Leni Riefenstahl 'Tiefland' Auction: Gypsy Children-Auschwitz Controversy + Moscow & Seattle Film Festival Winners

Tiefland by Leni Riefenstahl, starring Leni Riefenstahl, Bernhard Minetti, Aribert WascherLeni Riefenstahl Tiefland auction in England

The BBC reports that 33 original photographs taken during the shooting of Tiefland (Lowlands), the last feature film directed by and starring Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler's favorite filmmaker, go on sale in Shropshire, England, this week.

The Tiefland images include those of gypsy children who allegedly had been forced to take part in the shoot – Tiefland was filmed in Spain, Italy, and Germany in the early '40s – and who are supposed to have died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. The sale also includes a letter Riefenstahl wrote in 1954, the year the film finally opened in Germany, denying that the children had been sent to Auschwitz.

In October 2002, German authorities dropped a case against the then 100-year-old former filmmaker for falsely claiming that “each and every one” of the gypsies who appeared in the film had survived the war. (Leni Riefenstahl died in September 2003 at the age of 101.)

Jean Cocteau: Tiefland admirer

Tiefland was based on Eugen D'Albert's opera which itself was taken from Catalan playwright Ángel Guimerá's Terra Baixa, an indictment against social corruption and tyranny. Jean Cocteau was an ardent admirer of Riefenstahl's film, comparing its imagery to the work of Breughel. As president of the 1954 Cannes Film Festival, Cocteau insisted that Tiefland be screened at the event.

As for the auction, documents specialist Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Shropshire auctioneers Mullock Madeley, stated that “the present photographs of the gypsy children are extremely moving in their simplicity and tragic beyond belief if the claims against Riefenstahl are true.”

27th Moscow Film Festival Awards - 2005 Golden St. George

The 27th Moscow Film Festival Award was held between June 17-26, 2005.

Set in the years following the Soviet Unions launching of the first Sputnik, Alexei Uchitels Dreaming of Space tells the story of a kind and naive cook (Yevgeni Mironov) whose life is transformed after he meets a mysterious, worldwise man at the local amateur boxing club.

Best Film: Kosmos Kak Predchustviye / Dreaming of Space (Russia), directed by Alexei Uchitel

Jury Prize: Paha maa / Frozen Land (Finland), directed by Aku Louhimies

Best Director: Thomas Vinterberg - Dear Wendy (Denmark / Germany / France / UK)

Best Actor: Hamid Farahnejad - Tabl-e Bozorg Zir-e Pai-e Chap / Left Foot Forward on the Beat (Iran)

Best Actress: Vesela Kazakova - Otkradnati ochi / Stolen Eyes (Bulgaria / Turkey)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeanne Moreau

 

Jury: Russian screenwriter Valentin Chernykh, Italian composer Nicola Piovani, Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, Hungarian cinematographer Janos Kende, Russian actress Victoria Tolstoganova, and French director Claire Denis

31st Seattle International Film Festival Awards

The 31st Seattle International Film Festival was held between May 19-June 12, 2005.

The 31st Seattle International Film Festival Awards were announced on June 12, 2005.

JURY AWARDS

Grand Jury Prize, Best New Director: Ilya Khrzhanovsky, Chetyre / 4(Russia)

Special Jury Prize, Best New Director: Brad McGann, In My Father's Den (New Zealand)

Grand Jury Prize, Best New American Film: Swimmers, directed by Doug Sadler

Special Jury Prize, Best New American Film: Ellie Parker, directed by Scott Coffey

Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary: Based on a True Story, directed by Walter Stokman (Netherlands)

Special Jury Prize, Best Documentary: Trudell, directed by Heather Rae (US)

Grand Jury Prize, Best Live Action Short: Everything In This Country Must, directed by Gary McKendry (UK)

Grand Jury Prize, Best Animated Short: The Raftman's Razor, directed by Keith Bearden (US)

Special Jury Prizes for Best Short: Can't Stop Breathing, directed by Amy Neil (Scotland); Phantom Limb, directed by Jay Rosenblatt (US); La Vie d'un Chien, directed by John Harden (US)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARDS

Best Film: Voces inocentes / Innocent Voices (Mexico), directed by Luis Mandoki and written and produced by Oscar Torres

Runners-up: Hauru no ugoku shiro / Howl's Moving Castle (Japan) directed by Hayao MiyazakiSå som i himmelen / As It Is in Heaven (Sweden) directed by Kay Pollak; Banlieue 13 (France) directed by Pierre Morel; Yesterday (South Africa) directed by Darrell James Roodt

