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Entries in Oscars (60s) (88)

Thursday
Jul092015

Oscar Trivia Detour: Albert Finney as Lawrence of Arabia?

In an alternate universe this could have happened...

Jigsaw Lounge posted that image to twitter last night in response to a thread started by Deux Ex Cinema, one I hadn't seen. It blew my mind to learn that the great actor screen-tested for Peter O'Toole's signature part and was, according to some, David Lean's first choice. The question posed: 

Did this five time nominee ever come close to actually winning an Oscar?

I'd argue that he never did though some will disagree. He was way too young for Oscar when he headlined a Best Picture Winner (Tom Jones, 1963) as he was only 27. That would have made him the youngest winner of all time in that category, a record that would have still held since Adrien Brody is the current record holder at 29. At the time I believe Finney was the sixth youngest man ever nominated for lead, but he's since been pushed out of the top ten in the last decade or so by 26 and 27 year olds who were a smidge younger in their years like Ryan Gosling, Heath Ledger, and Jesse Eisenberg. By the time Erin Brockovich (2000), his last nomination, rolled around he was up against a juggernaut contender in Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) who was so popular that he won the SAG as Leading actor before winning the supporting Oscar for the same role.

Albert Finney's last screen appearance was in Skyfall (2012) but he's still alive at 79. Will some filmmaker give him one last great role or should Oscar give him an Honorary?  

Here's a list to ponder...

Living Men with the Most (Acting) Nominations Who've Never Won

  1. Albert Finney (5)
  2. [Tie] Warren Beatty*, Ed Harris, and Leonardo DiCaprio (4 each) 
  3. [Tie] Brad Pitt*, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Bradley Cooper, Nick Nolte, and Kirk Douglas* (3 each)

* they have Oscars for something else but not a competitive acting Oscar

Friday
May292015

Smackdown Summer - Revamp Your Queues!

We're just 9 days away from the launch of another Smackdown Summer. Rather than announce piecemeal, we'll give you all five lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up with these films (some of them stone cold classics) over the hot months. Remember to cast your own ballots during each month for the reader-polling (your 1979 votes are due by June 4th). Your votes count toward the final Smackdown win so more of you should join in. 

These Oscar years were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and desire-to-watch moods.  I wish we had time to squeeze in a dozen Smackdowns each summer! As it is there will be TWO Smackdowns in June, a gift to you since this first episode was delayed.

Sunday June 7th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1979

Meryl Streep won her first of three Oscars while taking her co-star Jane Alexander along for the Oscar ride in Kramer vs. Kramer. The delightful character actress Barbara Barrie was nominated for her mom role in Breaking Away, Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen's preternaturally wise teenage lover in Manhattan, and Candice Bergen played a singing divorcee in Starting Over - a role that supposedly helped win her Murphy Brown a decade later.

PANELISTS: Nathaniel R (TFE), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu) and novelist K. M. Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys," "Robin and Rudy")

 

Sunday June 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1948

1948's roster has a genuine movie star and one of the most iconic character actresses of all time in Jean Simmons who didn't get to the nunnery in Hamlet and Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda respectively. Also nominated were two women from the immigrant family drama I Remember Mama, Barbara Bel Geddes and Ellen Corby. But taking home the gold was Claire Trevor in the Bogart & Bacall noir Key Largo. Will the panel agree with Oscar's decision? 

PANELISTS: TBA

 

Sunday July 26th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1995

The Oscar went to one-hit wonder Mira Sorvino (okay, two hit wonder: hi Romy & Michelle!) for her hooker with a heart of gold in Mighty Aphrodite but then no one knew what her future had in store. No one knew that for any of the contenders since they were all first timers. Sorvino was up against two familiar ensemble players Kathleen Quinlan in the popular hit Apollo 13, and critical darling Mare Winningham from Georgia, and two "new" faces who'd continue on to future Oscar glories and Great Actress reputations in Kate Winslet (Sense & Sensibility) and Joan Allen (Nixon).

