TCM’s general manager Jennifer Dorian released a statement saying, “All of us at Turner Classic Movies are deeply saddened by the death of Robert Osborne. Robert was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than 23 years. He joined us as an expert on classic film and grew to be our cherished colleague and esteemed ambassador for TCM. Robert was embraced by devoted fans who saw him as a trusted expert and friend. His calming presence, gentlemanly style, encyclopedic knowledge of film history, fervent support for film preservation and highly personal interviewing style all combined to make him a truly world-class host. Robert’s contributions were fundamental in shaping TCM into what it is today and we owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”
Osborne was an irrepressible advocate for the films of Hollywood’s golden era who wrote the Motion Picture Academy-sanctioned “50 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards” in 1978 and a number of updates ending in 2008 with “80 Years of the Oscar.”
(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/3.)
Director Lucy Bailey has a deserved reputation for treating difficult plays with an impudent respect and getting the best out of them – as with her splendidly gory Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare’s Globe. Now she has taken a text by the 17th-century poet John Milton and with the help of Patrick Barlow, founder of the National Theatre of Brent and adapter of The 39 Steps, turned it into something akin to The Masque That Goes Wrong.
The result may remain something of a curiosity, but it is a beautifully performed featherlight confection that’s funny, sexy and reframes the piece subtitled “a Masque in Honour of Chastity” into one in honour of a young woman who knows her own mind and how she intends to live in a male-dominated world.
In 1943 two African American brothers from Philadelphia performed a dance routine in the film Stormy Weather, which Fred Astaire would come to refer to as the greatest movie musical sequence he had ever seen. For Fayard and Harold Nicholas – otherwise known as The Nicholas Brothers – this was no small feat in 1940s Hollywood, when racial prejudice was commonplace. Entirely self-taught the brothers had been regular performers at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club – working with the orchestras of Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington – and became known for their highly acrobatic and artistic technique – with one of the brothers later going on to teach Michael Jackson. Dancer and choreographer Stuart Thomas explains why The Nicholas Brothers have been such an inspiration.
(Sandy MacDonald’s article appeared in the Boston Globe, 8/1; via Pam Green.)
Meryl Streep had a very busy week, even for her. She gave a shout-out to Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention; inked a contract to appear in “Mary Poppins Returns” — a movie musical from “Hairspray” creators Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman that will also star Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda — and geared up for the Aug. 12 rollout of the biopic “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
Still, there she was Saturday, alongside her former Yale Drama School classmate John Shea at a benefit for the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket. (Surprisingly, it was Streep’s first time on the island.) The handsome Shea, who’s perhaps best known for playing Lex Luthor in the ’90s TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” got his start as a TWN apprentice in 1968 and has remained ever grateful.
(Robbie Collin’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 7/29.)
Marisa Berenson first realised Stanley Kubrick wasn’t like other directors when he told her to stay out of direct sunlight for six months before filming.
It was the summer of 1972. Berenson was a 25-year-old Vogue cover model who’d spent most of her adult life whistling round the world with a photographer in tow. But she’d also just been cast opposite Ryan O’Neal as the female lead in Barry Lyndon, Kubrick’s long-gestating 18th-century costume drama. And his aim for total historical accuracy extended to the complexions of his cast.
I thought, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to get through the summer?’ ” recalls Berenson, now a regal and radiant 69, in the bar of a London hotel. (She’s appearing as Lady Capulet in Kenneth Branagh’s production of Romeo and Juliet.) “I had a trip planned to St Tropez, and in those days I was always basking on the beach in bikinis.” The solution, as it so often does, involved transparent kaftans.
(Vincent M. Mallozzi’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/8; via Pam Green.)
Raven McRae, a 22-year-old dancer who was trained as an actress at LaGuardia High School, is the only native New Yorker in the cast of “Paramour,” a Cirque du Soleil musical currently on Broadway. Ms. McRae, who spent much of her childhood on Staten Island, lives there with her mother in an apartment in St. George. On Sundays, she commutes by ferry to Manhattan for two performances. Ms. McRae made her Broadway debut as a dancer two years ago in “Motown: The Musical.”
SHOWER WITH SPOTIFY I wake up at 8 and immediately check my iPhone, which is also my alarm clock, to see if stage management left any message regarding schedule changes. I need to catch a 9 o’clock boat into Manhattan, so I run into the shower and use Spotify on my phone to listen to Kendrick Lamar, who I love. I time my shower to the length of two Kendrick songs. I don’t consider him a rapper; I consider him a poet and an artist. He sings so passionately and doesn’t hold anything back, and that puts me in a good mood and inspires me to give 100 percent of myself on stage. Then I’m running out the door without eating breakfast because for me, chewing is just too much work that early in the morning.
Stephen Sondheim's Follies starring Alexis Smith, Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson, John McMartin, Yvonne De Carlo, Ethel Shutta, Fifi D'Orsay and Mary McCarty. This is a reconstruction of what the magic must have been like in the original 1971 production. All the available existing footage was edited together to achieve the most professional result, with different angles, restored image quality, restored colour quality, stabilised images, no jumpy cuts, synchronised audio, etc… If you have any footage which I don't already have (or if it's in better condition), could you please contact me at 1971FolliesFan@mail.com ? Thank you very much for contributing. Songlist: Prologue "Beautiful Girls" "Waiting for the Girls Upstairs" Montage ("Listen to the Rain on the Roof", "Ah, Paris!", "Broadway Baby") "The Road You Didn't Take" Bolero d'Amour "In Buddy's Eyes" "Who's That Woman?" "I'm Still Here" "Too Many Mornings" "The Right Girl" "Could I Leave You?" "Loveland" "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through" "God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" ("Buddy's Blues") "Losing My Mind" "The Story of Lucy and Jessie" "Live, Laugh, Love" "Chaos" Curtain Calls And also many dialogue scenes!
(Saffran’s film review appeared on Equine Info Exchange.)
Dark Horse won the World Cinema Documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival 2015. The film is currently being screened in theaters around the US and a non-US format is offered on Amazon. It is beautifully made and is a joy to watch.
Dream Alliance is the name of a flashy chestnut Thoroughbred born in Cefn Fforest, South Wales, who is the subject of an absorbing documentary written and directed by Louise Osmond. London based Ms. Osmond told her producer that she wanted to do a film about a horse, and he gave her the task of doing a documentary about Dream Alliance, or Dream, his stable name. Ms. Osmond says that she relished the assignment. Cefn Fforest is a small town in an area of closed coal mines that had been operating in the 19th and 20th centuries. The mines had a troubled history of strikes, low wages, ill health, and finally closings. Less known, and not in the film, is that as many as 70,000 pit ponies, as well as donkeys and mules, were once stabled underground to haul coal. They only came out once per year for a festival. Reports on their treatment and survival rates vary greatly, with some equines lasting just several years. The four pits that surrounded Cefn Fforest closed between 1977 to 1989, which left the town with very little hope. I have seen mining towns in South Wales and noticed that they are bleak yet atmospheric, with a strange beauty. It is also an area where people feel the effects from hard labor and the lack of appreciation for it.