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Stealing from the French

 

Look at some of the great motion pictures that have come our way, based on a story already filmed by the French:

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-21-39-pm.png

Jean Renoir’s LA CHIENNE about a prostitute who causes the ruin of a painter first hit screens in 1931. It was remade in 1945 in America by Fritz Lang as SCARLET STREET. In both films, the painter falls for the charms of a femme fatale against his better judgment and lives to regret it.

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-20-27-pm.png

And speaking of Jean Renoir, another film he made in France in the 1930s, BOUDU SAUVE DES EAUX, was the basis for a U.S. hit. It was the later updating of the same story entitled DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS.

images-1.jpg?w=660

In both pictures, a homeless man is saved from drowning and goes to live with the rich.

imgres.jpg?w=660

Perhaps one of the best examples of stealing from the French is Sam Wood’s HEARTBEAT starring Ginger Rogers.

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-14-24-pm.png

It is virtually a scene-for-scene do-over of BATTEMENT DE COEUR. In the original, a young Danielle Darrieux brings the Cinderella-type story to life under the direction of her then-husband Henri Decoin.

220px-battement_de_coeur_1940.jpg?w=660

Some of the best ideas come from the French, oui? I think so. And so does Hollywood.

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Stealing from the French

 

Look at some of the great motion pictures that have come our way, based on a story already filmed by the French:

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-21-39-pm.png

Jean Renoir’s LA CHIENNE about a prostitute who causes the ruin of a painter first hit screens in 1931. It was remade in 1945 in America by Fritz Lang as SCARLET STREET. In both films, the painter falls for the charms of a femme fatale against his better judgment and lives to regret it.

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-20-27-pm.png

And speaking of Jean Renoir, another film he made in France in the 1930s, BOUDU SAUVE DES EAUX, was the basis for a U.S. hit. It was the later updating of the same story entitled DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS.

images-1.jpg?w=660

In both pictures, a homeless man is saved from drowning and goes to live with the rich.

imgres.jpg?w=660

Perhaps one of the best examples of stealing from the French is Sam Wood’s HEARTBEAT starring Ginger Rogers.

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-14-24-pm.png

It is virtually a scene-for-scene do-over of BATTEMENT DE COEUR. In the original, a young Danielle Darrieux brings the Cinderella-type story to life under the direction of her then-husband Henri Decoin.

220px-battement_de_coeur_1940.jpg?w=660

Some of the best ideas come from the French, oui? I think so. And so does Hollywood.

 

 

Yes,  the French have some very good ideas.     In that last poster the French actress reminds me of Greer Garson. 

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Yes,  the French have some very good ideas.     In that last poster the French actress reminds me of Greer Garson. 

Yes. She does. Danielle Darrieux is still living-- she's 97. Her last film was in 2007. So she's had a very long, successful screen career. I think my favorite film of hers is FIVE FINGERS, which she made for Fox in the 50s with James Mason.

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Roles intended for others

A lot of actresses probably felt the role of Scarlett O’Hara was intended for them. Of course, we know producer David Selznick eventually hired British gal Vivien Leigh for the part. But he had a few other casting ideas in mind that did not come to pass.

screen-shot-2015-02-02-at-12-31-32-am.pn

Apparently, Selznick wanted to put Warner Brothers contract player Jeffrey Lynn in the role of Ashley Wilkes in GONE WITH THE WIND. Upon careful reconsideration, the idea was abandoned, because Lynn was not yet a bankable lead in the late 30s– in fact, he never did achieve the sort of star status Leslie Howard had. Though maybe Lynn’s Hollywood fortunes would’ve been different if he had been given the chance to play Ashley.

imgres-1.jpg?w=660

Back at Lynn’s home studio, queen of the lot Bette Davis had been embroiled in a nasty feud with studio boss Jack Warner. Davis absolutely refused to do GOD’S COUNTRY AND THE WOMAN, believing the material was inferior to her talent. The part was given instead to Beverly Roberts, who primarily did modestly-budgeted programmers.

