We recently reviewed Ernest Borgnine's final film, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez. Here is a statement about the making of the film and director Elia Petridis' reflections on working with Borgnine in his last appearance on the silver screen.
The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vicente Fernandez.I’ll never forget the moment the title
blossomed in my brain.Just after two in
the afternoon and I was driving through Toluca Lake, a neighborhood I wouldlater poke fun of in the screenplay.Pierre Gonneau had just told me a funny story.The actor in my graduate thesis film had
emerged from his valley home earlier leaning on a cane.I had asked him the cause.The funny anecdote he answered me with was,
all at once in its telling, a faint sketch of what the film would eventually
become; an unlikely hero, hailed as a star, because he had once long ago shaken
the hand of the legendary Vicente Fernandez.
The moment I had the title, I (almost) knew what it was, and where it
belonged in film history, who its compatriots were and what kind of an
experience it was going to be for the audience.I wanted to tip my hat, and stick my tongue out, to all those great
westerns that had peoples’ names in their titles.
I love films that know they are films.And they don’t make them like that anymore.I’m a modernist, self-reflexive filmmaker atheart.Heavily reliant on the grammar of
its celluloid predecessors, the film stands on the shoulders of giants, but it
is those giants, giants like Mr. Ernest Borgnine, that make the work
complete.The mandate had always been to
cast an old movie star of the west to heighten the irony of Rex’s failure and
create a space where the audience knew better than Rex himself, for they
remembered Borgnine’s iconic turns in the genre Rex loves so much, creating a
metaphysical relationship of melancholy between viewer and protagonist.
And what a dream come true, as a first timer, to work with a true
legend, one that even surpassed the man in the film’s title.Ernest never left the set.He wouldn’t be caught dead in his
trailer.At ninety-four he recounted to
us all that Jimmy Stewart had an ethic to always be on hand, near the camera, ready
to shoot.And if it was good enough for
Jimmy, it was good enough for Ernie.He
was always tireless, spirited, and devoted to every moment of the work.And we had the same style and approach to the
process.We just wanted to work.We didn’t want to covet or worship the act,
we just wanted to perform it, like balancing a checkbook or digging a
ditch.So it was ties worn on set every
day, just as if we were going to the office.And especially so because we were working with Hollywood royalty.That’s the way I like it, all else leads to
analysis paralysis.That’s a little secret
I love about the movie; it truly is, if nothing else, a living document of an
extremely charismatic ninety-four year old man caught on film.With Ernie in almost every scene, anyone whohas ever survived the rigors of a film shoot knows that just showing up at that
age is a feat unto itself, let alone turning in an incredible performance that
any thespian would envy.Ernie’s example
set the watermark of professionalism and a devotional tone for the entire shoot.
A film needs a brain, but it also needs a heart and a soul too.The greatest storytellers of all time refuse
to ascend beyond pulp.Kubrick,Spielberg, Chabon, King, and Radiohead all concern themselves with mass
entertainment.So I read Louis
Lamour.I wanted the whole thing to feel
like a dime store paperback.The story
turns were familiar enough, but the manner in which I wanted the film to sneak
up on you was fresh.I wondered if a
western, a genre known for anything but, could make you cry.I
wanted this genre that had very rarely
ascended up the ranks of high art, like a comic book or Harlequin novel,
togive the audience the turns they had paid to see but also grow the
occupy a space in the their hearts intrinsically unique to our film.And if you didn’t get to the core of it, it
didn’t matter because the outer layers were enough on their own.
I wanted to re-mythologize the western.Where the genre had hereto concerned itself
with the white man taming America’s infant wilderness by way of taming the savages
and natives of the west, this film was about the modern wilderness taming the
white man.It represents the wild west
of the present, where the person formerly in control has a lot to learn from
the new, dominant cultures that surround him.
When I’m asked to describe the film I liken it to a mixed tape, a
“greatest hits” of the western genre.Yet, I don’t see the film as a postmodern collage, I see the work as
something “Neo-Classical”, for the self-reflexive references are conveyed with
sincerity and idealism, not irony, cynicism, or nostalgia.The film never fuses western iconography with
anything else, and its endeavor remains true and pure to its own marrow andspirit, just like the cowboy at its heart.
The film is an examination and ultimate celebration of the
imagination; of Clem’s imagination, and Rex’s lack thereof.Their imaginations inform the way our
characters interact with their everyday world.The film indulges Rex’s western fantasy for him, he becomes transported
into a western of his imagination’s own making, but it makes no apologies for
using this device on its own, without permission from its central
character.And so the film itself has
its own brand of imagination.
