Rhyming over melodic funk with his trademark diction, Brooklyn's finest made what was almost an L. That voice stopped you in its tracks. It recalled Billie Holiday a bit, sure, coming from high in the back of her throat, piercing the ear a little, but wasn't really it. It was Erykah Badu, from Brooklyn via Dallas, her head wrap tall and tight, singing of knowledge and philosophy and fulfilling unrequited love in the next lifetime.
Everything that Lilith Fair later made trendy in the Nineties governs this album's haunting songs: introspection, empathy, accessible but inventive music and, most of all, an undeniable voice. Amid the album's springy New Wave melodicism, O'Connor 's love of black music is evident, particularly in the gorgeous Prince-penned "Nothing Compares 2 U.
She's just above average in technical singing ability, but this girl from the projects of Yonkers, New York, became a cultural necessity because she had Everywoman crosses to bear and a superhuman ability to make you feel her. On her second album, My Life , Mary J. Blige shows a rare gift for pouring her heart into a recording, to make her soul come through the speakers. Collaborating with Sean "Puffy" Combs on original songs and interpolations of tracks by Barry White, Curtis Mayfield and Roy Ayers "My Life" , Blige displays her ongoing struggle to love herself, and, as she says on the marquee single, to just be happy.
The subtly autobiographical album ended up making her a megastar and crystallized the burgeoning hip-hop-soul movement. Blige's 'My Life'. The apotheosis of the Wu-Tang dynasty, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… is powered by the RZA's somehow off-balance, hyperdetailed production, Raekwon the Chef's verbal intercourse — lyrics so dense you need the Staten Island Rosetta stone to make sense of them — and Ghostface Killah's brilliant supporting role. Ghostface's exuberance at finally getting to spit his style on the mike pulses through his every verse — where Raekwon comes off as a cool-criminal mastermind, Ghostface's larger-than-life persona leaps out through the speakers.
Never before have the Tony Montana fantasies of young black men, the dreams of transforming giant bricks of pharmaceuticals into giant stacks of dead presidents, been portrayed with so much precision, poetry and pathos. Following up their earthshaking Achtung Baby , Zooropa further embellished the new model U2.
These are the superstars, after all, who audaciously reinvented themselves on their eighth album — exchanging chiming guitar for funkier riffing and dense, hip-hop-meets-industrial production, unrestrained wailing for insinuating talk-singing, fever for a bubbling heat. Zooropa , their ninth outing, emphasized the shift: Instead of the mythic, desert-landscape cover shot of The Joshua Tree , there's deconstructed video imagery; for the desperate spiritual questing of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," they substitute the monochromatic dead-end musings of "Numb.
Cypress Hill's formula has been imitated so much, it's easy to forget how shocking it sounded at the time: crazy L. B-Real and Sen-Dog come on as a hip-hop Cheech and Chong, praising the sweet leaf with a devotion rarely seen beyond the parking lot at a Phish concert. While the rappers twist their "Latin Lingo" into vato rhymes about blunts, guns and forties, D. Muggs pumps bongloads of bass into paranoid sound collages like "Hand on the Pump," and when you turn it up loud, the beat goes boo-ya. As Black-American-music royalty, Janet Jackson has had every significant moment of her growth recorded.
With Control , she had her cotillion. With Rhythm Nation , she announced her political and sexual awakening. And with Janet. Using soul, rock and dance elements, as well as opera diva Kathleen Battle, Janet unleashed her most musically ambitious record, guided, as always, by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Two albums before, she'd innocently sung, "Let's wait awhile. For many Depeche Mode fans, Violator is the crowning glory of the boys' black-leather period.
In "Sweetest Perfection," "Halo" and "World in My Eyes," they turn teen angst and sexual obsession into grand synth-pop melodrama, and their attempt at guitar rock resulted in a hit with "Personal Jesus. Recovering from the flop of 's Walking With a Panther , LL dusted himself off and brought a new edge and power to his big-mouthed style as he reached full manhood and hip-hop-veteran status.
With huge punch lines, gigantic bravado and that LL voice filled with charisma and cool, Mama speaks of the less-dangerous side of street life — booming car radios and jingling babies and around-the-way girls with Fendi bags. You have to put up with stuff to enjoy a Jane's Addiction album: noodly jamming, hyperbole and a hippie-ish insistence on music's pagan power.
