Friday, May 29, 2009

A bit under the weather...


... but while I have the strength to write I shall provide a quick update. I have been, as Mr. Wint might say, "bitten by the bug." And so I have been out of the loop these past two days. Sorry for no updates today on my serial blog Death Ray Daughters but I have not had the strength to get through the editing process of the fifth installment (for the three of you that have ever read it in the first place).

I finished up banners for June's TOERIFC pick Someone to Love, chosen by Flickhead, who will of course, and as always, ignore my banners and use his own (shakes fist in air and shouts, "Flickhead!!!").

But most importantly, for me that is, I have discovered the title of my "time is money" movie written about in Wednesday's post and I have one person, and one person only, to thank for it. Let's hear a big round of applause for Kimberly Lindbergs who forever after will be referred to here as Kick-Ass Kimberly, for providing a link to a site in her comment on that very post which I then used to discover the answer. The link she provided was What's That Book which I used to ask about both of my mystery movies. Still no answer on the Civil War one yet but within about six hours of posting on the "time is money" one I had my answer from the admin of the site: The Price of Life, made in 1987 and shown on both Showtime and American Playhouse, which is where I saw it. It's not available and the user comments on the Showtime link don't really provide an answer as to how it ends but I'm happy for now just knowing I didn't imagine it. Thanks again Kimberly.

And now it's back to resting with my laptop by my side so I can check in between winks. Have a great weekend everyone and don't forget: Monday marks the return of Name That Movie. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Trail's Grown Cold


Have you ever had a memory of a movie, or show or play but you can't remember enough specifics about it to look it up and find out what it was? My wife had a movie like that for years but fortunately IMDB came along and solved her problem. Well, I solved it but only because I was more accustomed to IMDB than she was. She remembered seeing a movie some thirty or more years ago where the characters were famous actors and movie characters from other movies. In other words, one of the characters was Clark Gable, the actor, and another was Scarlett O'Hara, the character - NOT Vivien Leigh but her character in Gone With the Wind. Dracula was also a character, as was Jean Harlow. Anyway, they're all on a train and it's a mystery and on top of all that, it's also a musical. I told her we could look it up on IMDB because you could put in a character or actor name, like Clark Gable, and see what movies he has been portrayed in. We did just that and quickly came up with Train Ride to Hollywood containing all the characters mentioned above including my personal favorite, Tracy Reed as "Stupid Bimbo." So, yeah, I had never heard of this movie in my life but upon hearing of it immediately wanted to see it because it seems by sheer force of will to be, no pun intended, a total train wreck of a movie. It just recently became available on DVD but Netflix doesn't have it. I should wait until it does but the lure of something so tantalizing horrible may be too much to resist and force me into a purchasing situation. But enough about that, I have other movies to discover.

You see, I have the same memory problem as my wife but unfortunately not even IMDB can solve it, yet. I simply don't have enough information and I have searched and searched on all sorts of keywords and come up blank. Perhaps you, helpful reader, will have more success. There are two movies I saw years ago and am very curious to see again. One, because I never finished it to see how it ends and the other because I'm not sure if it's a movie or a play. I will now provide the relevant information and place it in your hands.

The first one was a movie I saw on... I believe it was PBS, back in the early nineties. The plot centered around an unspecific future in which all people have a death clock implanted in them at birth and are given time on their clock. As the old saying goes, "time is money." In this case, literally. That is, every time you buy something you use a debit card that subtracts minutes or hours or days depending on how expensive the item is. The idea being to build a structured Capitalist society in which those who are not good with business, i.e. time, will go broke and die. Those who live long will be those who are smart at business and finance. The main character starts as a child in the movie. He has talent at art and sells his pictures but does not become an artist because he wants to live a long life and so abandons his art to make money, that is, time on his death clock. For whatever reason, something happened and I couldn't finish watching it. Here's where I got up to. His sister comes into a restaurant where he is having a high powered lunch with some associates. She is in a panic because she has always been disastrous with money and has but a few minutes left on her clock. She begs him to borrow a few days or even just hours. He is annoyed with her but doesn't want her to die so he agrees but before he can make the transfer her money, time, runs out and she dies. And then... I have no idea. That's where, for whatever reason, I stopped watching and I have always wanted to know how it ends. Hell, even if it's not available and one of you knows it, just tell me how it ends. I've searched "Time is Money" "In the Interest of Time" etc, etc. Every "Time" or "Money" or combination of the two I can think of on IMDB and come up blank every time. Maybe I'm missing something. If anyone can help, please do.

