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Posts posted by FilmAficionado

  1. Marlene Dietrich was in Morocco with Adolphe Menjou



    (BTW, I think her number "What Am I Bid for My Apples"? is much more sexual than the one where she dons a tux and gives another woman a small peck on the lips . Everyone goes ga-ga for for that, but the "Apples" number, while not as blatant, is sexy as hell!)

  2. The play *Mourning Becomes Electra* by Eugene O'Neill is an update of the Greek myth *Orestes*. He certainly retained all the elements of a Greek tragedy. The play, and later the movie feature murder, adultery, incestuous love and revenge, and even the townspeople function as a Greek chorus. Based on some of the recent posts, does the movie *Mourning Becomes Electra* then qualify as an epic?

  3. That's an interesting twist on the topic, clearskies, TV movie epics. Is there such a thing as episodic epics? The best ones are on PBS, as you mentioned "Upstairs Downstairs." I got hooked on "The Forsyte Saga" on "Masterpiece Theatre." As I recall it was a British import, from only a few of a series of books by John Galsworthy. Shown in the U.S. in the late '60s and early '70s, I think it was 20-30 episodes and in black and white. I was really hooked on that! Does anyone else remember watching it?


    Most mini-series on network TV are pretty cheesy, but there have been a few excellent ones. My favorite is *Little Gloria, Happy at Last*. You know, the two Glorias Vanderbilt, (Anderson Cooper's mother and grandmother) and their long custody battle, circa 1930. It surly looks high budget, and very well made. The set design, costumes and even the automobiles were first rate. We get to see some of the Vanderbilt mansions in Newport. And what a cast!: Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Glynis Johns, Christopher Plummer, many others. It is faithful to Barbara Goldsmith's book. All of the dialogue in the courtroom scenes were taken verbatim from court transcripts. I could never understand why it was made for TV and not the big screen. At 180 minutes and spanning many years, shouldn't it qualify as an epic?

  4. Did anyone catch *The Broadway Melody*, 1929, with Anita Page and Bessie Love? What a hoot! Second "Best Picture" ( *Wings* was the first). I've seen it before and it makes me appreciate how far talkies came in such a short period of time.


    I love pre-code films. They are true-to-life. The "bad" guy/girl isn't always punished. My father was born in N.Y.C. in 1924. His birth parents weren't married so he was adopted by my grandparents. He always said "things like that happen in life." Everyone was happy (with the possible exception of his birth mother) and no one was punished. But no one was Catholic either (the biggest culprits in "The Code."


    During "The Code," as somewhat today, sex out of wedlock was more objectionable than murder. Go figure.


    BTW, my "illegitimate" father was the one who introduced me to classic movies. My hero!!! We used to watch them together when I was I was a child. He explained eveything to me and named all the characters. An unusual father-and-son activity, yes. But I'll bet I was the only ten-year-old in town who could name people like Ned Sparks, C. Aubry Smith and ZaSu Pitts!

  5. Many have said the chariot race sequence in 1925's *Ben Hur* with Ramon Navarro is superior to the 1959 version with Charlton Heston. Poor Ramon Navarro! He came to such a sad end. I know this isn't a forum for politics, but I can't help myself. I'm not sad that Heston's self-described "cold, dead hands" are finally cold and dead. Where do you suppose someone is prying guns from those hands, Heaven or Hell? I would guess the latter.

  6. Good topic! I think I feel the same as you, misswonderly. In general I don't care for them, but there are exceptions.


    First, what exactly is an "epic"? Originally, it meant a long, classical poem (oh, no, let's not open that "what is classic?" can of worms again!). Today, I believe in most minds, "epic" simply means "a really long movie."


    Roger Ebert said: "The word epic in recent years has become synonymous with big budget B picture. What you realize watching Lawrence of Arabia is that the word epic refers not to the cost or the elaborate production, but to the size of the ideas and vision. Werner Herzog's *Aguirre: The Wrath of God* didn't cost as much as the catering in Pearl Harbor, but it is an epic, and *Pearl Harbor* is not."


    If we're just talking "big," I like movies that have sentimental meaning to me. *The Wizard of Oz* was on TV once a year, as far back as I can remember. Second only to Christmas, that was the most special night of my life as a child. In 1967 GWTW was re-leased and it had a huge impact on me (after seeing it I even read the book). I'm revealing my age, I'm old enough to remember it vividly, seeing it for the first time, and on a big screen yet! But I was young enough that I went with my mother to the theatre. I never miss those two movies and can quote most of the dialogue verbatim.


    Even after spending $44 million and paying Elizabeth Taylor $1 million, I still can't sit through all of *Cleopatra*, it's longer than the Nile! Ditto *Lawrence of Arabia* and most of those "sword-and-sandal" and biblical epics. (ZZZZZZ) I know I'm terribly bored with TCM each Easter weekend.


