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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Mar. 15, 2017 | 9:41 AM





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Pre-TCM Film Festival activities in Los Angeles

Going to TCM Festival? There are also a ton of film related activities happening all over Los Angeles that you might want to check out before or after the festival. This list was assembled with Beth Gallagher, the fabulous film blogger who writes Spellbound By Movies. We have both attend the TCM Film Festival in the past and will be covering it this year. Follow us on social media to see continual festival updates. You can follow Spellbound By Movies on Facebook and Twitter.

FIDM Fashion Exhibit
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is having an Oscar costume exhibit and an exhibit on 1920s Exotica that features Valentino’s bolero from the 1922 film “Blood and Sand” along with a dress designed by his second wife Natacha Rambova. It is FREE and open to the public! The exhibit runs now through April 22nd.

Jean Harlow: Hollywood’s First Blonde Bombshell
This exhibit just recently opened at the Hollywood Museum in the Max Factor Building on Highland. It is just down the street from the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood. It features Harlow’s 1932 Packard, a costume from “Bombshell” and several other rare items. Admission is $15 and the exhibit will run for several months. Click on the link below for more details.

Bette Davis double feature on the big screen
The Laemmle Theatre chain has several different locations around Los Angeles. On April 4th several of the theatres will be showing the Bette Davis films MARKED WOMAN and NOW, VOYAGER. Click on this link for more details! While this double feature is playing at several locations, the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre will feature TCM guest and author Jeremy Arnold (“The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter”). He will introduce the films and sign his book in the lobby. By the way, the Ahrya Fine Arts was built in 1937 and is one of the few historic theatres left in Beverly Hills.

Fashion in Comedy from the 1930s - 1950s
TCM guest and fashion expert Kimerbly Truhler will be giving a lecture on April 4th at the Annenberg Community Beach house in Santa Monica. It is the site of the historic house formerly owned by Marion Davies. Truhler will take us through the sultry gowns and savvy designers who gave the comedies we love a serious dose of glamour. Her lecture series is one of the hottest tickets in town and this is already sold out! That said, you might want to call the Annenberg Beach House to check on the standby list.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Tour
Ok, time for a shameless plug! I will be doing a pre-TCM special cemetery tour on Wednesday, April 5th at 10am and on Saturday, April 8th at 9am. **Note the April 8th tour has been changed to 9am to accommodate TCM fans! The tour lasts 2 hours and is $15 per person. Meet me at the flower shop just inside the front gates of the cemetery. The security guard will tell you where to park. I will be adding a ton of additional stars and information to the tour for TCM fans!

The New Beverly
Director Quentin Tarantino now programs this revival theatre and often with his own personal film prints. They show a variety of movies from silent classics to grindhouse fare. The schedule for April is not up yet, bt should be soon.

The Egyptian Theatre - Noir City
TCM “Noir Alley” host Eddie Muller will be hosting “Noir City 2017” at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood from March 24th - April 2nd. Try to catch this if you live locally or can arrive in town early before the TCM Festival fun begins!

The Birth of Motion Pictures: An Illustrated History of Silent Cinema 1910-1929
This exhibit is in the town of Brea, California about one hour outside of Los Angeles. It features rare silent film posters and an actual Academy Award from the silent era! Admission is $3.

Stay tune for updates and as there are likely to be more special events cropping up.

In the meantime, LET’S MOVIE!


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Mar. 7, 2017 | 10:04 PM





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In Memory of Robert Osborne

The other day I sat at my desk crying upon hearing about the death of a popular TV host. While this may sound strange to some, this wasn’t just ANY host. This was Robert Osborne. He felt like a member of my family. For the last 23 years, his warm, reassuring presence has been the foundation of Turner Classic Movies. His vast knowledge of film and boundless enthusiasm informed an entire generation of film fans and historians.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Osborne at the 2007 San Francisco Silent Film Festival along with my friends Beth, Annie and Deborah. He was so gracious to pose for a photo.

While I didn’t get the chance to tell him that day, Mr. Osborne has been there for me during numerous dark and painful times. Watching him on TCM has often allowed me to escape the difficulties of life and forget about my problems. At the end of the day all any of us can hope for is to have made a difference with our lives. Mr. Osborne certainly did.
I am deeply grateful for everything he gave us.


