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About MovieProfessor

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  1. Whether you want to believe it or not, who could have ever thought that this movie would become a beloved classic? Certainly, one of the biggest and most sought after movie’s to see at film festivals and it’s cult continues to grow among the younger fans who have discovered the wonderful fun there is to watching “Attack of The 50 Foot Woman.” When Allied Artists released the film, all the studio needed was a reasonable distribution around most of the secondary markets of drive-in theaters and local, small movie houses. Instead, they suddenly had a huge block-buster hit on their hands! Producer Bernard Woolner was amazed, when he drove around L.A. to see scores of people lining up to see his movie! The same was happening in areas across the country, as the film quickly gain a tremendous amount of box-office momentum. In small towns where the movie opened, theaters that hadn’t seen much in the way of good business in years, (due in part to television) were filled to capacity, especially during night showings and on the weekends. Theater managers then demanded to hold the film for weeks on end! Some theaters even had periodical returns of the movie that pretty much signified “Attack of The 50 Foot Woman” would receive cult movie status. What most fans or film buffs don’t realize is that the film’s director, Nathan (Hertz) Juran, had his career saved by the sheer, overwhelming success of this movie. The following year, Juran then went back to work in the major leagues with producer Charles H. Schneer and special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen at Columbia Pictures, creating one of the greatest of all fantasy films, “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad!” From that time on, Juran would never have to look back or wonder so much about his next motion picture assignment. He would also become one of the most active directors in television, between his work for major motion pictures. Certainly, he is today totally identified as a major exponent of Sci-Fi/Fantasy entertainment. The movie was made on a budget of less than $100.000, to later on bring in close to a million and then more money over the years the film continued to play on the drive-in circuit and in small theaters throughout the country. Upon the movie’s release for the television market during the early 1960’s, it became a staple and bona fide requirement for local television stations to air at various times of the year. The star of the movie, lovely Allison Hayes would never be able to shake off her association to what eventually became her most famous film role. Although Allison would be looked upon as a well known B-Movie star, the tremendous success of “50 Foot Woman,” allowed her to find steady work in television. She even co-starred in several primetime programs of the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s. So, she wasn’t really hindered by her work in B-Films. In fact, Allison was for the remainder of her career, a working actress in Hollywood. Towards the end of her life, she was usually asked to make appearances at various memorabilia shows and she gave a few rare interviews to some movie magazines. It was such a shock to learn that she died in 1977 of blood poisoning. This sadly occurred due to the medications she was taking for her bout against the leukemia she suffered from. Actor William Hudson is probably best remembered as the twin brother of actor John Hudson. Some fans usually get confused between the two and there’s always been this debate as to who had the better career? Both only occasionally appeared in major films, while ending up working regularly in television. So, it simply too tough to call or say which of the two had a more serious career. John did out live Bill, when John died in 1996 and Bill in 1977. The funny thing is that they both retired from show business at about the same time, during the early 1970’s. Then, we come to my favorite member of the cast, Yvette Vickers. She was nothing more than a sometime model and actress around Hollywood. Like Allison, Yvette would go on to appear in various B-Movies throughout the late 1950’s and 60’s. She also did lots of television. However, her career was sort of hampered technically, when she decided on becoming a Playboy Centerfold for 1959. Obviously, Yvette was trying to gain some needed publicity, along the lines of say Marilyn or Jayne Mansfield. This ploy simply didn’t work and sort of stained her chances to move into the major leagues of motion pictures. Interestingly, Yvette would show up at some of the biggest casting calls in Hollywood, attempting to break away from her low-budget, television status, but this was never to be. After he retirement in 1990, she lived a somewhat quiet life, away from the Hollywood spotlight that had been so much a part of her life. A few times, she did manage come back into the public eye at movie conventions, but for the most part, Yvette never considered to ever get back into the business. What amazes me is the silly, overdone, 1993 HBO remake that had Darryl Hannah in the title role. This time shot in color, it was obviously trying to capitalize on the notoriety of the original film. While the HBO movie did have a few cute things about it, there was nothing as interesting or charismatic as the original. It seems that there are enough fans out there that simply won’t accept certain remakes of a popular or classic film! Certainly, the 1957 version of “Attack of The 50 Foot Woman” is and will probably remain, one of them!
