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Whales of August Tonight


Hibi
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Actually Hibi, I of course did watch the whole movie and was kidding about how sloooooooow moving this film was. ;)

 

However, I'm glad I finally watched it IF for no other reason than to see the "swan songs" of all these great film actors.

 

(...and even though I can't honestly say I had a..ahem.."whale of a good time") 

 

 

LOL.

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Yes, Bette was her cantankerous self on the set. Gish just brushed it off knowing Bette wasnt in good health......

I've scoured the internet for any stories about the relations between Gish and Davis, but haven't really found anything other than one rumor that Bette would deliberately lower her voice so that Lillian Gish couldn't hear her and another (per imdb) that the director praised Lillian Gish for giving him a perfect close up, to which Bette retorted: "why shouldn't she? the **** invented them!"

 

anyone who has any first hand knowledge of the situation ( or even second hand knowledge )please feel free to spilll the deets.

 

I know Robert Osborne- who was a friend of Bettes- has gone on the record as saying she was not always easy to deal with when her health got bad, and I remember the documentary TCM produced onDavis also went into some degree of detail about how nasty she was to Lillian.

 

maybe she was just trying to be "method" since her character is so prickly and alienates everyone around her... or maybe she had some sort of undiagnosed mental problem. Maybe she was dealing with the onset of dementia. maybe she had a hard time getting along with other women....maybe she was jealous of Gish. maybe they couldn't get her brand of cigarettes while on location in Maine....

 

Or maybe she was just a mean old lady.

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Sorry I missed it, I'm in London for a few weeks, where TCM is different and decidedly inferior!  I knew many of Lillian Gish's friends and learned from them what a wonderful person Miss Gish was.  Her personal manager, who is still alive, told me that Bette Davis was really nasty to Miss Gish and to everyone on the set of Whales... 

 

Hmmmm...then considering how Bette played the Libby character in this, maybe Bette was more of a "method actor" than people ever thought, eh Swithin??? ;)

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     I saw this film at the theater when it was released and I waited and waited for something to happen (which didn't). At the end I thought "this is it?"  Now, watching it almost 30 years later and being almost 30 years older I can appreciate the dialog, thoughts, emotions, and the beautiful scenery.

     The only thing irritating was Bette Davis's "SAYYYYYRUHHH. After awhile it became nerve wracking. Too bad Lilian didn't tell Bette "oh shut up ****". LOL.

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When the realtor remarked about Gish's house not being winterized, it reminded me of Little Edie's laments about the horror of the thought spending yet another winter in a summer home.

I know.

I think we found yet another good companion film for a double bill with "Grey Gardens."

 

(it kind of ventures into "Baby Jane" territory for moments too.)

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I've scoured the internet for any stories about the relations between Gish and Davis, but haven't really found anything other than one rumor that Bette would deliberately lower her voice so that Lillian Gish couldn't hear her and another (per imdb) that the director praised Lillian Gish for giving him a perfect close up, to which Bette retorted: "why shouldn't she? the **** invented them!"

 

anyone who has any first hand knowledge of the situation ( or even second hand knowledge )please feel free to spilll the deets.

 

I know Robert Osborne- who was a friend of Bettes- has gone on the record as saying she was not always easy to deal with when her health got bad, and I remember the documentary TCM produced onDavis also went into some degree of detail about how nasty she was to Lillian.

 

maybe she was just trying to be "method" since her character is so prickly and alienates everyone around her... or maybe she had some sort of undiagnosed mental problem. Maybe she was dealing with the onset of dementia. maybe she had a hard time getting along with other women....maybe she was jealous of Gish. maybe they couldn't get her brand of cigarettes while on location in Maine....

 

Or maybe she was just a mean old lady.

 

 

Yes, there was a definite rivalry there (at least on Bette's part). She didnt get along with the director either. After the film came out she praised Gish publicly, so maybe it was just her work "method" LOL.

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     I saw this film at the theater when it was released and I waited and waited for something to happen (which didn't). At the end I thought "this is it?"  Now, watching it almost 30 years later and being almost 30 years older I can appreciate the dialog, thoughts, emotions, and the beautiful scenery.

     The only thing irritating was Bette Davis's "SAYYYYYRUHHH. After awhile it became nerve wracking. Too bad Lilian didn't tell Bette "oh shut up ****". LOL.