The title is a tall order, for the film assumes greatness, sight
unseen!It proclaims to introduce the
world to a legend, and having an acting legend portray its central figure
didn’t hurt.Ultimately, it’s the cult
of Fernandez and his relation to it that gives Rex access to the courage that
lies within.But, like the entire
pursuit, its title encompasses the irony of a nondescript, mundane occurrence,
places us firmly in the realm of pulp from where it takes its cue, while also
speaking to the most universal, transcending truth of all.For one day, one way or another, we all will
shake the hand of Vicente Fernández.
In Memory of
On July 6th,
2012 the great
Ernest Borgnine embraced the film’s metaphor on a profound level. Those
he left behind had waited on pins and needles throughout the weekend,
with the sudden turn his health had taken, not quite believing that the
would leave. In the casting process it had become evident that Ernie
always working, and in my brief time spent with him I realized that it
constant motion that kept him happy and virile to the very
end. Although, as artists, we were both aware of the element that
Ernie’s career and
public persona added to the metaphysical intent of the film, I was
even considering his age, that ours would take at least fifth or sixth
behind the finish line of his work. The film’s final act and ending, as
it played out with Ernie's own bow, was an element of metaphysics I
thought would occur in terms of this being his last.
It just goes to show that there can
be something bigger at work, something more divine at play, than lights,
camera, and action; that there can exist magic and meaning in this world beyond
our imagination, comprehension, or articulation. Rex’s march to the afterlife
was the last scene we shot. I remember Ernie approaching me, strung out
and pacing because we were shooting slow motion and only had so much film, a
fact I don’t think, thankfully, that registered with him. He whispered in
my ear, “I’m going to remove the hat before I kiss her, you know, because Rex
is a gentleman.” This was a last minute addition to a scene we had
blocked many times with film feet in mind. But it’s the best moment of
that whole scene; it’s climax. That decision retains so much residue of
am so proud that Ernie’s final
performance was captured on glorious 35mm, celluloid, befitting of one
medium's great giants. Oh, were I to have rued the day were his last
distilled to ones and zeros. Ernie is a legend and the film bills
himthat way, sending him off to become so much greater than the sum of
an hour before
his father passed, Chris Borgnine called to tell me that Ernie was
and had insisted on reaching out to me to say how proud he was of his
final film and that it had been made with my crew and I. As a sensitive
individual constantly in tune with the grand narrative of my existence
choices, this moment changed my life forever. Knowing Ernie, having had
access to his heart and love, changed my life forever. This is
strong stuff; art, soul, creativity, passion, expression, ambition.
ingredients, have the power to reverberate throughout time and the
microcosmically and transcendentally. As much as one might think
they toil in obscurity, or that they’re giving too much of their marrow,
nothing compared to what may happen at the other end of the divide.
I have seen a place where life and
art have no distinction, and I have met the cowboy who purveys over this magic
prairie. He taught me about significance, gratitude, humility and grace;
the myth, the legend, the man who shook the hand of Vicente Fernandez.
Tom Chantrell is regarded as one of the foremost
British cinema poster artists of the 20th century.As such, there is likely to be great interest
in an early prototype poster he produced for the classic 1966 Hammer film “One
Million Years BC” which has just been listed on the Chantrell archive website
Studios often used Chantrell artwork in their pitches for finance, this is a
rare example of a poster featuring prototype artwork, being printed, not for
advertising to the public but to be used as a prop in a financing presentation.
miss Issue #25 (Jan 2013) of Cinema Retro for a feature on poster artist
Scarface first came to theater screens in 1932 with Paul Muni as the notorious gangster. In 1983, Al Pacino starred in Brian De Palma's campy cult favorite (loose) remake. Now, make way for yet another variation on the story: this one involving the drug cartels in Mexico. For more click here
Kirk Douglas is truly one of the last of the Hollywood icons, representing the industry's Golden Age. Incredibly, he's never won a competitive Oscar but was given an honorary one for an impressive career that has lasted from the 1940s until today. Although Douglas is retired from acting, he's still an omnipresent force at classic movie screenings and industry events. Today he marks his 96th birthday and writer Bob Greene provides a wonderful tribute along with a personal experience he shared with Douglas relating to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Click here to read
Click here to watch the teaser trailer for director J.J. Abrams' forthcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness. Not surprisingly, the teaser concentrates on action and spectacle as opposed to characterizations or plot points. Additionally, the Armageddon-like look of the teaser poster suggests a sequel to I Am Legend as opposed to any space age thrills. However, if Abrams comes close to what he achieved with the last Trek film, the revitalized franchise will live long and prosper. We'll have to wait until May to find out.
