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Talking Movies, Episode 4: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Easy Rider (1969), The Wild Bunch (1969) ... TALKING MOVIES, EPISODE 3: MARTY (1955), THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957), BEN-HUR (1959) ... Talking Movies, Episode 2: The Lost Weekend (1945), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) ... Alfred Hitchcock – The 39 Steps (1935) ... Talking Movies, Episode 1: ‘The Third Man’ (1949) ... Akira Kurosawa – ‘Ran’ (1985) ... Woody Allen – ‘Bananas’ (1971) ... Mervyn LeRoy – ‘Little Caesar’ (1931) ...
Countdown to Oscars

Friday, May 9, 2014

Talking Movies, Episode 4: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Easy Rider (1969), The Wild Bunch (1969)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

In Episode 4 of Talking Movies, Scott and I discuss three landmark films from the 1960s: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Easy Rider (1969), and The Wild Bunch (1969). What do these films tell us about the contemporary movie industry and its break from the Motion Picture Production Code? How did these films deal with sex and violence, and how did those themes converge with other attitudes of the 1960s? Who were the rising actors and directors of the time, and how did these films shape their celebrity personae? Listen to a discussion of these topics and many more in Episode 4 of Talking Movies.

~ Talking Movies is a podcast series covering classic films from the 20th century. In this episode, our guest co-host is Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter and the founder/editor-in-chief of ScottFeinberg.com.

Listen to the podcast…

Friday, May 2, 2014

TALKING MOVIES, EPISODE 3: MARTY (1955), THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957), BEN-HUR (1959)

In Episode 3 of Talking Movies, Scott and I discuss three Best Picture winners from the 1950s. What do these films suggest about the contemporary movie industry, which had to respond to the emergence of television? How did “The Epic” change the standards of production and studio spending? Who were the key players and victims of the Hollywood Blacklist and the House Un-American Activities Committee? What precipitated the fall of the Big Studio, as well as the arrival of Independent Cinema? Listen to a discussion of these topics and many more in Episode 3 of Talking Movies.

~ Talking Movies is a Retro-Reviewer.com podcast series covering classic films from the 20th century. In this episode, our guest co-host is Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter and the founder/editor-in-chief of ScottFeinberg.com.

Listen to the podcast…

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Talking Movies, Episode 2: The Lost Weekend (1945), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

For the second episode of Talking Movies, we watched three Academy Award Best Pictures from the post-war 1940s. How do these compare with the anguished noir films of the same era? How were the directors of these films themselves influenced by the war? How did cinematic technique and performance communicate important social messages? Listen to a discussion of these questions and many more in Episode 2 of Talking Movies.

~ Talking Movies is a podcast series covering classic films from the 20th century. In this episode, our guest co-host is Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter and the founder/editor-in-chief of ScottFeinberg.com.

Listen to the podcast…

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Alfred Hitchcock – The 39 Steps (1935)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

Alfred Hitchcock‘s North by Northwest (1959) is his most famous rendering of the innocent-man-on-the-run thriller, but The 39 Steps (1935) is the original, and while the former is colored, cohesive, and so in a form for longevity, the latter is more eccentric, stylized, and perhaps more oddly compelling. But The 39 Steps hasn’t survived in popular memory because it is in black-and-white and is often difficult to understand (mumbling British accents and underdeveloped sound-mixing). Modern film viewers will have seen at least Psycho (1960),Vertigo (1958), and Rear Window (1954), or some combination of the Hitchcock essentials, but only the true enthusiasts–fewer and fewer they remain–will see The 39 Steps. My suggestion is to see it, regardless.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Talking Movies, Episode 1: ‘The Third Man’ (1949)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

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In the first episode of “Talking Movies,” The Hollywood Reporter lead awards analyst, Scott Feinberg, joins us to discuss Carol Reed’s noir classic, The Third Man (1949), starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. Why is this a must-see noir film? Does it fit neatly into genre archetypes? How does this film deal with the aftermath of World War II and how did the war influence other films at the time? Listen to these topics and many more in Episode 1 of “Talking Movies.”

~ “Talking Movies” is a podcast series covering classic films from the 20th century. Our first guest co-host is Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter and the founder/editor-in-chief of ScottFeinberg.com.