images1.jpg?w=660

A few years later, after she had patched things up with the front office, Davis was enjoying a long succession of prestigious hit films at the studio. But in the mid-40s, when it came time to cast the title role of MILDRED PIERCE, she declined the opportunity to bring James Cain’s character to life. The role finally went to Joan Crawford, who earned a best actress Oscar. Producer Jerry Wald had also offered the part to Barbara Stanwyck, but Stella Dallas did not want to play Mama Pierce either. No worries. Crawford wanted the part badly and she proved that it should have been hers right from the start.

screen-shot-2015-02-02-at-12-35-15-am.pn

One role that Bette did take, surprisingly, was a comedy lead in the farce THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. Maybe she wanted to prove she was versatile enough to handle light material, or maybe she liked the challenge of working with Jimmy Cagney again. But the script was initially purchased for Ann Sheridan.

imgres-2.jpg?w=660

Such situations occurred at other studios, too. Fox originally had two other actors in mind for their full-scale version of CLEOPATRA. The male lead was initially to have been played by contractee Stephen Boyd. However, Boyd backed out of the production and wound up doing THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (epic in its own right). And before Elizabeth Taylor took over as the title character, it was supposed to have been portrayed by Joan Collins. Boyd and Collins would have made a much different team than Taylor and Burton did.

imgres-3.jpg?w=660

THE LIEUTENANT WORE SKIRTS was originally put together for Marilyn Monroe. But she balked at the script, so Fox put her on suspension and replaced her with its new ingenue, Sheree North. It was an important opportunity for Sheree, who went on to make a series of hits with Fox. Marilyn’s career, of course, did not suffer. However, I think it would’ve been great seeing Marilyn reunite with Tom Ewell after scoring such a success in Billy Wilder’s SEVEN YEAR ITCH.

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Roles intended for others

A lot of actresses probably felt the role of Scarlett O’Hara was intended for them. Of course, we know producer David Selznick eventually hired British gal Vivien Leigh for the part. But he had a few other casting ideas in mind that did not come to pass.

screen-shot-2015-02-02-at-12-31-32-am.pn

Apparently, Selznick wanted to put Warner Brothers contract player Jeffrey Lynn in the role of Ashley Wilkes in GONE WITH THE WIND. Upon careful reconsideration, the idea was abandoned, because Lynn was not yet a bankable lead in the late 30s– in fact, he never did achieve the sort of star status Leslie Howard had. Though maybe Lynn’s Hollywood fortunes would’ve been different if he had been given the chance to play Ashley.

imgres-1.jpg?w=660

Back at Lynn’s home studio, queen of the lot Bette Davis had been embroiled in a nasty feud with studio boss Jack Warner. Davis absolutely refused to do GOD’S COUNTRY AND THE WOMAN, believing the material was inferior to her talent. The part was given instead to Beverly Roberts, who primarily did modestly-budgeted programmers.

images1.jpg?w=660

A few years later, after she had patched things up with the front office, Davis was enjoying a long succession of prestigious hit films at the studio. But in the mid-40s, when it came time to cast the title role of MILDRED PIERCE, she declined the opportunity to bring James Cain’s character to life. The role finally went to Joan Crawford, who earned a best actress Oscar. Producer Jerry Wald had also offered the part to Barbara Stanwyck, but Stella Dallas did not want to play Mama Pierce either. No worries. Crawford wanted the part badly and she proved that it should have been hers right from the start.

screen-shot-2015-02-02-at-12-35-15-am.pn

One role that Bette did take, surprisingly, was a comedy lead in the farce THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. Maybe she wanted to prove she was versatile enough to handle light material, or maybe she liked the challenge of working with Jimmy Cagney again. But the script was initially purchased for Ann Sheridan.

imgres-2.jpg?w=660

Such situations occurred at other studios, too. Fox originally had two other actors in mind for their full-scale version of CLEOPATRA. The male lead was initially to have been played by contractee Stephen Boyd. However, Boyd backed out of the production and wound up doing THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (epic in its own right). And before Elizabeth Taylor took over as the title character, it was supposed to have been portrayed by Joan Collins. Boyd and Collins would have made a much different team than Taylor and Burton did.

imgres-3.jpg?w=660

THE LIEUTENANT WORE SKIRTS was originally put together for Marilyn Monroe. But she balked at the script, so Fox put her on suspension and replaced her with its new ingenue, Sheree North. It was an important opportunity for Sheree, who went on to make a seriEs of hits with Fox. Marilyn’s career, of course, did not suffer. However, I think it would’ve been great seeing Marilyn reunite with Tom Ewell after scoring such a success in Billy Wilder’s SEVEN YEAR ITCH.

