Blue Velvet – Required Viewing

blue-velvet

The Wiki:

Blue Velvet is a 1986 American mystery film written and directed by David Lynch. The movie exhibits elements of both film noir and surrealism. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern. The title is taken from The Clovers’ 1955 song of the same name. Although initially detested by some mainstream critics, the film is now widely acclaimed,[1][2] and earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. As an example of a director casting against the norm, Blue Velvet is also noted for re-launching Hopper’s career and for providing Rossellini with a dramatic outlet beyond the work as a fashion model and a cosmetics spokeswoman for which she had until then been known.

After the commercial and critical failure of Lynch’s Dune (1984), he made attempts at developing a more “personal story”, somewhat characteristic of the surreal style he displayed in his debut Eraserhead (1977). The screenplay of Blue Velvet had been passed around multiple times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with many major studios declining it because of its strong sexual and violent content.[3] The independent studio De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, owned at the time by Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, agreed to finance and produce the film. Since its initial theatrical release, Blue Velvet has achieved cult status, significant academic attention and, alongside Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive, is widely regarded as one of Lynch’s finest works. It is also seen by many critics as representing a modern-day version of film-noir, “neo-noir”, present in many thrillers from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. Blue Velvet was ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Films of All Time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999 and chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest mystery films ever made.

The film centers on eccentric college student Jeffrey Beaumont (MacLachlan), who, returning from visiting his ill father in the hospital, comes across a human ear in a field in his hometown of Lumberton. He proceeds to investigate the ear with help from a high school student, Sandy Williams (Dern), who provides him with information and leads from her father, a local police detective. Jeffrey’s investigation draws him deeper into his hometown’s seedy underworld, and sees him forming a sexual relationship with the alluring torch singer Dorothy Vallens (Rossellini), and uncovering the psychotic criminal Frank Booth (Hopper), who engages in drug abuse, kidnapping, and sexual violence.

Happy Birthday Carole Lombard

Today is the 108th birthday of Carole Lombard.  “My Man Godfrey” is on of my favorite movies and part of that reason is because of Carole Lombard. She is perfection. Her life story is one of those that even Hollywood couldn’t make up and have people believe it.

NAME: Carole Lombard
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: October 06, 1908
DEATH DATE: January 16, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH: Fort Wayne, Indiana
PLACE OF DEATH: Las Vegas, Nevada
ORIGINALLY: Jane Alice Peters

BEST KNOWN FOR: Carole Lombard starred in comedic films during the 1930s. She married actor Clark Gable in 1939, but died in a tragic plane accident a few years later.

Carole Lombard (October 6, 1908 – January 16, 1942) was an American actress. She is particularly noted for her comedic roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. She is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time and was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s, earning around US $500,000 per year[citation needed] (more than five times the salary of the US President). Lombard’s career was cut short when she died at the age of 33 in a plane crash while returning from a World War II Bond tour.

Queen of the 1930s screwball comedies, she personified the anxiety of a nervous age. Graham Greene praised the “heartbreaking and nostalgic melodies” of her faster-than-thought delivery. “Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, she wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey.”

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Lombard 23rd on its list of the 50 greatest American female screen legends. She received one Academy Award for Best Actress nomination, for My Man Godfrey. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6930 Hollywood Blvd.

Lombard’s Fort Wayne childhood home has been designated a historic landmark. The city named the nearby bridge over the St. Mary’s River the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge.

Personal Quotes:

“I can’t imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something I don’t pause to contemplate whether I’m exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!” – Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard’s Golden Rules:

1. Play Fair.

“You’ll find that men usually play fair,” Carole said. “It’s all very well to say that you want to back out of a bargain because you’ve changed your mind. That’s supposed to be a woman’s privilege. But men don’t play the game that way. A man who says he’ll do a thing and then reneges, is soon put where he belongs, out in the cold.

“If I say I’ll do something, I make it stick.”

2. Don’t Brag.

“Men can brag,” Carole points out, “but that’s where a woman can’t do what men do, and still be feminine. No man will endure listening to a girl boast about how smart she is.”

3. Obey the Boss.

“A career girl who competes with men has to learn that rule — or else. If she won’t accept discipline, or bow to the rules of the institution and take orders, she can’t succeed. I know that the picture director knows best. I remember when I was making ‘My Man Godfrey’ with William Powell. Gregory La Cava was directing. One day he was ill, but he insisted that work go on while he rested.

“‘You know what to do,’ he told us. ‘Just pretend I’m there and go ahead.’

“Well, it didn’t work. Bill and I were used to taking orders because it’s part of the discipline of the studio. It was a simple scene, we knew what to do, but the director wasn’t there and we felt lost. Somebody has to be the boss in every big enterprise, and if the boss is absent the business soon comes to a halt.”

4. Take Criticism.

“Men have learned to take criticism, that is, the successful men. The ones who flare up and go home mad are the kind who never get the last installment paid on the radio.

“Here again the movies have taught me. I have learned to take criticism and stand up to it like a man. Yet a woman will simply burn if you hint that the hat she’s got on doesn’t look quite perfect, or that she might, just might, have led from the queen, jack, ten instead of tossing in an eight spot.

