Jack Nicholson runs amok for Kubrick
New York 23 May 1980. In The Shining, from the novel by Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick exchanges the outer space of 2001 for the inner space of a disintegrating mind. Jack Nicholson is blocked writer Jack Torrance who takes a job as a winter caretaker in a huge hotel, the Overlook, in snowbound Colorado. Haunted by his creative failure, and the ghosts which people say haunt the Overlook’s agonisingly empty spaces, Nicholson is overwhelmed by homicidal dementia, taking an axe to the hotel’s only other occupant, his wife Shelley Duvall and small son Danny Lloyd. Kubrick’s Steadycam camera roves through the Overlook’s numbing emptiness, actually Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, capturing one heart-stopping moment of horror as the elevator doors in the deserted lobby slide open to disgorge a tidal wave of blood.
Hughes: a legacy from beyond the grave.
New York 26 Sept. 1980. Jonathan Demme takes a sideways look at the American Dream in Melvin and Howard. It is based on the true story of one Melvin Dummer, an All-American loser
who may (or may not) have stopped on the Nevada Highway one night to pick up a wild-haired tramp who may (or may not) have been eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. When Hughes died, Melvin produced a will naming him as the heir to the Hughes fortune. Melvin never saw a cent but Demme fashions a poignant comedy around the tale.
Paul Le Mat as Melvin, Mary Steenburgen providing many laughs as his stripper wife and Jason Robarts as Hughes.
Cimino faces multi-million-dollar failure.
Hollywood 19 December 1980 After Heaven’s Gate, was lambasted by the critics on its first showing, United Artists got it reduced from 225 minutes to 148. The director, Michael Cimino had originally offered the studio a film that lasted 5½ hours. As the budget for this epic Western had escalated from $11 million to over $35 million , it is
unlikely to recover even a fraction of this amount at the box office. Therefore, the movie threatens to be the most expensive flop of all time, and the ruin of UA.
Avoriaz audiences are seduced by a new kind of poignant horror
Avoriaz 19 January 1981 The young American director David Lynch , who made the cult movie Eraserhead, was eagerly awaited at the Festival of Fantasy and Horror at Avoriaz, where he was to present his new film The Elephant Man. Lynch and the picture got a warm reception , and it was not surprising that it won the Grand Prix. Made in England and produced by Mel Brooks, the bizarre and moving story, is set in Victorian London, is based on fact. The story of John Merrick( John Hurt), a horribly deformed young man, yet sensitive and intelligent, who lives as a circus freak until he is rescued by Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), and brought to a hospital where he can be studied and helped.
Mystery drowning of Natalie Wood.
Hollywood 30 November 1981 After having a drink in the salon of her yacht with her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood announced that she was going to bed. An hour later, worried when he found her cabin empty, Wagner searched the boat for his wife and found that the dinghy was missing. He sounded the alarm immediately. At 7.45am, police found the body of Natalie
Wood floating in the water beside the dinghy, about one and a half miles from the yacht. The tragic and mysterious death of the lovely 43 year-old star is ironic in that she had always expressed a fear of water. Shooting on her last film Brainstorm, a science-fiction movie was nearing completion.
`On Golden Pond` reconciles Henry Fonda with daughter Jane.
New York 4 December 1981. Since her childhood, Jane Fonda has reproached her father for neglecting
her and her brother Peter. For his part, Henry Fonda found it difficult to accept his daughter’s militancy vis-a-vis the Vietnam War, her position on abortion and her sympathy for the Black panthers. Father and daughter remained distant for some time. As the years passed and Jane saw her father enter old age, she wanted to get closer to him. She finally found a way in On Golden Pond. It concerns a crusty 80-year-old former college professor (Henry Fonda) returning with his wife (Katharine Hepburn) to their beloved lakeside cabin in New England where Jane brings her new boyfriend and son to visit.
