• The Elstree Project: An Oral History Of Movie Magic

    Elstree Studios just outside London – close your eyes and the list of iconic films made on those sound stages raises goosebumps. From Star Wars to Superman, Indiana Jones to The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more recently, The King’s Speech to Kick Ass. Not to mention classic television shows and more current fare, […]

    the elstree project
  • Punishment Park: A Subversive Mother

    A dusty Californian desert, patrolled by mirrored shaded guards. Group 637 and Group 638, comprised of draft evaders, free thinkers and anti-war demonstrators are detained here because “there is reasonable ground to believe that they probably will engage in possible acts of sabotage in the future.” Faced with a tribunal’s choice of immediate imprisonment or the challenge […]

    punishment park
  • Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait, By John Boorman

    Lee Marvin was a star in his own firmament, a mass of contradictions and sensitivities, hidden beneath a rousing, ribald, flinty carapace. A wounded veteran of the bloody Pacific campaign in WW.II, a boozer and brawler, a poet and prince. It’s fair to say there has never been another actor quite like him. One man […]

    Lee Marvin
  • Scene is Believing: The Empire Strikes Back

      On June 21, 1979, on Stage 5 at Elstree Studios, one of the most iconic lines in cinema history was created. But it didn’t come from Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett’s original script. Instead it, and many more elements of this seemingly straightforward scene, came about from a great deal of rehearsal and script […]

    sw esb i know
  • Sympathy For The Devil? Inglorious Basterds’ Hans Landa

    Hans Landa, the loquacious, charming, calculating nemesis of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is the villain we can’t help admiring for his chutzpah. Ironic, for someone who’s nickname is “The Jew Hunter”. WARNING: This piece contains major spoilers Rarely can a film have depended so much on the successful casting of a supporting role. At one […]

    hans landa 2
  • Thinking In Circles – Interpreting The Star Wars Saga Through Ring Composition

          Even the most casual glance at the Star Wars prequels (and indeed, even within the original trilogy) will reveal recurring motifs. But have you really noticed the true depth of synchronicity with regard to narrative structure, plot points, themes and so on, that thread throughout all six (so far) films? Mike Klimo […]

    sw luke-obiwan
  • Shanghai Surprise: The Movie That Hobbled Handmade Films

    For some reason, after a run of fairly succesful, low budget projects, Handmade Films decided in 1986 that they wanted a screwball comedy with some star wattage. What they got was a god-awful mess that blew up in their faces, and nearly scuppered them; Shanghai Surprise, a vanity project for Madonna and her then husband, the […]

    shanghai surprise penn madonna
  • Mulholland Falls: Ginster Squad

    With Gangster Squad on release this week, I thought I’d take a look at Mulholland Falls, another tough neo-noir set in the post war city of angels. It features a similar team of two-fisted detectives who work off the books, loosely based on the Gangster Squad’s real life Robbery Division contemporaries, the Hat Squad. However, based on the […]

    mulholland falls ginster squad
  • Hollywood Kisses

    A montage of kissing from more than 100 films, by Clara Darko, for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy, movie lovers.  

    sw esb kiss
  • Unsung Heroes: Pat Roach

    The term “gentle giant” is often a cliche only because it is true. And it very much applied to 6ft 5in Pat “Bomber” Roach: Birmingham born gentleman of the wrestling ring, writer, and also actor / stunt performer, who played many heavies in genre films. This in contrast to his  cornerstone role as the sensible […]

    raiders planefight
the elstree project

The Elstree Project: An Oral History Of Movie Magic

Elstree Studios just outside London – close your eyes and the list of iconic films made on those sound stages raises goosebumps. From Star Wars to Superman, Indiana Jones to The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more recently, The King’s Speech to Kick Ass. Not to mention classic television shows and more current fare, […]

punishment park

Punishment Park: A Subversive Mother

A dusty Californian desert, patrolled by mirrored shaded guards. Group 637 and Group 638, comprised of draft evaders, free thinkers and anti-war demonstrators are detained here because “there is reasonable ground to believe that they probably will engage in possible acts of sabotage in the future.” Faced with a tribunal’s choice of immediate imprisonment or the challenge […]

Lee Marvin

Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait, By John Boorman

Lee Marvin was a star in his own firmament, a mass of contradictions and sensitivities, hidden beneath a rousing, ribald, flinty carapace. A wounded veteran of the bloody Pacific campaign in WW.II, a boozer and brawler, a poet and prince. It’s fair to say there has never been another actor quite like him. One man […]

sw esb i know

Scene is Believing: The Empire Strikes Back

  On June 21, 1979, on Stage 5 at Elstree Studios, one of the most iconic lines in cinema history was created. But it didn’t come from Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett’s original script. Instead it, and many more elements of this seemingly straightforward scene, came about from a great deal of rehearsal and script […]

hans landa 2

Sympathy For The Devil? Inglorious Basterds’ Hans Landa

Hans Landa, the loquacious, charming, calculating nemesis of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is the villain we can’t help admiring for his chutzpah. Ironic, for someone who’s nickname is “The Jew Hunter”. WARNING: This piece contains major spoilers Rarely can a film have depended so much on the successful casting of a supporting role. At one […]

sw luke-obiwan

Thinking In Circles – Interpreting The Star Wars Saga Through Ring Composition

      Even the most casual glance at the Star Wars prequels (and indeed, even within the original trilogy) will reveal recurring motifs. But have you really noticed the true depth of synchronicity with regard to narrative structure, plot points, themes and so on, that thread throughout all six (so far) films? Mike Klimo […]

shanghai surprise penn madonna

Shanghai Surprise: The Movie That Hobbled Handmade Films

For some reason, after a run of fairly succesful, low budget projects, Handmade Films decided in 1986 that they wanted a screwball comedy with some star wattage. What they got was a god-awful mess that blew up in their faces, and nearly scuppered them; Shanghai Surprise, a vanity project for Madonna and her then husband, the […]

mulholland falls ginster squad

Mulholland Falls: Ginster Squad

With Gangster Squad on release this week, I thought I’d take a look at Mulholland Falls, another tough neo-noir set in the post war city of angels. It features a similar team of two-fisted detectives who work off the books, loosely based on the Gangster Squad’s real life Robbery Division contemporaries, the Hat Squad. However, based on the […]

sw esb kiss

Hollywood Kisses

A montage of kissing from more than 100 films, by Clara Darko, for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy, movie lovers.  

raiders planefight

Unsung Heroes: Pat Roach

The term “gentle giant” is often a cliche only because it is true. And it very much applied to 6ft 5in Pat “Bomber” Roach: Birmingham born gentleman of the wrestling ring, writer, and also actor / stunt performer, who played many heavies in genre films. This in contrast to his  cornerstone role as the sensible […]

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