effect on the audience. You could have heard a pin drop. The latter film, which boasts what is arguably Herrmann's greatest score, seemed to be the performance that resonated most with the audience. The concept of having dialogue included in the film clips did not sit well with everyone. My wife, for example, felt that the magnificence of the orchestra was undermined by the inclusion of dialogue in the clips. She maintained that the orchestra was so flawless that the viewer lost sight of the fact that it was a live performance and not simply the original soundtrack being played on celluloid. The Gounod piece, for example, was presented over silent home movies of Hitchcock. The concept could have worked brilliantly but someone diluted the impact by inter-cutting snippets of the trailer from North By Northwest in which Hitchcock makes amusing witticisms about world travel. It might well be more effective if future presentations designed along similar lines presented the film clips without the dialogue and perhaps inter-cut them with still images so that the full effect of the orchestra could resonate even better with audience. Nevertheless, any evening at Avery Fisher Hall is a special occasion and this was a masterful tribute to a master director.
Veering off topic for a bit, I do have to be a bit of a grouch, though it has nothing to do with the venue or the orchestra. Rather, it concerns the behavior of audience members. True, they sat in rapt attention during the entire performance. However, at the end of the program, the maestro had barely lowered his baton before a quarter of the audience scrambled for the exit doors, like the sequence in Hitchcock's Torn Curtain in which a false alarm about a fire causes pandemonium. There was a time when audience members would be too ashamed to leave such a grand performance before the orchestra even took its first bow. Just how important is it to get the first cab or get to the parking lot before anyone else? This trend is nothing new. I've noticed it at Broadway plays. Half the audience is gone before the applause even kicks in at the finale. We all know New Yorkers are perpetually in a hurry but there was a time when a sense of manners and decorum would have trumped their impatience. The audience members who remained to applaud seemed to go out of their way to compensate for those who jumped ship early. I dunno. I guess its a sign of the times. In an era when people look to the casts of Jersey Shore and Duck Dynasty for their role models, it's no surprise we're not seeing the likes of Noel Coward sitting next to us in the audience. Their rudeness and lack of courtesy may not have been intended as a slap in the face of the brilliant artists who performed last night, but the result was the same.
TCM's Dennis Adamovich, Robert Osborne and Jane Powell initiate the formal launch of the TCM Classic Film Tour. (Photo: Turner Classic Movies).
By Lee Pfeiffer
In true Hollywood style, it was an offer I couldn't refuse: an invitation from Turner Classic Movies to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and inaugural roll out of the TCM Classic Film Tour of New York city movie locations. This event, which took place on August 20, was restricted to the media and invited guests. TCM host Robert Osborne was there to greet everyone along with a Hollywood legend, Jane Powell, who was clearly delighted to participate. Osborne and Powell used giant scissors to cut the ribbon on the bus, which is distinctively branded with the network's logo (and appropriately enough, the ultimate New York City "big" star, King Kong). Joining them was Dennis Adamovich, Senior VP of Brand Digital Activation and the guru behind the Turner Classic Movies Film Festivals. Once aboard the bus, we were treated to what the average attendee will experience on the tour. There is a video greeting by Robert Osborne and a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide (in this case, an impressive young lady named Roseanne who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the NY film locations.) There is an abundance of film clips pertaining to the various sites on the tour. The bus does make several stops to allow attendees to disembark for photo opts. These include the famed Dakota apartments where Rosemary's Baby was filmed (and where John Lennon was tragically murdered), the 59th Street Bridge where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton filmed an iconic scene for Manhattan, Holly Golightly's apartment from Breakfast at Tiffanys, the subway grate where Marilyn Monroe posed for the famed "up skirt" photo from "The Seven Year Itch" , the famed Zabar's market where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan encounter each other in You've Got Mail and, concluding the tour, Grand Central Station, site of many a film shoot including classic scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest. Even an old movie history war horse like myself was humbled by the fact that I could learn so many new facts about these classic films. The tours, which begin operating today for the general public, are three hours in duration and leave from 51st Street and Broadway. Locations are concentrated on the uptown neighborhoods but go as far south as the Empire State Building.
TCM host Robert Osborne with Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer. (Photo: copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved)
The 59th Street Bridge, the "star" of an iconic scene in Woody Allen's Manhattan and the inspiration for a classic song by Simon and Garfunkel. (Photo: copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
Other film locations that play major or minor backdrops for popular movies include those seen in Plaza Suite, Coogan's Bluff, Live and Let Die, The Apartment, Arthur, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Network, West Side Story, The Out of Towners, The Sunshine Boys, Ghostbusters, The Producers, Serpico, Annie Hall, Moonstruck, The Way We Were, Crocodile Dundee, Big, Superman, the Eddy Duchin Story, Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town, Baby Boom, Weekend at the Waldorf, My Man Godfrey, Hannah and Her Sisters, Midnight Cowboy, Barefoot in the Park, Nothing Sacred, Miracle in the Rain and many more. Much use is made of classic film clips showing many of these movies, with emphasis on the 1949 MGM classic On the Town, especially in Columbus Circle where Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin made merry (the original subway entrance and news stand are still intact).
Holly Golightly's apartment from Breakfast at Tiffany's is a residential address today. (Photo: copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
The Dakota apartments where Rosemary's Baby was filmed- and where John Lennon met his tragic end. (Photo: copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
Tour guide Roseanne shows the subway grating where Marilyn Monroe shot publicity stills for The Seven Year Itch. Roseanne informed us that the sequence for the film was shot here but was later redone in the studio. However, the iconic images of Monroe on the New York street still resonate with movie fans worldwide. (Photo: copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
There is another value to the tour that extends beyond Hollywood history- and that is the fascinating facts and anecdotes pertaining to how the city itself has changed over the years (and in some cases, remained consistent in terms of film locations.) On Location Tours, which runs the service in conjunction with TCM, also provides trivia questions on the monitors so that attendees can compete for prizes. (This is used as a pleasant way to kill time in case the bus becomes embedded in one of Gotham's notorious traffic jams.)
In all, this is a marvelous treat for both casual movie fans and die-hard TCM viewers. Tickets are $43 for adults, $27 for children. Click here to book tickets and get more info about the tour.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
In celebration of the 40th Anniversary
THE WICKER MAN: The Final Cut
First-ever full 2k Restoration
Back in cinemas 27th September First time on Blu-ray 14th October
Following a public search for the original film materials relating to horror classic THE WICKER MAN, STUDIOCANAL UK made an announcement on Monday about what they have found, via a video message from the film's director Robin Hardy on Facebook page that was set up for the search.
"Studiocanal contacted me last year in their search for the original materials that have been missing... I'm very pleased to announce that Studiocanal have been able to find an actual print of The Wicker Man, which is based on my original cut, working with Abraxas, the American distributors all those years ago. And they plan - and this is the exciting bit - to actual release it. This version has never been restored before, has never been shown in UK theatres before, and has never been converted to bluray before. This version of The Wicker Man will (optimistically!) been known as The Final Cut.