Best Documentary: Murderball (USA) directed by Henry-Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro

Runners-up: La Marche de l'empereur / March of the Penguins (France) directed by Luc Jacquet; After Innocence (USA) directed by Jessica Sanders; Mad Hot Ballroom (USA) directed by Marilyn Agrelo, Fishermen's Terminal (USA) directed by B.J. Bullert

Best Director: Gregg Araki, Mysterious Skin (USA)

Runners-up: Sally Potter for Yes (USA); Susanne Bier for Brødre / Brothers (Denmark); (three-way tie) Wong Kar-wai for 2046 (Hong Kong), Kim Ki-duk for Bin-jip / 3-Iron (South Korea), and Alice Wu for Saving Face (USA); and Drew Emery for Inlaws & Outlaws (USA)

Best Actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mysterious Skin (USA)

Runners-up: Peter Sarsgaard for The Dying Gaul (USA); Mathieu Amalric for Rois et reine / King and Queens (France); Romain Duris for De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté / The Beat That My Heart Skipped (France); Parviz Parastui for The Lizard (Iran)

Best Actress: Joan AllenYes (USA)

Runners-up: Maggie Cheung for Clean (France); Glenn Close for Heights (USA); Shirley Henderson for Frozen (United Kingdom); Amy Adams for Junebug (USA)

Best Short: The Raftman's Razor (USA) directed by Keith Bearden

Runners-up: While the Widow is Away (USA) directed by Adam Reid; La Vie d'un Chien (USA) directed by John Harden; Cashback (United Kingdom) directed by Sean Ellis; The Mantis Parable (USA) directed by Joshua Staub

SPECIAL AWARDS

Women in Cinema Lena Sharpe Award: After Innocence, directed by Jessica Sanders

Inaugural Seattle Filmmakers Award: Cinematographer Sean Kirby, for The Gits and Police Beat

The Golden Space Needle Awards are voted by the festival's audience members.

Jury for Best New Director: David Poland (moviecitynews.com), Fred Tsui (Media Asia) and Bill Murray (Northwest Screenwriter's Guild)

Jury for Best New American Film: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (Director/Producer, Iceland), Michael Weber (Sales Agent, Bavaria Film International), and Sean Nelson (Seattle-based writer and musician)

Jury for Best Documentary: Ida Martins (Media Luna Entertainment, Germany), Mark Olsen (Los Angeles Times/Sight and Sound/Film Comment), Angela Pressburger (Programming Consultant, Vancouver International Film Festival)

Jury for Short Films: Michael Seiwerath (Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum), Keith Simanton (Managing Director, iMDb.com), Shannon Gee (Writer/Producer)

More late spring & early summer news

July 01, 2005:The Tiburon (Calif.) International Film Festival is open for entries for its 5th annual event scheduled for March 9–17, 2006.

As per the festival's rules, submissions are open to all genres of film (fiction, documentary, short, animation, experimental, student, children, sports, music video) from any nation of the world. At the last festival, more than 270 films from 60 countries were screened.

According to the festival's mission statement, “the Tiburon International Film Festival is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide a greater understanding of the world and its many cultures through the artistic medium of film, and through the top quality films from around the world that would not be accessible without an event of this nature, TIFF wishes to enhance tolerance between people of all backgrounds. Our goal is one of cultural enrichment and heightened cultural awareness. TIFF strongly believes in 'Understanding the World through Film.' Entry form and eligibility guidelines are available on the festival's website under Submit Films at: http://tiburonfilmfestival.com/submitFilm.php.”

The deadline for submissions is: December 1, 2005.

Quiz of the Day: Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins played two teenagers stranded on a desert island in the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon (directed by Randal Kleiser). Who played the two teens in the 1949 British version of that story?

June 29, 2005:

Indian-born director Deepa Mehta's controversial Water, an Canadian-Indian co-production, has been selected as the opening gala screening for this year's edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Water, the story of Hindu child widows in the 1930s, triggered violent protests and death threats during filming in India five years ago. Radical Hindus burned the film's sets in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, claiming that Water provided a warped view of Indian culture. Shooting was temporarily suspended and later restarted in Sri Lanka.

Water completes Mehta's trilogy that includes Earth and Fire. The latter film, which depicts a lesbian relationship between two Indian women, also had its share of controversy when it was temporarily pulled from Indian screens after theaters showing it were attacked.

