December 2, 2005 |
It is a place crammed with smitten fools and preening egotists and a world where it is quite common to see a man make a complete jerk of himself. It is, of course, Hollywood. But the description also fits the enchanted forest to which the lovers flee in Shakespeare's beloved A Midsummer Night's Dream. With Shakespeare in Hollywood, Ken Ludwig, who has carved a niche in backstage comedies, seeks to bring the two worlds together. The farce has its amusing moments, but the result presents a case of worlds colliding rather than fusing.
August 5, 1994 |
In 1948, Hollywood mogul David O. Selznick produced Portrait of Jennie, casting his soon-to-be wife, the eerily beautiful Jennifer Jones, as Jennie Appleton, the film's mystery waif. A strange, odd and beautiful movie adapted from the Robert Nathan novella and directed by William Dieterle, this romantic fantasy casts Jones as an ethereal beauty, who, walking through Central Park, encounters a young painter (Joseph Cotten, in an exceptionally fine performance). It's 1932, the depths of the Depression, but Jennie seems of a different time and place, and he, quite rightly, is smitten.
December 13, 1987 |
"Everything you were never allowed to see!" proclaims the advertising for Hollywood Uncensored from International Video Entertainment (75 minutes, $59.95). True, this documentary on movie censorship (written and directed by James Forsher) offers plenty in the way of officially forbidden pleasures - excised scenes from King Kong, The Outlaw, High School Confidential, even a risque W.C. Fields short. But the most shocking discovery is how tame most of these past controversies seem in our jaded video times.
February 26, 1996 |
The Chinese are invading Hollywood. Major actors and directors from the Hong Kong, Taiwanese and mainland Chinese film industries are starting to work in Tinseltown. This talent pool represents the most significant influx of foreign creativity since Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Peter Weir, Gillian Armstrong and other Australians entered the industry in the early '80s. Hong Kong director John Woo has underscored the commercial appeal of Asian filmmakers with his second Hollywood feature, "Broken Arrow," starring John Travolta and Christian Slater.
February 12, 2005 |
In Stones in His Pocket, Irish blarney meets Hollywood baloney, and, under such circumstances, it should come as no surprise that truth and reality are early casualties. Marie Jones' serio-comedy about the invasion of a humble village in County Kerry by a company shooting a major Hollywood feature is a satirical exercise that might be more amusing if it had not already been done many times with more wit and imagination. When measured against the pure vitriol poured by Robert Altman's The Player and David Mamet's State and Main, Stones in His Pocket is more like the milky tea they serve in Bewley's in Dublin.
February 5, 1992 |
NO MINOR CHORDS: MY DAYS IN HOLLYWOOD By Andre Previn Doubleday / $22.50 Until recently, the immensely gifted Andre Previn bristled at questions about his early years on the sound stages and in West Coast jazz clubs. Most artists would be proud of such versatility, but his reputation as a world- class conductor was certainly slowed by the Hollywood taint, that negative bias still shown even to the few remaining masters of film music as an art. But a short-lived return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a few excellent jazz recording sessions must have renewed some friendships and helped him make peace with his past.
February 15, 1987 |
At last year's Academy Awards, something happened that was unusual even for an annual rite of spring that has long been notorious for wrong choices. Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple was nominated in 11 categories, but by the time the marathon broadcast was over and the nation had long since gone to bed, Hollywood's most successful director had trudged home empty-handed. The big winner was Sidney Pollack's noble and magnificent epic, Out of Africa. It was an evening that may have left Spielberg the color blue, but to veteran observers of the Oscars the operative hue was green.
October 1, 1992 |
It was a long week. First Candice Bergen, an actress who plays a reporter and now an unwed mother on a television show called "Murphy Brown," steps across time and space into that land that Rod Serling used to call the "Twilight Zone," and, climbing onto her soapbox, delivers a couple of minutes of familiar-sounding political dogma, during which she tells the vice president of the United States to "get real. " And a grateful country applauds. The vice president, meanwhile, who brought this on months ago when he criticized the show for "mocking the importance of fathers" and glamorizing unwed motherhood, does a promotion for the show and then sends the actress's pretend baby a gift.
February 1, 1991 |
What can director/choreographer Roger Minami do to top the previous production shows he has presented in Atlantic City during the last 10 years? Easy. He can bring Hollywood to the Boardwalk. Well, OK, maybe that's not so easy, but Minami gives it his best shot with StarStruck, the new revue at Merv Griffin's Resorts Casino Hotel. The premise here is to salute Hollywood's past and present. Mostly, though, this show dwells on the past, because that's when Hollywood was at its glitziest, and if there's one thing Minami understands, it's glitz.
January 29, 1989 |
The Front Runner, the proposed film based on Patricia Nell Warren's controversial 1974 novel about a homosexual relationship between a track coach and a star athlete, has been on the back burner for longer than just about any project in Hollywood. There are many reasons for the long delay in bringing what promises to be a decent and worthwhile picture to the screen. And now there are 1.3 million more of them. That is the paltry figure - $1,320,430, to be exact - that Torch Song Trilogy grossed in its first four weeks of release.