Sunset Boulevard

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my Film Noir entry.

Sunset Boulevard. fulfills my Film Noir portion of the draft.

I didn’t find this movie until the 90s. In the late eighties I was watching and reading about every silent movie and artist that I could. Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin were at the top of my list.

In a  Keaton book I saw this as a film credit. I then read some about the great Billy Wilder, director, screenwriter, and producer,  and I had to watch it. The movie did not disappoint. Buster’s part was nothing more than a cameo but the movie more than made up for it. It’s funny how we find some movies.

Just a little of the plot… Within two minutes of watching  you see the end of the movie in front of you…then you see the harrowing journey there.

Screenplay writer Joe Gillis was desperately trying to sell his stories but Hollywood did not want to listen. Joe had talent but he wasn’t trying to write something great…just something that would sell. He was going to have to return to home to Dayton Ohio a failure if something didn’t happen and soon. His car was getting repossessed and he was trying to hide it just for a little while. While being chased by creditors he parks it in a decrepit old mansion. Little did he know that former silent movie star Norma Desmond still lived there.  She used to be a big (“I am big it’s the pictures that got small”) star.

Joe Gillis ended up being invited to stay to edit Norma’s film screenplay that she wrote. That screenplay was going to be her return to film.  One thing leads to another and Joe ends up being a kept man and he doesn’t like it one bit. As time goes by life at Norma’s mansion…it gets darker and darker. Joe is stuck there working on Norma’s horrible screenplay while playing the good boy. He gets new clothes, perks, and is not wanting for anything…except freedom. There is a price to be paid for being kept by Desmond. He sneaks out and sees a young girl who he writes with and falls for but cannot break Norma’s grip.

The star of this movie without a doubt is Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. When we first meet Norma we think she is just an over the top egocentric former silent era actress. Slowly we see what a psychotic existence she lives and it only gets worse.

Norma still thinks she is adored by millions. Her chauffer Max Von Mayerling helps perpetuate this lie. We find out why as the movie goes along and it is shocking. It will blow up in his face but he never quits building her up.

The final scene is chilling. Norma Desmond in a catatonic state asking for a closeup. Her eyes alone will send a shiver down your spine.

The movie is full of great actors and actresses. The focus is on William Holden, Gloria Swanson, and Erich Von Stroheim. Holden was a great actor who appeared in movies such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalag 17, and the Wild Bunch.

Erich Von Stroheim plays Max and in the twenties Erich was a silent movie actor but best remembered as an avant-garde director in the 1920s.

Gloria Swanson was a very successful silent movie actress who made a successful move to sound pictures. She also appeared on Broadway in the 40s and 50s. She started many production companies in the 1920s and 30s.

The movie was released in 1950. By 1950 the first great silent film stars of the 20s were aging and there was interest in knowing what happened to them. The Norma Desmond character was thought to be a composite of Mary Pickford who lived her life in seclusion, Clara Bow who had a mental illness as well as some other silent greats. The name was a combination of silent-film star Norma Talmadge and silent movie director William Desmond Taylor who was mysteriously shot and killed…and unsolved to this day.

The movie was written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. It was directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1950.

I’ve never been a fan of the powerful  Louis B. Mayer, the co-founder of MGM. He mistreated a number of artists, one being Judy Garland. After screening this movie he berated Billy Wilder in front of a  crowd of celebrities, saying, “You have disgraced the industry that made and fed you! You should be tarred and feathered and run out of Hollywood!” Upon hearing of Mayer’s outburst, Wilder strode up to the mogul and told him “I am Billy Wilder, Go f**k yourself.” My respect for Wilder grew from there.

This movie is one of the greats. It’s a movie that anyone who is a film fan must watch.

“Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” 

Yes she was indeed ready…she spent years getting ready for her final starring role. Just not the role you would think.

Cast

  • William Holden – Joe Gillis
  • Gloria Swanson – Norma Desmond
  • Erich Von Stroheim – Max Von Mayerling
  • Nancy Olson – Betty Schaefer
  • Fred Clark – Sheldrake
  • Lloyd Gough – Morino
  • Franklin Farnum – The Undertaker
  • Larry Blake – Finance Man
  • Charles Dayton – Finance Man
  • Cecil B. DeMille – Himself
  • Creighton Hale – Creighton Hale
  • Arthur Lane -Arthur Lane
  • John “Skins” Miller – Hog Eye
  • Billy Sheehan – 2nd Assistant Director
  • Archie Twitchell
  •  Jack Webb – Artie Green
  • Sidney Skolsky – Himself
  • Eddie Dew – Assistant Coroner
  • Tommy Ivo – Boy
  • Kenneth Gibson – Salesman
  • Ruth Clifford – Sheldrake’s Secretary
  • Bert Moorhouse – Gordon Cole
  • E. Mason Hopper – Doctor/Courtier
  • Virginia Randolph –  Courtier
  • Al Ferguson -Phone Standby
  • Stan Johnson – 1st Assistant Director
  • Julia Faye – Hisham
  • Gertrude Astor -Courtier
  • Frank O’Connor – Courtier
  • Ralph Montgomery – First Prop Man
  • Eva Novak – Courtier
  • Bernice Mosk – Herself
  • Gertrude Messenger – Hair Dresser
  • John Cortay – Young Policeman
  • Robert E. O’Connor – Jonesy
  • Buster Keaton – Buster Keaton

