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Career-Damaging Taylor-Burton Bomb Revisited and (Surprisingly) Appreciated

'Boom!' movie with Elizabeth Taylor: Critically panned box office disaster featuring memorable headwear. 'Boom!' movie: Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton critical & box office bomb reappraised as 'cult classic' fare If you've never seen Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's 1968 vanity production Boom!, don't feel singled out. Boom! bombed at the box office almost as soon as it blasted on the screen. Since then, however, it has been rediscovered. Directed by Joseph Losey from a screenplay by Tennessee Williams (based on his play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore), Boom! is a good example of a movie depicting art imitating life imitating art; one that deserves to be described in detail. Sexually repressed temper tantrums and bronchial attacks By then a two-time Academy Award winner, Elizabeth Taylor (Butterfield 8, 1960; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966) plays Flora “Sissy” Goforth, a middle-aged, sexually repressed American (inspired by and written
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

San Sebastian to pay tribute to Joseph Losey by Amber Wilkinson - 2017-02-08 12:02:18

San Sebastian will pay tribute to the filmmaker Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival San Sebastian Film Festival has announced it will pay tribute to Us filmmaker Joseph Losey during its 2017 edition.

The director, who moved to Britain after suffering fallout from the Hollywood witch hunt, became a leading figure in European independent film. His work includes The Servant, Accident and The Go-Between.

His work is divided into three periods: his early period in North American film until the early Fifties, the prestige he achieved in the UK of the Sixties and Seventies and a later, more itinerant stage when he worked for Italian, French and Spanish production.

He made his feature debut in 1948 with The Boy With Green Hair, a parable against war, totalitarianism and intransigence towards difference, produced by Rko. He went on to direct a series of film noirs – The Lawless (1950), The Prowler (1951) and The Big Night
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Modesty Blaise

Joseph Losey doesn't normally make trendy, lighthearted genre films, and in this SuperSpy epic we find out why -- an impressive production and great music don't compensate for a lack of pace and dynamism, not to mention a narrow sense of humor. Yet it's a lounge classic, and a perverse favorite of spy movie fans. Modesty Blaise Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1966 / Color / 1:66 widescreen / 119 min. / Street Date August 23, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, Dirk Bogarde, Harry Andrews, Michael Craig, Clive Revill, Alexander Knox, Rossella Falk, Scilla Gabel, Tina Marquand Cinematography Jack Hildyard Production Designer Richard MacDonald, Jack Shampan Film Editor Reginald Beck Original Music John Dankworth Written by Evan Jones from a novel by Peter O'Donnell and a comic strip by Jim Holdaway Produced by Joseph Janni Directed by Joseph Losey

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

When I first reviewed a DVD of Modesty Blaise fourteen years ago,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Douglas Slocombe obituary

Leading British cinematographer who worked on some of the classic Ealing films and Hollywood blockbusters such as Raiders of the Lost Ark

Douglas Slocombe, who has died aged 103, was one of Britain’s greatest cameramen – an award-winning cinematographer noted for his high contrast shooting and a key figure in British and American film from the heyday of Ealing Studios in the 1940s and 50s onwards.

Slocombe, who was entirely self-taught, had a career spanning more than 40 years and 80 films. He was nominated for Oscars for Travels With My Aunt (1972), Julia (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Bafta recognised him with awards for The Servant (1963), The Great Gatsby (1974) and Julia, nominations for Guns at Batasi (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968) and Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), and a lifetime achievement award in 1993.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Douglas Slocombe, Cinematographer for ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ Dies at 103

Douglas Slocombe, Cinematographer for ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ Dies at 103
Oscar-nominated British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, whose many films include several classic Ealing comedies in the 1940s and ’50s and the first three Indiana Jones pics in the 1980s, has died, his family told the Agence France-Presse. He was 103.

Slocombe drew Oscar noms for “Travels With My Aunt” in 1973, “Julia” in 1978 and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1982. He is famous within the industry for never having used a light meter on the set of “Raiders.”

He shot Ealing comedies including “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” “The Lavender Hill Mob” and “The Man in the White Suit.”

During the 1960s he was d.p. on films including “The Servant,” “The Blue Max,” “The Fearless Vampire Killers,” “The Lion in Winter” and “The Italian Job.”