 

Actually, Stephen Boyd did start.filming CLEOPATRA, as Marc Anthony, along with Peter Finch's Julius Caesar, in the fall of 1960. But the damp English weather had Elizabeth Taylor out sick for much of the time. With the sacking of Rouben Mammoulian as director, to be replaced by Joe Mankiewicz, who needed a new script, filming was suspended in early 1961. When it resumed in the fall in Rome, Boyd and Finch were replaced due to prior commitments, by Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, repectively. That casting change would have many consequences.

 

Also, there.conflicting versions as to who the original Cleopatra was.supposed to be. It has been reported that Susan Hayward was first approached (she still had commitments to Fox), but that she suggested contractee Joan Collins. Later, as the scope and budget increasingly escalated from a run of the mill swords.and sandals film to an epic, it was decided a bigger name was needed; those bandied about included Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren, along with Liz Taylor. But according to Walter Wanger, who was hired as producer for the film, he always wanted Taylor, but the initial budget couldn't accommodate a top star.

 

Sheree North replaced.MM in HOW TO BE VERY, VERY POPULAR, not THE LIEUTENANT WORE SKIRTS. HTBVVP was one of several scripts Marilyn turned down beginning in early 1954, as she flexed.her new clout, and turned down roles she felt kept her in the demeaning dumb blonde.stereotype. Among them were the THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING (filmed with Joan Collins), and THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER (Fox borrowed Jane Russell). The first script she rejected was for (THE GIRL IN) PINK TIGHTS, for which the studio hired and tested Sheree North, but ultimately shelved it. Ironically, North's costar in HTBVVP, Betty Grable, had earlier been offered THE LIEUTENANT WORE SKIRTS, a couple of years earlier, but was finishing her contract at Fox and turned it down.

 

After.MM finished filming THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH in late 1954, she fled to New York for a year, and didn't return until a much better contract and the promise of a film she wanted to do, BUS STOP.

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Yes,  the French have some very good ideas.     In that last poster the French actress reminds me of Greer Garson.

 

YEs she does, in that.poster. Normally, Danielle Darrieux does not resemble Garson; in her hollow cheeked glamorous, she seems a better match to someone like Dietrich.

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Stealing from the French

 

 

Look at some of the great motion pictures that have come our way, based on a story already filmed by the French:

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-21-39-pm.png

Jean Renoir’s LA CHIENNE about a prostitute who causes the ruin of a painter first hit screens in 1931. It was remade in 1945 in America by Fritz Lang as SCARLET STREET. In both films, the painter falls for the charms of a femme fatale against his better judgment and lives to regret it.

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-20-27-pm.png

And speaking of Jean Renoir, another film he made in France in the 1930s, BOUDU SAUVE DES EAUX, was the basis for a U.S. hit. It was the later updating of the same story entitled DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS.

images-1.jpg?w=660

In both pictures, a homeless man is saved from drowning and goes to live with the rich.

imgres.jpg?w=660

Perhaps one of the best examples of stealing from the French is Sam Wood’s HEARTBEAT starring Ginger Rogers.

screen-shot-2015-02-01-at-4-14-24-pm.png

It is virtually a scene-for-scene do-over of BATTEMENT DE COEUR. In the original, a young Danielle Darrieux brings the Cinderella-type story to life under the direction of her then-husband Henri Decoin.

220px-battement_de_coeur_1940.jpg?w=660

Some of the best ideas come from the French, oui? I think so. And so does Hollywood.

 

Another good example is Clouzot's LE CORBEAU (1943), remade by Preminger for Fox. It's initial title was a direct.translation, "The Raven", then was to be "The Scarlet Pen". It was released as THE THIRTEENTH LETTER (1951), with the location moved from small town France to small town Quebec. This noirish story of poison pen letters plaguing a town starred Linda Darnell as a cripple, Michael Rennie as a doctor, Charles Boyer as an elderly doctor, and Constance Smith as his young wife. Shot entirely on location, it is atmospheric.and gripping, but apparently suffers in comparison with the original, which I have not seen.

