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About Eddie_Muller

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  1. Okay, seems like a good time to pop in and offer some clarification to the Noir Alley loyalists. YES—Eddie does have a life outside noir and I've even been known to engage in extended conversations that have nothing to do with movies! I don't think anybody is "stuck there forever." Hey, Noir Alley is only on once a week! I've introduced numerous non-noir films over the years at the TCM Classic Film Festival—Rebel Without a Cause, The Best Years of Our Lives, Brian's Song, The Heiress, The Party, etc. ... but TCM hired me to program and host a franchise dedicated to film noir—which, not coincidentally, I typically describe as "the gateway drug to classic cinema." A vitally important point when we're trying to hard to entice young people to take interest in older films. If my enthusiasm seems hyperbolic ("My favorite film," "my favorite American," etc ... remember: unlike Ben or Tiffany, I actually get to chose the films I present. Obviously, I'm going to select movies I genuinely admire and am passionate about, or that I think are deserving of more attention—and have good backstories that provide entertaining grist for intros and outros. FYI, I'm responsible for every word that comes out my mouth on TCM, including the Wine Club spots! Thanks for watching!
  2. I said that POSSESSED would be presented on NOIR ALLEY "later in the year." It will air 10/1/17.
  3. Yes, I regret not having time to talk about John Dall, but he's a deep story and I didn't want to get started and not follow through. Hope I have another chance. Considering his appearance today in ROPE, it's interesting to note that both he and Farley Granger (they are both gay, I trust you all know) had really hoped that Hitchcock would cast James Mason as their mentor, since they both laughed that they could easily be attracted to him. Farley told me that Jimmy Stewart actually had no sense of the story's gay subtext. "It's like we were acting in different movies," he told me. John Dall had a lot of personal issues that kept him off screen for much of the 1950s and he died under somewhat suspicious circumstances in his home in 1971 at only 52 years of age.
  4. North American rights to GUN CRAZY are owned by Warner Bros.
  5. Actually, the issue was that once Zanuck saw the dailies he suddenly realized that Peggy was too young to play such a sexually provocative character. Zanuck feared a backlash against the studio, even though he'd made such a big deal of "discovering" Peggy for the role. John Stahl, the director, was angry about the change and Zanuck got rid of him as well. Peggy never shot a scene with Otto Preminger. She was crushed by all this—GUN CRAZY has proven to be a nice consolation. Who remembers FOREVER AMBER?
  6. Hey, GordonCole (whoever you are—not David Lynch's FBI agent from Twin Peaks, I figure) you can slag on me all you want for whatever reasons, but your comment about the actresses who choose to participate in my festivals betrays an egregious lack of understanding and compassion. Feel free to ask anyone who has ever been a guest at one of my events. To assert that I'm using them somehow for my personal "gain" is absurd and insulting, to them and to me. If you don't like me, fine. Making up specious rationales for it, and blathering such ill-informed BS, makes you look small and ignorant. You are, however, the first one to see the connection in my writing to the poetry of Suzanne Somers. Imagine that—34 years a professional writer, 10 published books, a NYT bestseller, a Best First Novel Award from the Private Eye Writers of America and three Edgar Award nominations from the MWA, and you're the FIRST to isolate the Somers influence. Not even Scribner's Susanne Kirk, one of the most esteemed editors of crime fiction ever, caught it. Everyone claimed I was a cross between Hammett and Joyce De Witt. But YOU! You nailed it. Congrats.
  7. Just stopping in for a quick pop and to bestow my thanks and appreciation on all those at TCM who conjured this "Summer of Darkness" caper and allowed me to take the wheel for nine Friday night spins. The reaction from viewers has been terrific, and I thank all of you who took to time to send a personal note. My sincere thanks to Charlie Tabesh (who's always been my stake horse at TCM), as well as Jennifer Dorian, Shannon Clute, Scott McGee, Sean Cameron, Millie De Chirico, Pola Changnon, Rachelle Savoia, Kendell White—as well as all my friends and associates at TCM (Robert, Ben, Darcy, Genevieve) who always make me feel like part of the team. These folks are the best caretakers that American cinema could ask for. And I know they are motivated by you diehard fans. Cheers! —Eddie Muller
  8. I colleague informed me that someone was talking s#$% about me on the TCM boards, so I was glad to see you were talking about some other guy named "Eddie Mueller," not me. Sorry this other guy makes you nervous...