  2. > I guess you really like this woman? Are you related to her or knew her? ?:| OK . . . Here’s what I can add to the Laurette Luze story, from having been around at the time she was working in town. First off, she was without doubt, one of the most beautiful starlets of the early 1950’s. Some movie insiders now even say, the imagery of Luze had some influence on the early career of Sophia Loren, upon her arriving in Hollywood! I only saw Miss Luze once, in 1956, at the Coconut Grove with her then husband, Robert Creel. She was for all intended purposes, absolutely beautiful, radiant beyond simple description. She did have what might be termed as a magical, sort of larger than life imagery that made her standout among the throng of so many others. Of course, a beautiful girl in those days was pretty much a dime-a-dozen and Luze would have to face the enviable situation of luck, versus the right choices being made for one’s career. Her basic problem as I knew it to be was her personal life, filled with the chaos of trying to stay viable and of interest, while deciding on who could help her seek a solid foothold to fame and whatever fortune lie ahead. You see, she made the usual mistake of not looking ahead or over the advice she was given. Luze lacked the tact needed to realize what were her best options in a situation that is under a constant change or fluctuating opportunities. Her frequent love affairs with top studio officials didn’t get her anywhere, as she drifted from one relationship to the next, between her second and final marriage. In this regard, she and Marilyn had a lot in common! When you’re an upcoming starlet and you give of yourself in certain ways that are of a moral fiber rather questionable, you can end up having to pay the high price of acquiring a reputation of sorts that in the long term, won’t help you out, to be taken seriously, unless (like Marilyn did) you find someone of important power in the business to back you up. Luze never was able to make this sort of connection, as she fell victim to her thinking she had made the grade by whom she selected in the hope of getting better exposure and a chance at a solid contract that was the dream of every starlet, hoping to make it in Hollywood. Someone once asked me why didn’t Luze turn instead towards a good career in television? Well, by the time she decided on moving towards the direction of TV, it was all too late. By the time she did land a regular role on a primetime series, it wasn’t exactly of high quality and that venture didn‘t last long. Her TV career would be for the rest of her time in the business sporadic, if at all, never really solid. She had initially become trapped by her exotic looks and style that limited what talents she may have been able to utilize. When she did manage to appear in most of the major films, it was as a walk-on or in an unaccredited role. This to me is quite embarrassing, since she was once on the cover of Life Magazine and other major periodicals across the country. I would have to think that she had a better time of it as a major model than attempting to become a movie star. She’s a good example of someone who simply stays around the business, hoping and praying that something good will pop up, while all along, time and age mounts up against you. Truth is that Luze was just one of those quick flashes that come and go in the movie business of old Hollywood. It’s a typical story of a lovely girl with hopes and a big dream of becoming famous, while not understanding or able to face up to the process of what it takes to reach a goal that for the most part is and will always remain a tremendous gamble. The choices one makes, be they considered big or small, do have a way of going in a direction that can’t be so easily mapped out or figured out to the point of reaching a positive conclusion. The main idea here is to keep alive as many options as possible and then don’t wait too long for what might be looked upon as a better deal or a higher playing field. In the movie business, one has to keep going, moving steadily towards grabbing or catching up to whatever is available that will give you that all important exposure, be it in a low-budget project or if you’re lucky enough to land in a big one. In her case, she simply stopped working periodically, not seeking what could have been something worthwhile. This is why I say stopping along the way can hurt one’s career and one should never let up on what might be out there! Luze was in some ways, spoiled by other pursuits, such as the Hollywood social life and this wasn’t going to get her up and above the fray and chaos that can affect one’s chances. My guess is that Luze had a horrible, lousy agent or whoever represented her didn’t do her much good. How terrible it must have been for Luze by that time in 1959, when she was at Universal Pictures, having received a “walk-on” role in the movie musical “Flower Drum Song.” Ten years earlier she had been touted as one of the new faces to watch, her face and imagery spread across the country on newsstands and in department stores! Where she ended up was about as low as one could get! What kept her around or perhaps her distant hopes alive were the many friends in town she made over the course of her rather inconsequential career. She at least remained somewhat beautiful up until the time she decided on calling it quits and becoming an everyday housewife. Towards the end of her life, she was all but forgotten and not known about in the small, quaint little, out of the way Florida town where she spent the remaining days of her life. I heard she did keep a few mementoes of her short lived glory time in Hollywood, gladly displaying them to anyone who showed interest. She had various photos of those long ago memories on hand in her living room. Sometimes, when asked she talked mostly about the once close friendship she had with Marilyn that always was the main topic of a first time meeting with someone. It was about the only call to any fame she could explain and talk about. Her time and career in Hollywood simply didn’t matter, at least to those who met her. She ended up a footnote to a time in Hollywood that had her associated to the glamour, but she just didn’t really count or amount to much in the eyes of those who came to hear her stories. The file on Laurette Luze isn’t such a sad one or disappointing to the extent of having been considered a failure. Point is that she never reached high enough or long enough to then be looked upon as a major failure. Hers was one that just didn’t workout towards the long term of remaining sufficiently developed towards the goal needed in acquiring that all important foothold that would allow a decent sense of flexibility to say I made it. Well, Luze never really made it. She was just like so many before and those who still are coming after her, on the edge of the fringes to what might transpire on becoming a movie star. Maybe, just maybe fate did her a good turn, because she could have ended up like Marilyn? Who can say?
