America caught Saturday Night Fever on 16th December 1977, with the release of John Travolta’s first step into stardom. Travolta played a young man who danced away all his troubles of the time, whilst wearing his glamorous white suit. A global disco phenomenon soon followed.
December 17th 1946 saw the birth of Eugene Levy, better known as Jim’s dad from the American Pie movies. Being gifted with the uncanny ability to portray an embarrassing and out of touch father, Eugene Levy has starred in very similar roles in other films such as Splash and Taking Woodstock.
On the same year as the release of Saturday Night Fever, Jacques Tourneur passed away on the 19th of December.Known as one of the greatest directors of the golden age of Hollywood, Jacques directed such classic B-movie horror films as I walked with a Zombie and Cat People.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, 1999 and Tunisia to be exact, George Lucas gave Star Warsfans the most detailed and strikingly beautiful location that the series had to offer. Just ask any Star Wars fan of the first city that springs to mind, they’ll undoubtedly think of Mos Espa, the hometown of one Anakin Skywalker. Fast forward well over a decade however, this real world location may soon be a thing of the past.
Located just to the west of the Tunisian city of Tozeur, lies one of the most detailed Star Wars sets ever built. Nestled amidst the dunes are around 20 buildings covering an area of around 10,000 square meters. One of the largest Star Wars sets produced, many tourists stumble upon the location thinking they’ve been transported in time.
This area was prominently featured in the first of the Star Wars prequels, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace and has since become one of Tunisia’s key tourist attractions. Tourists can currently visit Mos Espa and get the feel as though they are on the fictional planet of Tatooine, the only thing that’s missing are the twin suns.
CNN reports however, that this iconic area may soon be lost by the very location it resides in. The sand dunes next to Mos Espa are currently moving at a rate of around 4cm per day, with the fictional city lying right in its path. Very soon, Mos Espa may be lost forever.
Image via holidaycheck.com. The sand is starting to surround the already weathered Mos Espa buildings.
This news comes at a devastating loss for Tunisia, as the area is frequently included in various holiday packages and draws many visitors, all wishing to gain an insight into this iconic fictional city.
In an interview with CNN, Tahar Karya, an expert in the sand dunes of Tunisia and George Lucas’ personal driver during filming, had this to say about how Tunisia benefited as a result of Mr Lucas:
“More than 1,500 background actors were employed. Agencies and hotels also benefited. Over a period of two-and-a-half months, (Lucas) brought activities to the region and beneficial economic activity. We hope he comes back here again.”
Perhaps George Lucas will return to Tunisia to film the latest Star Wars films? He’d better bring a spade.
The set has remained unused since 2003 after Lucas finished filming Episode 2, the final film that featured Mos Espa. At the time of writing, those interested can still visit the set, but for how much longer?
Better book those tickets sooner rather than later Star Wars fans, as Mos Espa may soon be swallowed up by the Sahara Desert itself. Perhaps a few centuries from now future civilisations may uncover the location and mistake it for a functioning city of our time and not that of a film set.
Think of any action movie character and you’ll more than likely think of their favourite weapon of choice. The guns featured in film are more often than not more iconic than the character itself. Below we list just some of the many iconic film guns and their associated character.
Image via: imgur.com
Franchi SPAS-12 Made famous by: Robert Muldoon in Jurassic Park. (1993)
This shotgun is quite the ‘clever girl’. Most notably featured in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film, this pump action, 12 gauge shotgun was pretty handy at taking out Velociraptors. First introduced in 1982 by Franchi S.p.A, this shotgun was initially developed to fire low pressure ammunition such as tear gas. The shotgun is still in use by military forces in Australia, Pakistan and Italy.
Image via: imgur.com
Desert Eagle Mark XIX Made Famous by: Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy. (1999-2003)
There’s no doubt why the main antagonist in the Matrix films chose this as his weapon of choice. Dubbed by many as a ‘hand cannon’, the most recent model of the Desert Eagle semi-automatic pistol fires a .50 AE round, something much bigger in comparison to other pistol rounds.
Image via; imgur.com
Made famous by: John Rambo in First Blood. (1982)
This Light Machine Gun weighs a hefty 10.5 kg and fires a 7.62x51mm NATO round. The M60 is belt fed, and can fire around 500 rounds per minute. The weapon first saw its introduction in the Vietnam war and has since been staple for the U.S army in combat since.
Image via: imgur.com
Beretta 92FS Made famous by: John McClane in Die Hard. (1988)
This semi-automatic pistol was most notably used by John McClane, the main protagonist in the first Die Hard film. Chambering a typical 9mm round commonly found in semi-automatic pistols, the 92FS was manufactured by Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro. The Beretta 92FS is arguably the most commonly used pistol by military forces worldwide.
Image via: themancave-rayc.blogspot.co.uk/
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s guns
Made famous by: Every film with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The biggest announcement this week is the eagerly anticipated blockbuster, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is released this Friday. In the second installment of the trilogy, Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves continue on their adventure to the misty mountain to reclaim Erebor from the dragon, Smaug.
If you’re struggling to find ideas for Christmas presents, why not treat someone you love to a cinema voucher. There are several brilliant films coming out over the next few months and a cinema gift card is a thoughtful present especially if you can visit the cinema together.
You probably already know by now who John Williams is. The famous composer has written more scores than you shake a musical stick at (or a conductor’s baton if you prefer). Most notable scores include Saving Private Ryan, Superman and my personal favourite, Jurassic Park. How did John Williams achieve such great recognition in the movie industry?
Born on February 8th 1932 in New York, to an already musical family, John Williams was destined for a life of music. Attending the University of California in 1952, John studied with Italian composer, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. His musical career had begun.
After his time at university John Williams worked as a jazz pianist, playing in many clubs in and around New York. He then worked on television production for shows such as Peter Gunn and Days of Wine and Roses. His first credited film score didn’t come until the 1960 film, Because They’re Young, moving away from his television work.
For many years, John was nominated for musical awards in film, but never took home an award. In many ways, it was director Steven Spielberg who introduced John Williams into the limelight. A then new director on the movie scene, Steven asked for John Williams to compose the score for his first film, The Sugarland Express. The film gained critical acclaim, and showcased the power the duo have in the movie industry.
Since then, John Williams has scored all but two of Spielberg’s movies, The Twilight Zone and The Color Purple being the only exceptions. In 1977, John Williams was approached by another up and coming director, George Lucas.
The director pitched the idea of a science fiction space opera titled, Star Wars. John happily accepted and his since provided the score for all subsequent sequels and prequels. The most distinguished score, “Force Theme” can be heard via the YouTube video below.
Surely, it must be a given that John Williams will be composing the score for the newly announced Star Wars trilogy?
John Williams has since composed the soundtrack for another series of George Lucas directed films, starring an archaeologist called Dr Henry Jones. Other notable film scores include the X-Men series, The Adventures of Tintin and the Harry Potter films.
During his career, John Williams has won 40 awards for his musical achievement in film and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end there. John has already started work on his composition for the upcoming Jurassic World and it looks more than likely that he’ll be composing the score for the new Star Wars films. May the score be with you John.