Mark at the Movies
Deadwood stages, pillow talk, and Hitchcockian veils
Spider-Man screenwriter Alvin Sargent spins a quite different kind of web
Steyn's favorite sequel title
Half-a-century ago this month - April 1969 - Bob Fosse began his career as a Hollywood director with Sweet Charity. It ended barely a decade later, but his name endures...
From fifteen Easters ago, Mel Gibson's blockbuster
Joking and jockeying back at the dacha
Twenty years of red pills and rabbit holes
Farewell to a classic comic franchise
An insightful exploration of the transatlantic relationship...
They're bring out the birthday cake at Wayne Manor
Steyn on the director of Dr Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick
Great Oscar ceremonies of the past
Kevin Kline in the Oval Office, Michael Douglas in the Rose Garden, Harrison Ford on Air Force One...
Erin Brockovich's lawyer, James Bond's family retainer, Little Orphan Annie's protector, and Britain's prime minister: Albert Finney
Steyn on the hilarious non-stop laugh-riot climate comedy
Dreams of glamour in Porpoise Spit
A brace of great Cate Blanchett scenes
A courtroom thriller with no college-loan cockwombles
The story of two forgotten "freaks", and a unique and unforgettable film
Steyn's favorite French film of the century so far
Steyn picks some seasonal movie moments with a military theme
Yuletide in short: In praise of Christmas-ish movies
A movie for Hanukkah, if you overlook the deer and the portapotty
Brando, Bertolucci and butter in the heyday of suburban porn
A new film about Freddie Mercury - an unconventional man in a very conventional biotuner
Chads of the silver screen
William Goldman, storyteller" and teller of stories about telling stories...
Steyn celebrates Giulietta Masina in Fellini's cinema classic
With Halloween approaching, Mark salutes his favorite vampire: Christopher Lee
Gene Autry, the original and greatest singing cowboy
A must-see new movie on the mass murderer who couldn't make the papers
Steyn celebrates the centenary of Robert Walker, and salutes an unforgettable performance
Steyn gets Woad rage over a most un-Camelot take on the Round Table
A primal struggle on the Carolina coast
The man who gave us the all-time greatest Carry On gag and the plot of a worldwide phenomenon
Steyn on Burt Reynolds' breakout role
For Labor Day, who labors harder than these guys?
James Coburn's last great film role
Steyn celebrates the ninetieth birthday of director Nicolas Roeg - and a brief personal connection
The twentieth anniversary of a summer blockbuster
Kathy Shaidle attempts to decipher the message of Gilda, a film she watched despite her efforts to the contrary.
This past week marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster hit Saving Private Ryan. Let's take a look back at what Mark had to say about it in 1998: When Saving Private Ryan was released in America, I made a mild observation to the effect that its premise was a lot of hooey, and received in response several indignant letters pointing out that it was 'based on a true story', that of the Sullivan brothers. Er, not quite. The Sullivans' story is stirringly told in The Fighting Sullivans (1942, directed by 42nd Street's Lloyd Bacon): after Pearl Harbor, all five brothers enlist - and all five die aboard the battleship Juneau at Guadalcanal. As a result, to avoid the recurrence of such a freakish tragedy, ...
This Bastille Day, let's take a look back at a classic French film reviewed by Mark on its 50th anniversary in 2014: Half-a-century ago - February 19th 1964 - one of my favorite films opened in cinemas across France - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg - or The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It's one of those movies that if I ever come across channel-surfing I usually find myself stopping and watching through to the end. Its composer was Michel Legrand, not yet a name in Hollywood and the Oscar-winning composer of "Windmills Of Your Mind", as quoted in Paragraph 111 of my Answer to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint in Mann vs Steyn et al. His big anglophone hits still lay ahead. Since Les Parapluies, I've acquired a modest connection to M Legrand, and not ...
Some of the more elevated observations about Psycho approach the level of poetry, but too often these critics are also, quite possibly, seeing things that not even Hitchcock himself conceived of.
