Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine has died, per the AP and multiple news reports. She was 96. Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland to British parents in Japan, Fontaine began her film career under contract with RKO in films like The Man Who Found Himself (1937), her official onscreen “introduction,” A Damsel in Distress (1937) opposite Fred Astaire, and George Cukor’s The Women (1939). A year after leaving RKO, Fontaine starred in the gothic thriller Rebecca as a woman haunted by her new husband’s (Laurence Olivier) dead wife. The film, Alfred Hitchcock‘s American debut, was nominated for 11 Oscars and won two including Best Picture. Fontaine earned her first Best Actress nod and reteamed with Hitch the following year for another domestic thriller, Suspicion, which won her the Academy Award over sister Olivia de Havilland, who was herself nominated for Hold Back The Dawn. Fontaine’s third Best Actress nomination was awarded for 1943′s The Constant Nymph. Subsequent films include Jane Eyre (1943), the Cannes-entry noir Ivy (1947), Max Ophüls’ Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948), Casanova’s Big Night with Bob Hope (1954), Fritz Lang’s Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956), Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), Tender Is the Night (1962), and the Hammer horror pic The Witches (1966).
Global Showbiz Briefs: Haifaa Al Mansour Back On Venice Jury; Greece’s Public Broadcaster Returns With New Look; More
Haifaa Al Mansour Tapped As President Of International Jury At Venice Film Festival
Haifaa Al Mansour will return to Venice this year as president of the International Jury for the Luigi De Laurentiis prize for a debut film, the award that’s akin to Cannes’ Camera d’Or. Al Mansour is the first woman to ever direct a film in Saudi Arabia. Her Wadjda, about a young girl’s determination to buy a bicycle, premiered on the Lido last year and went on to play several international festivals. The 70th Venice Film Festival runs August 28-September 7.
Transitional Channel Greek Public Television Hits Airwaves
Greece’s public broadcaster is back on the air, but it’s not the same ERT that was shuttered by the government last month. A transitional channel called Greek Public Television started displaying its logo on Wednesday morning with plans to show films and documentaries until the launch of the official new broadcaster, NERIT. More than 2,600 workers lost their jobs in June when Prime Minister Antonis Samaras shut the broadcaster down as part of the country’s austerity measures. Pulling the plug also caused a political crisis that had threatened the stability of Greece’s government. New legislation for NERIT, which stands for New Greek Radio, Internet and Television, will be debated in Parliament through tomorrow, according to Greek daily Ekathimerini
Last August, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Vertigo rose to the No. 1 spot on the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound survey of the so-called 50 Greatest Films Of All Time. Kim Novak, the star of …
Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ The Greatest Movie Of All Time? And The Director Could Have New Oscar And Emmy Contenders
Alfred Hitchcock has been dead for 32 years. The last film he made, Family Plot, was released in 1976 yet his popularity among movie fans and cineastes alike has never seemed to wane. To put it bluntly, Hitch has never been hotter. This week proof of that was offered by the ascension of his 1958 classic Vertigo to the No. 1 spot on the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound survey of the so-called 50 Greatest Films Of All Time as selected this year by 846 critics, film scholars and historians, the largest sampling ever in the once a decade list that has been compiled every 10 years since 1962. Ever since the inception of the esteemed poll the British international film journal has named Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane as the Number 1 greatest film of all time — until 2012 when suddenly Hitchcock vaulted to the top after a slow, steady ascent since first appearing on the list of the Top 10 films in 1982. It is certainly interesting that this particular Hitchcock film starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, not even a huge hit in 1958 and recipient of only two minor Oscar nominations, for Color Art Direction and Sound, has become the master’s masterpiece in the eyes of the world’s top film writers and scholars. The only other Hitchcock film on the list is Psycho at number 35, although I personally count numerous others including North By Northwest, Rear Window, Notorious, even The Birds as equally deserving. I’m not at all sure Vertigo, great as it is, is the greatest of all time. Really? David Lean who directed such immortal greats as Lawrence Of Arabia and The Bridge On The River Kwai doesn’t have a single film in the top 50 and you could argue all day about other omissions and inclusions (there’s no DAVID Lean but there is DAVID Lynch at No. 28 with Mulholland Drive. Hmmm).