The true loss of a great talent, Alan Rickman.

Alan-Rickman-alan-rickman-13116364-2560-1684

 

When I read of Alan Rickman’s passing my first feeling was shock.  No, he is too young.  He has too many parts still to play.  It’s not fair.  I always hoped I would get to see him on stage.  I would have loved to see him doing Shakespeare, from all that I know of him he would have been magnificent as King Lear.

The first time I saw him I really did not see his features under the make up or the horrid fright wig he wore in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, it was his voice that stayed with me.  It was such a unique voice and though he was a bad guy, it was a wonderful, sexy voice.  It stayed with me.

Then four years later, my Mother and I wanted to do something anti-Superbowl, and I had just become obsessed with Jane Austen.  I fell in love with her writing from the TV mini series of Pride and Prejudice so when I heard that Emma Thompson, (who I admire a lot) had written and starred in Sense and Sensibility. I thought it would be a perfect balance to my thDad and brother taking over living room with the Superbowl. All through the movie the voice of Colonel Brandon drove me mad, I knew it and I had no idea from where.  As we drove home I realized who he played and in the middle of conversation on the drive home said, Robin Hood,  The Sheriff Nottingham, that is where I know him from.  I think I shocked my Mom a bit, but I always remember a voice.  And his was special.  I tried to watch everything he was in that I could.

 

The next film I saw was Galaxy Quest, he was hilarious as the egotistical actor playing an Alien in a Sci Fi show.  Then Love Actually, again like Sense and Sensibility he played the leading man type, you could see what he looked like.  Though his character had some issues he seemed to turn it around in the end.

I came late to Harry Potter, I did not start watching it till the third movie came out.  I started to read the books that year and fell in love with them.  Alan was perfect as Professor alan rickmanSnape. I saw the first two movies on video tapes, so I didn’t get the full effect of the Professor till third movie.  He was amazing as old Snape,  you just loved to hate him.  It was nice that you saw why he did it in the end, again the bad guy was shown as a good guy and redeemed at the end.

 

 

Outside of Harry Potter the last show I saw him on was The Song Of Lunch on PBS with Emma Thompson. It was a lyrical show very much the cycle of love.

There were a lot more movies of course but those are the ones that stood out.  He was a talented man, who was very diverse and special.  He was very well-loved and he will be so very missed by all of his fans.

I raise my wand for you Professor…

Advertisements

A Sweet Goodbye To One Of My Favorite Actors

rod-taylorrod-taylor_i-G-54-5488-FYBWG00Z

 

 

Rod Taylor has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  From have watched and loved him. He was very talented and played every part with a deep commitment and true talent.

The first movie I think I can remember seeing him was The Time Machine.  A classic that I loved before I even knew what time travel or science fiction was.  Before I had read an H. G. Wells novel, I was in love George the time traveler.  He did something that just endeared me it was the sweet twinkle in his eye as he watched the mannequin change clothes and he went through the different time periods.  He was also so real in the midst of all the special effects and of course the romantic I am a mush so I loved the love story.

Of course I saw 101 Dalmatians but I didn’t it was him. So now that I do I may go back and watch it again just see if i can catch a phrasing that is pure Rod Taylor.

I loved him in Do Not Disturb  with Doris Day as the over worked and confused husband oblivious that his assistant had the hots for him.  In Sunday In New York as the adorable stranger who becomes both the hero and love Jane Fonda’s life, while being very, very funny.

I adored him in The Vips as the Aussie living in the UK with a great company who is fighting hard to keep it.  I had no idea he was an Aussie but I thought he was adorable and his relationship with his secretary, best friend and future love is one of my favorite parts of the movie.  I thought that he and Maggie Smith were just the cutest couple, I mean even a miserable Richard Burton could see she was in love Rod Taylor.

In Hotel as the manager he gets to show all the different sides.  He really plays the rock of the place who cares for the owner and employees and is trying his best to protect them all.  The scenes with Robert Webber as the Corp. Raider just made me sad because is that what really happened to all the beautiful hotels.

I recently saw The Catered Affair and though he had a tiny part I just thought he was adorable as the overwhelmed fiancee of Debbie Reynolds.

I also saw him in his TV guest shots, My favorites were in Murder She Wrote when he was older.  He still had it even though he was obviously not the sexy leading man anymore he was a sweet and caring friend and lover.

In other words I love Rod Taylor and I will miss him.  RIP Rod Taylor.

 

 

Love A Good Neil Simon Play

come blow your horn

Come Blow Your Horn is Neil Simon’s first play about when he finally left home and moved in with his older brother.  The play is very different from the movie.  I am not knocking the movie.  I really loved it.

