Behind The Lens #31 – Two Step, The Look Like People, & Carol Nguyen

 

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On this week’s Behind The Lens, debbie lynn elias and I interviewed Two Step director Alex R. Johnson as he talked about how shooting in Texas reinvigorated him as a filmmaker (the movie, a tense thriller that Jim Thompson fans would appreciate, is terrific). MacLeod Andrews and Evan Dumouchel, stars and producers of They Look Like People (it’s another solid thriller – but this one tackles the intricate bond of friendship), also spent time on BTL to talk about their film.

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Stars & Film Lovers Align For TCM Classic Film Festival

The Sound of Music - Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer
The past several days has been a star-studded one if you’ve traversed Hollywood Boulevard thanks to the TCM Classic Film Festival. Film lovers from all over the world have attended this fest to check out silver screen classics on the big screen as well as meet some of cinema’s artistic luminaries.

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Director Richard Linklater “Came Running” As TCM Guest Programmer

 

Boyhood filmmaker Richard Linklater has joined Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this month to serve as its guest programmer. His first recommendation, the 1958 feature Some Came Running, airs tonight (TCM, 8 pm et/pt).

Directed by Vincente Minelli, Some Came Running stars Frank Sinatra as a disillusioned World War II vet who comes home, only to find the road turning in the wrong direction. In a 2010 interview with “The Guardian,” Linklater expressed his sincere love for the film, which he describes as a “wonderful drama.” “It’s a Sinatra vehicle but I love it because it’s about an artist who’s flopped,” said Linklater, who also directed Before Midnight and Waking Life. “And that’s hard to depict.” Some Came Running also stars Dean Martin and Shirley Maclaine (she worked with Linklater on the flick Bernie).

After Some Came Running, TCM viewers will then be treated to Linklater’s two other recommendations – The Asphalt Jungle (10:30 pm et) and Fanny and Alexander (12:45 a.m.)

During the Boyhood interviews, I asked Richard Linklater if there will be a director’s cut to his film. His answer (Boyhood co-star Patricia Arquette is also heard in the clip) is below:

For more information on the upcoming Boyhood Criterion release, check out this informative article by Slash Film.

Maureen O’Hara Shines Bright at TCM Classic Film Festival

Elton John once sang that Saturday night’s alright for fighting, but over in Hollywood no fisticuffs were headed in my direction. I was but one of several hundred movie buffs waiting at the El Capitan Theatre to check out John Ford’s feature “How Green Was My Valley” at the TCM Classic Film FestivalMaureen O’Hara, the strong willed and talented beauty whose credits include “The Quiet Man” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” was on hand to introduce the film.

I unabashedly love TCM host Robert Osborne’s interviewing skills as well as his even handed reverence for the films of yesteryear. Many journalists and hosts come off as sycophantic during interviews, and thankfully Osborne doesn’t belong in that camp. After a Maureen O’Hara brief tribute clip finished, Osborne introduced the actress, who immediately received a standing ovation.

After noticing a tear on O’Hara’s cheek from the warm reception, the TCM host dished out his first question.

Osborne: So Maureen, tell us about John Ford (and) what he meant to you?

O’Hara: I thought I was here to talk about me.

The crowd erupted in laughter, giving the actress another round of effusive applause. Osborne, who always seems to know exactly what to say, interjected, “What I meant was, what did John Ford mean to Maureen O’Hara?”

Maureen O’Hara, “How Green Was My Valley” Screening (WireImage, Photo: Stefanie Keenan)

With much respect to Mr. Ford’s classic, most of the moviegoers’ goals was shower O’Hara with their undying affection. Since most of the TCM Classic Film Festival attendees are diehard cinephiles, many of them had already seen “How Green Was My Valley.”

The “you had to be there” cliche certainly applies regarding that evening, especially since the 93-year-old actress knows how to spin a tale or two.

“I’ll tell you something that’s wonderful,” said O’Hara to a rapt audience. “To walk up and down the street once here in this area. . . they always used to say when we were little that the ghosts of the dead Irish were here in this little village somewhere and they walked up and down the street. If you walked up and down, too, they’d see to it that you’d get a chance to make a second walk.”

Osborne then jokingly described the story as “Irish blarney,” to which O’Hara replied: “Well if it is Irish blarney, what do you want?”

We get to the part of the evening which got me a bit teary eyed, as she regaled the crowd with a mixture of spirituality, sentiment, and humor.

“I just hope that it’s true that we do live way beyond the years that God gives us on Earth,” she added. “And that way we can have Saturday night every weekend! Don’t laugh and applaud and think it means nothing. Believe me, God is listening all the time. And he’s listening to see if he can catch you doing something that you shouldn’t be doing!”

Osborne later replied, “We thank you for coming you and letting us show you our affection for you.” To which O’Hara interjected, “Well, don’t be fooled into thinking I do magical things.”

Osborne: “You really do. You’ve done magical things up there on the screen.”

The crowd once again erupts in applause, and the actress shares another thought on the afterlife.

O’Hara: “So many of us have passed, who are in heaven. So many of us are looking towards heaven – and so many of us are seeing what our life is going to be like in the time to come.”

After someone in the theater coughed, O’Hara asked that person to stand up so God would bless them. When the unidentified joked that Osborne gave her the allergy, O’Hara looked at the TCM host, “Got an allergy for ya, I hope I don’t think it means what I think it does!”

And with that, Osborne and the audience thanked O’Hara for her time, and the screening of “How Green Was My Valley” started.

The words “movie magic” is often thrown around like useless glitter, that one wonders if such a concept exists anymore. Once in a blue moon, when Maureen O’Hara is on the silver screen, that notion rings true.

Here’s the video of the pre-screening conversation between O’Hara and Osborne:

As for “How Green Was My Valley,” I’m embarrassed that it took me 42 years to watch this cinematic treasure. O’Hara, who landed the role over screen sirens Gene Tierney and Katherine Hepburn, was just one of many actors who gave wonderful performances in the feature (the movie also stars Walter Pidgeon and Roddy McDowall). Considering the movie centers on a Welsh coal mining family who navigate through life by faith and perseverance, “How Green Was My Valley” served as the perfect pairing to O’Hara’s appearance at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

TCM Classic Film Festival Kicks Off With Host Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne (TCM Film Festival)

The fifth annual TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off today, and TCM host Robert Osborne talked to press about the festival and also shared various movie moments from his past. It was a great way to kick off a Thursday morning, especially since most of the media members who attended the event are diehard movie buffs.

This year’s theme is “Family in the Movies: The Ties That Bind,” and during the four day celebration various movies will explore the movie making dynasties that has American cinema through the generations. The opening night gala is a movie buff’s dream, as the world premiere of the restoration of “Oklahoma!” is taking place at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. The event, which will be hosted by Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, will also feature a Q&A session with “Oklahoma!” star Shirley Jones.

Now in his early seventies, Robert Osborne remains an unabashed lover of the golden age of Hollywood, and during the end of this morning’s press conference, he explained why “A Place in the Sun” and “This Is Spinal Tap” are among his favorite movies!

Click on the media bar below to hear Mr. Osborne talk about his favorite films:

Two of my all-time favorite films, the William Friedkin directed action-drama flick “Sorcerer” and Orson Welles’ film noir classic “Touch of Evil,” will also be screened at the fest. For more info, you can check out Twitter and follow @TCMfilmfest.