The 1995 sci-fi epic Waterworld starring Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper is one of the era's legendary, costly flops. Yet, it may float again, as the SyFy company is closing in on getting the rights to a remake, either for the big screen or for one of the TV network's cheesy productions. Click here to read The Guardian's cynical take on the remake possibilities.
"John Carter" has its fans and defenders among the sci-fi/fantasy set but there weren't enough of them to prevent Disney from incurring a $165 million loss on this film.
On Thanksgiving, everyone has turkey on their mind. However, in Hollywood, there is an obsession with different kinds of turkeys- the celluloid ones that eat up studio revenues through costly flops. The Huffington Post takes a look back at the biggest cinematic flops of the year. It doesn't mean some of these movies weren't artistically worthy of a better reception, but for whatever reason, audiences avoided them in droves. Click here to read.
The Hollywood Reporter has a major article that takes readers inside the world of agents who represent porn stars. It's not all glitz and glamor for anyone involved. The article points out that sex is treated coldly as a business and there is little evidence anyone involved considers it a lark. As with "normal" actresses, porn stars have their tiers of top-earners and those who are more in demand than others. Agents negotiate on their behalf, discussing everything from whether there will be a professional makeup artist available on set to whether their clients will be paid extra for performing anal sex or double penetration scenes on camera. Such is the bizarre world of porn star management. Click here to read the entire article.
The Wrap reports that the film industry is breathing a sigh of relief because a downturn in ticket sales has been halted by a rebound in boxoffice dollars due to the late year releases of several blockbuster films that have drawn large audiences. There are some big films waiting in the wings, as well, including potential blockbusters such as the latest Twilight flick and The Hobbit. Click here to read
George Clooney will star in and direct The Monuments Men, a dramatic story about the attempts to save European art treasures that were pilfered by the Nazis in the closing days of WWII. Clooney has assembled an impressive cast that includes red-hot Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman and Bob Balaban. The subject matter has been touched on before, most notably in John Frankenheimer's classic 1965 film The Train starring Burt Lancaster. For more click here
Michael Arndt, who won the Best Screenplay Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine and who was nominated for Toy Story 3, has been formally announced as the screenwriter for the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, according to Lucasfilm. The film will mark the first entry in the franchise since George Lucas sold the rights to Disney. Steven Spielberg dismissed rumors that he would consider directing, stating that the films are the domain of his friend George Lucas and that he doesn't feel qualified to direct a Star Wars movie. For more click here
With Harrison Ford now throwing hints that he might be interested in appearing as Han Solo in a Disneyfied new series of Star Wars films, it's worth noting he didn't always feel that way. In an interesting article for The Huffington Post, writer Mike Ryan chronicles how Ford was initially enthused about his character and the promotions for the first two films in the series but seemed to sour on the franchise with his last appearance in Return of the Jedi.The article contains fascinating vintage filmed interviews with Ford that show his changing attitudes about Star Wars and Han Solo over the decades. Ryan's conclusion: that Ford may only be changing his tune now in order to secure a major pay check. Click here for more
The Daily Mail recently used scientific methods to ascertain what film deserves the title of "The Funniest Movie Ever Made". The test involved measuring how many times a minute people laughed during screenings of comedy classics. Since the test was confined to only ten movies, the "science" is rather laughable in itself. Nevertheless, Airplane! is a worthy contender for the honor. In second place was The Hangover with another Zucker brothers classic, The Naked Gun coming in third. Back in the 1950s, it would have seemed unimaginable that two of the funniest films of all time would star Leslie Nielsen. For more click here.
Because of the major worldwide success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fox has given the green light to a new film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A script has already been completed and directors are now being considered. The first film in the franchise was released in 1968. For more click here
If you're a Superman fan, make sure you click here to visit the Superman Homepage, an amazing collection of reviews, facts and news pertaining to the Man of Steel's comic books, TV series and feature films.
