Billy Wilder

The Stories Behind 10 Iconic Movie Scenes

Sixty years ago today, Marilyn Monroe stepped on a subway grate and made movie history. She was shooting a film called The Seven-Year Itch in New York City, and the image of her on the grate, the train passing underneath blowing up her skirt, would become one of the most iconic in all of cinema. To commemorate that magic movie moment, we’ve gathered behind-the-scenes tales of that and nine other classic movie scenes. (We didn’t include Raiders. Harrison Ford shot the guy with the sword instead of fighting him because he had the trots. We’re assuming you knew that one.) … Read More

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Lana Del Rey Is the Urban Outfitters of Music

Lana Del Rey lied to my face. Sitting in the shadows backstage at Lollapalooza last summer, I asked her about her leaked Lady Gaga diss track (“So Legit”). She said she had never met Gaga, that this was a big misunderstanding and the press likes to turn one pop star against another. Thing is, they’ve been photographed together, including high-profile pictures shot by Terry Richardson. Later, an Interscope rep asked me to erase that portion of my interview, or Lana wouldn’t be signing the release forms for publication. He phrased it interestingly: “Lana doesn’t feel comfortable with what she said.” … Read More

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8 Legendary Deleted Movie Scenes You’ve Never Seen

You’d think, by this point, we’d know just about all there is to know about the Indiana Jones movies, but last week (in honor of the second film’s 30th anniversary), Yahoo! Movies tracked down Nizwar Karanj, the actor on the receiving end of Temple of Doom’s notorious improvised heart removal. And he had a bit of inside information: that scene was supposed to be even gorier than it was. Yet somehow, the original version of the scene hasn’t made its way onto the Indy DVDs or Blu-rays, which makes it one more lost bit of film that somehow hasn’t reached viewers in this age of ubiquitous “Deleted Scene” bonus features. … Read More

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Flavorwire Author Club: How James Agee Changed Film Criticism

What’s most impressive — and, in many ways, intimidating — about James Agee isn’t just the sheer versatility of his work, from poetry to nonfiction to novels to screenplays. It’s that he was so brilliant at all of them. This wasn’t a writer who just tossed off his side projects; his film criticism, which appeared primarily in Time and The Nation from 1941 to 1948, was far from a paycheck gig. Within the confines of contemporary film writing, Agee not only carved out a voice of his own, but helped establish the parameters of modern film writing. “For aficionados of film criticism,” writes Jerry Roberts in The Complete History of American Film Criticism, “he may well be the greatest American critic, or at least the greatest until Pauline Kael came along in the 1960s.” … Read More

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12 Abandoned Movies by Famous Screenwriters

Hollywood, this is why you can’t have nice things. A couple of weeks back, word broke that Quentin Tarantino had finished a new screenplay called The Hateful Eight, described as a Western with plum roles for recent Best Actor nominee (and Django Unchained bit player) Bruce Dern and Tarantino fave Christoph Waltz, and there was much rejoicing. That celebration ended earlier this week, when Tarantino discovered that the script had been leaked and pulled the plug on the entire project. But his unproduced script is in good company; here are a few other famous abandoned screenplays we’d love to have… Read More

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10 Great, New-to-Netflix Streaming Movies to Get You Through the Snowy Weekend

A few days ago, we sounded the alarm about a number of great movies vanishing from Netflix Instant, the result of an end-of-the-year changeover due to expiring contracts with content providers. But it’s time to look at the bright side: when it’s out with the old, it’s in with the new, and there are some very good films newly streaming (or re-streaming) on Netflix — which should come in pretty handy for those of you on the East Coast who are having a snow day today, or anticipating a dug-in weekend. So we’ve got great stuff from Robert De Niro, Seth Rogen, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Christian Bale, Jack Lemmon, Ray Liotta, Shirley MacLaine, Molly Shannon, Audrey Tautou, Billy Wilder, Martin Scorsese, and more; check them out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More

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10 Films to Watch While You Wait for Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’

Further details about Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel emerged this week, and we couldn’t be more excited. The plot summary promises a film about “a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars and his friendship with a young employee who becomes his trusted protégé. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century.” The movie won’t hit theaters till 2014; to tide you over until then, we’ve compiled a selection of films Anderson has named as inspirations, along with a few related picks of our… Read More

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Five Movie Comebacks That Worked (and Five That Didn’t)

“RETIREMENT IS FOR SISSIES!” roar the posters for The Last Stand (seriously? “Sissies?” In 2012? But I digress…), the first starring role for Arnold Schwarzenegger since stepping away from the silver screen for a, shall we say, problematic stint in the California governor’s mansion. Its mid-January release date doesn’t exactly scream box-office or critical confidence, but who knows; Mr. Schwarzenegger has been underestimated before, and usually comes out ahead. Either way it goes, we thought it would be interesting to run down some of the other big-name actors who hit rough or absent patches and tried to work their way back into the spotlight with a well placed role; after the jump we’ll take a look at five comeback vehicles that took, and five that didn’t quite get the job done. … Read More

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10 Movies We Wish We’d Seen in Their Original Form

A fascinating little movie that you not have heard of hit DVD and Blu-ray this week—its debut in either format. A New Leaf was the debut directorial effort of Elaine May, half of the comedy team Nichols and May (with Mike Nichols, who would go on to direct The Graduate, Silkwood, The Birdcage, and many others). She wrote, directed, and co-starred with Walter Matthau; a notorious perfectionist, she went over schedule on the picture, and when she finally turned it over to Paramount, it ran a full three hours. Studio head Robert Evans recut the film, softening its darkly comic tone and shortening it to 102 minutes. (It was an arbiter of things to come; though she had no difficulties with her second film, The Heartbreak Kid, she went over budget and over schedule on Micky & Nicky and the notorious boondoggle Ishtar, her final directorial effort to date.) May tried to both stop the film’s release and have her name removed, to no avail. It’s a pretty great movie, odd and funny, with peculiarly winning performances by May and Matthau; the disappointment is that the new video release has none of those deleted scenes, which studios frequently tossed or lost in the days before bonus features and director’s cuts.

Our longing for the original, extended cut of A New Leaf got us thinking about other films whose longer versions have either vanished or been suppressed. After the jump, we’ve gathered up what we know about ten of them; add your own in the comments, won’t you? … Read More

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