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Mar. 7, 2017 | 1:16 PM





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TCM to Remember Robert Osborne with 48-Hour Tribute

TCM to Remember Robert Osborne with 48-Hour Tribute

Tribute to Feature His Most Memorable TCM Interviews and Moments

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will dedicate two entire days to honor the legacy of longtime host Robert Osborne. Airing all day on Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19, the 48-hour tribute will feature an extensive collection of the long-form interviews Osborne conducted during his 23-year tenure with the network, including:

Memorable installments of Private Screenings and Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival;
The special edition of Private Screenings in which actor Alec Baldwin interviewed Osborne on the host’s 20th anniversary at the network; Robert’s first TCM introduction for the movie Gone with the Wind.

Among the Private Screenings specials featured during TCM’s tribute to Osborne are his interviews with such legendary stars as Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minelli, Betty Hutton and Ernest Borgnine. Installments of TCM’s annual Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival featured will include Robert’s intimate interviews with screen legends such as Peter O’Toole, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, Alan Arkin and Luis Rainer, who was 101 at the time of the interview and without her hearing aids, a situation Osborne graciously worked around by writing each question out on a noteptad for her to read.

TCM’s loving tribute to Osborne will showcase the qualities expressed yesterday in a message from TCM General Manager Jennifer Dorian, who wrote, “Robert was embraced by devoted fans who saw him as a trusted expert and friend. His calming presence, gentlemanly style, encyclopedic knowledge of film history, fervent support for film preservation and highly personal interviewing style all combined to make him a truly world-class host.”

The complete schedule for TCM’s tribute to Robert Osborne is included below:
TCM Remembers Robert Osborne

Saturday, March 18th
6 a.m. – Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
7:30 a.m. – Private Screenings: Norman Jewison
9 a.m. – Robert Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute
10:15 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Alan Arkin
11:30 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer
12:15 p.m. –  Private Screeniings: Liza Minnnelli
1:30 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
3 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Eva Marie Saint
4:15 p.m. –  Robert Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute
5:30 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Peter O’Toole
6:45 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Kim Novak
8 p.m. –  Robert Osborne introduces Gone with the Wind in his first-ever on-air appearance as TCM’s host
8:05 p.m. – Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
9:30 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Debbie Reynolds
10:30 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Betty Hutton
11:45 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli
12:45 a.m. – Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
2:15 a.m. – Private Screenings: Norman Jewison
3:30 a.m. – Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine
4:45 a.m. – Robert Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute

Sunday, March 19th
6 a.m. – Private Screenings: Liza Minnnelli
7 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Eva Marie Saint
8:15 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Kim Novak
9:15 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Peter O’Toole
10:30 a.m. – Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
Noon –  Robert Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute
1 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Alan Arkin
2:15 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer
3 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine
4:15 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Norman Jewison
5:30 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
7 p.m. –  Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli
8 p.m. –  Robert Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute
9 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Eva Marie Saint
10:15 p.m. –  Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer
11 p.m. –  Robert Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute
Midnight – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Peter O’Toole
1:15 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Kim Novak
2:30 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Alan Arkin
3:45 a.m. – Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
5:15 a.m. – Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer

(All times Eastern)


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Aug. 7, 2016 | 7:45 PM





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FilmRadar feedback

I moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and was immediately blown away by how many repertory, revival and specialty films were playing all over town. I felt like a kid unleashed in a candy store and I pretty much lived in many of these theatres. In 2002 I sent out an email newsletter to a few friends (originally called FilmWise before being changed to FilmRadar) listing all of these great screenings all over town. My friends forwarded it all over the place and it quickly became a weekly endeavor. That was 713 weeks ago to be exact.

In 2004 or thereabouts, I launched FilmRadar as a website. The original idea was to have a huge calendar that listed the specialty screenings as well as articles, interviews, etc. All this time I’ve been holding down a full time job during the week, giving cemetery tours on the weekends, lecturing and working on books. Ray joined FilmRadar and his help has been invaluable. I couldn’t manage this without him. I should also note that Ray also has a full time job and numerous other projects going too.

Maintaining the calendar has been extremely tough. There are SO many events and things change pretty often. The calendar really needs to be updated. We used to do “FilmRadar Field Trips” where we meet up, see movies and eat together. Attendance on those became sporadic and we stopped doing them.

As I look to the future, I’m trying to find a way to better manage everything. I’d love to hear feedback on the e-newsletter and our Facebook and Twitter pages. Let us know what you think, what you want and what you would like to see more of in the future. Do you read the newsletter ipad, iphone or on a regular computer? What sort of events and venues do you enjoy most? How often do you see specialty movies (ie. not mainstream current Hollywood fare)? What are you favorite venues? Do you attend local film festivals? If so, which ones? We want to hear from YOU! We are open to your feedback!

Ultimately FilmRadar is a passion project and it is here to serve the cinephiles of Los Angeles!