Vanishing Point (1971)

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my thriller entry.

Vanishing Point fulfills my thriller portion of the draft.

This 1971 movie was brought up in 2007 by Quentin Tarantino’s movie Death Proof. In Death Proof, one of the leading characters hero-worships and repeatedly refers to Vanishing Point’s protagonist, Kowalski, who is a car delivery driver.

This movie has a lot of symbolism. It took me a few times it to put it together…and I’m still finding things that I missed.

I was a kid in the 70s and Kowalski reminds me of my dad back then… he looked, and dressed like Kowalski. To describe Kowalski I’ll use what was in the original trailer:

Name. Kowalski. Occupation. Driver. Transporting a supercharged Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco. Background, metal of honor in Vietnam. Former stock car and bike racer. Former cop, dishonorably discharged. Now he uses speed to get himself up. To get himself – gone.”

The whole movie is Kowalski, Barry Newman, driving someone else’s white 1970 Dodge Challenger through the desert after making a bet with his drug dealer that he can’t reach SF in less than 12 hours. He takes a few detours and as the movie goes along you learn about his past through flashbacks. You see that he has been surrounded by death his whole life. You start seeing why he ended up here. 

Cleavon Little plays a blind radio DJ (Super Soul ) that can somehow communicate with Kowalski but it is never explained how or why. What does Cleavon’s character represent? Kowalski is a decent man but not perfect. You could call him an anti-hero. He is prepared to die rather than give in to the establishment. A loner, he rejects the norms of both culture and counter-culture…he doesn’t fit anywhere.  He is his own man but I’m not sure if he knows who he is. 

When I first watched it in the 80s…I thought it was a cool car movie from the seventies with chases. Well yes it is but within the first few minutes when you see two cars passing by each other going opposite directions…something is wrong with the picture. You know Kowalski is in one car and a few minutes later…you wonder if he was in the other also.

It’s the kind of movie that I would love to watch with all of you just to see what you thought about different parts of it.

The 70s gave us some great car movies. Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry, Gone in 60 Seconds (the original one), Macon County Line, and I could continue…this movie is not one of those although I like those also. For the car lover in me…ok the 70 Dodge Challenger is really cool not only to see but to hear.

The one flaw in some versions is the deleted scene. I do have one unusual request…if you see the movie which I really hope you do. Go to youtube and watch the deleted scene that was in the UK version but left out of the American version at the time…my only guess is because of pot smoking. Kowalski picks up a female hitch hiker at night. 

As soon as the movie ends watch that scene. To find it you can search for “Charlotte Rampling’s Scene in Vanishing Point” in youtube. It’s pretty clear what Charlotte Rampling’s character symbolizes… and to me it’s important to that film and should be in every version. I had to hunt down a version that had it. Hopefully your version does.

The stand out actors? Barry Newman, Dean Jagger, and Cleavon Little…and the Dodge Challenger! You also get a musical surprise in the desert…Bonnie and Delaney make an appearance as gospel singers…which they were known to be. My biggest question after watching this was why wasn’t Barry Newman a bigger star? I also cannot leave out Charlotte Rampling…in that 7 minute scene she is great. 

One note… Director Richard C. Sarafian’s original choice for the role of Kowalski was Gene Hackman, but the studio, “20th Century Fox,” insisted on using Barry Newman if the movie was going to be made. As much as I like Gene Hackman…they made the right casting choice in this movie.

Cast

Barry Newman – Kowalski
Cleavon Little – Super Soul
Dean Jagger – Prospector
Victoria Medlin – Vera
Paul Koslo – Young Cop
Charlotte Rampling – Hitchhiker (UK version)
John Amos – Super Soul’s radio engineer
Rita Coolidge -Singer
Robert Donner – Older Cop
Anthony James – First male hitchhiker
Arthur Malet – Second male hitchhiker
Owen Bush – Communications Officer
Gilda Texter -Nude Rider
Karl Swenson – Clerk At Delivery Agency
Severn Darden – J. Hovah
Lee Weaver – Jake
Cherie Foster – 1st Girl
Tom Reese – Sheriff
Timothy Scott – Angel
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends – J Hovah’s Singers
Valerie Kairys – Girls

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my romance entry.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House fulfills my romance portion of the draft.

