HISTORY OF CINEMA BY SABLE

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    June 20, 2006
    FIRST BLU-RAY MOVIES RELEASED[​IMG]

    The first Blu-Ray disk player was unveiled at an electronics exhibition in October of 2000, the first consumer device appeared in April of 2003, but it wasn’t until June 20, 2006, that the first Blu-Ray movie disks appeared in retail stores. Patent, licensing, and anti-copying technology issues slowed the commercial release of what was touted as a new, superior resolution format that would reinvigorate the home video industry. The initial Blu-Ray movies were 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers,Underworld: Evolution, xXx, and The Terminator. With the exception of The Terminator, all were Sony titles, which made sense because Sony was one of the developers and early proponents of the format. In fact, Sony’s decision to turn its popular Playstation 3 console into a Blu-Ray player was cited as one of the reasons that the Blu-Ray format beat out rival HD DVD in the home high-definition wars. Today, four years after those first disks, Blu-Ray adoption is growing rapidly, not quite doubling year over year. Still, depending on the week, DVD revenue outpaces Blu-Ray revenue by more than four to one. And now, Blu-Ray faces an unexpected challenge that could slow its growth even further: the cloud. With global bandwith increasing, physical media is going away as consumers stream and download their favorite movies, not buy them at electronics stores and get them through the mail. Indeed, even Netflix, which charges a premium for Blu-Ray rentals, predicts that its service will be primarily streaming within a few years.
     
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    June 21, 1975
    JAWS IS RELEASED upload_2016-6-21_16-48-57.jpeg

    On June 21, 1975, as millions of American beachgoers headed to the shores, they were issued a stern warning from movie theaters nationwide: "Don't go in the water!" The posters, of course, were advertising Steven Spielberg's Jaws, which fine-tuned Robert Benchley's thriller about a great white shark targeting a resort town into what is now considered the first modern blockbuster. In a strategy pioneered by Sidney Sheinberg, President and COO of MCA, Inc, its parent company, Universal opened the movie nationwide, buying ad-time in all markets and booking hundreds of screens. Now, of course, that's standard, but then it wasn't. Movies opened in a few theaters and then expanded to other markets based on their success. Early screenings convinced Sheinberg, Spielberg, and other execs that a wide release was the more profitable way to open the film. They were proved right. The film, budgeted at $7 million, grossed $470 million worldwide and wrote the distribution playbook for all blockbusters to follow.
     
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    22 June 1969
    JUDY, JUDY, JUDY upload_2016-6-22_14-7-44.jpeg

    This much is true. On that Sunday morning in June 1969, Mickey Deans, Judy Garland's fifth husband, found his wife dead at the age of 47, slumped over in the bathroom from an apparent overdose of barbiturates. It was the end of a life that was continually being reborn. Garland burst into the national consciousness in The Wizard of Oz, a film she only got after Shirley Temple backed out. The film's theme song, "Over The Rainbow," went on to be her signature, capturing the mixture of despondency and hope that would define her career. Pushed out of film by the early 50s because of her increasing alcohol and drug abuse, Garland regained her stature through a series of sold out concerts at the London Palladium, and then returned to Hollywood to make her masterpiece A Star is Born. Through the fifties, Garland worked sporadically, with drugs and alcohol often getting the better of her. Then in 1961, her show-stopping concert at Carnegie Hall ignited a new career when CBS gave her a weekly television program, "The Judy Garland Show." By the end, everything dried up. Her last film role came in 1963, her television show was yanked after one year, and her final performances in London were greeted with boos. But despite such bad luck, nothing could take away her fans' love. After her death, she was returned to New York where over 20,000 gathered to mourn her. The myth of Judy Garland and her death has risen so much that it's hard to separate fact from fiction. This is much is unclear — that tornadoes swept across Kansas on the night of her death, that the day before her death she ran into pub-hopping George W. Bush, that her funeral was the spark that ignited the Stonewall riots.
     
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    June 23, 1975
    SUPREME COURT BACKS NUDITY AT DRIVE-INS[​IMG]

    On March 13, 1972, the police charged Richard Erznoznik, who was the manager of the University Drive-In Theatre in Jacksonville, FL, for showing the now-forgotten sex rompClass of ’74, a comedy whose tagline was “To them life is a ball after ball after ball.” Driving by, the cops had noticed that you could see the film, as well as snatches of “body parts,” from the neighborhood road. What could have been some naughty fun had recently been legislated into a class C misdemeanor offense. Statue 330.313 Drive-In Theaters, Films Visible From Public Streets or Public Places made it illegal to show anything where “human male or female bare buttocks, human female bare breasts, or human bare pubic areas” could seen from outside the drive-in. Erznoznik pushed back, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated. And the Motion Picture Association of America backed him up. On June 23, 1975. the Supreme Court, in a six-three decision, finally ruled on the side of Erznoznik. Justice Lewis F. Powell wrote: “the screen of a drive-in theater is not 'so obtrusive as to make it impossible for an unwilling individual to avoid exposure to it.' Thus, we conclude that the limited privacy interest of persons on the public streets cannot justify this censorship of otherwise protected speech on the basis of its content."
     
