ANOTHER LOSS TO CINEMA

GREAT LOSS

On June 12 actor Philip Baker Hall died at age 90.

Hall lent his presence and talent to many outstanding films:

Rules of Engagement

The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Insider

The Truman Show (on Rick’s Flicks list of ten greatest films of all time)

Bruce Almighty

Zodiac 

Argot

and three films with Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie NightsMagnolia and Rick’s Flicks’ favorite Hall performance, Hard Eight.

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DEATH OF A GIANT

on Rick’s Flicks’ next post

Jean – Louis Trintignant

NEXT FRIDAY POST July 15

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

 

 

JUDY AND MICKEY – CONTINUED

JUDY GARLAND AND MICKEY ROONEY

One of Judy Garland’s most often quoted remarks was that she and Mickey Rooney were so successful together, worked so well together because each always knew what the other was about to do.  This has never made sense to me, and it still does not.  Whether she made the statement often or whether most writers and biographers picked up on it so that it was frequently quoted would be difficult at this time to ascertain.

But successful they were and remain so in their musical numbers, surprisingly undated  — except for one black face number in Babes on Broadway.

Love Finds Andy Hardy    George B. Seitz    1938

Babes in Arms    Busby Berkeley    1939

Andy Hardy Meets Debutante    George B. Seitz    1940

Strike Up the Band    Busby Berkeley    1940

Life Begins for Andy Hardy    George B. Seitz    1941

Babes on Broadway    Busby Berkeley    1941

Thousands Cheer    George Sidney    1943

Girl Crazy    Norman Taurog    1943

Words and Music   Norman Taurog    1948

In Words and Music they performed their deservedly celebrated duet of Rogers’ and Hart’s I Wish I Were in Love Again, beautifully executed, perfectly timed.

Though they are both in Thousands Cheer, they are in separate sequences, never appearing together.

 

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CINEMA DEATH

Colin Cantwell has died.  Born in 1932 in San Francisco, Cantwell was a UCLA Fine Arts graduate who eventually contributed greatly to the successful designs of 2001 and Star Wars.

NEXT Friday POST July 1

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

JUDY AND MICKEY

JUDY GARLAND AND MICKEY ROONEY

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney appeared together in nine films.  The pair were ideal for their era , and the films  —  often with choreography by Busby Berkeley  —  were deservedly popular, MGM-ly sentimental and slick.

Mickey was a charismatic star.  His acting varied, but he was typically good; and when he was good, he was very good.  Judy is vulnerable as Betsy, the taken-for-granted girl next door.  They usually play high school students and, as we all know, are planning to “put on a show” as the climax of the film.

 

Some of Judy Garland’s memorable numbers came form these simple pictures:  I’m Nobody’s Baby; I Cried For You; I Wish I Were In Love Again (duet with Rooney)  .And in Girl Crazy she was fine, truly fine, rendering the Gershwin songs introduced on stage by Ginger Rogers and Ethel Merman.

 

JUDY AND MICKEY to be continued. . .

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CINEMA DEATH

Vangelis, composer of the scores for Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner died in Paris on May 17.  He was 79.

NEXT FRIDAY POST June 17

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

 

 

GABLE AND TURNER

CLARK GABLE AND LANA TURNER    –    FOUR FILMS

MGM teamed this lucrative pair for thirteen years.

Clark Gable was an outstanding actor before he went along with studio decisions to type cast him.  He would be forever Rhett Butler.  In the 40s he was paired in a series of four films with Lana Turner, then at the peak of her popularity.

Gable remained reliable in these run-of-the-mill features.  Turner never created a character and could not act; but her public never seemed to notice.  She may have come close in Peyton Place and Madame X.  And she tried hard in The Bad and the Beautiful.

Only at the very end of his career, in a small handful of romantic comedies, did we see Gable the star replaced by Gable the real actor he had been in the 30s.

Honky Tonk    Jack Conway    1941

Somewhere I’ll Find You    Wesley Ruggles    1942

Homecoming    Mervyn LeRoy    1948

Betrayed    Gottfried Reinhardt    1954

The press has always been the press as today’s broadcast media are always the media, and much was made of the title of the second film, Gable’s first after the death of his actress wife Carole Lombard in a place crash.

NEXT FRIDAY POST  June 3

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS

PAIRS

Over many years cinema has featured many successful teams.  The Hollywood film especially experienced decades of success through such pairings.  Rick’s Flicks will be looking at several of these legendary duos.  Look for a nostalgic glance back.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell

Fred & Ginger

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Clark Gable and Lana Turner

Mickey & Judy

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake

AND A LOOK ABROAD

Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Ohara

Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren

 

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Also coming soon, to this, your nearest screen:

A memoir of Judy Garland’s live concerts, THE JUDY WATCH by Harry Richards.

Next FRIDAY Post:  May 20

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

L I S T S : SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW

Some lists never end, and that should be good news.

I continue to remember, and discover, great performers to add to Rick’s Flicks posted tabulations.

Following are some performances to consider and analyze and view, and enjoy again.

Adding to outstanding, memorable duets:  Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne and Ben Whishaw as John Keats in Bright Star.  Before our very eyes Ben Whishaw becomes poet John Keats so that we have a sense of emotional and historical loss when he rides off to what we know is his death at 25.  And if you believe that before now you have seen an actress cry, you need to see Abbie Cornish as Fanny when she learns that John Keats has died in Italy.