In the 80s a loose remake of this movie was made…it was called The Money Pit…but it doesn’t stack up to this one in my opinion. I first saw this movie in the late eighties and have watched it many times since.

This movie was based on a true story, which was turned into a bestselling book. It was written by Eric Hodgins from his own experience. Hodgins and his wife had a house built and the initial estimate for building it came in at $11,000.  It ultimately cost $56,000 to finish and nearly drove him into bankruptcy. He said the book “wrote itself.”

A New York advertising executive Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) lives in a cramped apartment with his wife Muriel, two daughters, and housekeeper Gussie. Anyone who has an apartment or starter home with a growing family will be able to relate to this movie.

They look on upgrading the apartment but after the 7,000 dollar estimate is shot down…Jim and Muriel start looking at houses to in Connecticut to live. They find an old house and Jim buys it without checking with his lawyer Bill Cole (played wonderfully by Melvyn Douglas) who informs Jim he got rooked. Jim still wants it…he says somethings you have to buy from the heart. They looked at the house more thoroughly and it is basically falling in.

After getting it checked out it is determined that it would be cheaper tearing the house down and building a new one. This is when the movie really starts. All the estimates seem to shoot up (as in real life) and the price they started with escalates. Partly because of the Blanding’s “small” requests. Anyone who has worked with a contractor can relate.

Wrong estimates, supplies shipped to the wrong address, Jim and Muriel’s naivety, and unforeseen problems in building the house has Jim wanting his head examined for attempting to build a house. All the while the house was being built Jim has to come up with a slogan for “Wham Ham” or his job could be in jeopardy.

The movie was released in 1948 so yes the prices are different now but many of the problems are just the same. It’s a very funny movie with the problems of the house along with Jim’s growing jealousy of Bill’s closeness to Muriel.

Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas are perfectly cast for this film. Grant and Loy were a great couple but the one that makes this movie tick is Melvyn Douglas as Bill Cole… Jim’s best friend and lawyer. He really stands out in this movie with comedic relief. 

As with other movies in this era…the character actors flow in and out of the story and make a lot of scenes great. This is one of the reasons I like these older Hollywood movies so much. Pay attention to the well digger Mr. Tesander played perfectly by Harry Shannon. They add humor and the human element.

RKO (who made the movie) made a deal with 20th Century Fox who had 2,000 acres of landscape in the Malibu hills that served as their location ranch. After the deal was struck the house was built and is the one you see in the movie as it’s being built. It still stands and is now part of the Malibu Creek State Park, and it’s used for the administrative offices

Seventy three “replica” Dream Houses were built in 1948 to tie in with the promotion and release of the movie. Some were raffled off at the day of film release, after ticket sales held during public viewing prior to premiere, and others were put up for public sale by the contractors who built them.

A scene in the movie where Muriel is explaining the color scheme

“First, the living room. I want it to be a soft green. Not as blue-green as a robin’s egg, but not as yellow-green as daffodils. Now, the dining room. Not just yellow–something bright and sunshiny. If you send one of your workers to the grocer for a pound of butter and match that, they can’t go wrong.”

The painter turns to the guy next to him. “Got that, Charlie?”

“Uh-huh. Red, green, yellow, blue, and white.”

Cast

  • Jim BlandingsCary Grant
  • Muriel Blandings – Myrna Loy
  • Bill Cole – Melvyn Douglas
  • Joan Blandings – Sharyn Moffett
  • Betsy Blandings – Connie Marshall
  • Gussie – Louise Beavers
  • Mr Tesander – Harry Shannon
  • Henry Simms – Reginald Denny
  • John Retch – Jason Robards Sr
  • Smith – Ian Wolfe
  • Carpenter foreman – Lex Barker
  • Director – H C Potter

It’s A Wonderful Life

Merry Christmas to all of you in 2020. Here is to a better year in 2021! Just like television playing this movie every Christmas…I’m relogging it .

I didn’t watch this great movie until the late 80s. All it took was one time and I haven’t missed a year of watching it. I don’t tear up very easy..but it never fails at the end of the movie when Zuzu says… Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings…it gets me every time. This movie was released in 1946.

Poor George Bailey. All he wanted to do was travel and get out of Bedford Falls to see the world. Every single time he gets close…so close that it hurts…something happens and George ends up doing the right thing.