Thank you all Wicker Man fans, and please share and spread the word."
Studiocanal have been conducting an extensive worldwide search for film materials for THE WICKER MAN for the past year, including a public appeal to fans for clues as to the whereabouts of the missing original cut. Eventually a 35mm release print was found at Harvard Film Archives and measured to be around 92 minutes long. This print was scanned in 4k and sent to London, where it was recently inspected by Robin Hardy. Robin confirmed that it was the cut he had put together with Abraxas in 1979 for the US release. This has previously been known as the "Middle Version" and was in turn assembled from a 35mm print of the original edit he had made in the UK in 1973, but which was never released.
Robin accepts that film materials for this "Long Version" will probably now never be found. "Sadly, it seems as though this has been lost forever. However, I am delighted that a 1979 Abraxas print has been found as I also put together this cut myself, and it crucially restores the story order to that which I had originally intended."
Hardy has long maintained that the "Short Version" of the film, which is the only one that has ever been shown in UK cinemas, does not make narrative sense. Of paramount importance to Hardy is that the events on the island take place over a 72-hour period and that Lord Summerisle is established as a character far earlier. Another important inclusion is the performance of the songGently Johnny, which is key in signaling both the strange and unusual community into which Sergeant Howie is intruding, and its complicity in events on the island.
"We are very excited to be able present at last a version of the film that is true to Robin Hardy's original vision,"says John Rodden, General Manager of Home Entertainment of Studiocanal UK."The Final Cut release will reinstate all the important extra scenes that Robin Hardy intended to include and will restore the original timeline and story structure. After extensive film restoration work we will create a new digital cinema master of the film to screen in cinemas across the country for the 40th Anniversary. The Blu-ray will include the UK theatrical cut, The Director's Cut and of course The Final Cut, plus lots more!"
The Final Cut won't include all of the pre-credit mainland sequences, but Hardy himself originally agreed to their removal because the most important scene set in the Church is still there: of Sergeant Howie taking communion.
The 2013 Festival del film Locarno will screen The Wicker Man: 40th Anniversary restoration on Thursday 8th August as part of their homage to Sir Christopher Lee, who will be receiving the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon at the festival.
When asked whether this cut measures up to the fabled original, long version, Robin Hardy puts it most succinctly: "The film as I saw it in the editing suite the other day fulfills my vision of what it was intended to convey to the audience."
THE WICKER MAN: FINAL CUT Out in cinemas 27th September 2013 On DVD/BD 14th October 2013
Ltd 4 disc DVD edition & Ltd 3 disc BD edition to include:
The Final Cut UK Theatrical Cut The Director's Cut (seamless branching on BD only) Audio Commentary Making of Audio Commentary Interview with Robin Hardy (new) Featurette on the Cult of the Soundtrack (new), The Wicker Man: 40 years on Featurette (new), Restoration comparison (new), Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man Interview with Christopher Lee & Robin Hardy (1979)\ Original Soundtrack Ex-S documentary Trailer
Brompton Cemetary, one of the unique locations for screenings of cult and classic movies.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
London: Lights, camera, action! A new popup cinema
website, designed to provide easy access to the best of London’s popup cinema
events, has launched.
The site, www.WeGotPopup.com,
will finally offer a one-stop shop for all London’s Popup cinema needs.
It will list a wide range of London’s freshest film experiences, from a seat on
a 1930s riverboat down the Thames bound for an Elizabethan manor house
screening, to getting lost in Camden’s Coram Secret Garden on the back of
Falkor the Luckdragon.
Producing these unique
experiences for film lovers are… the popup film baronsCult Screens,Pop Up Screens,The NomadandRooftop
Film ClubalongsideThe Lucky Dog Picture House,Matrix
Grimsby,The East Dulwich
Tavern,Bloomsbury Lanes,Roadside Picnic,Hebden Bridge Arts Festival,
andBoughton Housewhose events will all be listed on the
The screenings can be
cross-referenced by date, title and most importantly, distance from where you
are currently sitting. (prepare to add at least 2 points to your 'cool
WeGotPopUp.com will be (ahem)
“popping up” for a limited four-month window, arriving just in time to provide
film fans with all the information and easy access to often elusive events. So
log-on, explore, and click your way to a popup packed summer.
The portal was the brainchild of
ticketing experts WeGotTickets, who have ticketed weird and wonderful one-off
events since 2000, offering tickets for the UK’s original popup supper clubs
and cinema. WeGotTickets has ticketed over a thousand of these – fromFilms on Fridges,
where a white goods wonderland took over a recycling-plant-turned-Olympic-Park,
to a popup feast night at a hidden Cornwall beach hut. Not to mention
screenings at abandoned petrol stations, under bridges, at lidos, and of
Pelen, Design and Communications Manager,The
has been really healthy growth in popup cinema events over the past few years,
with audiences increasingly on the look-out for a unique and memorable way to
enjoy their favourite film, or discover something totally new in a different
“That's why WeGotPopup is such a
great idea, allowing customers to search all the best pop-up providers for
their favourite film or venue all in one place. We're sure this new venture
will be a great success as the WeGotTickets team are a very determined and
hard-working bunch of people with a great attitude and a reputation to match.''
WeGotTickets keep tickets
paperless, fees low and completely transparent – regularly working with and
donatinga percentage of their booking
fees back to a variety ofcharities.
is the UK’s leading paperless ticketing agency. Launched in 2002, WeGotTickets
works with thousands of event organisers placing it in the top five ticket
agencies in the UK.
has made it possible for organisers of events of all shapes and sizes to
benefit from advance ticket sales, and now sells close to a million tickets a
year; from popup cinema, art events and underground restaurants to traditional
live music and comedy shows and festivals.
its launch, WeGotTickets has consistently pushed for innovation, transparency
and best practice across the ticketing industry, with many of the company’s
ideas becoming standard industry practice.
company’s 10% maximum ticket commission rate has helped to lower fees across
the business, whilst its pioneering paperless ticketing system has been a major
factor in reducing the live music industry’s carbon footprint.
years WeGotTickets has been proud to work on a number of special campaigns with
charities such as Oxfam, Macmillan, ActionAid and Warchild, and regularly
donates a percentage of their booking fees back to these groups. In 2009 the
company launched a unique feature allowing ticket buyers to quickly and easily
make a donation to a featured charity whilst purchasing tickets, which has
raised tens of thousands of pounds for those charities.
is now proud to be a full member of STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and
Retailers) and is fully behind the organisation’s new fraud prevention kite
“How Do You View” is the name of a
new Internet radio show hosted by Cinema Epoch’s Director of Acquisitions,
Douglas Dunning. The show can be heard
daily at 1:00 am, 5:30 am, 11:00 am & 5:00 pm
Pacific Standard Time (that’s 4:00 am, 8:30 am, 2:00 pm, and 8:00 pm to us on
the Eastern Seaboard). It can be heard
on the Prodigy Media Network. This week,
Mr. Dunning interviews director Richard Rush (pictured), best known for 1980’s The Stunt Man.
to listen to “How Do You View” at the respective times.
