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  1. #61
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    The beauty of Blow-Up (still in my all-time top5) is that it stands the test of time - unlike the sleeve of that Stranglers single.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Country: Europe Bernardo's Avatar
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    I don not know if this is posted elsewhere, he was a talented man and those eyes!

    Obituary: David Hemmings





    The actor's Blow-Up role was recently votes amongst cinema's sexiest scenes



    Actor David Hemmings built a career on his interesting, unconventional looks.

    His first major starring role was in 1966's swinging London tale Blow-Up, where he played the mod photographer, and he also starred in the cult science fiction film Barbarella.

    Hemmings' acting career came after he began singing professionally aged nine, and he was also an exhibited artist at 15.

    Hemmings made a return to the big screen in 2000's Gladiator and most recently alongside Sir Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, after a successful stint as a director on TV shows such as The A-Team and Airwolf.



    He was born in Guildford in Surrey in 1941, and began a performing career as a boy soprano. Composer Benjamin Britten reportedly wrote many of his vocal parts especially for him.

    He left singing to study at the Epsom School of Art when he was 15 and by then he had already started appearing in films, including 1954's The Rainbow Jacket.

    In 1965 he starred opposite The Small Faces' Steve Marriott in Be My Guest.



    People thought I was dead. But I wasn't. I was just directing The A-Team





    David Hemmings







    His career-defining role as Thomas in Blow-Up saw the young actor audition for the respected Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni.

    "I desperately wanted to work for him. This was a job you seek."

    He said he thought he had blown his chance of appearing in the film because the director had shook his head constantly throughout his audition.

    The actor said he later discovered that Antonioni had a mild form of Tourette's which caused him to move his head from side to side.



    "That was my whole of experience with him - he was always saying no really."

    Varied roles

    Scenes of Hemmings shooting a model in the film were recently voted in the top 100 sexiest scenes in a Channel 4 poll.

    Hemmings then went on to play the wizard Mordred in the movie musical Camelot.

    In 1968 he appeared as Captain Nolan in the satirical war epic The Charge of the Light Brigade.

    Other film roles continued in the 1970s, including parts in the Italian horror film Profondo Rosso (1975) and 1978's Crossed Swords.

    In 1980 he starred as a police inspector in Beyond Reasonable Doubt, a film based on a famous New Zealand murder case.

    But by then Hemmings had started working behind the camera too. His directorial debut was 1972's Running Scared and he also directed 1979's Just a Gigolo.

    He directed the 1981 adventure film The Race for the Yankee Zephyr, as his career as a US television career blossomed.

    In the 1980s he helmed episodes of some of America's biggest TV shows, including private investigator drama Magnum PI and adventure series The A-Team and Airwolf.

    He later recounted: "People thought I was dead. But I wasn't. I was just directing The A-Team."

    He returned to acting with Ken Russell's 1989 version of DH Lawrence's The Rainbow, but it was in 2000 that he marked his proper comeback, as Cassius in Ridley Scott's Gladiator.

    Scott's brother Tony later directed him in the espionage thriller Spy Game. He also appeared in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

    Hemmings was married three times - once to US actress Gayle Hunnicutt - and his current wife Lucy Williams was in Romania when he died. He had five children, including the actor Nolan Hemmings.

  3. #63
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Blow Up (Uk, 1966)



    14 Jan 2009, 23:00 on BBC Four





    Music by Herbie Hancock and an appearance by The Yardbirds



    Director Michelangelo Antonioni's stylish but cynical view of swinging London in the 60s. Disillusioned with his vacuous lifestyle, a wealthy celebrity photographer wanders the city shooting random scenes from everyday life. But when he blows up a series of suspicious-looking stills, he realises that he may inadvertently have photographed a murder as it happened.



    Credits:



    Thomas

    David Hemmings

    Jane

    Vanessa Redgrave

    Patricia

    Sarah Miles

    Ron

    Peter Bowles

    Bill

    John Castle

    The Blonde

    Jane Birkin





    Director

    Michelangelo Antonioni

  4. #64
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    With the ubiquitous Susan Broderick as the girl in the antique shop, of course!