The Toronto film festival, the most important such event in the Americas, runs from September 8–17.

GreenCine has announced the winners of the GreenCine Online Film Festival, with the 2005 Narrative Feature Grand Prize going to Red Cockroaches, a futuristic thriller written and directed by Miguel Coyula.

The Documentary Competition Grand Prize went to Colum Stapleton's Empire of Juramidam.

Rob Nilsson's Security won the Audience Choice Award, while the Eclection Award was given to J.X. Williams's Peep Show (1965-2004).

Quote of the Day: “Yes, of course. Are you really so arrogant as to believe we are alone in this universe? Millions of stars, and we're supposed to be the only living creatures? No, there are many things out there, we just don't know.”

Tom Cruise, once again, this time testily giving a piece of his mind to a reporter from the German weekly Bild. (Note: the interview was published in German.)

Quiz of the Day: Part I - Who directed the 1953 version of H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds? This director, by the way, was well known as the creator of special effects for dozens of productions. Few remember, however, that he was also a respected veteran cinematographer.

Part II - Name (at least) one of the three John Barrymore vehicles in which the War of the Worlds director worked as the Director of Photography.

June 28, 2005:

New on DVD: Directed by Anthony Asquithand starring Michael Redgrave, The Browning Version (1951) is considered by many to be one of the best – if not the best – film adaptation of a Terence Rattigan play.

In the film, Redgrave plays a somewhat snotty boys' school teacher, with Jean Kentas his unfaithful wife.

Directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Michael Redgrave, The Browning Version(1951) is considered by many to be one of the best – if not the best – film adaptation of a Terence Rattigan play.

The story revolves around a diffident boys' school teacher (Redgrave) who is out of step with the rapidly changing times, and whose wife has been unfaithful to him.

This being a Criterion Collection release, there are the usual extra goodies, including a 1958 interview with Michael Redgrave, and a video interview with Mike Figgis, the director of the 1994 remake that starred Albert Finney.

The Browning Version Region 1 DVD (Canada / U.S. / U.S. territories) release date: June 28, 2005

  • Picture: Full screen, 1.33:1
  • Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Closed captioned
  • Black and white
  • Subtitles: English
  • Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder
  • New video interview with Mike Figgis, director of the 1994 remake
  • Archival interview with Michael Redgrave from 1958
  • A new essay by film critic Geoffrey Macnab
  • Running time: 90 min.

The 7th Taipei Film Festival is currently presenting a Russian cinema retrospective as part of its City-Vision section, which this year focuses on Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Taipei Film Festival runs between June 25-July 9.

The Hindustan Times reports that Pakistani actress Meera finds herself in one more imbroglio, this time for having received a peace award from Pakistan Film Censor Board Chairman Ziauddin.

Those who don't think that Meera's highly controversial appearance in the Indian film Nazar deserves a peace award have accused Ziauddin of favoritism.

More Meera controversies

Alexei Uchitel's Kosmos Kak Predchustviye / Dreaming of Space has won the Golden St. George award for best film at the Moscow Film Festival.

List of winners at the 2005 Moscow Film Festival

Quote of the Day: “I'm very proud that I was given this award in Moscow. Stanislavsky is and will be the greatest guide to the world of dramatic arts.”

That's Jeanne Moreau, upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from director Nikita Mikhalkovat the 2005 edition of the Moscow Film Festival.

Quiz of the Day: During his long and illustrious film career, Michael Redgrave(1908-1985) received only one Academy Award nomination. For which movie?

June 27, 2005:

The Los Angeles Film Festival came to a close on Sunday. The previous evening, Mark Banning's Jellysmoke, a low-budget drama about a bipolar man searching for both love and sanity, won the $50,000 filmmaker award, while the documentary prize was given to Beth Bird's Cada uno su granito de arena / Everyone Their Grain of Sand, which depicts the struggles of a Mexican border town under pressure from government and corporate greed.

Also on Saturday, actor George Clooney received the festival's first Spirit of Independence Award for his commitment to the production of independent films. Besides starring in highly commercial flicks such as Ocean's Eleven and its sequel, Ocean's Twelve, Clooney acted as producer of the well-received 2002 drama Far from Heaven, and directed the offbeat Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

On hand at the ceremony were Academy Award nominees Don Cheadle(Hotel Rwanda), Virginia Madsen (Sideways), and Shohreh Aghdashloo(House of Sand and Fog), and Emmy winner Allison Janney.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will present a series of films noirdirected by Robert Siodmak, a German emigré who came to Hollywood in the early 1940s.

