Jimmy Edwards – Outed 'Conservative' Gay British Comedian Discussed: Q&A with Biographer Anthony Slide

Jimmy Edwards. Best known for his radio and television work – Take It from Here in the former medium; Whack-O! in the latter – British comedian Jimmy Edwards was seen, mostly in small parts, in about a dozen features from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. His most notable film role is probably that of Prof. Jim Edwards in Mario Zampi's 1960 comedy Bottoms Up!, a big-screen Whack-O! spin-off […]

Yvonne Monlaur: Cult Horror Film Actress & Bond Girl Contender Dies

Yvonne Monlaur: Cult horror movie actress & Bond Girl contender was featured in the 1960 British classics Circus of Horrors & The Brides of Dracula. Actress Yvonne Monlaur dead at 77: Best remembered for cult horror classics 'Circus of Horrors' & 'The Brides of Dracula' Actress Yvonne Monlaur, best known for her roles in the 1960 British cult horror classics Circus of Horrors and The […]

Alan Rickman Dead: Professor Snape in 'Harry Potter' Movies Won BAFTA & Golden Globe

Alan Rickman: Professor Snape in 'Harry Potter' movies. Alan Rickman dead at 69: Professor Snape in 'Harry Potter' movies, 'Die Hard' actor took home Bafta, Golden Globe Alan Rickman, best known for his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies, died of cancer on Jan. 14, '16. Rickman (born on Feb. 21, 1946, in London) was 69. Rickman first played Professor Severus Snape […]

British Cinema and Hollywood – 'A Special Relationship': Q&A with Anthony Slide

Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman: The 'Notorious' British (Hitchcock, Grant) and Swedish (Bergman) talent. British actors and directors in Hollywood; Hollywood actors and directors in Britain: Anthony Slide's 'A Special Relationship.' 'A Special Relationship' Q&A: Britain in Hollywood and Hollywood in Britain First of all, what made you think of a book on “the special relationship” between the American and British film industries […]

West End Theater Raves & Best Actress Tony Award: Minor Columbia Pictures Actress Went Far

West End stage actress Constance Cummings also appeared on Broadway and in Hollywood and British movies. West End theater star: Constance Cummings in 'Saint Joan,' Shakespeare (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: From Harold Lloyd to Eugene O'Neill.”) In the mid-1930s, Constance Cummings landed the title roles in two of husband Benn W. Levy's stage adaptations in the West End and on Broadway: Levy and Hubert […]

Constance Cummings: Vastly Underrated Actress Went from Harold Lloyd to Eugene O'Neill

Constance Cummings: Actress went from minor, long-eyelashed Hollywood leading lady in Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra movies to starring in West End plays by Eugene O'Neill, Noël Coward and William Shakespeare. Constance Cummings: Vastly underrated actress should be better remembered Actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned more than six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., died […]

Michael Caine Movies: Heroes and Villains from Gay Wife Murderer to 'Best British Film' Star

Michael Caine young. Michael Caine movies: From Irwin Allen bombs to Woody Allen classic It's hard to believe that Michael Caine has been around making movies for nearly six decades. No wonder he's had time to appear – in roles big and small and tiny – in more than 120 films, ranging from unwatchable stuff like the Sylvester Stallone soccer flick Victory and Michael Ritchie's […]

Glenda Jackson: 2-Time Best Actress Oscar Winner, Former MP Comeback via Emile Zola

Glenda Jackson: Actress and former Labour MP. Two-time Oscar winner and former Labour MP Glenda Jackson returns to acting Two-time Best Actress Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson set aside her acting career after becoming a Labour Party MP in 1992. Four years ago, Jackson, who represented the Greater London constituency of Hampstead and Highgate, announced that she would stand down the 2015 general election – […]

'About a Boy' Movie Review: Hugh Grant Tragically Discovers His Inner Family Man

'About a Boy' movie with Hugh Grant and Baby: 'No man has the right to be an island' message. 'About a Boy' movie review: Some men should remain islands On the surface, Chris and Paul Weitz's 2002 movie About a Boy has a profound, affecting premise. No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the […]

'Henry V' Movie (1944) Actress Renée Asherson Dead at 99: 'The Others' Blind Medium

Renée Asherson in Henry V (1944), with Laurence Olivier. 'Henry V' movie (1944) actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed Shakespearean classic Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on Oct. […]

Ivor Novello: British Stage Legend & Hitchcock Star in 'Autumn Crocus'

Ivor Novello: 'Autumn Crocus' movie adaptation with Fay Compton. Ivor Novello last movie: 'Autumn Crocus' Can a naive, plain-looking, spinster school teacher ever find real love in faraway places? This was a question asked by Shirley Booth in Arthur Laurents' 1952 stage play The Time of the Cuckoo; Katharine Hepburn in the 1955 David Lean-directed film version, Summertime (1955); and Elizabeth Allen in the 1965 […]

Best British Movies of All Time?

