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"The Gospel Of John"

Director Philip Saville's biblical feature "The Gospel of John" (2003), narrated by Christopher Plummer, was adapted for the screen on a word-for-word basis from the American Bible Society's 'Good News Bible', in a three-hour epic that follows 'John's Gospel' without additions to the story, or omission of complex passages:

"...the film was created by a group of professionals from Canada and the UK, along with academic and theological consultants from around the world...

"...with a cast selected primarily from the 'Stratford Shakespeare Festival', 'Soulpepper Theatre' Company, plus Britain's 'Royal Shakespeare Company' and 'Royal National Theatre'. The musical score, composed by Jeff Danna, and created for the film, is based on the music of the Biblical period..."

Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "The Gospel Of John"...
See full article at SneakPeek »

Philip Saville obituary

TV director whose Boys from the Blackstuff won a Bafta for best drama serial

The director Philip Saville, who has died aged 86, was an important figure in British television drama – an innovative practitioner who brought Alan Bleasdale’s 1982 drama Boys from the Blackstuff to the screen. The series, which concerned the harrowing effects of unemployment on five Liverpudlian men, had a difficult gestation – the BBC was not easily persuaded to allow a supposedly “arty” director to convey the reality of the disenfranchised working classes. While he greatly admired Bleasdale’s scripts, Saville suggested rewrites, notably expanding the role of Angie, the wife of one of the men, Chrissie (Michael Angelis). This added a strong female element to an otherwise male-dominated piece and provided Julie Walters with a breakthrough role.

One episode, Yosser’s Story, featured the broken Yosser Hughes (Bernard Hill) desperately asking “gissa job” as his sanity was eroded along with his self-respect.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Mandela Makes Cameo Appearance in Spike Lee Movie; Played by Oscar Winner in TV Movie

Nelson Mandela on film and TV: From Sidney Poitier to Terrence Howard (photo: Sidney Poitier as Nelson Mandela in ‘Mandela and de Klerk’) (See previous post: "Nelson Mandela Movies: ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,’ ‘Invictus.’") As found on the IMDb, here are a handful of other narrative big-screen films featuring Nelson Mandela: Darrell Roodt’s Winnie Mandela (2011), with Jennifer Hudson in the title role and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela. Pete TravisEndgame (2009), with Clarke PetersMandela as less a martyred saint than a skillful realpolitik negotiator. This political drama also features Chiwetel Ejiofor, William Hurt, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong, and Derek Jacobi. Zola Maseko’s 1950s-set Drum (2004), in which Mandela is played — for a change — by a South African actor, Lindani Nkosi. As reported by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian, British filmmaker Peter Kosminsky (White Oleander, Wuthering Heights) "got into hot water a couple of years ago
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

31 Days of Horror: Horror Cinema’s Greatest Savants

In the world of horror cinema, the best way to fight a monster–be it supernatural, human, or natural one–is with a character that possesses special knowledge and skills. These experts, recruited into battle by other characters or colliding with the conflict intentionally, are the savants of the horror world.

Examples of savant characters include David Warner’s bat expert Phillip Payne in Nightwing, Zelda Rubinstein’s spiritual medium Tangina in Poltergeist, Matthew McConaughey’s dragon slayer Denton Van Zan in Reign of Fire, Lin Shaye’s paranormal investigator Elise Rainier in Insidious, and Otto Jespersen’s monster killer Hans in Trollhunter.

This article, divided into three sections based on what type of monstrous force is being fought, focuses on the greatest savant characters the horror genre has to offer.

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Vs. The Supernatural

Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing in Horror of Dracula and The Brides of Dracula: In these two Hammer films,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Snoo Wilson obituary

Playwright whose anarchic works were filled with vividly imagined characters

Snoo Wilson, who has died suddenly aged 64, was in the vanguard of the young playwrights revolutionising British theatre in the two decades after 1968, but Snoo was a very different kettle of fish from the others. While David Edgar, Howard Brenton and David Hare were often overtly political, Snoo was a Marxist "tendance Groucho"; more subtly subversive and humorous. Sometimes the surface frivolity of his work made people think he wasn't serious, but he was always trying to mine under the surface of things, to allow the subconscious to drive his imagination. Snoo used fiercely imagined characters in comic and often savage works that nevertheless, in the best plays, demonstrated an insouciant knowledge of dramatic structure. He was not a believer in naturalism.

