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Showing posts from November, 2019

Alien (1979)

In its genre, Alien has rarely, if ever, been bettered. It's a very simple story of a terrifying monster let loose in a confined space, killing off the crew of a space ship one by one. Its greatness lies in its superb handling and in its extraordinary art direction.

The film begins with the mining ship Nostromo returning to Earth with a cargo of 20,000,000 tons of mineral ore. The ship is still a long way from home when its computer picks up a distress signal from a nearby planet. The ship's crew are automatically awakened from suspended animation and directed to the planet to investigate.

The ship has a crew of seven. There is the businesslike captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), curious and incautious Kane (John Hurt), nervy Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), suspicious science officer Ash (Ian Holm), tough but brittle Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and two grumbling mechanics from below decks, Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton).

Dallas, Kane and Lambert investigate the …

Top 10 Film and TV Spies

There was a time when TV and cinema screens were mostly devoid of spy heroes. You might get the ordinary, innocent person caught up in a spy plot by accident, especially in Alfred Hitchcock's films, like The 39 Steps(1935), The Lady Vanishes (1938) and North by Northwest (1959). You might also see some wartime era spy work in the likes of O. S. S. (1946), or true life stories of undercover agents in Nazi-occupied Europe, as in Odette (1950) and Carve Her Name with Pride (1958).

But the spy as action-adventure hero didn't really take off on screen until the 1960s, a decade that saw the big and small screens flooded with fictional spies. Although spy mania reached its peak in this era, aided by the prominence of real life spies in the Cold War, secret agents have never completely gone out of fashion. In fact, with series like the Jason Bourne films, Mission Impossible and Kingsman, they're probably more popular now than they have been for decades.

Here then is a rundown of …