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Newhouse: I must now, I suppose, enter the personality of a 4-year old female child possessed of a strong conviction that all forbidden doors are to be opened.

         Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
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November Issue

Classic Film

Otto Preminger

In November we are shifting out focus on to the work of Otto Preminger who had a long and impressive career that at times found him on either side of the camera. We will be screening two of his films from the 1960's, one that taps into America's obsession with the Kennedy's in the early 1960's, and the other which plays off themes of mental illness.

For our Friday night musical we're staying n the 60's for the academy award winning musical Oliver! made by another great director who was not known for the genre - Carol Reed.

In this edition of Classic Film magazine we're going to look into cinema of the 1960's, classic film star Henry Fonda (who appears in Advise and Consent on Saturday), and the life and time of Otto Preminger.

Do yourself a favour this month - explore classic films through tis month's articles and then come along and watch a classic film over our screening weekend.
Cinema of the 1960's
Picture Palaces were still the place to see films in the 1960's
This year, in the magazine and on the screen, we have had a bit of focus on films from the 1960's. There are perhaps several reasons for this... we screen quality classic titles and plenty of those films were made in the 1960's, but also because it was an interesting time in so many national cinemas around the world, as well as being an interesting socially and politically.

Covering the entire decade in film is a task far too big to attempt in so little space. But the following snapshots will give you a sense of what an exciting time it was in filmmaking.

The decade was marked by financial difficulties for the industry, especially for the once all-powerful American studios. As such, the sixties marked the end of the Amervcan studio system. Studios were selling off the land on which their backlots stood as well as selling of props like Dorothy's ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, and they began offering backlot tours. The Hollywood walk of fame was begun along Hollywood Boulevarde to try to revive interest in the industry, and competition with TV was hotting up.


Picture Palaces began disappearing and were being replaced by the horrid multiplexes we are stuck with today. And the studios had their financial disasters like Cleopatra - a film whose budget officially blew out to $44 million ($300 million in adjusted dollars) - but the truth no one knows how much (or is willing to say how much) the film actually cost. But the truth is it bankrupted 20th C Fox, and eventually delivered it into the hands of its current owner... Rupert Murdoch.

The Americans moved a lot of their filmmaking to Britain where production was cheaper, and at the same time there was a resurgence in British filmmaking the 'Kitchen Sink' and 'Angry young men' films of the time included titles- Look Back in anger, Room at the Top, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A kind of Loving and This Sporting Life to name just a few.

The dacade also saw a number of great films by internationally acclaimed directors such as:
  • Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960) and 8 1/2 (1963)
  • Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout De Souffle (1960) (aka Breathless)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura (1960) and Blow-Up (1966)
  • Francois Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player (1960) and Jules Et Jim (1962)
  • Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
  • Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962)
  • Luchino Visconti's The Leopard (1963)
  • Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966)
  • Luis Bunuel's Viridiana (1961), Belle De Jour (1967) and Tristana (1970)
  • Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai (1967)
  • Jacques Tati's Playtime (1967)
                                        The Time Machine (1960)
Stanley Kubrick produced a number of interesting films through the 60's - Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), and 2001 (1969).

Other notable films of the decade include True Grit (1969) - a film for which John Wayne received deserved critical recognition and his first and only Academy Award for Best Actor.

The Time Machine (1960) had Oscar-winning visual effects, was based on the H.G. Wells tale, and starred Rod Taylor.

Creative special-effects master Ray Harryhausen developed his legendary stop-motion animation techniques to perfection in Jason and the Argonauts (1963). One Million Years BC (1966) (a remake of the 1939 prehistoric adventure with Victor Mature), that featured Harryhausen's animated dinosaurs and Racquel Welch in an incredible fur bikini.

A number of stars in the 60's appeared in a string of great films. Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), and Cool Hand Luke (1967), Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and Charade (1963). Sidney Poitier in
To Sir, With Love (1967), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

There were the franchises too: James Bond, the Gidget films, the Tammy films, Elvis films, and the Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello Beach Party Films.

The list goes on. If you want to read more - follow this link.

But it was a great decade in film - a decade of diversity and transition. And remember our upcoming screening weekend features three interesting films from that period.

Classic Film Stars
Hank Fonda - always thoroughly decent

One of Hollywood's most beloved actors, Henry Jaynes Fonda was born May 16, 1905, in Grand Island, Nebraska. After graduating from Omaha Central High School, Fonda enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where he intended to study journalism but eventually flunked out.

Back home in Nebraska, Fonda took a stab at acting, filling his time at the Omaha Community Playhouse, where he frequently shared the stage with Marlon Brando's mother. By the late 1920s, Fonda had made acting his full-time vocation. He traveled to New England, where he hooked up with the University Players Guild, which cast him alongside other young actors, including James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

Fonda's first big break came in the 1934 Broadway production New Faces. A year later, Fonda was out west in Hollywood, beginning what would become a nearly 50-year career in the movies.

The same year he relocated to California, Fonda made his screen debut in The Farmer Takes a Wife, which he had also starred in on Broadway. Over the next several years, Fonda's star status brightened with roles in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), The Moon's Our Own (1936), Wings of the Morning (1937), You Only Live Once (1937) and Jezebel (1938).

