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Get Ready To Be Entranced: Sofia Coppola’s THE BEGUILED Grips

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There was a time when Sofia Coppola could be at an awards show and overlooked as a famous daughter; not anymore, not for years now since LOST IN TRANSLATION. But in her new film, THE BEGUILED, which is a retool of a 1971 Clint Eastwood starrer, she really comes of age as a visionary writer/director. Even in what is considered a remake of a movie based on a novel by Thomas Cullinan, it has a distinctive feel that’s all hers. The film opens Friday, June 23 in New York and Los Angeles, with wider release on June 30.KidanBGniceWith an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, you get a sense of why this movie won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival.

Picture a Southern all-girls boarding school during the battle-weary Civil War era, and a wounded enemy soldier appears. John McBurney (Colin Farrell) adds testosterone to a very delicate and well-mannered yet highly complex microcosm of women led by a formidable Headmistress named Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman).

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“This is my dream cast,” Sofia Coppola admits. “When I was writing it, I was picturing Nicole as Miss Martha. She always surprises me. Watching her, I’ve never seen anyone like that, she does so many different things at once.” She adds that the whole cast is on a par with Kidman.

You want to use a word like confection for the ethereal feel, but that description doesn’t do justice to the depth of rich multi-layered images that float on the screen like Spanish moss.

“This is very much a Sofia film,” Colin Farrell explains. “It’s very much aesthetically beautiful. She wrote every word of this. Her way feels maybe more right than some [as far as directing], there’s an immense lack of tension on the set, very playful. She’s incredibly easygoing and generous to her core it seems.”ColinDunstBG

Farrell is underscoring the fact that a remake can often feel like a re-do of someone else’s vision.

But if you look at the 1971 version, two minutes into the film, Eastwood is literally hitting on a twelve year old, with “not too young for kisses.” And even though the fabulous Geraldine Page stars as his Miss Martha, there’s a creepy feel to their interplay, down the line. So that’s essentially the breaking point for the 2017 Beguiled. It takes a left turn at the way the heightened sexual tension is framed.

“I didn’t know the movie and I watched it, and it really stayed in my mind. I watched it. It was so weird, and I thought ‘how would I do my version?’” I thought it would be interesting to do the same story but from the female characters’ point of view.”

Elle Fanning, who plays Alicia, describes her character as kind of an empowered seductress, but still innocent in a real way. “Anything Sofia does I think is incredible, it was also like, ‘yeah.’ Because it was all these girls and women — and Colin of course— they hold the power.”ColinElleBG

“The original film had been made from a guy’s point of view, so I went back to the book. Because I just liked the premise,” Coppola adds. “It’s such a crazy, extreme premise about power between men and women in such an extreme situation. The idea of looking at wartime from the point of view of the women left behind.”

“You try to make it personal. Try to relate to the characters because it’s such a different time. And yet I loved that it had elements that were familiar to me, this feminine beautiful world. A beautiful feminine world with violence and very gothic.”

“My tendency is to be on the subtle side. Colin was teasing me: ‘Oh, this is an action movie to you, there’s guns… there’s blood.’ It’s been fun to have this mix of beautiful dresses and a little gore. We had smoke machines everyday, and candlelight… a really ethereal look that is specific to this story.”

“Colin is a good sport about being our sex object in the movie, but he has to be dangerous and threatening, and romantic in the movie.” Farrell plays a mercenary soldier paid $300 off the boat from Ireland to fight as a Yankee, so he’s neither North nor South, but emblematic of the unspoken ever-present struggle for control between the sexes.

When the crushing attractions flare up between Farrell’s character and the many flavors of female in this strange closed world hunkered down  under siege of musket fire in a distance, Beguiled really poses some interesting questions about how women express their sexuality. Yet there’s a brutality to their mannered world that Farrell’s soldier-on-the-mend only begins to realize when it’s too late.

Not that every movie needs a memorable line, but when his John McBurney yells out “You Vengeful Bitches,” in a thick Irish accent, it’s an instant classic. Probably because Nicole Kidman’s Miss Martha is so poised and possibly inherently evil at the same time, in a nice way.NicBGbad17

Kirsten Dunst, who plays wronged love interest Edwina, sums up Sofia Coppola’s deft directing hand best, as “she doesn’t second guess herself. I’ve known her for so long, I’m working with my friend, you can’t really beat that.”

Since he is outnumbered in this eerie thriller, Colin Farrell gets the last word. “I’m surrounded by extraordinary talent. Watching these extraordinary women do extraordinary work. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie. It’s been a joy.”

Don’t miss what the women have in store for their wounded houseguest, it’s a very rewarding fight to the finish.

Focus Features awards-buzzworthy film THE BEGUILED rolls out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, June 23, with wider release on June 30.

Directed by Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” “Somewhere”)
Written by Sofia Coppola, based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and the screenplay by Albert Maltz and Grimes Grice
Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard.

Watch This Making-of With Director & Cast

 

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93 Minutes I Rated R

Official Site I Facebook I Twitter I Instagram

#TheBeguiled #VengefulBitches

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Why #Covfefe & Trump’s Media Trounce Irks: The Pulitzer at 100

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When most of us caught the Presidential Tweet in late May that included a fake word, #covfefe, that has become the American Typo Heard Around the World, it really mattered that this misspelled rant was aimed at the media.TrumpTwt17 The 45th President of the United States was, as they say in street fights, ripping all newsrooms a new one. And Mr. Trump has literally gone to town on what he, @realdonaldtrump, and his Trump Administration call their enemy a/k/a the Media. He doesn’t see it as an Us and Them, he sees it as a USA and Them, as if being a journalist is de facto unpatriotic. Well, look no further than a great documentary to realign the universe of writers, writing, journalism, and The Pulitzer Prize. Even Martin Scorsese weighs in on stories we tell as journalists, scribes, and poets in Oscar-winning director Kirk Simon’s “The Pulitzer at 100,” which opens July 21 at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.

