The Reel Infatuation Blogathon: Robert Redford in The Twilight Zone

Robert Redford is my choice for the Reel Infatuation Blogathon of 2018.  I don’t believe this is an unusual pick. Like my crush on Outlander’s Sam Heughan, there is a lot of love (by the millions) out there for these two Strawberry blonde (gingers?) actors. The multi-talented Redford has done more than just perform  in 79 movies.  Besides acting, he directed ten movies; and in my humble opinion, two of those ten films are near perfect examples of the best kind of film making: Ordinary People (1980) and The Horse Whisper (1998). Along with acting and directing, he has also produced 50 films.

In addition to his amazing body of work within the industry, he has been active in many social issues. He is nearly legendary in his work as an environmentalist and his philanthropy. To add to all of this, he is the founder of the largest independent film festival in the United States: Sundance Flim Festival. Now, before I go further, I would like to thank two wonderful young ladies and bloggers: Ruth from Silver Screenings and Maedez from  Font and Frock and A Small Press Life.  I hope they will host, like they have for last three years, next year too. To read about more posts about Reel Infatuation, please use the links below:https://silverscreenings.org/2018/06/08/reelinfatuation-2018-day-1/ORhttps://fontandfrock.com/2018/06/08/welcome-to-the-2018-reel-infatuation-blogathon/img_3030Why Did I Pick Robert Redford?I chose Redford because he is my first ever crush on an actor. As we all know, you never forget your first love. Unbelievably, my love for Redford didn’t begin because of his stunning good looks or his magnetic screen presence or even for my loving every one of the his 79 movies.My magical crush happened when he very young (26 years old) and  complete unknown to me and the rest world. He had been acting on numerous television shows from 1960 to 1964. He first showed up on one of my favorite shows: Maverick starring James Garner. During this four-year span of time, he had guest starred on quite a number of popular shows at the time: Perry Mason, Route 66, The Untouchables, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dr. Kildare, Naked City etc … His last television appearance was in 1964 on The Defenders.I “fell in love” with Redford while watching a re-run of a very popular television show Twilight Zone (1959-1964). For those unfamiliar with this American television show, it was created by Rod Serling. He was a producer, playwright, and screenwriter.  In addition, he introduced and closed each episode with his compassionate pathos and unique voice.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cxf_Dvy0VLsThe Twilight Zone This series is a science-fiction, fantasy, horror anthology. It was brilliantly written, acted, and realistically presented with twists and turns in the end. Also, and maybe more importantly, it usually had a philosophical, howbeit hidden, message about the nature of mankind and what life lessons we need to be learning. Usually, this was an emotional truth that Serling felt should be shared. The legacy of his Life Lessons.A Few Notes About The Creator of Twilight ZoneRight out of high school, Serling joined the Army to fight in WWII.  He was wounded several times; but, he kept going back to combat duty. He fought hand-to-hand combat in the Philippines. After the war, he  suffered from severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that haunted him with night terrors for the rest of his life. While working in Hollywood, he was known as an “angry young man.” There were issues that he continuously fought against: racism, the Vietnam war, and censorship.Twilight Zone: Nothing in The DarkIntroduction An old woman living in a nightmare, an old woman, who has fought a thousand battles with death and always won. Now she’s faced with a grim decision – whether or not to open a door. And in some strange and frightening way, she knows that this seemingly ordinary door leads to the Twilight Zone. Many writers write from their soul. So, their personal emotions can be seen in their work. With that said, imagine this introduction being said by an ex-combat solider who has witnessed and survived death; and he is still haunted by it in his dreams.More People Behind The ScenesNothing in The Dark first aired on January 5, 1962; and, it only ran for 24 minutes.  There are three actors: Gladys Cooper, Robert Redford, and R.G. Armstrong.  It was co-written by screenwriter George Clayton Johnson (Logan’s Run (1976), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), and Ocean’s 11 (2001). Here are a couple of pics of Johnson with Redford and Gladys Cooper.This episode is directed by Lamont Johnson who will go on to win two Emmys for Directing two made for television movies: Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story (1985) and Lincoln (1988). In this clip he explains how the unknown twenty-six year old Redford was hired and the superb British actress, Gladys Cooper reaction after meeting him. This interview was published in October of 2010…48 years after it first aired in ’62.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2-BSFlzaU8A Summary of Nothing in the DarkThis story centers around a sad, lonely old woman, Wanda Dunn, (Gladys Cooper) whose fear of Death is so great that it has forced her into isolation for most of her life. Oddly enough, she can recognized Death in his infinite forms and disguises. She “knows him” and has been able to avoid him for years. However, there is a cost to pay for having this amazing skill: fearful isolationism. She has never really lived her life because her fear has trapped her from others. As a result, she lives alone on the bottom floor of a dilapidated apartment building.  With double locks on her door, she is totally alone, as she nervously sleeps.One snowy night, she is awaken by the sound of class breaking, probably her own window; then, she hears a whistle and then, gun shots. A policeman, Harold Beldon, (Robert Redford) is shot and begs for help. Should she open her door and try to save him? Is it Death tricking her?She finally gives in to his cries and helps him into her flat.  She places him on her bed as he profusely thanks her. Then, he begs her to call a doctor, or the police, or an even a neighbour. She explains that she does not have a phone and all the neighbors have moved away. She refuses to go outside to look for help because “he” is out there waiting for her. She decides she can trust the young man; since, she didn’t die when he touched her. She reveals her life story and her gift of recognizing death.Here is a clip of those first 3 minutes of their encounter.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gK1MCE3teZ8As incredulous as Wanda’s story sounds, Beldon is sympathetic to her tragic situation. Suddenly, there is someone banging on her door. She is too afraid to answer it. Someone is breaking in the door. Finally, the door flies open; and, Wanda crumbles to the floor, unconscious.A contractor ( R.J. Armstrong ) is relieved that she is still alive. He explains that she must leave because he is tearing the old building down to build a new one. He tries to calm her down by explaining that how things work in life. Wanda is terrified to go outside; so, she asks Beldon to help her explain it to him. The contractor looks at her like she is crazy. He warns her that she must gather all the things she doesn’t want to leave behind. He said he would help her move her them; once, he comes back in an hour.Wanda is feeling so hurt and overwhelmed that she cannot understand why Beldon did not say anything to the contractor to help her. Then, she realizes that Death tricked her. I must say Ms Cooper’s performance is this show is what ” pulled me in, hook line and sinker.” I felt so sorry for her and what she missed in her life. All because of a fear of something that was enviable.I was completely into this story. So, you might understand how shocked I was when I learned that twenty years earlier, Cooper played Betty Davis’s BITCH mother in Now, Voyager (1942). Who I hated. Cooper plays a better bitch than Betty Davis in any of her best Bitch roles. This is quite a compliment to Cooper, who I love as Wanda Dunn.Once Wanda realizes that Beldon is Mr Death, he begins to calm her down and reassure her she has nothing to fear from him. He charms her and convinces her that she will be at peace and in comfort. In order for Wanda to surrender her will to Beldon there has to be a believable sense of compassion and trust. Not only for the characters, but also  between the actors too. This can then be felt by the audience: The connection is successful. This bond and chemistry between Gladys Cooper (who was 74 years old) and Robert Redford (who was 26 years old) was very strong and compelling.When he reaches for her hand and begs her to trust him and to come with him, I wasn’t sure if she would. Then, in one second everything changed.  It changes with two heartfelt words.  He softly, begs: Please, Mother. img_3032That was the moment that I cried and fell in love with Redford.  I doubt Wanda has ever been married or had children. Beldon is probably the only person/Inhuman ever spoke those words to her in her entire life. In the video clip, Lamont Johnson tells the story of the actors mutual respect. Without their mutual regard and respect, this performance could not have been as successful.Rod Serling closes this episode with the following words:There was an old woman who lived in a room. And, like all of us, was frightened of the dark. But who discovered in a minute last fragment of her life that there was nothing in the dark that wasn’t there when the lights were on. Object lesson for the more frightened amongst us, in or out, of the Twilight Zone.Here is a 2 minute video clip that I found on You Tube that mashes scenes together to summarize the story. Unfortunately, the “Mother” was completely left out. To me that was a huge mistake.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i9JZCo912kIIn closing, I have added an interview clip with Redford published four years ago. He is reminiscing about this 52 year old episode. It is very interesting because he mentions the “wonderful dynamic” between the two characters. It’s funny because  when most people think of great chemistry between actors, they usually refer to sexual attraction. However, for actors it means so much more.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JuuAEEj1fq0I once remembered a quote that defined love not in years but in moments … if that is true; the,  my “Reel Infatuation” with Redford only started in a moment; but, happily his work keeps adding more moments over the years.Please check for more “Reel Infatuation” stories by using the links near the top of this post.Reference Linkshttps://m.imdb.com/title/tt0734603/quotes?ref_=m_tt_trv_quhttps://www.imdb.com/name/nm0178066/biohttps://www.imdb.com/name/nm0785245/biohttps://www.imdb.com/name/nm0425593/https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Clayton_Johnson

Broadway Bound Musical Blogathon: Funny Girl (1968)

Finally! A Blogathon dedicated to Broadway musicals and films. I would like to thank Rebecca from Taking Up Room for choosing musicals as her theme for her first ever Blogathon. Congratulations Rebecca; and, I hope this will become an annual event. Please check the link below to find more posts on a variety of wonderful musicals.

https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/

I have to be honest, for years, I was not a fan of musicals. I found the story lines boring, predictable and unbelievable. Even during the few times I actually liked a song or dance, I definitely did not enjoy the whole movie; nor, did I ever watch a “whole” movie musical. Unfortunately, I can just see Walt Disney turning in his grave. As a matter of fact, I avoided them as much as possible. However, all that changed when I forced myself to sit through a musical from beginning to end. The movie that drastically changed my disdain for all films, musical, was Funny Girl.

So how was I forced to watch this movie? 

The first time I watched Funny Girl (1968), I was home, alone. As a college student, I was working pretty hard on my double major (History and Education). That glorious day, the gods smiled; and, my classes were cancelled due to hurricane warnings. So, I ended up “free” to warm up some left over chili and become a couch potato.

On television, the Tuner Movie Classics (TMC) channel had just announced their movie lineup for the day and evening. As the fates would have it, the best thing to watch on TV that day was a dreaded musical.  I self talked myself into giving it a try. I learned that it was nominated for seven Oscars and four Golden Globe awards. Barbra Streisand, in her first movie role, won both awards as Best Actress. So, I watched my first musical, twenty-two years after its release date.

