Saturday, March 31, 2012
Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Special Edition)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film which satirizes the nuclear scare. It was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, and featuring Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, and Slim Pickens. The film is loosely based on Peter George's Cold War thriller novel Red Alert, also known as Two Hours to Doom.
The story concerns an unhinged United States Air Force general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. It follows the President of the United States, his advisors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer as they try to recall the bombers to prevent a nuclear apocalypse. It separately follows the crew of one B-52 as they try to deliver their payload.
In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was listed as number three on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs.
* Peter Sellers as:
o Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, a British exchange officer.
o President Merkin Muffley, the American Commander-in-Chief.
o Dr. Strangelove, the wheelchair-bound nuclear war expert and former Nazi whose uncontrollable hand apparently has a Nazi mind of its own.
* George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson, an over-the-top and jingoist General who does not trust the Soviet ambassador.
* Sterling Hayden as Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, a paranoid ultra-nationalist. Jack the Ripper was a serial murderer in 19th century London.
* Keenan Wynn as Colonel "Bat" Guano, the Army officer who finds Mandrake and the dead Ripper. Bat guano is bat excrement, prized as an agricultural fertilizer.
* Slim Pickens as Major T. J. Kong, the B-52 Stratofortress bomber's commander and pilot.
* Peter Bull as Soviet Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski.
* James Earl Jones as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg, the B-52's bombardier.
* Tracy Reed as Miss Scott, General Turgidson's secretary and mistress, the film's only female character. Reed also appears as "Miss Foreign Affairs," the centerfold in the June 1962 issue of Playboy magazine that Major Kong is shown reading in the cockpit.
* Shane Rimmer as Capt. "Ace" Owens, the B-52 co-pilot.
Columbia Pictures agreed to finance the film on condition that Peter Sellers play at least four major roles. This condition stemmed from the studio's impression that much of the success of Lolita (1962), Kubrick's previous film, was based on Sellers's performance in which his single character assumes a number of identities. Sellers had also played three roles in 1959's The Mouse That Roared. Kubrick accepted the demand, considering that "such crass and grotesque stipulations are the sine qua non of the motion-picture business."
Peter Sellers playing
Group Captain Mandrake sitting at an IBM 7090 console,
President Merkin Muffley,
and Dr. Strangelove.
Sellers ended up playing just three of the four roles written for him. He was expected to play Air Force Major T. J. "King" Kong, the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft commander, but from the beginning Sellers was reluctant. He felt his workload was too heavy and he worried he would not properly portray the character's Texas accent. Kubrick pleaded with him and asked screenwriter Terry Southern (who had been raised in Texas) to record a tape with Kong's lines spoken in the correct accent. Using Southern's tape, Sellers managed to get the accent right, and started shooting the scenes in the airplane. But then Sellers sprained an ankle and could not work in the cramped cockpit set.
Sellers is said to have improvised much of his dialogue, with Kubrick incorporating the ad-libs into the written screenplay so that the improvised lines became part of the canonical screenplay, a technique known as retroscripting
Friday, March 30, 2012
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Widescreen Edition)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote. It tells the story of Elliott (played by Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.
The concept for E.T. was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created after his parents' divorce in 1960. In 1980, Spielberg met Mathison and developed a new story from the stalled science fiction/horror film project Night Skies. The film was shot from September to December 1981 in California on a budget of US$10.5 million. Unlike most motion pictures, the film was shot in roughly chronological order, to facilitate convincing emotional performances from the young cast.
Released by Universal Pictures, E.T. was a blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the highest-grossing film of all time, a record it held for 11 years. Critics acclaimed it as a timeless story of friendship, and it ranks as the greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey. The film was rereleased in 1985, and then again in 2002 to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary, with altered shots and additional scenes.
* Henry Thomas as Elliott, a lonely ten-year-old boy. Elliott longs for a good friend, whom he finds in E.T., who was left behind on Earth. Elliott adopts the stranded alien and they form a mental, physical, and emotional bond.
* Robert MacNaughton as Michael, Elliott's football-playing sixteen-year-old brother who often makes fun of him.
* Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Elliott's mischievous five-year-old sister. She is sarcastic and initially terrified of E.T., but grows to love the alien.
* Dee Wallace as Mary, the children's mother, recently separated from her husband. She is mostly oblivious to the alien's presence in her household.
* Peter Coyote as "Keys", a government agent. His face is not shown until the second half of the film, his name is never mentioned, and he is identified by the key rings that prominently hang from his belt. He tells Elliott that he has waited to see an alien since the age of ten.
* K. C. Martel, Sean Frye and C. Thomas Howell as Greg, Steve and Tyler, Michael's friends. They help Elliott and E.T. evade the authorities during the film's climax.
* Erika Eleniak as the young girl Elliott kisses in class.
Having worked with Cary Guffey on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg felt confident in working with a cast composed mostly of child actors. For the central role of Elliott, he auditioned hundreds of boys before Robert Fisk suggested Henry Thomas for the role. Thomas, who auditioned in an Indiana Jones costume, did not perform well in the formal testing, but got the filmmakers' attention in an improvised scene. Thoughts of his dead dog inspired his convincing tears. Robert MacNaughton auditioned eight times to play Michael, sometimes with boys auditioning for Elliott. Spielberg felt Drew Barrymore had the right imagination for mischievous young Gertie after she impressed him with a story that she led a punk rock band. Spielberg enjoyed working with the children, and he later said that the experience made him feel ready to be a father.
