August 1, 2014 – 8:44 pm | No Comment

The star-system was pronounced dead by almost everyone, but as of the moment of writing everyone is talking about Liza Minnelli in Cabaret and she made the covers of Time and Newsweek simultaneously. Contrast the …

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Movie Sex in the 60′s
August 1, 2014 – 9:40 pm | No Comment

The rapidity with which the legitimate cinema in America, in a decade and a half, shrugged off the shackles of censorship and tested public inhibition to the hilt was, to say the least, spectacular. At the beginning of the ’sixties, in spite of a growing audacity epitomized by the sexual cynicism of (remarkably enough) a British film, Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top (1958), nudity (except in the censor-snubbing nudist-camp films) was virtually non-existent and normally excised from more liberated foreign imports; themes like homosexuality could only be tackled seriously, obliquely and off-screen (as in Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer); and the biggest scandals were more likely to be caused by language than bare flesh (such as the sexual terminology used freely in Otto Preminger’s controversial rape-case courtroom drama, Anatomy of a Murder).

Yet in the early ’seventies, exhibitors in New York felt bold enough to show, overtly and to the standard picture-going public, hard-core pornography of the intensity of Deep Throat (1972) and The Devil in Miss Jones (1973), and – for a while at least – were able to get away with it.

At the same time, full-frontal nudity and explicit sexual activity became so commonplace in the commercial cinema as to make the dirty-mac skin-flick circuit not only redundant but tame by comparison. The entertainment film had finally attained adulthood (and, on occasion, adultery) in the ’fifties after a long, fantasy-ridden adolescence, and these further developments into sexual freedom were the result of a thaw in the moral climate of society which gathered momentum throughout the ’sixties.

The bastions of censorship began to crumble on all fronts. The escalating economics of film- making and the slackening in the dictatorial power of the studios caused the industry to start questioning – and flouting – the limitations of its own Production Code; local censorship bodies were, from time to time, snuffed out in certain areas of the United States on grounds of being unconstitutional; the serious erotic themes of foreign film-makers like Bergman, Fellini and Antonioni were sanctified and shown uncut in art-houses, to be followed by American imitators; and even the Catholic Legion of Decency, it was increasingly realized, could be disregarded without necessarily incurring the loss of one’s cinematic soul (i.e. profits).

Censorship bodies, for their part, made some attempt to match the swing in public attitudes. In 1961 the Code was amended to allow ‘sex aberrations’ to be shown, provided they were handled with ‘care, discretion and restraint’. And in 1965 the Legion inaugurated an award system. The latter also introduced a more complex coding system during this period.

Progress was, nevertheless, halting at times. Baths, for instance, made a come-back (if, indeed, they’d ever been away), particularly in such spectaculars as the absurdly over-budgeted Cleopatra (1963), but they were still subject to the prurient eye. In Genghis Khan (1965), the bath-time cavortings of warrior Telly Savalas with a bunch of Oriental handmaidens were (mercifully, some might feel) severely slashed; while, more oddly, in the publicity stills for A Fine Madness (1966), depicting Sean Connery and Jean Seberg enjoying an ablutionary romp, a pair of ‘shorts’ was carefully painted onto Connery’s thighs to promote belief that he and Jean weren’t actually bathing in the buff. Later, of course, in such films as Performance (1970), Quiet Days in Clichy (1969) and, most explicitly, Superfly (1972), domestic mixed bathing became a much-used sexual motif.

One welcome step forward in the early ’sixties was the injection of satire and more adult attitudes into the sex comedy, although it had to compete with a phenomenally successful but ‘vaguely salacious and completely vacuous’53 series of anti-sex comedies such as That Touch of Mink (1962) and Send Me No Flowers (1964), in which Doris Day continued to fight to save her ageing honour from the likes of Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Garner and Rod Taylor. The grown-up sex comedy had been pioneered by Otto Preminger with The Moon is Blue, but the sharpest exponent was Billy Wilder, whose Marilyn Monroe vehicles, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, had demonstrated his healthy lack of reverence for the subject.

In 1960, he made The Apartment, a biting send-up of the extra-marital sex-life of the average American business executive, in which Jack Lemmon, as a humble insurance agent, climbs his way up to the executive washroom by lending his apartment to his bosses for their frequent illicit liaisons. Shirley MacLaine is one of the girls involved, driven to near-suicide by the callousness of Fred MacMurray, but eventually loved by Lemmon.