Critical praise came Fonda's way for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in the John Ford–directed biopic Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). A year later, Fonda teamed up with Ford again in the 1940 film adaption of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The film, which cast Fonda as itinerant farm worker Tom Joad, earned the actor his first Oscar nomination.

Unflappable and adaptable, Fonda became one of Hollywood's biggest stars, flexing his talent in a range of roles in movies such as The Lady Eve (1941), My Darling Clementine (1946), Fort Apache (1948), Twelve Angry Men (1957) and Fail Safe (1964). In all, Fonda appeared in more than 80 films during his celebrated career.

His final on-screen performance came in 1981, when he was cast opposite his daughter Jane Fonda, and Katharine Hepburn, in the family tale On Golden Pond. The film was a critical and commercial success and finally gave the ailing actor his first Best Actor Oscar. He was 76 at the time the award was bestowed upon him, making him the oldest actor ever to receive the award.

Fonda died at his Los Angeles home on August 12, 1982.


Below is a wonderful speech by Henry Fonda, relfecting back on his life on stage and screen on the occasion of accepting a lifetime achievement award from the AFI.
 
Henry Fonda Accepts the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1978
         Henry Fonda accepting an AFI lifetime achievement award (1978)
The Fonda legacy is in part one of an acting dynasty. He had three children: actors Jane and Peter Fonda, and a second daughter, Amy Fonda. He is also the grandfather of actress Bridget Fonda.

But Henry's greatest legacy is the films he has left behind. Among his films, Townsville Classic films has screened the Hitchcock film
The Wrong Man, and the classic The Grapes of Wrath, and will soon screen the political drama Advise and Consent.
 
Otto Preminger
Otto Preminger began his lifelong devotion to performance at 17 when leading theater director Max Reinhardt assigned him a primary role in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Impressed with Preminger's talent, Reinhardt would turn over management of one of his theaters to Preminger just two years later.

Preminger was soon directing several plays that gained him critical and popular attention, and by his late 20s, he was one of the most renowned theater producer-directors in all of Europe. He made his first foray into film in 1931, directing Die Grosse Liebe, though theater would remain his focus for the years to come.

In the mid-1930s, at the invitation of a producer, Preminger headed overseas to direct theater productions on Broadway. Also a consideration for Preminger in the move was the fact that, as a Jew, he was becoming acutely aware of the Nazi menace spreading through his homeland. Preminger's first Broadway play was Libel (staged in 1936), and went on to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream, Margin for Error and Moon Is Blue.

During this period, Preminger began a relationship with Twentieth Century Fox but it wasn't until 1942, that his film acting career took off when, ironically, he portrayed a Nazi in each of his next three roles: The Pied Piper (1942), Margin for Error (1943), They Got Me Covered (1943). A decade later he appeared in Stalag 17 (1953), also playing a Nazi.

Preminger's character from Stalag 17 (Oberst von Scherbach) is picuured below.

Preminger's most-lasting achievement came when he directed the dark thriller Laura (1944), which set the tone for the looming onrush of film noir. It also nabbed him his first Oscar nomination for Best Director and led to a string of thrillers, such as Black Angel (1945) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950). 

Preminger was viewed as something of tyrant, with a huge ego on set that earned him the nickname Otto the Ogre and left in his wake a long string of angry actors. He also continued to feud with Twentieth Century Fox executive Darryl Zanuck, who had previously fired Preminger from the studio. 

Never one to back down, however, Preminger leveraged his success to make the types of films he wanted to make and to strike back against the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) suffocating Production Code. Among his notable films from this period are The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), , and the 1959 courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder, which received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Preminger also fired shots off at the Hollywood blacklist, notably hiring blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo to write his film Exodus (1960).

Following the box-office success of Exodus, Preminger directed the 1962 political drama Advise & Consent, which was also favorably received. For his next film, The Cardinal (1963), he was honored with his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. He followed with the epic World War II picture In Harm's Way in 1965. 

After briefly appearing as the villain Mr. Freeze in the 1966 season of the Batman television series,

In Preminger's later years, he began to suffer from Alzheimer's disease and also developed cancer, to which he eventually succumbed on April 23, 1986.


The video below is an interesting insight into Preminger and why hespent his life making films
Day at Night:  Otto Preminger, film director
                                     Billy Wilder - Storyteller
Actor, Director, Producer - Otto Preminger did it all.

You'll find more information about Otto at his dedicated website.


Come along on Saturday and Sunday for Advise and Consent (1962) and Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)... two great films froma truly gret directirfor.

Screening

Friday, 9th of November

7.00pm start

Oliver! (1964)


 

Musical adaptation about an orphan who runs away from an orphanage and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.


Drama/Family/Musical  Rated:G   153 min


 
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Screening

Sunday, 11th of November

7.00pm start

Bunny Lake is Missing (1960)

A woman reports that her young daughter is missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed.

Mystery/Thriller     Rated: PG     107 mins

 
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Screening

Saturday, 10th of November

7.00pm start

Advise and Consent (1962)


Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.

Drama/Thriller  Rated: PG   137 mins



 
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