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Apr. 1, 2016 | 12:23 PM





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NOTFILM - An Interview with director Ross Lipman



Director’s Statement by Ross Lipman
My new film, Notfilm, is a documentary about the embattled collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett and silent-era genius Buster Keaton. Beckett’s only work for projected cinema, aptly called Film, is in essence a chase film: the craziest ever committed to celluloid.

I first read Beckett’s script for Film in my late teens, long before seeing the movie. It immediately grabbed hold of me as one of cinema’s great curiosities, and hasn’t left me since. When my friend Andrew Lampert at Anthology Film Archives contacted me about preserving Film, I jumped at the chance. In New York, I met with its producer, Barney Rosset, the legendary founder of Grove Press. Rosset soon deposited Film with the UCLA Film & Television Archive where I was working, and with generous funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation and topnotch work from my colleagues at the labs, we were able to restore Beckett’s original vision in a new edition.

But Film still wouldn’t leave me alone. During my many visits with Rosset, he often lamented the loss of a key scene. The sequence comprised a legendary long-lost prologue. Upon my gentle prodding, he revealed that he did have a few rolls of film under his kitchen sink, but he was sure they were just scrap.

You can guess the rest.

The footage was from the missing prologue—which I’ve now reconstructed in strict accordance with Beckett’s original notes. And that was just the beginning. Looking at other outtakes, I found myself immersed in a dream world of what might have been and what really occurred as film stock ran through cinematographer Boris Kaufman’s camera in 1964.

Notfilm is the result of those daydreams. Over the past seven years I’ve traveled across the world interviewing Beckett’s friends and collaborators. I’ve also had the great fortune to work with composer Mihály Víg, who’s created a score for Notfilm every bit as stunning as his music for the films of Béla Tarr. Lastly and firstly, it’s been my honor and joy to work with the extraordinary Amy Heller and Dennis Doros of Milestone Films.

Notfilm asks, as Beckett did, what cinema can tell us of the human experience. It aspires, as Beckett did, to Joyce’s dictum that artworks should not be about things, but be these things themselves.

FilmRadar managed to ask Ross Lipman a few questions about the film:

How did you first decide to pursue this project?

I actually got taken with the script of Film, in the old Grove Press edition, years before I saw the movie. When the rare archival elements began almost landing in my lap, the thought of a movie naturally arose. But oddly, it wasn’t ‘till viewing the outtakes of the decrepit room – Boris Kaufman’s slow pans over the detritus – that those idle thoughts grew into something more. I saw in those fragmentary outtakes a world I wanted to explore up close.

What makes you distrust movies about movies?

This was an attitude I had when I was younger...I didn't yet realize that for practicing artists, their work can simply become their life. But I still have feel that internal voice arising on occasion, asking what my aims are. In the end I return to the same dictum from Joyce that inspired Beckett: he was less interested in works that were "about" things, than those that were things in themselves.

What were you most surprised to learn while making NOTFILM?

The further I delved, the more I realized that Becket was less of an absolutist than people thought. Yes, he was famously particular and exacting, but by all accounts he was quite warm, human, and even embracing of those around him. He'd even allow variances - at least in some instances - of his formal concerns when he felt they were well intended. It was partly this realization that allowed me to proceed with NOTFILM,

What do you want the audience to walk away with after seeing it?

There's no single thing that stands out, in that I've intentionally tried to appeal to different interests, all of which are a part of myself. Perhaps in the same way that Shakespeare hoped his plays could be enjoyed by vastly different groups of people, in different ways. I love the meditative as well as the mundane. But if pressed, I'd hope that viewers are inspired to seek out more works by the many artists whose works feature in NOTFILM, all of whom have been great personal inspirations to me.

www.filmbysamuelbeckett.com

Los Angeles Theatrical run: American Cinematheque / Laemmle Theaters / co-presented by Los Angeles Filmforum

Fri 4/1: Actor Jimmy Karen in person.
Egyptian Theater. 7:30 pm

Sat 4/2: Actor Jimmy Karen, photographer I.C. Rapoport, director Ross Lipman in person.
Aero Theater, Santa Monica. 7:30 pm.

Mon 4/4: Director Ross Lipman in person.
Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood. 7:30 pm.

Tue 4/5: Actor Jimmy Karen in person.
Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena. 7:30 pm.

Wed 4/6: Director Ross Lipman in person.
Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills 7:30 pm.

Thur 4/7: Laemmle Claremont 5, Claremont 7:30 pm.

Fri 4/8: Critic/historian Leonard Maltin and director Ross Lipman and in person.
Egyptian Theater. 7:30 pm.

