Psycho – Required Viewing

 

The Wiki:

Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Janet Leigh. The screenplay is by Joseph Stefano, based on the 1959 novel Psycho by Robert Bloch loosely inspired by the crimes of Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein.

The film centers on the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after embezzling money from her employer, and the motel’s disturbed owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.   When originally made, the film was seen as a departure from Hitchcock’s previous film North By Northwest, being filmed on a low budget, with a television crew and in black and white. Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted reconsideration which led to four Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock.

It is now considered one of Hitchcock’s best films and praised as a work of cinematic art by critics and film scholars. Ranked among the greatest films of all time, it set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in American films.[4] After Hitchcock’s death in 1980, Universal Studios began producing follow-ups: three sequels, a remake, a television movie spin-off and a TV series.

In 1992, the film was selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress at the National Film Registry.

The Girl Most Likely to… – Required Viewing

You really absolutely have to watch this film.  Yes, I am suggesting you watch a TV movie from the early 70’s.  It is the ultimate revenge film, a lot like The Count of Monte Cristo, but with a bigger hair and makeup budget.  It’s so good.

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The Girl Most Likely to… is a black comedy with slight psychological thriller elements written by Joan Rivers and starring Stockard Channing and Edward Asner. The film was released on November 6, 1973 as a made-for-television movie broadcast on the ABC Movie of the Week. The film is about Miriam Knight, an intelligent but unattractive young woman who is disrespected by those around her. After being humiliated by the malicious pretty girl, she tearfully speeds away from the college campus. She is involved in an automobile accident. She requires reconstructive surgery on her face. Once the bandages are removed, they reveal a brunette bombshell. From the moment she steps outside the room in the hospital, she makes it her mission to exact vengeance on all those who did her wrong. It is at this point in the film where the psychological thriller elements begin to appear. Edward Asner stars as a police inspector who is the only one who figures out what she has done and why.

The film has achieved considerable cult status over the years — rare for a film made for television. Partly because of this, it was released on DVD in 2006.

 

Rear View Mirror – My Week In Review

This week, I created a new blog for Rick’s art. He still had the Tumblr blog, but I upgraded him to his very own URL: RicardoDuque.com. You should follow/like/subscribe/reblog/repost and all the other things people do with such things. It will be where I post his newest works as well as information about his upcoming shows. For example, this is the newest piece:

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Today (or even this week), I am trying to remember the point of Twitter. I mean, maybe if I had something to sell and I could somehow con people to opt-in direct marketing, sure. But I don’t have anything to sell. I just tweet out what is happening over on various internet places I post. It all just seems like a numbers game and today (or even this week) I am bored of it. That is probably why I have the tweets set to auto-destruct after 31 days.

It may be age, it may be cynicism, but news rarely shocks me anymore and it surely does not ‘outrage’ me as it apparently does to so many people that are frequent Facebook posters. Barely anything. Celebrity commits suicide? I’m surprised more don’t. Regular civilians commit suicide every day. I drive by Kurt Cobain’s house twice a day and see the people visiting his bench, I see the flowers and candles being left even twenty years later. Suicide is always on my radar, I guess. Cop killing an unarmed black kid, community riots, story develops, details become very very murky? Understandable. People jump to the conclusion that they want to be true before learning all the details. I do believe that the militarization of our police force is very dangerous and is distorting the trust that law enforcement officers should be building, but I live in Seattle. The police beat up minorities and empty their guns into drunk Native Americans on the regular. Mentally unstable guy goes on shooting spree? Sounds about right. We don’t do anything to help them and we don’t regulate our firearms, eventually the two will meet with an unfavorable result.

I guess I am just so bored of people posting Robin Williams quotes.

Still, I may dump twitter. I also need to find a way to purge all the older Instagram photos. For some reason, I am feeling the need to minimize my web footprint.

This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of Mae West, Edna Ferber, Julia Child, Alice Ghostley, Alfred Hitchcock, Norma Shearer and the death of Jean-Michel Basquait. I don’t normally chronicle deaths, but Jean-Michel Basquait is in a different category.

The Stats:

Views This Week: 968
Total Views: 121,742
Total Subscribers: 332

I did junk on tumblr, instagram, twitter and even facebook this week. meh.

come find me.  i’m @:

I chronicle what inspires me at Waldina.com
I faceplace at facebook.com/parkeranderson
I store my selfies at instagram.com/therealspa#
I tumblr at waspandpear.tumblr.com/
I tweet at twitter.com/TheRealSPA

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock

Today is the 115th birthday of Alfred Hitchcock.

My mother first introduced my sister and me to Alfred Hitchcock via the movies Psycho and Rear Window (we watched them after school quite often), she taught us to look for his cameos at the beginning of the films. I am not exactly sure what age, I feel like I have always known him and I went on to read a Hardy Boys type of mysteries called “Three Investigators” that Hitchcock wrote the introductions to and even loved the old reruns of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV. I have gone on to love both of those movies and have added The Trouble with Harry, Lifeboat, North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief, The Birds, Strangers on a Train, and The Man Who Knew Too Much to my list of favorite Hitchcock films. How can you not fall in love with North by Northwest? The color of the film, the cut of the clothes, the architecture, train travel. The Trouble with Harry is so absurdly clever and Shirley MacLaine is absolute perfection.