  3. > {quote:title=TomJH You Wrote: }{quote}One day, when I have the courage, I shall take the plunge. :^0 It's rather funny to me . . . That's about what one has to consider, when thinking about wanting to watch "Torch Song!" It does take some courage to take the plunge towards a film that leaves one with a few distored visions and ideas about the possible real life of a legendary movie star. B-)
  4. Alas! This would definitely be one of my all time favorite subjects to tackle. After all, everybody who has been a movie fan all their lives has to have a love for a film that was either trashed or thrown into the wayside of critical humiliation! Well, having been around show business for over 50 plus years, I’m about as guilty as anyone who shunned what the critics said and felt a certain motion picture was worth my time and even my money to go see. There has been for me, several choices along the way that have remained on my list of films, usually ignored for the way the movie obtained a reputation of vacuous temperament and a depleted sense of purpose. Yet, many of these films that might be considered tripe, have a merit in simply being entertaining and thus exult the whole idea of creating something magical to the point of having a long term identity; even if it be bad! My all time pick in this category, goes way, way back to the time of 1953, when Hollywood was reminded of a once held, devoted union between a super movie star and a big studio. This marked what was supposed to be the triumphant return of the mighty Joan Crawford to her once home base of MGM! Just about every diehard movie fan, knows Joan’s story of having been asked to leave MGM in 1943, due to a bevy of films that had a poor box-office response. Most everyone will remember this event, by way of the biographic film, “Mommie Dearest,” coming off with a rather flamboyant treatment of Joan’s private life. I am not a fan of Christina Crawford, Joan’s adopted daughter who first wrote the story that was turned into the motion picture. There has always been for me, reason to question Christina’s action to writing her book. In showcasing her attitude to what was a turbulent time in her life and that of Joan’s, it all appeared to me to be exasperations, on exaggerations. Whatever the case, if anyone wants to believe Christina’s account of her life with Joan, one might want to turn towards viewing Joan’s 1953 potboiler melodrama, “Torch Song” I absolutely love this movie “Torch Song!” As crazy as this movie might seem to most fans, I have no qualms about admitting how much I enjoy the film. If anything comes close to capturing the hard-pressed imagery of Joan that Christina wrote about, it all can come to focus in some form with “Torch Song.” The film would become something of a sensation at the time it was announced that Joan would return to MGM, after a ten year absence. After having been let go by MGM, Joan swore she would never again set foot or work at the studio that had been her home for over a decade. What changed her mood or direction was that Louie B. Mayer, who had governed the studio during Joan’s time at MGM was gone, allowing for this easy return for Joan and there came this reconsideration of her past harsh feelings. The new management and staff running MGM, simply couldn’t resist the idea of taking advantage of an old situation that many knew would create a good amount of appeal or interest. They even sent so far as to utilize and revise an old MGM poster of Joan’s for this new motion picture venture! When Joan jumped at the chance of returning to MGM, she had been working regularly at Warner Brothers (the studio that hired her, after she left MGM) and it was there Joan was able to revamp her film career. The Warner years had been good for Joan, even winning for her the now famous Academy Award for the drama “Mildred Pierce.” One would have thought that perhaps her new venture at MGM would bring something of a similar success to when she left in 1943. Although she was middle-aged, she still had something of the glamour and fashionable style that had made her one of the most popular and admired motion picture stars of the 20th Century. MGM decided on not holding back in the technical department, giving Joan a working staff and crew that was surely one of the finest at the studio. Handling the script was noted screenwriter John Michael Hayes (best remembered for his work with Hitchcock) and he pretty much relied on the original material the film was based on, a novel entitled “Why Should I Cry?, by I. A. R. Wylie that today nobody really remembers! The director chosen for “Torch Song” was studio-regular Charles Walters, better associated with some of MGM’s best musicals. Walters had started his career as a charter member of the legendary “Arthur Freed Unit.” The producer for “Torch Song” would be a veteran of the MGM family, Sidney Franklin, truly one of the most successful director/producers the studio ever had. He and Joan obviously knew each other well enough to come to some agreement on how the project would evolve to what was hoped would be a smashing success. Instead of a full fudged dramatic film, Joan would be showcased in a semi-dramatic musical story of a highly demanding, temperamental, Broadway singing star. Of course, everybody knew Joan not to be an accomplished singer, meaning she would be fully dubbed for this part of the role. However, she still had some good moves and capability as a dancer. This was especially important with director Walters, who himself was a trained dancer. If anything, “Torch Song” would be a reminder to millions of fans that the early part of Joan’s career was as a lively dancer in various films she first made at MGM. The basic background to the new film could be looked upon as a throwback to that time she was discovered in the chorus line of a Hollywood night club, later to become a huge movie star. Starring opposite Joan was the rather elegant English actor, Michael Wilding. He was at the time, best known as Elizabeth Taylor’s second husband. Wilding was also just getting his Hollywood career underway, upon signing up with MGM. Most fans could agree that Wilding’s gentle, charming nature and smooth acting style had a charm that for the time he made his few films in Hollywood, had a nice sort of polished contrast, not seen since the glory days of fellow English actor, beloved Ronald Colman. The casting of Wilding opposite Joan appeared more like a definite typecast to what was a rather sympathetic role, as a blinded songwriter/pianist, who in the film Joan falls head-over-heels in love with. Wilding certainly adds a needed touch