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    une 24, 1987
    JACKIE GLEASON DIES[​IMG]

    One of television's iconic figures, Jackie Gleason, died on June 24, 1987. With a career spanning the Golden Age of Television in the '50s up through the '80s, Gleason was known for his loud, outsized working-class persona, his withering wisecracks, and, in his hit series, The Honeymooners, his sardonic take on married life. Born in Brooklyn in 1916, Gleason dropped out of high school in the Great Depression to make a living working clubs in the boroughs, in New York, and, finally, in Manhattan. In the '40s, Gleason moved to Hollywood where he eventually was given his own variety TV series, The Jackie Gleason Show. Its success gave him his nickname — "Mr. Saturday Night." One of Gleason's sketches, "The Honeymooners," which starred the comedian as a curmudgeonly married bus driver, Ralph Kramden, spun its own sitcom. As well remembered as The Honeymooners is, it's notable that the show only lasted one season, in 1955. The first live series ever to be captured on film, The Honeymooners became a hit, however, in syndication, unspooling for decades on local channels. In the '60s and '70s, Gleason would periodically relaunch The Jackie Gleason Show and also appear in both comedy as well as dramatic movies, appearing in films ranging from The Hustler to Smokey and the Bandit to The French Connection. Gleason's final film was Tom Hanks' Nothing in Common, shot while he was suffering from colon and liver cancer. Today, his catchphrase, "How sweet it is!" can be found on New York Board of Transportation signs when you enter Brooklyn
     
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    24 June 1969
    THE FOLLY OF IT ALL

    On June 24, 1969, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts handed down a verdict in the case Massachusetts v. Wiseman, sanctioning for the first time the censorship of a film for reasons others than obscenity, immorality or national security. In 1967, lawyer-turned-filmmaker Frederick Wiseman had made his debut film with The Titicut Follies, about the conditions at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, naming it after a talent show put on by the inmates. When first screened, it was heralded as a masterpiece of direct cinema — its quiet observation of mental patients, left in hallways and uncared for, was a moving testament to the often oppressive state of public facilities. However, the state of Massachusetts didn't see it that way. Just before it was to be shown at the 1969 New York Film Festival, the state of Massachusetts pushed for an injunction to prevent it from being screened, claiming it violated the rights of the inmates. Wiseman had, in fact, secured releases from the hospital (acting as the patients' guardians), but the state insisted he had not gotten personal releases from each of the people, a slight catch 22, since their serious mental illness made them incompetent to sign such a release to begin with.
     
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    June 25, 2009
    FARRAH FAWCETT DIES[​IMG]

    For many teenage boys who came of age in the 1970s, Farrah Fawcett began in two dimensions — as the blonde-tressed pin-up girl in that iconic red one-piece swim suit on what became one of the bestselling posters of all time. Fawcett, of course, was one of the stars of Charlie's Angels, the hit ABC series in which three beautiful private detectives used their feminine wiles and the odd karate chop to solve crimes and disable bad guys. Fawcett was a favorite of fans, and then there was that poster, which returned to her more in royalties than her salary from the series. When she abruptly left the show, that might have been the end of just another pretty face, a Texas girl typecast too early by her looks and a particularly wholesome brand of sex appeal. But Fawcett's second and third acts were fascinating within an industry which often grants actors neither. She frequently cast herself against type, allowing her status as a former pin-up girl to cut against and provide disturbing shadings to roles such as a domestic abuse victim her who murders her husband abuser (The Burning Bed) and a real woman tried for the attempted murder of her three children (Small Sacrifices). She also played in indies, like Robert Duvall's The Apostle and Robert Altman's Dr. T and the Women. Then, long after she established her credentials as a dramatic actress, she returned to pinup work, posing for Playboy in separate pictorials at the ages of 48 and 50. In 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer, an illness she fought in a series of medical treatments avidly documented by the tabloid press. Fawcett decided to document her final struggle with the disease in the hopes of educating people and advocating for new treaments. She produced a documentary, Farrah's Story, that aired on NBC shortly after her death. For an actress who battled perceptions her whole career, the timing of her death offered a final sad irony. Just a few hours later, Michael Jackson died, and notice of Fawcett was nearly wiped off the airwaves. Nine months later when the Academy Awards offered their tribute to those who passed, Fawcett was left out, provoking an outraged response from both critics and fans.
     
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    June 26, 1969
    EASY RIDER OPENS upload_2016-6-26_10-25-51.jpeg

    One of the most successful independent movies of all time — and one that truly qualifies as a zeitgiest film — opened on June 26, 1969: Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider. The film had an estimated budget of $340,000 and a worldwide box-office gross of $60 million, touching a chord with audiences not as some kind of summer-of-love celebration but as a downbeat and fatalistic depiction of a misunderstood hippie generation. Shot in a style influenced by the French New Wave, the film tells the tale of two bikers, played by co-writers Peter Fonda and Hopper, as they smuggle drugs from Mexico and tangle with the law, rednecks, and acid-tripping prostitutes. Jack Nicholson was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as an ACLU lawyer who helps the guys get out of jail but is then killed by the rednecks. The marijuana intake in the film was supposedly real, Hopper's direction broke with traditions of the time, but the film is perhaps best remembered for a single line near the end, when Fonda's character, Wyatt, tells Hopper's, "You know Billy, we blew it." Moments later in the film Billy is shot by the rednecks, and Wyatt is killed as his motorcycle — and the duo's money — is destroyed. The end of the hippie dream.
     