Over four days the
2013 Bradford Widescreen Festival located at ThePicturevilleCinema played host to a mixture of classics
in 70mm,CinemaScopeand Cinerama formats. There was a
special tribute to the 60th anniversary of CinemaScope,
the famous widescreen process developed for Twentieth Century Fox back in the
kicked off with a rare 70mm screening ofThe
Longest Daypreceded by an
informative introduction by Sir Christopher Frayling. This was followed by the
much- lovedThe Great Escapepresented for the first time in 4K
Digital and the picture and sound were simply stunning. Cinema Retro
contributor Dr. Sheldon Hall provided an illuminating introduction to this war
classic. Following the delegates’ reception in the Kodak Gallery,The Sound of Music was presented in 70mm. The print was
generally good although three quarters of the way through, a reel snapped
resulting in a 10 minute wait for reparations to take place. When the show
resumed, the audience cheered and applauded.
provided a different selection of features commencing with a wonderful short
directed by Grant Wakefield in 2k calledRemnants.Filmed using motion controlled
time-lapse photography, Remnants
captures on film the thousands of complex stone monumentsconstructed by the Neolithic peoples
of Northern Europe from 3800 to 1000 BC. Stunning 2K resolution and
extraordinary music provided by Tangerine Dream member Thorsten Quaeschning.
Strohmaier and RandyGitschwho
do so much for the preservation and restoration of the Cinerama documentary
features updated the audience on Seven
Wonders of the World, another 3 strip Cinerama classic that required
extensive work to bring this forthcoming restoration to a new generation of
audiences. Following this came the European premiere of Cinerama Holidayshown in 2k Digital on the curved
screen. Randy Gitsch provided the introduction and background to the extensive
work needed to bring this second of the three Cinerama travelogues up to date.
A highly rewarding experience for all. (Cinerama
Holiday will be released later this year along with another Cinerama
feature South Seas Adventure on the
Flicker Alley label).
afternoon concluded with the European premiere of David Strohmaier'sIn the Pictureshort, which was filmed in 3 panel
Cinerama for the first time in 50 years! This was followed byThe Last Days of Cinerama,an affectionate look at the making of
the aforementioned feature. A 70mm print ofHelloDollyrounded off the Saturday evening, again
an excellent presentation.
opened with the regular and popularCineramacanaa montage of shorts and news items that
included DTS demonstration reels and a 70mm reel of Tomorrow Never Dies which never saw a 70mm release in the UK. The
traditional onstage photograph followed. Sunday afternoon ran the 3 strip
feature ofThe Wonderful World
of The Brothers Grimm, the only known print in existence. It looked
magnificent on thePictureville'scurved
to Marry a Millionaire was screened on Sunday
afternoon, with a beautiful CinemaScope print that was well received by all
present. Tony Sloman provided a fascinating and amusing intro to this Fox
Classic. The day concluded with a screening ofThe Guns of Navarone,shown for the first time in a 4k
print. Again patrons were experiencing a much improved presentation of this war
movie classic. This was introduced by Author Brian Hannan who has just written
two books: The Making of the Guns ofNavaroneand
The Making of Lawrence of Arabia.
final day Monday showed the marathon featureGettysburgover two parts which was introduced by
Dr. Sheldon Hall.
Bradford 2013 Widescreen festival will go down as one of the best ever, with
improved organisation allowing delegates longer breaks between features and
also arguably for the first time ever, ran pretty much to schedule!
organised by Bill Lawrence and Duncan McGregor patrons seemed very happy with
both the presentation and quality of the features on offer.
to all concerned and roll on 2014.......
“There is no one like Jack Black… No, I read
that wrong- no one likes Jack Black,”s aid Roastmaster Bob Saget as the School
of Rock star and Tenacious D musician was honored at star-studded Friars Club
event held at the New York Hilton on Friday April 5.
Saget masterfully set the tone for the roast:
“To say that Jack Black is a one-trick pony is an insult to ponies… Jerry
Lewis, you’re an icon,” he told the Friar’s Club Abbott, who announced that he
is celebrating his 84thyear in the entertainment business, “but I’m
glad you don’t take a bow- you’d yank your balls out of your socks.”
“It’s unusual for Sarah Silverman to be at table
with comedians,” Saget said introducing her, “she’s usually under a table
jerking them off.” “Anyone who’s seen Bob do comedy knows it’s nothing like
Full House,” Silverman replied. “He played a sweet Dad in Full House, and now
plays a lousy comedian for a half-full house.” Turning to the corpulent actor
Oliver Platt, she said: “you’re distantly related to Princess Diana, which
means that bulimia is not an inherited trait… Jeff Ross made a sex tape and the
next day his girlfriend was arrested for bestiality.”
The star-studded guest list ranged from Al
Roker, Oliver Platt, to KISS founder Gene Simmons, Debbie Harry, Chad Smith,
Richard Marx, The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, The Spin Doctors, Boyd Tinsley, Dee
Snider, Dreamworks’ co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg to Black’s Tenacious D
partner Kyle Gass.
“There are so many fossils here, I thought that
Ben Stiller was shooting another Night at the Museum sequel,” Silverman said.
Turning to Lewis, she said: “The last person who thought you were funny in
France just died. Jerry Lewis doesn’t think that women are funny and now no one
thinks Jerry Lewis is funny.”
“Jack Black is very shy- he prefers to be left
alone- that’s why he made Nacho Libre…School of Rock changed my life- because
you can’t get rid of anal warts… Jack is so fat, his last movie was shot by
Google Earth. He’s not starved for attention, just onion rings.”
Introducing Roastmaster General and creator and
star of Comedy Central’s “The Burn” Jeffrey Ross, Saget said: “Before the roast
he was standing next to Jerry Lewis in the lobby and somebody made a donation.
And Jerry took it. And then he humped the guy.”
“Bob is currently on a stand-up tour of
colleges, and it’s just nice to see someone not killing at a school these
days,” Ross said. “What a turnout: Dee Snider, Debbie Harry, Joan Osborne. Last
time I saw these three musicians together was in a Dollar CD bin… Is this a
roast or a charity concert for shingles? Turning to Mike Love, he said: “Don’t
you think it’s about time you change the name of the band to something more age
appropriate, like The Grateful Dead?”
Turning to the guest
of honor, he added: “Jack is widely considered a show business triple threat:
Diabetes, blood pressure, and gout… Anybody see Jack in the remake of King
Kong? Your version sucked so bad, King Kong jumped off The Empire State
Building! Jack sounds like Meat Loaf and his partner Kyle smells like meatloaf…
This is fun- I never roasted a marshmallow before!”
In its best incarnation, the roast is a
celebration of a career or life through testimonials barely veiled as insults
(and more often just insults themselves). Saget introduced Ross as one of his
closest friends (“he came to my father’s Shiva, and he was so funny he made my
mom choke on his kishka, which is what he calls his balls.”)