Sat 4/9: Director Ross Lipman in person.
Egyptian Theater. 7:30 pm.


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Mar. 15, 2016 | 3:15 PM





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The Laurel & Hardy Museum

Harlem, Georgia is a sleepy little southern town.  If you blinked, you’d miss it.  On January 18, 1892 Oliver Norvell Hardy was born in this town and his success in Hollywood gave the town an eternal claim to fame.  They are clearly very proud of this and it shows.  The town seemed full of sincere people and great southern hospitality. 


I found information about the Laurel & Hardy Museum online shortly before my Christmas trip home to Georgia to see my parents. I pleaded with them to take me there for a little day trip and they agreed.  I really love these little “Mom and Pop” type museums, as they are always run by such devoted, passionate people.  When we first arrived in Harlem, I noticed “The Columbia Theatre”.  The marquee looked beautiful and there was a large Laurel & Hardy mural on the side of the building.  Unfortunately the interior of the theatre was complete gutted and empty.  I later found out this is a work in progress.  The town is trying to raise money and get grants to re-open the theatre with an eye to showing Laurel & Hardy films along with other silents and talkies from Hollywood’s Golden Age.  I wish I was wealthy, as I would have written a check for that on the spot.  This would really be a great thing for this town and would provide them with a nice cultural and social hub.


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Painted wall on the side of the theatre


The museum itself was small but filled with all sorts of memorabilia, displays and information.  They had all sorts of books, resources, historical documents and photographs.  Fans from around the world have generously donated items to the museum throughout the years.  The docent was a very nice lady named Linda who volunteers for the museum and has an incredible passion for Laurel & Hardy.  She has even been to the Laurel & Hardy museum in England where Stan Laurel was born and also runs the local Harlem Fan club called “BerthMarks”.  She guided us around the museum and was very helpful.


The front of the museum

The Laurel & Hardy Museum in Harlem, GA

The screening room at the Laurel & Hardy Museum


In the back of the museum they had a screening room with several of their films on VHS and DVD…but the image was really bad.  I have been so fortunate to see all of the Laurel & Hardy films on the big screen at various events.  I had no idea that the home video offerings were that scant and that poor in quality.  I promised the lady at the museum that I would do my best to locate cleaner copies.  If ANY of you out there have nice, clean DVD recordings of any Laurel & Hardy films, please let me know.  I want to donate it to the museum.  Often times if someone’s first exposure to old movies is a bad one, then they will often assume that all old films looks that way.  I’m always trying to dispel that notion.  The museum hosts a huge Laurel & Hardy Festival every year and they also do many educational programs that teach children about film and local history.  I was so pleased to hear that these films will keep being discovered by younger generations, thus assuring that the boy from Harlem GA will never be forgotten.


I’ve always been a Jean Harlow fan and I was thrilled to see they even had a little display at the museum featuring information about her appearances in Laurel & Hardy films.  These films were a great springboard that helped to launch her legendary career.


Jean Harlow part of the exhibit at the Laurel & Hardy Museum


I had such a great time at the museum and my enthusiasm ran wild .  I even posed with several Laurel & Hardy statues.  I had to!!!


Me with Laurel & Hardy


These photos may look silly, but I couldn't help myself!  I was having fun! 


On the way out of town I walked across the railroad tracks to a vacant lot filled with green grass and a plaque.  It is the exact lot where Hardy was born.


the lot where Oliver Hardy was born


The town as also painted their watertower in tribute to him as well.


The Harlem, GA water tower


So if you are a Laurel & Hardy fan, I highly recommend taking a trip to Harlem.  I plan to keep tabs on how the theatre is progressing and hopefully I’ll get to come back and watch some films when it has been re-opened. 



To see more of my pictures, click HERE for my flickr page.




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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Feb. 10, 2016 | 12:34 AM





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Cinema adventures in Paris

I’ve always been fascinated by Paris France.  For ages I’ve longed to travel the world and Paris was the first place on my list.  I have been there twice and I am already longing to go back.  I love the historic architecture, the rich history, the excellent food and of course the cinema!  The French are major cinephiles and I was delighted to discover a ton of places all over the city where I could see old movies!

Below is a photo of the Cin?math?que Fran?aise, which is an amazing archive of films, research materials and information.  I was stunned to find out they are fully funded by the French government!!  They have 3 different levels with exhibits and three different sized theatres inside.  This building was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.  If you want to learn more about the Cin?math?que, then make sure to rent the documentary film Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque.  I went to all three exhibitions including the one about silent film pioneer Georges Melies and another big exhibit about Dennis Hopper.  They day of my visit, they were showing a rare Dennis Hopper film called The Trip made by Roger Corman in 1967.  In the film Peter Fonda decides to drop acid and experiences visions of sex, death, strobe lights, flowers, dancing girls, witches, hooded riders, a torture chamber, and a dwarf.  He also runs naked through part of West Hollywood.  It was lovely!

