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
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.
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
On March 16, The Friars Club presented an 86th birthday celebration honoring Jerry Lewis. The sold-out event saw hundreds of Lewis fans packed into the fabled 92nd Street Y on Manhattan's upper East Side. The show was hosted by actor/comedian and fellow Friar Richard Belzer (Lewis is the club's "Abbot"). Belzer waxed eloquently about the impact Lewis has continued to have on generations of comedians. He then showed some truly fascinating clips from director Gregg Barson's recent documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis. Then Lewis was introduced to a standing ovation. At 86 years old, there were few signs that age had taken its toll on the comedy legend. He walked a bit more cautiously and his hair was flecked with gray, but he cut a fit figure for a man of any age. Lewis and Belzer indulged in some predictable shtick, with Belzer taking most of Lewis' acid-tongued insults. Lewis covered many topics during the course of the interview, which was followed by an extended Q&A session with the audience. As usual, such opportunities seem to result in most normal people remaining in their seats while various nutcases take to the microphone to ask questions. The ratio here was about 50/50,which is certainly light years better than one usually finds at such events. Lewis made mincemeat of some of the people, though he admitted his hearing is not what it was and he came down hard on some people who asked sane questions, quite possibly because he misheard them. Lewis begged the audience not to use their time extolling their love for him and their childhood memories of his films, as he said the rest of the audience would become bored. Nevertheless, some hams and opportunists couldn't resist the lure of the spotlight. An aspiring standup comic insisted on shaking his hand, and Lewis conceded. However, a name-dropper in the audience kept reminding Lewis of some ties between their families and presented Lewis with what he claimed to be a photograph of his daughter at the man's house many years ago. "Bullshit", said Lewis, who claimed he didn't know the man or his family. In a cringe-inducing moment, he tossed the photo on the floor. A young woman who introduced herself as an aspiring director presented Lewis with a birthday card, saying that she wasn't out "drinking" like other people her age, preferring instead to concentrate on studying filmmaking. (This desperate plea for praise showed her ignorance of the fact that everyone else in the audience was at least temporarily refraining from drinking. Was Lewis supposed to praise us all?) Lewis was effusive in his praise of his fans and audiences, which helped offset some of the crueler instances of his dismissal and public humiliation of some of those who had addressed him. One person who escaped Lewis' wrath was fellow Friar Jerry Stiller, who greeted Lewis fro the audience and received a warm response.
A wide variety of topics were covered. Here are some highlights:
Lewis said that Dean Martin was the most underrated man in show business because he had to endure being regarded as window dressing, as Lewis would gain the lion's share of praise from critics and audiences. He said Martin gamely pretended it didn't bother him, even though Lewis said he knew that it did.
He recalled being terrified at starring in his first post-Martin & Lewis film, The Delicate Delinquent, fearing that audience interest in him would wane in the wake of the team's break-up.
Lewis confirmed the rumor that he had indeed been fired from the annual telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. He had hosted the show since the mid-1960s. The audience gasped at the revelation and he said the new management of the charity disagreed with him on some concepts so they dismissed his services. He did not expand on the reasons behind the dispute but said he took satisfaction that the telethon still raised a great deal of money for those afflicted with the disease.
When Paramount wanted to move the release of Cinderfella to the summer, Lewis insisted that he had created the film with a Christmas release in mind. When the studio begged him for a summer film, Lewis wrote the entire script for The Bellboy in a matter of days, then shot the movie in an amazingly abbreviated period of time. It went on to be a huge boxoffice success.
Lewis spoke about making The King of Comedy with Martin Scorsese. Originally his character, a Johnny Carson-like TV icon, was named Robert Langford. Lewis insisted that Scorsese change the character's name to Jerry Langford. He told the puzzled Scorsese that this would help him gain some valuable footage in a scene in which Langford is shouted to by fans as he walks through Times Square. Lewis demonstrated this by simply taking Scorsese on a walk through the area they would be filming in. Immediately, passersby started shouting out, "Hey, Jerry!" Scorsese realized instantly that he could simply film Lewis walking through the area and not have to hire extras to shout the name, "Robert". Lewis also recalled being somewhat nervous about Scorsese asking him to direct a scene in the film while he observed.
Lewis is making a new movie Max Rosen but was most enthused about discussing his forthcoming Broadway musical adaptation of The Nutty Professor. The show is geared to open in November with a score by Marvin Hamlisch and a book by Rupert Holmes. Lewis will direct.
