Monday, 10 December 2012
- The Plank, signed by the entire cast, was recently sold at auction for £1,000.
- Peter Sellers got a better paying job before shooting began and was replaced by Tommy Cooper at the last minute.
- Jimmy Tarbuck was paid in whiskey (4 bottles).
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
- The role of Jack the dog was actually played by three matching Jack Russell Terriers: Uggie, Dash and Dude, although The lead dog Uggie did the majority of scenes. All three dogs were "re-coloured" before the filming began to make them look more alike.
- There are no ‘zoom’ shots in the film because zoom lenses did not exist in the silent era. The film was made in black and white and in the "square" screen shape of the original silent films.
- UK cinemas reported outraged complaints from audiences because of this - and because "there’s something wrong with the sound". The fine orchestral score is played by the Brussels Philharmonic.
- This was the first ever Academy Award Best Picture Oscar winner which was solely produced by a non-English-speaking country. The film was predominantly financed by France with some money coming from Belgium.
Monday, 12 November 2012
Shown in FeckenOdeon 2 on 16th November, 2012
THE WRITER: This film is based on the graphic books of Jaques Tardi who worked closely with Luc Besson to transfer his creations to the screen. The first Adele Blanc-Sec story was originally serialised in the daily newspaper "Sud-Ouest" in 1976. Later stories first appeared in a monthly comic magazine, "A Suivre", then published as graphic novels. There were eight Adele books culminating in with the “death” of the heroine at the hands of a fearsome ice creature (though a passing young scientist conveniently cryogenically preserved her for revival should the need arise). In an interview, Tardi explained that Adele's "death" was necessitated by the onset of World War I. Her feisty nature made it impossible to provide her with a place in the war. She would not have been allowed to fight, and could no more have settled for being a nurse, than she could have remained home rolling bandages.
Tardi’s more serious work is fiercely anti-war, mainly focusing on the collective European trauma of the First World War, and the pitfalls of patriotism. His grandfather's involvement in the day-to-day horrors of trench warfare, seems to have had a deep influence on his artistic output.
THE DIRECTOR: Luc Besson’s parents were scuba diving instructors so his early life was entirely aquatic. He showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue (1988) and The Fifth Element (1997) while still at school. He planned on becoming a marine biologist specializing in dolphins until a diving accident at the age of 17 made an underwater career impossible. He moved to America for three years, then returned to France and formed Les Films de Loups - his own production company, which later changed its name to Les Films de Dauphins. He is now able to dive again. He’s better known for international thrillers like Nikita and Leon but has written scripts for over 40 films, produced 109 and directed 18.
THE LEADING PLAYER: Although trained as an actor Louise Bourgoin is more familiar to French TV viewers as the weather forecaster on the nightly “Le Grand Journal” news programme. She had small parts in four films but this one was the real breakthrough. She’s now working with Gerard Depardieu on the forthcoming “Asterix & Obelix: On Her Majesty's Service” so a return to the isobars seems an unlikely forecast.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
- This was the first film directed by John Huston who continued to make daring and stylish films for the next 40 years including "The African Queen", "The Misfits" and finally, before his death in 1987, "The Dead" - which featured his daughter Angelica.
- This is Humphrey Bogart’s defining movie - up to this point he’d survived on a diet of B picture gangster roles but this gave him the opportunity to create his signature character. Bogart was one of Hollywood’s finest craftsmen and starred in 73 films over 29 years.
- This film contains the first screen appearance of Sydney Greenstreet, a distinguished actor, who had worked in the London and New York theatre since 1902. Throughout his stage career, his parts ranged from musical comedy to Shakespeare, and years of such versatile acting on two continents led to many offers to appear in films. He refused until he was offered this part at the age of 62. His movie career lasted just 8 years but in that short time he starred in 23 films. He died in 1954. He was a large man and it is said that Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars was based on him.
- A second Maltese Falcon had to be made after Bogart dropped the original during the first few days of filming.
Saturday, 6 October 2012
Sunday, 30 September 2012
Before you ask....Celia Imrie is 60, Bill Nighy is 63, Tom Wilkinson is 64, Penelope Wilton is 66, Ronald Pickup is 72, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench are both 78 - and Dev Patel is just 22 years old The outdoor scenes in India were filmed in Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is actually Ravla Khempur, a charming rural palace hotel in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, about an hour outside the spectacular lakeside city of Udaipur. With a history dating from the early 17th Century, the palace was once famed for its stud of fine Marwari horses and is still home to dancing stallions which perform when requested in front of the magnificent turreted building.
Friday, 29 June 2012
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 13th July, 2012
This is in the great cinema tradition that goes right back to the early days of motion pictures when movies played at fairgrounds and people paid to be scared out of their wits in by the flickering images of trains heading towards them. These days we take a bit more scaring but the principles are still the same. We know it’s nonsense, we know we can’t be harmed but, if the right buttons are pushed we all jump in our seats and want to run away and hide. This film, like all good horrors, seeks to frighten but not revolt. There’s no blood and gore… just suggestion, a little leading, a hint of a movement… the mind will do the rest. Have a safe journey home… but don’t be tempted by that short cut down a dark lane…..
The History of The Woman in Black….
- This ghost story was first published in hardback in 1983 and has gone on to have a remarkable life over the following decades in various paperback incarnations and as a set book for GCSE and A Level.
- The book was adapted into a stage play by Stephen Mallatratt which was first performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 1987. It was very well received and moved to the Fortune Theatre in London's West End in 1989 where it still runs today, as well as currently being on a UK National Tour. It is the second longest-running play in the history of the West End, after The Mousetrap.
