Posts Tagged ‘Kirk Douglas’

The writer and the Red Scare: ‘Trumbo’ looks at the man who defied Congress and won two Academy Awards in the process

December 28, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Dec. 28, 2015

Director Jay Roach’s lively new biopic, Trumbo, tells the story of a leftist Hollywood screenwriter and his tangle with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Veteran actor Bryan Cranston (the star of the acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, who had minor roles in Argo and Godzilla) headlines the movie as title character Dalton Trumbo. A labor activist and American Communist Party member, he also happened to be one of Hollywood’s top screenwriters.

Trumbo’s story tracks what I know about the actual historic events, which a few web searches seem to confirm. America’s pivot from World War II to the Cold War meant that the Soviet Union, our allies in the crusade against Nazi Germany, quickly became our enemies in the sublimated struggle for world domination. Although fairly sudden, this change in relations between American and other Western Allies and the Soviet Union was very real — recall if you will Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech from March 1946. And it prompted some Americans to focus their animus on the sociopolitical philosophy of Communism, a dynamic that went on to cause a tremendous amount of needless harm.

Read the rest of this entry »

On ‘Saturn 3’, no one can hear you stifle a yawn

May 30, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 30, 2013

Last year, I wrote about some 1970s and 1980s science fiction movies that fascinated me, even though I was too young to see them in the theater. (Left unmentioned was the fact that I did go see at least three pictures — the original Star WarsClose Encounters of the Third Kind and Animal House — in initial release despite really being too young and immature to have done so.)

Well, there was another picture that, along with AlienOutland and Capricorn One, fascinated me due to its science fiction content but went unwatched by me. It was a film called Saturn 3, and here’s what I knew about it: It was set in some kind of ill-lit outpost, it starred Farrah Fawcett, and it featured a menacing silver quasi-biological robot called Hector.

It turns out that someone (perhaps illicitly) has posted a rather murky full-length copy of Saturn 3 on YouTube, so the other day I got a chance to watch what turns out to be this justly obscure outing from 1980.

This was a film, I should stipulate, that started out with no small measure of promise. The story was conceived by John Barry, the British production designer who won praise for his work on A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars and Superman. Martin Amis, now a well-established British novelist, wrote the screenplay. The cast list essentially contained just three names, but oh, what names: Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel and Farrah Fawcett. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: