Tag Archives: Tom Hanks

From Secret Agents to Superman: remembering Tom Mankiewicz

He may have lived long in his father’s shadow, Joseph L Mankiewicz, the writer of All About Eve and Cleopatra, but his screenwriting son, Tom Mankiewicz, who has died aged 68, will be forever known to a generation as the man who helped ensure the success of Bond and Superman in the 1970s, not to mention being responsible for bringing Hart to Hart to our screens.

Tom lent his name and talents to three Bond films in total, Diamonds are Forever, the last official entry with Sean Connery, and Roger Moore’s first two stints in the role in both Live and Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun, all in his late 20s!

He was also billed as Creative Consultant on the original Superman and worked extremely closely with Director Richard Donner (the pair give a brilliant dual commentary on both the original film’s DVD and the Director’s cut of Superman 2) on making the mighty tome written by official screenwriter, The Godfather scribe Mario Puzo, into something lighter and filmable. As such he often found himself in high demand as one of those shadowy folk known as script fixers, working miracles, often on set and was an unsung hero on everything from The Spy Who Loved Me, Superman 2 to War Games,  Gremlins and Batman, impressive by anyone’s standards and several hundred million dollars in box office receipts to boot!

Mankiewicz brought a lighter, more comedic edge to his scripts, something which makes perfect sense as you look at his long writing and directing achievements on The Bob Hope Show.  Talking of comedy, his debut as big screen Director was the rather odd ball yet oddly likable film version of Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, but it will always be writing that Mankiewicz shall forever be associated with and his vision of both Bond and The Man of Steel are still ingrained in the psyche so resolutely that for a whole generation Roger Moore was James Bond and Christopher Reeve was Superman. They may have acted the roles but Mankiewicz fleshed them out in his writing and made them quotable to this day.

Oscars 2010 – big audience but a big letdown

And so the Oscars 2010 may have scored its best audience figures since 2005, but I felt the show itself was something of a letdown, not the winners but the event itself.

The John Hughes tribute was a really nice touch but the in memoriam montage was something of a shambles, missing out both the likes of Farrah Fawcett and Maurice Jarre – er hello Lawrence of Arabia at the very least!

The sound was awful in that section and man in charge of the mike needs shooting and there were some odd choices in the horror montage section – a section that seemed to stick out more than a little bit and just seemed to be an excuse to wheel out the stars of Twilight. On the odd choices front, Marathon Man – huh? Thought the use and mash-up of horror music – loved some of the overlaps which included Jaws, Psycho, Halloween, The Omen and The Exorcist – were fantastic though.

The whole ‘frosty’ moment between Clooney and hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was brilliant. Yes, Clooney glares v good as for and for a split second you can tell the audience felt a bit uneasy. Some nice jokes from Baldwin and Martin but not enough of them. Opening the event was Neil Patrick Harris – as he said – we wondered what he was doing there, as the ‘star of Starship Troopers’ perhaps?

The best, as in worst bit has to be seen to be believed. The award of the evening, the culmination of the last 12 months and the evening as a whole…Best Film – Tom Hanks almost runs on stage, opens envelope blurts out Hurt Locker – the end. Makes the ending of the Karate Kid look like a Peckinpah slow mo epic.

Still miss Billy Crystal though but would welcome back Mr Martin and Mr Baldwin next year.