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‘Doll Squad’ and ‘Batman’ Actress Francine York Dies at 80

‘Doll Squad’ and ‘Batman’ Actress Francine York Dies at 80
Actress Francine York, who had more than 150 television and film credits, died Friday in Van Nuys, Calif., She was 80 and had cancer, according to her close friend Pepper Jay.

York once declared the 1973 cult film “The Doll Squad” her most popular film, but she played everything from an alien to a exotic belly dancer. On “Batman,” she played Lydia Limpet, the Bookworm’s henchwoman. Her credits include guest roles on “Bewitched,” “General Hospital,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “My Favorite Martian.” She also appeared in “Tickle Me” with Elvis Presley. Her more recent roles include “Family Man” with Nicolas Cage, “Hot in Cleveland” and “Star Trek: Progeny.”

Born Francine Yerich, she was raised in Aurora, Minn. and Cleveland, where she performed in school plays. She danced as a showgirl in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles, where she played the Moulin Rouge nightclub. Her screen career was launched when
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Doll Squad’ and ‘Batman’ Actress Francine York Dies at 80

‘Doll Squad’ and ‘Batman’ Actress Francine York Dies at 80
Actress Francine York, who had more than 150 television and film credits, died Friday in Van Nuys, Calif., She was 80 and had cancer, according to her close friend Pepper Jay.

York once declared the 1973 cult film “The Doll Squad” her most popular film, but she played everything from an alien to a exotic belly dancer. On “Batman,” she played Lydia Limpet, the henchwoman of the Bookworm (Roddy McDowall). Her credits include guest roles on “Bewitched,” “General Hospital,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “My Favorite Martian.” She also appeared in “Tickle Me” with Elvis Presley. Her more recent roles include “Family Man” with Nicolas Cage, “Hot in Cleveland” and “Star Trek: Progeny.”

Born Francine Yerich, she was raised in Aurora, Minn. and Cleveland, where she performed in school plays. She danced as a showgirl in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles, where she played the Moulin Rouge nightclub. Her screen career was launched when Jerry Lewis cast her
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Superficial 'News,' Mineo-Dean Bromance-Romance and Davis' fading 'Star': 31 Days of Oscar

'Broadcast News' with Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter: Glib TV news watch. '31 Days of Oscar': 'Broadcast News' slick but superficial critics pleaser (See previous post: “Phony 'A Beautiful Mind,' Unfairly Neglected 'Swing Shift': '31 Days of Oscar'.”) Heralded for its wit and incisiveness, James L. Brooks' multiple Oscar-nominated Broadcast News is everything the largely forgotten Swing Shift isn't: belabored, artificial, superficial. That's very disappointing considering Brooks' highly addictive Mary Tyler Moore television series (and its enjoyable spin-offs, Phyllis and Rhoda), but totally expected considering that three of screenwriter-director Brooks' five other feature films were Terms of Endearment, As Good as It Gets, and Spanglish. (I've yet to check out I'll Do Anything and the box office cataclysm How Do You Know starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.) Having said that, Albert Brooks (no relation to James L.; or to Mel Brooks
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Let There Be Light: John Huston’s Wartime Documentaries

When John Huston went to war he took his mission seriously... as an artist. He made four wartime docus for the army. San Pietro and the long suppressed Let There Be Light are the classics we studied in film school; Winning Your Wings is typical enlistment booster material and Report from the Aleutians a remarkably good record of how the war was really fought in far-flung locations. Let There Be Light: John Huston's Wartime Documentaries Blu-ray Olive Films 1942-1945 Color and B&W 1:33 flat full frame 281 min. Street Date January 19, 2016 available through the Olive Films website 29.95 Directed by John Huston

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Of the Hollywood directors who 'went to war' and made high-profile Signal Corps films for the public, John Huston was surely the most innovative. He made one enlistment booster for the Army Air Corps and then three pictures that the Army thought were either too long,
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Underappreciated Actress Leslie Dead at 90: Tough Girl Next Door Fought Warner Bros, Danced with Astaire and Cagney

Joan Leslie. Joan Leslie: Actress who fought Warner Bros. and costarred opposite Gary Cooper and Fred Astaire dead at 90 Joan Leslie, best (somewhat mis)remembered as sweet girl next door types in Hollywood movies of the '40s, died on Oct. 12, '15, in Los Angeles. Leslie (born on Jan. 26, 1925, in Detroit) was 90. Among her best-known movies are Howard Hawks' Sergeant York (1941), opposite Best Actor Oscar winner Gary Cooper; Michael Curtiz's Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), opposite Best Actor Oscar winner James Cagney; and Curtiz's militaristic musical This Is the Army (1943), opposite George Murphy and Ronald Reagan, and with songs by Irving Berlin. All three movies were mammoth box office hits. And all three did their best to showcase Leslie, who was not even 18 at the time, as insipid young things; in the first two – and in The Sky's the Limit (1943), opposite Fred Astaire – paired up with men more than
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Forgotten Actress Bruce on TCM: Career Went from Dawn of Talkies to L.A.'s Punk Rock Scene