Ross’ interplay with Saget harkened back to the
legendary era of Friar’s roasts where most of the roasters were lifelong
friends, where Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Red Button, and Jan
Murray would jab each other like expert swordsmen. Comrades in insulting arms, they were
skilled at honoring someone they loved and respected through devout,
passionate, and creative dishonor. As
much as they were coming to see the guest of honor, audiences wanted and still
want to be part of the beloved family of friends that made fun of each other
with regularity and deep affection. With
close friends Saget and Silverman, Ross continued the private party tradition
where the roasters were happy to have you become a part of, where the
friendship made even the harshest barbs affectionate.
to Gene Simmons, he said: “You look like a Rabbi fucked an Indian Chief. What
happened, Gene? You used to rock and roll all night and party every day- now
you get up six times a night to go to the bathroom.” Getting Simmons to show
his infamously large tongue, he added “you’re two pieces of pumpernickel away
from being the Number 3 at the Carnegie Deli!”
Ross’ observation about Lewis: “We make fun
of Jerry Lewis, but what about the good things Jerry Lewis does? What about the
fact that just a few years ago, a six year old boy got up out of his wheelchair
and walked for the first time- to turn off the Jerry Lewis Telethon,” brought
down the house with the greatest laughs coming from Lewis himself.
Ross poignantly closed his set by telling the
capacity crowd how much the roasts mean to him. “I love, love coming to these
Friar’s roasts every year. Some of my best friends are on this dais and in this
room. I started out at these roasts. I will finish my life at these roasts. And
the fact that Jack Black knows enough about the traditions of comedy that he
would agree to do this is an inspiration to people with Downs Syndrome
Roast-contest winner and newcomer Amadeo Fusca
did an impressive job, starting by telling Saget “Thank you, Uncle Jesse.” To
Katzenberg he said, “I’ve seen your movies. Your dreams don’t work… Jeff Ross
is a veteran of these roasts- he shows up once a year and will probably be
“Jack Black will do anything for a movie role,
except sit-ups and pushups,” said Vh1’s Carrie Keagan; “This is my first
Friar’s roast and obviously Jerry Lewis’ last,” said Amy Shumer, “it’s hard to
film School of Rock when you’re not allowed 500 feet in front of one… how are
you holding a pen,” she said to Saget, “don’t your hands hurt from hanging on
by a thread for so long?” “In your version of Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver
travelled right the video store,” Artie Lange said. “It’s very expensive to
bring Jerry Lewis to the roast- it costs $10,000 to bring him here and $10,000
to tell him where he is.”
There were also videos from Seth Rogen, James
Franco and Danny McBride, Matthew McConnaughey (“Jack Black is a very nice man,
unless you’ve met any other men”),Will Ferrell in his Ron Bergundy persona,
accusing Black of not returning “the AMC Hornet he borrowed,” and Shirley
MacLaine, talking about how much she loved Jack in “Save the Tiger,” confusing
him with former co-star, Jack Lemmon.
Cinema Retro contributor Eddy Friedfeld
teaches film and comedy history at NYU and Yale and will be hosting the Dick
Van Dyke Lifetime Achievement Award program at New York’s 92nd
Street Y on April 26th.
Oscar winners Daniel Day Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Although it's fashionable (required?) for critics to dump on the annual Oscar telecast, I've been impressed by some of the ceremonies in the last few years. Despite the length of the broadcast (only David Lean could be counted on to provide a longer running time), last night's presentation moved at a much faster pace than usual. It was hosted by Seth MacFarlane, someone whose presence on the show initially left me less-than-thrilled. I'd heard of him, of course, but had never seen him. That may mean that I'm out of touch with contemporary pop culture, especially television, but I'd wager that anyone would agree that MacFarlane is the least-known person to ever host the show. Having said that, he did a fine job, given his thankless job as ringmaster. The show got off to a mildly amusing start with William Shatner as Captain Kirk "beamed" in from the future to warn MacFarlane that his reviews would prove to be terrible if he didn't improve his jokes. The gimmick worked well at the start but went on for an interminable 15 minutes until I wish someone had beamed me out. Fortunately, MacFarlane's monologue was clever, as was an intentionally distasteful "tribute" to actresses, a song titled "We Saw Your Boobs", which was turned into an admittedly funny production number.
The producers succeeded in their quest to get big names to attend. Clint Eastwood may have opted to watch the show at home, but Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer and other legends added star power to the event.
One of the best gimmicks was the slowly-encroaching theme from Jaws which was played when winners went on too long in their acceptance speeches. The one winner who chose to ignore the warning lost the battle and came across as a windbag.
Fashion-wise, there were no show-stoppers, but neither were there any overt embarrassments. Everyone looked elegant.
The obituary segment was improved by the fact that it wasn't accompanied by live music, which generally caused the camera to focus on the musician instead of the screen where the dearly departed are being honored.
It's a pity that the once-vaunted Jean Hersholt Award is now relegated to a brief sound bite from an earlier presentation ceremony (Jeffrey Katzenberg was the honoree this year.)
It was great to see Barbra Streisand pay tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch by singing The Way We Were, but for some reason the arrangement left me unmoved and this great song didn't resonate the way it should have.
The "banter" between co-presenters was pretty lame and got exponentially worse with the number of presenters on stage at any one time. (The cast of The Avengers appearing together must have seemed like a great idea but the result was awful in terms of witty byplay.)
The much-anticipated James Bond 50th anniversary tribute would have been enthusiastically received by fans of the series, but the producers blundered early on by hinting that they were arranging for an on-stage appearance by all six 007 actors. When that fell apart, they then hinted something phenomenal was in the works, but aside from Shirley Bassey's brilliant rendition of Goldfinger, the long-overdue tribute to the series consisted of a pretty routine film clip compilation. Later in the show, Adele sang her theme from Skyfall and won a well-deserved Oscar. Skyfall also won in a sound category, thus breaking the Bond "Oscar Curse." (The last 007 film to win an Oscar was Thunderball back in 1965).
There were a number of surprises among the winners: Christoph Waltz, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino were all considered to be dark horses this year.
Production numbers were generally very good, especially the gathering of the Les Miserables cast who were in fine form.
The inclusion of First Lady Michelle Obama in a live feed from the White House to "help" present the Best Picture award was as bizarre as it was superfluous. It may have gone over well with the crowd in the auditorium but probably left most viewers scratching their heads. Let's hope this overt blending of politics and Hollywood doesn't start a trend or we'll be seeing senators and congressmen in future production numbers.
MacFarlane's closing production number "tribute" to the losers was as witty as anything Billy Crystal ever came up with and ended the show on a high note.
Overall, a good presentation that moved briskly and rarely proved to be boring. MacFarland will suffer the slings-and-arrows of the professional Oscar-bashers, but he acquitted himself well in the eyes of this reviewer, who incidentally, had a very mediocre result from his Oscar predictions. I only managed to nab some of the foregone conclusions and completely misjudged many of the other categories. The sheer unpredictability of this year's winners helped to inject some genuine suspense into the proceedings.