“I went to a showing of the first rough cut of ‘Swing High, Swing Low,’ in a small college town.

“In the tragic scene, where I screwed up my face to cry (I can’t help it if I look that way when I cry), the audience laughed. When I really turned it on and emoted, they howled. It was heartbreaking. I felt like crawling under the seats and losing myself among the gum and other useless things.

“But I had to take it. If you’re playing according to masculine rules, which is required of any girl with a career, you’ve got to accept criticism and profit by it. Otherwise how could you become a singer, decorator, painter or private secretary? I learned something from that experience, too. I’m best if I top off tears with a laugh. A star who is too big for criticism sooner or later loses out. That goes for working women, too.”

5. Love is Private.

“When it comes to your personal life, such as love and romance, girls should take a tip from the men and keep their affairs to themselves. Any man worth his salt regards his private life as his own. To kiss a girl and run and tell would mark him as a cad. Why doesn’t that apply to girls also?”

6. Work — And Like It!

All women should have something worthwhile to do,” says Carole, “and cultivate efficiency at it, whether it’s housekeeping or raising chickens.

Working women are interesting women. And they’re easier to live with. Idle women who can think of nothing to do with their time are dangerous to themselves and to others. The only ‘catty’ women I’ve known were idlers, with nothing to do but gossip and make trouble.”

7. Pay Your Share.

“Nobody likes a man who is always fumbling when it’s time to pay the check,” Carole points out. “I think the woman who assumes that the man can afford to pay for everything is making a mistake. More and more the custom of the Dutch treat is coming in vogue, particularly among working men and women. You don’t have to surrender your femininity if you pay your share of the bills.”

8. The Cardinal Virtue

“–Is a sense of humor,” says Carole. “Do you laugh in the right places? Then, you’ll get along, in fair weather or foul. Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things. Something that’s out of proportion, like an inflated ego, should strike you funny, particularly if it’s your own inflated ego. Otherwise you are pathetic and quite hopeless.”

9. Be Consistent.

“By that,” remarks Carole, “I mean you should take a hint from the men. They are terribly consistent, as a rule. You can tell what they’ll do in any given circumstance.

“If a girl puts her best foot forward at the office, she shouldn’t change steps when she gets home. A career girl must be neatly turned out, even-tempered and willing to take orders at work, and there’s no reason why she must check these virtues with her hat and coat when she leaves her place of business.

“I manage to add enough inconsistency to my behavior at the studio so that I’m the same there as at home; inclined to blow off steam at odd moments or be very demure and sweet-tempered — just to keep ‘em guessing. In fact I’ve got myself guessing. I don’t quite know which way I am. That’s being consistently inconsistent, anyway.

“Men are about the same at home as they are at work. Don’t say it’s because they lack the imagination to be otherwise — just take the hint. Men are creatures of habit and comfort, and they are puzzled and disturbed by change. That’s why so many of them marry their stenographers; it’s in hope of finding the same efficiency at home as at the office. They are supreme optimists.

“If you go into the business world to meet male competition, then you’ve got to play the game more or less according to their rules.

“By doing that, I’ve found that any intelligent girl can get along very well. About the only important difference I’ve noticed is in the problem of travel; men can travel alone easier than women. However, old habits of transportation are changing and the comfort of women is more and more the concern of air, railroad and bus travel.”
10. Be Feminine.

“All of this,” Carole declares, “does not keep you from preserving your femininity. You can still be insane about a particular brand of perfume, and weep when you get a run in your favorite pair of stockings.

“You can still have fits when the store sends out the very shade of red drapes you did not order, and which swear horribly at the red in the davenport. But when you go down to complain, be a man about it.

“All of which sums up to this. Play fair and be reasonable. When a woman can do that, she’ll make some man the best manager he ever found, or wind up running a whole department store. And being a woman, thank heaven you still have that choice!”

 

Happy Birthday Lauren Bacall

NAME: Lauren Bacall
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Theater Actress, Television Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: September 16, 1924 (Age: 87)
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
ORIGINALLY: Betty Joan Perske

BEST KNOWN FOR: Lauren Bacall is an American actress known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks. She is best remembered for portrayals of provocative women.

Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Perske, September 16, 1924) is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.

She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not (1944) and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in Bogart movies The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947), as well as a comedienne in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Designing Woman (1957) with Gregory Peck. Bacall has also worked on Broadway in musicals, gaining a Tony Awards for Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981. Her performance in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

In 1999, Bacall was ranked #20 of the 25 actresses on the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Stars list by the American Film Institute. In 2009, she was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”

She campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential election and for Robert Kennedy in his 1964 run for Senate.

In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as “anti-Republican… A liberal. The L-word.” She went on to say that “being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind.”

 

Happy Birthday Barbara Stanwyck

This week marks the 107th birthday of Barbara Stanwyck.

NAME: Barbara Stanwyck
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Television Actress, Dancer, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: July 16, 1907
DEATH DATE: January 20, 1990
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Santa Monica, California
ORIGINALLY: Ruby Stevens

BEST KNOWN FOR: Barbara Stanwyck was an American actress who had a 60-year career in film and TV. Usually playing strong-willed women, Stanwyck defined the femme fatale.

Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American actress. She was a film and television star, known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional with a strong screen presence, and a favorite of directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang and Frank Capra. After a short but notable career as a stage actress in the late 1920s, she made 85 films in 38 years in Hollywood, before turning to television.

Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award four times, and won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. She was the recipient of honorary lifetime awards from the Motion Picture Academy, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Golden Globes, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Screen Actors Guild, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is ranked as the eleventh greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

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.

Harold and Maude – Required Viewing

A few years ago, there was a special Valentine’s Day showing of Harold and Maude and I was so annoyed I was not able to go.  I know it is a bit morbid, but it is so beautiful.  This movie is for any misfit outsider who needs a reminder to go out and grab life for all it has to offer.harold

Harold and Maude is a 1971 American black comedy romantic film directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold (played by Bud Cort) intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother (Vivian Pickles) prescribes for him, and develops a relationship with a 79-year-old woman named Maude (Ruth Gordon).

The film was based on a screenplay written by Colin Higgins and published as a novel in 1971. The movie was shot in the San Francisco Bay Area. Harold and Maude was also a play on Broadway that closed after four performances. A French adaptation for television, translated and written by Jean-Claude Carrière, appeared in 1978. It was adapted for the stage and performed in Québec, starring Roy Dupuis.

The film was critically and commercially unsuccessful on original release, but subsequently received critical and commercial success. The film is ranked number 45 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Funniest Movies of all Time, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1997 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The Criterion Collection released a special edition version of the film on Blu-ray and DVD on June 12, 2012.

The movie ultimately developed a cult following and in 1983 began making a profit.

 

Happy Birthday Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder was born 108 years ago tomorrow.  Do yourself a favor and throw a few of his films on your Netflix queue.  There are so many movies that you should watch, quite a few of them are directed by Billy Wilder. See “Sunset Boulevard,” Wilder’s tale of the true Hollywood that no one had dared to tell before. Make sure you watch the making of the film portion of the DVD, it is brilliant.

NAME: Billy Wilder
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer
BIRTH DATE: June 22, 1906
DEATH DATE: March 27, 2002
EDUCATION: University of Vienna
PLACE OF BIRTH: Sucha, Poland
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California
ORIGINALLY: Samuel Wilder

BEST KNOWN FOR: Billy Wilder is best known for the many films he directed and produced, like Some Like It Hot.

Billy Wilder (22 June 1906 – 27 March 2002) was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age. Wilder is one of only five people to have won Academy Awards as producer, director, and writer for the same film (The Apartment).

He said, “The only pictures worth making are the ones that are playing with fire.”

Wilder became a screenwriter in the late 1920s while living in Berlin. After the rise of Nazi Party, Wilder, who was Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut. He relocated to Hollywood in 1933, and in 1939 he had a hit when he co-wrote the screenplay to the screwball comedy Ninotchka. Wilder established his directorial reputation after helming Double Indemnity (1944), a film noir he co-wrote with mystery novelist Raymond Chandler. Wilder earned the Best Director and Best Screenplay Academy Awards for the adaptation of a Charles R. Jackson story The Lost Weekend, about alcoholism. In 1950, Wilder co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Sunset Boulevard.

From the mid-1950s on, Wilder made mostly comedies. Among the classics Wilder created in this period are the farces The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959), satires such as The Apartment (1960), and the drama comedy Sabrina (1954). He directed fourteen different actors in Oscar-nominated performances. Wilder was recognized with the American Film Institute (AFI) Life Achievement Award in 1986. In 1988, Wilder was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Wilder has attained a significant place in the history of Hollywood censorship for his role in expanding the range of acceptable subject matter.

Wilder holds a significant place in the history of Hollywood censorship for expanding the range of acceptable subject matter. He is responsible for two of the film noir era’s most definitive films in Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. Along with Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers, he leads the list of films on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 funniest American films with 5 films written and holds the honor of holding the top spot with Some Like it Hot. Also on the list are The Apartment and The Seven Year Itch which he directed, and Ball of Fire and Ninotchka which he co-wrote. The American Film Institute has ranked four of Wilder’s films among their top 100 American films of the 20th century: Sunset Boulevard (no. 12), Some Like It Hot (no. 14), Double Indemnity (no. 38) and The Apartment (no. 93). For the tenth anniversary edition of their list, the AFI moved Sunset Blvd. to #16, Some Like it Hot to #22, Double Indemnity to #29 and The Apartment to #80.

Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba said in his acceptance speech for the 1993 Best Non-English Speaking Film Oscar: “I would like to believe in God in order to thank him. But I just believe in Billy Wilder… so, thank you Mr. Wilder.” According to Trueba, Wilder called him the day after and told him: “Fernando, it’s God.” French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius also thanked Billy Wilder in the 2012 Best Picture Oscar acceptance speech for The Artist by saying “I would like to thank the following three people, I would like to thank Billy Wilder, I would like to thank Billy Wilder, and I would like to thank Billy Wilder.” Wilder’s 12 Academy Award nominations for screenwriting were a record until 1997 when Woody Allen received a 13th nomination for Deconstructing Harry.