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Movie Tens: Classic Crime

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An identity parade of the biggest crime movies to hit the big screen since Cagney made it to the top of the world…

Crime 10 White Heat James Cagney

White Heat (1949)
“Made it, ma. Top of the world!” James Cagney spent his entire career playing gangsters, but few were quite as unhinged as Cody Jarrett, the psychotic, mother-fixated hoodlum whose dramatic rise and explosive fall is memorably charted in this seminal thriller from prolific all-rounder Raoul Walsh.

Crime 10 The Killing

The Killing (1956)
“Johnny, you’ve got to run!” “Ah, what’s the difference.” Sterling Hayden leads a gang of ruthless criminals whose plan to rob a racetrack goes spectacularly pear-shaped in Stanley Kubrick’s grim and gritty noir. Pulp fiction legend Jim Thompson brings an extra whiff of authenticity to the hard-boiled dialogue.

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
“They’re young! They’re in love! And they kill people!” Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway make a couple to die for in Arthur Penn’s landmark biopic of real-life Thirties anti-heroes Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Hugely influential for both its stylish retro fashion and its graphic, blood-splattered violence.

Crime 10 Michael Caine Get Carter

Get Carter (1971)
“You’re a big man but you’re in bad shape. With me it’s a full-time job. Now behave yourself!” Michael Caine is superb as the London hood who travels up north to find his brother’s killer in this tough, uncompromising Britflick. The dour Newcastle locations are a perfect complement to Carter’s relentless vendetta.

Crime 10 The Getaway

The Getaway (1972)
Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw make a run for the border with cops, crooks and former associates hard on their trail in Sam Peckinpah’s pulse-pounding thriller. The iconic scene where an impassive McQueen blows a police car to pieces with a shotgun is one of the director’s most memorable set-pieces.

godfather-brando

The Godfather (1972)
“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Marlon Brando and Al Pacino keep crime in the family in Francis Ford Coppolla’s unforgettable portrait of one mafia clan’s battle for power in post-war America. As good as it gets really – though some feel The Godfather Part II is even better.

Long Good Friday

The Long Good Friday (1980)
“Who’s having a pop at me?” Bob Hoskins scorches the screen in Britain’s other great crime thriller, playing an East End kingpin whose ambitious plans for London’s Docklands are ripped to shreds over the course of one fateful Easter weekend. Look out for a young Pierce Brosnan as an IRA killer.

Goodfellas

GoodFellas (1990)
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” Ray Liotta is the wannabe wiseguy who steers us through Martin Scorsese’s masterful portrait of the seedy underbelly of organised crime. However, it’s Joe Pesci’s Oscar-winning turn as a trigger-happy nutjob you’ll remember.

Crime 10 Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
“Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?” Quentin Tarantino made a seismic impact with his debut film, an ingenious, stylish and almost unbearably tense look at a bungled heist and its brutal aftermath. Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen would go on to become QT regulars.

Crime 10 The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects (1995)
So who exactly is Keyser Soze? You may be none the wiser after watching Bryan Singer’s fiendishly complex tale of six rogues who find themselves in the thrall of a terrifying criminal mastermind. Kevin Spacey won an Oscar for his performance, as did Christopher McQuarrie for his brilliantly devious script.

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Classic TV Revisited: Breakfast Time and TV-am

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In another of our Classic TV Revisited moments we take a look at the early days of breakfast TV in the UK with Breakfast Time and TV-am.

Channel: ITV, February 1983 and BBC1, January 17, 1983
Starring: Frank Bough, Selina Scott, David Frost, Angela Rippon, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford, Robert Kee.

Age?
A long forgotten 30 odd years each.

Appearance?
Very, very dated morning news programmes.

Pedigree?
The first breakfast TV shows in British history.

Why were they so good?
To be frank, they weren’t.

Why?
To say both had teething problems would be to underestimate the financial and personal wars that ensued.

They must have sounded like good ideas at the time?
Yes, they were top-class homages to American networked morning shows.

Soothing, a bit shallow and generally cheesy, then?
Exactly.

Who were the stars?
Selina Scott joined nice “uncle” Frank Bough on BBC1’s Breakfast Time from January 17, 1983.

And on ITV?
The Famous Five – Rippon, Parkinson, Frost, Kee and Ford.

So what happened?
The BBC kicked off with a mix of news, sport and funnies, introduced by Bough and Scott.

Brough Scott?
No, Bough. Scott was a smooth-as-silk Princess Diana clone who wore rather funny nanny-style dresses.

Wasn’t there a funny lady who looked like an enthusiastic cucumber?
I think you’re referring to Diana Moran, aka the Green Goddess. She became the real star even though Nick Ross was on hand to add gravitas.

Tell me more about the Goddess.
Diana Moran was our answer to Jane Fonda.

Except cheaper.
Of course. But we still felt those burns.

She wasn’t famous, then?
Not really. BBC bosses saw her working on HTV in her green gear and snapped her up.

