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James Cagney's Oscar Going Up For Auction


James Cagney

Film icon James Cagney's Academy Award for his role in Yankee Doodle Dandy is expected to fetch $800,000 (£500,000) when it goes up for auction on Thursday (20Nov14).

Cagney's Best Actor statuette for the 1942 musical in which he played Broadway star George M. Cohan is going under the hammer by Los Angeles-based auction house Nate D. Sanders.

Auction manager Laura Yntema tells Reuters she expects the golden trophy to sell for a large amount, saying, "If it's an Oscar like this, which is considered one of the best ones, James Cagney's Oscar... will command a really high price.

Continue reading: James Cagney's Oscar Going Up For Auction

Movie Reviews J. Edgar


Leonardo Dicaprio Clint Eastwood James Cagney Rex Reed Roger Ebert The New York Times

In an apparent effort to stir up word-of-mouth for a difficult film to market, Warner Bros. is releasing the controversial J. Edgar , starring Leonardo Di Caprio, today, in advance of the Veterans Day weekend. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood, who himself has called it one of his "anti-tentpole" movies, referring to the big-budget productions usually released during the summer or the December holidays that are expected to earn hundreds of millions of dollars. What J. Edgar , a biopic about former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, has earned so far is a bundle of stellar reviews. Writing in The New York Times , Manohla Dargis concludes, "Mr. Eastwood explores the inner life of a lonely man whose fortress was also his stage. From there, surrounded by a few trusted souls, he played out a fiction in which he was as heroic as a James Cagney G-man (despite a life with a mother Norman Bates would recognize), but finally as weak, compromised and human as those whose lives he helped crush." Lou Lumenick in the New York Post forecasts that DiCaprio's performance as Hoover "should put him in the running for an Oscar," calling it a "tour de force." Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News writes that DiCaprio's "portrayal of Hoover is undeniably terrific." The film explores the many rumors about Hoover's personal life -- carefully. Clearly it shows him in a close relationship with Clyde Tolson, his assistant, with whom some say he had a homosexual relationship. But as Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times observes, "At this point in time, the truth is unknowable. Black's persuasive script posits that the men definitely had strong feelings for each other but that Hoover, at least, could not even acknowledge, let alone act on them." The film is being hailed by other critics for its Citizen Kane -like photography and for Eastwood's decision to use talented makeup artists to age his characters, rather than resort to computers. "As a period biopic, J. Edgar is masterful," writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun Times . "Few films span seven decades this comfortably." There are a handful of negative reviews, including Mick LaSalle's in the San Francisco Chronicle which judges the film to be a "grand disappointment." And Rex Reed in the New York Observer calls it "boring and ineffectual. There's no passion behind it."

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Forbidden Planet Star Anne Francis Dies


Anne Francis Golden Globe Awards James Cagney Jerry Lewis Spencer Tracy Forbidden Planet

Hollywood actress Anne Francis has died aged 80.

The American actress - who is best known for her role in the 50s cult classic movie 'Forbidden Planet' - was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 but died from complications of pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara on Sunday (02.01.11) according to her daughter Jane Uemura.

Family spokeswoman Melissa Fitch added family and friends were with the veteran actress when she died.

Continue reading: Forbidden Planet Star Anne Francis Dies

Wenn Irish Movie Poll


Daniel Day Lewis Pierce Brosnan Liam Neeson Spencer Tracy James Cagney The Quiet Man The Commitments My Left Foot

