Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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#101 Post by Dylan » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:50 am

David, the subtitles on your "Spider's Stratagem" copy are much better than on the New Yorker Video copy I have (which has an unacceptably very large font for the subs). The visual quality is equal though. This one really needs to get out there, it's a great film, brilliantly psychological (like all of maestro Bernardo's), and the ending really stays with me. And of course, Valli is great in it.

Michael, I saw "Senso" on TCM a few years ago just as I was getting into Italian cinema. It's a hell of a beautiful film, and Valli is as exquisite as ever in it. I really want to see it again, I can't believe it's not on DVD yet.

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#102 Post by dx23 » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:44 am

'Third Man' co-star Alida Valli dies

ROME (AP) — Alida Valli, one of Italy's great actresses who co-starred in the 1949 film The Third Man and Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case, died Saturday in Rome, the mayor's office said. No cause of death was given. She was 84. Valli, born Alida von Altenburger, had a film career that spanned more than 60 years and worked with some of the greats of Italian cinema, including Luchino Visconti and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said Italian cinema had lost one of its most significant stars in the dark-haired beauty, who was often compared to Greta Garbo or Ingrid Bergman.

Valli, who was born in 1921 in Pula, in what is now Croatia, made her film debut in Italy in the mid-1930s but moved to Hollywood a decade later, where she appeared opposite Gregory Peck in Hitchcock's The Paradine Case.

Two years later, in 1949, she got top female billing in Carol Reed's The Third Man, the classic tale about the new world order of moral ambiguity, set in post-World War II Vienna.

After her brief sojourn in Hollywood, Valli returned to Italy, where she starred in Visconti's 1953 film Senso (Sense) and also appeared on stage.

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#103 Post by Gordon » Fri May 26, 2006 8:50 pm

Director/screenwriter Val Guest dies at 94

Val Guest was a superb craftsman. The Day the Earth Caught Fire is one of the great 'intelligent' sci-fi films, I feel. Beautifully shot (with orange tinting sequences) by the great Harry Waxman (Brighton Rock; The Wicker Man) with superbly detailed sets by Tony Masters (2001: A Space Odyssey; Papillon; Dune). Leo McKern is great, as always, too. The Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass 2 remain quite gripping and witty films with quite a few imaginative shots. I have a soft-spot for The Abominable Snowman; I like how the yetis are ultimately shown to be sympathetic, which is unusual for a Hammer film. Hell Is a City has a helluva lotta energy and is atypically British, much like Losey's, The Criminal and is well-photographed by Arthur Grant (Quatermass and the Pit; The Devil Rides Out; Paranoiac and Losey's The Damned) in scope on grim Manchester locations.

Dangerous Davies - The Last Detective (1981), adapted by Guest from Leslie Thomas' superb novels, with the legendary Bernard Cribbins in the lead is also fantastic, shockingly overlooked, but on DVD at last.

But one of Guest's best films is his most forgotten - 1961's The Full Treatment, adapted by Guest and Ronald Scott Thorn from his own brilliant novel and starring Claude Dauphin as a psychiatrist trying to understand why a racing car driver (Ronald Lewis) who has an accident, starts to feel the urge to kill his wife. It was a Hammer co-production, but like many of the non-horror Hammer films, it seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Black and white scope photography by Gil Taylor and sets by Tony Masters. I'd love to see it again on DVD in its OAR.

Guest provided many audio commentaries and interviews for DVDs of his films. His track on The Day the Earth Caught Fire, moderated by Hammer expert Ted Newsom is one of the best I have ever heard; fascinating and absorbing with all bases covered.

Not a famous name, but Guest was a fine writer and director who crafted some fine fantasy-suspense films in the late 50s and 60s. He also seemed an affable and modest gentleman and he had a good innings, as we Brits say!

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#104 Post by cdnchris » Sat May 27, 2006 2:16 am

No love for Casino Royale? The movie was terrible, but considering he somehow got the crap job of having to make sense out of the mess he was stuck with I think he did a better job than anybody else could have.

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#105 Post by htdm » Tue May 30, 2006 5:55 am

Japanese news agencies have just reported that Japanese director Imamura Shohei (Ballad of Narayama, Black Rain, Insect Woman, Pigs & Battleships, Vengeance is Mine, etc.) died on the afternoon of the 30th (Japan time). Imamura was the first Japanese director to ever win top honors at Cannes twice and, according to the Japanese news reports, only the fourth in the world to do so. As is often the case, the cause of death isn't mentioned. Imamura's oldest son is director Tengan Daisuke.