So, how did I have the staying power to endure watching a whole musical?

As I was getting my fatty “free day” ready, a loud weather alert began beeping as a warning banner ran across the bottom of the screen.  The hurricane alert had escalated from a 3 to a 4.  Hurricanes are seasonal storms in Florida. You kind of get used to them.

However, I still had some chores to do in case the hurricane disrupted power lines and water. I had little time to complete the “Hurricane Drill.” I found the candles and matches, located the flashlight and radio, located extra batteries, and filled the bathtub with water.  Now,  like a true Floridian, I decided to continue with my plan: Watch Funny Girl.

Unfortunately, as the storm became louder and more destructive, I became overly anxious; and I have to admit, a bit fearful.  Even so, the only thing I could do was to hunkered down on the couch with the volume, turned way up. I gave Funny Girl my undivided attention.

From Broadway To Film

In 1964, Funny Girl successfully opened on Broadway with recording star Barbra Streisand cast in the lead and co-staring Sidney Chaplin. Her energetic portrayal of comedienne, Fanny Brice was brilliant. Producer Ray Stark, then turned this “Hit” Broadway show into a movie released in 1968. The legendary, William Wyler, was asked to direct. He was known for his sensitive direction of actors and his ability to display actors in profound moments that made their characters more realistic. It is almost an understatement to say he was one of the best directors in Hollywood.

A Tiny Bit of Behind The Scenes History

During the making of this film in 1967, the Israeli-Egyptian Six Day War broke out. Most of the movie’s  financiers were Jewish as well as the cast.  Omar Sharif is Egyptian. Many wanted Sharif fired including Streisand’s mother. Jewish director Wyler fought to keep him.

According to an article for TMC by Andrea Passafliume, Sharif relates this story in his autobiography.  This is Wyler’s words, as repeated by Omar Sharif:

We’re in America, the land of freedom … and you’re ready to make yourselves guilty of the same things we’re against? Not hiring an actor because he’s Egyptian is outrageous. If Omar doesn’t make the film, I don’t make it either!”

You have to love “99-Take Willie.”  To add oil to an already burning fire, Streisand and Sharif began a love affair, although both were married but separated from their spouses. To add to this, publicity released pictures and posters of Streisand and Sharif kissing. Egyptian newspapers condemned him for kissing and acting with a Jew. The film was banned and never been released in that country. I am sure their “decency codes” would not allow the film’s released for other reasons too:  The suggested sexual overtones and the drinking or smoking. Unfortunately, Sharif’s citizenship was denied and his Vista revoked so that he could never return to his homeland. Clearly, he paid a high price his art that would haunt him the rest of his life.

A Summary of The Movie  

This is the movie trailer.  I like this trailer because it depicts the very first words spoken in the movie: Hello Gorgeous.

Eventually, Fanny will keep coming back; until, one the musicians takes pity on her. They need a substitute for a roller skating routine. Fanny can barely keep from falling down as she crashes into the other girls. She literally ruins the act; but, she was so funny the audience begs her to do a song. She and the rest of the world discovers she has a great voice, and a star is born.

Here is a clip of Fanny singing  for the first time on stage

After this performance, Fanny is backstage explaining to the other show girls that Ziegfeld, himself, will knock on that door and her to be one of his “follies.” Then, someone is knocking on the door. Fanny opens the door to the most handsome man she has ever seen. She freaks out and slams the door in his face.

Then, she catches her breath and opens the door again. An awkward start to be sure. He explains how much he enjoyed her performance. Fanny is uncomfortable with the compliments from such a “gorgeous” man. She even slips and says he is gorgeous when she was thinking it. She tries to remedy her blunder by saying that she meant that his shirt is gorgeous.

Before Nicky leaves, the theater owner passes by and says a friendly hello to him. Then, Fanny reminds the owner has hired with pay.  He realizes she wants to know how much pay. As he walks away, he yells back: $25.00 a week. Nicky informs him that he will pay her $35.00 a week. He explains a friend of his told him to be on the look out for fresh talent. The owner makes Fanny a counter offer: $40.00. Then, Nick offers her $45.00. The owner exasperated makes his final offer: $50.00. Nick said that $50.00 was as high as he was authorized to go.

As the owner walks away again, he shakes his head as he realizes that he is paying Fanny double from what he originally intended.  Giggling Fanny asked Nick the name of his friend who has him looking for talent.  Nick confesses that there was no friend. He made it up.

Fanny was rather shocked: You took a gamble?

Nick said: That’s what I do.  I am a gambler.

Fanny offensively says: Yeah, but you gambled with my life.

Nick says: Isn’t that what you did tonight on that stage?

So, Nick is a charmer, sophisticated, well-educated, elegant, a world traveler, wealthy,  comfortable with the upper social classes, and is a total con artist. Fanny was head over heels in love. Yet, Nick was not interested in changing any part of his life. He liked being free to do whatever he wanted, without a second thought about anyone else. As a matter of fact, Nick directly leaves Fanny to race his thoroughbred horse in Kentucky.

The next time Fanny meets Nick she is working in the Follies for Florenz Ziegfeld (Walter Pigeon). Fanny is convinced that Nick got her the job.  After Fanny’s debut with the Follies, Nick sends her a dozen yellow roses and invites her out to a sleek dinner club. Fanny sadly refuses because her mother is giving a party in her honor; and, the whole neighborhood is coming. Instead, Fanny hesitantly invites him to her party located in a Brooklyn family owed bar; and to her surprise, he graciously accepts.

Nick blends in very well with friends and family. As a matter of fact, he is invited to a penny ante poker game with the local elderly ladies. They had no idea who they invited to their table. His shuffle alone should have alerted them to his expertise. However, being the charmer, he allowed them to win, even though he was holding the winning hand.  He didn’t fool Fanny’s Mama Rose (Kay Bedford).

Her observations were right on the money: He fits in like a friend and not a stranger. He looks at home. He should fit in like a stranger. Fanny relies: He is a gentleman. He fits in anywhere.

Rose relies: A sponge fits in anywhere. A stranger should look a little strange.

Later, that evening Nick confesses to Fanny that he gets lonely but he loves his freedom. Fanny confesses that she is too busy to have a boyfriend. They both admit that they feel lonely at times. It is in this scene Streisand sings her now standard: People

Of course, Nick’s “work” allows him to travel; and, he must leave, again. They will not see each other for over a year. Eventually, you realize something is definitely off about Nick; but, you hope, like Fanny, you are wrong. You start feeling that these two people have to get together; but, you wonder, like any relationship, will it last.

A year later, they will meet again and go on their first date. The film is laden with Brice’s comedic one liners. Yet, it is in this scene with Nick that one of those quips, really took me by surprise. To me it was the most hilarious line in the whole movie. Nick compliments her on the color of her dress because it looks wonderful with her eyes. Fanny retorts: Yeah, well that’s just my right eye. I hate what it does with the left. Later in this same scene, Sharif and Streisand sing a duet about the basics of human relationships.

The Movie continues through their years together, good and bad; until, the marriage sadly ends. The final song, My Man, was sung on stage right after Fanny learns her marriage is practically over. This scene is such a stand alone moment in the movie. Streisand’ mesmerizing performance is unforgettable. There is a little more about this scene I would like to mention later in this post.

Dancing?

Unlike most musicals, this movie has very little dancing. The only dancing in this film happens when it was part of the story. For instance, when Fanny is asked to dance a waltz by her man crush, Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif), she dances. However, the camera is focused on Fanny’s overwhelmed expressions. We see her as she mentally drools over her handsome dance partner.

In addition, whenever the Ziegfeld Follies do a dance number on stage, there is some dancing; but, only because it is part of the stage act. So, this musical, like all musicals, uses song to help tell the story; however, this film does not use dance to move the story along.

Personal Favorites

There are great songs, breathtaking scenes, gorgeous costumes, and a fascinating story. Many of the musical numbers are truly unforgettable. I especially like the scene when Fanny decides to quit the show at the train station and follow Nick before his transatlantic ship sails away. The rest of her show friends try to talk her out of it. That’s when she belts out: Don’t Rain On My Parade!

Not only is this one of my favorite musicals; but, as a woman, I found it inspirational too.  Brice and Streisand were forces to be reckoned with. Against the odds, they each made it and did so doing it their own way. Their confidence, intelligence and strong will power keep them going.  For this movie, all of the magic and creative forces that went into making this film is what all films should try to accomplish.

Directors Know What Is Best

There are many elements to making a great film; but, having a great director is at the top of the list. An example of this is evident in the closing scene. True, to Wyler’s genius, he used the knowledge that the off camera relationship between the leading stars was ending. In the final scene, when Fanny must sing My Man knowing her relationship with Nick was over, Wyler kept Sharif behind the curtains during the scene. She knew he was there; an, they talked between takes.  With every note she sung, you could almost feel her heart painfully breaking. This was perfect magic.

The 2 hours and 38 minutes goes by pretty fast. Which of course is a compliment to the movie itself.

The Real Fanny Brice

This movie was made only 13 years after the real Fanny Brice passed away in 1951. She was considered as a comedic genius and had one of the best singing voices in the 20th century. She was intelligent, witty,  and a consummate performer. There were few who had such a command of the stage. In person, she was elegant and very classy. Those who knew her personally, said she was always herself; and she treated everyone the same. One of my favorite quotes from Brice is actually great advice for everyone.  This is her life lesson shared

Let the World know you,

As you are,

Not as you think you should be,

Because sooner or later, if you are posing,

You will forget, to pose,

Then, where are you?

No matter, what misery was in store in the life of Fanny Brice, she took it in stride and literally rolled with the punches. The “real” Fanny Brice was hugely popular on the stage and on the radio. She used her God-given talents to entertain millions; and, she always left her audience in appreciation of her enjoyable performance and usually, in much laughter.

If you have read some of my posts before, you know I love history, especially personal history. I love learning how someone, through their defeats and victories, has come full circle to find their bliss or purpose. I ordered a biography on Brice’s life that I intend to review in another post for Life’s Daily Lessons. Until then, I will leave you with the knowledge that Brice worked on her radio show, The Baby Snooks Show, from 1944 to 1951. There was only one episode that was filmed for television. The night it aired, in May of 1951, Brice died of a cerebral hemorrhage. She claimed the show worked on radio but not on television. Here is the clip of that television episode.

I often wondered how she managed the mental discipline she needed to perform as six-year-old Baby Snooks at age 59. Truly, an amazing entertainer.