Listen to the podcast…

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Akira Kurosawa – ‘Ran’ (1985)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

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Why do tragedy and human suffering inspire the best works of art? In literature, words of pain always seem to carry more weight than words of the same measure of joy: it is as though the absolute values of the sentiments are not equal. “Torment” surpasses “comfort,” “malady” surpasses “good health”–at least aesthetically. (Or maybe in the human condition, as well?) Shakespeare’s tragedies and histories transcend his comedies, and the best music is blue.

The proof of this concept in movies is Akira Kurosawa‘s Ran (1985), which is one of the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen. It takes place on Japan’s lush, rolling hills, which Kurosawa shoots to majesty and grandeur. The film has no miniature sets nor optical illusions: the first two castles of the film are real and famous landmarks in Japan–the Kumamoto and Himeji castles–and the third was built on the side of Mt. Fuji specifically for the film. Kurosawa uses wide lens from far distances to capture–with epic scope–these real sets. From these distant vantages, the audience feels godlike, watching from above the characters and events. When the camera does move closer to the scene, it magnifies the vibrant colors and fabrics of the Academy Award-winning Best Costumes (it took over two years to make the 1,400+ uniforms) and the bold make-up and hair-styling that intensify characters’ emotions. At the most important moments, the camera and the characters hold still, and transform into radiant painting and portraiture. Fans of Japanese painting–specifically the grandiose landscapes and exotic colors of the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods–will love this film. Really, anyone who appreciates visual beauty will enjoy it.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Woody Allen – ‘Bananas’ (1971)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

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Bananas (1971) and Woody Allen‘s other early works, like Take the Money and Run (1969), are generally omitted from “Top Ten Woody Allen” lists. Most people neglect these movies, but only–I think–in light of his later works, which are more polished and masterful: movies like Annie Hall (1977) which established his reputation as an auteur who could tell real, meaningful stories. By that time, though, his earlier works suddenly come across as trivial and raw. And there’s no denying that most of the pre-Annie Hall films are silly; they are more collections of standup bits than they are complete films. Regardless, he was by that time an experienced humorist and Bananas is still a hilarious movie. So if you like Woody Allen at all–and thereby New York Jewish humor, slapstick, randomness, delis, standup, one-liners, and sex comedy–Bananas is a must-see.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mervyn LeRoy – ‘Little Caesar’ (1931)


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

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Is the thirst for power more consuming than the thirst for money? Money is vanilla, everyone wants it. But only the true gangster craves pure authority and clout–power for its own sake. And when that guy comes along, he’ll do whatever it takes to get it. This is true for Caesar Enrico “Rico” Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) in Little Caesar (1931), directed by Mervyn LeRoy. In the beginning of the film, Rico sees a newspaper article about a Chicago gangster, Pete Montana (Ralph Ince), and then decides to head east to pursue that same power and recognition. “I could do all the things that this fella does and more,” he says to his partner, Joe Massara (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). Massara agrees that he wants to head east to Chicago, but for him it’s the “money, girls, and clothes” and the chance to purse a career in dancing. That’s not why Rico’s in it: “Money’s okay, but it ain’t everything. Be somebody. Look hard at guys and know they’ll do anything you tell them.”

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars: How ‘12 Years’ Pulled Off Best Picture and Other Winners Triumphed (Analysis)


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

As you presumably are aware, the 2013-14 awards season — the longest and most competitive in the 13 years in which I have been covering this stuff — came to an end Sunday night at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood. Because I’ve been spouting Oscar opinions, analysis and predictions on this blog ever since the Cannes Film Festival in May, I think that it’s only right to now provide you with a full and candid postmortem of the results, my predictions and the show itself. And to share a few thank-yous.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Brutally Honest Oscar Voter Ballot No. 7


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

This is the seventh of eight “brutally honest” Oscar ballots shared with THRby Academy members, one of which will post each day leading up to the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, March 2. (Also available for you to review: the firstthe secondthe thirdthe fourth,the fifth and the sixth.) Beware of spoilers. And remember: these voters’ views are not necessarily endorsed by Scott Feinberg or THR.

VOTER PROFILE: This Oscar voter is a longtime member of the Academy’s 450-member executives branch.

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