John Gielgud

John Gielgud

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Chariots Of Fire Trailer


We all know the soundtrack, those simple few chords that have backed many great sporting moment have become synonymous in the sporting world. Now, after 31 years since it's initial release, the true story of two very different runners in the 1924 Paris Olympics will be released once again, this time in full digitalised glory, as Chariots of Fire is set to be released once more as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Continue: Chariots Of Fire Trailer

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.

Continue reading: Julius Caesar Review

The Formula Review


Grim
Cynical paranoia was a big cash cow for best-selling thrillers in the 1970s, and one of the biggest of those bestsellers was Steven Shagan's The Formula. Reacting to the oil crisis of the mid-'70s, when the OPEC nations banded together to manufacture oil shortages, push up gas prices, and create anguish, grief, and gas lines throughout a gas-guzzling United States, Shagan hatched a conspiracy plot involving a non-polluting, synthetic fuel formula. Developed by the Nazis during World War II, the formula fell into the hands of the Allies and was suppressed by the American oil conglomerates to prevent the destruction of the oil industry. (After all, if the economic power of the U.S. is in free fall, it must have something to do with the Nazis). Brought to the screen by Shagan (as writer and producer) and enlisting the services of director John G. Avildsen (then a hot few years after his smash Rocky), the film version of The Formula features the casting coup of the decade with George C. Scott and Marlon Brando in the lead roles (an earlier version of Righteous Kill's teaming of past-their-primes De Niro and Pacino, only more fun).

The film begins disconcertingly in the middle of a hellish battle during the final days of World War II, a chaotic prologue featuring gargantuan explosions, fleeing Nazis, and stampeding elephants. Then in a whiplash inducing segue, the film settles in to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, where Scott plays loner LAPD detective Barney Caine ("There's only two things that matter to me -- my son and my work. The rest of my life is a complete zero."), investigating the killing of his old pal Tom Neeley (Robin Clarke). The crime scene is laid out like the opening scene of a Charlie Chan movie with mysterious clues all about -- a voodoo doll, a map with the name "Oberman" scrawled on it, a folded newspaper with the letter G-E-N-E written in blood -- and Caine falls for the setup to avenge the death of his friend.

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Becket Review


Essential
Oscar trivia hounds probably know that Peter O'Toole is one of only four actors to receive Best Actor nods for playing the same character in two different films (we'll leave it to you and the Internet to figure out the other three). The first of these was for playing King Henry II in 1964's Becket. (The second would come when he reprised the role four years later in The Lion in Winter.) And while his performance is Oscar-worthy, it is only part of what makes the film a delectable slice of English history.

It's the mid-12th century and Normans have controlled England and its resident Saxons for two generations. The latest Norman leader, Henry II, has employed a Saxon, Thomas Becket (Richard Burton) to be his unofficial right-hand man. When he decides to make the title official, appointing Becket as chancellor, it only makes the already jealous Norman nobles and clergy angrier. When he goes even further and decides to quell an unruly church by appointing Becket as archbishop, it seems the nobles and clergy might revolt, but Henry finds that it is Becket, suddenly torn between his duty to King as chancellor and to God as archbishop, from whom he has the most to fear.

Continue reading: Becket Review

Gandhi Review


Extraordinary
In a society rife with Robin Williams waterworks and Ben Affleck angst, it's nice to have an occasional jolt of truth. Gandhi, while a couple of decades old now, still has that bold-faced honesty which we find so often lacking in many contemporary films.

Gandhi stars Ben Kingsley in a retelling of the life and times of revered Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned peace lover, sage, and all around worldly wise man. There is little told here that cannot be read in any history book, for Gandhi is not some sort of Hollywood trumped up, Pearl Harbored dramatization of history. Rather, it's just the facts, nothing but truth.

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The Loved One Review


Extraordinary
Decades before Six Feet Under, The Loved One skewered the paradox of the funeral business in appearance-obsessed L.A. Wildly and unpredictably funny, The Loved One careens from scene to scene so quickly you may not be able to keep up with the jokes.

And what jokes they are! The very American Robert Morse stars as a British visitor to L.A., a wannabe poet who gets caught up in the machinations of a cemetary owner (Jonathan Winters) and his top mortician (Rod Steiger in the role of a lifetime). It's more cult than cemetary, and Morse soon becomes enchanted with one the cemetary's guide/beautician/chanteuse (a dippy Anajette Comer). The film haphazardly careens from subplot to subplot, eventually settling into a set piece about a kid obsessed with rockets, which Winters sees as the solution to the problem of running out of space for "loved ones" in the cemetary (aka corpses).

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Richard III Review


OK
Laurence Olivier's Richard III is one of the stagiest versions of Shakespeare you'll find on film, and it's also his least faithful work, chopping and editing the Bard's play willy-nilly. I'm no Shakespeare expert, but even I can spot the hatchet work here. (For the uninitated, Richard III follows the waning days of the War of the Roses, with Richard III (Olivier) taking on big brother Edward (Cedric Hardwicke) in a bid for the throne. Deception, murder, and betrayal rule the day until the outcome is decided.)

The undortunate side effect of the faithfulness is that Richard III has a real Masterpiece Theatre quality that you just can't shake. Olivier plops the camera down at one end of the room and lets scenes take place in wide shots, unmolested. Long scenes are certainly forgivable, but the end result is that this rendition of the story looks far more like a play than a movie. It isn't until the second half of the film when we really get out of the castle, and thank God we do. But unfortunately, even these scenes aren't exactly thrill rides. The landscapes chosen are barren and void of majesty. Sword fights are genteel affairs with no distinguishable choreography. Why ride an army out to battle if you're not going to use them?