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#106 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Tue May 30, 2006 8:24 am

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#107 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue May 30, 2006 9:19 am

The cause of death was grimly appropriate -- considering the subject matter of his next-to-last feature film -- Dr. Akagi (Liver Doctor).

I am very sad. Imamura was my favorite living "senior director".

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#108 Post by Steven H » Tue May 30, 2006 10:58 am

A very sad day. Imamura was certainly one of the great filmmakers. I recently watched The Profound Desire of the Gods (a few times, actually... I love this film) and his earlier 60s work will someday find a real audience in the west. It's brilliant stuff.

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#109 Post by Grimfarrow » Tue May 30, 2006 12:37 pm

So sad :( RIP Imamura Shohei

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#110 Post by Cinephrenic » Tue May 30, 2006 1:25 pm wrote:Shohei Imamura, 1926-2006
Master filmmaker Shohei Imamura died of cancer on Tuesday, May 30, at the age of 79. The first Japanese director to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (in 1983, for the astonishing The Ballad of Narayama, and then again for The Eel, in 1997), Imamura was one of the country's trailblazing new wave auteurs, surveying his society's sexual and social landscape. His dense filmography includes Insect Woman, The Pornographers, Vengeance Is Mine, and Black Rain. He was widely considered Japan's greatest living filmmaker.
Yet there is hardly any of his films in the collection...

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#111 Post by erick » Tue May 30, 2006 10:05 pm

cinephrenic wrote:Yet there is hardly any of his films in the collection...
I agree that this is a rather sad state of affairs, especially given Criterion's exquisite treatment of Ozu's work. I can only hope they acquire the rights to Imamura's films, especially Black Rain and, for purely personal reasons since it was the first Imamura film I ever saw, Pigs and Battleships.

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#112 Post by Matt » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:16 pm

Only vaguely film-related, but still...

Gyorgy Ligeti, 1923-2006

June 12, 2006
'Space Odyssey' Composer Ligeti Dies

Filed at 11:54 a.m. ET

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Composer Gyorgy Ligeti, who survived the Holocaust and fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution, then won acclaim for his opera ''Le Grand Macabre'' and his work on the soundtrack for ''2001: A Space Odyssey,'' died Monday. He was 83.

Ligeti, celebrated as one of the world's leading 20th century musical pioneers, died in Vienna after a long illness, said Christiane Krauscheid, a spokeswoman for his publisher, Germany-based Schott Music. Details were unavailable, but Austrian media said he spent the last three years in a wheelchair.

Ligeti (pronounced lig'-ih-tee) was born in 1923 to Hungarian parents in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian part of Romania's Transylvania region. His father and brother later were murdered by the Nazis. He took Austrian citizenship in 1967 after fleeing his ex-communist homeland.

He began studying music under Ferenc Farkas at the conservatory in Cluj, Romania, in 1941, and continued his studies in Budapest. But in 1943, he was arrested as a Jew and sentenced to forced labor for the rest of World War II.

''My life in the Nazi era and under communist rule was full of risks, and I believe I still reflect this feeling,'' he once told the Austria Press Agency in an interview.

After the war, Ligeti resumed his studies with Farkas and Sandor Veress at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy. After graduation in 1949, he did research on Romanian folk music and then returned to the academy as an instructor in harmony, counterpoint and formal analysis.

Ligeti attracted wide atttention for ''Macabre,'' which he wrote in 1978.

Ligeti's early work was heavily censored by Hungary's repressive regime, but his arrival in Vienna in 1956 opened up new possibilities. In the Austrian capital, he met key players in Western Europe's avant-garde music movement such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gottfried Michael Koenig and Herbert Eimert, who invited him to join an electronic music studio at West Germany's state radio in Cologne in 1957.

He won early critical acclaim for his 1958 electronic composition ''Artikulation'' and the orchestral ''Apparitions.'' He gained notoriety for a technique he called ''micropolyphony,'' which wove together musical color and texture in ways that transcended the traditional borders of melody, harmony and rhythm.

Ligeti spoke at least six languages, including his native Hungarian, German, French, and English, said Stephen Ferguson, who worked as his assistant and editor at Schott Music from 1992-96.

''He was one of the few avant-garde composers who found his way into the modern program,'' Ferguson said. ''He was fascinated by patterns, but at the same time created wonderful atmospheres, such as in the music used in '2001: A Space Odyssey,' or in 'Clocks and Clouds.'

''He reintroduced techniques of polyphony out of the tradition of Bach and Palestrina with a playful and innovative sense of sound. He developed a new sound -- cluster sound -- which fascinated director Stanley Kubrick and propelled Ligeti to the top of the great composers of the second half of the 20th century.''