But give them a chance and you'll find yourself immersed in the crashing waves of Dave Navarro's guitar and Steven Perkins' polyrhythmic drums, and hear in Perry Farrell's screeching the call of the good god Pan. Ritual is the album most likely to convert skeptics. Hard rock became a weirder place.
Surveying an American landscape littered with crushed hopes, Springsteen stares down the darkness but fights it only to a draw. That a rocker of this magnitude would make a folk album this forlorn spits in the eye of the rising Dow. Throughout the album lonesome travelers and restless strangers battle their lives with drink, religion and the active search for somewhere better than here.
No one needs convincing. The rugged, world-weary tones of Vitalogy were a head check for Pearl Jam , as Nice Guy Eddie Vedder and his stadium-grunge all-stars grappled with their strange new role as the world's biggest rock band. The Nineties were the all-time high-water mark of silly genre names, and trip-hop may be the silliest of all. But Massive Attack really did invent a whole new style, manipulating hip-hop's boom and reggae's throb into their own slow-motion funk noir, inspiring Bristol, England, neighbors such as Tricky and Portishead to explore cinematic dance grooves heavy on the atmospherics.
Their influence has spread to all corners of pop and rock, not to mention upscale shoe stores and cafes everywhere. Daddy G, Mushroom and 3-D made their most majestic statement on Protection , with colossal beats and first-rate vocal guests. Tricky makes a great cameo, but Tracey Thorn of Everything but the Girl steals the show in the eight-minute title track, a stand-by-your-woman soul ballad that takes off into outer space and gets home in time to do the dishes. Hope Sandoval. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter.
Load More. Newswire Powered by. Close the menu. Rolling Stone. Arrow Created with Sketch. Somehow Allen showed restraint by not introducing killer sharks to the mix. To recap: Back in , producer Ely Landau and his wife Edie launched a daring and unprecedented cinema series that played in the U. It was called the American Film Theatre. Click here to read. The concept tried something different. The directive was to take a great stage play, not change a word , and in most cases, use the actual play script as the screenplay. The next step was to hire an accomplished film director to interpret the text for the film medium but stay faithful to the play.
Sometimes the director was the same person who helmed the original stage production. Kino Lorber has slowly been re-releasing the titles from the American Film Theatre in individual packages, upgraded to high definition Blu-ray. Pinter is extremely difficult to stage, and even more problematic to film. When the American Film Theatre released The Homecoming , movie critics and theatre people were in unanimous agreement—this was the best representation of Harold Pinter we had seen and probably will see, not counting screenplays Pinter wrote that were not adapted from his stage works.
There is an underlying, subtextual menace in nearly every line of dialogue.
Famous for the pauses that are clearly written into his scripts, Pinter always insisted that every word and pause was adhered to when his plays were produced. Yes, his plays can be extremely funny—and The Homecoming is very much so once one becomes accustomed to its heightened delivery. The goods are all in the acting and the dialogue. The story? The rooster is Max Paul Rogers , who rules over the place like a dictator. Ian Holm steals the picture with his acerbic, cynical take on his family and self.
Those readers here who only know Holm from his appearances in The Lord of the Rings films or in Chariots of Fire need to see this performance. It is masterful. Paul Rogers is also spectacular in the showiest role. There are optional English SDH subtitles. Repeated from other AFT Blu-ray titles are an interview with Edie Landau, who with her husband Ely produced the films in the series; a short promotional piece featuring Ely that was shown in theaters during the initial run; and several trailers for other AFT titles.
Since the early days of the British film industry, Pinewood Studios, located on the outskirts of London in Iver Heath, has been an iconic presence in the motion picture industry. The long time home of the James Bond series has also seen countless other major franchises and other blockbusters utilize the studio's sound stages and nearby rural settings as backdrops for some of the most memorable films of all time.
Now, however, the studio will be taken in a very different direction. Variety reports that Disney has signed a long-term deal to effectively take over all of the studio for a period of ten years commencing in With the exception of a few minor television studios on the premises, the deal will allow Disney to dominate production in the British film industry for the next ten years. Film production in England has been booming in recent years, a far cry from decades ago when draconian tax laws threatened the very existence of the studios. Variety reports that Netflix has signed a similar deal with Shepperton Studios, the other major historic setting of classic British films.
