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Like A Bottle of Wine: West Side Story Ages With Time
9 January 2007
I have to admit that when I first saw West Side Story, I didn't like it, but there are other movies that I didn't like when they first came out such as Gigi, but as the years roll by, these movies now are very entertaining. I believe that movies like West Side Story and Gigi were not really good for the time that they appeared. They are more for today than yesterday and will be much more appreciated for what there are in the future years to come. As far as casting goes, they could not have done a better job. The original cast on Broadway just could not have done it. There has been a lot of criticism about not casting Broadway Stars in the movie versions, but the Broadway Stars could not bring the American movie going public into the theaters to make the movie pay for itself. At first, Jack Warner was criticized for not casting Julie Andrews in the movie version of My Fairf Lady, but as Warner stated in his autobiography, nobody in Des Moines knew who Julie Andrews was, but they certainly knew who Audrey Hepburn was because the financial boom that was made off of her portrayal in The Nun Story proved that, and he was right in his casting her as Eliza even though most of her singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. We will never know what My Fair Lady would have been like with the original soundtrack with Audrey Hepburn doing her own singing, but some of the songs were partially sung by Hepburn, but we do know that Marni Nixons voice was not suited for Audrey, but it was suited for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and definitely suited for Natalie Wood in West Side Story. Most of the singing for Anita was done by Rita Moreno for West Side Story, but only one song was dubbed and that was her duet with Maria for A Boy Like That. But as we know, dubbing is not a new thing in Hollywood. Rosalind Russell who can sing said in her autobiography that no matter what anyone says, that's Roz singing up there, but that's not entirely true. All of the songs were sung by Russell except for one. She just could not get Everythings Comin' Up Roses off the ground, so Warner hired Lisa Kirk to do the honors and for a hefty sum of moolah! But, back to West Side Story. First time around I hated this movie. Just couldn't stand it, but as the years roll by, now I see it as a great movie and a true work of art. The only flaw that I see is at the beginning of the movie when the boys start dancing while bouncing the basket ball. Still does't set well with me. Being an ex-dancer myself, it could have been done with less of a ballet-ish beginning. The guys look too much like sissy's that rough tough gang guys! But, thank God I can remember when it first came out and I saw it on the great big wide screen with stereophonic sound. This is the way movies like this should be seen. If you haven't seen it that way, you have never seen the glory of West Side Story. When I was in the Army, I went to Paris, France, and the Parisians wouldn't let it go. It was still playing at one of their theaters for three years running. Now, that proves that that West Side Story is one of the greatest movie musicals ever made!
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When I Grow To Old To Dream; I'll Have This Film To Remember
23 December 2006
Deep In My Heart was recently shown on Turner Classics and for some reason it was shown in a Letter-Box presentation. I remember when this film first came out and there were no widescreen movies at that time, but I do remember that when the widescreen process did appear, many of the old film were redone over in a widescreen process such as "The Wizard of Oz" and Disney's Fantasia which was preprocessed in Super-Scope with the advertisement "Fantasia Will Amazya!", even though Disney originally had planned to make Fantasia in a widescreen process it didn't happen because of World War II, but all it did in a Super-Scope presentation was to have it's fans run out of the theater screaming! So, I don't remember "Deep In My Heart" being released at that time in a Widescreen process, but maybe they did. This film ages like a fine bottle of wine. I really didn't like it then, but I do now, and I remember that the M.G.M. Soundtrack album was a very big seller at the time. So, let's not bring up the negative parts about the film. Instead, remember that no one knew that Jose Ferrer could sing and dance, and above all, he was an accomplished piano player as well. Yes! That was Ferrer playing the piano. And what about Helen Traubel. Well, anyone that didn't like her performance in the movie should be hung Softly As a Morning Sunrise! All her songs were perfection and her rendering of "Stout Hearted Men" was so effective that it's a wonder that everyone wasn't standing at attention during her singing of it. Sure, the movie has its flaws, but the overall effect is wonderful. I thought Jose Ferrar playing all those different parts when they were trying to write the show for Al Jolson was kinda dumb, but he did it so well. Tony Martin I've never really liked. He always sounded to me like a singer with a tight girdle trying to strangle him. Ann Miller? Well, there's something very obnoxious about Ann Miller. Probably because she was always given these parts of a girl with an abnormal appetite for the opposite sex, but her best role was playing Lois Lane in "Kiss Me Kate"; she was great! So, why aren't films like this appreciated today? Once again, this is another one of those wonderful films that you have to see on the large silver screen in a movie theater to really enjoy! Television only gives you some of the enjoyment of it. Again, I wish they would release these films nationwide in movie theaters so all the young people could see what all the drum beating is all about, but Deep In My Heart I know that When I Grow To Old To Dream, I'll Have This Film To Remember!
