This week offers a wide variety of movies that premiered between August 12 and August 18, some lost, some classic, some not-so-classic, box office hits, award winners and nominees, and cult classics. This week also sees the release of the second of two Alfred Hitchcock films to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars (possibly the first, and only, time this has happened) -- but did either of them win? Let's browse through ten decades of releases, and if you see a film that strikes your fancy, be sure to use the links within the post to make a purchase or rental from our affiliates. Every sale will help us to keep popping the corn and bringing you more entertainment!
1920Aug 15 - The Great Redeemer
- Cast: House Peters, Marjorie Daw, Jack McDonald, Joseph Singleton
- Director: Clarence Brown, Maurice Tourneur
- Studio: Maurice Tourneur Productions, distributed by Metro Pictures.
- Trivia: The first film directed by Clarence Brown, who also produced. It's unknown if there are any surviving prints.
- Cast: Lewis Sargent, Lila Lee
- Director: William Desmond Taylor
- Studio: Realart Pictures Corporation
- Trivia: Preserved in the Library of Congress collection.
- Cast: Bryant Washburn, Margaret Loomis, J. Maurice Foster, Frank Jonasson, Lillian Leighton
- Director: James Cruze
- Studio: Famous Players-Lasky, distributed by Paramount Pictures/Artcraft
- Trivia: Based on the 1987 play of the same name by George Broadhurst.
- No new films premiered this week in 1930.
1940Aug 12 - Doomed to Die
- Cast: Boris Karloff, Marjorie Reynolds, Grant Withers
- Director: William Nigh
- Studio: Monogram Pictures Corporation
- Trivia: The film is a sequel to The Fatal Hour (1940). The film uses actual footage from the burning of the SS Morro Castle which caught fire on September 8, 1934 during a voyage from Havana to New York City.
|© United Artists|
- Cast: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Bassermann
- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Studio: Walter Wanger Productions, distributed by United Artists
- Trivia: Hitchcock's second Hollywood film. The film had an unusual number of writers, ten total, with only four -- Charles Bennett, Robert Benchley, Joan Harrison, James Hilton -- getting a writing credit. It took producer Walter Wanger five years before he had a script he was satisfied with. Based on the political memoir Personal History by Vincent Sheehan. This and Hitchcock's first Hollywood film Rebecca were both nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1941; Rebecca was the winner. Also nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Albert Bassermann) and four other awards but won none. Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper for the lead but he turned it down, not interested in doing a thriller; he later admitted to Hitchcock that was a mistake. Joan Fontaine was also wanted for the female lead but was under contract to Selznick and would not loan her out (he had already loaned out Hitchcock for this production). The film's working titles were 'Personal History' and 'Imposter'. The final scene was replaced with a new scene at a radio station after Hitchcock returned to England on July 3 and heard reports that Germany was expected to bomb London at any time; the new ending foreshadowed the famous radio broadcast by Edward R. Murrow. The film opened in the UK on October 11, 1940. The film opened in the US a week before Germany began bombing London on August 24. Named one of the Top 10 films of 1940 by Film Daily, and nominated for Best Picture of 1940 by the National Board of Review.
- Cast: Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet
- Director: Boris Ingster
- Studio: RKO Radio Pictures
- Trivia: Nathaniel West wrote the final version of the screenplay but was not credited. Often referred to as the first true film noir of the period from 1940-1959. Margaret Tallichet only made three more films after this and retired from acting; she married director William Wyler in 1938. Ingster's directorial debut, he was an associate of Russian director Sergei Eisenstein. Ingster only directed three films in his career. The film's influential production designer Van Nest Polglase also worked on King Kong, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Citizen Kane.
1950Aug 16 - The Furies
- Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Walter Huston
- Director: Anthony Mann
- Studio: Hal Wallis Productions, distributed by Paramount Pictures.
- Trivia: Walter Huston's final film performance; he died four months before the film's release. Based on the 1948 novel of the same name by Niven Busch. The film was a financial failure upon its release but went on to gain a reputation as a 'Freudian Western' and is viewed as one of Mann's greatest contributions to the genre. Filming took place on location in Tucson, Arizona, with some interiors shot at Paramount Studios. The film opened in Tucson on July 21, 1950 before its national release in August.