TV-AM Original 5

The original big 5 heavyweight line for TV-Am showed they were taking a serious approach to early morning viewing. Peter Jay, David Frost, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford and Angela Rippon.

What about TV-am?
Its first broadcast was in February 1983. David Frost promised viewers a bowl full of news and showbizz. Fellow TV-am man Peter Jay said he had a “mission to explain”.

But it all turned sour?
And bitter. The ratings went soggy.

What happened?
Peter Jay quit after only six weeks. By April, Anna Ford and Angela Rippon were sacked. Robert Kee and Michael Parkinson stuck around.

But didn’t TV-am survive?
Yes it did. A then little-known TV exec called Greg Dyke decided to introduce Roland Rat.

TV-AM Roland Rat

Roland, the rat that saved a sinking ship…

Don’t tell me it worked.
He was the rat’s whiskers. Anne Diamond arrived with that very pleasant chap Nick Owen.

Hey presto.
They had Selina and Frank trapped. When Roland and his pal Kevin the gerbil appeared in the school holidays in April 1983 ratings rose by a whopping 52%. Anne and Nick owe an awful lot to those puppets.

Didn’t Frank have a spot of bother in 1987?
Indeed he did, but you’ll have to do your own research on that.

Don’t say:
Want some coke with that rum, Frank? Mr Bough can’t talk to you now, he’s a bit tied up.

Do say:
That’s the first time a rat has joined a sinking ship.

Not to be confused with:
Breakfast with Frost, Today, Farming Today, The Rat Catchers.

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Movie Tens: James Dean

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Movie Tens James Dean

Even sixty years plus after his death actor James Dean continues to fascinate, here are ten facts you may not know about the iconic star.

James Dean was nominated for two posthumous Best Actor Oscars: In 1956, for East of Eden (he lost to Ernest Borgnine in Marty), and in 1957 for Giant (he lost to Yul Brynner in The King and I).

Jimmy was not speeding when he was killed on California’s Highway 466. (He was struck head-on by a Ford station wagon, driven by Donald Turnupseed, 23. ) Although Dean had received a speeding ticket an hour earlier, it has since been proven he was actually driving 60 to 65 mph when the accident occurred.

Movie Tens James Dean 1

Jimmy was set to star in two films at the time of his death: The Left-Handed Gun: Billy the Kid’s Story and Somebody Up There Likes Me, about the life of boxer Rocky Graziano. Both roles were filled by Dean competitor Paul Newman.

Jimmy often referred to himself as “the little bastard,” a name he had painted on the back of his Porsche Spyder days before his death.

In November 1951, struggling actor Dean worked as an offscreen stunt tester on the N.Y.-based TV game show Beat the Clock.

Before his three starring film roles, Jimmy had bit parts in Fixed Bayonets, Sailor Beware and Has Anybody Seen My Gal?

Rumors have always run rampant that Jimmy had homosexual relationships. When asked about it, he answered enigmatically, “Well, I’m certainly not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.”

Movie Tens James Dean

Jimmy’s famous red jacket from Rebel was purchased from Mattson’s department store on Hollywood Boulevard. Following his death, the store hiked the price on the jackets to a then exorbitant $22.95. Warner Bros. actually bought two of them for filming. Afterward, Jimmy gave one to his friend, composer Leonard Rosenman, who wore it until it fell apart. Nobody knows what happened to the other.

A week before his death, Jimmy ran into one of his favorite actors, Alec Guinness, at Hollywood’s Villa Capri. When an excited Dean showed Guinness his new Porsche Spyder, the British star begged him to get rid of it, saying Dean wouldn’t live long if he kept the car.

When Jimmy finally met his idol, Marlon Brando, at a party, he acted so strangely Brando told Leonard Rosenman that Jimmy needed to see a psychiatrist. Jimmy was already in therapy at the time.

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Classic Movie Quotes: The Godfather – My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse

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Godfather Offer Couldn't Refuse

The Line: “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Who Said It: Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in the 1972 film The Godfather.

The Setup: Corleone relates the story of how his father, Mafia boss Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), got a singer released from a personal-services contract with a bandleader. After the bandleader turned down Don Corleone’s $10,000 check, Vito’s henchman held a gun to the bandleader’s head and “assured him either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.” The bandleader then released the vocalist and accepted a certified check for $1,000.

The Payoff: “Mafiosi are like urban cowboys,” wrote author Gay Talese. “[They are] feudal lords, and whether you like them or not, they’re fascinating father figures.”

Brando played a “man of respect” who was seemingly benign, but yet a monster. He made the role warm and real enough to command belief and even empathy, yet vicious enough to deter admiration. After Vito, the Mafia was big box office everywhere, from bookstores to toy stores, where The Godfather game sold briskly.

Curiously, Brando was disappointed by his performance: “What the hell did I know about a 65-year-old Italian who smokes twisted goat-shit cigars?”

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