GOLDFINGER at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater as part of the 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival

Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, and Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger (1964)Before Goldfinger was an iconic film (with a great song sung by Shirley Bassey), it was a novel by Ian Fleming.

Kick off the 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival with a screening of the 1964 film Goldfinger, the third in the franchise.

The screening starts tonight at 7pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

Directed by Guy Hamilton from a screenplay adapted by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn, this is considered by many to be the best classic Bond film.

Goldfinger is stockpiling gold reserves. Bond investigates and uncovers an audacious plan to commit the heist of the century.

Sean Connery returned as the suave spy. Joining him in this outing were Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee, Martin Benson, and Lois Maxwell.

The film won the Oscar for Best Sound Effects, which went to Norman Wanstall.

 

Advertisements

Little Rock Look Back: “Nine from Little Rock” wins an Oscar

On April 5, 1965, the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject went to the film “Nine from Little Rock.”

Narrated by Jefferson Thomas, Charles Guggenheim’s documentary looks at the nine African-American students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Thomas, one of the students reflects on the state of race relations in the seven years that had elapsed (up to 1964).  The film also focuses on Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford and Thelma Mothershed.

Guggenheim both directed and co-wrote the film. The latter credit was shared with Shelby Storck, who also produced the film.   The film had been commissioned by George Stevens, Jr., for the United State Information Agency.

The Oscar that night was Guggenheim’s first of four.  His others would be for: 1968’s “Robert Kennedy Remembered” (Live Action Short), 1989’s “The Johnstown Flood” (Documentary Short) and 1994’s “A Time for Justice” (Documentary Short).  His son Davis Guggenheim won the Oscar for Documentary, Feature for An Inconvenient Truth.

The film was digitally restored by the Motion Picture Preservation Lab for the 50th anniversary of its win for Best Short Documentary at the 1965 Academy Awards.  It is available for purchase on DVD and can also be viewed in its entirety on YouTube

Little Rock Look Back: John Houseman visits Arkansas Arts Center

Image result for john houseman paper chaseOn March 13, 1968, future Oscar winner John Houseman visited the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.

Mr. Houseman was here to audition actors for his new acting conservatory at Lincoln Center. Though media accounts did not identify it at the time, this became the new Drama Division of Julliard, which he led until 1976.

He had been aware of Dugald MacArthur’s acting program as part of the Arkansas Arts Center School of Art and Drama.  When he learned that it would be closing in May 1968, Mr. Houseman decided to come to Little Rock to audition actors to be part of his initial 20 member class.  Five actors from the Arkansas Arts Center were chosen to be part of that original class.

Mr. Houseman would again be connected with Arkansas. His Oscar came for THE PAPER CHASE which was directed by University of Central Arkansas alum and Arkansas native, James Bridges. The two had known each other when Bridges worked at Houseman’s UCLA theatre. Bridges recruited Houseman to make the film, his first screen work in decades.

Tonight at CALS Ron Robinson Theater: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is a “Movie Meant for the Big Screen”

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl PosterAs part of its “Movies Meant for the Big Screen” series, tonight (March 12) the CALS Ron Robinson Theater will be showing the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. 

Inspired by the amusement park ride at several Disney properties this movie stars Johnny Depp (channeling his best Keith Richards), Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush. Also on hand are Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook and Zoe Saldana.

Blacksmith Will Turner (Bloom) teams up with eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow (Depp) to save his love, the governor’s daughter (Knightley), from Jack’s former pirate allies, who have returned from the dead.

The film is directed by Gore Verbinski. It was nominated for five Oscars and spawned three sequels to date.

Admission is $5. The screening starts at 7pm.

Johnny Cash’s Birthday

Cleveland County, Arkansas, native Johnny Cash was the subject of the Oscar winning film Walk the Line.  Although he never lived in Little Rock, he was a frequent visitor throughout his career.

Born on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, as a young boy he moved with his family to Dyess.  After service in the military (in which he also had his first band), Cash moved to Memphis. It was there he broke into the music scene.

Among the venues Cash played in Little Rock were Barton Coliseum and Wildwood Park for the Arts.  On more than one occasion, he shared the stage with his friend and fellow Arkansan Glen Campbell.   The largest crowd for which Cash performed in Little Rock was in 1989, when he appeared at a Billy Graham crusade at War Memorial Stadium.

He is a character in the musical Million Dollar Quartet which the Arkansas Rep is producing later in 2019.

Rock the Oscars 2019: BlacKkKlansman

The Oscars are tonight.  One of the films nominated for Best Picture is BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee.  Though previously nominated for Best Screenplay (Do the Right Thing) and Docmentary (4 Little Girls), this is the first time Lee has been nominated for producing a Best Picture nominee and for Best Director.

There are at least three Little Rock connections to the film.  First, it opens with vintage news footage of members of the Little Rock Nine being escorted into Central High in September 1957 (even though the film erroneously says August 25, 1957).

Second, Adam Driver stars in the film, and has earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination.  His father now lives in Little Rock. Driver also participated in the 2017 Arkansas Cinema Society’s “Premiere” event. Following a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Driver and ACS founder Jeff Nichols took part in a discussion.

Third, Little Rock native and Hendrix College alum Ashlie Atkinson appears in the movie. She is also a former intern at Arkansas Times.

Rock the Oscars 2019: John Houseman

Image result for john houseman paper chaseIn March 1968, future Oscar winner John Houseman visited the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.

Mr. Houseman was here to audition actors for his new acting conservatory at Lincoln Center. Though media accounts did not identify it at the time, this became the new Drama Division of Julliard, which he led until 1976.

He had been aware of Dugald MacArthur’s acting program as part of the Arkansas Arts Center School of Art and Drama.  When he learned that it would be closing in May 1968, Mr. Houseman decided to come to Little Rock to audition actors to be part of his initial 20 member class.  Five actors from the Arkansas Arts Center were chosen to be part of that original class.

After sporadic acting appearances, he was cast in 1973’s The Paper Chase. It was for this performance, as a demanding contract law school professor, that Mr. Houseman won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  The film was directed by University of Central Arkansas alum and Arkansas native, James Bridges. The two had known each other from Houseman’s UCLA theatre days. When several name actors declined the role, Mr. Houseman was approached and set up an audition.