Here we go again. In the past, I've had a fairly good record of predicting Oscar winners...Let's see if the trend holds. Last week, I helped to host an annual Oscar prediction event at New York's legendary private club The Coffee House. I went against the popular consensus on some predictions, so let's see if my well-thought out analysis (to which I devoted about 30 seconds) will pay off this year, as well.
BEST PICTURE: Argo. Everyone is saying Argo. They may be right. Academy voters were humiliated that Ben Affleck failed to secure a nomination for Best Director, so they may try to atone by giving the film Best Picture. (It was the directors who snubbed Affleck but all Academy members can vote for Best Picture). However, it would be only the third time in Oscar history that a Best Picture award went to a film for which its director was not nominated. (The others were Wings, Grand Hotel and Driving Miss Daisy.) As of this morning I was still thinkin' Lincoln, but I now think Argo will pull it off...and voters can console Spielberg by giving him the Best Director nod.
BEST DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg. It's probably between Steven Spielberg for Lincoln and David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, a fine but over-rated flick that built in momentum during the crucial voting period. I'll go with Spielberg, however, because his track record has been pretty checkered in recent years and the Academy would like to re-inspire him to strive for meaningful projects such as Lincoln, a film that proved he still has the old mojo.
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook. It's a remarkable performance by a 22-year-old actress who was still in high school when the movie was first put into development.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln is the odds-on favorite and I'm sticking with him, though Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings could be a dark horse winner.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. One of the toughest categories to call. Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained is probably out of the picture, having recently won for another Tarantino flick. Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master might stand a chance as an upset win, but few people saw the movie. Tommy Lee Jones was great in Lincoln, but he's grouchy and turns off Academy voters. Alan Arkin was great in Argo but he won the award a few years ago. That leaves Robert De Niro, who I believe will win. My friend, actor Simon Jones who hosted the Oscar event at the Coffee House with me, said disparagingly "De Niro was acting, alright- with a capital "A"!" To some De Niro was trying too hard to make up for a string of low-end movies he did for a fast paycheck. But I enjoyed his performance and I think the Academy will want to inspire him (as with Spielberg) to use his talents for worthy projects.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael Haneke for Amour. The screenplay categories always feature the quirkiest winners. Tarantino might be a favorite but many voters would have been turned off by the sheer violence of Django Unchained. Mark Boal's screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty has been compromised by political controversies and criticisms about artistic license. John Gatins for Flight might be deserving but is still a long-shot and perpetually overrated Wes Anderson (with Roman Coppola) probably don't stand a chance for Moonrise Kingdom.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. Almost impossible to call this highly competitive category. Tony Kushner's screenplay for Lincoln is a strong contender, but it has also been embroiled in controversy about accuracy, though most of that surfaced after the votes were in. I think they'll give it to Russell because Silver Linings is a feel-good, uplifting movie and they will want to afford him a consolation prize for not giving him Best Dirctor.
VISUAL EFFECTS: The Life of Pi
SOUND MIXING: Les Miserables
SOUND EDITING: The Life of Pi
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lincoln
SCORE: John Williams for Lincoln
MAKEUP: The Hobbit
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Amour
FILM EDITING: Argo
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Searching for Sugar Man
COSTUME DESIGN: Les Miserables
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frankenweenie
BEST SONG: Skyfall
I have to say I have feeling I'm going to bomb out this year...too many categories are crap shoots but that should make for a suspenseful and fun Oscar night. Will check in the day after to see how I fared.
Cinema Retro's man-about-town in London, photographer Mark Mawston snapped some fantastic shots of stars arriving on the red carpet. It was a glamorous evening and Oscar could take some pointers in terms of the pacing of the show and the comedic factors. There was scarcely any of the interminable "spontaneous" byplay among couples presenting the Oscars...instead, everyone was left to their own devices and the results were far more amusing. Best of all was host Stephen Fry, who deftly laid waste to any hint of pretentiousness by using a rapier wit to take on one and all. It was also a glamorous affair, proof positive that the Brits are still tops at this sort of thing. Best of all, most of the awards actually made sense! (All images copyright Mark Mawston. All rights reserved)
George Clooney and Ben Affleck, big winners for Argo.
(L to R) Louise Quick, Marisa Berenson, Robert Osborne, Joel Grey, Nicole Fosse and Michael York. (Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
Warner Home Video has pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bob Fosse's film adaptation of Cabaret. Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer was invited to a press junket held yesterday at the Trump Towers hotel at Central Park and Columbus Circle in New York. Among the dignitaries present were cast members Joel Grey (an Oscar winner for his performance in the film), Michael York, Marisa Berenson and Louise Quick, who was a dancer in the Kit-Kat Club sequences, Nicole Fosse, daughter of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.
Joel Grey discusses his memories of the film.
(Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
(Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
The event afforded journalists to interview each of the attendees and hear some fascinating anecdotes about the making of the movie and the reasons why its impact resonates decades later. The promotions continue with Warner Home Video's release of the Blu-ray special edition release of the film leading up to tonight's star-studded "re-premiere" of the restored movie at New York's legendary Ziegfeld Theatre, where the original premiere took place in 1972. In addition to the aforementioned dignitaries, Liza Minnelli will also be attending. It should be a great night in Gotham.
(L to R) Legendary movie poster designer Bill Gold next to the commemorative WB 90th anniversary poster that honors his designs; Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer and contributing writer Doug Gerbino.
The creative team behind the 90th anniversary documentary: (L to R) producer Bill Gerber, director Gary Khammar, moderator and Oscar winning sound man Christopher Newman and Jeff Baker, Exec VP of Warner Home Video.
Cinema Retro was invited to attend the world premiere of the new documentary Warner Brothers 90th Anniversary: Tales From the Lot on January 29th at the Paley Center for Media in New York City. The festivities included a champagne reception pre-screening party and the opportunity to interview the creative team behind the documentary: producer Bill Gerber, director Gary Khammar and Jeff Baker, Executive Vice President of Warner Home Video. Remarkably, the 145 minute documentary doesn't utilize any film clips from classic Warner Brothers films. Baker said he wanted the story told through people who have worked for and with WB over the decades. Thus, we get fascinating insights into the physical studio itself as well as enlightening anecdotes from artists, technicians, directors such as Richard Donner and Christopher Nolan, producers Joel Silver, Jerry Weintraub, David Foster, studio executives and actors including Mel Gibson, Paul Rubens, Morgan Freeman and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. The film also features interviews with Clint Eastwood, who is simply and appropriately described as "Icon". Also present for the festivities was legendary film poster designer Bill Gold. Bill's career extends back to creating the one sheet poster for The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1939. Bill's other classic poster designs include Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The Wild Bunch, Bonnie and Clyde, Bulllitt, Dial M for Murder and each of Clint Eastwood's films over the last 35 years. At the event, WB unveiled a new poster commemorating Gold's poster designs for WB. It is available in select boxed sets of DVDs and Blu-rays pertaining to the 90th anniversary.
