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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


Clea Duvall and Kadee Strickland Join “Grudge”; More Plot Details Uncovered

By ChrisFaile

January 15th, 2004

Clea Duvall ("Carnivàle," "Identity") and Kadee Strickland (a supporting player in "Something's Gotta Give" and "Anything Else") are the latest two actors to join the remake of Takashi Shimizu's Japanese-language horror film “The Grudge,” has learned. They will play the sisters Jennifer and Susan Williams, respectively; in addition, casting notices have since gone out for the role of their mother, as well as for three supporting roles. The production, which already has cast a pair of WB series veterans in Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jason Behr, is set to begin January 26 in Tokyo, Japan.

Basing itself on plot elements from the films “Ju-on," “Ju-on: The Grudge” and "Ju-on: The Grudge 2," the film has been described as being about “a murderous supernatural curse, born from a grudge that is held by someone who dies angry. The curse passes like a virus to its victims.” Prior to this point, little else was known was about the plot, but casting documents, which we have obtained from sources, give further depth.

The role of Claire Williams, yet to be cast, is described as a Caucasian woman in her 60s and the mother of Matthew (also to be cast), Susan and Jennifer Williams. In the film, Claire comes with her son and daughter-in-law Jennifer to live in Tokyo. An old woman who never speaks, Claire feels overwhelming dread the moment she sets foot in their new house. After moving in, her health deteriorates, and she requires regular care. A mute witness to the deaths of Matthew, Jennifer, and her regular nurse Rika, Claire tries vainly to warn Karen (played by Gellar) when she shows up to take over Rika's job -- but she's too dazed and disoriented to communicate.

Also being cast are the crucial supporting roles of Maria, a breathtakingly beautiful and sensual Latin woman in her 30s, and Peter, an English teacher. At the start of the film, Maria is happily married to Peter, but – out of nowhere – Peter casually commits suicide, hurling himself out of a window to his death.

Three years later, Maria is working as a Japanese "hostess," and she has lost the purity viewers once saw in her at the beginning of the movie; she is obviously lost without Peter. She has succumbed to the hard life, with teased-up hair, heavy makeup, and short, tight, revealing clothes. Still embittered over the death of her husband and her descent into the world of sex workers, Maria is gruffly uncommunicative when Karen shows up to investigate Peter's death as part of “The Grudge” but she yields to nostalgia and looks through her old photos from the happy days of her courtship and marriage. Can she give Karen enough clues to the stop the supernatural curse?

Director Shimizu wrote and directed the original film and producers for the remake include “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi. The screenplay for the new film is credited to Stephen Susco.

The Scorecard
Producers: Nathan Kahane, Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Taka Ichise, Doug Davison and Roy Lee
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer: Stephen Susco
Casting Directors: Nancy Nayor and Kelly Wagner
Start Date: January 26, 2004
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Production Company: Senator International, Ghost House Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment