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Tiff Review: Cinematic Sexcapades are Fascinatingly Explored in ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’

12 September 2017 5:20 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

If the phrase “tell-all” hadn’t been coined before 2012, Scotty Bowers’ memoir Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars would have done the job. Here’s a Marine Corps veteran of World War II born in Illinois who decided to land in Hollywood upon his return on a whim. He answered a “wanted” advertisement to work at a gas station, was hit on sexually by Walter Pidgeon while pumping gas, and realized he could use this well-trafficked locale to help pair off closeted male movie stars with young hustlers like himself for twenty bucks a pop. From there he met Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy, had a threesome with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, and eventually spilled the beans about it all.

The book was an overnight sensation with ardent fans and vehement detractors alike. Was it his right to air so much dirty laundry? »

- Jared Mobarak

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'Secret History' Doc Explores a Hollywood Gigolo's Double Life

7 September 2017 8:30 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood director Matt Tyrnauer spent years documenting pimp to the stars Scotty Bowers, now 94. Bowers, a Marine, settled in post-World War II Los Angeles and led a double life as a gas station attendant by day and a Hollywood fixer by night, indulging in sexual liaisons and arranging "dates" for some of the biggest stars of the day, including Rock Hudson, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Tyrnauer says Secret History, which is seeking distribution and premieres Sept. 9 at Tiff, examines why Bowers' story is more than lurid sex gossip and what »

- Matt Tyrnauer, as told to Gary Baum

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‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

7 September 2017 8:01 AM, PDT | Blogomatic3000 | See recent Blogomatic3000 news »

Stars: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters | Written by William Rose, Tania Rose | Directed by Stanley Kramer

If you are a fan of comedy films, you’ll already know that It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is one of the greatest ones ever brought to the silver screen. Including most of the biggest names in comedy, it quite simply is a film that could never happen again. Now the Criterion Collection release has come to the UK and it is well worth buying.

When Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) has a high-speed crash, a group of drivers who come to his aid find him close to death. Before he literally kicks the bucket, he shares with them the location of a $350,000 treasure, leading to a frantic race to be first to the prize. One thing they »

- Paul Metcalf

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Matt Tyrnauer on Documentary ‘Scotty,’ Story of Hollywood’s Golden Era Sexual Zelig

7 September 2017 6:02 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

There’s Hollywood’s official history, one adorned with screen goddesses and cinematic icons of masculinity. Then there’s another, less-told tale of the golden age of movies. That’s a story in which Scotty Bowers plays a central role.

For decades, this former marine turned gas station attendant, bartender and handyman, was a sexual rainmaker to the stars. Away from the greasepaint and the glitz, actors like Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Rock Hudson allegedly turned to Bowers to make their sexual fantasies come true. His story is the subject of a new documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” from Matt Tyrnauer, a writer, director and journalist best known for “Valentino: The Last Emperor.”

The film, and particularly Bowers’ claims that Grant, Tracy and Hepburn engaged in gay sex, are bound to make headlines and attract controversy as they go against the actors’ carefully cultivated images. Tracy and Hepburn, »

- Brent Lang

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri review – violent carnival of small-town America

4 September 2017 5:29 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Frances McDormand is commanding as a woman avenging the murder of her daughter in Martin McDonagh’s modern-day western

Frances McDormand gives a powerhouse performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, an uproarious delight of a film that snaps the eyelids up like roller-blinds and had the Venice film festival audience breaking into rounds of spontaneous applause. She plays Mildred Hayes, an angel of vengeance at loggerheads with the world. Lock the door and bolt the windows. Mildred comes rampaging up Main Street like hard-boiled Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock.

Playwright Martin McDonagh won plaudits for his bustling 2008 feature debut, In Bruges – but Three Billboards is on a whole other level. The director tosses it into competition, underarm, like a firecracker, where it promptly explodes in a flash of jokes, a splash of blood and a twisting plume of ornate dialogue. It remains to be seen how »

- Xan Brooks

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Otd: Vera Drake and Lily Tomlin

1 September 2017 5:00 AM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

On this day (Sept 1st) in showbiz history...

1934 Metro Goldwyn Mayer releases their first animated short, The Discontented Canary. It wasn't Oscar nominated but they soon begin to crash Walt Disney's stranglehold on that particular category back then, with nearly annual nominations (for a time) beginning in 1939 (Peace on Earth) and regular wins in the 1940s thanks largely to the Tom & Jerry series. 

1952 Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is first published. It wins the Pulitzer and gets adapted to the movies twice, the first time as a feature in 1958 with Spencer Tracy and the second time as an Oscar winning Russian animated short in 1999 which was painted on glass. 

1977 Blondie signed their first major record company contract. Whatever happened to that Debbie Harry biopic we were supposed to get? Wasn't it going to star Kiki Dunst or was that just our Tfe fantasy?

2004 Mike Leigh's »

- NATHANIEL R

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Richard Anderson, ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘Bionic Woman’ Actor, Dies at 91

31 August 2017 4:07 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Richard Anderson, who simultaneously played Oscar Goldman, leader of secret government agent the Osi, on both “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman” after a long career as a supporting actor in film and TV, died on Thursday in his Beverly Hills home. He was 91.

Anderson famously intoned the words heard in voiceover in the opening credits of “The Six Million Dollar Man”: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better … stronger … faster.”

Anderson was one of a handful of actors who’ve played the same character simultaneously on more than one series on an ongoing basis; some actors in the “Law & Order” franchise made occasional or special appearances on another “Law  & Order” series, but were not seen regularly on more than one series.

Related »

- Carmel Dagan

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Richard Anderson, ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘Bionic Woman’ Actor, Dies at 91

31 August 2017 4:07 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Richard Anderson, who simultaneously played Oscar Goldman, leader of secret government agent the Osi, on both “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman” after a long career as a supporting actor in film and TV, died on Thursday in his Beverly Hills home. He was 91.

Anderson famously intoned the words heard in voiceover in the opening credits of “The Six Million Dollar Man”: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better … stronger … faster.”

Anderson was one of a handful of actors who’ve played the same character simultaneously on more than one series on an ongoing basis; some actors in the “Law & Order” franchise made occasional or special appearances on another “Law  & Order” series, but were not seen regularly on more than one series.

In »

- Carmel Dagan

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From Mad Method Actor to Humankind Advocate: One of the Greatest Film Actors of the 20th Century

28 July 2017 1:01 AM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Updated: Following a couple of Julie London Westerns*, Turner Classic Movies will return to its July 2017 Star of the Month presentations. On July 27, Ronald Colman can be seen in five films from his later years: A Double Life, Random Harvest (1942), The Talk of the Town (1942), The Late George Apley (1947), and The Story of Mankind (1957). The first three titles are among the most important in Colman's long film career. George Cukor's A Double Life earned him his one and only Best Actor Oscar; Mervyn LeRoy's Random Harvest earned him his second Best Actor Oscar nomination; George Stevens' The Talk of the Town was shortlisted for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. All three feature Ronald Colman at his very best. The early 21st century motto of international trendsetters, from Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro and Turkey's Recep Erdogan to Russia's Vladimir Putin and the United States' Donald Trump, seems to be, The world is reality TV and reality TV »

- Andre Soares

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‘The Big Sick’ Makes You Wonder: Where Have All the Romcoms Gone?

