WATCH AT HOME!
Film Bitch History
Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

 

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

Soundtracking: Hustlers

"YES, this soundtrack was soooo good!!! The Fiona Apple 'Criminal' dance, instantly iconic." - JWB

"Does anyone remember Demi Moore in STRIPTEASE? They had her dancing to sad Annie Lennox songs. smh." - David

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

Interviews

Directors of For Sama


recent
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe

Entries in Robert Wise (6)

Tuesday
Sep102019

The Wise Guy

A quick shout-out to the director Robert Wise, who was born 105 years ago this very day. He passed in 2005, by then a four-time Oscar winner for a couple little movies called The Sound of Music and West Side Story (he won for both directing and producing), although he was nominated a couple other times. I mean he edited Citizen Kane! Obviously he was nominated other times. 

I do love his nomination for directing Susan Hayward's 1958 melodrama I Want To Live!, a film which looks way overcooked to modern eyes (as does most of Hayward's output) but which I love all the same. But Wise should've had several more nominations, if you ask me -- in between his two musical masterpieces he only directed one of the greatest horror films of all time, The Haunting, still effective to this day. There didn't seem to be a genre he couldn't master. How many nominations would you have given Robert Wise?

Wednesday
Sep102014

Robert Wise Centenary: Audrey Rose (1977)

We've been celebrating 100 years of director Robert Wise all week by looking at some of his lesser known efforts. Previously: Tim on "Curse of the Cat People", Nathaniel on "Somebody Up There...", David on "I Want To Live!", and Manuel on "Star!" -- now here's Jason wrapping it up with "Audrey Rose"

It says a lot about the breadth of Robert Wise's filmography that the team of writers that tackled his Centennial this week here at The Film Experience have had such a gigantic stage to play upon. I mean here I am an avowed musical-agnostic taking on the director of two of the biggest movie musicals of all time, and even with the tossing aside The Sound of Music and West Side Story (although strangely I did write that movie up at TFE back in the day) I had multiple films which I could've tackled with glee. His early pair with producer Val Lewton, Curse of the Cat People (which Tim beautifully wrote up) and The Body Snatcher, are amongst the finest horror films of the 1940s; The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of the most memorable expressions of the 50s sci-fi landscape; and well 1963's The Haunting is probably in my top five horror movies of ever -- to watch sad Nell lose herself amongst the shadows of Hill House is to feel your own edges fading away, bit by bit.

But my confidence in Wise convinced me that tackling an unknown was the way to go - had I really never seen 1977's Audrey Rose? I really hadn't. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep092014

Robert Wise Centenary: Star! (1968)

For Robert Wise's centennial, we're looking back on a random selection of his films beyond the familiar mega-hits (The Sound of Music & West Side Story) which we are far more prone to talk about. Here's Manuel discussing Star! (1968).

With its succinctly confident title (exclamation mark and all) Star! is that other Julie Andrews/Robert Wise musical. The film is a biopic of Gertrude Lawrence,  a celebrated English performer who rose up from music halls to become a famed fixture on the West End and Broadway (see why Andrews seemed like such a great fit?). At 176 minutes, the film tests the patience of even those of us enamored with Andrews, musicals, and showbiz dramas.

Much like the very form that made Gertie a star, the film feels like a revue musical more so than a cohesive narrative of or about Gertie’s life. Parents, children, husbands, friends and lovers, come in and out of focus but rarely stay for long enough to create any sort of tension, especially as the movie is intent on barreling through Gertie’s life to give us (count ‘em!) fifteen full musical numbers.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep082014

Robert Wise Centenary: I Want to Live! (1958)

We're celebrating the centennial of director Robert Wise this week. Previously: Tim on "Curse of the Cat People" (1944) and Nathaniel on "Somebody Up There...". Now, David on Susan Hayward's Oscar vehicle, with an exclamation point!
 


Though the internet seems to increasingly denigrate the importance of punctuation, once upon a time it was vital to our sense of understanding language. Would I Want To Live! have any of the same feverish impact without that exclamation mark at the end of its title? Perhaps. But it signifies the bold stance of this cry for social justice in a millisecond. I mean, just look at this poster! Only Britain's notorious newspaper The Daily Mail has taglines that long these days.

That boldness is a quality more of the film's frenzied marketing than of the film itself; director Robert Wise, whose centennial we're marking this week, excised the closing rhetoric that producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz was insisting upon, sure that if an audience wasn't convinced of the film's social statement by then, a few platitudes wouldn't make a difference. As our series of pieces has and will demonstrate, Wise was an extremely adaptable filmmaker who transcended genre, but he often pursued work that aligned with his anti-establishment politics.

Never more so than here [More...]

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep082014

Robert Wise Centenary: Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

For Robert Wise's centennial, we're looking back on a random selection of his films beyond the familiar mega-hits (The Sound of Music & West Side Story) which we are far more prone to talk about. Here's Nathaniel on the Paul Newman boxing drama...

The poster art for Robert Wise's 1956 biopic on Rocky Graziano reminds us that the more things change the more they stay the same. We're still getting taglines like "A girl can lift a fella to the skies!" (see: Theory of Everything) but Pier Angeli's role as Rocky's wife Norma in the Paul Newman boxing pic is actually fairly minor. She straightens him out primarily by giving him something consistent to hold on to in a life that's been previously totally adrift in noncommittal boxing matches for money and petty crimes. Not that his crimes were always petty, mind you, but we'll get to that in a minute. 

Up until Somebody Up There Likes Me Paul Newman had been doing minor TV roles and successful work on the stage. But his film debut in the biblical epic The Silver Chalice (1954) was an embarrassment. He won poor reviews and later stated...

 The moment I walked into that studio I had a feeling of personal disaster..."

Newman's Breakthrough after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep052014

Robert Wise Centenary: The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

It's Tim. September marks the centennial of famed director Robert Wise, winner of Oscars for the musicals West Side Story and The Sound of Music among several other classic films, and the members of Team Experience are going to spend the next several days revisiting work from the entire range of his career. And what better place to start than at the very beginning: 1944's The Curse of the Cat People, which was Wise's directorial debut, taking over from Gunther V. Fritsch, when the project fell behind schedule. It's part of the legendary run of movies produced by Val Lewton's horror-oriented B-unit at RKO, a studio where Wise had already logged time as an editor (cutting both Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, no less). But it's not, itself, a horror movie, despite being the sequel to Cat People, one of the canonically great horror films in history. And despite Wise having a terrific hand for horror, as he'd first prove with his third feature, the Lewton-produced The Body Snatcher.

The Curse of the Cat People is, rather, a sort of psychologically realist fairy tale, taking its title (which RKO forced upon Lewton, though giving him the freedom to make any plot he wanted to under that name) to the most symbolic, abstract extreme possible. It involves Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) and his wife Alice (Jane Randolph), the heroes of the earlier film, moved to the New York suburbs with their six-year-old daughter Amy (Ann Carter), who's having a problem separating fantasy from reality lately. And the audience is forced into having much the same problem, when Amy wishes for a friend and gets one in the form of Irena (Simone Simon), whom devotees of Cat People might recall was Oliver's first wife. The one who transformed into a panther when she got sexually aroused, and is dead now.

Click to read more ...