  9. It's best to not look too closely for linkages between the films I present each Friday. Yes, I inaugurated the series with films set in San Francisco (with a conscious nod to Ann Sheridan), and last week all the movies were photographed by John Alton—but the King Bros. "tribute" comprised only two films, and the Alton night included a double bill of Ricardo Montalban. I really just picked 36 movies I wanted to show and then figured out the best way to schedule them for the optimum flow of intros and outros. Tonight's films all have a direct connection to World War II, but after this week the connecting threads get more tenuous.
  10. I am a cynic because I believe everything that can go wrong will go wrong. But I'm not a pessimist because I'm looking forward to collecting all that money from betting that everything would go wrong. See? A simple distinction. Thank you, Richard, and everyone else for all the kind comments about the "Low Company, High Style" article. I'm looking forward to my "appearance" in the class.
  11. I used to have problems with the "tacked on" coda to NIGHTMARE ALLEY, believing that it cheapened a perfectly bleak out-line: "Mister, I was made for it." Fox felt the ending was too abrupt and that audiences would actively rebel against the picture's darkness if sent off into the night right there. A glimmer of hope was needed ... but over time I've come to see the ending as perfectly noir, if not as immediately devastating. After all, Stan and Molly will now recreate the exact fate that befell Zena and Pete. She knows the code and she'll find a young cohort to be in her act while rum-dun Stan helps out in the pit and searches out a fresh bottle. Not exactly an uplifting ending...
  12. My choice for Marlowe: William Holden. I can see him smoking a pipe and working out chess problems, like the Marlowe in Chandler's novels. He has the requisite virility and certainly could handle a few drinks. And when it comes to the voiceover narration ... see SUNSET BLVD, probably the best voiceover narration of all-time.
  13. Thanks to everyone in this forum for their kind words and enthusiasm re my hosting of the Friday Night Spotlight. A couple of final notes: 1) As I noted in my intro, don't watch (or read) Woolrich for logic. I tend to think of EVERYTHING he produced as the work of a fevered, paramoid brain. He wasn't a crime writer, or anything resembling a realist. To me, he wrote nightmares—and they make about as much sense as our nightmares. DEADLINE AT DAWN is more like Scorsese's AFTER HOURS or a Lynch film than a normal RKO noir. 2) I didn't really like Dick Powell at first, either. Now I think he's one of the most underrated talents or that era, not merely as an actor but as a producer. Be sure to catch PITFALL when TCM screens it in September. That's his film: he produced it, hired de Toth to direct and rework the script, hired Bill Bowwrs to rewrite the final script. Great film. 3) I'm soon going into production on my first feature film, "The Frank Herzog Story." I'll play both the leads (as John Lithgow and Christopher Walken) and will also direct (as David Lynch). 4) Big thanks to everyone at TCM, especially Charlie Tabesh and Darcy Hettrich, for letting me have so much fun. Who knows, maybe we'll do it again. Cheers, Eddie M
  14. Unfortunately I didn't see They Won't Believe Me in its entirety last night, so I'll need a little help piecing together what may have been missing. One thing for certain, there are two entire scenes deleted immediately following the accidental meeting of Janice (Jane Greer) and Verna (Susan Hayward) at the nightclub. In this version, it dissolves to a shot of Larry (Robert Young) coming home with a voiceover: "A few night later, coming home late from work, I noticed a light still on..." Greta (Rita Johnson) then reveals that she knows about the reappearance of Janice, and her suspicions that he's seeing Verna as well. MISSING: After the nightclub scene... Verna gets very flirty with Larry in his office, he surprises her by saying "What makes you think you have a claim on me?" Verna had thought she was prying Larry loose from Greta, but now realizes that he only intends to keep her on a string. He breaks off a date they