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When Sam plays it again

 

 

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Five reasons to watch a film again:

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Number one: timeliness. Holidays play into this. If you think about it, how often does anyone watch IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE outside December? But when Christmas rolls around, everyone queues up the old favorite.

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Number two: the passing away of a celebrity. When Lauren Bacall died not long ago, there was a resurgence of interest in all those classic films she made with Bogart.

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Number three: cultural or historical significance. Some films are rediscovered if a critic or fan group brings newfound attention to them. Special anniversaries don’t hurt either.

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Number four: crowd-pleasing fun. Films like THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE SOUND OF MUSIC and GREASE tend to be ones that people remember as being highly enjoyable and they gravitate towards re-watching them. For some reason, I think it may apply more to musicals– not sure why.

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Number five: recent restorations. Classic films may find a new lease on life if they are suddenly made commercially available for the first time in ages. Nothing is more exciting than being able to finally own a movie that for years was hard for a consumer to find.

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Stars on The Love Boat

 

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I wanted to do a column about The Love Boat for Valentine’s Day. I just wasn’t sure how. At first I had considered writing about some of the most famous people who made guest appearances on the show, but too many stood out. Then, I remembered years ago reading TV Guide magazine and seeing an ad featuring Lana Turner as the 1,000th guest star. I figured she would be a good focal point for the column, and I was absolutely right.

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Lana’s film career pretty much tapered off after the late 1960s, but she would occasionally turn up on television. She had a regular role on Harold Robbins’ short-lived The Survivors and a recurring role on Jane Wyman’s Falcon Crest. And in 1985, Lana agreed to her one and only role on The Love Boat, which occurred at the end of the long-running series’ eighth season. It was the penultimate season for the program, and it would be Lana’s penultimate role (she would act once more in an independent short film during the early 90s).

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Costarring with Lana was Stewart Granger as her character’s love interest. It would be his only time on the show, too; he was semi-retired and sporadically acted in American and European productions.

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It dawned on me I had never seen any film which paired Turner and Granger. When I checked the stars’ respective credits on the IMDb, it turned out The Love Boat was their only collaboration. I did manage to find a picture of them from 1950. They are standing with Ray Milland who would have been Lana’s leading man in A LIFE OF HER OWN. Stewart Granger had just emigrated to the U.S. to film the remake of KING SOLOMON’S MINES for MGM. He would remain at the Hollywood studio the entire decade. Lana’s contract with MGM ended in 1956, and she moved on to freelancing duties, mostly at Universal.

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It seemed interesting that nobody ever paired these two box office names at the height of their motion picture careers. Especially during those six years they were both under contract to MGM. Often, Stewart Granger was cast with Deborah Kerr or his wife Jean Simmons, since he had already made films with each one back in their native Britain. Meanwhile, Lana’s most frequent costar was Clark Gable. If Stewart Granger had been at the studio two years earlier, he may have been cast in MGM’s remake of THE THREE MUSKETEERS (where Lana had the lead female role), because he was most suited to swashbucklers. So maybe it was a case of bad timing or not finding the right project for them. Until The Love Boat.

 

What’s most wonderful about this particular episode is the way Turner and Granger work so effortlessly together. Even in advanced age, Lana’s signature softness comes through, which contrasts nicely with Stewart Granger’s charming yet brash nature. The story involves an older woman who lies about having many grandchildren, when the truth is she has none at all. In real life, Lana did not have grandchildren, so the story must have appealed to her on some level. Granger’s character happens to be chaperoning the pop group Menudo (remember them, with a very young Ricky Martin?), and the boys end up making Lana their honorary grandmother.

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Also appearing in the same episode, in a different story, is Anne Baxter. (At the time Baxter was under contract to Aaron Spelling for another show, Hotel.) If you have watched The Love Boat, you will know three or four romantic storylines run simultaneously, and the only thing they have in common is they all take place on the same ocean vessel. The show’s main cast weave through the stories to provide continuity, but the guest stars in one segment seldom crossover into the segments with the other guest stars.