Bedford Falls needs George Bailey…every town needs a George Bailey but many end up with only a Mr. Potter. There is one thing about this movie which was unusual. Mr. Potter was never punished for what he did…which drew criticism at the time but it was more in line with reality to me.

This is a Christmas movie but really only the last part of the movie is about Christmas. It is a movie for any time not just for December. We were thinking of names for our unborn child and couldn’t think of one…I was watching this movie in November of 1999 and it hit me…Bailey…so the movie means more than some movies do.

Here is a small summary from IMDB…don’t read it…watch the movie instead. If you haven’t seen it…give it a shot…whether it is Christmas or July.

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint, Mr. Potter, from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George’s modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses the business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his wings. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.

The Kids Are Alright Documentary…Desert Island Music Films

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for a music related movie: The Who in The Kids Are Alright.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 13 PICK 5- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

I acquired a VHS copy of this in the mid-eighties. It wasn’t a great copy but my friends and I wore it out. One of them worked at a small cable station. The station was in a small county that usually aired farm reports and advertisements. Basically, it was a very small building in the middle of nowhere. All they would do there is broadcast videos.

We had the tape in hand and wanted to see it so we went there one afternoon. He popped it in the VHS player and played it. He had no idea but it was going out live all over the region. Near the end of the film, he took a phone call from his boss. I didn’t think anyone ever watched that station…but it turns out they did and they were not fans of The Who. He didn’t get fired but they took his key for the door for a little while. It was a big subject the next day at school as some teenagers loved it but their parents didn’t appreciate their farm reports being interrupted by My Generation and Keith Moon in bondage.

I’ve seen this film so many times I can almost quote it while it’s playing. The Who albums made me a huge fan of their music…this film made me a huge fan of band.

This film covers the original Who and being such a Who fan I’m glad Jeff Stein (director) was so persistent in doing this because many of the tapes he was able to borrow probably would have been erased and used again by the BBC as was their policy.

Jeff was a fan of the band and pestered them until they let him do this. He had no prior experience in filmmaking but this was the 1970s and he got the gig. His timing was eerily perfect. He caught the original band at the very end of their tenure with Keith Moon.

He searched high and low for clips of the band in earlier years. Stein keeps the appearance mostly in order. There is sadness in this. You see the band through the years from 1964 to 1978… you see all of them gradually age of course but Keith Moon ages faster than any of them. I’ve read where it hit him hard while watching the rough cut right before he died. His lifestyle had taken its toll on him. He saw himself as a young energetic kid that looked like Paul McCartney’s younger brother to a man who was 32 and looked like he was in his 40s at least.

This may be the first or one of the first film bios on a major rock band. Led Zeppelin had The Song Remains the Same but it focused on one concert in New York… The Beatles had Let It Be but those films didn’t show their history like The Kids Are Alright.

The Who - Wikipedia

In this film you see a band that is fun… unlike their peers Zeppelin and Sabbath the Who were more open to their audience and didn’t have a dark mystique hanging over them. They would crack jokes from the stage…Moon and Townshend treated it like a High School talent show until they started to play…then they got serious.

You see film segments that were fun like the video of Happy Jack, the interview on the Russell Harty Show, Keith with Ringo, and Keith and Pete sharing a joke that only they could understand. One of my favorite segments is The Who playing Barbara Ann with Keith singing and the band having a good time. They also played I Saw Her Standing There but it didn’t make the final cut…you can watch it in the outtakes. I can’t imagine the big bands of that time doing Barbara Ann and goofing for the camera.

The Who did a couple of live shows for the film besides being interviewed. Stein mostly used old clips but he convinced the band to do a couple of free concerts in May of 1978 where he could get a definitive version of Won’t Get Fooled Again… which personally I think is the greatest live performance song live you will ever hear. You see Keith’s last performance as he is looking pudgy, older, and slower but still pulls it off. Pete wasn’t too thrilled about doing the concerts for the film but it turned out good. They ended up only using a version Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley from the 78 live show.

Keith died a few months before The Kids Are Alright debuted on June 15, 1979. The film showed The Who at it’s best. Kenney Jones from the Faces replaced him but it was never the same. You cannot replace Moon…he was the engine that drove the Who. Later on in the 90s Zak Starkey…who was Ringo’s son and Keith’s God son played drums for the Who and still does.

If you haven’t watched the film…stop what you are doing and watch it. It still holds up as one of the best music documentaries that rock has produced.

Zak Starkey and Keith Moon

Pin på Drums & Drummers

Beatles – Help! Soundtrack Album

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for sountrack…Help! by the Beatles.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 11 PICK 4- SOUNDTRACKS- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE BEATLES- HELP!

