In 1896, the French Lumière Brothers made the film Bataille de boules de neige (Snowball Fight). “The film was shot in Lyons, France using one of the duos’ all-in-one cinématographe creations,” says Petapixel, “which was part camera, part projector, and part developer.” It’s been updated by Joaquim Campa, “who used the AI-powered software DeOldify to upscale the footage to 1080p, interpolate additional frames for a smoother result, and colorize the old footage.” Does it look better than the original, or is it just a technical trick that flattens the past?
Charlie Chaplin was great in black and white but can he cut it in colour? Thanks to YouTube, you can watch Chaplin in a colorised version of his 1915 short movieA Night in the Show.
Chaplin played two roles: one as Mr. Pest and one as Mr. Rowdy. The film was created from Chaplin’s stage work from a play called Mumming Birds (a.k.a. A Night at an English Music Hall in the United States) with the Karno Company from London. Chaplin performed this play during his U.S. tours with Fred Karno company and decided to bring some of this play to his film work. Edna Purviance played a minor role as a lady in the audience.
The Beastie Boys’ videos have always been immensely enjoyable. Ever since She’s on It (1985), the band has been cranking out a lively and fun blast of sight and sound. And now they’ve remastered 36 of their videos for the internet age.
Six of the video were directed by Spike Jonze, who also directed the Beastie Boys Story film. The pick of the bunch has to be the video for Sabotage.
Wes Anderson was right. Social distancing is the way to survive the modern world. Luis Azevedo has created this supercut of characters in Anderson’s movies practicing sound social distancing techniques.
Time to rewrite the latest Mission: Impossible film. Filming in Italy for the seventh outing for Tom Cruise and Can Do gang has been stopped because it’s impossible to take on the coronavirus and win. Not so much Mission: Impossible, as Mission: Likely to Succeed Pending A Risk Assessment.
“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three-week shoot in Venice,” say Paramount in a statement.
“During this hiatus we want to be mindful of the concerns of the crew and are allowing them to return home until production starts. We will continue to monitor this situation, and work alongside health and government officials as it evolves.”
Plans for the film series’ diminutive lead actor Tom Cruise to take on a coroanvirus is hand-to-hand combat are said to be premature.
In 2001, Kirk Douglas (December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020) told Esquire what he’d learned in life. The actor summed up: “In order to achieve anything, you must be brave enough to fail.”
I tell my sons they didn’t have my advantages growing up. I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up.
Give your children lots of rope. Allow them to make their own mistakes. Don’t give them too much advice. Each child is different; you have to respect that. It’s a crapshoot: You roll the dice, and you see what happens.
One big disappointment in my life was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I bought the rights to the book, but no one wanted to make it into a movie. So I paid to have it made into a Broadway play. There was one line in there that was so beautiful. McMurphy is trying to help all these people on the ward. There was a sink, and he tried to lift it out of the wall, but he couldn’t. He tried really hard, but it wouldn’t budge. As he was leaving the room, with all the guys watching, he turned around and said, “But I tried, goddammit, I tried!” Sometimes I think I should have that as my epitaph.
Lead image: 10th May 1969: Ken Kesey (1935 – 2001), American author of ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Sometime’s A Great Notion’ – Photo by Roy Jones
In 2007, artist Jeremy Deller and filmmaker Nicholas Abrahams accepted a commission by Mute Records and Depeche Mode to make a documentary about the band’s No.1 fans. The result is Our Hobby is Depeche Mode.
“A friend of mine, Nick Abrahams, told me that Mute Records were looking to make a film about Depeche Mode for an anniversary ‘greatest hits’ package. I thought that could be quite interesting. And either he or I or both of us – I can’t actually remember –suggested that we do something about their fans, as you hear almost mythical stories about their Eastern European fanbase, particularly in the 1980s. We went to Mexico, the US, Germany, Romania, Brazil and Canada – all in under three weeks.
“In Russia, 60 fans met us at the airport and basically kidnapped us for two days, which was brilliant for the film. As we suspected, the story from Eastern Europe was massive. The effect of Depeche in that region during the 1960s was similar to the effect of the Beatles on the UK during the 1960s.”
Jeremy Smith has compiled a list : ‘The signature film of every major city’. London is the only British city to make the list. And the choice of film? Night and the City, a great London noir film.