Quote:

“That's not true. It has no resonance whatsoever. There's absolutely no relation to that whatsoever.”

An irate Tom Cruise, answering a question about links between Steven Spielberg's upcoming War of the Worlds and the Church of Scientology. Cruise then questioned the reporter's credentials. As quoted on ABCnews.com.

Quiz of the Day: Which 1940s Robert Siodmak movie revolves around two identical twins, one of whom is a psychopath?

June 26, 2005:

Sunday highlights at the Los Angeles Film Festival: Elia Kazan's much-admired Academy Award-winner On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint will be screened at 4:00 pm at the Directors Guild of America Theater 1.

Wong Kar Wai's 2046, starring Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Gong Li will be shown at 2:30 pm at the Laemmle Sunset 5; and the festival's closing night gala film, Don Roos's Happy Endings, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Laura Dern, will be screened at 7:00 pm at Mann's National Theater.

Seven films addressing political and cultural issues in West Asia and North Africa are currently being screened at the SÁ£o Paulo Cultural Center. Among the selected films, some of which have not been released in Brazil, are Robert Greenwald's Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 classic La Battaglia di Algeri / The Battle of Algiers, and Selves and Others: A Portrait of Edward Said, a documentary about the last days of Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, who died in 2003.

The festival runs until July 3.

Quiz of the Day: On the Waterfront was nominated for how many Academy Awards in the acting categories?

June 23, 2005:

Friday highlights at the Los Angeles Film Festival:

A screening of Robbing Peter, which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, followed by a discussion and Q&A session with director and writer Mario de la Vega, and producers T. Todd Flinchum and Lisa Y. Garibay at 4:00 pm at the Directors Guild of America Theater 1.

Also, at 7:30 pm at the Directors Guild of America Theater 1, a screening of De battre mon coeur s'est arrÁªté / The Beat That My Heart Skippedwith director Jacques Audiard and actor Romain Duris in attendance [Note: Duris was a no show]; and at 5:00 pm at the Directors Guild of America Theater 2, director Eric Lahey will be present for the screening of his documentary The Century Plaza.

In July, the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa will present the 1st Southeastern Europe Film Festival, showcasing the national cinemas of Greece, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Serbia-Montenegro, and Romania. Among the films being screened are Constantinos Haralambous's Love at 16, Dino Mustafic's Remake, and Srdjan Karanovic's Loving Glances.

The festival runs between July 9-14.

Quotes:

“At a time when the Academy is trying to find ways to reduce the numbers of statuettes given out and looks at categories with an eye more focused on reduction than addition, the board is simply not prepared to institute any new annual awards categories.”

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Frank Pierson, explaining why the Academy board of governors has declined a request to add a new Academy Award category for stunt coordinators.

“I don't get involved in any drama.”

Mean Girls womanand De Beers LV gala attendee Lindsay Lohan, referring to the controversy surrounding the opening of a De Beers diamond store in New York City.

The mining company De Beers has been accused of forcing the dislocation of Bushman tribes from their natural habitat in Botswana and of trading in “blood diamonds,” precious stones that have been used to pay for civil wars in various African nations. All that in addition to a conviction in U.S. courts for price-fixing. As quoted in Reuters.

June 22, 2005:

Today at the Los Angeles Film Festival:

At 8:30 pm, at the Director's Guild of America Theater 2, four-time Academy Award-nominee Robert Towne will show clips and discuss his relationship with Los Angeles “as a character and a location in his work.” Film critic Elvis Mitchell will act as moderator.

Also, director Danny Leiner and producer Leslie Urdang will attend the 5:00 pm Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater 1 screening of The Great New Wonderful, which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal.

And finally, director Eran Riklis will be on hand for the 7:00 pm screening of The Syrian Bride at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre 2, while director Alejo Taubewill attend the 9:45 pm screening of Una de dos / One Out of Two also at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre 2.

June 20, 2005:

Today at the Los Angeles Film Festival: A screening of Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know. July and actor John Hawkes will attend the 7:00 pm screening at the Directors Guild of America Theater 1.

Also today, Mark Banning's Jellysmoke will be screened at 5:15 pm, and Eric Lahey's documentary The Century Plaza at 7:30 pm, both at the Directors Guild of America Theater 2. The second screening of James Franco's dark comedy The Ape is scheduled for 4:30 pm at the Laemmle Sunset 5.