Best British movies of all time: Michael Caine in 'Get Carter.' Best British Movies of All Time? Ten years ago, Get Carter, starring Michael Caine as a dangerous-looking London gangster, 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 […]

BAFTAs: The Hollywood England Awards Strike Again

Ben Affleck. Argo, Ben Affleck top BAFTA Awards Argo and Ben Affleck, much like most of their predecessors in recent years, remain unstoppable. Argo was named Best Film and Ben Affleck Best Director at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, a.k.a. the BAFTAs, earlier this evening at a ceremony held at the Royal Opera House in London. Last night, Argo received the […]

Deborah Kerr: Sexual Outlaw

Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, From Here to Eternity. With Deborah Kerr, it's not the bare shoulders that matter. It's the eyes. Deborah Kerr, who died at the age of 86 on Oct. 16, 2007, has usually been labeled the cinematic embodiment of the English Rose: ladylike from coiffure to pedicure, perfectly enunciated English, a distinctive coolness, poise and class. I won't argue with that description […]

Oscar-Nominated Actress Joyce Redman Dies

Actress Joyce Redman, Oscar nominated for both Tom Jones and Othello, died in Kent, England, earlier today. The Newcastle-born Redman, who was either 93 or 96, had been suffering from pneumonia. Film lovers will remember her as Tom Jones' Mrs. Waters, stealing the movie while "sexting" – as in, sex while eating – Albert Finney. Mostly a stage and television performer, the Royal Academy of […]

Nicol Williamson: Hamlet & Merlin + Sherlock Holmes Portrayer Has Died

Stage and screen British actor Nicol Williamson, who played Hamlet onstage and Merlin on screen, died of esophageal cancer on December 16 in Amsterdam, where he had been living since 1970. His son announced the death yesterday, January 25. Reports vary on Williamson's age; he was either 73 or 75. For those familiar only with Williamson's movie work, he was best remembered for his cocaine-addicted […]

BAFTA Fellowship: Very Few Women, Very Few Outside UK/Hollywood Film Industry

Alfred Hitchcock on the 'Psycho' set: The very first BAFTA Fellowship recipient. BAFTA Fellowship: Focus on men in the American/British show business industry The first recipient of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' Fellowship, “awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in the art forms of the moving image,” was director Alfred Hitchcock in 1971. Dozens of film, television, and assorted media personalities have […]

TCM Remembers: From Farley Granger & Annie Girardot to Googie Withers & 'Sex Film' Actresses

Farley Granger shirtless publicity shot ca. late 1940s. A Samuel Goldwyn discovery, dark and handsome Farley Granger might have become a bigger star had he not been under contract to the independent producer, whose output was considerably more limited than that of the major studios. Apart from the box office hit Hans Christian Andersen, Granger's most important movies were those he made away from Goldwyn: […]

Ken Russell Movies: Sex & Other Controversies

Ken Russell, best known for his movies featuring sex-starved nuns, nude male wrestling, "offensive" religious symbolism, and kaleidoscopic musical numbers, died Sunday, Nov. 27, '11, in the United Kingdom. Russell had suffered a series of strokes. He was 84. Now hardly as remembered or admired as, say, '70s Hollywood icons Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman, or Martin Scorsese, Russell not only was – more than – […]

'Shame' Banned to Most Teenagers in the US, UK – But Not in France

Michael Fassbender, Shame Steve McQueen's Shame, a look at a man suffering from what some refer to as “sex addiction,” has been screwed with an NC-17 rating by the censors at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). That means no one under 17 is allowed to watch Shame at a movie theater in the United States. Shame is thus joining an illustrious – and […]

George Baker: Tiberius in 'I Claudius' & Inspector Wexford in 'The Ruth Rendell Mysteries' Has Died

Actor George Baker, best known for playing Tiberius in the British television series I, Claudius, and Inspector Wexford in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, died after suffering from pneumonia and a stroke, according to The Guardian. He was 80. Though best remembered for his television work, Baker appeared in about 30 movies during the course of nearly half a century. Among his most notable big-screen credits […]

'Weekend' 2011: Romantic Gay Movie Beats Estimates

Weekend 2011 with Tom Cullen, Chris New Sept. 26 update: Writer-director Andrew Haigh's gay love story Weekend brought in $27,245 – about 8 percent above Sunday estimates – at the North American box office according to actuals found at Box Office Mojo. Currently screening at one single New York City location, the Sundance Selects-distributed Weekend scored by far the highest box office average per theater […]

Silvio Narizzano: 'Georgy Girl' DGA Award Nominee Dead at 84

Silvio Narizzano, best known for the Swinging London comedy-drama Georgy Girl, died July 26. Narizzano was 84. Based on Margaret Forster's novel, and starring Lynn Redgrave, Alan Bates, James Mason, and Charlotte Rampling, Georgy Girl was considered daring at the time because its plot included sex (of the non-marital kind), abortion, and adultery. For her performance as the homely, ungainly Georgy, Lynn Redgrave was nominated […]

Original 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' Editor Dies

Editor-turned-producer Hugh Stewart, among whose credits is Alfred Hitchcock's original version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, died at his home in Denham, in the United Kingdom, on May 31. Stewart was 100 years old. One of Hitchcock's most respected British efforts, the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is considered by many to be far superior to the 1956 Hollywood […]

Jean Simmons Films

Martita Hunt, Jean Simmons in David Lean's Great Expectations Jean Simmons is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month of June. Though never a major box office draw, Simmons either starred or was featured in a number of the most important movies of the '40s, '50s, and '60s. Among those are Laurence Olivier's Best Picture Oscar winner Hamlet (1948), Henry Koster's CinemaScope blockbuster The Robe […]