 

But in this particular installment, there is a scene where Lana’s character briefly turns up in Anne Baxter’s story to offer support when Baxter’s son goes missing. And later, Baxter turns up as a guest at the wedding between Turner and Granger’s characters.

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Lana Turner and Anne Baxter had previously acted together at MGM in the film HOMECOMING, which also featured Baxter’s then-husband John Hodiak. Hodiak was an MGM contractee who did two films with Lana Turner. It would seem Turner and Baxter remained friends during the subsequent decades, and they may have asked the show’s writers if they could briefly appear in each other’s stories so they could work together one more time. This, of course, is guess-work on my part, but if you watch the episode, you will see that the women seem to have a special bond.

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That show used to tickle my MOM, who once called it, because of the propensity of all them old "has beens" appearing on it,

 

"That FLOATING NURSING HOME show!" :lol:

 

I THINK I only saw about ten or so minutes of ONE EPISODE,....that was all I could take!

 

Sepiatone

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Classic western villains

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When we think of bad guys in westerns, we tend to think of very dangerous men who kill as often as they take a sip of whiskey. And for some reason, although they usually chew up the scenery, when the movie ends we still want more of these villains. So follow-up westerns are made, like RKO'S RETURN OF THE BAD MEN, which increases the percentage of law breakers on the frontier exponentially.

 

In fact RETURN OF THE BAD MEN brings together what is perhaps the greatest assortment of outlaws ever. The likes of them include the Younger brothers, the Dalton brothers, and Billy the Kid as well as bandit Wild Bill Doolin. Some make-believe baddies are even added to the mix, though there is never any doubt that federal marshal Randolph Scott won't whip them into shape and restore law and order by the end of the day.

 

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The criminal elements in these films are highly fictionalized, of course. And with formula-driven villains, we tend to get cliches more than real flesh-and-blood human beings with serious social defects. The more dastardly and flashy they are, the better (or so it seems). And don't you just love the black hats they wear to tell us there is nothing innocent or pure about them.

 

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One actor who specializes in wearing the black hat is Dan Duryea. Duryea achieved great success in several genres, chief among them film noir and the western. One of his earliest western bad guy roles at home studio Universal was as the title character in BLACK BART. 

 

He plays an outlaw who arrives in California during the Gold Rush days and is soon stealing gold shipments from Wells Fargo. One robbery reunites him with a former partner in crime, who will compete with Black Bart for the affections of a dancer (Yvonne de Carlo). Of course, it becomes a matter of whether or not the gold is more important, or the girl.

 

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Another actor who was great at donning black hats is Jack Palance. Palance, like Duryea, played nefarious men in film noir as well as westerns. In fact, Palance became so identified with these types of shady characters that he wound up receiving an Oscar years later spoofing his on-screen persona in the light-hearted western romp CITY SLICKERS. But probably his most well-known role is that of evil gunslinger Jack Wilson in SHANE.

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And before we wrap up this discussion, we could not fail to mention Henry Fonda, cast against type as a cold-blooded killer in Sergio Leone's memorable spaghetti western ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Fonda plays an assassin gang leader who slaughters a woman's new husband and family. At one point, he murders a young child. Fonda usually played good-guy roles, and it was shocking for audiences to see him with that black hat on, committing all those grisly, violent acts.

 

 

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Classic western villains

screen-shot-2015-02-11-at-10-04-09-am.pn

 

When we think of bad guys in westerns, we tend to think of very dangerous men who kill as often as they take a sip of whiskey. And for some reason, although they usually chew up the scenery, when the movie ends we still want more of these villains. So follow-up westerns are made, like RKO'S RETURN OF THE BAD MEN, which increases the percentage of law breakers on the frontier exponentially.

 

In fact RETURN OF THE BAD MEN brings together what is perhaps the greatest assortment of outlaws ever. The likes of them include the Younger brothers, the Dalton brothers, and Billy the Kid as well as bandit Wild Bill Doolin. Some make-believe baddies are even added to the mix, though there is never any doubt that federal marshal Randolph Scott won't whip them into shape and restore law and order by the end of the day.