Not coincidentally, Shepperton is under the ownership of Pinewood. Thus, available space for non-Disney or Netflix productions in Britain will be very limited in the years to come. Presumably, future Bond films might be excluded from the studio that has served as the franchise's home base since the early s.
The irony is that the fabled "Albert R. Broccoli Stage" might be off limits to James Bond for the next decade. For more, click here. I confess to never having heard of this film prior to receiving a review DVD from Warner Archive, probably due to the fact that it had never been released theatrically in America. In fact, it's fairly obscure even in its native Britain. However, The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, released in , is one of the most amusing and perceptive political satires I have ever seen.
The dark comedy opens with the titular character Peter Cook in top deadpan form inexplicably arriving at a mismanaged London publicity and advertising agency. With nary an explanation about his identity or background, Rimmer simply makes himself at home, though uninvited. The inept brass assumes some big wig has implanted Rimmer among them to be an efficiency expert so they defer to him on virtually everything.
In short order, he turns the failing company into a fabulously successful force in terms of marketing potential political candidates. Finding a way to manipulate the dumbest segment of the Tory voter base, Rimmer quickly becomes a major force in choosing which candidates are the most charismatic, yet intellectually vacuous. Before long, this man of mystery, who says little but achieves a lot through shrewd schemes, is on the A list of London socialites.
He's courted by all and beautiful women are at his disposal. Rimmer chooses a comely lovely Vanessa Howard as his bride, but she soon learns even she is a tool for political expediency as Rimmer himself becomes a top candidate for public office. Both end up being ironic political forces, though Rimmer is a clever manipulator while McKay is an empty shell who rises to the top by serving as the charismatic tool of his puppet masters.
The script was co-written by Cook, John Cleese and Graham Chapman- heavyweight comedy talents who specialize in theater of the absurd. However, the writers keep their comedic instincts restrained, opting wisely for subtle laughs rather than slapstick and it's all deftly handled by director Kevin Billington.
The cynicism of the piece is that a brainless segment of the public will be satisfied by the superficial aspects of candidates even if they know nothing about those candidate's backgrounds or motives. Rimmer becomes the toast of the town without ever taking a firm position on any issue. He smiles a lot, charms everyone and remains firmly in the middle of the road on any topic. Thus, the story is as timeless today as ever. Witness the parade of ignorant, empty-headed people who have emerged as leading political figures in the last few years and you'll understand why The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer plays more like a horror film today than the comedy it was originally intended to be.
Kudos to the Warner Archive for making it available. Kino Lorber has released a Blu-ray edition of the obscure thriller "The Ambassador". Despite it's impressive cast, the film was barely seen in the United States and had only sporadic distribution in other parts of the globe. The movie was a production of the Cannon Group, the now legendary schlock factory owned and operated by passionate Israeli movie buffs Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan. Cannon specialized in building often sub-par movies on limited budgets around stars with name recognition.
Usually backed by sensationalist ad campaigns, Cannon became the toast of the film industry for churning out product at an almost surreal pace. Initially, Cannon was awash with cash but as moviegoers tastes became more sophisticated their ratio of misses-to-hits increased and ultimately the company folded. Although Cannon is synonymous with low-end action films and tasteless comedies, the company did occasionally seek to elevate the quality of its output by producing higher quality productions.
It was ambitious in terms of aspirations even if it fell short of delivering on them. However, when Leonard learned that the screenplay by Max Jack had discarded virtually all of the characters and set-pieces from his book, he disowned the film. Curiously, Cannon would make this up to Leonard by producing a more literal version of the novel a couple of years later. It was released under the book's title and Leonard wrote the screenplay. Hacker is an idealist who is determined to use his influence to bring about a two-state solution to the Middle East crisis that will allow Israelis and Palestinians to finally coexist peacefully.
However, he not only has to overcome skepticism from mainstream people on both sides, there are also fringe terrorist groups determined to undermine his efforts. The film opens with Hacker and his embassy security man Frank Stevenson Rock Hudson attempting to broker a secret meeting in the desert between armed Palestinian and Israeli combatants.