26 July 2017 1:21 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Big Sick,” the indie-crossover hit of the summer, is the sharpest, funniest, and most touching romantic comedy in a long time, and that should be a shot in the arm for romantic comedies everywhere. Except for one small detail: There aren’t any! They’ve all disappeared! Gone to that great big DVD player in the sky! (Somewhere up in Heaven, Nora Ephron is watching one right now, smirking and sighing.) There’s surely a micro-budgeted exception or two I’m not thinking of, but in the ’90s, the ’00s, and into the ’10s, you could count on the appearance, every few months, and certainly once or twice a summer, of a major movie that was some sort of cheesy-tasty screwball knockoff of the romantic comedies of old. It might star Sandra Bullock or Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger or Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Garner or Marisa Tomei, Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl, or »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel

7 July 2017 5:39 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

'The Magnificent Ambersons': Directed by Orson Welles, and starring Tim Holt (pictured), Dolores Costello (in the background), Joseph Cotten, Anne Baxter, and Agnes Moorehead, this Academy Award-nominated adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel earned Ricardo Cortez's brother Stanley Cortez an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. He lost to Joseph Ruttenberg for William Wyler's blockbuster 'Mrs. Miniver.' Two years later, Cortez – along with Lee Garmes – would win Oscar statuettes for their evocative black-and-white work on John Cromwell's homefront drama 'Since You Went Away,' starring Ricardo Cortez's 'Torch Singer' leading lady, Claudette Colbert. In all, Stanley Cortez would receive cinematography credit in more than 80 films, ranging from B fare such as 'The Lady in the Morgue' and the 1940 'Margie' to Fritz Lang's 'Secret Beyond the Door,' Charles Laughton's 'The Night of the Hunter,' and Nunnally Johnson's 'The Three Faces »

- Andre Soares

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After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade

6 July 2017 10:44 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Ricardo Cortez biography 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez' – Paramount's 'Latin Lover' threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino, and a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon.' 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez': Author Dan Van Neste remembers the silent era's 'Latin Lover' & the star of the original 'The Maltese Falcon' At odds with Famous Players-Lasky after the release of the 1922 critical and box office misfire The Young Rajah, Rudolph Valentino demands a fatter weekly paycheck and more control over his movie projects. The studio – a few years later to be reorganized under the name of its distribution arm, Paramount – balks. Valentino goes on a “one-man strike.” In 42nd Street-style, unknown 22-year-old Valentino look-alike contest winner Jacob Krantz of Manhattan steps in, shortly afterwards to become known worldwide as Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez of »

- Andre Soares

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More Gay Stars and Directors and Screenwriters on TCM: From psychos and psychiatrists to surfers and stage mamas

22 June 2017 6:51 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

On the day a U.S. appeals court lifted an injunction that blocked a Mississippi “religious freedom” law – i.e., giving Christian extremists the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, etc. – not to mention the publication of a Republican-backed health care bill targeting the poor, the sick, the elderly, and those with “pre-existing conditions” – which would include HIV-infected people, a large chunk of whom are gay and bisexual men, so the wealthy in the U.S. can get a massive tax cut, Turner Classic Movies' 2017 Gay Pride or Lgbt Month celebration continues (into tomorrow morning, Thursday & Friday, June 22–23) with the presentation of movies by or featuring an eclectic – though seemingly all male – group: Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Tab Hunter, Dirk Bogarde, John Schlesinger, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. After all, one assumes that, rumors or no, the presence of Mercedes McCambridge in one »

- Andre Soares

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Edwards Pt 2: The Pink Panther Sequels and Famous Silent Film Era Step-grandfather Director

28 May 2017 11:17 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

'The Pink Panther' with Peter Sellers: Blake Edwards' 1963 comedy hit and its many sequels revolve around one of the most iconic film characters of the 20th century: clueless, thick-accented Inspector Clouseau – in some quarters surely deemed politically incorrect, or 'insensitive,' despite the lack of brown face make-up à la Sellers' clueless Indian guest in Edwards' 'The Party.' 'The Pink Panther' movies [1] There were a total of eight big-screen Pink Panther movies co-written and directed by Blake Edwards, most of them starring Peter Sellers – even after his death in 1980. Edwards was also one of the producers of every (direct) Pink Panther sequel, from A Shot in the Dark to Curse of the Pink Panther. Despite its iconic lead character, the last three movies in the Pink Panther franchise were box office bombs. Two of these, The Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther, were co-written by Edwards' son, »

- altfilmguide

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Review: "Bad Day At Black Rock" (1955) Starring Spencer Tracy; Warner Archive Blu-ray Release

28 May 2017 6:03 AM, PDT | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

“Unwelcoming Committee”

By Raymond Benson

Although the picture takes place a couple of months after the end of World War II in the year 1945, Bad Day at Black Rock is really a western. The setting is a desert town that’s barely a whistle stop for a train that hasn’t halted there in four years; the main street looks as if it’s right out of Dodge City, and the opening credits are designed in big, colorful, bold words that spread across the wide CinemaScope screen. Even director John Sturges is primarily known for his many westerns.

