“Forgotten Hollywood”- Beyond the Red Carpet Pt. 2…

February 15th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`The lovely and talented Francine Brokaw squeezed another thirty minutes from me, as we chatted about priceless memories from Hollywood’s Golden Age. It is the second half of this wonderful conversation on Beyond the Red Carpet.

“`Please afford me the moment to personally thank Francine for this delightful back-and-forth.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Oscars…

February 14th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`This year’s Academy Awards  telecast has been blemished by a couple of public-relations disasters and missteps. A number of actors and behind-the-scenes artisans have voiced their outrage over decisions, including temporary inclusion of a popular movie category; the Kevin Hart-hosting debacle; and recently, the scheduled tape delay of four categories from the live portion of the telecast (notably cinematography and editing).

“`Controversy has surrounded Oscars ceremonies throughout its storied history. One incident come to mind.

~ 1953 Telecast – It was the first time the annual awards event was televised. The marriage of motion picture and television was a tenuous relationship, with cinematic moguls fearing the small screen could depress theater ticket sales.  Plus, movie stars thumbed their noses at this upstart medium they considered inferior.

“`And filmmakers started fingering alleged Communists in the industry to the Congressional House Un-American Activities Committee. Screenwriters were particularly vulnerable to red-scare tactics. The accused were ostracized and banned by the studios for a decade.

“`The clear Oscar favorite in 1952 was High Noon, which is one of the greatest Westerns ever made, and a timely sagebrush parable warning against the Joseph McCarthy paranoia that swept the industry. Its screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was one of the Hollywood Ten (the unfriendly witnesses jailed for a refusal to name names in testimonies before HUAC. At the height of the Hollywood blacklist, even Gary Cooper was slurred for starring in the film and voicing support for Foreman. Cooper withdrew his solidarity and the film community rallied and gave him a Best Actor statuette.

“`No one represented establishment Hollywood more than virulently anti-Communist Cecil B. DeMille. At the 1953 ceremony, DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth was named movie’s best of the year. Hollywood historians have generally agreed that this was Oscar’s cheesiest blunder. Instead, High Noon could have lost to respected productions that year such as The Quiet Man, Singing in the Rain, or The Bad and the Beautiful.

“`A couple of side notes…

  • In 1957, a blacklisted screenwriter won an Oscar under an alias (Dalton Trumbo with the pseudonym of Robert Rich).  He was finally awarded that statuette for The Brave One in 1975, a year before his death.
  • Charlie Chaplin, a target of McCarthy, was denied re-entry to the United States in 1952 for his left-wing leanings. His movie Limelight would not be released for twenty years. At that time, Chaplin received a competitive Oscar for Best Score. He had been invited back to the United States the year before to receive an honorary Oscar.
  • Director Howard Hawks and John Wayne challenged the notion of the parable presented in High Noon with the production of Rio Bravo in 1959.

“`I anticipate a fallout from the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Royal Honor…

February 11th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`The acclaimed film editor Thelma Schoonmaker was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for a career that has spanned over fifty years. The three-time Oscar winner, hailed as the queen of the cutting room, has made twenty-three movies with Martin Scorsese, winning statues for Raging Bull, The Aviator, and The Departed. Over the years, she has been nominated for nine BAFTA Awards. She came onto the scene while working on the landmark documentary  Woodstock in 1970.

“`This Fellowship and British cinema are very dear to Schoonmaker’s soul; her late husband was Michael Powell, a giant of British film-making and a recipient of the BAFTA Fellowship in 1981. Since his passing in 1990, Thelma spends much of her time celebrating and educating people about the incredible work of Powell and his collaborative partner Emeric Pressburger. She has worked tirelessly with Scorsese to preserve her late husband’s films. Both delivered iconic productions, including The Red ShoesBlack Narcissus, and A Matter of Life and Death.

 

          MICHAEL POWELL      THELMA SCHOONMAKER

“`Powell developed a cult following during the 1970s and 1980s because of a series of global retrospectives. At the time of his passing, he and Pressburger were considered as one of the foremost movie partnerships of all time. Powell is often cited with Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean as Great Britain’s most influential directors.

“`The Duke of Cambridge and Cate Blanchett honored Schoonmaker at the BAFTA program held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Scorsese offered tribute in a video clip. Later this week, Thelma will continue to work with her friend on their next collaboration, The Irishman, due out later this year. It is a Netflix project starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

“`When not working on a Scorsese project, Thelma Schoonmaker will continue to be a spark to cinema’s Golden Age.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Uncle Albert…

February 8th, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`Albert Finney  became one of the most respected and versatile actors of his generation, and the star of such films as Murder on the Orient Express and Erin Brockovich. From his early days as a strikingly handsome and magnetic screen presence,  the actor was a Brit treasure that delivered charismatic and memorable work. Finney was a rare star who avoided the Hollywood limelight despite more than five decades of worldwide fame.        ALBERT FINNEY –>

“`Albert took to the stage at an early age.  Despite a lack of connections and working-class roots, he earned a place at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Some critics hailed him as the next Laurence Olivier; a commanding presence who would light the British stage. And Finney excelled both in Shakespeare plays and in contemporary offerings.