of sturdiness to the storyline that creates the aged old circumstance about opposites attract. In viewing the film, it’s almost as if Joan’s strong will of character is to some truth, intimidated by the presence of Wilding opposite her in the film. She gets more down to earth when pitted up against an old friend of mine, actor Gig Young. He plays what is essentially a gigolo sort of role, being called upon when Joan’s character as the Broadway star “Jenny Stewart” needs an escort or time spent creating an illusion of companionship. Gig’s performance is quite good, coming off with the shades of professionalism he had early in his career, despite the later tragic events that would overshadow his life. The male actors pretty much signify Joan has received the casting support of two reliable performers of the current movie business. It has to be said that the truly, one redeeming valuable factor for “Torch Song” is that of beloved character actress Marjorie Rambeau, playing the role as Joan’s voluble, witty mother. She dominates the scenes she is in. The simplistic beauty of her style of acting is absolutely breathtaking and has a loving spirituality that displays her long standing as a respected actress. Of all things that can be said about “Torch Song,” be they bad or tauntingly critical to the point of believing the film has no merit, Rambeau was surprisingly rewarded for her efforts with an Academy Award nomination as supporting actress. She wouldn’t win, losing out to Donna Reed. At best, Rambeau had been the odds on sympathetic favorite to possibly win. However, the overwhelming success of “From Here To Eternity” made it seem easy enough for Reed to walk away with the “Oscar.” Most critics agreed that Rambeau was the best part of “Torch Song” and perhaps gave the film its only type of justification to be taken seriously. An interesting point that is of historical interest, concerns director Walters making what is a cameo appearance as the dance partner of Joan in the opening scene of the film. There are today some rather peculiar, if not, outlandish stories relating to the relationship of Joan and Walters as they set out to make the motion picture. One story has Joan showing up in a trench coat at either the house of Walters or his studio office. She is reputed to have then taken the coat off and revealed her naked body to Walters, in an attempt to fend off rumors Joan had heard that Walters didn’t believe she was good enough to take on the role! This sort of intimidation was said to be a control ploy on the part of Joan, so that Walters be subservient to her wishes during the making of the film. It’s also believed by some diehard fans of Joan that she was just getting into the character for the sake of the film. Over all, there are some striking similarities to the real Joan Crawford and that of the character she portrays in “Torch Song.” One of the most obvious is this sense of feeling in control of the environment she works in and always being on guard to whatever obstacle may occur or situation that would make her feel uncomfortable. This film marks the stamp of approval for Joan becoming or being seen as the archetype of a superstar motion picture diva. One has to wonder if its really art imitating life or vice versa. One good aspect of the film that should be appreciated is its beautiful theme song, written by Walter Gross and Jack Lawrence, entitled “*Tenderly*.” The tune had actually been written and released eight years earlier. It would be singer Rosemary Clooney, who first made the biggest known, popular recording of the song. Within the storyline of the film, the song becomes instrumental to bringing together the two main characters, leading to a conflict of emotional passions. The song is what made the character of “Jenny” a star, when she sang the tune early in her career and is the one redeeming point the blind pianist remembers about her, since he knows what she looks like, because he initially wrote that very first important review of her career! This and other little tidbits throughout the story are what I love about the movie. However, most fans will look upon “Torch Song” as a rather over-the-top sort of Joan Crawford melodrama vehicle that becomes essentiality a one woman show. She is to put it mildly, seen as a glamorous figure throughout the film, dressed in colorful, ornate gowns designed by Helen Rose; some of which are today considered classics of motion picture costume design! The film is without question an expensive, extravagant Technicolor production that only a big studio could offer and exploit beyond reason or with any need of explanatory logic! Upon its release, the movie received mixed reviews and wasn’t really considered all that bad. Yet, over the years, film historians have not been kind to the film, believing for the most part it was nothing more than an attempt by MGM to fill in the gap needed for a commercially successful film that could guarantee a good box-office response. Certainly, the movie gives off an inordinate flavor that lends one to feel nothing was left to chance, except that perhaps there could have been a more inspired form of entertainment, instead of a usual, nicely produced, typical studio film that can best be remembered for not having something of cultural value. Well, “Torch Song” is today a big, cult film favorite among the fans, especially those of Joan and what she has come to represent towards motion picture history. There is an ironic twist to “Torch Song,” in that the movie reaps with shades of nonsense, while offering something interesting to watch or has an addictive atmosphere that forces one to somehow accept the imprudence to what might happen behind the scenes of show business. And, while this film and story might connect to Joan’s real life in various ways, I know for a fact she wasn’t as unruly, presumptuous and intrusive as the woman she portrayed in the film. Joan was after all, a consistent professional when it came to her work in films. This I think is what makes her career so substantial to having its value. Maybe Christina might think “Torch Song“ is part of this macabre legacy to Joan, since she likes to tell friends her mother was a witch, spelled with a capital “B.” Anyway, as crazy as what I’ve written might seem and I know some of you out there have seen this movie on TCM, it only stands to reason that I’m as human as the next, in getting sucked into loving a movie that has no overall value to be considered a classic, other than I can remember it for what it does towards extending so many unusual aspects, theories and feelings about a legendary movie star.
