Category Archives: Cinema

So the world’s culture changes… not necessarily for the better…

Is our view of social interaction unusually influenced by television crime drama? You Betcha!

For instance:

Dorothy, Dorothy! And what are you doing with your attack dog Toto?

Hey, did you see that they auctioned off the gingham dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie for $480,000.00?

So what does the world think of the USA?

Remember what Romney said during the foreign policy debate? Think about this:

“I look around the world, I don’t see our influence growing around the world. I see our influence receding. [...] But unfortunately, in nowhere in the world is America’s influence greater today than it was four years ago.”

Well, I wonder what the influence of America is in the real world? Here’s a chart by Ezra Klein evaluating 16 countries we deal with:

Gee… looks like they like us. As a matter of fact, some countries like us very much… and they really like Obama:

 

Pakistan, however, seems to go more for Romney. Why? Because he criticizes Obama’s mid-east accomplishments?

Very Interesting.

 

Football Player and Film Star Alex Karras Dead at 77…

Former football great Alex Karras, died yesterday at age 77 after battling kidney failure, cancer and dementia. He was able to successfully transition from a career as a pro athelete to a successful career as an actor and Hollywood personality.

He appeared in a series of guest shots on such series as “Daniel Boone” and “Love, American Style,” but it was when his appearance as the lumbering bad guy Mongo in Mel Brooks‘ “Blazing Saddles” that his star really took off.

He capitalized on his engaging personality with a run as a panelist on “Match Game ’75,” which was memorable for his run-in with Transylvanian female wrestler Lola Kiss.

 

Do you go to a Regal Cinema in your community? Are you a woman?

 

Jim Hightower just wrote a very interesting column – “The Price of Admission”.

DaysofThunder46/Flickr

Here’s the beginning:

Gosh, I feel so much safer now that teenage ticket takers at the Regal chain of movie theaters have been directed by corporate chieftains to search the purses of their female customers.

Responding to that horrible mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Regalites say they’ve begun rummaging through movie-goers’ purses to protect us from…well, from what?

The Dark Knight Rises shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn’t fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he? Yet, Regal’s rummaging is apparently reserved for women, even though practically all mass shootings have been committed by male specimens of our species.

Read the whole column HERE. And thanks to Hightower for making this absurdity visible to us all.

 

 

Character Actor Herbert Lom (one of my favorites) dies at 95…

 

Anyone who has ever seen any of “The Pink Panther” films or “Spartacus” or “The Lady Killers” has seen the wonderful work of Herbert Lom. The Czech-born character actor died Thursday at his home in London at the age of 95. Lom is perhaps best known for his appearances in Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” series as the perennially agitated boss of Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau. But he moved between dramaand comedy with ease.

Lom appeared in more than 100 films, playing a wide variety of roles that covered horror, historical dramas and comedies. He appeared with Sellers in 1955’s “The Ladykillers” ahead of their work together on the “Pink Panther” films. He also did Television character parts in shows like Hawaii Five-0, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Detectives, among others.

Lom also wrote two novels, “Enter a Spy:  The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe” and “Dr. Guillotin: The Eccentric Exploits of an Early Scientist.”

 

The Christmas Present I Am Looking Forward To…

Les Misérables (musical)Les Misérables“, the movie, opens in the US on December 25th. I can’t wait. I’ve been playing the Broadway Cast album over and over… love the music.

And, from the 25th Anniversary TV special, here are four different Jean Valjeans singing “Bring Him Home“. The first soloist, Colm Wilkinson — the original Jean Valjean — will be playing the Bishop of Digne in the Les Misérables movie. Truly magnificent!

 

Colm Wilkinson is worth the whole gig!

Actor Jerome Kilty dead at 90 …

 

He was one of my favorite actors as I headed off to Northwestern for my theatre education. I left Connecticut and Kilty, a Scotsman born in Baltimore on June 24, 1922, but raised on an Indian reservation in Southern California, moved there. He died in Norwalk after a car accident which led to a heart attack.

