Spielberg's ET tops film poll

By Jennifer Lipman, August 3, 2010

A Steven Spielberg film has been named the greatest in history in a new poll.

The director’s 1982 children’s classic, ET The Extra-Terrestrial, beat The Wizard Of Oz and Mary Poppins to the top spot of the Radio Times survey. More than 2,500 people voted in the poll.

The Oscar-winning film tells the story a friendly alien on a mission to return home. It was a critical and financial success and has been rereleased twice.

Actress Drew Barrymore shot to fame for her role as one of the children ET befriended.


James Bond scriptwriter dies aged 68

By Jennifer Lipman, August 3, 2010

The Jewish screenwriter who brought to life James Bond and Superman has died at the age of 68.

Hollywood veteran Tom Mankiewicz died at his Los Angeles home following surgery for pancreatic cancer.

The son of the Oscar-winning director of All About Eve, Joseph L Mankiewicz, Mr Mankiewicz followed in his father’s footsteps and directed the television series Hart to Hart and the Tom Hanks film Dragnet.

But he was perhaps best known for writing or contributing to the scripts for several Bond films, including Diamonds are Forever and The Spy Who Loved Me.


Gainsbourg, a life lived in revenge for the yellow star

By Eddi Fiegel, July 28, 2010

For most Jews, the yellow star that thousands were forced to wear by the Nazis would not be the most obvious choice of subject matter for a pop song. But then the French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg was never really your average Jew.


Natalie Portman film to open Venice festival

By Jennifer Lipman, July 23, 2010

A film starring Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman as a top ballerina has been selected to open this year's Venice Film Festival in September.

Ms Portman plays the lead in “Black Swan”, a psychological thriller directed by Jewish filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.

It will be the third consecutive film by Mr Aronofsky premiering at the Venice event, following The Fountain and The Wrestler, which won the festival's Golden Lion prize in 2008.


Review: Splice

By Jonathan Foreman, July 22, 2010

Splice is a clever sci-fi-horror film perfectly timed for a summer in which scientists have created the first artificial self-replicating life form. Directed by Canadian Vincenzo Natali and produced by Guillermo del Toro, it is sometimes reminiscent of the brilliant, perverse work of David Cronenberg, though less coherent in almost every way.


Rail buff whose films make it under their own steam

By Gita Conn, July 22, 2010

Gerry Troyna's passion for India, railways and films brought him a Royal Television Society Best Documentary Series Award last month for his Indian Hill Railways series, which the BBC repeated last week for the fifth or sixth time (he has lost count).

Looking more like a pop star in his shades, camouflage for blood-shot, jet-lagged eyes, he is full of praise for his far-away Indian team who, he says "actually make these films possible".


Aaron Sorkin to film presidential scandal

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2010

Aaron Sorkin, the creator of White House television series the West Wing, is planning to bring another political story to the big screen.

Mr Sorkin is set to film the story of the rise and fall of John Edwards, the Democrat presidential contender brought down when a gossip magazine revealed his extramarital affair with an aide.


The film-maker who Ceausescu couldn't kill

By Stephen Applebaum, July 15, 2010

Radu Mihaileanu cannot help telling stories. "I don't know where it comes from," says the Franco-Romanian film-maker, "but I think it's deeply Jewish to hear stories and tell stories. We have always done that."


Review: Twilight: Eclipse

By Jonathan Foreman, July 8, 2010

I have not yet heard a convincing explanation for the general upsurge in popularity of vampire films and TV series in the last few years. But the particular success of the Twilight franchise, based on the mega-bestselling series of young adult novels by Mormon writer Stephenie Meyer, seems less of a mystery.


Glee creator to make film about Jewish activist

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

A play about a Jewish Aids activist is to be made into a film by the creator of television show Glee.

American Jewish playwright Larry Kramer is to adapt his semi-autobiographical 1985 drama The Normal Heart for the screen.

Mr Kramer drew on his experiences as one of the founders of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) in the early 1980s to create the part of advocate Ned Weeks.

The GMHC were crucial in challenging the idea that Aids was only a “gay cancer”.