A one-hour version of Warner Brothers 90th Anniversary: Tales From the Lot airs on Turner Classic Movies (North America) this Saturday and Sunday, February 2-3.
To commemorate the 90th anniversary, Warner Home Video has released the largest boxed set of DVDs ever produced, featuring 100 classic movies either produced by Warner Brothers or now owned by the studio. (Click here for publicity clip about the set)Click hereto order from Amazon and save 36%
The studio has also released a 50 disc classic Blu-ray set. Click here to order from Amazon and save 39% off retail price.
Both boxed sets include the full, 145 minute version of the 90th anniversary documentary as well as the special Bill Gold commemorative poster. Both sets also include commemorative post cards based on classic Bill Gold movie posters.
The Humphrey Bogart Estate, run by the legendary star's son Stephen, is holding the first annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo (where else?), Florida on May 2-5, 2015. There will be theatrical screenings of Bogie classics as well as other crime-related movies. Stephen Bogart will be attending along with Leonard Maltin. There will also be an opportunity to ride on the original African Queen and view Bogart memorabilia. Click here for more
Produced by Alexandre Poncet, Co-produced by Tony Dalton
Featuring Ray Harryhausen, Tony Dalton, James Cameron, Terry Gilliam, John Landis, Nick Park, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Tim Burton,
Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro
Release date: At cinemas from 9th November 2012
Running time: 94 mins
“I think all of us who
are practitioners in the arts of science fiction and fantasy movies now, all
feel that we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant. If not for Ray’s
contribution to the collective dreamscape we wouldn’t be who we are.” James Cameron
remarkable career of the movie industry’s most admired and influential
special-effects auteur, the legendary Ray Harryhausen, is the subject of Gilles
Penso’s definitive documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.
Leaving no doubt as to Harryhausen’s seminal
influence on modern-day special effects, the documentary features enlightening
and entertaining interviews with the man himself,Randy Cook, Peter Jackson, Nick Park,
Phil Tippet, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren,
John Landis, Guillermo Del Toro, James
Cameron, Steven Spielberg and
many more. These filmmakers, who today push the boundaries of special effects
movie-making, pay tribute to the grandfather of Stop Motion animation and films
such as ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’, ‘It Came From
Beneath The Sea’, ‘The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad’, ‘Mysterious Island’, ‘Jason
And The Argonauts’ and ‘The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad’ – the films that
enthralled them as children and inspired them to becomefilmmakers in their own right.
The interviews are combined with archival
footage and contemporary clips plus the added delight of behind-the-scenes
footage, stills and original drawings plus recently discovered unseen takes of
tests and experiments. The filmmakers were granted unprecedented
access to film all aspects of The Ray Harryhausen Collection including models,
artwork and miniatures as well as Ray's private study, where he designed most
of his creations, and his workshop where he built them.
This story of how a hobby became a profession,
from Ray’s first childhood experiments with dinosaurs made in his parents
garage, to the ground-breaking techniques he developed to intricately
interweave Stop Motion animation with live action and the birth of Dynamation
viewing for any fan of science-fiction, fantasy and adventure filmmaking.
and his movies transport us to the magical other worlds of ancient mythology in
the company of fantastical creatures such as the Talos, the Cyclops, the
Skeletons and the Kali without which the likes of Avatar, Jurassic Park, Star
Wars and The Lord Of The Rings would not even have been imagined. The
documentary reveals the painstaking detail, concentration and patience required
to do by hand, what a computer now creates artificially in seconds, and it was
all one man. A lost art, perhaps, but Ray Harryhausen’s influence will resonate
for many generations to come.
Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan
(Arrow Films) is released at cinemas
from 9th November 2012.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Park Circus film distributors in the UK:
Leading international classic and repertory film distributor Park Circus is pleased to announce a stellar line-up of restorations and newly discovered classics as part of the 2012 BFI London Film Festival Treasures from the Archive strand.
Otto Preminger’s BONJOUR TRISTESSE,starring David Niven and Deborah Kerr, receives its UK premiere in a sparkling new digital restoration courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing. The film will screen on the 12th and 13th October.
Following a world premiere at Cannes, Sony Pictures’ restoration of David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA will be screened in a stunning 4K digital presentation on 20th October. This will be the first time the 4K version of the film screens in the UK. Released in 1962, the film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a return to cinemas worldwide. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, which Park Circus is rolling out internationally, will receive a UK theatrical release from 16th November 2012.
Sony Pictures’ restoration of Sergio Solima’s THE BIG GUNDOWN will receive its international premiere in a new 4K restoration featuring the original Italian soundtrack. The screening will take place on 20th October.
An archival 35mm print of Jack Garfein’s SOMETHING WILD will receive rare screenings on the 18th and 20th October.
Robert Aldrich’s 1962 WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, starring screen legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, will be presented in a brand new restoration by Warner Bros. to honour the film’s 50th anniversary. Screening on the 18th and 20th October. The LFF screenings mark the start of Park Circus’ international plans for the film, including a UK release from December 14th2012.
Originally released in 1955, London will host the world premiere of the Film Foundation’s restoration of RICHARD III, directed and starring Sir Laurence Olivier, on 14th October.
The London Film Festival marks a very active season for Park Circus Films with a number of additional titles being released into the cinema market place worldwide including a US re-release of David Lean’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER and, internationally, a special Christmas re-release of GREMLINS.
PRESENTED IN AMAZING ALAMOSCOPE: 70MM AT THE RITZ!
A Brand New Programming Series Goes Big, Including Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER
A Alamo is pleased to announce a new ongoing film series beginning August 24, titled“Presented in Amazing AlamoScope: 70mm at the Ritz!” In the world of film presentation, nothing -- digital or otherwise -- can ever match the power and glory of 70mm film. A gargantuan creation of the 1950s, 70mm quickly became the permanent benchmark of quality, transforming every title released in the format into a mind-expanding epic. The depth, the sharpness, the beauty and the history make every 70mm screening an unforgettable event for any movie fan. While movie studios and theaters dump celluloid to replace with computer files and giant TVs, the Alamo is proud to instead leap into the tremendous, triumphant arena of 70mm.
A The incredible lineup at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, TX includes WEST SIDE STORY, CLEOPATRA, GHOSTBUSTERS, INDIANA JONES, BARAKA, PLAYTIME andPaul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated new film THE MASTER, all shown the way they were meant to be seen, in glorious 70mm.
"I am thrilled that Tim has helped us present the film in its intended way. This is a special format, and keeping it alive is important," said director Paul Thomas Anderson.
A “Paul Thomas Anderson has bucked the trend of digital conversion and shot his new American epic THE MASTER in glorious 70mm. As an homage to his bold ambition, we have made a long-term commitment to celebrate 70mm, both as a lead-up to the release of his new film and as an integral part of our programming for years to come,” says Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse.
