Monday, April 30, 2012

what a way to go

maybe the film 'the bad seed' isn't high art but it is a pretty good look at what people found shocking back when little trucks delivered fresh bread to one's neighborhood. i loved the melodramatic acting! people SHOULD act crazed when a child is as bad as this movie's main character.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


the great belmondo.


the gorgeous and talented carroll baker was Miss Florida Fruits & Vegetables of 1949! take that sunny state. i adore her. she was very close to being cast opposite james dean in 'rebel without a cause.' her role as the 'not ready for marriage' wife in 'baby doll' is the stuff of cinema legend. she was serious and beautiful and made both big films and odd small ones. her delivery of tennessee williams's lines in 'baby doll' are unforgettable. my fave: "well, i can say hello!"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

the bird that ate many canaries

funny story: When Lew Wasserman tried to change the title of The Appaloosa to Southwest to Sonora, Marlon did not take it very well. He hired a group of mariachi players to go around Universal singing a song they had written called "Southwest to Sonora" until the studio aceded to his wishes. photo: marlon and jean simmons

Friday, April 27, 2012

stars collide

whoa. julie AND wendy. julie christie looks so happy to be the one giving wendy hiller her oscar. how i adore them both.

before my time

it is hard to breathe knowing that there was a time when my favorite actress played catherine sloper on stage. A period piece set in 1840’s New York, the prestige picture classic The Heiress began as the novella Washington Squareby Henry James. Having heard a story told to him by an actress whose brother failed in an attempt to swindle a rich woman into marriage, James wrote his novella. The stage play, adapted in 1947 and renamed The Heiress, starred Wendy Hiller (Pygmalion) and Basil Rathbone (The Adventures of Robin Hood) and became a huge success on Broadway. the film version starring olivia de havilland is excellent thanks to olivia, montgomery clift, and the stellar ralph richardson. still, nothing compares to hiller.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

all in their family

siblings shirley maclaine and warren beatty


Dorothy Dandridge and sister Vivian arrive at the premiere of Carmen Jones, 1954

priceless moment

recently i met a wonderful musician who has been playing in a bowie cover band for many years. after we spoke of many great bowie songs i told him that the film,'the man who fell to earth' was one of my all time fave movies. not only is the film based on the novel of the brilliant writer walter tevis, it is a stunningly beautiful movie visually. the musician told me he had never seen it. the last time i felt a similar shock was when i worked with a clothing designer who had never heard of greta garbo. moments to remember...

Monday, April 23, 2012

makin' (lots of) movies

'One of many protégés of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who gave Schygulla especially tender treatment and nurturing, while he terrorized, manipulated, and slept with many of the other actors and filmmakers Fassbinder developed in his incestuous family-like theatrical and film troupes. Over 12 years, Hanna Schygulla appeared in 23 Fassbinder movies (including his first feature film), the most acclaimed being The Marriage of Maria Braun (for which she won the Silver Bear), Lili Marleen (1981), and Berlin Alexanderplatz.' i never worked with the brilliant man so i have nothing but praise for fassbinder. much like cassavetes, each frame is photographable. the guy had a grand passion for beauty and tenderness. what a lovely photo of the two of them.

glenda in her greatness

'Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant.'-Glenda Jackson photo: Glenda Jackson as Charlotte Corday in Marat Sade 1986

Sunday, April 22, 2012

by way of illustration

what a poster. i love gloria in everything. although the film'in a lonely place' is more my thing, 'the big heat' showcases gloria's unique presence. glenn ford can't touch bogart but what the heck.
jocelyn brando has 54 screen credits, including the t.v. show 'dallas.' still, she may forever be thought of as the lucky older sister of the seethingly beautiful actor marlon. she was in the awful/fascinating 'mommie dearest' as well as the classic 'the big heat.' she knew gloria grahame! In later life, Jocelyn Brando, known for her sharp sense of humor, ran her own bookstore in Santa Monica, California, known as The Book Bin. She wrote poetry and conducted workshops at her home in the Intensive Journal method, a self-therapy technique developed by Ira Progoff.

more die of heartbreak

The French journalist Eugène Moineau initiated in 1984 the Prix Romy Schneider; this prize—the most prestigious award for promising actresses in the French film industry.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

difference of opinion

elizabeth taylor hated making 'butterfield 8.' i like it! a lot. if studios weren't so greedy maybe they'd be up for showing a film in a double feature. then again,
movies have become awfully exhausting to sit through.


If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.-Orson Welles. that's interesting. however, most of us feel the pain before it really arrives, yet we still go on. i suppose valor is it's own reward.

making up is hard to do

Thursday, April 19, 2012

first love

my very first fave film was 'splendor in the grass.' i watched it over and over. when i found out that natalie and warren were a couple i flipped over the perfection of it all.

warren claims that he and natalie remained friends. he must have been so very sad when she died.

