In 1963, the conservative British government was shaken to its foundations by the Profumo Scandal. The central character in this disastrous affair was John Profumo, Britain's minister of war, who had become sexually involved with call-girl Christine Keeler, whose "sponsor" was high-priced osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward. Fancying himself a dashing international adventurer, Ward had also offered Christine to alleged Soviet spy Eugene Ivanov. Another of Ward's stable, Mandy Rice-Davies, allegedly had slept with numerous British and American luminaries. The whole sordid story, which ended with Ward's suicide and Profumo's public disgrace, was recounted with relish in director Michael Caton-Jones's Scandal, which featured John Hurt as Stephen Ward, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer as Christine Keeler, Ian McKellan as Profumo, Bridget Fonda as Mandy Rice-Davies, and Jeroen Krabbe as Ivanov. In its original form, the film was ripe enough to court an X-rating; post-production trimming enabled it to squeak by with an R.
Spanish actor Jose Antonio Ceinos stars as a down-and-out sculptor, whose inspiration returns with the strange appearance of a beautiful, mysterious black muse.
In Zola's Paris, an ingenue arrives at a tony bordello: she's Nana, guileless, but quickly learning to use her erotic innocence to get what she wants. She's an actress for a soft-core filmmaker and soon is the most popular courtesan in Paris, parlaying this into a house, bought for her by a wealthy banker. She tosses him and takes up with her neighbor, a count of impeccable rectitude, and with the count's impressionable son. The count is soon fetching sticks like a dog and mortgaging his lands to satisfy her whims. She bankrupts him, arranges the debauching of his wife, and seduces his son on his wedding day. What else can she accomplish before she leaves Paris airborne?
British countertenor Iestyn Davies is one of the fastest rising stars on the concert and opera circuit. Following his highly acclaimed recording of Porpora cantatas, he returns for a second solo album with Hyperion, a selection of arias written for Gaetano Guadagni. Italian-born Guadagni was the first ‘modern’ castrato, famed all over Europe for the lyric purity of his voice and his powerful, naturalistic acting style. Not only did he enjoy a close artistic relationship with Handel, who nurtured Guadagni’s voice to fit the alto roles in his English oratorios, but he effectively created the role of Orpheus in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera he thoroughly made his own. Here, Iestyn Davies is joined again by the renowned period-instrument band Arcangelo, directed by Jonathan Cohen.
Debbie Davies doesn't play straight blues on All I Found, her eighth release as a bandleader and her first for Telarc Records, so much as a kind of blues-inflected country-pop somewhat reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt, only without Raitt's distinctive, drop-dead slide guitar technique. Make no mistake, Davies plays some solid guitar on this album (she got her start playing in Albert Collins' Icebreakers, after all), and she has Arthur Neilson on loan from Shemekia Copeland on second guitar to keep things sizzling on three cuts, but somehow under all that stellar guitar work, several of these songs seem a little tired, and "Troughin'," a humorous ditty about overeating, is downright irritating…