A Tickets to WEST SIDE STORY are on sale now. A badge providing access to all 7 films including THE MASTER is also on sale. The badge includes access to the first show on Saturday for all repertory films and the premiere screening of THE MASTER on 9/21 at 7:00pm
A THE MASTER will run exclusively in 70mm at the Ritz in Austin beginning September 21. The Ritz will continue to screen 70mm films in the years to come as part of the Alamo Drafthouse’s continued commitment to film preservation.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the British Film Institute:
The BFI is
pleased to announce that the grand finale of The Genius of Hitchcock project
(June – October 2012) will be the BFI London Film Festival’s Archive Gala
screening, presented in association with The Krasner Fund for the BFI, of the
world premiere of the BFI National Archive’s new restoration of Hitchcock’sThe Manxman(1929). This powerful love triangle
set among the fishing community on the Isle of Man will be shown at The Empire,
Leicester Square with a new score by Stephen Horne on 19October 2012.
BFI London Film Festival runs from 10 -21 October 2012.
Stewart, BFI Head of Exhibition & Artistic Director, BFI LFF said,“The Manxmanas the BFI London Film Festival
Archive Gala will be a fitting culmination to the BFI’s extraordinary series of
screenings of Hitchcock's newly restored silent films this summer. Critics and
audiences alike have thrilled to see these films afresh, transformed by great
new music and exciting settings. We are delighted to be showingThe Manxmanat The Empire, a cinema which
Hitchcock knew, with an accompaniment from Stephen Horne, a hugely talented
composer who is guaranteed to produce something worthy of the LFF’s prestigious
screeningmarks the start of a
valuable partnership with Ella Krasner, whose significant donation launches The
Krasner Fund for the BFI: supporting film treasures in the BFI Collections. The
Krasner Fund for the BFI will underpin a series of events throughout the year
which, in turn, will leverage additional support for the unparalleled
collections held in the BFI National Archive.
Nevill, BFI CEO said, “We are delighted to welcome Ella Krasner to the BFI. Her
donation will support the work of the BFI collections and the fund we are
launching with her at the Archive Gala will act as a meaningful catalyst to
leverage additional significant funds for the same cause. We are very
grateful to her for initiating a new concept of support for our Archive in a
Alfred Hitchcock’s last wholly silent film and one of the best and most mature
works of his early career. Adapted from the novel (originally published in
1894) by Sir Hall Caine, a bestselling author who specialised in stories set on
the Isle of Man, the location work was actually done in Cornwall. Set in a
small fishing community, two boyhood friends take markedly different paths in
adulthood, one a humble fisherman, the other a lawyer destined to become
‘Deemster’, the local chief justice. Both fall in love with the same
woman, forcing them to deal not only with their own moral code but also that of
the strict Manx society. Although an untypical Hitchcock work,The Manxmansucceeds brilliantly on its own terms
and features superlative performances from Hitchcock favourites, Malcom Keen,
Carl Brisson and the luminescent Anny Ondra.
Horne has been associated with the BFI for over 20 years and is an internationally
renowned accompanist to silent films and a composer in his own right. His
involvement with The Genius of Hitchcock began when he performed a partially
improvised score at the world premiere screening of the BFI’s new restoration
of The Ring at the Cannes Film Festival in May to great acclaim, playing piano,
flute, accordion and percussion. He will also play a musical accompaniment to
Hitchcock’sEasy Virtuein the autumn for screenings at BFI
Genius of Hitchcock is the biggest ever project undertaken by the BFI.The Manxmanis the last of nine new restorations
of Alfred Hitchcock’s surviving silent films to be presented with new music,
part of a series of spectacular events, launched as part of the Cultural
Olympiad. The project continues through August into October with a complete
retrospective at BFI Southbank, many international guests and a nationwide
release ofThe Lodgerin cinemas. Now in the final stage of
the campaign, there is still a chance for anyone who would like to help ensure
all nine of Hitchcock’s surviving silent films can be restored to make a
donation by visitingwww.bfi.org.uk/saveafilm. The BFI has also published a new
book39 Steps to The Genius of
Hitchcockand there is a
supporting exhibition at BFI Southbank alongside a series of new resources on
the BFI website.
The Manxman credits
Ross Christian (uncredited)
Company: British International Pictures
from the famous story by: Hall CAINE
Director: Frank MILLS
Director: Wilfrd ARNOLD, Emile DE RUELLE
restoration and presentation ofThe
Manxmanhas been generously
supported by Daniel & Joanna Friel, Ronald T Shedlo, and an anonymous
provided by Deluxe 142.
also gratefully acknowledge the support and collaboration of STUDIOCANAL,
rightsholders ofThe Manxman.
thanks must go to everyone who has supported the BFI's Hitchcock 9 campaign,
including: The Eric Anker-Petersen Charity; Arts Council England; British Board
of Film Classification; Deluxe 142; Shivendra Singh Dungarpur; The Mohamed S.
Farsi Foundation; The Film Foundation; Pia Getty; The Headley Trust; Simon W
Hessel; The Hollywood Foreign Press Association; Ian & Beth Mill; Col &
Karen Needham; PRS for Music Foundation; Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler
Foundation; Martin Scorsese; and, Matt Spick.
Beatty at the Hollywood premiere of How the West Was Won in 1963.
Cinema Retro has received the following notification from the British Film Institute:
Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine appear side by side in what is perhaps a first-ever BFI pairing of siblings in competing screens. Beatty has long been regarded as one of the most influential players in modern American cinema, whose considerable achievements as a director and producer are equal to those as an actor. Alongside him, MacLaine has had similar success with a dazzling, hugely celebrated career spanning over sixty years. Both of them are Oscar winners in their own right, and with highlights including Bonnie & Clyde, McCabe & Mrs Miller and The Apartment, these seasons have something for everyone.
there something about classic movie fans that makes us more obsessive than your
average cinemagoer? Does the fact that we often have to search for years for
that obscure Western or noir on DVD mean we're more appreciative when we
finally see it? Would most of us rather watch a 1960s Bond movie at the
multiplex than a modern CGI-fest?
are some of the questions I asked myself as I left my home (and DVD collection)
in the UK to fly 5,000 miles to the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival in
Hollywood over the weekend of 12-15 April 2012. A
gathering of thousands of movie aficionados from around the globe, this
spin-off from the US cable TV channel promises attendees that they'll see some
of the best films ever made, often in the company of the people who made them,
in the way they were meant to be seen. Planning
for TCM is akin to a military operation, albeit one that involves popcorn and
soft drinks. This is a festival that offers up around 80 films from all genres
and multiple decades across its four days, usually with a choice of around five
films at any one time. The choice can be between 1962's How the West Was Won
(in Cinerama), 1955's To Catch a Thief (at Grauman's Chinese Theatre), 1949's
Criss Cross, 1968's Rosemary's Baby and a few more, all scheduled against each
Festival started with a stop at the red carpet as the celebrities filed into
Grauman's for a screening of 1972's Cabaret, in the presence of Ms Liza
Minnelli. Tippi Hedren, Michael York, Debbie Reynolds, Richard Anderson, Larry
Hagman and John Landis were just some of those in attendance, most of them
rushing past this Cinema Retro reporter and into the palatial surroundings of
the theatre. One
of the finest actors on that carpet, at least for this fan of The Pink Panther,
was Robert Wagner, who stopped for a few moments to share his memories of
working with Peter Sellers in the 1964 comedy. “I
loved Peter, we were great friends and had a marvellous time together,” said
Wagner. “It was very exciting seeing him bring that character together with
Blake Edwards. You had the feeling it was going to be a hit, you just knew.”