To avoid confusion I’m reviewing the UK version of Help! because that is the one that I own.

The movie Help! was an enjoyable movie. It was not nearly as good as A Hard Days Night but it had it’s moments. I love black and white movies but the color made Help! stand out. The Beatles knew it wasn’t as good as their first…John had a quote about it: “it was like being a frog in a movie about clams.” Nevertheless it was a fun movie and a pleasure to watch today.

Amazon.com: Blujway The Beatles Help Lobby Card Movie Poster Replica 11 X  14 Photo Print: Posters & Prints

They shot the movie in five different locations…London, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Austria, and the Bahamas.

It was the first Beatle movie I ever saw…I rented it from a video store in the mid-eighties. The Help! movie was the only Beatle movie they had at the time. With no internet, it was my only window to see the Beatles other than the documentary The Compleat Beatles.

Behind-the-Scenes Footage From the Beatles' 'Help!' Surfaces

The soundtrack is a great album on it’s own.

I picked this album/soundtrack because I always thought this was the transitional album between Beatlemania and The Beatles middle period. After this album would come Rubber Soul and the swinging sixties would officially be kicked off. Help! shows them making strides into the future. You can hear a some of their earlier work and get a hint of what was coming.

Here are a few songs…I’ll leave the big hits off of the preview.

You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away is a good song with a noticeable Dylan influence.

One of my favorite songs on the album is The Night Before…I first heard it on the Beatles Rock and Roll Music compilation album. It’s another song that would have been a single for another band.

As soon as I heard I’ve Just Seen A Face…I learned it on guitar and have been playing it ever since. This is a song that you can see the change starting to take place…from the bouncy numbers to this folk influenced one. This song would be on the American version of Rubber Soul.

You’re Going to Lose That Girl has a catchy call and response chorus. The backup vocals are superb.

The title track is brilliant with John calling out for Help after being battered by Beatlemania. They also dipped into their club roots with a cover of the Larry Williams song Dizzy Miss Lizzy. The album had the hits of course…Help!, Yesterday, and Ticket To Ride…all #1 in the Billboard 100.

I’m ready to watch Help! now…can I smuggle a Blu-ray player on the island?

Help!
The Night Before
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
I Need You
Another Girl
You’re Going to Lose That Girl
Ticket to Ride
Act Naturally
It’s Only Love
You Like Me Too Much
Tell Me What You See
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Yesterday
Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Duel 1971

Duel was a TV movie that came out in 1971. It’s a great suspense movie that will keep you entertained.

It was Steven Spielberg’s first full-length movie. It came out as a TV movie in the US but after some scenes were added it was released in theaters in Europe and Australia. It starred Dennis Weaver. This is a very good first movie by Spielberg. It had some grit to it that some of his movies lack…probably because of it’s low budget.

Duel was much better than your regular TV movie. Dennis Weaver was superb in it. Another star was the Truck itself. It had its own personality. This is one of the best TV movies ever made.

Steven Spielberg told Dennis Weaver at one time that he watches this movie at least twice a year to see what he did as far as techniques.

The story is simple but effective. It still works today.

It’s about a man who is driving to a business meeting and part of his journey is through the desert. He starts being followed by an ugly as hell diesel Peterbilt truck. The truck starts passing Weaver and then starts bumping him later on. The suspense in this movie is great. You cannot see the truck driver but he has plates from all over the US that makes you think he picks random people out and starts harassing them.

It reminds you of a Hitchcock film. The suspense builds and builds and you feel Dennis Weaver’s fear.

Weaver is run off the road by the truck and he sees a diner.

He stops at a diner and phones his wife about a fight they had the night before… He gets off the phone and thinks he finds the truck driver that’s been targeting him for miles inside the cafe…

If you like suspense movies the movie is worth a watch.

Citizen Kane

If you are reading this to hear me say “it’s overrated” then you have come to the wrong place. Some say it’s the best film ever made…I will not argue that statement. I have watched this 1941 film at least 8 times and have enjoyed it every single time. Before I watched this movie I had read all the accolades the movie received through the years. This is one of the few movies that lived up to them.

Orson Welles is the most natural actor in this movie I’ve ever seen. He IS Charles Foster Kane.

The camera work is still fantastic and holds up to this day and it’s been copied over and over. The below floor level shots and others make it a beautiful film to watch. You can see this movie’s influence in a countless number of movies that followed.