The second one I saw all the way through but can't remember if it was a play or a movie. I even asked a playwright about it, a successful one, and he had no recollection of it so I turn to you. The story takes place after a Civil War battle and involves only two characters (that smells like a play), one a Colonel and one a photographer. The Colonel is horrified throughout at how casually the photographer reacts to the carnage and treats his photographic subjects (the soldier corpses) with such disrespect. The photographer counters that his job is more important than the Colonel's because he brings the war to the people and can change the public opinion which can change the war and so on and so forth. Seeing as it was done nearly thirty years ago it sounds like a Vietnam allegory to me. It ends with the photographer waxing rhapsodic about his God-like stature in the modern world and how the soldiers are his stepping stones and this and that, all the while focusing his camera on a nearby corpse. The Colonel looks on horrified until the photographer ends with an almost orgasmic, "I have it!" as he clicks the camera shutter. As with the first one, I have done all kinds of searches and come up empty. If anyone has a clue, let me know.

And finally, perhaps I can help you, or someone reading this could. Are there any movies that appear in your mind as only vague memories, so vague you question if they even exist? If so, bring them up in the comment section. Maybe one of us will know it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to catch a train - to HOLLYWOOD!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Name That Actress

You wouldn't know I'm back but I am. You wouldn't know because I haven't been online more than a few minutes this morning because work came crashing down on me from all sides this morning after they cleaned up my floor, which was flooded. And work still beckons but that doesn't mean I can't put up a pic or two and fill everyone in on a couple of announcements.

One, The Spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon banners are up on the sidebar. Click on them for the full-size to download and put on your own sidebar with a link back to here. You know you want to.

Two, the first three teaser trailers for October here at Cinema Styles are completed. Others will follow. Last year I did one trailer which went up in late August. This year it will be six teasers (two in June, two in July, two in August) and a final full trailer in September. Just like Christmas, October Killfest seems to come earlier and earlier each year.

Those are the announcements, here are the pictures. Two of them. Of the same actress. At the start of her career. Arbo, who is she?





Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend is Here



Two pics of Jerry Colonna, Janice Paige and Bob Hope as they head off for their 1960 USO Christmas Tour, entertaining military personnel stationed around the world.

I'm taking the weekend off as there are many things to be done and should be done besides blogging. As such, Monday will mark the second Monday in a row with no Name That Movie. Sorry, it will return the following Monday.

In other news, Death Ray Daughters, Episode Four is up today but be sure and read Episodes One, Two and Three first if you haven't already.

Also, Peter Nellhaus provides a helpful link for the Spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon in July here on Cinema Styles. The documentary The Haunted World of Ed Wood is up on YouTube in a high quality video presentation here so you can watch and learn and not feel too dirty for having watched it on YouTube. It's comparable to the quality of Netflix instant viewing.

And that's it. I'll be around the blogs all day today as usual but then I'm off for the weekend. Everyone have a safe one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Knock around a little at Cinema Styles first official Blogathon


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July 2009 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Plan 9 From Outer Space, a magnificent, wondrous and beautiful movie. And how does one celebrate a fiftieth anniversary? With a blogathon of course! Yes, I'm finally giving in and hosting a blogathon after decades of blogging here at Cinema Styles. If you'd told me all those years ago that one day I'd be hosting a blogathon I'd have laughed at you, told you you're crazy and then possibly, depending on my mood, either slapped you or spit on your face. Fortunately I don't do that kind of thing to people anymore and also, you're not standing in front of me.

So, is it a Plan 9 blogathon? No. An Ed Wood blogathon? No again. See, I don't want it to be too limiting. I want people's imagination and creativity to flourish so I'm calling it The Spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon. The idea is if you want to write about Plan 9 you can. Or Ed Wood. Or any underground, cheaply made movie that was filled with heart, or just incompetence. It can even be about good movies too. Carnival of Souls was made on the cheap in the can-do spirit of Ed Wood and actually succeeded. So basically I leave it up to you. Let the spirit of that unstoppable force of cinema, Ed Wood, be your guide, not me.

As for the dates of the blogathon it will run from Monday July 6 through Sunday July 12.

Don't forget! July is the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Celebrate it by taking part in the Cinema Styles Spirit of Ed Wood blogathon!