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Torch Song (1953)
Yes! It's Bad, but "It's Entertaining"!
9 December 2006
Sure, this is not a very good musical, but on the other hand, like most bad movies, it's the behind-the-scenes activity that makes it all the m ore entertaining to watch it. It's just like Liz and Dicks version of "Cleopatra": Even before the movie was released in the theaters, everyone was so informed as to what went on behind-the-sense that they went in droves just to see what all the hall-a-bah-loo was all about. Well, in Esther Willimas very funny autobiography "Million Dollar Merimad", she said that, first of all, Joan wanted her director Charles Walters to be her director on her first musical in her return to M.G.M. and, of course, Joan wanted Charlie-Boy in the sack as well as her director, but one thing wrong with that. Walter's is/was Gay, but Joan was sure she could convert him. So, she asks Esther if she can have him, and Esther says yes, while thinking, "Oh, please don't let her kiss me" and Joan plants one big kiss on Esthers lips with her famous "Bless You"! . So, in Joans first creative number, she and the director of the film, Charles Walters, do a dance number to a song that sounds very familiar. Well, of course, "You're All The World To Me" which as the song that Fred Astair did his famous dancing-on-the-ceiling-and-walls number in "Royal Wedding". Yes, people, same soundtrack whittled down for Foan and Charley-Boys big number. Later on you have "Two Faced Woman" sung by India Adams which was deleted from "The Band Wagon" with Cyd Charisse doing the number. Cyd's version was deleted because the film was too long, but you can see it on one of "That's Entertainment" films. I'm not sure that Cyd's version was better than Joan's, but for some reason I really like Joan Crawfords version. But, the film is just there. Heaven knows, it's entertaining once you get over the fact that Joan Carwford in her masculine portrayal could possibly fall in love with a blind man in which she claimed to him that he should get an eye-seeing human. That was a little too crass for even Joan Crawford to recite. But it's entertaining even if all the numbers that were sung by India Adams was deleted from the Band Wagon. I guess that's as good as any reason to use the numbers somewhere else, but you know what? For some reason I liked the movie. You really have to see in in a movie theater on the big screen in its glorious technicolor to really appreciate it for what it is, or maybe what it could have been. Quien Sabe! It's a good diversion for one who is bored on a weekend without nothing to do unless a White Rabbit runs by you say, "Oh my fur and whiskers; I'm late for a very important date. I'd fallow the rabbit! It would be my luck that the Queen of Hearts would be Joan yelling, "Off with his head!"