'The War Game' Movie Review: Nuclear Holocaust in England

'The War Game.' For anyone who thinks that those 50-pack mega-DVD sets of public domain films put out by several different video companies are worthless, I would argue that the amount of films you get for the money is worth it, even if all were mediocre. I would also add that each DVD package comes with at least 8-10 enjoyable films, a few true classics […]

'The Fallen Idol' Review: Carol Reed Before 'The Third Man'

Michèle Morgan, Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol The 1948 drama The Fallen Idol is the third film I've seen by British filmmaker Carol Reed. I'd previously watched the dreadful Oscar-winning musical Oliver! (1968) and the stolid biopic The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), featuring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo. I've also seen The Third Man, the 1949 thriller attributed to Reed, though I've always hedged upon […]

'Blow-Up' Movie Analysis: Michelangelo Antonioni Great Work of Art

'Blow-Up' with David Hemmings and Veruschka. 'Blow-Up' movie analysis: Michelangelo Antonioni creates great work of art and philosophy Made in Great Britain in 1966, the flat-out great Blow-Up (in the U.K., Blow-Up) was Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language effort. “Inspired” by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar's 1959 short story Las babas del diablo (literally, “The Devil's Drool”), Blow-Up was nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Director […]

'Vera Drake' Review: Imelda Staunton Outstanding in Illegal Abortion Drama

Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis, Vera Drake Director Mike Leigh's touches are found everywhere in Vera Drake, from the film's drab, working-class social setting to the somewhat bizarre characters that inhabit that milieu (at least in Leigh's oeuvre). Even so, Vera Drake cannot quite be considered a “Mike Leigh Film.” This bleak drama about a kind and gentle – if none too bright – part-time cleaning […]

Goya Awards Polemic: Álex de la Iglesia vs. Anti-Piracy Sinde Law, Party Crasher

Álex de la Iglesia: Premios Goya ceremony. A Goya Awards ceremony to remember: Anti-piracy law controversy, party crasher Unlike the staid Bafta ceremony held in London earlier this evening, Feb. 13, '11, the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 25th Goya Awards ceremony, which took place at Madrid's Teatro Real, was anything but. (See full list of 2011 Goya Award winners and nominees […]

Colin Firth, J.K. Rowling Noteworthy Bafta Ceremony Speeches

Bafta winners Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush in 'The King's Speech.' 'The King's Speech' tops Bafta Awards, Colin Firth Best Actor Tom Hooper's The King's Speech was the big winner at the British Academy Awards a.k.a. Bafta Awards (or simply Baftas), held this evening, Feb. 13, '11, at London's Royal Opera House. But the period drama's domination wasn't exactly a “clean sweep.” […]

London Evening Standard Award Winners: Andrew Garfield, 'Neds' Among Unusual Choices

London Evening Standard Award Best Actor winner Andrew Garfield in 'Never Let Me Go.' Andrew Garfield, Kristin Scott Thomas among surprising 'London Evening Standard' Award winners If you're in search of surprises this awards season, look no further than the 2011 London Evening Standard Awards' roster of British cinema winners, which were announced this past Monday, Feb. 7. (See further below the full list of […]

'Brief Encounter' Capsule Review: David Lean Romantic Classic About Sympathetic Adulterers

Brief Encounter one-line synopsis: A married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a housewife (Celia Johnson) have an adulterous (and platonic) affair. The Pros: Shadow-bathed, smoke-enshrouded railway stations (cinematography by Robert Krasker) to the strains of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2. Enough to turn the jadedest among us into a wide-eyed romantic. David Lean's delicate, compassionate direction; and Lean, Ronald Neame, and Anthony Havelock-Allan's sensitive adaptation of […]

Susannah York Dies: Oscar-Nominated Actress & Political Activist

Beryl Reid, Susannah York in Robert Aldrich's The Killing of Sister George Susannah York, one of the best (and best-looking) performers of the 1960s and 1970s, died today of bone marrow cancer. York's son, Orlando Wells (the Duke of Kent in The King's Speech and Lord Montagu in A Very British Sex Scandal), announced her death earlier today. The London-born York had turned 72 on […]

Miriam Seegar: One of Last Surviving Silent Film Performers Dead at 103

Miriam Seegar, one of the last surviving adult performers featured in silent films, died of “age-related causes” on Sunday, Jan. 2, at her home in Pasadena, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. She was 103. Born on Sept. 1, 1907, in Greentown, Ind., Seegar began her film career in England. After replacing Sylvia Sidney in the play Crime in the West End, she landed roles in […]

'Stairway to Heaven' & 'Orpheus': Two Radically Different Fantasies Tackle That Mysterious Space in Between

Orpheus with Jean Marais. Starring Jean Cocteau's muse, protégé, and (for some time) lover, Jean Marais, Orpheus traces the otherworldly trajectory of the titular, modern-day Parisian poet as he falls in love with Death. Worse yet, his feelings are reciprocated. As both the mysterious Princess and the lovestruck Death, Spanish-born Maria Casarès (1922–1996) – poised and coolly passionate – delivers one of the most memorable […]

