Lyle Talbot was born in 1902, just around the time when movies were getting started. He joined a traveling carnival, toured in theater troupes and wound up in Hollywood, where he became a reliable B-movie player. Eventually, Talbot became a fixture of family-friendly television on Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet.
Ian McEwan's other books include <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/138049397/solar">Solar</a>, <em>For You</em> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/138308921/on-chesil-beach">On Chesil Beach</a>.
Credit Eamonn McCabe / Courtesy of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Author Ian McEwan's latest creation, Serena Frome, isn't much of a spy. She got recruited into MI5 by her Cambridge history tutor, whom she wanted to dazzle. But he dumps her, and she never sees it coming. She winds up on the clerical side of the operation, cross-filing schemes and plots to stop terrorists, until one day, in the middle of the Cold War, she's summoned to the fifth floor of the agency, where five wise men ask her to rank three British novelists according to their merit: Kingsley Amis, William Golding and David Storey.
For 30 years, Martha Stewart has been teaching people how to be classy, useful, attractive and elegant, with her books, TV shows, magazines and websites. Though we'd like her to declare Wait Wait one of her trademark "good things," we can't promise that's going to happen.
Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.
Daniel Day-Lewis has won two Academy Awards for fully immersing himself in his characters in There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.
Now the British actor is taking on one of America's most iconic figures in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, playing the 16th president during the final months of his life. Day-Lewis tells NPR's Melissa Block that it was a daunting prospect — but that ultimately Lincoln was a surprisingly accessible figure.
This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 1, 2011. Don't Shoot is now out in paperback.
In 1985, David M. Kennedy visited Nickerson Gardens, a public housing complex in south-central Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the crack epidemic, and Nickerson Gardens was located in what was then one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.
Two icons, Abraham Lincoln and James Bond, make triumphant appearances this week in movies with more in common than you'd expect. True, Lincoln is a titan of history, liberator of slaves, and as such an adversary of Western colonialism, while 007 is an outlandish stereotype embodying white male Western authoritarian power. But the makers of these films do a sterling job of testing their respective subjects in front of our eyes — before pronouncing them fit to carry on in our collective imagination.
As you may recall, last week's storm (big hugs to those of you still dealing with that mess) left us without a show, but we have returned this week with a fully stuffed episode in which we spend a little time on what we meant talk about last week: Cloud Atlas, which Stephen and I in particular did not want to have seen at almost 10:00 at night for nothing.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:37 am
If you've only come across fairy tales courtesy of Walt Disney, or some other sweetened retelling, the dark culinary themes in the 19th-century versions told by the two German brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, may come as a shock.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:45 am
Whenever the military rolls out some revolutionary new robot, folks are quick with the Skynet jokes. But in recent years, some robotic-evolution experiments suggest that robotic rebellion might end in applause rather than annihilation.
Take, for example, the robot KUKA — the hulking star of a French nouveau-cirque performance, Sans Objet, which premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday. It's no special effect; it's a real robot, developed by the automotive industry in the 1970s.
As the old saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In other words, the child takes after the parent; the son is a chip off the old block.
Of course, that's often not the case. Straight parents have gay children and vice versa; autistic children are born to parents who don't have autism; and transgender kids are born to parents who are perfectly comfortable with their gender.
Istanbul: Somebody's stolen a hard drive with info sensitive enough that ... oh, who cares? Bond is giving chase, and that's all that matters — cars careening through bazaars, motorcycles flying across rooftops until Daniel Craig's 007 lands atop a speeding train.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:54 am
This election season, pundits have been fond of pointing out the near-50/50 split of the electorate and talking about how the American people are as deeply divided as at any other time in our history. The opening moments of Lincoln put those hyperbolic claims in perspective, as Steven Spielberg — with his usual flair for highlighting how truly ugly war really is — shows a nation so divided that its opposing factions are killing one another in numbers so extreme that the bodies are literally piling up on top of one another.
In two of her most prominent early roles — as Woody Allen's teenage girlfriend in Manhattan and as Dorothy Stratten, the slain Playboy centerfold in Bob Fosse's Star 80 — Mariel Hemingway played young women under the sway of older, more powerful men. Both characters are objects of beauty, and Hemingway's soft voice and hazy eyes reinforced their passivity, even as they hid a more introspective side. The overall effect is an innocent, almost childlike openness, like a blank slate ready for imprinting.
