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Posts tagged “James Bond

Bill Gold R.I.P

His résumé included ‘Casablanca,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ and decades’ worth of Eastwood films. Bill Gold, who revolutionized the art of the movie poster over a seven-decade career that began with Casablanca and included A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist and dozens of Clint Eastwood films, has died. He was 97.

Gold died at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, on Sunday, according to family spokeswomen Christine Gillow.

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The Brooklyn native began at Warner Bros. in the early 1940s and had a hand in more than 2,000 posters during his iconic career, working on films for everyone from Alfred Hitchcock (1954’s Dial M for Murder), Elia Kazan (1955’s East of Eden) and Federico Fellini (1963’s 8 1/2) to Sam Peckinpah (1969’s The Wild Bunch), Robert Altman (1971’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller) and Martin Scorsese (1990’s GoodFellas).

Gold, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Hollywood Reporter during its 1994 Key Art Awards ceremony, had a way of setting the mood for a movie using a less-is-more philosophy.

“We try not to tell the whole story,” he told CBS News in March. “We try to tell a minimum amount of a story, because anything more than that is confusing.”

Gold’s fruitful relationship with Eastwood began with Dirty Harry (1971), and he gave the actor a gun or a gritty countenance on posters for such films The Enforcer (1976), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Pale Rider (1985) and Unforgiven (1992).

Gold retired after working on the Eastwood-directed Mystic River (2003) but re-emerged to do the poster for the filmmaker’s J. Edgar (2011).

“With Bill, I knew he would bring great ideas, and the poster he created would be one less thing we had to think about,” Eastwood writes in the introduction to the 2010 book Bill Gold PosterWorks. “He respected the film, he respected the story, and he always respected what we were trying to accomplish.

“Four of the films he worked on won best picture Oscars, including Unforgiven. The first image you have of many of your favorite films is probably a Bill Gold creation.”

Movie critic Leonard Maltin once noted that each of Gold’s posters is “as individual as the movies they are promoting. I can’t discern a Bill Gold style, which is a compliment, because rather than trying to shoehorn a disparate array of movies into one way of thinking visually, he adapted himself to such a wide variety.”

Gold “started drawing at age 8 and never stopped,” he said in a 2016 interview. After graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City, he approached the art director of the poster department at Warner Bros.’ offices in New York.

“He sent me away on a trial to design posters for four earlier films: Escape Me Never and [The Adventures of] Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, The Man I Love with Ida Lupino and Bette Davis’ Winter Meeting,” he recalled.

Gold passed the test and was hired at age 21, and his first assignment was Casablanca (1942).

As he told CBS News, Gold laid out the poster for Casablanca and placed a gun in Humphrey Bogart’s hand at the last minute: “Somebody suggested, ‘This is Bogart. Let’s put a gun in his hand. That’s the way he acts, the way he exaggerates his action. We don’t want just a head of him. It’s too boring!’ ”

The gun was taken from another Bogie film, High Sierra (1941). Gold also was assigned work on Warners’ Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) around this time.

After enlisting and serving three years during World War II, when he made training films for the U.S. Army Air Force, Gold returned to Warner Bros. and in the late 1950s moved west to work on the studios’ Burbank lot. He started his own company in the early 1960s back in New York.

Gold’s poster for William Friedkin’sThe Exorcist (1973) — showing the priest played by Max von Sydow under a shaft of light outside the Georgetown home of the possessed young girl (Linda Blair) — was created after he was told not to “show anything that had any hint of religious connotation.”

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Gold also worked on posters for The Searchers (1956), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Funny Girl (1968), My Fair Lady (1968), Bullitt (1968), Woodstock (1970), Klute (1971), Deliverance (1972), The Sting (1973), Blazing Saddles (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), On Golden Pond (1981), For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser (1988).

In 2011, producer Sid Ganis, who headed advertising at Warner Bros. during the 1970s, told THR that Gold was “the maestro. He was the one directing his art directors and directing his copy writers on what to do, which was a great thing. He was also the one who communicated with the studio. He was the guy in charge of the symphony.”

Survivors include his wife, Susan, son Bob, daughter in-law Joanne, daughter Marcy, grandson Spencer, granddaughter Dylann and her fiancé Justin, great nephew Jaaron and “man’s best friend” Willoughby.


Skyfall: 50 Years of Bond

The Bond tribute they should have used at the Oscars. Iconic Bond moments from the last 50 years… to ‘Skyfall’ by Adele.


Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Frederick Kotto (born November 15, 1937) is an African-American actor, known for numerous film roles including the science-fiction/horror film Alien, the science-fiction/action film The Running Man and as the main villain in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die. He is also a music producer who is a part of Legendary Inc., founded by Young L of The Pack.

Kotto was born in New York City, the son of Gladys Marie, a nurse and army officer, and Avraham Kotto (originally named Njoki Manga Bell), a businessman from Cameroon. In his autobiography titled Royalty, Kotto writes that his father was “the crown prince of Cameroon.” Kotto stated that he found out that his family was royal in adult life while studying his family’s lineage, and also stated that he is a descendant of Queen Victoria, which has been denied by the Buckingham Palace press office.