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    July 3, 1951
    STRANGERS ON A TRAIN OPENS 936full-strangers-on-a-train-poster.jpg

    Ironically, Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train actually started on a train. Traveling back to Hollywood with his wife and the writer Whitfield Cook, Hitchcock devoured the galleys of a soon-to-be-published thriller by a brand new writer Patricia Highsmith. All three agreed that the yarn of a psychopath trying to convince a stranger they should swap murders would make a terrific film. Ever economical, Hitchcock bought the rights for $7,500, but withheld his name, to keep the price low. After changing elements of the novel to enhance the cinematic aspect of the story, Hitchcock contacted Raymond Chandler to create the script. Hoping to capture some of Chandler’s noir style, Hitchcock instead received the writer’s infamous wrath, including several rather mean-spirited fat jokes. In the end, the script was re-written by Ben Hecht’s assistant Czenzi Ormonde. For character of Bruno, the charming killer, Hitchcock reached out to Robert Walker, an actor who previously had played boy-next-door roles. But Hitchcock picked him to take advantage of the publicity around him recently having been hospitalized for mental illness. The film also features the director’s own daughter Patricia in one of her three appearances in her father's films. Strangers on a Train went on to be one of Hitchcock's great successes at Warner Brothers, and one of his most studied and written about, with topics ranging from geometric forms in his films to the story's homoerotic tension.
     
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    July 4, 1927
    NEIL SIMON BORN upload_2016-7-4_15-23-55.jpeg

    Born on Independence Day, Neil Simon would grow up to be one American’s quintessential comic playwright. Born in the Bronx, raised in Washington Heights, New York City, Simon early on got in touch with the many rhythms of life and speech that make up New York. As a teen, he started writing joke for radio shows with his older brother. When he returned home from World War II, Simon joined up with his brother again, crafting gags for early television revues like Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows and The Phil Silvers Show. But in 1960, he shifted direction, trying his hand at writing plays. The next year, his comedy Come Blow Your HornThe Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park. As one of the most successful playwrights in the 60s and 70s, Simon was hired to also adapt his theatrical work to film. In 1970, with the Out of Towners however, he wrote his first film-only screenplay. While he would often reserve many of his most personal stories for the stage, he still created brilliant and hilarious work, like Murder by Death and The Goodbye Girl, for the screen.
     
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    July 5, 1989
    WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S OPENS[​IMG]

    While some films register in the popular imagination because of their sheer brilliance or talent, others seem to simply catch a gust of zeitgeist. One such film is Ted Kotcheff’s inane comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, about a two low-level insurance analysts (played by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman) who find their boss, Bernie, dead when they arrive to stay with him for a weekend in the Hamptons. Unsure who killed him, or if they will lose their weekend trip if they announce him dead, the two bumblers attempt to pretend that he’s alive for the next hour and a half. Critics generally panned the film, and those who didn’t often apologized for finding it funny. In The Washington Post, Hal Hinson equivocates: “There's some originality, too, in the notion of setting a black comic farce against the sunny decadence of this millionaire's playground, but the idea is played out coarsely, with too many bimbos and too many drug jokes.” Nevertheless, the small $6 million dollar film not only went to make over $70 million worldwide and spawn a sequel, but also its title has entered into the popular vernacular as shorthand for people attempting to pretend a dead man is still alive. In 2008, The Daily News in New York City, as well as other periodicals, referred to the bumbling con job of two derelicts trying to cash a dead friend’s social security check as a real-life “Weekend at Bernie’s.” And the two years later, the title reappeared in headlines to define a pair of German women trying to sneak a corpse onto a plane
     
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    July 5, 1991
    SLACKER OPENS slacker-movie-poster-1991-1020200910.jpg

    When Richard Linklater’s sprawling digressive feature Slacker hit art cinemas, most critics weren’t quite sure what it was––but they knew they liked it. Roger Ebert called it “a movie with an appeal almost impossible to describe.” Vincent Canby at the New York Times viewed it as “a 14-course meal composed entirely of desserts.” But for Linklater, the film was an old idea: “I probably first thought of it seven years ago and had been playing around it for five years or so.” Borrowing from and begging friends and family, Linklater eventually raised the film’s $23,000 budget. Rather than tell a linear narrative, Linlater follows a series of characters to capture the feel of a particular time and place. In this case, it was Austin in the mid ‘80s. Juno director Jason Reitman commented that Slacker “changed my conception of what a movie could be…After I saw Slacker, I remember thinking, How can this be a movie?” Reitman was not alone with that question. Slacker, in addition to providing American culture with a new career direction, inspired a whole generation of young artists to rethink (both in terms of production and narrative) what a film really was in the first place.
     
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    July 7, 1973
    VERONICA LAKE DIES 239.jpg

    Perhaps no Hollywood star fell so far from the heights of movie stardom as did Veronica Lake. When she died of hepatitis in a Vermont hospital in 1973 at the age of 50, she was penniless and completely alone. Her children had disowned her. Her four ex-husbands wanted nothing to do with her. Thirty years earlier, however, she was one of the most desired, and bankable, Hollywood stars. Within just years of being cast in her first film, the 1939 B-comedySorority House, she had broken out as a star. From 1941 to 1942, films like Sullivan’s Travels, I Married a Witch and This Gun For Hire made her box office gold. Her flowing blond hair and peek-a-boo bangs made her a screen idol with thousands upon thousands of women in the 40s asking their hairdressers to give them a Vernoica Lake. Her look became so iconic that it was imitated both in Archie’s comics and in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But by the end of the forties, due to her growing alcoholism, hostility on set and worsening box office, Lake had been dropped by several studios and had all her assets seized by the IRS. For the next few decades she picked up only small parts on TV, eventually becoming the subject of public pity when a journalist wrote a exposé about finding the one-time glamour queen working as a barmaid in dive hotel in New York City. A sensational biography and a low-budget horror exploitation film, Flesh Feast, did little to put her back in the public eye. By the end of the Sixties, her alcoholism and paranoia had pushed nearly everyone in her life to abandon her. Yet, even at the end, her fame never completely left her. During her last days, laid up in a small Vermont hospital, other patients came to her room for autographs when they heard “Veronica Lake” was on their floor.
     