My grandmother was a Bette Davis impersonator. Not professionally, and barely amateurly, either: She only entered, and won, a single look-alike contest, well before my time.
Mark is away, so this week's movie date is an encore presentation for Dominion Day weekend, first published last year on Justin Trudeau's fiasco of a sesquicentennial: On my native land's birthday, we surely ought to have a film on a Canadian theme. But what to choose?
Mark is "on assignment", as CBS used to say about Dan Rather, for a few weeks. So, as we approach the first anniversary of Jerry Lewis's death, we thought we'd invite Mark's compatriot Kathy Shaidle to offer her take on one of Lewis's most famous roles:
A Steven Spielberg travesty of a George Jonas book
Eunice Gayson, the Bond girl who set the standard for all who followed
Making a movie set look like someone lives in it
Two contrasting screen treatments of a surefire stage thriller
Royal weddings on the silver screen, from Hollywood to Hungary
Frank Sinatra was a memorable actor - and, as Sammy Cahn liked to say, that isn't even what he does...
The heyday of the disaster movie...
Twenty years ago this month, the Godzilla reboot du jour opened. Which isn't really an anniversary worth commemorating. Except that it also means it's the 21st anniversary of the ingenious advertising campaign launched a year earlier....
The 50th anniversary of the all-time disastrous double-date
For St George's Day, a very English romcom
Mary Jo Kopechne, Ted Kennedy and an army of Camelot fixers come to the big screen
Steyn celebrates the centenary of William Holden, star of Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch and many more
Bruce Willis steps into Charles Bronson's shoes (but not his sports coat)
Liam Neeson before he began killing Albanians
A centenary celebration of Mickey Spillane, author ...and actor
From the Sunday Telegraph corner of the Steyn archives here's my profile from a few years back of the Academy Awards' indispensable man - the one star without whom none of this would be possible...
An Oscar-nominated picture on predictable themes that goes to unexpected places
Churchill on the big screen, and on the Tube
Steyn on Christopher Nolan's new movie, bringing Churchill's "miracle of deliverance" to an American audience
Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll and a pair of handcuffs in the classic film version of our current Tale for Our Time
Steyn marks the centenary of actress and director Ida Lupino
The second most absurd Russo-American thriller
Peter Wyngarde was a bona fide star only for a few years. But his animal sideburns, extravagant moustache, and jaunty cravats nestling in thickets of chest hair cast long and hirsute shadows: He was the inspiration for Austin Powers...
Mark and Kyle Smith look back at the Lyman Administration, the Mitchell Administration and the Shepherd Administration. If you don't remember those presidents, click below:
Steyn on a story where the cavalry never show up
Steyn's pick of Auld Lang Synema
A celluloid sleigh ride through the remoter parts of the Christmas catalogue
One of Steyn's favorite Christmas movies - and oddly topical
Looking for art in a story without heroes
Steyn tells the tale of one of the best-known faces on the planet, his short life and his freakish and tortured end...
Moustaches wax and wane
On what would have been his ninetieth birthday, Steyn looks back at George C Scott and his Patton of behavior
A film about soldiering that wears its allegiance in its very title
The film that made Guy Fawkes a star
Steyn on the twentieth anniversary of a most unusual film shoot
Harvey Weinstein wasn't all about upscale anglophile Oscar-bait. He was also side by side with Quentin Tarantino, all the way from Reservoir Dogs a quarter-century ago to The Hateful Eight last year. Tarantino now says he'd known about Weinstein's behavior for decades and feels "ashamed" that he continued to work with him. Which is an odd reaction, given that "shame" is a quality unknown to almost any Tarantino character over the past 25 years. It as, as they say, ironic that the director appears to be overcome off-screen by a very particular human emotion, since as James Wood wrote in The Guardian over two decades ago: Tarantino represents the final triumph of postmodernism, which is to empty the artwork of all content, thus avoiding its ...
