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Showing posts from March, 2021

Coogan's Bluff (1968)

By the late 1960s Clint Eastwood had become a bona fide film star. But he was still specifically a western star - that guy from Rawhide and A Fistful of Dollars . Dirty Harry , an orangutan called Clyde and success as an Oscar-winning director were all in the future. Having become a star in Italian-made westerns, Eastwood was lured back to Hollywood for another cowboy film Hang 'Em High in 1967. The year after that he branched out, making a rare war film Where Eagles Dare , playing second fiddle to Richard Burton, and a crime thriller  Coogan's Bluff .  Coogan's Bluff can be seen as a transitional film in Clint Eastwood's career, transferring his early western stardom into the crime film genre. It casts him as a laconic Deputy Sheriff from Arizona, who is usually referred to in the film by just his surname, Coogan. When asked his first name, he typically replies: "How about just Coogan?"

C.E.M.A. (1942): Bringing Culture to the Masses

C.E.M.A. stands for the Council for Encouragement of Music and the Arts. This worthy organisation was a forerunner of the Arts Council, formed during World War II to promote music, art and culture.  The 17 minute documentary short C.E.M.A. was designed to show audiences the kind of cultural outreach work that the Council was doing during WWII, bringing art, music and theatre to the British people. The film was co-directed by the poet Dylan Thomas, who worked on several of these informational shorts during the Second World War. Ironically, given that the film is about the creative arts, the makers obviously couldn't think of an interesting title, which shouldn't have been that difficult. Or maybe they thought that sort of thing would be pandering to the masses. So this film about C.E.M.A. is very unimaginatively titled ... er, C.E.M.A.

Revisiting 'Hollywood England' by Alexander Walker

Alexander Walker was one of Britain's best known film writers of the late 20th century, the long time film critic for the London newspaper the Evening Standard . He also wrote several books on films, including biographies of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Sellers, and studies on the silent cinema and the films of Stanley Kubrick. Between 1974 and 2003 he wrote three books covering the British film industry from the very end of the 1950s to the end of the 20th century - Hollywood England , National Heroes and Icons in the Fire .  The first of these books,  Hollywood England: The British Film Industry in the Sixties  (also published as Hollywood UK ), was first published in 1974 and covers the period from 1959 through to 1971, and so deals with a memorable and momentous period for British cinema.