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    July 8, 1951
    ANJELICA HUSTON BORN[​IMG]



    There's a line in Wes Anderson's 2001 movie The Royal Tenenbaums where Gene Hackman's titular patriarch says to Anjelica Huston, playing his ex-wife, “You're true blue, Ethel.” The same could be said of Huston herself – born on this day in 1951 – who is truly Hollywood royalty. Anjelica, of course, is the daughter of writer, director and sometime actor John Huston, the granddaughter of actor Walter Huston, and the sister of actor Danny Huston. And coming from a family of performers, it's maybe no surprise that Anjelica followed in their footsteps – or that her on-off partner for almost two decades was another screen thesp, Jack Nicholson. However, it's important not to overly focus on the people with whom Huston has blood or romantic ties lest we lose sight of her own considerable talents and accomplishments. A highly gifted actress with rare presence, she broke out playing opposite Nicholson in 1985's Prizzi's Honor, in which she was directed by her father, winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Nicholson's scorned ex-fiancée. From the late 80s through the mid 90s, she appeared in a run of movies, delivering one awards caliber performance after another: Crimes and Misdemeanors, Enemies: A Love Story, The Witches, The Grifters, The Addams Family, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Addams Family Values. Her characters were strong – often fearsome – women, but Huston would often show glimpses of a softer, more vulnerable side. In the past decade and a half or so, she has shone in indie movies, appearing in three of Wes Anderson's movies, plus Vincent Gallo'sBuffalo 66, while also winning acclaim for her two big screen directorial efforts Bastard Out of Carolina and Agnes Browne.
     
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    July 8, 1964
    BILLY CRUDUP BORN[​IMG]

    In a way, Billy Crudup, with his good looks and gentle, old-fashioned charm, feels rather like a star from another age. The actor – who turns 48 today – as the blue-skinned, underpants-wearing Dr Manhattan in the much touted Watchmen, and can be seen in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies as FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover. Crudup, who attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, discovered his passion for acting on the stage, and it may be his frequent returns to the theater that have accounted for him not being a bigger star in Hollywood. After graduation from Tisch in 1994, Crudup quickly made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (1995) and had his first screen roles the following year in two movies with all-star casts, Barry Levinson’s adaptation of Lorenzo Carcaterra’s Sleepers and Woody Allen’s comedy musical Everyone Says I Love You. He had his first major roles in 1998 with Without Limits and The Hi-Lo Country, and turned in an inspired, attention-grabbing performance as FH, the errant antihero of Jesus’ Son (2000). His next performance, as the charismatic rocker Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, confirmed his star potential. In the last few years, Crudup has balanced his film commitments with theater work: in addition to major roles in movies like Big Fish(2003), Mission Impossible III and The Good Shepard (both 2006), he has won acclaim for his Broadway performances as John Merrick in a revival of The Elephant Man, as Katurian in In Bruges director Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, and in Parts I and II of Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia.
     
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    9 July 1956
    EVERYBODY'S TOM upload_2016-7-9_18-23-42.jpeg

    On the David Letterman show, the late-night host interviewed Julia Roberts and brought up the 2007 film she did with Tom Hanks, Charlie Wilson's War. "Wouldn't every movie be better with you and Tom in it?" he asked, rhetorically. That such a statement could be made without any degree of snark about two actors who've been on the movie scene for decades is testament to both of their unique talents and enduring appeal. For Hanks, who was born July 9, 1956, that appeal is centered around conveying the same sense of classic American decency that Jimmy Stewart based his career around years earlier. In films like Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13 and Cast Away, Hanks has personified virtues of self-reliance and determination without any traces of ego or self-absorption. In Forrest Gump, his character served as a vessel containing the memories of years of American political mythologies while in Charlie Wilson's War he put a friendly face on questionable U.S. foreign policy.
     
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    -
    July 10, 1989
    MEL BLANC DIES[​IMG]

    Almost nobody knows what Mel Blanc – who died on this day in 1989 – looked like. However, literally everybody instantly would recognize his voice. Or, rather, his voices. Plural. Blanc, of course, was The Man of a Thousand Voices, the most famous voice actor ever to work in animation, a man who made a career out of the elasticity and versatility of his vocal skills. Blanc was actually born Melvin Blank, but changed his name after a teacher told him he would never amount to anything as a “blank.” Ironically, it was exactly that blank slate quality that he possessed that allowed Mel to assume the personalities and voices of an impossibly long list of cartoon characters, including Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Pepé Le Pew, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, and Heathcliff. A radio actor who was a regular on The Jack Benny Showin the mid-1930s, in 1936 he started voicing animation for Leon Schlesinger Productions, who made toons for Warners. Blanc made his profession famous almost single-handedly, and was unique in receiving a screen credit (“Voice characterization by Mel Blanc”) on cartoons, something none of his peers did. Despite his numerous onscreen personalities, Bugs Bunny was his most famous incarnation – and one that he credited with saving his life. In 1961, Blanc was in a near-fatal car crash that left him in a coma. (Thousands of distraught fans sent him letters, some apparently addressed simply to “Bugs Bunny, Hollywood.”) Blanc’s doctor’s attempts to draw him out of the coma by speaking to him were unsuccessful, until he began addressing Bugs Bunny, rather than Mel Blanc. In his autobiography,That’s Not All Folks!, Blanc writes that when he was asked, "How are you today, Bugs Bunny?", he miraculously responded. In Bugs’ voice, of course.