Throughout his career Snoo refused to accept that mere reality was all there was – if so, it was
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Snoo Wilson obituary

Playwright whose anarchic works were filled with vividly imagined characters

Snoo Wilson, who has died suddenly aged 64, was in the vanguard of the young playwrights revolutionising British theatre in the two decades after 1968, but Snoo was a very different kettle of fish from the others. While David Edgar, Howard Brenton and David Hare were often overtly political, Snoo was a Marxist "tendance Groucho"; more subtly subversive and humorous. Sometimes the surface frivolity of his work made people think he wasn't serious, but he was always trying to mine under the surface of things, to allow the subconscious to drive his imagination. Snoo used fiercely imagined characters in comic and often savage works that nevertheless, in the best plays, demonstrated an insouciant knowledge of dramatic structure. He was not a believer in naturalism.

Throughout his career Snoo refused to accept that mere reality was all there was – if so, it was
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Letter: Jim Goddard was an impressive director of The Black Stuff

As producer of Alan Bleasdale's The Black Stuff, I was immensely impressed by Jim Goddard's direction. Although it was transmitted as a BBC Play for Today, it was in fact a feature-length film. I recall Jim working in west London with the team of actors led by Bernard Hill playing Yosser Hughes, walking back and forth in a rehearsal room, to measure out a long tracking shot which was to be filmed on the roads of the north-east. With the actors in mind, Jim took full advantage by combining old-style television rehearsal with the economic need to keep the film camera turning.

This valuable preparation gave the team of actors the freedom of spirit which subsequently Michael Wearing and Philip Saville inherited when producing and directing, with newly introduced lightweight cameras, Bleasdale's compelling series The Boys from the Blackstuff.

DramaDrama

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

John Mackenzie obituary

Film director whose career took him from gritty television plays to Hollywood thrillers

People who talk wistfully of the "golden age of British television drama" are often accused of viewing the past through the rosy lens of nostalgia. But a clear-eyed examination of the era proves that such slots as the BBC's The Wednesday Play (1964-70) and Play for Today (1970-84) were unsurpassed as breeding grounds for talented directors such as John Mackenzie, who has died after a stroke aged 83. Like most of his contemporaries who gained their experience by working in television – Philip Saville, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Ken Loach, Mike Newell, Michael Apted and Mike Leigh – Mackenzie went on to make feature films, notably his superb London-based gangster picture, The Long Good Friday (1980).

The television background trained Mackenzie to work quickly on taut and realistic narratives, within a tight budget and on schedule. One of his first jobs was as
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

John Mackenzie obituary

Film director whose career took him from gritty television plays to Hollywood thrillers

People who talk wistfully of the "golden age of British television drama" are often accused of viewing the past through the rosy lens of nostalgia. But a clear-eyed examination of the era proves that such slots as the BBC's The Wednesday Play (1964-70) and Play for Today (1970-84) were unsurpassed as breeding grounds for talented directors such as John Mackenzie, who has died after a stroke aged 83. Like most of his contemporaries who gained their experience by working in television – Philip Saville, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Ken Loach, Mike Newell, Michael Apted and Mike Leigh – Mackenzie went on to make feature films, notably his superb London-based gangster picture, The Long Good Friday (1980).

The television background trained Mackenzie to work quickly on taut and realistic narratives, within a tight budget and on schedule. One of his first jobs was as
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

John Mackenzie, 1928 - 2011

"People who talk wistfully of the 'golden age of British television drama' are often accused of viewing the past through the rosy lens of nostalgia," writes Ronald Bergan in the Guardian. "But a clear-eyed examination of the era proves that such slots as the BBC's The Wednesday Play (1964-70) and Play for Today (1970-84) were unsurpassed as breeding grounds for talented directors such as John Mackenzie, who has died after a stroke aged 83. Like most of his contemporaries who gained their experience by working in television — Philip Saville, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Ken Loach, Mike Newell, Michael Apted and Mike Leigh — Mackenzie went on to make feature films, notably his superb London-based gangster picture, The Long Good Friday (1980)."