PANELISTS TBA

Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1954 

Eva Marie Saint dropped a glove and won an Oscar for On the Waterfront opposite Marlon Brando by any margin the most famous of 1954's Oscar nominated films. But what will the panel make of her competition? There's also the formidable Nina Foch in the all-star corporate drama Executive Suite, Katy Jurado, the first Mexican actress ever nominated, for the western Broken Lance and rounding out the category were two women from John Wayne's airline thriller The High and the Mighty, Jan Sterling and Oscar regular Claire Trevor.

PANELISTS TBA

 

Sunday September 27th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963 (Season Finale!)  

Since the 2015 film year really heats up in September with the Toronto Film Festival (10th-20th) and Prestige Season Kick-Off, we're taking it easy for the finale with the one of only two years when only three films were nominated in the Supporting Actress category. Margaret Rutherford won the Oscar for The VIPs, a Liz & Dick show, Lilia Skalia was also popular in nun mode for Lilies of the Field but it was the Best Picture winning sex comedy Tom Jones that was the informal star of this category with three of Albert Finney's co-stars nominated (the all time record in this category): Diane Cilento, Joyce Redman, and '60s Oscar fixture Dame Edith Evans (nominated shortly thereafter for both The Chalk Garden and The Whisperers

PANELISTS TBA

 

Queue up those DVDs, readers, and play along at home! Unless you're a semi-famous star or accomplished character actor, oft-employed industry professional, best selling novelists, popular film critic, or AMPAS member in which case, tell me which panel you want to be on! (Shameless Plug). You know you want to join in the movie merriment !!!

Monday
May252015

Two Women. Two Questions

First a Question For You
Have you ever been baffled or resentful of an Oscar win (any category) only to finally see the picture and go "Oh, okay. I get it" and feel sheepish about your past dismissal (even if it wouldn't quite change your vote)? 

Such was the case with me and Sophia Loren's Two Women (1961) the only 1960s Best Actress win I hadn't seen, largely because I was so angry about it growing up given my intense love of Natalie Wood, who lost her best shot at the statue (Splendor in the Grass) in the peak year of her popularity (West Side Story). But when the Walter Reade screened Vittoria de Sica's Two Women this weekend I decided to fix the gap. Sophia was terrific, particularly in the final act when the movie takes quite a dark turn (in some ways it's a very strange film, a mix of lightly charming Star Vehicle, brutal Neorealism, and Melodrama)

My Turn. "Ask Nathaniel..."
Once you've answered my question in the comments, ask me one! (It should not be Sophia related. I just needed to ask you that question.) I'll answer two handfuls of your questions tomorrow night in the Q&A column.

Ready. Set. Go...

 

Friday
May222015

Weekend Suggestions - Got Any Plans? 

Some people plan weeks in advance but if you're a 'what shall we do this weekend?' last minute type like, my, uh, friend... who never has any firm plans until the last second even on holiday weekends... Here are some suggestions depending on where you live!

NEW YORK CITY
This weekend the Walter Reade has an Italian film program. You can see the Alain Deloin (mmmm) drama The Professor (1972) tonight and I personally don't plan to miss Sophia Loren's Oscar winning Two Women (1961) on Sunday (two showings) since that one is very difficult to find a good print DVD of and it's a rare chance to see it on the big screen. The Maysles Cinema in Harlem is showing Iris (2015), Albert Maysles' last film, all week long with a few Q&As scheduled. The Museum of the Moving image has a Masaki Kobayashi retrospective starting this weekend and you can see the Oscar nominated Kwaidan (1964) on Sunday. Make sure to time your visit so that you can see MoMI's great expansive Mad Men exhibit. I already want to go back to it.

If you're not in the cinema mood (gasp), see one of the Tony nominees. Several of them are super expensive / sold out but you can still get discount tickets for arguable Best Play frontrunner The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and the gorgeous dance musical An American in Paris (reviewed). The cheapest discount tickets that are 100% worthwhile are Chita Rivera in The Visit (the music is gorgeous and it may well be your last chance to see this legend live - she's 82!) and the exuberant funny On the Town (reviewed) but I apologize in advance should you become greatly obsessed with Tony Yazbeck; It can't be helped really, you will. Great sources for discounts are Today's Tix and TDF

CHICAGO
Tonight at 7:45 PM TFE favorite David Dastmalchian will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center to discuss his new film Animals, a tough but teary romantic drama about two small time grifters / addicts. So buy a ticket, won't you? I personally love it when actors create their own work to show Hollywood that they're more than just whatever they've been typecast as.