Against all odds, both parties send representatives but a terrorist group attacks by helicopter and slaughters most of the attendees. Undeterred, Hacker concentrates on courting young people on both sides in the hopes that he can convince them to use peaceful means to settle their differences. Hacker has other pressures in his personal life: his wife Alex Ellen Burstyn is suffering from alcoholism and makes a spectacle of herself at a high profile social occasion. More disturbingly, she's been carrying on an anonymous affair with a local Palestinian merchant, Mustapha Hashimi Fabio Testi.
He doesn't know that his lover is the wife of the American ambassador and she doesn't know that he is a bigwig in the Palestinian Liberation Organization and is under constant surveillance by the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. It turns out someone has secretly filmed the lovers in bed.
Hacker receives a phone call threatening to release the film unless he pays a million dollars ransom. This sets in motion a complex but interesting plot in which Hacker and Stevenson work to find the culprits and retrieve the film by any means necessary. The trail leads to mysterious and dangerous characters who attempt to assassinate Hacker even as he doggedly continues his obsession with finding a peaceful solution to Middle East violence. An aging Mitchum still shows charisma and can deliver the goods in terms of a dramatic performance, despite the fact that he was said to be drunk throughout much of the shoot.
Burstyn in a role originally intended for Elizabeth Taylor gives a daring performance for an actress over 50 years old by appearing topless in several scenes. Hudson, in his final feature film, cuts a handsome figure. He was still in fine athletic shape and performs quite a few action scenes with credibility. Mores the pity that the AIDS that would take his life within the next year was probably already beginning to take its toll on him. Donald Pleasence appears fleetingly but impressively as the head of the Mossad.
The direction by the once-esteemed J. Lee Thompson is a step up from the celluloid claptrap he had been churning out for Cannon in recent years. It's also interesting to note that 22 years previously, he and Mitchum had teamed for the classic thriller "Cape Fear". The script is more problematic because some aspects of the story stretch credibility.
Ambassadors are to follow directions from the administration they serve. Peter Hacker is constantly freelancing by taking on well-intentioned but absurd secret missions and rendezvouses. In reality, he wouldn't last a day in the job. The film ends with a bloodbath but tries to mitigate the shock by tacking on a feel-good ending that comes across as contrived. The Kino Lorber release has a very impressive transfer. There is a commentary track with film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Howard S.
Berger, who present an informative discussion the film's editor, Mark Goldblatt. They provide a wealth of great information about the film i. Rock Hudson was a last minute replacement for Telly Savalas. Goldblatt discusses the pros and cons of working for Cannon and bemoans the fact that the film was not widely seen.
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He speculates it might have been made for tax shelter purposes. There are times when the volume on Thompson's voice drops significantly, which is a bit annoying and, unless my ears deceive me, the track consists almost entirely of Thompson and Goldblatt with Berger only weighing in very infrequently.
But the track is a great addition that gives valuable insights into a film that should have received more respect. The disc also contains two trailers: one for the American market and another for the international campaigns. Meade Falkner. Lang was arguably Europe's most esteemed filmmaker but the rise of National Socialism saw him immigrate to America before the worst aspects of Hitler's government were put into place. Lang was initially embraced by Hollywood studios but he soon wore out his welcome.
His abrasive attitude and dictatorial style alienated studio brass and actors alike. He made some good films in America but the Hollywood studio system was still operating under the creaking conservative dictates of the Hays Code, which acted as a defacto censorship board. Fritz still managed to sneak through some progressive messages in his films but he was also often consigned to formula productions that didn't fully exploit his considerable talents. One such production was "Moonfleet". The story is set in Dorset, England in and casts Stewart Granger as Jeremy Fox, an aristocratic ladies man who has just returned from an extended trip to Europe with a beautiful mistress, Mrs.
Minton Viveca Lindfors as his live-in lover.
Fox has surrounded himself with a rogue's gallery of drunks and thieves who welcome him back to the fold, which in this case, is a successful smuggling operation that Fox oversees in the coastal community. He is also in cahoots with an equally disreputable noble, Lord Ashford George Sanders and his wife Joan Greenwood , who openly attempts to seduce Fox.