The major voice work for E.T. was performed by Pat Welsh, an elderly woman who lived in Marin County, California. Welsh smoked two packets of cigarettes a day, which gave her voice a quality that sound effects creator Ben Burtt liked. She spent nine-and-a-half hours recording her part, and was paid $380 by Burtt for her services. Burtt also recorded 16 other people and various animals to create E.T.'s "voice". These included Spielberg; Debra Winger; Burtt's sleeping wife, who had a cold; a burp from his USC film professor; and raccoons, sea otters, and horses.
Doctors working at the USC Medical Center were recruited to play the doctors who try to save E.T. after government agents take over Elliott's home. Spielberg felt that actors in the roles, performing lines of technical medical dialogue, would come across as unnatural. During post-production, Spielberg decided to cut a scene featuring Harrison Ford as the headmaster at Elliott's school. The scene featured Ford's character reprimanding Elliott for his behavior in science class and warning of the dangers of underage drinking; he is then taken aback as Elliott's chair rises from the floor, while E.T. is levitating his "phone" equipment up the staircase with Gertie
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Raging Bull (Two-Disc 30th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from Jake LaMotta's memoir Raging Bull: My Story. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite destroyed his relationship with his wife and family. Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, La Motta's well-intentioned brother and manager who tries to help Jake battle his inner demons; and Cathy Moriarty as his abused wife. The film features supporting roles from Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, and Frank Vincent.
Scorsese was initially reluctant to develop the project, though he eventually came to relate to La Motta's story. Schrader re-wrote Martin's first screenplay, and Scorsese and De Niro together made uncredited contributions thereafter. Pesci was an unknown actor prior to the film, as was Moriarty, who was suggested for her role by Pesci. During principal photography, each of the boxing scenes was choreographed for a specific visual style and De Niro gained approximately 60 pounds (27 kg) to portray La Motta in his early post-boxing years. Scorsese was exacting in the process of editing and mixing the film, expecting it to be his last major feature.
After receiving mixed initial reviews (and criticism due to its violent content), it went on to garner a high critical reputation and is now widely regarded among the greatest films ever made, including by Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, renowned British motion picture historian Leslie Halliwell, the American Film Institute, Time magazine, The New York Times, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Empire magazine, Total Film, Film 4, BFI's and Sight and Sound. It was listed in the National Film Registry in 1990, its first year of eligibility.
* Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta
* Cathy Moriarty as Vickie Thailer LaMotta
* Joe Pesci as Joey LaMotta
* Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como
* Theresa Saldana as Lenora LaMotta (Joey's wife)
* Frank Vincent as Salvy "Batts"
* Mario Gallo as Mario
* Frank Adonis as Patsy
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett and a remake of the 1931 film of the same name. Written for the screen and directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade; Mary Astor as his femme fatale client; Gladys George; Peter Lorre; and Sydney Greenstreet in his film debut. The film was Huston's directorial debut and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
The story concerns a San Francisco private detective's dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers who compete to obtain a fabulous jewel-encrusted statuette of a falcon.
The Maltese Falcon has been named as one of the greatest films of all time by Roger Ebert, and Entertainment Weekly, and was cited by Panorama du Film Noir Américain, the first major work on film noir, as the first film of that genre.
The film premiered on October 3, 1941, in New York City and was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1989
* Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade
* Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy
* Gladys George as Iva Archer
* Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo
* Barton MacLane as Lt. of Detectives Dundy
* Lee Patrick as Effie Perrine
* Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman
* Ward Bond as Detective Tom Polhaus
* Jerome Cowan as Miles Archer
* Elisha Cook, Jr. as Wilmer Cook
* James Burke as Luke
* Murray Alper as Frank Richman
* John Hamilton as Bryan
* Walter Huston as Captain Jacobi
The antihero protagonist of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, private investigator Sam Spade, is based on the author's experiences as a private detective for the Pinkerton Detective Agency in San Francisco. Hammett not only invested Spade with characteristics drawn from his own personality but also gave him his own first name, Samuel, which Hammett had discarded when he launched his career as a writer.
Hammett also drew upon his years as a detective in creating many of the other characters for The Maltese Falcon, which reworks elements from two of his stories published in Black Mask magazine in 1925, "The Whosis Kid" and "The Gutting of Couffignal". The novel itself was serialized in five parts in Black Mask in 1929-30 before being published in book form in 1930 by Alfred A. Knopf.
The 1941 film is the third film version of the novel. The first, released in 1931, starred Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, while the second, called Satan Met a Lady, was a loose adaptation that turned the story into a light comedy, with the characters renamed. It was released in 1936 and starred Warren William and a young Bette Davis, only five years into her long film career.
Warner Brothers had been prevented by the Hays Office censors from re-releasing the 1931 version due to its "lewd" content, which is possibly what caused them to go into production in 1941 with a new, cleaned-up version. (It was not until after 1966 that unedited copies of the 1931 film could be shown in the U.S.) The 1941 film still featured some adultery and managed to sneak some homosexual innuendo past the censors: when the police try to implicate Spade in his partner's murder, he asks Detective Polhaus, "What's your boyfriend gettin' at Tom?".
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
2001: A Space Odyssey [Blu-ray]
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel". The story deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution, and a space voyage to Jupiter tracing a signal emitted by one such monolith found on the moon. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star as the two astronauts on this voyage, with Douglas Rain as the voice of the sentient computer HAL 9000 who has full control over their spaceship. The film is frequently described as an "epic film", both for its length and scope, and for its affinity with classical epics.