<em>In Another Country</em> is structured as three different stories around three women named Anne — all played by Isabelle Huppert. Moon Seong-keun plays Munsoo, a filmmaker with whom one of the Annes has an affair.
Credit Kino Lorber
The stories echo each other through similar events, themes and characters, including a lifeguard played by Yu Jun-sang.
It's never quite safe to trust your eyes — or your memory — when it comes to In Another Country, the latest effort from the playful and idiosyncratic Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo. Isabelle Huppert appears as three different characters, all apparently named Anne; she's thrice the star of a hypothetical movie within the movie, a screenplay coming together on the notepad of a young Korean woman living away from home.
Relocating Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence. And what could be more decadent than two debauched ex-lovers cold-heartedly planning to destroy the innocence of not one but two virtuous women?
The Oscar race for best foreign-language film rarely comes without a helping of muslin-and-bonnet dramas stuffed with misbehaving royals, masked balls and burgeoning job opportunities for food stylists. As heritage cinema goes, however, the year's Academy Award entry from Denmark is a firecracker.
Two decades ago, James Balog was one of the people who couldn't wrap his head around the prospect of global warming. The threat seemed too abstract, and the science too linked to the sort of computer-model analysis he disdained.
But the geographer-turned-photographer (principally for National Geographic) doesn't think that way any more. Neither will most of the viewers of Chasing Ice, the documentary that observes Balog's efforts to chronicle the planet's shrinking glaciers.
If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.
"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."
On Monday morning at about 5:30 (I'm an early riser), I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, and stepped into water.
I live in a basement apartment where I've been for four years, and almost exactly a week after I was blessedly lucky to avoid the superstorm — and at a time when some of my New York and New Jersey friends were still in the dark — a freaky plumbing/heating mishap wound up filling my entire apartment with about an inch of water.
Marbles, cartoonist Ellen Forney's excellent graphic memoir about being bipolar, opens with her in the middle of a 5 1/2-hour session in a tattoo parlor. Every time the needle traces a line, Forney writes, she can "see the sensation — a bright white light, an electrical charge." Those opening words are a perfect description of her book. From the very first page, Forney allows us to see sensation — to inhabit, as closely as possible, her bipolar world, from its manic, exhilarating highs to its oceanic, debilitating lows.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:39 pm
If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.
In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:10 am
Leigh Bardugo is the author of Shadow and Bone.
Frank Herbert's Dune was the first coming-of-age story that resonated with me: drugs, destiny, messiah complexes — it had everything. But what really shook me was its scale. At age 12, my life was the tiny, miserable cycle of home, school and the mall. Dune cracked it all open. There was a hell of a good universe next door, several in fact, and that made my little world a lot more bearable.
In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."
He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.
Barbara Kingsolver's commitment to literature promoting social justice runs so deep that in 1998 she established the Bellwether Prize (now the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction) to encourage it.
Lincoln's life has been adapted for the screen so often that there's room for the artistic liberties of films like <em>Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter</em>.
Credit Twentieth Century Fox
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more omnipresent president than Abraham Lincoln. With his face on the penny, Mount Rushmore and a larger-than-life memorial, he's a fascinating and familiar figure for moviemakers to tell stories about.
Credit Terry Chambers / Getty Images
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the 16th president in Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated <em>Lincoln</em>.
Credit David James / DreamWorks Pictures
The historical Lincoln, circa 1863, and Day-Lewis at the Academy Awards in 2008.
Credit Alexander Gardner/Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
He's a statue in many a monument, a profile on the penny, a face on the $5 bill, and an animatronic robot at Disneyland. He's even carved into a mountain in South Dakota. So, of course, Abe Lincoln has been a character in the movies — more than 300 of them, in fact.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:26 pm
Burger King's Angry Whopper is a burger with bacon, jalapenos and something called Angry Onions, topped with something called Angry Sauce. It's got the best name of the three new items on the BK menu now appearing "for a limited time" to celebrate the Whopper's 55th Anniversary.