Lewis said the worst film experience of his career was Slapstick of Another Kind, a 1982 bomb that he said "I never should have done." Lewis explained he wanted to help the film's young director (who he mercifully didn't name. It was Steven Paul). He said the film emerged as such a disaster that Lewis is disturbed to even think about it even today. However, he said, he had given his word that he would do it and "when you shake a man's hand, you don't back out."
Lewis expressed satisfaction that his 1960s book about the techniques of film directing is still widely used in schools and that Scorsese regarded it as so vital that he kept on the set of his films. He also said that when he got into an argument with Scorsese about how to film a scene, Scorsese got the upper hand that by showing Lewis a paragraph in his own book that dispelled his argument. Lewis had to concede and Scorsese got his way.
He spoke very highly of his mother and father, both stage performers, who got Jerry into their act at age five in order to get a $5 increase in their paychecks. On his first night on stage, Jerry was taking a bow when he slipped and knocked out one of the stage lights, causing a mini-explosion. When the audience roared with laughter, Jerry was determined to continue to perform in front of audiences. He said the memory is still so vivid it seems like it was yesterday.
He talked with pride about his technological achievements, specifically in popularizing the Video Assist camera system that became widely used in the industry.
Lewis choked up a bit when talking about other comedy legends. He paid homage to the largely forgotten comedy genius Harry Ritz and recalled a particular anecdote regarding Charles Chaplin. Lewis had befriended jim legend in the 1960s. In 1971, Lewis opened his stage act in Paris to much acclaim. On opening night, his performance in front of European show business royalty lasted almost three hours. The following morning, he was having breakfast with Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charles. She revealed to him that Chaplin had attended the performance and greatly enjoyed it. Lewis was astonished. "But I didn't see him in the audience", he said. Geraldine explained that Chaplin had stood in the hot projection booth for the entire performance because he knew that if he was spotted, the attention would be diverted from Jerry's achievement on stage. Lewis is still moved by the fact that the elderly Chaplin stood for almost three hours in an uncomfortable environment, then sneaked out rather than detract from Lewis' performance.
Most moving was Lewis' recollections of his friendship with Stan Laurel, who he still regards as a prince among men. He said Stan told him about the day he received a telephone call telling him that Oliver Hardy had been diagnosed as terminally ill. Laurel recalled that his arm that held the telephone literally froze up as though it were made of stone and he could not move it, as he was so shaken by the news. Lewis said Laurel refused to leave his house for a period of time because he could not hide his depression and thought it would be too upsetting for young children to see him in anything but a happy mood. Most fascinating was Lewis' stories about trying to hire Laurel as a script consultant on his films. Laurel knew that Lewis was only trying to make him feel relevant in the new age of comedy and refused his offer of a $150,000 fee per movie. Nevertheless, Laurel did contribute some opinions. He sent one script back to Lewis with a red marker through a scene and wrote, "Don't shoot this!" Lewis felt it was one of the best scenes in the movie, and he had written it himself. Regardless, he wasn't about to second-guess Stan Laurel when it came to comedy and he never shot the scene. He said that one day he was at Laurel's house and he noticed a small ID card laying on a table. It was Laurel's studio pass card dating from 1920. Laurel gave it to him and Lewis still carries it to this day. (He produced it from his wallet and showed the audience.)
Following the Q&A, Belzer was joined on stage by David Letterman's band leader Paul Shaffer, who played the piano as the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to Lewis. This was followed by some very amusing video tributes from stars such as Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, Steve Martin and a joint appearance by Letterman and Martin Short who expressed their disappointment at not being at the event but said they couldn't attend because they were at least "four or five blocks away."
Lewis was effusive in his thanks to his benefactors and to the audience. Toward the end of the night, a young man in a wheelchair, James Lacerenza, addressed Lewis, telling him he suffers from cerebral palsey and that he had once been on Lewis' telethon with him. He told Lewis how much his efforts to eradicate the disease meant to those who are afflicted by it. Lewis, clearly moved, said he would meet the man backstage and talk with him personally.
In all, a memorable night for a true comedy legend. On a personal basis, I have been pursuing Lewis for an interview for Cinema Retro for the last couple of years. He's personally called me a couple of times and promised it will happen. I hope it will - but it will require him to stop working for an hour or two, and right now that doesn't appear to be in the cards any time soon.