I mean how can you go wrong with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bill,   Lee J. Cobb and Molly Picon.  It is a fun movie, a bit of a romp. I saw the movie before I saw the play.  My Grandma met Molly Picon, she was from the Yiddish Theater and my Grandmother and her family used to supply fabric for the costumes for the Yiddish Theater.  She had met Molly and her mother when they came in to buy material and my Grandma used to tell us great stories about it.  So i have soft spot for this wonderful and funny lady.

The movie also had Jill St James and Barbara Rush who I also admire, in fact there really isn’t anyone in the cast that I didn’t admire.  I also think that Norman Lear who wrote the screenplay is an amazing writer and producer, ( I grew up watching all his TV Shows and they were all the type of shows that pushed boundaries and taught while they made you laugh,)  but he is a different man with a different life from Neil Simon and he gave the movie his own take and it was very different then Neil Simon’s vision.

I saw the play in the 80’s and I was surprised by how different it is. It is a sweet charming and very Jewish Play.  It was what they did to his first baby that convinced Neil Simon that only one person could make his plays into screenplays from then on is Neil Simon.  So from then  on he always wrote the screenplays when his plays left the foot lights and went on to the big screens.

Come Blow Your Horn is all about growing up and finding your path to adulthood.  I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that it led one of the best playwrights of our time to grow as an artist.  Actually I kind of love the idea of that, don’t you?

 

 

Garbo Talks Always Touches My Heart

Garbo_Talks-04_jpg_cflarge_h0iufWfZhSXK2QiKLKGQmMRZzYv_jpg_cfI just watched Garbo Talks and I remembered how much I enjoyed it.  It has a very sad premise but it is treated with a love of life and a wonderful sense of humor.

First it has an amazing cast. Lead by the amazing Anne Bancroft, she is sweet, funny and eccentric.  Ron Silver who was quirky, funny and such a sweet gentleman.  But my favorite is Catherine Hicks who is funny, sweet, gentle, quirky and nutty.  And she wanted to be an actress, I could relate to her on a real level even though she was a bit of nut, but then so am I.

 

It also has an amazing supporting cast of  Steven HillHoward Da SilvaHermione Gingold who gave sparkling performances that just touched my heart. Carrie Fisher is hilarious as the pain in the ass spoiled boring wife, she really pulls the charm from this unlikable character which just shows her talent.  And Harvey Fierstein in the first movie I had ever seen him, though he was funny he tore your heart as the lonely but sweet man on Fire Island. 

The mix of humor and pathos really pulls your heart out and then fills it up with sweet laughter.  I won’t give it away but the end is the best part of the movie. You have to stay for Anne Bancroft’s speech but you really have to stay for the very end, it is a gem.

There are few classics like Laura

Laura

 

As a classic movie fan I am asked what my favorite movie is. I honestly don’t have a single favorite. I have one or two favorites in each genre’.

One film I consider a perfect film and I do not say that lightly is Laura. My other favorite from film noir mystery is The Big Sleep with Bogie and Bacall. There is something almost mystical about Laura.

The writing is first-rate, the acting is amazing and the production is beautiful. If you have never seen the movie I will not give it away because it is a murder mystery. The movie opens with that haunting music, if you have heard the theme from Laura you would not forget it. The focus is on a beautiful portrait of a beautiful woman. The voice over tells us that the woman in the portrait is dead and then goes on to tell us the back story.

We are introduced to all the suspects and the detective who is going try to solve the mystery. What is clear is that everyone loves Laura, so who killed her?

It might seem like a typical mystery and it has been copied quite often. I can guarantee if you love a good mystery with fascinating people you will fall in love this film too.

The cast is amazing Clifton Webb in his film debut as the columnist who helped Laura become the sophisticated woman and rise through the ranks. Vincent Price as her playboy boyfriend who is the most charming sleaze you had ever seen. It is one of his best performances. The great actress Judith Anderson as her only relative, she loved Laura but she was also jealous of her.

And as Laura the talented and amazing beautiful Gene Tierney. She gives a subtle, sweet yet a very strong characterization. As much as I loved Gene Tierney my favorite character in the movie was Dana Andrews. He was just amazing, he was smart, sarcastic, funny and tough. And through all that he showed his heart and that he cared. Loved him.

With page turning script by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hofenstein and Elizabeth Reinhardt and a secret writer Ring Lardner Jr. who was a black listed writer and one of the original Hollywood Ten. (If you don’t know what that is please look it up it was one of the scariest times in our history.) This film became one of the scripts of its era.

It was based on a book by Vera Caspary, a talented writer who wrote; The Murder in the Stork Club, Bachelor in Paradise and many other books. She was a highly successful author who also wrote screenplays for many of her books.

