If you’ve ever wondered just what it is an Executive Producer does, or maybe if you’ve heard the ambient sounds of Tangerine Dream in an 80’s film favourite without knowing who you were listening to, this is the list for you!
Here are the letters P-T…
Pauline Kael (1919 – 2001) was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. She is often regarded as the most influential American film critic of her day.
Although a big advocate of the New Hollywood of the 70’s, some of her reviews carried a somewhat contrarian viewpoint of what many considered classics in modern era. She famously dismissed Star Wars by stating “It’s an epic without a dream”. As a witty response to her criticism of his work, in his 1988 film Willow, George Lucas named one of the villains General Kael.
She even toyed with working inside the industry when in 1979, Warren Beatty made her offer to come abroad a film called Love and Money he was producing. The project never got off the ground and Kael eventually returned to The New Yorker.
Kael retired from her writing career in 1991, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome the previous decade. She passed away in Massachusetts at the age of 82.
Quadrophenia (1979) is loosely based around the 1973 rock opera of the same name by The Who. The film stars Parklife narrator and professional cockney Phil Daniels, with the rest of the cast made up of a who’s who of British TV, film and music from that era and beyond. Leslie Ash, Ray Winstone, Phil Davis, Mark Wingett, Toyah Willcox and Sting also feature.
Set in 1965, the film is a coming-of-age tale about a Jimmy Cooper (Daniels), a London Mod. At odds with his parents and fed up with his job as a post room boy in an advertising firm, Jimmy finds an outlet for his teenage angst by hanging round with all his fellow Mod friends and riding his beloved scooter. The film culminates in a famous riot between the Mods and their arch enemies (The Rockers) on the Brighton beachfront.
Quadrophenia has found a cult audience over the years, with many embracing its rebellious, punk attitude and finding intrigue in its dramatic and ambiguous ending.
Robert Altman (1925 – 2006) is generally regarded as a master in American cinema. He films possess a naturalistic style (characterised through performance, editing and dialogue) and often feature large ensembles.
He made his feature film debut at the relatively old age of 47 with anti-war comedy drama MASH, having toiled away in TV for many years. Others popular features from the director include Nashville, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosforth Park. Altman also proved to be highly influential for future filmmakers (P. T. Anderson befriended the director and was on hand to take over directorial duties in Altman’s last film, A Prairie Home Companion, if the then-octogenarian director were to fall ill).
Much like many talented and distinctive Hollywood trail blazers, Altman never received a nod from the Academy for any of his films, despite being nominated five times. It was only in 2006 (the same year as his death) that his body of work was finally recognised when he received the Academy Honorary Award.
Shermer, Illinois is a fictitious suburb of Chicago and is the setting for the majority of films by the late director John Hughes, such as Pretty in Pink, Weird Science and Sixteen Candles. The teenagers from The Breakfast Club attend their Saturday detention at the Shermer High School – the same place Ferris avoids in order to have a day off. It’s also home to the disaster-ridden Griswold family (Hughes scripted Nation Lampoon’s Vacation).
The name actually derives from the original title given to the town Northbrook (Shermerville), which is located 25 miles north of downtown Chicago. This was where John Hughes grew up and lived until his death in 2009.
High-profile Hughes fan Kevin Smith referenced the location in both Dogma and comic book prequel Chasing Dogma, where characters Jay and Silent Bob attempt a journey to the location under the mistaken impression that they’ll get the opportunity to meet the females from Hughes’ films.
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic outfit who were founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. They formed part of the influential Krautrock music scene in Germany in the late 1960’s, before gaining further popularity throughout the 1970’s. The band was able to successfully relocate their style of ambient, atmosphere electronica and score a number of cult (primarily 80’s) Hollywood features.
In total, Tangerine Dream have written music for over sixty film and TV shows, the most well-known includes the likes of Sorcerer, Thief, The Keep, Risky Business, Near Dark and Miracle Mile. Many fans actually discovered the band through their soundtrack work.
The band is still performing, having undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member. The last film in which the band can be heard is 2006’s The Squid and the Whale (which includes the track Love on a Real Train from Risky Business).
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