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

The Mad Scientist Blogathon

What is it about “mad scientists ” that is so appealing to film audiences? Is it their crazy ideas that fascinates?  Or maybe, it is their passion for possibilities of the unthinkable.  Real scientists like Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, or Leonardo Da Vinci were thought “mad” at times too. Their ideas shocked their contemporaries; and yet, their passions eventually changed our perception of our world which resulted in changing our lives for the better too. It is only natural that we find ourselves drawn to these “mad” geniuses. Christina Wehner and Ruth from Silver Screenings  invited bloggers to write a post about a mad scientist from the movies. Please use the link  below to read more blogs on movie scientists of all sorts:

https://christinawehner.wordpress.co

https://silverscreenings.org/2017/09/10/movie-scientist-blogathon-day-3-recap-the-lonely/

My original “mad scientist” was Doctor Frankenstein from the Mary Shelley’s book and from the multiple film incarnations of him. I also love comedies. Logically, I was going to write a post about Mel Brooks‘ Hilarious Young Frankenstein. However, as I was watching Igor (pronounced I-Gor not E-Gor) looking for a human brain, I had a better idea…Brains….the Human brain.

What if Dr. Frankenstein took the brain and put in in a dead body? I mean a body that wasn’t pieced together from many body parts. Just pick a whole dead body and put in a “good” brain.  Or, as Brain Surgeon Doctor Micheal Hfuhruhurr (Steve Martin) said:

Ladies and gentlemen, I can envision a day when the brains of brilliant men can be kept alive in the bodies of dumb people.

So instead of Young Frankenstein (1974), my post will be about another hilarious movie scientist, Dr. Hfuhruhurr, in the film, The Man Wiith Two Brains (1983).  This is the third of four movies that Carl Reiner directed that starred comedic, mastermind Steve Martin:

  1. The Jerk (1979)
  2. Dead Men Don’t Ware Plaid (1982)
  3. The Man With Two Brains (1983)
  4. All of Me (1984)

The three comedy writers who wrote The Man With Two Brains also wrote the screenplay for Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid: Carl Reiner, Steve Martin and George Gale. This movie mostly spoofs  horror films of by gone years. I feel it is only proper to mention each of the films since they not only inspired The Man With Two Brains; but, they have “mad” scientists who should not be ignored in a blog that honors them.

  • Donavan’s Brain (1953)
  • Blood Devils (1970)
  • They Saved Hitler’s Brian (1968)
  • The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1983)

A Brief look of these Four Horror Movies that Influenced The Man With Two Brains: All movie trailers are added at the end of this post. 

This first one, Donovan’s Brain, stars Nancy Davis. I think this is interesting because she will become the future First Lady married to President Ronald Reagan. In this film, she is marry to a kindly doctor who keeps a criminal’s brain alive; however, the evil brain slowly takes over the doctor’s mind and body.

The second movie is known as Blood Devils in the United States and Beast of Blood in the United Kingdom. This one is a rare treat because it is a Filipino Horror flick that is Dubbed in English. This movie has a disfigured evil doctor on an island who loves making zombies by transplanting heads. He keeps the head and body of a man-beast alive. The head controls its detached body. The last scene in this movie trailer is a funny due to the dubbing process.

Third movie has one of the most unique titles that I ever heard: They Saved Hitler’s Brain. Besides the title, the making of this movie is unique too.  They had a theatrical release of this 70-minute movie in 1963. Then in 1968, the movie distributor asked UCLA students to add 20-minutes more footage to the ending. This was adapted for television. According to this movie, Hitler didn’t shoot himself in the head. His Nazis henchmen smuggled his living head to an island near a country, Mandoras , in South America to be attached when the Third Reich could be revived. Hence, it prompted another movie title: The Madmen of Mandoras.

The last horror film to influence the comedy writers of The Man With Two Brains is The Brain That Would Not Die (1983).  This time the mad scientist has a girlfriend whose head is decapitated in a car wreck.  He keeps her head alive while she begs him to allow her to die. When he tells her he knows what he is doing because he has done it before.  Even though he created a living mess with the poor guy.  She really begins to hate her boyfriend as he goes lurking for a body to attach to her head.  He is little choosy too because his looks for victims at a burlesque show and a beauty pageant. The head really hates it when he decides to killed an old ex-girlfriend for a body. The head nags him so much, he tapes her mouth shut.

IMG_0744

These four movies influenced the making of The Man With Two Brains. In this film, we meet “mad scientist” or should I say mad Brain Surgeon, Doctor Hfuhruhurr who perfected the “cranial screw-top” brain surgery. He describes his over inflated talents  to a reporter in this way:

My brilliant research in brain transplantation is unsurpassed, and will probably make my name live beyond eternity.