  5. > {quote:title=ValeskaSuratt . . .}{quote} *Excellent Observation!* Especially with the important dates and time frame that now make the photo, not so much a suspect of authenticity, but in need of clarification as to its origin. I did some research over this photograph and it seems no one has come forward or been able to verify exactly when it was taken and where it came from! The photo has simply popped up on the internet and while it could very well be from someone’s private collection, who happened to be on the set of a movie being made, it doesn’t necessary mean that the woman to the left is clearly Dorothy. Without some sort of explanation as to how this photo was taken, we can’t really accept it as historical proof to the friendship between Dorothy and Marilyn. The fact that this photo has never been seen or observed until now, with various books written and documentaries made over the years about both stars is rather frustrating. Had the photo been released and seen, say about 40 years ago, it would have most likely been accepted as part of the Dorothy Dandridge legacy. While I’m not an expert on photography, I do find the picture rather strange looking, as if something were superimposed. With today’s computer technology, a lot of fakery goes on and the clever quality of these various fraudulent methods become difficult to decipher. I am not one to rain on somebody’s parade, but it should be easy enough for the person in possession of the original to come forward and explain how they came to have this photo. I praise your research that for the long run is what finding an item like this is all about! You now have my *clear cut* respect and admiration!
  6. > {quote:title=. . . }{quote}You mean to the LEFT...Marilyn is on the right. > HA . . . Have to laugh at myself on that one! I had a senior moment! Anyway, can't call in the FBI . . . Director J. Edgar, who had all the files destroyed is also dead!
  7. AH-HA UniveralHorror! I just found out about that photo! It was presumably taken during the time Marilyn and Otto were making "River of No Return." If it is authentic, then it remains the only widely seen photo of Marilyn and (if it can be clearly proven) Dorothy. Yet, I still can't get any sort of details about the photo's origin.
  8. {quote:title=OK UniversalHorror . . . }{quote} Well, it could be . . . But, I'm not so sure if the woman to the right is in fact Dorothy . . . So tell me: What is the origin of this photo? Remember one thing . . . I said CLEAR CUT PHOTO. I'd want a date, place and possible verification. My guess is the photo is probably from a privatge collection or used in a biography of Otto or Dorothy? What's the story? ?:|
  9. DELETED due to problems with repeated posting . . . :0 Edited by: MovieProfessor on Aug 26, 2012 8:24 PM
  10. This is nothing so new to consider, since many stars over the years have charged fans for an autograph. It all probably started as a means to keep an overzealous fan away and not be bothered. Certainly, the most prevalent issue are movie stars becoming agitated to discovering individuals who make a living by profiting from their signatures or whatever personal items they might have once owned. Also, there is an ever growing market of fraudulent materials being sold or said to have been sanctioned by the movie star. So, when you add up or figure out what might be a situation gone erratic and not reasonably subjugated, it stands to reason why various motion picture stars will ask for a payment to what might be later on exploited for profit. Most movie stars I have known over my long years around show business, have tried to be fair and not be so downtrodden over this issue of whether or not they should give an autograph. In the old days, the studio did send out some signed materials, but on a limited basis. Of course, most of the 8x10 photograph stills sent out to fans with a signature were multilithed or printed onto the photo. These types of photos or autographs are a dine a dozen! I just don’t see the big deal about charging, since a diehard movie fan will want his or her favorite star’s autograph at whatever cost! And, let’s not forget about the lucrative trade in sports memorabilia that as of now has its high pricing, sometimes at levels most fans can’t even afford. Usually, at these memorabilia shows or movie conventions, the celebrities are paid. One of my all time personal heroes, Joe DiMaggio had to be paid each and every time he stepped into a convention hall, as thousands of the fans would stand in line, having paid about 15 to 20 dollars to have Joe D. sign a photo, a ball, glove or bat. But, often if Joe was out on the street and felt comfortable enough, he would sign his name on just about anything, free of charge. After all is said and done, I believe Joe D. just didn’t want to totally alienate the fans who had come to admire him throughout his lifetime. He was for me rather strange, since he was mostly something of a quiet, sort of secretive man. I once got up enough courage to bother Joe and ask, “Is it difficult for you to deal with the fans, always asking you for something?” Joe responded, “It depends on how I feel, when I first get up in the morning . . . Sometimes I have my feel good days and others not so good . . . So, it’s a crapshoot for the fans when they approach me.”
