RIP Roger Ebert…
I’m sure everyone has heard the awful news that legendary film critic Roger Ebert has died. He is, of course, best known for his iconic “thumbs up / thumbs down” review show with the late film critic Gene Siskel…
His love of film is well known, and he has many books of film criticism and analysis that are fascinating and entertaining – he loved cinema, and a major part of film criticism died with him today.
Roger Ebert At The Cannes Film Festival!
I was lucky enough to interview Roger many times for E!’s Cannes Film Festival specials, and he was always engaging, funny and self-deprecating. And he always LOVED movies – all kinds of movies!
His Home Away From Home…
He always stayed at the classic Spendid Hotel, just steps away from the famed Palais du Festival, where the films in competition were screened…
One year, he gave me a great anecdote about Cannes: how the world’s greatest cinema was screened every night at the Grand Lumiere – the festival’s most prestigious theater:
And while those great films were being screened upstairs, downstairs in the basement of the Palais, where the film market was held, he came across a guy who was selling films BY THE POUND!
That was what made the Cannes Film Festival so special….
Ebert wrote what is still my favorite book about Cannes:
Two Weeks In The Midday Sun
This is a gem of a book: Film Critic Roger Ebert documented his two weeks at the Cannes Film Festival – one of the most entertaining and chaotic things I ever had the pleasure of attending…
Here is what Amazon says: “Ebert’s journal of the annual two-week movie circus known as the Cannes Film Festival is about as nourishing as a croissant, but like that airy pastry, it’s fun to devour. The book is full of movies; gossip; characters with strange lifestyles, some of them actors, others more prosaically rich; and egos running amok at the 1987 festival (the 40th).”
Ebert was a signature presence at the festival, always at the press conferences, given special seating and the best credential you could have: the legendary white badge…
As celebrities were walking up the steps of the Palais, hundreds of paparazzi would fight to get pictures of the stars…it’s a surreal experience to be part of, and this book really captures the inside look at the festival.
Roger Ebert was a terrific writer, and of course a brilliant film critic…this short book is a really fun way to go to Cannes!
And, in case you didn’t know, Roger Ebert was also a screenwriter!
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls – 1970.
Yes, Roger Ebert wrote Russ Meyer’s scandalous sequel to “Valley Of The Dolls!”
When three female rock’n’rollers travel to Hollywood to claim an inheritance, they meet up with a kinky music promoter who turns them on to a whole new scene. At first, all seems very exciting and the naïve trio becomes submerged in his dangerous tinseltown underworld-before they discover his true motives.
Yes, this is the legendary sequel to / and satire of “Valley Of The Dolls”, scripted by Roger Ebert! And X-rated when it was released! The DVD special edition calls it “A rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza of ample proportions!
What a classic idea – take a hit movie “Valley Of The Dolls”, and turn the sequel over to the legendary exploitation king! You can hear Ebert on the DVD’s numerous extra features!
Commentary by screenwriter and film critic Roger Ebert
Commentary by cast members Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John La Zar and Erica Gavin
“Above, Beneath and Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical-Horror-Sex-Comedy” documentary
“Look on up at the Bottom: The Music of Dolls” featurette
“The Best of Beyond” featurette
“Sex, Drugs, Music and Murder: Signs of the Times, Baby!” featurette
“Casey and Roxanne: The Love Scene” featurette
Actor screen tests
Here are two great ways to see a different side of Roger Ebert…he will truly be missed…