When he asks the reporter to read his statement back, he asked him to remove the word “probably” because it made him sound to “wishy, washy.”

Dr. Hfuhruhurr is a widower who still grieves for the lost of his wife and soul mate. He explains to the reporter that a gardener, Ramon, gave him a Barbie doll that was made with his dead wife’s hair. He keeps the doll on the dash of his car. While driving he explains to the reporter. Suddenly, he accidentally hits Delores Bennett ( Kathleen Turner) with his car. He immediately goes to help her and tells a four-year little girl, who witnessed the accident, to go for help. Carl Reiner says this is his favorite scene in the whole movie because that amazing little girl, who could not read, memorized her lines so well that the scene was shot in one take.  The following video is that scene and many more chuckles too.

He operates to save her life. I love the cats that keep showing up during surgery.  Doctor “H” yells at them to “Scat! Damn cats around here.” Little does he know, Delores is a recent widower. She is looking for another wealthy man to marry in order to scam him from all of his money; until, he “accidentally” dies and will leave her even more money through his insurance which is left to her through his Will.

Kathleen Turner is so smooth, sexy, and decadent in this movie.  It was an eye opener for audiences to see her in a comedy after seeing her explosive portrayal as Matty Walker in noir thriller, Body Heat (1983). She claimed she wanted to do a comedy because Delores is so outrageous and “it wasn’t a token female role.”  Besides, the fact she could work with creative funny men like Reiner and Martin must have attracted her too.

IMG_0718

They marry.  But you feel this gold digger is going to be wife in name only. After the preacher pronounces them man and wife and that he may kiss the bride, she turns her cheek to the Doctor ” H” to kiss and says, “Not now.”  He is sexually frustrated for six weeks; before, he tells his new wife that he is going on  a business trip that can easily be a substitute for a honeymoon too. They travel to Venice where unbeknownst to them there is an “elevator killer” terrorizing the women of the city.  Here he meets another “mad scientist” Doctor Alfred Necessiter (David Warner). I love to watch Warner’s work in anything.  He is such a great actor.

Doctor Necessiter discovered a radical technique to store living brains of the victims of the Elevator Killer. Because the killer injects the victims with window cleaner, it allows the doctor to keep the brain alive. However, the brains only have a limited time to live in the liquid before it dies. In addition, he has perfected a method of transplanting a human brain in a gorilla.

While visiting the Necessiter, Dr. H finds he can communicate with one of the ladies brains. She has the sweetest voice (uncredited Sissy Spacek) and although, no one can hear hear her she communicates to Dr. H using telepathy. He is intrigued and wants to help her out of her darkness. He later learns the brain’s name is Annie Uumellmahaye. You just know by the unusual names that they are meant for each other: Hfuhruhurr and Uumellmahaye 💖

Carl Reiner wanted Annie and Dr. H to have a loving romance that time and memories could not prevent. He believes “Random Harvest” (1942) to be the greatest of movie love story. It stars Greer Garson and Ronald Colman This movie inspired the greatest romance of man and brain in the movie.

 

He decides to kidnap Annie and keep her until he finds a suitable dead body to attach her head. The trip to the morgue turns up some pretty bad options. He confessed to Dr. Necessiter  “I cannot F**k a gorilla.” Unfortunately, Dr. “H” decides to murder a woman for her body.

One of the funniest moments in this film is when jealous Delores follows her husband who goes out on a date with Annie’s stolen brain. Their confrontation is hilarious.

I am not going to spoil this movie but writing what happens from this point. I will say it has more surprises; and, it stays hilarious to the end.  Michael Hfuhruhurr represents all kinds of scientist.  He is good, mad and lonely. He is a perfect match for the Scientists Blogathon (2017).  Again, thank you Christina Wehner and Ruth from Silver Screenings for allowing me to add this post late, despite Hurricane Irma (2017). I have decided to watch all five of these horror flicks Halloween week, one for each day.

I hope you will enjoy watching this very funny horror movie.  If you want to read more about a variety of film scientists in this Blogathon, please use the following links below.

https://christinawehner.wordpress.com

https://silverscreenings.org/2017/09/10/movie-scientist-blogathon-day-3-recap-the-lonely/

Print

 

The Man With Two Brains was inspired by the following movies. Here are the Trailers

 

 

Carl Reiner said he loved the movie, Random Harvest (1942). It is a tender love story. That tenderness inspired him as he help write somebody of the movie script for Man With Two Brains (1987).

Reference Links:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085894/

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/brain_that_wouldnt_die

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265870/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065456/

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/17516/Donovan-s-Brain/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_Harvest_(film)