For the first time in a generation the BFI will present a major project celebrating the historic output of one of Britain’s best loved and most influential studios with a two month retrospective at BFI Southbank Ealing: Light and Dark from 22 October to 30 December 2012. This is a chance to enjoy the great classics and comedies but also to discover the little known and unheralded more serious side of Ealing Studios during the 1940’s and 50’s, with its rich vein of challenging, provocative and sometimes subversive films, often surprisingly radical in their implications.
The project will include a national re-release of It Always Rains On Sunday (1947) and a new digital clean-up of the neglected They Came to a City, a major new book of essays Ealing Revisited, and special guests and events including an exhibition of Ealing posters, stills and memorabilia drawn from the BFI National Archive’s rich holdings and a new collection in the BFI Mediatheques. A parallel season celebrating director Alexander Mackendrick will feature all of his Ealing films from October 22to November 30 at BFI Southbank.
Ealing Studios has a unique place in the history of British cinema and it has become a byword for a certain type of British whimsy and eccentricity. But the studio's films boasted a surprising variety. Many of the films of Ealing rank among the undisputed classics of the period, among them Dead of Night, The Blue Lamp, The Cruel Sea, TheMan in the White Suit and Passport to Pimlico.
The theme of Ealing: Light & Dark is a rich and revealing one. Even the renowned comedies have a dark side within them: Kind Hearts and Coronets is a wittily immoral tale of a serial killer in pursuit of a dukedom;Whisky Galore! has a mischievous approach to law and order as a Scottish island population attempt to beat the Customs men to the free whisky washed ashore from a shipwreck; in The Ladykillers a sweet old lady proves more than a match for a gang of brutal bank robbers.
Part of the enduring appeal of Ealing is its witty challenging of authority in films such as Passport to Pimlico and The Lavender Hill Mob, which touched a nerve with audiences eager for social and political change faced with the austerity of the immediate post-war era.
Beyond the apparent frothy entertainment, Ealing's darker side dares to show wartime failures, imagine the threat of invasion or to contemplate the unsavoury after-effects of the war in the subtly supernatural The Ship That Died of Shame or the European noirCage of Gold, in which Jean Simmons is lured by the charms of an hommefatal. Another pan-European story, Secret People (featuring an early appearance for Audrey Hepburn), contemplates the ethics of assassination, while in Frieda, Mai Zetterling faces anti-German prejudice in a small English town.
There are treats for even the most thoroughgoing Ealing aficionados in our programme of the studio's barely known wartime propaganda shorts, many of them unseen and inaccessible for decades. BFI curators will tell the untold story of Ealing's short-lived documentary unit, overseen by the great Alberto Cavalcanti, and its importance to Ealing's feature films. Ealing was presided over by Michael Balcon, a towering figure in British cinema who was an early supporter of Alfred Hitchcock. He gathered around him a band of talented collaborators including the very influential Cavalcanti and directors Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden and Alexander McKendrick. All of these remarkable filmmakers were born within a few years of each other, around 100 years ago. The posters for Ealing Studios films feature artwork by many of the era’s greatest artists including John Piper, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Edward Ardizzone and Mervyn Peake, while the acting talent is a roll-call of many of Britain’s greatest performers, among them Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Margaret Rutherford, Joan Greenwood, Dennis Price, Jean Simmons, Googie Withers, Michael Redgave, John Mills, Thora Hird, Diana Dors, James Fox, Virginia McKenna (who will introduce a screening of The Cruel Sea), Herbert Lom, Maggie Smith, Jack Warner, Alastair Sim, Will Hay and many more.
Join in the conversation at #bfiealing.
We are grateful to STUDIOCANAL for their support and collaboration across the BFI’s Ealing project. They will be releasing The Man in the White Suit and It Always Rains on Sunday on DVD and Blu-ray in December 2012.
See attachment for full film programme and further details of the BFI’s Ealing project.