 

892501896c05ad271881aa7537de98d6.jpg

The criminal elements in these films are highly fictionalized, of course. And with formula-driven villains, we tend to get cliches more than real flesh-and-blood human beings with serious social defects. The more dastardly and flashy they are, the better (or so it seems). And don't you just love the black hats they wear to tell us there is nothing innocent or pure about them.

 

images-12.jpg

One actor who specializes in wearing the black hat is Dan Duryea. Duryea achieved great success in several genres, chief among them film noir and the western. One of his earliest western bad guy roles at home studio Universal was as the title character in BLACK BART. 

 

He plays an outlaw who arrives in California during the Gold Rush days and is soon stealing gold shipments from Wells Fargo. One robbery reunites him with a former partner in crime, who will compete with Black Bart for the affections of a dancer (Yvonne de Carlo). Of course, it becomes a matter of whether or not the gold is more important, or the girl.

 

jack-palance.jpeg

Another actor who was great at donning black hats is Jack Palance. Palance, like Duryea, played nefarious men in film noir as well as westerns. In fact, Palance became so identified with these types of shady characters that he wound up receiving an Oscar years later spoofing his on-screen persona in the light-hearted western romp CITY SLICKERS. But probably his most well-known role is that of evil gunslinger Jack Wilson in SHANE.

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And before we wrap up this discussion, we could not fail to mention Henry Fonda, cast against type as a cold-blooded killer in Sergio Leone's memorable spaghetti western ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Fonda plays an assassin gang leader who slaughters a woman's new husband and family. At one point, he murders a young child. Fonda usually played good-guy roles, and it was shocking for audiences to see him with that black hat on, committing all those grisly, violent acts.

 

 

 

Fonda in Once Upon a Time is probably one of the most memorable villains. Sometimes casting against type doesn't work, but in this case is works very well indeed.

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Written by Rosalind Russell

 

Rosalind Russell's given name was Catherine Rosalind Russell. So it may very well be that the name Catherine provided the letter 'C' in a pseudonym the actress used when she worked as a writer. Her pen name was C.A. McKnight.

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Using this nome de plume, she wrote a story for a motion picture she intended to star in at Universal in the 1940s. It was called 'The Unguarded Hour,' and depicted the struggles of a sexually frustrated teacher who becomes the target of an obsessed student. Because Russell was busy with other projects at Columbia and RKO, the film did not get made in the forties. And by the time the script was revised and was ready to go before the cameras in the mid-50s, Russell was deemed too old. Plus, she had recently played a sexually frustrated teacher in Columbia's hit adaptation of PICNIC.

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So former MGM contract player Esther Williams, who was now freelancing, signed on to play the part. In a way, Williams does resemble a younger Roz Russell. The obsessive student was played by John Saxon and the role of the cop who helps the troubled teacher was assigned to Universal star George Nader. 

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Fifteen years later Russell crafted another story for the big screen. This time she decided to adapt Dorothy Gilman's story about an elderly woman who gets recruited by the CIA during the cold war. In 1971, United Artists released MRS. POLLIFAX -- SPY, and it would be Russell's last major motion picture, though a year later she would make her one and only TV movie.

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Roz Russell died in November 1976, but she continued writing during the last years of her life. And her autobiography, cowritten with Chris Chase, was published in the fall of 1977.

 

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Roz Russell died in November 1976, but she continued writing during the last years of her life. And her autobiography, cowritten with Chris Chase, was published in the fall of 1977.

 

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 Didn't Rosalind Russell say some "unkind" things about Hayley Mills in her autobiography Life Is A Banquet?

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Music in movies


I am not a musical expert. Once, as a student in a college course, I learned an appreciation of classical music composers. For my final paper, I had a choice to write about Hungarian composer Franz Liszt or Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky. I chose Tchaikovsky, specifically a critique of his Sixth Symphony, the Pathetique. It was an appropriately named composition, since my appreciation of music was quite pathetic at the time. Since those days, I’ve developed a greater appreciation of music as well as a greater appreciation of film. Or so I like to think!


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And when the occasion arises, I am able to combine the two. I like to look at how music makes film better, especially when the plot involves musicians or dancers. Consider David Selznick’s remake of INTERMEZZO, where Leslie Howard is a skilled violinist who falls in love with his daughter’s piano teacher. Or THE GLENN MILLER STORY where Miller (played by James Stewart) is struggling and his goal in those early scenes is for the public to hear his new sound.