Good Guy Spencer Tracy rides into town—on that train—and is met with inexplicable hostility from everyone he meets. All he wants is to find a guy named Komoko—a Japanese farmer who supposedly lives just out of town. Most of the residents seem afraid to help Tracy. The ones who »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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Marlene Dietrich Retrospective Screening at the Metrograph in NYC

24 May 2017 2:01 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express”: mptvimages.com/IMDb

If you’re a fan of actress, camp icon, and anti-fascist Marlene Dietrich or want to learn more about her, you’re in luck. The Metrograph theater in New York City is hosting “Marlene,” a retrospective featuring 19 of Dietrich’s films. The festivities kicked off May 23 and will continue until July 8.

Marie Magdalene “Marlene” Dietrich was born in Berlin in 1901. Dietrich began her career as a vaudeville performer in Weimar Germany. She moved to Hollywood and eventually became a revered film actress, “bisexual sex symbol, willful camp icon, [and] paragon of feminine glamour” — “comfortable in top hat and tails, ballgown, or gorilla suit.” But the actress did not forget about what was happening back home in Germany; Dietrich became involved in the fight against fascism during WWII. She “used her likeness to fundraise for Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Germany and performed on Uso tours, earning her the Metal of Freedom and Légion d’honneur by the French government,” the press release details. Dietrich died in 1992 at the age of 90.

The “Marlene” retrospective will feature Dietrich’s seven films with director Josef von Sternberg: “The Blue Angel,” “Morocco,” “Blonde Venus,” “Dishonored,” “Shanghai Express,” “The Devil Is A Woman,” and “The Scarlet Empress.” The actress’ collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock (“Stage Fright”), Orson Welles (“Touch of Evil”), and Billy Wilder (“A Foreign Affair”) are among the other films screening at the Metrograph. A documentary about Dietrich, Maximilian Schell’s “Marlene,” will also screen. All of the films, besides “Marlene,” will be shown in 35mm.

Head over to The Metrograph’s site for showtimes and more information. The featured films and their synopses are below, courtesy of the Metrograph.

Angel

1937 / 91min / 35mm

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas

While English statesman Herbert Marshall worries over international affairs, his glamorous wife (Dietrich) concerns herself with, well, international affairs, beginning a tryst with a dashing stranger (Melvyn Douglas) who she only allows to know her as “Angel.” Dietrich’s last film on her Paramount contract is a spry, surprising love triangle, one of the least-known of Lubitsch’s essential works from his Midas touch period.

Blonde Venus

1932 / 93min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant

A.k.a “The One with the Gorilla Suit,” which Dietrich dons to perform her big number “Hot Voodoo.” It’s all for a good cause: she’s an ex-nightclub chanteuse who’s gone back to work to pay for husband Herbert Marshall’s radium poisoning treatments, though she later allows herself to become the plaything of Cary Grant’s dashing young millionaire, earning only contempt for her sacrifice.

Der Blaue Engel

1930 / 106min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Emil Jannings, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti

Mild-mannered, uptight schoolteacher Emil Jannings lives a faultlessly law-abiding, by-the-book existence, but it’s all over when he gets a glimpse of Dietrich’s nightclub chanteuse Lola-Lola, and is immediately ready to ruin himself for her amusement. The first collaboration between Dietrich and von Sternberg made her an international star, and linked her forever to her seductive, world-weary delivery of the song “Falling in Love Again.” We’re showing the German-language version, preceded by a four-minute-long Dietrich screen test.

