Wednesday, March 31, 2010
the other night i cracked open my 'sidney poitier' dvd set. since 'a patch of blue' is one of my favorite movies i had to begin there. without spoiling the plot i must say that when sidney slaps shelley winters it is unbelievable satisfying.
there are many memorable moments in 'body heat' that have everything to do with two people successfully going down the same dead end street once traveled in 'double indemnity.' the funny thing is, at this moment the most vivid scene is actor william hurt finishing off his jog with a cigarette.
far be it from me to take any thunder from 'on the waterfront.' marlon, eva marie, and elia kazan created a masterwork that deserves all the endless praise it shall continue to receive. however, a mere three years later director martin ritt also gave lovers of brutally honest cinema a treat. Edge of the City (1957) stars a beautifully shy john cassavetes, a sincerely happy go lucky philosophic sidney poitier and a mean son a a gun played by jack warden.
even though the passionate dynamic brando shared with eva marie saint is not duplicated here, there is plenty of the same frustrating injustice to arouse one's ire. the acting is exceptional. the adorable ruby dee shines as sidney's adored spouse and cassavetes is, well, so dang young!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
neil young has 57 soundtrack credits and the second of a trilogy of films just out. no one meant more to me than this guy for many years. one of the tenderest gifts i ever received from a guy was a print of a photo he took of neil from a concert i did not get to go to.
'In 1947, Hiller originated the role of Catherine Sloper, the painfully shy, vulnerable spinster in The Heiress on Broadway.' i can barely breathe knowing this.
oh no! She was scheduled to return to the American stage in a 1982 revival of Anastasia with Natalie Wood, until Wood's untimely death just weeks before rehearsals. grab the smelling salts....
photo: wendy hiller and leslie howard in 'pygmalion.'
Leslie Howard plays Sir Percy Blakeney, an 18th century English aristocrat who leads a double life. He appears to be merely the effete aristocrat, but in reality is part of an underground effort to free French nobles from Robespierre's Reign of Terror.
in this serious and sunny 1943 romp even sir percy's wife does not know his other identity. she thinks he is simply a foolish husband. needless to say, leslie howard is delightful as he plays with his wife's indignation.
Leslie Howard Steiner (3 April 1893 – 1 June 1943), better known by his stage name Leslie Howard, was an English stage and film actor, director, and producer. One of his best-known roles was as Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939) along with his roles in Berkeley Square (1933), Of Human Bondage (1934), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), The Petrified Forest (1936), Pygmalion (1938) and Intermezzo (1939).-wikipedia
leslie howard died during wartime. there are many theories as to why his plane was shot down by germans, one being that he was traveling with a man who may have been mistaken for churchill. another theory is that leslie, being a great british star, was killed in a scheme to demoralize his home country.
when i first fell for this most charming of all actors i was simply very sad to know how he died. his legacy lives on in so many terrific films as well as performances. my personal favorite remains 'pygmalion.'
'The most subtle of all wartime propaganda films was the romantic story of self-sacrifice and heroicism in Michael Curtiz' archetypal 40s studio film Casablanca (1942). It told about a disillusioned nightclub owner (Humphrey Bogart) and a former lover (Ingrid Bergman) separated by WWII in Paris. With a limited release in late 1942 (and wider release in 1943), the resonant film was a timeless, beloved black and white work originally based on an unproduced play entitled Everybody Comes to Rick's. The quintessential 40s film is best remembered its superior script, for piano-player Dooley Wilson's singing of As Time Goes By, and memorable lines of dialogue such as: "Round up the usual suspects" and Bogart's "Here's looking at you, kid." Its success (it was awarded Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay) made Humphrey Bogart a major star, although his character reflected American neutrality with the famous line: "I stick my neck out for nobody."'- filmsite.org
beautiful photograph taken by Louis Faurer, Penn Station, New York City, 1948.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
“Monty would take Elizabeth to Camillo’s Restaurant, one of his favorite Italian restaurants. They would sit in the back very quietly and talk till the place closed. One night they remained until long after the last customer had left. The owner, Lawton Carver, suddenly got an urge to paint the dining room, so he came over their table and said, ‘you kids just sit there if you want, I’m going to paint.’