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Later movies tend to use music a bit differently. Take, for instance, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER or DIRTY DANCING, where the main characters are involved in dance contests. In both cases, the music we hear in the background and on top of the action is just as important as what we are seeing.


 


But it doesn’t have to be as obvious or commercial as this. In some films, the soundtrack is quite sparse. Yet it comes in at just the right time, to emphasize a key dramatic moment. It may be so smoothly blended into the film that we do not even notice how effective it is.


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Two films I am recommending related to today’s topic have music as a central element in the telling of the story. Check out CARNEGIE HALL (1947) a low-budget art film directed by Edgar Ulmer; and SONG WITHOUT END (1960), a big-budget extravaganza in Technicolor, starring Dirk Bogarde as Hungarian composer Franz Liszt– the guy I didn’t write about in college.


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Since you mention Carnegie Hall, there is an appearance by conductor Leopold Stokowski, whose likeness was carried over in the cartoons.  Specifically in this Bugs Bunny cartoon, but also countless times in other cartoons.

 

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I particularly like Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music (composer for score of The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938).  He had an original style that many others imitated, and I find interesting to listen to.  Many say it just sounds like Golden Era film music.  He mentioned that his favorite movie score was the one he wrote for Between Two Worlds (1944), which had an original theme in it that Paul Henreid's character played on piano.  Here is a rare recording of the orchestra scoring that film.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a modern-day performance of his theme from The Constant Nymph (1943).

 

 

 

 

For more modern performances of his music, see the related videos on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ERICH+WOLFGANG+KORNGOLD

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Thanks MovieCollector for mentioning those. I almost used an image of Stokowski for the column. He was married to Gloria Vanderbilt and appeared earlier in a Deanna Durbin film-- 100 MEN AND A GIRL.

 

Regarding Erich Korngold, he's probably my favorite composer of film scores with Henry Mancini second. I may do a column all about Korngold later, because I think his story is an interesting one.

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Music in movies

I am not a musical expert. Once, as a student in a college course, I learned an appreciation of classical music composers. For my final paper, I had a choice to write about Hungarian composer Franz Liszt or Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky. I chose Tchaikovsky, specifically a critique of his Sixth Symphony, the Pathetique. It was an appropriately named composition, since my appreciation of music was quite pathetic at the time. Since those days, I’ve developed a greater appreciation of music as well as a greater appreciation of film. Or so I like to think!

 

And when the occasion arises, I am able to combine the two. I like to look at how music makes film better, especially when the plot involves musicians or dancers. Consider David Selznick’s remake of INTERMEZZO, where Leslie Howard is a skilled violinist who falls in love with his daughter’s piano teacher. Or THE GLENN MILLER STORY where Miller (played by James Stewart) is struggling and his goal in those early scenes is for the public to hear his new sound.

 

Later movies tend to use music a bit differently. Take, for instance, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER or DIRTY DANCING, where the main characters are involved in dance contests. In both cases, the music we hear in the background and on top of the action is just as important as what we are seeing.

 

But it doesn’t have to be as obvious or commercial as this. In some films, the soundtrack is quite sparse. Yet it comes in at just the right time, to emphasize a key dramatic moment. It may be so smoothly blended into the film that we do not even notice how effective it is.

 

Two films I am recommending related to today’s topic have music as a central element in the telling of the story. Check out CARNEGIE HALL (1947) a low-budget art film directed by Edgar Ulmer; and SONG WITHOUT END (1960), a big-budget extravaganza in Technicolor, starring Dirk Bogarde as Hungarian composer Franz Liszt– the guy I didn’t write about in college.

 

 
 

 

I was thinking about starting the worst song ever sung  in a film thread but since you are on the topic of music (for the next 36 hours) here is one that is an earful,  "Stand By Your Man" OUCH!

 

 

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I'm a big fan of Intermezzo and feel it is a very good picture.    I like that it isn't corny as it relates to a husband cheating on his wife.    Unlike many other movies on the topic the husband isn't portrayed as a total cad,  or as someone where the affair doesn't really matter.    There is a good balance to how everything is handled especially the ending. 