He was famous for acting in most of the plays of George Bernard Shaw and actually played Shaw in the play, which he constructed, “Dear Liar” based on the British playwright’s correspondence with Mrs. Patrick Campbell. It was the first of what Mr. Kilty called his “ ‘dear’ plays,” including “Dear Love,” based on the correspondence between the poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and “Dear Life,” from the letters exchanged between Anton Chekhov and his wife, Olga Knipper.

Mr. Kilty attended Harvard under the G.I. Bill, and in 1948 he helped found the Brattle Theater Company in Cambridge, Mass. By the early 1950s, he was appearing on television shows like “Kraft Television Theater” and “Hallmark Hall of Fame.”

 

Actor Michael Clark Duncan dead at age 54.

 

Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, and David Morse in “The Green Mile.”

Michael Clarke Duncan, the tall and massively built actor with the shaved head and deep voice who received an Academy Award nomination for his moving portrayal of a gentle death row inmate in the 1999 prison drama “The Green Mile,” died today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He had suffered a heart attack in July and did not recover.

Duncan began his Hollywood employment history as a celebrity bodyguard in the mid-1990s. He received his first big acting break playing a member of the drilling team sent into space to blow up an asteroid heading to Earth in the big-budget 1998 movie “Armageddon,” starring Bruce Willis.

But it was “The Green Mile,” starring Tom Hanks as a death row prison guard in a Louisiana penitentiary during the Depression, that thrust the 6-foot-5, 300-plus-pound Duncan into the limelight. He portrayed John Coffey, a gentle giant with supernatural powers who has been sentenced to death for the murder of two young white girls.

Duncan credited acting coach Larry Moss with teaching him “how to dig within myself” for the heavily emotional crying scenes in the movie.

“I’m an emotional person, a very emotional person,” Duncan told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. “All those tears you see in the movie were mine.”

In 2002, two years after the Academy Awards ceremony, Duncan told the Orange County Register:

“Realistically, I didn’t think I would win the Oscar, but the nomination was a personal validation for me. It proved to me that I was a good actor. More important, it showed other people that I was a serious actor.”

Duncan later appeared in films such as “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000), “Planet of the Apes” (2001), “The Scorpion King” (2002) and “The Island” (2005). He also did voice work in films and television, including “Brother Bear” (2003) and “Kung Fu Panda” (2008).

(source:the LA Times)

 

Character Actor Steve Franken Dies at 80…

Steve Franken, 80, a veteran character actor whose long career included playing the spoiled young millionaire Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on the popular situation comedy “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” in the early 1960s, has died. He was 80. Franken died last Friday in Canoga Park, CA.

Franken appeared in scores of TV shows and movies over a 50 year career. These included “The Party,” “The Americanization of Emily,” “The Missouri Breaks” and the Jerry Lewis comedies “Which Way to the Front?” and “Hardly Working.”

For many TV fans, especially old guys like me,  Franken is best remembered as Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” The series, which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963, starred Dwayne Hickman in the title role of the girl-crazy grocer’s son, whose beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs, was played by Bob Denver. Franken joined the series in 1960, replacing the young actor who had played Milton Armitage, the show’s original rich kid: Warren Beatty.

When Hickman appeared at an autograph show with Franken a few years ago, he said:

“Steve told me people were still coming up to him on the street asking for his autograph and calling him Chatsworth.”

Franken, however was a serious actor who worked up to this past year.

Here is Franken playing the drunken waiter in the Peter Sellers comedy, “The Party,” from 1968:

A great loss to my memories of Children’s Theatre in NYC – Remy Charlip dies at 83…

 

Abraham Remy Charlip  was an American artist, writer, choreographer, theatre director, designer and teacher.

In the 1960s Charlip created a unique form of choreography, which he called “air mail dances”. He would send a set of drawings to a dance company, and the dancers would then order the positions and create transitions and context.

He performed with John Cage, he was a founder member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for which he also designed sets and costumes, he directed plays for the Judson Poet’s Theater.

I remember him most as a co founder of the Paper Bag Players, one of the most important children’s theatres in the world.  He served as head of the Children’s Theater and Literature Department at Sarah Lawrence College,  was a winner of two Village Voice Obie Awards, three New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year citations, and was awarded a six-month residency in Kyoto from the Japan/U.S. Commission on the Arts. He wrote and/or illustrated 29 children’s books.