- Cast: Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally, Sidney Poitier
- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Trivia: The feature film debut of Poitier and Mildred Joanne Smith. Screenwriters Mankiewicz and Lesser Samuels lost the Best Story and Screenplay Oscar to Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett and D.M. Marshman Jr. for Sunset Boulevard.
- No new films premiered this week in 1960.
|© ABC Pictures|
- Cast: Beatrice Arthur, Richard Castellano, Bonnie Bedelia, Gig Young
- Director: Cy Howard
- Studio: ABC Pictures, distributed by Cinerama Releasing Corporation.
- Trivia: Adapted from the 1968 play of the same name by Renée Taylor and Joseph Bologna. This was Diane Keaton's film debut; Sylvester Stallone was an extra. Nominated for three Oscars, winning for Best Original Song. Richard Castellano and Diane Keaton went on to appear in The Godfather (1972). The song For All We Know was performed in the film my Larry Meredith, and covered by The Carpenters in the US and Shirley Bassey in the UK in 1971.
- Cast: Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, Donald Pleasence
- Director: Ralph Nelson
- Studio: Katzka-Loeb, distributed by Embassy Pictures.
- Trivia: Adapted from the novel Arrow in the Sun by T.V. Olsen, and inspired by the events of the 1864 Sand Creek massacre in the Colorado Territory. The story was intended to be an allegory for the Vietnam War. The film's explicit depictions of violence have garnered critique and interpretation citing the film as everything from anti-war to exploitation. Exterior photography took place in Mexico. Bergen has said a large van full of prosthetics, dummy body parts and animatronics was brought in for the bloody final scene. Amputees from Mexico City were also employed to serve as victims of the final massacre sequence. The film premiered in New York City on August 12 and then in Los Angeles on August 14.
- Cast: Rod Taylor, Jane Russell, Theodore Bikel, Suzy Kendall, William Smith, Anna Capri, Janet MacLachlan, James Booth
- Director: Robert Clouse
- Studio: National General Pictures
- Trivia: Adapted from the novel of the same name by John D. MacDonald. Taylor played the Travis McGee character, while Sam Elliott played the character in the 1983 TV movie Travis McGee, which was adapted from the novel The Empty Copper Sea; the only two times the character has been portrayed on screen. Other actors considered for the role: Jack Lord and Robert Culp, while MacDonald pushed for Steve McQueen or Vic Morrow. Jane Russell's final film role. Shot on location in Florida and Nassau. MacDonald disliked the film intensely, calling it 'feral, cheap, rotten, gratuitously meretricious, shallow and embarrassing.' The film has developed a cult following due to its scarcity on home video and television broadcasts, which features a slightly edited fight scene. While edited prints of the film exist, an uncut version does not seem to exist any longer. The staged fight scene escalated into a real brawl between Taylor and Smith after Taylor hit Smith, who retaliated and ended up breaking Taylor's nose while Smith suffered three broken ribs. Both Taylor and Smith were considered for the role of martial artist Roper in Enter the Dragon, also directed by Clouse, but the role went to John Saxon.
- Cast: David Janssen, Jean Seberg, Lee J. Cobb, James Booth, David Carradine, Bo Hopkins, Richard Anderson, Diane Ladd
- Director: Bernard Kowalski
- Studio: Felicidad Productions, distributed by Embassy Pictures.
1980Aug 15 - The Kidnapping of the President
- Cast: William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Van Johnson, Ava Gardner
- Director: George Mendeluk
- Studio: Presidential Films and Sefel Films, distributed by Crown International Pictures
- Trivia: Based on Charles Templeton's novel of the same name. The New York City location of the novel was changed to Toronto for the movie. The film opened in Canada on September 19, 1980.
|© 20th Century Fox|
- Cast: Chris Makepeace, Ruth Gordon, Matt Dillon, John Houseman, Craig Richard Nelson, Kathryn Grody, Adam Baldwin, Martin Mull
- Director: Tony Bill
- Studio: Melvin Simon Productions, distributed by 20th Century Fox
- Trivia: Tony Bill's directorial debut, the acting debut of Baldwin and an uncredited Jennifer Beals, and Joan Cusack's first major film role. The film opened on July 11 in limited release. Named as one of the Top Ten films of the year by the National Board of Review. Nominated by the Writers Guild of America for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen.
