Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial day movie pick The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) ****

The superb, eloquent, and realistically-intimate film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won seven Oscars: Best Picture (Samuel Goldwyn's sole competitive Oscar win), Best Actor (Fredric March - his second Oscar - the first was for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)), Best Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), Best Director (William Wyler - his second of three career Oscars), Best Screenplay (Robert E. Sherwood), Best Editing, Best Musical Score -- its nomination for Best Sound was the only one that failed to win. Real-life double amputee (from a ship explosion) and one of the cast's inexperienced actors - Harold Russell received an additional Special Honorary Oscar "for bringing hope and courage to fellow veterans" for his first performance. [Russell is the only actor ever to win two Oscars for the same role.

Did You Know??

- Director William Wyler was furious when he learned that Samuel Goldwyn had sent Harold Russell for acting lessons; he preferred Russell's untrained, natural acting.
- Wyler wanted a completely un-glamorous look, requiring all costumes to be bought off the rack and worn by the cast before filming, and making sure all sets were built smaller than life-size.
- In order to give the film a documentary-style realism, the director drew each member of the crew - props, grips, mixers, etc. - from the ranks of WWII veterans.
- This was the first movie in history to feature a disabled actor in a major role. It was also the first to deal directly with intimacy issues between disabled and non-disabled people.

Watch The Best Year Of Our Lives Clip HERE

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Did You Know??

Lana Turner
owned fifty percent of the net profits of 'Imitation of Life,' her comeback movie. The film grossed eleven million dollars the first year alone. Though Elizabeth Taylor would make headlines three years later when she was paid a breathtaking one million dollars to make 'Cleopatra,' Lana's earnings from 'Imitation of Life' handily topped that.

Nivea Cream: A cosmetic cream that is used primarily for dry skin. Although Lana Turner could afford the worlds most costliest beauty creams (and even endorsed one or two), she swore by this stuff and used it each and every night before she went to bed. She also used an industrial strength scoring powder called (of all things) Borax, which was used to clean greasy hands. When Lana told actress Kathryn Grayson about the Boraxo, she became angry with Lana and accused her of trying to sabotage her face. Get some Nivea today and you too can look like Lana Turner!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Razor's Edge (1946) ****

"Darryl F. Zanuck's Production of W. Somerset Maugham's Razor's Edge." Maugham's novel was originally serialized in Redbook from Dec 1943--May 1944. and The Razor's Edge became Tyrone Power's first role since his return from war and a three-year absence from the screen.

According to studio publicity materials, the production cost around $4,000,000 to film, used eighty-nine different sets and enjoyed the longest shooting schedule in the studio's history to date. A Jul 1946 HR news item notes that the film incorporated footage excerpted from a photographic expedition shot by the Bombay Film Co. in the Himalayan mountains. Gene Tierney's real-life husband at the time, Oleg Cassini, designed her costumes for the film. According to a studio publicity item, the wedding gown worn by Tierney in the picture was based on a sketch that Cassini had made for his and Tierney's wedding. The couple eloped, however, and so the dress was never made until the production of this film. According to a 6 Jan 1947 HR news item, the film broke all previous Fox box office records. The DV review called the picture a "dramatic triumph in every sense of the word." The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Art Direction, and Clifton Webb was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Anne Baxter's performance as Sophie earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. *

*Source AFI

Did you Know??

Read "Life " Original Article of Razor's Edge Here

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fallen Angel *** 1/2

Fallen Angel is Otto Preminger's follow-up to Laura, another noir story of a beautiful woman and her effect on the men around her. In this case the beauty is Stella, played by Linda Darnell. Several reviews compared the picture to Laura , a 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox production that was also directed by Preminger, starred Dana Andrews, and featured music by David Raksin and photography by Joseph La Shelle.
Preminger liked long takes though the camera manned by the very expert Joseph LaShell (who also photographed Laura and River of No Return for Preminger, as well as My Cousin Rachel, The Apartment, and Billy Wilder's following three films) was not at all static. The black-and-white scenes look crisp and allow the actors to convey emotion.

The movie is not as relentless as Detour or as witty as Laura. It (especially the second half) is plenty melodramatic and
involves a change of heart I find highly suspect. It is better to look at than it is to think about. Many would say the same about Linda Darnell's "performance." Little as she was asked to do, she did less, yet was accepted again by Preminger (who wanted Lana Turner) in Forever Amber, and appeared in films directed by John Ford, Preston Sturges, and Joseph Mankiewcz during the late 1940. She must have had a "special" relationship with Fox magnate Daryl F. Zanuck.**

DId You Know??

According to modern sources, Alice Faye(who was Fox biggest star after Shirley Temple was angered when studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck ordered her rendition of the song, as well as several of her dramatic scenes, cut from the picture in order to emphasize Linda Darnell's role. Consequently, Faye left Twentieth Century-Fox without fulfilling the rest of her contract, which called for the making of two more films. Fallen Angel was Faye's first picture since the 1943 film The Gang's All Here , (although she did make a brief singing appearance in 1944's Four Jills and a Jeep ); it was her first and only purely dramatic role; and was her last film until the 1962 picture State Fair , for which she returned to Twentieth Century-Fox. ** Stephen Murray toxic universe

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Movie Pick "Madame X" ***

Although some critics sniped that Madame X was hopelessly old-fashioned, others praised the film, and Turner's performance. James Powers wrote in the Hollywood Reporter, "a superb cast of players take this rather shabby old piece and give it immediacy, vigor and credibility." And Charles Champlin wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "the unsparing, guileless honesty of [Turner's] performance is very touching." Those who called the film passé may have been right - Madame X did not do well at the box office. But it remained among Lana Turner's personal favorites, and one of the performances of which she was proudest.