    To turn this topic around, there are many musicals that were cut and I'm terribly dissapointed that they were. Clearly, these movies should have been longer. The "powers that be" decided that audiencies didn't want to sit through a movie that was too long. So what did they cut? Really good songs, usually. Many of us have seen the "newly restored" versions of such films. Sometimes the old footage still exists, sometimes they have to show stills while we hear the audio with the cut songs. In *Meet Me in St. Louis* a fabulous song was cut: "Boys and Girls Like You and Me."


    Often pure dialogue was cut, and if you listen closely it disturbs the continuity so parts of the finished film don't make sense. Example: in *A Star is Born* (1954), Esther and Norman are on their way to the premiere of her first movie, and she's extremely nervous. To calm her, Noman jokes "just think of a man in a car eating a nutburger!" Esther laughs. Makes no sense does it? The scene was cut where Esther was telling Norman the degrading things she had to do before she got a steady job as a singer. She worked at a drive-in joint where she sold every imaginable kind of burger, including nutburgers. NOW his line has meaning. Without the scene that was cut, the line just sounds stupid.


    Is it evident I'm a Judy Garland fan? Is there such a thing as an "epic musical"?


    I'll be looking forward to others' points of view on missworthy's topic.

  7. This could be in two different threads, this one or the one I started-- "Name the Johnny."


    In *They Made Me a Criminal* John Garfield's character's name is "Johnnie Bradfield."


    Normally if I wake up at 6 a.m. I go back to sleep, but when I saw *They Made Me a Criminal* I got up early for that! Garfield played the character he does best: a "mug." Claude Rains was amusing as a "mug" N.Y.C. detective saying those lines in his British accent! And I always get a kick out of May Robson! All-in-all I enjoyed it.


    Two bits of trivia from that film. The first is easy. Anyone who ever turned on a TV knows this."The Dead End Kids," later known as "The Bowery Boys" were there, at least most of them. That was when they really were boys, not thirty-year-old men pretending to be boys. Was it their first or second film appearance as a group? I'm not sure which. Someone let me know, please. I don't know why I ask, I never cared much for them. Just curious I guess.


    The second trivia bit: Barbara Pepper had a small roll. Anyone remember her? She always played hard boiled dames in 1930's movies and was at her prime in that decade. She had mostly small, uncredited roles in the '40s and '50s.


    Miss Pepper did a lot of TV, again small, uncredited roles. Her best and most remembered role was as "Doris Ziffle" in 1960s Green Acres TV series. She was in more than a few episodes of I Love Lucy, as an extra. I don't think she ever spoke. She and Miss Ball were friends, and Lucy liked having friends around on the set. Next time you watch an old "Lucy" see if you can spot her.


    Edited by: FilmAficionado on Mar 4, 2011 10:42 AM For typo

  8. > What?!?!?!?!? If you love CABARET, that's certainly fine and dandy, but to make statements such as the above, as if there was anything even remotely available to back it up, is just odd. There is nothing (not cast album sales, not Broadway tickets sold, not motion picture box office receipts, not television ratings, not movie rental fees, not show licenses leased) - NOTHING to support that statement.


    Hmmm... I'm confused. What did I say to upset you? Was it the fact that I compared *Cabaret* to *Show Boat* ? I compared them in popularity and longevity and in no other way. You say there is nothing even remotely available to back it up? I didn't think I had to justify my statement; I thought it was just common knowledge.


    Sir, with all due respect I CAN support my statement. But if you truly doubt it, take a few minutes and Google Show Boat. Beginning with *Show Boat's* original 1165 performances at the Ziegfeld theatre in 1927 (it was the premier performance in his newly-built theatre) it is still being revived around the world today. My three CD cast recording is from 1988, much older than *Cabaret*. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's songs are still popular 84 years later ("Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Bill," "After the Ball," many others).


    There are many, many wonderful musicals with timeless songs that began on stage and then went to the screen ( *West Side Story*, *My Fair Lady*, *Gypsy*, *Oklahoma!*, the list goes on and on...). By virtue of age alone, *Show Boat* is number one. If you don't care for that show, fine. To each his own.


    Edited by: FilmAficionado on Mar 3, 2011 7:15 PM For typo

  9. Last time I saw you you were busy with one son, four daughters, a husband and a father-in-law to take care of. But you had Marjorie Main working full time. She's a real workhorse isn't she? Leon Ames sure is worthless around the house!

  10. I use superlatives when I really like a movie or an actor. I refrain when I dislike something/someone. All I have to say to get my point across is "I didn't care for it," or "it's not the kind of film I like."


    When I read "I can't stand it! I absolutely hated every minute of it!"... Yeah, we get the idea. If you really want to emphasise your hatred you could say "It made me want to vomit! I like being nauseated so I watched every hundred-twenty-some minutes of it!"