Orson based his character off of William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, actress Marion Davies. That fact brought Orson trouble that would haunt him. Hearst owned everything at that time…newspapers and businesses across the globe and had as much influence as a person could have. He didn’t care too much for this movie because it was too close for comfort. If you ever get the chance…see the documentary “The Battle Over Citizen Kane.”

He stopped advertisements in his newspapers and did everything in his power to stop and sabotage the film.

Orson made some great movies after this but never…to me reached this pinnacle again. That is really unfair because I don’t think anyone has reached this high again.

The plot? The movie, unlike other movies at the time, starts at the end. The mighty Charles Foster Kane dies but before he does he utters one last word “Rosebud” and everybody tries to find out what he meant by that. Reporters will go interview everyone in his life trying to find the answer and all the while…Kane’s story is being told. One of the lines in the movie is “I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life.” That is true but it’s what “Rosebud” represents that helps make this movie great.

The movie flows so well from beginning to end.

When the silent movie era ended…the first “talkies” were clumsy with the actors/actresses overacting with their theater training. The studios were also using bulky cameras and microphones that left the scenes stationary. This movie ended all of that. Citizen Kane changed the cinema for good. Up until this movie, we got the same old shots, stiff acting, theater makeup, and mediocre music scores… You couldn’t get by with that anymore after this movie.

Is it the best movie ever? That is subjective but for me, the answer is…yes.

 

Here is the cast from Wiki

Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland, Kane’s best friend and a reporter for The Inquirer. Cotten also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.

Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane, Kane’s mistress and second wife.

Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane, Kane’s mother.

Ruth Warrick as Emily Monroe Norton Kane, Kane’s first wife.

Ray Collins as Jim W. Gettys, Kane’s political rival for the post of Governor of New York.

Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter, editor of The Inquirer. Sanford also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.

Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein, Kane’s friend and employee at The Inquirer.

William Alland as Jerry Thompson, a reporter for News on the March. Alland also voices the narrator of the News on the March newsreel.

Paul Stewart as Raymond, Kane’s butler.

George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher, a banker who becomes Kane’s legal guardian.

Fortunio Bonanova as Signor Matiste, vocal coach of Susan Alexander Kane.

Gus Schilling as John, headwaiter at the El Rancho nightclub. Schilling also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.[8]

Philip Van Zandt as Mr. Rawlston, News on the March producer.[8]

Georgia Backus as Bertha Anderson, an attendant at the library of Walter Parks Thatcher.[8]

Harry Shannon as Jim Kane, Kane’s father.[8]

Sonny Bupp as Charles Foster Kane III, Kane’s son.

Buddy Swan as Charles Foster Kane, age eight.

Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper publisher

 

20 Famous Duos

Many times you cannot think of one person without thinking of the other. That is true for many on this list. From Lennon – McCartney to Romeo and Juliet. It was a lot of fun coming up with these famous duos. Here are a few in no order…

 

1.  Lennon and McCartney – The most influential Rock/pop writing duo

The Beatles - It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught ...

2.  Andy Griffith and Don Knotts – Andy and Barney…Great comedic timing between the two…with Andy being the straight man.

20 wonderfully irrelevant Andy Griffith Show conversations

3.  Jack Klugman and Tony Randall – The Odd Couple

TV's 'Odd Couple' in the '70s: Jack Klugman & Tony Randall as ...

4. Abbott and Costello – Who’s on first? Great comedy team. I still like Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein

From the Archives: Lou Costello, Famed Comedian, Dies at 52 - Los ...

5. Belushi and Aykroyd – The Blues Brothers and part of the first cast of SNL

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion ...

6. Orville and Wilbur Wright – Credited as creating the first motorized plane.

Orville and Wilbur Wright: The Brothers Who Changed Aviation ...

7. Jagger and Richards – The Stones Glimmer Twins

Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, NYC, 1972 | Bob Gruen

8. Simon and Garfunkel – American folk-rock duo

You made me look like a fool': inside Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge ...

9. Laurel and Hardy – They made over 100 short and feature movies combined.

Laurel and Hardy – Three Shorts

10. Martin and Lewis – The hottest act in the 50s.

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin's 20-Year Feud - Comedy Duo Jerry ...

11. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – The Apple architects.

Are You A Steve Jobs Or A Steve Wozniak? » Leaderonomics.com

12. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield -Ben and Jerry’s  I’ll take some Cherry Garcia, please.

Ben & Jerry's Unveils "Pecan Resist" Flavor Ahead of Midterm ...

13. Phil and Don Everly – Two voices blended as one

Video: Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers dies at 74 (updated ...

