“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Human Cost of Battle…

May 31st, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Celebrating Act 2 honors the memory of soldiers on celluloid that embodies the humanity of war. I am thrilled to share the mic with John Coleman and veteran Art Kirsch for this poignant discussion…

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bon Voyage…

May 29th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Gavin MacLeod was an actor whose work spanned six decades. He is best known as the Captain of The Love Boat and as a news writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

“`After serving in the United States Air Force, he moved to New York City and worked at Radio City Music Hall while looking for work. He made his television debut on The Walter Winchell File. Soon after, he garnered a role in I Want to Live!, a 1958 prison drama starring Susan Hayward. He was noticed by Blake Edwards, who in 1958 cast him in the pilot episode of his NBC series Peter Gunn, several guest parts on Edwards’ CBS series Mr. Lucky in 1959, and in  Operation Petticoat, with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. The flick proved to be a breakout role for MacLeod and he was cast in two Edwards comedies, High Time with Bing Crosby and The Party with Peter Sellers.

“`Other film roles included Pork Chop Hill, The Gene Krupa Story, The Sand Pebbles, The Comic, and Kelly’s Heroes. On television, he guest-starred on The Untouchables, Death Valley Days, Dr. KildareThe Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle U. S. M. C., The Munsters, The Andy Griffith Show, Hogan’s Heroes, It Takes a Thief, My Favorite MartianThe Man From U. N. C. L. E.,Combat!, The Rat Patrol, The Big Valley, The Flying Nun and Murder She Wrote. He was also a regular during the first two seasons of McHale’s Navy.

“`MacLeod served as the honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades for five years. Sugar Ray Leonard succeeded him in 2011.  On February 28, 2011, Gavin celebrated his eightieth birthday aboard Golden Princess on Princess Cruises in Los Angeles.

“`Gavin MacLeod (above right) was ninety.

===============================

“`B. J. Thomas was a rock crooner who had a string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s. They include (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, his cover of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Rock and Roll Lullaby, Mighty Clouds Of Joy, Hooked on a Feeling, I Just Can’t Help Believing, and an Oscar-winner Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head featured in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidB. J. THOMAS –>

“`A couple of years back,  I had the pleasure in attending a B. J. Thomas concert in Laughlin, Nevada. The ticket was only twenty-five dollars. He played in the exact same hall where I had performed a few years earlier in a national karaoke contest. He was so warm and low-key and the audience sang along with every tune.

“`B. J. Thomas was seventy-eight.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#44, #43)…

May 28th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`I discovered that I am not the only one counting down the best cinema of the last twenty years.  It is mind-boggling to see how different my list is as compared to others, with many in their countdown members of the Marvel, Star WarsLord of the Rings / Harry PotterFast & Furious, or Will Ferrell / Ben Stiller family. It was predictable how many movie titles ended with the words:  pt. 2 or IV.

“`But I digress. Here are #44 and #43…

====================

~ #44 – MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011) 

“`Here is a movie filled with many of those Woody Allen gems — a whiny male in a fractured relationship; stuttering conversations, and stylish music from the Great American Songbook. But, Midnight in Paris has so much more…

“`Allen clearly respects the artiste of the Lost Generation; creative types who came from all walks of life and gathered in Paris between World Wars.  It was not uncommon to find Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Isadora Duncan, Josephine Baker,  F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Cole Porter huddled together at a local cafe or nightclub to analyze the effects of their collective shadow on the rest of the globe. Midnight in Paris is a time-travel comedy that allows film-goers to meet these cultural icons through the eyes of Owen Wilson  (of all people!). The movie explores themes of nostalgia and modernism.

“`Nominated for four Academy Awards (including Best Picture), Midnight in Paris won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. This Allen flick clearly embodies some of his early zany work (Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Sleeper). Get over Woody’s creepy personal shenanigans because it remains his one movie you should take time to watch and enjoy.

          

  ~ #43 – THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014) 

“`Only from the mind of Wes Anderson could we imagine The Grand Budapest Hotel in all of its colorful splendor.  A Euro-universe is manifested where characters perpetuate the illusion of a time where they do not belong, the consequence of romanticizing one’s past. The screenplay does not directly refer to historical events, rather it contains oblique references contextualizing a vague history. The most deliberate of these images allude specifically to Nazism.