 

 

LOL. I too was a bit disappointed when it came out. As it seemed such a slight story when I was hoping for so much more. But the acting of the principals made it more than it was. And it turned out to be the last film or almost last for most of them.......l think one reason the film is a bit slow, it takes a bit of time for the actors to move around!

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Yes, there was a definite rivalry there (at least on Bette's part). She didnt get along with the director either. After the film came out she praised Gish publicly, so maybe it was just her work "method" LOL.

as the film was playing last night, I imdb'd lindsay anderson (the director) and discovered he directed "this sporting life" (1963)

 

I came thisclose to turning off the tv upon learning that ("this sporting life" is quite possibly the most punishing, brutal, unrelentingly masochistic film I have ever sat through.)

 

was pleased to see he had a much lighter touch with "Whales" which he brought it in at a sensible 90 minutes. ...and I especially enjoyed the interspersing of shots at the end as Davis and Gish walk out to the cliff, it cuts to the clock ticking on the mantle, the roses on the table, apicture of Gish's husband...)

 

even though the location is static and its stage roots are apparent, "Whales" was still very filmic in the end (a big debt is owed to the cinematographer for that.)

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and just in case anyone was curious, the five nominees for best achievement in cinematography at the 1987 Academy Awards were:

 

Broadcast News

Empire of the Sun

Hope and Glory

The Last Emperor (winner)

Matewan

 

I have never heard of "Matewan", but haskell wexler was the cinematographer.)

 

Its a shame they couldn't find a slot for "The whales of August" but some of these I've never seen so I can't really say whether they were more or less deserving.

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as the film was playing last night, I imdb'd lindsay anderson (the director) and discovered he directed "this sporting life" (1963)

 

I came thisclose to turning off the tv upon learning that ("this sporting life" is quite possibly the most punishing, brutal, unrelentingly masochistic film I have ever sat through.)

 

was pleased to see he had a much lighter touch with "Whales" which he brought it in at a sensible 90 minutes. ...and I especially enjoyed the interspersing of shots at the end as Davis and Gish walk out to the cliff, it cuts to the clock ticking on the mantle, the roses on the table, apicture of Gish's husband...)

 

even though the location is static and its stage roots are apparent, "Whales" was still very filmic in the end (a big debt is owed to the cinematographer for that.)

 

 

Yes, I thought the technical aspects were well done. I'd read it was a tough location due to the weather and the age of all the principals.........

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and just in case anyone was curious, the five nominees for best achievement in cinematography at the 1987 Academy Awards were:

 

Broadcast News

Empire of the Sun

Hope and Glory

The Last Emperor (winner)

Matewan

 

I have never heard of "Matewan", but haskell wexler was the cinematographer.)

 

Its a shame they couldn't find a slot for "The whales of August" but some of these I've never seen so I can't really say whether they were more or less deserving.

 

 

Well, Whales was a small independent film, I doubt they had the money to mount much of a campaign for it. They were lucky to get one for Ann..........

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It was around 11 last night when I suddenly realized I'd forgotten about this movie being scheduled. I'd had every intention of recording it for my collection, but yesterday was a busy day and it slipped my mind. I'm quite disappointed about it.

 

I remember an afternoon back around 1988 when I was watching this wonderful movie on pay-tv. My daughter was in the room playing with her toys - she was around 3 1/2 at the time. Every now and then I'd glance at her - and there'd she be taking a break from playing, watching this movie of all old people talking. I especially remember when Vincent Price was doing his most important monologue, I looked at her and she was absolutely transfixed by him and what he was saying.

 

She was a very literary child. Still is.

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as the film was playing last night, I imdb'd lindsay anderson (the director) and discovered he directed "this sporting life" (1963)

 

I came thisclose to turning off the tv upon learning that ("this sporting life" is quite possibly the most punishing, brutal, unrelentingly masochistic film I have ever sat through.)

 

was pleased to see he had a much lighter touch with "Whales" which he brought it in at a sensible 90 minutes. ...and I especially enjoyed the interspersing of shots at the end as Davis and Gish walk out to the cliff, it cuts to the clock ticking on the mantle, the roses on the table, apicture of Gish's husband...)

 

even though the location is static and its stage roots are apparent, "Whales" was still very filmic in the end (a big debt is owed to the cinematographer for that.)

If is another punishing Lindsay Anderson film. He was also a brilliant and prolific theatre director. Btw, I had some professional dealings with Sir John Gielgud. He told me that he and Lindsay Anderson (a great friend of Sir John's) discussed the possibility of Gielgud playing the role that ultimately went to Vincent Price. Gielgud was of course a great friend of Lillian Gish's, predating even their 1936 New York Hamlet (Miss Gish was Sir John's Ophelia in a production in which Judith Anderson played Gertrude).