Mainstream Group Choices: New York Film Critics Selects Crowd-Pleasing Hollywood Establishment Fare

Mainstream – “at best, mainstreamish” – critics group picks: Lisa Cholodenko's audience-friendly The Kids Are All Right topped three New York Film Critics Circle award categories, including Best Actress honors for Annette Bening, admittedly outstanding as a lesbian wife and mother fighting to maintain the unity of her – more than a tad dysfunctional – family. In addition, The Kids Are All Right won NYFCC […]

Royal Drama Tops British Independent Film Awards But Director Snubbed + Jennifer Lawrence Wins Stockholm

Royal drama The King's Speech with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Tom Hooper's real-life-inspired crowd-pleaser topped the British Independent Film Awards with five wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Firth), and Best Supporting Actor (Rush) – but curiously, not Best Director. Royal drama tops British Independent Film Awards The King's Speech dominated the 2010 British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), collecting five – totally expected – […]

Ingrid Pitt Dies: 'The Vampire Lovers' & 'Countess Dracula' Actress

Ingrid Pitt seduces Madeline Smith in Roy Ward Baker's The Vampire Lovers Ingrid Pitt, the star of the Hammer horror flicks The Vampire Lovers (1970) and Countess Dracula (1971), has died at a South London hospital. The apparent cause of death was heart failure. Pitt was 73. Among the Polish-born Pitt's other movie credits are the World War II adventure drama Where Eagles Dare (1969), […]

Colin Firth & Keira Knightley: British Independent Film Awards Nominations

Colin Firth as King George VI in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech The fact that The King's Speech rules over the 2010 British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations is no surprise. The story of how King George VI was able to overcome a stubborn stutter after being made king, The King's Speech received a total of eight nods, including Best Film, Best Director (Tom Hooper), […]

John Mills Movies: 'Ryan's Daughter' Oscar Winner

John Mills. Unfortunately, nine of the ten John Mills films to be shown on Turner Classic Movies as part of their month-long “Summer Under the Stars” series on Sunday, Aug. 22, '10, are reruns. The one exception is I Was Monty's Double, a 1958 John Guillermin-directed World War II drama. (See John Mills movie schedule below.) I Was Monty's Double sounds like a particularly curious […]

Early Alfred Hitchcock Movies Need Restoration, Louise Brooks & Richard Arlen in 'Beggars of Life'

Two early Alfred Hitchcock British efforts: Ivor Novello in The Lodger (top); Anny Ondra in Blackmail (bottom) “Rescue the Hitchcock 9” is the name of a campaign by the British Film Institute to save nine Alfred Hitchcock silent films, among them Blackmail (1929), shot as both a silent and a talkie. “Be part of the challenge to bring these rare films back from the brink […]

'The Poseidon Director' Director Ronald Neame Dead at 99

Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons in Ronald Neame's The Poseidon Adventure Ronald Neame, best-known for the 1972 blockbuster The Poseidon Adventure, died on Wednesday, June 16, '10, at a hospital in Los Angeles. Neame, who never recovered after suffering a fall, was 99. In the grandiose and technically impressive (but slow-moving) disaster flick, Gene Hackman led an all-star cast through the bowels of a […]

'Another Year' Movie Reviews: Cannes Highlight or…?

Another Year movie with Lesley Manville and Jim Broadbent. 'Another Year' movie: Cannes highlight or…? Mike Leigh's latest movie, Another Year, which revolves around old age, death, and family ties, is in the running for the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or. For some, Leigh's drama is one of the festival highlights; for others, it's anything but. But whether or not they've actually liked the […]

Lynn Redgrave Dies: Two-Time Oscar Nominee, Troubled Private Life

Lynn Redgrave, Alan Bates in Silvio Narizzano's Georgy Girl Lynn Redgrave died Sunday, May 2, '10, at her home in Connecticut. She had been fighting breast cancer for seven years. The two-time Oscar nominee, four-time BAFTA Award nominee, two-time SAG Award nominee, New York Film Critics award winner, two-time Golden Globe winner, daughter of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, and sister of Vanessa Redgrave and […]

George Bernard Shaw Movies: 'Pygmalion,' 'Caesar and Cleopatra'

Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw is tonight's star on Turner Classic Movies. Major Barbara (1941), directed by Gabriel Pascal, and starring Rex Harrison and Wendy Hiller, is on right now. I've watched it a couple of times, but I haven't been able to really get into it. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed both Robert Morley and Marie Lohr in supporting roles. Also […]

'Hatter's Castle': Deborah Kerr & James Mason Minor British Classic

Hatter's Castle with James Mason and Deborah Kerr. A 1942 adaptation of A.J. Cronin's first novel, Hatter's Castle, strips away multiple characters and subplots, thus streamlining the film into melodrama. The material, however, is still ripe for social commentary: James Brodie (Robert Newton) is a successful hatter, but a tyrant; a man who alienates family and villagers on the Firth of Clyde. He creates a […]

'Somers Town' Movie: 'Minor' But Worthwhile Effort Stars Tribeca & London Film Critics Winner

