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Donald Sutherland: His films and hairstyles

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Donald Sutherland is one of those rare actors who is not only wonderfully talented, but is gifted with a damn fine head of hair. It’s hard to think of any other actor who has made his follicles work so hard in every performance. I first became aware of this phenomenon, when in the mid-1970s Mr Sutherland opened the envelope at, I think it was, a BAFTA Award ceremony in London, where the tall, elegant Canadian, walked up to the podium and revealed a shaved hairline at odds with his long flowing locks. Sutherland was about to appear in the film Casanova, and remarked to audience’s gasps:

“When Fellini says get a haircut, you get a haircut.”

 
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Though Sutherland started as a clean-cut co-star of Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (alongside Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), and had appearances in The Saint and The Avengers (and even the voice of the computer in The Billion Dollar Brain), there was always this sense he was a geeky straight in a tight suit desperate to try some acid and, maybe if he liked it, wear beads and grow his hair long. Which is kind of what i thought when I saw him as Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H and of course, most memorably as Sgt. Oddball in Kelly’s Heroes.
 
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More from Donald Sutherland’s hair after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Robert Altman’s ‘The James Dean Story’, 1957

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After the success of his B-movie The Delinquents, Robert Altman was given the job of co-directing (with George W. George) this documentary on James Dean. The association of Altman’s surprise hit, about out-of-control kids who just “gotta have action”, and the young actor, who appealed to these troubled teenagers, was considered by Warner Brothers as too good an opportunity to miss.

Made in 1957, two years after the actor’s death, The James Dean Story is a well-constructed documentary composed from archive and photographic footage, interviews and out-takes, which gives a sense of Dean’s life and talents. The film was also a key piece in the actor’s mythologizing.

According to Forbes magazine, the James Dean estate makes $5m a year, which is more than the star made his lifetime. That his fame has lasted so long says much about Dean’s ability to epitomize that certain something generations of film-goers have identified with over the past six decades. As Dennis Hopper once said about Dean:

“He seemed to capture that moment of youth, that moment where we’re all desperately seeking to find ourselves.”

Or, as Dean himself said, in a line from Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince:

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Scenes from ‘Repulsion’ GIF’d
03.05.2011
01:54 pm

Topics:
Animation
Movies

Tags:
Catherine Deneuve
Repulsion

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View more Repulsion GIFs after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Melody’ a film starring Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin

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Histoire de Melody Nelson, a 27 minute rock opera released on vinyl in 1971, is generally considered to be Serge Gainsbourg’s magnum opus, albeit one that is somewhat smaller in scale than most operatic masterpieces. It tells the tale of a wealthy middle-aged man who crosses paths with a younger woman, practically killing her when his car collides with her as she is bicycling, and his subsequent erotic obsession for the girl. At the time of its release, the music, lyrics and production of Histoire de Melody Nelson were considered innovative, adventurous and provocative and still to this day continue to enthrall listeners and influence countless musicians.

Dangerous Minds’ Richard Metzger has previously written about Histoire de Melody Nelson in his typically tantalizing fashion and you can read it here.

Melody, a film based on Histoire de Melody Nelson made for French TV, was directed by Jean Christophe Averty with Gainsbourg and his lover Jane Birkin in the lead roles. Averty’s visual style was acutely attuned to Gainsbourg’s surreal sensibilities and the fusion of film to music and lyrics works wonderfully.

Here is Melody in its entirety:

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Chris Morris retrospective at Cinefamily
03.03.2011
07:23 pm

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Cinefamily
Chris Morris

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Beginning tonight in Los Angeles, the might Cinefamily is presenting a three-day encore run of Chris Morris’s Four Lions, and a full retrospective of his classic British television shows:

The word “genius” is thrown around rather casually these days when describing talented folks who do a very good job of what they do—but Chris Morris is one of those rare people to whom the term genuinely applies, and we absolutely mean it when we say Chris Morris is a comedic genius. For twenty years, he’s been the foremost boundary-pushing satirist in British comedy, giving us savagely funny fare like the proto-Daily Show news parodies The Day Today and Brass Eye, the Lynch-meets-SNL absurdity of Jam, and the acidic hipster/Vice Magazine critique of Nathan Barley—and now, his riotous feature directorial debut, which skewers the modern-day jihadist movement! Chris’s unshakeable wit is often aimed at topics deemed controversial, but it always provides a social criticism underneath the sensationalism, lampooning hysteria and groupthink with heroic levity. We here at the Cinefamily have been Morris fans since before we can remember, and we’re thrilled to present not only an encore three-day run of Four Lions, but a full retrospective of Morris’s creations in British television!