Excerpts of his ''Atmospheres,'' a requiem and 1966's ''Lux Aeterna'' were used on the bestselling soundtrack for Kubrick's ''Space Odyssey.'' Although the music was not the film's well-known fanfare, which was composed by Richard Strauss, it won Ligeti a global audience.

Kubrick returned to Ligeti in 1999, using the composer's Musica Ricercata II (Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale), as the theme for what turned out to be his final film, ''Eyes Wide Shut.''

Ligeti, who for a time also lived in Germany and San Francisco and was a visiting professor at the Stockholm Academy of Music for many years, was known for striking a playful note with his music, epitomized by a piece he wrote for 100 metronomes.

Sir Simon Rattle was a fan of Ligeti and led many performances of his works during his tenure at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before taking over the Berlin Philharmonic.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel hailed Ligeti on Monday as ''the greatest Austrian in the 20th century music world,'' and the city of Vienna said it would offer a special grave site in honor of its adopted composer.

Ligeti is survived by his wife, Vera, and a son, Lukas, a percussionist who lives in New York. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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#113 Post by tavernier » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:36 pm

Ligeti's death is a huge loss, as he was one of the greatest composers of the past 50 years. The richness of his music is only hinted at in the selections we heard in Kubrick's films.

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#114 Post by Ashirg » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:29 pm

Vincent Sherman, 1906-2006

Vincent Sherman, who directed - and romanced - Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth and Joan Crawford during his heyday as a leading Hollywood filmmaker in the 1940s and '50s, has died. He would have been 100 on July 16.

His death Sunday night of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital was announced Monday by his son, Eric Sherman. "Vince was in good condition until two months ago," said actress Francine York, his companion for the last nine years. "In January he had appeared on a documentary about Humphrey Bogart, and he told a lot of good stories. He was the last of the gentlemen, a real Southern gentleman."
I'm so glad Warner recorded interviews and commentries to his films before he passed.

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#115 Post by Steven H » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:28 pm

I missed this when it happened, but I hadn't seen it mentioned yet. On April 12th, 2006, Kuroki Kazuo (75), one of the great Japanese directors to come out of the new wave (ATG) era, died from a cerebral infarction. He, along with Hani Susumu, got his start in the fifties with documentaries, and then went on to make feature fiction films. Here is an excerpt from an email posted on kinejapan by Roland Domenig (hopefully he won't mind my posting, but this is the closest thing I could find to a obituary in english:
Roland Domenig wrote:Kuroki was one of the many talents that emerged in the 1950s from Iwanami Production. He made himself a name as director of very innovative PR films and documentaries such as Wagaai no Hokkaido (Hokkaido, My Love; 1957) or Koi no hitsuji ga umi ippai (The seas are full of sheeps in love, 1961) and was one of the founding members of the legendary Iwanami Blue Group (ao no kai). In the mid-1960s he left Iwanami and continued as independent director. His films often encountered troubles, as with the documentary film Aru marason ranna no kiroku (Record of a Marathon Runner, 1964) which reflected the struggle between old and new left within the Association of Documentary Filmmakers, or his feature film Kyuba no koibito (Cuban Lovers, 1969) shot in Cuba. His brilliant first feature film, Tobenai chinmoku (Silence has no Wings, 1966), explored (like many of his documentaries before) new visual and narrative ways and was distributed by the Art Theatre Guild who produced his subsequent films Nihon no akuryo (Evil Spirits of Japan, 1970), Ryoma ansatsu (The Assassination of Ryoma, 1974), Matsuri no junbi (Preparations for the Festival, 1975) and Genshiryoku senso (Lost Love, 1978). With the first part of his WWII trilogy, Ashita (Tomorrow, 1988), which was followed by Utsukushii natsu no Kirishima (A Boy's Summer in 1945; 2002) and Chichi to kuraseba (The Face of Jizo, 2004), he also gained international recognition. Kuroki was one of the most versatile Japanese directors switching freely between documentary and fiction, gendaigeki and jidaigeki, cinema and TV. Although rarely at the center of attention he was one of the most important directors of his generation and his death is a great loss to Japanese cinema.
I've seen, unsubtitled, a number of his earlier films and agree with Domenig that they are brilliant. Particularly Preparations for the Festival, Silence Has No Wings and Ryoma Ansatsu. Some of his relatively recently released films are available on DVD with english subtitles (Ronin Gai and The Face of Jizo). If anyone is interested in learning more about this director, there are a couple articles about the Japanese New Wave and Art Theatre Guild at, an interview with the director here. According to Masters of Cinema Kuroki was working on a biopic about the life of Yamanaka Sadao as late as November 2005, it was completed before the director's death and will be released in Japan this August. More information about this film can be found at (no jmdb listing at all) and (there's also a trailer).