NAME: Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock

OCCUPATION: Director, Producer, Television Personality, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: August 13, 1899
DEATH DATE: April 29, 1980
EDUCATION: St. Ignatius College, University of London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Bel Air, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Alfred Hitchcock was an English film director known for his work in the suspense genre. He made over 60 films, nearly all commercial and critical successes.

Television has brought back murder into the home – where it belongs.

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen, whilst remaining a British subject.

Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or “MacGuffins” meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.

Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker, he came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which said: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker has described him as the most influential filmmaker of all-time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists.

 

Happy Birthday Eva Marie Saint

Tomorrow is the 90th birthday of Eva Marie Saint.  If ever asked to pick my favorite “Hitchcock Blonde,” I would have a very hard time picking just one. Eva Marie Saint is one of them for sure, maybe the first. Her cool sexiness in North by Northwest is par none. My sister and I must have watched that film at least 25 times after school, it was the beginning of my obsession with Mid Century everything and that amazing Paramount VistaVision! You should also watch On The Waterfront to truly see her range, it is her first film and beyond legendary.

Born July 4, 1924  Newark, New Jersey, United States
Occupation: Actress

Eva Marie Saint (born July 4, 1924) is an American actress who has starred in films, on Broadway, and on television in a career spanning seven decades. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama film On the Waterfront (1954), and later starred in the thriller film North by Northwest (1959), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Saint received Golden Globe and BAFTA award nominations for the drama film A Hatful of Rain (1957) and won an Emmy Award for the television miniseries People Like Us (1990). Her film career also includes roles in Raintree County (1957), Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), and Superman Returns (2006).

Saint’s first feature-film role, at age 30, was in On the Waterfront (1954), directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando – a performance for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her role as Edie Doyle (whose brother’s death sets the film’s drama in motion), which she won over such leading contenders as Claire Trevor, Nina Foch, Katy Jurado, and Jan Sterling also earned her a British Academy of Film and Television Award nomination for “Most Promising Newcomer.” In his New York Times review, film critic Bosley Crowther wrote:

“In casting Eva Marie Saint – a newcomer to movies from TV and Broadway – Mr. Kazan has come up with a pretty and blond artisan who does not have to depend on these attributes. Her parochial school training is no bar to love with the proper stranger. Amid scenes of carnage, she gives tenderness and sensitivity to genuine romance.”

 

In a 2000 interview in Premiere magazine, Saint recalled making the hugely influential film:

“[Elia] Kazan put me in a room with Marlon Brando. He said ‘Brando is the boyfriend of your sister. You’re not used to being with a young man. Don’t let him in the door under any circumstances’. I don’t know what he told Marlon; you’ll have to ask him – good luck! [Brando] came in and started teasing me. He put me off-balance. And I remained off-balance for the whole shoot.”

The film was a major success and launched Saint’s movie career. She starred with Don Murray in the pioneering drug-addiction drama, A Hatful of Rain (1957), for which she received a nomination for the “Best Foreign Actress” award from the British Academy of Film and Television, and the lavish Civil War epic Raintree County (also 1957) with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

Director Alfred Hitchcock surprised many by choosing Saint over dozens of other candidates for the femme fatale role in what was to become a suspense classic North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and James Mason. Written by Ernest Lehman, the film updated and expanded upon the director’s early “wrong man” spy adventures of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, including The 39 Steps, Young and Innocent, and Foreign Correspondent. North by Northwest became a box-office hit and an influence on spy films for decades. The film ranks number forty on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time.

At the time of the film’s production, much publicity was gained by Hitchcock’s decision to cut Saint’s waist-length blonde hair for the first time in her career. Hitchcock explained at the time, “Short hair gives Eva a more exotic look, in keeping with her role of the glamorous woman of my story. I wanted her dressed like a kept woman – smart, simple, subtle and quiet. In other words, anything but the bangles and beads type.” The director also worked with Saint to make her voice lower and huskier and even personally chose costumes for her during a shopping trip to Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

The change in Saint’s screen persona, coupled with her adroit performance as a seductive woman of mystery who keeps Cary Grant (and the audience) off-balance, was widely heralded. In his New York Times review of August 7, 1959, critic Bosley Crowther wrote, “In casting Eva Marie Saint as [Cary Grant's] romantic vis-a-vis, Mr. Hitchcock has plumbed some talents not shown by the actress heretofore. Although she is seemingly a hard, designing type, she also emerges both the sweet heroine and a glamorous charmer.” In 2000, recalling her experience making the picture with Cary Grant and Hitchcock, Saint said, “[Grant] would say, ‘See, Eva Marie, you don’t have to cry in a movie to have a good time. Just kick up your heels and have fun.’ Hitchcock said, ‘I don’t want you to do a sink-to-sink movie again, ever. You’ve done these black-and-white movies like On the Waterfront. It’s drab in that tenement house. Women go to the movies, and they’ve just left the sink at home. They don’t want to see you at the sink.’ I said, ‘I can’t promise you that, Hitch, because I love those dramas.'”