Financed and produced by the American studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film was made almost entirely in England, using both the studio facilities of MGM's subsidiary "MGM British" (among the last movies to be shot there before its closure in 1970) and those of Shepperton Studios, mostly because of the availability of much larger sound stages than in the United States. The film was also co-produced by Kubrick's own "Stanley Kubrick Productions". Kubrick, having already shot his previous two films in England, decided to settle there permanently during the filming of Space Odyssey. Though Space Odyssey was released in America several months before its release in England, and Encyclopædia Britannica calls this an American film, other sources refer to it as an American, British, or American-British production.
Thematically, the film deals with elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is notable for its scientific accuracy, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery that is open-ended to a point approaching surrealism, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue.
The film has a memorable soundtrack—the result of the association that Kubrick made between the spinning motion of the satellites and the dancers of waltzes, which led him to use The Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II, and the famous symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, to portray the philosophical evolution of Man theorized in Nietzsche's work of the same name.
Despite initially receiving mixed reactions from critics and audiences alike, 2001: A Space Odyssey garnered a cult following and slowly became a box office hit. Some years after its release, it eventually became the highest grossing picture from 1968 in North America. Today it is recognized by many critics, filmmakers, and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. The 2002 Sight & Sound poll of critics ranked it among the top ten films of all time, and in 2010, it was named the #1 greatest film ever made by The Moving Arts Film Journal. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, and received one for visual effects. In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
In 1984, a sequel directed by Peter Hyams was produced entitled 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
* Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman
* Gary Lockwood as Dr. Frank Poole
* William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood R. Floyd
* Douglas Rain as the voice of the HAL 9000
* Daniel Richter as the chief man-ape ("Moon-Watcher" in Clarke's novel) – Richter, a professional street mime, in addition to playing the lead ape was also responsible for choreographing the movements of the other man-apes, who were mostly portrayed by his standing mime troupe.
* Leonard Rossiter as Dr. Andrei Smyslov
* Margaret Tyzack as Elena
* Robert Beatty as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen
* Frank Miller as mission controller
* Edward Bishop as lunar shuttle captain
* Edwina Carroll as Aries stewardess
* Penny Brahms as stewardess
* Heather Downham as stewardess
* Alan Gifford as Poole's father
* Ann Gillis as Poole's mother
* Vivian Kubrick (uncredited) as Floyd's daughter
* Kenneth Kendall (uncredited) as the BBC announcer
Shortly after completing Dr. Strangelove (1964), Stanley Kubrick became fascinated by the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and determined to make "the proverbial good science fiction movie". Searching for a suitable collaborator in the science fiction community, Kubrick was advised to seek out the noted science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke by a mutual acquaintance, Columbia Pictures staffer Roger Caras. Although convinced that Clarke was "a recluse, a nut who lives in a tree", Kubrick agreed that Caras would cable the Ceylon-based author with the film proposal. Clarke's cabled response stated that he was "frightfully interested in working with enfant terrible", and added "what makes Kubrick think I'm a recluse?" Meeting for the first time at Trader Vic's in New York on April 22, 1964, the two began discussing the project that would take up the next four years of their lives.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and the executive producer was Darryl F. Zanuck.
The film tells the story of the Joads, an Oklahoma family, who, after losing their farm during the Great Depression in the 1930s, become migrant workers and end up in California. The motion picture details their arduous journey across the United States as they travel to California in search of work and opportunities for the family members.
In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
* Henry Fonda as Tom Joad
* Russell Simpson as Pa Joad
* Jane Darwell as Ma Joad
* John Carradine as Jim Casy, former preacher
* Charley Grapewin as Grandpa William James Joad
* Zeffie Tilbury as Grandma Joad
* Frank Darien as Uncle John Joad
* Dorris Bowdon as Rose-of-Sharon "Rosasharn" Rivers
* O.Z. Whitehead as Al Joad
* Frank Sully as Noah Joad
* Darryl Hickman as Winfield Joad
* Shirley Mills as Ruthie Joad
* Eddie Quillan as Connie Rivers, husband of Rosasharn
* John Qualen as Muley Graves, neighbor in Oklahoma
* Roger Imhof as Mr. Thomas, ditch employer
* Grant Mitchell as Manager of government camp
* Charles D. Brown as Wilkie, boy lookout at dance
* John Arledge as Davis, bulldozer driver
* Ward Bond as Friendly Policeman, Bakersfield
* Eddie Waller as Proprietor
* Henry Fonda - "Red River Valley"
* Eddie Quillan - "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad" (Traditional)
* "A Tisket, A Tasket" (Words & music by Ella Fitzgerald & Van Alexander)
Sunday, March 25, 2012
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 American drama film directed by Miloš Forman and based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey.
The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 by The Silence of the Lambs.
The film is #20 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. It was shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which was also the setting of the novel.
* Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy
* Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched
* William Redfield as Dale Harding
* Will Sampson as "Chief" Bromden
* Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit
* Sydney Lassick as Charlie Cheswick
* Danny DeVito as Martini
* Christopher Lloyd as Max Taber
* Dean R. Brooks as Dr. John Spivey
* William Duell as Jim Sefelt
* Vincent Schiavelli as Frederickson
* Delos V. Smith as Scanlon
* Michael Berryman as Ellis
* Nathan George as Attendant Washington
* Lan Fendors as Nurse Itsu
* Mimi Sarkisian as Nurse Pilbow
* Mews Small as Candy
* Scatman Crothers as Orderly Turkle
* Louisa Moritz as Rose
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston. The film features many elements of the film noir genre, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama. It was released by Paramount Pictures. The story, set in Los Angeles in 1937, was inspired by the California Water Wars, the historical disputes over land and water rights that had raged in southern California during the 1910s and 1920s, in which William Mulholland acted on behalf of Los Angeles interests to secure water rights in the Owens Valley. Chinatown was the last Roman Polanski film made in the United States before his escape to Europe.