Ironically, one could say that the Leader of The Free World paying attention to the printed word and its creators is high praise — if you approach it from the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ angle. But unfortunately, this is not the case. President Trump has really blown a hole in the Fourth Estate, as if he’d been given a gold-plated wrecking ball with a Presidential Seal on it. It’s not just that he misunderstands journalism as a form of public relations; it’s not just that he singles out individual reporters like criminals in a briefing; it’s that we let him get away with it.Pulitzer1sht17

Why We Can’t Let The Press Get Beaten Up Anymore…

“The Pulitzer at 100” features hot button stories like an insider look into the lid-lifting Secret Service prostitution exposé, and the woman who was the little girl in that iconic Vietnam era napalm photo, but it also includes John Lithgow reciting Robert Frost. If Tracy K. Smith, the 2012 Pulitzer prize recipient for Poetry, doesn’t cut you to your knees just in one verse, check your pulse. “A poem invites conflation” between the writer and the reader, she tell us; and there’s Helen Mirren, Liev Schreiber reading some literary winners of the prize, breathtaking.

But back to journalism. Do we and our President even know why it is called The Fourth Estate and what it means? Quoting Stanford University’s “Journalism in the Digital Age” here:

“Journalism has long been regarded as an important force in government, so vital to the functioning of a democracy that it has been portrayed as an integral component of democracy itself. In 1841, Thomas Carlyle wrote, “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all” (On Heroes and Hero Worship). Four years earlier, Carlyle had used the phrase in his French Revolution: “A Fourth Estate, of Able Editors, springs up, increases and multiplies; irrepressible, incalculable.” Carlyle saw the press as instrumental to the birth and growth of democracy, spreading facts and opinions and sparking revolution against tyranny.”Pul17

You don’t need to know this to watch “The Pulitzer at 100,” but it helps. From the press notes, “There are more than a thousand recipients of this prestigious award including journalists, novelists, poets, musicians and photographers and this film has been made from the most valuable of resources, the artists themselves, many of whom are featured in The Pulitzer at 100.”

A short list includes:

Carl Bernstein, The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, 1973
Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize International Reporting & Affairs,1983,1988 & 2002
Martin Baron, Editor of The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, National Reporting and Explanatory Journalism, 2014, 2015 & 2016
Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize for Biography, 1975 & 2003
David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1994
Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Winner for Investigative Reporting, 2010 & 2015
Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize, International Reporting and Commentary, 1990 & 2006
Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and National Reporting, 2014 & 2015
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2012
Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1999
Paula Vogel, writer of How I Learned To Drive, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1998
Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2008
Wynton Marsalis, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 1997
John Adams, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 2003
Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, 1973

Who Was This Immigrant Named Pulitzer?

“At the end of the Civil War,” this documentary tells us, Joseph Pulitzer a penniless Hungarian vagrant, sleeps on benches in New York, then moves to St. Louis, and the rest is history in broken English, shall we say. Typos matter, words matter, our Democracy matters. We matter as reader-citizens, writer-citizens, audience and actors in this American Experiment.NewsPul17

So the next time you watch a Presidential Press Briefing where journalists take a beating for protecting your right to ask questions as a citizen, remember who Joseph Pulitzer was, and why he matters.

Quoting “Journalism in the Digital Age” from Stanford again, which is not part of the documentary, for reference, just read along to see why this film and your opinion about the “media” matters:

“The fact of the matter is that democracy requires informed citizens. No governing body can be expected to operate well without knowledge of the issues on which it is to rule, and rule by the people entails that the people should be informed. In a representative democracy, the role of the press is twofold: it both informs citizens and sets up a feedback loop between the government and voters. The press makes the actions of the government known to the public, and voters who disapprove of current trends in policy can take corrective action in the next election. Without the press, the feedback loop is broken and the government is no longer accountable to the people. The press is therefore of the utmost importance in a representative democracy.”PulStmp17

Plus there’s Natalie Portman reading the work of Jorie Graham, 1996 Pulitzer winner, such “nimble armor” language.

THE PULITZER AT 100 – First Run Features Notes

Kirk Simon is an Oscar and Emmy-winning producer and director of documentary films for more than 30 years. In addition to winning an Academy Award for the HBO short documentary Strangers No More, he has also been nominated three other times, and won the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton.  His films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO and MTV.

Highlights in his oeuvre include the Emmy-winning Masterclass, an HBO series in which great artists mentor high school students; also for HBO, he was responsible for numerous programs including the 14-part series Kindergarten, which continues to be broadcast each morning on HBO Family. Mr. Simon’s first film for HBO was Chimps: So Like Us with Dr. Jane Goodall, which required Mr. Simon to sleep in a tent on the shore of Lake Tanganyika for three weeks to make this Oscar nominated and Emmy-winning program. He was also responsible for the award-winning series Coming Out Stories on MTV’s LOGO that portrayed the emotional process of coming out in the LGBT community. Entertainment Weekly wrote, “this touching series marks a high point for the network.”

For PBS, Simon has produced and/or directed programs for American Masters, American Playhouse, American Experience, Masterpiece Theater and The National Geographic.  For American Masters, Mr. Simon produced the Emmy-nominated Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud in 1996 and the Oscar-nominated biography of Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1986. For National Geographic, shows produced and directed by Mr. Simon include both Cairo Unveiled and Incredible Human Body. Simon is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Writer’s Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Producer’s Guild of America.

