Posts Tagged ‘John Barry’

OUT OF AFRICA – John Barry

September 3, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Notable directors such as Orson Welles, David Lean and Nicolas Roeg had long sought to bring to the big screen the 1937 novel Out of Africa by Isak Dinesan (Karen Blixen). None were successful in adapting the story into a cogent screenplay. Sydney Pollack however was determined to succeed, and after two years of struggle managed with the assistance of screenwriter Kurt Luedtke to fashion a screenplay drawing from Blixen’s “Out of Africa”, but also her novel “Shadows on the Grass” and Elsbeth Huxley’s novel, “The Flame Trees of Thika”. Mirage Enterprises agreed to fund the project, which would be produced by Kim Jurgensen and Sydney Pollack, who would also direct. A fine cast was assembled, which included the dashing Robert Redford as Denys Hatton, Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen, and Klaus Maria Brandauer as Baron Bror von Blixen. The story offers a sad testament to the life of a wealthy Danish woman Karen Blixen, and the love of her life, Denys Hatton. After she is spurned by her Swedish lover, Karen relocates to British East Africa and enters into a loveless marriage of convenience with his brother, Baron Bror Blixen. They plan to start a dairy cattle farm, but on the wedding day Bror informs her that he plans to instead start a coffee plantation. His infidelity leads to her contracting syphilis, which requires that she return to Denmark for treatment. She returns to find Bror more interested in Safaris than her and they separate. Read more…



March 29, 2018 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Masquerade is a now long-forgotten mystery-thriller directed by Bob Swain and written by Dick Wolf, just before he took over television with his expansive Law & Order franchise. The film is set in and around an elite New England yachting community, and tells the story of Olivia, a naïve, recently orphaned millionairess who returns home after many years away, and falls in love with a dashing young yacht racing captain named Tim. However, Olivia soon becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot of lies, deceit, and murder, the scope of which apparently extends to the entire community. The film stars Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly as the central pair, features Kim Cattrall, John Glover, Dana Delany, and Doug Savant in supporting roles, and has a lovely original score by John Barry. Read more…


March 5, 2018 3 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Joe Levine had a contract with Peter O’Toole and was looking for a film to again showcase his talent. He found the vehicle in the Broadway play “The Lion In Winter” by James Goldman that offered dramatic dialogue, which would play to O’Toole’s thespian strengths. Anthony Harvey was brought in to direct the film and they hired an amazing cast to support Peter O’Toole (King Henry II), which included Katherine Hepburn (Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine), their three sons, Anthony Hopkins (Richard), John Castle (Geoffrey), and Nigel Terry (John). Also joining was Jane Morrow (Henry’s mistress Alais) and Timothy Dalton (King Philip II of France). Hopkins and Dalton were both making their screen acting debuts. Read more…


November 13, 2017 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman wished to capitalize on the burgeoning success of the Bond franchise, but could not proceed with the next installment “Thunderball” due to ongoing litigation between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory over screenplay rights. As such they decided to move forward with Fleming’s next novel, Goldfinger. Guy Hamilton would return as director and was rewarded with a budget, which exceeded that of the first two Bond films combined. A fine cast was assembled, but not without significant challenges. Orson Welles was approached for the role of Auric Goldfinger, but his salary demands were too high. As such they brought in German actor Gert Frobe to play the titular role, but his poor English necessitated dubbing his lines. Sean Connery returned to reprise his role as James Bond with Honor Blackman joining as Pussy Galore, Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson, Harold Sakata as Oddjob, Bernard Lee as Department Head M, Cec Linder as CIA liaison Felix Leiter, and Desmond Llewelyn as Q. Read more…


August 10, 2017 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the British secret agent. Dalton took over the role from Roger Moore, who had retired from the part after A View to a Kill in 1985, but only after a long and protracted period of negotiations in which the original choice, Pierce Brosnan, was eventually blocked by producers of the American TV show Remington Steele. The film was intended to be a return to the grittier feel of Ian Fleming’s original novels after Moore’s previous few films were criticized for being too tongue-in-cheek and self-aware. The plot initially concerns the defection of KGB officer Georgi Koskov, which Bond helps facilitate, but quickly turns into an international conspiracy involving a beautiful Czech cellist named Kara Milovy, a megalomaniacal American arms dealer named Brad Whittaker, and an attempt to undermine the slowly thawing relationship between the Soviet Union and the West with nuclear weapons. Directed by John Glen, the film co-stars Maryam d’Abo, Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, and Art Malik as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who helps Bond in his hour of need. The film was generally well-received, and I personally have always felt that Dalton was an underrated Bond, who successfully captured the darker, more dangerous side of Fleming’s character which had been missing from the franchise for too long. Read more…


October 20, 2016 1 comment

peggysuegotmarriedTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although he is best known for his epic gangster Godfather trilogy, and for the classic war movie Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola has made many other movies in his career, and some of them are much less dramatic and shocking. One of those is the 1986 film Peggy Sue Got Married, a romantic comedy-drama wish fulfillment-fantasy written by husband and wife team Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner. Kathleen Turner stars as Peggy Sue Bodell, who attends her 25-year high school reunion shortly after separating from her unfaithful husband Charlie (Nicolas Cage), her former high school sweetheart. Peggy Sue regrets many of the decisions she made in her life, such as getting pregnant by Charlie in high school, and feels that her circumstances would be different if she had the chance to do it over again. Peggy Sue faints at the reunion, and when she wakes up she magically finds herself in 1960, back in high school, and with the chance to right the wrongs of the past. The film, which co-starred Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks, Joan Allen, and a 24-year-old Jim Carrey, was both a commercial and a critical success, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including one for Turner as Best Actress. The film also features an original score by the legendary John Barry, the second and last of his collaborations with Coppola after The Cotton Club in 1984. Read more…


July 28, 2016 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Howard the Duck was one of the most critically lambasted films of 1986, and probably represents the low point of George Lucas’s entire career as a filmmaker. The film was adapted from a cult comic book by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik by screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, and was originally intended to be an animated film, but became live-action because of a contractual obligation, a decision which rendered much of the original comic book’s surrealist imagery difficult to convey. Despite being about a walking, talking, anthropomorphic duck, the comic book was essentially a satire on the human condition; desperate to appeal to a larger audience, Huyck and Katz stripped away most of Gerber’s scathing social commentary and adult story elements, and reduced it to an absurdist action-buddy-comedy – as such, it failed to satisfy fans of the original comic, nor did it have any real crossover appeal with the general public, and unsurprisingly it failed miserably at the box office. Read more…