10 things about Rod Taylor

This article presents 10 facts about the Australian actor Rod Taylor that many people might not know. I have always liked Rod Taylor:  He exuded a lot of warmth on screen, had a lovely smile, and a mellifluous voice. I knew that Taylor was a talented athlete, but had no idea that he was an equally gifted painter and potter.


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Early Christmas presents: Some of my favourite films

I received these gems from my father this week; some have been out of print for a while:

stalag Triumph

Stalag 17 and Ace in the Hole were made by my favourite director, Billy Wilder.  The commentary track for Stalag 17 says that Charlton Heston was originally slated for the William Holden role; the writer (who was a POW in a German stalag) was very relieved when Heston was offered the role, as he thought he was not suitable (too big and over the top).  I can’t imagine anyone playing the cynical Sefton any better than William Holden.

Ace in the Hole is my favourite Kirk Douglas film:  Its biting criticism of the news media stands the test of time and would be very applicable to our news media today with its sensationalist 24-hour coverage of often very tragic events.

The Killers launched the career of Burt Lancaster (he and Holden are two of my favourite actors).  Lancaster does not play the major role in this film, but he makes his always magnetic presence felt.  The Miklos Rozca score, of course, is marvellous.

It Happened One Night is great fun.  I’m not generally a fan of Frank Capra, as I find some of his films be a little too light for my taste, but this one is a classic.  Clark Gable clearly had a great deal of fun making this film; Claudette Colbert, on the other hand, apparently complained a lot and thought the film was beneath her, even though she won an Oscar for her role.  Gable clearly had a very deft comedic touch; it’s shame that he was rarely given the opportunity to show it.

I first watched Triumph of the Will in one of my undergraduate history classes. I still remember the day I watched it and the impact it had on me.  It’s a fascinating and horrifying look at the carefully-crafted propaganda machine of the Third Reich. Leni Riefenstahl, who was a very talented film maker, never recovered from this film and her personal association with Adolf Hitler.

What influences the films we see

Google has conducted a survey with Millward Brown Digital to learn how people research and choose the films they see.  The page does not provide the full study, so I can’t assess its methodology or the reliability of the results. I don’t fit into the norm of the results, since I do not rely on trailers to determine whether to watch a film; rather, I read the reviews of respected film critics.  Trailers are so often misleading. Below are some of the results expressed via their infographics:






10 cringe-worthy tech moments in movies

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool technophile, and I’m often that annoying person in the room who questions the logical probabilities of any number of events that are portrayed in film.  Yes, I understand that a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is expected in some films, but sometimes, incredulity can be pushed only so far. This post provides an amusing discussion of some notable technology gaffes in films.

Alien 5. No. Please

In this article, Sigourney Weaver talks about the possibility of Alien 5:

When discussing the character of Ripley, Weaver mentioned that she felt the character’s arc was incomplete, leading on to the possibility of a potential fifth film. “Had we done a fifth one, I don’t doubt that her humanity would have prevailed,” mused Weaver. “I do feel like there is more story to tell.”

I have a great love of Alien and Aliens; the latter, in fact, is in the top five of my favourite films of all time, as I have discussed in an earlier post. The only reason to watch Alien 3 is Charles Dance; I stop watching once his character is killed.  Alien 4 is abominable.  Given the development of this franchise, I have little faith that a fifth edition will be worth watching.