Credits

Produced and Directed by Kirk Simon
Co-Produced by Ron Simon
Executive Producers: Nikkos J. Frangos and George T. Lemos
Edited by Emily Williams
Director of Photography: Buddy Squires, ASC
Music by Wendy Blackstone
Run Time –  91 min
Language – English
Format – Digital
Year – 2017
Genre – Documentary

Visit: http://www.thepulitzerat100.com

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Charlize Theron Should Definitely Add ATOMIC BLONDE To Her Dating Profile

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We already know from THE ITALIAN JOB and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD that South African bombshell Charlize Theron can drive the hell out of any vehicle, even with deranged bikers in tow. Now Imperator Furiosa can add a few more skills to her dating profile with Universal’s July 28 release ATOMIC BLONDE. This movie is based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series “The Coldest City,” written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart. Theron is also a producer on Atomic. Plus it has wily Toby Jones being creepy and John Goodman playing it tough.CharlizeActAB17That line “You don’t need a man, you need a champion*” applies to the female lead here. Note that Charlize can do things with a high heel that few dare dream to do, and still be a golden-hued spokesmodel for iconic French perfume Dior.CharlDior17
You’ll recall her Oscar-winning performance as a serial killer in MONSTER (2003) the minute you watch this trailer for what looks to be a new wild entry in this Transvaal native’s career. The official description follows below from Universal, but just take in the clip without context first, to see how talented and physically powerful this Queen from The Huntsman can be. TheronMcAvoyAB17After all, in Mad Max, she even made super toughie Tom Hardy look a little frightened. Here she makes James McAvoy consider his options. What a date night movie this will be.

From Universal Pictures, Bows July 28

Oscar® winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.  

The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission.  Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.  

A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2).  Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.  Kurt Johnstad (300) wrote the screenplay.CharlizeAB17Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones
Directed by: David Leitch
Screenplay by: Kurt Johnstad
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Produced by: Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, A.J. Dix, Kelly McCormick, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin
Executive Producers: Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Joe Nozemack,
Steven V. Scavelli, Ethan Smith, David Guillod, Kurt Johnstad

Official website here. Opens July 28. See it then.

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What Happens When Fans Watch THE LAST JEDI Trailer: They Go Wild, So Will You

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Ever since STAR WARS time immemorial, or 1977, depending on how tuned-in to George Lucas’ space saga you are, there’s been one constant: a massive fan base. In fact, stealing from the tech world, you could even say “all your fan base are belong to us.”
Us being George’s LucasFilm LtdKathleen Kennedy his key producer, and every single actor who’s been on board, from Harrison Ford to Daisy Ridley through four generations now.
Why is STAR WARS so huge? Because it resides at the intersection of Space and Nerd, and serves to legitimize the longing we all have to believe that the night skies hold something other than floating super-hot rocks and dead asteroids.

And there’s a bunch of cool robots saying snarky things, with R2D2 homaging the Marx Bros’ Harpo in space with his whistles.

R2D2 Is Harpo Marx in Space!

R2D2 Is Harpo Marx in Space!

Or maybe it’s just because we grew up with this franchise, all of us. Call it the wishful thinking of terrestrial folks to join the galactic ranks, or just a perfect form of escapism in the CGI era, whatever it is about this franchise, super fans can’t get enough even though this isn’t set to launch until 12/15.
Now you can join them in a first-look at THE LAST JEDI trailer from yesterday, April 14, in Orlando, Florida, at the 40th STAR WARS CELEBRATION.
Behold… seated in a theater, far, far, away… you are transported there…

The party also included surprise moderator and Star Wars superfan Josh Gad, fans in attendance were treated to an exciting look at the next episode in the Saga for the first time, as you just saw. Gad was then  joined on stage by Kathleen Kennedy, director Rian Johnson, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, BB-8 and making her first appearance on the Celebration stage, Kelly Marie Tran.STARWARS17

Trailer courtesy of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Celebration.

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Vintage Bowie, Iggy, Blondie, Syd Barrett in SHOT, Doc on Mick Rock OnDemand Now

by Screenmancer Staff

We usually don’t cover OnDemand, but SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRTUAL MANTRA OF ROCK also opened in theaters on April 7, so this isn’t a stretch. SHOT is a voyeurist’s dream/viewfinder brought to you through the eyes of one Mick Rock.

Ziggy Also Ate Bananas...

Ziggy Also Ate Bananas…

Who is Mick Rock? Hyperbole from the press kit sets the perfect tone for “a deep look into the mind of one of rock’s greatest living photographers: Mick Rock.”
“Rock’s work with some of the most accomplished personalities of the past forty years – David Bowie, Queen, Blondie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop – created many of the images that would come to define them.”BowieIggyLou17“Presented in his own words, Rock takes us through his journey from the glam rock shimmer of London, through the snarl of NYC punk and into the new millennium, combining a portrait of the man who did the work, with a look at what the work did to the man.”SHOT1sheet17
Directed by Barnaby Clay, and featuring Mick Rock himself, “this film reveals an enigmatic Rock and his adventurous life both behind the camera and as an integral member of the artist’s entourage working with and shaping some of the most outrageous, recognized and accomplished musicians and personalities of the past forty years.”QueenShot17“An icon-maker, and icon in his own right, Rock is among a very few photographers who himself is photographed walking red carpets in Los Angeles, London, New York and around the globe.”

Blondie Is Still Bitchin'

Blondie Is Still Bitchin’

Thank you, Magnolia Pictures for that hyphen-free magnificent description of what looks to be, from the photos they gave us, a killer look back at 70’s, 80’s wild club life.

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Magnolia Pictures released SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL MANTRA OF ROCK in theaters on April 7, as mentioned, but it’s now OnDemand, on Amazon Video and iTunes.
91 Minutes

Download the poster:
http://bit.ly/2mcI59V

For More Info:
Official Site | Twitter = #MickRockFilm

Remember, it’s only rock’n’roll, but you like it, yes you do.

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Michael Douglas Got Booted & Suited Up for TCM 2017, Like You Were There

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

While he has nothing on the elder Douglas, Golden Era Legend Kirk Douglas at almost 101 years old, TCM celebrated the life and career of Hollywood youngster Michael Douglas during a taping of “Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival” on April 8 at the famous Montalban Theatre during the eighth annual festival. MichaelD17

Host Ben Mankiewicz said beforehand, “Michael Douglas has been part of our collective Hollywood consciousness his entire life. From chasing bad guys through the streets of San Francisco to playing an iconic bad guy in Gordon Gekko, Michael has stayed not only relevant, but vital. To say that I’m looking forward to discussing the career of an actor who played Liberace 38 years after producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a huge understatement.”