A Harvey Weinstein hit starring two of his staunchest supporters
Steyn on a film from a Nobel Prize-winning novelist (but with no pot plants)
Steyn marks the 90th anniversary of talking pictures
For our Saturday movie date this week, we're marking the twentieth anniversary of LA Confidential
Here's a classic film set in the French West Indies that introduced the world to a great Hoagy Carmichael number, and to Lauren Bacall...
A film for the fifth anniversary of Benghazi
Steyn celebrates the great coming-of-age movie, set in rural Texas
Steyn remembers a dark classic from Jerry Lewis, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese
Today, August 19th, is National Aviation Day in the United States, so I thought for our movie date we'd have an airy confection, about flight in both the aviation and criminal sense: Catch Catch Me If You Can if you can. It's a lovely movie and all the more surprising considering the Hollywood muscle powering it: Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio. These people have all made such terrible choices in recent years that you forget what it's like to see them in anything other than earnest pompous plonkers. Even John Williams dispenses with the big orchestral bombast and turns in his breeziest score in decades. It's almost groovy. Plus Christopher Walken gets to dance - not for long, alas - to "Embraceable You", with Nathalie Baye. ...
Steyn remembers an iconic American actor, and the role that made him a star
Steyn on a great novel, a memorable movie, and its latest reboot
Martin Landau died a week ago at the age of 89. He was a versatile actor who connected less often than he should have with the perfect part, but, when he did, there was none better. In the late Sixties, he was a TV fixture on "Mission: Impossible", playing the most watchable character Rollin Hand, a master of disguise who could pass himself off as almost anyone. It was a fun role for Landau, and created for him (the name of the part in early scripts was "Martin Land") and his particular talents: half the time, to make it even more enjoyable, they had him play the guy he was meant to be impersonating, too...
Who needs the Secret Service? President Harrison Ford swings into action as his own one-man security detail...
Nicole Kidman's finest hour - and in New Hampshire, too
Steyn on Socialized Health Care - The Movie
Steyn looks back on a terrific and oddly timely Kevin Costner thriller
We have a double-feature for you tonight. This weekend's Mark Steyn Show includes a video edition of Mark at the Movies with Steyn and Rick McGinnis discussing The Founder, Michael Keaton's biopic of the man behind McDonald's. If you prefer Mark at the Movies in print, we're in centenary mode: Dean Martin was born one hundred years ago this week - June 7th 1917 - in Steubenville, Ohio and, if it's nowhere as big a deal as his pallie Frank's centenary, his reputation is in better shape than it was at the time of his death. On Christmas Day 1995, when Dino bought the big casino, the consensus was that he ended his days a pathetic, lonely anachronism - a drunk act in an age when the likes of Carly Simon declined to duet with Sinatra on "One ...
Steyn salutes Roger Moore, a longtime James Bond and the definitive Simon Templar
Steyn marks the anniversary of a shagadelic classic
On the eve of a bizarre French election, in which the establishment have had to go to unusual and creative results to get their candidate across the finish line, I thought I'd pick a Gallic picture for our Saturday movie date: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg - or The Umbrellas of Cherbourg...
From the Steyn archives, Mark talks to the late Celeste Holm about a classic film musical
The 50th anniversary of a Sixties landmark
This month marks the one hundredth anniversary of the motion picture debut of Buster Keaton - in Fatty Arbuckle's film The Butcher Boy. Mark looks back at one of the silent screen's most lustrous stars...
North by Northwest is back on the big screen this week - on Sunday and Wednesday, across America. Don't miss it! There'll be plenty of praise for the director and his stars - Cary Grant, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint - but Mark has always had a special regard for the contribution of its screenwriter, Ernest Lehman...