  5. #65
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Featuring Gillian Hills as Jane Birkin's Brunette friend ...





    Later to star in 'The Owl Service'.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Country: Scotland narabdela's Avatar
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    I remember when I first saw this in the cinema, I sat through it twice.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Country: England
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    This is a very strange film. I've only seen it once from beginning to end, and I found myself wondering what happened to the plot? He takes the photo, blows it up and discovers the 'crime' - but it seems to peter out after that and becomes a nice example of a 'Swinging London' film. Or did I nod off?

  8. #68
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy H
    This is a very strange film. I've only seen it once from beginning to end, and I found myself wondering what happened to the plot? He takes the photo, blows it up and discovers the 'crime' - but it seems to peter out after that and becomes a nice example of a 'Swinging London' film. Or did I nod off?
    Nope ... it just meanders for a bit and then stops. I don't think Antonioni was much interested in the plot ... just the (rather excellent) visuals.

  9. #69
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Classic Film Club: 'Blowup'

    Each week Tom Huddleston watches a classic film he's never seen before. The rules are simple: each film must be considered a masterpiece and each must be completely new to him. This week: Michelangelo Antonioni's 'Blowup'(1966)



    �Blowup� is one of those films you almost don�t need to see: it�s all around us, in the films it influenced, in the fashions, the adverts, the music videos, the cultural architecture. Any TV documentary on music, cinema or Britain in the �60s either uses clips from the film, or archive footage that�s almost interchangeable. The first of Antonioni�s three films in the English language, it aims to capture, in vivid detail, a brief, iconic moment in time: London, 1966. And it succeeds, albeit in an odd, unnerving, deeply ambiguous manner.



    The story was adapted from a short story by mystical Argentinian author Julio Cort�zar, originally entitled �Las Babas del Diablo� (�The Droolings of the Devil�), later changed to �Blow Up� to cash in on the film�s success. The gulf between the film and its source work is broad � the short story essentially details the thoughts of a young photographer watching a woman in the park � but the overriding concerns are, if not the same, then at least compatible: both deal with the male gaze, with the photographic act and its psychological and sociological consequences. And while Antonioni is perhaps less rigorous than Cortazar in his exploration of these themes, he has other concerns on his mind: the changing world, youth and its indulgences, a smattering of class consciousness and an intermittent investigation into the shifting nature of relations between men and women.



    The centre of our attention � he�s in every scene � is David Hemmings�s shutterbug Thomas, the character who, along with his real-world inspiration David Bailey, came to define how a fashion photographer ought to dress, behave and speak. The first iconic image � that of Hemmings straddling impossibly leggy German model Veruschka, muttering heated directives as she writhes on the floor � has been mimicked and lampooned countless times, perhaps most notably by Austin Powers (in a film series which relies on an audience�s familiarity with �Blowup� for a surprising number of jokes). That image alone says a fair amount about the character: he�s dominating, self-possessed and absorbed in his work, and he doesn�t take women terribly seriously.



    How much Antonioni is condemning this attitude � a prevalent, even fashionable one at the time � is the subject of ongoing discussion. The women in �Blowup� � with the arguable exception of Vanessa Redgrave�s forthright but repeatedly victimised Jane � tend to be of the pretty and obedient variety. Like Thomas, the film never attempts to engage with any of them: they come, they go, they strip and pose, giggle and plead and hop willingly into bed. Antonioni may be asking searching questions of his central character � about his attitude towards these women, his coldness and detachment, his existential emptiness � but he never feels the urge to ask the women anything at all.



    In this aspect, as in many others, �Blowup� is very much a product of its time. Indeed, the scenes in which Antonioni tries hardest to capture the spirit of swinging London are, unsurprisingly, the scenes which feel most dated: the ultrachic party loaded with reefer smoking hipsters, The Yardbirds smashing their guitars (in an obvious nod to The Who, who refused to appear) and most of all, the gangs of rampaging student mime artists inflicting themselves on the general public. True, Antonioni�s attitude to these groups is never more than ambiguous: the partygoers are dead-eyed and disengaged, the concert audience either motionless or pointlessly screaming, the mime artists, necessarily, grasping at nothing. But is such ambiguity a justifiable objective stance, or merely the aloof pose of a director unwilling to connect with his subjects (an accusation which Antonioni has been repeatedly forced to defend)? Which, of course, brings us full circle to Thomas�s own icy disassociation.