    In my humble opinion, I love everything about *Cabaret*. First, it was based on a series of short stories by Christopher Isherwood. He lived in Berlin in the 1930's when it was the most decadent, bohemian gay city in Europe. His character Sally Bowels is based on a real person whom he knew. Do yourself a favor and read the biography "Isherwood, A Life Revealed." (ISBN 1-4000-6249-7)


    Then came the Broadway play I Am a Camera. Julie Harris played Sally Bowles and was awarded a Tony for Best Actress. John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote the musical score. The songs are considered among the best ever written for a musical comedy.


    When Liza Minnelli won the starring role for the movie version, Kander and Ebb wrote a few new songs for her. Miss Minnelli earned a Best Actress Academy Award in 1972. Thirty eight years later the songs from *Cabaret* are just as popular.


    Look at all the awards *Cabaret* won over the years in different versions. Clearly, it's no "flash in the pan!" The only musical that comes close in popularity and longevity is *Show Boat* (1927).


    Here's what *Cabaret* has won to date:


    1967 production


    Tony Award for Best Musical (winner)

    Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist (winner)

    Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Jack Gilford, nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Lotte Lenya, nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Joel Grey, winner; Edward Winter, nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Peg Murray, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Costume Design (Patricia Zipprodt, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Choreography (Ron Field, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (Hal Prince, winner)

    1987 revival


    Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Werner Klemperer, nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Alyson Reed and Regina Resnik, nominees)

    Tony Award for Best Revival (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Joel Grey, nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical (Hal Prince, nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival (nominee)

    1998 revival


    Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (winner)

    Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Alan Cumming, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Natasha Richardson, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ron Rifkin, winner)

    Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Mary Louise Wilson, nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Costume Design (nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Lighting Design (nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Choreography (nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (nominee)

    Tony Award for Best Orchestrations (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical (winner)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Alan Cumming, winner)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Natasha Richardson, winner)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Michele Pawk, nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Musical (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design (nominee)

    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)

    Theatre World Award (Alan Cumming, winner)

    Astaire Award for Best Dancer (The Kit Kat Girls & Boys: Joyce Chittick, Erin Hill, Kristin Olness, Michele Pawk, Christina Pawl, Leenya Rideout, Brian Duguay, Michael O'Donnell, Fred Rose, Bill Szobody)


    1972 Film

    Academy Award for Best Director (Bob Fosse)

    Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Liza Minnelli)

    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey)

    Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Geoffrey Unsworth)

    Academy Award for Best Editing

    Academy Award for Best Music

    Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Rolf Zehetbauer, Hans J?rgen Kiebach, Herbert Strabel)

    Academy Award for Best Sound


    BTW, I saw *Cabaret* in the theater when I was in high school in 1972.

  11. Pretty ladies in beautiful gowns you ask?


    That's a tie in my opinion (I always begin with "in my opinion," others may see it differently and their views just as valid): You can't go wrong with any movie starring Gloria Swanson or Kay Francis! Both actresses were fashion icons considered the epitome of chic. Audiences saw them as the personification of Hollywood glamor and often went to their films to see their wardrobes more so than their performances. Swanson and Francis definitely had the highest wardrobe budgets, on and off the screen, of any actresses before or since. Both were widely copied and both set fashion trends that swept the entire world.

  12. > {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

    > The moral of the story is: watch the credits! :)


    Years ago I payed little attention to screen credits. I was mainly interested in the actors. As my interest in classic movies grew, I paid more and more atention to the folks "behind the camera" and began to study them. What interesting things I've learned!


    I wondered why, in every MGM film, Cedric Gibbons is credited as Art Director. "Wow!" I thought, "Cedric must have been one busy guy!" So I began to read about him. Mr. Gibbons was so highly regarded at the studio that his contract stated he receive screen credit for every MGM film. He was credited with over 1,500 but actually worked on about 150. Cedric Gibbons was one of the founding members of the Academy and he designed the Oscar statuette.


    Adrian Greenberg didn't care for his surname and became just "Adrian." He began the trend of the one-name fashion designer. How many times have we seen "Gowns by Adrian" in screen credits? Not only did Adrian feel uncomfortable with his Jewish heritage, he was equally uncomfortable being gay. That's why he married Janet Gaynor.


    I agree with Valentine wholeheartedly: watch the credits!


    Speaking of credits: can anyone identify the music during the closing credits of *Frances?* I'd really like to know.

  13. That reminds me of Betty Grable in *How to Marry a Millionaire*. She is in a cabin in Maine and the radio is playing. "Good ol' Harry James," she sighs. When asked how she knows, she responds, "How do I know it's Harry James!? Because it IS Harry James!" Grable and James really were married and the song playing is Harry James.

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