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
Back in 1938, 23-year-old theatrical whiz kid Orson Welles had a bang-up idea: for his Mercury Theatre’s upcoming production… Read More
Earlier this week, we told you about Xavier Macafee, the New Mexico man who was arrested on suspicion of burglary after allegedly breaking into Bryan Cranston’s car and stealing, among other things, the script to one of Breaking Bad’s final episodes. While we still don’t know if it was a coincidental act or the work of a brilliant BB superfan, this isn’t the first time a swiped script has created havoc in Hollywood. Here are ten tales of leaked screenplays, and what happened to the films… Read More
Before 3D modeling came along, filmmakers had to rely on simpler means to give the illusion of a lavish set: paint. To create a dystopic city or elegant hall without spending the entire budget on a physical set, matte painters would create impeccably detailed backgrounds for the characters to look out into or even directly interact with. Reddit user Rowsdower_Rowsdower put together a compilation of some of the best photorealistic landscapes from classic films, many including photos of the artists at work. Here are some of our favorites from the collection. … Read More
Whether through homage or satire, there’s a rich tradition in cinema — fueled by the likes of cinephile filmmakers such as Godard and Tarantino — of making inside references to other filmmakers. But perhaps even more than the directors enjoy making movie references, audiences love picking up on them. It makes us feel like we have a specialized, albeit useless, expertise. Apparently the writers of The Simpsons have indulged in their share of cinephilia over the years as well, and the Movie Simpsons Tumblr — which launched earlier this year — has been posting animated gifs of famous movie scenes reconstructed, referenced, or otherwise alluded to on the show. We’ve put together ten of our favorites here. … Read More
Cinephiles have been in a tizzy for the last day or so, engaging in fierce and opinionated discussions on Twitter and blogs and message boards, debating the merits of something you may or may not have heard of: the Sight & Sound poll. For those unaware, Sight & Sound is the magazine of the British Film Institute, and yesterday they put out their lists of the greatest films ever made. Big deal, you’d be forgiven for thinking, there’s like a new greatest films list every other day. And while that’s true, Sight & Sound polls hundreds of critics and filmmakers to make their lists (one for each group), and only puts out an updated list every ten years. “It is by far the most respected of the countless polls of great movies,” Roger Ebert wrote in 2002, “the only one most serious movie people take seriously.” And the reason this year’s list is a big deal is because, for the first time since 1962, the list was not topped by Citizen Kane, but by Hitchcock’s Vertigo. For movie lovers and film historians, that’s a very big deal. Too bad it’s wrong. … Read More
Whether you’re reading a book or watching a film, audiences and bookworms want to be pulled into the story’s world, immersed in the life of its characters, and get a keen sense of the setting where the action is taking place. Skilled writers can ignite that connection almost instantly, and as the Guardian shared over the weekend, the literary world is full of fine examples where the first lines in fiction have been enrapturing readers for decades. Cinema is no different, and we wanted to search for the most unforgettable movie openers. These oft-quotable opening lines have acted as a foreshadowing device, added instant drama, and allowed us to understand the inner workings of different characters’ minds. We could have spent all day reciting first lines from our favorite films, but we narrowed our picks down and left you the opportunity to share your own past the break. … Read More
One of our most anticipated titles at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (oh, yeah, did we mention we’ll be at the Sundance Film Festival? Because we totes will) is Room 237, a new documentary by Rodney Ascher about the obsessive fans of The Shining. According to Entertainment Weekly, one of them posits an intriguing two-part conspiracy theory. First, he holds that Kubrick “directed” the faked Apollo moon landings while shooting 2001 — itself a mere cover for his bigger job. (This one’s been floating around for years — hell, it inspired its own “mockumentary,” Dark Side of the Moon.) But here’s the kicker: the fan also contends that, since Kubrick would have faced dire consequences if he ever revealed his involvement in the moon landing, he instead smuggled clues into The Shining, using his Stephen King adaptation as a giant coded message to tell the world about the ruse.
“It’s a film-nerd love-fest,” according to Sundance programmer Trevor Groth. “These obsessive people dissect The Shining, and they’ve watched it thousands of times, all finding their own coded meaning and language in it.” Reading about Room 237, and salivating for it, got us thinking about some of our other favorite “film-nerd love-fests”; after the jump, we’ve compiled ten of our favorite documentaries about famous films. … Read More
Ah, to be a film character, and have everything you say come out scripted and pithy, down to your final breath. In recent weeks, we’ve been inspired by a great list of the last words of 25 geniuses that has been making the rounds, so this weekend we decided to explore the last words of what are arguably the creations of genius: fictional characters from some of our favorite movies. Click through to see our picks for the 25 greatest last words of characters in movies, from robots to witches to businessmen, as they die in heroic, tragi-comic, or just plain emotional scenes. Since we know how very many of these there are, be sure to let us know if we’ve missed any of your own favorites in the comments. … Read More
For film fans, the must-read article of the week — to hell with that, the year — is Mark Harris’ brilliant think piece for GQ on the state of the current cinema, “The Day The Movies Died.” Harris, whose book Pictures at a Revolution is the single best piece of film writing of the last decade, despairs of a Hollywood that, in the words of a studio executive, “doesn’t tell stories anymore”; instead, it cranks out endless sequels and adaptations and remakes and reboots, more concerned with built-in brands than quality or craftsmanship.
“As you read this,” Harris writes, “the person who gave the go-ahead to Fast Five, the (I hate to prejudge, but…) utterly unnecessary fifth installment in the Vin Diesel–Paul Walker epic The Fast and the Furious, is sleeping soundly right now, possibly even at his desk. On June 10, 2011, he will bestow on several thousand screens a product that people have already purchased four times before. How can it miss?” … Read More