The Apartment was a great success, but Wilder stretched permissiveness a fraction too far in his underrated (and little-seen) Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), which mated Dean Martin with Felicia Farr, Ray Walston with Kim Novak, but fell foul of both the Legion of Decency and the box-office. The Legion attacked it as a thoroughly sordid piece of realism which is aesthetically as well as morally repulsive. Crude and suggestive dialogue, a leering treatment of marital and extra-marital sex, a prurient preoccupation with lechery compound the film’s bald condonation of immorality.’ Although a bit nudging (it’s set in a town called Climax), Kiss Me, Stupid was a funny and genuinely erotic farce which deserved hotter than it got. Wilder engaged Jack Lemmon again much later for his overlong but very pleasant Avanti! (1972), which both delighted and surprised those who saw it by exposing the entire charms of the plump and primly English Juliet Mills.
More serious sexual themes continued to be chiefly the preserve of Tennessee Williams, whose explorations of rape, frustration, homosexuality and cannibalism had already been seen in ’fifties screen adaptations. Now it was
Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon in The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960).

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The Making of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
January 7, 2014 – 12:30 pm | No Comment

A few years ago, director Steve Spielberg and producers Julia and Michael Phillips met with the top executives of Columbia Pictures to outline the project that $19 million dollars and countless man-hours later would be …

Winter 2013 Movies We Love
November 12, 2013 – 2:08 pm | No Comment

We cannot tell you what the weather forecast will be, but we think the movie business will see some pretty hot results for the end of the year.
Some of the great movies we are looking …

Actors Singing VS Singers Acting
October 3, 2013 – 6:13 pm | No Comment
Actors Singing VS Singers Acting

Are there really any multi-talented artists out there? Can anyone really kill it on Broadway one day, and then rock out at on the Whiskey the next…good question we thought.
Of course being natural born …

The Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate
August 29, 2012 – 1:00 pm | No Comment
The Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate

by Richard von Busack
It’s two swift, magnificent, gorgeously colored and semi-coherent hours of wuxia by the master Tsui Hark. The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (tickets and showtimes here) is a remake/sequel of Tsui’s 1992 …

Interview with Alex Leopold: WASHED
August 28, 2012 – 12:47 pm | No Comment
Interview with Alex Leopold: WASHED

Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This same concept applies to the movement of an individual through life. There are consequences to every action or decision a person makes. Alexandra (Alex) Leopold and her co-writer Allison Anderson explore the aftermath of making those choices in their film Washed.

Interview with Spencer Gillis: GUN
August 21, 2012 – 12:10 pm | No Comment
Interview with Spencer Gillis: GUN

Gun control is a hot debate in the United States. Is a person actually any safer if they own a firearm? And beyond that even, what does owning a gun do to a person? Can it change their personality? Mold them into someone they never would have identified with before the purchase? Writer and Director Spencer Gillis examines just that in his upcoming film, GUN.

Interview with Ky Dickens: Sole Survivor
August 16, 2012 – 12:25 pm | No Comment
Interview with Ky Dickens: Sole Survivor

Ky Dickens brought her film, Sole Survivor, to Kickstarter in the hopes of raising $18,000 to cover post production costs. The documentary film delves into the lives of four sole survivors of commercial airline crashes. …

Interview with John Klein: “Chrysalis” a post-apocalypse horror film
August 8, 2012 – 4:54 pm | No Comment
Interview with John Klein: “Chrysalis” a post-apocalypse horror film

With 12-21-2012 looming on the horizon, post-apocalyptic films and TV shows are on the rise in popularity. TV shows like The Walking Dead (AMC), Survivors (BBC), and The Colony (Discovery Channel) examine the psychological and social effects an apocalyptic event has on its survivors. Post-apocalyptic films like 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, The Road, and even The Hunger Games have had an overwhelming amount of success at the box office as a result of their prediction/warning of what may come when the world ends.

Interview with Randy Overland: A Man I Met
August 6, 2012 – 12:46 pm | No Comment
Interview with Randy Overland: A Man I Met

Randy Overland’s indie film, A Man I Met, recently completed its campaign for production funding on Kickstarter with a very successful $5,280 in pledges from interested backers. The film focuses on a woman who faces a tough decision between her career and her personal life, a situation many couples face today. The promising short film is in pre-production now, but we had the opportunity to interview Randy about his background in film making, the film, and his influences.

Interview With Nolan Dean: Last Shot Love
July 30, 2012 – 12:11 pm | No Comment
Interview With Nolan Dean: Last Shot Love

We all enjoy a good romantic comedy from time to time: its laughably pathetic hero or heroine struggling to be noticed, its tendency toward disaster, and its potential for happily ever after. Nolan Dean brought …

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