Now that the Governator has returned to acting, he's finding a somewhat rocky road. Arnold Schwarzenegger does have his first film since leaving politics - The Last Stand- slated for release next year. However, plans to revive his most famous character for Terminator 5 appear to be falling apart. Schwarzenegger says there is no script and the director who had been hired has moved on to other things. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger is planning to develop a sequel to his 1980s hit comedy Twins, but the original film's director, Ivan Reitman, has publicly denounced the project as being crassly commercial. For more click here
This is the first photo released from Hitchcock showing Scarlett Johannson as Janet Leigh, filming the legendary shower murder in Psycho. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as the famed director and tells of his uphill battle to bring the the classic thriller to the screen. Click here to view trailer
(For full coverage of the making of Psycho, see Cinema Retro #18)
It's doubtful that Hitchcock, the much-anticipated film about the making of Psycho, will set boxoffice records with the same audiences that flocked to see the Hangover movies. But for anyone hooked on classy, art house films this is looking to be as good as it gets, based upon some new photos released by Fox Searchlight. They depict Anthony Hopkins in the titular role, Helen Mirren, virtually unrecognizable as his wife and collaborator Alma, James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins and Scarlett Johannsson, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Janet Leigh. To view click here
There have been a number of us isolated souls who have championed Michael Cimino's 1980 legendary flop Heaven's Gate. The film's business aspects can't be defended, as the budget overruns made the film a financial disaster of monumental proportions. It almost sank a studio and ruined the big screen careers of director Cimino and star Kris Kristofferson. Nevertheless, the film is now finally being reevaluated on its artistic merits. Long and leisurely, the left-leaning Western is now gaining praise among mainstream critics. Cimino came out of hibernation to present a restored version at the Venice Film Festival and Criterion is readying an expensive, remastered Blu-ray edition. For more click here
In honor of Brigitte Bardot's 78th birthday (which is today), click here to enjoy a photographic tribute to her life and career. Having gone into self-imposed retirement decades ago, the one-time French "sex goddess" of the silver screen has spent her later years campaigning for animal rights and political causes.
The tinsel in Tinseltown many not be as bright as it once was. In a video report, CNN points out that there has been a dramatic reduction in film and TV production in Hollywood film studios in recent years as networks and studios are being lured to other major cities that offer tax incentives. The economy in L.A. is being hit hard, affecting technicians and support industries such as catering. Ironically, it was on the East Coast, primarily New York and New Jersey, that the motion picture industry began- and it is there that the pendulum is swinging once again. Click here to watch
Despite the poor reception accorded to the Godzilla remake in 1998, plans are being made to bring the not so jolly green giant back again in another big budget revamp. The new Godzilla is set to be released in May 2014. The jury is still out on whether fan appreciation for the low-budget Japanese flicks will ever extend to major Hollywood productions. Click here for more info
Legendary film critic Roger Ebert has some heavy hitters in his corner. His recent memoir is being adapted into a major documentary by acclaimed director Steve James, with Martin Scorsese producing. Ebert, who began reviewing films in the 1960s, is internationally respected for often shining the spotlight on films that would ordinarily be ignored by the mass media. A bout with severe health problems has left him unable to speak, but Ebert has remarkably overcome that handicap and built a loyal following on his web site and social media sites where he reviews films as passionately as ever. For more click here
Indican Pictures has secured the theatrical distribution rights to “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernández”, the final film of Ernest Borgnine. The Oscar winning actor died recently at age 95. In this film, he plays a vigorous patient in a nursing home who leads fellow residents in opposition to the cruel management. The film was screened earlier this year at the Newport Film Festival and Borgnine won the Outstanding Achievement in Acting award. For more click here
The estate of author Mario Puzo is suing Paramount Pictures over the literary and film rights to sequels to The Godfather. Paramount claims that Puzo signed away virtually all rights to sequels and films to the studio back in 1969 as part of an overall deal to bring the original Godfather novel to the screen. The film was finally made in 1972 and for a time became the highest grossing film in cinema history. Since then, Paramount has released two sequels to the movie but has attempted to stop the Puzo's from publishing literary sequels to the original book. The estate claims it has the rights to any novels relating to the Corleone crime family and that Paramount does not get automatic film rights. The studio is standing fast by its assessments and the entire matter will have to be adjudicated in court. For more (plus an interview with Francis Ford Coppola about the making of the first film) click here.
Gone With the Wind: the 90 year old Bonham Theater in Fairbury, Nebraska just closed its doors, a victim of the "convert or die" policy of the studios re: digital projection.