Somers Town with Thomas Turgoose and Piotr Jagiello. Set in the titular London suburb, Shane Meadows' black-and-white drama Somers Town chronicles the unlikely friendship between homeless Midlands runaway Thomas Turgoose (previously seen in Meadows' This Is England) and Polish immigrant Piotr Jagiello. The low-budget production was nominated for four British Independent Film Awards, while Turgoose and Jagiello were named Best Actor co-winners at the 2008 Tribeca […]

Christmas Cheer: Andy Hardy & Rediscovering Sherlock Holmes Actor + One of Best Woody Allen Movies

Christmas cheer: Love Finds Andy Hardy with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. George B. Seitz's Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) reunited Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937) co-stars Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland; unlike their first pairing, this slice of what's often referred to as “Americana” was a major box office hit for MGM, especially, as to be expected, in the U.S. Garland, it should be noted, […]

British Independent Film Awards: Moon Mystery Tops + Andrzej Wajda Passion & Death Tale Is FIPRESCI Winner

Moon with Sam Rockwell. This year's British Independent Film Awards Best Picture winner, Duncan Jones' Moon has elements in common with, among other sci-fi/mystery thrillers, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Basil Dearden's The Man Who Haunted Himself. Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) and supercomputer GERTY (which sounds kinda like Kevin Spacey) are all alone on the moon when Bell suffers an accident as […]

Alfred Hitchcock's British Thrillers at LACMA

Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave in The Lady Vanishes (top); Robert Donat in The 39 Steps (bottom) On Nov. 27-28, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will present the last four films in its “Hitchcock: The British Thrillers” series. They are: The 39 Steps (1935), starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll; Number 17 (1932), featuring the now-forgotten John Stuart and Anne Grey; […]

'A Cottage to Dartmoor': Early Anthony Asquith

Uno Henning in A Cottage on Dartmoor Very little in a career overview of filmmaker Anthony Asquith prepares a viewer for the brilliant thriller A Cottage on Dartmoor, released by Kino, which he both wrote (from a story by Herbert Price) and directed. Asquith's wonderful but straightforward adaptations of Pygmalion (1938) and The Browning Version (1951) – and, to a lesser extent, The Importance of […]

British Indies' Awards + Gay Seattle Winners & Host Ricky Gervais

Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank (top); Sam Rockwell in Moon (middle); Carey Mulligan, Dominic Cooper in An Education (bottom) 'Moon,' 'Fish Tank': British Independent Film Award Nominations Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank leads the list of 2009 British Independent Film Award nominees. The tale of a rough teenager (Katie Jarvis) whose life is upended after her mother gets a new boyfriend, Fish Tank was shortlisted in […]

Oberon Movies: Mysterious Oscar-Nominated Actress Led Intriguing Off-Screen Life

Oberon 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' mystery: Tasmanian- or Indian-born Hollywood and British cinema star? 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for movie fans: Merle Oberon day on TCM Ravishing beauty Merle Oberon, who would have been ideally cast as the Queen of the Fairies in the 1935 version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream*, will have her Turner Classic Movies “Summer Under the Stars” day on Tuesday, […]

Joseph Losey Movies: bfi Schedule

Dirk Bogarde, James Fox in The Servant (top); The Damned (bottom) “Among the greatest things that happened to British cinema were the arrival on our shores of the Korda brothers in the 30s, Losey in the 50s and Kubrick in the 60s,” reads the introduction to an upcoming Joseph Losey series, which runs June 1-July 23 at the bfi Southbank in London. The Wisconsin-born (on […]

How to Make-Up? Oscars' Artists & Hairstylists Show How + Spanish & London Film Critics' Winners

“How to make-up” at the movies? Make-up artist Conor O'Sullivan shows how it was done in Christopher Nolan's blockbuster The Dark Knight. John Caglione Jr. was Heath Ledger's make-up artist; O'Sullivan was the prosthetic supervisor. Both have been nominated for the 2009 Academy Awards. Conor O'Sullivan photo: Darren Decker / © A.M.P.A.S. How to make-up? Check out Academy's make-up artist & hairstylist symposium “How to make-up” at […]

Gay Murder & Political Life That Rocked California Tops WGA Awards + Academy Names Holocaust Drama Producers

Gay murder – and political life – that rocked California: Milk. The WGA Awards' Best Original Screenplay pick was Milk, Dustin Lance Black's narrative about openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Harvey Milk, murdered in 1978 – along with Mayor George Moscone – by fellow Board member Daniel White, a Vietnam War veteran and former cop and firefighter whose political career had been supported […]

Freida Pinto & Dev Patel + Meryl Streep & Kate Winslet: SAG Awards Definite Oscars Precursor? + PGA Winners

Freida Pinto and Dev Patel: SAG Awards' Best Cast winners. Danny Boyle's sleeper hit Slumdog Millionaire marked the feature film debut of British actor Dev Patel and Indian model Freida Pinto; the former plays a slum denizen with a seemingly inexplicable ability to get all the right answers in India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The latter plays the woman of his dreams, with […]

Kathleen Byron: Passionate & Sexually Aroused 'Black Narcissus' Nun Has Died

Kathleen Byron, best-remembered as the sex-obsessed nun in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Black Narcissus, died on Jan. 18. She was 88 (or 86, depending on the source) and is supposed to have been in poor health for several years. Born in London (either on Jan. 11 1921 or 1923), Byron made her film debut playing a maid in Carol Reed's 1942 drama The Young […]

