Beatles Get Back Trailer

Just saw this a few minutes ago. Lately I’ve been living in a bubble because of work but this is the new Get Back trailer. This is not the sneak peak Peter Jackson released before. On November 25,26, and 27th… 6 hours of the Let It Be/Get Back music, comedy, and drama will all unfold on the Disney plus.

As a very young Beatle fan I read about these sessions and only saw still photographs. Later on I saw them do Get Back on MTV while on the rooftop and it was like photos coming to life…I read where they had 56 hours of video footage sitting in a vault from this album. Now we will see 6 hours out of that anyway…you what what? I would happily sit through 56 hours… Peter Jackson has done such a great job on the look of the film…it looks like it could have been filmed yesterday. Peter, need an assistant for free?

With the previews I’ve seen…it looks like it was a lot of fun and the bad drama was not prevalent through the filming. Ringo has said that people have focused on the negative but it was much more positive than that. What is great about Get Back is the good time they had and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I can’t imagine the pressure they were under to deliver and be as good as their last album. In this case, when they filmed this, it was just a few months after they released The White Album…The Let It Be album didn’t get released until after their last studio album Abbey Road.

Enough of me talking…here is the preview.

Santo and Johnny – Sleep Walk

This is my fifth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. Santo and Johnny Sleep Walk.

I have always liked and admired good instrumentals. I look at them the same way I look at the great silent movies of the early 20th century. They have to get across what they want to say without dialog. That is not easy to do but when they succeed…they are great. When I hear Sleep Walk it’s like hearing a dream set to music…haunting and beautiful at the same time. 

 Lyrics would not do this song justice…it says all it needs to say. 

I first heard it on the movie La Bamba and I never grew tired of it. Unlike other soundtrack songs…I don’t think of the movie when I listen to this one. It’s on it’s own little island. 

I like many instrumentals but this one is probably my favorite. It sets a mood like no other. It was written and performed by Santo and Johnny Farina in 1959. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in the UK Charts.

 

The Magnificent Seven

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

There have been actors and musicians that exuded cool…Steve McQueen would be one of the top ones…and he was just starting in this movie…and not the star. 

This cast is just incredible… Along with McQueen, you have Charles Bronson, James Coburn,  Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz,  Brad Dexter,  and the great Yul Brynner. We are not talking about cameos here…Brynner is the unquestioned leader of this band of mercenary gunfighters…but money is not the most important thing to most of them. They believe in Brynner’s character and the adventure.

I could go through talking about each actor, but I won’t…there are a few I’ll touch on. Eli Wallach… did a masterful portrayal of Calvera. He is one actor that I would have loved to have met. His personality was so big in films, but he didn’t over act…he was just that good.

The actor that caught my attention the most in this was the newcomer of the seven. Chico, played brilliantly by Horst Buchholz. His character was young, impatient, cocky, but a nice kid who you saw grow in the movie. He wanted to join the six fighters, but he wasn’t accepted until he persisted and wore Chris Larrabee Adams (Yul Brynner) down.

John Sturges directed this movie and also The Great Escape plus Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. This movie was not shot on some studio backlot somewhere. It was real locations and it showed.

A brief look at the plot. A gang of bandits terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. They ride in and take what they want like the village is their own personal store. Several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with seven, each of whom comes for a different reason. They must prepare the town to beat an army of thirty bandits who will arrive wanting food. In came the Magnificent Seven to defend the village and teach the farmers how to fight.

A little trivia about the movie. Yul Brynner had a major role in casting, and he wanted Steve McQueen in the movie. At the time McQueen was in a television western called Wanted: Dead or Alive.

They ended up not getting along because McQueen supposedly was trying to upstage Brynner. When McQueen was dying of cancer he called Brynner and made up with him for the trouble in the film. McQueen said: “I had to make it up with Yul ’cause without him I wouldn’t have been in that picture.”

It’s not only a great western, it has comedy, drama, and most of all…all the characters are real. There is a reason some of them were huge at the time and others went on to be not only popular but legends. 

