Alongside books I have a huge interest in Cinema in particular film noir. When it comes to this time of year I am always looking for books to add to my Christmas list that will really increase my knowledge and here are a few things I found:
- Budget Option: This book in genuinely on my personal Christmas Wishlist. Billy Wilder: Masters of Cinema by Noel Simsolo is bursting with pictures and little titbits about the directors career and personal life. This is for film lovers of The Apartment, Double Indemnity and The Seven YearItch. £5.39 with free delivery.
- Mid Range: The second item I have included in from one of my favourite charities The Film Noir Foundation. They work to refurbish and reclaim old film reels and make them available to the public. One of the ways in which they do this is sell merchandise. The Noir City Annual contains essays and discussion points taken entirely from outside contributors these can only be bought from Amazon US and sell for $25 plus $5 delivery. As they come from the US they may be a little late for the 25th December but if you have a later Christmas these could be perfect.
- Luxury: The Encyclopedia of Film Noir by Geoff Mayer is a hard cover book bursting with information and pictures this discusses the genre and how it should be defined – this is constantly debated by noir film lovers. There is so much information here that it will certainly keep you busy Christmas day. This is also available from Amazon at a cost of £47.95 with free delivery.
What are you hoping for in your stocking?
Ever since I was old enough to like boys I have had a thing for older actors, musicians etc. There is nothing nicer on a man than the odd wrinkle or a bit of grey in their hair. So after a conversation at work about Liam Neeson yesterday who is now 60 here is my list of my top five over 40s.
5) Jared Leto – Born on boxing day 1971 he is just about allowed on this list by a few months. He is the front man of band 30 seconds to Mars and is also a successful actor starring in a number of films and TV shows. The first time I ever noticed him I was 13 and reading Kerrang magazine. Even when I heard that he once kissed Paris Hilton I was not put off.
What do you think?
4) Phillip Scholfield is 50 years old and any self respecting Brit will know of him, at 5ft 9 he may be quite short for a man, but that’s fine I’m quite a bit shorter. Known as the silver fox he is orginally from Oldham making him a northerner too! He has been on TV my entire life and I have enjoyed him for most of that time.
Here he is…
3) Ewan McGregor, if you haven’t heard of him where have you been? He is 41 years old and Scottish a great combination. He has also been a love of mine for most my life, with piercing blue eyes and a head of ginger hair he may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he sure looks great in a set of leathers. He has also been happily married for 17 years making him even more attractive.
Do you agree with me?
2) Robert Downey Jr. This may be considered a bit of an odd choice but I think he is gorgeous. He has a very bad reputation for his previous bad boy antics, but that makes him all the more attractive. He is an amazing actor and is so charismatic in interviews. All of the others in this list I noticed in my early teens but this one was a late developer. I was 20 when I realised how hot is he is!
1) Billie-Joe Armstrong – This guy has been my first love since I was 12, not only is he gorgeous he is extremely talented. His recent problems have caused him to take a break in rehab, but it is obvious he will soon come through. He turned 40 this year and has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 18 years. I remember being 13 and finding out he was married – I was gutted. Greenday remain one of my favourite bands to this day despite the fact their posters aren’t covering my walls anymore.
Joey Fane is coming back from two years in an institution, he is only ten years old and full of hatred for his supposedly loving nanny. He was sent away due to believed part in his sister’s death and because he refuses to eat or sleep. At first he seems extremely paranoid why would this mild mannered, devoted lady (play by the legendary Bette Davis) want to harm anybody?
But odd things are happening around the house and surely the balme can’t lie entirely at the feet of a ten year old?
This is another film from my beloved silver screen from 1965 and by the amazing Hammer Studios, a company that although went bust a number of years ago has since been bought by a European company who plan to release more films.
There was great acting here throughout particularly by William Dix who played the young boy. I would reccommend this to anyone who likes horror, but doesn’t care for bloodshed or over complication.
Frank witnesses a mob hit and when the police try to put him into police protection he scares and runs away. When the detectives go to ask his wife Eleanor about his life she knows very little about him. Eleanor is soon approached by a reporter who offers her a good sum for the story and he helps her to find Frank, however he is not what he seems.
I am a huge film noir fan and this was another classic from the era, a film relying on the story alone and not special effects. I had never heard of any of the cast but I was very impressed with the performances.
When I bought this DVD a couple of months ago it was £4.99 which I thought to be quite a good deal and as this forms part of a film noir collection I will now look at buying some more. I also thought Ann Sheridan who played Eleanor was not only beautiful but very talented and I hope to see some more of her films.
Made in 1950 this is an excellent example of what cinema was doing back then:
‘Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant’
In the film ‘None but the Lonely Heart’ Grant plays a loveable chancer called Archie Leach – this just happens to be his real name. Christened as Archibald Alexander Leacher and born in 1908 he was probably the most delicous of all male silver screen actors. He was orginally from Bristol but with his huge amount of time spent acting in American he was given citisenship. He had five wives and one long term relationship but only had one daughter Jennifer Grant.
‘Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops’
He never actually won an Oscar until 1970 when he was given an ‘honourary oscar’ purely for his contribution to the industry. He had a very unsettled childhood with her mother suffering from mental illness and Grant believe for a number of years that his moving had actually died. His father abandoned him at the age of ten when he remarried and had another child. He was also expelled from school. That’s when he joined the Bob Pender Stage Troupe and there he learnt how to walk stilts. This also where his stage career began.
‘We have our factory, which is called a stage. We make a product, we colour it, we title it we ship it out in cans’
He worked with a large number of the world’s most favourite leading ladies including Marlen Dietrich, Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn. Quite often he was the love interest. He played a variety of roles and his British accent and easy charm made woman across the world fall in love with him.
A few months ago I was reading a book when the film Double Indemnity was mentioned and I decided to buy it I love older films so know if would be something I would enjoy that’s when I first came across this amazing actress. She was born as Ruby Catherine Stevens in 1907 Brooklyn and by 1944 she was the highest paid woman in the United States.
As she was orphaned at 4, she spent most of her earlyyears in and out of foster homes making what she became even more of an acheivement. she even won three emmys and a golden globe. But Barbara Stanwyck is not often a name you hear and I think that is a real shame and she even received a lifetime achievement award.
I haven’t yet managed to see a great number of her films (I am have only actually seen four) but of what I have seen I thought her best work was in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. Martha is a woman who has killed her Aunt as a child and her love for killing has stuck with her since she first got away with it. She believes everything is fine until an old friend comes to town…
If you are a fan of the silverscreen I would certainly recommend this.
Here are the for films I’ve seen but I wish to see many more:
1 Double Indemity
2 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
3 Meet John Doe
Although she is often remember for her acting skills I have never heard anybody comment on her beauty. She may have been no Grace Kelly but with her European features he was beautiful in her own right. Born in Sweden in 1915 she had three husbands throughout her life and four children. She sadly died at the ago of 67 in London.
At her first ever audition when she was 17 she’s thought she’d thoroughly messed up but later she was told:
“We loved your security and your impertinence. We loved you and told each other that there was no reason to waste time as there were dozens of other entrants still to come. We didn’t need to waste any time with you. We knew you were a natural and great. Your future as an actress was settled.’
She was in so many great films and recieved a large number of awards, my personal favourite was not one of her most famous but I felt she acted brilliantly this was Spellbound. She was a young woman in love with a man who she really shouldn’t have been and throughout the whole film she was stuck between what she should do and what she wanted to. Brilliant actress.