When Madonna's "Sex" was released, actor Udo Kier, who was featured prominently in some of the photo book's best pictures (forever beautiful Udo does not take a bad shot), was asked about Ms. Ciccone. What she was like? But more specifically, since Kier had ample chance to see, What was her vagina like? Mr. Kier's answer? "Organized."
He could have been talking about Tippi Hedren's handbags in Marnie.
The Hitchcock handbag -- they're quite fetishistic, vaginal things. I'm not the only one who's noticed this predilection and I don't find it a stretch. With all those crisp, snapped, soft or hard bodied rectangular satchels and muffs, Hitchcock's women clutched wombs of wonder that, like, many ladies obsessed with their handbags, seem to serve the purpose to only mystify men. Who cares so much about a damn handbag? Women do. And not just for fashion, as Hitchcock so astutely noticed, but for what Kier also so astutely pointed out. Organization. Organization in that chaotic organ that will spill out of your satchel in messy, sticky, dysfunctional passionate disarray. And purses, they always lose control.
But back to Marnie, my favorite Hitchcock picture, I find her purses, suitcases, ID cases and wallets the most intriguing.
The yellow purse a raven-haired Marnie clutches while walking to the train looks (or feels?) vaginal. It can’t be an accident, at least I don’t want it to be -- she needs that thing. A cool blonde goddess, a compulsive liar and thief so traumatized by her past that her only arena for both escape and personal gain is work, she moves from city to city, nabbing jobs with her expert demeanor and skills (she is an efficient secretary) only to embezzle from employers. And dump that money in her various, vaginal bags.
Perhaps the imprisoning Freudian arms of Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) understands a well functioning handbag. Rutland. Yes. He'll fix her. Icy, frigid, a traumatized woman who can't stand the color red (of course she'll spill scarlett in liquid menstruation form) and one who has an unusually strong bond with her horse (saddles), she's clearly never had a normal sexual encounter and though she shows flickers of attraction and flirtation, she appears to hate men. Or maybe just all of humanity. But she does possess one heartaching weakness -- she loves her cold, flinty mother to the point of masochism.
In "The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory," author Tania Modlesk discusses other feminist takes on Hitchcock's use of purses, keys and safes. But she makes a fascinating case for Marnie, her mother and that fur wrap -- the luxurious non-utilitarian opposite of the clenched, accessory-stuffed purse. It's a sensual gift. And one her mother will reject. Modlesk writes: "But there is a fetish that no one to my knowledge has remarked upon, oddly enough since it is one of the most classic fetishes of all time -- the fur piece. On the first visit to her mother, Bernice, Marnie brings her this fur and wraps it around her mother's neck. A few minutes later, the fur set aside, Marnie watches with longing as Bernice combs [the young blonde girl visiting] Jessie's hair, captured in a signature shot of Hitchcock tracking into the hair at the back of the head, evoking desire and longing on the part of the one who looks [Marnie is the one looking]... Jessie leaves the house, and Marnie immediately places the fur around her mothers neck. Shortly thereafter the two go into the kitchen (to make 'Jessie's pie')..."
Jessie's pie. Well, that leads to a jealous argument. And Bernice admonishes her daughter with the potent demand, "Mind the drippings, Marnie." What a muddled household. Not unkempt, just mentally untidy. Brushing Jessie's hair and minding Jessie's pie are more important than stroking that sweet furry piece. And worse, her mother (an ex-prostitute), remarks that Marnie's hair is, well, whoreish: "Too-blonde hair always looks like a woman's trying to attract a man." Never mind her mother's hair is also quite light. Marnie needs to get out of there. It's time for her to change identities (Marnie Edgar/Margaret Edgar/Peggy Nicholson/Mary Taylor) and stash more jack in her pocketbook.