Reference Links:

https://www.google.com/search?q=funny+lady&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062994/

http://identity-mag.com/films-that-have-been-banned-in-egypt/

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/220494%7C0/Behind-the-Camera-Funny-Girl.html

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/220494%7C0/Behind-the-Camera-Funny-Girl.html

Outer Space Blogathon! The Year was 1968: Barbarella, Space Exploration And War

The idea of space travel has always been an intriguing idea; but, in the more recent years, this idea has become a fact.  For years, probes and satellites have been sent to Space to study and learn more about Earth’s neighboring planets. Recently, there are constant reports of a project to colonize Mars. Some scientists believe it may even happen by 2030.  An example of how excited people are about this whole idea of space travel, one only has to look at Twitter.

The growing number of accounts devoted to space exploration increases every day. As a matter of fact, a Tweet, on April 12th, celebrated The International Day of Human Space Fight. It celebrates the first manned space flight by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin back in 1961. He was in orbit for 108 minutes with only twelve of his twenty-four rockets. The other twelve exploded at take off. It’s a miracle he made back alive. With the success of Gagarin’s space flight, stories by science fiction writers like Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein and Verne slowly morphed into facts.

img_2392

Regardless of the numerous space exploration accounts on Twitter, NASA’s Twitter account is still the best one to give you a front row seat to the wonders of space. They tweet live video of astronauts walking and floating in space; and, by the way, they still use Velcro up there. I know because I heard them asking an astronaut to check his Velcro feed. I had to ask the obvious; so, I tweeted the question: You still use Velcro?  Someone tweeted back that NASA invented it.  I tweeted back: I know but that was over fifty years ago.

I doubt that I will be going to Mars in this lifetime; but, I can still imagine it and enjoy it vicariously by watching Sci-Fi movies. So, I want to thank to Debbie Vega for hosting The Outerspace Film Blogathon. I can read reviews of various space movies and then make a list of one’s I still need to see. There are several wonderful Sci-Fi movies that have been reviewed for this blogathon, just click on the link below to find the ones you would like to watch:

https://debravega.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/announcing-the-outer-space-on-film-blogathon/

27FC1074-92DB-4F7C-970C-17D9B35AA165

Speaking of great movies about space, I truly enjoyed Sandra Bullock’s Oscar-winning performance in Gravity. However, this is not the movie I chose to review. No, I wanted to review another Oscar-winning actress, Jane Fonda, in a Space movie released during one of the most tumultuous years in American history, Barbarella (1968). This year is its 50th Anniversary since the release. Like all science fiction movies, it helped lead the way in special effects technology while subtlety making social commentary. For this particular film, I believe the social commentary involved the philosophy: Make love and not war. It’s plot driven, like most science fiction movies of that time, by using high-tech gadgets to stop world domination by mad scientist.

 

 

Barbarella is based on a comic book character by French creator JeanClaude Forest for the French V Magazine.  It was a series of comic strips from 1962 to 1964.  Then, it was published as a comic book in 1964.  It was considered extremely scandalous at the time.  It was labeled as the first adult erotica in the comic book format. Of course, that is not true; but, it did become infamous from this hoopla. Forest claimed the image of the character of Barbarella was based on French actress, bombshell, Bridgitte Bardot.

This science fiction movie is the first feature film that came from the comics. There were other films like Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers; but, they were serials. Meaning, they often ended in cliffhangers where you would continue the story in a few weeks in a different film from the series.  Barbarella was directed by Fonda’s French husband Roger Vadim (m. 1965 -1973). Fonda was 30 years old when she made this film. Later, in the same year the movie was released, they had a child, Vanessa, named after actress Vanessa Redgrave. Barbarella did not become a cult classic until it was re-released in 1977.

 

 

Barbarella is an intergalactic space agent/spy in the 401st century; yet, her character mirrors 20th century, secret agent, James Bond.  For instance, Bond saves the world from a crazy evil genius while he accommodates women who want sex; and, he has the latest spy gadgets. She travels in deep space in a ship that has an interior completely covered in shag carpet.

img_2403

Before Barbarella receives her orders from the President of Earth, she had just awaken from a deep space sleep. While she peels off her space suit, bouncing off shag interior,  She ends up totally naked. It’s at that moment she get the telecommunication.  The communication is similar to a Skype (participants can see each other) When she attempts to cover herself, the President of the Earth tells not to bother because the message is urgent. Of course, he is ogling her. This puts the letter “C” in the word creepy. Obeying orders, Barbarella moves forward to receive the message.

I wonder if Mike Myers was influenced by this movie when he made the Austin Powers swinging 60s movies? There is so much shag and shagging in both movies. The shag or shagging would definitely influenced Powers in being “randy” most of the time; and, Miss Shagwell, herself, (Heather Graham) kind of resembles Barbarella. Oh well, maybe, or maybe not?

As far as shagging goes, Barbarella encounters aliens from various planets who want to have some kind of sex; and, she accommodates them while she is saving planets from total destruction from evil genius Dr. Duran Duran’s (Milo O’Shea) the inventor of the Positronic Ray. This weapon will unleashed evil into the universe.

 

 

The kicker is Barbarella comes from Earth where physical sex is obsolete. Centuries ago, people found it messy and too distracting. To have sex in AD 40,001, you match your psychocardiogram (?) with someone else. Then, they take an “Exultation Transference” pellet. As they touch each other’s hands to finger tips, rapture is accomplished within 30 seconds. So, civilized! However, it is probably not as much fun either.

img_2359

Unfortunately for Barbarella, just as she begins to appreciate the fun part of having messy and distracting sex, with Mark Hand – the Catchman, (Ugo Taognazzi), she later meet another alien, Dildano (David Hemmings) who insists on taking the “Pellet.” A few other aliens worth mentioning is professor Ping (Marcel Marceau), Pygar (JohnPhillip Law) the Birdman/angel, and The Great Tyrant (AnitaPallenberg).

Pygar is a blind birdman who befriends Barbarella and becomes her flying Uber in order to find Duran, Duran.  While Barbarella and Pygar search for Duran, Duran, Professor Ping tries to fix her crashed spaceship.  During the whole movie Barbarella finds herself in perilous situations.  Luckily, there’s always an escape; until, Duran Duran captures her and places her in the “Excessive Orgasmic Machine.”  This is Duran Duran’s ultimate killing machine: you are “pleasured to death.”  I have to applaud Fonda’s professionalism. Her faked orgasm looked like the real thing.  She didn’t fake an over the top orgasm like a porn star; and, she didn’t fake a funny orgasm like Meg Ryan in Harry Met Sally (1989).

To be honest, I was too young to watch this movie when it first came out 1968. So, I didn’t see it; until, a few years ago on HBO.  In the 21st century, this movie seems pretty tame compared to movies and television shows today.  Even so, I was still a little hesitant to watch it because, quite frankly, I thought it would be a waste of time. Happily, I can honestly say that it wasn’t a waste of time. I laughed all the way through this entertaining film. Yes, it is CAMPY! So campy, that it is listed among The 100 Most Amusing Bad Movies Ever Made receiving the Golden Raspberry Award. 

What possessed a successful actress, like Fonda, to make this movie? Her husband? The part of Barbarella was turned down by several actresses before Fonda accepted it. Sophia Loren and Virna Lisi turned it down. When United Artists offered it to Lisi, she terminated her contract and returned to Italy.

Years ago, I had heard Fonda say that this movie was an embarrassment for her and because of that she never watched it. Like everything else in this life, things change. Just before, she and British actress Helen Mirren presented the 2018 Oscar for Best Actor to Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Fonda compliments the production design in the Dolby Theater: How about these sets? Aren’t these great sets? They’re just like the Orgasmatron in Barbarella. That’s what they look like.

Apparently, years after it was released, Fonda finally did watch her movie. In interviews, she claims the film surprised her because she actually enjoyed watching it.  Fonda turned 80 years young this year. She has lived long enough to reflect and examine the decisions and actions she has made in her life. In other words, she has learned a lot and is still learning.  Like all of us, she has made mistakes and through those mistakes, she has made changes to make her life even better.

However, there is probably one mistake that will haunt her to the day she dies. Her misguided trip to North Vietnam near the end of the war. She regrets going there, now. Her intentions were right: Doing what she could to help end America’s longest war and bring our boys home. She didn’t understand, at the time, how her actions would be interpreted by both sides. Since then, she has repeatedly apologized to American service personnel who saw her actions as traitorous. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to forgive.

The events of 1968 forever changed America: The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and  Robert F Kennedy, North Korea capture of the USS Pueblo with 83 crewmen aboard, protesters at the Chicago Democratic Convention, the Tet Offensive which was a surprise attack on US troops during a truce with North Vietnam, the Olympic protests (fists in the air) that resulted with two American athletes (Tommie Smith and John Carlos) losing their medals, and Richard Nixon wins the Presidential election.  All of this and more happened in the space of one year while at the same time bombs explode on college campuses around the country in protest against the war.

By 1968, seven years had passed since Yuri Gagarin completed his famous space flight. Sadly, 1968 was the year that he was tragically killed in a mysterious Mig 15 plane crash. Yet, despite these numerous sad events, there was still some outstanding successes and accomplishments.

Just to name a few with a “Space Travel” focus,  Apollo 8 will successfully orbit the moon. By 1969, man will walk on the Moon. In addition, Television show, Star Trek, had telecast, before millions of shocked viewers, the first “scripted” interracial kiss in the United States. Captain Kirk will kiss his communication officer, Lieutenant Uhura (William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols).  Remember, this was at a time when most white America was still adjusting to the Civil Rights movement and ending segregation.

Besides Apollo 8 and the first interracial kiss, Space Travel never looked so good as it did with another Sci Fi film released in 1968.  This is the iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Arthur C. Clarke. This was like no other Sci Fi film before. It was an art film with a philosophical base weaved within the plot. This film gave audiences a more realistic portrayal of space travel that included the dangers and some technological threats.  Because of this, space movies, like Star Wars and Star Trek, were enabled to become big movie blockbusters with huge budgets and mind-boggling technological special effects.

Barbarella is a fun movie. What it lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in its innocent portrayal of an emancipated woman. It also reminds us how far women have progressed and how much farther they need to go. I think science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer said it best: A science fiction writer should try to combine the intimately human with the grandly Cosmic. Barbarella is not a science fiction writer; but, this film definitely combines the intimately human with the grandly Cosmic… to perfection.