Desire

1936 / 95min / 35mm

Director: Frank Borzage

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, John Halliday, William Frawley

Dietrich and Gary Cooper reunite in this delightful urbane comedy by Borzage, a master of romantic delirium, here working somewhat after the style of producer Ernst Lubitsch. La Dietrich’s stylish jewel thief stashes a clutch of pearls in the pocket of an upstanding American businessman, and while trying to get back the goods she can’t help but notice the big lug isn’t half bad-looking. An excuse to recall the following lines from the 1936 Times review: “Lubitsch, the Gay Emancipator, has freed Dietrich from von Sternberg’s artistic bondage.” Those were the days.

Destry Rides Again

1939 / 94min / 35mm

Director: George Marshall

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart, Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger

Jimmy Stewart, still in his rangy, impossibly-good-looking phase, is a marshal who sets out to clean up the wide-open town of Bottleneck without firing a shot in this charming Western musical comedy. The local roughnecks present him one kind of challenge; Dietrich’s saloon singer Frenchy, belting out her rowdy standard “The Boys in the Back Room,” quite another.

The Devil Is A Woman

1935 / 80min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton

Dietrich and von Sternberg’s final collaboration, and an apotheosis of sorts. In Spain in the early years of the 20th century, Lionel Atwill’s loyal suitor Pasqualito and the revolutionary Cesar Romero are teased into a frenzy by legendary coquette Concha (Guess who?). The coolly scrolling camera and baroque compositions are courtesy of an uncredited Lucien Ballard and Von Sternberg himself, doing double duty as cinematographer.

Dishonored

1931 / 91min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen

Dietrich plays X-27, a Mata Hari-esque spy for the Austrian Secret Service tasked with using a bevy of costume changes (Russian peasant, feathered helmet, leather jumpsuit) to gather information on the Russians during World War I. Outrageous plotting, high chiaroscuro style, and the star’s earthy sensuality mark this unforgettable pre-code treasure, beloved by Godard and Fassbinder both. Says Victor McLaglen: “the more you cheat and the more you lie, the more exciting you become.”

A Foreign Affair

1948 / 116min / 35mm

Director: Billy Wilder

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Jean Arthur, John Lund, Millard Mitchell

Against the backdrop of a ruined postwar Berlin, another conflict is just heating up, as Dietrich’s cabaret singer with rumored Nazi ties vies with Jean Arthur’s Iowa congresswoman-on-a-fact-finding-mission for the affection of American officer John Lund. Wilder’s penultimate collaboration with co-writer Charles Brackett is a black comic delight full of crackling, piquant dialogue, and Dietrich’s knowing slow-burn has never been better.

Judgment At Nuremberg

1961 / 186min / 35mm

Director: Stanley Kramer

Cast: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, William Shatner

Dietrich’s last truly substantial screen appearance came as part of the ensemble for Kramer’s courtroom drama, playing the widow of a German general executed by the Allies who’s befriended by investigating judge Spencer Tracy in this fictionalized retelling of the events of a 1947 military tribunal addressing war crimes by civilians under the Third Reich. Rounding out the all-star cast are Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Judy Garland, William Shatner, and Maximilian Schell, who would win the Academy Award for Best Actor, and later directed a portrait of Dietrich.

The Lady Is Willing

1942 / 92min / 35mm

Director: Mitchell Leisen

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Fred MacMurray, Aline MacMahon, Stanley Ridges

Leisen, considered a comic talent on-par with Lubitsch during the screwball era, lends characteristic sparkle to this mid-career attempt at reconfiguring Dietrich’s very 1930s star persona to fit the needs of the 1940s women’s picture; here she plays a glamor-gal diva whose life changes when she discovers a baby on Eighth Avenue and decides to adopt, passing through melodramatic coincidences and a vale of tears before falling into the arms of Fred MacMurray.

