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Made in England: Three Classics by Powell and Pressburger

  • MUBI
Mubi is showing Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Small Back Room (1949), The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) in November and December, 2017 in the United States in the series Powell & Pressburger: Together and Apart.The story goes that when they were casting their first flat-out masterpiece together, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger sent a letter to an actress outlining a manifesto of their production company, called "the Archers." At the time, the Archers was freshly incorporated, with Powell and Pressburger sharing all credit for writing, directing, and producing, and their manifesto had five points. Point one was to ensure that they provided their financial backers with "a profit, not a loss," which may raise eyebrows among those who are used to manifestos burning with anti-capitalist fire—but then, in a system like commercial cinema, profitability buys freedom.
See full article at MUBI »

Drive-In Dust Offs: Vault Of Horror (1973)

I’ve always had a great appreciation and fondness for horror anthologies, and I devoured horror comics as a kid; whether it was House of Mystery or Creepy magazine, they never failed to fire my imagination in short, sharp bursts. When the Romero/King collaboration Creepshow (1982) came out, my dream of seeing these kinds of stories translated to film was nothing but revelatory. I soon discovered it was not the first of its ilk, and began a journey through dusty video store shelves looking for its long-lost relatives. One of my first (and favorite) finds was Vault of Horror (1973), a five-fingered punch to my nascent, pubescent, omnibus-loving heart.

Released by Cinerama Releasing stateside in March and produced by Amicus (the fine folks behind its predecessor, Tales from the Crypt), Vault of Horror (aka The Vault of Horror, for the easily confused, I guess) was not as well received by critics as Tales,
See full article at DailyDead »

Crypt of Curiosities: Boundary-Pushing British Psychological Thrillers of the 1960s

When it comes to discussing ’60s British horror, most conversations usually begin and end with Hammer’s gothics and their sleazy derivatives. Mind you, it’s not hard to see why—the studio practically revived the genre in the UK during the late ’50s, and competitors would have to be fools to not want to ride their coattails, creating their own bloody (and occasionally brilliant) gothics chock-full of sex and violence. But the ’60s also saw the rise of a different, darker sub-genre—the modern psychological thriller, birthed from Alfred Hitchcock’s visual vocabulary and directors focused less on the supernatural and more on the depths of human cruelty and depravity. These thrillers are violent, sexual, and no stranger to controversy, and on today’s entry of the Crypt of Curiosities, we’ll be looking at three of the best and most noteworthy films.

The first big British thriller of
See full article at DailyDead »

Five Days One Summer

The great Fred Zinnemann's last feature is a very personal story, a fairly uncomplicated drama with a mountain climbing backdrop. Sean Connery plays older than his age as a Scotsman on an Alpine vacation, toying with social disaster. With excellent, non- grandstanding performances from Betsy Brantley and Lambert Wilson. Five Days One Summer DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1982 / Color / 1:85 enhanced widescreen / 108 96 min. / Street Date July 12, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Sean Connery, Betsy Brantley, Lambert Wilson, Jennifer Hilary, Isabel Dean, Gérard Buhr, Anna Massey, Sheila Reid, Emilie Lihou. Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno Film Editor Stuart Baird Original Music Elmer Bernstein Written by Michael Austin from the story 'Maiden Maiden' by Kay Boyle Produced and Directed by Fred Zinnemann

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Fred Zinnemann is a filmmaker that I've come to admire, as much for his personal integrity as for the movies he made. He could be inconsistent and
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Long Before Day-Lewis, Oscar-Nominated Actor Played Lincoln: TCM 'Stars' Series Continues

Raymond Massey ca. 1940. Raymond Massey movies: From Lincoln to Boris Karloff Though hardly remembered today, the Toronto-born Raymond Massey was a top supporting player – and sometime lead – in both British and American movies from the early '30s all the way to the early '60s. During that period, Massey was featured in nearly 50 films. Turner Classic Movies generally selects the same old MGM / Rko / Warner Bros. stars for its annual “Summer Under the Stars” series. For that reason, it's great to see someone like Raymond Massey – who was with Warners in the '40s – be the focus of a whole day: Sat., Aug. 8, '15. (See TCM's Raymond Massey movie schedule further below.) Admittedly, despite his prestige – his stage credits included the title role in the short-lived 1931 Broadway production of Hamlet – the quality of Massey's performances varied wildly. Sometimes he could be quite effective; most of the time, however, he was an unabashed scenery chewer,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Oscar-Nominated Actor Biggest Professional Regret: Turning Down 'Doctor Who'