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Into this mix arrives a young boy, John Mohune Jon Whitely , who has been sent by his dying mother into the care of her former lover, Fox. It is implied but not stated that Fox is the boy's father. Fox is instantly dismissive of the lad, who he fears will infringe upon his lifestyle. He intends to send him to an upscale school but through a complicated set of circumstances, reverses his decision. Seems that the Mohunes were once a rich family in Dorset but their fortunes were undermined by another family that also victimized Fox.
Young John has some clues to the whereabouts of his family's long-lost fortune, a revelation that gives Fox a reason to keep John in his care. The lad comes to idolize Fox even though the feelings of love aren't reciprocated. However, as the two share dangerous adventures and uncover the fortune in the form of a large diamond, Fox takes a more paternal view of the child. The film has a cheap look to it and most of it is set in dank locations in the dead of night, which also robs the movie of any visual splendor. The performances are all very good with Jon Whitely especially impressive and holding his own against his prestigious older co-stars.
For some reason, the cherubic Whitely never found stardom as a child actor. Granger plays a more subdued character than usual in a costume drama but he does get to display some derring-do and Sanders is quite good playing a typical George Sanders role, the effete, morally bankrupt snob. The atmospheric score by Miklos Rozsa is another asset and the film's emotionally moving conclusion compensates for some of its drab production values. Even Granger was said to have denounced it because if veered far off course from the source novel.
However, "Moonfleet" is revered in France as one of Lang's greatest films. Viva la difference! The Warner Archive Blu-ray presents a wonderful, top-notch transfer. The only bonus feature is an original trailer complete with sensationalistic narration and graphics. Rare photo of Steven Spielberg with "Jaws" author Peter Benchley in Martha's Vineyard for the filming of the classic in which Benchley made a brief cameo appearance. Oh, and we know what you are thinking Everyone was riding the James Bond-inspired mania for espionage flicks and Day and director Frank Tashlin came up with a winner.
The action takes place entirely in and around Catalina Island, California. She also moonlights by donning a mermaid costume and swims beneath the glass bottom boat tour boat owned and operated by her father Axel Nordstrom Arthur Godfrey , much to the delight of the customers. One day, her costume gets snagged on the line of Bruce Templeton Rod Taylor , who is deep sea fishing.
As in most films of this type, their initial encounter is unfriendly, which is a necessary ingredient for the couple to inevitably become lovers. When Jennifer is guiding a tour at NASA she is stunned to learn that Bruce is a world-acclaimed scientist who has developed a top-secret gravity simulation device that the government has hailed as a major step forward in the Cold War space race against the Soviets. Bruce hires Jennifer as his personal secretary despite her lack of credentials just so he can attempt to seduce her. She is immediately smitten by him but keeps his advances at arm's length even when she is agog at at his state-of-the-art mansion that is equipped with inventions of the future that seemed fantastic in They include a forerunner of the microwave oven and a self-guided vacuum cleaning device.
Things start to heat up when an abundance of other characters are introduced who are either allied in keeping the formula for Bruce's invention known as "Gizmo" secret or who are serving as enemy agents trying to steal it. Once again, she disproved the myth that she only played over-aged virgins. True, she doesn't jump at the chance to bed Bruce, even though he's a millionaire who looks exactly like Rod Taylor. But it's made clear that she just wants to ensure he isn't going to treat her as a one night stand. By today's standards, this would be commended as a sign of female empowerment.
When she does get ready to move their relationship to the next level, in true family comedy style, fate keeps intervening with a series of interruptions. Day plays well alongside Rod Taylor and they exhibit genuine screen chemistry. The multi-talented Taylor was always woefully underrated as an actor even though the native Australian could portray American, British and Irish characters with equal conviction. Most of the belly laughs are provided by the sterling assembly of great comedic character actors of the day. Dick Martin is Bruce's perpetually horny business partner who is willing to sell his friend down the river in his desperate attempts to bed Jennifer.
