“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

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~ #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:

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~ #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…

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~ #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”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Moonstruck Career…

May 1st, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Olympia Dukakis won an Oscar for her role in the 1987 romantic film comedy Moonstruck. That performance changed the trajectory of her steady career. She was also a cousin of unsuccessful 1988 Democratic United States presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.

“`Prior to her time on the big screen, Dukakis began her decades-long stage life working in 1961 in productions at the Williamstown Summer Theater in a town in Massachusetts.  She won an Obie Award for Best Actress  in 1963 for her Off-Broadway performance in Bertolt Brecht’s Man Equals Man.

“`With her hubby Louis Zorich, Dukakis co-founded the Whole Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey. With Dukakis serving as Artistic Director, the theater rolled out five productions a season over almost two decades. Across that span, productions included the works of Eugene O’Neill, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee. Among the actors performing with Olympia were Jose Ferrer, Colleen Dewhurst, Blythe Danner, and Samuel L. Jackson.

“`Dukakis became a household name after co-starring with Cher in Moonstruck. Her other movie credits include Working Girl, Steel Magnolias, Mighty Aphrodite, Mr. Holland’s Opus and the Look Who’s Talking series of flicks. She was still working at the time of her passing. A documentary called Olympia was released last year celebrating her long career.

“`Olympia Dukakis brought warmth, humor, and wit to every part. She was eighty-nine.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Two For the Passing Parade…

April 30th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`We lost two celebs this week and let us honor their passing.

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

~ Anne Douglas was the wife of Kirk Douglas and a producer known for philanthropy work. She was the step mother to Michael Douglas.

“`Born in Hannover, Germany, her effort to escape the Nazi-occupied country led the young girl to France. Her fluency in German, English, French, and Italian enabled her to work with a French film distributor, leading to a career in the movie industry. Anne later met Kirk in 1953 when he offered her a job as his publicist while in Paris to film Act of Love. The couple wed in Las Vegas in 1954. Anne and Kirk Douglas ->

“`Despite her deep ties to Hollywood, Douglas’ most significant impact was done through her philanthropy work. She was the driving force in the building of the Los Angeles County Music Center and served on the boards of The Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group. In addition to being an original founder of the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers, she also championed the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission.

“`Anne Douglas was 102.

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

~ Johnny Crawford was best known for his iconic role as Mark McCain in the ABC series The Rifleman. He was also an original Mouseketeer.

“`Crawford’s career kicked off when when appearing in the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club. On The Rifleman, he garnered an Emmy nomination when he was thirteen. Other television roles included guest-starring opportunities on Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Lone Ranger, Mr. Ed, and Hawaii 5-0.

“`Born into a family that celebrated music and theater, Crawford grew up in the shadow of his paternal grandfather working for Irving Berlin. He had a chart topping hit in 1962 with Cindy’s Birthday.

“`A victim of Covid-19, Johnny Crawford (above right) was seventy-five.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Movie Musicals…

April 26th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Celebrating Act 2 takes a look at popular songs from seldom seen movie musicals. Art Kirsch and John Coleman joins in on the discussion.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Fritz…

April 19th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Walter Mondale was the first major United States party presidential nominee to pick a woman running mate (Geraldine Ferraro). Mondale believed in an activist government, and worked for civil rights, school integration, consumer protection, and farm and labor interests as the senator and vice president during Jimmy Carter’s troubled presidency from 1977 to 1981.  A leading liberal Democratic advocate of the late twentieth century, he lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. He was known as Fritz to his friends.

“`Minnesota has historically been dominated by farming and mining and it has had a tradition of liberal, populist politics supported by many of the Scandinavian-American residents like the Norwegian Mondale family. After serving in the military, Mondale earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota. His political career started with his work on the re-election campaign of Hubert Humphrey, then mayor of Minneapolis.

“`Mondale was a protege of Humphrey, who lost the 1968 presidential election to Republican Richard Nixon. He succeeded Humphrey in the Senate, arriving in Washington during Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society,  a time of great hope for liberals, though the optimism was crushed by the Vietnam War.  Mondale served in the Senate until elected as vice president in Carter’s 1976 victory over incumbent Gerald Ford, who became president after Nixon resigned due to the Watergate corruption scandal. He is credited for elevating the importance of the office of Vice President during his term in office.

“`Mondale served as United States ambassador to Japan during the Bill Clinton administration. He retired after his final assignment.

“`Plans for memorials are expected to be announced for both Minnesota and Washington D. C. Walter Mondale (left) was ninety-three.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Spence…

April 18th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The Forgotten Hollywood book series keeps me active chatting about the character actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. I rarely get to wax eloquent about my all time favorite movie star. On Celebrating Act 2, John Coleman and Art Kirsch allow me the treasured opportunity to analyze the career of the great Spencer Tracy.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering a Fur Ball…

April 16th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Felix Silla was best known as the mumbling Cousin Itt on the 1960s ABC sitcom The Addams Family. He portrayed Cousin Itt seventeen times on the show, which lasted just two seasons, but has lived on in reruns and syndication.

“`Silla came to the United States in 1955. He toured for seven years with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus —  he was a trapeze artist and could ride bareback — before arriving in Hollywood as a stuntman in 1962. Just under four feet tall and weighing seventy pounds, He initially appeared on The Addams Family in 1965 in the series’ twentieth episode.

“`Other television appearances include Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, H. R. Pufnstuf, Bonanza and the pilot of Star Trek. On the big screen, Silla co-starred in A Ticklish Affair, Planet of the Apes, The Black Bird, Point Blank, Star Wars: Episode VI  —  Return of the Jedi, The Kentucky Fried Movie, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  He did stunt work on The Towering Inferno, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Howard the Duck, Poltergeist, The Hindenburg, and Batman Returns.

 “`Felix Silla was eighty-four.

Until next time>                               “never forget”