Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tribute To Barbara Stanwyck

Real Name: Ruby Catherine Stevens

Born in Brooklyn, New York.

Barbara was raised by her older sister. Her mother died after being pushed from a street car and her father disappeared while helping to build the Panama canal.

Nicknames: Missy, The Queen

Barbara was married to actor Robert Taylor from 1939 to 1951

Nominated for the Best Actress Oscar four times but never won, Her four nominations were for Stella Dallas (1937), Ball Of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948).

Made five films with director Frank Capra: Ladies Of Leisure (1930), Miracle Woman (1931), Forbidden (1932), The Bitter Tea Of General Yen (1933), Meet John Doe (1941).

Some of her most constant male co-stars were Joel McCrea, George Brent, Fred MacMurray, Gary Cooper,  Adolphe Menjou,  Henry Fonda and Van Heflin.

Among Barbara's most successful films are: Christmas In Connecticut (1945), The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers (1946), Double Indemnity (1944), Ball Of Fire (1941), Sorry Wrong Number (1948), The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) and Meet John Doe (1941).

During the sixties Barbara starred in the TV series Big Valley with actress Linda Evans. Decades later she reunited with Evans in the series Dynasty.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Ten Silent Films You Should See

"We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!" Norma Desmond states in  Sunset Blvd. Here's a look at ten of the best films you'll ever see, with or without sound.   
Intolerance (1916): A film that pioneer the concept of the term "epic". There are four stories: the fall of Babylon, The cruxifiction of Christ, the St. Bartholomew's day massacre and class struggle in the modern era. This film defined the term "a cast of thousands". Directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish.

Nosferatu (1922): Still one of the scariest films ever made. Based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, This German film was directed by F.W. Murnau and starred Max Schreck as the vampire. A remake starring Klaus Kinski was released in 1979. Shadow Of The Vampire, released in 2000, is a fictional account of the making of Nosferatu with Willem Dafoe playing Max Schreck as an actual vampire.

Safety Last (1923): The film that comedian Harold Lloyd is most famous for. Small town boy goes to the big city to make good so he can marry his sweetheart.Safety Last contains the classic scene of Lloyd climbing up the side of a building.

The Thief Of Bagdad (1924): One of the films that best shows off actor Douglas Fairbanks athletic abilities. A romantic fantasy set in ancient Arabic times, this film has great sets and costumes and lots of high flying action. A British produced remake of this film was release in 1940, which also became a classic.

The Big Parade (1925): One of the silent era's biggest grossing films. John Gilbert stars as a rich boy who tries to prove his worth by joining the army to fight in World War I.

The Gold Rush (1925): Charlie Chaplin searches for gold in the Klondike. The most successful silent comedy ever made and Chaplin's personal favourite. This film contains the famous shoe eating scene.

The Phantom Of The Opera (1925): The best film version of the famous French novel. This is also one of Lon Chaney's greatest performances. Chaney, known as the man of 1,000 faces, created the look of the Phantom himself and gave Hollywood and Universal Studios one of it's most iconic characters.

The General (1926): Buster Keaton plays a conductor whose train and girlfriend are captured by spies.  The General was a box office failure when it was released but is now considered one of the greatest comedies ever made. There are many dangerous stunts in this film and Buster performed them all himself, no CGI, no stunt doubles.

Metropolis (1927): Before there was the Hunger Games there was Metropolis. Class struggle (a popular theme in silent films) between the workers and the wealthy elite is stirred up by a female looking robot. Directed by Fritz Lang, Metropolis inspired many other films including Star Wars and Blade Runner.

The Finishing Touch (1928): Laurel & Hardy attempt to build a house. This film was made back in a time when actors performed their own stunts, sometimes very painful looking, always very funny. Great movie if you love extreme slap stick.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Actors Who Played Batman

Adam West: Adam's campy portrayal of the caped crusader during the 1960's Batman TV series was a hit but has been typed cast ever since. He has found more success doing voice work for animated series like Super Friends, Batman: The Animated Series and, more recently, The Family Guy. Adam was first considered for the part of Batman after producers saw him playing a secret agent in a Nestle Quick commercial.

Michael Keaton: When Warner Bros. studios decided to make a Batman feature film, in the late 80's, they were looking for actors who they thought could play someone crazy enough to put a bat suit on and fight crime. On their short list were such actors as Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin and even Mel Gibson. The actor they finally settled on was comedian Michael Keaton. Michael had become a star in such films as Night Shift, Mr. Mom and Gung Ho. He had even worked with Batman director Tim Burton on the movie Beetlejuice.

Val Kilmer: After the success of Batman (1989) and it's sequel Batman Returns (1992) Michael Keaton left the series. The studio had to find a new Bruce Wayne / Batman, and they chose Val Kilmer of Top Gun fame. Kilmer's biggest role up to that date had been playing Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's film bio of the Doors. Batman Forever was a hit (more successful than Batman Returns) but Kilmer did not return for a second film because he and the director Joel Schumacher did not get along.

George Clooney: Val Kilmer's replacement for the fourth film, Batman And Robin, was George Clooney. After paying his dues for many years with such films as Combat Academy and Return Of The Killer Tomatoes, Clooney finally got his big break on the TV series ER. He has since gone on the be one of the biggest stars of his generation. Unfortunately Batman And Robin, made early in his rise to movie stardom, was not one of his brighter moments.

Christian Bale: After the failure of Batman & Robin (1997) the franchise sat dormant for eight years. A new director was chosen, Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia), and the search was on for a new Batman. Former child actor Christian Bale was eventually chosen for the new film Batman Begins (2005) and it's sequels The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). The trilogy made by Nolan and Bale have been hugely Successful.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Beatle Women

Cynthia Powell: She met John Lennon at the Liverpool college of art in 1957. They were married from 1962 to 1968 and had a son together, Julian. During the early days of Beatlemania they kept their marriage a secret.

Jane Asher: TV and movie actress who was Paul McCartney's girlfriend (and later fiance) from 1963 to 1968. Her brother is Peter Asher, who was a member of the singing duo Peter And Gordon (Paul wrote songs for them).

Maureen Cox: Ringo's wife from 1965 to 1975. They had three kids together, including Zak Starkey who grew up to play drums for the Who and Oasis.

Patti Boyd: Model and later author, who was married to George Harrison from 1966 to 1977. The two met on the set of the film A Hard Day's Night (1964). Later she married Eric Clapton, who had written the song Layla for her.

Yoko Ono: The most famous (or infamous) of all the Beatle women. An avant-garde artist and activist who was married to John Lennon from 1969 until his death in 1980. The two had a son together, Sean Ono Lennon.

Linda Eastman: Linda was a photographer, who photographed many famous musicians (Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin etc). Before meeting Paul her favourite Beatle was John. Linda and Paul were married from 1969 until her death in 1998. They had three kids together, including fashion designer Stella McCartney.

Barbara Bach: While making the movie Caveman (1981) Ringo Starr met former Bond girl Barbara Bach. They married a year later and have been together ever since.

Olivia Harrison: Olivia was a secretary at A&M records when George Harrison met her. They were married from 1978 until his death in 2001 and had a son, Dhani.

Each Beatle had flings with famous women (some possibly rumours)

John Lennon: Ronnie Spector.

Paul McCartney: Piggy Lipton, Rosanna Arquette, Christie Brinkley.

George Harrison: Joey Heatherton.

Ringo Starr: Shelley Duvall.