“To his surprise, Monty and Elizabeth took of their shoes, picked up brushes and proceeded to paint the walls. They stayed till three in the morning, Carver said. ‘We had an awful good time talking and painting up a storm.’”
- Montgomery Clift, by Patricia Bosworth
i think the only reason i loved my shakespeare class in high school was because i really liked my teacher mr. kazin. he had the cutest guys following him around.
he took us to see 'romeo and juliet' in the theatre and he made it possible for me to understand the plays. over the years all that he taught me went right our the window along with speaking spanish, reading sheet music, and using a sewing machine.
while watching vivien leigh and claude rains in 1945's 'caesar and cleopatra' i felt like they were speaking martian. i could not follow one single plot point. there was nothing to do but give up and simply marvel at the exquisite features of vivien.
as i did in fact once read music and rock out a sewing machine, many things are indeed possible. vivien's glorious self verges on otherwise. how to appreciate beauty is one thing i have not forgotten. crazy fact: she only made 19 films!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
'Playing good girls in the 30s was difficult, when the fad was to play bad girls. Actually I think playing bad girls is a bore; I have always had more luck with good girl roles because they require more from an actress.'- olivia de havilland
now if only i could convince the powers that be to create gloves as perfect as those she is wearing.
gorgeous barbara stanwyck. ain't she the best actress ever?
Commenting in 1939 on the fact that her fiance, Robert Taylor, at 28, was four years younger than she, which raised eyebrows then, Stanwyck said: "The boy's got a lot to learn and I've got a lot to teach."
photo courtesy 'it's all happening'
walter huston was indeed somebody's dad. john huston's in fact. the great actor made tons of films before going before the camera for his own son in 'the treasure of the sierra madre.' in that classic film walter won an oscar for his role of the wise and weathered miner.
long before that incredible film he starred as somebody's dad in 'dodsworth', a film that is completely satisfying. here he is returning from a trip abroad without his wife but with two necklaces for his onscreen daughter.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
anton chekov is just the greatest. no matter how grim the setting, how lost the traveler, or how unfortunate the child, chekov never drags my consciousness down. true pathos plants seeds of humanism in my mind when i read chekov. i benefit greatly from his open heart and always feel a better connection to people as a result.
such an impeccable cast but what a drag this play is! i am not an actress so i cannot know how fulfilling it is to do an o'neill piece. as he is one of the most respected playwrights, (compared to chekov, but not by me), i imagine the soul of each character really rises above the circumstances and takes the audience to a place where transcendence of the mundane offers hope. i hope so because not all productions have a cast such as this.
dean stockwell shines as the ailing son.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
i just found this rare poster on tom sutpen's exceptional blog. one commenter brought to my attention that even though only FOUR people were in this film, the poster only listed THREE! so funny. belated apologies to george segal...
to those who are familiar with the beastly little cinema gem, 'who's afraid of virginia woolf' perhaps they felt a 'houseboy' did not deserve billing.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Thelma: You awake?
Louise: Guess you could call it that, my eyes are open.
Thelma: I'm awake too. I feel awake.
Thelma: I feel really awake. I don't recall ever feeling this awake. You know? Everything looks different now. You feel like that? You feel like you got something to live for now?
Louise: With a couple of margaritas by the sea, mamacita.
Thelma: You know we could change our names.
Louise: To live in a hacienda.
Thelma: I want to get a job, I'll work at Club Med.
Louise: Yeah, what kind of deal can that detective make to top that?
Linus Larrabee: How do you say in French my sister has a yellow pencil?
Sabrina Fairchild: Ma soeur a un crayon jaune.
Linus Larrabee: How do you say my brother has a lovely girl?
Sabrina Fairchild: Mon frère a une gentille petite amie.
Linus Larrabee: And how do you say I wish I were my brother?
from the film 'sabrina.'
'sabrina' stars audrey hepburn and humphrey bogart