French Cinematheque

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I also stopped by the Cine Tamaris display at Rue Daguerre in Montparnasse.  This is the headquarters of filmmaker Agnes Varda’s production company.  She directed numerous films (several available from Criterion) including La Pointe Courte, Cl?o from 5 to 7, Le bonheur and Vagabond.  Note the Jacques Demy DVD box sets in the window display.  They were married and he directed numerous French classics including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort.  I was freezing cold when this photo was taken!

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There is a section of Paris called “The Latin Quarter” that I really enjoy visiting.  There are tons of small theatres in the area and almost all of them are showing old Hollywood classics!  I couldn’t resist coming in from the cold and watching a Hitchcock matinee!  The theatre was nice and warm, the seats were very comfortable and the print of Rebecca was stunning!!!!

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I took many long walks through the city and saw a great shop that carried old Hollywood posters.

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Since I have a huge passion for historic cemeteries, I managed to visit several graves of French film legends including: Henri Georges Clouzot and his wife Vera, Francois Truffaut and American actress Jean Seberg.

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Stay tuned for more of my film related travels.


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jan. 28, 2016 | 2:55 AM





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The elegant Vincent Price

As a youngster I quickly realized I wasn’t anything like the other children. Instead of playing outdoors with Barbie dolls, I preferred to sit inside a dark living room and watch the weekly “horror movie matinee” on channel 21. In my spare time I poured over books with crisp black and white photos of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Sr. & Jr. I even got my Dad’s flashlight and tried to do “monster lighting” on myself in the mirror. I put my cousin’s Cabbage Patch Kid in a wooden toy box and informed my cousins that we were going to play “funeral” and that we all had to file past the box for the viewing. Yes I was certainly different all right. Sufficed to say it was only a matter of time before I discovered the films of Vincent Price. He quickly joined my sacred pantheon of horror heroes. I have always found myself enthralled not only by his austere and elegant screen presence, but by THAT VOICE. You can literally close your eyes during his films and just hear him talk—and that alone is enough to send chills up the spine. He had such style, grace and menace all at the same time. That’s a rare thing. Even in films where that divine voice isn’t used very much, his body posture and movements alone do the trick.

Last night I went to the Aero Theatre and saw a double feature of THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973) and THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971).
I grabbed some popcorn and settled in for an evening of sheer cinematic bliss!

Both films are “revenge films.” In both films there are several things that you can count on:

#1 Vincent Price’s character will fake his own death

#2 That Vincent Price WILL KILL you for your real or imagined sins against him

#3 He will have a beautiful woman (be it a daughter or girlfriend or assistant) helping him accomplish his evil deeds

#4 Not only will he kill you, but he will do it in the most grisly, creative and theatrical way possible (involving either Shakespeare or Biblical plagues)

#5 He will dwell in a lavish setting (either a glorious yet run down theatre or a art deco home/scientific lab)

#6 He will be chased by authorities

#7 He will escape the law by destroying himself in the end

On ALL of these things you may rely.

In THEATRE OF BLOOD he plays an actor who has been savaged in the press by every critic in London. When he is denied the celebrated Critic’s Award, he fakes his own death and vows to avenge those who robbed him of his glory. He uses his theatre company’s final season of Shakespeare plays as the template which he will use to orchestrate the killings. Each critic is killed in a re-created scene from one of the plays. It keeps getting better and more creative with each murder. The film also has this very dry dark humor running through that is really fun to watch. This may have been regarded at the time as a low budget horror film—but the sheer wit involved elevates it far beyond that! It is plain to see that Vincent Price is having a field day with the character. It shows!

I have seen THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES on VHS but it was a far different experience seeing it on the big screen. Vincent Price plays a famed organist whose wife is killed in a car accident. Once again he fakes his own death to seek revenge on the 8 doctors and one nurse who he is convinced failed to save her life. He kills them all with Biblical plagues in really innovative ways. For example he boils vegetables and pours the residue over the nurse’s head while she is sleeping then via a secret tube he unleashes a swarm of locusts that eat her flesh. The PHIBES character can’t speak much due to the accident which he used to fake his death, so he talks mainly through an artificial box routed through a phonograph. The effect is creepy and works well. The beautiful assistant “Vulnavia” drifts through the film like a zombie who never really springs to life. She bears a striking resemblance to the wife that Phibes lost. This adds yet another creepy dimension to the already creepy proceedings. In the end this time Vincent/Phibes inserts a tube that drains all his blood and replaces it with embalming fluid. Brilliant!