CAST

Yul Brynner … Chris Larabee Adams
Eli Wallach … Calvera
Steve McQueen … Vin Tanner
Horst Buchholz … Chico
Charles Bronson … Bernardo O’Reilly
Robert Vaughn … Lee
Brad Dexter … Harry Luck
James Coburn … Britt
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos … Hilario (as Jorge Martinez de Hoyas)
Vladimir Sokoloff … Old Man
Rosenda Monteros … Petra
Rico Alaniz … Sotero
Pepe Hern … Tomas
Natividad Vacío … Villager (as Natividad Vacio)
Mario Navarro … Boy with O’Reilly

 

The Time Machine 1960

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

I have always liked Time Travel movies and this one is one of the best  I’ve watched. The movie was based on the H.G. Wells book The Time Machine published in 1895. The way they present it is believable.

I somehow missed this movie until 2005. It stars Rod Taylor as George Wells, Alan Young as David Filby/James Filby , and the beautiful Yvette Mimieux as Weena and Alan Young. It also has Sebastian Cabot as Dr. Philip Hillyer.

Rod Taylor portrays George Wells, and he builds a Time Machine. Other than the Tardis (Doctor Who) it’s the coolest time machine I’ve seen. He builds a miniature one and while his friends watch, he turns the small machine on and it disappears into the future. His friends don’t really believe it. They question what good it will do if it really works? Who would buy it? George gets aggravated and takes off. I can’t say I blame him.

This time machine doesn’t physically move but just occupies the same space in the time.

He takes the machine for a test ride into the future. They had no CGI but they get across time travel fine. To show time passing they set up a mannequin across the street to show different clothing styles passing by with the time which is brilliant. Sometimes subtle ways are better than obvious ones.

George’s journey began on December 31, 1899 and he goes to October 12, 802,701 with some stops on the way. He witnesses some of the first and second World War and nuclear destruction. When he gets to 802,701 the adventure begins.

He ends up in a future society where all the people are young. They do nothing all day but play and eat…hmmm millennials? Just kidding…George shows this society there is a price they pay for playing all day. The young people there have no clue on what is going on. No laws, curiosity, and no anxiety for the future. They are sheep and they don’t even know or seem to care.

My favorite part of the movie is the creatures called the Morlocks with glowing eyes that live underground because they could not stand light. They provide the clueless land dwellers with food for obvious reasons. This is a truly classic movie. Don’t’ bother with the remake in 2002…get this version.

Alan Young does a great job as David Filby…George’s best friend and later David’s son…

My son watched this when he was 8 and feared the Morlocks but kept watching. He still watches it now. It was filmed in 1960 and the film won an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects. Does it measure up to today’s special effects? No,  but it gets the story across so if you like classic sci-fi you might like this one. I’ve seen it many times and never got tired of it.

CAST

  • Rod Taylor as H. George Wells
  • Alan Young as David Filby/James Filby
  • Yvette Mimieux as Weena
  • Sebastian Cabot as Dr. Philip Hillyer
  • Tom Helmore as Anthony Bridewell
  • Whit Bissell as Walter Kemp
  • Doris Lloyd as Mrs. Watchett
  • Paul Frees as voice of the Rings (uncredited)

 

Modern Times

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

This was/ the first feature length Chaplin movie I ever watched. It was his last “silent” movie. The year was 1936 and “talkies” had been around for almost a decade and certainly the most popular movie format in the 1930’s. Chaplin stubbornly decided to carry on with another silent movie and I’m glad he did.

Chaplin was a smart man…he knew the little tramp could not talk on screen…the character was over with if he did…finished. That was part of his mystic. Another reason was the beauty of silent film at the time. He had perfected the art and talkies were full of clumsy lines delivered with immobile cameras and primitive microphones. They were improving but when silent movies ended…an art was lost forever.

Other actors at the time didn’t have the power or clout to try this but it worked brilliantly for Chaplin.  It was one of the top-grossing films of 1936. This after being told no one would want to see a silent movie in 1936…Charlie was once again right.