Chinatown has been called one of the greatest films ever made. It holds 2nd position on American Film Institute list of Best Mystery Films of all time. Chinatown was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning in the category of Best Original Screenplay for Robert Towne. It also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. In 1991, Chinatown was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
A sequel, called The Two Jakes, was released in 1990, starring Jack Nicholson, who also directed it, with a screenplay by Robert Towne. The film, however, failed to generate as much acclaim as its predecessor.
* Jack Nicholson as J.J. "Jake" Gittes
* Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Cross Mulwray
* John Huston as Noah Cross
* Perry Lopez as Lieutenant Lou Escobar
* John Hillerman as Russ Yelburton
* Darrell Zwerling as Hollis I. Mulwray
* Diane Ladd as Ida Sessions
* Roy Jenson as Claude Mulvihill
* Roman Polanski as Man with Knife
* Richard Bakalyan as Detective Loach
* Joe Mantell as Lawrence Walsh
* Bruce Glover as Duffy
* Nandu Hinds as Sophie
* James O'Rear as Lawyer
* James Hong as Kahn
* Beulah Quo as Mulwray's Maid
* Jerry Fujikawa as Mulwray's Gardener
* Belinda Palmer as Katherine Cross
* Roy Roberts as Mayor Bagby
* Noble Willingham as Councilman
* Elliott Montgomery as Councilman
* Burt Young as Curly
* Elizabeth Harding as Curly's Wife
Friday, March 23, 2012
The General (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition)
The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, which happened in 1862. Buster Keaton starred in the film and co-directed it with Clyde Bruckman. It was adapted by Al Boasberg, Bruckman, Keaton, Charles Henry Smith (uncredited) and Paul Girard Smith (uncredited) from the memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger.
The film, an adventure-epic classic made toward the end of the silent era, received both poor reviews by critics (it was considered tedious and disappointing) and weak box-office results (about a half million dollars domestically, and approximately one million worldwide) at its original release, but is now considered by critics as one of the greatest films ever made. However, because of its huge budget ($750,000 supplied by Metro chief Joseph Schenck) and poor box office, Keaton lost his independence as a film-maker and was forced into a restrictive deal with MGM. In 1955, the film entered the public domain (in the USA) due to the claimants failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.
* Buster Keaton — Johnnie Gray
* Marion Mack— Annabelle Lee
* Glen Cavender — Captain Anderson
* Jim Farley — General Thatcher
* Frederick Vroom — A Confederate General
* Charles Henry Smith — Annabelle's Father (as Charles Smith)
* Frank Barnes — Annabelle's Brother
* Joe Keaton — Union General
* Mike Donlin — Union General
* Tom Nawn — Union General
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Psycho (Collector's Edition)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Janet Leigh. The screenplay by Joseph Stefano is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The novel was loosely inspired by the crimes of Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein, who lived just 40 miles from Bloch.
The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who goes to a secluded motel after embezzling money from her employer, and the motel's disturbed owner and manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.
Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted a re-review which was overwhelmingly positive and led to four Academy Award nominations. Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics. The film spawned two sequels, a prequel, a remake, and a television movie spin-off. In 1992, the film was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress at the National Film Registry.
* Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
* Janet Leigh as Marion Crane
* Vera Miles as Lila Crane
* John Gavin as Sam Loomis
* Martin Balsam as Det. Milton Arbogast
* John McIntire as Sheriff Al Chambers
* Simon Oakland as Dr. Fred Richmond
* Frank Albertson as Tom Cassidy
* Pat Hitchcock as Caroline
* Vaughn Taylor as George Lowery
* Lurene Tuttle as Mrs. Chambers
* John Anderson as California Charlie
* Mort Mills as Highway patrolman
* Virginia Gregg, Jeanette Nolan, and Paul Jasmin (all uncredited) as the voice of Norma Bates
* Ted Knight (uncredited) as a police officer
The success of Psycho jump-started Perkins's career, but he soon began to suffer from typecasting. However, when Perkins was asked whether he would have still taken the role knowing that he would be typecast afterward, he replied with a definite "yes".
Until her death, Leigh continued to receive strange and sometimes threatening calls, letters, and even tapes detailing what they would like to do to Marion Crane. One letter was so "grotesque" that she passed it along to the FBI, two of whose agents visited Leigh and told her the culprits had been located and that she should notify the FBI if she received any more letters of that type.
Norman's mother was voiced by Paul Jasmin, Virginia Gregg, and Jeanette Nolan, who also provided some screams for Lila's discovery of the mother's corpse. The three voices were thoroughly mixed, except for the last speech, which is all Gregg's
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The African Queen [Blu-ray]
The African Queen is a 1951 adventure drama film adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by C. S. Forester. The film was directed by John Huston and produced by Sam Spiegel and John Woolf. The screenplay was adapted by James Agee, John Huston, John Collier and Peter Viertel. It was photographed in Technicolor by Jack Cardiff and had a music score by Allan Gray. The film stars Humphrey Bogart (who won the Academy Award for Best Actor – his only Oscar), and Katharine Hepburn with Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Walter Gotell, Richard Marner and Theodore Bikel.