REFERENCE LINKS:

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0062711/

https://debravega.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/announcing-the-outer-space-on-film-blogathon/

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/21/jane-fonda-youth-plastic-surgery-sex-cannes

https://m.ranker.com/review/barbarella/541352?ref=wiki_2636556

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-fonda-wish-i-hadnt-31-03-2005/2/

Michael Caine’s Little Voice?

Happy 85th Birthday to Sir Michael Caine! Cheers and a heart warming wish for a wonderful celebration. Two time Oscar winner, Sir Michael Caine has an amazing acting career with 167 movie credits, to date. He, Lawrence Olivier, and Jack Nicholson are the only actors to be nominated for an Oscar in five different decades. That is an impressive longevity in Hollywood. So, when the opportunity arrived to write a blog post about him, I couldn’t wait. There was only one problem, which film?

At first, I decided to write a review on one of my favorite Caine films, Gambit (1966) with Shirley MacLaine and Herbert Lom.  Then, I planned to compare it with its reboot made in 2012 with Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, and Alan Rickman.  I changed my mind and decided to compare another Caine movie, Alfie, with its reboot.  It offered Jude Law as the curious Alfie in 2004. Unfortunately, for Jude Law, Caine’s 1966 Alfie was much more convincing, sympathetic, and likeable. Actually, it didn’t matter which movies I compared to the original Caine movies. It always had the same result. Caine’s movies are better.

So, I changed my mind yet again. I decided on writing a post on one of his darker characters. This character reminds me of someone or someone’s I have had the displeasure of meeting in my life. Caine’s portrayal of the mean, despicable music promoter and talent agent, Ray Says. Caine’s portrayal is so believable that I hated the movie the first time I watched it. Then, I realized how brilliant his performance was in this film. He went places with that character that was just shocking. Now, I love watching this bittersweet comedy/musical: Little Voice (1998), even if I still flinch at Ray Says singing, It’s Over.

Before I begin, I want to give many thanks to Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews for Hosting The Marvellous Michael Caine Blogathon: From Alfie to Zulu.  I must say that Marvellous is a near perfect adjective to describe Sir Caine. To read more articles about this marvellous actor, please use the link below…

https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/welcome-to-day-1-of-the-michael-caine-blogathon/

6DC27DA9-91B0-40F4-8B62-517E7C37092C

A Bit of Caine’s life and Cockney Accent

To understand my fascination with Michael Caine movies, it is important to understand his voice. If a Caine movie is on, I don’t need be in the room to know it. As long as I can hear Caine speaking, I will know it’s him. Especially, if he is allowing more of his natural dialect, Cockney, to shine through. Cockney is a London dialect from the “rough” Southeast end of the city. In the old British class system, if you spoke with a cockney accent, you would immediately be labeled as part of the “working class.”  As part of the working (lower) class, you might also be stereotyped as a funny but not too bright, uneducated, and unclean, poor person. I always think of English actor Charlie Chaplin’s lovable character: The Little Tramp when I think about this stereotype. It is no wonder that Chaplin’s characterization reminds me of this; since, he and Caine grew up in the same poor area of London. The area is known as the Elephant and Castle.

Although there is a certain amount of charm in Chaplin’s Tramp; Caine understood, in reality, that this insulting stereotype influenced people to keep them from a better life. His accent and dialect became a badge of honor for him. He would keep it his whole life. His Cockney hero growing up was his father. During WWII, he went off to fight the Germans for four years. During the war, the section of London that Hitler heavily bombed was Caine’s neighbor.

As a child, Caine watched movies that helped him escape the suffering for a while; however, there were no Cockney heroes in the movies, just the opposite. They were usually portrayed as the criminal, drunk or idiotic comedy relief.  Caine wants to be a Cockney hero for people still living there and struggling. He wants them to say: If he did it, so can I.  He never forgot where he came from nor does he ever want too.

Summary of Little Voice (1998)

Little Voice is based on a successful play written by Jim Cartwright ( The Rise and Fall of Little Voice). It stars: Jane Horrocks, Brenda Blethyn, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, Annette Badland, and Phillip Jackson.

The story is rather simple. LV (Little Voice) (Jane Horrocks) is a crippling shy and fearful young woman who lives with her overbearing, narcissistic mother, who never shuts up. Their relationship is based on resentment and jealousy. The father was a barely surviving record shop owner who died years before. The only thing he left for his wife was a run down shop with a livable attached home. His favourite records became LV’s most cherished possessions. When she plays records by Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holiday, or Ethel Merman, she escapes to a fantasy world where she is singing, in their voice, these special songs for her father. She desperately wants to please him; so, she can see him smile and be happy. Which is something he didn’t experience much of while he was alive.

Her insensitive, and vulgar mother played perfectly by Brenda Blethyn (won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role) thinks LV is a kooky, weird and a total waste of time nut. I doubt there is a nurturing bone in this mother’s body.  LV is soft-spoken; but, around her mother she chooses to hardly speak at all. Probably, she can’t get a word in edgewise. Oddly enough, the mother’s best friend is a neighbor across the street who is mute, Sadie, (Annette Badland). These two friends is hilarious.

Mari (Mum) likes to hang out at the local nightclub owned by Mr Boo (Jim Broadbent). She likes to drink to excess and flirt around for a bit of fun and to feel desired by men. Here, she meets Ray Says (Michael Caine). To give you a taste of Mari’s exuberance and quirky ways, watch this funny clip of her telling Sadie how great it was to meet Ray Says in an open room cafe.

If Mari’s accent is too much, just play it over few times. Her meaning will come through. I love the way she refers to her derriere as her golden, old arse. The whole clip makes me laugh. Annette Badland is just brilliant with her facial expressions.  I assume Sadie is still a virgin.

Ray Says is a talent agent with no clients. He is a one hit wonder with a song he recorded thirty years ago, It’s Over. His fifteen minutes of fame expired years ago. Yet, he continued to squeeze every drop of life and passion out of it for years. He is a man afraid of change and refuses to let go of the past. He has met some good friends along the way; but, most have fallen to the wayside. Mr Boo is probably he most loyal friend. He loans him money to pay his debtors and gambling debts. Says is a desperate man at the end of his career rope. He keeps his 1960 Chevy, cherry red, Impala convertible as a status symbol of who he was.

In the meantime, electrical things keep shorting out at the record store/home. Even the phone. So, workers come to the house to replace the phone. One of the workers is young Billie (Ewan McGregor). He is intrigued by LV’s shyness because he too suffers fit. Billie finds a unique way of getting to know LV. He will eventually befriend her; and, they will share bits and pieces about each other’ s life.

Billie tells LV how much he enjoys taking care of homing pigeons and is worried about “Dwayne” who has not returned from France. LV tells Billie she never goes out of the house. It a start for the two of them.

On the Second night of Ray and Mari’s date, Mr Boo wants Ray to hear the angelic voice coming from LV’s window. Ray believes LV is his ticket back to success and fame. LV doesn’t sing for anyone but her Father. Watch how sleazy Ray convinces LV to do it for her father in front of an audience to make him proud.

When LV tells Billie, he knows right away that LV is being taken advantage of and he tries to make sure that Ray and her MUM is stopped. So, LV promises Billie it is for only one time. So, she performs and is a great success at Mr Boo’s Nightclub. The following day, Ray begs, borrows, gambles, pawns and steals to enough money to redecorate the nightclub and produce an expensive show, tailored around LV’s songs. He even invites “real” talent agents and music CEOs to watch LV perform. He can almost smell the ink on the contracts.

However, LV only promised one show. Why would a misogynist like Ray Says believe what a woman says? When Mari fails to get LV ready for the big night, Ray horrendously lashes out at her MUM.

Again, I don’t want to spoil the whole movie. However, I did mention before how Ray Says meanness near the end almost spoiled the movie for me. Well, I was not the only one with that problem. Here is a quote from highly respected movie critic, Roger Ebert concerning this meanness:  One problem is that the Michael Caine character, sympathetic and funny in the opening and middle scenes, turns mean at the end for no good reason.

This is one of the few times I have to disagree with Roger Ebert.  Ray Says has every reason to turn mean.  First of all, he too is a narcissist, like Mari. Unlike Mari, he can use the charm to get what he wants. He is not a NICE guy. He uses everyone. When he realizes his dream is dead and the mafia is ready to take him to his maker….He breaks down and screams that blasted song, It’s Over. It’s almost like a Greek tragedy for Ray’s bitter end.

Of course, there is so much more to this really funny movie. The most spectacular, besides the acting, is Jane Horrocks singing impressions. She is beyond good. I couldn’t believe she sang those songs. She was near perfection.  I erroneously thought she lip synched those songs.  Let’s just say, the movie must be pretty good; since, I laughed through nearly all of it.

Little Voice was more than a good movie for me.  It also allowed me to see that even an unlikable character is important to move the plot of the story along. I finally understood Michael Caine when he described the difference between a movie star and a movie actor. When this movie first started, I saw Michael Caine the movie star. However, near the end, I saw Michael Caine the movie actor. He admits in an interview that Ray Says is nothing like himself.  To him, Ray is so evil, he’s funny.  If you have not seen this movie, I think it would be worth your time. Here’s just a sample of Horrock’s LV performance.

REFERENCE LINKS:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000323/bio

http://www.michaelcaine.com/Biography

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=HkrxQyP6&id=D8C08B5BF2E7F1897279CE18D78DB7976A99612A&thid=OIP.HkrxQyP6XAb3zid1j_eREwEsDq&q=michael+caine+movies&simid=608046579561597969&selectedIndex=133&ajaxhist=0

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0147004/

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/little-voice-1998

Timeline (2003): History, Quantum Physics, Time Travel and Romance/ A Blogathon

Like most people, I have always been fascinated by the concept of Time Travel. Back in the early 80s, I remember a reading an article written by astronomer Carl Sagen.  He was so excited about the “reality” of sending a letter to anywhere in the world, in mere seconds. Can you imagine sending humans across the universe to a parallel universe or better yet to another era of earth time? I often wondered if he ever thought that the idea of faxing might be the building blocks to actual time travel?

I also wonder if Albert Einstein believed time travel was possible in the 20th century; since, he spent so much of his energy/time and space on this possibility. As a result, he left us with his time-continuum theory/ theory of Relativity. Even today, it is one of the most recognizable or iconic equations of all time: E=MC2.  Basically, this is an equation that symbolizes the conversion of mass into energy and energy into mass by manipulating the travel-speed of light.