The screenwriter of Phibes was on hand to talk briefly before the film. He described it as a popcorn horror love story. I understood that. In a strange and weird way the best love stories are never the ones that are obvious. They are hiding out in other genres disguised as other films. Maybe they are better off that way….only waiting to be recognized as love stories by the people who seek out something well…different.


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Nov. 6, 2015 | 11:17 PM





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Discovering Dorothy Dandridge

CARMEN JONES (1954)
Directed by Otto Preminger


I’ve always wanted to see this film so I’m glad the big screen opportunity came my way. I had never seen a Dorothy Dandridge film before and I am just absolutely amazed! She radiates heat, sexuality, energy and passion in every frame of the film. She owns it 100%. I was bowled over. I did have a few problems overall with the film however. The first problem is the the singing. Harry Belafonte (the male lead-“Joe”) and Dorothy Dandridge were known to have incredible singing voices, but instead their singing was dubbed by white opera singers. It makes no sense whatsoever. When they open their mouths to sing the voices that come out don’t fit at all! Besides that, the dubbed voices just drain the soul right out of the music. I’m really curious as to who was behind this decision. I may look up some information on the production history so I can find out why this was done. It is really distracting. The other problem have with the film is that some of the musical numbers just don’t fit. Instead of enhancing the action, they halt it right in it’s tracks. There are some musical numbers involving the supporting actors and anytime Dorothy wasn’t on screen—I found myself missing her and wishing she was there. I was also shocked at how sexy the film was for 1954. The scene where Carmen takes off Joe’s belt and puts it back on was teaming with lust and longing—which is something you really didn’t see in films at that time. There was also a pretty steamy scene where Carmen is in a tiny silk robe and Joe blows her toe nails dry. I can’t recall seeing any sort of cinematic lust that blatant since the days of pre-code in the early 1930s. I was also a bit surprised at the scene where Carmen is in her bra and panties getting dressed. Again that was not a common site. I mean this was the era where Luci & Desi had separate beds on TV even though they were married! CARMEN was brazen, predatory, self destructive and throughly unapologetic. I always find these types of characters to be much more fun to watch than the “good girl” types.


Otto Preminger’s direction here is steady and masterful. He doesn’t use a lot of close ups. He mainly shoots in medium shots and doesn’t rely on lots of editing. This approach really works because it gives you the feeling like you are a fly on the wall…and that’s a VERY interesting wall to be on! The actors are all uniformly great and Preminger seems to always have a knack for drawing the best out of them. The print looked a little faded in a few places and the focus was soft in a few places as well. I can’t help but notice this stuff.


It makes me sad to think that this was one of the few great roles Dorothy Dandridge would ever have. She was so talented and so magnetic. There should have been more….many more.


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 21, 2012 | 8:28 PM





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“Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies”

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If Mary Pickford is known today outside of film fan circles, it is merely as “The girl with the golden curls” or “America’s Sweetheart”.  Behind her delicate beauty, Pickford was a woman with razor sharp business acumen who rose to become one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.  She wrote, produced and starred in her own films wielding complete creative control over every aspect of production.  She also co-founded United Artists along with Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and husband Douglas Fairbanks.  Her life, career and legacy are explored in the new documentary “Mary Pickford: Muse of the Movies” by Nicholas Eliopoulos which is now out on DVD from Cinema Libre.


The film discusses Pickford’s meteoric rise, her box office drawing power and how she helped to shape acting in film as we know it today.  This is made all the more effective by the use of rare archival interviews in Pickford’s own words.  Her life seems in many ways to be defined by ambition.  While the public loved her in the “little girl” roles, she sought to stretch herself as an artist by tackling new challenges.  In the film “Stella Maris” she played a doomed orphan.  She transformed herself so completely for the role to that she was rendered unrecognizable.  Pickford brought director Ernst Lubitsch from Germany after WWI to direct her 1922 film “Rosita.”  They clashed during production and never worked together again.  Even so, Pickford was not one to shy away from taking chances. 


She eventually began to feel confined by the “little girl” roles and felt they were artistically suffocating her.  After her mother’s death in 1928, she had her curls chopped off which made the front page of the New York Times.  This transition came along with the arrival of sound.  Pickford’s “talkie” debut was the film “Coquette” which won her an Academy Award.  Unfortunately fans were confused seeing her play a flirty socialite with bobbed hair.  It was not the Mary Pickford they were used to.  Her career began to fade along with her celebrated marriage to fellow Hollywood titan Douglas Fairbanks.  They would only make a handful of talking pictures each (including a clunky adaptation of “The Taming of the Shrew” together) before retiring from the screen.


