Today: May 28, 2024

Film Birthdays This Year

We all love a good party, and this year marks the coming of age of some of the darlings of the film industry. So put on a paper hat, break out the cake and light those candles as Paula Hammond raises a glass of bubbly to ten films celebrating their birthdays this year…

10th Birthday – Shaun Of The Dead
Everyone’s favourite buddy-zombie-romcom movie Shaun Of The Dead turned ten on 9th April this year. Since then, Simon Pegg’s career has gone stratospheric with roles in the rebooted Star Trek and the Mission Impossible franchise. His Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy of films (Shaun, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) may now be complete but this is certainly not the last we’ll be hearing from the Brockworth boy made good.

20th Birthday: Pulp Fiction
These days Director Quentin Tarantino – 51 this year – is now very much like the grand old man of Independent Cinema. But back in 1994, he was still a bright young thing riding the crest of success which had come with Reservoir Dogs (1992). Pulp Fiction, though, was arguably the film that confirmed his status as the king of DJ-mix movie making.

25th Birthday: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures
Before Keanu was cool he was … well kind of adorable and it was this 1989 science fiction comedy that really kick started his career. Alex Winters (Lost Boys) and Reeves star as the eponymous Bill and Ted on a voyage through time and space in a beat up call-box, in an attempt to save the world – and pass their history exam.

30th Birthday: The Terminator
This week Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions announced that Doctor Who star Matt Smith will be joining the cast of the 2015 Terminator reboot, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. However it’s worth going back to the James Cameron original to see just why this fairly low-budget movie became such a huge hit – spawning three sequels (T2: Judgment Day, T3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation) and a TV series.

30th Birthday: The Goonies
The ‘80s were a veritable golden age of family friendly movies such as Back To The Future (1985), ET (1982) and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). The Goonies, with its Steven Spielberg mix of sentiment and adventure was one of the decade’s big hits and was only beaten in the US box office that year by Rambo: First Blood. This is one cult classic that fully deserves the tagline “they just don’t make them like this any more”.

40th Birthday: Blazing Saddles
Behind Director/Writer Mel Brooks’ trademark humour the 1974 comedy Western, Blazing Saddles is out to make a serious point about Hollywood myth making machine and the inherent racism in America’s ‘Wild West’. Although now infamous for its repeated use of the n-word, Richard Pryer co-wrote the script and approved of its satirical use. The result is a surprisingly subversive movie masquerading as a silly one.

50th Birthday: Goldfinger
Although this was the third film in the James Bond franchise, many fans still consider it to be the best of the whole franchise. It was Goldfinger that also set the template for other Bonds to follow – introducing many famous gadgets, the briefing by Q before the action starts, and the opening pre-credit sequence. It was also the first Bond to win an Academy Award for Best Sound Effects.

60th Birthday: An Inspector Calls
Based on the classic stage play by JB Priestly, An Inspector Calls is a compelling and thought provoking film, with a beautifully understated performance by Alastair Sim as the enigmatic Inspector Poole who delivers every line with ominous double-meaning. Social drama or supernatural mystery? You decide.

60th Birthday: Hobson’s Choice
Based on the play by Harold Brighouse, David Lean’s sly, quirky British comedy is all about human follies and vanities. In it, wily Brenda de Banzie attempts to escape the clutches of her tyrannical father (Charles Laughton) by making his under-appreciated employee, Will Mossop (John Mills) her husband. As ever Laughton steals every scene as the bullying paterfamilias brought to heel by his determined daughter.

60th Birthday: The Belles of St Trinian’s
Amazingly the anarchic school girls of St Trinian’s were dreamt up by Cambridge-born cartoonist Ronald Searle while he was in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. Despite such an inauspicious start, his St Trinian’s strip was a huge success and was ultimately made into five films, with Alastair Sim playing both Headmistress Millicent Fritton and twin brother Clarence Fritton. This is a sublimely British comedy which could teach today’s schoolgirls quite a bit about empowerment and equality.

Available from STUDIOCANAL:

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure superb special anniversary Blu-ray with new steelbook art packaging and fantastic extras is available now.

The Belles of St Trinian’s fully-restored DVD & blu-ray is available now.

Hobson’s Choice 60th Anniversary Edition is available on blu-ray and DVD from 5th May.

An Inspector Calls is released, fully restored on DVD and blu-ray on 12th May.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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