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A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Joseph L. Mankiewicz |||
Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Mankiewicz directed 20 films in a 26-year period, and was very successful at every kind of film, from Shakespeare to western, drama to musical, epics to two-character pictures, and regardless of the genre, he was known as a witty dialogist, a master in the use of flashback and a talented actors' director.

The 1950 Oscar for Best Picture and Screenplay brought Mankiewicz wide recognition as a writer and a director, with his sardonic look at show business glamour and the empty lives behind it. This well orchestrated cast of brilliant and catty character actors is built around veteran actress Bette Davis and Anne Baxter as her understudy desperate for stardom.

One of Mankiewicz’ more intimate films, this highly regarded and major artistic achievement is a spirited romantic comedy set in England of the 1880’s about a widow who moves into a haunted seashore house and resists the attempts of a sea captain specter to scare her away. This is a pleasing and poignant romance that is equally satisfying as a good old ghost story.

Mankiewicz wrote and directed this witty dissection of matrimony that has three women review the ups and downs of their marriages (with all its romance, fears and foibles) after receiving a letter telling them that one of their husbands has been unfaithful. Once again Mankiewicz deftly utilizes the skills of a well-chosen ensemble, which includes a young Kirk Douglas at his dreamiest.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht


Learn How Much a "Man Show" Trampoline Girl Makes, and Much More!

By AmyLawrence

July 8th, 2003

Casting calls and news items in the TV community come in each day here to Amy Lawrence catches the minutiae that falls through the cracks, and discusses them more in depth than most of them probably deserve. Today's call includes notices on new characters for "Stargate SG-1" and "Enterprise," a new show called "Huff," and news on "CSI," "Smallville," "Charmed" and "Coupling."

10-8: Aaron Spelling’s cop show offering on ABC brings us a woman who can’t remember when she last saw her 4 year old, but reports her missing at some point and another mother who thinks her daughter is possessed by the devil but the girl is really in labor. They should have called this show “Clueless."

Angel Welcome new character “Eve”, a sweet, smart, beautiful girl who’s the go-between for the gang and W&H, and, clearly, the replacement for Cordy. More details here.

Boomtown: An episode called “The Love of Money” brings us two of this season’s sexiest villains: lesbian master thieves. Just saying “lesbian master thief” gives me a woody.

Charmed: In “Val Halley of the Dolls,” the witches must transform themselves into Valkyries to rescue Leo from Valhalla. Xena, lock your wardrobe doors!

Coupling: The cast seems to be finally set, so let’s review: Jay Harrington (Steve), Rene Sofer (Susan), Christopher Moynihan (Jeff), Lindsay Price (Jane), Colin Ferguson (Patrick) and Sonya Walger (Sally). Right now, it looks that they really are following the original series to the letter. In “Size Matters," Jane, Steve’s ex., brings her new boyfriend Howard to show off to her friends. Only problem? He’s gay. But that’s OK with Jane. Meanwhile, in “Sex, Death and Nudity," Sally is appalled when a old woman at a funeral tells her “she looked just like Sally back when she was 45." I’m sorry, but I’m just too in love with the British cast to even care about this show. Snobbish, I know.

CSI: In “Homebodies," a young girl is raped in her home. Her parents don’t want her involved in the case, but she hides out in Sara’s car and begs to be taken to the hospital. She views a line-up, but freaks out and leaves, with horrendous results. Also, a weapon is found that has clearly been used to commit murder, but of whom? Clever, clever.

Curb Your Enthusiam: Episode three has four skinheads that yell at Larry. Just thinking about this is cracking me up.

Deadwood: Timothy Oliphant, Ian McShane, Brad Dourif and Keith Carradine all star in this western for HBO. I’m seriously afraid of the several wild west offerings this TV season. What if it’s a new trend? Are Westerns our punishment for reality show backlash?

Enterprise: Orgoth is an alien who’s gang has attacked and boarded Enterprise to raid, pillage, and steal weapons. He’s thwarted by the new military force now on board, especially by new character McKenzie, a young, tough and sexy girl soldier.

Fearless: Still casting even though we have teaser ads on primetime, this show about a woman born without the fear gene is starring Rachael Leigh Cook. Yes, a chickie who looks permanently caught in the headlights is supposed to convince us she's completely without fear. Good luck with all that. Also, the first episode is about a gang of sorority girl bank robbers.

Hack: Two new regulars will be Jamie Fargo, a young guy who pretends to be blind to escape the pressures of life, and Liz Garza, Olshansky’s new neighbor who is a former nun turned probation officer.

Huff: Hank Azaria is Huff Huffstodt, a doctor whose world is rocked when a patient commits suicide. Huff’s wife wants to help, but she’s being driven slowly crazy by Huff’s mother, who lives on a cottage on the Huffstodt property. Huff’s son is preternaturally adult, and must take care of his dad, while Huff’s best friend Russell wants to help by getting Huff drunk and getting Huff a prostitute. Oh, yeah, this is on Showtime.

Man Show: Ever wonder what the Girls on Trampolines make? According to our sources, it's 100 bucks for the day and you have to bring your own bikini.

Nip/Tuck: Episode 4 is called “Kurt Dempsey" and, in it, Kurt's girlfriend is Japanese and her family won’t let her marry a non-Japanese. Kurt wants surgery to make him look Asian. Really, this is the real plot of the show!

Peacemakers: Episode 4 of this new western is called “Legend of the Gun” (of course it is) and has a kid who is obsessed with bad guy Cole Hawkins. But it’s no "come back Mr. Cole” here. This kid wants to kill Cole. It’s up to the Pinkertons to sort this out.

Smallville: In a two-episode arc “Exile” and “Phoenix,” Metropolis is haunted by a new crime boss named Morgan Edge. Until he gets his ass kicked!

Stargate SG-1: Hammond gets fired and the project is taken over by Dr. Theresa Wright. She’s a scientist who hates the military, but is given the Stargate project by the President, who is advised of this by the Vice President who hates the Stargaters and hopes this will kill the project. How will Dr. Wright handle this assignment during a crisis? I don’t care, I miss Farscape.

Strong Medicine: The only reason I’m mentioning this is that episode 410 is called “Speculum for a Heavyweight”. Hilarious.

Tarzan and Jane: Only the WB would pull the tired old Tarzan story out of the mud and clean it off for 2003. I’m sure it will be “fresh” and “hip."

Tru Calling: More information on Eliza Dusku’s new show involves Tru’s (Dusku’s) love interest Luc. He’s a crime scene photographer with a creepy secret of his own. Perfect for a mortician who can talk to the dead, no?

Without a Trace: In “Get on the Bus," a school bus is abducted by kidnappers. As the ransom demands increase, could it really be a parent who is behind all this? Of course it could.