The African Queen has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, with the Library of Congress deeming it "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
* Humphrey Bogart as Charlie Allnut
* Katharine Hepburn as Rose Sayer
* Robert Morley as Rev. Samuel Sayer
* Peter Bull as Captain of Louisa
* Theodore Bikel as the First Officer
* Walter Gotell as the Second Officer
* Peter Swanwick as the First Officer of Shona
* Richard Marner as the Second Officer of Shona
Production censors objected to several aspects of the original script, which included the two characters cohabiting without the formality of marriage. Some changes were made before the film was completed.
The film was partially financed by John Woolf and James Woolf of Romulus Films, a British company, which was so pleased with the results that they talked John Huston into directing their next picture, Moulin Rouge (1952).
Much of the film was shot on location in Uganda and the Congo in Africa. This was rather novel for the time, especially for a technicolor picture which utilized large unwieldy cameras. The cast and crew endured sickness, and spartan living conditions during their time on location. In one scene, Hepburn was playing a piano but had a bucket nearby because she was often sick between takes. Bogart later bragged that he was the only one to escape illness, which he credited to not drinking any water on location, but instead fortifying himself from the large supply of whiskey he had brought along with him.
About half of the film was shot in England. For instance, the scenes in which Bogart and Hepburn are seen in the water were all shot in studio tanks at Isleworth Studios, Middlesex. These scenes were considered too dangerous to shoot in Africa. All of the foreground plates for the process shots were also done in studio.
Most of the action takes place aboard a boat – the African Queen of the title – and scenes on board the boat were filmed using a large raft with a mockup of the boat on top. Sections of the boat set could be removed to make room for the large Technicolor camera. This proved hazardous on one occasion when the boat's boiler – a heavy copper replica – almost fell over onto Hepburn. It was not bolted down since it also had to be moved to accommodate the camera. The small steam-boat used in the film to depict the African Queen was built in 1912, in England, for service in Africa, and is now on display at Key Largo in Florida, USA. At one time it was owned by actor Fess Parker. In December 2011, plans were announced to restore the boat.
Because of the dangers involved with shooting the rapid scenes, a model was created at the studio tank in London.
The film also features a German gunboat, the Königin Luise, which is based on the former World War I vessel MV Liemba (known until 1924 as the Graf von Götzen), which was scuttled in 1916 during the Battle for Lake Tanganyika, but was subsequently refloated by the British and continues to operate as a passenger ferry to this day. The actual vessel used in the film to portray the Louisa was the steam tug Buganda owned and operated on Lake Victoria by East African Railways & Harbours.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
All About Eve
All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story "The Wisdom of Eve", by Mary Orr.
The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, a willingly helpful young fan who insinuates herself into Channing's life, ultimately threatening Channing's career and her personal relationships. George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Barbara Bates, Gary Merrill and Thelma Ritter also appear, and the film provided one of Marilyn Monroe's earliest important roles.
Praised by critics at the time of its release, All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards (a feat unmatched until the 1997 film Titanic) and won six, including Best Picture. As of 2012, All About Eve is still the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations (Davis and Baxter as Best Actress, Holm and Ritter as Best Supporting Actress). All About Eve was selected in 1990 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and was among the first 50 films to be registered. All About Eve appeared at #16 on AFI's 1998 list of the 100 best American films
* Bette Davis as Margo Channing
* Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington
* George Sanders as Addison DeWitt
* Celeste Holm as Karen Richards
* Gary Merrill as Bill Sampson
* Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards
* Thelma Ritter as Birdie
* Gregory Ratoff as Max Fabian
* Marilyn Monroe as Miss Caswell
* Barbara Bates as Phoebe
All About Eve received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics upon its release on October 13, 1950 at a New York City premiere. The film's competitor, Sunset Boulevard, released the same year, drew similar praise, and the two were often favorably compared. Film critic Bosley Crowther loved the film, stating it was "a fine Darryl Zanuck production, excellent music and on air ultra-class complete the superior satire".
Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times has praised the film, saying Bette Davis' character "veteran actress Margo Channing in All About Eve was her greatest role". A collection of reviews from the film's release are stored on the website Rottentomatoes.com, and All About Eve has garnered 100% positive reviews there, making it "Certified fresh." Boxoffice.com stated that it "is a classic of the American cinema -- to this day the quintessential depiction of ruthless ambition in the entertainment industry, with legendary performances from Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and George Sanders anchoring one of the very best films from one of Hollywood's very best Golden Era filmmakers: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It is a film that belongs on every collector's shelf—whether on video or DVD. It is a classic that deserves better than what Fox has given it."
Monday, March 19, 2012
Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV - VI) [Blu-ray]
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film,written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the six-film saga. It is the fourth film in terms of the series' internal chronology. Groundbreaking in its use of special effects, unconventional editing, and science fiction/fantasy storytelling, the original Star Wars is one of the most successful and influential films of all time.
Set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away", the film follows a group of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance as they plot to destroy the powerful Death Star space station, a devastating weapon created by the evil Galactic Empire. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmboy Luke Skywalker when he inadvertently acquires the droids carrying the stolen plans to the Death Star. After the Empire begins a cruel and destructive search for the droids, Skywalker decides to accompany Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on a daring mission to rescue the owner of the droids, rebel leader Princess Leia, and save the galaxy.