As you can probably tell, I am excited about the theme of this blogathon: Time Travel in the movies. I want to thank Rich of Widescreen World and Ruth of Silver Screenings for hosting this event. Please use the link below to find more articles on time travel in the movies:

https://silverscreenings.org/2018/03/09/the-time-travel-blogathon-day-1/

Time Travel Banner

Why I chose this time travelling movie?

Timeline (2003)

This movie is based on a book: Timeline (1997) by author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Coma, Andromeda Strain, Westwood...). Due to his background in medicine, he immersed his novels with his science and medical knowledge. One of the reasons I choose this movie was because of Crichton’s meticulous approach to details. When he sold the movie rights for this book, it was with the condition, they would use his back drop story.  He had a theory about how time travel might actually be accomplished. He took the idea of faxing to a Time Travel level. Carl Sagan would be proud.

The Movie Summary

Professor Johnson (Billy Connolly) is working at an archaeological dig in France near a medieval castle, Castlegard. He is aided by his assistant, Kate (Frances O’Connor), and his son, Chris (Paul Walker) and his other assistant, Andre Marek (Gerard Butler). The funding of this dig comes from a corporation that is conducting experiments on an accidental “wormhole” it created while attempting to  transport a box through a type of huge Fax machine (Time Machine).

timeline2003.0101

All reports from the dig-site are sent to this corporation. The CEO, who receives the dig site reports, also directs the transportation project. He  kind of reminds me of Bill Gates type, Dr. Robert Doniger, played by David Thewlis.  At the dig site, Chris is trying to start a romance with Kate.  Marek explains to him about true love. He uses a medieval grave site of a royal couple to help explain the aspects of  true love.

Gerard-Butler_Timeline_2003

Later, Kate and Marek are lowered into a “just found” tunnel. They find something that astounds all reason: Professor Johnson’s reading glasses are there. Unbelievably, the eye glasses are six hundred years old. Yet, they recently seen them on him the day before. When they try to locate the Professor, they find that he is missing.  He was last seen going to the Corporate Lab to report dig findings. The three assistants, along with a few other scientists from the dig site, accompanied them to Corporate.

th (22)

Frustratingly,  Dr. Doniger gives them his explanation.  Professor Johnson has been transported back in time to 1357 Castlegard, France. He has a “marker” that will direct him back to the 21st century as long as he is at the opening of the wormhole by the designated time. Problem is, he didn’t return. They are not sure what happened to him. The marker only works for a limited amount of time. So, Doniger elicits the help of the three assistants with their co-worker, Francois Dontelle (Rossif Sutherland)  to go on a mission to bring the Professor back. To lead them and protect them, Frank Gordon (Neal McDonough) and a few other Corporate men go with the group.

Already, something about all this feels wrong. Why did Doniger wait to contact them about the missing Professor. They would not have known anything if the Professor had not left his glasses, five hundred years ago, as a clue. Plus, Gordon acts a bit afraid to go. Not quite trusting Doniger, the group agree with the plan to retrieve the Professor.

Sadly, the time machine looks like the transporter from 1960s classic TV show: Star Trek. There we find Engineer Scott “Transporting” Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Doctor McCoy (Deforest Kelly) to the surface of a planet from space. A beam of light is manipulated to transport their bodies through space.

So with earth shattering pain from the transport, the adventure begins. They are transported back six hundred years ago. They arrive in the middle of a war.  This war is the Hundred Years War between France and England. The same war that saw combat action from Richard III, Henry V, and Joan of Arc, although they never actually met on a field of battle or anywhere else. A time period where the Black Plague was prevalent and European men loved cropped hair styles God and obeyed the Church.

Before the Professor can be found and just after they appear in 1357 France, a couple of the Corporate guards are murdered by English soldiers. Marek rescues a boy from English soldiers only to find out the boy is a girl, Lady Claire (Anna’s Friel). Then, the whole group is captured by the English Lord Oliver (Martin Sheen) as French spies. We also learn he is holding the Professor prisoner too. To keep Oliver from killing him, the Professor promised to make him a weapon to defeat the French:  ” liquid Fire” or Greek Fire. This plays havoc on the whole changing the future idea.

Back at corporate headquarters, one of the wounded men is sent back. Unbeknownst to them, he had pulled the pin to a grenade (illegally brought to the past) while he was fighting the English for his life. Right after the body is transported, the grenade in his hand blows up in the time machine.  So, Doniger is busy trying to repair the damage before the time will expired to bring the group back.

The group escaped Lord Oliver but get separated. Marek rescued Lady Claire again. Professor Johnson, Chris, and Kate are captured again. After all these rescues, Marek  and Lady Claire begin to fall in love.  They have some cute courting miscommunication even though Marek is the only one who speaks her archaic French language (Occitan). They are eventually found by her brother, Prince Regent, Lord Arnaut (Lambert Wilson).

When Marek leaves the French camp to find his friends, he becomes captured again by the right hand man of Lord Oliver, Sir Dekere.  As a prisoner, Marek is reunited with his friends who are also prisoners.  Soon they learn, that Sir William Deker (Marton Csorkas) is really William Decker from their time. He was left behind and assumed dead. He is convinced that the group is there to kill him. He explained that he has Time travelled several times.  He reveals to the group a secret. A secret that Dr. Doniger wants to kill him for in order to ensure his silence. The secret: Each time you go through the transport, your cellular atoms mutate. Due to the internal damage, you will eventually die sooner than you normally would.

Dr. Doniger really wants this rescue mission to fail; and, he sabotages the efforts to fix the time machine before the wormhole appears again. Not wanting to spoil the interesting ending, I will leave the summary here.

Personally, I enjoyed the movie. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like this movie. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its flaws or that there are people who hated it. Crichton hated the movie so much that he refused to sell any more movie rights for his books. However, after he died of cancer in 2008, his estate did sell his friend, Steven Spielberg, the rights to Pirate Latitudes.

 So, what happened to this “could have a great movie?”

It is directed by Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon [1 – 4], Superman (1978), Goonies (1985), Scrooged (1988)…) The cast is exceptional: Sir Billy Connolly, David Thewlis, Gerard Butler, Paul Walker, Frances O’Conner, Michael Sheen, Anna Friel, Neal McDonough, …. It had a generous budget of 80 million dollars. By all rights this movie should have been a huge hit with some sequels.

Again, it has a great story, an excellent director, cast and crew and mucho money.  So, what happened?

First: It was a disaster at the box office. The first week it opened it made a little over 8.4 million dollars. It grossed not quite 20 million in the USA. In the international market it made 43.9 million. In other words, it lost money.

Second: The hype was overwhelming….people wanted to see this movie. Yet, release dates kept changing. Donner had to ‘re-cut this 136 minute movie to 116 minutes. The studio sent this movie back four times for edit/cuts. Of course, details of the story were cut out of the film.  These details helped audiences understand the story; and, allow it to be believable. As a result, it became an action movie and the valuable concepts and plots were lost on the audience.

Third: Possibly, the heart of the movie was removed. At the beginning of the film, Billy Connolly had a prologue that explained his character’s disappearance. This was vital to the story: and helped introduce the plot. Instead, the movie starts with some guy in a robe running around in the desert/forest. One minute he is in a forest running from a knight on horseback. Then, he is struck down by sword. Then, he falls in the middle of the road in the desert. A car stops to assist. We don’t know the guy; and, he dies in the emergency room. Some suits show up to retrieve his medical records and x-rays. The attending doctor says there are abnormalities in the x-rays. For me, this was too soon for a such a small clue for me to use later. Of course, I completely forgot the scene because it is not memorable.

Fourth: Historically the film is inaccurate. There was no Battle of Castlegard.  The language was neither French or English.  It was before Shakespeare and after Chaucer.  In the book, Crichton gave each of them a high-tech ear translator. This was not done in the movie. The language barrier was not appropriately addressed. On top of that detail, the shields had emblems of countries and regions that did not exist in 1357.  Canada is one and Germany is another country.

Last Thoughts

Again, I thought Timeline was an enjoyable movie. No, it does present a reliable theory concerning Time Travel or its impact on society. If there was a perspective about Time Travel in this film, it might be that time travel should not be attempted. What good can come from tinkering with the past? Besides, according to this movie, the human body was not made to withstand the subatomic makeover from travelling the speed of light; with or without a wormhole. It is sad that the movie was edited and cut to its death. This promised to be a great movie; but, was reduced to enjoyable in 116 minutes.

Presently, quantum physicists are still working on the possibility of time travel.   What I do know is that six years ago, college students were able to bend light from another room. At this rate, who knows if space and time travel is not only possible but may actual happen in our near future. Honestly, didn’t we just send a Tesla car into space blasting David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the radio. On second thought, maybe there are travels that we, as humans, will find beyond of our realm of attainable possibilities.

 

REFERENCE LINKS:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rogerebert.com/reviews/amp/timeline-2003

http://www.michaelcrichton.com

https://illinois.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.fund.sagantime/sagan-on-time-travel/#.WqRhUshOm2c

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0300556/

https://www.bing.com/search?pc=ASWI&form=AMZNS2&q=wormholes+definition+astronomy

Wait a second

This made me laugh just thinking about it. It is from a blogger who writes some excellent, fun jokes! You might want to follow his blog 😂👍🏼

SKYLINE REPORTS

John talks to God:

“What does it mean to You, my Lord, a billion years ?”

“It means only a second, John.”

“But a billion dollars ?”

“One cent.”

“Then give me, my Lord, one cent !”

“Wait a second…”

View original post

More than an Award’s Show: Oscars, The Host and Forrest Gump (1994)

“It’s that time of year again when the best of the best in the film industry vie against each other for the coveted and sought after Oscar. The Academy Awards is celebrating its 90th year. On March 4th, it is hosted, for the second time, by popular late night talk show host and executive producer, Jimmy Kimmel.

JimmyKimmel Live! has been on ABC since 2003. To be on television for 15 years is no small feat.  Kimmel is a witty, entertaining comic who has an unassuming persona. To general audiences, he is likable.  Based on the title of this post, please do not assume that I am trying to imply that Jimmy Kimmel comes across like Forrest Gump or even that he looks like Tom Hanks. However, some people claim to see a resemblance

So, what am I implying? My claim is that Oscar nominees have worked on, contributed and created an Artistic film version of a great story. This story has attracted audiences due to its relevancy in their lives.  The social issues explored, alluded to or addressed in the film imitate real life. An example of this is the Oscar-winning movie: Forrest Gump (1995). It has numerous social ills that reflect its relevance. It is because of the importance of relevancy that Jimmy Kimmel is the perfect host for the Oscars. As far as hosting the Oscars, you could not find a better and more perfect host. Unlike The Last Week Tonight show with John Oliver or  Steven Colbert in The Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmel Live! stayed out of the political fray; until, this year.