Turner plays Holly, the neglected wife of a diplomat and mother of a young son. She has an affair with a playboy, and is implicated in his death. To avoid tainting her family with scandal, Holly disappears, leaving them to believe she's dead. Over the years Holly sinks into a life of degradation, until another death leaves her on trial for murder...defended by the son who's unaware of who she is.

Click HERE to see "Madame X" trailer

Saturday, May 13, 2006

femme fatales

Primary Characteristics and Conventions of Film Noir:
The primary moods of classic film noir were melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt, desperation and paranoia

The females in film noir were either of two types (or archetypes) - dutiful, reliable, trustworthy and loving women; or femme fatales - mysterious, duplicitous, double-crossing, gorgeous, unloving, predatory, tough-sweet, unreliable, irresponsible, manipulative and desperate women. Usually, the male protagonist in film noir wished to elude his mysterious past, and had to choose what path to take (or have the fateful choice made for him).

Invariably, the choice would be an overly ambitious one, to follow the dangerous but desirable wishes of these dames. It would be to follow the goadings of a traitorous, self-destructive femme fatale who would lead the struggling, disillusioned, and doomed hero into committing murder or some other crime of passion coupled with twisted love. When the major character was a detective or private eye, he would become embroiled and trapped in an increasingly-complex, convoluted case that would lead to fatalistic, suffocating evidences of corruption, irresistible love and death. The femme fatale, who had also transgressed societal norms with her independent and smart, menacing actions, would bring both of them to a downfall.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bells Are Ringing (1960) ****

Judy Holliday’s last movie role, five years before her death (which was two weeks shy of her 44th birthday, from throat cancer), showcased her singing ability and talent for creating different voices. Her character is an operator, at Susanswerphone - a telephone answering service company, who can't keep from meddling in the affairs of her clients. Vincente Minnelli directed her on-screen performance of this Betty Comden-Adolph Green play. André Previn’s Score was Oscar nominated. Holliday’s co-stars were Dean Martin, a blocked writer who's a client of the service that becomes her love interest.

In its lighthearted way, Bells Are Ringing shows what a far-reaching influence one generous person can have, and that makes it fitting that it should be the film to mark the close of its leading lady's film career—a career that had brought delight to so many. It's also surprisingly timely in its subject. Even though answering services like Susanswerphone have been supplanted by answering machines and voicemail, the message that human contact is irreplaceable in an increasingly impersonal society is more applicable than ever due to the depersonalizing impact of technological advances like the internet. There's nothing, as this charming musical reminds us, quite like the human touch.

Did You Know ??
Except for two uncredited parts in her first two films, this was the only color film Judy Holliday made.

Watch " Bells are Ringing Trailer HERE

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tivo Reminder " the Sisters" Romance and Earthquake

Errol Flynn got top billing in Warner Bros.' 1938 film The Sisters. But it was really Bette Davis' show. The storyline - three sisters find love at an election-night ball and then face tribulation in their romances . And of course, Davis' character was at the center of the drama. She, as the eldest sister, Louise, runs off with Frank Medlin, played by Errol Flynn. He promptly ships out to Singapore, abandoning her in San Francisco just in time for the 1906 earthquake (she's also pregnant). The Sisters was Davis and Flynn's first screen pairing (they would later co-star in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)). While Davis was happy to work with Flynn, she was less than thrilled with his star billing. The Sisters came at a turning point in Davis' career; in 1938-39, she would go from being a respected studio actress to a bona fide movie star and box office draw who could write her own ticket in Hollywood.
the sister will be air on TCM may 10 th 1. AM ET.
Watch The Sisters Trailer Here

Janet Jackson look alike award

Guess Which one is a real Janet Jackson !!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Stars of the month " Linda darnell"

Linda Darnell was called by Hollywood wags as "the girl with the perfect face", The answer of MGM 's Lana Turner to Fox and for once the description fit. Her cameo-cut china doll face was enough to ensure stardom in glamor-obsessed 1940s Hollywood; surely Darnell could easily fit into the top ten most beautiful women the screen has ever known. And as she matured, her voice deepened into a torchy that added intensity to the eventual siren image.

At age 13, she was appearing with local theater companies. Hollywood scouts, on a routine visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, were impressed enough to set up a screen test for her, but they soon discovered she was too young. Linda used that time to further build up her acting chops through more local theater appearances, returning to California in 1939 to debut in A Hotel For Women.

Film number three, made in 1940, marked her signature hit, Star Dust. More classic films were produced, such as Blood And Sand, and Rise And Shine. In 1945 Linda played Netta Longdon in Hangover Square, which performed solidly at the box-office. She followed that up with an appearance opposite Lillian Gish in Centennial Summer.

Other fan favorites followed, including My Darling Clementine with Henry Fonda and Victor Mature, Forever Amber with Cornel Wilde, Blackbeard The Pirate with Robert "Long John Silver" Newton, Stars as "Tuptim" in"Anna and The king of Siam" with Rex harrison ,Blood and sand , Mask Of Zorro with Tyrone Power and the bittersweet A Letter To Three Wives opposite Paul Douglas. But the demands of a successful career led to a rocky personal life for her, resulting in three divorces over the years.

On April 10, 1965, Linda died of burns she suffered in the house fire of her former secretary. Ironically, she had been watching STAR DUST on television earlier that evening, which was one of the films that set her career in motion. She had filmed a total of 46 movies. Often described as the "girl with the perfect face", Linda died at the age of 41.

Watch Linda Darnell Trailer Here

New On DVD Today!!

Tennessee Williams Film Collection [DVD]
Eight-disc set includes "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) (Two-Disc Special Edition), "Baby Doll," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958) (Special Edition), "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" (1961), "Sweet Bird ofYouth" (1962), "Night of the Iguana," and the documentary "Tennessee Williams' South."