In addition to the pics for which he was Oscar nominated, he shot “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Maids” and “Rollerball” in the 1970s.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Figures in a Landscape

Where was Leonard Pinth Garnell when we needed him?  Joseph Losey is often accused of pretension but in this case he may be guilty. Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell are escapees scrambling across a rocky terrain, pursued by a helicopter that seems satisfied to just harass them. Keeping the audience in the dark doesn't reap any dramatic or thematic benefit that I can see. Figures in a Landscape Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1970 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 110 min. / Street Date January 12, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Robert Shaw, Malcolm McDowell, Roger Lloyd Pack, Pamela Brown. Cinematography Henri Alekan, Peter Suschitzky, Guy Tabary Film Editor Reginald Beck Art Direction Ted Tester Original Music Richard Rodney Bennett Written by Robert Shaw from the novel by Barry England Produced by John Kohn Directed by Joseph Losey

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Joseph Losey is a gold mine for film criticism but a real problem for simple film reviewing.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Everything Steven Soderbergh Watched and Read in 2015

Displaying a transparency that few filmmakers of his fame and / or caliber would even bother with, Steven Soderbergh has, for a couple of years, been keen on releasing lists of what he watched and read during the previous twelve months. If you’re at all interested in this sort of thing — and why not? what else are you even doing with your day? — the 2015 selection should be of strong interest, this being a time when he was fully enmeshed in the world of creating television.

He’s clearly observing the medium with a close eye, be it what’s on air or what his friends (specifically David Fincher and his stillborn projects) show him, and how that might relate to his apparent love of 48 Hours Mystery or approach to a comparatively light slate of cinematic assignments — specifically: it seems odd that the last time he watched Magic Mike Xxl, a
See full article at The Film Stage »

Cummings Pt.3: Gender-Bending from Joan of Arc to Comic Farce, Liberal Supporter of Political Refugees

'Saint Joan': Constance Cummings as the George Bernard Shaw heroine. Constance Cummings on stage: From sex-change farce and Emma Bovary to Juliet and 'Saint Joan' (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Frank Capra, Mae West and Columbia Lawsuit.”) In the mid-1930s, Constance Cummings landed the title roles in two of husband Benn W. Levy's stage adaptations: Levy and Hubert Griffith's Young Madame Conti (1936), starring Cummings as a demimondaine who falls in love with a villainous character. She ends up killing him – or does she? Adapted from Bruno Frank's German-language original, Young Madame Conti was presented on both sides of the Atlantic; on Broadway, it had a brief run in spring 1937 at the Music Box Theatre. Based on the Gustave Flaubert novel, the Theatre Guild-produced Madame Bovary (1937) was staged in late fall at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre. Referring to the London production of Young Madame Conti, The
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Film Review: Great Cranston Performance in Hard-Hitting Political Drama About Blacklisted Screenwriter

'Trumbo' movie: Bryan Cranston as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and Helen Mirren as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. 'Trumbo' movie review: Highly entertaining 'history lesson' Full disclosure: on the wall in my study hangs a poster – the iconic photograph of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, with black-horned rim glasses, handlebar mustache, a smoke dangling from the end of a dramatic cigarette holder. He's sitting – stark naked – in a tub surrounded by his particular writing apparatus. He's looking directly into the camera of the photographer, his daughter Mitzi. Dalton Trumbo's son, Christopher Trumbo, gave me the poster after my interview with him for the release of Peter Askin's 2007 documentary also titled Trumbo. That film combines archival footage, including family movies and photographs, with performances of the senior Trumbo's letters to his family during their many years of turmoil before and through the blacklist, including his time in prison. The letters are read by,
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The Second Mother review – master and servant roles under scrutiny

The delicate relationship between employer and servant is skilfully subverted and scrutinised in this funny, serious study of class in modern-day Brazil

The perennially fascinating and tactless subject of 21st-century servitude is the theme of this well acted and absorbing film – to be compared with Sebastián Silva’s 2009 gem The Maid, and, from much further back, Joseph Losey’s 1960 classic The Servant.