Lola

1981 / 113min / 35mm

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Armin Mueller-stahl, Mario Adorf, Matthias Fuchs

Dietrich had for all purposes retired from the screen by the time that Fassbinder began his frontal assault on West German popular culture, but her image and her unlikely combination of cool irony and torrid emotion left a profound mark on his films. Lola, the candy-colored, late-1950s-set capstone of his “Brd Trilogy” in particular draws heavily from The Blue Angel, with bordello singer Barbara Sukowa torn between Mario Adorf’s sugar daddy and Armin Mueller-Stahl’s incoming building commissioner in boomtown Coburg.

Marlene

1984 / 94min / Digital

Director: Maximilian Schell

More than twenty years after Schell had co-starred with Dietrich in Judgment at Nuremberg, during which period she’d retired to a life of very private seclusion, he tried to get her to participate in a documentary about her life. She finally gave in — sort of. Dietrich offered only her memories and her famous voice, refusing to appear on camera, but necessity became a boon to the resulting film, a sort of guided tour of Dietrich’s life and work, which simultaneously reveals much and deepens her mystery.

Morocco

1930 / 92min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou

After The Blue Angel, shot in Germany, was a hit, von Sternberg was given full run of the Paramount backlot, where he would conjure up all manner of exotic destinations out of thin air. First stop: North Africa, where French legionnaire Gary Cooper competes with sugar daddy Adolphe Menjou for the favors of Dietrich’s cabaret star Amy Jolly, who in one scene famously rocks a men’s tailcoat and plants a smooch on a female fan.

Rancho Notorious

1952 / 89min / 35mm

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer, William Frawley

Teutons Lang and Dietrich team up in a Technicolor wild west of deliberate, garish artifice in this singularly claustrophobic oater, in which a revenge-mad Burt Kennedy goes looking for his fiancée’s killers at a hideaway inn run by Dietrich, and discovers dangerous, unbidden desires instead. As the chant of the film’s recurring, persecutorial Brechtian ballad goes: “Hate, murder, and revenge.”

The Scarlet Empress

1934 / 104min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser

Have ever a screen persona and a historical personage found such a hand-in-glove-fit as did Dietrich and Empress Catherine the Great of Russia? While the Motion Picture Production Code was preparing to chasten American movies, Dietrich and von Sternberg got together to throw one last lavish S & M orgy, a flamboyant film of 18th century palace intrigues and ludicrously lapidary décor.

Shanghai Express

1932 / 82min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong

“It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily,” proclaims Marlene Dietrich with the disdain of an empress, though in fact she’s a high-class courtesan, re-encountering former lover Clive Brook on an express train rolling through civil war-wracked China. The fourth of Dietrich and von Sternberg’s collaborations is a riot of delirious chinoiserie artifice and sculpted shadowplay — Dietrich’s co-star Anna May Wong was never again shot so caressingly.

The Song Of Songs

1933 / 90min / 35mm

Director: Rouben Mamoulian

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, Lionel Atwill

So often the instrument of corruption, Mamoulian’s film allows Dietrich to be the corrupted one, playing a country girl, Lily, who comes to big-city Berlin and quickly becomes the model and muse of sculptor Brian Aherne. Lionel Atwill’s preening decadent Baron von Merzbach admires Lily’s nude form in marble, and decides to bring the original home with him, where she slips into the role of the cynical sophisticate, though her heart remains with the artist.

Stage Fright

1950 / 110min / 35mm

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, Alastair Sim

Hitchcock’s last film in his native England until 1972’s Frenzy is an audaciously-structured thriller, making use of an extended flashback and a whiplash narrative about-face. Acting student Jane Wyman tries to save beau Robert Todd from taking the fall for a murder committed by stage star Dietrich, who shows her hypnotic charm in a show-stopper performance of “I’m the Laziest Gal in Town.”

Touch Of Evil

1958 / 95min / 35mm

Director: Orson Welles

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles

It’s not the size of the part, but what you do with it. Playing a brothel keeper in a seedy border town in Welles’s magnificently baroque late noir, Dietrich only has a clutch of lines, but they’re the ones you remember, whether her famous requiem for crooked cop Hank Quinlan, or her reading of his “fortune”: “Your future’s all used up.” Bold and self-evidently brilliant, you could use Touch of Evil to explain the concept of great cinema to a visiting Martian.