From this weekend's Mark Steyn Show, here's another video edition of our Mark at the Movies department, in which Tom Gunning, author of The Films of Fritz Lang, joins Mark to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Lang's futuristic masterpiece, Metropolis:
From this weekend's Mark Steyn Show, here's a video edition of our Mark at the Movies department, in which The New York Post's Kyle Smith joins me with a remembrance of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, and we discuss this year's supposed Oscar shoo-in, La La Land:
Mickey and Minnie Mouse made their screen debuts in 1928 in an obscure silent short called "Plane Crazy", a quickie Lucky Lindbergh cash-in whose only claim to fame is that it briefly played as the supporting feature to the very first talkie, Warner Brothers' The Jazz Singer. That set the tone for Walt Disney's relationship with Hollywood: for most of his life, he was a pipsqueak supporting player to the big boys; the real moguls were the brothers Warner, Harry Cohn, Louis B Mayer, Daryl Zanuck...
My thoughts on John Glenn and the abandoned frontier reminded me of this film from 2014. I went to see Interstellar mainly because I was tickled by the fact that the bad guy is called "Dr Mann"...
Kellogg's "values" have evolved over the years
For the first and only time, Tom Cruise had Mark at hello
The twentieth anniversary of Billy Bob Thornton's terrific directorial debut
The only actor to wind up on a winning presidential ticket
A Halloween horror starring a whiskery Jack Nicholson...
Steyn on the new Bond film - and the return of Blofeld
Mark reviews the latest Coen Brothers film
Last year for our Valentine's Day movie pick we featured Clint Eastwood's valentine to himself. This year I thought I'd celebrate one of the great romantic chemistry sets in motion pictures - the now all but forgotten Shirley Ross and a young Bob Hope. So for hopeless romantics here's some romantic Hope: Back in the late Thirties, Bob Hope and his writers created two "Bob Hopes", two public personas that kept him in business for the next six decades. For radio, he was smart, sharp, sly, with tremendous confidence: in my mind's eye, I always see him walking out from the wings to the mike â€” the first great saunterer in show business. He was the pioneer stand-up and the inventor of the modern Oscar ceremony. Until the late Thirties, the ...
In this month before the Academy Awards, we always like to offer a few Oscar winners and losers from years past. This one won big 15 years ago - Best Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects and, of course, Best Picture...
More or less exactly thirty years ago, I saw Alan Rickman in the role that made his name - as the Vicomte de Valmont in Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Barbican Pit. Theatre critics are overly fond of the phrase "a commanding performance", but I've rarely seen anything as commanding as Rickman on stage that night: he was a very palpable flesh-and-blood embodiment of the title. From about 20 minutes after his entrance, you could feel all around you that approximately 90 per cent of the female audience and 30 per cent of the male were just longing to be taken by him. I made the mistake of inviting a young lady along, and at supper afterwards she did her best not to make it too obvious that ...
Robert Stigwood, the Aussie producer who rescued the Hollywood musical
From the Queen's New Year Honours list, here are a trio of damehoods that caught my eye - Kiwi, Cockney and Cymru...
Stabilize your rear deflectors! From a galaxy far far away - the summer of 1977 - Star Wars is back, rebooted for the 21st century and in hopes that after a decade's time-out the series has shaken off its turn-of-the-century "prequels"...
For this week's movie date here's a look at Sinatra's film career. He was a memorable actor - and, as Sammy Cahn liked to say, that isn't even what he does...
A trio of creature features for Halloween
In the recent expanded eBook edition of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade, I write about Miss Moneypenny - both the character and her most famous screen incarnation, Lois Maxwell...
Sex'n'wrecks on the QEW
For America's Columbus Day weekend, here's a film by Chris Columbus. Oh, wait, that's a different Chris Columbus? Too late. We'll save our hommage to Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin in Goodbye, Columbus until next year's holiday. But this Chris Columbus is the fellow who beat out Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner and others to win the chance to bring J K Rowling's Harry Potter series to the big screen. For our weekend movie date, here's the film that launched the then very young Harry, Hermione and Ron into motion pictures - the adaptation of the first book in the saga, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone - or, for American readers, Sorcerer's Stone: On its release in 2001, this was a huge film. I saw it in New Hampshire and I didn't get ...