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With Apologies to Tony Bennett: "I Lost My Heart, In Brokeback Mountain"
27 November 2006
I'm a romantic! Always have been; always will be! This movie was aired for the first time on H.B.O. last night. Never saw the film, but heard a lot about it; mostly damaging, so I wasn't sure what I was expecting to see, but to my surprise, I was happy that I was lied to about what the film was really all about, but the problem with people seeing this movie is that you really have to be someone other than a city-slicker and have to love and appreciate the outdoors and nature! The scenery is spectacular. The story is very moving. The performances are incredibly honest. I wasn't sure how the end would come out, but it was one of those freak accidents that never can be explained leaving all those who loved the person beside themselves except for Jacks parents. It seems like they knew their son better than what most parents know their own son and was accepting of his life-style. They also knew who Heath was even though they had never met. This was apparent in Jacks father knowing where Brokeback Mountain was, and especially Jacks mother and how she related to Heath, and I'm willing to bet that the true ending to the story is that Heath later returns to Jacks parents and lives with them, and helps them with the farm until their dying day standing in for Jack as their second son! And this would complete Heaths love and respect for Jack! Betcha! So, after last nights airing, I have to say that I loved every minute, every second, and every foot of this classy film. How can, anyone, straight or gay, if they have any love in their hearts, not have compassion, and love, for these two men? But, when you come right down to it, how many men, and I'm sure there have been more than what we realize, found then selves moved because they, too, at one time, had been somewhat, in the same situation? But, and I know I'm going to be criticized for this, this is not a gay cowboy love story! These two men are not gay. It's true that circumstances being what it was in the mountains, no women around to have sex with; well, the inevitable happened and what started out to be a rape, turned out to be a love relationship that is hard to explain. What happened to them in the mountains caused them to become very much in love with a sexual relationship that was beyond gay, but even though that relationship continued on pass Jack's death, the two men were not gay! I don't know how to explain this any better. Even they both told each other that they were not queer! Maybe, I could say it was better than gay, that their relationship was more than gay! It was higher up the ladder! I'm sure that there is someone out there that knows what I'm trying to say when I say it was higher up the ladder than just being gay. It may have been a love relationship that many gay men would love to have but have never experienced! Anyway, this movie just tore me apart, and at the end when Willie Nelson, by the way one of my favorite performers, was singing, "He Was A Friend Of Mine", I just sat there overcome with a big large lump in my throat with tears pouring down my cheeks! Such an overwhelming, powerful, love story. Anyone who doesn't love this movie is a heartless, unloving, old Grumpy!
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Count Your Blessings That You've Seen This Film
26 October 2006
I remember when this movie first came out, and a clip was played from the movie to promote it on television. It was the scene where Rosemary Clooney has been misinformed about what Bing is going to do to promote the show and she slams a chair on the stage and walks off. This was at a time when new Wide-Screen Movies were going a-muck and this was the first movie presented in Vista-Vision one of the many to come our way such as Cinamascope, Super-Scope, Cinerama, and Todd-A-O just to mention a few. So, we know the movie and how entertaining it is, but there is a little history behind it and one of it's stars.

Rosemary Cloony, born and raised in Maysville, Kentucky, started singing here in Cincinnati, Ohio with her sister Betty on W.L.W. Radio, and then eventually Rosemary went to New York City and then eventually to Hollywood where she made a few films, but White Christmas was to be her most well known and successful film of her career. I remember when Rosemary made her debut in the movies in "The Stars Are Singing" and we were having exams in High School, so after the exams a friend of mine and I went to the Albee Theater and saw her walk in through the Vine Street Stage Door to the theater. Then between showings she got on the stage, sang some songs and talked about how it was so amazing to see herself on that big movie screen. So, years later, Rosemary's brother Nick would be our news anchor at W.K.R.C. television and then his son George Clooney, Rosemarys nephew, would make his mark in Hollywood as an excellent actor. Wonder where he got the talent from? So, Rosemary was on Tom Snyders Show on T.V. and he said, "I guess you're very proud of George, aren't you?" And she answered, "Oh, yes! But when he first came to Hollywood, all he wanted to do was sit on my couch, watch T.V., and drink beer. So, I had to kick his ass out of the house tell him to get a job!" So, back to White Christmas: One thing that people don't know is that Donald O'Connor was originally scheduled to play the Danny Kaye part but couldn't so he eventually played with Bing Crosby in the remake of "Anything Goes", and since Vera Ellen never really had a good singing voice, her voice double was usually Anita Ellis and for Call Me Madam, Carole Richards, who dubbed mostly for Cyd Charisse, but for White Christmas, when Vera Ellen is singing, that's really Rosemary's sister Betty Clooney dubbing for Vera Ellen's singing voice. By the way, Vera Ellen was born and raised in a section of Cincinnati, Ohio called Norwood! We can count our blessings that we have such wonderful entertainers from this city, including Doris Day, George Chakiris, Tyrone Power, and there's a rumor that Roy Rogers was born on the waterfront, and of course, the Looney Clooney's including George!
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Could The Clouds Roll By A Little Faster?