  11. So far, in over fifty plus years, no one has been able to come up with a clear cut photo of Dorothy and Marilyn together. There was once, a rare black and white photo floating around, taken at some movie premiere both ladies attended. I remember seeing this photo around 1956. The photo has yet to resurface or be found in order to finally quell those who have questioned the relationship of Marilyn and Dorothy. The problem was that the politics of those times, didn’t permit a woman of color, even if she be famous to have a photo taken at a public place or gathering with a Caucasian movie star! It took sometime for the restrictions to give way. Various big stars had to take a stand in order to change the mindset of those who objected or feared some sort of public backlash over African Americans and whites being seen as close, regular friends and equals!
  12. Well, I can fill you in on some loose ends of the story that I happened to come across. It was a fact that Marilyn and Dorothy became friends. This was especially the case, when Dorothy signed on at 20th Century-Fox studios, where Marilyn would make most of the major films of her career. Dorothy was at the time, jumping from one gig to the next, usually doing a singing nightclub act, while continuing on with somewhat of an acting career in films. During the early half of Dorothy’s career, she was trying to break away from her success within the Negro film community and reach towards getting into the major film market of mainstream Hollywood. It was only natural to surmise that for Dorothy it was a considerable, constant struggle against basic prejudices all African Americans faced when seeking a chance at major film production. Her first big break came about the same time it had come for Marilyn in 1953, when Dorothy appeared in the nicely produced, major MGM film of “Bright Road.” This was a film drama concerning the plight of a small-town, country school teacher. Opposite her in the film was singer, also turned as an occasional actor, wonderful Harry Belafonte. They became lifelong friends and would later on make two more major films together. Essentially, Dorothy and Harry would become two of the biggest major African American stars of the 1950’s. The friendship that Marilyn had with Dorothy, also included another legendary star that seldom gets mention, Ava Gardner. It was actually Ava who first had a deeply, rooted friendship with Dorothy, due to Ava’s close kit relationship with singer Lena Horne while at MGM. Lena had known Dorothy from the early days of her career, around the nightclub circuit. Lena didn’t hang out much with Ava and Dorothy, preferring to stay low-keyed and out of the public eye. Somewhere along the way, Ava introduced Dorothy to Marilyn. This turned out to be one of the most historic and remarkable friendships in the history of Hollywood gossip. The mainstream press gave little, if any coverage of their camaraderie, most likely due to the racial issues involved at the time. Yet, the trio could be seen showing up together at some of the biggest and most notorious Hollywood festivities. You might say that Ava, Dorothy and Marilyn pioneered this openness between races that for most of the time was hidden or not publicized much. Marilyn and Dorothy had a few things in common, one of them was this dependency on all sorts of sedatives and barbiturates. Of course, in those days, this was a normal way of life to having easy access to the use of various prescription drugs that today would be considered dangerous to one’s health. Like Marilyn, Dorothy struggled at the studio to acquire decent roles. She fought long and hard to not be regulated to the usual secondary parts of maids and subservient individuals that was so common in those days for African Americans. Some Hollywood insiders believe, Dorothy’s biggest problem came into focus upon having this turbulent love affair with director Otto Preminger. After Preminger cast Dorothy in the highly successful musical “Carmen Jones,” he then saw himself as being the guiding light to her career in motion pictures. As Dorothy and Otto became an open secret throughout Hollywood, Marilyn was about to have her own problems with her doomed and ill fated marriage to baseball great Joe DiMaggio. Not to sort of be left out, Ava’s torrid marriage to Frank Sinatra had also come to its enviable end! So, during this period, the three ladies sought comfort in expressing their emotional difficulties to each other. They drank a lot and along the way probably took a few pills here and there, as they discussed the enigma of being a motion picture star. The year 1955, ought to be considered the big turning point for both Marilyn and Dorothy. It was during this period, both ladies rebelled harshly against studio boss Darryl Zanuck, then head of 20th Century-Fox. Since it looked as if both actresses were heading towards bigger stardom, they now wanted a bit of control. Marilyn refused to be cast in what she considered a flimsy musical entitled “Pink Tights.” Dorothy was then offered a supporting role as the salve girl, in the big upcoming musical version of “The King and I.” Dorothy wouldn’t accept what she considered an objectionable role for an African American woman. Both Marilyn and Dorothy looked as if they were now teaming up together against the demands of Zanuck. This seemed very natural for everyone watching this melodrama, since most everybody in town knew they were good friends! Somehow, the press didn’t link Marilyn and Dorothy together over this contractual issue, probably due to the politics involved and all those social issues looming in the shadows. Certainly, if any details of the friendship between the two would have been widely reported, it could have hurt Marilyn’s career, as much as Dorothy’s. For her part, Marilyn must have known she was a financial asset and perhaps Dorothy’s emerging movie stardom also hanged in the balance for her to make a bold move. Marilyn then decided on heading out towards New York City and Dorothy did the same! They both walked out on their contracts. In the process, Marilyn would succeed, while Dorothy was obviously left out to dry. Although Marilyn