     
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    -July 11, 1952
    STEPHEN LANG BORN[​IMG]

    A great actor, known for his acclaimed Broadway work as well as a series of indelible performances in film and television stretching back three decades, was born July 11, 1952. Stephen Lang may not be a household name, but in a series of mostly tough-guy roles, he has always found his characters' more complicated emotional underpinnings. Since the beginning of his career, Lang has been a favorite of director Michael Mann, appearing early on in Manhunter and then as a recurring character, an attorney, in his TV series Crime Story. He played Babe Ruth in the eponymous TV movie, Major General George E. Pickett in Gettysburg, and, on stage, co-starred as "Happy" in Dustin Hoffman's 1984 production of Death of a Salesman. He also appeared opposite Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei in Wait until Dark. Lang has always worked consistently, but in 2009 he was memorable in two high-profile roles. In Michael Mann's Public Enemies, he played cop Charles Winstead, and in a touching final scene with Marion Cotillard found the perfect grace note to the end film. A more bombastic role was as Colonel Miles Quaritch, the putative villain of James Cameron's Avatar. Again, as he has always done, Lang refused to reduce his character to anything below three dimenions. About his role in Avatar, he told the Los Angeles Times, "I didn’t play a villain; I played a man who is doing his job the best way that he can. He makes choices. Quaritch has cauterized some aspects of his own soul. Dirty wars have numbed his psyche and spirit. But I did not go at him as a villain.”
     
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    12 July 1989
    WHEN ROB MET NORA upload_2016-7-15_15-53-2.jpeg
    An all-time classic romantic comedy — and the line "I'll have what she's having" — first appeared this week in 1989. When Harry Met Sally… was a long-gestating project which was conceived out of conversations between director Rob Reiner, writer Nora Ephron and producer Andrew Scheinman in the mid 1980s. Reiner and Scheinman would always talk about their lives as single men, and when Reiner pitched Ephron an idea about a man and a woman who never get sexually involved in order to save their friendship, she bit. Ephron developed the script while Reiner directed Stand by Me and The Princess Bride, and based Harry on Reiner and Sally on herself. The project went through numerous titles, including Just Friends, Boy Meets Girl, It Had To Be You, and How They Met, and filming actually began without there being a consensus on any of these. During production there were also a number of significant changes made: for one, Meg Ryan suggested that she actually fake an orgasm in the legendary restaurant scene rather than just talk about one, and the line "I'll have what she's having" (said by Reiner's mother) was suggested by Billy Crystal. What's more, until the last minute, Reiner and Ephron planned to have the movie end with the leads agreeing to remain friends but they ultimately conceded that the more satisfying (though not realistic) conclusion was to give the characters a conventional happy ending.
     
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    13 July 1990
    A GHOST OF A CHANCE upload_2016-7-15_15-55-19.jpeg

    A potter's wheel, "Unchained Melody," a bobbed Demi Moore and undead Patrick Swayze set audience's hearts swooning in Jerry Zucker's Ghost, one of the biggest hits of 1990. The film, in which Swayze's character learns to express his love to Demi Moore's only after he's been killed in a robbery attempt, grossed over $500 million worldwide and kicked off a new batch of films in which humans can only find emotional fulfillment by either dying or by communicating with the recently deceased. Films as diverse as the Reese Witherspoon starrer Just Like Heaven to Francois Ozon's Under the Sea have all explored this theme, allowing their characters to do in the movies what we cannot do in real life — heal emotional wounds by denying the one ending that must conclude each and every one of our own storylines.
     
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    July 14, 1969
    EASY RIDER OPENS IN NYC upload_2016-7-15_15-59-13.jpeg

    Easy Rider now seems an all-too familiar part of American culture, but when the movie was on July 14, 1969, it brought about a revolution in American cinema. (July 14, of course, was Bastille Day, a resonant choice of date that tied in with the movie’s inherent spirit of rebellion.) The image of the movie’s stars, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, on their motorcycles riding through America’s heartlands to the sound of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” now reads as almost quaintly patriotic, yet at the time director Hopper and co-writers Fonda and Terry Southern were portraying what they saw as the disintegration of the hippie movement, and the decline of America. Both Hopper and Fonda had appeared in the Roger Corman LSD movie The Trip (1967) – and Fonda also in Corman’s motorcycle movie The Wild Angels (1966) – and adopted Corman’s cheap, exploitation approach to topical filmmaking for Easy Rider. Hopper played Billy and Fonda was Wyatt – seemingly a reference to Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp – and the film played out much like a modern, revisionist Western where bikes replaced horses. Filmed in turmoil – both because of Hopper’s unpredictable, hedonistic nature and the unrest after the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy – the movie struck a chord with a new generation of American filmgoers. Shot on a tiny budget of $340,000, it hauled in almost $20 million at the U.S. box office. At the Oscars, it was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson in his breakthrough role) and Best Original Screenplay. Though it was a movie that concluded “We blew it,” Columbia (who had bankrolled it) and every other studio saw it as an unqualified triumph and set about trying to repeat its success, greenlighting numerous microbudget movies that they hoped the “kids” would dig just as much.
     