14. Gerry Goffin and Carole King – Two of the top songwriters in the 60s.

Gerry Goffin | The Times

15. Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall – Laverne and Shirley

The most famous women duos in pop culture - Insider

16. Clyde Champion Barrow and Bonnie Parker – Infamous Bonnie and Clyde

Police kill famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde - HISTORY

17. David Duchovny and  Gillian Anderson – Mulder and Scully from the X-Files

Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder Will Pick Up Their Badges Again

18. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith – Jay and Silent Bob

Kevin Smith Teases 'Jay and Silent Bob' Reboot With Miramax

19. Batman and Robin – I couldn’t leave these guys out

Adam West and Burt Ward to return as Batman and Robin in new ...

20. Romeo and Juliet the two star crossed lovers from Romeo and Juliet….a tragedy written by William ShakespeareThe Balcony Scene in 'Romeo and Juliet' Is a Lie - The Atlantic

BONUS…How could I forget Bert and Ernie!!!

Frank Oz weighs in on 'Sesame Street' writer saying Bert and Ernie ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

When The Winds Blow 1986

The animation is wonderful in this movie. I want to thank Dave for mentioning it in his blog.

I was moved by this movie. It brought back the Cold War that even as kids we thought about from time to time. I watched this movie Wednesday night and I have been thinking about it ever since.

It’s not a movie to cheer you up by any means. It’s about an elderly British couple named Jim and Hilda Bloggs who read that war was about to begin. This was made during the cold war and Jim comes home with government brochures on how to prepare for a nuclear attack. They both keep thinking of WW2 and neither were knowledgeable on the horrors of nuclear war.

You really get invested in this couple and as the story unfolds and it’s terribly realistic. Jim keeps reading the brochure and both are optimistic about it all without fully understanding it…Even after the worse happens they remain confident that all will be well…it’s worth a watch. When the Wind Blows was based on a 1982 graphic novel, by British artist Raymond Briggs, that shows a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union.

It looks like a stop-motion background but with cartoon characters for the bulk of the movie. A technical crew employed a striking combination of hand-drawn and stop-motion animation to bring to life Briggs’ characters, the numerous fantasy/dream sequences, and the soon-to-be nuclear-ravaged, picture-postcard surroundings of the Sussex countryside.

The music… David Bowie sings the theme “When The Wind Blows” and he was going to give more tracks but decided to back out to focus on his album. Roger Waters came in and finished it up. Squeeze also adds to the soundtrack.

Why apocalyptic animation When the Wind Blows is still devastating ...

Why apocalyptic animation When the Wind Blows is still devastating ...

 

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

I love old monster films and Universal Studios had some great monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man and the monster of this post…The Creature from the Black Lagoon. This movie was released in 3-D and I’m going to get that version.

It’s been years since I watched this movie so I watched it Wednesday night. The movie was made in 1954 with some great water shots and the star of the film…The Gill-Man. He looks so odd that it still works today. The underwater shots are clear and exciting. The creature looks natural underwater.

The costume…Universal invested 15,000 dollars on the costume…in 1950s money…that would be equal to $143,294.05 today. Two different stuntmen were used to portray the creature, and therefore, two different suits were used in the movie. Ricou Browning played the creature when it was in the water and wore a lighter suit, Ben Chapman played the creature when it was out of the water with a darker suit.

Now let’s get to the object of the Creatures obsession… Julia Adams as Kay  Lawernce. I don’t blame the Creature.

3….2….1

Creature From the Black Lagoon's Julie Adams Dies At Age 92 | CBR

Now the plot…A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

The plot is fine but you watch to see the Creature. They did have two sequels and in the Revenge of the Creature made in 1955 you see a very young Clint Eastwood.

creature-in-the-black-lagoon | Trailers From Hell

Death Wish 1974

When I started to watch this movie…I thought it was going to be Charles Bronson randomly mowing down the people in New York City…but it had a purpose and was a pretty good movie.

There was some controversy when this movie was released because of Bronson being a vigilante in the movie. The critics who disliked the film complained that it irresponsibly exploited fear. They also claimed the film gave an exaggerated picture of crime in New York and that it glorified vigilantism… that it endorses violence as a solution to violence.

I enjoyed the film. New York in the mid-seventies makes a great atmosphere…although not a safe one. The movie is brutal but realistic.

On a side note…this movie is Jeff Goldblum’s film debut.

From IMDB

Open-minded architect Paul Kersey returns to New York City from vacationing with his wife, feeling on top of the world. At the office, his cynical coworker gives him the welcome-back with a warning on the rising crime rate. But Paul, a bleeding-heart liberal, thinks of crime as being caused by poverty. However, his coworker’s ranting proves to be more than true when Paul’s wife is killed and his daughter is raped in his own apartment. The police have no reliable leads and his overly sensitive son-in-law only exacerbates Paul’s feeling of hopelessness. He is now facing the reality that the police can’t be everywhere at once. Out of sympathy, his boss gives him an assignment in sunny Arizona where Paul gets a taste of the Old West ideals. He returns to New York with a compromised view on muggers…

 

Where is… the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car Now?