Paul Gallagher has posted a documentary on the making of The Long Good Friday at Dangerous Minds, preceded by a deeply appreciative introduction: "It started when producer Barry Hanson asked writer Barrie Keefe, one night,
See full article at MUBI »

Charles Jarrott obituary

British-born director known for Anne of the Thousand Days and Mary, Queen of Scots

The film and television director Charles Jarrott, who has died of cancer aged 83, began his career during a golden period of British TV drama, working on Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play in the 1960s alongside writers and directors such as Ken Loach, Dennis Potter and David Mercer. Both series were presided over by the Canadian producer Sydney Newman, who encouraged original work – what he called "agitational contemporaneity" – and had an astonishing impact. But in 1969 Jarrott's career took a different turn when he left for Hollywood, thereby increasing his income a hundredfold, while having to contend with far less adventurous material. His best films were his first, two Elizabethan costume dramas, Anne of the Thousand Days and Mary, Queen of Scots, enlivened by the Oscar-nominated performances of Richard Burton (Henry VIII), Geneviève Bujold (Anne Boleyn) and
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Charles Jarrott obituary

British-born director known for Anne of the Thousand Days and Mary, Queen of Scots

The film and television director Charles Jarrott, who has died of cancer aged 83, began his career during a golden period of British TV drama, working on Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play in the 1960s alongside writers and directors such as Ken Loach, Dennis Potter and David Mercer. Both series were presided over by the Canadian producer Sydney Newman, who encouraged original work – what he called "agitational contemporaneity" – and had an astonishing impact. But in 1969 Jarrott's career took a different turn when he left for Hollywood, thereby increasing his income a hundredfold, while having to contend with far less adventurous material. His best films were his first, two Elizabethan costume dramas, Anne of the Thousand Days and Mary, Queen of Scots, enlivened by the Oscar-nominated performances of Richard Burton (Henry VIII), Geneviève Bujold (Anne Boleyn) and
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Homecoming – Philip French's classic DVD

Peter Hall, 1973, 12, Fremantle

A combination of the original 1965 RSC casts at the Aldwych and on Broadway (Paul Rogers, Ian Holm, Cyril Cusack, Vivien Merchant, Michael Jayston, Terence Rigby), of what many regard as Harold Pinter's finest play, are reunited with Peter Hall under the auspices of the American Film Theatre. This is the definitive record of Pinter's tragicomedy of territorial imperatives. The dark family secrets of a menacing, all-male, north London household are revealed when the academic white sheep of a working-class, crime-related family brings his seductive wife from the States to meet his misogynistic father, uncle and brothers. John Bury's stage sets are beautifully lit by ace cinematographer David Watkin and it's Hall's finest work for the cinema. Also in the double-disc set is an informative, unpretentious documentary assembled by Philip Saville, in which a variety of friends and fellow actors, including Steven Berkoff, Henry Goodman, Sheila Hancock and Michael Caine,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Scenes (Songs) We Love: "Peaches" from 'Metroland'

Scenes (Songs) We Love:
It occurred to me as I put together today's Scenes (Songs) We Love, that today's selection is all about change. Let me explain: to start with we've got the film, the 1997 drama Metroland, which is about a man questioning his decisions in life, and then we have our song, Peaches, by the genre-resistant UK band The Stranglers. Finally, you've got your actor, the one and only Christian Bale, an actor who has never been afraid to try something new with his career. It may seem strange to think it now, but would anyone have predicted back then that the guy from Swing Kids would become the Caped Crusader?

Metroland was directed by Philip Saville, and is based on Julian Barnes' novel of the same name. The film follows Chris (Bale), a young man having a quarter-life crisis brought on by the return of his childhood friend Toni, who chose
See full article at Cinematical »

Letters: Directors' flair

We read with interest your list of the top 50 television dramas of all time (G2, 12 January 2010). While delighted to see that eight of the top 10 dramas, and 34 of the top 50, were British dramas with British directors, we were disappointed that, with two exceptions (David Chase for Sopranos and Charles Sturridge for Brideshead Revisited), no director received an acknowledgement for their work, including David Tucker (A Very Peculiar Practice), Jon Amiel (The Singing Detective), Beeban Kidron (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit), David Yates (State of Play), Philip Saville (Boys From the Blackstuff), John Henderson (How Do You Want Me?), Simon Langton (Smiley's People), John Irvin (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Julian Jarrold, James Marsh & Anand Tucker (Red Riding) and Justin Chadwick & Susanna White (Bleak House). At a time when TV drama is fighting for its creative life, we feel it is important to acknowledge the crucial role of British directors, working alongside outstanding producers,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

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