For your convenience, here are banners you can use at your site:





Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Wanderers: Diane Baker


You know who that is in the photo? It's a young actress in 1958 named Diane Baker. When the photo was taken she had just signed her first movie contract and was on her way to ... well, not stardom but work, steady work. She's been in dozens of movies and even more television shows with the number of her IMDB credits stretching well past the century mark. But most people know her for one thing and one thing only and it's a bit part with only a few lines. And this is an actress who right out of the starting gate played Anne's sister Margot Frank in 1959's The Diary of Anne Frank so it's not like she hasn't had any decent roles. But in 1991 she played a character whose daughter was abducted and her one scene involved talking to another character who possibly had information on the abduction. At the end of that scene the character with the information says to her, " Oh, and Senator, just one more thing: love your suit!"

Yes, in 1991 she played Senator Ruth Martin in The Silence of the Lambs. She still works steadily today and as previously stated has acted in over a hundred movies and television shows but if you had to explain to someone who she was you'd probably have to say, "You know, the Senator in The Silence of the Lambs, the one whose daughter got abducted."

Diane Baker is what some people call a Journeyman Actor, taken from the Journeyman term applied to those with skill in a trade but no workshop, no permanent locale. They travel from job to job and earn a day's wages for a day's work. They're nomadic by nature and I like to romantically refer to them as wanderers. They're the kind actor that doesn't get the big parts, supporting or lead, but they're always there, always working, always ready to play whatever part they've been given and do a good job with it. And Baker's done more than most people realize.

Aside from The Diary of Anne Frank and The Silence of the Lambs she also costarred in Journey to the Center of the Earth with James Mason and Pat Boone. I don't care what anyone says about that movie either, I love it. Yeah, I know, the dinosaurs are lizards with plates glued to their back and Boone gets a little annoying with the concertina but I still have a great time watching it.

She also had a small part in Marnie and played the love interest of David Janssen in the final two episodes of The Fugitive, making her one of the most seen actresses in television history. But most bloggers would also know her as Joan Crawford's daughter in the 1964 William Castle directed Strait-Jacket. After that her movie career tapered off into primarily television work but it was steady work and up to an episode of House, MD just last year, she was still going at it. Her career started 50 years ago with a part in The Diary of Anne Frank and she's been working steadily ever since, always reliable, always professional, always on top of her craft.

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This is the first post in the Wanderer series that will be included under the Acting category on the sidebar. After writing up Charles Bud Tingwell last week I decided I wanted to highlight more of the lesser known actors in the movies on this blog, the ones we all know but whose name might escape us.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another TOERIFC Monday


Almost inconceivably exciting.


While few things in life exceed having a party with your cats for sheer rollicking pleasure and balls to the wall good times there is one thing that is not only more exciting but more informative as well: A TOERIFC film discussion. This morning, Monday, May 18th, at Pat's place, A Doodad Kind of Town, the discussion of Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark begins at 10 a.m. on the East Coast. Don't miss out. If you haven't seen it yet go to the i-tunes store, rent it and watch it. The movie should spark passionate discussion if I know the TOERIFC members and I look forward to every minute of it. Join us today for TOERIFC's fifth movie, Dancer in the Dark. Hope to see you there.


Later on, things got a little crazy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Charles "Bud" Tingwell 1923 - 2009


I don't do obituaries here on Cinema Styles for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I'm never prepared and feel others are more up to the task. Second, I don't want to pick and choose, doing the big stars but not the smaller ones. As such, if I did do obituaries I would feel obligated to include everyone, not just the big stars, at which point this blog would become nothing more than a long chain of unending death notices. That's why usually I just put up a picture on the sidebar with the necessary dates and call it a day.

But this time's different. Why, you may ask, would I not do obits for so many big stars but make an exception for Charles "Bud" Tingwell, the Australian actor who died from prostate cancer this morning in Australia? Because Bud was virtually a member of the family, that's why.

My youngest daughter (seven years old) adores the Miss Marple movies of the sixties with Margaret Rutherford. My wife and I got her into the habit of watching old films from around the age of two and she is now fully versed in their rhythms and pacing. Oh sure, she still watches what other kids watch too but she understands classic film and will watch it on her own without any pushing or prodding. More often than not, if she has her choice of a movie to watch, it will be a Miss Marple film from the sixties. Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford), Mr. Stringer (Stringer Davis) and Inspector Craddock (Charles "Bud' Tingwell) have thus become familiar faces and names in our household and now the last, Craddock, played with such charm and wit by Tingwell, is gone. It's like saying goodbye to a favorite uncle.

