Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin play reluctant screenwriting collaborators on a WWII film designed to lift the British public’s spirits and coax America into the conflict in Lone Scherfig’s period comedy-drama. Near the end of the stealth charmer Their Finest, the accidental screenwriter played by Gemma Arterton slips into a movie theater amongst the London public during the Blitz to watch the morale-building British Ministry of Information propaganda film she has helped to shape.
Director: Roman Polanski Stars: Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Frank Finlay
Nearly a decade after turning down the chance to direct Schindler’s List, director Roman Polanski released his own Holocaust story. And while it wasn’t exactly an autobiography—the movie is about pianist Władysław Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody), who is forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto during Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland—Polanski, who managed to escape from the Kraków Ghetto following the death of his mother as a child, inserted enough personal experience to make it feel that way.
Keeping with his reputation as a director who does not shy away from truth—regardless of how disturbing it may—The Pianist holds nothing back in its depiction of the Holocaust’s extreme atrocities. The camera doesn’t flinch when young children are beaten to death, innocent men and women are gunned down and executed in the streets, piles of dead bodies are set afire and a man in a wheelchair is hurled off a balcony, fatally crashing into the ground below. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s a powerful one.
Director: Steven Spielberg Stars: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
To call Schindler’s List “a movie” seems like an understatement, as few films have ever presented as effective—or harrowing—an accounting of the Holocaust as Steven Spielberg’s epic retelling of Oskar Schindler, the German business owner who saved the lives of thousands of concentration camp-bound refugees by offering them employment in his factories. While many consider Schindler’s List the film that Spielberg was born to make, the director himself worried that he did not have the maturity to pull off such a massive undertaking, and so it was originally pitched to Roman Polanski, Sydney Pollack and Martin Scorsese (who was officially attached).
But then Spielberg reconsidered. And from the moment he took the reins, he was clear about one thing: the film would be shot like a documentary, which meant that he did not want any stars in the key roles (both Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes were still relative unknowns at the time) and that it would be shot in black and white using mostly handheld cameras. It would also be filmed in as many of the actual locations as possible (with the exception of Auschwitz, which they were forbidden from entering). And it’s from these elements precisely that Schindler’s List draws its cinematic power.
Set during the summer of 1953, Churchill’s Secret tells a little-known part of Winston Churchill’s great life story. Having suffered a life-threatening stroke, which his inner circle conspired to hide from the public, the film charts the course of Churchill’s (played by Cranford‘s Michael Gambon) remarkable recovery with the help of his spirited nurse (Emma‘s Romola Garai).
Told from the point of view of his children, his long-suffering wife, and the men of his cabinet, the film casts an honest light on the tensions within his brilliant and dysfunctional family, and investigates the strain that his great public service wrought upon his private life.
Churchill’s Secret airs as a one-night television event on Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 8/7con MASTERPIECE, and stars Michael Gambon (Cranford), Lindsay Duncan, Romola Garai (Emma), and Matthew Macfadyen.
EXCLUSIVE: You could have imagined Steve McQueen playing prodigal existentially conflicted biker gang leader Jax Teller in Sons Of Anarchy, so it doesn’t seem a stretch to envision Charlie Hunnam taking on the role originated by McQueen in the 1973 classic prison escape drama Papillon. Wolf Of Wall Street producer Red Granite is putting it together for a fall shoot with Danish director Michael Noer attached to direct a script by Prisoners scribe Aaron Guzikowski.
McQueen played a man unjustly convicted of murder in 1930s France and condemned to life in a South American prison. He plots his escape, aided by a counterfeiter (Dustin Hoffman co-starred) who finances Papillon’s prison escapes in exchange for protection in prison. Tale was scripted by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr, directed by Franklin J Schaffner from French convict Henri Charriere’s autobiography.
Hunnam completed shooting the title role of the Guy Ritchie-directed King Arthur: Knights Of The Roundtable, a franchise launch for Warner Bros behind the script by Joby Harold. Hunnam also has the James Gray-directed Lost City Of Z coming.
X Company’ is a character-driven drama set in a world of espionage and covert operations. The show will be set in WWII, following the stories of five highly skilled young recruits – Canadian, American and British, who are taken from their everyday lives and are trained together in a ultra-secret training facility on the shores of Lake Ontario.