(Following publication of this article, we were contacted by James Lacerenza, who asked us to publish the following: James Lacerenza has cerebral palsy but has been an MDA volunteer for the last 12 years, due in part to Lewis' tireless dedication. He has raised nearly $110,000 since 2005 for MDA's Summer Camp Program and has just added a second camp, run by the Jett Foundation for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, known as Camp Promise East to his fundraising efforts. Please visit James' site, and feel free to give whatever you can at www.mdactkids.org)
Cinema Retro is always on the lookout for classic
and cult movies being screened in unique ways by film clubs and societies. We
seem to have found one that could really top them all- literally at a dead end!
I learned about The Flicker Club via the B-Movie
Podcast (www.bmoviecast.com) recently and I was intrigued. This February
they ran a short season of Hammer Films. Nothing exceptional about that, you
may say, bar the fact that they have screened rarities such as The Reptile, The Witches and the obscure
The Lost Continent. If that wasn’t
enough, in conjunction with Hammer, they screened the newly restored Dracula from 1958 with found footage
that was missing for decades.. However- wonderful though this is - it is the
location and the way in which the Flicker Club screened these gems that elevates
them beyond the norm. They chose to screen the films in the tunnels under
London’s Waterloo that were once part of the London Necropolis railway station.
I’d heard mention of this years ago and was always fascinated by it.
The London Necropolis
Railway was opened in 1854 as a reaction to severe overcrowding in the city’s
existing graveyards and cemeteries. Specifically, the rail system was used to move
as many grave sites as possible to the
newly-built Brookwood Cemetery in Brockwood
Surrey. This location was within easy travelling distance of London, but
distant enough that the dead could not pose any risk to public hygiene. It was
at one time the largest cemetery in the world.
The Station was used for many years (it even had first to third class
tickets!) until it was bombed in the war, when it was abandoned and further
demolished to make way for offices (and the usual car park). However, the
tunnel system under the railways remained intact and this is where the films
were screened- in the actual tunnel room that was used as the morgue for the
dead bodies awaiting their final trip- of their mortal remains at least. It was
chilling in more ways the one, no matter who many coffees you had! However, the
warmest reception was when Fenella Fielding of Carry On Screaming and The
Prisoner fame headed to stage to give a reading from Mary Shelly’s famous
novel. She enraptured the audience and you could hear a pin drop until one of
the trains pulling into Waterloo rumbled like thunder above. This happened on cue
as Fenella read about an oncoming storm. It was quite a moment. Frankenstein Created Women (a Martin
Scorsese favourite) was then introduced by author Alan Barnes, who co- wrote
excellent books on Hammer with Marcus Hearn (who could not be present but who
sent a very informative introduction to be read out.)
All in all this was a very memorable night and hats off to Juliette and
Clive at Flicker (www.theflickerclub.com) for putting on such a great
“underground” season! The Club will have further events and screenings and we
will keep you posted on where and
when these will happen in the future.
Cinema Retro's go-to London photographer Mark Mawston gets invited to the A list events. Here is a great on-line scrapbook of his exclusive photos from last week's BAFTA awards, taken on the red carpet.
(All photos copyright Mark Mawston. All rights reserved)
Skyfall Bond girls Naomi Harris and Bernice Marlohe.
The big winners at this year's BAFTA awards were The Artist, which won seven major honors, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which was named Best British Film. For full list of winners and nominees, click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the BBC:
Eve; 10:40pm; BBC FOUR)
Bristol’s Timeshift reveals the Ten Commandments of Big Cinema as it goes
behind the scenes of the biggest film genre of them all - the Hollywood Epic. See
the biggest sets ever known! Hear the sound of Ancient Rome! Count the
spiralling costs as budgets soared!
Ben-Hur to The Ten Commandments, from El Cid to Cleopatra, these were films
that set a new standard in BIG. In the days before computers they recreated
ancient worlds on a vast scale, and they did it for real. Epic cinema hired
armies, defied the seasons and changed cinema. Even the screen wasn't big
enough for the epic, so Hollywood made it bigger - and some cinemagoers
experienced vertigo watching these vast productions.
the Epic lives on in the Oscar-laden Gladiator and the spectacular sweep of
Avatar. As this documentary reveals, the stories behind the films are as
spectacular as the films themselves.
programme will include a number of classic Hollywood Epics from the 1950s and
1960s, and will include rare behind the scenes footage of Charlton Heston being
interviewed on the set of El Cid.