Just ahead of Spectre, a terrific Bond debut
The man who brought Mohammed to the big screen
John Lennon would have turned 75 in October. Instead he was shot dead a few weeks after turning 40 and after returning to the rock biz after a self-imposed half-decade exile. The most interesting part of a celebrity's life is always the pre-celebrity years, so for our Saturday movie date this week I thought we'd screen Iain Softley's 1994 biopic Backbeat - the backstory to the beat, when the Fab Four were a fivesome trying to make it in Hamburg: My expectations of this picture were minimal, if only because, not for the first time, the tag-line sells it short: "He had to choose between his best friend, the woman he loved and the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world." In other words, it's the old conflict between personal life and ...
Tom Cruise breaks into a Colorado toilet to seize Hillary's server
Two decades ago this weekend, The Usual Suspects opened. It was a cool film with a certain cachet and a hip cast...
Bugs Bunny turned 75 earlier this week. He made his debut in the form we know him today on July 27th 1940 in Chuck Jones' "A Wild Hare"...
During the filming of Gigi, Maurice Chevalier took a first run at "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" and then turned to the song's lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner. "How was I?" he asked.
"Perfect," said Lerner. "Every word."
"No, no," said Chevalier. "Did I sound French enough?"
A couple of days ahead of Bastille Day, that's what I went looking for for our Saturday movie date: something that's French enough...
For whatever reason, it feels a fairly muted Independence Day this Fourth of July. So I thought for our Saturday movie date a tale of American daring and ingenuity triumphing against the odds...
Lindsay Lohan, before she got fully loaded
So a reader sent me a link over to this piece, and for some reason the management situation over there made me think this might be an apt film for our Saturday movie date...
or our Saturday movie date this week, a muted centennial: Orson Welles was born one hundred years last Wednesday - May 6th 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin - and I thought the anniversary would have been a bigger deal. But I guess the conventional wisdom on the Wunderkind - meteoric rise, then squandered talent - is prevailing posthumously, too...
One of my boys said to me the other day, "Hey, can we watch Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?" - which surprised me because I thought the Hitchhiker's cult had waned sufficiently that it would have passed his generation by. As it happens, it's ten years ago this week since the movie came out - intended as the first of a series but received so badly that we'll be waiting for a sequel a long time. Nevertheless, I found the picture interesting as a study in adaptation, which is the main reason it's our Saturday movie date. I came to Hitchhiker's Guide somewhat late and by the time I did its worshippers were so devoted I never felt like putting in the hours to join their ranks. But it ran and reran on BBC Radio Four for what seems like a ...
Al Pacino turns 75 in a few days' time. He had a great run in the early Seventies - The Godfather, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon - and then made some poor choices. Still, I assumed he'd be one of those Hollywood leading men who aged well and retained their cool. It never occurred to me that he'd decide to spend his late middle-age chewing the furniture and bellowing in ever riper outfits and hairdos. For our Saturday movie date, I was trying to think of the last good Pacino film, and settled on this one - from 1997, Donnie Brasco: One of the rare endearing qualities about Hollywood execs is their habit, for all their much-vaunted insider cynicism, of reacting to hit films like any old rube at the multiplex. Faced with Four Weddings And A ...
Our Saturday movie feature salutes a memorable Hollywood star, born one hundred years ago this month - April 21st 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico: Anthony Quinn was easy to mock - rough, raw, primal, lusty, throaty, stubbly, the life-force who forces a little too much life on you, who pisses on subtlety, sprays mouthfuls of ouzo on nuance, rubs the prickle of his three-day beard on ambiguity...
So the other night I was watching the second movie in the RED series, which is like the semi-thinking man's Expendables, and reckoning what fun it was to see a great serious actress like Helen Mirren mixing it up with an action star like Bruce Willis. And then I thought: "Hang on, when did Helen Mirren become a great serious actress?" Well, somehow she did...