John Keats

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRIGHT STAR    Jane Campion    2009

 

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DUET ADDENDUM:  Eoine Bailey and Antonio Banderas are a revelatory, amusing and at times hilarious pair in And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself.   This is an historical comedy-drama set in Hollywood’s silent filmmaking era (This is a film made for television and not eligible for any of Rick’s Flicks lists or awards.)  (Directed by Bruce Beresford)

NEXT Friday POST May 6

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

ROY RIDES AGAIN PLUS “MOVIES ARE EVERYWHERE”

 

PURSUED BY A BEAR

PALS OF THE GOLDEN WEST    William Witney    1951

This was Roy Rogers’s last Republic film, marking his transition to television star.  The plot hinges on the Mexican border and the American border patrol.  American cattle rustlers are bringing hoof and mouth disease into the United States along with their stolen steers.  William Witney gets to use his standard cattle shot of the same cattle moving this way, that way, up or down that small hill which stands in for countless locations.  But overall he gives us his usual outdoor shooting with a minimum of process shots.

Highlights:

Roy, using the backs of two hitched horses, runs across them to resume his fistfight;

Pinky Lee traps two rustlers in a cattle chute (Otherwise Lee is a true trial for the viewer as Hollywood was still using in 1942 the today-unfunny sidekick);

Dale Evans, in a sometimes unsympathetic role, exhibits some of the versatility of her earlier days before her type-casting.

“Pursued by a bear”  —  William Shakespeare’s best known stage direction  —  gets put to use here when the son of a border patrol friend gets chased by a bear of less than believable ferocity, shot through branches, in reduced light.

MOVIES ARE EVERYWHERE

. . .  including South African Damon Galgut’s novel The Promise.

“In his line of work there are a lot of nasty operators, some of whom he employs.  He thinks of himself as a tough guy and he’s certainly no innocent, he’s had to cauterise the sensitive side of his nature, which would otherwise let him down.  He works out three times a week and has a black belt in karate and is fond of watching Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood play vigilantes.”  (New York, Europa Editions, 2021.)

RECOMMENDED READING

‘WEST SIDE STORY’ AND THE DECLINE OF THE BIJOU by Peggy Noonan, an article in the New York Times of 12//18/21.  Noonan writes of seeing the film at the AMC theater in New York with a small audience.  She looks tellingly at what we have lost in no longer going to the movies.  Summarizing or paraphrasing could never do justice to her short essay.  Please read it.

COMING SOON

“The Judy Watch”

Rick’s Flicks will serialize The Judy Watch by Harry Richards, a study of the live concerts by film star Judy Garland.

Next FRIDAY Post April 22

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Go safely to a movie,
Rick

HARD LOSSES

William Hurt
1950-2022

William Hurt was one of the most outstanding of his generation of American actors.

Rick’s Flicks favorite performances:

Broadcast News

Altered States

The Accidental Tourist

Kiss of the Spider Woman

Hurt received his Academy Award for Kiss of the Spider Woman.  The National Board of Review did it right:  best actor, William Hurt AND Raul Julia.  But Hurt was outstanding in a demanding but quiet, subtle role.  One recalls nominee Jack Nicholson’s startled face when Hurt’s name was called.

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ANOTHER LOSS TO CINEMA

Last month Douglass Trumbull died at age 79.  Trumbull was responsible for the visual effects we  all loved and admired in Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Blade Runner; Star Trek: The Motion Picture;  and  —  first, last and always  —  2001.

Acknowledgment:  Richard Sandomir, New York Times.

NEXT FRIDAY POST April 2

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick

ALL IS MADNESS

ALL IS MADNESS

The New York Film Critics have done it again.  Their awards for best picture, best director and best writing have gone to three different films.

And Rick’s Flicks again asks, what sense can this make?

Without disputing that Drive My Car is the best picture of the year, one must ask on what basis is it their choice?

Charles Chaplin

 

Back in my day, the New York Film Critics’ awards were awards to look forward to.  They made choices the Motion Picture Academy would not have considered.  They chose Charles Chaplin as best actor;  Tallulah Bankhead, best actress.  They chose Wuthering Heights as best picture instead of Gone with the Wind, famously stating that they chose a perfect cameo rather than a huge mural filled with flaws.  (They did keep good acting perspective, and Vivien Leigh won their best actress accolade.)  They nominated The Sound Barrier as best picture, chose Edith Evans as best actress.  They knew, in 1941, that Citizen Kane was the best picture of the year.

David Lean’s THE SOUND BARRIER

Those were the glory days.  Today, changing their name and becoming a Circle and multiplying their awards to thrice the original number, they have joined other award giving groups with some bizarre choices  —  with the media saying that anyone not nominated by any award-giving group has been SNUBBED, instead of realizing that if award-givers persist and insist that  only five can be nominated in a given category, a lot of excellent work will always go unnoticed.

And what IS a movie?  The Academy, the last bastion, has capitulated and is awarding films that will never see a theater or theater audience.

Remember the final line of The Bridge on the River Kwai?  “Madness!  Madness!  All is Madness!

NEXT FRIDAY POST March 18

Until then,
Enjoy a movie,
Rick