My fellow Los Angelenos, don’t miss this rare chance to see Four Lions in a cinema setting, but gosh, which TV series to catch? The Day Today? Brass Eye? Jam? Nathan Barley? That’s hard because I’m such a big Chris Morris fan. I’ve shoved DVDs of all these shows into the paws of many a friend for about a decade now, but I still think I’d give Nathan Barley the (slight) edge when it comes to picking which of his series to watch in a room full of people. A communal experience of Jam would be great, too, but Nathan Barley’s vicious hipster satire would go down quite well with the Cinefamily audience, I think. No matter how you slice it, it’s an embarrassment of riches. The man can do no wrong in my eyes.
 

 
Below, my December 2010 interview with Chris Morris:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Dune Coloring & Activity Book
03.03.2011
01:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Movies

Tags:
Dune
Dune Coloring & Activity Book

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Some pages from the Dune Coloring & Activity Book published in 1984. Written by Arlene Block and illustrated by Michael Nicastre, the coloring book offered hours of enjoyment to Dune-loving kindergartners. Connect the dots to see what Paul can’t live without!

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More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Shackleton vs Jim Jarmusch: “Dead Man”

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One of the UK’s premiere dubstep producers Shackleton this week releases a new EP called Deadman on London’s reggae and dub imprint Honest Jon’s. Dead Man is also the name of a fantastic 1995 film by Jim Jarmusch starring Johnny Depp as a man called William Blake, wandering through a black and white recreation of the old West while nursing a fatal gunshot wound.

I don’t know if the Shackleton release (sleeve pictured above) is an hommage to the film, but the enterprising folks at The 29th Nov films have made a video for the track itself using footage from the Jarmusch film. It’s great. Rivaling Neil Young’s original minimalist guitar score for haunting atmosphere, Shackleton’s signature sound of Eastern hand percussion hits, disembodied voices and washes of dub noise prove a perfect accompaniment to the gorgeous monochrome footage of Johnny Depp slowly dying:
 

 
Shackleton’s Deadman is available to buy on vinyl and download from Juno.

Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man is available to buy from Amazon.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
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‘Journey In Time’: the best damn anti-drug scare film ever!
03.02.2011
08:20 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Movies
Music

Tags:
Drugs
Journey In Time

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Journey In Time is some wacky anti-drug propaganda from 1971. Chock full of unintentional humor and bogus facts about drugs, this sucker is a classic. The narration by director Alan Hodd sounds like it was written by a precocious, glue sniffing 12 year teenybopper.

What makes the film particularly groovy is the footage of hippies shot on location in San Francisco and Dallas and the soundtrack featuring The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Texas psyche-rockers Kenny And The Kasuals singing “Journey To Time.” Reputedly, the Kasuals disavowed the film and claim the song was used without their permission. As fas as I know, The Beatles and Bob Dylan have no comment.

I hope you enjoy every sordid minute of this hippie/rock’n’roll/drug scarefest.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Teenage Mother: Nine months of Trouble!

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Teenage Mother is one of a small handful of what could be called “quintessential” or even canonical, if you prefer, exploitation films of the 1960s. Which is not to say it’s all that “good,” either, but it does have a rather full quota of exploitation staples such as sleazy drug dealers, disapproving parents, gang violence, and of course, a lying slut!  (Film School Rejects called Teenage Mother a “grindhouse Juno”—I’m not sure how true that is, but it sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?)

It’s also a peculiar cultural marker of pre-“sexual revolution” American history. Beyond the scare tactics and corny drama, the film’s pièce de résistance (and the real reason for this otherwise merely “okay” movie becoming so notorious) was, of course, its full color live birth reel complete with speculum and very close close-ups. You have to marvel at the business genius of director Jerry Gross. His company Cinemation Industries—which would later release Fritz The Cat, The Cheerleaders, The Black Godfather and Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song—pioneered an unusual traveling roadshow presentation with this film that included a sex education lecture at each screening. Why? Because it would make it defensible in court. It wasn’t “obscene” it was educational! In a pre-porn era, this stuff was box office boffo. Gross just wanted to show a woman’s vagina on-screen, but the only way he was going to be able to do it legally back then was in the guise of a “sex education” film with a ham-fisted moral message —as if he gave a damn about anything other than collecting the box office receipts—and… medical footage.

The existence of Teenage Mother is a reminder, not of a more innocent age, in my opinion, but an era just more ignorant of sex in general. The film jumps through several odd hoops at once, but If you know the back story, it makes it an even more interesting cinematic curio… I guess! Incidentally according to IMDB, Gross paid a hospital just $50 for the birth footage.

The hottie in the lead role is actress Arlene Sue Farber—undoubtedly a grandmother by now—who a few years later starred (as “Arlene Tyger”) in Gross’s fake Italian sexploitation flick Female Animal (which god help me, I own the soundtrack for). Teenage Mother also has an unexpected cameo from a baby-faced Fred Willard as the gym teacher.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Dustin Hoffman and Shel Silverstein rockin’ out

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Promotional photo of Dustin Hoffman and Shel Silverstein from Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying All These Horrible Things About Me? (1971).

Thanks, Jescie!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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