Pickford continued to produce and remained involved with charity work until the end of her life.  She blazed countless trails for women in Hollywood and left an indelible mark on film history. 



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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Apr. 17, 2012 | 9:04 PM





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The TCM Film Festival 2012

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TCM has done it again with another stellar line up! This event really has become a mecca to classic movie lovers and I've been amazed to find that most people I meet at the festival have made this their yearly vacation.

The only problem with TCM Fest is that they haven't invented (to my knowledge) a human cloning machine. There are up to 5 fantastic events all going on at the same time over the course of the entire festival. I tend to mull over the schedule for days before making my final decisions and it is never easy. I am a vintage clothing collector and have a huge passion for design, so the theme of "Style in the Movies" was a lure I couldn't resist.

First up, I saw the silent film "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928), which stared Joan Crawford, Anita Page and Dorothy Sebastian. I've seen this before but never on the big screen, so this was an exciting opportunity. Before the film began, TCM conducted an interview with Anita Page's daughter. The interviewer did the best he could, but she didn't have any insights or anything interesting to share. He finally asked to if the rumor was true that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had written her mother fan letters. She confirmed that it was. Then the interviewer asked how she felt about that, to which she deadpanned, "Well, at least it wasn't Hitler." You could have heard a pin drop. The audience all sat in a seemingly long uncomfortable silence. The interviewer smiled and made a fast exit to start the film.

"Our Dancing Daughters" is a wonderful flapper melodrama complete with plenty of eye popping 1920s deco sets, evening gowns and jewelry. Joan Crawford jumps right off the screen and seems in her element dancing on a table top amidst a wild party. In the film she plays a free spirited (but virtuous) flapper who falls in love with a young man who is lured away by her gold digging rival (Anita Page). While the story itself plays out like a soap opera, the performances really elevate the proceedings. This film was a huge hit and spawned two follow up films--"Our Modern Maidens" and "Our Blushing Brides".

I'm a huge fan of film noir and was also eager to see "Gun Crazy" (1950). Out of the all of the films I attended at the festival, this is the one that really brought the house down. Noir czar Eddie Muller introduced the film and brought out star Peggy Cummins for her first Los Angeles appearance in decades. The crowd gave her a standing ovation. She was gracious, classy and didn't disappoint. She recalled the film has being super low budget and none of them had expectations that it would become such a classic. It just just thought of as another "B" movie at the time. Peggy Cummins gives perhaps the most ferocious performance in noir history as a beautiful gun crazed circus sharp shooter intent on living life in the fast lane.
The print of "Gun Crazy" was stunning and it was such a thrill seeing it at the Egyptian Theatre. Film noir has become such a popular and highly influential genre, so I'm really glad to see they are carving out a space for it at the festival.

"Girl Shy" (1924) is perhaps Harold Lloyd's most winningly romantic film. While he hasn't been as well remembered as Chaplin and Keaton, this has changed in recent years. His films have enjoyed screenings at several film festivals along with new books and even a DVD box set. "Girl Shy" was a packed house. In the film Harold Lloyd plays a shy, quiet guy who writes a book on how to seduce and handle women....even though he knows nothing about it. He has numerous fantasies about his conquests of "The Flapper" and "The Vamp". Naturally he meets the woman of his dreams, but trouble ensues along the road to a happy ending. Harold Lloyd's granddaughter spoke before the film. She talked about his incredible attention to detail and how he timed his gags for the maximum audience response. It is obvious that Harold Lloyd was indeed brilliant and worthy of being remembered as one of the comedy greats of the silent era.

Every year TCM has made a point of including a Clara Bow film and I couldn't be happier! This year they showed the rare pre-code goodie "Call Her Savage" (1933). The film was introduced by biographer David Stenn whose Bow biography "Runnin' Wild" is a must read. Clara Bow stars here as a disgraced socialite named Nasa Springer. The film contains enough melodrama for three films and includes pre-code elements such as prostitution, a gay bar, venereal disease, gambling, scandal and attempted rape. Clara Bow elevates the material with an excellent performance, putting to rest any myths that she was unable to make it in "talkies". In truth, Clara was simply tired and ready to retire. This was the second to last film of her career and one that she was particularly proud of. It is always hard to decide what films to see, but the choice is much easier when TCM shows rarities like this one that aren't on DVD.