    For all its groovy period trappings, �Blowup� is a surprisingly unforgiving film: the central character is a creep, the plot a cipher, the style pointedly abrasive and unemotional, Herbie Hancock�s music invasive and severely dated (though the director�s decision to keep the soundtrack almost exclusively diegetic is an interesting and effective one). There are times when the entire experience feels like a signpost to nowhere, as though Antonioni is teasing us with fascinating surfaces, drawing us in with hinted subtexts before revealing that, like its central character, there�s not much going on underneath. In fact, there�s a great deal going on: convoluted, interwoven themes of art and commerce, privacy and voyeurism, male and female, looking and seeing. All of which, in the final analysis, make �Blowup� a much easier film to admire than it is to enjoy.



    Author: Tom Huddleston

  10. #70
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Cool Hand Luke , the wee vixen washing the car when all the convicts were staring at her.
    Yes, his fellow prisoners should have referred to him as ONE Hand Luke after that! Surely the inspiration for Jessica Simpson's video for These Boots Are Made For Walkin'? Joy Harmon was 'The Girl'. She also appeared in That Girl, a sitcom starring the lovely Marlo Thomas (daughter of Danny and Mrs. Phil Donahue), which one or two of our American members might know, and I can remember Joy in the Walter Matthau film Guide For The Married Man too.



    There was a film released in 1968-69 called CANDY I think with Ringo Star - more explicit than Blow Up I thought.
    I saw this film a few weeks ago and it was embarassing. Richard Burton was the only good thing about the picture. Walter Matthau appeared in this too!



    No votes for the eating scene in Tom Jones? In that case I'll cast mine. Albert Finney and the much older Joyce Redman conveyed real lust in this sequence.



    Glenda Jackson had a few erotic moments in her early films.

  11. #71
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    Nagisa Oshima's Ai No Corrida gets my vote for the bluest movie award, also the most depressing.

  12. #72
    Senior Member Country: Australia Corinne's Avatar
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    I thought David Hemmings was great in the 60's. I saw him in a fantastic film called Alfred the Great & this film also. The last time I saw him was in a movie called A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he was bloated & had eyebrows that looked like handlebars. I know we all get old but why do men let their eyebrows go au naturalle?

  13. #73
    Senior Member Country: Europe Bernardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy H
    This is a very strange film. I've only seen it once from beginning to end, and I found myself wondering what happened to the plot? He takes the photo, blows it up and discovers the 'crime' - but it seems to peter out after that and becomes a nice example of a 'Swinging London' film. Or did I nod off?
    It is one of those films that I associate with the tale of the King's New Clothes, everyone applauds it....but why?

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo
    It is one of those films that I associate with the tale of the King's New Clothes, everyone applauds it....but why?
    It cetainly isn't universally popular But it did seem to capture something of what that era was like. I saw it aged 11 when I sneaked into the film society screening at school.



    It implanted a deep love of photograhy that I have to this very day.



    And good old David Hemmings provided a nice rhyme for the lemming obsessed Peter Hammil.

  15. #75
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo
    It is one of those films that I associate with the tale of the King's New Clothes, everyone applauds it....but why?
    ditto here . its an interesting snapshot of the times and i like the scene where you see the yardbirds playing in the nightclub [ it was the who he actually wanted which is why beck smashes his guitar ] but the rest of it is a big fuss over nothing .



    i was similarly underwhelmed by zebraskie point which is also made out to be something greater than it actually is IMO

  16. #76
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    I watch Blowup once a year because it has such a distinctive mood, due mainly to Antonioni's obsessive framing and Herbie Hancock's music. It is an early example of minimalism and I think its narrative retains enough tension to place the movie as a thriller. Sarah Miles, who walked off it (and who can blame her? What a wretched part she has), liked to tell the story about the tennis scene at the end. 'What's this all about Michelangelo?" she asked Il Maestro. 'That's for the critics,' he said. For me, the movie has some marvellous things and also arguably the least comfortable, cringiest, toe-curlingly awful scene ever filmed, when Hemmings tries to calm the fidgetty, half-naked Vanessa Redgrave by playing her a bit of jazz. Oh my God, I squirm with embarrassment every time.