“`The all-star cast seriously soars, while the critical spotlight shines on the craftsmanship of this sumptuous production: Robert Yeoman’s principal photography with locations in Eastern Germany; Adam Stockhausen’s set design that replicates an Alpine resort; costume designer Milena Canonero’s essence of a 1930s military uniform and a period look of movie stars that resembles the work of iconic photographer George Hurrell; and Russian folk-influence music scored by Alexander Desplat with the balalaika at its instrumental core.

“`Ralph Fiennes anchors this motion picture  (he co-starred in my #49 pick, The Reader). Others in the cast include F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum,Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson (??). The Grand Budapest Hotel earned nine Academy Award nods, winning four for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.

“`As with many comedies, laughter’s companion is foreboding tragedy.  The essential theme of this production serves up a reminder of what we might lose as we age; something to ponder in our quiet time.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- For What It’s Fort Worth…

May 27th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`In commemoration of his life and legacy, the Fort Worth Stockyards has debuted a new, permanent exhibition — John Wayne: An American Experience next to Cowtown Coliseum. Friends, family, and city notables were invited to attend Wednesday’s proclamation of John Wayne Day throughout the city.

“`The Duke’s son Ethan Wayne delivered a heartfelt speech and there was a mock gunfight. Plus everyone in attendance enjoyed the new Duke Tequila before heading over to the Hotel Dover for a VIP reception.

“`The exhibit extends over ten thousand square feet and brings guests on an interactive tour through the life of the actor. Folks are exposed to never-before-seen family photographs and correspondences, including letters to fans, celebrities, presidents, and others.

“`The exhibit features many galleries, including one that illuminates John Wayne’s prolific film career and there are displays of his iconic props and costumes. And finally, sit down to enjoy a Duke Bourbon or John Wayne Cabernet in the lounge to complete your day.

“`For fans of Wayne, a pilgrimage might be in order.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Tomorrow is Another Day…

May 26th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`This week, Amazon acquired MGM content in what is considered the largest merger in media history. However, this transaction does not include MGM films made prior to 1986. These titles belong to WarnerMedia. That said, Amazon will stock Prime Video with the MGM’s inventory of four thousand movies and seventeen thousand hours of television.

“`In 1986, Ted Turner made deals that resulted in Turner Broadcasting taking ownership of all prior MGM productions. He wanted cinema for programming his growing cable empire and the library has become one of the pillars that built Turner Classic Movies. Today, WarnerMedia owns both TCM and Turner’s MGM library. This means you will find The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Singing in the Rain available to stream on HBO Max (not Amazon Prime).

“`What films did Amazon end up actually acquiring through the deal. Based on past business transactions made by MGM? The James Bond series (United Artists library); The Graduate and Fargo (Polygram library); and Silence of the Lambs and Dumb and Dumber (Orion Pictures library). In fact, MGM’s library is so large that it represents over half of Hollywood’s studio films produced since 1948.

“`Bulletins as they break!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Landslide…

May 25th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`It is an issue of infrastructure; the walls are deteriorating and there is a chance that the nearby high-speed rail might be caught in the crosshairs. Can this be repaired by an act of congress?

“`The Matterhorn Ride at Disneyland is aging and suffering from exterior and interior decay. The shutdown will allow crews to fix the summit in stages. The rail is expected to be updated to make for a smoother ride. The Matterhorn debuted in 1959.

“`Imagineers have wanted to tear down the mountain to build a larger rollercoaster with the Alpine theme. Unfortunately, such a plan would cause the closure of the Alice in Wonderland, Tea Cups, and Nemo Lagoon attractions. The makeover is a short-term solution.

“`The target date for completion is July 2021. Not sure if this is a realistic goal.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#46, #45)…

May 23rd, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`I continue the countdown of my favorite fifty motion pictures of the twenty-first century. You may agree or disagree with my selections or a position of a particular film with regards to others. You will find my previous choices if you scroll down my blog.