Virginia Bruce: MGM actress ca. 1935. Virginia Bruce movies on TCM: Actress was the cherry on 'The Great Ziegfeld' wedding cake Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies has chosen not to feature any non-Hollywood stars – or any out-and-out silent film stars – in its 2015 “Summer Under the Stars” series.* On the other hand, TCM has come up with several unusual inclusions, e.g., Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Mae Clarke, and today, Aug. 25, Virginia Bruce. A second-rank MGM leading lady in the 1930s, the Minneapolis-born Virginia Bruce is little remembered today despite her more than 70 feature films in a career that spanned two decades, from the dawn of the talkie era to the dawn of the TV era, in addition to a handful of comebacks going all the way to 1981 – the dawn of the personal computer era. Career highlights were few and not all that bright. Examples range from playing the
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Neal Doesn't Stand Still as Earth Stops, Fascism Rises: Oscar Winner Who Suffered Massive Stroke Is TCM's Star

Patricia Neal ca. 1950. Patricia Neal movies: 'The Day the Earth Stood Still,' 'A Face in the Crowd' Back in 1949, few would have predicted that Gary Cooper's leading lady in King Vidor's The Fountainhead would go on to win a Best Actress Academy Award 15 years later. Patricia Neal was one of those performers – e.g., Jean Arthur, Anne Bancroft – whose film career didn't start out all that well, but who, by way of Broadway, managed to both revive and magnify their Hollywood stardom. As part of its “Summer Under the Stars” series, Turner Classic Movies is dedicating Sunday, Aug. 16, '15, to Patricia Neal. This evening, TCM is showing three of her best-known films, in addition to one TCM premiere and an unusual latter-day entry. 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' Robert Wise was hardly a genre director. A former editor (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

MGM's Lioness, the Epitome of Hollywood Superstardom, Has Her Day on TCM

Joan Crawford Movie Star Joan Crawford movies on TCM: Underrated actress, top star in several of her greatest roles If there was ever a professional who was utterly, completely, wholeheartedly dedicated to her work, Joan Crawford was it. Ambitious, driven, talented, smart, obsessive, calculating, she had whatever it took – and more – to reach the top and stay there. Nearly four decades after her death, Crawford, the star to end all stars, remains one of the iconic performers of the 20th century. Deservedly so, once you choose to bypass the Mommie Dearest inanity and focus on her film work. From the get-go, she was a capable actress; look for the hard-to-find silents The Understanding Heart (1927) and The Taxi Dancer (1927), and check her out in the more easily accessible The Unknown (1927) and Our Dancing Daughters (1928). By the early '30s, Joan Crawford had become a first-rate film actress, far more naturalistic than
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Redford on TCM: Dismal 'Gatsby,' Oscar winner 'Africa'

Robert Redford: 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Way We Were' tonight on Turner Classic Movies Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month Robert Redford returns this evening with three more films: two Sydney Pollack-directed efforts, Out of Africa and The Way We Were, and Jack Clayton's film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. (See TCM's Robert Redford film schedule below. See also: "On TCM: Robert Redford Movies.") 'The Great Gatsby': Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby Released by Paramount Pictures, the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby had prestige oozing from just about every cinematic pore. The film was based on what some consider the greatest American novel ever written. Francis Ford Coppola, whose directing credits included the blockbuster The Godfather, and who, that same year, was responsible for both The Godfather Part II and The Conversation, penned the adaptation. Multiple Tony winner David Merrick (Becket,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Redford on TCM: Dismal 'Gatsby,' Oscar winner 'Africa'

Robert Redford: 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Way We Were' tonight on Turner Classic Movies Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month Robert Redford returns this evening with three more films: two Sydney Pollack-directed efforts, Out of Africa and The Way We Were, and Jack Clayton's film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. (See TCM's Robert Redford film schedule below. See also: "On TCM: Robert Redford Movies.") 'Out of Africa' Out of Africa (1985) is an unusual Robert Redford star vehicle in that the film's actual lead isn't Redford, but Meryl Streep -- at the time seen as sort of a Bette Davis-Alec Guinness mix: like Davis, Streep received a whole bunch of Academy Award nominations within the span of a few years: from 1978-1985, she was shortlisted for no less than six movies.* Like Guinness, Streep could transform
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Two Movies Starring (Inventor) Lamarr Coming Up on TCM