  17. #77
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Blow-Up is still a blast
    Blow-Up epitomised all that was cool in the 1960s and inspired many a young man to pick up a camera.

    Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blow-Up probably needs little introduction. Starring David Hemmings as the photo*grapher, Thomas, whose irresistible powers of seduction had the world's most beautiful and aloof women (Veruschka, Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Birkin, no less) almost naked and, literally, at his feet, it is a film that has done much to glamorise the world of fashion photography.

    It is one of those films in which nothing much actually happens, yet its influence has been far-reaching, its super-contrast black-and-white imagery so familiar. The eternally cool Veruschka admitted some years later that the film was not so far from reality: 'I was never so interested in fashion. I was never interested to wear designer clothes. It was a big stage and you were used as accessories. I was the object of desire, like in Blow-Up.'

    Every young (male) fashion photographer has surely at one time or another fancied himself as the cockney Thomas. Hemmings himself admitted that generation after generation of fashion photographers told him that he was the reason they picked up the camera. But it was Don McCullin, the reportage photographer, who shot all the stills that were used in the film. 'I was doing what the Hemmings character was supposed to be doing,' he has said. 'All the blow-ups in the film were mine. One day, two limousines had pulled up outside my house and all these Italians trooped out with their camel coats over their arms. I was paid �500, a lot of money to me at the time. Antonioni was very bad-tempered when the sun came out � the Italian crew would play football, because they knew he would stop shooting. That made him even more bad-tempered. They would also go back to Rome at weekends to get their hair cut.'

    Lord Lichfield, who was working for Queen magazine at the time, later recalled, 'Hetero guys were taking pictures of girls the way they liked them to look, and the film cashed in on it. I was two years behind and in awe of the cockney trio [David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Duffy]. Before them, photographers stood behind tripods with black cloths over their heads, then there was Bailey jumping up on the table, wielding his 35mm.'

    In his essay in Antonioni's Blow-Up, Steidl's new book that documents the film the way most of us remember it � as a series of graphic stills (including the McCullin pictures 'blown up' by Hemmings to reveal a gunman lurking in the bushes) � the photography historian Philippe Garner writes, 'By the mid-1960s London was attracting ever-widening recognition as an energetic hub of creativity in the conjoined arenas of music, fashion, photography, television, filmmaking and the fine arts. A relatively small and loose-knit community of talented and opportunistic individuals made an impact disproportionate to their numbers.'

    The same might be said of London today. The fashion/art/music community is perhaps bigger than it was 40 years ago, but because it is still perceived as glamorous it still gets more than its fair share of influence, not only in London but also across the country and on into the ether of the internet. And the influence of Blow-Up seems likely to endure. November 15 sees the premiere of a short film written and directed by Edoardo Ponti, the grandson of Carlo Ponti (who produced Blow-Up) and Sophia Loren. Shot on location in Leicester Square to promote the new W hotel just opened there, Away We Stay takes Blow-Up as its inspiration. This time the photographer is played by Helena Christensen, and the object of her affection is the British model David Gandy.

  18. #78
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    My favourite film: Blow-Up

    In our writers' favourite film series, Jon Dennis plays it cool with a chilling Michelangelo Antonioni tale set in swinging 60s London

    Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up tells the story of a photographer who witnesses a murder.

    It was a real thrill, aged 16 and seeing Blow-Up, with its depiction of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, swinging London style. My enjoyment of the film's celebrated sex scenes was, however, considerably tempered by the presence of my mum and dad. Still, I was grateful to my parents for introducing me to the film � their knowledge of which revealed an uncharacteristic hipness hitherto concealed from me. It was the most sophisticated film I'd ever seen. Though I couldn't claim to have understood it, I knew I was on to something.

    Blow-Up gave me kudos the next day at school, because all the coolest kids had seen it too. Even better, it turned out the "murder" scene was filmed at Maryon Park in Charlton, south-east London, a couple of miles or so from school � though I was an unadventurous boy, and sadly Blow-Up didn't inspire me to immediately visit the park and track down the filming locations. But while this was recognisably the same city, it was a different London from the staid, predictable one I'd grown up in.

