Ecstasy (1933)

She looked at him. He held her gaze without a flicker of movement. He was staring so intently at her; she didn’t know what to do.

As he moved towards her, she held her breath, and stood silently. Her lips parted as they embraced. She caressed the back of his neck as he gently kissed her.

Slowly he placed her down onto the bed, and began to kiss her neck. Her hand trailed along the carpet below her, as she lay with her eyes closed.

She reached her left arm up, and placed her hand above her, with her wrist gently lying across her forehead. Her breathing deepened, as she moved her right hand across her mouth, clasping her fingers between her lips.

Her breathing becomes heavier, as she is moving her head very slowly around. Suddenly she screams out, and clasps her hands together, with her arms resting over her face.

Her arms part, and she delicately bites her lip; her eyes remaining closed. She stretches out, and moves her face to the side. She begins to twirl her fingers through the carpet below her again.

She curls her legs together, as he rests his head upon her chest. She runs her fingers delicately through his hair, and smiles.


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Richard Attenborough: A Life in Pictures

The passing of Richard Attenborough has sparked an outpouring of tributes and memories from the world of film in both the UK and the US.

The legendary actor turned director, who has died at the age of 90 on 24th August 2014, just 5 days away from his 91st birthday, was undoubtedly a great influence on British cinema over the past 60 years.

We pay tribute to Richard Attenborough and his film career, and take a look at his career in pictures.

Richard Attenborough was born on 29th August 1923 in Cambridge. The eldest of three boys, his brothers are David Attenborough, the broadcaster and naturalist, and John Attenborough, an executive in the motor industry.

From right to left, Richard, David and John Attenborough

Attenborough made his screen debut in 1942s In Which We Serve, directed by Noel Coward and David Lean, in an uncredited role as a sailor. His first speaking role in a film was in 1946s A Matter of Life and Death, with the line ‘It’s Heaven, isn’t it?’

‘A Matter of Life and Death’ (1946)

In 1947, Attenborough appeared in Brighton Rock, an adaptation of the Graham Greene novel. This is often seen as Attenborough’s breakthrough role, and brought him into the limelight.

Richard Attenborough and Carol Marsh in ‘Brighton Rock’ (1947)

In 1952, Attenborough appeared in the opening production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, alongside his wife, the actress Sheila Sim. At the time of his death, they had been married for 69 years. The Mousetrap is the world’s longest running production, and is still running in London as of 2014.

Richard Attenborough and wife Sheila Sim on stage in ‘The Mousetrap’ (1952)

With his career taking off, Attenborough appeared in many films over the next 20 years, including I’m All Right Jack (1959) with Peter Sellers, The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) with James Stewart and Doctor Dolittle (1967) with Rex Harrison.

Richard Attenborough and Steve McQueen in ‘The Great Escape’ (1963)

In the late 1950s, Attenborough and fellow actor Bryan Forbes set up the production company Beaver Films, leading to both establishing careers as producers. Their most famous film was 1961s Whistle Down The Wind, staring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates. Forbes directed, whilst Attenborough produced.

Richard Attenborough, Shelia Sim, Nanette Newman and Bryan Forbes

Attenborough eventually moved from acting into directing, and made his directorial debut in 1969 with Oh! What a Lovely War, featuring an all-star cast including John Mills, Laurence Olivier, Dirk Bogarde, John Gielgud and Vanessa Redgrave. He also directed Young Winston (1972), A Bridge Too Far (1977), A Chorus Line (1985) and Chaplin (1992).

Richard Attenborough directing John Mills in ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’ (1969)

In 1982, Attenborough directed the historical epic Gandhi with Ben Kingsley in the title role. The led to Attenborough winning Best Film and Best Director at the 1982 Academy Awards ceremony, and Kingsley winning the Academy Award for Best Actor. Gandhi is now regarded as a classic of British cinema.