Charlip was the model for illustrations of Georges Méliès in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret ( if you saw the wonderful movie “Hugo” you know this story), written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.

Great artist. Great loss. Fortunately he left so much behind.

 

Muppeteer Jerry Nelson Dead at 78…

 

He was best known as the Count and other characters on Sesame Street.

Nelson, who suffered from emphysema, died Thursday night in his Massachusetts home on Cape Cod, the Sesame Workshop said Friday.

“Every description of his characters describes Jerry as well. Silly, funny, vulnerable, passionate and musical, for sure. That voice of his was superb… We’re having a rough day on the Street.”

“Sesame Street” executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente.

He was the Count and  Sherlock Hemlock and Herry Monster and the Amazing Mumford. My kids grew up with all of them (and I did, too.)

In recent years, Nelson gave up the physically demanding job of operating the Count and other puppets on “Sesame Street” but still voiced the characters.

 

Phyllis Diller dead at 95…

 

Known for her legendary cackle, Diller was a force in the showbiz world who began her career in 1952 and was catapulted to fame in TV specials alongside Bob Hope in the 1960s.

Diller paved the way for generations of female comedians, notably like Joan Rivers and others, who broke down the image of the American housewife.

Born Phyllis Ada Driver on July 17, 1917, in Lima, Ohio, she was the first of a new breed; deconstructing the suburban housewife and drawing in laughs on the subject of child-bearing and her fictional husband, Fang.

Eccentric in her appearance, it was balanced by a self-deprecating tone that endeared her to all she met.

 ‘Her lines were so brilliant that all she had to do was stand on the stage and say ‘em and you would have cracked up.’

- Joan Rivers

Diller died at 95 years old in Los Angeles.

 

Wedding Day… so much to do!

 

Ford Theater of the Performing Arts Oriental T...

 

After having the wedding rehearsal yesterday at the Earl Pabst Music Pavilion ( the Oriental Theater, which is the actual site, was not available ) and a grat rehearsal dinner last night, we are getting ready this morning for the event.

 

Outdoor Rehearsal

 

I haven’t worn a suit in at least 20 years, so this is a complex experience.

 

At 11:30 we take a bus to the Theater and everything starts:

 

• the ceremony

• the Toast bin a restaurant across the street

 

• the Reception in another Restaurant across town

 

I guess we”ll see a lo0t more of Milwaukee, which, so far, seems to be a city where the most imp0rtant activityu is drinking beer. Not something a teetotaller like me can participate in. Oh well.

 

I’ll get back to you all later.

 

 

Al Freeman, Jr.— actor, director dies at 78.

 

From NPR we have the story of the death of Al Freeman, Jr... go HERE.

 

Geez… another one. Judith Crist, Film Critic, Dies at 90

 

She was one of America’s most widely read film critics for more than three decades and a provocative presence in millions of homes as a regular reviewer on the “Today” show… and she died this morning at her home in Manhattan. She was 90.

She began at The New York Herald Tribune, the first woman to be full-time critic for a major American newspaper; went to New York magazine, where she was the founding film critic; and then TV Guide, which most defined her to American readers.

Crist was considered by many to be the most popular film critic ever… but film directors often had a different opinion:

 “Inviting her to review one of your pictures is like inviting the Boston Strangler to massage your neck.” – Billy Wilder

 

Composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

 

Marvin Hamlisch, who composed the scores for dozens of movies including “The Sting” and won a Tony for “A Chorus Line,” has died in Los Angeles at 68.

The composer won every major award in his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes. He composed more than 40 film scores, including “Sophie’s Choice,” `’Ordinary People” and “Take the Money and Run.” He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin‘s music for “The Sting.” On Broadway, Hamlisch received the Pulitzer Prize for long-running favorite “The Chorus Line” and wrote “The Goodbye Girl” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”

Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness. Other details weren’t being released.

Hamlisch had been scheduled to fly to Nashville, Tennessee, this week to see a production of his hit musical “The Nutty Professor.”