What happens when the live-in help get above themselves? And how does the supposedly liberal and relaxed employer class find a way of expressing its fastidious distaste and unease? It is the story of a rich Brazilian family in São Paulo and their housekeeper Val, wonderfully played by Regina Casé. She has been a nanny to the son of the house, as well as all her other duties, earning enough to send money home to pay for the care of her own daughter Jéssica, whom she has not seen for 10 years.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Mitchum Stars in TCM Movie Premiere Set Among Japanese Gangsters Directed by Future Oscar Winner

Robert Mitchum ca. late 1940s. Robert Mitchum movies 'The Yakuza,' 'Ryan's Daughter' on TCM Today, Aug. 12, '15, Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” series is highlighting the career of Robert Mitchum. Two of the films being shown this evening are The Yakuza and Ryan's Daughter. The former is one of the disappointingly few TCM premieres this month. (See TCM's Robert Mitchum movie schedule further below.) Despite his film noir background, Robert Mitchum was a somewhat unusual choice to star in The Yakuza (1975), a crime thriller set in the Japanese underworld. Ryan's Daughter or no, Mitchum hadn't been a box office draw in quite some time; in the mid-'70s, one would have expected a Warner Bros. release directed by Sydney Pollack – who had recently handled the likes of Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, and Robert Redford – to star someone like Jack Nicholson or Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Criterion Collection: The French Lieutenant’s Woman | Blu-ray Review

  • ioncinema
In the decades since its premiere, The French Lieutenant’s Woman is now most commonly discussed for its placement in the extensive awards resume of its star Meryl Streep, since it was her follow-up to her Best Supporting Actress win for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer and would serve as netting her first nomination in a leading category (it’s also interesting to note Streep won the Golden Globe but ultimately, perhaps ironically, lost to Katharine Hepburn, the iconic performer who previously held the most nominations record). But at the time of its release, the final product was the result of a decade long ordeal, seeing many auteurs, actors, and screenwriters attempting to adapt the notoriously ‘unfilmable’ 1969 novel by John Fowles, an experiment in form termed “post-modern historical fiction.” Directed by Karel Reisz, the Czech-born British auteur a British New Wave progenitor of the realist strain of filmmaking, it remains one of his most prolific works.
See full article at ioncinema »

The Magnet: watch an exclusive clip of the rarely-seen Ealing comedy – video

An 11-year-old James Fox – later, of course, to make his name in the likes of The Servant and Performance – was given his first starring role in this Ealing comedy set largely in Liverpool and the Wirral. Fox (still acting under his actual first name, William) plays a schoolboy who tricks another kid out of a fancy-looking magnet, and then becomes an inadvertent hero after it ends up in an iron lung.

The restored version of The Magnet is out now on DVD Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Top Ten Tuesday – The Best Substitutes for Downton Abbey

By rights I should hate the English. Seriously, my background is almost entirely Scots and Irish. I grew up hearing about the troubles the English gave to the Scots and Irish, both in school and from my parents.

Yet I do not, I love the English. How can I hate a country that gave us not only Monty Python but also Benny Hill and the Carry On Films? How can I bear any ill will to a country that gave us writers of the caliber of Ramsey Campbell, Brian Aldiss, Michael Moorcock and J. G Ballard? How can anyone hate a country that not only prizes eccentric behavior but encourages it? Take Mr. Kim Newman for instance, a brilliant writer whose work appears regularly in Video WatchDog and Videoscope Mr. Newman dresses himself, has his hair and mustache styled and speaks in the manner of someone from the 19th Century!
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Oscar-Nominated Film Series: Bates Suffers in Contrived, Overlong Drama About Christian Persecution of Jews

'The Fixer' movie with Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde and Ian Holm (background) 'The Fixer' movie review: 1968 anti-Semitism drama wrecked by cast, direction, and writing In 1969, director John Frankenheimer declared that he felt "better about The Fixer than anything I've ever done in my life." Considering Frankenheimer's previous output – Seven Days in May, the much admired The Manchurian Candidate – it is hard to believe that the director was being anything but a good P.R. man for his latest release. Adapted from Bernard Malamud's National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (itself based on the real story of Jewish brick-factory worker Menahem Mendel Beilis), The Fixer is an overlong, overblown, and overwrought contrivance that, albeit well meaning, carelessly misuses most of the talent involved while sadistically abusing the patience – and at times the intelligence – of its viewers. John Frankenheimer overindulges in 1960s kitsch John Frankenheimer
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Directors & Their Troops: James Marsh on the ‘Theory of Everything’ Team

Directors & Their Troops: James Marsh on the ‘Theory of Everything’ Team
The Theory of Everything,” about Jane and Stephen Hawking, marks the third narrative film for James Marsh, after he made several notable documentaries (including the 2008 “Man on Wire”). Here, Marsh talked with Variety about his work with his artisan colleagues on the film.