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Just take a scroll through these absolutely iconic Michael Douglas portraits and think back on the guy behind the red rows of seats in A CHORUS LINE, and all the other movie credits on this legendary resume, being the life’s work of Michael Douglas, to date of course. MikeArrivesTCM17Like the old man, he will likely last a century, hopefully. Congratulations to the actor, producer, director, and Academy, as well as audience, favorite Michael Douglas.MikeFitting17

There’s great footage of their chat on TCM’s website, but we’ve got these photos — truly works of art — that really set the tone for a classic time had by all at the recent Turner gala celebration. MikeShowTCM17

You’ll learn more about that from TCM’s post-dated official news announcement below.

MikeTCMExec17Left to right: Charlie Tabesh, Senior Vice President Programming and Production; Turner Classic Movies; Pola Changnon, Senior Vice President, Creative, Brand and Marketing, Turner Classic Movies; Ben Mankiewicz. Host, Turner Classic Movies; Jennifer Dorian, General Manger, Turner Classic Movies; Michael Douglas; Genevieve McGillicuddy, Director, TCM Classic Film Festival

Here’s Official Rundown from TCM

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) previously announced that legendary actor Michael Douglas would attend the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival for a pair of major events. On April 8, Douglas sat down with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for an in-depth interview about his career at the legendary The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre as part of the annual Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival series. In addition, the Oscar®-winning icon participated in a discussion following a screening of the 1979 thriller The China Syndrome, which he produced and starred in opposite Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon.

TCM added screen legends and beloved icons to its impressive lineup for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, which took place April 6 – April 9 in Hollywood, including:

·        Best in Show (2000) – cast members from Christopher Guest’s acclaimed mockumentary – Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, Jim Piddock and Bob Balaban – were on hand to discuss the hilarious comedy about the eccentric characters competing at a national dog show.

·        Bob Newhart – the Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner was selected to introduce a screening of Hell Is For Heroes (1962).

·        John Landis, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker – attended a 40th Anniversary screening of their irreverent sketch comedy The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and participated in a conversation about the film.

·        Dick Cavett –Emmy-winning television personality was set to introduce screenings of Monkey Business (1931), the first original film production from the Marx Brothers, Way Out West (1937) and sit down for a conversation in Club TCM.

In addition, the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival presented a number of rare screening events that celebrate cinema’s ability to immerse viewers in the film experience, including:

·        Nitrate Films – this years festival showcased the history of cinema and highlight the institutions that work hard to protect original nitrate prints for contemporary audiences to experience, including Academy Film Archive, George Eastman Museum and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Lineup included: Black Narcissus (1947), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Laura (1944), and Lady in the Dark (1944) all shown at the Egyptian Theatre. Nitrate projection made possible through support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies and The Film Foundation in partnership with the American Cinematheque and the Academy Film Archive.

·        Cinerama – a screeing of the very first film made for the ultra-widescreen process – the aptly titled This is Cinerama (1952) – in its original format presented at ArcLight Cinemas’ Cinerama Dome.

·        Speedy Accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra – a screening of the Harold Lloyd comedy Speedy (1928), with original music by the famed Alloy Orchestra.

·        Those Redheads from Seattle in 3D – the world-premiere restoration of the rarely-seen musical Those Redheads from Seattle (1953), presented in its original 3D format.

Previously announced events and appearances include Oscar® winner Sidney Poitier for the 50th anniversary opening-night screening of In the Heat of the Night (1967); Mel Brooks for the 40th anniversary screening of his Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety (1977); actress Lee Grant for screenings of Detective Story (1951) and The Landlord (1970); and actor-director Peter Bogdanovich for screenings of The Last Picture Show (1971) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972). Grant and Bogdanovich were interviewed in the Festival’s central gathering point, Club TCM. And legendary father and son filmmakers Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner were honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX®.

Complete bios for each of the artists appearing at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival and for film descriptions, please visit the festival’s website: filmfestival.tcm.com

The 411 on 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

For the eighth consecutive year, thousands of movie lovers from around the globe descended upon Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival. The 2017 festival that took place Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, April 9, 2017. Over four packed days and nights, attendees were treated to an extensive lineup of great movies, appearances by legendary stars and filmmakers, fascinating presentations and panel discussions, special events and more.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz served as official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival, with TCM’s Tiffany Vazquez introducing various events. The festival’s official hotel and central gathering point for the eighth consecutive year was The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which has a longstanding role in movie history and was the site of the first Academy Awards® ceremony. Screenings and events during the festival were held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Egyptian Theatre, as well as other Hollywood venues.

This year’s festival theme? Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy In The Movies. From lowbrow to high, slapstick to sophisticated comedies of manners, the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival showcased the greatest cinematic achievements of lone clowns, comedic duos and madcap ensembles.

Why We Love Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz and Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vazquez, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 22nd year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app.

TCM is a division of Turner, a Time Warner company, Turner creates and programs branded news, entertainment, sports, animation and young adult multi-platform content for consumers around the world. Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., HLN, CNN International and CNN.com, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, FilmStruck, Super Deluxe, iStreamPlanet and ELEAGUE.

Connect with TCM for Next Year’s TCM Event & Right Now via App on iOS and Android
Website: www.tcm.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tcmtv
Twitter: twitter.com/tcm | twitter.com/tcmpr
TCM Store: shop.tcm.com

Download TCM app to watch now; available for iOS and Android Platforms (Google Play).