Richly international line-up at 35th Festival
Cannes 26 May 1982. Because of the exceptional quality of this years’ Festival entries, the jury, presided over by Italian stage director Grogorio Strehler, created a special award, the 35th Festival prize, as was done exactly 10 years ago for Cannes’ 25th birthday. It was presented to Michaelangelo Antonioni’s film Identification of a Woman, his first in seven years, during which time he has been experimenting with video techniques. The great Italian director has returned here to familiar territory - the void at the heart of a relationship, and the difficulty of loving someone fully in our times. The joint winners of the Golden Palm were both powerful denunciations of repressive regimes. Missing, Costa-Gravas’ first American film, follows the tortuous quest of a father (Jack Lemmon, voted Best Actor), for his son who has been arrested by the military junta in Chile.
Another magic message from space
New York 13 June 1982. Variety has already called Steven Spielberg’s latest picture, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, “the best Disney film ever made,” and the movie is, indeed, a remarkable celebration of the childhood innocence dear to Walt Disney’s heart.
A fatherless 10 year-old boy, played by Henry Thomas, befriends a creature from another planet who has been stranded on earth. Much of the movie is shot from hip height, the point of view of small children, and in the process the charming little alien becomes the secret companion of all our childhoods as Spielberg moves from terror through comedy and death to the exhilaration of the climatic BMX bike ride.
Gandhi, an inspiration to a troubled world
London 3 December 1982. A project which Richard Attenborough had been nurturing for 20 years has finally come to fruition. Gandhi, a sweeping account of the life and times of Mohandas K. Gandhi
The saintly, pacifist father of modern India, is epic film making in the grand tradition. Attenborough (Young Winston. A Bridge too Far,) certainly has the pedigree as a director, having a grasp of storyline, an ease of chronicling the lives of great men and a mastery of logistics. All were required in the making of Gandhi, which, forthe production company of Goldcrest, carried a price tag of some $20 million.
Conan and Rambo, new hero-avengers.
New York 2 January 1983. Sometimes cinema acts as a mirror, reflecting the changing mood of society. Nowhere is this more evident than in contemporary America where the success of Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood and John Milius’ Conan the Barbarian, has created a new race of heroes for a nation drained of confidence by defeat in Vietnam, undermined by economic problems and humiliated by terrorists and drug barons. In First Blood, Sylvester Stallone plays John Rambo, a Vietnam veteran who goes to war with society which has marginalised him. But instead of a martyr, Kotcheff gives us an invincible superman. In Conan the Barbarian, the former Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger lets his pectorals do the talking in a sword and sorcery epic in which he wields a mean broadsword and bite the head off a vulture. Rambo and Conan are latter day Hercules, who battle not for good but simply for survival.
Robert Bresson causes controversy at Cannes
Cannes 19 May 1983. With his first picture in six years, l’Argent, 76 year-old Robert Bresson has divided the public at the Cannes Film Festival into two distinct camps, British director Alan Parker stated, “This is the work of an old man. It is unbearably boring.” However Francois Truffaut regretted that certain people failed to respond to Bresson’s poetry. Whatever the reactions to l’Argent, Bresson has remained true to his austere vision of Tolstoy’s story of a young man who descends to theft and murder.
`Silkwood` truthful, sombre and alarming
Chicago 14 December 1983. Having seen his film career come to a halt eight years ago with The Fortune, Mike Nichols has hit the comeback trail with Silkwood. It’s based on the real story of a whistle-blowing nuclear
worker Karen Silkwood, who died in 1974 under the mysterious circumstances of a `one-car-accident.` Here Meryl Streep immerses herself in the part of Silkwood, a gum-chewing mini-skirted working girl who finds herself on a mission to expose the dangers of nuclear power and begins to suspect that her employers are out to get her. Her involvement with the union and with union organiser Ron Silver recalls Sally Field in Norma Rae. There are strong supporting performances from Cher in the role of Karen’s lesbian lodger and passionately devoted friend Dolly Pelliker, and Kurt Russell her lover.