Soon after his son was born, a nurse noticed an unusual breathing pattern in the child. Jimmy Kimmel’s second child by wife Molly needed heart Surgery.  This life threatening medical problem for his infant son will later provide Kimmel with a social issue, child health care, that he felt he must address with his audiences. His concern was for thousands of children who need expensive medical care; but, whose parents could not afford it. Now, his show was not just about comedy, it now became relevant to every parent in his audience.

Over the years, the Oscar ceremonies has evolved from just an award show.  It has become a platform for social issues and injustices too. Watching the Oscars is not just about the red carpet, glamour, clothes, who will win, and the beautiful. Today, it makes social statements with interviews, ribbon pins or speeches.  Watching the Oscars has evolved into an event that is extremely relevant today.

This is an excerpt from The Washington Post quoting part of Kimmel’s monologue from last year’s Oscars:

He mentioned that the Oscars were airing in “225 countries that now hate us,” and said he was happy that Homeland Security let French Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert into the country.

The U.S. is divided right now, Kimmel said, and people have been telling the host that he needs to say something to unite everyone.

“Let’s just get something straight off the top: I can’t do that. There’s only one Braveheart in this room and he’s not going to unite us either,” Kimmel said referring to Mel Gibson. Then Kimmel said that the best thing to do would be for people to reach out to someone they disagree with and have a conversation. “That could make America great again,” he said.

If you were one of those people who did not see Kimmel’s heart wrenching pleas to politicians and lawmakers to extend funding for Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), I have included it below this paragraph. Again, his own infant son had to undergo heart surgery, not once but twice, as an infant and at age 7 months.  Kimmel’s  passionate cry  for  “common sense and decency” touched the hearts of millions. So, besides the fact that Kimmel is an excellent choice for hosting the Oscars due to his wit and comic timing,  he is also a relevant choice because he publicly cares about many social issues that people face today. By the way, CHIPS was not extended due to budget cuts.

Kimmel’s Plea For “Common Sense and Decency”

This clip is a little over 13 minutes.  If you have not seen it, you might like to watch it now.  Warning! If you do watch it, you will laugh; but, your eyes will tear up too. This is a parent who not only loves his child; but, who is also deeply concerned for other parents whose children are sick and; cannot afford healthcare without government assistance.

Once again, I believe that one of the common attributes of an award-winning film is its relevancy for people of today and in the future. I had to think about all the movies that touched my heart.  Nearly, all of them were Oscar-winning movies: To Kill a Mockingbird; On The Waterfront; Road To Perdition; Signs; The Prestige;  Rocky; Inception; Warrior; Locke; The Patriot; and so many more. The topics varied; but, they always had heart warming moments that touch my very soul.

Here is my favorite scene picks that personally affected me the most from Forrest Gump

The last 15 minutes of Forrest Gump is pure movie magic. Forrest (Tom Hanks) is recently widowed and raising his five-year old son as a single parent. When Forrest watches his little boy get on the school bus, alone for the first time, is when my eyes become floodgates. He sits on a tree stump at the bus stop; and, there he patiently waits for his son to return to him: safe and loved. This always brings tears to my eyes.  The relevancy should be obvious for any parent and perhaps children too. Especially, in light of the heinous acts of violence on America’s children in schools and on the streets. The unspoken fear of every parent: their child does not return to them after school or after play.

This first clip is Forrest caring for his sick wife and some discussion of what Vietnam War was like. Then, he visits her grave. It is nearly six minutes long. It goes by very quickly.

This next clip is very short: 36 seconds. Forrest is sending little Forrest on a school bus.  Haley Joel Osment plays Little Forrest in his first film role at the age of six.

This scene shows Forrest prepared to sit there on that tree stump; until, little Forrest returns. Besides the great story, the acting, the cinematography, the director, …music adds layers of complexity to the make a memorable scene.

Forrest Gump won six Oscars at the 1995 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated for 13 Oscars.  Many critics agree that this movie is one of the top ten movies ever produced. I believe one of the reasons is its relevancy for the audience.  This movie addresses single parenting, the physically and mentally challenged, child abuse and incest, War, Veterans of war, Civil Rights, falling in love, burying a love one, revolutionaries, racism, social protest, drug addiction, bullies, etc…The list is long.  The story of Gump is a story of human kind; good and evil.

Forrest Gump touched my heart and will remain in my memory; but there were other winners that year that are definitely worth noting

Other Oscars winners that year that included parenting as part of the plot or subplot were The Lion King; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Legends of The Fall; and The Madness of King George. There were two other Oscar winners that did not have parenting as a subplot; but, they did address other social issues. Ed Wood addressed drug addiction, ageist, and acceptance of alternative life styles like transvestite. Speed addressed violence and the fear of a homegrown terrorist. The main point is that nearly all Oscar caliber movies have some kind of social relevance to engage its audiences. Thankfully, we can honor all those creative artists and their movie magic; especially when we have talented hosts like Jimmy Kimmel to guide the way.

I would like to thank Oscar’s Blogathon hosts:

In honor of the Oscars this year, Paula from Paula’s Cinema Club (Twitter -@Paula_Guthat); Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled (Twitter @Irishjayhawk66) and Aurora from Once Upon A Screen are hosting this year’s 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon.  Please use the following links below to read wonderful posts about Oscar movies and other Oscar topics!

Day One

Day One: 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON

Day Two

Day Two: 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon

Day Three

31 Days of Oscar: Oscar SNUBS, 2018 Edition!

C38D656B-8CFD-4205-8031-AB92E71263E4

I do not own any of the images within this post

REFERENCE LINKS:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?cid=cs_IKtKEy2wCI4jbkN62yVl9Q&q=Forrest+Gump&cq=Forrest+Gump&FORM=IRCRIC&crslsl=466

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=1O325EnX&id=FDE7D24DDEE0099AA1677797B4EF8BE10500C899&thid=OIP.1O325EnX07YXKfeVtXh7zgHaFW&q=Jimmy+Kimmel+Family&simid=608055697775985312&selectedindex=114&mode=overlay&first=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/02/26/the-oscars-most-political-moments-a-running-list/?utm_term=.5ffc357154e6

Oldest Footage of London Ever

This is a fantastic film….talk about time travel! It compares London landmarks on film and pictures in London over a hundred years ago. It’s just an incredible piece of documentary. Thank you Old Boy for allowing me to reblog your blog post. Enjoy 😊

Movies From The Silent Era

From Yestervid

Ever wonder what London looked like over 100 years ago?

This is the oldest footage of London ever. Includes amazing old footage, plus modern shots of the same location today. Also features maps carefully researched to show where the camera was.
http://www.yestervid.com

oldest-footage-of-london-6

The video features:

  • 46 vintage shots of recognizable places in London from 1890-1920
  • Added dates and maps to show where the camera was
  • Amazing side-by-side comparison with modern footage of exactly the same spot
  • The clip that is the oldest surviving footage of London from 1890.

Here’s the film:

As far as we know, a project of this nature and factual depth has never been undertaken.

oldest-footage-of-london-7

We also love the feeling of seeing the horse drawn carts, people and old buildings. Nostalgia makes you reflect on your own life and leaves you with a sense of wonder because essentially, this is your story.

oldest-footage-of-london-9

In March 2015, old…

View original post 102 more words

Singing Sweethearts Blogathon: Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy…Happy Valentine’s Day

I was invited to write a post on one of the most successful singing duos in Hollywood history.  To be honest I knew next to nothing about the pair.  Their heyday happened years before I was even born. The couple became famous near the end of the Great Depression (1929 – 1942).  During those bleak days of the Depression, it must have been something wonderful to watch these two beautiful people singing their love songs while staring into each other’s eyes. Even by today’s standards, their on-screen chemistry is off the charts. It is no surprise that their movies were extremely popular and lucrative magnets for box office profits.  They attracted millions of fans around the world, then and now.

Since it is Valentine’s Day, it is only fitting that the most appropriate Blogathon ever to celebrate Sweethearts is created for our film lovers. Of course, it is The Singing Sweethearts Blogathon hosted by Tiffany and Rebekah Brennan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society (PEPS). To read more posts about MacEddy movies and their individual movies, please use the link below:

https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/ring-the-assembly-bell-the-singing-sweethearts-blogathon-has-arrived/

FCD2FBAC-6A27-418F-9DF6-4FAC11E36712

Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy made eight films together from 1935 – 1942.  Of course, they were musicals; since both were trained opera singers. Eddy always considered himself a singer, first and foremost. MGM’s Louis B. Meyer couldn’t agree more.  Eddy did not do well in his screen tests. As a matter of fact, before he starred in his first movie with MacDonald, he wanted out of his contract; so, he could return to his singing career. The shy Eddy felt out-of-place in Hollywood.  Fortunately for Eddy, his smooth baritone voice could rival Andrea Bocelli tenor voice in beauty and expression. So, after a film career of 16 movies, he continued to give concerts. He performed literally to the day he had a stroke on stage and died hours later, in 1966. MacDonald had a lovely soprano voice; but her on-screen presence and her natural acting ability allowed her to make 28 movies. She was an established star before she made her first movie with Eddy.

I had no idea what a great actress she was; until, I watched my first and only “MacEddy” film: The Girl From the Golden West. Since viewing it a few times, I am a true fan now; and, I intend to binge watch their movies, together and individually.

 

 

History: The Girl From The Golden West And Opera

This is the fourth movie made (1915, 1923, 1930 & 1938) that is adapted from David Belasco’s play with the same title. In 1910, Giacomo Puccini turned this play into a popular Italian Opera, La Fraciulla Del West. If you don’t know Puccini, you don’t know opera. Even this gifted child of nine knows Puccini. Amira Willighagen sings on Holland’s TV show, You Got Talent: O Mio Babbino Caro (My favorite, Puccini song). Forgive me for this indulgence. Opera is passionate and full of gut wrenching emotion. To hear a song sung by a child that is basically a mother’s plea for the life of her child is completely overwhelming: That’s Opera! To understand the MacEddy movies, you have to appreciate the impact this genre of music had on their audiences.

With a sample of a Puccini opera piece and a bit of history, I hope it  helps in understanding the appeal that these movies had on audiences of that time.  It was a scary time: world-wide economic Depression with democracies failing and dictators seizing control.  Opera is music that not only tells a tragic story but revels the raw emotions involved within that story.  Please don’t underestimate the impact these songs had on the fans and audiences of that era. Opera has been described as the beautiful sounds and emotions of life itself.