Richard Attenborough and Ben Kingsley with their Academy Awards for ‘Gandhi’ (1982)

After a 14 year gap from acting, Steven Spielberg convinced Attenborough to appear in Jurassic Park in 1993, and also the sequel in 1997. This led to Attenborough taking supporting roles in film over the next few years, including Kris Kringle in 1994s remake of Miracle on 34th Street, and Sir William Cecil in 1998s Elizabeth.

Richard Attenborough, Laura Dern and Sam Neill in ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)

Having been made a CBE in 1967, a Knight Bachelor in 1976 and a life peer in 1993 with the title Baron Attenborough, it cannot be denied that Richard Attenborough had a long and successful career. He undoubtedly had a great influence on British cinema, and his greatly admired films are a lasting legacy of his great talent, as both an actor and a director.

Richard Attenborough, 29th August 1923 – 24th August 2014

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London in the Autumn

Peckham 2014 (2)

(photo via Writing Suzanne)

Summer is ending.

The tourists are leaving, and people are returning to work. The children are back to school. Winter clothes appear in shop windows, and the scarves are coming out. The sun is setting earlier, whilst the leaves are turning from green to red.

The hustle and bustle of London always stays. The same people make their way in life and travel down the familiar streets to reach their destinations. The clouds are turning grey. Notice the changing weather.

London is always beautiful.

Autumn is arriving. It’s almost as if summer never was.

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Lauren Bacall: The Life of a Hollywood Icon

Lauren Bacall, the Hollywood starlet who starred in some of the most popular films of the 1940s and 50s, has died at the age of 89 in New York.

Having began her career as a teen model, Bacall eventually was granted a screen test with Warner Bros. During the screen test, Bacall would hold her chin down and tilt her eyes up towards the camera. This ‘look’ became Bacall’s trademark throughout her career.

Having passed the screen test, Bacall completed her first film, To Have and Have Not, in 1944. Her co-star in the film was Humphrey Bogart, who Bacall began a relationship with.

The following year, Bacall and Bogart married at the home of author Louis Bromfield. Bacall was 20, and Bogart was 45. They had two children and remained happily married for 11 years, until Bogart’s death from cancer in 1957.

The range of films that Bacall completed throughout the 1940s and 50s include The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948) with Humphrey Bogart. She also appeared in Young Man with a Horn (1950) with Kirk Douglas and Doris Day, How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, and Designing Woman (1957) with Gregory Peck.

Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’

Bacall was also in a relationship with Frank Sinatra for a while after being widowed, and was married to the actor Jason Robards Jr. from 1961 until 1969.

Although Bacall’s career slowed down in the 1950s, she did continue acting, although in less films than she appeared in throughout the previous two decades.

In 1997, Bacall was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces. Bacall did not win, but was presented with an Honorary Academy Award for her body of work in 2009.

Throughout her career, Bacall will be remembered for her trademark look and her sultry, femme fatale characters. As one of the last links to the Golden Age of Hollywood, it is likely that Bacall will remain one of the greatest, and most glamorous, Hollywood actresses of all time.

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”

Lauren Bacall, 16th September 1924 – 12th August 2014

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Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Robin Williams, who has died at his home in California aged 63, is remembered by many as a staple of American comedy throughout the 1980s and 90s.

Best remembered for his zany and energetic style of comedy, Robin Williams began his career as a stand up comedian, before moving onto television with the sitcom Mork and Mindy, running from 1978 to 1982, which made him a household name.

After moving into film, he found his niche in playing characters with a great enthusiasm, and used his apt for comic timing to great effect.

In addition to his many, greatly remembered comedic roles, he has also been celebrated for his more serious roles, such as playing therapist Sean Maguire in 1997s Good Will Hunting, which led to him winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role.

His wide range of critically acclaimed films include Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), The Fisher King (1991), Hook (1991), Disney’s Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995) and Night at the Museum (2006).

Although very successful in his career, he has often suffered with his own personal demons, including addictions to alcohol and cocaine, and suffering from bouts of depression.

He had recently admitted himself into rehab to help conquer his alcohol addiction, and his publicist confirmed that Williams has been ‘battling severe depression’ in the recent months.

On the breaking news of his death, Williams wife Susan Schneider released the following statement; “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.”