'along with all the love and all the tenderness
we should have looked down from above
to see the snakes among the grass'

Sue Lyon photographed by Bert Stern, 1960.

celluloid stars

'put your saturday night dress on
don't call me at home cause i'm gone
i'll be right over
gonna take you to the movies tonight'- nils lofgren

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

hitchcock's finest hours

it NEVER fails to amaze me how many people i meet do not know this film.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

miss julie

i don't need a reason to mention my fave actress julie christie. however:

Christie was born on 14 April 1941 in Singlijan Tea Estate, Chabua, Assam, India, then part of the British Empire.

it is so interesting that one of the quintessential swinging sixties role models was born in india. this could very well be why she shines brighter for me that the other terrific british actresses. from 'darling' to 'heaven can wait' she glows. one of my most watched films is 'return of the soldier.' she plays a complicated, dissatisfied woman opposite the terrific alan bates. plus, ann-margret is really swell in it.

happy birthday beauty!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


'I was pumping gas, most definitely,' said Johnny. 'Printing T-shirts and selling ink pens, and you know anything and everything.
'And then the fact that you have a 20-year career of failures and then you do a pirate movie and that buys you an island - the irony of that is pretty good.'

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

what's it all about?

Alfie: You know what? When I look back on my little life and the birds I've known, and think of all the things they've done for me and the little I've done for them, you'd think I've had the best of it along the line. But what have I got out of it? I've got a bob or two, some decent clothes, a car, I've got me health back and I ain't attached. But I ain't got me peace of mind - and if you ain't got that, you ain't got nothing. I dunno. It seems to me if they ain't got you one way they've got you another. So what's the answer? That's what I keep asking myself - what's it all about? Know what I mean?

'birds' of a feather

Alfie: You're not entitled to secret thoughts!
Annie: Everyone's entitled to secret thoughts!

'cloth ears'

that is perhaps my fave british expression. the thing is, you have to talk like michael caine to pull it off.

photos: one of 'alfie's' birds, the adorable and beautiful julia foster, who was also in the classic film, 'the loneliness of the long distance runner'/the 'hey, cloth ears' scene

where have all the good times gone?

i have been feeling remiss regarding mentioning movies i love. during the first year of writing this blog i was able to share all those great films that continue to mean so much to me. so, in an effort to be a good soldier, i sat down to watch 'alfie' just so that i could refresh my memory on its greatness and do a nice posting.

i would have bet my collie the film was in black and white. i have seen 'alfie' so many times and i still was shocked that it was in color. i was very glad no one took my bet, bad as my collie can be.

here is the problem, the movie is so flipping good that i had to turn it off. i am staying with dear friends and i was unable to relax alone in the t.v. room. i will save it for when i get home.

all i can say now is the screenplay is quotable from line one. michael caine had all the right ingredients: looks, voice, and the cockiness of a lad who you know is clueless. if you can accept the fact that he played a character who needed to seriously wake up one day, the experience is heaven. sixties cinema still rules.

photos: michael caine with jane asher in 'alfie'

Sunday, April 8, 2012

stars in stripes

how amazing does sue lyon look here? maybe this was the photo elizabeth taylor was familiar with when she decided to stick close to richard burton's side when he and sue were making 'the night of the iguana.' just kidding. still, the girl was ridiculously pretty.

gene genie

like many others i thought gene tierney in 'leave her to heaven' was unreal special. she was such a gorgeous psycho tuna. she'd sit there looking absolutely heavenly and then bang! she'd come out of a bag at you and show her claws. once i got into watching her movies i took it upon myself to find a copy of the 1940 film, 'Tobacco Road', based on the classic novel. reading that book was a constant game of seeing how many pages i could read without shaking my head in bewilderment. the people were SO.... uneducated would be the nice way to put it.

i tried to watch the film but it was just terrible. AND beautiful gene was in it for about a blink of the eye. i never made it to the end so maybe she went out in a swell finish.

that said, i have seen her in many movies that i like, the best being 'laura.' i am now rereading 'the razor's edge.' gene starred in the film version of that novel with tyrone power who is just such a peach. they were both sublime in it and perfectly cast.

p.s. they made three films together.

photos: great poster/gene's one second in 'tobacco road'/with tyrone in 'the razor's edge'

Saturday, April 7, 2012

a man and a woman

last night i had the great pleasure of speaking about john cassavetes to someone who has not yet seen his films. i knew an amazingly tender and insightful series of films was there for my friend to discover. while talking about the dream team of writer/director john cassavetes and his wife, the stunning and brilliant actress gena rowlands, i made a very simple realization. i could be wrong but it now seems clear to me that this man's films, which are so full of humor and sadness, confusion and trust, are essentially about one truth: man's valiant effort to understand women is exceeded by his continuing to love her when his efforts fail.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

more 'lo'