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#116 Post by justeleblanc » Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:43 am

Aaron Spelling, a onetime movie bit player who created a massive number of hit series, from the vintage "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty" to "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place," died Friday, his publicist said. He was 83.

Spelling died at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke on June 18, according to publicist Kevin Sasaki.

Spelling's other hit series included "Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Burke's Law," "The Mod Squad," "Starsky and Hutch," "T.J. Hooker," "Matt Houston," "Hart to Hart" and "Hotel." He kept his hand in 21st-century TV with series including "7th Heaven" and "Summerland."

He also produced more than 140 television movies. Among the most notable: "Death Sentence" (1974), Nick Nolte's first starring role; "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (1976), John Travolta's first dramatic role; and "The Best Little Girl in the World" (1981), which starred Jennifer Jason Leigh. During the 1970s and 1980s, Spelling provided series and movies exclusively for ABC and is credited for the network's rise to major status. Jokesters referred to it as "The Aaron Broadcasting Company."

Success was not without its thorns. TV critics denounced Spelling for fostering fluff and nighttime soap operas. He called his shows "mind candy"; critics referred to them as "mindless candy."

"The knocks by the critics bother you," he admitted in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press. "But you have a choice of proving yourself to 300 critics or 30 million fans. You have to make a choice. I think you're also categorized by the critics. If you do something good they almost don't want to like it."

He liked to cite some of his more creditable achievements, like "Family" (1976-80), a drama about a middle-class family, and "The Best Little Girl in the World." Among his prestige films for TV: "Day One" (1988), about an atomic blast in middle America; "And the Band Played On" (1992), based on Randy Shilts' book about the AIDS crisis.

Spelling had arrived in Hollywood virtually penniless in the early 1950s. By the 1980s, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $300 million. He enjoyed his status, working in a Hollywood office larger than those of golden-era moguls ("I'm slightly claustrophpobic," he explained.) He gifted his second wife, Candy, with a 40-carat diamond ring.

The Spellings' most publicized extravagance was their 56,500-square-foot French chateau in Holmby Hills. The couple bought the former Bing Crosby estate for $10 million. It was leveled to the ground, along with two other houses. Construction cost was estimated at $12 million. The two-story house reached a height of 51 feet. Among the features: an entire floor for closets, a one-lane bowling alley, plus the usual elements for the Hollywood rich -- pool, tennis court, gym, screening room. Built on rollers, it easily survived the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The mansion dwarfed nearby estates, and the neighbors were furious. One woman won an injunction during construction, calling the place "Look-at-me-I'm-rich architecture."

Spelling grew up in a small frame house on Browder Street in Dallas "on the wrong side of the tracks," he wrote in his 1996 autobiography. He was the fourth son of immigrant Jews, his father from Poland, mother from Russia. The father's name, Spurling, was simplified to Spelling by an Ellis Island official.

Spelling enlisted in the Army Air Corps after graduating from high school in 1942. "I grew up thinking 'Jew boy' was one word," the producer wrote in his memoir, "Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life." He was considered strange by his Dallas schoolmates because his parents spoke Yiddish. He was subjected to anti-Semitic taunts and beatings on his way home from school. At 8, the boy suffered what he termed a nervous breakdown, and he spent a year in bed. He later considered that period the birth of his creative urge. He fell in love with great storytellers, especially O. Henry. Of his early TV series he said, "They are all O. Henry short stories."

"I still have nightmares about being in a $6,000 house in Dallas, Texas," he remarked in a 1996 AP interview. "Wall-to-wall people, one bathroom. I was the one to go to the local bakery a block away on Saturday to get the day-old stuff."

After combat and organizing entertainment in Europe during the war, Spelling returned to Texas and enrolled at Southern Methodist University, where he wrote and directed plays. He continued working in local theatrics after graduating. Finding no work in New York, Spelling moved to Los Angeles, where he staged plays and acted in more than 40 TV shows and 12 movies. His skinny frame suited him for the role of a ragged beggar in the MGM musical "Kismet." He worked for three weeks, repeating his one line: "Alms for the love of Allah."

The "Kismet" experience resulted in two decisions: he abandoned acting for the typewriter; he married a young actress he had been courting, Carolyn Jones. She became well-known, especially as Morticia in "The Addams Family" series. They divorced after 13 years, and she died of cancer in 1983.

Spelling's friendship with such actor-producers as Dick Powell, Jack Webb and Alan Ladd led to his rapid rise as a prolific writer and later producer of TV series. In 1960, Powell, head of Four Star Productions, hired him to produce shows for Powell himself, his wife June Allyson and Lloyd Bridges. "Burke's Law," with Gene Barry as a millionaire detective, became the first hit series Spelling created.