Chaplin did like the fact that he could insert sound effects into the movie with the technology. He wrote, directed, acted,  produced and also wrote the music for this movie. Modern Times has Chaplin’s finest music score. His most recognizable and commercially viable song, “Smile,” emerged from a melody used by him in this movie.

The film is very relevant today. Charlie takes on the machine age as humans are treated like cattle. Chaplin takes a swipe at  capitalism , industrialization and human exploitation.

The little tramp is finding it difficult to survive in the modern mechanized world. Failing as a worker on a factory assembly line, he gets into a series of adventures and misadventures, which leads him meeting a young recently orphaned “gamine” who ran away rather than end up in an orphanage. They try to survive in the world together, both on the run from the law, although his previous stints behind bars… were to him more appealing than life outside in the cold modern world.

The question becomes… can Charlie and the gamine individually or together  find their place in the modern world with all the odds against them?

Some famous scenes are in this movie. Chaplin in the automatic feeding machine, Chaplin and his boss in the gears of the machinery, and Chaplin going insane trying to tighten bolts on every thing.

It is a great film to start watching Chaplin if you haven’t seen any of his previous movies. One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract, and entertain audiences…you will enjoy this one!

My love of GODZILLA

No this is not a review of the new movie…just memories from a Godzilla fan. I will say though that I did enjoy the movie…The fight scenes are the best I’ve scene through this monster universe reboot…I felt like I was 10 again.

When I was a kid I loved monster movies. Huge monsters stomping through cities. My monster was and still is Godzilla. I watched all of those Japanese movies of the sixties and seventies and loved them. I will still watch one every once in a while. When I was around 11 I bought a monster book while on vacation in Florida. I took it to school and some jerk stole it. I would love to have that book back…so if you are out there…come on…give me the book back!

Godzilla Has A Bunch Of Ridiculous Movies That Actually Make King Of The  Monsters Look Sane - CINEMABLEND

My best friend growing up was named Ronald…he was and still is a huge Elvis fan and I am a huge Beatles fan (we both liked older music) and we would have good natured arguments over who was better. I still think I’m right!

Ok back to Monsters he was a Kong fan and Godzilla was my guy…another argument we would gladly have. After he sees the new movie we will probably have it again.

Godzilla Vs Kong Review | Movie - Empire

In 1998 a new Godzilla was in the theaters. I was so excited… normally I’m not a big fan of CGI BUT… with monster movies…oh yes! I could not believe what they did to my Godzilla…they made him a large sidewalk lizard. They changed his looks and sound. I didn’t think they would ever come out with anything again. At the time I did get some of the recent Japanese Godzilla movies and they were good.

1998

why is zilla 1998 so bad? - Godzilla Forum

In 2014 the movie Godzilla came out and I felt like a kid again. This was the Godzilla (minus the man in the suit) that I loved as a child…

We all know Kong connects with people and that is a great thing but Godzilla is just so cool with his atomic breath and dorsal plates. Godzilla looks at people like ants but as long as we don’t attack him…he is cool with us…except if you own tall buildings on the coast! If you do you better get a lot of insurance.

┐(◕﹏◕)┌

Here is Godzilla through the years.

Chaplin (1992)

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

This fulfills my biographical genre. I started to get into silent movies in the late eighties. It started with a book on Clara Bow and it mushroomed from there. By 1992 I was ordering silent movies on VHS from New York and bootlegs where ever I could get them. The actors and actresses that got my attention were Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks Sr, Mary Pickford, and Charles Chaplin.

In 1992 I had just settled into my small Laverne and Shirley basement studio apartment when this movie was released. It was perfect timing because this was the peak of my silent movie interest. I would get USA Today everyday to check my Dodgers box scores and I read about this movie coming out. There was an advertisement where you could make a 99 cent phone call (per minute) to listen to some of the movie on the telephone. Yes I was that desperate (sucker) to do just that… to hear some of the movie…it was a different time.