For my eighth birthday, I was given the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang soundtrack. I loved the movie so much that my mom got it for me. The movie is a classic…and what’s not to like… a flying car…that is all it took to get my attention and the catchy theme song.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang found fame in the 1968 children’s movie of the same name starring Dick van Dyke. The magical car not only traveled on land but could fly and also float on water. The car was designed by the film’s production designer, Ken Adam.

The original driving car that was used in the film and the final product weighed approximately 2 tons, was 17 feet long, and built on a custom made ladder frame chassis.

The alloy dashboard plate was from a British World War I fighter plane. All of this was built around a modern Ford V6 engine with Automatic transmission. Chitty rolled out of the workshop in June 1967 and was registered with the number plate GEN 11 given to her by Ian Fleming in his novel.

For the 1968 film, six cars were created, this one was the fully functional road-going car.

From 1970 to 2011, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car was owned by a man named Pierre Picton, who toured in the car, taking it to various auto shows around the UK. In 2011, the car was auctioned for $805,000.

The acclaimed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson purchased the car. Jackson has since used the vehicle to raise money for charities in various capacities. The car is kept in New Zealand where it is registered as GEN 1I, because the original Gen 11 Plate was already taken.

 

 

Where is…The original Death Star model from Star Wars now?

It’s unbelievable how close this famous movie prop came to being lost.

The model used in the film along with some other props were thought to be garbage after the movie finished filming.

Many of the props were kept in a facility called Dollar Moving and Storage. The storage unit was rented by the studio and upon completion of postproduction, the studio decided they no longer wanted to pay rent and ordered everything in storage to be discarded. An employee named Doug W. rescued many of the props from the garbage including the Death Star. In a world before ebay…who knows what was lost.

Doug displayed the Death Star in his home in California for about a decade. Around 1988, Doug moved to Missouri and stored the Death Star at his mother’s antique shop (Sutter’s Mill Antiques, later renamed The Mexican Hillbilly) in Missouri.

Todd Franklin, a Star Wars collector living in the area, drove by the antique shop and was immediately convinced it had to be the original Death Star model. Todd wondered how and why the original Death Star was in Missouri. He made some calls and was convinced it was the one. He was going to buy it but before he got back it was sold to another person named Mark who was the owner of a country and western music show called Star World. Mark displayed the Death Star in the lobby.

In 1994 Todd, his brother Pat, and friend Tim Williams traveled to Star World who was going out of business. The Death Star was being used as a trash can in the corner! Todd made an offer and bought it on the spot. All three owned it and contacted Lucasfilm but they did not want to buy it back.

In 1999 Gus Lopez contacted Todd, Pat, and Tim and negotiated a price. Now, Gus owns the famous Death Star.

Since then, Lopez has had the original Death Star on display in a custom-made case in his home, and he even loaned it to the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle (though Lopez refers to it by its former name: the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum) for a five-year stint.

Gus Lopez: “The EMP gave it top billing in the museum with a prominent spot at the center of one of the main rooms. I got a kick out of reading about the Death Star in local tourist literature and walking by the Death Star on display at the museum to hear conversations from people telling their stories about what Star Wars meant to them. And now the Death Star is back home, where I see it every day. And when I look at it, I am still amazed it survived its long journey and is sitting right in front of me.”

Image result for original death star

 

Where is…Rosebud from Citizen Kane Now?

There were three Rosebuds made to burn at the end of the film. Orson Welles directed all the insert photography and Welles was happy with the second sled they burned, and so the third sled was not needed, and that was put in storage at RKO Pictures.

After that…The sled had been owned by John Hall, RKO’s chief archivist, who had bought it from a studio watchman. The watchman had found it in a trash heap outside the prop vault in the old RKO studios in Hollywood.

Steven Spielberg bought Rosebud during a Sotheby’s auction in 1982.  He paid $60,500 for the prop sled, beating out other bidders.

Spielberg has now donated the sled to the Academy Museum. The Museum is set to open on December 14, 2020, per their website.

Steven Spielberg: “It’s going to be at the Academy Museum eventually – the new Academy Museum. It’s in my office right now and it’s been there for years and years, ever since I purchased it. It was at home for a while and then it was in my office. But I think it really belongs in a museum so everybody can see it.”

spielberg sled

Steven talks about Rosebud starting around 7:12