have that night, saying that he has to escort Greta to a concert. CUT TO: Concert Hall. Piano recital. Larry is with Greta but notices Verna sitting nearby with his boss, Trenton (Tom Powers). She taunts Larry by acting lovey-dovey with Trenton, which gets under Larry's skin. Greta notices. At intermission, Greta seeks out Trenton to ostensibly talk business, but to really size up Verna. While Trenton and Greta talk Larry slyly trails Verna to the Ladies' Room. He confronts her, clearly riled that she's playing up a possible engagement to Trenton. She reminds him about his comment that she had no "claim" on him and tells him it goes both ways. Her ploy works: Larry pulls her behind the drapes and kisses her passionately. Fade out. Next scene begins with Larry coming into the house" "A few nights later, coming home late..." In all, the two deleted scenes amount to a little more than 4 minutes. QUESTION: Was the scene with the oily Funeral Director in the film last night? He confronts Larry as he's sneaking out of the hospital after the car accident and wants money to handle the "remains." The scene is about 80 seconds. I'm not sure this is in every print. Otherwise, last night's film was the same as my 90 minute version, except that several scenes fade out more quickly, throughout. It was Latimer's style as a writer to give actors "out" lines to finish off a scene, and in the 80 minute version, quick fade-outs eliminate many of these little bits of business. It's impossible, however, that these deletions could add up to five minutes of screen time. So ... the version TCM has definitely has 2-3 scenes missing, but there's still a mystery due to the stated running times. Also, I have to say, for the record, that the print shown last night was not the best. As they say in the biz, it was not "timed" very well, with the exposures of certain shots ot matching within the same scene. The reprinting of this film for reissue was obviously a quick and dirty job, and did not serve the film well. Final thoughts: Robert Young had some of the best ties ever in this film, and Rita Johnson may be the skinniest woman I've ever seen onscreen. FYI: the print I showed in Croatia last week was intact—except for the CU of Greta's face when Larry finds her dead by the waterfall. Censors in Yugoslavia cut that image out. Weird. Edited by: Eddie_Muller on Jun 22, 2013 2:16 PM
  15. After I'd chosen They Won't Believe Me as one of the Spotlight films I was surprised to learn that the version in the TCM library is only 80 minutes long. We tried to locate the 90 minute version to get it digitally transferred in time for the screening, but to no avail. I know that Warner Bros. has the original negative but hasn't yet, for various reasons, preserved it on film or digitially mastered it for DVD release. I just showed it last week in Zagreb, Croatia—a 35mm print from the Belgrade Kinoteka that is exactly the same as the version I have on DVD (we won't discuss where that came from!) I'll be curious to see what (if aything) is missing from the version shown Friday night. I think a lot of the supposition about an even longer version comes from the film being listed in Silver & Ward's Encyclopedia of Film Noir as being 95 minutes. It's all very confusing. I've shown the film theatrically several times, a print from the UCLA Film & Television Archive, which is listed as being 80 minutes as well—but I couldn't see anything different from the version I have. We'll see ... The film was reissued on a double bill several years after its initial release, so that'd be when the cuts were made, to bring it in at "B" feature length. Maybe they snipped the concert scene, one of the few scenes that doesn't actually advance the plot. But that's only a couple of minutes, tops. Hey—what's noir without a mystery? Love this film for the three terrific women, all well-developed characters, not stereotypes. And it's great seeing Robert Young playing a cad, although he's certainly no villain. I'm sure people will weigh in on the very strange ending, which I think I discuss in the outro. Anyway ... enjoy it, whatever length it is. Edited by: Eddie_Muller on Jun 20, 2013 8:29 PM
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