I had read where Johnny Depp was up for the role and I thought he would have been the perfect person to play Chaplin. I was totally wrong…the perfect actor to play Chaplin was the one who got the role…Robert Downey Jr. He became Chaplin on the screen. He went as far as learning to play tennis left handed.

Robert Downey Jr. had a terrific cast surrounding him. Chaplin’s own daughter (Geraldine Chaplin) played Chaplin’s mom in the movie. Dan Aykroyd portrayed Mack Sennett, and Kevin Kline plays Douglas Fairbanks Sr. It was also directed by the great Richard Attenborough.

The movie starts with an 8 year old Chaplin taking the stage to sing after his mentally disturbed mom was booed off. Chaplin’s childhood was straight out of a Dickens novel. With help from his older brother Syd he got a job with a vaudeville unit ran by Fred Karno. He also met his first love Hetty Kelly who would shape his love interest for the rest of his life. His brother Syd worked as his manager when Chaplin got famous. In the beginning Syd was much more well known than Charlie…until the little tramp appeared.

The movie moves fast…sometimes a little too fast. All through the movie he is talking to an editor (Anthony Hopkins) about his then new (1964) autobiography and that is how they move the movie along. I wanted to see more about certain movies I’d enjoyed but they did have a lot to cover. They manage to touch on some of his political problems like with J. Edgar Hoover and when he made The Great Dictator.

The movie follows Chaplin through his movies, personal life,  and his politically rough waters. As with any movie about a historical figure…things will be missed, wrong, and forgotten but the movie hits the high spots of his life.

If you  really want to know about Chaplin read Chaplin: His Life and Art by David Robinson or watch one of the many documentaries on him. Chaplin was a complicated man…too complicated to be summed up in a two hour motion picture…but it was a great try. After reading so many books, what I wanted would have taken a 6 hour movie…so this is a good introduction to Chaplin.

The movie was very enjoyable and you do get the highs and lows of Charles Spencer Chaplin. You also get a hell of a good acting job from Robert Downey Jr. The movie also combines shots of the real Chaplin in his movies. Sitting in the theater it was magical…near the end of the movie they show real Chaplin clips as seen on an award show in 1972. The laughter in the theater was the loudest I’ve ever heard before or since… the Tramp still drew laughs in 1992 and he still does in 2021.

After watching this movie you will probably want to watch some Chaplin movies…that would be the best outcome…if you haven’t watched any…you are missing a true artist who not only starred but wrote, directed, and produced.

Cast

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin
    • Hugh Downer as Charlie age 5
    • Thomas Bradford as Charlie age 14
  • Marisa Tomei as Mabel Normand
  • Geraldine Chaplin as Hannah Chaplin
  • Paul Rhys as Sydney Chaplin
    • Nicholas Gatt as Sydney age 9
  • John Thaw as Fred Karno
  • Moira Kelly as Hetty Kelly, Charlie’s first love / Oona O’Neill
  • Anthony Hopkins as George Hayden
  • Dan Aykroyd as Mack Sennett
  • Penelope Ann Miller as Edna Purviance
  • Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks
  • Matthew Cottle as Stan Laurel
  • Maria Pitillo as Mary Pickford
  • Milla Jovovich as Mildred Harris
  • Kevin Dunn as J. Edgar Hoover
  • Deborah Moore as Lita Grey
  • Diane Lane as Paulette Goddard
  • Nancy Travis as Joan Barry
  • James Woods as Joseph Scott
  • Francesca Buller as Minnie Chaplin
  • David Duchovny as Roland Totheroh

The General (1927)

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

Buster Keaton was a little off kilter to his comedy peers. He was more subtle than Chaplin or Harold Lloyd. Keaton used non movement to his advantage. You would see him in a crowd easily. They would be moving along and his stillness would get your attention.

Chaplin had two rivals in comedy at the time. Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Lloyd was more successful than Keaton but he was more of an actor playing a comedian on screen. Charlie and Buster were stage trained natural comedians and made some of the best comedies of the teens and twenties…and some would say all time.

