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Thompson on Hollywood

Hollywood Whipping Boy Von Stroheim's Decadent 'Foolish Wives' Was First Million Dollar Movie

Orson Welles is often held up as the most abused child in the history of Hollywood, but Erich von Stroheim was easily his equal as whipping boy: Beginning with “Foolish Wives” -- Hollywood’s first “million-dollar movie,” for which von Stroheim recreated Monte Carlo on the back lot of Universal – the former assistant to D.W. Griffith lost one duel after another to the hedge-clippers of Hollywood. On “Greed” alone, he was probably relieved of more footage than Welles ever shot in his life. The loss to cinema history has been mourned since the ‘20s.
  • By John Anderson
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  • July 27, 2013 3:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: Mizoguchi's Bitter Masterpiece 'The Life of Oharu' Now on Criterion

Director Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Life of Oharu" (1952), newly available in a high-def digital restoration from the Criterion Collection, teems with contradictions. It's epic yet delicate, set in feudal Japan but animated by modern anxieties, at once a traditional picaresque and a bold feminist classic.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 10, 2013 1:44 PM
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Johnny Depp Loves Buster Keaton: Check Out the Great Silent Comedian (MANY CLIPS)

Great Silent director-star Buster Keaton is revered by the likes of Jackie Chan and Johnny Depp, who channels him in "The Lone Ranger" and even borrows some of his train stunts from his classic "The General." Orson Welles once stated that "The General" is "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 2, 2013 2:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment

DVD Review: 'Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick' on the Life of William Wellman a Welcome Bio-Doc (CLIPS)

Kino Lorber’s upcoming DVD release of “Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick” about the life of director William Wellman, is welcome for a couple of reasons. One: In the Great Filmography of American cinema, Wellman, much like Howard Hawks, is a bit like Zelig. He’s everywhere. He made perhaps THE archetypal gangster picture, “Public Enemy” (1931), which not only introduced James Cagney to the screen but planted the concept of the anti-hero in a war- and Depression-weary American psyche.
  • By John Anderson
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  • June 10, 2013 2:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: In Two 'Steel Magnolias,' the Times Are Not A-Changin'

The first thing one notices about "Steel Magnolias" (Herbert Ross, 1989) is the hair. Truvy's Beauty Shop overflows with tight-rolled pastel curlers and foot-high teases, held in place by enough hairspray to commit arson -- a style so far out of fashion it seems historical, as rococo as Marie Antoinette's bedsheets.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 14, 2013 3:07 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Now and Then: Olivier and the Bard

"I can smile, and murder while I smile," confides that notorious noble, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Laurence Olivier), "and frame my face to all occasions." For Olivier, pronouncing "frame" like "feign," it's an auspicious beginning. In Shakespeare's words, he finds his performer's credo.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • April 26, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Clint 'Eastwood Directs' Documentary to Premiere at Tribeca, Followed by Panel with Eastwood and Darren Aronofsky

WBHE's documentary "Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story" will have its premiere April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival (April 17-28), followed by a panel with Clint Eastwood, moderated by Darren Aronofsky.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • March 29, 2013 12:44 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Warner Bros. to Release 20-Film Comedy Box Set for 90th Anniversary, Includes Cary Grant Classics, Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks

Warner Bros. celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2013, and to mark the occasion is releasing five box sets throughout the year, with 20 films each highlighting the best of the studio's output. First up: the Comedy Collection, including such unbeatable classics as Howard Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby," George Cukor's "The Philadelphia Story" and Frank Capra's "Arsenic and Old Lace." Alas, it also includes "The Hangover," but nothing's perfect. Full list of titles below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 12, 2013 11:54 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Catch Up on Oscar Winners, VOD-Style

If you missed the theatrical runs of some of Sunday night's Oscar-winning films, Movies On Demand has a slew of titles to get you caught up. Full list of available films below...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 27, 2013 1:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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