Ed Catmull Creativity Honored + NSFC Awards' First Ever Animated & Non-Fiction Best Film

Ed Catmull. Pixar co-founder and “collective creativity” proponent Ed Catmull will be the recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 2009 Gordon E. Sawyer Award, handed to “an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.” Past honorees – all male – include cinematographer Joseph Walker (Lost Horizon, Only Angels Have Wings), filmmaker/visual effects artist Ray […]

'Slumdog Millionaire' Awards: Critics' Best Film Favorite + Heath Ledger Tops & Best Actress Wide Open

Slumdog Millionaire awards: After winning a number of Best Picture awards from various U.S.-based critics groups while on its way to becoming 2008's most notable sleeper hit, Danny Boyle's Bollywood-inspired mix of drama, music, and social commentary is the odds-on favorite for the 2009 Best Picture Oscar. Dev Patel (pictured) stars as the former Mumbai slum dweller who may succeed in becoming a millionaire and […]

Bollywood-Inspired Drama & Swedish 'Twilight' Top Film Critics Awards + Kate Winslet vs. Anne Hathaway

Slumdog Millionaire with Dev Patel and Anil Kapoor. Danny Boyle's Bollywood-inspired drama seems to be on its way to becoming this awards season's top Best Film pick among U.S.-based critics groups. Dev Patel stars as a former Mumbai slum dweller who may succeed in becoming a millionaire – see image with game show host Anil Kapoor – and getting the girl (Freida Pinto). But has […]

Stockholm Film Festival Awards + British Independent Film Award Winners

Writer-director Courtney Hunt's Frozen River takes place in the days before Christmas near a border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec, where two single mothers – one white, one Mohawk – in dire straits dive into the border-smuggling underworld. Melissa Leo (above, with Michael O'Keefe), who has recently won best actress honors at the Marrakech Film Festival, stars. Bronze Horse […]

Dirk Bogarde Letters Revisited

In The Guardian, Simon Callow reviews Ever Dirk: The Bogarde Letters, a collection of letters written by Dirk Bogarde and edited by John Coldstream, former books editor at the Daily Telegraph: “The collection of letters (a mere eighth of his surviving epistolary output, and who knows how much was lost and destroyed?) reproduces all these effects. It is charming, enraging, funny, touching, baffling, but is […]

Trevor Howard Movies: From 'The Third Man' to 'The Passionate Friends'

Friday, Aug. 22, highlights on Turner Classic Movies (TCM): I'm not all that familiar with Trevor Howard's career as a star. I've seen about 20 of his films, but most of these were made from the mid-1960s on, when he had become a supporting player, often in big-budget international co-productions. I've seen only three of the films listed below: Father Goose, a mild comedy starring […]

'The Belles of St. Trinian's': Alastair Sim Classic Comedy

From the first shot of The Belles of St. Trinian's – which shows the sign of the St. Trinian's School for Young Ladies being fired at by what sounds like a machine gun – I knew what to expect from the remaining 86 minutes. Alastair Sim stars in the picture put on by collaborators Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat (in addition to co-scenarist Val Valentine), […]

Robert Donat Homage at the bfi Southbank

London's BFI Southbank has been hosting an homage to Robert Donat, who died fifty years ago (on June 9, 1958) of a chronic asthma attack at the age of 53. In spite of his best actor Oscar (for Goodbye Mr. Chips in 1939) and his starring in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935), Donat is all but forgotten today. To the best of my knowledge, […]

'Berserk!': Joan Crawford in Tights in Cult Horror Classic

A delightfully daffy freak show on the surface, underneath Berserk! could play as a 1940s Woman's Picture: Hard-as-nails female circus owner stops at nothing to get business for her show. Also, the garish Technicolor, cast of circus freaks, and blood-and-gore theme make it an exploitation film at its best. And who's being exploited? Joan Crawford as a 60-something ring mistress in fish-net leggings, getting romanced […]

Danish + French & Irish Awards: Mockumentary About Assassination of Danish Prime Minister In

Bodil Awards: 'White Night' Tops Nominations 2008 Bodil Award winners: Imperial Cinema in Copenhagen on Feb. 24. Jannik Johansen's drama White Night (above) received the most nominations – five in all – for the 2007 Danish Film Critics Association's Bodil Awards. The film follows a real estate agent (best actor nominee Lars Brygmann) who attempts to make amends for having accidentally killed a man in […]

BAFTA Winners & Guests: From James McAvoy to Lee Majors

Those looking for hints for the upcoming Academy Awards will be disappointed with the results of the pompous-sounding Orange British Academy of Film & Television Arts. The British-made (with Hollywood financing) romantic melodrama Atonement (top photo), nominated for 14 BAFTAs, was supposed to have swept the awards ceremony, but ended up with only two awards: best production design (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer) and, strangely, […]

Sex Education Film Class + Bette Davis Tribute & the Evolution of Russian Cinema

Sex education film The Irresponsibles. The British Film Institute's “The Joy of Sex Education” – to be presented at London's bfi Southbank – consists of a series of British-made sex education film productions throughout the decades, from World War I to the post-Sexual Revolution 1970s. Topics range from, inevitably, sexually transmitted diseases to “the sensual pleasures of the East” and “the mystery of marriage” – which apparently […]

Oscar Nominations: Greed & Murder + Corruption & Deception + Where's Vanessa Redgrave?