Bonus Feature – Graphiq Visualization of Michael Douglas Movies

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Academy Goes 70mm INTERSTELLAR: Nolan’s Nod to Librarians, Yes, Film Librarians

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When the Academy gets something wrong, well, over a billion people remember. Even if it really only happened once, during the live telecast for Oscars 2017. While we can’t erase the past, we can preserve Oscar 89 as a moment in time insofar as even this year marked an important once-in-a-lifetime snafu in Hollywood history. Next time, we may hear the phrase “The Other Envelope, Please.”

The Academy Is Back, Folks

Time to get over all that, because AMPAS is back to its old glory this month. Beginning April 26 through May 1, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host public screenings in support of the 2017 Film Librarians Conference and International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). Yes, they even tapped genius director Chris Nolan to host a 70 MM version of his space epic INTERSTELLAR.NolanFIFA17 Plus there’s Spanish-language vintage cinema classics too, hosted by director Daisy von Scherler Mayer and Actor Guillermo Díaz.

Events like these rare openings for the public should make us all remember how important the Academy is in highlighting film gems.

Here’s the official word from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences…

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LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced special public programing, from April 26-May 1, in conjunction with the 2017 Film Librarians Conference – Documenting Cinema: Film Librarianship in the 21st Century and the 2017 FIAF Conference. Screenings will include a preview of the new documentary “Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story,” “Party Girl” in 35mm, a Spanish-language double feature, and “Interstellar” in 70mm with three-time Oscar® nominee Christopher Nolan.

What to Watch, When & Where:

2017 Film Librarians Conference – Documenting Cinema: Film Librarianship in the 21st Century

HAROLD & LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2017)

Wednesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater

The inspiring love story between storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film research librarian Lillian Michelson spanned more than 60 years, during which they contributed to some of Hollywood’s most iconic examples of visual storytelling.

PARTY GIRL (1995)

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater

Presented in 35mm. With Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer and Actor Guillermo Díaz

Mary, a NYC club girl with a distinct sense of fashion, begins working at a library after she gets busted for illegally charging admission to one of her parties. Bored with her new job, she soon discovers the joys of mastering the Dewey Decimal system and begins to realize becoming a librarian is her life’s calling.

International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Congress

Hollywood Goes Latin: Spanish-Language Cinema in Los Angeles (Double Feature)

¡ASEGURE A SU MUJER! (INSURE YOUR WIFE!) (1935)

CASTILLOS EN EL AIRE (CASTLES IN THE AIR) (1938)

Sunday, April 30, 7:30pm at the Linwood Dunn Theater

In the early days of sound cinema, Hollywood made an attempt to reach the Spanish-language market by producing movies in Spanish. Many of these films have been lost, and those that remain are rarely seen or studied. These two films are an excellent introduction to this fascinating period of early sound production in Hollywood. Presented by The 2017 FIAF Congress, the Academy and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Both films are presented in Spanish with English subtitles.

INTERSTELLAR

Monday, May 1, 7:30pm at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater

Presented in 70mm with Director Christopher Nolan. In conjunction with The International Federation of Film Archives who has honored Nolan with their annual FIAF Award.

In the not-too-distant future when planet Earth has become nearly uninhabitable, a team of scientists must figure out a way to travel through space and time to alternate galaxies in order to save humanity. Nominated for five Oscars, and winning an Oscar for Visual Effects, “Interstellar” was directed by Christopher Nolan and written by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan.

Your ACADEMY

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 7,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

Follow ACADEMY on Social Media

www.oscars.org
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www.youtube.com/Oscars
www.twitter.com/TheAcademy

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Who’s Your MUMMY: Tom Cruise & Russell Crowe Bring Mummy Back

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Oh, admit it, the team of OG Box Office Ballers Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe in Universal’s new take on THE MUMMY slated for June 9 has definite possibilities, even if Russell Crowe is a wry scale-tipper these days, mostly divining water in indie films. TCRuss17Plus it’s an IMAX® hair-raiser.
Tom Cruise, or TC to friends, is such a hot-button actor for his off-screen activities that it’s almost like a Kevin Bacon game of interconnections, but mostly interstellar ones in TC’s case. At a certain point you just have to smile and remember it’s about the movies, not the man himself — although TC has an uncanny ability to pick winners in the storytelling category, even detractors can’t argue his bottom-line earnings.
That said, let’s give the boys a chance here because they’re bringing The Mummy storyline back as a female-driven ghoul show.
Not to ruin the plot, but hell hath no CGI-empire-smashing-fury like a chick who’s been buried for a very long time. In fact, this sexy crone isn’t just breaking a glass ceiling, she’s ripping the lid off major cities like London. All this with the power of two-pupil mind-control eyeballs, mind you.TCRussOld17
Girls just want to have fun, as the Cyndi Lauper lyric goes, unless of course they’re back from the undead and none-to-happy about their demise.
Watch the trailer here, full cast and credits below. Also, the no-subtext official description follows. Thinking they’ll top the BO worldwide with the Russell & TC show, baggage and love handles and all, lol, mostly because it’s a VR eyefest. Virtual Reality is the go-to these days to pull people off their gaming consoles and into the theaters.

Why You’re Going to Love THE MUMMY
Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: THE MUMMY.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (upcoming King Arthur, television’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

The creative team on this action-adventure event is led by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producer Chris Morgan, who have been instrumental in growing some of the most successful franchises of the past several years—with Kurtzman writing or producing entries in the Transformers, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible series, and Morgan being the narrative engineer of the Fast & Furious saga as it has experienced explosive growth from its third chapter on. Sean Daniel, who produced the most recent Mummy trilogy, produces alongside Kurtzman and Morgan. www.themummy.com

Mummy17Production Team = Positron and Voyager
Founded in 2014, Positron is a technology studio based in Los Angeles that delivers engineering magic.  The team includes mechatronics engineers, designers, software developers and artists who collaborate together to create VR experiences and products that have never been done before.  Voyager is the first full-motion chair platform designed for cinematic VR. Integrating beautiful design and high-end engineering, it reflects a passion for VR storytelling. Voyager delivers a completely new level of immersion in VR by providing a comfortable, fully integrated personal VR theater that incorporates gentle motorized yaw and pitch motion, haptic feedback (physical audio powered by Subpac), and specialized seating. Its unique software and hardware technology integration enables nuanced motion and haptic tracks to be encoded along the featured content’s visual and spatial audio tracks. The chair precisely guides the viewers’ attention to points of interest in the experience, while also allowing a viewer-controlled motion mode. Voyager units are available now for select theaters, hotels, concerts, and events that desire to provide a premium VR experience. For Voyager images please visit Positron Media.

