For every sure-bet in movie casting, there are scores of questionable decisions on whether an actor can handle a certain role. And that’s where the screen test comes in.
A screen test provides the opportunity for a director and producer to determine whether a specific part should go to an actor who might not be the obvious choice for the role. David O. Selznick memorably shot scores of screen tests to find the right actors that would bring Margaret Mitchell’s characters to life in the film version of “Gone with the Wind” – except for the role of Rhett Butler, which was always envisioned for Clark Gable. Several decades later, George Lucas brought together a line-up of promising under-the-radar talent to test for his “Star Wars.”
On this week’s episode of Saturday Morning Cartoons, we will visit with our friend Jem and her Holograms. While most of the cartoons some of us watched were aimed at boys or were just generally aimed at kids, Jem was aimed at the most outrageous of us all!
Film history is littered with proposed projects that seemed tantalizing in concept, but somehow never found their way before the cameras. But were these aborted efforts destined to succeed? Seriously, would Stanley Kubrick’s proposed biopic of Napoleon or Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Dune” been instant classics? I think that some vigorous debates could be enjoyed on whether or not we should be fortunate those works never got made.
On Saturday, June 5, the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors will be held in Washington, D.C. This annual event follows a tradition of honoring five individuals or entities within the performing arts, with commendations given to icons from the worlds of film and television, theater, popular music, classical music and opera, and dance
Traditionally, the Kennedy Center Honors have focused on lifetime achievements – an exception was made in 2018 when the award went to the creators of the Broadway show “Hamilton.” Also, for years it was an unspoken tradition to present four of the awards to white artists and one to a token minority – it wasn’t until 2013 that the majority of honorees were nonwhites. And while the Kennedy Center Honors was initially designed to celebrate American talent, over the years the prize has gone to British and Japanese artists.
Few television programs hit the airwaves with the impact of “Rowan & Martin Laugh-In.” With its rapid-fire skein of zany sketches, topical humor, hipster catch phrases, go-go dancing, and zeitgeist-hugging mod fashions and pop-art production design, the program defined the spirit the free-wheeling and often chaotic late 1960s and early 1970s. Continue reading →
The 1970 film “Let It Be” has always been a sore spot for both the Beatles and its fans, with its depressing view of the band’s final stretch amid a state of emotional and creative tensions. The film has intentionally been kept out of commercial since the late 1980s, and repeated announcements of the year of a digital restoration and release were never followed through with the film’s return. Continue reading →
This early effort from director William Wyler focuses on Dave Roberts, a handsome young boxer involved in a traveling scam anchored around phony fights. Roberts is tasked with ingratiating himself in a small town before agreeing to challenge a visiting pugilist in a bout that culls bets from local gamblers. Roberts always loses the bout and then exits for another town and a repeat of the cycle. Continue reading →
For many years, the 1933 Poverty Row flick “The Sin of Nora Moran” was primarily known for its appropriately Pre-Code lurid poster by Alberto Vargas of a barely-dressed blonde in a coiled state of emotional angst. Never mind that no such person resembling the poster subject appeared in the film – the eponymous character was a brunette with short hair who remained fully clothed at all times. But the provocative poster failed to attract audiences back in the day and the film was mostly forgotten for too many years. Continue reading →