 

 

A more recent example would be LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, from the mid 1970s, which two decades later, became THE BIRDCAGE, by way of Broadway.

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Sinatra wanted off CAROUSEL

 

screen-shot-2015-02-04-at-7-59-09-pm.png

Frank Sinatra nearly starred in a motion picture with Shirley Jones. The key word here is ‘nearly.’ In the mid-1950s, the legendary crooner had been signed to do a full-scale film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL at 20th Century Fox. With great eagerness, he reported to the set for work. However, he did not stay long.

screen-shot-2015-02-04-at-8-00-35-pm.png

Just two years earlier, studio chief Darryl Zanuck had begun filming more spectacular efforts in the CinemaScope process. But when it came time to adapt the popular stage hit based on Molnar’s ‘Lilliom,’ which had been filmed twice before by Fox, he wanted to use newer technologies. So Zanuck and his technicians developed what was coined the CinemaScope55 process. Presumably, 55 referred to the year these improvements occurred, 1955.

imgres-4.jpg?w=660

CinemaScope55 had distinct advantages. It brought even greater clarity to the photographed film image, and it was this sort of detail that Zanuck wanted to show viewers. He believed these enhanced features would give audiences a reason to step away from their television sets and buy movie tickets, but he also wanted to better display the intricate dance numbers that would be contained in CAROUSEL and in subsequent Fox musicals. Critics would eventually remark that CinemaScope55 was even better than watching the actual musical numbers on Broadway, because with the technology, even the slightest footwork and body movement could be seen clearly.

imgres.png?w=660

However, implementing the new process was not an easy task. Zanuck and his director for this film, Henry King, were afraid that they may not get as much resolution as they were hoping for, so a back-up measure was undertaken. Separate cameras using different lenses and different film stock were brought on to the set of CAROUSEL. Because it was impossible to have both set-ups used by the camera operators at the same time, it meant the sequences had to be filmed twice, once in CinemaScope55 and then again, in the regular CinemaScope.

 

As Shirley Jones and other costars would later reflect, this only improved performance, especially in the dance numbers. It meant they all had a chance to do it two full times to get it right and hone the performance. But…and there’s always a but…FrankSinatra did not share those views. In fact, he was annoyed at having to do everything twice, and he decided to walk off.

imgres-21.jpg?w=660

While producers scrambled to rescue the troubled production, Zanuck and the Fox lawyers brought suit against Sinatra when it became clear that Sinatrahad no intention of coming back to resume work on the project. Jones’ costar from the smash hit adaptation of OKLAHOMA!, also a Rodgers & Hammerstein vehicle, was hired as a replacement. And in fact, Gordon MacRae does a splendid job as Billy Bigelow in this picture.

images-21.jpg?w=660

As Hedda Hopper reported in her column in the Los Angeles Times, Frank Sinatra sought top legal advice. The result of the suit is unknown. Though an album of songs from CAROUSEL sung by Sinatra was released to the public, he did not return to the film’s production. The situation caused a considerable deal of controversy and earned Sinatra a reputation that he was difficult. In fairness, Sinatra maintained that his reason for walking off CAROUSEL was because he had been hired to film one movie. Instead, he felt he was being required to film two movies, using the two different camera set-ups.

images-3.jpg?w=660

An interesting footnote is that when MacRae and Jones filmed the first number, it was done twice, using both filming methods. However, when Zanuck and King saw the rushes, they realized their fears about CinemaScope55 were unfounded and that everything was going to work out just fine. They abandoned the second camera set-up and just filmed the rest of the movie once. If only Frank had been a little more patient, or if only Zanuck had done a test filming with the stand-ins, the entire hassle could have been avoided.

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Happy and unhappy endings

 

 

Not every movie has a happy ending, though with studio era films, the vast majority of them do. 

 

 

screen-shot-2015-02-04-at-7-37-32-pm.png

 

TO EACH HIS OWN…Don’t you just love it when Olivia de Havilland’s character dances with her son in that last part of the movie? Not to spoil the story, but this moment is quite significant, and it’s very poignant.

 

happending1969_ff_188x141_012620100916.j

 

THE HAPPY ENDING…This Jean Simmons film does not have a happy ending, hence the irony of its title. She asks her husband (John Forsythe) at the end if he’ll marry her all over again, and he cannot answer her. The movie just ends on that note. Apparently, Forsythe was not told that Simmons would ask him this question on camera, and it’s very real.