There's also the great Edward Andrews as a pompous U. The inimitable John McGiver turns up as a NASA paper-pusher who is enlisted in an ill-fated spy assignment and Alice Pearce in her last screen role before succumbing to cancer and George Tobias blatantly recreate their popular roles as the nosy neighbors from the sitcom "Bewitched" to very funny effect. Even Eric Fleming recently fired as the lead actor in TV's "Rawhide turns up in a rare comedic role as a double agent and acquits himself surprisingly well.
Arthur Godfrey is equally funny as Jennifer's crusty-but-lovable dad and one can only ponder why this icon of American TV and radio eschewed pursuing a career on the big screen. The most inspired bits come from Dom DeLuise as a bumbling spy and Paul Lynde as a snarky security man obsessed with revealing Jennifer is really a Soviet agent. The script by Everett Freeman is racier than most Doris Day vehicles and even includes some gay-themed humor.
Martin and Andrews end up in bed together and Lynde gets to dress in drag. If all that isn't enough, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-him cameo by a tuxedo-clad Robert Vaughn set to the theme from "The Man from U. This was shrewd marketing on the part of MGM. When word leaked out about Vaughn's appearances, countless "U. I know. As a 9 year-old fan of the show, I was among them, persuading my dad to take me to see "The Glass Bottom Boat" at a drive-in. Although the film isn't a musical, Doris Day does get to do some crooning, singing a love song "Soft as the Starlight" that was co-written years before by Joe Lubin and Curly Howard of the Three Stooges!
This song is reworked into the catchy title theme for the movie that will have you humming it to the point it becomes annoying. Think "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". Day also does a duet of the song with Arthur Godfrey and slips in a few bars from her signature song "Que Sera Sera". She also gets to indulge in a fantasy sequence in which she appears as a scantily-clad Mata Hari. There are three vintage featurettes.
One has Godfrey providing narration about the Catalina locations in a droll, humorous fashion. Day takes us on a tour of a NASA facility in another and there is a third featurette in which a young model tours the MGM back lot, which will afford retro movie lovers some glimpses of very familiar sets from movie and TV productions. There is also a trailer and a vintage cartoon. The transfer is right up to the Archive's generally high standards but the trailer could stand a facelift. I won't make the case that "The Glass Bottom Boat" is a comedy classic.
It isn't. There's plenty of corn and gags that don't come off and some of the rear and front screen projection effects are crude even for But the film made me laugh quite a bit back then and revisiting it through this Blu-ray, I found that it still does. Highly recommended. The issue will be sent to subscribers in all other parts of the world later this month.
This is the last issue of Season To subscribe or renew for Season 16, click here. Actress Carol Lynley has died from a heart attack at age She began her career as a child model before gravitating to the movie industry.
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With her stunning looks, Lynley showed great potential in an era in which studios groomed starlets to become full-blown stars. Lynley gained fine notices for her starring role in the drama "Blue Denim" in which she and Brandon DeWilde played middle-class teenagers dealing with the secret of her unintended pregnancy in an era in which such scenarios were met with repression instead of compassion. By the end of the decade, however, it was clear that her star power had diminished. Lynley came back into prominence with a major role in Irwin Allen's disaster movie blockbuster "The Poseidon Adventure" but the film didn't jump-start her career.
She also appeared in a two-part episode of "The Man from U. Lynley recently collaborated with Cinema Retro columnist Tom Lisanti on a forthcoming book about her life and career. For more click here. Bunny Deana, who worked at the club between , takes a trip down memory lane. The film is set in the s, a period when social mobility in England was limited by virtual caste-like economic barriers.
Lady Helen Franklin Sarah Miles is a young woman who returns to her elegant country estate and her snobbish and unfeeling mother after a stay in a sanitarium where she was recovering from a nervous breakdown following the death of her husband. The fragile Helen finds it difficult to return to a normal life and shuns attempts to reintroduce her to the upper crust crowd she once associated with.
She forms a friendly bond with Steven Ledbetter Robert Shaw , a working man who is proud of the fact that he owns his own car hire company. The enterprise consists of a couple of cars and precisely one chauffeur- Ledbetter himself, as well as a helper who serves as a mechanic. Ledbetter is hired to drive Lady Franklin on pleasant outings in the countryside as well as the occasional picnic. The two form a friendship and before long Lady Franklin breaks social barriers by sitting upfront with Ledbetter- a development that starts tongues wagging in gossip circles.