After Powell's death, Spelling teamed with Danny Thomas in a production company, scoring a huge success with "The Mod Squad," about a trio of youthful undercover cops. In 1969, Spelling began an exclusive contract with ABC, helping the network to rise from a low third place to the top of the network ratings. Former ABC programming chief Leonard Goldberg joined him as partner in 1972.

After ABC cancelled "Dynasty" in 1989 and his contract with the network had ended, Spelling found himself without a show on the air for the first time since 1960. "I was so depressed, I would have quit, but I like TV too much," Spelling wrote in his memoir. Besides, his company had started issuing stock in 1986, and he had an obligation to his investors. After a year's respite, he returned with "Beverly Hills 90210," which helped launch the fledgling Fox Network into the bigtime. "Melrose Place" gave Fox another hit.

Throughout his career, Spelling maintained the same image: the skinny frame, slightly hawkish face. He usually posed with a pipe in his mouth, a custom he adopted early after seeing stars with pipes in fan magazine photos.

Spelling and his second wife, Candy, had two children, Tori (for Victoria), who became a star on the two Fox serials ("Now I'm known as Tori Spelling's father," he said in mock lament), and Randy, who appeared in the short-lived "Malibu Shores."

Spelling set a record of producing more than 3,000 TV shows. Besides the TV movies, he produced 10 theatrical films including "California Split," "Mr. Mom." "'night, Mother," "Loose Cannons" and "Soapdish." --CNN

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#117 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:52 am

Kenneth Griffith Actor and documentary-maker dies

The actor and documentary film-maker Kenneth Griffith was one of the most distinguished trouble-makers of his time. He could exasperate colleagues by his cantankerous manner and stout refusal to compromise his artistic and professional integrity, especially when offered work by those whom he called the "priggish cuckoos" of the BBC's middle management. Even those who were kind to him found he would insist on marching to a different drum.

On one occasion, after he had started rewriting someone else's script so that he would have a bigger part in it, one of the Boulting brothers, who often employed him, was driven to exclaim: "Why are you always so difficult, Kenneth?" The answer was far from straightforward. Griffith was a complicated man and, although he wrote an autobiography in an attempt to explain himself, there was a demon in his personality with which he never came, and never wanted to come, to terms. He had a genuine flair for friendship and could be charming in the company of those whom he respected, but cultivated his reputation as a member of the Awkward Squad most assiduously. He would plough his own furrow whatever the cost - and sometimes it cost him dearly.

The subjects he chose for his documentaries were calculated to upset the British establishment by virtue of their partisan view of imperial history: Napoleon (he savoured the fact that Boney had struck terror in English hearts); the War of American Independence (he was in favour of it); the Untouchables in India (he argued for their social emancipation and was president of their society); the Anglo-Boer War (he took the side of the Afrikaners); Irish republicanism (he was a keen supporter of Sinn Féin); the British throne (he thought the House of Windsor had a bogus claim); and so on, in more than two dozen documentaries which are among the most brilliant, and controversial, ever made in Britain. Never one to sit on the fence, he once told Huw Wheldon: "I would never stoop so low as to be objective about anything."

Griffith's support for a united Ireland was given fullest expression in his films about Michael Collins, Hang Up Your Brightest Colours (1973), and Roger Casement, Roger Casement: heart of darkness (1992), in both of which the British government's record in Ireland was roundly castigated. The film about Collins, which begins by quoting his remark "There is no Irish problem, only an English problem", was rejected by Sir Lew Grade at the behest of the IBA and it was to be some 21 years before the BBC would screen it, after which Griffith was taken to the hearts of Republicans in Belfast. A visit to their enclaves in 1993, shortly after the hunger strike that led to the deaths of Bobby Sands and others, confirmed his belief that the British should pull out of the six counties of Ulster, and thereafter he always wore a green ribbon in his coat.

Kenneth Griffith was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, in 1921. He attributed his affection for the Irish to the fact that he was Welsh, albeit from that part of Pembrokeshire that had for long been known as "Little England beyond Wales" because it had been settled by Flemish and English weavers soon after the Norman Conquest.

There was an element of guilt in his sense of Welshness, primarily because it was a compatriot, namely David Lloyd George, who had been largely responsible for the partitioning of Ireland in 1922. This feeling was subsumed by his admiration for what he saw as "the true Celtic spirit" - a passionate response to life that has no place for the dry formalities of the English ruling class - and the essence of which he cherished in his Irish friends Tyrone Guthrie and Peter O'Toole.