 

Best part of the Olympics Opening Ceremony: James Bond Escorts The Queen…

It was a pre-recorded skit — directed, of course, by Danny Boyle (the celebrated filmmaker helming the entire ceremony) — Daniel  Craig in character as James Bond arrives Buckingham Palace, where he is taken to the Queen… the actual Queen Elizabeth… and her corgis.  Private rooms within the residence were shown, a testament to the nation’s commitment to making the evening a special one (Boyle pulled off aan awful lot of amazing things in the overall event.)

Take a look at the video and see how Bond gets the Queen to the Olympic stadium:

Great, no?

Morgan Paull, Cult-Favorite ‘Blade Runner’ Actor, Dies at 67

 

I missed this last week, for which I apologize. When a great character actor dies it is a loss that should be recognized by those of us in Theatre, film and other areas of entertainment.

On July 17th, Morgan Paull died of stomach cancer in Ashland, Oregon.

From his website:

Even by Hollywood standards, the breadth of Morgan Paull’s career is striking.

In a span of four decades, he’s starred in scores of movies, TV shows and plays; owned and run a talent agency for actors and writers; appeared in numerous commercials; been a leader in major industry organizations; and had good enough pipes to convince Old Blue Eyes to re-record his demo into another Sinatra chart-topper.

Morgan started early, and started fast, jumping right from Culver Academy to the famed Barter Theatre of Virginia. True to its reputation, Barter burnished his skills and nourished his desires. As his talent ripened, it became clear that Morgan was ready for the bigger challenges of the Big Apple, challenges he met and mastered in countless productions with New Dramatists and the Cherry Lane Theater. What had begun as a dream had become destiny.

 

Morgan Paull on TV’s Ironside with Pat Hingle and Raymond Burr, 1971

As surely as Barter groomed Morgan for New York, New York prepared him for Hollywood. After the obligatory struggle, he rocketed from obscurity to a coveted role in the blockbuster “Patton.” His film resume includes both critical and commercial successes, including the acclaimed “Norma Rae,” the futuristic cult classic “Blade Runner,” and “Cahill, U.S. Marshall,” which paired him with childhood hero John Wayne.

While making enduring movies, he made enduring friendships – not only with some of screen’s biggest stars, but talented directors and powerful producers who taught Morgan how to make things happen on the other side of the camera, knowledge that would prepare him for the next leg of his career – representation.

By now a savvy and connected insider, Morgan was a natural as an agent and manager. A shrewd investor in both human and financial capital, he was a tough and able negotiator for the people and projects he took on. In a way, he was born to the role, being a direct descendant of 18th century naval hero John Paul Jones (“I have not yet begun to fight.”).

 

TV, film actor Chad Everett dies after cancer battle…

 

We seem to be having a lot of celebrity deaths this week and this one caught me by surprise.

Chad Everett, the blue-eyed star of the 1970s TV seriesMedical Center” who went on to appear in such films and TV shows as “Mulholland Drive” and “Melrose Place,” has died after a year and a half battle with lung cancer. He was 75.

Everett played sensitive doctor Joe Gannon for seven years on “Medical Center,” a role that earned him two Golden Globes and an Emmy nomination. With a career spanning more than 40 years, Everett guest starred on such TV series as “The Love Boat,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “Without a Trace.” Everett most recently appeared in the TV series “Castle.”

Everett was born in South Bend, Ind., and graduated from Wayne State University before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a contract player with MGM.

 

A message received from Michael Moore:

I don’t know if you are on Michael Moore’s mailing list. If not, I’d like to pass on a couple of things I received from Michael this morning re: the Aurora shootings and guns in general. It’s quite long, so I have condensed it as best I could:

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here’s the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn’t count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined.

——–

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

———

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer.

——-

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jGtAcDefHg).Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of.  I’m in if you are.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com
@MMFlint
MichaelMoore.com

NRA website has nothing on the Thursday night movie theatre shooting…

I thought I’d skip over to the News page at the NRA’s website and watch their news report from yesterday, July 20. I was sure they would at least put forward a position on the Colorado shooting that killed and wounded about 50 people.

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA

Nothing there. Oh, there was a complaint about Congress looking into carry permit law and shooting competitions around the country, but nothing at all about the mass killing in a movie theatre.

