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    Birthday Honor Roll

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Today’s birthday tribute to influential screen talents reaches far and wide – even beyond the 200+ titles that have graced the Twilight Time library. Who could foresee that August 29 would have gifted the world with personalities who would cut such long and venerable swaths in the annals of directing essential landmarks of screen comedy (Preston Sturges [1898-1959]), action and horror (William Friedkin, turning 81) and pop-culture fantasies (Joel Schumacher, turning 78)? Or scale the heights of pop music innovation (Michael Jackson [1958-2009])? Or forge an acting career that evolved from counterculture rebel to compelling character portraitist (Elliott Gould, also a still-vital 78)? TT customers have already sampled the enduring work of others born this day. The venerable actor/director Richard Attenborough (1923-2014) was always a magnetic screen presence and his two representative titles reflect him at polar opposite of his great range – as the insular, quietly menacing British serial killer John Christie in the screws-tightening thriller 10 Rillington Place (1971) and as the jocular, intelligent Scotland Yard inspector getting more than he bargained for while shepherding Chicago cop John Wayne during the London-wide hunt for a fugitive gangster in the action-packed Brannigan (1975, offered here: http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/27341/BRANNIGAN-1975/). Also filming in London, as well as Paris and Denmark, iconic Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982) enjoyed one of the many high points of her illustrious career playing the title role of her poignant and piquantly glamorous is-she/isn’t-she Russian nobility fable Anastasia (1956), restoring her in Academy Award®-winning glory to her place among Hollywood royalty after years of scandal-ridden exile. Fans of the imaginatively lensed (also London-set) Vincent Price horror delight Theatre of Blood (1973) can raise a Shakespearean toast to today’s 104th birthday of its still-with-us veteran cinematographer and internationally acclaimed photographer Wolfgang Suschitzky (Ulysses, Get Carter). 

    At the start of a lively career that would later crown her as the first African-American Emmy® winner as Best Actress in a Comedy Series for The Jeffersons, Isabel Sanford (1917-2004) made her impactful screen debut in the exalted company of Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier playing the outspoken and often exasperated housekeeper Tillie in the groundbreaking Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). As many have already set places at the table for these great movies, the invitation is also extended for fans of the lovely Risky Business/The Hand That Rocks the Cradle star Rebecca De Mornay, turning 57 today, who will match her wits and wiles with fugitive convicts Jon Voight and Eric Roberts in October’s Twilight Time Blu-ray release of Runaway Train (1985). The August 29 Birthday Talent Pool is truly immense, especially when experienced in sparkling high-definition.