by Kev Lewin
As the sun rises on another St Patrick's Day, WENN has decided to honour the Emerald Isle and all things Irish by looking back at the classic movies of Ireland.
From leprechauns and colourful characters to political dramas and violence, Hollywood has had a long and varied history with Ireland.
And countrymen like PETER O'TOOLE, Daniel Day-Lewis, Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson have become household movie names around the globe.
Even second-generation Irish stars, like Spencer Tracy and James Cagney, have celebrated their roots, co-founding the Irish Mafia in Tinseltown in the 1930s.
A group of Ireland-loving stars, the Mafia was strictly a social group, which would meet to tell stories and chat about films.
Ironically, many members of the Irish Mafia starred in classic movies set in Ireland or about the island's legends.
Now WENN and website ClassicMovies.org have joined forces with a handful of top film critics to weigh up the movies of the Emerald Isle.
From classics like RYAN'S DAUGHTER and The Quiet Man to modern favourites like The Commitments and My Left Foot, we revisited Hollywood's Irish treats in a bid to come up with a definitive top 10 list.
With a little luck o' the Irish, here's what we came up with:
1. Ryan's Daughter (1970)
Awe-inspiring David Lean film set in Ireland during World War I and featuring stunning performances, capped by John Mills, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as a mentally-challenged village idiot. The movie also starred Sarah Mills, Trevor Howard and Robert Mitchum.
2. The Quiet Man (1952)
One of the greatest films set in Ireland and one of movie great John Ford's best movies, this features perhaps John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara's most impressive performances. It's a real treat.
3. My Left Foot (1989)
Daniel Day-Lewis stunned cinemagoers with his Oscar-winning portrayal of brave cerebral palsy sufferer Christy Brown, who battled his crippling illness to become an acclaimed artist. Jim Sheridan cemented his reputation as one of Ireland's greatest filmmakers with this inspirational tear-jerker.
4. The Commitments (1991)
One of the classic sleeper hits of modern cinema, Alan Parker's film adaptation of Roddy Doyle's novel about a Dublin soul band became a global sensation. The movie lacked a big-name star but proved that you don't always need Hollywood to make a big hit, just a good story and some powerful songs. Andrew Strong's soulful voice quickly became a talking point as this film took off. Ironically, Strong wasn't even among those initially considered for the film - he landed the part of Deco Cuffe, after showing up at an audition for his father, who was up for a role in the movie.
5. The Luck of The Irish (1948)
The first Hollywood film to deal with leprechauns, this film stars Cecil Kellaway as roly-poly elf Horace, who helps the film's hero, played by silver screen icon Tyrone Power, discover his true values. Not so much about Ireland, but heavy on the spiritual side of Irish life, where family and happiness come before material gain.
6. Darby O'Gill + The Little People (1959)
A wonderful Disney family film with excellent special effects for the time and a pre-Bond Sean Connery.
7. Waking Ned (1998)
Another great sleeper hit about the members of a small Irish village that join forces to collect the lottery winnings of a dead local. More than anything, this film plays on the famous Irish sense of fun, mischief, family and friendship. Another small movie, lacking in Hollywood starpower, Waking Ned featured great performances from TV stars James Nesbitt and David Kelly.
8. In The Name of The Father (1993)
Hard-hitting, tough-to-watch Oscar-nominated movie about a smalltime Belfast thief wrongly convicted for a London bombing. Based on the true story of Gerry Conlon, this Jim Sheridan must-see will be remembered for scenes of Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) with his dying father (Pete Postlethwaite), who finds himself falsely implicated in the pub bombing. In every cinema I saw this gripping film, film fans sat in silence for minutes as the end credits rolled.
9. Hear My Song (1991)
Yet another charming sleeper movie all about the myth of reclusive singer Josef Locke, who lived in tax exile in Ireland. Deliverance star Ned Beatty plays a Locke imposter who convinces a hapless promoter that he is the real deal. The film cost less than $2 million to make and was shot in just six weeks - proof again that small can be beautiful!
10. Circle of Friends (1995)
Another charming little film that made the most of English actress Minnie Driver's accent skills. Set in 1950s Ireland, Driver plays lovestruck student Benny Hogan and embarks on a heartbreaking romance with cad-turned-nice guy Jack Foley, played by Chris O'Donnell. Driver put on 30 pounds to play her heavy-set character.

O'Toole's Lawrence Tops Movie Performances Poll


Peter O'Toole David Lean Lawrence Of Arabia Marlon Brando Terry Malloy Meryl Streep Sophie Zawistowska Naomi Watts Mulholland Drive Laurence Olivier Michael Caine Richard Burton Elizabeth Taylor Terry Molloy Al Pacino Sonny Wortzik Dog Day Afternoon Bette Davis Margo Channing All About Eve James Cagney George M Cohan Dustin Hoffman Ratso Rizzo Midnight Cowboy James Stewart George Bailey Its A Wonderful Life Gene Wilder Dr Frederick Frankenstein Young Frankenstein Robert De Niro Jake La Motta Raging Bull

Peter O'Toole's portrayal of TE LAWRENCE in David Lean epic Lawrence Of Arabia has topped a new list of the greatest movie performances. The iconic actor sprained both his ankles, dislocated his spine and knocked himself out twice while making the 1962 movie, and admits he became "obsessed" with adventurer Lawrence. But it seems it was all worth it - the portrayal beat Marlon Brando's role as Terry Malloy in ON THE WATERFRONT and Meryl Streep's acclaimed part (Sophie Zawistowska) in SOPHIE'S CHOICE in the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time list in US movie magazine Premiere. In a related poll, Naomi Watts and LAURA ELENA HERRING (Mulholland Drive), Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine (SLEUTH) and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?) were named among the Dynamic Duos of movie history. The top 10 greatest performances are: 1. PETER O'TOOLE as TE LAWRENCE (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA) 2. MARLON BRANDO as Terry Molloy (ON THE WATERFRONT) 3. MERYL STREEP as SOPHIE ZAWISTOWSKA (SOPHIE'S CHOICE) 4. Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik (Dog Day Afternoon) 5. Bette Davis as Margo Channing (All About Eve) 6. James Cagney as George M Cohan (YANKEE DOODLE DANDY) 7. Dustin Hoffman as Ratso Rizzo (Midnight Cowboy) 8. James Stewart as George Bailey (It's A Wonderful Life) 9. Gene Wilder as Dr Frederick Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein) 10. Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta (Raging Bull)

Jackson: 'Now I'm A Movie Star'


Samuel L Jackson James Cagney

PULP FICTION star Samuel L Jackson has come to terms with his status as a movie star after putting his hands in cement outside Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theater last month (JAN06).