“We despise both political parties, really loathe them. … We the people have no representative of any kind. It's now the multinationals. They've taken over. It's no different than the 70's, but it's gotten worse. And if you use words like 'impeachment' or 'fascist' you're a nut on a soapbox.”

That's Tom Laughlin, the star-writer-director-producer of the surprise 1971 box-office hit Billy Jack, as quoted in The New York Times. Laughlin, along with his wife and Billy Jack co-star Delores Taylor, have plans for a new movie that will tackle drug abuse, Christian zealotry in American politics, and the war in Iraq.

Mitsuhiro Mihara's Mura no shashinshuu / The Village Album has won the Best Film Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Quiz of the Day: Which frequent James Cagney co-star has a supporting role in the second Billy Jack sequel, Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977)?

June 18, 2005:

Quiz of the Day: In a Hollywood movie set in Morocco, a woman leaves a wealthy suitor to follow the man she loves – a legionnaire, no less – through the desert. What is the name of the movie? And who's the woman who loves too much, though, considering the circumstances, not too wisely?

June 16, 2005:

Brief obit: Lon McCallister, the cute, pleasant star of several “family” films of the 1940s, such as Home in Indiana (1944) with Jeanne Crain and June Haver, and The Big Cat (1949) with Peggy Ann Garner, died of heart failure in the Lake Tahoe area, Calif., on June 11.

The boyish McCallister quit acting at age 30 to invest in real estate. He had a long-time relationship with fellow 20th Century-Fox contract player William Eythe, an alcoholic who died of acute hepatitis at age 39 in 1957.

Lon McCallister was 82.

Brief obit: French stage and screen actress Suzanne Flon has died following complications from a stomach illness. Flon appeared in dozens of films, almost invariably in supporting roles, including Orson Welles's Mr. Arkadin (1955) and Roger Vadim's Château en Suède / Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1963). She won two Césars as best supporting actress, for L'Été meurtrier / One Deadly Summer(1983) and La Vouivre / The Dragon (1990). Her last film was Fauteuils d'orchestre / Avenue Montaigne (2006).

Suzanne Flon was 87.

Reuters reports that the family of the 91-year-old former FBI man Mark Felt, better known as Watergate's “Deep Throat,” has signed a film deal with Tom Hanks as producer.

Quiz of the Day: One of Lon McCallister's first important films was George Cukor's Winged Victory, the tale of young recruits learning How to Fight in World War II. Cukor's film, adapted from a Moss Hart play, was a patriotic mess, but the director did better by Shakespeare in a mid-1930s film that also marked McCallister's first screen appearance. What's the movie?

June 15, 2005:

At Corante.com, JD Lasica discusses “The legacy of Jack Valenti.” Valenti, known by most people as the walking signal for a toilet break during the yearly Oscarcasts, was also a determined fighter against the digital (and analog) copying of motion pictures while he acted as the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. Lasica interviews Valenti at Darknet.com.

Via GreenCine Daily: Seattle Post-Intelligencer film critic Sean Axmakerdiscusses the films screened at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Quiz of the Day: Besides being known as an avid anti-DVD piracy advocate and as an Oscarcast embarrassment, Jack Valenti – officially, at least – is responsible for the use of the current “parental guidance” system for films released in the United States. When did that erratic and often inane rating system come about?

June 13, 2005:

Stills of Leni Riefenstahl's Tieflandto be auctioned in England

The BBC reports that 33 original photographs taken during the shooting of Tiefland (Lowlands), the last feature film directed by Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler's favorite filmmaker, go on sale in Shropshire, England, this week.

The photos from Tiefland include those of gypsy children who allegedly had been forced to take part in the shoot and who are supposed to have died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. The sale includes a letter Riefenstahl wrote in 1954 – the year the film finally opened in Germany – denying that the children had been sent to Auschwitz.

In October 2002, German authorities dropped a case against the then 100-year-old former filmmaker for falsely claiming that “each and every one” of the gypsies who appeared in the film had survived the war. (Leni Riefenstahl died in September 2003 at the age of 101.)

Filmed in Spain, Tiefland was based on Eugen D'Albert's opera which itself was taken from Catalan playwright Ángel Guimerá's Terra Baixa, an indictment against social corruption and tyranny. Jean Cocteau was an ardent admirer of Riefenstahl's film, comparing its imagery to the work of Breughel. As president of the 1954 Cannes Film Festival, Cocteau insisted that Tiefland be screened at the event.