By Lee Pfeiffer
The onerous costs of converting movie theaters to digital format can be absorbed by major theater chains. However, those costs are proving deadly to small, independent movie theaters across America with the price of conversion ranging from $65,000 to $150,000. In a major article on The Wrap web site, these small theater owners lament the fact that they will probably have to close their doors. The major studios are quickly exiting the business of striking 35mm prints. Without those, theaters would not be able to show the latest movies. The Bonham Theater, for example, has been the heart of small Fairbury, Nebraska (pop. 3,942) for 90 years. The owner closed down the theater last week, unable to find the funds to convert. The studios are offering a plan whereby theaters that agree to convert will be able to ultimately share in the savings that the digital format affords studios in terms of printing 35mm film and shipping bulky canisters cross-country. However, those substantial savings (up to 70% of the conversion costs) only kick in after the theater owner has secured financing for 100% of the conversion - a dubious prospect in an age when banks are becoming increasingly selective about lending large sums to small businesses. The impact of digital conversion will hit small, rural theaters hardest worldwide. In the United States, for example, up to 20% of all movie theaters are expected to close in the near future. Art house cinemas that specialize entirely in showing vintage movies will be able to linger a while longer, but as existing 35mm prints deteriorate, it's unlikely that studios will invest in making more, with the exception of a relative handful of timeless classics. Cinema Retro has noticed a trend that smaller theaters are already utilizing in order to survive: showing DVDs on the big screen. The advantage of this is that it provides an unlimited library of potential movies to screen without incurring the costs of conversion. However, truly movie fans will certainly object because the quality suffers substantially, especially on larger size screens. The only art house cinemas that are likely to survive indefinitely are those that can also show digital format. This means popular retro theaters in L.A. and New York are safe, but it may spell the death knell for those theaters outside of major urban areas. Independent theater owners had hoped that studios would still produce a small quantity of 35mm prints of the latest films in order to help rural theaters survive, but it now appears this will not be the case. For more click here
The Girl is based on a fascinating concept: director Alfred Hitchcock's sexual obsession with his "star in the making" "Tippi" Hedren, who he cast as the female lead in his 1963 classic The Birds as well as his next film Marnie. When Hedren rebuffed Hitchcock's advances, the result was devastating to both star and director as Hitchcock went about ensuring that Hedren would never achieve the fame and fortune he once predicted for her. Sienna Miller stars as Hedren and Toby Jones plays Hitchcock. Click here to view trailer
There will be a Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood's Oscar winning 1992 Western classic Unforgiven. Eastwood's star-making role in director Sergio Leone's 1964 Western A Fistful of Dollars was an unauthorized remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Director Lee Sang-il is a die hard fan of Eastwood's film and will helm the Japanese remake, to be titled Yurusarezaru Mono. For more click here
Celebrating great entertainment and engaging a multi-generational audience to a treasure-trove of pop culture faves, Shout! Factory today announced the re-launch of its official websiteShoutFactory.com. This announcement was made today by Shout! Factory founding partners Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos. With the re-launch of ShoutFactory.com, Shout! Factory renews commitment to an aggressive multi-platform strategy for its home entertainment business. The site provides users with a dynamic media and shopping experience, and includes up-to-date news, social media interactive tools, streaming media content and digital downloads from Shout! Factory.
By offering a consumer-friendly multimedia online destination, ShoutFactory.com showcases Shout!’s expansive pop culture library, spanning superbly packaged audio and video box sets, memorable television series, fan favorite animation, comedy and cult film classics. This highly functional site is optimized to engage fans and consumers alike with immediate access to in-depth production information and previews on new releases, as well as provide forums for discussion, discovery and sharing their pop culture passions with their friends and family.
With today’s launch of ShoutFactory.com, visitors will immediately notice the fresh new look, updated design, simple navigation flow and a number of site highlights, including:
Unique e-commerce experience with detailed production information and previews
Sharing their discovery and passion through forums and social media
Digital download store: select audio and video downloads of Shout! Factory content for your computer and handheld device
Secure commercial transactions
Special offers including exclusive titles, bundled offers, limited-edition releases, and unique gift-with-purchase
ShoutFactory.com, the direct online destination for all Shout! Factory branded home entertainment properties is live today. Additional news, special offers and fan driven activities, please visit ShoutFactory.com and follow us on Twitter @ShoutFactory and Facebook.
About Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blu-Ray™ offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras. Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY®-nominated box sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America. Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com
Dick Van Dyke will receive the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement award. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT in January 2013. Van Dyke has been a Hollywood icon for decades. His hit TV series include The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis Murder. He has also had a long career in feature films. His credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Divorce American Style, Mary Poppins, Cold Turkey, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and A Night at the Museum. For more click here
Latest among the seemingly endless movie remakes is The Last of Shelia, the clever 1973 murder mystery that was written by the improbable pairing of Steven Sondheim and Anthony Perkins. The original film, directed by Herbert Ross, centered on a group of Hollywood snobs who are invited by an obnoxious benefactor to take an exotic cruise on his yacht. Once aboard, he induces them to play a complicated game that ends up having deadly results. New Line will produce the remake and a writer is being sought. Only one problem- how do you top the cast of the original: James Coburn, Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, Ian McShane, James Mason, Joan Hackett and Raquel Welch? For more click here
Due to the emergence of "intriguing" new information, L.A. detectives have re-opened the investigation into the mysterious 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. The cause of death has been amended from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other causes", thus putting a more sinister aspect to the investigation. Wood disappeared from the deck of a yacht after a contentious evening on board with her husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. Both men say there had been a lot of drinking and that when they both retired for the evening, Wood was alive and well. Speculation has been rampant about how she would have drowned, given her lifelong fear of water. Conspiracy theorists speculate that Wagner and/or Walken know more than they are saying. For more click here
Looks like the Magnificent Seven remake is going ahead. The following was reported by David Thompson on his Thompson on Hollywood web site.
"Nic Pizzolatto (whose few credits include two episodes of AMC's "The Killing" and the upcoming HBO series "True Detectives" with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) is set to pen the script for MGM's long-gestating remake (of a remake), "The Magnificent Seven." The original 1960 version was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece "The Seven Samurai." Tom Cruise is attached to star."
Noted British actor Bob Hoskins is ending his film career due to a recent diagnosis that he has Parkinson's Disease. The degenerative ailment will deprive movie goers of enjoying the 69 year old actor's considerable talents, as evidenced in films like The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The Guardian reports that "A statement issued on his behalf said: "He wishes to thank all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supported him during a wonderful career. Bob is now looking forward to his retirement with his family, and would greatly appreciate that his privacy be respected at this time."
It's no secret that, with few exceptions, the month of August is used by studios to dump dumb or uninspired movies on to audiences. Not really sure why this is the case, but it's true. The blockbusters are relegated to the early summer and holiday seasons. Critic Mike Ryan takes a long, sad look back at what he believes is the worst year for August movie releases: 1996. Here is the list of dubious titles that were inflicted on movie goers that fateful summer:
"Escape From L.A." "Matilda" "Tin Cup" "Jack" "House Arrest" "Kansas City" "Tales From the Crypt Present: Bordello of Blood" "The Fan" "She's The One" "A Very Brady Sequel" "The Island of Dr. Moreau" "Trigger Effect" "The Stupids" "First Kid" "Alaska" "The Spitfire Grill" "The Crow: City of Angels"
One could argue that at least a couple of these were pretty good (Tin Cup, A Very Brady Sequel) but those are more than compensated for by the knowledge that the great Brando squandered his talents in the Moreau remake in one of the most bizarre performances of all time. For more analysis click here
One of the best TV series of the 1980s is coming to the big screen in 2014. The Equalizer starred the inimitable Edward Woodward as an ex-secret agent-turned urban vigilante. Denzel Washington will play the title role. Let's hope they keep that great title theme by Stewart Copeland. For more click here
Tarantino names William Friedkin's criminally underrated 1977 film Sorcerer as one of his top ten movies of all time.
The recent Sight & Sound poll of the greatest movies of all time included the participation of famed directors such as Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Francis Ford Coppola. Click here to read their individual top ten lists. Not surprisingly, the most mainstream choices are those of Tarantino.
Hitchcock directing Kim Novak on the set of Vertigo.