A blacklisted American filmmaker in London summoned up his rage and resentment to make one of the nastiest noirs of of the 1950s. Perhaps a non-Englander’s perspective is required to place this film above the numerous classics shot in this prominent world capital, but there is something about Dassin’s lensing of London as a city of granite and steel — a hard place with no give — that leaves you aching once the tawdry tale is finished. Honorable mention: Lean’s “Brief Encounter,” Mackenzie’s “The Long Good Friday,” Crichton’s “The Lavender Hill Mob,” Cammell/Roeg’s “Performance,” Leigh’s “Naked,” Wright’s “Shaun of the Dead” and Boorman’s “Hope and Glory.”
Rutger Hauer (23 January 1944 – 19 July 2019) is best known for his starring role in Blade Runner (1982), a take on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. He gave sic-fi movies an ending to rival that of all other genres. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” says his character Roy Batty. “Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
Here he is telling us how the ending came about – “At the same time I was doing this film, I saw the future”:
Indiewire have listed their 100 best movies of the decade. Any movies released later this year stand not a hope of making the list – because it’s closed. Top of the pile is “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins, 2016), ahead of:
2: “Under the Skin” (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
3. “Certified Copy” (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
4. “The Act of Killing”/”The Look of Silence” (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2013/2015)
5. “Inside Llewyn Davis” (Ethan & Joel Coen, 2013)
No – I’ve not seen any of them. But a tip’s a tip so will do…
Bruno Ganz (22 March 1941 – Died: 15 February 2019) played Hitler in the 2004 film Downfall. “His depiction of Hitler’s final days in an underground bunker as the Third Reich collapsed around him spawned so many memes that maybe you never saw the original. You should”. So says Jerry Dunleavy. He’s right:
Hugh Grant will one day be recalled as the best British actor of his generation. He stole the show in Paddington 2 – which is terrific, by the way – and has made moderate British rom-coms watchable, and really good British rom-coms better. Oh, and in About A Boy, Grant played an adult man living alone who befriends a teenager but without coming across as predatory and the bloke they warn you about. No easy thing.
It’s Public Domain Day, the moment when lots of old works become free to use. It’s a biggie this year because for 20 years nothing new has been released. In 1998 Disney and other copyright holders got the State to impose copyright restrictions for an additional 20 years. The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act is a horror. Works from 1922, including James Joyce’s Ulysses, turned copyright free in 1998 but anything published the following year was protected. But from today music, book, posters, art, films and plays published in 1923 will be free of intellectual property restrictions. Dig in. Go create.
Jennifer Jenkins, director of the Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, explains:
But now the drought is over. How will people celebrate this trove of cultural material? Google Books will offer the full text of books from that year, instead of showing only snippet views or authorized previews. The Internet Archive will add books, movies, music, and more to its online library. HathiTrust has made over 50,000 titles from 1923 available in its digital library. Community theaters are planning screenings of the films. Students will be free to adapt and publicly perform the music. Because these works are in the public domain, anyone can make them available, where you can rediscover and enjoy them. (Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print—see here, here, and here.) In addition, the expiration of copyright means that you’re free to use these materials, for education, for research, or for creative endeavors—whether it’s translating the books, making your own versions of the films, or building new music based on old classics.
