March 2017

‘LOVE ACTUALLY’ – the ultimate ‘feel-good’ movie?

March 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

There have been a great many ‘feel good’ movies made down through the decades, but in my opinion Love Actually (2003) resides at the top of the list. My wife and I have watched it many times and it never seems to lose its appeal. The performances are strong, the script is easy on the ear and not too complicated, and the score throughout is ideal for the fare being dished up. And whoever [...]

Darryl F. Zanuck – the last tycoon.

March 28, 2017 // 2 Comments

  If anyone epitomized the Hollywood studio system it was Darryl F. Zanuck. His rise to power is quite extraordinary given he was minimally educated and barely literate. Born in Wahoo, Nebraska in 1902 to an alcoholic father and the daughter of Wahoo’s only hotel owner, Darryl was abandoned by both parents before his 13th birthday. Left to his own devices, he lied about his age when he was [...]

‘CAT BALLOU’ (1965 – LEE MARVIN’S MASTERPIECE

March 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

  There have been very few genuinely funny westerns made. James Garner’s Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) was, in my opinion, the very best ever, but two Lee Marvin films were not far behind it. One was Paint Your Wagon, released in the same year and hilarious, but it probably fits into the ‘musical’ category, despite being set in the Old West. The other was Marvin’s classical [...]

OSCARS ‘ MEMORABLE MOMENTS.

March 24, 2017 // 4 Comments

  There have been a few blunders (and near-blunders) at the Oscars ceremonies over the decades, although the shambles at the 89th Academy Awards of 2017 reached a new low. The debacle brought about when Warren Beatty was given the wrong results envelope for Best Picture was bad enough, but there was an even worse error earlier that few were probably aware of at the time. Australian costume [...]

Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ – 1967 & 2005.

March 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

      I have seen the original 1967 version of The Producers a number of times because I enjoy many of scenes and the script is very funny indeed. When you consider that I simply cannot abide Gene Wilder in anything, it is no small compliment to the rest of the cast that I keep returning to the film despite his irritating presence in it. Zero Mostel is extremely funny and Kenneth Mars as [...]

‘South Pacific’ (1958) – an almost perfect musical.

March 20, 2017 // 2 Comments

  The Broadway production of South Pacific ran for 1,925 performances in New York City, and in London it ran for four and a half years. In my opinion it contains the best soundtrack of all of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals and it was the first to be recorded and released in stereo. The screen version of this record-breaking musical simply had to make money. It couldn’t miss. Under [...]

WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1931.

March 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

If you have been following my WAMPAS Baby Stars posts since the first one (1923), you will have noticed that there was no article for 1930. In fact, there was no presentation by the Western Association of Motion Pictures Advertisers that year and in 1933 because independent studios objected to the rules regarding the awards. Only the major studios’ contracted actresses were eligible to become [...]

MM in Britain.

March 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

  PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, THE (1957)                                                                 This was the first film produced by Marilyn Monroe’s own company. It made a slight profit, but God only knows how because it is as dull as dish water. Laurence Olivier was already contracted to play the lead before Marilyn came on board, so [...]

‘Gallipoli’ (1981)

March 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Two years after he burst on the scene in the grossly over-rated Mad Max (1979), Mel Gibson made a war picture called Gallipoli, a movie loosely based on the Australian and New Zealander (ANZAC) landings in Turkey in 1915. As we know, Mel went on to become a super-star, even picking up an Oscar for his direction of Braveheart in 1995. His co-star Mark Lee, on the other hand, worked for a [...]

The making of ‘Caligula’ (1979)

March 12, 2017 // 1 Comment

  Legendary movie critic Roger Ebert went along to see and review Caligula and did something he admitted he rarely ever did. He walked out of the theatre part-way through the showing. It was during the Brothel-Boat-orgy sequence, which he described as ‘sickening, utterly worthless, shameless trash.’ He went on to add, ‘If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the [...]
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