Four will also see a Season of Classic Epics, including The Fall of the Roman
Empire, El Cid, Land of the Pharaohs and many more.
info can be found on the BBC Four Timeshift Programme Page:
(Photos copyright Jon Walmsley. All rights reserved.)
For many years I’ve been impressed by the enduring legacy of The Waltons, the hit CBS TV series from
the 1970s that lives on in reruns today. There have been reunion movies and a
remarkably enduring and enthusiastic fan base. Actress Michael Learned, the female lead of the series, was among other
cast members who recently reunited at a 40th anniversary celebration of the
show at the legendary Loew’s Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey. Learned
describe the key to the show’s success as “love of family’.The surviving principal cast members, as well
as supporting players, really do consider themselves an actual family and keep
in close contact, often participating in each other’s personal lives and
activities.The Loew’s event was not only
a very sentimental reunion of the cast members but it also touched all those
fans in attendance, as well.
Ray Castro, who has known many of the cast members for over decades,
organized the event. He realized that the year 2011 marked the 40th
anniversary of the telecast of The
Homecoming, the classic TV movie that inspired The Waltons. Castro was determined to celebrate the date with a
special event and was delighted that cast members were in agreement. The Loew’s
proved to be the perfect venue for the event. The wonderful old movie palace
had been saved from the wrecking ball years ago and is staffed by a remarkable
and enthusiastic group of volunteers.This ‘diamond in the rough’ frequently shows old movies in original 35mm
format via carbon arc projectors on a 35 foot screen.The Waltons
event included a screening of The
Homecoming and a tribute to its star, the late Patricia Neal, a panel discussion and even a few songs; a
holiday entertainment treat for a reasonable $20.
Retro's Dave Worrall with magazine contributor Madeline Smith, who starred with Ingrid Pitt in the Hammer horror hit The Vampire Lovers.
By Matthew Field
(Photos all copyright Mark Mawston)
On Wednesday 7th December Riverside Studios - a unique arts and media
centre on the banks of the Thames in Hammersmith, London played host to
special screening of the Hammer classic The Vampire Lovers.
to celebrate the launch of Dave Worrall and Lee Pfeiffer’s new coffee
table tome Cinema Sex Sirens – actress Madeline Smith was on hand to
introduce the screening. Based on La Fanu's short story Carmilla, The
Vampire Lovers was the first Hammer horror film of the 1970s and broke new
ground with its erotic lesbian themes. Addressing the audience Smith
amusingly recalled “I got a very worried phone call from the producer
who said he was concerned about my lack of bosom. He said 'We like you a
lot, but we don't think you are voluptuous enough'. I reassured him,
and then I scuttled off to Hornby and Clarke dairy round the corner and I
bought every yoghurt I could find and stuffed myself like you might
fatten cattle, and it worked!”
Following the screening
Dave Worrall was joined by Madeline to autograph copies of the book, which has been listed as one of the best film books of the year by the Evening Standard of London.
Lavishly illustrated throughout the book is dedicated to Vampire Lovers
star Ingrid Pitt. In attendance was Ingrid Pitt’s widower Tony Rudlin.
(Please note: Cinema Retro's limited, signed and numbered editions of Cinema Sex Sirens are now sold out in the UK. Click here to order from Amazon UK and get an extensive look at the inside of the book.) A small number of copies are still available through our U.S. office for shipment with America. Click banner ad at top of page for details)
(For Madeline Smith's memories of making The Vampire Lovers, see her article in Cinema Retro issue #3,available in our back issues section)
Landis at Forbidden Planet, London (Photo copyright Mark Mawston. All rights reserved.)
By Mark Mawston
The Halloween season found famed director
(and Cinema Retro contributor) John Landis in London to launch his new, very
well received book, Monsters in the Movies. (Click here to visit the DK Publishing web site for a peek into the book's contents.)
The link above will take you to just some
of the wonders this book holds, along with a short introduction by John himself.
As a fan of most of the films featured within its pages as well as the films of
John Landis himself, it was a real honour to have a couple of my own photo’s
deemed worthy enough (in historical importance)to be included alongside the many
stunning images this book holds.