- A television film based on the story, also called “The Woman in Black”, was produced in 1989, with a screenplay by the distinguished film and television writer Nigel Kneale (best known as the creator of the Quatermass science-fiction serials). There have also been two radio versions of the story.
Monday, 21 May 2012
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 26th May, 2012
This is a rare case of the sequel being better than the original. Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law seem to have settled into their characters and director Guy Ritchie has gained the confidence to have real fun with the genre. It has to be said that if you came with the idea that this was going to be a calm exercise in forensic deduction you’re in for an explosive surprise. This is a Victorian Holmes made for the 21st century and it employs every trick in the digital film maker’s arsenal. It all happens at breakneck speed so it’s no small miracle of acting that the characters emerge recognisable but not entirely unscathed. The plot is so devastatingly twisted and complex that it doesn't bear too much deconstruction, but the action sequences linked by the twisted knots are bigger, faster, louder and more elaborate than anything Indiana Jones got involved in. There's not an awful lot of detecting going on - not that's any use to us, anyway; close-ups of Robert Downey Jr's eyes, inter cut with details he's looking at tell us he's working on something, but because he's always so far ahead of everyone else, it's usually quite a while before we catch up, making it more a case of sitting back to enjoy the ride than trying to work out where it's going - but the ride is undeniably great fun!… oh, and perhaps we ought to warn you.. There’s rather more of Stephen Fry on show than might be thought desirable… you may wish to avert your eyes… not a sight for the squeamish!
- This film is primarily based on the short story "The Final Problem" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (and to a lesser extent on "The Empty House"), but also uses elements of other Sherlock Holmes stories: "The Sign of Four"; "The Greek Interpretor"; "Valley of Fear"; "The Speckled Band"; "The Dying Detective"; "Bruce Partington Plans"; and "The Second Stain".
- The world's last sea-going paddle steamer, PS Waverly, is seen when Holmes and Watson cross the English channel. The PS Waverly is docked and in regular use on the River Clyde, Glasgow.
- The chariot that delivers Holmes to the anarchists HQ, is named "Les Sept Grenouilles" (The 7 Frogs). This is a cunning disguise for a gypsy - apparently they’re scared of frogs. Not a lot of people know that.
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Monday, 13 February 2012
1955 - Dir: Michael Anderson - 2 hours 4 minutes
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 25th February, 2012
Although this was described at its opening as a "war film" it’s really the grandfather of the modern "docudrama". The director worked for 2 years researching the characters and events and the result is an accurate and gripping realisation of the what actually happened. He decided to shoot the film in black and white, in order to allow the integration of original footage of the bomb trials, and to preserve a 'gritty', documentary-style reality. By good fortune, the Ruhr was in flood at the time of shooting, allowing the crew to film the flooded towns and valleys and incorporate this into the closing scenes. As a reconstruction of one of the great moments of a long and bloody war, this could hardly be bettered today, even with the aid of CGI. Michael Anderson had three bombers at his disposal (hired from the RAF for £130 a day) and he makes them look like a full squadron. The Dam Busters stood head and shoulders above the stiff-uppered, jolly-good-show-chaps, congratulatory, feel right, post war propaganda movies of the time, in which Tommy was brave and Fritz wasn’t. It is testament to Anderson's authoritative, quiet guidance that the performances are largely realistic, and multi-dimensional. The end of the film might, in other hands, be an opportunity for jingoistic flag-waving, but instead Anderson emphasises the human cost of war without falling into sentimentality.
- The bombs shown were the wrong shape because the actual shape (a stubby cylinder) was still secret at the time this film was made. Much of the footage of the bombs bouncing was taken from film of the real tests but the shots were doctored to conceal the secret "back spin" that caused them to bounce.
- The film opened 12 years to the day of the actual raid
- Gibson's dog "Nigger" was dubbed into "Trigger" for the sensitive US market. The dog that played him was also called "Nigger". One wonders what he’ll be called in the forthcoming re-make!
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Shown in FeckenOdeon 2 on 10th February, 2012
The word potiche translates into English as "trophy wife," though in French the word seems to have an extra implication of complete uselessness. Deneuve plays Suzanne, the sheltered wife of umbrella factory owner (Fabrice Luchini) who is in the midst of a labour dispute with his workers. He doesn't take her seriously, and neither do her kids.
A supersized Gerard Depardieu plays a leftist politician who shares a past with Suzanne, and his scenes with Deneuve are a tender acknowledgment of the movies they made when they were young (and before he started to look like Arthur Mullard crossed with Les Dawson). Even the umbrella factory is an oblique reference to Deneuve’s earliest hit "Les parapluies de Cherbourg".
This is never going to be the greatest or most profound feminist movie ever made - but it has to be the most heart warming and colourful experiences you can (legally) enjoy on a chilly February evening.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 28th January, 2012
- The film was chosen to be shown at the annual Royal Film Performance. The Queen and Prince Philip were so impressed that they requested a copy for all of the Royal family to watch at Sandringham over Christmas.
- The setting of the little village of Stratford St. John, which is mistakenly confused as Stratford-Upon-Avon, was not even filmed in England but at two farm villages in the Isle of Man.
- Burt Reynolds last filmed in the UK for “Rough Cut” - 28 years before this film was made.
- Charles Durning, who plays the agent, was 85 at the time of filming. He and Burt Reynolds are great friends and have made 8 feature films and numerous TV shows together. Burt Reynolds is 76