I visited Tingwell's blog a couple of times (he only updated it twice, years ago) and read about him after we first started watching the movies a few years back. He even had a mild career resuscitation when he began appearing on The Late Show in the role of "Gramps" in the "Charlie the Wonderdog" segments that ran on the show in the mid-nineties. If you read his bio here you'll see that he had a full and rich life. And I recommend going there for biographical details because I intend only to talk about Inspector Craddock, and how wonderful he was in the role.

The Miss Marple movies of the sixties, Murder She Said (1961), Murder at the Gallop (1963), Murder Most Foul (1964) and Murder Ahoy (1964) will never be remembered as great examples of the art of cinema or even as the best examples of the mystery genre on film but they have a charm about them that is undeniable, and that charm has two actors at it's epicenter, Margaret Rutherford and Bud Tingwell. Rutherford as the nosey and headstrong Miss Marple constantly running up against, and intellectually besting, Inspector Craddock every time, in every movie, is formula to be sure but one given vigorous new life by those two eminently appealing actors. Tingwell did more than hold his own against Rutherford, at times you felt he was making her hold her own against him and that's no mean feat considering the immense screen charisma of Rutherford. But there's more.

Moviegoers and cinephiles are forever discussing chemistry between actors and usually, if not always, it centers around a male and female in a romantic relationship movie or two actors or actresses playing off each other in a Buddy picture. Well, I'm here to say that Rutherford and Tingwell had some of the best chemistry I've ever seen from a screen couple and their characters were not romantically involved nor were they buddy buddy. Nevertheless, those two played off each other as well as any team I can think of.

It may not be much of an honor to be written up on Cinema Styles but it is certainly an honor for me to write a goodbye to an actor that did something immeasurably important for me and my wife: He helped our youngest daughter fall in love with old movies and that's not something so easy to do these days. If not for him and his chemistry with Rutherford, it might not have happened. Thank you Bud. You were a gifted and charming actor and somehow, a good friend. You'll be missed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TOERIFIC May Reminder: Dancer in the Dark May 18th


This Monday, May 18th is the next installment of The Oldest Established Really Important Film Club (TOERIFC)to be hosted by Pat at her blog Doodad Kind of Town. The movie under discussion will be Dancer in the Dark, directed by Lars von Trier and starring Bjork, Catherine Deneuve and David Morse from 2000. Pat will give us the main write-up on the film and then the rest of us jump in and start discussing. So far the club has been a smashing success with slots for posting filled up through July of 2010 and I expect it to keep going. It's a one day organized yet intensive discussion that carries over into a couple of days afterwards but the main focus is on the first day and night. And I'm not just pushing my own club when I tell you that I honestly have walked away from each discussion with a fuller understanding of the film in question than I ever thought possible. So please stop by Pat's place on Monday if you'd like to take part in the discussion. You've still got three days to go rent or buy Dancer in the Dark and give it a look. As always, all we ask is that you come prepared by either seeing the movie recently or knowing it well enough to jump in. And that's it. Anyone can join in.

Also, Death Ray Daughters updates with its third installment tomorrow. It's a satirical 1950's serial that has just started recently and updates once a week. I've never tried my hand at an ongoing serial/radio play/soap opera before so we'll find out where it's heading together. Read the first two episodes before jumping in with number three tomorrow.

And The Invisible Edge is slowly becoming an odd experiment in performance art as JARVIS, the voice robot for the Edge, is now an official commenter (starting on the My Name is Max post) and will be a follower of every blog that follows The Invisible Edge so if you're one of the few, look for JARVIS to show up on your followers list soon.