It was directed by the great and brilliant but rather scary director; Otto Preminger. He was a very talented director but he was demanding and could scare his actors out their wits. (Look him up, his life is really interesting and would make a great movie.)

What I am trying to say in my own way is that this movie was not a classic by mistake. It was created by talented people who made a beautiful film that is a mystery lovers classic. And for those who have never seen it, there are a lot of twists in it. So watch the whole movie.

Till next time…

 

There is more to an Icon (like Audrey Hepburn) then their look!

audrey hepburn

I had two different conversations about Audrey Hepburn with two young women recently.  Happily they knew who she was but sadly they didn’t even know she was an actress. They only knew that she was a beautiful Icon that was very famous.

They have seen the look a likes in commercials or the ads in magazines with old pictures of her.  But they have never seen one of her movies.

When  I told them that she was an amazing actress who won an Oscar and a Tony. I explained about how wonderful she was and what my favorite movies were.

Do you want to know the first question they asked me? Both of them, asked me the same question.

“Are they in black and white?  I don’t watch black and white movies.”

Does this break any other classic movie fans hearts? They have been able to make color movies since the 1930’s. It is a choice to make a black and white movie. They are not just classics they are a style.

On top of that to miss black and white movies of amazing actors like Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy is more then a shame it is a disaster.

But the biggest disappointment was they had never seen one of Audrey’s movies.  Not one.

So I told them about two of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies (in color of course) very different and special.

I hope the next time I see them they watched Charade and How To Steal A Million. But audrey in sabrinabecause they won’t watch black and white they will miss Sabrina. Sad, huh?

 

My review of the latest remake of The Great Gatsby

the great gatsby redford and farrow

I know you are not supposed to compare movie remakes and you really should not compare them to the book but I simply can’t help it.  You see I saw the Robert Redford and Mia Farrow version before I ever read the book. I was a kid and I saw it on TV. I fell in love with the romance of the period and beauty and sadness of the story. My favorite character was Jordan Baker (Played by Lois Chiles), she was a down to earth professional woman who was open about her life and sexuality. She was a true flapper but she was also a professional athlete and she lived by a moral code that most of the people in the show did not. In fact I felt that Nick, Jordan and of course Gatsby were the only likable people in the story.
Even though Daisy was beautiful, she was an empty and vain girl. She was also very selfish and terribly unfair to Gatsby and Nick. She was even unfair to Jordan who was supposed to be her best friend. And as much as she loved her baby she abandoned her all the time. The baby was raised by her nanny, her mother only saw her once a day. ( I know that was the way of the rich at the time but I still think it is a cruel practice.)

Still I felt very attracted to the era and the excitement. I had an affection for Nick and Jordan. I had a great sympathy for Gatsby so I had to read the book and found it was even better than the movie (of course). I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald and read every book he had written. He wrote so beautifully. The next time I saw the movie I saw all the flaws and what was missing but I still loved it.

toby stevens the great gatsby

The next movie of The Great Gatsby was with Toby Stephens and Mira Sorvino, it was tv movie in 2000. I think of all the films still it is the one that truly honors F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It didn’t always stay close to the plot but it had a great rhythm wonderful actors and a perfect look for the twenties. It was a truly beautiful film.

Onto the latest movie. I liked all the actors in the movie so I came to it with an open heart. I had no real issue with modern music in the film and I thought sets and costumes amazing and beautiful.

I thought Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby  and Tobey Maguire as Nick  did a wonderful job. They were right on with their characters. What disappointed me was how the women seemed to find it necessary to pose all the time. I know that is how it seems in the silent movies but women haven’t changed since the ’20s, women are real people.  Posing in private moments in a home with family and friends seemed to pull me right out of the movie.  I do like Carey Mulligan a lot, I have seen her in many parts and she is always honest in her portrayals. The first time I saw her in Pride and Prejudice as well as the BBC version of Northanger Abbey.  She is a fine actress but in this film she seemed to be really stiff and all her natural acting ability seemed to be stifled.  And my favorite character; Jordan Baker was my biggest disappointment. She was stiff and not real at all. You just can’t see why Nick would be attracted to her.  It was truly sad to me. I don’t know if it was the actress’ idea to pose like that or the directors but it was not a good one.

I also don’t like how they used trick photography to illustrated the monologue that Nick had at Myrtle’s apartment in the city. Fitzgerald painted his words you did not need to graphically see everything in front of you to understand what is being clearly and beautifully said in the dialog. Sad.

The part that was truly orignal was Nick speaking to a therapist while drying out in a sanatorium. And it is this doctors idea that he should get it out of his system by writing it down. Even though it was not in the book I liked it. It really felt like the time, it was nice to give him a visual way of narrating it. That was a brilliant innovation on the part of the screenwriter.

Till Next Time…