The que at London’s Forbidden Planet Store
for a signing session with John on the 1st of Nov stretched around
the block. The book has already sold out in its original run (another has
commenced)but those lucky enough to get into London should head straight to
Forbidden Planet as well as the famed Cinema Store on St. Martins Lane as both
stores hold a limited amount of signed copies.John has stressed the fact that this is a fun book, with conversations
rather than in depth interviews with many of his friends ranging from Ray
Harryhausen, Sir Christopher Lee and Joe Dante. What it is however, is a book
of definitive monster images, many of which have never been seen before and as
such it is a must for any fans of the genre. My personal favourite, along with
many of those whom have read it, is the inspired Monster Carry spread, featuring
gals held by ghouls from all the different decades of dread. It’s also worth
pointing out that this is a great looking tome in its own right. I highly
recommend this wonderful book but if you do venture into the Capitol to get a signed
copy, then “Stay On The Roads…..”, as was advised in
Landis’ classic An American Werewolf in
The Duke's head gear from The Green Berets and The High and the Mighty.
crazy”, Ethan Wayne whispered, as the bids in the auction started to climb way
over the estimates. The youngest son of movie legend John Wayne and other
members of the Wayne clan were present at the Beverly Hills auction on Oct 6th,
announcing that this would be the once in a lifetime shot for fans to get a
piece of the Duke, “and we’re not going to do it again” – and still, they could
not imagine that the fans would dig so deep in their pockets to collect their
father’s artifacts. The total of the two day sale eventually exceeded $5.4
million, a portion of the proceeds of which will fund the John Wayne Cancer
Hat from Big Jake
weeks after John Wayne passed away in 1979, his house in Newport Beach was
sealed, an intensive inventory was taken of the Duke's personal items. Michael Wayne, then head honcho of
Wayne Enterprises, locked it all up. The boxes were transported in a warehouse almost to be forgotten for three decades, a la The Lost Ark. When
Michael passed away, Ethan (named after Wayne’s character in ‘The
Searchers’) took over running Wayne Enterprises. Michael had often mentioned his plans to open a John
Wayne museum, and it was well known among collectors that he had retained many of his father's film costumes. Why then, after all
this time, does the family allow the personal property – over 700 items - to be
scattered all over the world? “Michael had 30 years to do it – so why didn’t
he?”, Ethan makes his point to Cinema Retro. His explanation why he feels great
about the auction is as simple as it is touching: “My father inspired people
through his films. And people have been calling the office for 32 years, asking
for a hat, a vest, a shirt. Because they have this strong connection. So for
me, I look at all these items, and they're going to go all over the world, and
they're going to inspire people. So all that attitude of John Wayne will be out
there living with these items, all over the globe.”
The invitation to the private party following the screening was based on a note Holly Golightly writes to "Fred" in the film.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Paramount pulled out all the stops on September 16 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Blake Edwards' classic screen adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffanys at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. Presented in conjunction with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the event showcased the superb new digital restoration of the movie. Sadly Blake Edwards passed away last year but his wife Julie Andrews was on hand to celebrate his great cinematic achievement. The evening began with a "blue carpet" (to tie in with the new Blu-ray release) event attended by celebrities, fashion models and Ms. Andrews, who posed for photos and met with the press.
The ageless Julie Andrews arrives on the blue carpet.
(Photo copyright: Paramount)
On stage, Film Society director Richard Pena interviewed Ms. Andrews, who somehow looks as though she has found the secret to eternal youth. In her chat, Andrews said that she had seen Breakfast At Tiffanys when she was living in New York - and never dreamed she would end up marrying its director. She also said that Marilyn Monroe had been considered for the role of Holly Golightly and confessed she was delighted that the part eventually went to Audrey Hepburn. Andrews discussed the ironies that affected both she and Hepburn's careers. It was Andrews who became a sensation on stage as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady but it was Hepburn who got the coveted part in the film version. Nevertheless, Andrews managed to win the Best Actress Oscar that year because the loss of the Doolittle role afforded her the opportunity to play Mary Poppins. She said that she and Hepburn always joked about those ironies and the two became great friends.
film preservation community has been excited about the 2010 discovery of 75
hitherto lost American films found at The New Zealand Film Archive. One of the
most heralded finds is a John Ford silent from 1927 entitled UPSTREAM. On
Monday, June 20 Cinema Retro had been invited by A.M.P.A.S. to attend a screening of this film at the
Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City. The opportunity
to see any new aspect of John Ford’s work is not be missed, and while it did
not bear the stamp of what we have now come to know as the JOHN FORD STYLE, the film
screening was introduced by Brian Meacham, a
preservationist for the Los Angeles archive of the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences. Mr. Meachham spoke of how he undertook a vacation to New
Zealand in 2010 that wound up being a busman’s holiday. As is his want, he told
us, whenever he takes a personal trip he tries to contact film archives in the
city he is traveling to. After he arrived in Wellington the folks at The
New Zealand Film Archive told him that they had some cans of film he might be
interested in seeing. The result of that little visit proved to be a major find
to the American cinematic history.