Kotto’s father, who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s, was, according to Kotto, an observant Jew who spoke Hebrew. Kotto also stated that his great-grandfather King Alexander Bell ruled the Douala region of Cameroon in the late-19th century and was also a practicing Jew. Kotto has said that his paternal family oriinated from Israel and migrated to Egypt and then Cameroon, and have been African Jews for many generations. 

Being black and Jewish gave other children (both whites and blacks) even more reason, he has said, to pick on him growing up in New York City. “It was rough coming up,” Kotto said. “And then going to shul, putting a yarmulke on, having to face people who were primarily Baptists in the Bronx meant that on Fridays, I was in some heavy fistfights.”

By the age of 16, he was studying acting at the Actor’s Mobile Theater Studio, and at 19, he made his professional acting debut in Othello. He also was a member of the Actors Studio in New York. Kotto got his start in acting on Broadway, where he appeared in The Great White Hope, among other productions.

His film debut was in 1963 in an uncredited role in 4 For Texas. He performed in Nothing But a Man in 1964 and played a supporting role in the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. In 1973 he landed the role of the James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, as well as roles in Across 110th Street and Truck Turner. Kotto portrayed Idi Amin in the 1977 television film Raid on Entebbe. He also starred as an auto worker in the 1978 film Paul Schrader film Blue Collar. 

The following year he played Parker in the sci-fi horror film Alien. Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton played ships Engineers Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto) who stay behind to monitor their progress and make repairs while the crew check out the planetoid.. which results in all hell breaking loose. Alien garnered both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction for Ridley Scott, and Best Supporting Actress for Cartwright, along with numerous other award nominations. It has remained highly praised in subsequent decades, being inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2002 for historical preservation as a film which is “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

He followed with a supporting role in the 1980 prison drama Brubaker, featured in The Star Chamber (1983), and Terror in the Aisles (1984). In 1987, he appeared in the futuristic sci-fi movie The Running Man and in the underrated 1988 action-comedy Midnight Run, in which he portrayed Alonzo Mosely, an FBI agent. He also had a supporting role in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).

He then played Lieutenant Al Giardello in the television series Homocide: Life on the Street (1993-1999). He has written two books: Royalty, and The Second Coming of Christ, and also wrote scripts for Homicide: Life on the Street.


James Bond Day

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise on the anniversary of Dr. No, which enjoyed its world film premiere in London on October 5, 1962, and in anticipation of the worldwide release of the 23rd James Bond adventure SKYFALL™, Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced today that October 5, 2012 will be Global James Bond Day, a day-long series of events for Bond fans around the world.

A new feature documentary from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Passion Pictures and Red Box Films, Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, will be also be unveiled, country-specific details to follow. Directed by Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon), Everything or Nothing focuses on three men with a shared dream – Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming. It’s the thrilling and inspiring narrative behind the longest running film franchise in cinema history which began in 1962.

Further worldwide events celebrating Bond’s golden anniversary include a global online and live auction charity event of 50 lots to benefit twelve charitable institutions organized by Christie´s in London (full details at www.christies.com/bond), a global survey to discover the favorite Bond film by country, a film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a Music of Bond night in Los Angeles hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and an exhibition, “Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style,” at TIFF in Toronto. Leading up to Global James Bond Day, for the first time ever fans can own all 22 films in the franchise on Blu-ray Disc in one comprehensive collection with BOND 50, releasing worldwide beginning September 24. Further updates by country will be announced in due course on 007.com and facebook/JamesBond007.


Honor Blackman

Honor Blackman (born 22 August 1925) is an English actress, known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers (1962–64) and Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964).

Blackman was born in Plaistow, Newham, London. She was educated at Ealing Girl’s School in west London and trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Blackman’s film debut was a nonspeaking part in Fame is the Spur (1947), followed by Daughter of Darkness, a 1947 British film, with macabre overtones, released in January 1948, So Long at the Fair (1950) a British thriller directed by Terence Fisher, and the Titanic drama A Night to Remember (1958).

She played the role of the goddess Hera in one of my favourite movies, Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Starring Todd Armstrong as the titular mythical Greek hero in a story about his quest for the Golden Fleece. Directed by Don Chaffey in collaboration with stop motion animation expert Ray Harryhausen, the film is noted for its stop-motion creatures, and particularly the iconic fight with the skeletons. The score was composed by Bernard Hermann (Psycho), who also worked on other fantasy films with Harryhausen, such as Mysterious Island and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. 

Her most famous role was as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964), the third film in the James Bond series. Pussy Galore was Goldfinger’s personal pilot and leader of an all-female team of pilots known as the Flying Circus. Based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, the film stars Sean Connery as Bond,  Gert Fröbe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as Bond girl Jill Masterson, famous for her ‘covered in Gold paint death.’

