This Day In Film: August 26 – September 11
by Nicholas Robinson
I must apologize for the absence of this column for the past two weeks but I have been swamped and have been unable to post them. So I have decided to just take all of them and put them in one big post. Hope you enjoy:
“On a day in 1940…….. A man was born…… A man who would change the world of trailers…….. forever”. Don LaFontaine, the infamous voiceover in trailers was born on August 26, 1940. He has provided his deep and thunderous voice played a part in many of the trailers that you have seen over the years. However, he has also loaned his voice to several television shows such as Family Guy, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, and JAG.
Today’s feature might not have been truly influential on film but had a show and movie that I used to watch a lot as a child. His name is Paul Reubens. Paul was born on this day in 1952 and is most famous for his character Pee-Wee Herman and the several shows and movies he has done for this character. He has also been in several other movies such as Blow, Matilda and Mystery Men.
In Russia in 1828, one of the most famous novelists was born. He is most famous (in my mind) for his book “War & Peace” but has also provided the source material for over 100 films. Not only have his books been used for film but he has been portrayed in it as well, most recently by Christopher Plumber in “The Last Station”
On a sad August day in 1982, Swedish star Ingrid Bergman passed away. Ingrid was most famous for her role in the 1942 CLASSIC, Casablanca and the line “Play it, Sam” she shot into stardom and starred in quite a few Alfred Hitchcock movies including Notorious and Spellbound.
For the last few years my friends and I have been going back to watch old 80’s action movies whether to laugh at them or be mesmerized by how bad Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone were at acting. However, before those stars came along, there was a man by the name of Charles Bronson. He was one of the biggest action and western stars of the 60’s and 70’s and made such movies as The Magnificent Seven, The Mechanic and Once Upon a Time in the West. On August 30, 2003, he passed away.
Richard Gere, unlike a lot of the actors I have done, doesn’t have a “one-track” acting career. He has been in dramas, comedys, musicals, romance, suspense and thrillers. He is a great actor but unfortunately has made a lot of bad movies. We shall not mention those and block them out of our memory and focus on the brilliant movies that he has done. Namely: Pretty Woman, Chicago, Primal Fear and I’m Not There.
I’m trying not to be repetitive but, this is a day that just has to be recognized as the day that The King of Voiceovers, Don LaFontaine died.
The writer of three of the greatest movies of the new millennium and possibly of all time, died on this day in 1973. J.R.R Tolkien wrote and released The Middle Earth Trilogy (more commonly known as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) in 1955. Since then it has been adapted so many times and even though I have only seen the most recent ones, I can say without a doubt that those are the best. No other adaptation of these books could even come close, and the books themselves are also equally amazing.
On this day in 1953, a brilliant French director was born. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a brilliant director who even though he has only made 6 films, they have all been amazing. These films include Amelie, Micmacs and A Very Long Engagement. The most surprising and impressive thing about him however, is that he is a self-taught man. Anyone who can become that brilliant by himself has to be a genius.
The man who is featured for this day is not very well known as a big screen actor, but is important to me as he is in one of the best old sitcoms, Bewitched. In 1928, Dick York was born on this day, September 3. He plays the first Darrin on Bewitched and also various characters on a fun little show called Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
This day in 1942, a visionary German director, named Werner Herzog, was born. For most of his career he has made documentaries but recently he has made quite a few movies that have been brilliant. Namely: Rescue Dawn, The Bad Lieutenant and My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done.
One of the greatest director’s of the 20th century died this day in 1998. The visionary director/writer has made movies such as Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, Ran, Rashoman and The Hidden Fortress. If you don’t know who this is by now, stop reading this post, go watch these movies and come back and pick up here. It was a sad, sad day when Akira Kurosawa died, but he did leave a brilliant legacy that hopefully film fans in the future will pay attention to.
Now, as you may have noticed, I don’t just focus on actors and actresses and directors. I also mention those who have indirectly contributed to film and this day is no different. On this day in 1533, Queen Elizabeth I was born in England. She has been portrayed in films since 1912 and most recently by Cate Blanchett, Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren.
Today in 1925, one of the greatest comedic actors was born. He gave us: The Pink Panther, Dr Strangelove, Murder by Death and the 1967 Casino Royale. The one, the only PETER SELLERS.
Even though today’s actor (born in 1960) has basically played the same character in every single one of his movies, everyone still loves him for it because he does it well. He has been in Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Notting Hill. Ladies and gentlemen (and all you other people out there), HUGH GRANT.
When you watch movies as a child, unless it is what I call a “grown-up movie” you are going to love it. Today’s director makes movies like these that stand the test of time and nostalgia. Chris Columbus was born in 1958 and has given us Gremlins, The Goonies and the first two Harry Potter movies. All of these movies are amazing and are still great after time has passed.
Now, all of you are going to blame me for being obvious and cliché but I am going to bring up the 9/11 attacks on the USA. These attacks sparked movies such as World Trade Center, United 93 and Farenheit 9/11 and I am sure there are much more to come.