Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

ClandesTime 097 – Sterling Hayden

Published January 15th 2017

Sterling Hayden’s life encompassed many important events and periods of the 20th century. A lifelong seaman he joined the Marine Corps and the OSS during World War 2, running smuggling operations to support anti-fascist partisans in Yugoslavia. He was also a movie star, famously appearing in The Godfather and in two Stanley Kubrick films – The Killing and Dr Strangelove. In this episode we take a look at the life and times of this fascinating man – from his time as a secret agent to testifying before anti-Communist congressional hearings to his relationship with Kubrick – and how his life has been referenced and reflected in movies.

Jack D Ripper OSS File

Published January 11th 2017
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Sterling Hayden is perhaps best-known for playing Jack D Ripper but his life and career make for fascinating reading. After a time working as a mate on various ships his near 2-metre frame, grizelled good looks and shock of blonde hair saw him move into print modelling and then into Hollywood. Hayden then joined the Marine Corps and from there the Office of the Co-ordinator of Information, which became the OSS. Following WW2 he returned to the film industry and became embroiled in the Red Scare as he had briefly been a member of the Communist Party. He testified at the HUAC hearings, a decision he later renounced, before eventually starring in two Stanley Kubrick films – The Killing and as Jack D Ripper in Dr. Strangelove. Hayden’s OSS file contains details of his wartime exploits and his reckless character.

ClandesTime 096 – Unreal

Published January 8th 2017

Unreal is a gripping and brutal satire of reality TV but it is much more than that. While this might sound like a drama about a trivial subject, the content of Unreal makes it one of the most serious and important TV series of recent years. It follows two female producers as they make a romance-themed reality show, highlighting the degree to which they’re willing to manipulate the contestants in order to produce ‘good TV’. The psychological and moral impact of this on the production crew – particularly the junior producer Rachel – is quite awful, and she rebounds between depression and megalomania as a result. This week we take a deeper look at this series, examining its commentary on what constitutes ‘entertaiment’ and how that is made, through its complex politics of gender and race to the constant use and subversion of stereotypes.

Subscriber Podcast #3 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Cash-In

Published January 1st 2017

In this month’s podcast for patreon subscribers I review Rogue One: A Star Wars Cash-In. The film is a spy movie/war movie about the rebellion stealing the plans for the Death Star and has a much darker tone and grittier visuals than most Star Wars films. The problems arise mostly in the lack of characterisation, which the producers tried to compensate for by jamming in as many visual references to the existing films as they could. I dwell on the lack of creativity and even basic storytelling skill in modern Hollywood blockbusters, before offering two ideas for Star Wars storylines that would be more engaging and less reliant on showing us things we recognise because we’ve seen them before.

ClandesTime 094 – How Many Films has the Pentagon Supported?

Published December 11th 2016

The Department of Defense is the government agency with the largest and most influential operations in Hollywood. But to how many films have they provided production assistance? How many movies have they supported? In this episode we explore the answer to this question, why it is so difficult to answer conclusively and why this matters.

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