Atonement with Vanessa Redgrave. Having made her big-screen debut in the late 1950s (Behind the Mask) and a steady film actress since the mid-1960s (Blow-Up, Camelot), Vanessa Redgrave was bypassed by the 2008 Oscars for her performance in Joe Wright's period drama Atonement, which earned a total of seven nominations. In years past, Redgrave was the 1977 Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner for Fred Zinnemann's Julia. Besides, […]

What Are the BAFTA Awards? Hollywood-on-the-Thames + David A. Grafton Academy Honor

Control with Sam Riley. What are the BAFTA Awards? Don't be fooled by the inclusion of Anton Corbijn's low-budget Joy Division/Ian Curtis biopic Control in a number of BAFTA longlists, including Best Film, Best Actor (Sam Riley, as Ian Curtis), Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Samantha Morton, as Deborah Curtis), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Matt Greenhalgh, from Deborah Curtis' book). The incontestable answer to “What are […]

Stockholm + Blue Dragon Award Winners: Abortion Drama & Gangster Action Comedy Top Picks

Cristian Mungiu's Romanian abortion drama 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days received the Bronze Horse for best film at the 2007 edition of the Stockholm Film Festival. Mungiu's drama about a young woman helping a friend to undergo an illegal abortion during the Nicolae Ceausescu era was chosen for its depiction of a “strictly controlled society” along which “lies horrifying tests for body and […]

Jessie Matthews at the British Film Institute

Jessie Matthews in First a Girl. The bfi is currently presenting a Jessie Matthews retrospective, which ends on March 11. From Richard Stirling's bfi article: “Few stories in British show business are more potent than that of high-kicking, saucer-eyed Jessie Matthews. Born 100 years ago on 11 March 1907, as the seventh of a market vendor's eleven children, she danced her way from Soho poverty […]

Academy Awards: Mexicans Invade the Oscars! The British Are Back! + Pedro Almodóvar Snubbed

Pan's Labyrinth with Doug Jones as the Faun. Whereas Pedro Almodóvar's Volver received on single Academy Award nomination – Penélope Cruz is up for Best Actress – Guillermo del Toro's Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy Pan's Labyrinth / El Laberinto del fauno has been shortlisted for a total of six Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film (representing Mexico) and Best Original Screenplay for del Toro. The filmmaker, in fact, […]

What Are the Golden Globes? 'Prestige' International Awards Embracing 'Diversity'?

What are the Golden Globes? Babel set with Alejandro González Iñárritu and Gael García Bernal. What are the Golden Globes? One possible answer: An awards season ceremony that, at least in 2007, opted to embrace (admittedly, mostly English-language) multinational and multiethnic nominees. Case in point: surprise Best Motion Picture Drama Babel, directed and written by Mexican nationals Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo Arriaga, respectively, and featuring an international […]

Helen Mirren Queen Elizabeth Double Awards Season Dose + Mexican Directors Are U.S. Critics' Winners

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. Set in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death, Stephen Frears' The Queen, written by Peter Morgan, goes out of its way to present Queen Elizabeth II as a kind-hearted heroine determined to save both the British monarchy and a hunted deer. For her efforts, Mirren is in the running in the Screen Actors Guild Awards' Best Actress […]

British Independent Film Awards: 'Queen' vs. 'King'

There were numerous surprises at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards (Bifa) ceremony, which was held yesterday, Nov. 29, in West London. Out of its six nominations, the unofficial favorite, Stephen Frears' The Queen, about the battle of wills between Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) following Princess Diana's death, won only one award – Best Screenplay for Peter […]

'Finis terrae': Jean Epstein Classic + Rank Gong Man Ken Richmond Dies

Finis Terrae. Finis terrae (1929): Jean Epstein classic at London's Barbican Jean Epstein, best known for his 1928 Gothic silent classic The Fall of the House of Usher, was also responsible for the naturalistic semi-documentary Finis terrae (1929), which will be screened at 3 p.m. on September 17 at London's Barbican Centre. According to the Barbican website, Curt Collective will provide musical accompaniment to Finis […]

'Kinky Boots': Gender-Bending Working-Class Comedy

Directed by first-timer Julian Jarrold from a screenplay by Geoff Deane and Calendar Girls co-screenwriter Tim Firth, Kinky Boots is officially a fictional motion picture inspired by a true story. Even so, this dramatic comedy with a message owes more to several British film hits of the last century than to anything resembling real life. Shamelessly borrowing elements from The Full Monty, The Crying Game, […]

'The River' Movie + 'Sons and Lovers': Jean Renoir Classic & Jack Cardiff D.H. Lawrence Adaptation + Patricia Neal Night

The River 1951: Jean Renoir classic. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be presenting a restored print of Jean Renoir's 1951 drama The River. Though largely forgotten today, The River remains one of Renoir's best films. The performances may leave much to be desired and the plot may seem a tad too slight, yet, The River exudes an atmosphere of spirituality such […]

Gaslighting Abuse 21st-Century Style: George Cukor Classic 1944 Thriller Remake in the Works