“`Today, I present #46 and #45

====================

~ #46 – THE POST (2017)

“`When I crafted the list, I left off “years” so as not to influence my picks. As a result, this is the third consecutive production from 2017. And this is the only film on my list that features Meryl Streep. Honestly, I am a bigger fan of Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Helen Mirren, Sissy Spacek, and Judi Dench, all contemporaries of Streep. By contrast, this is one of three movies I selected that stars Tom Hanks, a clear favorite of mine.

“`While not All the President’s MenThe Post depicts the true story of journalist attempts by the Washington Post to publish the infamous Pentagon Papers; classified documents that chronicled the two decades involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War, and earlier, in French Indochina during the late 1940s.

“`The motion picture received two Oscar nods; for Best Picture and Best Actress (Streep). By the way, the newspaper won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its contributions. No one should question the vaunted periodical for dispensing fake news during this controversial era. Plus, political thrillers of the 1960s and 1970s always grab my attention.

      

~ #45 – WOMAN IN GOLD (2015)

“`This nifty little film is based on the true story of Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish refugee living in Cheviot Hills, who fought the government of Austria for almost a decade to reclaim Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting of her aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which was stolen from her relatives by the Nazis in Vienna just prior to World War II.  Altmann took her legal battle to the United States Supreme Court, which decided on Republic of Austria v. Altmann (2004).

“`The reproduction of the painting, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, was created by scenic artist Steve Mitchell, who spent five weeks making the re-creation. Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds are the oddest of collaborators in this buddy film, of sorts. For her performance, Mirren received a Screen Actors Guild nomination. The actress made my countdown three times. (She already was in my #50 flick – Gosford Park).

“`Valuables stolen by Nazis is a recurring theme in cinema that dates back to the 1940s, such as One Night in Casablanca with the Marx Brothers and The Monuments Men with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett. The remedy of reparations addresses a systematic violation of human rights or humanitarian law. Reviving a society’s culture remains a noble venture and that story can be a fascinating journey.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Heartbreak Charles…

May 18th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Charles Grodin was a deadpan comedian known for his dry wit and his wonderful timing. He was a familiar face on screen for over five decades.  He was also a natural on prime-time talk shows.

“`Grodin dropped out of the University of Miami to launch a career in acting.  Grodin’s cinematic debut was an uncredited bit in Disney’s 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  A student of Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, he landed Broadway jobs, including a debut in Tchin-Tchin, which starred Anthony Quinn.                           CHARLES GRODIN –>

“`After he landed a small role in Rosemary’s Baby, Grodin became a sought-after actor.  Catch-22 and The Heartbreak Kid cemented his status as a Hollywood mainstay. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his latter performance.

“`Grodin appeared in memorable comedies including 11 Harrowhouse, King Kong, DaveHeaven Can WaitMidnight Run, The Great Muppet Caper, The Woman in Red, The Couch Trip, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Seems Like Old Times, Hearts and Souls  and Beethoven series of movies. On the small screen, Grodin guest-starred in The F. B. I., Have Gun – Will Travel, My Mother the Car, The Virginian, The Big Valley, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Judd for the Defense, The Big Valley, and Laverne and Shirley.

“`From 1995 to 1998, Grodin hosted his own issues-oriented talk show, The Charles Grodin Show, on CNBC; and starting in 2000, he was a political commentator for 60 Minutes II.

“`Charles Grodin was eighty-six.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Lizabeth Scott

May 17th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Art Kirsch and John Coleman grill me on the life and career of femme fatale Lizabeth Scott on Celebrating Act 2. Here is an actress who cut her teeth in film noir.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#48, #47)…

May 16th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`I continue the countdown of my favorite fifty motion pictures of the twenty-first century. These choices are not necessarily the best technical films of the last two decades, just flicks I can enjoy again and again. Let me suggest that once I put them out there, you might decide to watch these gems.

“`My next two selections feature strong female characters in edgy semi-biographical cinema. They both were released in 2017.

“`To recap: #50 – GOSFORD PARK / #49THE READER. Let us continue the countdown:

====================

~ #48 – I TONYA (2017)

“`Tonya Harding soured on her fifteen minutes of fame after being trashed by the media while she attempted to earn the right to participate in the sport of figure skating at the 1994 Winter Olympics.  After rival Nancy Kerrigan was assaulted, Tonya would plead guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution in the subsequent investigation.  She was eventually banned for life by the United States Figure Skating Association.