 

imgres.jpg?w=660

 

In a similar vein, there’s the ending of ORDINARY PEOPLE, where Mary Tyler Moore leaves her husband (Donald Sutherland) and son (Timothy Hutton). She will probably come back, but she’s been pushed to the brink and has to get away. Like THE HAPPY ENDING, this is another haunting final sequence in a film about suburban angst and troubled marriages.

 

screen-shot-2015-02-04-at-7-40-10-pm.png

 

THE MEN…What a moment when Marlon Brando’s paraplegic character pulls up outside wife Teresa Wright’s home. He comes up the sidewalk in his wheelchair and she takes him inside. It is the perfect ending, because despite all his resistance, he has realized that they belong together and can share a home and married life. It may have a sentimental feel to it, but these actors play it very realistically.  They deftly combine volatility and vulnerability; it is interesting when you realize this was Brando’s first film.

 

imgres-1.jpg?w=660

 

RUTHLESS PEOPLE…There is something deliciously wicked about Bette Midler getting the goods on husband Danny DeVito who has lied and cheated his way through the movie. She runs off with her kidnappers (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) and all his money! Obviously, this would not have happened in a film bound by the production code.

 

images1.jpg?w=660

 

For explosive endings, two films blow the competition away. Although somewhat predictable the way the criminals in their respective stories inevitably meet their demise, the filmmakers have given us truly great cinematic climaxes. What would WHITE HEAT be without James Cagney’s fiery send-off as Cody Jarrett? Or Robert Ryan and Harry Belafonte in ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW, bursting into flame on top of an oil tank…? Such characters are well beyond the hope of any tomorrow.

 

 

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Looking ahead

 

I thought I would take a slight break from regular posting today. This may give folks a chance to catch up on reading the earlier columns I’ve written. It will also give me a chance to share what’s ahead in future columns:

 

2.11         Walter Matthau stuck with a Lemmon

1grumpier.png?w=660

From the minute Matthau & Lemmon had their first scene in Billy Wilder’s THE FORTUNE COOKIE, it was pure movie magic.

 

2.12         Movie star baby pictures

An actress enjoying a moment with her infant son; a comedian saddled with sudden parenthood; a movie about a newborn dinosaur—yes, welcome to Hollywood childcare.

 

2.13         When Sam plays it again

screen-shot-2015-02-09-at-11-51-33-am.pn

Why do we re-watch certain movies, again and again…?

 

2.14         Stars on the Love Boat

Discussing an episode of the classic TV series featuring Lana Turner, Stewart Granger and Anne Baxter.

 

2.15         Classic western villains

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Black-hat baddies: Dan Duryea is outlaw BLACK BART; Jack Palance is a notorious killer in SHANE; and Henry Fonda is going down in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

 

2.16         Written by Rosalind Russell

Two screenplays and an autobiography are among the written works of a talented actress.

 

2.17         Music in movies

About some of the more effective uses of music in classic films.

 

2.18         Shakespeare by Laurence Olivier

imgres-25.jpg?w=660

Bringing the Bard’s work to the big screen, as only Sir Laurence Olivier could.

 

2.19         Mrs. Thalberg’s latest picture

Norma Shearer married MGM super-producer Irving Thalberg. It led to her being cast in some of the studio’s most prestigious motion pictures during the 1930s and early 1940s.

 

2.20         Classic films have a reason for existing

Well, don’t they…?

 

2.21         Don’t mess with Ann Sheridan

ann_sheridan_4.jpg?w=197&h=300

RKO mogul Howard Hughes once learned a valuable lesson from a teacher. Actress Ann Sheridan was the teacher.

 

2.22         Oscar night 2015

Who will take home the awards this year?

 

2.23         When roles do not improve after receiving an Oscar

What kinds of obstacles prevent performers from capitalizing on their Oscar glory? Is there really such a thing as the Oscar curse?

 

2.24         Dialogue in silent movies

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A fun look at dialogue title cards

 

2.25         Appreciating Alexis Smith

A survey of classic film starring Alexis Smith.