Ron Moody in Mel Brooks' 'The Twelve Chairs.' The 'Doctor Who' that never was. Ron Moody: 'Doctor Who' was biggest professional regret (See previous post: "Ron Moody: From Charles Dickens to Walt Disney – But No Harry Potter.") Ron Moody was featured in about 50 television productions, both in the U.K. and the U.S., from the late 1950s to 2012. These included guest roles in the series The Avengers, Gunsmoke, Starsky and Hutch, Hart to Hart, and Murder She Wrote, in addition to leads in the short-lived U.S. sitcom Nobody's Perfect (1980), starring Moody as a Scotland Yard detective transferred to the San Francisco Police Department, and in the British fantasy Into the Labyrinth (1981), with Moody as the noble sorcerer Rothgo. Throughout the decades, he could also be spotted in several TV movies, among them:[1] David Copperfield (1969). As Uriah Heep in this disappointing all-star showcase distributed theatrically in some countries.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Top 100 Horror Movies: How Truly Horrific Are They?

Top 100 horror movies of all time: Chicago Film Critics' choices (photo: Sigourney Weaver and Alien creature show us that life is less horrific if you don't hold grudges) See previous post: A look at the Chicago Film Critics Association's Scariest Movies Ever Made. Below is the list of the Chicago Film Critics's Top 100 Horror Movies of All Time, including their directors and key cast members. Note: this list was first published in October 2006. (See also: Fay Wray, Lee Patrick, and Mary Philbin among the "Top Ten Scream Queens.") 1. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock; with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam. 2. The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin; with Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow (and the voice of Mercedes McCambridge). 3. Halloween (1978) John Carpenter; with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran. 4. Alien (1979) Ridley Scott; with Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt. 5. Night of the Living Dead (1968) George A. Romero; with Marilyn Eastman,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

New on Video: Late Hitchcock – ‘Frenzy’ and ‘Family Plot’

Frenzy

Written by Anthony Shaffer

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

UK, 1972

Family Plot

Written by Ernest Lehman

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

USA, 1976

There are some who opt for Alfred Hitchcock’s British years as his finest, taking into account his earliest silent features through Jamaica Inn in 1939. On the other hand, many regard the peak years in America as the Master of Suspense’s finest era, with films from Rebecca in 1940 to Marnie in 1964. Both have valid points to make and there are unquestionably several great works during each phase of the filmmaker’s career. Few, however, would rank Hitchcock’s final four films among his best. In a way, this is unfair, their lowly stature no doubt due to the masterworks that preceded them; with the films Hitchcock made before, the bar was set unassailably high. Taken apart from the imposing excellence of these earlier classics, these concluding films are solid movies.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

James Grout obituary

Stage and screen actor best known for his role as Chief Superintendent Strange in Inspector Morse

James Grout, who has died aged 84, was a supporting actor of authority and distinction best known on television for playing Inspector Morse's boss, Chief Superintendent Strange, as well as a gallery of prominent characters in other much-loved series. He was the flustered party whip in Yes Minister; a blunt-speaking judge, Ollie Oliphant, in John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey; and an affluent, slightly dodgy businessman, Mr McAllister, in Alan Plater's The Beiderbecke Affair.

Tall and increasingly rotund as he grew older, Grout had an immensely wide-ranging career on stage, radio and television for more than 50 years. He was renowned for having a great voice, noted by the critic Harold Hobson in 1950 when, as a graduating Rada student, Grout recited from Don Marquis's The Dark Hours – words, said Hobson, that "seemed
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Dominic West Wins BAFTA TV Award For Fred West Role

Actor Dominic West was the toast of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) TV Awards on Sunday after scoring a top prize for his creepy portrayal of serial killer Fred West.

The Wire star landed the Best Actor prize for his role in U.K. series Appropriate Adult, a reconstruction of the police investigation into the notorious murderer, while his co-star Emily Watson won Best Actress for playing Janet Leach, who sat in on the interviews Fred West gave to cops.

As he collected his award, West said, "I hope she (Leach) has had some closure and I hope she feels we honoured the suffering she endured and the suffering of all of West's victims, living and dead."

Watson appeared emotional as she gave her winner's speech and told the BBC after the ceremony, "It was such a disturbing place to go. In my speech I was very overwhelmed I forgot to thank Janet Leach, she gave very generously to us.

"The public perception of the West case is a tabloid-driven view and then I read the script and it was a very intelligent piece full of integrity. It's a deep abyss right in the middle of our society."

Appropriate Adult enjoyed a triple win at the London ceremony - Monica Dolan won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Rosemary West, nm1377339 autoFred West[/link]'s wife. Sherlock's Andrew Scott fought off competition from his co-star Martin Freeman to win Best Supporting Actor.

