With so many new comic book movies winning awards and making a killing at the box office, it is difficult to determine which of the current crop will be considered true classics of the genre in time. But for veteran actor Michael Caine, who played Alfred Pennyworth in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, that particular series is something truly special, as he explained to The Hindu, starting with his first meeting with Nolan.
"He came to the front door of my house in the country with a script. I could see him through the glass but I couldn't recognize him. The moment he introduced himself, I knew exactly who he was because I was a great fan of his three small films."
Today Christopher Nolan is known as one of Hollywood's biggest filmmakers. But back in 2005, he was seen as more of an indie director, with his most acclaimed work thus far being the low-budget thriller Momento. But despite the lack of big-name projects to his name, Nolan had already begun making a name for himself as a filmmaker to watch out for when Warner Bros. brought him on to reboot the Batman franchise towards a more realistic path. Caine was aware of this when Nolan came to him to be a part of the planned origin movie about the Dark Knight, Batman Begins.
"I told him, 'I am too old for Batman. Do you want me to play the butler? What would my dialogues be? Would you like another beverage or more custard?' So, I did the movie and it was one of the greatest things I have done in my life."
Clearly, Michael Caine has a great deal of respect for the world that Nolan crafted for his version of Batman, and most critics and audiences would agree. The Dark Knight trilogy is widely considered one of the best comic book movies of all time, with the second film in the series, often singled out as the best comic book film ever made, with a once-in-a-generation, Oscar-winning turn by Heath Ledger as the maniacal Joker.
The respect is returned by Nolan, who has put Caine in each of his films ever since the two got together on the sets of Batman Begins. There have even been jokes about Caine having become a necessity for a Nolan film to be successful, so much so that the actor was roped in simply to provide a voice-over for Dunkirk, and received a billing in the credit title for the effort.
Caine is also a part of Nolan's latest film, Tenet, which, in typical Nolan fashion, is shrouded in mystery even after the release of its first trailer online. There are rumors of the movie being a sequel to Inception, and involves some elements of time travel. Apart from Caine, the film stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, who coincidentally is set to take over the mantle of Batman for director Matt Reeves's upcoming feature. This news comes from The Hindu.
Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.
With recent global events, plenty of people are resorting to nostalgia and comfort when it comes to their movie watching. Whether it’s that comedy you love or a family-friendly movie you loved as a kid, few things can help calm you down when the world seems chaotic quite like a good movie. That’s why for this week’s Out of the Disney Vault column, I decided to re-watch one of my favorite Disney animated movies, which is usually ignored when discussing the Disney Renaissance: The Great Mouse Detective.
What do you get when you combine Disney animation magic, a Sherlock Holmes-like mystery, film noir aesthetic, and one of the most deliciously diabolical and elegant Disney villains, voiced by none other than Vincent Price? One hell of a good time to get you through these social-distancing times.
As we’ve mentioned in this column before, the ‘80s was a dark period for Disney, infamous for the string of financial flops for the company. When it became obvious that Disney executives, particularly Jeffrey Katzenberg, weren’t happy with how The Black Cauldron was turning out, an adaptation of Eve Titus’ book series “Basil of Baker Street” was approved as an alternative. But when Cauldron became a huge financial flop, Disney CEO Michael Eisner slashed the production budget in half, from $24 million to around $10 million, and moved the release date up, giving the production year a single year to complete the film.
Because of the short time for production, The Great Mouse Detective features five different directors, including the directorial debuts of two future prominent Disney animation figures: Ron Clements and John Musker. The film follows the titular great detective, Basil of Baker Street voiced by Barrie Ingham. He’s pretty much a stand-in for Sherlock Holmes, and lives in the famed detective’s flat Holmes himself makes a quick appearance, and works with Dr. David Dawson Val Bettin, who just like a certain Watson, is returning from service in the Middle East.
Together they’re hired to solve the case of a toymaker that was kidnapped by the henchman of criminal mastermind, Professor Ratigan Price.
In many ways, The Great Mouse Detective feels like a better version of what The Black Cauldron tried to do – it takes a genre usually aimed at a slightly older audience, and make it accessible for everyone. But unlike the latter, The Great Mouse Detective very much feels like a dark detective noir, but it’s a film kids can still see and enjoy. The visual palette feels straight out of a classic detective film of the ‘50s and ‘60s, with gloomy greens and grays that bring the melancholic and grim Victorian Era London to life...