Four top awards for `Terms of Endearment`
Los Angeles 9 April 1984. “There has been a lot said about the studios that turned it down, but I think it is more significant that a Hollywood studio (Paramount) did make it,” said James L. Brooks, the director of Terms of Endearment, the winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture. Brooks took Best Director and Best Screenplay Adaptation for this astutely written, eccentric family comedy-drama. But the film belongs to the actors headed by Shirley McLaine who has to come to terms with the fact that her daughter has terminal cancer and well supported by Jack Nicholson as her neighbour and lover.
Outrageous Mozart from Tom Hulce
New York 19 September 1984. Milos Foreman returned to his home town of Prague to shoot most of his new film Amadeus. It is a sumptuous adaptation from the Peter Shaffer play about the rivalry between Woolfgang Amadeus Mozart the musical genius but vulgar, childish buffoon, and Antonio Salieri, the pompous and dignified but far less talented court composer. Salieri is eaten up with jealousy of the prodigies ‘God-given abilities - compounded by his distaste for the man - and when he can stand it no longer he dresses up like like an avenging angel in black mask and cape and gives Mozart a commission that he knows will kill him.
Alan Ladd Jr. Is new MGM chief
New York 14 March 1985. Ever since wealthy financier Kirk Kerkorian bought MGM in 1969, it has been unclear whether he had any real interesting movie-making, or merely regarded the studio as an investment.
In 1981 Kerkorian purchased United Artists and there was a suggestion that the new MGM/UA would become a more active player in Hollywood, but recent results have been distinctly mixed. Thus, the appointment of Alan Ladd Jr. As the studio’s new head of production will be watched with some interest. During the last decade Ladd has built up a reputation as a highly respected production executives.
`Future` looks bright for Michael J. Fox.
Los Angeles 3 July 1985. Teen heart-throb Michael J. Fox - 24 going on 16 - takes a roller -coaster ride into the past in Robert Zemeckis’ science fiction romp Back to the Future. Hitching a lift
in mad inventor Christopher Lloyd’s time-travelling De Lorean car, he finds himself back in the Fifties, where he must arranged for his mismatched parents to meet or he wont exist. The trouble is that Mom seems more interested in him! Spielberg protege Zemickis pushes the picture along at a cracking pace. According to his simple philosophy, “Good directing is good writing and good casting, that’s all.”
Orson Welles latest in crop of unhappy losses
Los Angeles 10 October 1985. One of the legends of cinema, Orson Welles, has died of a heart attack. His life’s work, like that of Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu, remains a sprawling folly, its spoiled grandeur unfinished and undefined. Welles’ last years were haunted by abandoned projects, guest appearances on comedy shows and lager commercials ringing with all the hollow promises of his “Declaration of Principles” in Citizen Kane. Indeed that masterpiece now seems increasingly less like a portrait of William Randolph Hearst and more like a prediction of the tragic trajectory which Welles’ own career would take. His death is the latest in a sad series which has deprived the cinema of some of its leading lights. On 8 August, Louise Brooks, incomparable silent star died at her home. Recent losses include Rock Hudson of AIDS.
`Hannah and her Sisters` is vintage Allen
New York 7 February 1986. After two films which experimented with notions of reality (Zelig and The Purple Rose of Cairo) ,
and a minor excursion into Runyonesque comedy (Broadway Danny Rose), Woody Allen has returned to the territory he knows best of all - the emotional and psychological problems of middle-class Manhattan intellectuals. His latest movie, Hannah and her Sisters, not only has the largest cast he has ever assembled (with a supporting role for himself), it is also one of his most accomplished. The movie is essentially a tragi-comic study of the relationship of three very different sisters played by Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey and Dianne West.
Sydney Pollack bests John Hutson in quality year.
Hollywood 24 March 1986. This year’s Oscar presentations will probably be remembered not for who won, but for who lost. The Academy’s snubbing of
Steven Spielberg, who's The Colour Purple, had 11 nominations, was the main talking point at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. It was only the second time (The Turning Point 1977, was the first) that a movie with ten or more nominations failed to notch up a single win. The film’s main rival also with 11 chances, Out of Africa, took eight Oscars, including Best Picture. Sydney Pollack was considered lucky to win Best Director in an internationally-flavoured year in which John Hutson (Prizzi’s Honor) Japan’s Akira Kurosawa (Ran) a Brazilian Hector Babenco and an Austrlaian Peter Weir were in the running.
How Much do movie stars earn today?
London 1 August 1986. According to a long article in Company magazine last month, the most highly paid actor in the world is Sylvester Stallone. Based on the tremendous success of the Rocky films (which he wrote and later directed), and the two Rambos (which he co-wrote), Stallone is the first star to break the 1$10 million barrier. He currently commands around $12 million per film, though this was topped by Brando who got nearly $3.5 million for 12 days shooting on Superman (1978) Other highly paid stars are Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty and Robert Redford, all round the $5.5 to $6 million mark.
Debonair Cary Grant’s long run is over.
New York 30 November 1986. Cary Grant for 50 years a byword for suave good looks and the smoothest of screen talents, has died of a stroke while attending a film festival in Iowa. He was 82. His last film was the 1966 Walk, Don’t Run,
Rita Hayworth’s suffering is over
New York 15 May 1987. Rita Hayworth died last night in the New York home of her daughter Yasmin. For a number of years she has been suffering from the incurable degenerative disease know as Alzheimer's Disease. Born Margarita Carmen Cansino, Hayworth was a cousin of Ginger Rogers and began her career in her father’s dance act while still in her teens. She was signed by fox, consigned to B pictures and found her
way to Colombia where she became Rita Hayworth in the 1937 Girls can Play. Her lustrous beauty blooming in the early war years, Hayworth quickly became a forces’ favourite, unforgettably gliding across a moonlit terrace with Fred Astaire in You Were never Lovelier.
Fred Astaire puts away his dancing shoes.
Los Angeles 22 June 1987 Fred Astaire has passed away in his Hollywood home gracefully and discreetly as he lived. Born Frederick Austerlitz on 10 May 1899 Astaire made his screen debut in 1933, following a disastrous early screen test: which led a studio talent scout
to conclude: “Cant act, Cant sing Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” In fact he was to become the most technically exacting and ambitious of screen dancers. With Ginger Rogers he made nine musicals that are the perfect expression of self -sufficient movement.
Oscars make reparation for Vietnam War
Los Angeles 30 March 1987. After a lull of seven years since Apocalypse Now, the last serious film to depict the Vietnam War, Oliver Stone’s Platoon forcefully returned the war Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director in the process. Loosely autobiographical, Stones screenplay follows raw recruit Charlie Sheen into the hell of Vietnam, where he witnesses the torture and
killing of Vietnamese peasants by American soldiers who also suffer a dependency on drugs. The Best Actor award was given to Paul Newman, reprising his role as “Fast” Eddie Felson in The Color of Money, Scorsese’s sequel to The Hustler..
A mad `Fatal Attraction` stirs controversy
New York 18 September 1987. Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction from producers Sherry Lansing and Stanley Jaffe is causing a huge controversy. The story is unremarkable: successful executive Michael Douglas, happily married to Anne Archer, falls into the trap of a one-night stand with sophisticated Glen Close when his wife is away. He thinks the terms are clear, but she
clings on, gradually revealing herself as some kind of dangerous lunatic. It’s a terrific melodrama, expertly put together, with steamy sex, tension, and goodies and badies nicely delineated. However, a large body of opinion believes the Close character makes the film deeply suspect, and feminists are picketing. Others see it as a metaphor for AIDS and a warning against promiscuity. What is clear is that box-office tills will be kept ringing.
`The Last Emperor` matches the Oscar record set by `Gigi`
Los Angeles 11 April 1988. In what could be called the year of the Chinese, the Last Emperor won all nine Oscars for which it was nominated - the first time this has happened since Gigi in 1958. Although it is the first Western film made almost entirely in the new China, and although the majority of the cast is Chinese, its Oscar-winning director (Bernardo Bertolicci) cameraman (Vittorio Storaro) are Italians the producer and the co-screenwriter are British; One of the stars is an Irish-born Englishman(Peter O’Toole), and a composer of screen music is Japanese. The film is a long (163 minutes), fascinating, sumptuous epic following the life of Pu Yi from the time he succeeds to the throne of China at the age of three, to his dotage as a gardener in a Peking park. The Last Emperor so swept the boards that he only other picture to take more than one award was Moonstruck by Norman Jewison.
