Roman Polanski’s taste for dark absurdist comedy is in full swing in 1966 comedy-thriller Cul-De-Sac. It’s his second English-language film, sandwiched between Repulsion and Fearless Vampire Killers. Compared with his towering classics (and there are a few) it is slight, but even minor Polanski is a joy to watch.
Especially with a setup like this. We open with Dickey (Lionel Stander, the spit of Ernest Borgnine) and Albie (Jack MacGowran), their car sputtering along the Northumberland coast. Albie is dying from a gunshot wound, so Dickey heads off for help, and finds himself on a coastal island, in a castle owned by George (Donald Pleasence) and his glamorous wife Teresa (Françoise Dorléac).
So begins a strange semi-hostage relationship between the very American gangsters and the gentle married couple.
He won Best Picture and Best Director for "The French Connection" (1971), followed it up with the scariest movie of all time (1973's "The Exorcist"), and followed that up with "Sorcerer" (1977), a movie so far ahead of its time that only in recent years has it been acknowledged as an overlooked masterpiece. (A newly-restored print of the allegorical adventure tale, released this week on Blu-ray, should help burnish the film's reputation.)
At 78, Friedkin continues to stay ahead of the pack. In his most recent movie, "Killer Joe" (2011), he cast Matthew McConaughey in an unlikely role as a corrupt cop/hitman, thus helping launch the "McConnaissance" that changed the actor's image and led to his recent Oscar victory for "Dallas Buyers Club." For his upcoming projects, he's thrilled to be working in digital and scoffs at
It’s London in the swinging 60s, a reclusive professor (Jack MacGowran) becomes infatuated with beautiful model Penny Lane (Jane Birkin), the girlfriend of a Svengali-like photographer (Iain Quarrier). The professor
Maybe there is. "Exorcist" director William Friedkin's 2013 memoir, "The Friedkin Connection," has three chapters full of dish on the making of the film, including which characters were based on famous people, how some of the famous special effects were accomplished, how he came to slap a Jesuit priest, and whether or not the production was cursed. Here are 25 things you may not know about "The Exorcist," many of them from Friedkin's recent book.
1. The real case that inspired William Peter Blatty's novel and screenplay was the 1949 exorcism of a 14-year-old boy,
William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), based upon the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, is one of the greatest and most powerful American motion pictures ever made. With an impressive cast that includes Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller, Lee J. Cobb, Jack MacGowran and newcomer Linda Blair, The Exorcist had its origins in a 1949 case involving the purported demonic possession of a young Evangelical Lutheran boy in Cottage City, MD who is still alive to this day, is retired from Nasa, and claims to have no memory of the events that he experienced. Mr. Blatty, who read about the events at the time, thought about the story for years until he wrote the book circa 1969, some 20 years later, in the house of his ex-wife in Encino, CA.
Coming on the heels of my all-time favorite film, 1971’s Oscar-winning The French Connection, Mr.
"The Exorcist" has it all, and is genuinely scary. It has the creepy religious element, the frightening possessed child, a variety of deaths, and it features just the right amount of blood, vomit, flies, and vulgarity. Forty years later, horror filmmakers are hard-pressed to match "The Exorcist," and many see it as the gold standard.
Here are my top five reasons why "The Exorcist" is the best horror film ever made -- though I could definitely come up with more.
The Alleged "Exorcist Curse"
Nothing makes a horror movie scarier than when some of the legend/story seeps into real life. When you find out that the young actress who played
No details regarding the story have been released, but the project has received interest from both broadcast and cable networks. Roy Lee (Bates Motel, The Ring) is on board to executive produce. The success of movie-to-tv adaptations such as A&E's Bates Motel and Hannibal, both of which were renewed for second seasons, may have been the springboard for a classic such as The Exorcist to move to the small screen.
Ironically enough, Morgan Creek developed a limited series based on The Exorcist last year with writer Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), but this version written by Jeremy Slater is said to be completely different. The Exorcist, which starred Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb,
A true cinema landmark, the theological thriller is one of the top ten box-office performers of all time. The Exorcist took 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won two Oscars, for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as winning for Best Sound.
Despite the fact that people try to tell us that there is no such thing as a ‘cursed production’, we thought it would be interesting to reminisce on some of the most notorious ‘cursed productions’. As a disclaimer,
Roman Polanski remains a fascinating filmmaker to this day. Alongside Andrej Wajda and Jerzy Skolimowski, Polanski came to the fore in the late 1950s in Poland. The BFI in London are screening all of Polanski’s films during January and February 2013 and throughout January, essays on separate films will be released here on Flickering Myth in the hope that you too can join us in reflecting on Polanski’s diverse and ever-expanding career. Next up is 1966's Cul-de-sac...
Starring Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Geoffrey Sumner, Renee Houston, William Franklyn, Trevor Delaney, Marie Kean and Jacqueline Bisset.
Knife in the Water set the standard for Polanski. For his directorial debut, it was nominated for Foreign Picture at the Oscars, losing out to Fellini’s 8 ½. If you lose out to a film considered one of the greatest of all-time,
Linda Blair is also the founder of the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization devoted to the loving care and rescue of animals throughout Los Angeles, to which proceeds from this new CD will go to.
Linda Blair combines her love for rescue dogs and haunting music with this special Halloween interview, in which she offers up some helpful tips for your dogs this Halloween, along with a little bit of head-spinning and
Written by Gérard Brach and Roman Polanski
Directed by Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski’s comedy was his first foray into both Hollywood and colour filmmaking, and, whether intentional or not, feels like a deliberate parody of the Hammer studio’s brand of gothic horror. Polanski’s film has similarly striking castle locales, but the general aesthetic here excels beyond imitation and is among the most beautiful in both horror and comedy cinema. Taking place in a snowbound Transylvania, the lavish studio sets and location shots from the Alps combine to create a gorgeous widescreen film that feels like a winter wonderland; a snow globe environment host to production and costume designs fit for a period epic.
The production of The Fearless Vampire Killers was also where Polanski met his doomed love Sharon Tate. Though the director himself and Jack MacGowran are the stars, it
Morgan Creek is backing this series, adapted from the classic William Peter Blatty novel. The show will take a different approach than the 1973 film classic, following the events that lead up to the demonic possession, and how the family turns to Father Damien Karras after doctors and psychiatrists fail to explain the bizarre behavior.
The series won't be shopped to the networks for two weeks, although executives are already scheduling meetings for this updated series.
William Friedkin directed the 1973 adaptation of The Exorcist, which centered on a priest (Max von Sydow) who tries to remove a demonic spirit from a young girl. It was the first horror movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
The Exorcist was released December 26th, 1973 and stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow,
"Cul-de-sac remains a searing reminder that Roman Polanski's idiosyncratic grasp of the human mind was once evinced theatrically, rather than through narrative ferocity," writes Joseph Jon Lanthier in Slant. "Where Chinatown,
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