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    July 15, 1988
    DIE HARD OPENS [​IMG]

    The template for so many blockbusters to come was arguably born on July 15, 1988, when John McTiernan's Die Hard opened in theaters. Of course, it's not like we hadn't seen its elements (the lone cop, the evil corporate bad guy, a treacherous site to navigate) before, but there was something fresh-feeling about Die Hard when it came out. A large part of that is due to the jocular yet emotionally believable presence of Bruce Willis, whose $5 million salary — for a TV actor! — was shocking at the time. It was one of the first instances in which a studio, a skilled director, and great effects people were able to create a bona-fide action star out of someone who hadn't made his name in the genre. The skepticism surrounding Willis was captured by Caryn James, in the film's New York Times review: "Die Hard, the movie that gambles a $5 million salary on Bruce Willis, has to be the most excessive film around. It piles every known element of the action genre onto the flimsy story of a New York cop who rescues hostages from a Los Angeles office tower on Christmas Eve. Partly an interracial buddy movie, partly the sentimental tale of a ruptured marriage, the film is largely a special-effects carnival full of machine-gun fire, roaring helicopters and an exploding tank. It also has a villain fresh from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a thug from the Bolshoi Ballet and a hero who carries with him the smirks and wisecracks that helped makeMoonlighting a television hit. The strange thing is, it works: Die Hard is exceedingly stupid, but escapist fun." Indeed, Die Hard launched a great franchise and while its second installment may have been the box office winner, its success was surely due to all those Willis doubters catching up with the film on home video and realizing that with his New York cop, John McClane, Willis had re-invented the action hero for the '80s.
     
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    July 16, 1937
    TOPPER OPENS upload_2016-7-17_19-26-16.jpeg
    79 years ago today, the most unusual of franchises was launched with the release of director Norman Z. McLeod’s Topper. The movie had great credentials: it was based on a novel by Thorne Smith, was produced by Hal Roach, and had a great cast toplined by Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young and Billie Burke. But what made it so unusual as a cheery hit comedy – and very unusual for a franchise – was that the main characters die at the start of the movie: Grant and Bennett play a couple who get killed in an auto accident and, stuck in limbo, have to do one good deed in order to ascend to heaven. The chosen target of their benevolence is Cosmo Topper (Young), a starchy New York banker who they decide needs to escape the attentions of his henpecking wife (Burke) and live life a little fuller. So, they haunt him in an attempt to achieve this end. Topper was a fun screwball comedy that perfectly showcased Grant and Bennett’s charm and comic talents, yet it could have been a very different kind of movie – apparently Roach had wanted W.C. Fields and Jean Harlow to play the roles of the married ghosts. The surprise success of Topper lead two sequels, Topper Takes a Trip (1938) and Topper Returns (1941), as well as a 1950s TV series, a 1970s TV pilot and a 1979 TV movie remake. The movie, though very much a relic of the 30s, was voted in at number 60 in the AFI’s 100 Funniest Movies, something which may be connected to the fact that it is now in the public domain and this readily available to legally watch for free online.
     
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    17 July 1955
    DISNEYLAND'S 'BLACK SUNDAY' upload_2016-7-17_19-31-13.jpeg
    Sixty one years ago this week in Anaheim, California, the "happiest place in the world" was officially opened. On the afternoon of Sunday 17 July 1955, Walt Disney opened the gates to Disneyland with the words, "To all who come to this happy place — welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world. Thank you." Disney, whose father had built the ground for Chicago's World Fair, had conceived the idea of a park that could be enjoyed by both young and old and bought 160 acres of orange groves in Orange County, California, to build his "Mickey Mouse Park." The opening ceremony of the $17 million dollar attraction was screened on TV (co-anchored by none other than Ronald Reagan), however things did not go smoothly in the "happy land": it was a scorching hot day, a plumbers' strike meant there was no water in the fountains, a gas leak necessitated that several sections of the park be shut down, the food ran out, the recently laid cement started melting, and numerous people entered the private event with fake tickets. It was referred to as "Black Sunday" by staff and for years July 18, when the gates were first opened to the public, was given as the Park's inaugural day. It was, however, 2 a.m. on that Monday morning that crowds began queuing to be let in and since then it's fair to say that the park's phenomenal success has made "Black Sunday" a distant and almost forgotten memory.
     
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    -
    July 20, 1938
    DIANA RIGG BORN[​IMG]

    It is a curiosity of the entertainment business that performers who have long and varied careers are often best remembered for single roles. Diana Rigg, born July 20, 1938, has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, starred in plays by Tom Stoppard, and has been nominated for several Golden Globes, including one for Best Supporting Actress opposite George C. Scott in The Hospital. But it is her role as the leather catsuited Emma Peel in the ‘60s spy series The Avengers that she is most often celebrated for. A fashionable feminist icon, Peel wielded karate chops and kicks, sly bits of innuendo, and formidable smarts as one-half of a British secret agent team. Rigg was not the first actress to play Peel. She replaced Honor Blackman, who went off to co-star in the second James Bond movie. (Rigg herself would play a Bond girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.) When Rigg complained about not liking leather, the designer Pierre Cardin was brought on to design new outfits which were similarly fetishistic while also reflecting the Op-Art fashions of the era.
     
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    GezabelleSinclaire The girl you always Fantasized about

    What a great thread Sable! Its always lovely to see you on the boards!
     