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I was ready to go to bed last night, when my husband started watching this movie. I was interested because I do enjoy Ann Sothern and wanted to see how she looked in her later years. I started watching and couldn't tear myself away. I said to my husband - " I love her", meaning Lillian Gish. I never watched her movies, not into silent. Maybe it was her sweet, sweet old age, positive attitude; but I loved this movie.

 

I loved her house, her things, her "busy, busy" work, the setting was gorgeous. She was busy with her simple life, nature, painting, crafting and taking wonderful care of her "bitchin" sister, so well played (or was that just normal?) for Betty Davis. 

 

I would want to visit her and I did with this wonderful movie.

 

And by the way, Ann looked lovely. Thanks TCM for featuring Ann Sothern, a very talented beauty and a kind, true professional.

 

 

 

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I was ready to go to bed last night, when my husband started watching this movie. I was interested because I do enjoy Ann Sothern and wanted to see how she looked in her later years. I started watching and couldn't tear myself away. I said to my husband - " I love her", meaning Lillian Gish. I never watched her movies, not into silent. Maybe it was her sweet, sweet old age, positive attitude; but I loved this movie.

 

I loved her house, her things, her "busy, busy" work, the setting was gorgeous. She was busy with her simple life, nature, painting, crafting and taking wonderful care of her "bitchin" sister, so well played (or was that just normal?) for Betty Davis. 

 

I would want to visit her and I did with this wonderful movie.

 

And by the way, Ann looked lovely. Thanks TCM for featuring Ann Sothern, a very talented beauty and a kind, true professional.

What, no reference to Vincent Price's lovely performance in the film from someone who calls herself House of Wax?

 

Nevertheless, I'm glad you enjoyed the film and welcome to the boards.

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Don't forget O, Lucky Man.

In a somewhat different vein and perhaps not as well known, Lindsay also directed the emotional family drama "In Celebration".   It is one of Alan Bates finest performances.   

 

Last night was my first viewing of "The Whales of August".  It was a film I had wanted to see for many years but never got around to.  It's one of those films where nothing really happens and yet you are left with so much.  Gish was such a delight simply going about her day, busy with one little task after another.  Price gave such a poignant performance.   I actually found it difficult to watch Davis knowing how ill she was and yet, there's that spark, that tough broad shines through.  AND Sothern, well she's always good.  The first time I ever saw her was during the 1980's on nick at night ( they were showing her old tv series ).   I was only a teenager but I loved her tv show.  To me she was a tv star.   When TCM came around it was so eye opening to discover she was equally as good in movies.   I'm glad I finally got to see the "The Whales of August".  It is one of those movies you can revisit from time to time, a poignant swansong. 

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I was ready to go to bed last night, when my husband started watching this movie. I was interested because I do enjoy Ann Sothern and wanted to see how she looked in her later years. I started watching and couldn't tear myself away. I said to my husband - " I love her", meaning Lillian Gish. I never watched her movies, not into silent. Maybe it was her sweet, sweet old age, positive attitude; but I loved this movie.

 

I loved her house, her things, her "busy, busy" work, the setting was gorgeous. She was busy with her simple life, nature, painting, crafting and taking wonderful care of her "bitchin" sister, so well played (or was that just normal?) for Betty Davis. 

 

I would want to visit her and I did with this wonderful movie.

 

And by the way, Ann looked lovely. Thanks TCM for featuring Ann Sothern, a very talented beauty and a kind, true professional.

 

 

AMEN!

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In a somewhat different vein and perhaps not as well known, Lindsay also directed the emotional family drama "In Celebration".   It is one of Alan Bates finest performances.   

 

Last night was my first viewing of "The Whales of August".  It was a film I had wanted to see for many years but never got around to.  It's one of those films where nothing really happens and yet you are left with so much.  Gish was such a delight simply going about her day, busy with one little task after another.  Price gave such a poignant performance.   I actually found it difficult to watch Davis knowing how ill she was and yet, there's that spark, that tough broad shines through.  AND Sothern, well she's always good.  The first time I ever saw her was during the 1980's on nick at night ( they were showing her old tv series ).   I was only a teenager but I loved her tv show.  To me she was a tv star.   When TCM came around it was so eye opening to discover she was equally as good in movies.   I'm glad I finally got to see the "The Whales of August".  It is one of those movies you can revisit from time to time, a poignant swansong. 