- Cast: Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Dom DeLuise, Sally Field, Paul Williams, Pat McCormick
- Director: Hal Needham
- Studio: Rastar, distributed by Universal Pictures
- Trivia: The film was released in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries as Smokey and the Bandit Rides Again, and early video releases and TV prints used this title, but have reverted to the original title in recent years. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 was released in 1983, but Reynolds just made a cameo appearance and Field did not appear at all. Reynolds and DeLuise were friends who had worked together before and worked together again in The End, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II, and lent their voices to All Dogs Go To Heaven. Smokey II and Cannonball Run were filming simultaneously. Football players Joe Klecko and Terry Bradshaw also appear in both films. It was the first film to feature director Needham's 'Blooper Reel Credit Crawl'. The Pontiac LeMans sedans dressed as police cars destroyed in the desert roundup sequence were originally purchased by a rental agency in Phoenix which refused delivery of the cars when it was learned they had no air conditioning; Pontiac took the cars back and gave them to the producers to be used in the film. A record breaking automobile jump was captured on film during that scene as stuntman Gary Davis jumped a 1974 Dodge Monaco over 150 feet, suffering compressed vertebrae as a result of a hard landing. It was the eighth most popular film of the year, earning over $66 million at the North American box office. Critical reaction was harsh, calling the sequel unnecessary, and even Reynolds was unhappy working on the film, feeling it was just a cash grab by Universal.
- Cast: Frank Langella, Glynnis O'Connor, Tom Hulce, Jerry Stiller, Kevin McCarthy
- Director: Michael Pressman
- Studio: United Artists
- Cast: Michael Ontkean, Margot Kidder, Ray Sharkey, Jan Miner, Jerry Hall
- Director: Paul Mazursky
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
|© 20th Century Fox|
- Cast: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Nicol Williamson, Brad Dourif
- Director: William Peter Blatty
- Studio: Morgan Creek Productions, distributed by 20th Century Fox
- Trivia: Despite the title, the film takes place 17 years after the original film and ignores the events of Exorcist II: The Heretic, but it follows a character from the first film, Lieutenant William F. Kinderman, who investigates a series of demonic murders he believes are connected to the Gemini, a deceased serial killer that Blatty based on the Zodiac Killer. Blatty conceived the project with original The Exorcist director William Friedkin, but when he left the project Blatty turned the screenplay into the novel Legion (1983). Blatty was unhappy with Morgan Creek which demanded extensive reshoots, last minute changes and an exorcism for the finale. Scream Factory released a version closer to Blatty's 'director's cut' on Blu-ray in 2016, but some of the original footage appears to be permanently lost. Blatty offered directorial duties to John Carpenter, but he backed out when it became apparent Blatty wanted to direct the film. George C. Scott was cast to replace the late Lee J. Cobb, who played the role in the original film, saying he liked the script because it was a horror film and much more. Jason Miller reprised his Father Karras role but was billed as 'Patient X' in the credits. There are cameo appearances by Patrick Ewing, Fabio, C. Everett Koop, Larry King and Samuel L. Jackson in an early appearance in a dream sequence. The film was tentatively titled Exorcist: Legion. The demonic voice emanating from Karras at the film's climax was Scott's ex-wife Colleen Dewhurst, altered to sound like Mercedes McCambridge, who provided the voice of Pazuzu in the original, albeit uncredited. The film premiered in October 1989 at the European MIFED Film Market, and was released in the US a month before the parody film Repossessed (with Linda Blair) opened. Blair claimed Exorcist III was rush-released to hijack her film's publicity and was forced to open a month later than planned. The film became a focal point at the trial of Jeffrey Dahmer, who would play the movie for some of his victims before killing them.
- Cast: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack
- Director: Herbert Ross
- Studio: Hawn/Sylbert Movie Company, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
- Trivia: This was the third film in which Martin and Moranis starred together. The film was released a month before Goodfellas, and both are based upon the life of Henry Hill. Goodfellas was adapted from the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, while the screenplay for My Blue Heaven was written by Nora Ephron, Pileggi's wife. Much of the research for both projects was done at the same time in sessions with Hill. Martin was originally cast in the Moranis role of Coopersmith with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Antonelli role. Schwzenegger was offered Kindergarten Cop and left the production, and failing to find another suitable actor, Martin offered to take the role himself. Moranis had originally been offered the Coopersmith role but had been unavailable at the time.