would be the one to have the clout to win over on Zanuck, she did speak up on behalf of Dorothy. Thus, Marilyn aided Dorothy wherever she could, leading up to Dorothy getting a good role in the film “Island in The Sun,” opposite her old friend, Harry Belafonte. Whenever possible, Dorothy and Marilyn tried to keep in touch. By the end of the decade, Ava who had created the celebrated trio was gone. She ended up living in Spain, only now occasionally appearing to make a movie. Meanwhile, Dorothy had to concentrate more on her singing and nightclub act, in order to keep her career going, while at the same time, have to support the care for her disabled daughter, who had been placed into a special institution. Marilyn could relate to this issue fully, since she had her mother being cared for in a mental hospital. This situation pretty much signifies why there was this close and respected friendship between the two stars. When Dorothy was in New York, as much as Hollywood, both ladies hung out together. There were times the two talked about the problems of their careers, as opposed to their personal lives. During those last few yeares they were together, Sammy Davis Jr. played an important part to the friendship, especially since that era of the early 1960’s was the true, hardcore beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in America. Marilyn was making plans to get involved, due in large part to Dorothy and Sammy had become a close friend to Marilyn. Sammy was one of the very few Hollywood inter circle of friends to Marilyn, Joe DiMaggio approved of and would have allowed him to attend Marilyn’s funeral. I’ve never been so sure about Dorothy and whether or not she would have met with Joe D’s approval. I do know she was later seen showing up at Marilyn’s crypt and left some nice flowers. Like Marilyn before her, Dorothy would become emotionally burnt out and lose track of her self-consciousness. Dorothy too didn’t have long to live, when in 1965, she was also found dead at her Hollywood home, due to an overdose of barbiturates. How peculiar this all seemed, stemming from both having died the same way. Yet, Ava would be the one to finally survive, having left behind Hollywood and whatever chaos their might have been to her life and times in Tinsel Town. It was around the time before Dorothy died, she began to write her life story. Five years later, with the help of her sister, Dorothy’s autobiography was published posthumously in 1970. The book entitled, “Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy,” pretty much summed up what she had been through and there were passages in her book about Marilyn that as of today are the only known, direct information of their friendship that for the most part, went somewhat unnoticed by the fans.
  13. > {quote:title=TCMfan23 you say: }{quote}to me , Hollywood films have turned to garbage. Since the 80s , movies have been getting worse and worse. At the turn of the century , Hollywood writers have run out of ideas. Having been part of the “Old Hollywood School” of sorts and now retired, I would have to say it shouldn’t be a question that modern cinema simply stinks. Like it is in life, all things change or we move on towards different directions that suit each and every generation. An example I could give over this topic pertains to a film student I once chatted with about the motion picture business. The student seemed well versed enough to understand the mechanics of movie making, but not its overall past history. In the course of our conversation, I got onto the subject of movie stars and such, mentioning the work of Jack Lemmon. When I asked the student what film of Jack’s they admired or felt was of quality, the answer was they never looked into Jack’s body of work, not finding him so variable to the current trends and that Jack was nothing more than a faint object of the past. At that moment in time, I did become a bit agitated, wondering if the student had any sense of motion picture history. What I later realized was that the student’s mode of thinking was totally in a different area, unable to link my past with their current tangibility. This I think happens regularly enough to the point that the values or interests in filmmaking change. It isn’t an easy task to remain flexible from a view of seeking new avenues to creative expression and therefore the mindset of ideas, imagery and subject matter expand to a divergent area. This is the normal way of how the situation turns out, especially since society as a whole, moves on towards changeable atmospheres of social epitomes and what is considered popular subject matter. If one has a love or devotion to certain elements and patterns of our motion picture past, there must come a condition towards understanding the differences between the past and the current flow of creativity or what essentially becomes a popular mode of filmmaking. The changes brought on by time and circumstance are just different and shouldn’t be judged so harshly, since each and every generation of moviemakers have to face all sorts of technical problems and a difference to the values society hands us along the way of how time changes our lives. There are times I might feel I miss the past and wished for a return to these certain methods of motion picture expression I was exposed to and learned from. However, in the process of growing old and becoming tolerant to accepting life’s shifting patterns, I now find it best to simply say my place in time and all its contingency was different and can’t be compared to the point of judging or feeling that my generation was so much better. Each and every different generation of the creative artistic force has its own values, it’s own place to express what they believe to be coherent to the current flow of society’s thinking. As for me, I simply have to accept that my time and place that was different is not any better or above what new and fresh ideas of expression come our way. After all, what has brought on lots of the changes to the entertainment field is technology! This I think is the underlying, missed point as to why nothing stays the same or can remain so traditional.