 

Related to the music I feel the music really is part of the story.    Having a musical connection with someone can establish a special type of connection and one that non artist may not understand.  Again, that doesn't justify the actions of the husband (by either me or the makers of the movie),  but it does move the story beyond the standard bored husband looking to bed a younger women type of picture.

 

 

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Thanks MovieCollector for mentioning those. I almost used an image of Stokowski for the column. He was married to Gloria Vanderbilt and appeared earlier in a Deanna Durbin film-- 100 MEN AND A GIRL.

 

Regarding Erich Korngold, he's probably my favorite composer of film scores with Henry Mancini second. I may do a column all about Korngold later, because I think his story is an interesting one.

 

Thanks for the kind words, TopBilled.  There are several other film composers I like too, but Korngold was in a class of his own.  The part that Paul Henreid's character plays at a piano, accompanied by orchestra, sounds like Rachmaninoff could have written it.  Unfortunately there is no separate soundtrack for that.  I like Mancini too.

 

P.S. Also in recent memory is the music of Herbert Stothart and Franz Waxman, in "Edison The Man" which recently played.  There is a cute little theme that plays at the start of the film, as soon as the long flashback of Edison as a younger man begins (which is most of the movie).   It then plays whenever Tracy as Edison gets inspired or they are working hard and looking determined (as with the electric light).  I grew up with this movie as a kid, so it all brings back good memories.

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I was thinking about starting the worst song ever sung  in a film thread but since you are on the topic of music (for the next 36 hours) here is one that is an earful,  "Stand By Your Man" OUCH!

 

Sounds like fun!

 

Probably the strangest use of a song off the top of my head is in "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), listed as a crime/drama/film-noir, and starring Betty Grable and Victor Mature.  The play an instrumental version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow (same song as in The Wizard Of Oz) over and over again.  They use it sort of as a love theme.  Between that and Victor Mature's facial mannerisms, this is high camp for me.  I saw him in After The Fox (1966) (costarring with Peter Sellers) before I saw this, so now I almost expect him to be funny - even if the character isn't.

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Shakespeare by Laurence Olivier

 

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AS YOU LIKE IT (1936)…This was Olivier’s first on-screen appearance in a Shakespearean work. Few of the Bard’s plays had been adapted to sound film at this point. Playing opposite Elisabeth Bergner, Olivier is cast as the love-struck Orlando in this comedy which has plenty of mix-ups before the obligatory happy ending.

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HENRY V (1944)…It would be eight years before Olivier would appear in another Shakespearean-based movie. This time he directs and stars in an adaptation of the playwright’s history play that chronicles the exploits of a young King Henry V. Robert Newton costars as Pistol, and Leslie Banks is on hand as the chorus.

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HAMLET (1948)…Olivier gives a standout performance as the melancholy prince who struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects of having murdered his father. Again, Olivier pulls double duty as star and director. Shakespeare’s tale of tragedy in the court of medieval Denmark is bolstered by Eileen Herlie’s performance as the queen mother, and a young Jean Simmons who plays Ophelia.

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RICHARD III (1955)…Seven years later, Olivier appears on screen as Shakespeare’s wicked deformed King Richard. The story details Richard’s conquests on the battlefield, which are occasionally interrupted by various romantic interludes. This time Olivier’s leading lady is played by Claire Bloom, who would work with him again in CLASH OF THE TITANS.

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OTHELLO (1965)...A decade later, we have Olivier as the title character in Shakespeare’s tragedy about a general who comes to believe his new wife has been cheating on him. As the drama unfolds, his marriage and his grip on sanity are both thoroughly destroyed. Maggie Smith plays Desdemona, the supposedly unfaithful bride.

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KING LEAR (1983)…Olivier was 75 when he appeared in a television movie about the aging king who hands his throne over to two corrupt daughters (one of them played by Diana Rigg). This was the actor’s last on-screen appearance in a Shakespearean-based work. Playing Lear was one of Olivier’s last great performances, and it should not be missed.

