Steven Spielberg was named the highest-grossing filmmaker in U.S. history last year.
Perhaps it was his intuitive decision to shoot “Schindler’s List” in black and white, or his versatility and ability to transition between roles including writer/director, producer and executive producer. Many just love him for the franchises he brought to life through the antics of Indiana Jones and the larger-than-life scenes in “Jurassic Park.” With seven Academy Award nominations for best director and two wins, he has set the bar for contemporary filmmakers.
Spielberg has shown himself to be fearless, using his blockbuster clout to tell stories ranging from the heavy and emotional “The Color Purple” to the lighter and wacky “Pinky and the Brain,” one of many animated series he executive produced. In this edition of Movies on The Radio, host Frank Stasio and film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes dissect Steven Spielberg’s films.
Marsha Gordon is a film professor at North Carolina State University and a fellow at the National Humanities Center. Laura Boyes is the film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art and the curator of the MovieDiva series. Laura will be hosting a screening of "Mad Love" this Friday, Oct. 18 at the North Carolina Museum of Art at 8 p.m. The next Moviediva screening at The Carolina Theatre of Durham is "Crossing Delancey" on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Marsha Gordon on Spielberg’s first movie: This aired on ABC as a movie of the week, and if you've not seen "Duel" ... [It’s] absolutely fantastic.
Bob Platt of Raleigh says his favorite Spielberg film is the 1975 thriller "Jaws."
E.T. - THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
Denise Sealy on crying every time she sees “E.T.”:
Whenever we sit down to watch”E.T” [my husband] will put his arm around me because he knows I’m going to cry.
THE COLOR PURPLE
Gordon on the making of “The Color Purple”:
The critics and audiences were so divided between really praising the film and really coming down and being very critical, especially questioning what is this white, Jewish director doing making this story about African American women.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
Boyes on Spielberg’s appeal with older viewers:
[Spielberg] also has this great engagement with what's known as the greatest generation. Along with "Saving Private Ryan," he also did the "Band of Brothers" series ... A way of reclaiming a little bit of his father's history.
A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Gordon on the making of A.I.:
This started as a Stanley Kubrick project, and in some ways you can’t imagine two more different filmmakers. Spielberg took it over after Kubrick’s passing.
Boyes on the relationship between Spielberg and Tom Hanks:
Tom Hanks has also been his muse over the last few years. Hanks — the most quintessentially American hero actor right now — and the collaborations that they've done together are just really wonderful.