Blackman was selected for the role of Pussy Galore because of her role in The Avengers and the script was rewritten to show Blackman’s judo abilities. The character’s name follows in the tradition of other Bond girls names that are double entendres: apparently concerned about censors, the producers thought about changing the character’s name to “Kitty Galore”, but they and Hamilton decided “if you were a ten-year old boy and knew what the name meant, you weren’t a ten-year old boy, you were a dirty little bitch. The American censor was concerned, but we got round that by inviting him and his wife out to dinner and [told him] we were big supporters of the Republican Party.” During promotion, Blackman took delight in embarrassing interviewers by repeatedly mentioning the character’s name. Whilst the American censors did not interfere with the name in the film, they refused to allow the name “Pussy Galore” to appear on promotional materials and for the US market she was subsequently referred to by the title ‘Miss Galore’ or ‘Goldfinger’s personal pilot’.

She made a few British horror films in the 70’s, Fright (1971), about a homicidal escapee from a mental asylum terrorises a babysitter who is looking after his son. To the Devil… A Daughter (1976), a Hammer horror film, directed by Peter Sykes and based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley. It starred Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliot, and a young Nastassja Kinski.

The black comedy, The Cat and the Canary (1979).  Tale of the Mummy (“Talos – the Mummy”, Talos is the name) is a 1998 British-American horror film, directed by Russel Mulcahy, featuring Christopher Lee. More recently, she has had small roles in the films Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown (also 2001).


Hannibal – Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen, has been cast as Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lecter in NBC’s upcoming drama series Hannibal. In his U.S. TV debut, Danish-born Mikkelsen will star opposite Hugh Dancy in the 13-episode series from Gaumont International Television, written and executive produced by Bryan Fuller and executive produced by Martha DeLaurentiis. Will Graham (Dancy) and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mikkelsen) are introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship. Graham is a gifted criminal profiler on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI who enlists the help of Dr. Lecter, one of the premier psychiatric minds in the country, with no clue about his darker side.

Mikkelsen, most well known for playing Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, is hot after winning the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for The Hunt and scoring the villain role in the sequel to Thor, at this stage imaginatively called Thor 2.


Christopher Lee – Part 1

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (born 27 May 1922) is an English actor and musician. Lee was born in Belgravia, Westminster, as the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Trollope Lee, of the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and his wife, Contessa Estelle Marie (née Carandini di Sarzano).

Notable roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003), and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002, 2005). He has collaborated with director Tim Burton in five films, most recently with Dark Shadows (2012).

Lee considers his most important role to be his portrayal of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah (1998); however, he considers his best role to be that of Lord Summerisle in the British cult classic The Wicker Man (1973), which he also believes to be his best film. Lee is well known for his deep, strong voice and imposing height. He has performed roles in 275 films since 1946 making him the Guinness World Record holder for most film acting roles ever. He was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, and received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011.

In 1946, Lee gained a seven-year contract with the Rank Organisation. He made his film debut in Terence Young’s Gothic romance Corridor of Mirrors (1947). Throughout the next decade, he made nearly 30 films, playing mostly stock action characters.

Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films, however his first film for Hammer was The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), in which he played the Monster, with Peter Cushing as the Baron. A little later, Lee co-starred with Boris Karloff in the film Corridors of Blood (1958), but Lee’s own appearance as Frankenstein’s monster led to his first appearance as the Transylvanian vampire in the 1958 film Dracula (known as Horror of Dracula in the United States).

Lee returned to the role of Dracula in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1965. This film set the standard for most of the Dracula sequels in the sense that half the film’s running time was spent on telling the story of Dracula’s resurrection and the character’s appearances were brief. His roles in the films Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969), and Scars of Dracula (1970) all gave the Count very little to do, but were all commercially successful.

Lee’s other work for Hammer included The Mummy (1959). Lee portrayed Rasputin in Rasputin, the Mad Monk and Sir Henry Baskerville (to Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes) in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959). Lee later played Holmes himself in 1962’s Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, and returned to Holmes films with Billy Wilder’s British-made The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), in which he plays Sherlock’s smarter brother, Mycroft. Lee played a leading role in the German film The Puzzle of the Red Orchid (1962), speaking German, which he had learned during his education in Switzerland.

He was responsible for bringing acclaimed occult author Dennis Wheatley to Hammer. The Devil Rides Out (1967), is generally considered to be one of Hammer’s crowning achievements. According to Lee, Wheatley was so pleased with it that he offered the actor the film rights to his remaining black magic novels free of charge. However, the second film, To the Devil a Daughter (1976), was fraught with production difficulties and was disowned by its author. Although financially successful, it was Hammer’s last horror film and marked the end of Lee’s long association with the studio that brought him fame.

Like Cushing, Lee also appeared in horror films for other companies during the 20-year period from 1957 to 1977. Other films in which Lee performed include the series of Fu Manchu films made between 1965 and 1969, in which he starred as the villain in heavy oriental make-up; I, Monster (1971), in which he played Jekyll and Hyde; The Creeping Flesh (1972); and his personal favourite, The Wicker Man (1973), in which he played Lord Summerisle. Lee was attracted to the latter role by screenwriter Anthony Shaffer and allegedly gave his services for free, as the budget was so small.