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Review: QUEEN OF KATWE

"LOVED this move. If the Academy could be convinced to see this, I could absolutely see it sneaking into BP." -Eurocheese

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Entries in Adaptations (180)

Sunday
Jul032016

Idris Elba is The Gunslinger in "The Dark Tower"

The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King's novel series (though not apparently a direct adaptation of any particular one of them) is currently filming for an early 2017 release. Here's Idris Elba in costume as The Gunslinger. [More Photos here]

Nice to see his face again after all those computer generated pixels or alien prosthetics (Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Star Trek Beyond). Matthew McConaughey is the villain 'the Man in Black' (set photos). The post apocalyptic drama also features Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon) in the principle female role, Whedonite and nerd-hottie Fran Kranz as the villain's henchmen. Plus: Jackie Earle Haley, Katheryn Winnick, and Claudia Kim.

The costumes are by stylish Trish Summerville. Her work is always so pleasingly modern. She previously did David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Have you read this book series?

Tuesday
Jun282016

Olivia @ 100: Light in the Piazza

For Olivia de Havilland's Centennial (July 1st) we're hitting classics and curios in her career. Here's Chris Feil on a forgotten film that became a new classic musical...

I came to Olivia de Havilland's work in Light in the Piazza thanks to a (still enduring) obsession with the Adam Guettel musical, both adapted from Elizabeth Spencer's novella. While it's not surprising that the film hasn't endured (it lacks the stage version's soaring emotional heights), de Havilland's performance deserves a better place in her legacy. Even with a youthful love story as its center and gorgeous Florence as backdrop, you can't take your eyes off of the concerned mother - and not just because she spends the entire film drenched in custom Christian Dior!

As Meg Johnson, de Havilland is spending a holiday with her young daughter Clara, who falls in love with a charming Italian boy. The reason for her overbearing concern is the secret of Clara's developmental disability that freezes her to a childlike disposition - something the musical uses as an Act Two reveal that the film never hides. By addressing this conflict early on we understand Meg from the outset, especially thanks to the actress's relatability. De Havilland's real prowess in the role is her deep emotional access and intelligence; she keeps the film from stooping to the cheap sentimentality that's all too common in films about disability.

Her Meg is not simply a foil to Clara's love story. De Havilland is telling her own fading romance with her husband, projecting the aches and heartbreaks of their lifetime together in a very specific struggle of weathered marriage. Her dissent against her husband in regards to Clara's care could cause the end of her marriage or may be its only hope, but she plays it solely as selfless motherly affection. Meg's final "I did the right thing" would be hokey final note in the hands of a less soulful actress, de Havilland makes it a hard-won personal triumph with her pure connection to character.

Victoria Clark may have taken the character to glorious Tony winning vocal heights on stage, but this performance is emotionally transformative in its own way. The film may have been forgotten in the broader de Havilland filmography, but the star is in top form and as accessible as ever.

Previously: The Heiress (1949), The Dark Mirror (1946), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and It's Love I'm After (1937).

Wednesday
Jun152016

Great Moments in Gay - Defiant Humanity in "Bent" 

For Pride month, we're celebrating our favorite queer moments in cinema. Here's guest contributor Steven Fenton...

Bent is the story of two men who fall in love while imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp during WWII. When the original play premiered in 1979 it made waves for its powerful depiction of Nazi persecution of homosexuals. By the time the film was released eighteen years later, the AIDS epidemic had ravaged the global gay community, giving further significance to the story’s exploration of survival and freedom.

In the camp, Max (Clive Owen) and Horst (Lothaire Bluteau) are assigned the sisyphean task of hauling stones from one rubble pile to another. On a miserably hot day, Horst attempts to distract Max from the maddening heat and labor. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun112016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.5: Mike Henry gets his 007 on in the "Valley of Gold"

As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we're ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes...

Tarzan aficianados will cry foul that I've skipped ahead to 1966 in this retrospective but the awesomely named actor Jock Mahoney wouldn't mind. He only made two Tarzan films in the mid sixties... and barely finished those. He got deathly ill on the second, lost 40 lbs during the picture, and couldn't get out of the jungle fast enough. The first of those pictures lost money, too.

You see, in the wake of the phenomenal success of Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964), James Bond was the new #1 adventure hero and Tarzan was old news. The Tarzan franchise took note and tried to combine the two with Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), introducing the closest thing they could find to Sean Connery's swarthy dimpled masculinity: Mike Henry.

Mike Henry was a professional football player with the Los Angeles Rams but he left sports for the actor's life and donned the Tarzan's loincloth.

...Or, should we say his suit.

In addition to introducing Tarzan as a jet-setting perpetually-endangered looker in a suit, this new 007 style adventure also begins with a kitschy mod score over colorful credits, an opening action sequence that's somewhat disconnected from the movie that follows, and an intelligent international criminal with a taste for booby-trapped gifts. So, you know, we're definitely in Bond territory...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun102016

Elba and Winslet in "Mountain" Love

We just don't get enough romantic plane crash epics anymore. Or even actual romantic fireworks.

But here's a future screen coupling too hot to ignore: Kate Winslet will be joing Idris Elba in the disaster romance novel adaptation The Mountain Between Us. With their collective charisma, that's a tough pair to imagine not stirring some real screen passion. Is it too late to just retitle it They Have Lots of Sex Scenes on A Beach?

Mountain stars the two a strangers whose plane goes down in the mountains and they must battle broken bones and frigid cold as chances for rescue grow slim. So not as sexy as one would hope. The drama sounds less like a Swept Away trifle than it does The Revenant with kisses replacing the stabs. Hany Abu-Assad (twice Oscar nominated in Foreign Language for directing Omar and Paradise Now) is helming a script from Chris Weitz (About A Boy) so the unexpected team could deliver something unique.

Regardless, any gruesomeness should be alleviated by the two stars' combined powers. Let's not forget that Winslet knows her way around a romantic disaster film!

What's your favorite romantic disaster film?

Friday
Jun032016

Todd Field Finally Returns

It's been a decade since director Todd Field's masterful Little Children followed up his equally potent In the Bedroom, and we have been clammoring for his next effort since. After many close calls and proposed projects, his next literary adaptation is finally coming to fruition. Showtime has announced a two season, 20 episode order for Purity, based on last year's Jonathan Franzen globehopping novel. With the cable network throwing its weight behind the series, this is exciting news for those over us who have watched his many projects never get beyond the announcement stage.

This one comes with a high pedigree: Daniel Craig has signed on to play the central pseudo-WikiLeaks activist Andreas Wolf (sealing the final nail in the coffin to any Bond speculation), with Franzen and Oscar nominee David Hare sharing the writing duties with Field. The female lead has yet to be cast, but it's a strong role ripe for any number of younger actresses. Provided those Captain Marvel rumors don't materialize, might we make a suggestion:

 

 

It's quite an ambitious project for both Field and Showtime, hopefully stepping up their game in the coming years with this and the Twin Peaks revival. The novel is as expansive as Franzen's other praised works (curiously the more celebrated The Corrections and Freedom almost happened at HBO), with enough complex material for the planned two seasons and the thinkpieces that inevitably will follow. If nothing else, it should be a perfect fit to Field's intelligent sensibilities. The series will shoot next year, with both seasons airing shortly after.