The Movie: The Girl From The Golden West (1938)

This MacEddy movie is a musical western. It is not a cowboy musical western, like a Roy Rogers or a Gene Autry movie. This movie is concerns the dramatic movement to the West with all its dangers and mingling of diverse people and cultures. Granted this is an old Hollywood imaginary version of that era. This movie was also made with the watchful eye of the Hays’ Decency Code. So, the rating today would be probably be a G (General audiences) because no one is killed, no one says a curse word, and everyone is honorable, even the bad guys, in one way or another.

The First Thirty Minutes of  this Two Hour Movie:

The movie begins with settlers in a wagon train moving west. All singing in chorus about their hopes for the future: Sun up to Sun Down🎶. It reminds me of another western musical, Paint Your Wagon (1969). In this film, they sang I’m on My Way 🎶. The two opening scenes are very similar in imagery and song. I would not be surprised if the opening scene from Paint Your Wagon was indeed influenced by this MacEddy film.

 

We see an elderly man who is driving the wagon. Beside him, is a little girl of 9 or 10. We learn from their conversation that the little girl, Mary, is an orphan. Her dying father, who was a gambler, asked his brother, Davy (Charlie Grapewin) to care of Mary and take her with him if he goes out west. Mary’s mother passed away before her father. Uncle Davy and the other settlers are alerted to break for camp since the Tom Tom of the Indians can be heard nearby.  Once they gather around the camp fire, little Mary (Jeanne Ellis) breaks out in song: Shadows On The Moon🎶. It is a lovely lullaby taught to her by her mother.

As she sings, they are spied on by a Mexican bandit and boy (Bill Cody Jr.) around Mary’s age. They boy is mesmerize by the song and Mary. Just as Mary finishes her song, they are visited by a priest, Father Sienna ( H.B. Warner).  He is impressed with Mary’s song and asked if she swallowed a canary. Mary, being a gambler’s daughter, laughs and claims: I bet ya a dollar that I didn’t.

The padre introduces himself and explains that he lives in a mission nearby. He asks Mary if she could sing for his parishioners in church one day. She promises that she would. Father Sienna explains his mission is to bring civilization to the Indians and bring information to civilization in order to help settlers cross through the wilderness and reach their destination. He pulls out a map to show them where they are in relation to the surrounding mountains and rivers. Some panicked Indian parishioners interrupt the priest.  They explained that he must return to the mission immediately. General Ramirez (Noah Berry Sr.) and his men are there.  Before he leaves, he warns the settlers to stay away from Ramirez because he is very dangerous man.

At the mission, Ramirez and his rowdy men are drunk. The boy seen earlier spying on the settlers is with them. The General begs the boy, Gringo, to sing for the men. They love to hear him sing. However Gringo is reluctant.  The General teases him about mooning over the singing little girl (Mary). The General then persuades Gringo to shoot a sheep with his bow and arrow. If he kills it in one shot, he will give him a medal. Gringo kills the sheep and earns his medal. He then sings a song of camaraderie: Soldiers Of Fortune🎶.

When Father Sienna finds his dead sheep with an arrow shot through its body, he angrily says to General Ramirez: Since when are soldiers warring with sheep?  The priest demands to know who killed his sheep. Gringo steps up and proudly admits guilt. Father Sienna is impressed with the boy’s courage and honesty. He explains that violence and killing can be avoided and that there is a better way. Gringo’s heart is moved; and, he agrees with the priest against Ramirez’s objections. The priest gives Gringo a cross pin. He says it is a medal of a different kind.  The General angrily takes his medal back from the boy and explains to the Padre: If I do not take the medal from the boy when he does something bad, I will run out of medals to give him when he does something good. 

An Indian chief complains to Father Sienna that if the land belongs to his people why are the people trying to settle there. The General yells that the settlers want to take the land and kill all of them.  He demands that Gringo repeat what he said to the chief in his language. Gringo refuses to tell the chief what the General said.

To prove to Gringo he is willing to try to accept the new settlers in an act of friendship, the General and his men decide to pay them a visit. The settlers mistake them for  warring Indians. They shoot at them and fatally wound the General. They make it back to the mission. As the dyng General ridicules Father Sienna, Gringo sadly sings, Soldiers Of Fortunes for the last time. Gringo is so angry with the priest, he ripped his gift pin off his shirt and tosses it to the ground.

The Set up For The Rest of The Movie

The Movie moves from a wagon train, to years later in a small gold mining town, Cloudy Mountain in California. It is here, we find our heroine, Mary Robbins aka “Girl” (Jeanette MacDonald). She is the sole owner of the Polka, a saloon. She is also one of the very few women in town and only single white woman. Yet, our miners are respectful of the Girl while they enjoy camaraderie, boozing, and gambling in her establishment. They also trust her with all their gold and money; until, the coach comes; and, they can send it on to banks for safe keeping.

 

 

It is here, Mary talks to one of her admirers, gambler and Sheriff Jack Rance (Walter Pigeon). Pigeon is perfect as the charismatic handsome but dangerous gambler turned Sherriff. He just shot at a man for trying to cheat him at cards. When Mary sees him sitting alone with a deck of cards, she notices his recently used gun displayed on top of the card table. She asks Jack: What’s the gun for? You afraid of cheating yourself? Mary is witty, beautiful and smart. MacDonald adds a western accent and movements to her character. She walks around in long strides; and, her steps are more like stomping around. She convincing embraces the core of her mountaineer character.

Mary obviously understands her power over the men folk; and, she uses it. She also has another admirer, the town blacksmith, Alabama (Buddy Ebsen). Unlike the Sheriff, he knows his love for Mary can only stay within the friendship mode. The friendship is affectionate and warm. Ebsen better known for his TV roles in The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones. 

Sheriff Rance sends Alabama to fetch the girl because he has a surprise for her: a piano pronounced: Pie-And- nee. Alabama approaches Mary playing a fife. Mary sings the lovely tune: The Wind in The Trees🎶Which is one of the my favorite songs in the movie. Later in the movie, Ebsen will sing solo in another great song: The West Ain’t Wild Anymore🎶. 

Meanwhile, a Robin Hood type of bandit, Ramirez (Nelson Eddy) and his outlaw gang are causing fear and unrest amongst the settlers in the region. Ramirez is a white man whose parents was killed by the Indians when he was a small child. He is Gringo all grown up. He and his gang enjoy singing their song: Soldiers of Fortune. Eddy is a tall, blonde and wholesome handsome. He resembles Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger. He is easy on the eyes and he is likable. He is at his best when he is singing or sharing the screen with MacDonald.

Ramirez is popular with the ladies but he is not “in love” with anyone. But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his favorites, like Nina Martinez (Priscilla Lawson). He keeps love coaching his right hand man, Mosquito (Leo Carrillo) to not get tied down with love; besides, it messes with your criminal career.

 

 

That is until; he robs a coach on its way to Monterey. This coach has a very special passenger: Mary.  She travels to Monterey every year to sing in Father Sienna’s church. She has done this since she was a child. On this trip she is singing,  Ava Maria🎶

Honesty, the scenes between Eddy and MacDonald are the best part of the movie.  He outrageously flirts; and she; is witty and sassy.  Their whole exchange is truly funny and sweet. In other words, the sparks fly with these two. If Eddy is not a great actor, he had to be completely enamoured with MacDonald off-screen. This kind of chemistry is flawless and timeless. Not since Jane Austen‘s Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice has there been such heated sexual undertones. I ask you, how can a man pointing a gun at you while he is robbing you be so dang charming?

The Girl of the Golden West

I don’t like spoilers; so, you just have to watch and enjoy the MacEddy banter in the movie for yourself. Despite being in dire straits, Mary does not show her fear; since, she knows Sheriff Rance sent a posse for her protection, and probably, for the gold too. When Mary hears horses arriving, she triumphantly announces to Ramirez that he and his men are caught. However, as the posse arrives, Mary soon realizes that the posse is actually prisoners of Ramirez’s men.

As Ramirez continues to rob the people of the coach, he believes he is chivalrous when he allows Mary to keep her necklace from her mother, and her dresses for her performance at the Church. Also, he tolerates  and jokes with her concerning her “sassy mouth.”  So, he continues to flirt with her; until, Mary gives him a parting gift: A sound slap across the face from the window of the “just leaving” coach. Mosquito and the men are shocked that Ramirez allowed Mary to “get away with that.” Ramirez seemed shocked too. He then tells Mosquito to ride with him into Monterey. They will go as visitors; since, no one knows what Ramirez looks like. Once there, Ramirez plans to locate Mary in order to repay her for the slap.

He finds Mary in the Father Sienna’s Church as she sings Ava Maria. 

 

Upon hearing Mary sing, Ramirez remembers that she is the little girl who sang that beautiful song around the camp fire years ago.  He never forgot the song nor the lovely voice that sung it.  Ramirez is now in full blown, “I am madly in Love” mode. After Mary’s performance, he overhears the Governor inviting her to a ball that evening.  He tells her he will send an Army officer to escort her. Ramirez seizes his chance. So, he “borrows” an Army uniform to escort Mary, while at the same time, he uses his birth name, Anderson. So, Lieutenant Anderson escorts Mary to the celebration; so that he might have the opportunity to woo her.

 

During the celebration, one of the best dance scenes at that time is filmed, The Mariache 🎶 sung by Eddy. Again, I think this movie may have influenced another Western musical. That movie had one of most memorable dance scenes in film history. The barn raising dance scene in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954).

 

After spending the evening with Mary, Ramirez/Anderson wants to tell her the truth about himself. So, he follows her to Cloudy and finds her.  In order to woo Mary properly, Anderson/ Ramirez must sing a love song. This clip is an example of MacEddy’s mutual chemistry and his beautiful voice. The song is Who are we to say🎶. Near the end of this clip, Alabama (Edsen) appears. Also, at the end of this clip, I think MacDonald is fascinating to watch.

He is also introduced to Sheriff Rance who had previously asked Mary to marry him. Rance is none to friendly with this new rival for Mary’s attention.  Plus, he is furious that his posse failed to capture Ramirez. So, Rance has set a trap for Ramirez. He put a $10,000 award for his capture and is luring him to the saloon to steal more gold.

No one knows what Ramirez looks because he covers his face and speaks with an accent during his robberies. However, Mary will soon learn the truth about the Lieutenant Anderson’s identity.