  14. > {quote:title=Lori3 you wrote: }{quote}Hi ValeskaSuratt. I am jumping in here just to put my two cents in, but I am sure the MovieProfessor will provide you with some great information. > > > > You wrote: "The definition of an actor is someone who'll stick it into anything." > > > > For example. > I read once that Errol Flynn was sharing a sexual "score" he had made with a fan, to a younger actor. Flynn stated all during the act, the woman kept saying, "oh Errol Flynn, yes, yes Errol Flynn, etc, etc." Flynn seemed a little upset with the woman, especially when he realized that she wasn't making love or having sex with Errol, the real Errol but rather with the image or star of Errol Flynn. I don't think he felt any kind of love at that time. > > > > Any ways, let see what the MovieProfessor has to say about all this. > > > > Thanks > Lori Well, in speaking of the mighty Errol Flynn, I'm now instantly reminded of hearing him hum and sing one of his all time favorite tunes. One that was in so many ways best representative of everything he came to know about his love for the profession! Some of you might remember this little ditty as Cole Porter would have said: Hi-diddle-dee-dee An actor's life for me A high silk hat and a silver cane A watch of gold with a diamond chain Hi-diddle-dee-day An actor's life is gay It's great to be a celebrity An actor's life for me Hi-diddle-dee-dum An actor's life is fun . . . Hi-diddle-dee-dee An actor's life for me A wax mustache and a beaver coat A pony cart and a billy goat Hi-diddle-dee-dum An actor's life is fun You wear your hair in a pompadour You ride around in a coach and four You stop and buy out a candy store An actor's life for me! Hi diddle dee dee An actor's life for me A high silk hat and a silver cane A watch of gold and a diamond chain Hi diddle dee dee You sleep till after two You promenade a big cigar You tour the world in a private car You dine on chicken and caviar An actor's life for me! AN ACTOR'S LIFE FOR ME! :^0
  15. > {quote:title=Lori3 You Wrote: . . .}{quote}there is a claim that Clifford Odets was gay or bisexual and that Brando and Odets got together. The book makes it sounds like Odets would have liked to have a deeper relationship with Julius, but it didn't happen and I am not sure why, unless Julius just said no to his good friend. > True or Hollywood gossip? You are, without a shadow of any doubt, absolutely, positively correct! This issue was years ago conveyed to me by close friends of Julius and they certainly were very credible. Odets looked upon Julius as a sort of protégé, relating to the various ways in which Odets wanted to showcase Julius, seeing him as the archetype within America's struggling social problems. Early on, it looked as if Odets was something of a "big brother" to Julius, becoming an adviser and offering his emotional support. However, Julius was a contented married man at the time. When Odets did reveal some deeper feelings, Julius simply distanced himself from Odets hidden lifestyle. They managed to some extent to remain good friends, leading right up to the time they were reunited to work together on the film "Humoresque." There are of course, different versions of these tales and rumors. It’s just the way of things that past situations become expanded upon and perhaps exaggerated. There was nothing ever so complicated about the relationship Julius would have with Odets. It ended up being one of mutual respect. > {quote:title=Lori3 You Also Mentioned: }{quote}Do not kill the messenger here Brando fans, but in the book it states that Brando (in the beginning of his career) was quite jealous of Julius. And that Kazan stated that Julius had an affair with Odets wife. I am not sure which of wife. True or Hollywood gossip? I wouldn't exactly call it any sort of personal jealously, in that Marlon wanted so much to get to know Julius and absorb the essence of his talents. This is simply a form of professional envy that has more to do with a need to feel one can be at or reach an equal plain with their idol. Julius admired Marlon to some reasonable degree, but he wasn't as amicable as Marlon would have referred. There was a rumor or stated by some that Julius did have a close relationship with Odets wife, actress Bette Grayson. The strange thing was that she died only two years later, after Julius had passed on.
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