    On first viewing, the London of Blow-Up seemed to be full of secrets just waiting to be discovered, of beautiful and creative young people at the centre of the cultural universe. In the actual city where I lived, it was possible to have a fabulously glamorous life, to live in a converted warehouse, drive a sports car, watch the Yardbirds � and yes, cavort with naked would-be models.

    But the film itself was also troubling. Did David Hemmings's David Bailey-esque photographer witness a murder? If he did, what happened to the killers? Blow-Up is inconclusive on the subject. The film's surreal touches � the mime troupe playing tennis with an invisible ball, the grass painted green in the park, Stockwell Road's maroon shops � give proceedings an air of unreality that undermines the seriousness of the crime.

    I was too young to experience swinging London, but that hardly mattered � it didn't swing for everyone. Many people's lives in the 60s were just as dreary as the one they'd had in the 50s. In fact, it doesn't really swing in Blow-Up: early on, young revellers are juxtaposed with down-at-heel men filing out of a gate. For Blow-Up's Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni, too, Swinging London wasn't real � it was as intangible as that tennis ball. Its denizens are cruel, self-regarding and amoral. Hemmings's character isn't amused by his good fortune. He fights to retrieve a piece of Jeff Beck's guitar after an auto-destructive performance of Stroll On, then outside the club discards this precious pop artefact as worthless junk. It's his ennui that leads him to Maryon Park, and the ensuing murder mystery the only thing that motivates him or gives his life meaning. His indifference to the crime and his cruelty to women are symptomatic of society's degeneration.
    Blow-Up

    Blow-Up is a film about a particular moment in the capital's history. It was made in London in 1966, which aficionados of 60s pop culture will recognise as the absolute perfect place and time. Imagine walking into a small club and witnessing that incendiary performance by the Yardbirds. Astonishingly, the Who, Tomorrow and even the Velvet Underground had been considered for the role. And look � the audience includes a young Michael Palin, and Janet Street Porter in a homemade silver dress.

    But it also has enduring appeal, thanks to the music (Herbie Hancock's groovy jazz deserves a special mention), the director's ambivalence towards the subject matter and the "beautiful people", who are also repellent. It also reveals an enduring truth about London, my home town: it's never truly knowable. Who knows what goes on in the park hedgerows, in the converted warehouses, behind that nightclub door, where there's always someone hipper than you?

  19. #79
    Senior Member Country: UK Flare Players's Avatar
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    There are a few things about Blow Up I find interesting. If you look for surface details in it, you'll come away thinking it was all pretty but empty but the devil is in the details as they say.

    First, no actor with a speaking role in the movie is over the age of 30. It's as if Antonioni came to the UK and felt that the establishement of British actors were redundant for his purposes. So these young actors become the movie's establishment figures.

    Second, even though the Swinging Sixties is just getting started already everyone seems bored and jaded in the movie.

    Third, Thomas never finishes what he starts. He enters restaurants, orders food and then leaves. He abandons fashion shoots at a whim. He enters shops, orders stuff and then leaves without seemingly completing the transaction. He does this sort of stuff all throughout the movie. It's as if he's so bored with life that he wants the murder he uncovers to be real so it can spur him on...but even then he doesn't follow through the investigations properly before abandoning one part of it to go and do something else. Anyway, that's my take on a film that still has things to reveal after about 10 viewings.

    One last point; I've spotted Janet Street-Porter in the crowd scene at the Yardbirds gig but apparently Michael Palin was an extra in that scene as well. Anyone been able to spot him?

  20. #80
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Hello, Nick. I've watched Blow Up a good few times myself but never noticed that recurring theme in the movie. Well spotted! The Extras in the scene with The Yardbirds dominated the early posts of long-running thread http://filmdope.com/forums/ac...se-people.html. Looking at the captures again, I wonder if Michael Palin is the young man in the middle of this one?:



    A reminder of Janet Street Porter's uncharacteristically groovy appearance, also posted at 'Where Were They Then?'!:

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