Posts Tagged ‘Orson Welles’

Trailerama Classic: Citizen Kane

September 14, 2009

So how about a trailer in which a) the star is heard, not seen b) the film-making apparatus is exposed into the light c) the lead actors are all shown first out of character, then in character and d) lasts nearly four minutes? In many ways, Kane‘s “ballyhoo” is fully in keeping with the film itself. Due for re-release in the UK on October 30.

Zach Efron Talks Orson Welles With Gus Van Sant

March 18, 2009

me-and-orson-wellesYes, we could link to a magazine article which includes pictures of Zac Efron rolling around in the mud. And in fact, that is exactly what we aredoing. But it’s because Efron chats to director Gus Van Sant about, among other things, his first serious role in Richard Linklater‘s Me and Orson Welles. The drama looks at Welles‘ 1937 production of Julius Caesar(the one where he updated the action to fascist Italy) through the eyes of Efron’s teenage thesp. Welles is played by Christian McKay and Eddie Marsan plays his partner-in-crime John Houseman. We’re anticipating egos, ballerinas, and lots of eating.

VAN SANT: I wanted to ask you about this Richard Linklater film. Is it Orson and Me?
EFRON: Me and Orson Welles.
VAN SANT: Where did you shoot that?
EFRON: Rick was brilliant, because he found this great theater on the Isle of Man, which, after a little bit of work, looked a whole lot like the Mercury Theatre did in 1937. We took a beautiful theater and made it look rusty and old and dusty, and, once we filled it with extras dressed in 1930s attire, the place was very believable. It even smelled like an old theater. It was pretty neat because we were basically stuck there—you know, we couldn’t leave. There was nowhere to go on the Isle of Man. So we lived in that theater for several weeks. It was fun and exciting, but it was also kind of maddening. I went a little bit insane.

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The Movies, Mr. Griffith and HBO

March 17, 2009

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The big film news of the day doesn’t have much to do with film at all. It’s that David Chase, whose The Sopranos became a kind of Mahābhārata of the Mob, is headed back to HBO and making a miniseries about the days when Hollywood wasn’t much more than an orange grove.

Ribbon of Dreams will unspool around the friendship between a cowboy and a mechanical engineer who both go to work for D.W. Griffith. They graduate to becoming producers of their own, and are soon negotiating the nascent business of the movies–as well as real life characters like John Ford, John Wayne, Raoul Walsh, Bette Davis and Billy Wilder. An unconfirmed and possibly imaginary report implied one episode would see the two guys barely surviving a drinking bout with John Barrymore, Errol Flynn and W.C. Fields.
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Star Trek: Boldly Going Into Familiar Territory

March 6, 2009

With their emphasis on boot-knocking and bra-waving, previous trailers for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot suggested that the Enterprise crew would be going where The O.C.had boldly gone before. Those fanboys who fell for the original series’ plasterboard sci-fi or for The Next Generation‘s Shakespearean chops were going to have to get used to the fact that Kirk, Spock, and Uhura’s original four-year mission was getting sexed up. This is a Star Trek of the Darren Star variety. (Or more daringly, a Star Trek which acknowledges the series’ slash fiction spin-offs.)

The latest trailer adds a few more elements in the mix. The emphasis is more on action and special effects, although the space combat fights look a bit like Return of the Jedi, where George Lucas in his mad genius reasoned that if three tie-fighters were very cool, than three HUNDRED tie-fighters would be even cooler. He was right, but that was back in 1983. Now the space visuals just look cluttered. There’s meant to be a certain majesty in Mutt Jones–I mean, James Kirk–looking up at the nascent Enterprise, but it’s obscured by that network of scaffolding. Any general would throw up their hands at the chaos of the space battles, which are closer to Welles’ Chimes at Midnight than Kubrick’s Spartacus.

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Happy Birthday, Pier Paolo Pasolini!

March 5, 2009

pasoliniNow that Slavoj Zizek is a movie star and Malcolm Gladwell can fill rock star venues, it’s probably just a lazy short-hand to contend that Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s celebrity is all but inconceivable now. He’s remembered in English-speaking territories for his films–raw spins on Italian life, Christianity, and the sacred and blasphemous pillars of Western literature. In Italy, however, Pasolini was a one-man culture industry. He established himself as a poet, novelist, journalist, intellectual, documentary maker, radical irritant and all-around literary celebrity. PPP burned too brightly to last until his 80s, but if he had, today would have been his birthday.

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