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Michael Lonsdale obituary | Film

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Although he appeared in several English-language blockbusters, Michael Lonsdale, who has died aged 89, was an indispensable part of French cinema for well over half a century. He had roles in more than 180 films and television shows, in addition to working in the theatre. He won a César for his role in Des Hommes et Des Dieux (Of Gods and Men, 2010), as one of a group of Trappist monks living in rural Algeria. “I’d vowed never to accept another role as a priest,” Lonsdale said, “but I couldn’t resist playing this wonderful, generous character.”

It was Orson Welles who first cast Lonsdale as a priest, in The Trial (1962). “We only shot for one night, but he must have done 20 takes for my scene. Welles was incredibly nice and every few minutes, he would keep asking me: ‘Are you happy, Mr Lonsdale?’ Of course, I was thrilled.”

But Lonsdale’s real breakthrough came in 1968 in two François Truffaut films. In La Mariée Etait en Noir (The Bride Wore Black), he was a pompous politician, one of five men on whom Jeanne Moreau wreaks revenge for killing her husband on the church steps after their wedding. In Baisers Volés (Stolen Kisses), Lonsdale was the obnoxious owner of a shoe shop who hires a detective (Jean-Pierre Léaud) to work in his store to find out why his employees hate him.

Lonsdale’s dry delivery and his ability to get to the core of a character almost immediately suited the stylised characterisations and deconstructed narratives of Marguerite Duras. He first appeared under her direction in Détruire Dit-Elle (Destroy, She Said, 1969) as an enigmatic German Jew, one of the few guests at a hotel in a forest.

A few years later, Lonsdale was cast in Duras’ India Song (1975) as the lugubrious French vice-consul in the India of the 1930s who turns a blind eye to the numerous affairs engaged in by his pampered wife (Delphine Seyrig). “It’s my favourite role,” Lonsdale said. He also performed in and directed plays by Duras on the Paris stage and, among many others, by Samuel Beckett, another favourite writer.

In contrast, he gained wide international exposure in Fred Zinnemann’s The Day of the Jackal (1973), as the cool master policeman in charge of tracking down the lone would-be assassin (Edward Fox); and in Moonraker (1979), the 11th and most expensive of the James Bond films to date. Lonsdale portrayed Hugo Drax, the suave villain who plans to nerve-gas the world and rule over the community of genetically perfect astronauts with whom he will repopulate it. When 007 (Roger Moore) visits his castle, Drax says: “Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him.”

Lonsdale was born in Paris, to an English father, Edward Lonsdale-Crouch, an army officer, and a French-Irish mother, Simone Béraud, and spent much of his childhood in London and the Channel Islands. When Michael was eight, his family relocated to Casablanca in Morocco, where his father planned to set up a business.

“Then the war broke out and we were stuck in North Africa,” Lonsdale recalled. “It was there that my love for the cinema was born, thanks to the American soldiers who arrived in 1942. My parents became friends with the officers and they brought me along to see all the great movies by John Ford, George Cukor, Howard Hawks. I even saw Casablanca in Casablanca. It was amusing to see Hollywood’s idea of Morocco.”

In 1947, Lonsdale went to Paris to study painting, but soon decided to switch to acting to “overcome my shyness”. He took classes with Tania Balachova at the Vieux Colombier theatre, whose classes followed some of the Stanislavskian methods used by the Actors Studio in New York. Among his fellow students there were Seyrig, Laurent Terzieff, Stéphane Audran and Jean-Louis Trintignant. In his 2016 memoir Le Dictionnaire de Ma Vie, Lonsdale said he had fallen for Seyrig: “It was her or nothing, and that’s why at 85 I’m still unmarried.”




Michael Lonsdale during the shooting of the The Day of the Jackal, 1973, in which he played the French detective Claude Lebel.



Michael Lonsdale during the shooting of the The Day of the Jackal, 1973, in which he played the French detective Claude Lebel. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Around that time, he changed his first name to Michel, “Because the French had trouble pronouncing Michael” (though it reappeared on film credits), and converted to Catholicism.

After a number of bits in commercial French films, he started to get bigger parts in the early60s, mainly thanks to Jean-Pierre Mocky, who cast him in five features as an archetypal bourgeois, bringing out Lonsdale’s deadpan humour. The first, and most widely distributed abroad, was Snobs! (1962), an iconoclastic comedy in which Lonsdale played one of four unscrupulous directors of a milk co-operative vying to fill the post of president, after the incumbent is drowned in a vat of milk.

During the 70s, arguably the most fruitful decade of Lonsdale’s career, he was fortunate to work for some of the best directors around in a range of small but striking roles: he was a possibly paedophile priest in Louis Malle’s Le Souffle au Coeur (Murmurs of the Heart, 1971); a lustful theatre director in Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 (1974); a world-weary doctor in Alain Resnais’ Stavisky (1974) and, in Luis Buñuel’s Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty, 1974), a “respectable” man who invites four monks to witness his being whipped.

Lonsdale was also seen in what could be called avant-garde erotica, playing a judge investigating a girl’s murder in Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Glissements Progressifs du Plaisir (Successive Slidings of Pleasure, 1974), and as a man who tells his friends a story about his early days as a Peeping Tom in Jean Eustache’s Une Sale Histoire (A Dirty Story, 1977). “I like to be where no one expects me to be,” Lonsdale explained.