Scorsese’s `Christ` is pilloried by the Church
Paris 22 October 1988. Wherever it has been shown, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, has caused controversy and sometimes violent demonstrations, whether in Protestant America and Great Britain or in Catholic Italy. In America, there were pickets outside the movie theatres where it was showing, and militant religious
groups threatened to use bombs. After similar protests at the Venice Film Festival, and a condemnation from the Vatican, trouble has now flared up in France. Five Catholics set fire to a Paris cinema for daring to show the film. There is a dream sequence on the cross, during which Jesus imagines himself making love to Mary Magadelene
Audacious casting in `Dangerous Liaisons
New York 21 December 1988. In the aristocratic world of 18th century France, a ruthless marquise enlists the help of a like-minded
count to wreak sexual havoc in the lives of those around them. Adapted from Christopher Hampton’s play, itself based on the classic epistolary novel of the period, Dangerous Liasons is an elegant study of seduction, desire and control with a predominantly American cast. Glen Close is the marquise whose schemes lead to the death of her ally, the reptilian Vicomte do Valmont played by John Malkovich
Indy looks for dad and finds Sean Connery
Hollywood 24 June 1989. Sean Connery was 59 in 1989 and Harrison Ford was 47, but this has not stopped Connery from being cast as Indiana Jones’s grizzled father in Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, in which Indy once again tangles with a bunch of Nazis in a chase for the Holy Grail. The two stars strike sparks off each other in the third of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones adventures. Shot in Spain, Italy and Jordan and at Elstree Studios in Britain, the picture boasts a formidable array of sets and props, including no fewer than 7000 rats and a replica World War I tank which cost over $150000 to build. In the opening sequences the young Indy is played by the attractive young actor River Phoenix, who played Ford’s unhappy son in The Mosquito Coast.
`Batman` busts 1989 box-office records.
Hollywood 31 December 1989. The recent growth in movie attendance in the U.S. And the rise in average ticket prices - up from $4.11 last year to $4.45 - means that the total box-office
receipts for 1989 have topped the $5 billion mark for the very first time. The biggest hit of the year was the Guber-Peters production of Batman. Released by Warner Bros. And shown simultaneously in 2,850 theatres in June, the picture, starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson (as The Joker) and Kim Bassinger, set several records in the first weeks of its opening, and continued strong throughout the peak summer months.
OSCARS (ACADEMY AWARDS)
1980 - Best Film - Kramer v. Kramer, Best Actor - Dustin Hoffmkan (Kramer v. Kramer), Best Actress - Sally Field (Norma Rae)
1981 - Best Film - Ordinary People, Best Actor - Robert De Niro (Raging Bull) , Best Actress - Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
1982 - Best Film - Chariots of Fire, Best Actor - Henry Fonda (On Golden Pond) , Best Actress - Katherine Hepburn (On Golden Pond)
1983 - Best Film - Gandhi , Best Actor - Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), Best Actress - Meryl Streep (Sophies Choice)
1984 - Best Film - Terms of Endearment, Best Actor - Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies), Best Actress - Shirley McLaine (Terms of Endearment)
1985 - Best Film - Amadeus, Best Actor - F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Best Actress - Sally Field (Places in the Heart)
1986 - Best Film - Out of Africa, Best Actor - William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Best Actress - Geraldine Page (The Trip to Bountiful)
1987- Best Film - Platoon, Best Actor - Paul Newman (The Color of Money), Best Actress - Marlee Matin (Children of a Lesser God)
1988 - Best Film - The Last Emperor, Best Actor - Michael Douglas (Wall Street), Best Actress - Cher (Moonstruck)
1989 - Best Film - Rain Man, Best Actor - Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man), Best Actress - Jodie Foster (The Accused)
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