James Mason

James Mason

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Inside Soap Awards 2014

James Mason - British soap opera stars attended the Inside Soap Awards 2014 which were held at one of Europe's premiere locations 'DSTRKT' nightclub in London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 1st October 2014

East Side, West Side Review


Grim
In the early 1930s, director Mervyn Leroy was one of the men responsible for the gritty, careening Warner Brothers house style, but by 1949, Leroy was one of main hack directors for MGM and a prime example of the staid MGM routine is on display in Leroy's prosaic staging of the cad-for-all-seasons East Side, West Side.

Barbara Stanwyck is mistreated high society wife Jessie Bourne, married to Brandon (James Mason), a well-heeled corporate lawyer who is also a regular heel, cheating on Jessie every chance he gets. As Brandon explains his philosophy to a hopeful conquest, "Just because a man has one perfect rose in his garden at home, it doesn't mean that he can't appreciate the flowers of the field." Even so, Brandon tries to "think with his head" but then Ava Gardner breezes in and all bets are off.

Continue reading: East Side, West Side Review

Julius Caesar Review


Extraordinary
"Caesar! Beware of Brutus. Take heed of Cassius. Come not near Casca. Have an eye to Cinna. Trust not Trebonius. Mark not well Metellus Cimber. Decius Brutus loves thee not. Thou hast wronged Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men and it is bent against Caesar. If thou beest not immortal, look about you. Security gives way to conspiracy."

Artemidorus's warnings to Julius Caesar, soon to be given dictatorial powers in Rome, falls upon Caesar's deaf -- and soon dead -- ears and the Roman conqueror trundles off to the Senate to be stabbed to death by his best friends. In Shakespeare's play, the rejection of the warning by Artemidorus is more fodder for Caesar's ballooning ego. In Joseph Mankeiwicz's 1953 film version of Shakespeare's classic, Artemidorus's warning is like a howl in the wilderness. For Mankiewicz, adapting and directing during the height of the period of the blacklist, the warning takes on a different context of a McCarthyesque conspiracy to bring down society, a mass madness so potent that even honorable men become embroiled in the hothouse hysteria.

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The Last of Shiela Review


Excellent
The odd pair of Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim wrote this underseen thriller, a whodunit that puts widower James Coburn on a boat with his old friends, one of whom may have accidentally run over his wife a year ago in an unsolved hit-and-run. Is Coburn's live-action mystery game a clever way to ferret out the killer? Or is something more mysterious at work here? The body count will nearly fill a hand before a few days on the yacht are up, but it's the impressive cast and twisty script that will keep you watching to see who gets it next... and who gets away with it all.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Review


OK
Even grander and more rambling than Swiss Family Robinson, Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea simultaneously sets a bar for both child-friendly epicness and overblown goofiness. On one hand there's the classic attack of a giant squid, on the other there's hokey moments with a singing Kirk Douglas and natives doing a hot-foot dance as they're electrocuted on a trap.

Corny, but I guess that's what Jules Verne wrote back in the mid-1800s. The hot-foot dance hadn't become a cliche yet.

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North By Northwest Review


Excellent
It was with slight disappointment and definite surprise that I found, after years of intending to see it, Hitchcock's North by Northwest coming in just under the top tier of his films. Watching Cary Grant hustle through a cross-country wrongly-accused thriller isn't a bore, of course, but I felt the curious sensation of reacting to the film through a series of comparisons, trying to figure out where it fits on the Hitchcock scale: It's not as disturbing as Psycho, not as suspenseful as Rear Window, not as mind-boggling as Vertigo. Then again, Cary Grant's Roger Thornhill (who has the misfortune to share his name with a made-up spy) is an ad exec who goes on the lamb with improvised gusto, even picking up a mystery woman as he hides on a cross-country train -- so it is, at least, a lot manlier than To Catch a Thief.

It's a lot more than that, too. I don't mean to speak ill of the film -- in fact, North by Northwest is a epitome of craft and style. When a critic wistfully refers to a movie like The Fugitive or The Bourne Identity as "good old-fashioned entertainment," there's a good chance that this is the movie they recall. It has Cold War intrigue without gadgets or jargon; it has romance that blends in with that intrigue, rather than jogging alongside it.

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Lolita (1962) Review


Excellent
When a character's name enters the language as a general descriptor of a similar person, you know you're dealing with a classic. Lolita is exactly that film -- and the story of one man's obsession with his stepdaughter is so well-known it scarcely requires explanation. If you've never seen the original, you need to, and soon. While it's far too long at over 2 1/2 hours, these characters are so juicy and delicately balanced (this was 1962 and pedophilia was hardly accepted on film) they're a true must-see. Remade in 1997.

Cross Of Iron Review


OK
Sam Peckinpah's Cross of Iron is distinguished as a war movie for the major reason that it's one of the only English-language movies made that stars the Nazis as the movie's heroes. Facing off against Russia on the eastern front, the real drama playing out not with the enemy, but between hardened Steiner (James Coburn) and careerist Stransky (Maximilian Schell), who cares little for the war and everything for glory -- namely getting an Iron Cross for his valor. Unfortunately, the movie gives their sparring relatively little screen time as Peckinpah indulges in endless combat scenes (this was his only war movie), which try the patience of viewers who came for the real story.

Heaven Can Wait (1978) Review


Good
How's this for high-concept: Star football player is accidentally swiped by angels before he's supposed to die, then is inserted into the body of a bazillionaire. Football player then launches the rich guy into a crusade for worldly good and, along the way, trains to become a football star. In the hands of anyone but Warren Beatty, this might really stink (see our review of the 1943 original), but the old scoundrel infuses the hero with such earnest and wide-eyed spirit that it's hard not to like. Julie Christie is badly miscast as the love interest, but it's Charles Grodin who steals the show in a smarmy role.

The Boys from Brazil Review


Excellent
A fun curiosity of a movie, from the end of the career of both Peck and Olivier (and Mason, for that matter... okay, and Steve Guttenberg, too). Telling the mysterious tale of Josef Mengele (Peck), who is living in Paraguay in the late 1970s, trying to rebuild the Third Reich, The Boys from Brazil takes a long time to get to its big secret. When you do finally get there, it's a mixture of ahhhhh and huh? that makes the film mostly worthwhile. Have a bit of a laugh at the scientific silliness that the movie revolves around, too.

A Star Is Born (1954) Review


Good
As it turns out, stars are made, not born. The classic George Cukor film gives us Judy Garland, unforgettable as Vicki Lester, a plucky singer whom Big Star James Mason targets for her raw talent, and soon makes her into an Oscar winner. The movie seems a little too easy, though. As if all you need to do is have Brad Pitt be your friend and, presto, you're famous. The teeth are pretty dull on Star, too -- for example, when Mason's character hits rock bottom (all while Garland's star is rising), the worst that we hear about before his tragic end is an arrest for being drunk and disorderly. Puh-lease. But it was the 1950s, so what can you expect? Overall, it's too long, but altogether this star is fairly bright.
James Mason

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