* The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney
* Short films featuring Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang
* Animated films including Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown
* Safety Last!, directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, featuring Harold Lloyd
* The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille
* The Pilgrim, directed by Charlie Chaplin
* Our Hospitality, directed by Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone
* The Covered Wagon, directed by James Cruze
* Scaramouche, directed by Rex Ingram
* Joseph Conrad, The Rover
* Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”
* Nikolay Gogol, Dead Souls
* Rudyard Kipling, Land and Sea Tales for Boys and Girls
* Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan and the Golden Lion
* Agatha Christie, The Murder on the Links
* Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis
* e.e. cummings, Tulips and Chimneys
* Robert Frost, New Hampshire
* Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
* Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay
* D.H. Lawrence, Kangaroo
* Bertrand and Dora Russell, The Prospects of Industrial Civilization
* Carl Sandberg, Rootabaga Pigeons
* Edith Wharton, A Son at the Front
* P.G. Wodehouse, works including The Inimitable Jeeves and Leave it to Psmith
* Viginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room
* Yes! We Have No Bananas, w.&m. Frank Silver & Irving Cohn
* Charleston, w.&m. Cecil Mack & James P. Johnson
* London Calling! (musical), by Noel Coward
* Who’s Sorry Now, w. Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, m. Ted Snyder
* Songs by “Jelly Roll” Morton including Grandpa’s Spells, The Pearls, and Wolverine Blues (w. Benjamin F. Spikes & John C. Spikes; m. Ferd “Jelly Roll” Morton)
* Works by Bela Bartok including the Violin Sonata No. 1 and the Violin Sonata No. 2
* Tin Roof Blues, m. Leon Roppolo, Paul Mares, George Brunies, Mel Stitzel, & Benny Pollack (There were also compositions from 1923 by other well-known artists including Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, WC Handy, Oscar Hammerstein, Gustav Holst, Al Jolson, Jerome Kern, and John Phillip Sousa; though their most famous works were from other years.)
The new biopic about Queen singer Freddie Mercury (5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991), tells us how he met the band and pulled his partner, Jim Hutton. The is much artistic licence. In one sun, Freddie Mercury tells the rest of the band about his HIV. It’s during rehearsals for their hymned 1985 Live Aid appearance. But Mercury wasn’t diagnosed until 1987. The rest of Queen did’t know the full extent of his illness illness until 1989.
He had a very responsible attitude to everyone that he was close to and he was a very generous and caring person to all the people that came through his life and more than that you can’t ask,” said May in 1991. “I tell you we do feel absolutely bound to stick up for him,” added Taylor, “because he can’t stick up for himself anymore, you know?”
Hymned director Martin Scorsese has produced a list of his eleven most terrifying horror movies. There’s nothing after 1983. This might be more down to his age than any decline in the standard of horror. Scorsese was born in late 1942. Maybe when he reached his 40s, he stopped being frightened?
It’s also notable that noticeable that many of the directors whose work impressed him are no longer alive. Robert Wise died in 2005; Vale Lewton (1951); Lewis Allen (2000); Frank de Felitta (2016); Alberto Cavalcanti (1982); Charles Crichton (1999); Basil Dearden (1971); Robert Hamer (1963); Stanley Kubrick (1999); Jacques Turner (1977); Jack Clayton (1995); and Alfred Hitchcock (1980). Perhaps there’s a bit of professional rivalry? Anyhow, the list if great:
The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
Isle of the Dead (Val Lewton, 1945)
The Uninvited (Lewis Allen, 1944)
The Entity (Frank de Felitta, 1983)
Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer, 1945)
The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1980)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Jennifer Lawrence showed some skin as she lined up with her Red Sparrow co-stars for a press call. The men showed no skin. The Mail says the looks sparked “controversy on social media”. Helen Lewis, for one, was upset by what came to be called – get this – “WarmCoatGate”.
This is such a quietly depressing (and revealing) image. Not least because I’ve been outside today and it’s bloody FREEZING. pic.twitter.com/BRnmgKJ5wY
Not that Lewis, the Deputy editor @newstatesman, was outside to promote a film. Some clothes are best for popping to shops, others are good for gardening or climbing Everest. Some are good at getting attention.
The Mail couldn’t resist editorialising, telling readers that Jennifer Lawrence “appears to be shivering in a plunging Versace dress”. You can tell if someone’s shivering from a still? Maybe the cold is why the four man are all sporting coats and beards. Maybe the beards are viewed as part of what it is to be a man, just as Lawrence’s cleavage is essentially feminine?
Lawrence got wind of people voicing their disapproval. “This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended,” she writes on Facebook. “That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”
Get a load of all that freedom. And then get another big stinky load of the righteous trying to work out if you can have freedom and enforced equality.
In other news: attractive actress in revealing dress gets film lots of attention. Read all about it!
Who wants a Pop! figure of a topless Jeff Goldblum? Who doesn’t? Goldblum was shirtless and wounded in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park. And now the “Wounded Dr. Ian Malcolm” love toy is yours to take home.