Produced with a budget of $11 million and released on May 25, 1977, the film earned $460 million in the United States and $337 million overseas, surpassing Jaws as the nominal highest-grossing film and remained that way until being surpassed by E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in 1983. When adjusted for inflation, it is the second highest grossing film in the USA and Canada as of 2010. Among the many awards the film received, it gained ten Academy Award nominations, winning six; the nominations included Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness and Best Picture. The film is often ranked among the best films of all time. Lucas has re-released the film on several occasions, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions are the 1997 Special Edition, the 2004 DVD release, and the 2011 Blu-ray release, which have modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, and added scenes.
* Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: Luke is a young man who was raised by his aunt and uncle on the remote, desert world Tatooine. He dreams of something greater than his current position in life and eventually finds it.
* Harrison Ford as Han Solo: Han is a sarcastic smuggler whom Obi-Wan and Luke meet at the Mos Eisley Cantina and with whom they later travel. He owns a ship called the Millennium Falcon and is good friends with Chewbacca, the ship's co-pilot.
* Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa: Leia is a member of the Imperial Senate and a leader of the Rebel Alliance. She plans to use the stolen Death Star plans to find the station's weakness.
* Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin: Tarkin is the commander of the Death Star and a Regional Governor of the Galaxy. He leads the search for the Rebel Base, hoping to destroy it.
* Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi: Obi-Wan is an aging man who served as a Jedi Knight and then Jedi Master during the Clone Wars. Early in the film, Kenobi introduces Luke to the Force.
* Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: 3PO is a protocol and interpreter droid who also falls into Luke's hands. He is rarely without his counterpart droid, R2-D2.
* Kenny Baker as R2-D2: R2 is an astromech droid who falls into the hands of Luke. He is carrying a secret message for Obi-Wan from The Princess.
* Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca: Chewie is the Wookiee co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon and good friends with Han Solo.
* David Prowse as Darth Vader: Vader is a Dark Lord of the Sith and a prominent figure of the Galactic Empire who hopes to destroy the Rebel Alliance. He is voiced by James Earl Jones.
Lucas shared a joint casting session with long-time friend Brian De Palma, who was casting his own film Carrie. As a result, Carrie Fisher and Sissy Spacek auditioned for both films in each other's respective roles. Lucas favored casting young actors without long-time experience. While reading for Luke Skywalker (then known as "Luke Starkiller"), Hamill found the dialogue to be extremely odd because of its universe-embedded concepts. He chose to simply read it sincerely and was selected instead of William Katt, who was subsequently cast in Carrie.
Lucas initially rejected the idea of using Harrison Ford, as he had previously worked with him on American Graffiti, and instead asked Ford to assist in the auditions by reading lines with the other actors and explaining the concepts and history behind the scenes that they were reading. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford's portrayal and cast him instead of Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Billy Dee Williams (who would play Lando Calrissian in the sequels), and Perry King, who wound up playing Solo in the radio plays.
Many young actresses in Hollywood auditioned for the role of Princess Leia, including Cindy Williams. Carrie Fisher was cast under the condition that she lose 10 pounds for the role. Aware that the studio disagreed with his refusal to cast big-name stars, Lucas signed veteran stage and screen actor Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Additional casting took place in London, where Mayhew was cast as Chewbacca after he stood up to greet Lucas. Lucas immediately turned to Gary Kurtz, and requested that Mayhew be cast. Daniels auditioned for and was cast as C-3PO; he has said that he wanted the role after he saw a McQuarrie drawing of the character and was struck by the vulnerability in the robot's face.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot is an American comedy film, made in 1958 and released in 1959, which was directed by Billy Wilder and starred Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and George Raft. The supporting cast includes Joe E. Brown, Pat O'Brien and Nehemiah Persoff. The film is a remake by Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond of a 1935 French movie, Fanfare d'Amour, from the story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan, which was also remade in 1951 by German director Kurt Hoffmann as Fanfaren der Liebe. However, both the French and German films were without the gangsters that are an integral part of the plot of Some Like It Hot. Wilder's working title for his film was Fanfares of Love, then Not Tonight, Josephine before he decided on Some Like It Hot as its release title.
During 1981, after the worldwide success of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles, United Artists re-released Some Like It Hot to theatres. In 2000, the American Film Institute listed Some Like It Hot as the greatest American comedy film of all time.
* Marilyn Monroe as "Sugar" Kane Kowalczyk
* Tony Curtis as Joe/"Josephine"/"Junior"
* Jack Lemmon as Jerry/"Geraldine"/"Daphne"
* George Raft as "Spats" Colombo
* Pat O'Brien as Detective Mulligan
* Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding III
* Nehemiah Persoff as "Little Bonaparte"
* Joan Shawlee as Sweet Sue
* Billy Gray ss Sig Poliakoff
* George E. Stone as "Toothpick" Charlie
* Dave Barry as Beinstock
* Mike Mazurki as Spats's henchman
* Harry Wilson as Spats's henchman
* Beverly Wills as Dolores, trombone
* Edward G. Robinson, Jr. as Johnny Paradise
* Mary Foley as violin player
* Colleen O'Sullivan a.k.a. Penny McGuiggan as Maude, violin
* Joan Kayne a.k.a. Joan Fields as Betty, clarinet
* Joan Waldor as drummer
* Helen Perry as Stella, trombone
* Sandra Warner as Emily, saxophone
* Gloria Tracy a.k.a. Tracy Moss as Gloria, harp
* Laurie Mitchell as Mary Lou, trumpet
* Marian Collier as Olga, clarinet
* Grace Whitney as Rosella, trumpet
* Pat Holbrook as band member
* Diane Boothe as band member
* Kay Rickman as Hortensia, trumpet
Aside from the title, the film bears no resemblance to a Bob Hope movie of the same name released in 1939.
