Friday, August 21, 2009

Camera Obscura: (Part One) Still Time To Win Free Movie Posters

You still have time to enter to win a set of six great new movie posters from classic Hollywood courtesy of Turner Classic Movies -- I have two sets of the six posters to give away, and to win all you have to do is enter your name in the comments section of this post -- all part of my celebration of my blog birthday. (Entry is open until midnight Aug 31st and two winners will be then selected at random.)

Today, TCM's Summer Under The Stars event makes a day of the films of Gene Hackman - one of the finest actors working today. For many years, he was a solid supporting actor in wide range of roles and some of his best supporting and leading work is highlighted tonite. First, there's "Lilith", a moody tale from director Robert Rossen about a woman (Jean Seberg) being treated at a sanitarium for schizophrenia. While Warren Beatty has the lead role in the movie, Hackman nearly steals the movie in scenes where he plays the husband to one of Beatty's former girlfriends. Rossen's movies always play with intense realism, and that's the kind of movie where Hackman shines.

When Beatty began casting for "Bonnie and Clyde", also on TCM tonite, he put Hackman in as Clyde's brother, a performance which earned Hackman his first Oscar nomination. Also tonite, TCM airs "The Conversation" by director Francis Ford Coppola - a dazzling movie with Hackman playing the lead role of Harry Caul, a specialist in spying and surveillance. This excellent mystery allows Hackman to play a very dour and nerdy character, a man with so many layers - and his role as spy gets turned against him as we see unknown forces strip away each of those layers, all to a devastating effect on Hackman. (His character here was the basis of the one he played in the Will Smith thriller, "Enemy of the State", another tale of spying and surveillance).

Saturday, TCM features the work of another legend, Sterling Hayden. Hayden is likely best remembered for the hilarious lunacy of Colonel Jack D. Ripper in "Dr. Strangelove", but he was a menacing tough guy in some great crime films like "The Asphalt Jungle", "Manhandled" and more. TCM also airs "Johnny Guitar", one of the oddest Westerns ever made. Hayden plays the title character who joins forces with actress Joan Crawford as they fight off attempts to steal her property and chase her out of town. But that barely describes this entry from director Nicholas Ray -- best to describe it as a David Lynch-style warping of a Hollywood Western with psycho-sexual twists and turns. It's a strangely compelling movie, often hypnotic and garish all at once. It's a must-see movie.

So enter the contest and win some free movie swag!!

And check back later today for Part Two of Camera Obscura and I'll have reviews of two new movies for you - Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds" and the new sci-fi film "District 9".


  1. Anonymous1:20 PM

    TnReader here, Joe-- sign me up!

  2. Oh yeah! I'm in...