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The Great Unmade? The Early Drafts of Star Wars, Part 2

Following part one of my read-thru, with his second draft, dated January 1975, George Lucas began stripping down his massive manuscript of ideas and refocusing them into something much more budget conscious and achievable for the time. The Skywalker is a prophetic figure, a man who learned how to manipulate the spiritual fabric of reality […]

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Scene Is Believing: The Wicker Man

“Don’t you see that killing me is not going to bring back your apples?” “People call The Wicker Man a horror movie,” Christopher Lee (Lord Summerisle) says, “but it isn’t really, it’s far more subtle and sophisticated than that. Horror is about decay; The Wicker Man is about an opposition of values, the struggle to achieve […]

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Staircases To Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

You may recall we previously brought you news of The Elstree Project, an oral history project designed to record, preserve and share the memories of people who have worked at the studios of Elstree and Borehamwood. Well, one of their interview docs, a 55 minute film on the making of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining has been […]

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Top 10 Things I want to see from Skyfall

    10. The gun barrel   While many among you may say, “Ah yes, but the gun barrel was in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace” I would counter that argument by saying, “No it wasn’t – sod off”. In Casino Royale it was barely there and in QoS it appears at the very end. The end?? […]

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David Croft: A Celebration

There can be no doubt that for the majority of the 60s, 70s and 80s, David Croft was behind some of the best comedy that was ever shown on British TV. Some of the catchphrases injected into his work have become part of the common vernacular. You can’t say “are you free” to someone without the […]

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Scene Is Believing: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

  The Peruvian Temple set, stage 4, Elstree Studios “Throw me the whip.” “Throw me the Idol.” Ever since Goldfinger, the James Bond series has come up with a spectacular opening pre-credit sequence. Appropriately enough, since Steven Spielberg had professed a desire to George Lucas to direct a Bond film, Raiders Of The Lost Ark […]

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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 […]

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The Great Unmade? The Early Drafts of Star Wars, Part 1

Discussion of the origins of Star Wars must begin with Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, the tale of a bearded General and a young Princess, both in the guise of peasants, trying to sneak across enemy lines while pursued by the clan who overthrew their kingdom, and having to work with a bumbling pair of […]

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Sorcerer: Friedkin’s Ballbreaker

“What I did on Sorcerer makes Jaws look like a picnic!” Roy Scheider Jungle drums were sounding the call for William Friedkin’s blood in 1977. Critics judged Sorcerer, his loose remake of George Clouzot’s The Wages Of Fear, filmed in the wilds of the Dominican Republic, an act of hubris out of step with the […]

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Keep Moving 007

Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt didn’t do so much running after all in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. But he’s not the only spy on the block who can show us a clean pair of heels. Daniel Craig as James Bond gives literal meaning to the phrase, “active duty.” And ignore that ageist crack from Silva (“Your […]

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