Biography

RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1999) Benjamin Ross, Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, Biography, Drama

RKO 281 The Battle Over Citizen Kane (Benjamin Ross, 1999)
Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his radio hoax War of the Worlds, Orson Welles is stymied on the subject for his first film. After a dinner party at Hearst Castle, during which he has a verbal altercation with William Randolph Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. The movie is about an aging newspaper publisher who controlled his enemies as ruthlessly as he controlled his friends; and whose mistress was destined for fame. When a rough cut is screened, Hearst gets wind of the movie’s theme and begins a campaign to see that it is not only never publicly screened, but destroyed.
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Nell Gwyn (1926) Herbert Wilcox, Dorothy Gish, Randle Ayrton, Juliette Compton, Biography, Drama, Romance

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While Lillian Gish achieved stardom with her dramatic emoting, her sister Dorothy made a name for herself as a saucy comedienne. Nell Gwyn was one of several felicitous collaborations between Dorothy Gish and British producer-director Herbert Wilcox. The star is of course cast as the title character, the infamous 17th-century orange vendor who became a star on the London stage – and the mistress of “merry monarch” King Charles III (Randle Ayrton). Though her fortunes take a downswing towards the end of her life, Nell remains ever faithful to her beloved Charles. Nell Gwyn was based on a novel by Marjorie Bowen, which was also the source for the 1934 remake, which starred Herbert Wilcox’s talented protégé (and later wife) Anna Neagle.
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From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses (2014) Rüdiger Suchsland, Siegfried Kracauer, Fritz Lang, Thomas Elsaesser, Documentary, Biography, History

Von Caligari zu Hitler Das deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen (2014)
“Metropolis” (1927), “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920), “M” (1931), “Nosferatu” (1922), “People on Sunday” (1930), “Berlin, Symphony of a Metropolis” (1927) all rank among the classics and most influential films of European Cinema. FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER tells the story of early German Cinema as the story of social and cultural upheaval in the first republic, between 1918 and 1933. Siegfried Kracauer, who wrote the groundbreaking book ‘From Caligari to Hitler’ (1947) on this ‘Weimar Cinema’, is a central figure, as is Fritz Lang, the most versatile of all Weimar directors. The viewer will encounter the cast members of the young Republic’s stage: Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, Emil Jannings, directors such as G.W.Pabst and F.W. Murnau, writers like Billy Wilder and many more – those who helped shape the new art of cinema.
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A Brief History of Time (1991) Errol Morris, Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey, Documentary, Biography

A Brief History of Time (Errol Morris, 1991)
A documentary film based on the life of scientist Steven Hawking. The film explores the intimate life of Steven Hawking through him, his friends and his family, as he goes through school, is diagnosed with a degenerative disease, and discovers revolutionary theories about time, black holes, and the origin of the universe. A visually interesting and at times funny film about a extraordinary life.
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Star 80 (1983) Bob Fosse, Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts, Cliff Robertson, Biography, Drama

Star 80 (Bob Fosse, 1983)
Paul Snider is a narcissistic, small time hustler who fancies himself a ladies man. His life changes when he meets Dorothy Stratten working behind the counter of a Dairy Queen. Dorothy is a pretty but naive high school senior. Paul immediately falls for Dorothy, who sees in Paul a wise, worldly person unlike herself. Paul believes Dorothy is Playboy material, the magazine he sees as only a springboard to bigger and better things. Paul’s dream does become a reality: not only does Dorothy eventually marry him, she becomes the August 1979 Playboy Playmate and ultimately Playboy Playmate of 1979, which does indeed lead to the start of an acting career. As Dorothy’s star rises, Paul’s life is one of a hanger-on as those in Dorothy’s new circle, including Playboy publisher Hugh M. Hefner and movie director Aram Nicholas, don’t much like Paul. Paul is unable to eke out a life of his own without using Dorothy’s name, which she increasingly is reluctant to provide to her husband.
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The Circle / Der Kreis (2014) Stefan Haupt, Matthias Hungerbühler, Peter Jecklin, Marie Leuenberger, Documentary, Drama, Romance, Biography

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Zürich in the mid 50‘s: The young shy teacher Ernst Ostertag becomes a member of the gay organisation DER KREIS. There he gets to know the transvestite star Röbi Rapp – and immediately falls head over heels in love with him. Röbi and Ernst live through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation. Ernst finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality, for Röbi it is about his first serious love relationship. A relationship which will last a lifetime. The film looks back from the present to the time when the „Mother“ of all European homosexual organizations had its high point to the time it slowly fell apart. While the repression against homosexuals became increasingly more intense in Zürich, two young and very different men fight for their love and – together with their friends – for the rights of gays.
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I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951) Henry King, Susan Hayward, William Lundigan, Rory Calhoun, Biography, Drama, Romance

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In this inspiring drama, William Thompson (William Lundigan) is a minister from the deep South who has recently married Mary Elizabeth (Susan Hayward), a woman from the city. William is assigned a new parish and moves with Mary Elizabeth to a small town in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where he tends to the spiritual and emotional needs of his small flock. William’s faith and inner strength helps guide the town through a major epidemic, while he must also deal with the troubles of Jenny (Barbara Bates), a woman who loves roughneck Jack (Rory Calhoun) against the will of her father; and Mr. Salter (Alexander Knox), a bitter atheist who resists William’s attempts to teach him and his children the message of God’s love. I’D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN was adapted from the popular novel by Cora Harris.
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Zorn (1994) Gunnar Hellström, Linda Kozlowski, Liv Ullmann, Biography, Drama

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Swedish painter Anders Zorn gained notoriety for his nudes. His works are currently worth millions. The film is set in the time when Zorn, already respected for his art, was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Swedish king. Though an excellent painter, Zorn’s personal life is dreadful. A boozer and a womanizer who frequently cheats on his wife, Zorn constantly seeks approval for his art. When he travels to the U.S. for a tour he meets Emilie Bartlett the wife of sculptor Paul W. Bartlett with whom he begins a sporadic affair. After Paul commits suicide, Zorn and Emilie move to Sweden. Zorn disregards his wife’s feelings and openly displays his affections for Emilie.
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12 O’Clock Boys (2013) Lotfy Nathan, Coco, Pug, Steven, Documentary, Biography, Crime

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Pug, a wisecracking 13 year old living on a dangerous Westside block, has one goal in mind: to join The Twelve O’Clock Boys; the notorious urban dirt-bike gang of Baltimore. Converging from all parts of the inner city, they invade the streets and clash with police, who are forbidden to chase the bikes for fear of endangering the public. When Pug’s older brother dies suddenly, he looks to the pack for mentorship, spurred by their dangerous lifestyle. Pug’s story is coupled with unprecedented, action-packed coverage of the riders in their element. The film presents the pivotal years of change in a boy’s life growing up in one of the most dangerous and economically depressed cities in the US.
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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) George Clooney, Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, Biography, Comedy, Crime

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Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen. “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is the story of a legendary showman’s double life – television producer by day, CIA assassin by night. At the height of his TV career, Chuck Barris was recruited by the CIA and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris said.
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