Frank Welker provided additional voices and vocal effects; including roars of the Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch, squawks for the Jubjub bird, and Bayard's barking. Rickman, Windsor, Fry, Gough, Lee, Staunton and Carter each took only a day to record their dialogue.
Nate Wright asks Wesley Nichols how he graded Clara Godfrey . Nichols says it's confidential. "But I'll say this, Nate:" Nichols says "As long as you're here at P.S. 38 ...Mrs. Godfrey will also be here at P.S. 38." He then talks to Mrs. Shipulski about how sometimes he feels like one of those comic strip characters who never gets older. Mrs. Shipulski says that that's her dream.
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"Airplane!" emerged as a sharply perceptive parody of the big-budget disaster films that dominated Hollywood during the 1970s. Written and directed by David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, the film is characterized by a freewheeling style and skewered Hollywood's tendency to push successful formulaic movie conventions beyond the point of logic. One of the film's most noteworthy achievements was to cast actors best known for their dramatic careers, such as Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges, and provide them with opportunities to showcase their comic talents.The central premise is one giant cliche: a pilot (Robert Hays), who's developed a fear of flying, tries to win back his stewardess girlfriend (Julie Hagerty), boarding her flight so he can coax her around. Due to an outbreak of food poisoning, Hays must land the plane, with the help of a glue-sniffing air traffic controller (Bridges) and and his tyranical former captain (Stack). Supporting the stars is a wacky assemblage of stock characters from every disaster movie ever made.Expanded essay by Michael Schlesinger (PDF, 477 KB)
This film's appeal may lie in its reputation as "a haunted house movie in space." Though not particularly original, "Alien" is distinguished by director Ridley Scott's innovative ability to wring every ounce of suspense out of the B-movie staples he employs within the film's hi-tech setting. Art designer H.R. Giger creates what has become one of cinema's scariest monsters: a nightmarish hybrid of humanoid-insect-machine that Scott makes even more effective by obscuring it from view for much of the film. The cast, including Tom Skerritt and John Hurt, brings an appealing quality to their characters, and one character in particular, Sigourney Weaver's warrant officer Ripley, became the model for the next generation of hardboiled heroines and solidified the prototype in subsequent sequels. Rounding out the cast and crew, cameraman Derek Vanlint and composer Jerry Goldsmith propel the emotions relentlessly from one visual horror to the next.
Perhaps more than any other film comedian in the early days of movies, W.C. Fields is an acquired taste. His absurdist brand of humor, at once dry and surreal, endures for the simple reason that the movies bear up under repeated viewings; in fact, it's almost a necessity to watch them over and over, if only to figure out why they're so funny. In his second-to-last feature, The Bank Dick (which he wrote under the moniker "Mahatma Kane Jeeves"), Fields as unemployed layabout Egbert Souse -- Soosay, if you don't mind -- replaces drunk movie director A. Pismo Clam on a location shoot in his hometown of Lompoc, California before chance lands him in the job of bank detective -- after which the movie becomes a riff on the comic possibilities of his new-found notoriety. The stellar comic supporting cast includes future Stooge Shemp Howard as the bartender at Fields' regular haunt, The Black Pussy, and Preston Sturges regular Franklin Pangborn as bank examiner J. Pinkerton Snoopington.Expanded essay by Randy Skretvedt (PDF, 401KB)
"Battle of the Century" is a classic Laurel and Hardy silent short comedy (2 reels, ca. 20 minutes) unseen in its entirety since its original release. The comic bits include a renowned pie-fighting sequence where the principle of "reciprocal destruction" escalates to epic proportions. "Battle" offers a stark illustration of the detective work (and luck) required to locate and preserve films from the silent era. Only excerpts from reel two of the film had survived for many years. Critic Leonard Maltin discovered a mostly complete nitrate copy of reel one at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1970s. Then in 2015, film collector and silent film accompanist Jon Mirsalis located a complete version of reel two as part of a film collection he purchased from the Estate of Gordon Berkow. The film still lacks brief scenes from reel one, but the film is now almost complete, comprising elements from MoMA, the Library of Congress, UCLA and other sources. It was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive in conjunction with Jeff Joseph/SabuCat. The nearly complete film was preserved from one reel of 35mm nitrate print, one reel of a 35mm acetate dupe negative and a 16mm acetate print. Laboratory Services: The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, Cineaste Restoration/Thad Komorowksi, Point 360/Joe Alloy. Special Thanks: Jon Mirsalis, Paramount Pictures Archives, Richard W. Bann, Ray Faiola, David Gerstein.
Chance, a simple-minded gardener (Peter Sellers) whose only contact with the outside world is through television, becomes the toast of the town following a series of misunderstandings. Forced outside his protected environment by the death of his wealthy boss, Chance subsumes his late employer's persona, including the man's cultured walk, talk and even his expensive clothes, and is mistaken as "Chauncey Gardner," whose simple adages are interpreted as profound insights. He becomes the confidant of a dying billionaire industrialist (Melvyn Douglas, in an Academy Award-winning performance) who happens to be a close adviser to the U.S. president (Jack Warden). Chance's gardening advice is interpreted as metaphors for political policy and life in general. Jerzy Kosinski, assisted by award-winning screenwriter Robert C. Jones, adapted his 1971 novel for the screenplay which Hal Ashby directed with an understatement to match the subtlety and precision of Sellers' Academy Award-nominated performance. Shirley MacLaine also stars as Douglas's wife, then widow, who sees Chauncey as a romantic prospect. Film critic Robert Ebert said he admired the film for "having the guts to take this totally weird conceit and push it to its ultimate comic conclusion." That conclusion is a philosophically complex film that has remained fresh and relevant.Expanded essay by Jerry Dean Roberts (PDF, 118KB)
One of the first films to deglamorize war with its startling realism, "The Big Parade" became the largest grossing film of the silent era. From a story by Laurence Stallings, director King Vidor crafted what "New York Times" critic Mordaunt Hall called "an eloquent pictorial epic." The film, which Hall said displayed "all the artistry of which the camera is capable," depicts a privileged young man (John Gilbert) who goes to war seeking adventure and finds camaraderie, love, humility and maturity amid the horrors of war. Along the way he befriends two amiable doughboys (Karl Dane and Tom O'Brien) and falls for a beautiful French farm girl (Renée Adorée). Vidor tempered the film's serious subject matter with a kind of simple, light humor that flows naturally from new friendships and new loves. A five-time nominee for Best Director, Vidor was eventually recognized by the Academy in 1979 with an honorary lifetime achievement award. Both stars continued to reign until the transition to talking pictures, which neither Gilbert nor Adorée weathered successfully. Their careers plummeted and both died prematurely.
"Brokeback Mountain," a contemporary Western drama that won the Academy Award for best screenplay (by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana) and Golden Globe awards for best drama, director (Ang Lee) and screenplay, depicts a secret and tragic love affair between two closeted gay ranch hands. They furtively pursue a 20-year relationship despite marriages and parenthood until one of them dies violently, reportedly by accident, but possibly, as the surviving lover fears, in a brutal attack. Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the short story upon which the film was based, described it as "a story of destructive rural homophobia." Haunting in its unsentimental depiction of longing, lonesomeness, pretense, sexual repression and ultimately love, "Brokeback Mountain" features Heath Ledger's remarkable performance that conveys a lifetime of self-torment through a pained demeanor, near inarticulate speech and constricted, lugubrious movements. In his review, Newsweek's David Ansen wrotes that the film was "a watershed in mainstream movies, the first gay love story with A-list Hollywood stars." "Brokeback Mountain" has become an enduring classic. 2b1af7f3a8