Saturday, June 22, 2024

Announcing the 11th Annual Rule, Britannia Blogathon

I am proud to announce the 11th Annual Rule, Britannia Blogathon, which will take place on September 20, 21, and 23 2024.

While many people think of Hollywood when they think of classic movies, the fact is that the United Kingdom made many significant contributions to film over the years. From the Gainsborough melodramas to Hammer Films to the British New Wave, cinema would be much poorer without the British.

Here are the ground rules for this year's blogathon:

1. Posts can be about any British film or any topic related to British films. For the sake of simplicity, I am using "British" here to refer to any film made by a company based in the United Kingdom or British Crown dependencies. If you want to write about a film made in Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man, then, you can do so. Also for the sake of simplicity, people can write about co-productions made with companies from outside the United Kingdom. For example, since 2001: A Space Odyssey is a British-American co-production, someone could write about it if they chose.

2. There is no limit on subject matter. You can write about any film in any genre you want. Posts can be on everything from the British New Wave to the Gainsborough bodice rippers to the Hammer Horrors. I am also making no limit on the format posts can take. You could review a classic British film, make an in-depth analysis of a series of British films, or even simply do a pictorial tribute to a film. That having been said, since this is a classic film blogathon,  I only ask that you write about films made before 2014. I generally don't think of a film as a classic until it has been around for thirty years, but to give bloggers more options I am setting the cut off point at ten years ago.

3. I am asking that there please be no duplicates. That having been said, if someone has already chosen to cover From Russia with Love (1963), someone else could write about the James Bond series as a whole.

4. I am not going to schedule days for individual posts. All I ask is that the posts be made on or between September 20, 21, and 22 2024.

If you want to participate in the Rule, Britannia Blogathon, you can simply comment below or get a hold of me on Twitter at mercurie80 or at my email:  mercurie80 at

Below is a roster of the participants:

A Shroud of Thoughts: The Italian Job (1969)

Realweegiemidget Reviews: Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Miranda (1948) and Mad About Men (1954)

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: The Wrong Box (1966)

John V's Eclectic Avenue: The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)

Taking Up Room: The Way to the Stars (1945)

The Stop Button : Local Hero (1983)

Smoke in the Library: Get Carter (1971)

Moon in Gemini: Shallow Grave (1994)

Liberal England: Last Resort (2000)

Paula's Cinema Club: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Nitrateglow: Corridor of Mirrors (1948)

Below are graphics you can use for the blogathon or you can always make your own!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Pop Culture in June 2004

Earlier this month A Shroud of Thoughts celebrated its 20th anniversary. It was on June 4 2004 that I launched this blog. I then thought it would be interesting to look back at what was popular at that time. In many ways, June 2004 was not particularly remarkable.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find out what the highest rated show that week was. I did learn what the no. 1 show in primetime on June 4 2004 was. It happened to be Dateline NBC, which was the no. 1 show that night by a long shot. The second highest show that night was JAG. Other shows that aired that night were George Lopez, Married to the Kellys, Hope & Faith, Life with Bonnie, and 20/20 on ABC. On CBS there was Joan of Arcadia, JAG, and 48 Hours. The first two hours of primetime on NBC were occupied by Dateline NBC, followed by Las Vegas. Fox aired the movie Cats & Dogs (2001) on their movie anthology Fox at the Movies. The WB aired Reba, What I Like About You, and two episodes of Grounded for Life. On UPN was another movie anthology, UPN's Night at the Movies, on which American Outlaws (2001) aired.

The no. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for that week was  "Burn" by Usher. I am not at all familiar with the song. I am not familiar with the no. 1 song on the British singles chart that week either. It was "I Don't Wanna Know" by Mario Winans featuring Enya & P Diddy.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) was released in the United States on June 4 2004. In its opening weekend in the United States and Canada it made $93.7 million. This made it the movie with the highest opening weekend for a movie released in June until Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009. It should come as no surprise that it was the highest grossing movie for June 2004.

As I said, June 4 2004 was not particularly remarkable with regards to pop culture, not unless one counts the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in the United States. I supposed that made it as good a time as any to launch a blog that would become devoted to nostalgia and popular culture.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Late Great Donald Sutherland

Donald Sutherland, who starred in such movies as The Dirty Dozen (1967), MASH (1970), Klute (1971), and Ordinary People (1980), died today, June 20 2024, at the age of 88 following a long illness.

Donald Sutherland was born July 17 1935 in Saint John, New Brunswick.  He had polio when he was very young and later rheumatic fever. He as twelve years old when his family moved to Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. There he attended Bridgewater High School. He later attended the University of Toronto. There he studied engineering and drama. He worked in regional theatre for a time before attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He dropped out after a year, after which he acted  for year and a half at the Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland.