The film was planned originally to be filmed in color, but after several screen tests, it was changed to black and white because of a very obvious 'green tint' around the heavy make-up required by Curtis and Lemmon when portraying Josephine and Daphne. The Florida segment, at the fictitious "Seminole Ritz", was filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California.
Some Like It Hot received a "C" (Condemned) rating from the National Legion of Decency (formerly the Catholic Legion of Decency). The film, along with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and several other films, contributed to the end of the Production Code in the mid-1960s. It was released by United Artists without the MPAA logo in the credits or title sequence, since the film did not receive Production Code approval.
Tony Curtis is frequently quoted as saying that kissing Marilyn Monroe was like "kissing Hitler". However, during a 2001 interview with Leonard Maltin, Curtis stated that he had never made this claim. In his 2008 autobiography, Curtis notes that he did make the statement to the film crew, but it was meant in a joking manner. During his appearance at the Jules Verne Festival in France (2008), Curtis revealed on the set of Laurent Ruquier's TV show that he and Monroe were lovers in the late 1940s when they were first struggling for recognition in films.
The film's title is a line from the nursery rhyme "Pease Porridge Hot". It also occurs as dialogue in the film when Joe, as "Junior", tells Sugar he prefers classical music over hot jazz. The film's working title was Fanfares of Love, then Not Tonight, Josephine, before the release title was finally decided as Some Like It Hot.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Bridge on the River Kwai (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British World War II film by David Lean based on The Bridge over the River Kwai by French writer Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–43 for its historical setting. It stars William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa. The film was shot in Sri Lanka (credited as Ceylon, as it was known at the time). The bridge in the movie was located near Kitulgala.
The film achieved near universal critical acclaim, winning seven Academy Awards, and in 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry.
* William Holden as US Navy Commander/Seaman Shears
* Alec Guinness as Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson
* Jack Hawkins as Major Warden
* Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Saito
* James Donald as Major Clipton
* Geoffrey Horne as Lieutenant Joyce
* André Morell as Colonel Hornsby
* Peter Williams as Captain Reeves
* John Boxer as Major Hughes
* Percy Herbert as Private Grogan
* Harold Goodwin as Private Baker
* Ann Sears as nurse
The largely fictional film plot is loosely based on the building in 1943 of one of the railway bridges over the Mae Klong—renamed Khwae Yai in the 1960s—at a place called Tha Ma Kham, five kilometres from the Thai town of Kanchanaburi.
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
"The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre."
The incidents portrayed in the film are mostly fictional, and though it depicts bad conditions and suffering caused by the building of the Burma Railway and its bridges, historically the conditions were much worse than depicted. The real senior Allied officer at the bridge was British Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey. Some consider the film to be an insulting parody of Toosey. On a BBC Timewatch programme, a former prisoner at the camp states that it is unlikely that a man like the fictional Nicholson could have risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel; and if he had, due to his collaboration he would have been "quietly eliminated" by the other prisoners. Julie Summers, in her book The Colonel of Tamarkan, writes that Pierre Boulle, who had been a prisoner of war in Thailand, created the fictional Nicholson character as an amalgam of his memories of collaborating French officers. He strongly denied the claim that the book was anti-British, though many involved in the film itself (including Alec Guinness) felt otherwise.
Toosey was very different from Nicholson and was certainly not a collaborator who felt obliged to work with the Japanese. Toosey in fact did as much to delay the building of the bridge as possible. Whereas Nicholson disapproves of acts of sabotage and other deliberate attempts to delay progress, Toosey encouraged this: termites were collected in large numbers to eat the wooden structures, and the concrete was badly mixed.
Some of the characters in the film have the names of real people who were involved in the Burma Railway. Their roles and characters, however, are fictionalized. For example, a Sergeant-Major Risaburo Saito was in real life second in command at the camp. In the film, a Colonel Saito is camp commandant. In reality, Risaburo Saito was respected by his prisoners for being comparatively merciful and fair towards them; Toosey later defended him in his war crimes trial after the war, and the two became friends.
The destruction of the bridge as depicted in the film is entirely fictional. In fact, two bridges were built: a temporary wooden bridge and a permanent steel/concrete bridge a few months later. Both bridges were used for two years, until they were destroyed by Allied aerial bombing. The steel bridge was repaired and is still in use today.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition)
Sunset Boulevard (also known as Sunset Blvd.) is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California.
The film stars William Holden as Joe Gillis, an unsuccessful screenwriter, Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded silent movie star who draws him into her fantasy world where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen with Erich von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling, her butler and ex-husband. Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb play supporting roles. Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves, and the film includes cameo appearances by leading silent film actors Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson.
Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won three. It is widely accepted as a classic, often cited as one of the most noteworthy films of American cinema. Deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked number twelve on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007 it was 16th on their 10th Anniversary list.