Apart from his support for Sinn Féin, Griffith had no party allegiance, for he had a horror of joining anything. In his autobiography, The Fool's Pardon (1994), he described himself as "not a red, but a convinced, though often confused, democrat", and towards the end of his life he did not demur when called "a radical Tory". Yet one of his best documentaries is The Most Valuable Englishman Ever (1982), a study of the egalitarian Tom Paine. Nor did he have any time for trades unions: his Equity membership card was stamped "Under protest".

The instinct to be his own man had been ingrained in him from an early age. His parents having separated while he was still a small child, he was brought up at Penally, near Tenby, by his paternal grandparents, staunch Wesleyan Methodists who taught him to question everything.

If there was something of the sermon in his films, he gladly acknowledged the influence of the Nonconformist chapel of his boyhood - especially the histrionics of the old-time preachers who, with blazing eyes and fiery tongue, had enthralled and terrified him as a child. The prolonged absence of his mother left an indelible mark on him. "I have never been able to totally forgive my mother for leaving me; therefore I have never been able to love her," he wrote in his autobiography, adding, "I have a deeply aggressive wariness towards women which has left a trail of domestic disaster behind me." He admitted to having spent most of his life in "an emotional mess": all three of his marriages ended in divorce, although he enjoyed a warm relationship with at least two of his former wives and his five children.

He first entertained hopes of becoming an actor at Green Hill Grammar School in Tenby, where he was encouraged by Miss Evelyn Ward, an English teacher, who remained one of his most trusted friends. His performance in a school play was praised by a local newspaper and he forthwith decided to pursue a career in the theatre. Called to an interview with his headmaster, J.T. Griffith, he was advised to drop the s in his surname because it was a mark of anglicisation, and allowed to leave school before his 16th birthday and with no academic qualifications.

In 1937 Griffith made his début as a professional actor at the Festival Theatre in Cambridge, where Peter Hoare cast him as Cinna the Poet in Julius Caesar; he then played Danny in the West Pier Company's production of Emlyn Williams's Night Must Fall in Tenby and took a very small part in Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday. With bigger parts in Little Ladyship, The Corn is Green and Boys in Brown, he gained experience in treading the boards of repertory theatre.

Griffith had barely had a chance to break into the cinema before the Second World War began. He served with the RAF, mostly in Canada. Often in trouble with the military authorities for minor misdemeanours such as imitating the officers, he used the opportunity to read as widely as he could, though his choice of books was nothing if not unorthodox. On his last visit to Tenby before conscription, he had asked his grandparents to give him, as a farewell present, an English translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf so that he could better understand the causes of the conflict in which he was about to become involved, and he may have been the only British soldier to carry that book about with him for the duration. Declared unfit to fly after contracting scarlet fever and now weighing only seven stone, he was invalided out of the RAF in 1942.

He resumed his career in the theatre with Tyrone Guthrie's Old Vic in Liverpool, playing the Chorus in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, but, never at ease with himself as a stage actor, found he preferred the discipline of the cinema. His first screen role had been in Love on the Dole (1941) and over the next 50 years he was to appear in more than 80 films. Many are now forgotten - by his own admission, he did a lot of inferior work - but some stand out: Lucky Jim (1957), A Night to Remember (1958), I'm All Right, Jack (1959), The Lion in Winter (1968), The Wild Geese (1978), Who Dares Wins (1982), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995).

When he was not playing villains or eccentrics - he claimed passengers would take one look at him in a train compartment and hurriedly leave - he specialised in stereotypical parts as a malevolent Welshman, in which he put on an accent which did not win him many fans in Wales. Even so, as the obsequious Ieuan Jenkins who competes against Peter Sellers's John Lewis for promotion to a sub-librarian's post in Only Two Can Play (1962), a film version of Kingsley Amis's novel That Uncertain Feeling, set in Swansea, he made a lot of us laugh.

From about 1965 he began to move away from the cinema to the making of documentaries, partly because they afforded him almost complete control of the medium. His film Soldiers of the Widow (1972), about the siege and relief of Ladysmith during the first Boer War, was the first to be made out of his obsession with South Africa. It was followed by an even more hard-hitting documentary, Black as Hell: Thick as Grass (1979), about the Impis' attack on the South Wales Borderers' outpost at Rorke's Drift in 1879, in which he played the parts of both British officers and Zulu warriors.

Among other documentaries he made were A Touch of Churchill, a Touch of Hitler (1971), a corrosive indictment of Cecil Rhodes; The Sun's Bright Child (1975), a life of the actor Edmund Keane, whose memory he revered; The Light (1986), a typically one-sided view of David Ben Gurion, Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel; and But I Have Promises to Keep (1989), a sympathetic portrait of Nehru that was nevertheless suppressed in India. In most of these films Griffith appeared as himself - hectoring, loquacious, cranky, wild-eyed, combative, tub-thumping, and utterly riveting in the way he delivered his invective and used the camera to maximum effect.