 

2.26         The setting is Carvel

screen-shot-2015-02-09-at-1-35-19-pm.png

Recently, I took a trip to a fictional movie suburb. I wandered around the town square and tried to find people who knew an old friend of mine. Whatever happened to Andy Hardy?, I asked– how did he live the rest of his life? I don’t know about you, but this question was nagging at me for a long time.

 

2.27         Movie stars in wheelchairs

A discussion of Lionel Barrymore, Susan Peters and Elizabeth Taylor (yes, Liz).

 

2.28         Capital punishment on screen

Susan Hayward wants to live, gosh darn it!

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OK, I'll hit on the "Matthau stuck with a Lemmon" topic a bit early.

 

I like all the pairings they've done.  Even the "Grumpy Old Men" things,

 

And, I think THE ODD COUPLE II worked because the original was(and still is) so well loved and regarded that seeing the two of them reprise those roles made everybody feel good inside!

 

Plus, I thought their "stab" at FRONT PAGE was pretty good, too!

 

 

Sepiatone

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OK, I'll hit on the "Matthau stuck with a Lemmon" topic a bit early.

 

I like all the pairings they've done.  Even the "Grumpy Old Men" things,

 

And, I think THE ODD COUPLE II worked because the original was(and still is) so well loved and regarded that seeing the two of them reprise those roles made everybody feel good inside!

 

Plus, I thought their "stab" at FRONT PAGE was pretty good, too!

 

 

Sepiatone

Matthau & Lemmon are one of the great screen teams. I haven't seen ODD COUPLE II.  Glad you liked it.

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imgres.jpg?w=660

In a similar vein, there’s the ending of ORDINARY PEOPLE, where Mary Tyler Moore leaves her husband (Donald Sutherland) and son (Timothy Hutton). She will probably come back, but she’s been pushed to the brink and has to get away. Like THE HAPPY ENDING, this is another haunting final sequence in a film about suburban angst and troubled marriages.

 

This summer I had dinner at Walker Brothers Pancake House in Wilmette IL, which was the location of the restaurant where Conrad (Timothy Hutton) and Karen (Dinah Manoff) meet in ORDINARY PEOPLE. We actually sat at the booth where Conrad and Karen sat. It wasn't planned (the hostess sat us there), but it was cool when we realized it. 

There's a framed autographed photo of Robert Redford behind the register at the restaurant.

 

PS. I'm not so certain that Mary Tyler Moore ever came back to her husband and son.

 

screenshot-ordinary-people-jan-n8mxhfal1

Pancake%2B1.JPG

Pancake%2B2.JPG

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This summer I had dinner at Walker Brothers Pancake House in Wilmette IL, which was the location of the restaurant where Conrad (Timothy Hutton) and Karen (Dinah Manoff) meet in ORDINARY PEOPLE. We actually sat at the booth where Conrad and Karen sat. It wasn't planned (the hostess sat us there), but it was cool when we realized it. 

There's a framed autographed photo of Robert Redford behind the register at the restaurant.

 

PS. I'm not so certain that Mary Tyler Moore ever came back to her husband and son.

 

A few years ago, ORDINARY PEOPLE was in regular rotation on TCM, then it just disappeared. Can't remember if it was part of the Essentials line-up or not, but I know it aired during 31 Days of Oscar. I wish they would show it again.

 

Too bad you didn't get a picture of the Redford photo with your cellphone. If you ever go back to the restaurant, you should also take a picture of the booth, then compare it with a screen shot from the film!

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Walter Matthau stuck with a Lemmon

 

The first on-screen pairing of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon occurred in Billy Wilder’s THE FORTUNE COOKIE. It was pure movie magic and the beginning of a beautiful relationship, but it almost didn’t happen. Early into filming, Matthau suffered a heart attack and required several months to recuperate. The picture’s investors wanted Wilder to replace Matthau, but lucky for us, he waited for Matthau to get well and return to work.