However, it's only a matter of time when Mark Rutland will figure her out. Here come the man readying to shake that pocketbook and empty the thing out, stick his hands inside, figure out her secrets, lies and perhaps the red-lipstick/hot sex within. Most women don't like it when you open up their very personal purses without asking (you think Catherine Deneuve wants you to spy the dead rabbit she's carrying in her Repulsion reticule?), and he doesn't. Gripping and grabbing (by force) her soft flesh, he'll take apart her clutches -- those creamy canals just waiting to be cracked. Vaginal satchels more than likely approved by Hitchcock but chosen by costumer Edith Head. Certainly Ms. Head understood the power of the purse. The male Hitchcock and the female Head (these names are just too much) must have enjoyed penetrating their pursey mystery and allure.
Though Mark's the romantic lead, he's a pervert himself, and maybe not the healthiest partner for this wounded woman. And yet, he is trying to understand her. The movie, Mark (and Hitchcock) are sympathetic towards understandably troubled Marnie, making it tough to blame the woman for her antisocial tendencies. In her experience, men (people) are beasts who've only done her harm (flashback to a very young Bruce Dern freaking out a very young Marnie). The world is a cold-hearted place and she finds no solace at home, no father and no maternal warmth.
In return she violates the world (men) by lying, cheating and stealing without ever giving them the full pleasure of her lovely body. There are moments (of which I can do nothing, this is Hitchcock filling the controlled receptacle) when I think Marnie should just flee Mark, everyone, in fact, and ride her horse Forio ("Oh, Forio, if you want to bite somebody, bite me!") and push her remaining pleasure into her sex-repressed satchels. She may move on to something better, something more loving. Like pretty, organized purses and their vaginal sisters, there is such a thing as productive, controlled chaos. Or, what the hell and why not sister Marnie? Embrace the pussy riot.
Some fine person has been rooting around the same purse I've been rooting around in:
John Garfield would have been 100 years old today and his simmering, gorgeous genius of masculine menace, charm and vulnerability is, still, sorely missed. He's one of my favorite actors (among a top five that alternate, but Garfield always remains), and an actor who almost literally knocked me for a loop when I first saw him on screen (in The Postman Always Rings Twice). I was a teenager and I was hooked. I had to know more about him. As a result, this blog has been properly Garfield obsessed since its inception. Dear Lord. All that sensitivity and rugged good looks, intelligence and intense, noir sex appeal and I was a goner. Sure Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson's furious, flour-dusted fornication on the kitchen counter is damn erotic in the steamy re-make (which I do enjoy), but John and Lana need only to simply look at each other and... that's it. You know what they're up to later, and the wondering is part of the picture’s tremendous turn-on (not to mention Lana's lipstick).
But Mr. Garfield... perhaps like poor Priscilla Lane checking out all his tough guy artistry, smoking that ciggie while playing the piano in his unforgettable 1938 film star debut (Four Daughters) you're just too much! Like Joan Crawford’s wide-eyed attraction and anger during his virtuoso "Flight of the Bumblebee" interlude in Humoresque, women can’t function properly when looking at him or thinking about him. They become all moony and swoony and tongue tied and... hitch-hike away from that depressing roadside diner, a la Lana (they don't make it far. Only towards murder). Or take that long, sad walk on the beach like Joan. Poor Garfield-tortured Joan. But there's so much more to the man's intense, obvious sex appeal. So much more.
With all that, you'd think he'd be more famous. Though he's certainly picked up much more appreciation in the last several years, I still ask: why isn't he supremely famous? Why isn't he a household name? Why isn't he better recognized? For reasons I cannot decipher, this brilliant, brooding actor, though well respected by those who know better, isn't considered the legend a la Bogart, Clift, Brando or Dean. Why isn’t he properly appreciated? This massive talent with genuine bad-boy street cred (he was born Julius Garfinkle and raised tough on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx) was an acting innnovator and a huge star in his day. So why, aside from true movie lovers, isn't he the huge star he was? He's certainly not dated. Watch Clift, Brando, Dean and other "method" actors and you see Garfield's complex, plain speaking, natural anti-hero influence.