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Marlon Brando's Homosexual Celebrity Affairs Revealed


Marlon Brando James Dean Cary Grant Montgomery Clift John Gielgud

Marlon Brando's new biography paints 'The Godfather' actor in a new light, as it reveals how he slept his way around Hollywood. The biography also claims that he slept with some of his male directors and co-stars. The biography, 'Brandon Unzipped', by Darwin Porter claims that the bisexual Academy Award winner engaged in a sexual relationship with James Dean, Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift and Sir John Gielgud.  

Related: 'The Godfather' House Is Up For Sale

In the book, Porter says: "James Dean was one of Brando's most lasting yet troubled gay relationships. They had a relationship for a number of years but it was always turbulent. At one point they had a big stand-up fight at a party in Santa Monica, California, witnessed by dozens of people. His affair with Montgomery Clift was a long and enduring relationship."

Continue reading: Marlon Brando's Homosexual Celebrity Affairs Revealed

Shine Review


Excellent
In Hollywood, you just can't make a movie like Shine. Put simply, it is just not allowed.

This is our loss and Australia's gain, because Shine comes off as one of the upper-echelon films of the year, an ambitious and unflinching look at that country's David Helfgott, a prodigy of a pianist driven insane by his father, only to emerge again after 20 years of institutionalization.

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The Whistle Blower Review


Weak
If you're going to build a Cold War thriller an implicate a massive government conspiracy along the way, try not to set your movie entirely in police stations and hotel rooms. This tepid Michael Caine drama doesn't get much past the excitement level of your usual county fair (Caine doesn't believe his son committed suicide! It's a cover-up!). Still, some fine performances from Caine, James Fox, John Gielgud, and others make this less painful than a poke to the eye.

Murder on the Orient Express Review


Excellent
Classic Agatha Christie becomes a near-classic motion picture, as a dozen major stars are trapped on a snowbound train with what appears to be a killer on the loose. It's up to an absurdly made-up Poirot (Albert Finney) to unmask the murderer of a millionaire in this rich whodunit. Beautifully made and full of good one-liners, Ingred Bergman inexplicably won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as a relatively forgettable "simple woman." Odd.

Richard III Review


OK
Laurence Olivier's Richard III is one of the stagiest versions of Shakespeare you'll find on film, and it's also his least faithful work, chopping and editing the Bard's play willy-nilly. I'm no Shakespeare expert, but even I can spot the hatchet work here. (For the uninitated, Richard III follows the waning days of the War of the Roses, with Richard III (Olivier) taking on big brother Edward (Cedric Hardwicke) in a bid for the throne. Deception, murder, and betrayal rule the day until the outcome is decided.)

The undortunate side effect of the faithfulness is that Richard III has a real Masterpiece Theatre quality that you just can't shake. Olivier plops the camera down at one end of the room and lets scenes take place in wide shots, unmolested. Long scenes are certainly forgivable, but the end result is that this rendition of the story looks far more like a play than a movie. It isn't until the second half of the film when we really get out of the castle, and thank God we do. But unfortunately, even these scenes aren't exactly thrill rides. The landscapes chosen are barren and void of majesty. Sword fights are genteel affairs with no distinguishable choreography. Why ride an army out to battle if you're not going to use them?

Continue reading: Richard III Review

Haunted Review


Good
It's an old-timey ghost story as Aiden Quinn visits a creepy old haunted house at the behest of a crazy old woman who lives there with her two nephews and a niece (played by the lovely Kate Beckinsale).

Just now released on DVD, presumably in the hopes of getting any pop from an interest in Beckinsale thanks to her Pearl Harbor appearance. That's probably not going to do it, but Haunted stands fairly well on its own, a truly creepy slow burn that looks at madness and hints at incest.

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Alice In Wonderland (1966) Review


Weak
It doesn't take the Ravi Shankar soundtrack to cue you that this version of Alice in Wonderland -- just an hour long, shot for the BBC -- hails from the 1960s. Taking the story's thinly veiled drug metaphors to their ultra-serious limit, the movie has a bit of a Cheech and Chong feeling to it, and the star power of John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, and Peter Cook (among many others) conspire to ensure that Alice (Anne-Marie Mallik) doesn't even got top billing. This was one of the first of director Jonathan Miller's numerous BBC teleplays, and his greenness is apparent -- it's neither kid-friendly (the actors don't wear animal costumes, they just allude to them) nor particularly clever, coming across in the end like a kind of Alice's Greatest Hits. Finally, I know it was 1966 television, but Alice just never works in black and white. It's like The Wizard of Oz without the yellow brick road.

Arthur Review


Good
It's the movie we'll forever know Dudley Moore for -- and the late John Gielgud, too, who is put out to pasture about halfway through this classic comedy. "Classic" doesn't necessarily mean "fabulous" in this case, however -- Arthur is little more than a glamorization of an otherwise no-account, good-for-nothing, stinking-rich drunk. Moore is hardly a role model, and his tale of "I love a poor girl" is so sappy one questions how Arthur ever became a hit. Two words: John Gielgud, who shines in what could have been the embarassment of his life. Party on, John.
John Gielgud

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