Hedy Lamarr: 'Invention' and inventor on Turner Classic Movies (photo: Hedy Lamarr publicity shot ca. early '40s) Two Hedy Lamarr movies released during her heyday in the early '40s — Victor Fleming's Tortilla Flat (1942), co-starring Spencer Tracy and John Garfield, and King Vidor's H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), co-starring Robert Young and Ruth Hussey — will be broadcast on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pt, respectively. Best known as a glamorous Hollywood star (Ziegfeld Girl, White Cargo, Samson and Delilah), the Viennese-born Lamarr (née Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler), who would have turned 100 on November 9, was also an inventor: she co-developed and patented with composer George Antheil the concept of frequency hopping, currently known as spread-spectrum communications (or "spread-spectrum broadcasting"), which ultimately led to the evolution of wireless technology. (More on the George Antheil and Hedy Lamarr invention further below.) Somewhat ironically,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

After Rooney's Death, Who Is Earliest Surviving Best Actor Academy Award Nominee?

Mickey Rooney was earliest surviving Best Actor Oscar nominee (photo: Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy in ‘Boys Town’) (See previous post: “Mickey Rooney Dead at 93: MGM’s Andy Hardy Series’ Hero and Judy Garland Frequent Co-Star Had Longest Film Career Ever?”) Mickey Rooney was the earliest surviving Best Actor Academy Award nominee — Babes in Arms, 1939; The Human Comedy, 1943 — and the last surviving male acting Oscar nominee of the 1930s. Rooney lost the Best Actor Oscar to two considerably more “prestigious” — albeit less popular — stars: Robert Donat for Sam Wood’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) and Paul Lukas for Herman Shumlin’s Watch on the Rhine (1943). Following Mickey Rooney’s death, there are only two acting Academy Award nominees from the ’30s still alive: two-time Best Actress winner Luise Rainer, 104 (for Robert Z. Leonard’s The Great Ziegfeld, 1936, and Sidney Franklin’s The Good Earth, 1937), and Best Supporting Actress nominee Olivia de Havilland,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

McDaniel TCM Schedule Includes Her Biggest Personal Hits

Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in ‘Gone with the Wind’: TCM schedule on August 20, 2013 (photo: Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in ‘Gone with the Wind’) See previous post: “Hattie McDaniel: Oscar Winner Makes History.” 3:00 Am Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943). Director: David Butler. Cast: Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, Eddie Cantor, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Dinah Shore, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, George Tobias, Edward Everett Horton, S.Z. Sakall, Hattie McDaniel, Ruth Donnelly, Don Wilson, Spike Jones, Henry Armetta, Leah Baird, Willie Best, Monte Blue, James Burke, David Butler, Stanley Clements, William Desmond, Ralph Dunn, Frank Faylen, James Flavin, Creighton Hale, Sam Harris, Paul Harvey, Mark Hellinger, Brandon Hurst, Charles Irwin, Noble Johnson, Mike Mazurki, Fred Kelsey, Frank Mayo, Joyce Reynolds, Mary Treen, Doodles Weaver. Bw-127 mins. 5:15 Am Janie (1944). Director: Michael Curtiz. Cast: Joyce Reynolds, Robert Hutton,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Scene-Stealing Supporting Player Is Star for a Day

Mary Boland movies: Scene-stealing actress has her ‘Summer Under the Stars’ day on TCM Turner Classic Movies will dedicate the next 24 hours, Sunday, August 4, 2013, not to Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Esther Williams, or Bette DavisTCM’s frequent Warner Bros., MGM, and/or Rko stars — but to the marvelous scene-stealer Mary Boland. A stage actress who was featured in a handful of movies in the 1910s, Boland came into her own as a stellar film supporting player in the early ’30s, initially at Paramount and later at most other Hollywood studios. First, the bad news: TCM’s "Summer Under the Stars" Mary Boland Day will feature only two movies from Boland’s Paramount period: the 1935 Best Picture Academy Award nominee Ruggles of Red Gap, which TCM has shown before, and one TCM premiere. So, no rarities like Secrets of a Secretary, Mama Loves Papa, Melody in Spring,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Tonight: Casablanca Hero Goes from Schumann to Ziegfeld to Vegas