If you've never seen a John Garfield performance, you have been (in a supreme understatement) missing out. If you've only watched one or two, you're sorely behind. If you need to catch up, check (among many other pictures -- please check the Warner Archive if you need to see some rare ones) his intense, oftentimes roughly romantic and edgy performances in movies such as Gentlemen's Agreement, They Made Me a Criminal, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Sea Wolf, Air Force, The Fallen Sparrow,
Body and Soul, Castle on the Hudson, Force of Evil, Out of the Fog, The Breaking Point (the superior version of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not featuring one of Garfield's most naturalistic, powerful performances), Nobody Lives Forever, Humoresque, Flowing Gold, Between Two Worlds, We Were Strangers and (one of my favorites) He Ran All the Way -- his last film and, tragically, a quite fitting one considering how he left this world.
And God...what an exit Mr. Garfield. A serious actor and movie star (he trained in the famed Group Theater and worked with Clifford Odets), he was also victim to one of cinema's darkest, most shameful moments when the left-wing, progressive actor (and patriotic actor, he helped created The Hollywood Canteen for heaven's sake) testified at the scabrous House Un-American Activities Committee, who suspected him and certain colleagues, Communist. Unlike many other actors, writers and directors (including one of his former directors, Elia Kazan), Garfield refused to name names.
As both a once young street tough and a man of principle, Garfield would not rat. Not surprisingly, work was then harder to come by and at the young age of 39, Garfield died of coronary thrombosis. Many speculate an already present heart condition was worsened by the stress caused by the House's inquisition. I think this assumption is correct. His mislabeling and death is so tragic that it angers me to this day.
I had the pleasure of presenting John Garfield's final picture, John Berry's He Ran All the Way, for Turner Classic Movies when I guest programmed for them, and another time with his daughter, the wonderful, charming Julie Garfield at the Palm Spring Film Noir Festival. An acclaimed stage actress and teacher, Julie had much to say about her heroic, brilliant father when I interviewed her on stage. And the picture was so powerful to watch on the big screen with Julie at my side.
A picture made by many victims of the blacklist, including director Berry and co-writers Hugo Butler and Dalton Trumbo (who was jailed as one of the "Hollywood Ten"), the story of a criminal on the lam, a desperate man, a man in a panic who takes a family hostage only to be tortured by his conscience and the cold hands of fate, held extra resonance. There was the power of the film itself, the history and real life tragedy of its star, and then again, Julie sitting next to me. She had never seen her father's final film on the big screen, and experiencing her taking in daddy so beautifully shot by James Wong Howe, and his tough, vulnerable, wounded, complicated performance was especially moving.
Discussing the movie, her father and his life, from the kindness of New York educator Angelo Patri, who mentored the young, troubled kid Garfield and led him into acting, to the evils of HUAC, Julie (on stage and off) is what I imagine her dad was like. Fiercely intelligent, down to earth, funny, warm, and charming as hell -- a one-of-a-kind. If ever a woman is charismatic enough to play De Niro's wife inGoodfellas (and to make that much of an impression when Ray Liotta's Henry Hill testifies against him in court -- that look she gives!), it is Julie.
And she discussed this unforgottable bit of history about her father -- one of his early jobs was as a door-to-door diaphragm salesman. That's correct. John Garfield knocked on doors and sold contraceptives to women. What was I saying earlier? That he was too much? Now that is just too much. Can you imagine opening the door?
Happy 100th Birthday to one of the greatest actors who ever lived. And he didn't live long enough. Today is a day for John Garfield movies. I plan on watching the brilliant The Breaking Point again and maybe, dropping a tube of lipstick in his honor. We can always imagine him picking it up and not handing it back to you. My lord, to have John Garfield make you walk towards him to fetch your lipstick. You're not so cool, Lana. Once he leaves his indelible impression, he never leaves your mind.
Watch Julie Garfield talk about her father and Joan Crawford, Garfield's infidelity, her favorite roles, HUAC's hounding, renewed interest in her father, and a beautiful quote from He Ran All the Way director John Berry. Check out more of the interview here and here.
