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Reflections on the NYFF

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Oct 21, 2012

This year I had the incredible opportunity to work at the New York Film Festival. I have loved being behind-the-scenes and being involved in making things happen since I was young, and it was amazing to be behind-the-scenes with a walkie-talkie at such a prestigious and wonderful film festival. No read more

Supporting Actors: Donald Crisp

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Oct 6, 2012

That fatherly, white-haired man giving good advice? Probably Donald Crisp. Crisp emigrated to Americafrom Englandin 1906 and began acting. He worked on silent films as D.W. Griffith’s assistant director, and from this association, appeared in The Birth of a Nation as General Grant. It was a silent read more

HAPPY 5-0, 007!

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Oct 1, 2012

This year, Albert Broccoli’s James Bond turns 50. The first Broccoli/EON Productions Bond film premiered in London in October 1962, Dr. No, starring Sean Connery. Connery became immortal, but was replaced as Bond 4 films later by George Lazenby. The public outcry (unsubstansiated) forced the read more

Paramount & Barbara Stanwyck

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Sep 28, 2012

Barbara Stanwyck’s first credited role in a film was a Columbia picture, The Locked Door. In the early 1930’s she worked mostly for Columbia, before jumping to Warner Brothers for most of the decade. In 1939 she made her first Paramount Picture, Union Pacific, with Joel McCrea. While she continued read more

What a Character(s): Sam Levene

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Sep 23, 2012

Sam Levene was a character actor who didn’t play one character. He played several. He ranged from Nathan Detroit, the gambler extraordinaire and lover in the original Broadway production of Guys and Dolls, to the bumbling detective Lt. Abrams in two Thin Man films, to an tired detective Lt. Lubinsk read more

The One Set in the 1970′s

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Sep 10, 2012

In which I try to explain why I just can’t bring myself to be interested in movies made in the 1970’s and 80’s. Interestingly, even before I started this blog, I had seen all of the Best Picture Winners from the previous two decades, the 2000’s and 1990’s. I had seen a few 1980’s, and then read more

An Epic Conclusion

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Sep 3, 2012

As an English major at a liberal arts college, the mantra “so what” was drilled into my head, as the crux of every paper. So why is this important? Why should I care about your argument? What is the larger purpose or application of your argument? So why did I write a lengthy series on epics? I have read more

AFI Top 100/Best Picture Winner 1962: Lawrence of Arabia

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Aug 31, 2012

Without clocking in at 3 hours and 50 minutes, including a 7 minute overture, the story of T.E. Lawrence would lose its impact. Lawrence of Arabia, “another David Lean epic,” took two years of work and was cut from a fabled 5 hours to somewhere over 3. It apparently took longer to make this film read more

We Interrupt This Program… Confinement and Freedom in John Huston’s Night of the Iguana

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Aug 28, 2012

SINCE difficulty of communication between individuals seems to be one of the sadder of human misfortunes that Tennessee Williams is writing about in his play, “The Night of the Iguana,” it is ironical that the film John Huston has made from it has difficulty in communicating, too. At le read more

Best Picture Winner 1959: Ben-Hur

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Aug 23, 2012

There are countless movie reviews on Turner Classic Movies website alone about Ben-Hur. Countless. So I’ve tricked you by titling this post Ben-Hur, when really, I’m much more interested in the Kirk Douglas/Stanley Kubrick vehicle, Spartacus, released the year after Ben-Hur, in retaliation. **Kirk read more

Best Picture Winner 1953: From Here to Eternity

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Aug 15, 2012

Epics are often the most talked about and written about films. They win all the awards. They get all the attention. Everyone knows the folklore surrounding the casting, the tensions on set, who had an affair whom, etc. etc. In researching for this post on From Here to Eternity, I was bored. Every c read more

Best Picture Winner 1930/1931: Cimarron

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Aug 7, 2012

Edna Ferber and Cimarron are not remembered especially fondly, at least in critical circles. Ferber’s New York Times obituary read, “Her books were not profound, but they were vivid and had a sound sociological basis. She was among the best-read novelists in the nation, and critics of the 1920s read more

An Epic New Series

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jul 30, 2012

The definition of an “epic” film is one with a large, sweeping scope, depicting a historical (or mythical) event. It is bigger than a period piece, and sets the story of a hero against the historical backdrop. Critic Tim Dirks describes the recipe for an epic: “extravagant setting and lavish costum read more

Tropes of Women in Film: Lee Remick in Anatomy of a Murder

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jul 25, 2012

Because of the Production Code, films made in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s were strictly censored. The same set of rules that forbade Maxim de Winter from being his wife’s killer also forbade the use of the word “virgin” on screen. Language, especially sexually explicit language, was the most read more

Tropes of Women in Film: Joan Fontaine in Rebecca

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jul 17, 2012

Rebecca wasa Alfred Hitchcock’s only film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was his first American film, and for the role of the unnamed, terrorized narrator, he chose 21-year-old Joan Fontaine. Fontaine was the younger sister of star Olivia de Havilland, but Fontaine had not yet estab read more

We Interrupt This Program… On Hitchcock, Ladies, and The Manchurian Candidate

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jul 11, 2012

What makes a Hitchcock movie a Hitchcock movie? Tales of the Easily Distracted and ClassicBecky’s Brain Food asked that question, in blogathon form. They are hosting The Best Hitchcock Films Hitchcock never made, from July 7-13. My contribution is The Manchurian Candidate. (Make sure to check out read more

Tropes of Women in Film: Teresa Wright in The Best Years of Our Lives and Mrs. Miniver

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jul 1, 2012

While at this point, it is probably fairly obvious, but these posts are merely my opinions. My opinions are based in research and study, especially on the topics I write about extensively (Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Buster Keaton, women in film, war on film), but these are still blog posts. Bl read more

Tropes of Women in Film: Bette Davis in The Little Foxes

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jun 23, 2012

Part of the reason we create art is to work out who we are. At the heart of even modern TV and movies is the struggle of a person to become a person. The easiest example is Mad Men. Not just a saucy show about office romances in the 60’s, it is the story of Don Draper becoming a man. Don struggles read more

Best Picture Winner 1955: Marty

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jun 15, 2012

The Third Greatest Love Story in Hollywood 1955 was apparently a weak year for movies. But Marty was its shining star. Produced by Burt Lancaster and Harold Hect and released through United Artists, it was the “indie” film of its day (the studios were still the ruling class), and it won Best Pictu read more

Bogie and Bacall

Spoilers Posted by Duke Mantee on Jun 8, 2012

When 43-year-old Humphrey Bogart first met 19-year-old Lauren Bacall, he was busy filming Passage to Marseille and being noble and not pretending a French accent. He took little notice of her. He passed her on the Warner Brothers lot a few weeks later and took a second look. “That’s your co-star,” read more