The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicked off yesterday in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Mountain Resort. Every year the festival plays host to an impressive array of independent films, both foreign and domestic, and has featured such successful films as Blood Simple, Hoosiers, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, Memento, 28 Days Later, SuperSize Me, Boyhood, and more recent notables like Dope, Mudbound, and Wind River (just to name a few!). Sundance not only presents feature-length films but also shorts and documentaries, and presents awards in such categories as acting, cinematography, screenwriting, directing, and short-filmmaking. The 2018 celebration will showcase 110 feature-length films from 29 countries; 47 of those films come from first-time filmmakers, out of a pool of 13,468 total submissions, including features, shorts, and documentaries. Some of this years more anticipated entries include Juliet Naked, Wildlife, Heart Beats Loud, The Catcher Was a Spy, and documentaries like Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, and Our New President. The 2018 celebration, however, comes at the helm of the whirlwind that was 2017. Continue reading →
Director Sydney Lumet‘s 1973 undercover police drama Serpico earned Al Pacino his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it was another in a long-running streak of Oscar nominations for Pacino that resulted in no wins until 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Serpico‘s other Oscar nomination was for Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriters Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust) and Norman Wexler (Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive). Although Serpico proved to be the last Oscar-worthy project of Wexler’s, Waldo Salt had a much longer, and much darker story in Hollywood screenwriting history.
Waldo Salt was born on October 18, 1914 and grew up in Chicago an accomplished academic. He was so accomplished, in fact, that he graduated from Stanford University at the same time his friends were graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, Salt was in Hollywood working as a screenwriter for MGM. There he worked on and assisted with various writing projects, but his first solo writing adaptation was with a 1937 film called The Bride Wore Red. The next year, Salt joined the American Communist Party, putting himself on the radar for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare/McCarthy era 12 years later. Continue reading →
The Boston Strangler, aka Albert DeSalvo, already inspired a film by the same title in 1968 starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda. DeSalvo is famous for confessing to a string of murders that took place near Boston between 1962 and 1964, but authorities later suggested that, due to DNA and evidence in other cases, the murders were actually committed by multiple people. Director Mark Romanek is at the head of the project, which is being produced by Warner Bros., and has Casey Affleck set for the lead role. The movie is still in very early production, and director Romanek may also be set to direct The Last Symbol, another installment in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code series. The original Strangler film focused on a detective who was working the case, but there is no news as to whether or not the new film will go in that direction or focus on the killer himself. We’ll have to wait for more details on this one.
John Steinbeck’s classic tale of family, struggle and endurance during the Great Depression era has become a celebrated American novel since its publication in 1939. The original film, released only a year after the novel’s publication, also won critical acclaim, securing Oscar awards for Best Actress, Jane Darwell, and Best Director John Ford. Henry Fonda also received a nomination for Best Actor, and the film was nominated for the Best Picture Award. The Grapes of Wrath has since become an iconic American film, and though it has been remade for television mini-series and stage theatre, there has never been a fully produced remake of the original film/novel. Now Dreamworks is in discussions with Steven Spielberg about a possible remake, but thus far Spielberg has only expressed interest in producing, which means Dreamworks will also have to secure a worthy director that can take on the project. It would be great to see the film made in a modern dramatic style; The Grapes of Wrath is still a part of public awareness, mainly because most of us still read it at some point in high school, but there hasn’t been a noteworthy film adaptation in over 73 years! It would be great to see Spielberg behind the director’s seat, especially after the success of Lincoln, which bore a heavy dramatic-ere to it, but we’ll have to wait and see.