The ‘CARRY ON’ pictures – Pt 1.

June 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

  There were 31 ‘Carry On’ pictures all told. The first, Carry on Sergeant, reared its substandard head in 1958 and made money. The last, Carry on Columbus, was screened in 1992. They were all low budget servings of British music hall humour consisting of sexist jokes, remarks and plots, delivered by a British repertory company whose actors became household names in their own lifetimes. [...]

‘PSYCHO’ (1960) – Hitchcock’s masterpiece.

June 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Paramount did not think much of the source material for this picture. But Alfred Hitchcock did. Recognizing its potential, he anonymously purchased the screen rights to Robert Bloch’s novel for a paltry $9,000, then went around buying up as many copies as he could find, just to keep the ending a secret. He also had the entire cast and crew swear an oath not to divulge any of the plot to [...]

The making of ‘Love Me Tender’ (1956)

June 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

  I was ten years old when my grandparents took me to see Elvis Presley’s first picture, Love Me Tender. I think they were curious to see what all the fuss was about. I had been reading history books for a few years by then, mostly books about wars and the American Civil War especially. I knew it pretty well and nowhere did I read that Rock & Roll started towards the end of it. Yet [...]

‘MACBETH’ (1971) – Polanski’s take on The Bard

June 12, 2017 // 1 Comment

   Roman Polanski and writer Kenneth Tynan shared similar views on what this production of Shakespeare’s play should look like. They intended to have Lady Macbeth do the sleepwalk scene stark naked; they wanted to depict death more realistically and they wished to inject a lot more violence than was usually seen in such productions. But first they had to raise the money. Almost as a last [...]

The Making of ‘Superman the Movie’ (1978)

June 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

   James Caan was offered $4 million to play the title role in Superman but he refused it. Marlon Brando rang him and asked, ‘What’s the matter? Isn’t the money enough?’ Caan replied: ‘The money’s incredible…but you don’t have to wear the suit.’ Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood were also offered the role. Redford wanted too much money and Eastwood was too busy to accept it. [...]

‘SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS’ (1961) – Natalie, Warren & Bob

June 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Stars Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in Elia Kazan’s Splendor in the Grass (1961) were supposed to be playing teenagers, but were in fact 22 and 23 years old respectively at the time of filming. Kazan simply surrounded them with more actors in their twenties, rather than players in their teens, so that his subjects would not appear out of place. This was Beatty’s movie debut, yet crew [...]

‘DOCTOR ZHIVAGO’ (1965) – the making of a masterpiece.

June 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

Doctor Zhivago was released in the same year as The Sound of Music and was almost as successful, finishing second behind that picture in the race for box-office champion of 1965. Furthermore, of all the movies produced by MGM in its entire history, only Gone with the Wind (1939) made more money for the studio. In 2010 ‘Zhivago’ was named as the 8th greatest grossing film of all time after [...]

‘AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER’ (1957) – the 5th greatest romance of all time?

June 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

Lately, I have been making a point of catching up on famous movies that, for various reasons, I never got around to seeing when they were released. I mainly watch them to see what all the fuss was about. Leo McCarey’s An Affair to Remember is one of those fifties romances that reportedly had theatre-goers diving into their handbags in search of handkerchiefs, desperate to dry their eyes before [...]

‘EASY RIDER’ (1969) – an accidental classic.

May 31, 2017 // 2 Comments

  Easy Rider (1969) was intended to star Peter Fonda, Rip Torn and Dennis Hopper, but Fonda encountered impenetrable opposition when he went in search of financial backing, because nobody wanted to get involved with a project that included the notoriously difficult Dennis Hopper. His professional reputation was in the toilet and he was, not too inaccurately, deemed by most of Hollywood as a [...]

Last Cab to Darwin (2015) – an Aussie gem.

May 29, 2017 // 0 Comments

Although I am Australian through and through, born and bred in Fremantle, Western Australia where I have lived almost my entire life, I have never been a fan of Australian-made movies. In my opinion, most of the early screen efforts painted Australian men as stereotypes; loud, foul-mouthed, country bumpkins, forever running about with a beer in their hands and calling each other ‘cobber’. And [...]
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