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    THANK YOU SWEET GIRL...........I LOVE TO BE SEEN;)
     
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    21 July 1964
    THE FILM'S THE THING
    This week in 1964, two titans of 20th Century culture, one from the world of theatre and one from silent film, joined together on an unlikely cinematic enterprise. In 1963, Samuel Beckett, one of the great playwrights of the modern era, was commissioned to write a film script, and concocted an avant garde project about an old man who is trying to become invisible to the world and thus cease to exist. It was called, in typically minimal style, Film. The initial casting choice for the protagonist "O" was Charlie Chaplin (who had all but retired from filmmaking), but attention then turned to comedian Zero Mostel, and Jack MacGowran, a theatre actor and veteran of Beckett's plays, who the writer favored. However, director Alan Schneider, who had previously overseen many Beckett productions, was convinced by bit player James Karen to hire Buster Keaton for the role; the legendary silent comedian was then on hard times, reduced to cameos on TV shows and films such as Pajama Party. The resulting film, shot in an anonymous looking New York City setting, owes much more to surrealist theatre and experimental cinema than to any of Keaton's best known movies, but nevertheless brilliantly showcases not only his continuing comic talents but also a profound aptitude to convey sadness and pain in the simplest of manners. For a further perspective on the film on this site — and to watch Film — you can go here.
     
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    July 21, 1985
    ACTOR ROCK HUDSON COLLAPSES upload_2016-7-22_16-42-25.jpeg

    The day before Rock Hudson was to see Dr. Dominique Dormont at the Percy military hospital near Paris, he collapsed in his hotel room at the Paris Ritz. For nearly year, Hudson had been quietly coming to France to participate in a restricted protocol that was testing a new drug for HIV. But he had kept his treatment as well as his illness a complete secret from nearly everyone who knew him. But after his collapse, Dr. Dormont diagnosed him as too weak to continue on the HPA-23 treatment. And Hudson made the very difficult decision to own up. He chartered a plane to return to the States and allowed officials to announce that he had AIDS. The shock was immense, not simply that this star was ill, but that the man who’d embodied the masculine ideal for many decades was in fact gay.
     
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    22 July 1947
    THE OTHER ALBERT EINSTEIN upload_2016-7-22_16-44-36.jpeg

    Neurotic, self-absorbed, and needing a personal trainer — that's a description that could apply to most of today's hottest movie comedians, from Will Ferrell's paunchy sports stars and newscasters to Judd Apatow's schlubby romantics. But this type in its modern formulation can be traced back to one of cinema's great comic voices, Albert Brooks, who was born July 22, 1947 as Albert Lawrence Einstein. (Wikipedia notes that he changed his name to avoid confusion with the famous scientist.) From his early television appearances on the Tonight Show, Brooks' ironic, self-aware and dissembling style created a persona that may not have been always endearing but was always funny. In 1979 he became a film director with Real Life, a picture that was similarly ahead of its time. Anticipating the debate about the relationship between filmmakers and their documentary subjects, Brooks starred as an egotistical director trying to win an Oscar by capturing the interactions of an everyday American family. Later films such as Modern Romance and Lost in America also touched on cultural nerves and generational anxieties, while his most recent film, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, was perhaps a bit flat in trying to parse the difference between Western comedy and Islam's. Alongside his filmmaking, Brooks has carved out a career as a dramatic actor. For his first role he played Cybill Shepherd's co-worker in Taxi Driver, and he received an Academy Award nomination for his part inBroadcast News. But new generations know Brooks as the voice of "Marlin" in Finding Nemo and as a variety of supporting characters on The Simpsons. This television season he joins the cast of Showtime's Weeds
     
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    July 23, 1967[​IMG]
    PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN BORN
    On this day in 1967, Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in Rochester, New York. Or, at least, that’s what the record states. But, in many ways, the true Philip Seymour Hoffman – the chameleonic actor – came into being when a 12-year-old Hoffman saw a production of Arthur Miller play All My Sons, an experienced which left him “permanently changed” because of the all-consuming passion to be involved in acting that it instilled in him. From that point on, he took acting incredibly seriously (he describes it as “torturous”), with the result that over the course of the 1990s he became one of the most in-demand character actors, and in the 2000s began receiving plum lead roles, such as Capote (for which he won a Best Actor Oscar, plus every equivalent award available award that year) and Synecdoche, New York. While Hoffman is not physically the most obvious candidate for movie stardom – he is not particularly handsome, and is often called both schlubby and overweight – he possesses an uncanny to utterly transform himself into the characters he is playing. (You can read about many of these in the article 13 Ways of Looking at Philip Seymour Hoffman.) Mike Nichols, who has directed Hoffman both on stage and screen, has this to say about the actor’s incredible powers of metamorphosis: “Again and again, he can truly become someone I’ve not seen before but can still instantly recognize. Sometimes Phil loses some weight, and he may dye his hair but, really, it’s just the same Phil, and yet, he’s never the same person from part to part. …It’s that humanity that is so striking — when you watch Phil work, his entire constitution seems to change. He may look like Phil, but there’s something different in his eyes. And that means he’s reconstituted himself from within, willfully rearranging his molecules to become another human being.”
     
