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About orson4ever

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  1. musicalnovelty: Thanks for posting this about Hans Conried's birthday. See what I get for not being a current subscriber to Now Playing! I couldn't figure out why this usual, latenight feature suddenly got moved to a prime daytime slot (and also got confused by the strange coincidence that Juke Box Rhythm was originally released in APRIL of 1959). But the fine Mr. Conried was certainly worthy of his honor! I noticed that Juke Box Rhythm - originally a Columbia film - is now owned by Sony Pictures, which also owns the rest of Sam Katzman's Columbia catalog (mostly horror films). It appeared that Sony also gave Juke Box Rhythm more of a sepia tone that I remember in past showings. Maybe this means that it'll someday get a proper DVD, although I don't know what Sony would package it with. For me, one of the most interesting things about Juke Box Rhythm is that, in spite of Sam Katzman being notoriously thrifty in this productions, he ended up with so many talented people for this particular film. Brian Donlevy, in the later years of his career by '59, brought so much dignity and dedication to his simple little role, and it's always nice when a B movie surprises you like this.
  2. TCM is finally going to show Juke Box Rhythm again on April 15, 4:45 p.m., to commemorate its 50th anniversary. It's a "B" musical, b&w, and (as in most musicals) its story is thin, but I think it's worthwhile to see for the music. The numbers feature acts from the very early days of rock 'n' roll: Earl Grant Trio, Johnny Otis Band, and the Treniers. Jack Jones also sings one of Bacharach & David's earliest compositions together, "Make Room For the Joy." I ended up buying a DVD copy of Juke Box Rhythm from The Video Beat for $29. Can you believe that it's a copy recorded from an earlier TCM telecast, with the TCM logo appearing mid-film? With the movie now on the TCM schecdule, viewers will have the chance to record it themselves. Edited to clarify the movie title, since I'm replying to a six-month-old message
  3. If I were to make that decision today, it would probably be An American In Paris, because Gershwin music and the production details of this film could always lift my spirits. But if I were to decide sometime in the future - with Juke Box Rhythm available on DVD - then I'd probably choose this title. Being able to look at the 21-year-old Jack Jones would be especially therapeutic (and the fact that he's exceptionally talented an added bonus).
  4. One other I forgot to mention: Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
  5. Gary Cooper (goofy and lovable) Ingrid Bergman (inherited by daughter Isabella) Charlie Chaplin
  6. Jane Eyre (1944) Porgy and Bess (1959) Remaining Garbo silents Definitive boxed set of Tex Avery cartoons
  7. I keep hoping that TURNER is working on a second boxed set of Lon Chaney movies. It would be nice to own "official" issues of He Who Gets Slapped, Tell it to the Marines, West of Zanzibar, Mr. Wu and others that have aired on the network. And how about adding the incomplete While the City Sleeps as a London After Midnight-type bonus?
  8. I'd agree with some of the obvious choices mentioned here, like Godfather I & II, Young Frankenstein and Rocky. Here's a few "not for everyone"-type flicks that I'd pick, due to their "different" level of intelligence, imagination, spirit, insight and aesthetics that I personally never get from the likes of Spielberg: Blade Runner Brazil The Thin Red Line The Iron Giant - to me, the closest the modern era has ever come to a Walt Disney classic. Director Brad Bird (also the director of The Incredibles) is smart, funny, boundlessly enthusiastic and young-spirited, and always respectful of that one magic rule that the greatest legends in animation practiced: you can entertain the toddlers without lowering the IQ of the entire picture to their level. Nightmare Before Christmas - As a producer, designer and writer, Tim Burton was truly inspired in this joint effort with director and stop-motion animator Henry Selick. Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow - As a director, Tim Burton found more inspiration and originality through his perfectly-suited leading man Johnny Depp (gotta continue to thank Burton for almost single-handedly making Depp's film career possible). Once Upon a Time in America - Sergio Leone's moody last hurrah, aided by a classic Ennio Morricone score, which plays an even bigger role in advancing the story than the dialogue does. A very rewarding film for those who can handle the Italians' style of slower pacing and longer exploration of characters. Cinema Paradiso (director's cut) - in the Italian tradition again, taking its time exploring every character, and touching on every human emotion from a to z. Plus, another unforgettable Ennio Morricone score.
  9. It's funny - so many Oscar threads, with enthusiasm for trivia and bets on winners, but almost no interest in the actual awards and show. Guess this is a clear representation of viewer apathy, but I can understand where the backlash is coming from. One tires of Hollywood's internal politics, the snubbing of many actors for reasons unrelated to talent, the rewarding of other actors for reasons unrelated to talent, and studios releasing truckloads of "downers" during the Christmas season (when most people are already feeling "low") for their own selfish Oscar manipulation. There's resentment, too, towards the media for selling many of these films as instant classics, when, in fact, most of these titles would have been regarded as just "above average" a decade ago. Most of these same titles would also have gotten much lower ratings if they'd been released in spring or summer, before the Oscar hype machine kicks in. It's no wonder more and more moviegoers are tuning out the Oscars, when so many of them (including just about every person I know, in fact) have become angry at watching such super-hyped films and asking afterwards, "That's all there is?" or "What were those critics smoking?" You figure, by this time, that the studios and Academy would start to analyze their own actions, especially when their heavy-handedness is inspiring the public to go see the likes of Meet the Fockers and Hitch. And now, the Academy is desperate for their show to attract younger viewers. Yes, of course, it'll be worth my losing hours of precious sleep just to hear Beyonce sing as many as three different songs during the telecast. Yep, nothing like that Oscar "tradition" . . Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
  10. One other performance that comes to mind is Peter Sellers in Being There. I thought of this, due to the fact that the Academy is seeing fit to award a mimic (Jamie Foxx) Best Actor this year, and Sellers was certainly among the best mimics in film history. But Sellers took mimicry far deeper, inhabiting his characters so deeply and so amusingly, he'd make you forget just how truly bizarre most of them were. As Chance the gardener, Sellers had to be a convincing man-child who's oblivious to almost everything except gardening and TV, yet whose face conveys intelligence, strength and profundity to the impressionable outside world. As always, Sellers was way ahead of his time, with the Academy waiting many years to award far shallower versions of a simpleton (Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump) and mimicry (Foxx in Ray). Just personal opinions, of course. As for the frequent mentions of Bette Davis, how do you single out just one performance, for a body of work so huge, so impressive, and so varied? I would probably say the same about Barbara Stanwyk. Too difficult to narrow it down to one (or anywhere close to that).