Over the course of the story, Ledbetter dares to imagine that the obsessive romantic interest he has developed for Lady Franklin is secretly shared by her. This sets in motion a series of events with Ledbetter trying to summon the nerve to express his feelings for her. Before he can do so, however, she is actively wooed by a handsome young artistocrat, Captain Hugh Cantrip Peter Egan , an opportunist who is trying to use his distinguished military record as a stepping stone for a political career. Ledbetter has to silently endure chauffeuring the couple to various high society functions, while he is constantly reminded of his status as an employee.
He becomes especially disturbed when his outings with Lady Franklin all but disappear as she spends more time with Cantrip. When Ledbetter discovers that Cantrip is a womanizer who is merely using Lady Franklin's social status to enhance his political ambitions, he comes to a dramatic decision that leads to the film's powerful conclusion. The Hireling is about unrequited love told in a heartfelt and moving way. We recognize early on that Ledbetter's dream of establishing a romantic relationship with the woman he adores is more than likely doomed.
Neither he or Lady Franklin are villains, but both of them are flawed human beings. Ledbetter's tendency to turn to drink in times of personal turmoil leads to making disastrous decisions; Lady Franklin's naive belief in Cantrip leads to their engagement- and she remains in denial of his unfaithfulness despite being presented with convincing evidence. The film is sensitively directed by Alan Bridges, who had been heretofore primarily known for his work in the British television industry. Surprisingly, the critical success of this movie did not lead to a fruitful career in feature films.
The production values are excellent, adding immeasurably to establishing a convincing sense of period; Michael Reed's cinematography is superb and the script by Wolf Mankowitz based on a novel is brimming with terrific dialogue. The real pleasure of the movie, however, is watching two of England's best actors- Shaw and Miles- in their prime and delivering magnificent performances.
Sony has released the film as a burn-to-order DVD title. The quality is excellent, though there are no extras. Director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. But such proselytizing was cost prohibitive. Harris, Yeaworth signed on to direct a handful of low-budget teenage dramas and science-fiction films. Harris had convinced Yeaworth that there was a cash-grab market for such indie films, and these productions would bring in enough revenue to fund projects with loftier aspirations.
It was instead a cobble of pre-existing footage from a drug-abuse morality fable now disguised and sold to distributors as an exploitation film. The partnership of Harris and Yeaworth proved to be a brief but modestly lucrative teaming of two disparate souls on separate life missions. These dimensional reflections come courtesy of Jack H. Harris who muses unapologetically on a career of bringing exploitation films to the big screen. Aside from his participation in The Blob , Harris might be best remembered as the man who helped bring such post-college student cult films as Schlock!
His penny-pinching patronage of young talent undoubtedly helped launch the careers of directors John Landis and John Carpenter, respectively. Harris brags in the featurette that he never had to license any literary works to bring a story to the screen. There were, he muses, plenty of ideas already out there, so why pay to license any literary material?
Having said that, the wily producer would admit the idea for The 4D Man was not entirely self-generated. It came to him courtesy of an illustration on the cover of Weird Tales magazine, where a man was pictured walking through a wall, his body mass co-mingling seamlessly with the atoms of the brick. Harris was a film economist of the Roger Corman School, and Yeaworth was a dependable enough filmmaker to stay on budget. She then began to pick-up small roles in early, live television productions, before being offered the substantial role of Linda Davis in The 4D Man.
She had a point. Tony Nelson is, to put it politely, a disruptor. Obsessed with his experimentations with the fourth dimension, he accidentally burned down the workplace of his previous employer. Understandably dismissed from his position following that inferno, he resurfaces at Fairview where his older brother Scott serves.
The two appear to have a frosty relationship. Unfortunately for Scott, his inability to hold on to women will soon be the least of his troubles. These conditions ultimately result in his being able to pass through glass, metal, drywall, brick, and steel. The only way he can renew his personal energy and appearance is to literally suck the life out of his flesh-and-blood victims through a kiss or simply a mere touch.
If The 4D Man was ambitious in its cerebral storyline, the final project pairing Harris and Yeaworth was ambitious in its scope… CinemaScope. Croix, in the Virgin Islands, and the film comes replete with colorful underwater sequences, boasts its very own team of special effect experts and features a great Ronald Stein score.