William Holden Joseph C. "Joe" Gillis
Gloria Swanson Norma Desmond
Erich von Stroheim Maximillian "Max" von Mayerling
Nancy Olson Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark Sheldrake
Lloyd Gough Marino
Jack Webb Arthur "Artie" Green
Franklyn Farnum Undertaker
Larry J. Blake Finance man #1
Charles Dayton Finance man #2
Cecil B. DeMille Himself
Hedda Hopper Herself
Buster Keaton Himself
Anna Q. Nilsson Herself
H. B. Warner Himself
Ray Evans Himself
Jay Livingston Himself
In dissecting Hollywood's "world of illusion," Wilder carefully placed the story within as authentic a setting as possible and made use of Hollywood history. Norma Desmond's name is believed to have been inspired by actor/director William Desmond Taylor, who was murdered in 1922, and his close associate and friend Mabel Normand, whose career was marked by scandals surrounding the murder.
Swanson was considered a fitting representative of Hollywood's past, remembered nostalgically by older fans but unknown to many younger movie viewers. Her personal collection of photographs decorated the set of Norma Desmond's home, causing Desmond's fictional past to resemble Swanson's authentic career.
The script/film refers to real films such as Gone with the Wind and real people such as Darryl F. Zanuck, D. W. Griffith, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, Tyrone Power, Alan Ladd, William Demarest, Adolphe Menjou, Rod La Rocque, Vilma Bánky, Mabel Normand, Bebe Daniels, Marie Prevost, Betty Hutton, Pearl White and Barbara Stanwyck along with the Black Dahlia murder case. Norma Desmond declares admiration for Greta Garbo.
Wilder extended his Hollywood references into some of his casting choices. Erich von Stroheim was a leading director of the silent era. In the role of Max, he watches a film with Norma Desmond, and the briefly shown scene is from Queen Kelly (1929), which von Stroheim himself directed with Swanson in the title role. Cecil B. De Mille, often credited as the person most responsible for making Swanson a star, plays himself, and was filmed on the set of his current film Samson and Delilah at Paramount Studios. He calls Norma "young fella," as he had called Swanson, a tiny detail of authenticity suggested by De Mille.
Norma's friends who come to play bridge with her, described in the script as "the waxworks", are Swanson's contemporaries Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson and H. B. Warner, who, like De Mille, play themselves. Hedda Hopper also plays herself, reporting on Norma Desmond's downfall in the film's final scenes. (Coincidentally, both Keaton and Hopper would die on February 1, 1966.)
In a comic scene, Norma Desmond performs a pantomime for Joe Gillis as a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty, in homage to Swanson's earliest film roles. She also performs a Charlie Chaplin impersonation identical to one she performed in the film Manhandled (1924).
The bed in the shape of a swan that Norma Desmond slept in was actually owned by the dancer Gaby Deslys, who died in 1920. It had originally been bought by the Universal prop department at auction after Deslys's death. The bed appeared in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) starring Lon Chaney.
Wilder also made use of authentic locales. Joe Gillis's home in the Alto Nido apartments is a real apartment block in central Hollywood and was often populated by struggling writers. The scenes of Gillis and Betty Schaefer on Paramount's backlot were filmed on the actual backlot, and the interior of Schwab's Drug Store was carefully recreated for several scenes. The exterior scenes of the Desmond house were filmed near an old house on Wilshire Blvd. built during the 1920s, which by 1949 was owned by the former wife of J. Paul Getty. The house was also featured five years later in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause. It was later demolished, and an office building now stands in its place.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
It's a Wonderful Life (60th Anniversary Edition)
It's a Wonderful Life is an American Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, that was based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", written by Philip Van Doren Stern.
Released in 1946, the film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community would be had he never been born.
Despite initially being considered a box office flop due to high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television around the world. Theatrically, the film's break-even point was actually $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An appraisal in 2006 reported: "Although it was not the complete box-office failure that today everyone believes ... it was initially a major disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films the must-see, money-making events they once were."
It's a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, although the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.
# James Stewart as George Bailey
# Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey
# Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Henry F. Potter
# Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy Bailey
# Henry Travers as Clarence Odbody
# Beulah Bondi as Ma Bailey
# Frank Faylen as Ernie Bishop
# Ward Bond as Bert, the cop
# Gloria Grahame as Violet Bick
# H. B. Warner as Mr. Gower
# Todd Karns as Harry Bailey
# Samuel S. Hinds as Peter "Pop" Bailey
# Lillian Randolph as Annie
# Mary Treen as Cousin Tilly
# Frank Albertson as Sam Wainwright
# Virginia Patton as Ruth Dakin Bailey
# Charles Williams as Cousin Eustace
# Sarah Edwards as Mrs. Hatch
# William Edmunds as Giuseppe Martini
# Argentina Brunetti as Mrs. Martini
# Bobby Anderson as Little George Bailey
# Ronnie Ralph as Little Sam Wainwright
# Jean Gale as Little Mary Hatch
# Jeanine Ann Roose as Little Violet Bick
# George Nokes as Little Harry Bailey
# Danny Mummert as Little Marty Hatch
# Sheldon Leonard as Nick, the bartender
# Charles Lane as The rent collector
# Jimmy Hawkins as Tommy Bailey
# Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu Bailey
# Larry Simms as Pete Bailey
# Carol Coomes (AKA Carol Coombs) as Janie Bailey
# Charles Halton as Carter, bank examiner (uncredited)
# Joseph Kearns as Angel Joseph (voice, uncredited)
# Evelyn Moriarty as Girl in the bar (uncredited)
# Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as Freddie (Mary's annoying high school suitor)
# Max Wagner as Cashier/Bouncer at Nick's Bar
# Tom Fadden as Bridge Caretaker (uncredited)
# Stanley Andrews as Mr. Welch (uncredited)
# Adriana Caselotti as the singer in Martini's Bar (uncredited