The last forty minutes of this movie moves very fast. It involves lynching, sacrifice, lost love, gambling for love and life, and of course the power of True love. As I said before when I began this post, I knew very little of this phenomenal coupling of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Now, that I do, I am so thankful to Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan at PEPS. This particular movie is not a fan favorite like Maytime (1937) or Rose Marie (1936); but, this and their five other movies are dearly loved.

Besides, the fact the movie is a bit dated, my only complaint would be that it was too long, at two hours. They must have had a terrible time trying to edit this film; since, they would delete all the scenes with Roy Bolger ( The Tin Man in Wizard of Oz) as a character named Happy Moore. Despite the length of the movie, it is still enjoyable.

The story in this film is so appealing that it not only inspired a play, but an Opera, four movies, and finally a novel too.  In addition to this movie, there are seven more movies starring these singing Sweethearts for your viewing pleasure.  I hope, if you have not seen a MacEddy film, you give yourself a treat, and enjoy the escapism of their extremely entertaining films.

Happy Valentine’s Day💞

Reference Links:

Original 1938 Trailer for The Girl From The Golden West:

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/70093/Girl-Of-The-Golden-West-The-Original-Trailer-.html

Nelson Eddy Biography:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0248904/bio

Jeanette MacDonald Biography:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0531776/

Paint Your Wagon (1969):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064782/

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047472/

Robin Williams Blogathon: Impressions

This actor and comedian will be missed for a very long time. Anyone who had caught his act or watched his movies knew there was some kind of genius lurking there. He was manically funny and his dramatic performances were near perfect. He won an Oscar for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting (1997); and, he had 83 nominations from various film industries and 63 wins. Whether drama or comedy, he sublimely did it all. The ancient Greeks would have considered him the consummate performer, like Buster Keaton. They are a combination of hilarious laughter and heartbreaking tears; or, as the Greeks considered it, an illusion of perfection within the arts of entertainment.  You only had to see Williams once, regardless where; and, he made an impression that you would not easily forget.

His improvisations were pure magic. As with most performing artists, many aspects of his personal life would make it into his act. For instance, he was very proud of his Scot heritage. You can see some of this in the following video clip. In this clip, he is impersonating a “pissed” (into his cups, smashed, drunk…) Scot. This particular Williams character ended up inventing the game of golf. Take a look, if you have not seen it or if you want to laugh again. This displays Williams’ trademark of energetic impersonations along with the hilarity of his wit.

Before I continue, I would like to thank Gill from Realweegiemidget and Crystal from In The Days of Classic Hollywood for hosting this much deserved tribute: Robin Williams Blogathon. To read or see more of this tribute, please use the following links:

https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/announcing-the-robin-williams-Blogathon

https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/awakenings-1990/

The first fleeting impression I had of Williams was from TVs reboot of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In (1977).  Williams was mixed in a fast paced kaleidoscope of comedians doing their gags and short skits. However, he stood out even then. He was young, handsome, and wearing a funny-looking cowboy hat. He wowed me in only a few seconds. Anyone who saw him knew he was different and unique. I tried to catch the show the following week. Either, I missed it; or, it just didn’t never aired.

 

I don’t think I saw him again until the highly popular Mork and Mindy (19781982). He was not a cowboy this time. No, he was a cute, funny-looking space alien who is befriended by the pretty Mindy (Pam Dawber). For those who don’t remember it, this show is a cross between My Favorite Martian (1999) and the Earth Girls Are Easy (1989). For most of us, it was the first time we heard the words: Nano, Nano! Who knew then that “Nano” technology would be in our future?

 

Williams claims he was heavily influenced by many great performers and actors. However, I think his greatest influence came from comedic icon and the first inductee to the Comedic Hall of Fame: Jonathan Winters. If you seen Winters act when dressed as a women, you might think: this is Mrs. Doubtfire’s American cousin: Maude Frickert. If you never seen Winters impersonation of the 87 year old Maude, then I encourage you to watch the following short clip of “her” with Dean Martin. They are setting up a commercial for a sponsor of The Dean Martin Show in what they call a “station break.”

The jokes are a bit dated and sexist; but, it was “naughty” fun for audiences of the early 60s.  The similarities between the two crossdressing elderly, spitfire-characters cannot not be missed. Both are immensely enjoyed by their adorning fans.

After Mork and Mindy were married, they soon announced a baby on the way. Their half Alien/human newborn would be “hatched” into a baby named Mearth (Jonathan Winters). Due to Williams admiration of Winters, this should not have surprised people; but, it did. You had to watch it to understand how ridiculously funny those last few years were on that show with this comic marriage.  Those two together, Williams and Winters, was akin to a comedic molotov cocktail.

 

 

Here is a clip of them ten years later after the show ended. They are on the Johnny Carson Show. Carson had alreadied interviewed Williams before they brought out Winters.  Winters had just won an Emmy for another TV show; however, he did not attend the awards to receive it. Williams was obviously elated to be there with the iconic funnyman.  This clip is just a glimpse of what it must have been like with these two geniuses working together. Their respect and admiration for each other can be seen through the details.

In addition to Winters, Robin Williams credits others whose influence had an major impact on him, especially, when it came to acting. He loved watching British actor, Peter Sellers (Pink Panther, Doctor Strangelove or how I Stopped worrying and love the Bomb) and Dustin Hoffman (Tootie, Hook).  They each impressed upon him the need of learned, practiced characterization.  Each character, no matter how large or small the part, deserved serious study.  Hoffman taught Williams this during the making of Hook: Preparation is key to a great performance. This advice must of become extremely important to the “The King of Improvisation.”

Williams will be involved in 105 film productions. Most, if not all, delivered a character, good or evil, with a degrees of heart and humanity.

The first time one of Williams’ performances surprised me was in Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again (1991). This is a wonderful movie that salutes the styles of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Wells. With that said, this movie has passion, murder, mystery and the possibility of reincarnation. It travels from post WWII in the United States (filmed in black and white) to the present (filmed in color). In the past, Branagh is German composer Roman Strauss. He marries a much younger musician, Margaret (Emma Thompson). She is murdered and Strauss is executed for the crime. In the present, Branagh is cynical private eye, Mike Church. Most of his work comes from tracking down missing heirs.

A lawyer contacts Church to locate a professionally ruined psychiatrist, Cozy Carlisle (Robin Williams). What a great name for a psychiatrist, Cozy. Apparently, that was his problem. He got too “ cozy” with his patients. Church locates him working in a grocery store’s freezer locker.

Church is called by his priest to come back to the orphanage (converted Strauss mansion) where he was raised. They have an female amnesiac who just appeared at their gates. Unfortunately, she is so traumatized, she is mute too. As if that is not enough, she has nothing on her to identify her. Church really doesn’t want to deal with this kind of case; but, his priest knows how to guilt him out. Once Mike meets this woman, he is immediately intrigued. He gives her a temporary name, Grace (Thompson).

Eventually, Mike ends up taking her to hypnotist, Franklyn Madson (Derek Jacobi) who also has a antique shop. Church and Grace learn of the Strauss murder under hypnosis. While in the hypnotic state, Grace appears to relive her past life as Margaret Strauss, (the murder victim). As a result, Grace finds her voice but not her memory of her life in the present. Church’s instincts tells him not to trust Madson.  Instead, he and Grace pay a visit to the bitter and angry, ex-doctor, Cozy Carlisle. Church wants his advice about the possibility of reincarnation.  The following two clips completely contain this conversation. Until this movie, I never seen Williams in such a dark role. It was brilliant, of course.

 

Even as this darker character, Cozy Carlisle, Williams delivers a punch line to Branagh’s Mike Church. I liked how this movie explores other beliefs. Although the answers differ by various religions, the questions remain the same (why we are here; or, what is our place in the greater scheme of things). The answers will always be debated; but, even with confusing answers, the questions are always pursued and are infinitely more interesting.

The following year Williams passed away, a very dark movie (his last) was released, Boulevard (2015). I was saddened that such lovely person as Robin Williams is not here anymore to make us laugh. No, I didn’t see it, nor at that time, did I want too.  However, time soften the heart; and, I decided I want to see it. I want to be fair in honoring all of Williams’ work.

For a while, I wanted to remembered the smiling and gifted performer in happier movies. A few years, after he passed away, Americans in the United States were given the “another” last movie with Robin Williams. It was released in the U.K. in 2015 but not in the States.  It is a scientific comedy…Yessss: Absolutely Anything. Williams does the voiceover for the dog, Dennis. The trailer looks funny; and, I am looking forward to watching it.

It is directed by Terry Jones (Monty Python) and it is written by Jones and Gavin Scott. I took the liberty of copying the cast lists from Wikapedia. Here is the link:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolutely_Anything#Cast

Feast your eyes on all of this talent.  As far as the voiceover cast, you might as well call it “Monty Python” with Robin Williams.

CAST:

Simon Pegg as Neil Clarke
Kate Beckinsale as Catherine West
Sanjeev Bhaskar as Ray
Rob Riggle as Colonel Grant Kotchev
Robert Bathurst as James Cleverill
Eddie Izzard as Headmaster, Mr. Robinson
Joanna Lumley as Fenella
Marianne Oldham as Rosie
Emma Pierson as Miss Pringle
Meera Syal as Fiona Blackwell
Mojo the Dog as Dennis the Dog

VOICE CAST

John Cleese as Chief Alien
Terry Gilliam as Nasty Alien
Eric Idle as Salubrious Gat
Terry Jones as Scientist Alien
Michael Palin as Kindly Alien
Robin Williams as Voice of Dennis the Dog
Again, I have not seen this movie; but, I guarantee you that I will by this weekend; even though, the movie received lukewarm reviews.  That’s nothing new. Most comedies receive lukewarm reviews; or, they are totally trashed. It just makes me happy that Williams, in the voice of “man’s friend,” comes from this space age comedy to make us smile, again.  Let me know in the comments if you seen it and if you enjoyed it.

7AF54A00-FA2E-4FC4-AAE7-A1BDBC9ED8B7

Again, that you Gill and Crystal for hosting the Robin Williams Blogathon.  Don’t forget to see more tributes to Robin Williams using the following links:

https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/announcing-the-robin-williams-Blogathonhttps://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/awakenings-1990/

Reference Links:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rogerebert.com/reviews/amp/dead-again-1991

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Williams

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0101669/

http://ew.com/article/1991/08/30/dead-again/

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D0CE7DB1F39F930A1575BC0A967958260