Tuesday, February 28, 2012

born to act

Chaney Jr. was an American character actor whose career was influenced (and often overshadowed) by that of his father, the extraordinary silent film star Lon Chaney. The younger Chaney was born while his parents were on a theatrical tour, and he joined them onstage for the first time at the age of six months.

Chaney Jr. was nicknamed 'the prince of pain.' his dad was called 'the man of a thousand faces.' at least young Lon wasn't thought of as 'the man of a thousand painful expressions.'

image: Of Mice and Men, 1939 - starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

by way of illustration

beats me why there is a ring around pluto!

a man's man

today is director neil jordan's birthday. he has a new film coming out soon (Byzantium (2012) that interestingly enough does not have apart for stephen rea! i assume their relationship goes beyond such a thing.

i fell mad for stephen in jordan's 'the crying game.' seriously. then along came jordan's 'breakfast on pluto' and cillian murphy's portrayal of 'kitten braden' stole my heart. i cannot think a more astonishing performance.

james as 'chas'

i returned from my long morning walk (i like that they were once thought of as 'constitutionals') with men on my mind. in particular, james fox.

even though he claims that the making of 'performance' was very damaging to his psyche, he did a brilliant job portraying a true 'psycho tuna' who takes it out on mick jagger, among others. i love plenty of roles he's done, but fox was so good in this one movie that i feel sure he single handedly handed guy ritchie enough inspiration to become a director.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

where the truth lies

the tragic story of actress frances farmer may be not quite as tragic as we have been led to believe. here is an interesting article for all of us who appreciated both the grace of this actress and the memorable biopic starring jessica lange.


i am a big fan of kim stanley who played the mother of the actress in 1982's 'frances.' kim made few films but she is mind expanding in everything. imagine jessica, kim, and sam shepard working together! sam and kim were also both in 'the right stuff.'

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the power of noir

down time

i am away from home so i am not posting quite as much. still, when i see an amazing image i surely want to share it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

by way of illustration

billy can you hear me?

actor michael sachs had a film career of twelve years. of the fourteen roles he played he is best remembered for 1972's 'slaughterhouse-five.' his portrayal of 'billy pilgrim' in the time traveling tale of a true innocent was so lovely. actress valerie perrine was unforgettable as 'montana wildhack', the young sex film star who is abducted and sent to live on another planet with 'billy.'

i am on a delightful, insightful, and deeply inspiring kurt vonnegut kick. Although my personal favorite so far is 'the sirens' of titan', 'slaughterhouse-five' is ranked the 18th greatest English novel of the 20th century by Modern Library. it is generally recognized as Vonnegut's most influential and popular work.

painting of 'billy pilgrim' by pal shazar

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

life after death

all i know of marisa berenson's film career is one little role. however, her portrayal as the sad wife of dirk bogarde in 1971's magnificent 'death in venice' was lovely. marisa turned 65 today she has 66 screen credits, many of them relatively recent. she is currently in a european t.v. series. viva 'muerte en veneci', the film that launched her long career.

images: marisa/with bogarde

by way of illustration

brave billy

a group of us watched 'billy elliot' the other night. i had seen it when it first came out. i only remembered liking it. so it was very fun to see it again as if for the first time. julie walters is in it! the actor who played 'billy' was great. the actor who played 'biily's' dad was unreal great. the actor who played billy's best friend was precious. the story is terrific, touching, and still timely.

aside from all that good stuff, this film has one of the most deeply satisfying endings i have ever seen. prepare yourself to be floored.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

thumbs down

there are actually some amazing people in bad movies! forgive me if you happen to like 'Reflections in a Golden Eye' (1967). i only watched it once but i would not choose to see it again. marlon was on weird roll as he followed this movie up with 'candy.'

even if the story was creepy, i have a feeling brando and taylor had lots of laughs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


we three

beautiful image of the family bowie left behind in 'the man who fell to earth'/james dean, julie harris, and director elia kazan on the set of 'east of eden.'

Monday, February 6, 2012

by way of illustration

as 'kitten braden' said in director neil jordan's 'breakfast on pluto', "i love love stories.' his director sure knows how to film one. years prior to the disarming sweetheart 'kitten', in 1999 jordan directed an absolutely stunning movie based on the graham greene novel, 'the end of the affair.' greene wrote great books but this one is pure love story.

jordan's main man stephen rea is bookended by julianne moore and ralph fiennes. one plays his wife, the other her lover. jordan wrote the screenplay which is as it should be considering he is an academy awarded screenwriter. everyone is superb. fiennes is right up there with jeremy irons when it comes to portraying a man with a shattered heart. julianne moore is just so lovely. and stephen? flawlessly broken.

Friday, February 3, 2012

wonderfully wicked

the creators of the british television drama 'downton abbey' were probably pretty sure that the brits would love the series. however, like when 'the beatles' cracked america, they must be flipping thrilled that the show is so huge in the states. i watched season one and sure enough, i got well into it. i thought all the actors were incredible. beats me, but for some reason i have no interest in this new season!

that said, i have no idea if they brought back the nasty servant thomas, remarkably played by Rob James-Collier. poor fellow, he was so dissatisfied with his lot in life. he looks pretty cool out of uniform!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

our fave frenchie

if anyone could save the soul of a fellow thespian it would be marion cotillard. she is now making what sounds like an interesting film with joaquin phoenix.

photo: snacks on set!