“`Loosely based on actual events,  I Tonya provides the sordid account as a satirical comedy with Harding cast in a sympathetic light by the compelling Margot Robbie. The mockumentary approach of the production is its strength.  The supporting cast excels as trailer park chic and Allison Janney earned an Oscar for her role as the figure skater’s hellish mom.

“`Nominated for three Academy Awards, I Tonya takes a tragically humorous trajectory. This kind of perspective has a celluloid lineage that includes  Fargo and 2020s Promising Young Woman. For the record, Kerrigan had no intention of viewing this flick. It is a production that bites you on the butt and might even take out your kneecap; so to speak!

         

~ #47 – MOLLY’S GAME (2017)

“`Aaron Sorkin is getting well-deserved press for his latest work, The Trial of the Chicago 7. Of course, The Social Network remains his prize screenplay. In between, he was quite chatty (in print) with his Steve Jobs and Molly’s Game. The latter was Sorkin’s directorial debut.

“`Poker is the subject of Molly’s Game and I LOVE movies about gambling. Molly Bloom is on a solid path to participate in the 2002 Winter Olympics as a world class mogul skier until she is severely injured during a qualifying event. The production follows Molly (Jessica Chastain) who becomes a target of an FBI investigation after the underground poker empire she oversees for Hollywood celebs, athletes, financiers, and the Russian mob is exposed. She ends up writing a best-selling memoir in 2014 about her gritty experience.

“`Giving his actors a workout with a rugged screenplay and shotgun dialogue, Sorkin garnered the production its only Oscar nomination. Incidentally, Bloom was astonishingly pleased by the intensity of Chastain’s performance. I predict this work will be considered Sorkin’s lost classic.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#50, #49)…

May 12th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Over the next twenty-five weeks,  I will count down my fav FIFTY movies made in the twenty-first century. You can argue if they are the best films of the last two decades.

“`These personal choices gives you an insight into my point of view with regards to modern cinema. I will present two flicks a week. This series of blogs will be completed just as the 2021 awards season starts to get into full swing. So, let the countdown begin…

====================

~ #50 – GOSFORD PARK (2001)

“`The comedy of manners, inspired by Upstairs Downstairs and it was the inspiration for Downton Abbey, was created by Julian Fellowes. Containing a measure of improvisational dialogue (after all, the director was Robert Altman), it is influenced by Jean Renoir’s French classic, La Règle du jeu. A couple of the stars would go on to appear in Downton, such as Maggie Smith and Jeremy Swift. Historical fiction about British class plays well in cinema.

“`The film is a study of the British class system during the 1930s.  Set in 1932, between the world wars, the impact of the World War I is explored in the film’s screenplay. The final work comes across as if Agatha Christie and Jane Austen had collaborated.  It also references the foreboding decline of the British Empire and the peerage system.

“`Gosford Park is on many critic’s Top 100 list of the twenty-first century. It was nominated for sixty-one different awards following its release, winning twenty-five of them.  There were seven Academy Awards nominations; Fellowes winning a Best Original Screenplay statuette.

          

~ #49 – THE READER (2008)

“`Critics lauded Kate Winslet in 2008 for her magnificent work in  Revolutionary Road and they were determined to influence award-voters towards that path. They even went so far as to suggest that her role in The Reader was a supporting part (It was not!). I was very vocal during the award’s season about Kate earning an Oscar for her performance in The Reader. Eventually, my hunch paid off.

“`The Reader  was based on the 1995 German novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink. It was the last movie for producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both of whom died prior to its release. The cinematic lineage of the plot can be traced to the earlier production of Judgement at Nuremberg,  which traced the Allied response to Nazi atrocities during World War II. The plot takes place in 1958, around the moment of the very-real Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials. The movie is also a coming-of-age story of unrequited love.