It is inevitable that opinions of the maverick Kenneth Griffith, especially among documentary buffs, will vary widely. Some critics have been perturbed by his taking so many parts in his own productions - Christ, Napoleon, Hitler, and so on. One, writing in The Times in 1986, commented that he would not be surprised if Griffith were one day to play all the roles in Gone with the Wind. Others have taken the sterner view that his documentaries are merely egotistical exercises in polemic and have only negligible cinematic merit. Despite these strictures, however, it is generally agreed that his work provides a jolt to complacency and invites the viewer to reconsider conventional wisdom regarding some of the less honourable episodes in British colonial history.

Kenneth Griffiths (Kenneth Griffith), actor and documentary film-maker: born Tenby, Pembrokeshire, 12 October 1921; married first Joan Stock (two sons, marriage dissolved), second Doria Noar (one daughter, marriage dissolved), third Carole Hagar (one daughter, one son, marriage dissolved); died London 25 June 2006. --The Independent:

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#118 Post by tryavna » Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:10 pm

Interesting and amusing "appreciation" of Spelling over at Slate.

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#119 Post by pianocrash » Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:41 am

Fabian Bielinsky

Argentine film director Fabian Bielinsky, who shot the critically-acclaimed Nine Queens crime caper, died of a heart attack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, consulate officials said on Thursday. He was 47. Bielinsky was in Brazil doing casting for commercials. He died on Wednesday night in his hotel.

Nine Queens, shot in 2000, won a total of 21 awards at international film festivals and in 2004 gained a Hollywood remake, Criminal, which was less successful. In the original movie, two con artists played by Ricardo Darin and Gaston Pauls try to swindle a stamp collector by selling him fake rare stamps.

Juan Pablo Rebella: El Pais article via GreenCine Daily:

Uruguayan filmmaker Juan Pablo Rebella died last night, informed this morning police officials. Close friends of co-writer and co-director of "Whisky" and "25 watts" confirmed to this newspaper that Mr. Rebella committed suicide. This morning, Montevideo Police Department officials were taking testimonies of witnesses who found the body.

Near the Police Department, EL PAIS witnessed Mr. Pablo Stoll, Mr. Rebella's partner, with his eyes full of tears. Currently, Stoll and Rebella were writing the script for their next film. Rebella' funeral response will be held at 2PM in Martinelli, Barrios Amorim & Canelones'. Rolling Stone Argentina adds: Mr Rebella's body was found by his girlfriend, and also his friend and filmmaking partner Stoll.

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#120 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:53 am

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#121 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:52 pm

Syd Barrett dies aged 60


Speaking as a life-long Floydian, his spirit, his mystery and his shine as an artist for that brief moment that he had it will live forever. You don't need to go any further than David Bowie and T.Rex to see his influence, and I can name many groups and people affected by him. Not to mention the impression that the stay in his group left his former band-mates, creatively and personally.
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#122 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:02 am

Theater and TV actor Barnard Hughes dies

NEW YORK - Barnard Hughes, who won a Tony for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly title character in Hugh Leonard's "Da," has died after a brief illness. He was 90. Hughes died Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said Chris Boneau, a spokesman for Hughes' family.

The actor, along with wife Helen Stenborg, were veterans of the New York stage. Hughes made his Broadway debut in "Herself Mrs. Patrick Crowley" in 1935, but it was "Da," some 43 years later that made him a star and won him the best-actor Tony. He also starred in the 1988 film version of the Tony-winning play.

Among Hughes' other major Broadway credits were "A Majority of One" (1959), "Advise and Consent" (1960), "Nobody Loves an Albatross' (1963), the Richard Burton revival of "Hamlet" (1964), "How Now, Dow Jones" (1967), "Abelard and Heloise" (1971), "The Good Doctor" (1973), "All Over Town" (1974), "Angels Fall" (1983) and "Prelude to a Kiss" (1990).

He received a featured-actor Tony nomination in 1973 for his performance as Dogberry in the New York Shakespeare Festival's revival of "Much Ado About Nothing." Hughes' last Broadway appearance came in the Noel Coward comedy "Waiting in the Wings" in 1999.

Among his many movies: "Midnight Cowboy," "The Hospital," "Cold Turkey," "Where's Poppa?", "Oh, God!," "Maxie," "The Lost Boys," "Doc Hollywood," "Sister Act 2" and "Cradle Will Rock."