Alternate Reality: Blogging in the Seventies

10 >> Hi everyone, no time for a full post today as I have a
20 >> hot tub party to get to and I can't be late again.
30 >> Just wanted to throw some links out there for all
40 >> of you who couldn't access the comp lab last week.
50 >> First off, Rick at Junction817332alt/loc.glc/systems has
60 >> a great post up on George Segal where he wonders if
70 >> any other actor will ever be as big a star. The title
80 >> of his post is "Golden Boy."
90 >> Next up Marilyn at glob/sys/344/msmovie has a great
100>> write up of last year's SILVER STREAK. She swoons
110>> over Gene Wilder and says, "Jill (Clayburgh), you are
120>> one lucky lady!"
130>> Jim Emerson uses a projector and film reel at the AV
140>> center on the north side of campus to explain why
150>> LOGAN'S RUN is a bad film based on a three second
160>> clip he has obtained and dissected frame by frame.
170>> That anonymous merry prankster Arbogast has
180>> another post up about Dolly Parton and Uschi Digard
190>> and wonders who would win in a "Boob-Off" contest.
200>> Dennis Cozzalio is going to be an extra in a college
210>> based comedy next year called, get this, ANIMAL
220>> HOUSE. Could that title be worse? Take a picture
230>> Dennis because this one's going to come and go if
240>> you know what I mean.
250>> And of course there's me. Don't forget to check out
260>> my seventeenth post on STAR WARS, the most awe-
270>> inspiring masterwork the cinema has yet produced.
280>> I uploaded it to the main-frame at the computer lab
290>> yesterday. In it I discuss how Luke Skywalker
300>> played by Mark Hamill (God what a performance!)
310>> could be taken as a stand-in for Bob Woodward and
320>> Carl Bernstein and Darth Vader as Nixon. You
330>> probably don't see how that could possibly work
340>> but it does! Really! Anyway, I've got to go.
350>> MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU - ALWAYS!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'


I'm currently tapped out so to speak. I got nothing. Work is too complicated right now for me to focus on a post so for today and possibly tomorrow, it's picture time!

Enjoy, and if you have any idea who in the hell these two people are I'll be impressed with your knowledge of the marginal. They're not complete unknowns, but they're not very famous either (although she has quite a few picture pages on Flickr devoted to her).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Name That Movie, Round Two, Clip 15


UPDATED WITH SECOND CLIP BELOW

And here we are again. As Bill gets ever closer to 10 I wonder if the goal of the game has perhaps fallen down the memory hole of time. This game is not just for fun but a DVD of your choice, $49.99 and under. Two games in a row now have had one person practically stroll across the finish line. For a while Flickhead was in their head to head with Bill but no more. Maybe I should switch this to Wednesday for the sake of competition? Any thoughts? Either way, I have a feeling Bill is going to get this one too. He's been on a hell of a roll lately. As with last week there is a back-up clip ready to go if the first clip doesn't ring any bells. Good luck everyone.


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SECOND CLIP:


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day from Cinema Styles



Edward Everett Horton and Mom in 1954


__________



May Britt and Sammy Davis,Jr celebrate the birth of their daughter in 1961


__________



The text that originally accompanied this photo read: " Mothers attending Warner's Beverly Theater Sunday were presented with orchid corsages by lovely Joan De Wald (right). This particular mother received special attention. Why? Because her name is Mrs. Ann Le Sueur, and she celebrated Mothers' Day by going to see her daughter Lucille -- better known as Joan Crawford -- in a revival of her Academy Award-winning movie, 'Mildred Pierce'".


Happy Mother's Day to all Moms out there from Cinema Styles.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Isn't Billie Burke Wonderful?


The caption of this public domain photo I picked up recently says "Actress Billie Burke receiving her 1st social security check from John H. Johnson, district manager of the Santa Monica social security office." Yes, she agreed to do a photo op with the district manager of the Santa Monica Social Security Office. What a lady! And she even went out of her way to feign excitement over what was probably a check for $12.85.

I also love that our hero, Mr. Johnson , has pictures on the wall behind him of every star he's ever given a Social Security Check to. They probably circle the office. And how about that "I couldn't produce a more awkward smile if I tried" look he's got on his face?

But most importantly, Billie Burke was wonderful and a personal favorite. This picture only makes me love her more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Deep Background: Building the Career-Long Character


Alan Ladd was no Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy or Fredric March. Nor was he a Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman before his time. He was Alan Ladd. He was serviceable. For the most part, he got the job done and didn't ask anyone to give him an Oscar, or even a nomination, for his troubles. And no one would have anyway. It's not that he was bad because he wasn't. It's just that no one ever left an Alan Ladd movie and thought, "Wow! What a performance!" But he created characters based on his own persona that allowed for an exploration of those characters over the course of his career. Allow me to explain.