"Letter From An Unknown Woman" was another film that I had never gotten to see in the big screen format. It was introduced by actress Rose McGowan who seems very smart and knowledgeable about the classics. Directed by Max Ophüls, the film stars Louis Jourdan as a concert pianist who receives a letter from a past lover (Joan Fontaine) who he fails to remember. The film is a heartbreaking, tender drama that moves slowly and requires patience when viewing. It doesn't zip along like many movies, but rather unfolds slowly and with a quiet, deliberate pace. The frustrating thing about this film is that the character played by Joan Fontaine is so spellbound and naive that she refuses to see the truth that has been right in front of her all along. This same material felt infinitely more effective in the film "Only Yesterday" (1933) with Margaret Sullavan and John Boles.

Perhaps the most revelatory screening of the festival for me was the documentary "Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room". Barely two years old at the time, Baby Peggy became a sensation in silent comedies of the early 1920s before making the transition to feature films. Unfortunately her parents squandered her entire fortune through outrageous spending and mismanagement. Baby Peggy performed in vaudeville before eventually running away from home with her sister in an effort to break free from her parents. She eventually found solace in religion and managed to make the transformation from film actress to film historian. I've read her book "Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy" which is a fantastic and vivid account of her life. The documentary effectively tells her life story in photographs, interviews and even recent footage of a now 94 year old Baby Peggy (renamed Diana Serra Cary) interacting with her granddaughter and attending film festivals. This was an excellent documentary and a great treat to see with an audience. TCM also did a separate program of Baby Peggy silent shorts. Diana Serra Cary was in attendance and her memory is excellent. She was able to recall many details about the dangerous stunts, long hours and often hazardous working conditions she endured. She held the audience captive and is a really great story teller. If you haven't read her book, it really is a must.

I also took a break from movie going to play a trivia game called "So You Think You Know Movies" at the Roosevelt Hotel with some other film fans. Unfortunately we lost, but had a great time playing in any case. Several of us went to lunch at the Pig & Whistle afterward. One of the things I enjoy most about the festival is meeting and getting to know other people from around the country and even the world who cherish these films as much as I do. TCM Fest really is a community and a great way for film fans to unite in our shared passion.

I got to spend a few minutes chatting with Ms. Carey (Baby Peggy) after the screening! Pardon the iphone quality photo.

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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Mar. 21, 2012 | 2:48 PM





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HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE AND PARAMOUNT GIVE HERITAGE MUSEUM A FACELIFT

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HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE AND PARAMOUNT GIVE HERITAGE MUSEUM A FACELIFT


In keeping with the celebration of Paramount Pictures’ 100th anniversary, the motion picture production company is putting some loving care into the building where their company was born - the Lasky-DeMille barn. The 1901 Hollywood stable was built by Col. Robert Northam, and later sold to Jacob Stern. Stern was the owner when it became a film studio in 1912. It was later rented to the Lasky Company, which purchased the property. The Lasky Company merged with Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company and the Paramount Distributing Company to become Paramount Pictures Corporation. In 1979, Paramount donated the barn to Hollywood Heritage. Today it is the Hollywood Heritage Museum, operated since 1985 by Hollywood Heritage, a membership based non-profit, with an all-volunteer management and staff.


Paramount Pictures, along with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Los Angeles County Preservation Fund, provided funds to prepare the building for a “new” coat of paint. The current painting of this California State Landmark returns the building to its original color scheme when Paramount was born.


Numerous researchers and historians both in and outside of the organization aided Hollywood Heritage in discovering the building’s construction date and color. Subsequent detailed paint studies taken from those remote portions of the building least changed in the last hundred years was conducted by Historic Resources Group of Pasadena, and confirmed descriptions in newspaper accounts of the building as “The Gray Lady” and leading it to be returned to a glorious gray once more (with a bit of dark green and white trim).


Paramount Pictures will provide both the paint and skilled labor to accomplish this restoration, which is anticipated to be completed by the end of March. “We are so gratified that Paramount Pictures has joined this restoration project, helping us to commemorate the building and the company’s history. As the sole link between early agrarian Hollywood and the entertainment capital it is today, this is an important landmark” said Hollywood Heritage president, Richard Adkins. Of equal importance is the donation by the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation of the refurbishing of the second story of the museum with new climate controlled storage and archival facilities.


Currently on display at the museum is an exhibit provided by Paramount Pictures and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of photographs and artifacts from 100 years of Paramount films. The museum which is located at 2100 N. Highland Ave. is open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $7.00 and children under twelve are admitted free. Visit us online at www.hollywoodheritage.org


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