Tonight (5/28) at CALS Ron Robinson Theater – MASH

MASH PosterAs the Vietnam War raged on, Robert Altman looked at another recent undeclared war, the Korean War. His 1970 film MASH is part of the CALS Ron Robinson Historic Cinema series.

This irreverent black comedy follows the exploits of a host of offbeat characters at a medical unit during the Korean War, including surgeons Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre who create havoc with their martini parties and practical jokes while the war rages around them. The film won an Oscar for best screenplay (for Ring Lardner, Jr.) and spawned the successful television series M*A*S*H, which ran for 11 seasons.

The movie stars Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman, Tom Skerritt, Rene Auberjonois, Roger Bowen, Fred Williamson, and Michael Murphy (an Altman fixture). Gary Burghoff would be the only person to play the same role in the film and in the TV series.

Celebrate Memorial Day with Historic Cinema: MASH! Military members, veterans, and their families receive FREE admission. Cost for others is $5.  The screening starts at 7pm.

Rock the Oscars 2019: TRUE GRIT (both versions)

In 1969, Arkansan Charles Portis’ novel True Grit was made into a movie starring John Wayne and Arkansan Glen Campbell.  Kim Darby, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Corey and Strother Martin are also in the cast.

The movie was directed by Henry Hathaway, produced by Hal B. Wallis, and written by Marguerite Roberts.  Wilford Brimley and Jay Silverheels are uncredited actors in the movie.

Though set in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the movie was filmed in Colorado.  Elvis Presley was the first choice for the part Campbell would play. But when his manager demanded top billing (over Wayne), he was bypassed and the part went to Campbell.

The movie was nominated for two Oscars: Wayne for Best Actor and composer Elmer Bernstein and lyricist Don Black for the song “True Grit.”  The latter had been sung by Campbell in the movie.

Wayne won the Oscar that night, his only win.  He would reprise the character of Rooster Cogburn in the eponymously named sequel in 1975. This film, in which he co-starred with Katharine Hepburn, was his penultimate film.

In 1970, Campbell teamed up with Kim Darby again in a film written by Roberts based on a Portis book. This time it was Norwood.  It also starred Joe Namath, Carol Lynley, Meredith MacRae, and Dom DeLuise.  It did not repeat the success of the earlier Portis based movie.

In 2010, the Coen Brothers released a new version of Charles Portis’ True Grit.  Co-written and co-directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, it starred Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Domhnall Gleeson and Elizabeth Marvel.  Unlike the original film, which was filmed in Colorado, this film was actually filmed partially in Arkansas, where  several scenes takes place.  Filming also took place in Texas.  Many Arkansas actors appeared in the film, but at the risk of omitting some, there will not be an attempt to name them.

The film received ten Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Directing, Leading Actor (Bridges), Supporting Actress (Steinfeld), Cinematography, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Art Direction.  Sadly, the film went home empty handed.

Rock the Oscars, TRUE GRIT – Part 1

Fifty years ago, former Arkansas Gazette reporter Charles Portis wrote a novel entitled True Grit.  It is more than a work of literature, it is a work of art.  In April 2018, the Oxford American will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of the novel with a series of events.

In 1969, the movie was made into a movie starring John Wayne and Arkansan Glen Campbell.  Kim Darby, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Corey and Strother Martin are also in the cast.  The movie was directed by Henry Hathaway, produced by Hal B. Wallis, and written by Marguerite Roberts.  Wilford Brimley and Jay Silverheels are uncredited actors in the movie.

Though set in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the movie was filmed in Colorado.  Elvis Presley was the first choice for the part Campbell would play. But when his manager demanded top billing (over Wayne), he was bypassed and the part went to Campbell.

The movie was nominated for two Oscars: Wayne for Best Actor and composer Elmer Bernstein and lyricist Don Black for the song “True Grit.”  The latter had been sung by Campbell in the movie.

Wayne won the Oscar that night, his only win.  He would reprise the character of Rooster Cogburn in the eponymously named sequel in 1975. This film, in which he co-starred with Katharine Hepburn, was his penultimate film.

In 1970, Campbell teamed up with Kim Darby again in a film written by Roberts based on a Portis book. This time it was Norwood.  It also starred Joe Namath, Carol Lynley, Meredith MacRae, and Dom DeLuise.  It did not repeat the success of the earlier Portis based movie.

Don’t Refuse THE GODFATHER, PART II tonight at the Ron Robinson Theater

RRT g2Arguably the best sequel ever, The Godfather, Part II is the only sequel to win the Oscar for Best Picture after the original film also won that award.  Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 epic examines both the rise of Michael Corleone and the early days of his father Vito Corleone.

Al Pacino returns as Michael with Robert De Niro taking on the role of younger Vito.  Both men were nominated for Oscars with De Niro taking home the Best Supporting Actor award.  Others in the cast include the return of Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda and James Caan along with newcomers Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, and Troy Donohue.  Danny Aiello, Bruno Kirby and Harry Dean Stanton can also be seen in small parts.

The screenplay was by Coppola and Mario Puzo, on whose novel the first two films were based.  The Godfather, Part II was nominated for 11 Oscars. In addition to De Niro’s win and the Best Picture trophy, it won for Director (Coppola), Screenplay (Coppola and Puzo), Art Direction and Score.

Tonight at 7pm, this big film returns to the big screen as the Ron Robinson Theatre screens it as part of the Great Directors series.  Tickets are $5, with concessions available for purchase as well.

THE GODFATHER on the big screen at CALS Ron Robinson tonight at 7

the-godfatherTonight the Central Arkansas Library System is making an offer the public cannot refuse – a chance to see Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 opus The Godfather on the big screen.  No, if you miss it you won’t wake up with a horse head in your bed tomorrow – but you will have missed a chance to experience this masterpiece as it is meant to be.

Based on Mario Puzo’s novel, Puzo and Coppola crafted a screenplay which tells of the business and family affairs of the Corleone family.  Deftly directed by Coppola, it stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and John Cazale.  Creating other memorable characters are Richard S. Castellano, Al Lettieri, Abe Vigoda, John Martino, Alex Rocco, Gianni Russo, Tony Giorgio and Vito Scotti among others.

The film was nominated for ten Oscars and took home Best Picture, Actor (Brando) and Adapted Screenplay.  Famously, Brando refused the award and sent Sacheen Littlefeather to make a speech.  The other nominees were Caan, Duvall and Pacino all up for Supporting Actor; Coppola for Director; as well as nominations for Costume Design, Sound and Film Editing.

Since this is Grammy week, it is notable that the film’s score by Nino Rota (ruled ineligible for an Oscar) won the Grammy for Music composed for movie or TV.

The screening starts at 7pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.  Tickets are $5 and concessions are available.