Paul Henreid: Actor was ‘dependable’ leading man to Hollywood actresses Paul Henreid, best known as the man who wins Ingrid Bergman’s body but not her heart in Casablanca, is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of July 2013. TCM will be showing a couple of dozen movies featuring Henreid, who, though never a top star, was a "dependable" — i.e., unexciting but available — leading man to a number of top Hollywood actresses of the ’40s, among them Bette Davis, Ida Lupino, Olivia de Havilland, Eleanor Parker, Joan Bennett, and Katharine Hepburn. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of Paul Henreid movies to be shown on Turner Classic Movies in July consists of Warner Bros. productions that are frequently broadcast all year long, no matter who is TCM’s Star of the Month. Just as unfortunately, TCM will not present any of Henreid’s little-seen supporting performances of the ’30s, e.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Three-Time Academy Award Nominee Turns 91 Today

Eleanor Parker: Palm Springs resident turns 91 today Eleanor Parker turns 91 today. The three-time Oscar nominee (Caged, 1950; Detective Story, 1951; Interrupted Melody, 1955) and Palm Springs resident is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of June 2013. Earlier this month, TCM showed a few dozen Eleanor Parker movies, from her days at Warner Bros. in the ’40s to her later career as a top Hollywood supporting player. (Photo: Publicity shot of Eleanor Parker in An American Dream.) Missing from TCM’s movie series, however, was not only Eleanor Parker’s biggest box-office it — The Sound of Music, in which she steals the show from both Julie Andrews and the Alps — but also what according to several sources is her very first movie role: a bit part in Raoul Walsh’s They Died with Their Boots On, a 1941 Western starring Errol Flynn as a dashingly handsome and all-around-good-guy-ish General George Armstrong Custer. Olivia de Havilland
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

“Forty 1940s Films: ‘All Through The Night’”

“40 films from the ‘40s” is a movie challenge to watch and write about one film from that era weekly. Why the ‘40s? That decade is fascinating, because of the juxtapositions between films released during WWII and those released after. Half the decade was spent scrambling to keep nations afloat during war and the second half was spent trying to pick up the pieces and move forward.

****

All Through The Night

Directed by Vincent Sherman

Written by Leonard Spigelgass and Edwin Gilbert

USA, 107 min. 1941

Five days before the Japanese Imperial Navy bombed the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, triggering the Us’s entry into World War II, Warner Brothers released All Through The Night. The film is effectively a comedic-thriller, heavy in the anti-Nazi war propaganda that would dominate Hollywood’s slate of pictures in the war years. It also stars Humphrey Bogart, in a character that’s a
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Friday Noir: ‘Backfire’ is a well acted, poignant and fun little gem

Backfire

Directed by Vincent Sherman

Written by Larry Marcus, Ben Roberts and Ivan Goff

U.S.A., 1950

Reviewing movies with the benefit of hindsight offers ample opportunity to discover, analyze and extrapolate the several issues of the day their stories were concerned with. It puts such films into historical context, awarding them a sense of worth perhaps movie goers at the time overlooked. Film Noir is frequently cited as being specific in relating to the American post-Second World War experience, a time during which the innocence of a large and powerful country was shaken, the disillusionment created by mankind’s unhinged ferocious nature exposed during combat having deeply affected returning veterans. People fell on hard times, forced to strive to earn a living all the while reckoning with the truth of human nature. Backfire, from director Vincent Sherman, exposes the down and dirty side of people’s desperation through the
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Rita Hayworth: Gilda, The Lady From Shanghai on TCM

Rita Hayworth, Gilda Rita Hayworth is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Evening. TCM will be presenting the quintessential Hayworth in Gilda at 5 p.m. Pt. That'll be followed by the quintessential anti-Hayworth in The Lady from Shanghai, plus Fire Down Below, The Happy Thieves, The Lady in Question, and Affair in Trinidad. If you haven't watched Gilda (1946), you must. Charles Vidor's dark melodrama oozes romance, lust, desire, intrigue — and Nazis, too. All that set in a Hollywood-made Buenos Aires, where Hayworth's Gilda is married to George Macready's forbidding casino boss, but loves the youthful Glenn Ford's Johnny, who loves Gilda and has a deep, huh, respect for her husband, who, for his part, also happens to be, huh, deeply attached to Ford. As a son. Hayworth moves her body beautifully while singing "Put the Blame on Mame" and "Amado Mio," but the voice coming out of
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Bette Davis Singing What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Bette Davis sings "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" Bette Davis would have turned 104 today. The clip below, in which Davis sings "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," is from the December 20, 1962, episode of The Andy Williams Show. ("What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," song lyrics: "She could dance! She could sing! Make the biggest theater a ring! … I see old movies on TV. And they're always a thrill to me. My daddy says I can be just like her. How I wish, I wish, I wish I wish I were!") What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was released that year, earning Davis her tenth — and last — Academy Award nomination. Robert Aldrich directed the sleeper hit, which also featured Joan Crawford and Victor Buono. The beginning of the "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" song, minus the lyrics, can be heard on the radio right before the film's grand finale.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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