Beloved Australian entertainer Rolf Harris was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in honour of his lengthy career, and as he was applauded he declared, "Thank you so much, that's very moving", before adding, "How nice to be presented with this... I can't begin to tell you just how humbled I am by being here in this distinguished company, so many previous recipients of this BAFTA Fellowship."

Other winners included Shane Meadows' This Is England 88, which took the Best Mini-Series prize, Doctor Who writer Stephen Moffat, who received a Special BAFTA for "outstanding creative writing contribution to television", and Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders (Female Performance in a Comedy Programme).

The ceremony also featured a memorial segment, remembering the stars lost in the past 12 months, including Davy Jones, actresses Anna Massey, Googie Withers and Betty Driver, presenters Jimmy Savile and Bob Holness, actors Peter Falk, George Baker and Colin Tarrant, and comedian Frank Carson.

Presenters at the ceremony included West, actresses Helen McCrory, Melissa George and Emilia Fox, and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith, Sam Claflin and Timothy Spall.

TV highlights: 26/12/2011

  • The Guardian - TV News
The Borrowers | Agatha Christie's Poirot | Bear's Wild Weekend With Miranda | Wonders Of The Universe | Terra Nova | Dolly Parton: Live At The O2

The Borrowers

7.30pm, BBC1

Adorable modern adaptation of the classic novel starring Sharon Horgan and Christopher Ecclestone as ma and pa Borrower and Victoria Wood as the full-size grandmother trying to entrap one of them. Her young grandson secretly befriends teen Borrower Arietty, who decides it's time to explore the world. Mild peril arrives in the form of Stephen Fry as an academic who believes in little people and wants one as a specimen. The direction is sophisticated; it looks modern and yet still traditional. And it's more festive than turkey-flavoured holly. A must watch. Julia Raeside

Agatha Christie's Poirot

9pm, ITV1

Agatha Christie's novel, set in Dover in the run-up to the second world war, begins with the discovery of a man's body in the
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Elizabeth Taylor, Farley Granger, Jane Russell, Peter Falk, Sidney Lumet: TCM Remembers 2011

"TCM Remembers 2011" is out. Remembered by Turner Classic Movies are many of those in the film world who left us this past year. As always, this latest "TCM Remembers" entry is a classy, immensely moving compilation. The haunting background song is "Before You Go," by Ok Sweetheart.

Among those featured in "TCM Remembers 2011" are Farley Granger, the star of Luchino Visconti's Senso and Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and Strangers on a Train; Oscar-nominated Australian actress Diane Cilento (Tom Jones, Hombre), formerly married to Sean Connery; and two-time Oscar nominee Peter Falk (Murder, Inc., Pocketful of Miracles, The Great Race), best remembered as television's Columbo. Or, for those into arthouse fare, for playing an angel in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire.

Also, Jane Russell, whose cleavage and sensuous lips in Howard Hughes' The Outlaw left the puritans of the Production Code Association apoplectic; another Australian performer, Googie Withers, among
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Anna Massey remembered by David Hare

She had warmth, wit and talent. But most of all, she embodied the quality of friendship, recalls the playwright

Anna Massey was for a long time acknowledged and admired as the owner of the best fictional voice on BBC radio, and if you were lucky enough to meet her in person, then you would recognise that the voice was the woman: funny, warm, intelligent and lucid, with a sharp edge which very quietly but firmly kept you in line.

She and I were friends for 40 years, and if she hadn't died so soon, we intended to be friends for a great deal longer. In fact, when I think of friendship, I think of Anna: regular phone calls, very good jokes and steadfast loyalty.

She appeared in my first play, Slag. It had made a fair splash at Hampstead in 1970 when I was just 23, but the following year the Royal Court
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Daily Briefing. Grimly Reaping in 2011

  • MUBI
As year-end rituals go, remembering those we've lost over the past twelve months is the solemn twin of list-making, though it's often no less an act of celebration. In the new issue of the Brooklyn Rail, Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee look back on the life of George Kuchar, "one of the most creative, original, and influential filmmakers of our time, straddling two generations of North American iconoclasts, from Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs, Rudy Burckhardt, Kenneth Anger, and Michael Snow to Warren Sonbert, Ernie Gehr, Abigail Child, and Henry Hills. Often collaborating with his twin brother, Mike, George Kuchar started making films as a Bronx teenager, and the brothers' early films already show the ingenuity, exuberance, and do-it-yourself charm that would pervade scores of their subsequent films."

More from Clara Pais in the freely downloadable December issue of One + One, which also features Diamuid Hester on Jacques Tati, Donna K on Brent Green,
See full article at MUBI »

Anna Massey remembered by David Hare

She had warmth, wit and talent. But most of all, she embodied the quality of friendship, recalls the playwright

Anna Massey was for a long time acknowledged and admired as the owner of the best fictional voice on BBC radio, and if you were lucky enough to meet her in person, then you would recognise that the voice was the woman: funny, warm, intelligent and lucid, with a sharp edge which very quietly but firmly kept you in line.