Whenever I hear someone say, "Oh (insert name of underrated actor here) just plays himself all the time" or "she's just being (insert name again) in all of her movies" I get a little annoyed. I think most people with acting experience reading this would agree that the best actors always infuse a character with their own personality, the better to establish the character as a real human being that the actor can inhabit. And more importantly, playing yourself isn't easy. When I was living at home all those years ago my mother would read through plays with me when I was memorizing lines for a part. She tried to act while doing so. She was awful (sorry Mom). She e-nun-see-ay-ted ev-vuh-ree word in some bizarre Stratford-on-Avon mock British construct. It was unnerving. She was under the false impression so many have, that anyone can act if they're just playing themselves. They can't. Reading lines and making them sound like words that you just happen to be saying doesn't come naturally to a lot of people. Alan Ladd may not be Edwin Booth but he was good at his craft and knew his limitations. Like his frequent co-star Veronica Lake, he never attempted to go outside of his established low-key persona. And as I said in the opening paragraph, that allowed him to develop one character over the course of his career.

Alad Ladd became a star with his portrayal of cold and calculating Philip Raven, the hired assassin of This Gun for Hire in 1942. Eleven years later he had his biggest success with Shane and every time I see either of those movies I think of the other. To me, Shane the character is Philip Raven, older and worn down. I don't mean literally since they obviously take place in different times and Raven dies at the end of his outing but inside the psyche where the character resides. Shane is Raven, older. I can imagine Shane spending his earlier days shooting people for money and as much is implied in the film. Shane understands Jack Wilson (Jack Palance) because Shane was Jack Wilson when he was Philip Raven but now he's fighting the good fight and doing it free of charge. And the only reason I can get that character lineage from Raven to Shane is because Alan Ladd played himself in both.

When an actor creates a wholly new character for each performance, like a Marlon Brando, Paul Muni or Meryl Streep, you can't follow a character over the course of their career. But when they play themselves, you can. Take John Wayne, who excelled at placing his personality at the center of the character he was playing. Doing that makes it easy to imagine that Ethan Edwards of The Searchers is the older version of the Ringo Kid from Stagecoach. The Ringo Kid has none of the bitterness or rage of Ethan but he's young and inexperienced. Because of John Wayne's persona I can easily see him becoming Ethan over the long haul and it allows me, when watching The Searchers, to "remember" what Ethan was like when he was younger.

Another great example, this time over the course of three movies, is Paul Le Mat's characters from American Graffiti, Handle With Care and Melvin and Howard. That's the same guy at three different stages in his life. Can't you see the hot rod drag racer of American Graffiti becoming the trucker later in life before settling down to an empty, low-income existence in the Las Vegas desert? Those three movies are a way of seeing what the Graffiti character of John Milner would have become had he lived on.

Sometimes I imagine the character fell into a downward spiral somewhere along the way. Think about the Elizabeth Taylor of A Place in the Sun or Father of the Bride becoming the raging drunk of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Or what if Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara finally snaps under the pressure of constantly having to fight for everything and becomes the hollowed-out shell that is Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire? James Bond of Goldfinger is given up by the agency as a scapegoat and the CIA locks him away for decades until he's the silver-haired incarcerated secret agent of The Rock. Joan Crawford's musical star of the stage in Dancing Lady becomes the wheelchair-bound has-been dependent upon her sister in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

It's fun to imagine these character connections but also surprisingly useful in fleshing out a character beyond what the film provides (in fact, I couldn't even have made it through The Rock if I hadn't actively imagined that was James Bond after 35 years of imprisonment). Shane doesn't overtly provide background details for the title character though it is implied throughout. Fortunately, Alan Ladd made it possible to see what Shane was like before the 1953 movie came along by playing the character in an earlier incarnation in This Gun for Hire. And that was possible because Alan Ladd played himself, which may make him appear limited to some but it also made it possible for him to do what Paul Muni never could: Create a character and spend the rest of his career building a history for him.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Name That Movie, Round 2, Clip 14


Last week Arbo guessed correctly and it was good to have him back in the game. After thirteen clips there are only five names on the points board with Bill in the clear lead. Today a short clip and if no one gets it, a second short clip from the same movie will go up just because the first one is so short. Good luck.


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Clip Number Two


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Friday, May 1, 2009

Welcome to the Working Week


I haven't been around much lately this week and I wanted to apologize. Work has been a bear and it's been a tug of war between working and blogging, with work winning (although I can't decide if work is the Bunnies or the Cheerleaders). I haven't been around other folks' blogs much and barely even present here at Cinema Styles. The Invisible Edge will have an update later today but I missed posting there on Monday and I usually try for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule over there although sometimes even that becomes unwieldy. Name that Movie will be back up Monday and by Tuesday there should begin to be some more substantive posts around here than there have been lately.


_________________

The Bunnies outnumber the Cheerleaders so I guess the Bunnies are work right now. And if you're so inclined and would like to listen to the title of this post, please do.