Jackson's hand impressions will now be a permanent fixture at the Hollywood tourist attraction - something the actor accepts isn't the norm for every thespian.

He says, "You're putting your hands down and you can see the names of other people in front of you and around you as you're doing it.

Continue reading: Jackson: 'Now I'm A Movie Star'

Footlight Parade Review


Extraordinary
With modern musicals being about as embarrassingly bad as they come (the nadir being Christopher Columbus' deplorable Rent), it's good to stop and take stock of the golden days of the movie musical. One of the splashy musical's most prominent heroes was Busby Berkeley, a choreographer who knew a lot about dance and even more about subtext. Through both his Gold Diggers pictures, Dames, 42nd Street, and Wonder Bar, you can see his dance style saying as much about the story as it is acting as a subversive agent. However, it never got so sly and perverse as it did in Lloyd Bacon's exceptional Footlight Parade.

In his finest non-dramatic role, James Cagney plays Chester Kent, a stage musical director who turns into a prologue director when silent pictures go all talkie. Prologues are lavish musical numbers they put on before and in between films, and Kent is the best in the business at them. When the possibility to sign a 40-theater deal comes up, Kent goes nutty and must rush out three ace prologues in three days. Keep in mind; this is all while dealing with his contemptible fiancée, Vivian (Carole Dodd), his loyal, loving assistant, Nan (Joan Blondell), two business partners who are ripping him off, and a spy in his dance company that is stealing his ideas. And then there are the two main leads that are falling for each other (sweetly played by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler).

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Ragtime Review


OK
The late 1970s and early 1980s were heavy times for cinema. This was the era of the majestic miniseries: Roots, Rich Man Poor Man, The Thorn Birds, Shogun. Why, if your film couldn't stretch over at least four hours, it probably wasn't worth telling.

The miniseries mentality reached into the theatrical world as well. And so Milos Forman ended up with Ragtime, a sprawling book about American life in the early 1900s, filled with stories of racism, sudden upward mobility, abandonment, psychosis, and of course that good old ragtime music. The result is a film that sprawls well over two hours yet can't ever decide where the best story lies. Is it a tale of a murderous husband who avenges the harsh treatment of his former-chorus girl wife? The story of an abandoned black baby who winds up in the arms of a wealthy white family? No, Ragtime eventually focuses on a black piano player (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) who rises through the ranks of the ragtime scene, only to find bitter racism and resentment waiting for him on the other side. He ultimately winds up holed up in a library with one of the characters from another story in the film. Some of this is based on real events, most is not.

Continue reading: Ragtime Review

The Public Enemy Review


Excellent
The opening and closing titles of Warner Bros' The Public Enemy contain a solemn message that implies that the movie isn't meant so much to entertain but to enlighten. Studio head Jack Warner's mandate in the early '30s to produce movies that drew attention to salient social issues in Depression-wracked America resulted in a slew of melodramas (I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang from 1932 being its high water mark) and gangster movies that poised themselves as morality fables.

The Public Enemy, like Warner's own Little Caesar from a year earlier, is classically molded in the template of the early-'30s gangster genre. It follows the rise and fall of a vicious hoodlum who finally repents his ways but falls prey to the very cycle of violence that he himself instigated. Thankfully, the movie's prudish show of outrage at the liquor racket and its plea for civic order is overshadowed by its Pre-Code mischief and the sheer delight of watching James Cagney hone the cock-of-the-walk persona that made him an instant star.

Continue reading: The Public Enemy Review

Man Of A Thousand Faces Review


Weak
This dutiful biopic tells the life story of early screen legend Lon Chaney, from his deaf-mute parents to his Vaudeville acts to his crazy first wife to his fame in Hollywood to his death from cancer. The problem is that James Cagney, in the title role, doesn't have 1,000 faces. He has one face, and it isn't Lon Chaney. Reportedly this film plays it fast and loose with the facts, which is unfortunate, because getting some insight into the actor is really the only reason you'd want to watch the movie, apart from Dorothy Malone's nice performance as Chaney's nutjob of a first wife.
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