“`The Reader received five total Academy Award nods, and was on many critics Top Ten lists for 2008.  The power of the film comes from Winslet’s character, who remains unrepentant for her actions as an Auschwitz camp guard. The production ponders questions about existing in a post-genocide society that unfortunately extends beyond mid-century Germany.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Farewell to a Legend…

May 11th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Norman Lloyd had a long career as an actor and director and his pals once included Jean Renoir, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, and Orson Welles. The man was a walking encyclopedia of Tinsel Town. With an erudite manner, He enchanted audiences with his Hollywood stories.

NORMAN LLOYD

“`Lloyd’s mother took him to Broadway shows and it instilled a love of acting that he began pursuing as a boy in local shows. He was still a teenager when he dropped out of New York University to pursue entertainment full time. He made his stage debut in 1935.

“`Lloyd joined the Mercury Theatre in 1936. It was founded by Welles and John Houseman. He eventually went to work with Hitchcock, which led to his 1942 film debut in Saboteur, in which his title character perishes in a memorable scene —  falling from the Statue of Liberty. Lloyd also appeared in Spellbound with Peck and Limelight with Chaplin (a frequent tennis partner).

“`Hitch hired Lloyd as the director of  Alfred Hitchcock Presents despite the fact that the actor was blacklisted as a Communist. In the 1950s, he directed a five-part television series about Abraham Lincoln.  He gave Stanley Kubrick his first substantial work on this particular project.

“`Other cinematic credits include The Age of Innocence and Dead Poet’s Society. His last screen appearance was in 2015 in Trainwreck.  On television, a earned a new generation of viewers with his weekly role on St. Elsewhere. His character was diagnosed terminal cancer in the first episode, yet lasted the entire run of the series. He also guest-starred in Wiseguy, The Practice, Murder She Wrote, and Modern Family.

“`Lloyd appeared in the earliest surviving footage of television, a segment of The Streets of New York from 1939. It was his first screen credit. He did not give up tennis until suffering a fall at age one hundred and was still driving at ninety-nine.

“`One of the last links to Hollywood Golden Age, Norman Lloyd was 106.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- When I Visited a TCM Festival…

May 8th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`A couple of years back, I was fortunate to attend the TCM Film Festival and I documented it for the TherapyCable Channel. Since the virtual festival is this weekend, I thought it would be fun once again to share my report. That day, I met Shirley MacLaine and Leonard Maltin.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- See You in September…

May 6th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Live Broadway shows will return to the stage beginning September 14th, after an eighteen-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tickets are going on sale this week and theaters will be allowed to fill to one-hundred percent of capacity.  Broadway theaters are traditionally among New York’s biggest tourist attractions.

“`Live theater is one of the last sectors to return because of social distancing challenges for actors on stage, for crews backstage, and for audiences in cramped seating in old buildings. While New York plans to lift most pandemic restrictions in two weeks, Broadway needs more time for rehearsals, marketing to draw crowds and other steps.

“`Producers will work with state authorities on what safety measures will be required. It is possible theaters will mandate proof of a coronavirus vaccination for audience members.

“`Thousands of actors, dancers, musicians, and backstage crew were thrown out of work when Broadway theaters closed in March, 2020. Some shows, including the hit musicals Frozen and Mean Girls, have said they will not come back. Thirty-one shows were in production when the shutdown began, including hits such as Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked.

“`Each returning show will announce its re-opening date in the coming weeks.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Virtual Return…

May 4th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The TCM Film Festival returns Thursday with a virtual presentation on two platforms:  Turner Classic Movie and HBO Max. I will be providing updates on the daily activities during the event.

“`The fest starts off with a 60th anniversary presentation of West Side Story.  On hand to chat about the film will be Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, and George Chakiris. Later this year, Steven Spielberg debuts his updated version of the classic musical. Moreno is a co-producer and will also appear in the re-boot.

 

“`Other celebrities participating in this year’s festivities include Rob Reiner, Danny Glover, and Ali MacGraw. Martin Scorsese will introduce his seminal films, Mean Streets and GoodFellas, to the virtual audience.

“`Here is hoping that next year, the TCM Film Festival will return live to Hollywood.  In the meantime, enjoy the four-day lineup. For more information, including a How To Fest guide, please visit http://filmfestival.tcm.com.

Until next time>                               “never forget”