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Othello--Sorry I have never been able to get past Olivier in blackface on this one...what in the world made him think it would be a good choice?? It's really too bad, because its probably a very good performance and I'd like to see Maggie Smith as Desdemona.

 

 

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Sounds like fun!

 

Probably the strangest use of a song off the top of my head is in "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), listed as a crime/drama/film-noir, and starring Betty Grable and Victor Mature.  The play an instrumental version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow (same song as in The Wizard Of Oz) over and over again.  They use it sort of as a love theme.  Between that and Victor Mature's facial mannerisms, this is high camp for me.  I saw him in After The Fox (1966) (costarring with Peter Sellers) before I saw this, so now I almost expect him to be funny - even if the character isn't.

 

The first time I saw IWUP I was surprised by the use of Over the Rainbow as background music.    As the movie is an early noir film (noir mainly due to the obsessive nature of the police detective),   to this seasoned noir fan the music really stood out.

 

But maybe audiences at the time wouldn't have felt the music was so out of place.     

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AS YOU LIKE IT (1936)…This was Olivier’s first on-screen appearance in a Shakespearean work. Few of the Bard’s plays had been adapted to sound film at this point. Playing opposite Elisabeth Bergner, Olivier is cast as the love-struck Orlando in this comedy which has plenty of mix-ups before the obligatory happy ending.

 

 

I wish there was a filmic record of Vanessa Redgrave's performance as Rosalind in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of As You Like It  from the 1960s. (Olivier was not a part of this production.)

In college I listened to an audio recording (I'd often listen to CDs from the library when reading a Shakespearean play) and was captivated by Vanessa Redgrave in that part.

 

The performance was re-created for British television in 1963 but I don't think any recording exists.   

 

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Vanessa%20Redgrave%20-%20As%20You%20Like

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I'm a big fan of Intermezzo and feel it is a very good picture.    I like that it isn't corny as it relates to a husband cheating on his wife.    Unlike many other movies on the topic the husband isn't portrayed as a total cad,  or as someone where the affair doesn't really matter.    There is a good balance to how everything is handled especially the ending. 

 

Related to the music I feel the music really is part of the story.    Having a musical connection with someone can establish a special type of connection and one that non artist may not understand.  Again, that doesn't justify the actions of the husband (by either me or the makers of the movie),  but it does move the story beyond the standard bored husband looking to bed a younger women type of picture.

Another really good film about.a music composer is 1945's HANGOVER SQUARE. Here it is Laird Cregar (in his last role), a renowned composer in gaslit London. He happens to be deranged, or something, and he has murderous blackouts triggered by loud dissonant noises. He is sidetracked from working on his sonata to work up pop ditties for songstress/temptress Linda Darnell, who plays him as she climbs the ladder of success. Of course she later becomes one of his victims.

 

This atmospheric thriller features an excellent score by Bernard Hermann.

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The first time I saw IWUP I was surprised by the use of Over the Rainbow as background music.    As the movie is an early noir film (noir mainly due to the obsessive nature of the police detective),   to this seasoned noir fan the music really stood out.

 

But maybe audiences at the time wouldn't have felt the music was so out of place.

 

Cut from the released print of I WAKE UP SCREAMING is a song number, done by Betty Grable, called "Hot Spot". This is featured as an extra on the dvd of the film. Grable sings it while working at the music section of a department store, to demostrate sheet music a customer enquired about. This was the working title of IWUS, but it was changed, I believe, so as to not connote a musical to Grsble's growing legions of fans. Probably why the number was scrapped also, so that it didn't stray too far away from the suspense. Or maybe Zanuck cut it to make room for the footage, filmed.and tacked on later, of Victor and Betty showing off their bodies at the public pool.

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You're changing topics too fast.  About the Songs in Movies there was something that lead me on a wild goose chase.  I was trying to find out what was the very nice song in the Anastasia Dating commercial..  Well it only last 15 SECONDS!.   :( Ever had that happened to anyone?

 

http://m.tvadsongs.com/player.php?song=AnastasiaDate_-_Nothing_Comes_Close

 

I'm not alone who got tricked

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=68459466&f=27&o=0

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