THE MUMMY arrives in IMAX® and theaters nationwide on Friday, June 9, 2017. www.themummy.com

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The Kong Show: KONG SKULL ISLAND, Hiddleston, Larson, Jackson Deliver “Bigly”

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When the original KING KONG was released by RKO in March of 1933, some of the trade ads included a tie-in between Kong’s big bang box office receipts and the failed banks of the Great Depression roaring back to profitability. Kong33pstcrd17It was a nostalgia sell, a heart-tug for a pre-code Hollywood monster romp, the likes and scale of which had never been seen on the silver screen.

In a quick recap, Merian C. Cooper was turned down at Paramount, then skipped over to RKO. David O. Selznick bit, but bailed out during production. Titled “The Beast,” “Eighth Wonder of the World,” “Ape King,” and “Kong,” Selznick insisted the title be changed to KING KONG. The wow-title was a huge pivot for a scream queen screenplay written by Edgar Wallace. KongTradeBankAd17

Much like the old KONG, the new KONG: SKULL ISLAND also released in March 84 years later, by Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, just shot past all expectations for the weekend opener, to the tune of $61 M USD. (*Now just shy of $150 M USD worldwide.)

And this is up against the formidable Hugh Jackman franchise starrer LOGAN.

Why is KONG SKULL ISLAND doing so well?

Nostalgia, folks, Viet Nam war era discontent, and throw-back technology right down to the brick-like cell phones and dot matrix, white and light lime green striped perforated IBM computer paper from the 70’s of this KONG. HidLarsKSI17Call it a Guardians of The Galaxy overhaul of the gorilla classic, KONG even features a key plot point role by GOTG’s John C. Reilly.

The film script has so many great touches, for example Brie Larson’s photojournalist character says she was “an anti-war photographer” embedded in Vietnamese conflict.  Shea Whigham plays a hardened Viet Nam veteran who says “we didn’t lose the war… we abandoned it.” All creative plot embellishments work here.

Plus, Bradley Cooper’s brother from Silver Linings Playbook, that same actor Shea Whigham, has some other soulful moments in this, also his Playbook alum John Ortiz makes an impact. All the supporting characters are extremely well-thought out.

Including some kid who looks like he actually is in Apocalypse Now-then, even though this is KONG 2017, ironically shot in Vietnam, here. His name is Thomas Mann, from Portland, Oregon, a kid we will see much more of based on his palpable brand of youthful sincerity in this picture.

Richard Jenkins, the one and only, shows up as a US Senator, another nice touch. The guy who should have passed on the remake of BEN HUR, Toby Kebbell, shows us why this British-born actor is still very gifted as Chapman, whose letter-writing home to “Dear Billy” is a leit-motif and masterstroke of the emotionally rich storytelling throughout this movie.

Anyway, KONG SKULL ISLAND is making money because it’s worth the money. Main stars Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World”), Oscar-nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), John Goodman (“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Argo”), Oscar-winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Trainwreck”), Jing Tian (“Police Story: Lockdown”), Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), John Ortiz (“Steve Jobs”), Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”), Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”), Shea Whigham (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Thomas Mann (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”), with Terry Notary (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and all rock the blockbuster with Oscar-nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), knock it out of the park.
In sum, everybody delivers “bigly” as the word goes these days. It’s the perfect storm of escapism for a time that parallels the economic uncertainty of the early 30’s. Our KONG, the 2017 inhabitant of this silver screen Skull Island, has his own agenda, and is rebranded as a 2.0 of monster movie heroes.

Not to give too much away, you won’t guess the plot twists, and may be slightly disappointed by a thin and pale John Goodman whose real purpose here seems to be to show the perils of weigh loss on humor quotient. That said, Goodman also pulls his weight in a line-up of truly excellent performances for the genre, and even for any genre.

Watch Tom Hiddleston and others in this official featurette on KONG SKULL ISLAND…

Here’s What Warner Bros Has to Say About Their Gorilla-Not-To-Be-Missed

Official Statement: The producers of Godzilla reimagine the origins of one the most powerful monster myths of all in “Kong: Skull Island,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Tencent Pictures.  This compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“The Kings of Summer”) tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful.  Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature.  As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.
Vogt-Roberts directed the film from a screenplay by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, story by John Gatins. Kong: Skull Island is produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni and Alex Garcia, with Eric McLeod and Edward Cheng serving as executive producers.
The creative behind-the-scenes team included director of photography Larry Fong (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), production designer Stefan Dechant (supervising art director True Grit, Avatar), Oscar-nominated editor Richard Pearson (United 93, The Bourne Supremacy) costume designer Mary Vogt (the Men in Black films) and composer Henry Jackman (Captain America: Civil War). The team also included Oscar-winning makeup supervisor Bill Corso (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and supervising stunt coordinator George Cottle (Interstellar, The Dark Knight Rises). The legendary Kong was brought to life at a whole new scale by Industrial Light & Magic, with two-time Oscar winner Stephen Rosenbaum (Avatar, Forrest Gump) serving as visual effects supervisor.
To fully immerse audiences in the mysterious Skull Island, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and his cast and filmmaking team filmed across three continents over six months, capturing its primordial landscapes on Oahu, Hawaii—where filming commenced—on Australia’s Gold Coast, and finally in Vietnam, where filming took place across multiple locations, some of which have never before been seen on film.
Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures and Tencent Pictures present a Legendary Pictures Production, a Jordan Vogt-Roberts Film,Kong: Skull Island. The film will be released worldwide in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX beginning March 10. Kong1sht17CAST: Kong: Skull Island” stars Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World”), Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), John Goodman (“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Argo”), Oscar winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Trainwreck”), Jing Tian (“Police Story: Lockdown”), Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), John Ortiz (“Steve Jobs”), Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”), Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”), Shea Whigham (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Thomas Mann (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”), with Terry Notary (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and Oscar nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”).