Hughes also worked extensively in the early days of television, appearing on such shows as "Playhouse 90," "Kraft Theatre" and "Armstrong Circle Theatre." He also starred on such TV series as "Doc," "Mr. Merlin," "The Cavanaughs" and "Blossom." He won an Emmy in 1977 for a guest-starring stint on "Lou Grant."

Born July 16, 1915 in Bedford Hills, N.Y., Hughes worked as a department store salesman and a copyreader on Wall Street before he became an actor, auditioning for show on a dare from a friend.

Much of his early career was spent touring with stock companies, and after serving in the Army during World War II, he resumed his stage work. He met his wife while performing in a veteran's hospital show. The were married in 1950.

Besides his wife, Hughes is survived by son Doug, daughter Laura and grandson Samuel Hughes Rubin. Funeral services will be private.

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#123 Post by Caligula » Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:38 am

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#124 Post by Solaris » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:05 am

Oscar-Winning Actor Red Buttons Dies at 87

13 July 2006 (WENN)

Red Buttons, the stand-up comedian who gained fame -- and an Academy Award -- as a character actor in numerous films and television shows, died Thursday in Los Angeles of vascular disease; he was 87. Born Aaron Chwatt in New York City, Buttons began his comedy career very young, performing on street corners before being discovered by burlesque theater owners, who made him the youngest comedian on the comedy circuit. Playing in the Catskills and on Broadway before being drafted in 1943, Buttons made his film debut in 1944's Winged Victory, based on a play created by Moss Hart for the Air Force. Performing under the credit "Cpl. Red Buttons", Buttons recreated a part he originated on Broadway alongside a number of other budding stars, including Karl Malden, Judy Holliday and Lee J. Cobb. He returned to show business in 1946, performing mainly on Broadway before landing his own TV vehicle, The Red Buttons Show, which ran from 1952-1955. Numerous other comedic TV appearances followed before director Joshua Logan cast him in the 1957 Marlon Brando drama Sayonara as a solider in post-World War II Japan who embarks on a tragic romance with a Japanese woman, played by Miyoshi Umeki. The role won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (co-star Umeki won an Oscar also) and launched his prodigious acting career. Among his most notable films were The Longest Day, Harlow, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (the latter two earned him Golden Globe nominations) and the cult favorite and commercial hit The Poseidon Adventure, in which he was one of five Oscar-winning cast members. Though his film career lost steam in the 70s, he continued to work non-stop in television, appearing on '70s favorites (The Love Boat, Fantasy Island), '80s hits (The Cosby Show, Knots Landing), and a variety of shows in the '90s, from sitcoms (Roseanne) to dramas (ER); Buttons recently earned an Emmy nomination in 2005 for a recent guest appearance on ER. He also continued his stand-up career, appearing in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, the Catskills and at numerious celebrity comedy roasts. Married and divorced twice early in his career, Buttons is survived by his third wife, Alicia, and their two children. --Mark Englehart, IMDb staff

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#125 Post by Solaris » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:14 pm

Actor Jack Warden Dies at 85

Jack Warden, the prolific character actor who received Oscar nominations for Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait as well as an Emmy award for Brian's Song, died Wednesday in New York; he was 85. Known for playing men who were tough on the outside but softies inside, Warden was a boxer before he became an actor. Fighting under the name "Johnny Costello," Warden turned professional after being expelled from high school, but found only intermittent success first in boxing and then as a bouncer. After serving in both the Navy and the Army, Warden moved to New York to take acting classes, making his Broadway debut in Clifford Odets' Golden Boy in 1952 and later in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge. A year earlier, Warden had (along with fellow veteran Lee Marvin) made his screen debut in You're in the Navy Now. After a small part in the Oscar-winning From Here to Eternity, he embarked on a successful and lengthy TV career, but also found time for movies, with 1957's Twelve Angry Men considered his breakthrough role. Warden appeared in innumerable TV shows through the 50s and 60s, and in the 1971 won an Emmy for his role the coach in the acclaimed football tearjerker Brian's Song. The 70s also saw Warden collaborate with actor-director Warren Beatty on Shampoo (1976) and Heaven Can Wait (1978), earning Best Supporting Actor nominations for both films (he later appeared in Beatty's 1998 film Bulworth as well). Notable films through from the 70s through the 90s included All the President's Men, Being There, The Verdict, The Presidio, Bullets Over Broadway, While You Were Sleeping, and Mighty Aphrodite. Warden also starred in the TV mystery series Crazy Like a Fox, which earned him two Emmy nominations. His last film appearance was the 2000 football comedy-drama The Replacements. --Mark Englehart, IMDb staff

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