As for the auction, documents specialist Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Shropshire auctioneers Mullock Madeley, stated that “the present photographs of the gypsy children are extremely moving in their simplicity and tragic beyond belief if the claims against Riefenstahl are true.”

Quiz of the Day: Before becoming a director, Leni Riefenstahl made a name for herself as the star of several Bergfilmen, or mountain movies. Who was her highly popular male counterpart in that genre?

June 12, 2005:

Quiz of the Day: In 1962, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford starred in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, a Hollywood gothic tale of two has-been actress sisters living in semi-seclusion in a forbidding mansion. The film was, to everyone's surprise, so successful, that director Robert Aldrich decided to pair the two veteran actresses again in another movie. Crawford, however, (officially, at least) fell ill and had to be replaced by another actress. What is the name of that film? And who replaced Crawford – reportedly much to the joy of Davis and assorted crew members?

June 11, 2005:

The [London] Guardian reports that the 1972 adult flick Deep Throat, directed by Gerard Damiano and starring Linda Lovelace, was given its first UK cinema screening last night at the Everyman Cinema in North London. In his article, Simon Hattenstone refers to the sexually explicit Deep Throat as “probably the most controversial film of all time.”

That's quite an overstatement. What about The Birth of a Nation or Last Tango in Paris? And really, what about Damiano's own The Devil in Miss Jones, not to mention everyone's family favorite, Debbie Does Dallas?

Surprisingly, Hattenstone repeats the absurd claim that Deep Throatgrossed US$600 million, thus becoming the most profitable movie ever made. (The Godfather, for instance, which also came out in 1972 and played in many more theaters than Deep Throat, earned $135 million).

It's like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' oft-repeated claim that the Oscarcast is watched by 1 billion people around the globe – however baseless your assertion, if you repeat it often enough and it gets printed in enough publications, it becomes true. (Deep Throat, by the way, did not win any Oscars, though it did become the subject of a 2005 documentary, Inside Deep Throat, directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.)

Quiz of the Day: The erotically conscious The Devil in Miss Jones is a pun on the title of a 1941 socially conscious RKO film called The Devil and Miss Jones. Georgina Spelvin plays Miss (Justine) Jones in the 1973 flick, but who plays Miss (Mary) Jones in the 1941 film? And which one of that film's performers was nominated for an Oscar?

June 10, 2005:

Actress Anne Bancroft, who died of uterine cancer this past June 6, is the subject of two appreciations in Los Angeles newspapers: In the L.A. Weekly, Nikki Finke pays homage to Bancroft in “Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson,” while the Los Angeles Times's Carina Chocano headlines her article with the statement, “She tried to
seduce us, and did.”

According to the BBC, Indian police have arrested Jagtar Singh Hawara, head of the outlawed Sikh separatist organization Babbar Khalsa International, which Indian authorities believe is behind the Jo Bole So Nihaal cinema bombings in May that killed one person and injured 49. Hawara was arrested along with two of his associates this past Wednesday in New Delhi, where police said they also found arms and explosives, including bomb-making equipment.

Actor Russell Crowe, 41, had to wait only 8 hours for police processing after being arrested for throwing a telephone at a hotel clerk. According to the New York Daily News, detainees generally have to wait up to 36 hours before arraignment. During an appearance on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, where Crowe was promoting his latest film, Cinderella Man, the actor claimed that he was helped by NYPD's movie and TV unit assignee Tommy Cronin. The NYPD has denied that Crowe received any type of special treatment.

Quiz of the Day: Before Anne Bancroft came onboard, one of the following five actresses was approached to play Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate:

a) Lucille Ball. b) Carol Channing. c) Doris Day. d) Jane Fonda. e) Katharine Hepburn.

Who was the initial – and offbeat – choice for the part of the middle-aged seducer of a geeky young man?

June 08, 2005:

“I can't get out of the press. These people can't get in the press. So let's redirect the attention a little bit. … We have the potential to end poverty (in Africa) in our time. … Man – I mean, what is more exciting than that? The potential's there. We gotta go for it.”

That's American actor Brad Pitt in an interview with ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer.

“These people” Pitt is referring to are the African men, women, and children suffering for dire poverty and AIDS. According to The Guardian, the European Union has agreed to double aid to Africa, while U.S. president George W. Bush said “the United States has tripled its aid to the continent, and the traditional measure of a country's aid effort – percentage of gross national product, which shows the United States among the most miserly of the rich nations – was not the right way to measure America's commitment.”

