Category Archives: Observation

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The Great Unmade? Charley’s War

  Charley’s War, the brilliant WWI comic strip from author Pat Mills and artist Joe Colquhoun that featured in the pages of Battle Picture Weekly, has been beautifully reprinted in hardback volumes for several years. The final volume is expected around November this year. This is a modest and timely appreciation of that monumental work: as […]

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Reappreciation Society: Year Of The Dragon

No-one does excess quite like Michael Cimino (Heaven’s Gate, The Deer Hunter). And when you factor in a co-writing credit by Oliver Stone and a hey-day bruising performance by Mickey Rourke, you get crimeland / cop procedural drama Year Of The Dragon. Light the touchpaper and step back, because “This isn’t the Bronx or Brooklyn. […]

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The Steadicam And The Shining: Vintage American Cinematographer Article

  Below is a vintage article from the August 1980 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, on the use of Garrett (spelt Gareth in the article) Brown’s invention, the steadicam, still often erroneously credited as a Stanley Kubrick invention, in The Shining. Seen in the maze photograph below operating the rig is Ken Weston, officially the […]

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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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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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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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Bickle’s Got Talent? The King Of Comedy

      In this age of television wannabes and quick fix celebs, it is fitting to look back at The King Of Comedy, Martin Scorsese’s prescient examination of the modern age’s obsession with fame, and a film he himself acknowledges as a sequel of sorts to Taxi Driver, another classic misfit story. Both have […]

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