Wayne LaPierre’s National Rifle Association has ignored the idea of people who shouldn’t have guns being able to get them…and use them. Their recent support of the “Stand Your Ground” law in the Trayvon Martin case is an example of their position. And look, Twenty or so years ago, the NRA was losing members. At the time, when some nut shot up a post office or a McDonald’s, we actually had laws passed like the 1994 assault weapons ban.

LaPierre and members lobbied for years and made sure the assault weapons ban was not renewed. I assume that means that the NRA thinks assaults are legal.

Rather than focus on putting airport-style security on movie theatres (which will keep me away from the movies), why aren’t we exploring more effective gun laws? I assume LaPierre and his minions are meeting today over at their world headquarters outside of DC planning their next set of tactics to keep assault weapons in the hands of moose hunters and to promote automatic weapons and machine guns for target shooting.

Keep an eye on the TV news… the NRA will be showing up soon.

Actress Celeste Holm, 95, Dies…

Celeste Holm, the versatile actress who achieved fame on Broadway in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein‘s hit musical “Oklahoma!” in 1943 and five years later won an Oscar for best supporting actress, died today.

In a career of over 70 years, Holm did other Broadway shows such as “Bloomer Girl” and as the replacement for Gertrude Lawrence in “The King and I.” She made films like “Three Little Girls In Blue,” “The Snake Pit” and “All About Eve.”

Celeste Holm won an Academy Award for supporting actress in the 1947 film “Gentleman’s Agreement” and was nominated two other times. She also had frequent roles on television, including in the 1990s series ‘Promised Land.’

Holm died in her apartment on Central Park West in New York City.


Richard Zanuck, famous Hollywood producer, dies at 77

Richard D. Zanuck was one of the most legendary and influential figures in the history of motion pictures. He died Friday morning at age 77.

He was a huge influence on Hollywood culture, first as the head of 20th Century Fox and, for the past four decades, as a film producer.

While running Fox he  released such classics such as “The Sound of Music,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “MASH.”

As an independent producer, Zanuck, who was the son of Darryl Zanuck, the first chief of Fox, was a driving force on movies such as “Jaws,” “Cocoon,” and “Driving Miss Daisy.”

In recent years, he had collaborated frequently with Tim Burton, producing about a half-dozen of the auteur’s movies, including the recently released“Dark Shadows.”

Artist Paul Jenkins dead at 88

Paul Jenkins, Painter of Abstract Artwork, Dies at 88

Paul Jenkins, a colorful Abstract Expressionist who came of age during the heyday of the New York School and for several decades carried on its highly physical tradition of manipulating paint and canvas, died on June 9 in Manhattan, where he lived and had continued to paint until recently. He was 88.

He died after a short illness, said his wife, Suzanne.

Jrenkins was a contemporary and friend of both  Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. In 1953 he resettled in Paris, but maintained a lifelong connection with New York.

He became well-known outside the art world in 1978 when his paintings had a starring role in the Paul Mazursky movie “An Unmarried Woman,” in which Alan Batesplayed a Manhattan artist. The paintings supposedly done by the Bates character were actually his work.“I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds,” he said in 1964. “It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it.”

Actress Ann Rutherford has died at 94.

Ann Rutherford and Vivien Leigh in “Gone With the Wind.”

She was  Scarlett O’Hara’s younger sister Carreen in the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” and  Mickey Rooney‘s teenage girlfriend in the Andy Hardy movies, plus over 60 other films.

Ann Rutherford died Monday evening at her home in Beverly Hills,according to her close friend and fellow actress Anne Jeffreys. She became one of the last surviving cast members of “Gone With the Wind,” and made a second career out of attending festivals featuring the Civil War epic.

Under contract with MGM, studio head Louis B. Mayer informed her that his son-in-law, producer David O. Selznick, wanted to borrow her for the small role in “Gone With the Wind.” Mayer called it “a nothing part” and planned to say no, Rutherford told The Times in 2010.

A fan of the Margaret Mitchell novel, Rutherford implored Mayer to reconsider. When she uncharacteristically burst into tears, he relented. “I just wanted to watch the book come to life,” she said.

According to the AllMovie internet database, Rutherford was “quite appealing” as the optimistic Carreen O’Hara in the romantic drama that starred Vivien Leigh as her sister Scarlett and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.

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