May 5, 2012 |
Filmmakers are natural raconteurs — they have to be — at least when talking about their films. There are the money men who must be convinced to invest, the studios they need to sign on for distribution, the actors they want to hire and the press and public they hope will see the finished film and like it. The American Film Institute captures all that and more in "Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers: The...
July 11, 2011
Jeanne Eagels' performance on Broadway in the 1920s as prostitute Sadie Thompson in the Somerset Maugham melodrama "Rain" won her wide renown. She's just as famous for her diva behavior and her alcohol and drug abuse. Though known for her stage roles, Eagels also made a handful of films. She scored a huge hit with her first talkie, the 1929 Maugham drama "The Letter," which has just come out on DVD. Eagels plays Leslie Crosbie, a married woman on a rubber plantation who shoots her lover.
May 23, 2011
Television is littered with the corpses of ill-conceived musical-variety series that were so bad you had to see them to believe them. A prime example was NBC's "Pink Lady and Jeff," which premiered March 1, 1980. Produced by Sid and Marty Krofft, the show revolved around a duo called Pink Lady, Japanese pop singers Mie and Kie who spoke rudimentary English, and American comedian Jeff Altman. Each episode ended with the girls in bikinis in a hot tub pushing a fully clothed Altman into the water.
May 2, 2011
The 60 short films that make up Warner Archive's "Vitaphone Varieties" (1926-30) four-disc set were made when sound was in its infancy. They're a fascinating time capsule, not only of early talkies but also of what type of acts appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway and in nightclubs of that era. These shorts were recently restored through a collaboration between Warner Archive, UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Library of Congress and the Vitaphone Project....
March 23, 2010 |
"The T.A.M.I. Show," the fabled film document of an equally legendary 1964 concert in Santa Monica with the Rolling Stones, James Brown, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Chuck Berry and a half-dozen other acts, has a back story that reads like the inspiration for the Stones' observation years later about getting what you need even when you don't get what you want. As originally planned, "The T.A.M.I. Show" was supposed to be considerably more than a concert film featuring several of the day's hottest pop-music acts.
November 24, 2009 |
Underwater archaeologists said Monday that they have found a virtual time capsule of life during Canada's Klondike Gold Rush: a sunken Yukon River stern-wheeler so well-preserved that researchers can document the last minutes of the five-man crew as well as their life aboard the primitive cargo-hauler. The door of the steam boiler on the A.J. Goddard was open, and slightly charred wood found inside suggested the crew was trying to build up a head of steam, perhaps to break loose from an ice jam. An ax remained on the deck after one crew member hefted it to chop the rope used to tow a barge, a sign of their frantic attempts to escape the ice floe.