That's a terrible question to ask, I suppose. I'm not making light of addiction. But let's not kid ourselves. There's a reason drugs seduce. It's because they feel so damn good. And eventually so damn bad. In Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, McGavin's Louie looks good. And even better, he looks like he feels good. But as we know, just at first glance, he's a bad man with bad things. A bad man to know but a bad man we want to know.
McGavin's drug pushing Louie in Preminger’s seminal junkie picture, (adapted from Nelson Algren's novel, which I haven't read and may delve into Louie deeper) is one of my favorite roles by "The Night Stalker" star and one of his finest performances. And yet, it's one he’s probably least known for. Though Sinatra is the sparkling, strung-out star as drummer Frankie Machine, jonesing and shaking and horrifically withdrawing to the hilt (and he's good), it's McGavin who fascinates me.
Like the Big Bad Wolf dressed in dandy clothing, McGavin is sexy and predatory, charismatic and creepy, mysterious and so unabashedly blatant -- dangling all that sensuous smack in Frankie's face like a tormenting ex-lover. He promises just like an abusive manipulator when you're vulnerable and ready to feel something, anything. He knows you need him: "Oh, kicked it, wanna bet?" he taunts. "I mean it," says Frankie. Louie almost coos: "Sure, I'll be around."
Pushermen are always seducers and heroin orgasmic, I'm not discussing anything new, but I love that you see this best in a movie made in 1955. And that relationship is one between lovers. Heroin is the sex and Louie is all that hot and bothered foreplay. It's not a surprise Sinatra and McGavin look at each other with more than a hint of homoeroticism. They've got this sick, sexy chemistry going on. Everyone in the movie seems desirous of Frankie (including Arnold Stang's hero-worshipping style-cramper, Sparrow), but Sinatra and McGavin are the biggest turn-on. Frankie wants him. And when Frankie crosses the street to Louie's, relapsing to the determined jazzy score of Elmer Bernstein, Louie is waiting. He pulls down the shades. Frankie's ready to blast off. "The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn." Indeed. He cannot miss a vein.
There are some movies that are so perfect, so exquisitely beautiful, so effortlessly elegant, they're almost painful. Like watching an overwhelmingly enchanting dancer — their beauty cracks something inside of you, inspiring/torturing you to tears or even a brief spurt of madness. Nothing is that lovely. And indeed, nothing is. The pain of manipulating those graceful muscles, and in the case of Max Ophüls' The Earrings of Madame de..., the pain of that shambolic muscle called the heart, reveals what threatens to stain one's resplendently spotless satin and silk — blood-red, human deception and guilt.
Glittering surfaces are the thing in the world of Ophüls' late 19th century France in which Comtesse Louise de... (Danielle Darrieux), the stunning, spoiled wife of the similarly stunning and wealthy Général André de... (Charles Boyer), who makes a decision with dire and even morbidly comical consequences: She secretly sells a pair of earrings, a wedding present from her husband, to pay off debts.
What proceeds is the Ophüls' intended carousal of uncertainties, the earrings moving from one wooden-cheval climber to the other, notably the wife's Italian lover, Baron Donati (Vittorio De Sica), cursing these elegant creatures with looming heartbreak. Ophüls fills every frame with such opulence — mirrored reflections, dizzyingly perfected montages and those famously inspired tracking shots that are so graceful, so seamless that, again, they feel as if they could cut you open. It hurts. But oh how I love the pain.
From MSN Movies 100 Favorite Films in which MSN writers pick their favorites. This is on my list with more to come. So far, we've ranked 100-81. Read them here. More soon.
Oh, Oscar. You always do this!
The Oscars In Memoriam Reel always leaves out important, deserving people and this year was one of the worst. I watched those we're to remember, shocked the entire presentation was over so quickly. Here's Marvin Hamlisch, may he rest in peace, and here's Barbra Streisand singing, beautifully, but rather ironically, "Memories."