1fotune.png?w=660

It was a hit, and soon the boys followed it up with an adaptation of Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE, directed by Gene Saks. Matthau had already played the slovenly Oscar Madison on Broadway with Art Carney. Years later, there was a movie sequel (also written by Simon) called THE ODD COUPLE II. Oscar and Felix were living together again (and as this picture shows, sleeping together).

imgres-12.jpg?w=660

In 1974, they reteamed with Billy Wilder for a remake of THE FRONT PAGE, then in 1981 for the gangster comedy BUDDY BUDDY, which was Wilder’s last film.

imgres-41.jpg?w=660

In the 1990s, there were more big screen collaborations: GRUMPY OLD MEN and its sequel GRUMPIER OLD MEN. Plus a less successful film called OUT TO SEA.

imgres5.jpg?w=660

Lemmon once directed Matthau– in the feature KOTCH. But their fun wasn’t limited to movie sets or Tonight Show appearances with Johnny Carson.

imgres6.jpg?w=660

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Walter Matthau stuck with a Lemmon

 

The first on-screen pairing of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon occurred in Billy Wilder’s THE FORTUNE COOKIE. It was pure movie magic and the beginning of a beautiful relationship, but it almost didn’t happen. Early into filming, Matthau suffered a heart attack and required several months to recuperate. The picture’s investors wanted Wilder to replace Matthau, but lucky for us, he waited for Matthau to get well and return to work.

1fotune.png?w=660

It was a hit, and soon the boys followed it up with an adaptation of Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE, directed by Gene Saks. Matthau had already played the slovenly Oscar Madison on Broadway with Art Carney. Years later, there was a movie sequel (also written by Simon) called THE ODD COUPLE II. Oscar and Felix were living together again (and as this picture shows, sleeping together).

imgres-12.jpg?w=660

In 1974, they reteamed with Billy Wilder for a remake of THE FRONT PAGE, then in 1981 for the gangster comedy BUDDY BUDDY, which was Wilder’s last film.

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In the 1990s, there were more big screen collaborations: GRUMPY OLD MEN and its sequel GRUMPIER OLD MEN. Plus a less successful film called OUT TO SEA.

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Lemmon once directed Matthau– in the feature KOTCH. But their fun wasn’t limited to movie sets or Tonight Show appearances with Johnny Carson.

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In THE FORTUNE COOKIE, one can notice certain scenes in which Matthau is much thinner (post-heart attack) than in some other scenes.

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In THE FORTUNE COOKIE, one can notice certain scenes in which Matthau is much thinner (post-heart attack) than in some other scenes.

Yes..I believe there is a stairwell scene where he starts out heavier and in a subsequent shot he is much thinner. I guess they didn't feel the need to go back and reshoot what had been filmed before his illness. It's still a great film and the performances in it are superb.

 

As for earlier comic roles, I think Matthau was in ENSIGN PULVER, which contained comic elements.

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Movie star baby pictures

 

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Proud parents like to show baby pictures to their friends and relatives. Here are some I’ve seen:

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-10-21-am.png

1. Rock-a-bye Jerry. Comedian Jerry Lewis is raising kids for fun and profit in Paramount’s ROCK-A-BYE BABY.

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-01-34-am.png

2. Audrey Hepburn with her first son, Sean Ferrer. Beautiful.

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-00-09-am.png

3. What about this one? It’s Baby Peggy. Not to be confused with:

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-04-53-am.png

4. Baby Jane Hudson.

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-03-54-am.png

5. And here’s one more– billed as a cross between E.T. and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

 

screen-shot-2015-02-12-at-12-13-54-pm.pn

6. Of course, as far as I’m concerned, there’s one true classic baby picture everyone should see.

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Movie star baby pictures

 

imgres4.jpg?w=660

Proud parents like to show baby pictures to their friends and relatives. Here are some I’ve seen:

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-10-21-am.png

1. Rock-a-bye Jerry. Comedian Jerry Lewis is raising kids for fun and profit in Paramount’s ROCK-A-BYE BABY.

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-01-34-am.png

2. Audrey Hepburn with her first son, Sean Ferrer. Beautiful.

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-00-09-am.png

3. What about this one? It’s Baby Peggy. Not to be confused with:

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-04-53-am.png

4. Baby Jane Hudson.

screen-shot-2015-02-05-at-9-03-54-am.png

5. And here’s one more– billed as a cross between E.T. and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

 

screen-shot-2015-02-12-at-12-13-54-pm.pn

6. Of course, as far as I’m concerned, there’s one true classic baby picture everyone should see.

 

I want to see Wallace Beery's baby picture.

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