Donald Sutherland made his television debut in 1962 in an episode of Studio 4. In the Sixties he guest starred on the shows Man of the World, Suspense, The Odd Man, The Sentimental Agent, The Sullavan Brothers, ITV Play of the Week, BBC Play of the Month, Court Martial, Theatre 625, Gideon's Way, The Saint, The Avengers, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, and The Name of the Game. He appeared in the mini-series A Farewell to Arms. He made his film debut in 1963 in The World Ten Times Over. In the Sixties he appeared in the movies Il castello dei morti vivi (1964), Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Fanatic (1965), The Bedford Incident (1965), Promise Her Anything (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Billion Dollar Brain (1967), Sebastian (1968), Joanna (1968), Interlude (1968), Oedipus the King (1968), The Split (1968), MASH (1970), Start the Revolution without Me (1970), Kelly's Heroes (1970), Act of the Heart (1970), and Alex in Wonderland (1970).

In the Seventies, Donald Sutherland appeared in the movies Little Murders (1971), Johnny Got His Gun (1971), Klute (1971), Steelyard Blues (1973), Lady Ice (1973), Don't Look Now (1973), Alien Thunder (1974), S*P*Y*S (1974), The Day of the Locust (1975), Der Richter und sein Henker (1975), Novecento (1976), Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976), The Eagle Has Landed (1977), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Disappearance (1977), Les liens de sang (1978), National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), The First Great Train Robbery (1978), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Murder by Decree (1979), A Man, a Woman and a Bank (1979), Bear Island (1979), Nothing Personal (1980), and Ordinary People (1980).

In the Eighties he appeared in the movies Gas (1981), Eye of the Needle (1981), Threshold (1981), Max Dugan Returns (1983), Crackers (1984), Ordeal by Innocence (1984), Heaven Help Us (1985), Revolution (1985), Oviri (1986), The Rosary Murders (1986), The Trouble with Spies (1987), Apprentice to Murder (1988), Lost Angels (1989), Lock Up (1989), A Dry White Season (1989), Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990), and Eminent Domain (1990).

In the Nineties Donald Sutherland appeared in the television mini-series Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and the TV movie Citizen X. He was a guest voice on The Simpsons. He appeared in the movies Buster's Bedroom (1991), Backdraft (1991), Cerro Torre: Schrei aus Stein (1991), JFK (1991), The Railway Station Man (1992), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Rakuyô (1992), Shadow of the Wolf (1992), Younger and Younger (1993), Benefit of the Doubt (1993), Red Hot (1993), Punch (1993), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), The Puppet Masters (1994), Disclosure (1994), Outbreak (1995), Hollow Point (1996), A Time to Kill (1996), Shadow Conspiracy (1997), The Assignment (1997), Fallen (1998), Without Limits (1998), Free Money (1998), Virus (1999), Instinct (1999), Panic (2000), Space Cowboys (2000), and The Art of War (2000).

In the Naughts Donald Sutherland starred on the TV shows Dirty Sexy Money and Commander in Chief. He appeared in the mini-series 'Salem's Lot, Frankenstein, Human Trafficking, and The Pillars of the Earth. He guest starred on the show Sunday Pants. He appeared in the movies Da wan (2001), Piazza delle cinque lune (2003), The Italian Job (2003), Baltic Storm (2003), Cold Mountain (2003), Aurora Borealis (2005), Fierce People (2005), Pride & Prejudice (2005), American Gun (2005), An American Haunting (2005), Land of the Blind (2006), Ask the Dust (2006), Beerfest (2006), Reign Over Me (2007), L'âge des ténèbres (2007), Puffball (2007), Fool's Gold (2008), and The Con Artist (2010). He provided voices for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) and Astro Boy (2009).

In the Teens Mr. Sutherland starred on the TV shows Crossing Lines, Ice, and Trust. He appeared in the mini-series Moby Dick, Treasure Island, and The Undoing.  He appeared in the movies The Mechanic (2011), Horrible Bosses (2011), Man on the Train (2011), The Hunger Games (2012), Sofia (2012), Dawn Rider (2012), La migliore offerta (2013), Jappeloup (2013), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Calling (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014), Forsaken (2015), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), Milton's Secret (2016), The Leisure Seeker (2017), Basmati Blues (2017), Measure of a Man (2018), American Hangman (2019), Ad Astra (2019), The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019), and Alone (2020).

In the 2020s he had recurring roles on the TV shows Swimming with Sharks and Lawmen: Bass Reeves. He appeared in the movies Moonfall (2022), Mr. Harrigan's Phone (2022), an d Miranda's Victim (2023). He provided a voice for the animated movie Ozi: Voice of the Forest (2023).

