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    Birthday Diversity

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    The talented crowd of players whose birthdays fall today, familiar faces all, reflects the wide-ranging fare in the Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray library. Just four months before he wouId be embraced at the start of his long series run as the wise and benign paterfamilias in The Waltons, Ralph Waite (1928-2014) could be caught at the movies playing weaselly Elias Hooker, part of the evil posse tracking down fugitive Native American Charles Bronson in the revisionist Western Chato’s Land (1972) and the recipient of especially wicked reptilian retribution from the resourceful Bronson. Turning 75, character favorite Michael Lerner is a key link in the investigation to uncover the alien invasion of a small Illinois burg, playing mental asylum inmate Willie Collins in the sweetly subversive, slow-burn science-fiction chiller Strange Invaders (1983).

    Austrian-born Klaus Maria Brandauer, turning 72, drives the intrigues of next month’s release of The Russia House (1990), as the dissident scientist whose secret notebooks spur the international brinksmanship between Russian, British and American operatives – and catch romantically attracted civilians Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer in the crossfire of John le Carré’s involving narrative. He also gets TT bonus points for having played one of this label’s favorite directors, Otto Preminger, in the lauded HBO telefilm Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Coming to cinemas in August as one of history’s most untalented singers in the comedic biography Florence Foster Jenkins is the polar opposite, extraordinarily multitalented, still robustly employed 67-year-old Jersey girl Meryl Streep, captured in her spotlight-seizing film debut in Julia (1977) as a snidely snobbish society acquaintance of Jane Fonda's Lillian Hellman. Now 58, B-movie icon Bruce Campbell brings his unique flair for combatting protohumans and otherworldly creatures to the futuristic Fangoria Films cult item Mindwarp (1992). And for no other reason than his remarkable body of work, selections from which may emerge on our label in future, a shout-out also goes to writer-producer-director Billy Wilder (1906-2002) on the 110th anniversary of his birth. As much as we are about great stories, terrific actors, skilled directors and memorable musical scores, TT also celebrates diversity.