Buster was an excellent filmmaker. I would put him over Chaplin in that regard. Buster didn’t fake stunts…he didn’t like cutting in at the last minute. He wanted the gag or whatever it was to be filmed in one shot and completely natural.

This is Buster Keaton’s civil war era masterpiece. It was released in 1927 to mediocre reviews. Keaton was ahead of his time and it caught the audience by surprise. This movie is now considered one of the best movies ever made. Buster wanted to make it look real to the era. He told his crew to make it so authentic that it hurt. This film is a reference point to some people to see what the Civil War looked like.

This film contained the most expensive shot in silent movie history. Buster had free rein on this movie and it showed. His budget was $750,000 dollars which was huge at the time for a comedy. Buster had a bridge built just to have a train go across it and crash. The single scene cost 42,000 in 1927 dollars. In today’s money that would be over half a million. But doesn’t it look great?

Buster made the movie in Cottage Grove Oregon. Animal House would be made there 51 years later. When World War 2 came, the train was pulled out of the creek bed and used for scrap iron. People say you can still find fragments around this site of the train.

This movie was based on a true story in the civil war known now as The Great Locomotive Chase or Andrew’s Raid.

The Great Locomotive Chase unfolded during the early years of the Civil War, an attempt by Union forces and sympathizers to destroy railroad infrastructure north of Atlanta, Georgia in hopes of eventually capturing the strategic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The celebrity locomotive in what also became known as Andrews’ Raid was the Western & Atlantic Railroad’s General. The American Type 4-4-0 steamer was commandeered by James Andrews himself (leader of the raid) and used throughout the chase where he traveled northward from Atlanta causing as much damage as he could. Unfortunately, the hasty Union plans were too slow and disorganized to cause serious damage and most of those involved were eventually captured.

Buster made very few changes in the story. He kept his eye on details though. The cannon he used in the film was built to the specs of the Civil War Era.

When he shot the cannonball from the cannon railway car on the train to land in the locomotive… he kept trying different measures of powder to get it right until he had to use tweezers to get the right amount. He would do gags without camera trickery when he could. Below is the cannon shot… shot without cuts.

He worked for an independent producer Joseph Schenck so he had complete control of his movies. A little while after this movie lost money he had to go into the studio system and still managed to make a couple of great movies for MGM but after that, the studio would control everything he did which meant the quality of his movies took a nose dive.

Keaton was an incredible filmmaker. This movie is a true chase movie. Buster is either chasing the General (train) after it was stolen or being chased by the Union Army in the “Texas” until it crashes in the ravine.

If you have never seen a silent movie…this is a good one to start at…this one and The Gold Rush by Chaplin.

This is one I hope I will be able to see on the big screen one day.

It ranks #155 on the best movies ever on IMDB.

Cast

  • Buster Keaton – Johnnie Gray, Director, Editor, Screenwriter
  • Marion Mack – Annabelle Lee
  • Glen Cavender – Capt. Anderson
  •  Jim Farley – Gen, Thatcher
  •  Fred Vroom – Southern General
  • Richard Allen – His Son
  •  Joe Keaton – Union General
  • Mike Donlin – Union General
  • Tom Nawn – Union General
  • Charles H. Smith – Mr. Lee, Screenwriter
  • Ray Thomas – Raider
  • Jimmy Bryant – Raider
  •  Ross McCutcheon – Raider
  • Charles Phillips – Raider
  • Anthony Harvey Raider
  • Edward Hearn – Union Officer
  • Budd Fine-Raider
  • Frank S. Hagney – Recruiting Officer

The Bad News Bears (1976)

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

The Bad News Bears fulfills my Sports portion of the draft.

A small personal story to show how true this movie was of the time and why I can relate to it so much.

Our coach would be hitting grounders to each of the fielders from home plate and I was the catcher that day. The infielders would throw to first and then throw back to home…normal right? Not so fast… Our coach would have a beer in one hand and would hand it to me when hitting the ball. I would hand it back while the first baseman was throwing it back to me. This would happen in each practice on the city field. We didn’t think anything about it. The catcher was also the official beer passer and holder…none of us blinked an eye.