See their website for official images and screening details.

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Robert Osborne: Keeper of OSCAR’s Secrets Gone Now

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Today, a familiar face left the Hollywood landscape as TCM host Robert Osborne, 84, died on Monday Mar.6, 2017. But he was much more than just another talking head about movies and movie stars. Osborne came to Tinsel Town from “off the farm,” as he recounted when we spoke about the Oscars history in 2011. Instead of penning a typical tribute, here’s a real inside look back at a man whose work in show business lives on. Ironically, he leaves us in the most controversial year ever for the Academy Awards as LA LA LAND was erroneously announced as Best Picture, later corrected as MOONLIGHT. In Osborne’s estimation, the only other Oscar controversy happened in 1947, exactly 70 years ago. His opinion on the two controversies, as to which one was more or less impactful — now or 1947 — would have been priceless.

The following in-depth chat is from a FilmFestivals Jan. 17, 2011 interview, when Robert Osborne (1932-2017)  discussed the Oscars history and his own personal journey on the way to becoming one of the most recognized faces to cover the Academy Awards presentation and Hollywood lore on TCM and on the red carpet.

Enjoy this look back at a man, once an actor, who became a different kind of screen legend as the charismatic and lively host of Turner Classic Movies, among other contributions to the entertainment industry as an author and Hollywood insider.

ARCHIVE: When the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences award show premiered in 1928, the industry was barely 31 years old. Known as The Official Biographer of The Academy Awards, as well as the honorary red-carpet greeter for the Academy, the man who refers to himself as “coming to Hollywood off the farm” will unveil insider moments about these films as he unspools some of the greatest pictures ever made.

Recently he gave us a private glimpse into his personal life as well as his professional path leading from his 1965 start chronicling the movies up to his present life as a man inextricably tied to the Golden Statuette.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Since you are the official biographer of the Oscar, how is this year different leading up to the Oscars?

ROBERT OSBORNE: It is certainly a different Oscar game now than in the years when all the stars were well-known to the public. In 1951, they all knew who Humphrey Bogart was, who Marlon Brando was, and Montgomery Clift.

It made the Oscar race very interesting because you had all these stars competing against each other. Today we have a lot of films come out with a lot of different people we’ve never really known before, or seen before. So we’re being introduced to these films [and stars], and it’s a little hard to get people excited about the awards when they don’t know quite who the players are.

For us, with programming at TCM, it is wondeful because it gives us a chance to bring out all these films. Many of which won Oscars and are nominated in categories people are not aware of — so we have this wide mix of films (with history) people are not that aware of.

Not only the famous ones, like the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA’s and CASABLANCA’s, but films that are still worth seeing and fun to see.

For us, it is like a whole month full of desserts. Great movies to resee, if you haven’t seen them before. It also gives us a chance to show films we haven’t shown before.

This year we are showing the LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING, which won the Academy Award in 2003. And we go all the way back to WINGS, which was the first movie to win an Academy Award back in 1927.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Was that Clara Bow?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Yes, it was Clara Bow and Gary Cooper. We have a whole mix from FORREST GUMP to PRETTY WOMAN to KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: That’s great movie. What are your Top 5 Oscar all-time favorites? I know that’s tough.

ROBERT OSBORNE: My two favorites are movies that never won any Oscars, but were certainly nominated. SUNSET BOULEVARD, and A PLACE IN THE SUN.

But as far as (winning Best Picture), GONE WITH THE WIND would be in there, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS — because it always makes me feel good and lively. GODFATHER would be in there. That’s four. And maybe LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Is it true that you first came to Hollywood as an actor, and that Lucille Ball was your mentor?

ROBERT OSBORNE: I was. When I first came out to California, it turned out to be a big break for me. She had 12 people under contract. She got to know us all over a two-year period. She knew I loved to write, and old films. At that point, there was really not a lot of interest in them.

She said “you know, I think we have enough actors. Why don’t you try writing about the business? I know you would be fine as an actor, but I don’t think it will make you happy.”

She said “I think writing and researching about old films will make you happy.”

I did listen to her because there was nothing to gain from giving me advice like that. I think you have to be careful who you get advice from because they may be giving you advice to help them in some way.

She encouraged me to write a book right away, because she said “if you write a book, and you are competing for a job,  a writing job, you’ll be ahead of other people.”
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QUENDRITH JOHNSON: She was so pragmatic, you know?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Very smart, too. She said “If you’ve written a book. They will realize you have the dedication. A lot of people say they want to write a book, but few have the discipline to actually do it. If you do it, you will get the job.” She had great advice like that.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You’ve had so many powerful leading ladies in your life. I think Bette Davis wrote the foreword to your first Academy Award book in 1965?

ROBERT OSBORNE: I learned wonderful things from her. She became a great friend of mine. I went out to California at a great time, at time when people like Bette Davis, and certainly Lucy and others, were available.

They weren’t working as much as they used to. If I had come out 10 or 15 years earlier, they all would have been very busy working on their careers. So they had time to talk to somebody like me, off the farm and coming to Hollywood.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: What’s your favorite Bette Davis story, a personal moment with her?

ROBERT OSBORNE: The biggest thing about Bette Davis was that she was nothing like the character Margo Channing in ALL ABOUT EVE.

She was a homemaker, a very New England lady, a great friend, a cook, she liked other women. So she wasn’t competitive with women.

She could very easily sit in a living-room with a lot of people and she didn’t have to be the center of attention. She liked going to parties, all that stuff.