Marlene Dietrich Retrospective Screening at the Metrograph in NYC was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Rachel Montpelier

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Roger Moore Remembered: How His Light Touch Made Him the Most Enduring Bond

23 May 2017 9:27 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The passing of Sir Roger Moore at 89 marks the first James Bond to do so. And the response from one of my sons was telling: “James Bond can’t die — he’s immortal.”

That sentiment will be shared by many Bond fans, particularly the generation that grew up with Moore in the ’70s and ’80s. Moore, who embraced the lighter side of Ian Fleming’s superspy, was also the most enduring, making a record seven franchise movies: “Live And Let Die” (1973), “The Man With The Golden Gun” (1974), “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977), “Moonraker” (1979), “For Your Eyes Only” (1981), “Octopussy” (1983), and “A View To A Kill (1985).”

While Sean Connery defined Bond as uber-cool and free-spirited (he enjoyed killing as much as shagging), Moore redefined him as devil may care to disarm the baddies. The first Bond to hail from London, Moore’s Bond wasn’t in it for the spying, he was »

- Bill Desowitz

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Dina Merrill, Elegant Actress and Philanthropist, Dies at 93

22 May 2017 9:48 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Dina Merrill, a beautiful, blonde actress with an aristocratic bearing known as much for her wealthy origins, philanthropy, and marriage to actor Cliff Robertson as for her work in film and television, died on Monday at her home in East Hampton, N.Y. She was 93.

Her son, Stanley H. Rumbough, told the New York Times that Merrill had Lewy Body dementia.

Her parents were Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, and her second husband, Wall Street’s E.F. Hutton.

In 1983, on the occasion of Merrill’s musical comedy debut in a revival of Rodgers and Hart’s 1936 musical ”On Your Toes,” the New York Times gushed, “Long regarded as the essence of chic, the epitome of class and such a persuasive purveyor of charm and charity that she could have a rightful claim to fame as an eloquent spokesman — and fund-raiser — for a slew of worthy causes, Miss Merrill »

- Carmel Dagan

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Dina Merrill, Elegant Actress and Philanthropist, Dies at 93

22 May 2017 9:48 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Dina Merrill, a beautiful, blonde actress with an aristocratic bearing known as much for her wealthy origins, philanthropy, and marriage to actor Cliff Robertson as for her work in film and television, died on Monday at her home in East Hampton, N.Y. She was 93.

Her son, Stanley H. Rumbough, told the New York Times that Merrill had Lewy Body dementia.

Her parents were Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, and her second husband, Wall Street’s E.F. Hutton.

In 1983, on the occasion of Merrill’s musical comedy debut in a revival of Rodgers and Hart’s 1936 musical ”On Your Toes,” the New York Times gushed, “Long regarded as the essence of chic, the epitome of class and such a persuasive purveyor of charm and charity that she could have a rightful claim to fame as an eloquent spokesman — and fund-raiser — for a slew of worthy causes, Miss Merrill has evoked instant recognition and elegant associations »

- Carmel Dagan

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Episode 182 – George Stevens’ Woman of the Year

9 May 2017 5:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

This time on the podcast, David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett discuss George Stevens’s Woman of the Year.

George Stevens’s Woman of the Year, conceived to build on the smashing comeback Katharine Hepburn had made in The Philadelphia Story, marked the beginning of the personal and professional union between Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who would go on to make eight more films together. This tale of two newspaper reporters who wed and then discover that their careers aren’t so compatible forges a fresh and realistic vision of what marriage can be. The freewheeling but pinpoint-sharp screenplay by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin won an Academy Award, and Hepburn received a nomination for her performance. Woman of the Year is a dazzling, funny, and rueful observation of what it takes for men and women to get along—both in the workplace and outside of it.

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- David Blakeslee

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