Thank goodness the Academy had the memory to honor Ernest Borgnine as well as Chris Marker, but they, in oversight or without care, missed (among many others), Andy Griffith (so brilliant in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd), Levon Helm (wonderful in Coal Miner's Daughter), Larry Hagman (who, in addition to other movies, appeared in Sidney Lumet's The Group and Fail Safe), Harry Carey, Jr. (who worked in over 90 motion pictures for heaven's sake, many with John Ford), Phyllis Diller, Lupe Ontiveros, Susan Tyrrell and again, many more.
And then they missed Ann Rutherford. Oh, another for shame Oscar! Rutherford (who passed away June 11, 2012 at the age of 94) played Polly Benedict from 1937-1942 in thirteen of the Andy Hardy movies with Mickey Rooney. She also worked with Danny Kaye (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Jimmy Stewart (Of Human Hearts), Red Skelton (Whistling in the Dark, Whistling in Dixie, Whistling in Brooklyn), Errol Flynn (Adventures of Don Juan) and appeared in movies like Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol and that one movie. Oh, what was that movie? Ah, yes, Gone with the Wind. Remember that one, Oscars?
I had the honor to interview Ms. Rutherford in 2009 at the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival. What a wonderful woman. She talked about her long and interesting career (take a look at herextensive work in pictures here), from her famous co-stars (and Errol Flynn's "naughty" monkey) and of course, making Gone with the Wind. She was delightful -- quick-witted, full of funny, heartfelt anecdotes and so lovely. She reflected on her years and adventures in movies, and specifically, the stars she worked with as "wonderful, enduring people." "Enduring people," Oscars. Take note. Rest in Peace, Ann. You'll always be remembered.
Do you remember the song "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins? It was from Tarzan and it won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1999 (beating out Aimee Mann's "Save Me" from Magnolia for Christ's sake). Anyway, do you remember that "Tarzan" song over, say, The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away" from Wes Anderson's Rushmore the year before? That Phil Collins song was a hit, I know, but I'm going to say at this point, you, cinema lover, might not remember that tune. Phil Collins probably doesn't even remember "You'll Be In My Heart" over The Who. Or The Creation. Or The Faces. Or Cat Stevens. Or The Rolling Stones. Or the entire Rushmore soundtrack.
My point? Why not an Oscar category for Best Soundtrack? Or, rather, the best use of pre-existing music?
Though obviously Best Original Song should remain, and there's plenty of now iconic Best Originals, like "The Way You Look Tonight" (from Swing Time, 1936) or "Over the Rainbow" (from The Wizard of Oz, 1939), often the Best Original Song is NOT the song we remember. Why did Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" show up on an ad for a cruise line? (They better have good drugs on that cruise.)
The ability to create a meaningful, visceral, powerfully edited soundtrack (and working with songs so damn perfectly and often songs not usually heard in movies, like the not one, but two songs by the band Love in Bottle Rocket, or Dignan running from the cops, tuned perfectly to The Stones' "2000 Man") is a specific talent that, thanks to Music Supervisors and the editors and directors who work with them (*note: a good question a commenter raised is, based on the collaborative nature of the process, who would win the award?) has created moments in movies so iconic, that we often can't imagine the song without the scene.
I can't even listen to "Born to Be Wild" unless I'm watching Easy Rider (as much as I love Steppenwolf), and The Byrds' "Wasn't Born to Follow" remains one of my favorite moments in that picture. And then there's the opening credits of Mean Streets scored to The Ronettes' "Be My Baby," the Stealers Wheel "Stuck in the Middle With You" ear severing in Reservoir Dogs, Margot Tennenbaum walking off the Green Line bus to Nico's "These Days," Billy Batts meeting his demise to Donovan's "Atlantis," and more and more and more.