Gaslighting abuse: Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer in Gaslight. Though remembered for his female-centered dramas and comedies (Camille, The Women, A Woman's Face, etc.) and for being what's derisively called a “woman's director” (Constance Bennett, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, et al.), George Cukor was both a highly versatile filmmaker and a first-rate director of actors, regardless of gender. Somewhat ironically, Oscar winner Ingrid Bergman isn't at her best […]

Ivor Novello: Gay Icon & Alfred Hitchcock Star Revisited

Ivor Novello ca. mid-to-late 1920s. A gay icon of the British stage, the Welsh-born playwright-composer-actor Ivor Novello was also one of the top British film performers of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Among his most notable big-screen star vehicles are Graham Cutts' box office hit The Rat (1925), with the Mediterranean-looking Novello as a Rudolph Valentino type, and two Alfred Hitchcock silents: The Lodger […]

Truman Capote Movie Tops Gotham Awards + Hayao Miyazaki & Gay Cowpokes In Contention

Capote with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Instead of Ang Lee's gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain, the National Society of Film Critics went for Bennett Miller's gay author drama Capote, which chronicles Truman Capote's increasing emotional attachment to a convicted murderer (played by Clifton Collins Jr.) while doing research for his book In Cold Blood, about the brutal 1959 murder of a Kansas family and its aftermath. […]

Cate Blanchett Best Actress: Australian Film Institute Awards + BAFTA Scotland & Golden Horse Winners

The nominees of the L'Oréal Paris 2005 AFI Awards were announced by Claudia Karvan and Alex Dimitriades at the Wharf Restaurant in Sydney on Oct. 21. The winners of the 2005 AFI Awards were announced at two ceremonies: Russell Crowe hosted both the L'Oréal Paris 2005 AFI Craft Awards on Nov. 25 and The L'Oréal Paris 2005 AFI Awards Dinner on November 26. The Australian […]

Margaretta Scott: 'Things to Come' & 'All Creatures Great and Small' Actress Dies

Margaretta Scott dies: From Things to Come to All Creatures Great and Small Margaretta Scott, best remembered for playing the eccentric widow Mrs. Pumphrey in the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small, died last April 15. Scott was 93. She was the widow of composer John Wooldridge, who, in 1958, died at the age of 39 in a car accident. (Image: Things to […]

'9 Songs' Film: Explicit Sex Creates Censorship Woes + Creationists vs. IMAX Theaters

'9 Songs' film (2004), with Kieran O'Brien and Margo Stilley. '9 Songs' film uncut: Michael Winterbottom -directed sexually explicit drama to be screened in the U.K., Australia In late 2004, Michael Winterbottom's sexually explicit psychological drama 9 Songs received an “18 Certificate” (no one under 18 allowed) from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The BBFC move came as a bit of a surprise, […]

Daniel Craig & Kate Winslet London Winners + Imelda Staunton & Cate Blanchett Top Bafta Awards

The 2005 London Film Critics' Circle Award winners were announced on Feb. 9. Best Film The Aviator – Martin Scorsese The Motorcycle Diaries – Walter Salles Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Michel Gondry House of Flying Daggers – Zhang Yimou * Sideways – Alexander Payne Best British Film Ae Fond Kiss . . . – Ken Loach Finding Neverland – Marc Foster My Summer […]

'Frozen' Movie: Disturbing Metaphysical Thriller Set Between Madness & Death

Frozen movie with Shirley Henderson: Disturbing metaphysical thriller tiptoes along the razor-thin line separating sanity from madness, reality from illusion, and life from death. Juliet McKoen's Frozen movie about loss and obsession has elements in common with Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, and George Sluizer's The Vanishing. 'Frozen' movie: Disturbing mystery thriller marred by plot holes The tale of a young fishery worker obsessed […]

'Hotel Rwanda' Movie: Rwandan Genocide & Oskar Schindler-Like Hero Fact or Fiction?

Hotel Rwanda movie with Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte: History or fiction? In Terry George's 2004 family/political drama Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle plays Kigali's Hôtel des Mille Collines manager Paul Rusesabagina, an ethnic Hutu credited with having saved the lives of more than 1,200 people who had sought refuge at his property. Some, however, have questioned Rusesabagina's portrayal in George's film. 'Hotel Rwanda' movie: History […]

Sexually Explicit Movie '9 Songs' Approved in the UK

'9 Songs' movie with Kieran O'Brien and Margo Stilley: Michael Winterbottom sexually explicit drama gets censors' ok. Sexually explicit movie '9 Songs' approved by British censors Award-winning filmmaker Michael Winterbottom's sexually explicit 9 Songs, starring Kieran O'Brien and Margo Stilley, has just been approved by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). In the United Kingdom, a country where the BBFC still sees fit to […]

Michael Caine 'Get Carter': Best British Film Ever?

Michael Caine in 'Get Carter.' Michael Caine 'Get Carter': 1971 gangster thriller the Best British film ever made? Get Carter, Mike Hodges' 1971 thriller starring a young Michael Caine and some scary-looking weaponry, was selected as Britain's very best movie ever according to 25 British film critics polled by Total Film magazine (Oct. 2004). To say Get Carter was an offbeat choice – what, not […]