She and I were friends for 40 years, and if she hadn't died so soon, we intended to be friends for a great deal longer. In fact, when I think of friendship, I think of Anna: regular phone calls, very good jokes and steadfast loyalty.

She appeared in my first play, Slag. It had made a fair splash at Hampstead in 1970 when I was just 23, but the following year the Royal Court
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Richard Pearson obituary

Distinctive actor often cast as harassed establishment figures

It was the destiny of the actor Richard Pearson, who has died aged 93, to be remembered for his role in one of the most famous theatrical failures of modern times: what you might call a flop d'estime. In 1958, he was the original Stanley in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. After a short, highly successful provincial tour, the play was critically slaughtered when it opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in London in May 1958. In all, Pearson enjoyed a fruitful career spanning around 70 years, often playing harassed establishment figures, but it was Stanley that he always listed as one of his favourite parts. He reprised the role in an ITV production in 1960.

With his high-pitched voice and crestfallen features, Pearson conveyed Stanley's baffled vulnerability. As Harold Hobson, the play's sole critical champion in 1958, wrote in the Sunday Times: "Pearson's Stanley, excellent throughout, is
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Has film really outgrown racism?

Attitudes to race and sex in 70s films may seem comically outdated, but have we moved on – or are we just pretending?

Amid the typically elegant praise in Peter Bradshaw's recent tribute to 1971's The French Connection came a mention of "the shock of the old" – a dizzying glimpse of the gulf between then and now, partly caused by the movie's dated approach to race. I know the feeling. My own came this week after reacquainting myself with one of British cinema's most gleefully perverse moments: Frenzy, the tale of a sex killer haunting Covent Garden, which was released a year later and marked Alfred Hitchcock's return to England.

It's a rich and fascinating film, loaded with old-school panache and cheeky invention – witness the late Anna Massey stepping out on to a busy London street, to be greeted not with the expected racket but unnerving silence. It's also
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Close up: Saying goodbye to Harry Potter

Bye bye Harry Potter as a mega-franchise hops on a broom and flies up, up and away

The big story

Stories don't come much bigger than the death of Harry Potter. And the plight of the hundreds who've camped out in the drizzle for up to 72 hours to mourn him.

The $6 billion franchise rumbles to a close with the boy wizard's final movie outing, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which will premiere in the capital's take-away slop tray ... ahem iconic and glamorous Trafalgar Square tonight. It's a momentous occasion - a premiere so big that for the first time since last Saturday night both Leicester and Trafalgar squares will be absolutely plastered ... in glitz and glamour.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermoine (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) and a whole host of vaguely familiar British character actors will be facing the muggle multitudes. We'll be live-blogging the magic from 4pm today,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

DVD Playhouse--July 2011

DVD Playhouse—July 2011

By Allen Gardner

The Music Room (Criterion) Satyajit Ray’s 1958 masterpiece looks at the life of a fallen aristocrat as a metaphor for an India that is not only becoming Westernized, but modernized technologically and culturally beyond recognition. When the beloved music room, where he has hosted lavish concerts in the past, starts falling into disrepair as attendance drops steadily, the man realizes his way of life is vanishing. Stunningly shot in black & white, one of Ray’s finest works. Bonuses: Documentary on Ray from 1984 by Shyam Benegal; Interviews with Ray biographer Andrew Robinson and filmmaker Mira Nair; Excerpt from 1981 roundtable discussion between Ray, critic Michael Ciment, director Claude Sautet. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Full screen. Dolby 1.0 mono.

Beauty And The Beast (Criterion) Jean Cocteau’s sublime adaptation of the classic fairy tale become a beloved classic upon its 1946 release, and hasn’t faded since.
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Anna Massey obituary

Award-winning actor with a fastidious intelligence and a hint of inner steel

Anna Massey, who has died of cancer aged 73, made her name on the stage as a teenager in French-window froth. She then graduated, with effortless and extraordinary ease, to the classics and to the work of Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and David Hare. In later years, she became best known for her award-winning work in television and film. What constantly impressed was her fastidious intelligence and capacity for stillness: always the mark of a first-rate actor.

Born in Thakeham, West Sussex, she was bred into show business although, in personal terms, that proved something of a mixed blessing. Her father was Raymond Massey, a Canadian actor who achieved success in Hollywood; her mother was Adrianne Allen who had appeared in the original production of Noël Coward's Private Lives. Anna's godfather was the film director John Ford.

Since
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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