Editing, Jinx Godfrey

“We’ve worked together since we made a documentary for television in 1997. As with all collaborations, you improve and complete each other’s ideas, you push each other. We had worked on documentary films like ‘Wisconsin Death Trip,’ then we made several dramas together. The film we’re probably best known for is ‘Man on Wire,’ which has so many disparate elements: interviews, archive films, re-creations, 16mm and super-8 — you have to make the film sing and dance and flow. You take some of these ideas and bring them to a feature.

“Jinx is very unsentimental. We have a strong female character in the film,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Which is the greatest British film in history? No one seems to be in agreement

Best British movies of all time? (Image: a young Michael Caine in 'Get Carter') Ten years ago, Get Carter, starring Michael Caine as a dangerous-looking London gangster (see photo above), was selected as the United Kingdom's very best movie of all time according to 25 British film critics polled by Total Film magazine. To say that Mike Hodges' 1971 thriller was a surprising choice would be an understatement. I mean, not a David Lean epic or an early Alfred Hitchcock thriller? What a difference ten years make. On Total Film's 2014 list, published last May, Get Carter was no. 44 among the magazine's Top 50 best British movies of all time. How could that be? Well, first of all, people would be very naive if they took such lists seriously, whether we're talking Total Film, the British Film Institute, or, to keep things British, Sight & Sound magazine. Second, whereas Total Film's 2004 list was the result of a 25-critic consensus,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Steven Soderbergh Recuts 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' as Silent Film

  • MovieWeb
Steven Soderbergh Recuts 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' as Silent Film
While it may be some time before we see a new film from "retired" director Steven Soderbergh, his latest experiment on the website Extension765.com may be the closest thing we get. The filmmaker posted a new black and white "silent" cut of the 1981 classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, which has absolutely no dialogue, but does feature music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross scores for The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Earlier this year, he cut together mash-ups of both the original version of Psycho and the 1998 remake on the website.

Click on the image below to watch the 115-minute video in its entirety, then take a look at Steven Soderbergh's statement about why he made Raiders of the Lost Ark a silent film.

"(Note: This posting is for educational purposes only.)

I'm assuming the phrase "staging" came out of the theatre world,
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Watch: Steven Soderbergh Recuts 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' with Some Radical New Changes

  • Movies.com
Mixmaster and not really retired director Steven Soderbergh has given the artsy mash-up treatment to Alfred Hitchcock and Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, and now he’s remaking a classic from the ‘80s. Soderbergh has gallantly tackled a reworking of Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, giving it a new score (with lots of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross highlighted) and a black-and-white makeover. And Raiders does look amazing in monochrome—as though it was meant to be. “It’s because Douglas Slocombe shot The Lavendar Hill Mob and the The Servant and his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium," Soderbergh reminds us. So what was the point of this exercise? We’ll let the Magic Mike director...

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See full article at Movies.com »

Cinema Centenarians: Among Oldest Film People Still Around Are Best Actress Oscar Winner; Actress with, gasp, Twilight Connection

Oldest person in movies? (Photo: Manoel de Oliveira) Following the recent passing of 1931 Dracula actress Carla Laemmle at age 104, there is one less movie centenarian still around. So, in mid-June 2014, who is the oldest person in movies? Manoel de Oliveira Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira will turn 106 next December 11; he’s surely the oldest person — at least the oldest well-known person — in movies today. De Oliveira’s film credits include the autobiographical docudrama Memories and Confessions / Visita ou Memórias e Confissões (1982), with de Oliveira as himself, and reportedly to be screened publicly only after his death; The Cannibals / Os Canibais (1988); The Convent / O Convento (1995); Porto of My Childhood / Porto da Minha Infância (2001); The Fifth Empire / O Quinto Império - Ontem Como Hoje (2004); and, currently in production, O Velho do Restelo ("The Old Man of Restelo"). Among the international stars who have been directed by de Oliveira are Catherine Deneuve, Pilar López de Ayala,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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