The landmark poll of the greatest movie of all time taken by Sight & Sound magazine is conducted only once every decade, so its findings are big news among film fans. For the first time in 50 years, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane has been bumped from the #1 spot in favor of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, a movie that was not deemed a critical success when it opened in 1958. Kane came in at #2 in the poll of influential film critics. The list is as follows:
1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) 3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953) 4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939) 5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927) 6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) 7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956) 8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) 9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927) 10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
MGM announced it has reached an amicable settlement with legendary boxing champ Jake LaMotta that will allow a new biopic based on his life to proceed. The studio had filed an injunction against the movie Raging Bull II claiming it unfairly implied the film would be an official sequel to director Martin Scorsese's classic 1980 production. Neither Scorsese or that film's star Robert De Niro have anything to do with the new movie. As part of the settlement, the title will be changed to The Bronx Bull and the producers will issue a public statement officially acknowledging that the movie has no association with the Scorsese picture. For more click here
Clint Eastwood returns to the big screen in his first acting gig since Gran Torino. The film is Trouble With the Curve, in which he plays an aging baseball scout who is losing his sight. He decides to take a road trip with his daughter (Amy Adams) to check out a potential hot shot player. The film will open on September 21. Sony moved the release forward by a week to capitalize on the baseball playoff season. Robert Lorenz, Eastwood's partner at Malpaso Productions, makes his directorial debut with the film. Click here to view trailer
Producer Frank Marshall says that if there is going to be another Indiana Jones movie, nobody seems in a hurry to make it a reality. Despite reports that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had a promising concept for another film, everyone seems preoccupied with other projects- and Harrison Ford isn't getting any younger. Their enthusiasm may have been dampened by the lukewarm fan response to the last entry, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The film was a major boxoffice success, but virtually everyone felt it fell below expectations. Click here for more
Legendary actor Peter O'Toole has announced he is retiring at age 79, marking a great loss for movie lovers. O'Toole was among the ranks of great British and Irish actors who gained stardom in the 1960s. They included Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Patrick McGoohan, Sean Connery and Oliver Reed. O'Toole shot to stardom in the titular role of David Lean's 1962 masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia. Many great roles followed even in films that were not critical successes. He has been nominated for Oscars eight times, never winning in a competitive category. However, he was given a lifetime achievement Oscar. O'Toole's once-wild ways are personified by the time he was in a country pub. Annoyed by the fact that the law forbade serving drinks after 11:00 PM, O'Toole purchased the pub on the spot so he could continue drinking. For more click here
In the battle over digital vs. 35mm film, one casualty is the projectionist at your local theater. They are now going the way of the dodo bird into extinction and the industry is no better for it. Take, for example, the case of my old friend Dave Norris, who had the gold standard of projectionist positions: working the Odeon and Empire theatres in London's Leicester Square. Magnificent movie premieres are a thing of the past in America. Nowadays, most "premieres" consist of slovenly-dressed stars dropping by a converted airline hangar for a few quick drinks before heading out to some nightclub. The British empire may not be what it once was, but the Brits still know how to run premieres. Dave Norris has been the lead projectionist on some of the most high profile movie premieres ever held in London, where the Odeon Leicester Square is still the "go to" place to hold prestigious movie events. The first movie he presented there was The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Over the years, he gained status as England's longest-serving projectionist. A dyed-in-the-wool 007 fanatic, Norris has also presided over ten James Bond premieres- all red carpet events, often with the Royals in attendance. Showing these films is an exercise in high pressure that would thwart anyone but an ultra professional. Sometimes directors such as David Lean would personally supervise how the film was to be presented. I personally recall taking members of film location tours I periodically run in England to the Odeon, Leicester Square, where Dave gave us an off-hours tour of the theater and projection room. It was a master class taught by someone who lives and breathes film history. Now Dave Norris has left his beloved Leicester Square theaters to run the projection facilities for Universal in London. He thinks digital is here to stay, so get used to it, but bemoans that fact that his chosen profession seems destined for extinction. For more click here
Russell Crowe is expected to sign with Warner Brothers for a new film based on Bram Stoker's Dracula. The film, to be directed by Eli Roth, will be titled Harker and present the character of Jonathan Harker as a Scotland Yard detective who tries to hunt down Count Dracula, who will be played by Crowe. Warners envisions a franchise based on the concept though Crowe is only officially attached to the first installment. For more click here
Quentin Tarantino revealed some tantalizing footage of his forthcoming Western Django Unchained at Comic-Con. The film, starring Jamie Foxx as a man who is obsessed with vengeance and freeing slaves from their cruel master (Leonardo DiCaprio in a rare villainous role), will not be released until December. Tarantino's fan base is eagerly awaiting his first movie since Inglourious Basterds. For more click here
Over on the Filmgoers' Guide blog, Howard Hughes looks back at the long-running DJANGO series of films, that started in 1966 with Sergio Corbucci's original.
Not coming to a theater near you: Raging Bull II. MGM has filed suit against Jake LaMotta and the production company that recently completed filming Raging Bull II, saying that MGM has all screen rights to LaMotta's life in and out of the ring. The studio is trying to thwart release of the movie. MGM also claims that the new film is shamelessly trying to capitalize on Martin Scorsese's original 1980 movie, regarded by many as one of the greatest films of its era. Neither Scorsese or star Robert De Niro are involved in the new production. For more click here
This is a fun concept: The Magnificent Seven reborn as a contemporary sports film with over-the-hill British footballers taking on a criminal kingpin, played by Robert Vaughn of the original film. Click here to view the trailer, which includes Elmer Bernstein's classic score.