Whichever way you measure the U.S.'s aid effort, the New York Times remains unimpressed, calling Bush's aid pledges “crumbs for Africa.”

In New York magazine, Ken Tucker discusses “the fascinating spectacle of watching Mr. Top Gun veer off-course. I assume he wanted to elevate his virility by pumping up a quickie romance – scarcely an original move in the age of Us Weekly. But he managed to execute this media gambit in a manner so clumsy, so ill-conceived, that it's worked at cross-purposes, making him seem variously crass and dumb and craven. Instead of that bleak interpretation, I think we might view this wild lack of control more sympathetically: as vulnerability, always an attractive trait, rare among your bigger male stars. Think about it: Our most in-control celebrity, the same man deeply devoted to the achieve-your-goals discipline of his Hollywood religion, is suddenly, without warning, improvising his media message and letting it all hang Scientologically out.”

Via Cinema Minima: Jason Silverman discusses Hayder Mousa Daffar's The Dreams of Sparrows, a documentary that depicts scenes and stories set on the Iraqi front that have been neglected by the U.S. media – too busy tring to figure out if Tom and Katie are really an item. At Wired.com.

June 07, 2005:

“Aren't you afraid that audiences in some parts of the world may even applaud when they see Americans lying on the ground?” asked the German weekly Der Spiegel to War of the Worldsdirector Steven Spielberg and star Tom Cruise during an illuminating interview about the raison d'Áªtre for the latest film version of H. G. Wells's science-fiction classic.

The Spiegel interview also broaches the fact that although War of the Worlds is supposed to depict a worldwide invasion, almost all of the action (including the miraculous planetary rescue) takes place among Americans in the United States.

According to Spielberg, that is so because the film “describes a global catastrophe from a subjective point of view.” The director might have added that plain old economics played a part in the selection of the film's setting, since most of the War of the Worlds grosses, including ancillary sales, will be generated in the U.S. (By the way, Wells' original novel, published in 1898, is set in England.)

Additionally, Spielberg is asked about his previous fascination with nice aliens and mean sharks, while Cruise discusses his increasingly outspoken devotion to Scientology, which some in Germany perceive as a dangerous cult.

Note: In the interview, Spielberg says that Orson Welles's radio rendition of War of the Worlds took place right after the start of World War II, when “the headlines were dominated by reports on Hitler's invasion of Poland and Hungary.” Actually, Welles' broadcast terrified thousands of Americans in October 1938, almost a year before the Sept. 1939 invasion of Poland. (Germany invaded Hungary near the end of the war, in 1944.)

June 03, 2005:

Stuff.co.nz reports that New Zealand's first Maori film festival will be held in the small town of Wairoa this weekend. Inspired by a Maori film festival held in France, the event will screen films dating back to 1940, in addition to modern fare such as Whale Rider and Once Were Warriors, and the first public screening of Tama Tu, Taika Waititi's new short film.

Earlier this year, Waititi's Two Cars, One Night received an Academy Award nomination in the Best Short Film, Live Action category.

The festival will open with John O'Shea's Broken Barrier (1952), reportedly the only New Zealand feature film made between 1952 and 1960.

June 02, 2005:

As per its organizers, Outfest is “the oldest and largest continuous film festival in Los Angeles.” This year, the 23rd edition of L.A.'s gay & lesbian film festival will screen 232 features and 47 shorts from 28 countries between July 7 – 18.

Since 1982, Outfest has presented 4,000 film and video productions for more than half a million moviegoers.

This weekend, a crowd of about 100,000 – including actors Martin Sheenand Dennis Hopper – are expected to gather in Marion, Ind., the birthplace of James Dean (1931 – 1955). The city will be hosting a three-day festival featuring outdoor screenings of East of Eden (1955), Rebel Without a Cause(1955) and Giant (1956) on a giant screen at Marion's airport.

June 10 Quiz Answer: Big-time personification of American female virginhood Doris Day. Patricia Neal had been originally slated to play the role, though she had to be replaced after suffering a stroke.

June 11 Quiz Answer: The delightful Jean Arthur, Columbia's top star of the 1930s and early 1940s, was loaned to RKO for the role of Miss Mary Jones.

Charles Coburn is outstanding as a tycoon who wants to squelch agitators at his department store, but who ultimately realizes that his employees are more than money-making machines. Coburn received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination – unfairly so, for he actually has about as much screen time – if not more – than Arthur.