  11. I especially enjoy Harold Lloyd in Girl Shy and Charlie Chaplin in The Circus, One A.M. and The Adventurer. Although, when I think about this further, I probably admire animation director Tex Avery most for the funniest, best-timed, best-conceived physical gags I've ever experienced (although that's obviously not an acceptable, qualified answer to this question).
  12. I still can't find a single reason for feeling that Ben Mankiewicz deserves this spot, or that plenty of other people aren't available who can do a better job. After all, Herman Mankiewicz was Ben's grandfather. He was the one with the renowned intelligence, wit and famous quotes (whether drunk or sober). Ben never even knew his grandfather. And unfortunately, the fact remains that most young people today have no idea who Herman Mankiewicz was. I'm honestly very open to the idea of a younger host, but please offer us better, more suitable qualifications that just a familiar Golden Age name.
  13. The definition of "greatest" is so subjective (not to mention perplexing). Personally, while I love all the big, unforgettable performances by the greatest legends in film, it's often the lesser-known stars that stand out best for me. I guess this is because the classic stars had roles tailored for their own personalities, which I'd already become so comfortable with, while the lesser-known actors could sometimes overwhelm me with a surprising rawness and "newness." Someone here has already mentioned Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa, which is indeed a true gem of a performance. If I really wanted to sit down and remind myself of how moving acting can be, I'd probably watch Maria Falconetti in Passion of Joan of Arc, James Murray in The Crowd, Lon Chaney in He Who Gets Slapped and Conrad Veidt in a Chaney-like turn in The Man Who Laughs. When speaking of star performances, I feel that anything Chaney or Garbo did in the silent era reached an emotional depth rarely matched since then. I admire Jimmy Stewart tremendously for It's a Wonderful Life, in taking a story and character that seemed so silly on paper, and turning George Bailey into a man so believable and so beloved. Director Frank Capra was quite demanding of actors with his extreme close-ups, and he expected Stewart to tell the whole story through his face (which, to me, is the true measure of the acting elite). In the modern era, if I wished to view the fine art of film acting, I'd probably choose Russell Crowe in The Insider and A Beautiful Mind, Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day, and at least several of Meryl Streep's performances. And Johnny Depp, IMO, doesn't receive enough recognition for the unique personality traits he brings to each and every one of his roles. Depp doesn't need the pretentious Oscar to validate his immense creativity.
  14. I'd want to be part of Orson Welles' annual lunch out with Joseph Cotten. Just the sound of their two voices alone would be an amazing experience. Of course, this would've meant being a largely-silent, captive audience for Orson's many hours of stories, made all the more fascinating by his mammoth IQ and inimitable storytelling ability. Naturally, there'd be no guarantee that all the stories you'd hear would be true, but that becomes a very minor point when listening to Orson. I'd have loved to have spent a day around Lon Chaney Sr. It's such a shame that he was such a private man, as he had so much to say. If he'd have been willing to talk, I'd have asked him a lot about his childhood with deaf parents, and about how this form of communication developed his incredible acting talent. Also from the classic era, I'd enjoy a long dinner out with the great Bette Davis, even if it meant my being the designated driver. I could never tire of listening to Bette talking about how the Hollywood system worked and about her passion for acting. In modern times, I'd enjoy staying on the crazy set of a Terry Gilliam production. I always relate so easily to Gilliam's childlike enthusiasm and creativity, and, of course, he'd have hours of stories to tell about failed productions that would rival Orson's. A day at Russell Crowe's family ranch in Australia would be fun too. I wouldn't worry about Crowe's bad boy reputation, since he's reportedly quite cordial when reporter's mikes aren't around. Crowe possesses the same intelligence and intense passion for acting that I long admired in Bette Davis, and I know that he'd be good for many hours of colorful stories about his craft, his homeland, his family and attitudes about Hollywood and the media in general.
  15. At the start of every year, the USPS sends out a preview of the year's upcoming stamps to all on the Philatelic catalog mailing list. The Greta Garbo stamp looks to be a vintage publicity shot, and Garbo sure posed for a great many of those in her day. The photograph is an extreme close-up of Garbo's face - very appropriate, considering the emotional power that Garbo's face conveyed. Garbo's hair is swept over one eye, with the other eye looking up intently and mysteriously. The stamp issue will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Garbo's birth. The USPS Web site does not yet have an image posted under their Release Schedule link, but I'm sure they'll be correcting that shortly.
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