He also made three films with Joseph Losey: Galileo (1975), based on the Brecht play, in which he played the intellectual Cardinal Barberini, who gradually discards his liberal views as he takes on the robes to become Pope Urban VIII; The Romantic Englishwoman (1975), which revealed him as a smooth gangster; and Mr Klein (1976), in which he was rather creepy as a cuckolded lawyer.

Lonsdale continued to appear in diverse films, including a few Hollywood movies, such as John Frankenheimer’s The Holcroft Covenant (1985), as the softly spoken Swiss accountant dealing with Michael Caine’s tainted inheritance, and Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Name of the Rose (1986), in which he was the quizzical abbot who believes the devil is at work in his monastery.

Although the quantity of films he made was not reduced, the quality was. Among the exceptions were The Tribulations of Balthazar Kober (1988), the final film by the Polish director Wojciech Has, in which Lonsdale played a wise philosopher; and two James Ivory films, The Remains of the Day (1993), as a French statesman with blisters on his feet, and Jefferson in Paris (1995), as Louis XVI.

He was back to priestly robes as the Inquisitor General in Miloš Forman’s period soap opera Goya’s Ghosts (2006), and in Nicolas Klotz’s Heartbeat Detector (2007) he was the chief executive of a large company who locks himself away in his office for hours on end and sits alone listening to Schubert in the back seat of his parked car.

In the latter part of his career, the grey-bearded Lonsdale lent gravitas to whatever part he played, including Theon, the head of the library in Alexandria, in Agora (2009), directed by Alejandro Amenábar, the leader of a mosque in occupied Paris in Ismaël Ferroukhi’s Free Men (2011), and the title role of Manoel de Oliveira’s O Gebo e a Sombra (Gebo and the Shadow, 2012).

Michael Lonsdale (Michael Edward Lonsdale-Crouch), actor, born 24 May 1931; died 21 September 2020

Ronald Bergan died earlier this year

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What Makes a Good Online Casino?

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A quick search for an online casino will reveal hundreds of results. However, these casinos are not created equally. Some are better than others in many ways. That’s why you cannot settle for the first option that catches your eye. You need to do thorough research to ensure you settle for a casino that will give you a better experience – and some good money in the process.

So, what makes a good online casino?

The truth is that there are many reputable casinos online – and new ones keep popping up with each passing day. But the few bad ones spoil the name for the others. These casinos scam people. They are eager to make deposits but not keen to give players their money back, pay their affiliates, or even stick to their terms and conditions. These casinos – scam or rogue casinos – are exactly the types you want to avoid.

Unfortunately, most of these rogue casinos disguise as good ones. You might have a hard time telling them apart, especially if you are just getting started. To help you make an informed decision, here are some qualities that make a good online casino.

It does not feature in the blacklist

One of the easiest ways to tell a good casino from the bad ones is by looking at different online casino blacklists. Different reputable platforms always release yearly blacklists to protect casino players from gambling scams online. They put bad casinos on a list for everyone to see and ensure no one signs up to any of those casinos in the future. Since these sites differ, chances are you won’t find the same casinos on every blacklist. But the fact that a casino makes the list means they have one or more of these problems:

  • Change terms
  • Predatory terms
  • Slow pay
  • Unfair games
  • Nonpayment
  • Marketing spam
  • Licensing and regulation

Choice of games

As a player, you’ll appreciate the choice of picking whichever game pleases you. That’s why you need a casino that offers more games. Browse around to find the casino games that the provider offers to see if it’s a good fit.

It’s fair, secure, and serious

As you may have noticed from above, many casinos end up on the blacklist for many reasons, including unfairness and security issues. Good online casinos use random number generator that determines the chances of winning. On top of that, they work with third parties to check the fairness of games. What’s more, these casinos display various certificates on their platforms, giving you further assurance that things are conducted fairly.

Has good customer service

You can tell a good casino by how their customer support team treats you when you send a request or inquire about something. They will be willing and happy to serve you. they will also have adequate knowledge to address your concerns and be available 24/7.

Accept your payment methods

A good casino accepts a wide range of payment options, ranging from online payment options to instant bank transfers and even credit card solutions. This allows you to use your preferred payment method and not feel locked out. Stay away from sites that provide limited payment options. Some of them fail to get approved by payment platforms, which by itself is a red flag.

Has a bonus offer

It’s easy to assume bonus offers and other incentives, especially if you are new to the game. However, you should work with a casino that provides a consistent bonus offer and not just a good welcome offer. You’ll need these bonuses even as an existing client. Moreover, the site should provide promotions without deposit, reload offers, and many free spins. Don’t feel limited. Many casino sites offer these bonuses, and if the one in question doesn’t, you might as well keep looking.

Free games and easy registration

As a newbie, the last thing you want is to sign up with a casino that doesn’t provide free games. You need to practice without having to deposit money or fear that you’ll lose money. Free games allow you to practice and be good before playing real money. Additionally, the casino should have a simple registration and easy account opening process. If it’s too complicated, then maybe it’s not the right casino for you.

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How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital

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These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.

A historical journey

It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.

It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.

Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.

In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.

The birth of the mega resort

It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.

Las Vegas in the 21st century

The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?

The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.

These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.

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Land-Based Casinos

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What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.

Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.

Some Big Casinos Near Nature

Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.

ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.

Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.

  • Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
  • Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
  • Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford

River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit

Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.

Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun

Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.

Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One

Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.

Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture

Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.

River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers

River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.

For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting canadiancasino.org!

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