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for motion pictures at 6624 Hollywood Boulevard, and television at 6730 Hollywood Boulevard.

The Birds – Required Viewing

birds

The Wiki:

The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California, which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few days.

The film was billed as ‘introducing’ Tippi Hedren. It also starred Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette and a young Veronica Cartwright.

The screenplay was written by Evan Hunter. Hitchcock told him to develop new characters and a more elaborate plot, keeping Du Maurier’s title and concept of unexplained bird attacks.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Stewart

Yesterday was the 106th birthday of Jimmy Stewart.  Chances are that one of your favorite classic movies also happens to be one of his.  Some of my favorites of his are:  After The Thin Man, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Philadelphia Story, Rear Window and  The Man Who Knew Too Much.  I could have gone on naming more, I could have just copied his IMDB listings and it would have been accurate.

NAME:  Jimmy Stewart
OCCUPATION:  Film Actor, Theater Actor
BIRTH DATE:  May 20, 1908
DEATH DATE:  July 2, 1997
EDUCATION:  Princeton University
PLACE OF BIRTH:  Indiana, Pennsylvania
PLACE OF DEATH:  Beverly Hills, California

Best Known For: Jimmy Stewart was a major motion-picture star known for his portrayals of diffident but morally resolute characters in films such as It’s a Wonderful Life.

One of film’s most beloved actors, Jimmy Stewart made more than 80 films in his lifetime. He was known for his everyman quality, which made him both appealing and accessible to audiences. Stewart grew up in the small town of Indiana, Pennsylvania, where his father operated a hardware store.

Stewart got his first taste of performing during his time as a young man. At Princeton University, he acted in shows as a member of the Triangle Club, which put on shows. Stewart earned a degree in architecture in 1932, but he never practiced the trade. Instead he joined the University Players in Falmouth, Massachusetts, the summer after he graduated. There Stewart met fellow actor Henry Fonda, who became a lifelong friend.

That same year, Stewart made his Broadway debut in Carrie Nation. The show didn’t fare well, but he soon found more stage roles. In 1935, Stewart landed a movie contract with MGM and headed out west.

In his early Hollywood days, Stewart shared an apartment with Henry Fonda. The tall, lanky actor worked a number of films before co-starring with Eleanor Powell in the 1936 popular musical comedy Born to Dance. The movie featured the Cole Porter hit “Easy to Love.” Another career breakthrough came with Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take It With You (1938). This comedy won an Academy Award for Best Picture, and made Stewart a star.

Stewart also played the lead in Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). In this film, he portrayed a young, idealistic politician who takes on corruption. Stewart received his first Academy Award nomination for this film. The following year, he took home Oscar gold for The Philadelphia Story. Stewart co-starred with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, two other major movie stars, in the romantic comedy.

From 1941 to 1946, Stewart took a break from his acting career to serve in World War II. He joined the U.S. Air Force and rose up through the ranks to become a colonel by war’s end. In 1946, Stewart returned to the big screen with It’s a Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra. This film tells the story about a man brought back from the verge of suicide by a guardian angel and visions of the world without him. It was a disappointment at the box office, but it became a holiday favorite over the years. Stewart reportedly considered it to be one of his favorite films.

Stewart soon starred in Harvey (1950), a humorous movie about a man with an imaginary rabbit for a friend. But he seemed to be less interested in doing this type of lighthearted film in his later career. Stewart sought out grittier fare after the war, appearing in Anthony Mann’s westerns Winchester ’73 (1950) and Broken Arrow (1950). He also became a favorite of director Alfred Hitchcock, who cast in several thrillers. They first worked together on Rope (1948). Vertigo (1958) is considered by many to be Hitchcock’s masterpiece and one of Stewart’s best performances. The following year, Stewart also won rave reviews for his work in Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder.

In the 1970s, Stewart made two attempts at series television. He starred on The Jimmy Stewart Show, a sitcom, which ran from 1971 to 1972. The following year, he switched to drama with Hawkins. Stewart played a small-town lawyer on the show, which proved to be short-lived. Around this time, he also made a few film appearances. Stewart worked opposite John Wayne, Lauren Bacall and Ron Howard in the 1976 western The Shootist.

Stewart became the recipient of numerous tributes during the 1980s for his substantial career. In 1984, Steward picked up an honorary Academy Award “for his high ideals both on and off the screen.” By the 1990s, Stewart had largely stepped out of the public eye. He was deeply affected by the death of his wife Gloria in 1994. The couple had been married since 1949 and had twin daughters together. He also became a father to her two sons from a previous marriage. Jimmy and Gloria Stewart were one of Hollywood’s most enduring couples, and his apparent love and commitment to her added to his reputation as an upstanding and honorable person.

Poor health plagued Stewart in his final years. He died on July 2, 1997, in Beverly Hills, California. While he may be gone, his movies have lived on and inspired countless other performers. Stewart’s warmth, good humor and easy charm have left a lasting impression on American pop culture.

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