The Playlist

5 Things You Might Not Know About David Lean's 'Lawrence Of Arabia'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 18, 2012 3:12 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Is there a greater film than "Lawrence of Arabia?" Perhaps. There are certainly few longer ones, or few that are more epic and sweeping in their scope (thanks to the timeless Panavision 70 photography by Freddie Young). But even if the film isn't your absolute favorite, it is the number one of many, including Steven Spielberg, who credits the picture with making him want to be a filmmaker.

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Milius' 'Conan The Barbarian'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 14, 2012 11:20 AM
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  • 4 Comments
These days, after "Lord of the Rings" and "Game Of Thrones," fantasy isn't just big business, but it can also be an critically acclaimed awards favorite, picking up Oscars and Emmys by the handful. As such, it's easy to forget that prior to the 1980s, the genre barely existed on screen, with animated takes on Tolkein's works the only really significant pictures in the genre. But in 1977, "Star Wars," a film that owed as much to high fantasy as to science-fiction, became the biggest hit in history, and that opened the door to all kinds of new fantasy worlds.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece 'Vertigo'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 9, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Voting is currently underway on the Sight & Sound poll for the greatest film ever made, which takes place every ten years, and is generally seen as one of the most definitive of such polls. And one film that's near-certain to place in the top ten, given that it's been there in every poll since 1982 (and placed second in 2002) is Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." The film was relatively poorly received on release, and indeed, remained unseen for twenty years, one of the five films that Hitchcock bought back the rights for to leave to his daughter (the so-called Five Lost Hitchcocks, which also include "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Rear Window," "Rope" and "The Trouble With Harry"). But since its re-release in 1984, the film has grown into the great director's most acclaimed masterpiece, and is now one of the most examined, deconstructed and written about films in the history of the medium.

5 Things You May Not Know About Akira Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 26, 2012 9:58 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Picking your favorite Akira Kurosawa film is a tricky choice for any movie fan. From "Rashomon" to "Ran," the great Japanese filmmaker, one of the most beloved and influential directors of all time, knocked out a string of classics in a career that lasted well over 40 years. But more often than not, at the top of the list for Kurosawa fans is "Seven Samurai," the 1954 samurai epic that redefined the action movie for generations.

5 Things You May Not Know About 'The Third Man'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 25, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Thirty-six years ago today, on April 25th, 1976, filmmaker Carol Reed passed away. One of the greatest directors ever to come out of the U.K, Reed started out as an actor, but gained fame as a writer-director in the late 1930s and 1940s, thanks to films like "Night Train To Munich," and the outstanding "Odd Man Out" and "The Fallen Idol." Later, he'd also find success with films like "Trapeze," "Our Man In Havana," "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and "Oliver!," for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director, beating out Stanley Kubrick for "2001" and Gillo Pontecorvo for "The Battle of Algiers."

5 Things You May Not Know About 'Superman II'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 19, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • 9 Comments
A little over a year from now, the most iconic comic character in history will be back on screens, courtesy of Zack Snyder's "Man Of Steel." Seven years on from Bryan Singer's oft-derided "Superman Returns," it'll see "The Dark Knight" mastermind Christopher Nolan producing a new, seemingly darker take on the character, to be played by Henry Cavill, with Michael Shannon as his Kryptonian nemesis General Zod.

5 Things You May Not Know About Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 18, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
51 years ago today, on April 19th 1961, Federico Fellini's masterpiece "La Dolce Vita" arrived in U.S. theaters. The film was already a phenomenon; it had premiered in Italy the previous February, was instantly condemned by the Catholic Church (it was even banned entirely in Spain until 1975), and won the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1960. On its U.S. release, it was widely acclaimed by critics, became a huge box office hit, and picked up four Oscar nominations the following year, including director and screenplay, and won for costume design.

5 Things You May Not Know About Douglas Sirk's 'Imitation Of Life'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 17, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 9 Comments
The Oscar-winning success of last year's "The Help" wa a throwback in many ways, principally to the socially-conscious melodramas of Stanley Kramer, like "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner." Another comparison point that came up frequently in reviews of Tate Taylor's film was "Imitation Of Life," the 1959 melodrama by director Douglas Sirk, but it's scarcely fair: over fifty years on, Sirk's picture stands head and shoulders above virtually every other melodrama.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Mad Max'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 12, 2012 10:59 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Any day now, director George Miller will finally get rolling in Namibia on "Fury Road," the long-awaited continuation of the "Mad Max" series. Starring Tom Hardy in the role that launched Mel Gibson's career, with a cast that also includes Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, the film's been in the works for years, but to be getting underway in the next month or two.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Conversation'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 9, 2012 10:09 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Two milestones hit for Francis Ford Coppola this weekend. The legendary filmmaker celebrated his 73rd birthday on Saturday, April 7th (happy belated, Francis) and, on the same day, observed the 38th anniversary of the opening of one of his most artistic efforts, 1974’s “The Conversation.”

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