It got complicated later when she got cancer and wasn’t feeling well. She got very difficult to be around then. But she was such a nice lady when she was in good health, one certainly put up with that. She was great to be around. She was very bright and had good common sense. I liked her very much.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: So far you’ve also had close relationships with the children of stars, like Pia Lindstrom (Ingrid Bergman’s daughter), and I know you are friends with Liza Minnelli —

ROBERT OSBORNE: I knew their mothers too.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: I’m going ask you a Judy Garland story then, may I?

ROBERT OSBORNE: There was a period of one week where there seemed to be a lot of parties going on. I somehow got on this list. At every party, Judy Garland was there, and would eventually move over to the piano and start singing.

I knew she was Judy Garland, and I liked her. But it never occurred to me that — 50 years later — she would be this icon that everyone would still be talking about.

But that night, I was trying to have a conversation in the other room. To me, at this one party, she was singing so loud, I thought “God, I wish she would be quiet.”

I’d heard her singing in the living room two or three times earlier that week.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You should have yelled “Cut!”

ROBERT OSBORNE: What was I thinking, it was Judy Garland. Now I think I should have been at her feet.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Did you tell Liza that, she probably thinks that is hilarious?

ROBERT OSBORNE: No. I’ve never told her that. Actually her mother is somebody I don’t talk to her a lot about because Liza has always been very careful to not in any way tread on her mother’s legacy — or not to have anyone perceive in any way that Liza is cashing in on her mother.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: She’s phenomenally talented, from CABARET on, so she’s got the pipes anyway.

ROBERT OSBORNE: Oh yeah. She is. She’s great. I like her a lot. But again, with people like that, I am very sensitive that sometimes the only thing people talk to her about is Judy Garland.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: With this year’s 31 Days of Oscars, do you also make reference to what also might be in contention, like Natalie Portman and BLACK SWAN, for example?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Not too much, because the nominations haven’t come out yet. What we are talking about here is Oscar’s history. People are coming to watch CASABLANCA, not to talk about Natalie Portman.

We’re really talking about the Academy Awards process, why a certain film won and some interesting stories about those films.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: What are some of the unknown things, you will share?
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ROBERT OSBORNE: You’d have think of a movie…

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: How about BONNIE & CLYDE for example? That year, HEAT OF THE NIGHT won. But we remember BONNIE & CLYDE as a start of a trend. Did that seem like an unusual year?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Yes. And. You have to put that in the context of its times. When BONNIE & CLYDE came out, in 1967/68, it was a very rude picture. That was a very violent film for that time. There were a lot of people who didn’t like that movie.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Pauline Kael (legendary film critic) saved that movie, single-handedly championed that film, rang the bell for BONNIE & CLYDE, didn’t she?

ROBERT OSBORNE: It does have to do with the times. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was a very well-made film, with a distinctive actor who had never won an Oscar before. It had great acting in it.

BONNIE AND CLYDE was way too violent to be seriously considered for that time. You still had people in the industry who were making films back in the 1940’s. It was quite a jump for people.

A movie like BONNIE & CLYDE is important because it helped the advance of the screen, the kind of subjects being told.

But it’s like today. There are movies being told that won’t even get an Oscar nomination because they are considered too far out. Someday people will look back and say “why didn’t that get more attention?”

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: What’s the biggest Oscar upset of all time, in your opinion? Biggest shock?

ROBERT OSBORNE: The biggest shock was probably 1947, when Loretta Young won for FARMER’S DAUGHTER.

All the awards that year had gone to Rosalind Russell. So much so, it was such a foregone conclusion, that RKO was giving that movie a big party for Rosalind Russell at Ciro’s.  They even had big banners up saying “RKO Salutes Ros.”

This was before television. Rosalind was actually on her feet adjusting her dress at the Shriner auditorium to walk down the aisle when they opened the envelope and read the name “Loretta Young”

She was the least likely. I think they took a poll and Rosalind Russell was the big favorite, then it was Susan Hayward in SMASH UP; Joan Crawford in POSSESSED.

RKO luckily had produced Loretta Young’s film — so they wiped Rosalind Russell’s name off the cake, took down the banners!

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: In the Modern-ish era, what about MY COUSIN VINNY, that Marisa Tomei was not supposed to win?

ROBERT OSBORNE: There was a rumor went around that Jack Palance, when he read off her name, said it, but it wasn’t the name of the winner.

But that couldn’t be true.

Because they knew, the minute the Academy Awards went on television — that this being live — some mischief could happen. Someone being funny or whatever.

From the time this has been on TV, since 1953, there are two members from the polling house, standing on each side of stage, who know who the winner is beforehand.

If there is a mistake, misread, or some such thing, these two men are instructed to cue the director, walk to the center of the stage, come to the podium and say “there’s been a mistake. The winner in that category is…”

They never embarrass the person coming down the aisle.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: As far as the name “Oscar,” how it got the name, Bette Davis was always famously known for saying that she named it for her first husband? What’s the truth?

ROBERT OSBORNE: The Oscar is a warrior, a nude statue, standing on a reel of film. She always said it looked like her husband when he got out of the shower. That he had the rear-end of Oscar.

There was a woman named Margaret Herrick, a secretary —

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Right, I know who she was, now there’s the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy.OsborneR17

ROBERT OSBORNE: Well, she claimed she named it for a cousin of hers. A columnist claimed he named it “Oscar” after an old Vaudeville joke, because he had gotten tired as a writer, writing about “The Golden Statuette of the Academy.”

I’ve talked to Bette about that. Whoever started it, it was around 1935, when Bette Davis won for DANGEROUS. That’s when that word came into play.

It is strange about things, you can have an idea, and once you speak the idea, somehow it gets out in the air and someone can catch it.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You are so right!

ROBERT OSBORNE: It’s like story ideas, never speak of it, because someone is liable to get it.

[Visualizations courtesy of www.graphiq.com.]

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