Robert Evans and Robert Towne with Robert Osborne.
next few days went past in something of blur as I queued, changed my mind about
what films to see, heard stories about screenings and introductions I'd missed,
made new friends and attempted to get some sleep. I
shivered as Lon Chaney Jr morphed from Larry Talbot into The Wolf Man in the
1941 Universal classic; was in awe at the aerial footage shot by William Wellman
in 1927's Wings; smiled as Kirk Douglas, at the age of 95, sang a verse from
1954's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea before a screening of the film; and laughed
as Dick Powell breezed his way through 1951's film noir, Cry Danger, as co-star
Rhonda Fleming discussed suffering from appendicitis on set to an audience at
The Egyptian Theatre.
that was just days one and two.
night back at Grauman's saw Roman Polanski's 1974 film, Chinatown, shown in the
presence of screenwriter Robert Towne and producer Robert Evans, the pair
introduced by TCM host, Robert Osborne. Nominated
for 11 Academy Awards, Chinatown was the first film that Robert Evans produced.
Towne explained that Evans had originally requested he adapt F Scott
Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby for the screen, but that he didn't want to do it. “We
were having dinner at Dominick's on Beverly Boulevard and Evans was trying to
figure out why I didn't want to do Gatsby,” noted Towne. “I told him [about
Chinatown]. Bob said “I don't understand a goddamned thing but I do like the
title”. He got all of us in there who knew each other and cared about each
other so that we could fight and have a good time.”
Betty White makes a memorable entrance at the Friars roast in her honor. (Photo: Marion Curtis, Starpix/Associated Press)
By Eddy Friedfeld
Television legend Betty White was the target of this
year’s Friars Club Roast, held in New York’s Sheraton Hotel.
From an eclectic dais that ranged from Matt Lauer, Liza
Minelli, and Dick Cavett, to Dominic “Uncle Junior” Chianese, to The Office’s
Oscar Nunez, to former New York star John Starks, to boxing great Ray “Boom
Boom” Mancini, to Best Picture The Artist’s Uggie the Dog, the event was up to
its usual biting and merciless humor, poking fun at the guest of honor’s age
and sexual proclivity.
Barbara Walters served as Roastmaster, marking the
first time in Friars history that women were both host and subject. “Yesterday, I was talking to the President of
the United States,” Walters said, referring to Barack Obama’s appearance on The
View, “and today I am with second rate comedians and a dog.”
Walters kicked off the festivities by skewering her
longtime friend: “What has been said
about Betty White that hasn’t been said about her contemporaries: Moses, John the Baptist, and General Custer…
Betty was the first woman banned by the TSA for requesting too many pat downs,
the first person to try and send a text from a land line, and the first woman
to do Shakespeare at The Globe Theater. Literally- she did him in the balcony.”
“Regis Philbin, Abe Vigoda, Larry King, what is this, a
roast or are we Sitting Shiva,” Walter’s co-host, Joy Behar, said about her
elderly dais companions. “Larry King’s
latest wife is not only compatible romantically; she is also a compatible
donor… When Katie Couric had her last colonoscopy televised, they found Sarah
Palin’s high school diploma… Betty White is so old her first sitcom was “Hot
for Grover Cleveland.”
White’s Hot in Cleveland costars Valerie Bertinelli and
Jane Leeves took the podium together: “Betty has slept with every Cy Young award winner- including Cy Young;
and when Joe Jonas lost his promise ring, Betty didn’t rest until he didn’t
need it anymore,” Bertinelli said. “Betty asked a young waiter: “How
many times does 20 go into 90?”” Leeves added.
Roastmaster General Jeffrey Ross, creator and host of
the upcoming Comedy Central’s The Burn, congratulated Walters on her interview
with the President on The View, “or as Fox News reported it: “Muslim Terrorist Invades Lesbian Orgy!”
“Larry King is to comedy what Martin Luther King is to
comedy,” he said to “the great hunchback of CNN.”
Turning to the “Ghost of Honor,” the hysterical Ross
said: “Betty is truly the only person
who truly saw The Titanic in 3-D… she is so old that the color white is named
after her… Poor Betty has had more men die on top of her than Mount Everest,”
and that he was “really looking forward to her next movie: “Weekend at Betty’s.”
“Betty, just for the record- I don’t think videotaping
your orthoscopic surgery counts as a hidden camera show. And this big comeback- “Betty-Mania,” all
started with a Snickers commercial. Did you guys see it? And I thought The Kardashians were the only
ones who got famous by stuffing chocolate in their mouths.”
Although his office was three blocks away, David
Letterman appeared on a video clip, offering a Top Ten List of little known
facts about Betty White, including that “she was only 33, but lived a hard
life; has seen seven Presidents naked, many at the same time; shaved the backs
of co-stars Ed Asner and Bea Arthur; is the sister of Barry White; and once, on
The Match Game, handled Gene Rayburn’s “blank.””
White’s age there is a fine line between a roast and a cremation,” Larry King
told the audience. He shared the advice
Betty allegedly gave other people: “She
told Arnold Schwarzenegger- “Don’t pay the maid, just give her a big tip under
the table;” to Abraham Lincoln- “the tickets are a gift, enjoy!” to John
Edwards- “enjoy the girl, she probably won’t say anything;” to the Captain of
The Hindenburg- “ignore the no smoking sign;” to John Travolta- “I know a great
male masseur;” and to Mel Gibson- “they don’t control the media, say whatever
“Larry King is a
triple threat,” said closer Lisa Lampanelli,” at any given moment he can have a
heart attack, stroke, or shit his pants… Jeff Ross is so ugly that when he
whacked off his hand froze… Matt Lauer is thinner than a Hot in Cleveland plot
line… Regis is so old that his Social Security number is in Roman Numerals…
Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois and lived with her parents, or as we
knew them as- Settlers… she is so old that on the first game show she was on
the grand prize was fire.”
White thanked The Friars for all the charity work that
they do and for the event: “I had a
great time when I didn’t expect to.”
(For Eddy Friedfeld's coverage of the Friars Roast for Jerry Lewis, see Cinema Retro issue #6)
I'm not sure that a course such as this will ease the pain of parents struggling to pay for sky-high college tuition, but Cornell University is embarking on a study about what makes certain movie lines resonate with the public-in some cases long after the movie's impact has receded. Click here to read