James Mason & Sue Lyon in Lolita (1962, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Q. In your last genuinely contemporary film, Lolita, you were frustrated in your efforts to make the movie as erotic as the novel, and there was some criticism that the girl was too old to play the nymphet of the novel.
Kubrick: She was actually just the right age. Lolita was twelve and a half in the book; Sue Lyon was thirteen. I think some people had a mental picture of a nine-year-old. I would fault myself in one area of the film, however; because of all the pressure over the Production Code and the Catholic Legion of Decency at the time, I believe I didn’t sufficiently dramatize the erotic aspect of Humbert’s relationship with Lolita, and because his sexual obsession was only barely hinted at, many people guessed too quickly that Humbert was in love with Lolita.
Whereas in the novel this comes as a discovery at the end, when she is no longer a nymphet but a dowdy, pregnant suburban housewife; and it’s this encounter, and his sudden realization of his love, that is one of the most poignant elements of the story. If I could do the film over again, I would have stressed the erotic component of their relationship with the same weight Nabokov did. But that is the only major area where I believe the film is susceptible to valid criticism.

photo: stanley and his star.

Monday, April 2, 2012

lo lee tah

painting by pal shazar

for love of lo

my first experience as a musician was in the band 'slow children.' my partner, andrew chinich, and i were deeply inspired by 'lolita', nabokov's classic tale of misplaced affections. the brilliantly funny and touching kubrick film adaptation was a great source of joy for us as songwriters.

in tribute to the actress sue lyon we wrote a song to illustrate what may have become of girl who played 'lolita' on screen. enjoy.

HASHSLINGER chinich/shazar

Sure don’t see your name no more
No stenciled star up on the door
No agent, no silver screen
Just black coffee mam’ no cream
Reciting specials of the day
Reading menus not screenplays

Sweet Sue Lyon where’d you go
Stanley Kubrick ought to know
James Mason could not have guessed
You’d fall so quickly like the rest
Reciting specials of the day
Reading menus not screenplays

Well maybe I heard it wrong
Maybe you’re just where you belong
Happiness is what you perceive
Not what others would have you believe

Sad to think you were that girl
Skipping through that ugly world
Now you’re slinging all that hash
The tip jars where you get your cash
Reciting specials of the day
Reading menus not screenplays

Richard Burton took a shot
Introduced you round the lot
Sweet Sue Lyon had it all
But ran like hell back to the mall
Reciting specials of the day
Reading menus not screenplays

Well maybe I got it wrong
Maybe you’re just where you belong
Happiness is what you perceive
Not what others would have you believe

photo: james mason (humbert) telling sue lyon (lolita) she will no longer be performing in the school play.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ali's story

warren and ali in one week! birthdays are fun. ali turned 73 today. i adore her. so does everyone else. she truly defined 'je ne sais quoi' (literally ‘I don't know what’) and that gift of presence insured that no one seemed to care whether she was a 'good' actress. in salute to her brains and beauty, here are some extracts from a great 'vanity fair' article from a few years back. enjoy.

The actress Candace Bergen is rapturous about her friend—“You fall in love with her; she’s always been more alive than most others, so artistic and enchanted, with that refined, intellectual, bohemian glamour and a little bit of the Bedouin”

The 10 top box-office names of 1971 were nine men and one woman, and that woman was Ali. I can’t think of another movie star who became as big as she became overnight. 'Love Story' was a phenomenon. Aside from its seven Academy Award nominations, and its implantation of the kitschy motto “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” into America’s brainpan, thanks to its low budget it’s still among the most profitable studio movies ever made.

Steinem says, “Ali seemed unaware of being beautiful, though I remember thinking it was like living with the most magnificent and graceful cat. It was proof of her warmth and kindness that in those pre-feminist days, when we were all supposed to be in competition with each other, I don’t remember a female human being who resented her.”

regarding her marriage to steve mcqueen: Her big sin, she says, “was to be inauthentic at the beginning. I didn’t state my case: ‘You know, even though I told you I’d rather be on a motorcycle opening a can of beer, the truth is I’d rather go to Paris.’

Ultimately, McQueen’s paranoid possessiveness was unconquerable. He had already been having numerous affairs, according to MacGraw. “He had a suite in the Beverly Wilshire hotel, where he would go when we fought. It was a place I never went, which was stupid. I should have gone in, opened the door, and kicked the shit out of whoever was in bed with him.” She adds, “He would have enjoyed it!” In fact, the only infidelities that mattered to him were the ones he imagined her having. When she was at her lowest ebb, she was invited to be photographed by Francesco Scavullo for his book Scavullo on Beauty. She flew to New York, eager to feel what she hadn’t felt in a very long time: glamorous. There was a knock on the door of the apartment she had borrowed, and it was McQueen. Convinced she was having an affair, he’d taken the next flight to check up on her. He sprawled on the one small bed, she says, “and I sat on the bathroom floor all night, reading Freud to try to bore myself to sleep, but it didn’t work.” The next morning, the famous makeup artist Way Bandy had to Pan-Cake her dark circles for the photo shoot.


walken from there to there