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    23 July 1966
    FROM THEN TO ETERNITY upload_2016-7-23_23-37-53.jpeg

    It was 42 years ago that Montgomery Clift was found dead at the age of 45 in his New York City townhouse by his personal secretary, Lorenzo James. Although the coroner officially noted heart attack, many consider his death was, as acting teacher Robert Lewis called it, "the longest suicide in history." His first film, Red River, which placed him besides John Wayne, perfectly showcased the dichotomy between the old vanguard and the new brooding and sensitive male characters that would become so popular in the 60s. In A Place in the Sun to From Here to Eternity, Clift rose to the status of matinée idol, that is until a near-fatal car accident in 1956 permanently marred his swooning good looks. As a gay man uncomfortable with the duplicity of Hollywood, Clift moved back to New York, spiraling deeper into drugs and alcohol. Although he continued to make films (such as Suddenly, Last Summer and The Misfits), his addictions were getting the better of him. His Misfits co-star Marilyn Monroe described Clift "The only person I know who is in worse shape than I am." By 1962, when he signed on to star in John Huston's Freud, his alcoholism had become so bad that, when the film flopped, the studio attempted to sue Clift himself. He made one more film, but mostly isolated himself in his Upper East Side home, drinking himself to death.
     
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    July 24, 1980
    PETER SELLERS DIES [​IMG]
    On July 24, 1980, the legendary comic actor Peter Sellers passed away at the age of just 54. While his death was terribly sad because Sellers was so young, it was particularly poignant because his career had just hit a major upswing. Tired of making endless Pink Panther movies, Sellers had determined to get away from his restricting Inspector Clouseau persona and do something completely different: Being There. A pet project of his since he read Jerzy Kosinski’s novel in the early 1970s, Being There finally got made by Sellers (directed by Harold and Maude’s Hal Ashby) in 1979, and was released to ecstatic reviews. Sellers was a revelation as Chance the Gardener, an idiot savant who stumbles into political power, with his subtle, nuanced performance wowing critics and winning him a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards. While his personal life was in chaos (Sellers was about to divorce his fourth wife, Lynne Frederick), he looked to capitalize on his renewed popularity by signing on to reteam with Ashby on Grossing Out, a comedy written by Terry Southern (who had penned another Sellers classic, Dr. Strangelove). Sellers, however, had been ignoring his deteriorating physical heart condition since he had 13 heart attacks over the course of a few days in 1964. He had a pacemaker put in 1977 after another heart attack, but refused open heart surgery that might have made greatly lengthened his life expectancy, instead hoping the problems would simply go away. The day before a reunion with his colleagues on the classic BBC radio program The Goon Show, Sellers died after suffering a final massive heart attack. At his funeral, mourners were reminded of Sellers’ unstinting sense of humor: he had requested that Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” – a song he detested – be played during the service.
     
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    July 25, 2003
    JOHN SCHLESINGER DIES

    “What I tend to go for, and what interests me, is not the hero but the coward,” said John Schlesinger, who died today in 2003, “not the success, but the failure.” With all that being said, success became the norm for Schlesinger, as his career began with an incredible run of films that propelled him to the highest echelons of Hollywood. Initially an actor on the English stage, Schlesinger discovered in the mid-1950s that directing was more suited to his talents and had a brief, successful stint making documentaries before moving into fiction with two acclaimed kitchen sink dramas, A Kind of Loving (1962) and Billy Liar (1963). The latter movie starred Julie Christie as the hero’s love interest, and Christie became Schlesinger’s muse in his two subsequent films, Darling(1965) – for which she won the Best Actress Oscar – and an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd (1967). Schlesinger boldly brought his brand of realism to the U.S. in 1969 withMidnight Cowboy, starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, a raw yet charming tale of New York street hustlers that broke boundaries by becoming the first X-rated movie to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Schlesinger also won Best Director, but rather than stay Stateside he returned to the UK forSunday Bloody Sunday (1971), an intense relationship drama that, like Midnight Cowboy, hinted at Schlesinger’s status as an openly gay director. Following The Day of the Locust (1975) and Marathon Man (1976), Schlesinger became a less prominent figure in Hollywood, working on less esteemed and lower profile films, as well as more personal projects such as the TV movies An Englishman Abroad(1983) and A Question of Attribution (1991). He suffered a stroke in 2000, shortly after making his final film, the Madonna vehicle The Next Best Thing, and passed away three years later.
     
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    July 26, 1964
    SANDRA BULLOCK BORN

    "There's a very safe kind of sexuality about her. It's a mysterious thing. Wholesome sounds negative. But it's wholesome in the sense that it's womanly, warm and friendly. It's not threatening." Bullock's early parts included a role as the Bionic Woman in an ABC TV movie, a series of low-budget features, and then a lead role in the remake of George Sluizer's arthouse shocker, The Vanishing. The film wasn't a huge success, but, along with other big studio films, including the sci-fi action film Demolition Man, it made Bullock a viable leading lady. Then, of course, came the action pic Speed, in which she was as much an action star as her leading man, Keanu Reeves, and the romantic comedy, While You Were Sleeping. Both were big hits, and together they launched a solid decade-plus of lead roles. Always alternating drama with comedy, Bullock co-starred in the Oscar-winning Crash in 2004. Five years of less successful work followed until two more films — again, a comedy and a drama — made her a box-office draw again: The Proposal and The Blind Side, for which she won an Oscar. Tabloid revelations about her adulterous ex-husband and her adoption as a single parent of a young boy from New Orleans have kept her in the spotlight in 2010, but Bullock, who spends much of her year away from Hollywood, has never seemed one to hog the spotlight. Given the success of her recent films and the adroit way she has handled her personal affairs, Bullock at 52 is more popular than ever, and it will be fascinating to see the choices she'll make next.
     

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