Others in the cast were Robert Cummings, Edmund Gwenn, and Spring Byington, as Coburn's love interest. Sam Wood directed from a screenplay by Norman Krasna. Frank Ross, Arthur's then husband, produced.

June 12 Quiz Answer: The follow-up to the Hollywood gothic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was the Southern gothic Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Two-time Oscar-winner Olivia de Havilland, Bette Davis' friend from the old Warner Bros. days, replaced Joan Crawford. Davis and de Havilland had starred in three movies back in the old days: the light comedy It's Love I'm After (1937), the historical melodrama The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), and the psycho-drama In This Our Life (1942).

June 13 Quiz Answer: Luis Trenker (1892-1990), the director-star of Der Sohn der weißen Berge / The Son of the White Mountain (1930), Berge in Flammen / Mountains on Fire (1931), and many other such films. Trenker and Riefenstahl co-starred in two Bergfilmen, both directed by Arnold Franck: Der Heilige Berg / The Holy Mountain (1926) and Der Große Sprung / The Big Jump (1927).

June 15 Quiz Answer: November 1968. Two 1966 releases in particular were responsible for the creation of the new ratings system: Mike Nichols's adaptation of Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which had some of its “offensive” content taken out at the insistence of Valenti and the MPAA (in exchange for letting phrases such as “humping the hostess” remain in the final cut), and Michelangelo Antonioni's sexually liberated Blowup, an Anglo-Italian co-production that was released by MGM without a certificate of approval from the censors.

June 16 Quiz Answer: Romeo and Juliet, starring two way overripe teen lovers, Norma Shearer (35) and Leslie Howard (43). McCallister, 13, played a (uncredited) pageboy.

June 18 Quiz Answer: The film's name is, quite simply, Morocco. This 1930 Paramount production directed by Josef von Sternberg marked Marlene Dietrich's introduction to Hollywood. Adolphe Menjou is the man she leaves behind – a perfectly understandable gesture. The man she goes after is Gary Cooper, a decision that would be understandable if he had a more steady métier. As it is, poor Dietrich must take off her swanky high heels before setting out on her trek through the desert. She does, however, keep her chic evening dress on.

June 20 Quiz Answer: Pat O'Brien (1899-1983), who plays the vice-president. O'Brien co-starred with Cagney in 8 Warner Bros. films: Here Comes the Navy (1934), The Irish in Us (1935), Devil Dogs of the Air (1935), Ceiling Zero (1936), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), Boy Meets Girl (1938), The Fighting 69th (1940), and Torrid Zone (1940). Additionally, they both had roles in Ragtime (1981), which happened to be the last theatrical feature film in their respective careers.

By the way, the first Billy Jack sequel was called The Trial of Billy Jack (1974).

Quiz Answer: On the Waterfront received five acting Academy Award nominations: Best actor (Marlon Brando), best supporting actor (Rod Steiger, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb), and best supporting actress (Eva Marie Saint). Brando and Saint won in their respective categories; the best supporting actor trio lost out to Edmond O'Brien in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa.

Quiz Answer:The Dark Mirror (1946), in which Olivia de Havilland had the chance to act both sweet and mean. That same year, Bette Davis also played identical twins – one good, the other really bad – in A Stolen Life. De Havilland won an Academy Award in 1946, but for To Each His Own, in which she had only one role.

June 28 Quiz Answer: Mourning Becomes Electra, Dudley Nichols's generally despised – though in this writer's view surprisingly effective – 1947 film adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play about, to put it mildly, a highly dysfunctional New England family.

Both Michael Redgrave and co-star Rosalind Russell received acting nominations. Neither one deserved it. Redgrave lost to Ronald Colman in A Double Life, while Russell – a sure bet to win the award – lost to Loretta Young in the fluffy romantic comedy The Farmer's Daughter.

June 29 Quiz Answer: Byron Haskins. Haskins was the d.p. in the following John Barrymore films: Don Juan (1926), The Sea Beast (1926), and When a Man Loves (1927).

July 1 Quiz Answer: Jean Simmons and Donald Houston (directed by Frank Launder). Houston stayed in England, but Simmons went Hollywood, where she became an important star in the 1950s and 1960s. Some of her American films of the period include Young Bess (1953), Guys and Dolls (1955), Elmer Gantry (1960), Spartacus (1960), and Divorce American Style (1967).

Leni Riefenstahl 'Tiefland' Auction: Gypsy Children-Auschwitz Controversy + Moscow & Seattle Film Festival Winners © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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