Lumet with his honorary Oscar. Shockingly, he never won a competitive Academy Award.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Yesterday the family of the late legendary film director Sidney Lumet, in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, hosted a tribute to Lumet at Alice Tulley Hall. Cinema Retro contributing writer Doug Gerbino and I arrived at Lincoln Center not knowing exactly what the program would consist of. However, as we are both great admirers of Lumet's work, we could not pass up the invitation to attend. The tribute turned out to be one of the most extraordinary film-related events we had ever witnessed. An extraordinary number of diverse talents contributed their personal memories of working with Lumet through often hilarious anecdotes. Screenwriter Walter Bernstein said Lumet saved his career by hiring him to write TV productions even though he was blacklisted at the time. Christopher Walken recalled how Lumet gently guided him to giving a memorable performance in his first feature film, The Anderson Tapes. Lauren Bacall says she is still grateful to Lumet for casting her in Murder on the Orient Express because it gave her the opportunity to work with so many legends. Jonathan Demme said that as a young man one of the most visceral cinematic experiences he had was watching Lumet's The Hill. And on it went,with the event being capably hosted by Jenny Lumet, the director's charming screenwriter daughter. Amidst the tributes there were brilliantly edited clips from Lumet films interspersed with a variety of interviews he had given in recent years.
Much was made of the fact that Lumet disdained working anywhere but his beloved New York City. Jenny Lumet joked that some years ago Lumet and his wife found themselves unavoidably living for a period of time in Hollywood. As each light bulb in the house eventually burned out, Lumet refused to invest in new ones because the thought of being there long enough to burn through two bulbs depressed him greatly. James Gandolfiini recalled being a little-known out of work actor who was throwing in the towel on his chosen profession. One day Lumet called and he didn't believe it was really him. "Fuck off!", Gandolfini shouted into the phone, convinced the call was a prank by a friend. As he deliberated, he came to the nauseating realization that such a gag "would have been too complicated for my friends." Fortunately, Lumet called back and offered Gandolfini a job that, in essence, saved his career. Marshall Brickman spoke of Lumet's well-known dedication to working fast and efficiently. He joked that Lumet could shoot a 90 minute movie in 43 minutes. Phillip Seymour Hoffman spoke lovingly of starring in Lumet's final feature film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Finally Glenn Close brought the house down with a soulful, closing rendition of Bye Bye Blackbird.
In the lobby on the way out, it was clear there were plenty of other notables who had attended ranging from film historian and interviewer James Lipton to MSNBC political commentator/TV producer Lawrence O'Donnell. Walter Bernstein, who is among the last of the legendary screenwriters, graciously conceded to an interview for a future issue of Cinema Retro. I also got to chat a short bit with Vanessa Redgrave, who was amused when I showed her that a copy of a book I'm currently reading: Marc Connelly's book about the making of Tony Richardson's The Charge of the Light Brigade, in which she starred. Redgrave agreed enthusiastically that the film was drastically under-rated in its day and needs to be re-examined for the major work it is. (I see another article in Cinema Retro's future...)
I had only met Lumet twice but, like every member of the audience, you came to feel you knew him intimately as a friend. In all, a wonderful day and a brilliant tribute by the Film Society of
Lincoln Center to one of the true giants of the motion picture industry.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting a major Lumet film festival during July including screenings of rarely seen films such as The Offence. For more click here
Elia Kazan's 1960 film Wild River starring Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick is the subject of a new documentary titled Mud On the Stars, the title of one of two books that the screenplay was based on. The documentary looks at how the filming affected the lives of people in rural Tennessee and includes personal reminiscences of individuals who were involved in the production or witnessed it being shot. A screening of the documentary takes place on June 2 in Cleveland, TN. Click here for info
The Players, the legendary private club for the arts located at Gramercy Park in Manhattan, recently held their 2011 Hall of Fame ceremony. The annual event inducts members into the Hall who have made outstanding contributions to the arts. The roster of this year's ceremony was particularly impressive, including many familiar names who were inducted posthumously along with current club members. Among them: Humphrey Bogart, Dick Cavett, Mary Tyler Moore, Sir John Gielgud, Jerry Stiller, Lauren Bacall, Hume Cronyn, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Carol Burnett, Walt Disney, Jimmy Fallon, Arthur Miller, Gregory Peck, Tony Randall, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Katharine Hepburn, John Carradine, Harry Belafonte, Charles Laughton, Sir John Gielgud and others. Also inducted were two prominent names from American politics: President Dwight D. Eisenhower and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
Mayor David Dinkins with Claire Gozzo and actor and Cinema Retro contributor Joe Sirola.
