Philip French

An affair to remember

New movie festivals spring up every year and pictures can achieve fame and reach large, if not especially lucrative, audiences by playing on the worldwide festival circuit without ever getting into normal commercial cinemas. But pace John Huston, who over half a century ago described Edinburgh as ‘the only film festival worth a damn’ (a

Frantic and fantastic

There is now an established tradition of busy stars not reading the books to which they put their names. It stretches from Hedy Lamarr, who 40 years ago sued the ghostwriters of Ecstasy and Me for misrepresentation some while after publication, to Victoria Beckham who claims never to have read a book, not even her

Sunset over the Boulevard

Betsy Blair was born Elizabeth Boger in 1923 into a middle-class episcopalian family in New Jersey, her mother a teacher, her father an insurance broker. By the age of 12, this prodigiously confident child performer was dancing before Eleanor Roosevelt in Washington. At the age of 16 she came to audition at Billy Rose’s Manhattan

When Hollywood trembled

In its brief, action-filled history of 109 years the cinema has recapitulated the history of art from cave painting to Picasso, and conveniently for historians each decade has had a distinctive character. After the primitive but increasingly sophisticated fumblings of the first decade of the 20th century, the teen years saw the dominance of Chaplin