From American Graffiti to Casino to Dazed and Confused to Crooklyn to Boogie Nights to 2001 to Dead Presidents to Pulp Fiction to Velvet Goldmine to Over the Edge (Cheap fucking Trick) to Trainspotting to Candy to Harold and Maude (even as some of the songs were written for the movie, other were on Stevens' "Mona Bone Jakon" and "Tea for the Tillerman") to Floyd Mutrux's Dusty and Sweets McGee to every freaking Wes Anderson movie (this year's Moonrise Kingdom gives us Françoise Hardy, Hank Willams and Benjamin Britten) -- I don't even know why I'm listing them. You know these movies. And their songs.
There should be an award. If this category existed, we might have be allowed the pleasure of watching Rodriguez sing one of his beautiful, soul wrenching songs tonight, from the Oscar-nominated documentary Searching For Sugarman.
Musical supervisors deserve some Oscars, Martin Scorsese deserves a lifetime achievement award for the Goodfellas helicopter sequence alone and The Coen Brothers should win some kind of trophy for making us remember how cool Kenny Rogers used to be via Lebowski's dream scored to "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." Think about it Oscar. And listen.
From my Criticwire Survery answer to: What new category should the Academy add to the Oscars?
The Academy Awards -- one of cinema's most supreme accolades (or so they tell us). So prestigious that, as many filmmakers and actors claim, it's an "honor" just to be nominated. A gift from your peers, a historic milestone, a career changer, an ... oh ... where's Sacheen Littlefeather?
I like Oscars that go a little crazy. And not in those golly-gee speeches where someone, say, Anne Hathaway (the inevitable winner Sunday) reacts with such feigned shock that she giddily exhibits an actorly, cute-as-a-button manic depressive episode, stuttering out names that reveal how kooky, sweet, humbled and... enough, Ms. Hathaway. You're an actress so I do respect you for using your craft on the podium. I expect it. You're an actress so I do respect you for using your craft on the podium. I expect it. And I like you, Anne, (I really like you!). Actually, come to think of it, I hope you pull a Greer Garson five and a half minute gusher. That would be entertaining. That won't happen so... bring me Joan Crawford! Bring me Joan Crawford in bed, accpeting her golden boy (for Mildred Pierce). That's the speech I want to hear.
So with the Academy Awards telecast approaching, here are three (among many) of my favorite Oscar moments -- moments that simply make me happy. There are others of legendary lore: Rod Steiger thanking the Maharishi, George C. Scott not showing up, Brando's Littlefeather showing up, and again, Joan in bed, but I'm sticking to these three stars who, a la Lina Lamont, proved themselves shimmering, glowing stars in the Oscar firmament.
1. The Unshockable David Niven (1974)
This one is so famous that if you don't know it, I don't know you. Now, I adore David Niven. How can one not adore David Niven? It seems a part of one's biolgical makeup to adore David Niven. But David Niven plus Oscars plus streaker? In that case, I worship David Niven. Shaking up the normally demure affair in 1974 was one naked Robert Opel, a guy who'd managed to sneak onstage and streak past Niven while flashing the peace sign. Debonair Niven craftily upstaged the nude marauder, however, by handling the potentially embarrassing situation with amused aplomb. Not missing a comedic beat, the quick-witted Brit quipped, "The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping and showing off his shortcomings." Wonderful.
Should we be surprised Niven handled this so beautifully? No. He was once close pal Errol Flynn's roommate in a house nicknamed "Cirrhosis-by-the-Sea." I'm thinking a naked hippie meant nothing to a seen-it-all-and-everything David Niven. One of the greatest Oscar moments and a sterling example of how to manage a sticky situation -- something many presenters should learn from. In case of emergency, break glass and resurrect David Niven.