“`Albert famously turned down an opportunity to play the lead part in director David Lean’s epic  Lawrence of Arabia. This cleared the way for Peter O’Toole to accept what became a career-defining role. Finney also kept a lingering skepticism about the British establishment and turned down a knighthood when it was offered, declining to become Sir Albert. He tried his hand at directing and producing, and played a vital role in sustaining British theater.

“`Finney burst to international fame in 1963 as the star of Tom Jones, a motion picture that earned a Best Picture Oscar. This performance gained him the first of five Academy Award nominations. Other nominations followed for Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano and Erin Brockovich. Each time he fell short. The actor starred in The Entertainer, Scrooge, Wolfen, Miller’s Crossing, AnnieSkyfall, and the Bourne series.

“`Albert Finney was eighty-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Off To See the Wizard…

February 6th, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`On the final Sunday in January, The Wizard of Oz grossed over one million dollars in domestic box office receipts on the initial day of a limited eightieth anniversary re-release, setting the record for Fathom Events  as the highest-grossing single-day classic movie presentation in the company’s history.

“`The Wizard of Oz was ranked number eight at the box office with just two showtimes in nearly seven hundred theaters, nationwide. The screenings also had the highest per-screen average of any motion picture in wide release on that day. Originally produced at MGM, the feature is the first movie in Fathom Events yearlong 2019 TCM Big Screen Classics series, which is presented in partnership with Turner Classic Movies.

“`The collaboration began with a couple of films in 2012 and has grown into a popular annual series. In 2019, TCM Big Screen Classics offers fourteen films, such as Lawrence of ArabiaField of DreamsTo Kill a Mockingbird, and Alien, among others. Each film plays for just two or three days and is accompanied by insightful commentary from TCM’s prime time host Ben Mankiewicz, presented before and after the screening.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Buddy and the Duke…

February 4th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`February 3rd was the sixtieth anniversary of the tragic plane crash that claimed the life of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. It was dubbed  The Day the Music Died. To this end, I was recently made aware of Holly’s ties to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

“`Holly was on the verge of stardom in 1956. The Lubbock, Texas native was still a teen and a big fan of cinema.  Members of his backup group, The Crickets, joined Buddy one afternoon at the movies to enjoy the iconic The Searchers. The movie starred John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, and Natalie Wood. In the screenplay, Wayne was scripted to repeat That’ll Be the Day in many of the scenes. This line of dialogue inspired the young musicians.

   

    BUDDY HOLLY                            JOHN WAYNE

“`Decca Records produced the tune in July 1956; but Holly was paired with another backup band. It did not sell. One year later, Buddy re-recorded the song, with The Crickets, despite a contractual prohibition of such a creative action. A compromise was negotiated and the single was released in the Fall of 1957. It became Buddy Holly’s first number one hit.

“`I imagine if The Duke had been notified that he was an inspiration to a rock and roll song, he might have said… That’ll Be the Day!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Lovely Ingénue…

February 3rd, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`Julie Adams was a lovely ingénue whose image graced 1950s cinema. She is best known for performances in  The Creature From the Black Lagoon  and Bend in the River.                   JULIE ADAMS / THE CREATURE –>

“`In 1946, at the age of nineteen, Adams was crowned as Miss Little Rock (while she lived in Arkansas), and then moved to Hollywood to pursue her acting career. She was reliable in Westerns while at  Universal Pictures. Her film credits include Bright Leaf, The Mississippi Gambler and The Man From the Alamo.

“`Her transition to television was seamless. Adams guest-starred in 77 Sunset StripThe RiflemanCheyenne, Maverick, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, Dr KildareBonanzaThe VirginianIronsideNight Gallery, The Mod Squad, The Big ValleyMarcus Welby M. D., Murder She WroteThe Streets of San Francisco, Medical Center, Ellery Queen, Cannon, Quincy M E, MannixThe F. B. I., Police Woman, and Diagnosis: Murder.

“`Later in life, she was honored for her work in sagebrush cinema, and for her appearance in one of the great horror classics. I recently had the pleasure of meeting her at a book-signing event at the Hollywood Heritage Museum. It was a real treat.

“`Julie Adams was ninety-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”