Thumbs up from Tuco: Eli Wallach chats with Cinema Retro editor-in-chief Lee Pfeiffer.
The evening began with a cocktail hour in the club's famed Great Hall, where honorees mixed and mingled with other club members. A gourmet dinner followed, with club Executive Director John Martello screening a wonderful film clip compilation of the honorees' achievements. In addition to the actors and writers inducted, there were also other inductees who had distinguished themselves by their support of the club and the arts. Each inductee was honored with the unveiling of their portrait, painted by one of twenty-six esteemed artists. Among them was the famed Everett Raymond Kinstler, whose portraits of legendary members adorn the club's walls. Appropriately, Kinstler himself was inducted on the evening. Fittingly, he provided a self-portrait for the occasion.
Actor Thomas Waites (L) and collector Joe Hart display an amazing collection of memorabilia from The Thing.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Last Saturday, the Loew's Jersey City movie theater presented Thing-Fest. Contrary to what you may think, this wasn't a tribute to the famed disembodied hand from The Addams Family. Rather, it was a double feature consisting of Howard Hawks' original 1956 science fiction classic The Thing From Another World along with John Carpenter's 1982 remake, The Thing. Hundreds of fans descended on the legendary movie palace that has been restored to its former glory thanks to many years of work by dedicated volunteers. I only attended the evening screening of the Carpenter movie, having never seen it before on the big screen. Suffice it to say, it was worth the effort. Universal provided a very good print of the movie and its widescreen attributes were accentuated by the excellent sound system in the Loew's, which made every sound effect resonate through the cavernous theater. The impact was made all the more impressive by Ennnio Morricone's heart-pounding score. Carpenter's reinterpretation of the Hawks film is a work of brilliance, but much credit must go to the special effects team for their amazing creations of the monster alien that morphs into the physical form of its victims. There is literally nothing that comes close to these achievements in today's CGI-packed sci-fi films. Although the audience was reverent and well-behaved, it was clear that the theater was packed with Thing fanatics, some of whom could not help but shout out key lines of dialogue at the precise moment the actors spoke the words.
A nice surprise was the appearance of actor Thomas Waites, who played "Windows", one of the ill-fated members of the Antarctic research team who meets a gruesome fate, courtesy of The Thing. Waites introduced the film, then appeared after the screening to engage in a Q&A with audience members. One interesting anecdote he told related to an almost disastrous bus ride the key cast members took to the remote Alaskan filming location. The bus became engulfed in white-out conditions due to a fast moving blizzard, causing the vehicle to hang precariously off an embankment. Keeping in spirit to his role as the film's heroic leading man, Kurt Russell took the lead and gingerly instructed his fellow actors as to how to slowly crawl off the bus without causing it to tumble over. (Shades of the original Italian Job!) Waites also graciously sat behind a "Thingfest" table in the theater's magnificent lobby and signed photos for a seemingly endless stream of fans. Adding to the unexpected pleasures was an impressive display of Thing memorabilia set up by collector Joe Hart, who traveled all the way from Canada to attend. Hart, who runs the excellent web site Outpost31.com, which is devoted to the Carpenter film, proved to have an impressive collection that boasted many toys, prop replicas and rare international movie posters.
Despite being almost 30 years old, John Carpenter's film remains a many splendored Thing.
(All photos copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved)
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Cinema Retro's Graham Hill provides these photos from the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival screening of An American in Paris at the famed Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, April 28. (All photos copyright Graham Hill. All rights reserved)
TCM host Robert Osborne
Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler
Retro movie fans gather to watch the celebs arrive
On March 30th 2011 Cinema Retro was invited to a special screening of Karel Reisz's classic British New Wave drama Saturday Night Sunday Morning at the BFI Southbank in London. Featuring an unforgettable performance by Albert Finney as rebellious, hard-living factory worker Arthur Seaton, this gritty, vital piece of cinema, is widely agreed to be one of the best British films of all time. Originally released in 1960, Saturday Night Sunday Morning was produced by Woodfall a production company that led the wave of kitchen sink dramas which explored post-war working class issues in a serious manner for the first time.