2. Jack Palance Don't Need No Stinkin' Geritol (1992)
An old school, star-studded brand of my-grandpa-can-kick-your-grandpa's-ass moment happened when City Slickers star Jack Palance picked up his Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Not content with the requisite "thank you's" delivered by scroll (and Palance had been around -- he'd have a lot of shout-outs, instead he brought up a producer 42 years ago who thought he'd win an Oscar), the actor dropped to the floor and performed an impressive set of one-handed push-ups. Not bad for a 72-year-old. His City Slickers co-star and Oscar host Billy Crystal was so amused, Jack bettered his material for the rest of the evening with quips like: "Jack Palance has just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood sign." Or after a musical number performed by a host of kids, Crystal announced that all of the children had, in fact, been seeded by the virile tough guy.
No matter how much Palance deserved his award for earlier, superior films like Shane or Sudden Fear (in which he's brilliant), there's no doubt that he made a special kind of history that night. Also, he made co-nominee Tommy Lee Jones smile. That's something.
3. Dear Joan, Damned Bette (1963)
I respect the talents of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford so much, that I sometimes tire of their images looked upon (especially Joan), with only camped up, "Mommie Dearest" delight. But there's no denying it -- that's one part of their appeal. And so yes, I do love a good Bette vs. Joan throw-down and this is a great one. Furious when her What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? co-star Davis was nominated for Best Actress and she wasn't, Crawford got supremely crafty in the ongoing grudge match with Miss Bette (their feud went as far back as an affair with Franchot Tone). Joan exhibited some serious Harriet Craig-level manipulation when she wrote each of the other nominees (oh, how I would love to see those letters) and offered her services to accept on their behalf should one of them be unable to attend the ceremony. And wouldn't you know it? Anne Bancroft, who could not be present, won for The Miracle Worker.
Sweeping on stage and pawing that golden boy like a jungle cat, Joan basked in the limelight, starting with "Miss Bancroft said, 'Here's my little speech, Dear Joan.'" Dear Joan continued while Ms. Davis steamed in her seat, feeling more like Crawford's Blanche, never being able to leave that chair. Bette, I love you, and I'm not taking sides here, but in this case... Bravo and bitchily well played Joan. A diva to the death. And she looks fantastic, of course.
I have a real soft spot for a movie in which a drunken Richard Burton makes out with a mannequin while a wind machine blows through his hair but perhaps I’m easy. In any case, the critically maligned Candy (a huge flop in its day) fascinates me -- from its never-ending joke that the dirty old man is the establishment (or something), to its groovy soundtrack (Steppenwolf, The Byrds, David Grusin's fan-fucking-tastic "Ascension to Virginity"), to its parade of famous men groping beautiful, wide eyed Ewa Aulin (Burton, Marlon Brando, John Astin in two roles, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, Ringo Starr and John Huston -- not to mention a wickedly hot Anita Pallenberg), to its comic pretensions -- I find value and humor in this, for lack of a better term, chaos-ter-piece.
Written by Terry Southern (adapted from his novel) and Buck Henry and directed by French swinger Christian Marquand, the psychedelic sex mess is both an intriguing time capsule and a sexy, pervy comment on what the filmmakers really seem to be after -- presenting a "message" while feeling up the girl. You know, having your candy and eating it too.
I'm currently working on a Fredric March piece to be posted soon, this year (get on it, Kim). Five favorite or fifteen favorite -- there's so many to list. Nothing Sacred, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Road to Glory, Merrily We Go to Hell, Death Takes a Holiday, The Best Year of Our Lives, The Sign of the Cross, A Star is Born, Design for Living and more. More, more March! I'm watching Elia Kazan's Man on a Tightrope tonight. Fredric March and Gloria Grahame -- this will be interesting.
He's one of my favorite actors -- such expansive range filled with charm, intelligence, strength, sexiness, vulnerability and a wicked wit. March had it all. As I've been watching and re-watching his long career, flooding my mind in all things Fredric, I came across his 1954 appearance on the show "What's My Line?" Wow. The mystery guest was always an interesting feature, revealing which celebrity could or could not think on their feet and disguise their voice with panache. Proving, not surprisingly, his unique comedic talent and unpredictability, Fredric March kills. This is one of the greatest episodes I've ever seen. Watch him positively stump the panel.