This week’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to director John Sturges‘ 1963 war-era classic, The Great Escape. Set in a POW camp in Nazi Germany, the film follows the true story of a group of Allied prisoners who sought to accomplish the biggest jail break ever conceived, scattering more than 200 Allied troops across the country in an effort to divert Nazi war efforts on finding and re-capturing the escaped soldiers. The Great Escape is famous for a number of reasons. It featured an all-star cast including Steve McQueen (The Cincinnati Kid, The Sand Pebbles), James Garner (The Rockford Files, The Notebook), Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park, Elizabeth), Charles Bronson (Once Upon A Time In The West, Death Wish), Donald Pleasance (Halloween, Escape From New York), and James Coburn (The Muppet Movie, In Like Flint), several of which were actual POWs with the Allied Forces during World War II. It also set and broke a number of on-screen records, ranging from the scale of the production (an entire replica of a real-life German POW camp was built in which to shoot the film) to the impressive array of stunts. Continue reading →
Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is currently working on principle photography for his upcoming remake of the classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven. The original film was directed by legendary director John Sturges (The Great Escape, Joe Kidd) and featured an all-star cast that included Yul Brynner (The Ten Commandments), Eli Wallach (The Good The Bad and the Ugly), Steve McQueen (Bullitt), Charles Bronson (Death Wish), Robert Vaughn (Julius Caesar), Brad Dexter (Run Silent Run Deep), and James Coburn (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid). Composer Elmer Bernstein received an Oscar-nomination for Best Musical Score (Drama/Comedy) for his work on the picture, and the film was selected for the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board in 2013. Continue reading →
The chances of somebody never having seen Christopher Lee in a movie may be virtually impossible. The 93 year-old-actor, who died Sunday in London, was a veteran of the big screen, whose life achievements can easily be seen in his long repertoire of films. Lee covered all of the basics during his career. He appeared in classic stories like Dracula (1970) and The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), and he would carry his villainous streak over to such roles as James Bond‘s nemesis in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) to Count Dooku in George Lucas’s latest Star Wars trilogy, to the dark-wizard Saruman in director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series. Some music fans may even recognize him on the cover of Paul McCartney’s most popular post-Beatles ablum Band on the Run alongside McCartney and Wings and actors James Coburn (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven), and Kenny Lynch, among others. In later years Lee would also collaborate regularly with director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns) on such films as Sleepy Hollow and Alice in Wonderland, and he was knighted in his home country of England in 2009. He leaves behind his wife of 50 years Birgit Kroencke and their daughter Christina. May he rest in peace.