Ben Brock writes: ““It was 50 years ago today…”: that’s both a misquote and a reference to the wrong album, but never mind, because listen up. This summer will mark half a century since the release of “A Hard Day’s Night,” the Beatles’ first feature film and one of the most important pieces of musical cinema ever made. As well as an endlessly inventive and fun film, in which a huge amount if mileage is got out of the simple fact that it’s the Beatles playing themselves, it’s also a very modern-feeling movie, even 50 years on.”
Famed British actor, Bob Hoskins, 71, died of pneumonia Wednesday and is survived by his wife and four children.
My first introduction to Mr. Hoskins was with Who Framed Roger Rabbit and while I enjoyed the film and his performance, I never quite understood the buzz that surrounded him. That all changed when I watched The Long Good Friday. Bob Hoskins was the perfect representation of Harold Shand, the working-class gangster trying to become a legitimate businessman. His portrayal, especially the last few minutes, was largely responsible for making The Long Good Friday not only one of my favorite British films, but one of my favorite films of all time.
Here’s a complete filmography (not including his many television appearances) courtesy of Wikipedia:
In honor of John Waters’ birthday, I went hunting for a clip to share and I came across a promotional short honoring the late, Vincent Price. Written and narrated by John Waters, it pretty much sums up why I love both of these guys.
Although this was created in honor of Mr. Price being named Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month last October, it’s taken me this long to find it again and share it. Well, truth be told, I haven’t looked that hard but hey, better late than never.
Wendy Mitchell writes: “The Look of Silence will look at Indonesian death squads from victims’ perspective.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer is now busy in production on The Look of Silence, his follow-up to The Act of Killing. While The Act of Killing followed the perpetrators from Indonesia’s death squads, the new film is about the victims.”
Taylor Lindsay writes: “The Stanley Film Festival, a horror film festival held for the second year at the Stanly Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado and presented by the Denver Film Society, came to an end April 27th. The winners of the Visionary Award, Master of Horror Award, Stanley Dean’s Cup and more have been announced.”
THR writes: “Shi has contributed to the Hong Kong film industry for more than three decades, especially in the international success of Hong Kong cinema through her work with Cinema City studio in the 1980s and with the Film Workshop, which she and producer and director (and her husband) Tsui Hark co-founded in 1984. She is also the the founder and chairman of Distribution Workshop.”
Today, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell is getting a proper 3 disc U.K. Blu-Ray/DVD release. The film was the last of the Hammer Studios Frankenstein series and also the last film directed by Terence Fisher. His first film, A Song For Tomorrow, was released in 1948, but he came into his own with 1957’s The Curse of Frankenstein which not only was the first of an extensive list of gothic horror films to be directed by Fisher for the British film studio but also a launching pad for it’s stars, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
Fisher was responsible for some of the most sophisticated and masterfully crafted Hammer films, including one of my favorites, The Devil Rides Out. The film, also starring Christopher Lee, was a Richard Matheson adaptation of the supernatural bestseller from British author Dennis Wheatley. A notable addition to the list is yet another adaptation, this one from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with 1959’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, again with both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Cushing was cast in the role of Sherlock Holmes and Lee as the targeted Baskerville.
I find that Fisher’s films are some of the most enjoyable of the genre and I find that his dramatic use of framing, light and color are inspiring and highly underrated. At the time of their releases, Fisher’s films were largely dismissed critically due to the characteristics inherent to the horror genre, most notably the sexuality and explicitness of death. In fact, Fisher is generally regarded as one of the first to blend these now battered and overused tropes into the genre.
I am very excited to see these films are now starting to gain the credit and recognition they deserve, especially with more and more restored releases of his works popping up on Blu-Ray and DVD.