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March 31: Happy Birthday Richard Chamberlain and William Daniels


Our two headliners today have done notable film and stage work, but are best known for their television roles.

Richard Chamberlain turns 83 today.  He began acting in the late fifties in Southern California theater and TV guest roles.  In 1961 he landed a plum lead role, as the title character on NBC’s Dr. Kildare.  He won a Golden Globe during the series’ five year run.  In 1966 he was to make his Broadway debut in a musical adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but it closed before its formal opening (i.e., during previews).

In the seventies Chamberlain seemed to have the market cornered when it came to Alexandre Dumas adaptations, as he appeared in Richard Lester’s feature films The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers (as Aramis), and in TV movie adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo (as the title character) and The Man in the Iron Mask (again in the title role).  Starting in the late seventies he became known as the “King of the Miniseries” for starring in productions like an NBC adaptation of a James Clavell novel:

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Daffy & Lebeau (sing it)

The big movie release of this past weekend, if I can believe the hype I’ve seen and the strong crowds I experienced, was the live action adaptation of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. The 1991 animated musical production is one of the most beloved in the Disney canon, winning Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, and becoming the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. The affection and nostalgia still attached to the animated film have made this year’s adaptation perhaps the most hotly anticipated live action Disney film of the past decade.

Join Lebeau and me as we discuss our own histories with the story and our reactions to the new film. There are mild spoilers here, but if you’ve seen the previous Disney film, the general story shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
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Movies of 1996 Bracket Game: Swingers Vs. Trainspotting

Swingers Vs Trainspotting

We’re down to the final match of the first round of our 1996 bracket game.  It started off with the two biggest movies of the year and now it’s down to two of the year’s low-budget indie comedies.  In the past, I have defended the nineties as a good decade for movies.  But if I were basing my opinion of the decade on 1996, I’d probably feel otherwise.  As a whole, 1996 was an off year.  But one of the things that made the 90’s so good overall was the independent film movement in general and Miramax in particular.  The folks at Miramax proved to be skilled at finding little arthouse movies that didn’t costs tens of millions of dollars and marketing them to mainstream audiences.  Over the course of the decade, other studios wanted a piece of that action making the nineties an excellent time for lovers of eccentric comedies.

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