LOS ANGELES
Always the perfect weather there, right? And they make use of it with several outdoor screenings. This weekend Almost Famous, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Rear Window, and Dazed and Confused at various locations.  

SAN FRANCISCO
The Roxie theater has a double feature of The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) and The American Friend (1977) as part of their "copy & paste" series on remakes and reimaginings. That could be fun.  The Castro has a 85th birthday celebration for Harvey Milk with a screening and fireside chat of The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), the Oscar winning documentary that is one of the greatest documentaries I've personally ever seen. Selling fast apparently so if you're free tonight

LONDON 
There's a "Bollywood Fever" festival at the OXO Tower Wharf today through Monday with 15 different films, a few of which are sold out already.

I freely admit that if I were anywhere near London I wouldn't rest till I'd seen Imelda Staunton doing "Mama Rose" in Gypsy (extended through November!)

EVERYWHERE
Movies available to rent or download from iTunes that are also in theaters OR skipped them altogether are the aforementioned Animals from friend of TFE Dastmalchian and a movie you might not have heard of called Ask Me Anything. I haven't seen it yet but full disclosure, I know people involved: a friend of mine produced it and it won Best Actress at the Nashville Film Festival last year (which I've attended as a jury member a couple of times)! Put it in your curiousity pile if you enjoy Britt Robertson. She's already headlined a few small pictures before her mainstream breakthrough-bid this year (Tomorrowland and The Longest Ride) and this one, about a girl between high school and college chronicling her life on an anonymous blog, is the most recent of them. It was even cited by Taste of Cinema as one of the ten most underappreciated indies of recent year.

 

Wednesday
May202015

The Many Cinematic Lives of Anne Boleyn

479 years ago on May 19th the second and most famous of Henry VIII's six wives, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded. But almost 5 centuries after her death, her life continues to fascinate storytellers. It seems that every couple of years there's a new interpretation of the events that conspired in England all those years ago. The latest version of King Henry and his many wives is Hilary Mantel's award-winning books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Both books have already been adapted to a miniseries that just aired on PBS over the past month and is currently playing on Broadway in a production that originally was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played the West End (and recently received 8 Tony nominations including Best New Play). And while Mantel's books and the subsequent adaptations of her work focus on the events from Thomas Cromwell's point of view, there's no doubt that the reason we're still telling this tale is because of that woman that inspired a king to leave his wife and create an entirely new religion just to be with her: Anne Boleyn. (Even the Broadway production's marketing puts Lydia Leonard in her Tony-nominated performance as the one time queen front and center.)   

Inspired by the current influx of entertainment based on Boleyn and her exploits at court, for the anniversary of her infamous death, let's take a look at three famous actresses that have played Boleyn over the years... 

The Private Lives of Henry VIII (1933)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr252015

"Something Rotten" and/in Adapting "Doctor Zhivago"

Does the classic film / novel translate well to the stage? Stage Door, our theater review series, is in hyperdrive, it's difficult to keep up what with shows opening left and right. The Tonys, like the Oscars, have a glut problem right before the eligibility deadline. Nominations are announced this coming Tuesday.

The Twin Perils of Snark & Earnestness
If you want to be a massive musical comedy hit, the current fever is to be slightly self-deprecating about the thing that you are. Something Rotten, which is expected to do well at the Tonys and already a hit, is a new musical comedy that doubles as an anachronistic in-on-the-joke Shakespeare comedy and a spoof of Broadway song & dance. The actual plot centers around a poor playwright (Tony-winner Brian d'Arcy James) with the surname of "Bottom" -- and yes, that leads to exactly the crass jokes you might expect it does -- who struggles in obscurity while his contemporary William Shakespeare (Tony-winner Christian Borle from Smash doing a full Tim Curry) is treated like a rock star.

More Something Rotten and a new Doctor Zhivago after the jump...

Click to read more ...