Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Film of the Day

Tom Courtenay and Maggie Smith in Quartet

Quartet

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 25 February Enrico Caruso born, 1873 On this day in 1873, the Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso was born in Naples. He came from a large family and his father was a manual worker. Enrico was apprenticed to a mechanical engineer aged 11 but also sang in the church choir, where his voice stood out. He took up work as a street singer, performed in cafes and had soon graduated to soirees where he would literally sing for his supper. All the while he was studying singing and eventually made his debut aged 22 at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples. By … Read more
Paz de la Huerta poledances in Enter the Void

Enter the Void

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 8 July Matthew Perry arrives in Edo Bay, 1853 On this day in 1853, Commodore Matthew C Perry’s four-ship squadron arrived in Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay today). Japan’s policy towards foreigners was one of total isolation, and had been since 1633 – the penalty for foreigners entering Japan, or Japanese leaving, was death. Perry was determined to open Japan up to US trade, and threatened the Japanese with bombardment to make his point. To demonstrate the superiority of US fire power, he fired on buildings in the harbour, then retreated. In the interim the Japanese fortified their garrison and quickly tried … Read more
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

The King’s Speech

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 19 June Wallis Simpson born, 1896 On this day in 1896, Bessie Wallis Warfield was born in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Her father died of tuberculosis when she was only a few months old and she was supported by various members of her father’s family, until her mother remarried, though it was her father’s brother who paid for her to attend Maryland’s most expensive girls school. Bright, ambitious and always well dressed, Wallis was popular and in 1916 she married a US Navy aviator, Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. An alcoholic and womaniser, her husband and Wallis had an on-off relationship with … Read more
Groucho Marx in Duck Soup

Duck Soup

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 2 October Groucho Mark born, 1890 On this day in 1890, Julius Henry Marx, one of the 20th century’s most distinctive comedians was born, in New York City. He started off in a vaudeville singing troupe with various members of the family, including his mother at one point. When pure singing didn’t work for them, the Marx brothers started to include comedy in their act, losing non family members on the way and eventually settling down to be the four brothers, Julius, Adolph, Leonard and Milton (aka Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Gummo). Gummo decided to leave and Zeppo, considered the funniest … Read more
Ice-T talks to Dr Dre in Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 10 February Kanye West releases debut album, 2004 On this day in 2004, multi-instrumentalist, singer and rapper Kanye West released his debut album, The College Dropout, which is precisely what West was, having junked art school after one semester in favour of a career in music. The career in music went well, with West rapidly becoming a sought-after producer – Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Ludacris – and beatmaker, all the while working on his own solo album, whose release got pushed further and further into the future as West spent his time making music for other people. His sample-based singles Through the … Read more
Donald Holden in George Washington

George Washington

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 14 December George Washington dies, 1799 On this day in 1799, George Washington died. George Washington was the first president of the USA, a commander in chief of the army in the war of independence and was also one of the Founding Fathers, the group who signed the Declaration of Independence, launched the new country into a revolutionary war, and then drafted the Constitution. His presidency was marked by attempts to promote the federal government and national institutions, to get taxation on a fair basis, to avoid wars in foreign lands, to pay down the national debt and to use the … Read more
Patrick Riester in Computer Chess

Computer Chess

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 9 March Bobby Fischer born, 1943 On this day in 1943, the future chess grandmaster Robert James Fischer was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The son of a communist teacher and of either the physicist Paul Nemenyi or the biophysicist Gerhardt Fischer (the FBI believed it was the former), Bobby learnt to play chess aged six and became immediately fascinated with the game. He played against his first master, Max Pavey, aged eight and though he lost it led to an introduction to the Manhattan Chess Club, where he was tutored by William Lombardy, and then the Hawthorne Chess Club, where … Read more
Divine in Pink Flamingos

Pink Flamingos

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 19 October Divine born, 1945 On this day in 1945, Harris Glenn Milstead, aka Divine, was born, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Six months older than fellow Baltimore native John Waters, he became involved with Waters’ acting troupe the Dreamlanders in the mid 1960s and starred in Waters’ first four films, Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). In fact it was Waters who gave Harris (or Glenn as he was known to family and school friends) the name Divine, after a character in Jean Genet’s debut novel, Our Lady of the Flowers. Waters was intent … Read more
Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium, Mexico 1968

Salute

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 4 April Martin Luther King assassinated, 1968 On this day in 1968, the black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He’d gone there to intervene in a strike of black sanitary public works employees, who were employed on zero-hours contracts, while their white counterparts were paid by the day, irrespective of hours worked. There had been a bomb threat against King’s plane en route and he was clearly expecting trouble. On 3 April, at Mason Temple, he delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech – “Like anybody, I would like to live a … Read more
Jack Cardiff with a still of Audrey Hepburn

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 27 July Vincent Van Gogh shoots himself, 1890 What is it that everyone knows about the painter Vincent Van Gogh? That he cut off his ear. And perhaps a lot of people also know that he killed himself. But it seems to have been forgotten that he shot himself. But he did, on this day in 1890. Having lived in a variety of places in his native Netherlands, London and Paris, Van Gogh had finally moved to Arles in 1888, where he was to have the artistic breakthrough and produce the work he is still remembered for. He was also behaving … Read more
Driss shows Philippe the finer things in life in Untouchable

Untouchable

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 20 April Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, 1968 On this day in 1968, the senior Conservative British politician Enoch Powell made a speech in which he alluded to Virgil’s Aenid – “As I look forward, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.” A Greek scholar who also spoke Urdu – Powell as an ambitious young man had set his sights on becoming the viceroy of India, only to find in later life that the Indians were coming to him – Powell was referring to the prospects for race … Read more
Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Rudo y Cursi

Rudo y Cursi

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 16 March The Wanderers FC win first FA Cup, 1872 Today in 1872, the London football club Wanderers won the first football association cup, the oldest football competition in the world. It was the first of three wins of the cup for the club. The FA Cup is a knockout cup open to all football clubs who are established enough, and with facilities enough, to take part. In 1871-72, being the first season of the cup, there was a piecemeal and eccentric series of regulations – Wanderers managed to get to the final having won only one of their four games … Read more

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