Do we look at actors pretending to be other people and beings from fact and fiction, and think they should have had their morals checked before getting the part? Moral thinking can change, so if we are going to check people’s minds, we need to review the past in a modern light, too, in case someone impressionable and vulnerable looks at them and copies their lives. You know how it works: you watch Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own, realise he’s cheating on his wife with her, pull on a vest, grow a moustache and shag a colleague.
Blessedly, Kevin Spacey, now the subject of sexual abuse allegations, has been removed from the next series of House of Cards, the TV showin which he plays the main character. Variety reports that “producers plan on scrapping most, if not all, of the footage shot during the roughly two weeks of season-six production that had taken place in October”.
You can still catch Spacey on reruns, but perhaps they too will be binned, just as the BBC purged its archives of Jimmy Savile, both real and imagined. Spacey’s accusers have not had their claims tested in court, their allegations not yet made to vault all those hurdles to justice. He says he’s innocent. But lest we be upset by the look and sight of Spacey playing a murderous figure on the telly, he’s been dismissed.
So when Johnny Deppp was cast in JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts, The Crimes of Grindelwald, there were howls of outrage. This is Depp whose then wife Amber Heard accused him of subjecting her to domestic abuse. Depp denied any wrongdoing. The couple divorced. And that was that.
Until that is Deep went to get a job. Rowling, an intelligent woman, told everyone: “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
But some people were dismayed. In what she terms “a post-Weinstein world”, one writer says casting Depp in the show “breaks my heart”. She adds:
The practice of giving men in power the benefit of the doubt simply because other powerful people vouch for them is sometimes known by another name: rape culture.
Well, that escalated quickly. Rape? Depp is presumed innocent, right? And we don’t own him. He’s a private individual. Rowling says just that in her statement:
When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.
Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.
The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected. Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.
I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.
How great is that. She gets it. “JK Rowling endorsed Johnny Depp and betrayed millions of women,” laments the Independent, which thinks women are best served by subjecting private lives and relationships between the sexes to forensic scrutiny; equating accusation with guilt; and believing that no-one of whom we have an unfavourable opinion and who is innocent before the eyes of the law should get the job.
Copy and past news now, as the Metro tells us that Kenneth Branagh is starring in a remake of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. On set he was delighted to see fellow star “Michael Pfeiffer“. Any relation to screen goddess Michelle Pfeiffer? Dunno. But the rest of the busy tabloid media also salute the great Michael Pfeiffer:
Speaking with ITV’s Lorraine, he said: “There was a lot of mutual respect.
“The first time they met on the platform I was on the train watching them all getting ready to come on. They were so sort of shy with each other, it was like the first day at school… Then the first person up the steps was Michael Pfeiffer and she had tears in her eyes and I thought, ‘Christ, we haven’t started and she’s already upset!’ And I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘I just met Judi Dench!’”
He told Lorraine: ‘There was a lot of mutual respect. The first time they met on the platform I was on the train watching them all getting ready to come on. They were so sort of shy with each other, it was like the first day at school. ‘Then the first person up the steps was Michael Pfeiffer and she had tears in her eyes and I thought: “Christ, we haven’t started and she’s already upset!”
“They were so sort of shy with each other, it was like the first day at school, then the first person up the steps was Michael Pfeiffer and she had tears in her eyes and I thought, ‘Christ, we haven’t started and she’s already upset!’ and I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘I just met Judi Dench!’”
He added: “Judi Dench is the secret to casting movies basically, you cast her and she’s an actor magnet.”
Isn’t modern journalism great. (Copy and paste at your leisure.)
Dontchaloveshowbiz? At the James Corden-hosted amfAR Gala in Los Angeles, Julia Robert won a gong for…courage. Roberts has done good works in the fight against HIV/AIDS.AmfAR is “dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research”. All good. But “courage”?
Courage is defined as the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”.
Aside from the hyperbolic language, Vanity Fair tells us of the do: “While accepting her award on stage at the sprawling home of billionaire investor Ronald Burkle’s Green Acres Estate in Beverly Hills.”
Courage under crystal in the bijou home ballroom.
And then there was this:
Try not to vomit if you watch this>> Meryl Streep & Hollywood ..Don't You DARE EVER Preach To The Rest Of Us You Sanctimonious Hypocrites pic.twitter.com/lHYJyAE8C0