Donald Sutherland was an extraordinary actor capable of playing any genre out there, from comedies to dramas to thrillers. He did a fantastic job as irreverent, insubordinate surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in MASH. At the same time he was impressive as Calvin Jarett, the father attempting to connect with his younger son after his oldest son had died in an accident, in Ordinary People. In The Dirty Dozen he played the none-too bright Private Pinkley, while in Animal House he played the aloof, unassuming, pot smoking Professor Dave Jennings. He was no less impressive on television. On the Avengers episode "The Superlative Seven" he played Jessel, the antagonist of the episode who trains assassins. On Lawmen: Bass Reeves he played the historical figure Isaac Parker the imposting judge known as "the Hanging Judge." Donald Sutherland appeared in everything from comedies to thrillers to sci-fi movies to dramas and he always gave a great performance. He was nothing if not versatile.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Godspeed Anouk Aimée

Anouk Aimée, who starred in such movies as La dolce vita (1960) and 8 1/2 (1963), died today, June 18 2024, at the age of 92.

Anouk Aimée was born Judith Dreyfus in Paris, France on April 27 1932. Her father as stage actor Henry Dreyfus (who used the stage name Henry Murray) and her mother was actress Genevieve Sorya (nee Durand). During World War II, she took her mother's maiden name to avoid Nazi persecution due to her Jewish last name of Dreyfus. She attended boarding school in the Alps.

She was 14 years old when she was discovered by director  Henri Calef. He cast her in the role of Anouk in La maison sous la mer (1947). She kept Anouk as her stage name. Author Jacques Prevert suggested she adopt Aimée as the surname of her stage name. In the late Forties she appeared in the movies The Lovers of Verona (1949) and Golden Salamander (1950).

In the Fifties she appeared in the movies The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (1952), Les crimes de l'amour (1953), Contraband Spain (1955), Noche de tormenta (1955), Bad Liaisons (1955), Ich suche Dich (1956), Nina (1956), Stresemann (1957), Pot Bouille (1957), Anyone Can Kill Me (1957), Montparnasse 19 (1958), The Journey (1959), La tête contre les murs (1959), Les dragueurs (1959), La dolce vita (1960), and Le farcenur (1960). She provided a voice in the animated film La bergère et le ramoneur (1952). She guest starred on the anthology television series Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Presents.

In the Sixties Anouk Aimée appeared in the movies Lola (1961), L'imprevisto (1961), Quai Notre-Dame (1961), The Last Judgement (1961), Sodom and Gomorrah (1962), 8 1/2 (1963), The Shortest Day (1963), Les grands chemins (1963), Il successo (1963), Il terrorista (1963), Liolà (1964), White Voices (1964), The Escape (1964), The Dreamer (1965), Le stagioni del nostro amore (1966), A Man and a Woman (1966), Lo scandalo (1966), Vivre pour vivre (1967), One Night...a Train (1968), Model Shop (1969), The Appointment (1969), and Justine (1969). She appeared on the TV series Festival and in the 1961 TV movie Hors jeu.

In the Seventies she appeared in the movies Hustle (1975), Second Chance (1976), Mon premier amour (1978), and A Leap in the Dark (1979). She appeared on the TV show Le roman du samedi. In the Eighties Anouk Aimée appeared in the movies Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981), The General of the Dead Army (1983), Viva la vie (1984), Success is the Best Revenge (1984), A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later (1986), Arrivederci e grazie (1988), and Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990). On television she appeared on the TV series Piazza Navona (1988) and the mini-series Mon dernier rêve sera pour vous.

In the Nineties she appeared on television on the TV show Screen Two and the mini-series Solomon. She appeared in the movies Ruptures (1993), Les marmottes (1993), Prêt-à-Porter (1994), Les cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma (1995), Dis-moi oui... (1995), Hommes, femmes, mode d'emploi (1996), Riches, belles, etc. (1998), L.A. Without a Map (1998), 1999 Madeleine (1999), and Une pour toutes (1999).

In the Naughts Anouk Aimée appeared in the television mini-series Napoleon and the TV movie Love Letters. She appeared in the movies Festival in Cannes (2001), La petite prairie aux bouleaux (2003), Happily Ever After (2004), De particulier à particulier (2006), Stranger Than Fiction (2006), Celle que j'aime (2009), Ces amours-là (2009), and Paris Connections (2010). She appeared in the 2008 TV movie Love Letters.

In the Naughts Anouk Aimée appeared in the movies Tous les soleils (2011), Mince alors! (2012), and Les plus belles années d'une vie (2019).

Anouk Aimée was a remarkable actress who played a wide variety of roles. In La dolce vita she played Maddalena, the world weary and wealthy heiress who is one of the lovers of  Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni). In 8 1/2 she was  Luisa Anselmi, the estranged wife of Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni). In A Leap in the Dark she played Marta Ponticelli, a mentally disturbed woman who had raised her younger brother, Judge Mauro Ponticelli  (Michel Piccoli). She played fashion designer Simone Lowenthal in Prêt-à-Porter. Throughout her career Anouk Aimée played a wide variety of roles and she played all of them well.