 

 

I wish someone would run her old tv series. I vaguely remember it (cant remember which one) I remember Olive her sidekick. (LOL).  Yes, not much happens, yet there there is so much there. Perfectly stated.

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If is another punishing Lindsay Anderson film. He was also a brilliant and prolific theatre director. Btw, I had some professional dealings with Sir John Gielgud. He told me that he and Lindsay Anderson (a great friend of Sir John's) discussed the possibility of Gielgud playing the role that ultimately went to Vincent Price. Gielgud was of course a great friend of Lillian Gish's, predating even their 1936 New York Hamlet (Miss Gish was Sir John's Ophelia in a production in which Judith Anderson played Gertrude).

I'm glad they didnt go with Gielgud.

 

don't get me wrong: he was a wonderful actor, but there came a point after his Oscar win that I think John Gielgud became THE go-to elderly British actor who had to have at least a five minute role in every prestige film made. There came to be a point where you would watch a trailer for some long, important- looking movie and they always ended the list of credits with "... and Sir John Gielgud."

 

and often the roles he was playing were not terribly demanding or interesting or usually just required him to recite dialogue with his wonderful melodious voice...ie he would end up playing "Sir John Gielgud"- he often seems to play the same sort of part same sort of way.

 

watching Vincent Price in " the whales of August "; it's nice to see another actor out there getting to take a chance at bat and I'm not sure Gielgud would have captured the character's Russian accent as well as Price does, and I'm not sure that he would have been able to convey the softness if the character that Price does without seeming (get mad at me if you want to) a little gay.

 

(it's also nice that they thought highly enough of Price's genuine abilities to put him in a film with Gish and Davis.)

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If is another punishing Lindsay Anderson film. He was also a brilliant and prolific theatre director. Btw, I had some professional dealings with Sir John Gielgud. He told me that he and Lindsay Anderson (a great friend of Sir John's) discussed the possibility of Gielgud playing the role that ultimately went to Vincent Price. Gielgud was of course a great friend of Lillian Gish's, predating even their 1936 New York Hamlet (Miss Gish was Sir John's Ophelia in a production in which Judith Anderson played Gertrude).

Swithin, since you were an acquaintance of Sir John's, I thought I'd share this with you. This is a page from an autograph album I found in a Toronto antique store many years ago. There were about 40 show biz signatures in this little book, among them this one:

 

45578301-4bd3-44c3-b586-3a06163ca8ed_zps

 

By the way, on the back of the same page as Gielgud's signature, I found that of Lillian Gish. She, of course, was his Ophelia on tour with him in 1936. I'm quite certain that Toronto's Royal Alex Theatre was one of their stops. This little autograph album, at least, seems to be evidence of it.

 

The other signature on the opposite page here, by the way, is that of character actor Arthur Byron, probably best remembered today by most film buffs as one of the archeologists in Karloff's The Mummy.

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Swithin, since you were an acquaintance of Sir John's, I thought I'd share this with you. This is a page from an autograph album I found in a Toronto antique store many years ago. There were about 40 show biz signatures in this little book, among them this one:

 

45578301-4bd3-44c3-b586-3a06163ca8ed_zps

 

By the way, on the back of the same page as Gielgud's signature, I found that of Lillian Gish. She, of course, was his Ophelia on tour with him in 1936. I'm quite certain that Toronto's Royal Alex Theatre was one of their stops. This little autograph album, at least, seems to be evidence of it.

 

The other signature on the opposite page here, by the way, is that of character actor Arthur Byron, probably best remembered today by most film buffs as one of the archeologists in Karloff's The Mummy.

 

 

Wow. What were they asking for it???

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Wow. What were they asking for it???

$45. These signatures were in the album, plus, among others, those of Tom Mix, Walter Huston, Bebe Daniels, Eddie Cantor, Buddy Ebsen, Leon Errol, Mary Pickford, Ramon Navarro, Olsen and Johnson (who included a comic sketch on their page), Colleen Moore, Olga Baclanova (of Freaks), Cliff Edwards (the future voice of Jiminey Cricket), and Rudy Vallee, among others.

 

I've been considering trying to sell this album lately, but not quite certain of the best way to go about it in order to make the most profit. Anyway, it's fun to breeze through the little album every now and then and feel that you're making some kind of contact with all these great luminaries of the stage and film past.

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