Many tributes from those in the world of film have poured in over the last 24 hours, including;

“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.” - Steven Spielberg, who directed Robin Williams in Hook

“I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.” Steve Martin

“Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet. He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back.”Terry Gilliam, who directed Robin Williams in The Fisher King

“A tweet cannot begin to describe the hugeness of Robin Williams heart and soul and talent. This is so sad.”Ben Stiller, who worked with Robin Williams in Night at the Museum

“My Heart’s broken. Robin was a beautiful, kind soul. Can’t bear that he’s gone. So incredibly sorry for his family.”Minnie Driver, who worked with Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

“Robin Williams made the world laugh & think. I will remember & honor that. A great man, artist and friend. I will miss him beyond measure.” – Kevin Spacey

In addition to the world of film, a tribute came in from President Obama on the passing of Robin Williams;

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny… and everything in between. But he was one of a kind.” – President Barack Obama

At the time of his passing, he had several films in post-production, including reprising his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the third Night at the Museum film, due to be released in December 2014.

Fans of the late, great Robin Williams will have their own memories of his films and their personal favourites from his body of work. We can now remember his many great roles, and salute an actor who made many, many people happy.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Robin Williams (1951 – 2014)

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Terry Gilliam’s unfinished project to begin re-filming in 2015

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, an unfinished film from director Terry Gilliam, is set to begin shooting in 2015, Gilliam tells The Wrap.

The project, which originally began pre-production in 1998 and filming in 2000, will now be started from scratch.

The novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes was converted into a script by Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni, who also participated on the screenplay for another Gilliam classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

After filming began in 2000, with Jean Rochefort as Don Quixote, and an additional modern character called Toby Grisoni (notice the similarity to the scriptwriters name), played by Johnny Depp.

However, after a number of issues, including flooding on set, the illness of Jean Rochefort and insurance problems, production was halted, and eventually abandoned.

In 2009, Gilliam attempted to re-start the production, with Robert Duvall as Don Quixote, and Johnny Depp still cast as Toby Grisoni. After Depp was faced with scheduling conflicts, he was replaced by Ewan McGregor, but due to funding issues, this production never got off the ground.

Gilliam has secured funding to re-start the project again, from Spanish producer Adrián Guerra, and has also made some changes to the plot to make it more modern.

Although Gilliam couldn’t disclose any of the names of actors he is hoping to be involved in the project, his producers are currently dealing with the agents of the actors he would like to see cast.

It is still unconfirmed, but it has recently been rumoured that John Hurt will play Don Quixote.

After all of the ups and downs that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has faced, Gilliam remains positive about the production; “I’ve done it so many times – or not done it so many times – I’ll believe it when I see it. However, I’m behaving as if it’s all going to happen as planned.”

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is expected to begin filming in early 2015.

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‘Into the Woods’ teaser trailer released

The first teaser trailer for Into the Woods has been released by Disney.

The fairytale film, directed by Rob Marshall, whose previous films include Chicago, is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

James Lapine, who wrote the book on which the musical was based, has also penned the screenplay for the upcoming film.

Into the Woods combines a mixture of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, and shows us the results of the characters’ wishes and quests.

An original story which appears in the film is that of a childless couple who try to rid themselves of a witch’s curse, which leads them to meet the other characters on their journey.

This is Disney’s first adaptation of a Broadway musical, and this trailer shows us a selection of the star-studded cast for Into the Woods, including Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep as The Witch.

As well as the cast, this trailer also shows us a selection of well-known fairytale characters that will appear in the film, including Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

In June 2014, it was reported that some plot changes were taking place, and there would be the removal of the song Any Moment from the film production, in order to make the film more family friendly.

However, Stephen Sondheim released a statement saying these changes wouldn’t be taking place, and the film will be a faithful adaptation of the musical.

Filming took place over 2013 in the UK, on a budget of £23.7million ($40million), and with an all star cast such as this, Into the Woods looks set to become one of the biggest films of the year.

Into the Woods will be released on 9th January 2015 in the UK.

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