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Entries in Oscars (70s) (121)

Friday
Jul152016

Beauty Break: Vintage 1977 - Magazine Covers

Liz, and Liza and Halston, Oh my!

Reminder. At the end of the month the Smackdown returns with a look at the Supporting Actress Race of 1977 (The Turning Point, Julia, Close Encounters, The Goodbye Girl, and Looking for Mr Goodbar so get to watching so you can vote!).

To get you in the mid to late 1970s mood, if you lived through them, or just to engage your curiousity if you didn't, a collection of magazine covers from the year in question. Naturally we'll start with two Best Actress winners and then hit the general collections of showbiz covers...

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Monday
Jul112016

The Furniture: The Spy Who Loved My Supertanker

1977 is our "Year of the Month" for July. So we'll be celebrating its films randomly throughout the month. Here's Daniel Walber...

Looking back at the films of '77, the clear production design stand-out is Star Wars. It won the Oscar and changed the world, though not necessarily in that order. Science fiction was crossing over, pushed even further by fellow nominee Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But why talk about harder sci-fi when you could focus on the futuristic gadgetry and technological excess of the James Bond franchise?

The Spy Who Loved Me is a remarkable showcase for legendary production designer Ken Adam, who passed away earlier this year. He built models of the Pyramids, a cavernous office for the head of the KGB and a decadent underwater lair for nefarious shipping magnate Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). But the real showstopper is the interior of the Liparus supertanker, the site of the film’s climax. Or, rather, the liveliest of its many climaxes. This is a Bond film, after all.

This was Adam's sixth contribution to the franchise, and he made a point of outdoing his prior work. The set for the Liparus was to be an entirely new sound stage, among the largest ever constructed. 

The final product was gigantic, 334ft by 136ft. Cinematographer Claude Renoir couldn’t actually see from one end to the other. Adam had to call in Stanley Kubrick, with whom he had worked on Dr. Strangelove and Barry Lyndon, just to figure out the lighting...

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Wednesday
Jul062016

Michael Cimino & the Best Director Oscar Since

Eric here with thinking about the past 40 years of Oscars Best Director category.

This past Saturday, director Michael Cimino passed away at age 77.  Cimino won the Best Director Oscar for 1978’s The Deer Hunter, beating Woody Allen (Interiors), Hal Ashby (Coming Home), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (Heaven Can Wait), and Alan Parker (Midnight Express).  While those five actual films are of varying quality, the names behind them are all heavyweights and it was formidable company.

The Deer Hunter was a divisive film upon its release and remains so today (praised for its leisurely-paced first half and its capture of inexpressive male friendship; criticized for the Russian Roulette melodrama and its depiction of the Vietnamese). With The Deer Hunter, Cimino aimed to make something epic and classically Greek in its storytelling, and watching the film you can actually feel his young talent. Cimino next famously (infamously?) went on to direct 1980’s Heaven’s Gate, a film of disastrous proportions that has been covered ad nauseum as one of cinema’s biggest catastrophes.  He directed four more films after that, none to any significant acclaim, the last one released 20 years ago.   

It’s interesting to look over the list of the men (and one woman) who have won the Best Director Oscar since Cimino in 1978 to see where their careers have gone...

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Wednesday
Jun292016

Olivia @ 100: Airport '77

Don't get on the plane! It's a Disaster Movie!Team Experience is looking at highlights and curios from the filmography of Olivia de Havilland for her Centennial this Friday. Here's guest contributor Sean Donovan...

Airport ’77, the third film of the Airport franchise, capitalized on the immense success of the 70s disaster movie craze in the twilight of its years. Just one year later in 1978, the critical and box office failure of Irwin Allen’s The Swarm showed how much audiences had sobered up, no longer excited by disaster movies and more interested in openly mocking them, based on their cheesy acting and overwrought destruction (a movement chronicled by Ken Feil in his worth-the-read book Dying for a Laugh: Disaster Movies and the Camp Imagination). So if something feels lacking and obligatory about Airport ’77- in which a botched hijacking lands a Boeing 747 in the ocean, the passengers struggling to get back to land safely- that’s only because the film presents a crew of movie stars eager to cash their checks and get out as quick as possible. 

Among them is our honored centennial, Ms. Olivia de Havilland! And who can blame her for dipping into the disaster movie depths?

Her generational cohort Shelley Winters scored an Oscar nomination for being the token old lady to brave disaster (at the age of 52, but that’s Hollywood), in the genre-defining The Poseidon AdventureOlder actresses like Helen Hayes, Gloria Swanson, and Myrna Loy had already wandered into the Airport franchise, Hayes walking away with an Oscar for her efforts. As an aging member of Hollywood royalty in the 1970s, it seems one of your duties was to class up a trashy disaster film with your mere presence... 

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Monday
Jun202016

Things that happened on Nicole Kidman's Birthday over the years

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1893 Lizzie Borden acquitted of the axe murders of her dad and stepmom but everyone still thinks she did it. I still haven't seen that show where Christina Ricci played her. Oops.
1905 Lillian Hellman, playwright and screenwriter is born. 
1909 Swashbuckler supreme Errol Flynn is born
1910 Fanny Brice debuts in "Ziegfeld Follies". The moment was recreated (see photo above from the Academy's archives) and heavily fictionalized of course, in Barbra Streisand's Funny Girl (1968)
1915 Director Terence Young is born. Goes on to kick off the Bond franchise with Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball and direct Audrey Hepburn to her last Oscar nomination for Wait Until Dark (1967)
1928 Martin Landau is born. 66 years, 9 months, and 7 days he wins a well-deserved Oscar for Ed Wood (1994)

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Sunday
Jun122016

Irwin Allen "Master of Disaster" Centennial

Tim here. Today we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the birth of producer-director-writer Irwin Allen, one of the great junk-food purveyors in Hollywood cinema. It's by no means true that Allen invented the disaster movie (a genre stretching back into the 1930s), nor even the uniquely '70s-style incarnation of the form, with an impressively well-stocked larder of overtalented, underpaid stars filling out the clichéd melodramas of addiction and marital strife that tend to form the plots of these movie (Airport got there first). But it was under Allen's hand that disaster movies became the greatest, gaudiest spectacles of the decade.

Allen was not always a high-end schlockmeister. In fact, he began his career as an Oscar-winner, taking home a Best Documentary Feature award for 1953's The Sea Around Us, based on a Rachel L. Carson book. Curiously his first taste of the effects-driven spectacle that would typify his later films came in as a way of fleshing out his documentaries. One sequence of his 1956 film The Animal World, on dinosaurs, featured effects by the great Ray Harryhausen, and his very next film was his first all-star extravaganza, the cameo-packed The Story of Mankind.

More...

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