A cinematic blockbuster in which the megalomaniac super-villain out to take over the world is ...a climate-change activist
For Oscar weekend: Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in a great Oscar-loser
Clint Eastwood's American Sniper continues to do boffo biz, but on this Valentine's Day it's not really what one would call a date movie. So, for our weekend film feature, how about this Clint pic, with a dozen roses and a box of chocolates? In 1995, Eastwood took a schlock novel, and turned it into a valentine to himself...
In the wake of Brian Williams' fantasies, another tale of journalistic fabulism
One of Clint Eastwood's best movies - as producer, director and composer
The producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr died a week ago. He was the son of Sam Goldwyn, the world's most quotable movie executive and the G in MGM, although he wasn't part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for very long. Goldwyn Jr worked hard at making his own name and left a respectable alternative-Goldwyn filmography...
P D James died on Thursday, the undisputed heir to Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers as the "Queen of Crime", although she did not care for either comparison ("Such a bad writer," she sniffed of Dame Agatha). But in her 94 years she did a lot of other things, too: She was a Conservative peeress in the House of Lords, and her time in the bureaucracy (she was a Home Office civil servant) made her an effective chairman of things - whether of the Booker Prize for Fiction, or committees concerned with more earthbound endeavors. I had a slight acquaintance with her during my time at the BBC's "Kaleidoscope", where we used to call her in as a celebrity reviewer. I can recall being slightly skeptical of her judgment only once, when she told me ...
A limousine liberal's valentine to Bill Clinton
Thanks to The New York Times, I find myself keeping company I don't usually keep: Lena Dunham, Cary Elwes, Russell Brand, Tina Fey...
Now that Ebola has been loosed upon the land, I thought it would be jolly to have a killer-virus picture for our Saturday movie date...
For our Saturday movie feature, here's a film column from Mark's book The Face Of The Tiger that originally appeared in The Spectator a few days after September 11th 2001:
"It was like something out of a movie."
Not everyone said that, but enough people did, watching on television or from the streets of Lower Manhattan. At times it was even shot like a movie, the low crouch of an enterprising videographer capturing the startled "What the fuhâ€¦?" of a street-level New Yorker as high above him in the slit of sky between the buildings the second plane sailed across the blue and through the south tower. The "money shots" were eerily reminiscent - the towers falling to earth with the same instant, awesome symbolism as the atomisation of the White House in Independence Day. In Swordfish, just a few weeks ago, a plane clipped a skyscraper; I thought at the time how bored John Travolta's innocent hostages looked...
Yesterday would have been Richard Attenborough's 91st birthday. He died five days short, at a grand old age, and as the grand old man of British film, garlanded with knighthoods, peerages, fellowships and life presidencies of worthy bodies. I met him when I was very young, in his capacity as chairman of Capital Radio in London, and he gave me what proved to be excellent advice, although I neglected to take it for several decades. It was an amazing seven-decade career stretching back through Jurassic Park and Gandhi and The Great Escape to an ambitious young stage actor in the post-war West End. He was in the original cast of Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap, which opened in 1952 and is still playing every night at the St Martin's ...
Steyn on the high water mark of Michael Moore's cultural moment
For the post-holiday weekend in America, how about an Independence Day movie? We're not the most inspired chaps around here, so, from 18 Glorious Fourths ago, here's Roland Emmerich's Independence Day. The music for this film is by David Arnold, who went on to succeed John Barry as James Bond's house composer, in part because his score here reassured Barbara Broccoli that he could handle a big-budget blockbuster. You can hear David and other members of the 007 family paying tribute to John Barry and the Bond years in a SteynOnline audio special here. And with that bring on the aliens: In 1996, Independence Day opened in the midst of Bob Dole's auto-subversive post-modern campaign for the Presidency, so he decided to swing by the multiplex ...
Alison Anders' movie recreates the Brill Building pop sound of the early Sixties
The role that ensured Kim Novak's name will last as long as movies do...
We're counting down to the Oscars with the 1994 Best Picture winner...
A mockumentary about faux folk
An encore presentation of Mark's audio salute to James Bond's music man, John Barry
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