This movie was a surprise hit in 1976. It’s about an inept baseball team that is coached by an alcoholic named Morris Buttermaker. He is recruited by an attorney who filed a lawsuit against a competitive Southern California Little League, which excluded the least athletically skilled children (including his son) from playing. To settle the lawsuit, the league agrees to add an additional team…the Bears which is composed of the worst players.

The kids are foul-mouthed and the coach could care less… for a while anyway. When I watch this movie I’m in little league again. There was a remake in 2005 but I’ve always stuck to this one.

The script is smartly written and the comedy is good. Sometimes this movie gets overlooked but it is a great baseball movie. The cast includes Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow, Jackie Earle Haley, and a cast of unknown kids.

Walter Matthau plays the drunk Morris Buttermaker, perfectly… he does the minimum for a while.  He has the kids cleaning pools in one scene while drinking beer and driving them down the road in the next. While hunting around for a business to sponsor uniforms. Other teams have Pizza Hut and  Dennys but Buttermaker gets a …”Chico Bail Bonds” and that is fitting for this team.

The first game the Bears were beat 26-0 and Buttermaker recruited 12 year old girl name Amanda (Tatum O’Neal) who was the daughter of one of his old girlfriends. Amanda could pitch and pitch well. He taught her at a younger age. He talks her into pitching for the team.

The team starts coming together. Now comes the rebel. Jackie Earle Haley plays Kelly the cool neighborhood punk who rides his motorcycle at the ballpark interrupting games. He is the best athlete around but he refuses to play. He starts liking Amanda and after a bet begins playing with the team.

With the Kelly and Amanda, the team starts winning. They are moving up in the rankings and play for the championship. The last game is when the tone of the movie changes dramatically. Winning comes before everything and Buttermaker becomes serious… and the kids help produce a showdown.

What makes the movie special is despite the huge ensemble you get to know these  kids and the quirks they all show. It also sums up little league quite well.

One thing I remember when this movie was released was the absolute shock of parents everywhere because of these kids swearing. What the parents in 1976 didn’t understand was this is how many kids talked when adults weren’t around…mostly picked it up from their parents.

The movie is so 1970s and it pulls the veil back on youth sports then and now. They really nail down what the adults are like in little league… I coached little league a few years ago and I had a parent actually call me about his son at 10pm because he thought he should be hitting 3rd instead of 5th…this was a team of 4 and 5 year olds. I have seen a coach and parent have a fist fight in the back of the stands…

If you have never seen this film you are missing a baseball classic. But since we do live in 2021…if bad language stresses you out…don’t watch it.

There are two sequels. Bad News Bears Breaking Training and The Bad News Bears Go To Japan. Breaking Training is ok…Avoid the Japan movie at all costs.

Cast

Walter Matthau – Coach Morris Buttermaker
Tatum O’Neal – Amanda Whurlitzer
Vic Morrow – Roy Turner
Joyce Van Patten – Cleveland
Ben Piazza – Bob Whitewood
Jackie Earle Haley – Kelly Leak
Alfred Lutter III – Ogilvie (as Alfred W. Lutter)
Chris Barnes – Tanner Boyle
Erin Blunt – Ahmad Abdul Rahim
Gary Lee Cavagnaro – Engelberg
Jaime Escobedo – Jose Agilar
Scott Firestone – Regi Tower
George Gonzales – Miguel Agilar
Brett Marx – Jimmy Feldman
David Pollock – Rudi Stein
Quinn Smith – Timmy Lupus
David Stambaugh – Toby Whitewood
Brandon Cruz – Joey Turner
Timothy Blake – Mrs. Lupus
Bill Sorrells – Mr. Tower
Shari Summers – Mrs. Turner
Joe Brooks – Umpire
George Wyner – White Sox Manager
David Lazarus – Yankee
Charles Matthau – Athletic
Maurice Marks – Announcer

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