Eileen, Walter, and Marilyn: The Black Maria Minutes for 7.30.13

In News, The Retro Set Minutes by Carley MIchelle Hildebrand0 Comments

There’s a lot of news out there today, and one piece in particular that is quite sad to the film community: the loss of character actress Eileen Brennan. We top our Minutes today with a farewell to this fabulously talented actress.

The film world mourns the loss of actress Eileen Brennan who passed away today after fighting a battle with bladder cancer. She was 80 years old. The Oscar-nominated character actress, known for blazing sharp wit, was often the brightest spot in every film she made. Brennan is best known as the hilarious drill sergeant in the Goldie Hawn vehicle Private Benjamin and as Paul Newman’s sassy, saucy partner in crime in The Sting, and the scene stealing Mrs. Peacock in the 80s cult classic Clue. (80s children like me will never, ever forget Mrs. Peacock’s ‘this soup is delicious’ speech.)

But the Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actress also enjoyed a major television career that spanned four decades—from Laugh In, to Taxi, to Will & Grace and just about everything in between. She was also an Obie winning stage actress, first dazzling the New York stage with the musical Little Mary Sunshine in 1960. (Those same singing chops were on full display in a show-stopping number in The Cheap Detective.)

Mainstream media and the Twittersphere erupted with immediate and heartfelt responses to the news.

Character actors are often the glue that holds a film together. They bring texture and heart to a story; we sit up a bit straighter when they enter a frame, and miss them when they leave. And Eileen Brennan, one of the finest character actors we’ve ever had, will be sorely missed.

Also in movie news today…

MITTY

As a general rule, the idea of remaking a classic film gives us the willies. But. It has been with keen interest that we’ve been monitoring the upcoming release of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. James Thurber’s classic children’s story was last brought to the screen in 1943, in a much-beloved adaptation starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo. This modern re-imagining is both directed by and starring Ben Stiller as the daydreaming would-be adventurer, and Kristin Wiig as (quite literally) the girl of his dreams. The trailer was released today and it is extremely promising to say the least. We really hope the film follows through!

NIAGARA

And since it’s Tuesday, it means plenty of new releases to talk about. From 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the releases of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender, and two of Marilyn Monroe’s finest performenaces: Bus Stop and Niagara. Kino delivers Eric Von Stroheim’s silent classic Foolish Wives, packaged together with the 1979 Stroheim documentary The Man You Love to Hate. And Criterion gives us the release of Guillermo Del Toro’s 2002 gothic horror film The Devil’s Backbone, which is great in itself, but they are also featuring orginal cover designs from Mondo, which is somewhere in the ballplark of brilliant.

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