Meditating on the theme of human evil, this film puts the hateful hearts of the townspeople of Castle Rock in the forefront. But the most heinous and horrific acts are ultimately committed by ordinary people, those of whom are fueled by an underlying anger against their neighbors. Unlike other Stephen King adaptations, this film does not bury its ideas in subtext. Gaunt reminisces boastfully about how, over the centuries, he has sold weaponry - but it was always the ordinary people around him that put these tools of mortality to work.
The townspeople's desired treasures he sells comes at a steep price, causing them to commit acts of sabotage and violence against one another. Bonus features include the original theatrical trailer and an informative and entertaining audio commentary with film historian Walt Olsen and director Fraser C.
Film historians and Stephen King fans alike should enjoy this behind the scenes look at the making of the film. The Warner Archive has released a slew of worthwhile 60s spy movies and TV series. His teenage son is killed while skiing in Switzerland and Slater suspects it was actually murder. He finds he's been lured to Alps as part of a complex plot to kill him and replace him with an enemy agent with his identical facial features and characteristics. The plot was covered with moss even at the time since it formed the basis of a two-part Man From U.
Still, this is a highly intelligent, gritty film with Brynner as the most hard-ass hero imaginable. Devoid of any humor, Slater suspects both friend and foe as he leaves no stone unturned in trying to thwart the plot. The film benefits from a good supporting cast including future Bond girl Britt Ekland who finds herself unable to distinguish between the two Slaters. Clive Revill and Anton Diffring are excellent in supporting roles. There are some spectacular aerial sequences photographed by the late great cameraman Johnny Jordan, whose work on On Her Majesty's Secret Service bears a strong resemblance to this film, though both movies suffer from the shoddy rear screen projection technology of the time.
The score by Ernie Freeman is sometimes overly-bombastic, but in the aggregate, this is one of the better spy films of the era thanks in no small part to the direction of Franklin J. Schaffner, who would win the Oscar several years later for Patton. The show has a checkered history in terms of home video. Now Scorpion has done the same and the quality of the set is very good, capturing the relatively rich production values of the series.
Those of us of a certain age can remember when the pre-cable major networks put a great deal of time, talent and financial resources into mini-series. In the s and s, many of these shows constituted "must-see" TV. In an age in which the average household didn't have video recorders, some shows were so special that people altered their lifestyles to ensure they could catch each episode. Today, those days seem long gone, with network TV now a haven for trashy game shows, indistinguishable cop shows and so-called "reality shows", most of which don't bear any resemblance to the world most of us live in.
To top it all off, even if you are inclined to indulge in this fare, you have to sit through such a mind-numbing number of commercials, you'll probably forget where the story left off before the last break. The good news, of course, is that magnificently entertaining mini-series are still thriving. The bad news is that you have to pay even more to watch them via "premium" cable TV channels. Unfortunately, this series, despite a promising concept, falls far short of the mark. The story, set in , is based on a Dashiell Hammett novel, ordinarily a good source for a film noir production.
Robert Mitchum had gotten the formula right a couple of years before with his portrayal of Philip Marlowe in "Farewell, My Lovely". Coburn would seem to be an appropriate leading man for another Hammett protagonist, private eye Hamilton Nash. However, whereas Mitchum looked sleepy, worn-out and perpetually pissed off, Coburn looks too much like a movie star.
He's immaculately attired and supremely self-confident. He does suffer the fate of all noirish detectives: he makes the occasional misjudgment that sees him beaten and battered, but for the most part Coburn is a bit too Hollywood to ever convince you that he's an employee of a private eye agency. Nonetheless, even miscast Coburn is a joy to watch, especially as he trades wisecracks with cops, crooks and dames.
The problem with "The Dain Curse", however, is that there are far too many of all these characters. The plot is overly-complex and virtually impossible to follow. It opens with Nash investigating the alleged robbery of some diamonds from the home of a rich, middle-aged couple. In the process, he suspects there never was a robbery and begins to unravel the reasons for the staged crime. Please note that although the works of Robert E. Howard and H. Lovecraft are in the public domain in the UK where Schlock!
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