The screening was preceded with a Q & A with actress Shirley Anne Field. In conversation with the BFI’s artistic director Eddie Berg, Field credited the whole production for successfully creating credible working class characters who she felt had previously been portrayed on screen in a very patronising way. She touched on the problems the picture faced with the British censor due to the sensitive issues it explored such as abortion. Field also fondly reminisced about working with Finney and other British legends such as Hilda Baker.
A clip from the interview is available to view on the BFI Live website:
Cinema Retro's Bill Duelly was invited to tour the traveling exhibition of props from the Harry Potter films. Here is his report:
There is no doubt that the Harry Potter film series has enjoyed
success that has only been rivaled by the James Bond and Star Wars series.They are a
testament to England’s
filmmaking craft and to their benefit, the producers have saved costumes,
props, etc. from Sorcerer’s Stone
(aka: Philosopher’s Stone in the UK), up through
the last of the series.A good deal of England’s
film-making legacy has been lost already, particularly in Borehamwood, where
the MGM Studios (home to: 2001, Dirty
Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, etc) amongst others has been destroyed. Elstree
(home to the original Star Wars
Trilogy & Indiana Jones) has lost much of its acreage and facilities.Reversing this trend, plans are underway to
open a comprehensive tour/exhibit next year at the home base of the Potter
series, Leavesden Studios.
For the past two years, a massive collection of props and costumes has
been touring the US and has
now landed at the Discovery Times Square Exhibition
Center in New York.One cannot say enough about the amount of material that is at this
exhibit.Even the mildest of fans will
appreciate all this has to offer.This
certainly is a rare opportunity to glimpse into the detail of the series.One is impressed with the quality of the
costumes, the detail of the jewelry, the creatures and the sets.A good deal of the set pieces actually are
old, quality furniture, not reproductions artificially aged.
Starting out as though on a Disney ride, one weaves around on line
until groups are let in to an initial meeting area.Here some visitors are picked for a ‘sorting
hat’ ceremony, before they are then led to another area where they are treated
to a 3-4 minute, multi-panel montage of clips from the films before the
curtains part and you are greeted by steam and the front of the Hogwarts
The exhibit takes you through various themed sections, with props
& costumes: Gryffindor – for Ron, Harry, Hermione centered items like,
their wands, acceptance letter, time turner,dorm room, etc. ‘Classrooms’ takes you through areas of: Potions;
Divinations; Umbridge’s office; Prof Lockhart’s
books and pictures . ‘Quidditch’ showcases various game pieces and costumes.
‘Hagrids Hut’- allows visitors to sit in his chair as well as see the full size
On the lower level, there is the ‘Forbidden Forest’
with the Centaur, giant spiders and dragons. Then the ‘Dark Forces’ section
features a Dementor, Death Eaters, as well as Voldemort costume and set pieces
from Goblet of Fire.Leaving the is area,
you are lead to the Great Hall, with a predominance of material relating to
‘Goblet of Fire’ such as the Yule Ball costumes and table settings as well as
the Tri-Wizard cup.The last item on the
tour is the sword of Griffendor.
Some things to keep in mind during this exhibit:it is in many ways a museum, so there is a
strict ‘no touching’ and ‘no photo’ policy in effect (although they will take a
photo of you on the way in and superimpose you in front of Hagrids Hutt &
Hogwarts for $25-$45).A souvenir
program is available so in many ways it frees you up from worrying about taking
pictures on your own, although I know parents and big fans will be disappointed
by the ‘no picture’ policy. Parents also
beware- there is a BIG gift shop at the end!
There are three distinct areas where ‘touching’ is allowed:in Hagrids Hut, you are allowed to sit in his
oversized chair; by the herbology
section there is a group of Mandrakes you can pull out and make them squeal and
last, there are three Quidditch hoops that you can throw the bloggers through
for a ‘score’.
There is no way that all the items can be listed here, nor would I
want to, as one of the best things in this exhibit are discovering the details.
The Discovery Times Square is located at 44th Street, between 7th &
8th Avenues in NY and is open10AM-8PM, 7 days a week.The exhibit will run through September 5.Tickets are available in advance from:discoveryts.com.The official website for the exhibit is:http://www.harrypotterexhibition.com/