- Cast: James Belushi, Charles Grodin, Anne De Salvo, Mako, Veronica Hamel, Héctor Elizondo, John de Lancie, Gates McFadden
- Director: Arthur Hiller
- Studio: Hollywood Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
- Trivia: The film was released in the UK as Filofax. This was the first screenplay written by J.J. Abrams.
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton
- Director: David Lynch
- Studio: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Propaganda Films, distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
- Trivia: The film premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival on May 25, 1990, one day after it was completed, where it won the Palme d'Or. After the screening, the film was met with wild cheering but when the award was announced, the boos, led by Roger Ebert, nearly drowned out the cheers. Based on Barry Gifford's novel of the same name. Lynch did not like the ending of the book and changed it to fit his vision of the main characters, but feared the change would be seen as too commercial. The film includes allusions to The Wizard of Oz and Elvis Presley movies. The film had poor test screenings with 80 people walking out of the first and 100 walking out of the second due to a graphic torture scene; Lynch refused to cut the scene after the first screening, but knew it was killing the film after the second set of walkouts and cut it so it remained powerful but didn't send people running. Diane Ladd received nominations for Best Supporting Actress from both the Oscars and the Golden Globes. It was Cage's idea for Sailor to wear a snakeskin jacket. Before filming started, Dern suggested she and Cage go on a weekend road trip to Las Vegas to bond and get a handle on their characters. The film features Chris Isaak's song 'Wicked Game' for which Lynch directed the music video, incorporating scenes from the movie with black and white footage of Isaak performing. The film received an X rating (NC17 had not been created yet) and Lynch had to make cuts to deliver a contractually obligated R rated film. Only one scene featuring a character shooting off his own head was altered with smoke effects to hide the blood and removal of the head from the body. Foreign prints of the film were not affected. The film was in limited release until it went wide on August 31.
2000Aug 18 - The Cell
- Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker
- Director: Tarsem Singh
- Studio: RadicalMedia, distributed by New Line Cinema
- Trivia: Tarsem Singh's directorial debut. Several scenes in the movie are based on works of art by Damien Hirst, Odd Nerdrum, H.R. Giger and the Brothers Quay. Singh directed music videos for En Vogue and R.E.M. and imagery from Stargher's dream sequence were inspired by music videos such as Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer' and 'The Perfect Drug', Madonna's 'Bedtime Story' and Floria Sigismondi's work with Marilyn Manson. The plot of a psychiatrist entering the mind of an insane patient was used in the 1965 novella He Who Shapes by Roger Zelazny, and in the 1984 film Dreamscape. Roger Ebert gave the film a four-star review. A sequel, The Cell 2, was released directly to DVD on June 16, 2009.
- Cast: Steve Harvey, D. L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac
- Director: Spike Lee
- Studio: MTV Productions, Latham Entertainment, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, distributed by Paramount Pictures
- Trivia: Filmed over the last two nights (February 27-27, 2000) of the tour at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, NC. The film opened at Number 2 at the box office behind The Cell, but grossed $11 million from just 847 screens. The film's popularity inspired several spin-offs including The Queens of Comedy, The Original Latin Kings of Comedy, The Kims of Comedy, The Comedians of Comedy and The Killers of Comedy.
2010Aug 13 - Eat Pray Love
- Cast: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem
- Director: Ryan Murphy
- Studio: Columbia Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, distributed by Sony Pictures
- Trivia: Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir of the same name. Filming locations included New York City, Rome, Naples, Delhi and Pataudi (India), and Ubud and Padang-Padang Beach at Bali. Hindu leaders were concerned with the production and urged the use of spiritual consultants to accurately reflect life in an ashram. The film opened the same weekend as The Expendables which featured Julia's brother Eric Roberts. While opening in second place to The Expendables, Eat Pray Love was Roberts' highest debuting film since America's Sweethearts in 2001. There were over 400 merchandising items created for the film including jewelry, perfume, tea, gelato machines, prayer beads and window shades. The World Market department store had an entire section devoted to the film's merchandise. Home Shopping Network ran 72 hours of programming featuring movie merchandise. The decision to market such a wide range of products, many of which were not even featured in the film, was harshly criticized by several media outlets.
- Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itié, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Daniels, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke
- Director: Sylvester Stallone
- Studio: Millennium Films, Nu Image, distributed by Lionsgate
- Trivia: The film premiered on August 3 in Los Angeles before opening wide on August 10. Dolph Lundgren's first theatrical release since 1995's Johnny Mnemonic. The film opened at Number 1 in the US, UK, China and India, and spawned two sequels. Writer David Callaham's third draft of a script titled Barrow drew interest from Stallone, who used it as a starting point for The Expendables. Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down a role because he felt there was no substance to the character. Stallone was reportedly on the phone with Van Damme at the premiere and JCVD admitted he made a mistake, later appearing in the sequel as the main villain. The role of Hale Caesar was conceived for Wesley Snipes, who could not leave the US due to his tax issues, then rewritten for Forest Whitaker, who had a scheduling conflict, then was replaced by 50 Cent before finally being played by Terry Crews. Steven Segal was asked to do a cameo but turned it down due to issues with the film's producer. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Ben Kingsley and Ray Liotta were all considered for the role that went to Eric Roberts. The role of Mr. Church was offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he took on the role of Trench. Kurt Russell was approached but his agent said Russell was not interested in doing an ensemble piece. The role was cast with Bruce Willis after principle photography had been completed. With filming taking place in Brazil, Stallone cast mercenary soldier roles with mixed martial arts fighters from the UFC. The film was originally set to debut on April 23, 2010 but was pushed back four months for extra production time. An extended director's cut with approximately 11 additional minutes premiered on the Epix cable channel on May 30, 2011. Stallone was nominated for the Worst Director Golden Raspberry Awards.
|© Universal Pictures|
- Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman
- Director: Edgar Wright
- Studio: Marc Platt Productions, Big Talk Films, Closed on Mondays Entertainment, Dentsu, distributed by Universal Pictures
- Trivia: The film premiered at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22, 2010, and played at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal on July 27, 2010. The film opened in the UK on August 25, 2010 and in Japan on April 29, 2011. Based on the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Edgar Wright had been interested in making the film after receiving a pre-release copy of the graphic novel while working on Shaun of the Dead in 20041. Wright has cited Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik as an influence on his approach to the film. The second and main draft of the script was submitted at midnight on the night the Writers' Strike was due to begin in October 2007. Wright stopped working on his Ant-Man screenplay for two years to focus on Scott Pilgrim. The cast spent two months in fight training before production began. The film is said to be the biggest movie ever identifiably set in Toronto with notable locations like Casa Lorna, St. Michael's College School, Lee's Palace and Artscape Wychwood Barns. Wright lived in Toronto for a year before filming commenced to get the correct feel of the city. Casa Lorna had been used as a set for other films but this was the first time it was 'playing itself'. Anna Kendrink and Aubrey Plaza were virtual unknowns when they were cast in the film. Kendrick auditioned before she shot Twilight, and Plaza was cast before she did Parks & Recreation. Winstead was Wright's first choice for Ramona after seeing her in Death Proof. Seth Rogen had been suggested by Universal for the role of Scott, but Wright had no one else in mind but Cera. Ellen Wong auditioned for the role of Knives three times but didn't think she'd get cast because she's Asian. Chris Evans said taking the role was a no-brainer because he was such a fan of Wright. 18-year-old Brie Larson was cast after her audition blew everyone away.
- Cast: Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope, Jamie Madrox, Monoxide, Jason Mewes, Mark Jury
- Director: Paul Andresen
- Studio: Psychopathic, Fontana, Vivendi
- Trivia: Prequel to Big Money Hustlas. The film was influenced by Westerns, Warner Bros. cartoons and Blazing Saddles. The film premiered at The Fillmore Detroit on January 23, 2010 then was released directly to DVD after being released locally at the 11th annual Gathering of the Juggalos.
- Cast: Matt Lanter, Chris Riggi, Ken Jeong
- Director: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
- Studio: Regency Enterprises, distributed by 20th Century Fox
- Trivia: Panned by critics, the film topped the box office on opening day but ended the weekend at Number 3 behind The Expendables and Eat Pray Love. By the full second week, the film had dropped out of the Top Ten, landing at Number 11 and grossing no more than $500 per screen, but rebounded over the weekend to finish at Number 6. The Twilight parody ended up earning more than $81 million against a $20 million budget.