25 October 2006
Well, it's O.K., but by the way everyone acts, sings and dances in this movie, it looks like they all were threatened with suspension from the studio if they didn't all participate. As much as I've always loved Kathryn Grayson, who I still say is the finest singer Hollywood ever put on the silver screen, she acts and sings like she's a spoiled teenage singing and acting in a High School production of Show Boat, and Tony Martin is a prime example as to why he should never have tried to play Gaylord Ravenal in the screen version of Show Boat in which you see a much finer Kathryn Grayson. Don't get me wrong; the movie is O.K. if you've run out of things to do, or if you've can't get out of the house because you're living in Chicago during a snow storm. Then you've got poor mixed up Judy Garland trying to tell Ms. spoiled Bremmer that things change for the good of the show, including her song being given to Judy playing Marily Miller. Then Bremmer does some over acting while chewing up the wall be because that was her song given to her by Uncle Jerry, which proves why relatives should not work together in the same business. No one in this movie is up to par with their talents and whatever happened the Lee and Lyn known as The Widle Twins? So to get a little more money out of a production gone wrong, M.G.M. releases what they shout is the album that started it all being the first soundtrack album from a movie. Well, it may have been for M.G.M., but the first? Not so Suzy Wong! The first soundtrack album was R.C.A. Victors 3 78 rpm record album with songs and partial duologue from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But, again, for movies like these to be really enjoyed, they should be seen on the big movie screen. There are couple of reasons why people, today, do not like musicals. For one thing - they really don't make them anymore because of a lack of talent. Another reason is that you really have to see the old movies on large movie screens, but as Ann Miller said, we'll never see the likes of these performers again!
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The Cardinal (1963)
You Just Can't Get Any Better Than This
22 October 2006
I love this movie! I love every foot, every minute, and every second of it! When I first saw this movie I was a practicing Mormon, and now that I am of the Catholic Faith, I love this movie even more than ever. There is a rumor about this movie that it was loosely based on the life of Cardinal Spellman. Was it? Could be, but I haven't found proof, but now that it has been completely restored on Video and in Wide-Screen; what a pleasurable experience, and what a cast. Perfection! And of course, even though briefly in the film, John Huston, as usual is the scene stealer, but when you watch it, I think that the reason this movie is so enjoyable is that not only does everyone look like they love being in the film, they all look like each one of them is trying to steal the scenes from one another and that just makes the film more enjoyable. In the book "The Hustons" John Huston was suppose to have told Preminger to watch himself when directing Tom Tyron because Tyron was a very nervous person and he was not to scream at him in any way, and the first thing that Preminger did, after hearing this, was to walk in back of Tryon and scream at him which sent him almost into having a nervous breakdown right there on the set. This was Tom Tryons last movie assignment and it could well be because of Premingers attitude toward him. Nevertheless, Tryon went on to become a very successful author and if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have "The Dark Secret of Harvest Home" in which when it was filmed for television, we were to enjoy Bette Davis playing Widda, but back to The Cardinal, if anyone asks if this movie was the movie that made me convert from Mormonism to Cathocism; the answer is no. It was "The Sound of Music", although later, I was disappointed to find out that Mary Poppins was a Protestant!
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Kla-uh-too Super-Star
11 October 2006
When this movie was first released, I was a teenager and the movie theaters were having a field day with science fiction and especially outer space movies. There are two movies at this time that I really like, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "This Planet Earth", but why do I like "Stood Still"? Well, no one really knew what the writer was writing about until many years later! If you notice; Klatoo comes from heaven to teach the world to love one another and if they don't that their world will be reduced to a cinder. After escaping from the hospital, Klatoo takes on the name of Mr. "Carpenter"? Then he meets a woman who has a young male-child who is almost ready to marry a man who turns out to be power-hungry; a sort of "Judas" type person. Next he proves to be quite a miracle worker when the earth stands still. Helens boyfriend turns to Judas, then Klatoo is killed and Gort, the God-Force, brings Klatoo back to life.Klatoo finally give his message after he's been resurrected and he ascends back to heaven from whence He came! I think that it is no secret, now, that what the writer did was loosely base the movie on the life of Jesus Christ. This was innovative, but only a few has seen this, even today, and the movies message is more powerful and needed today. It's almost as if the movie has become very prophetic, but it's funny how a movie has become famous through the years by people playing trivia games asking "What did Klatoo tell Patricia Neal to tell Gort is anything happened to him." Many bets were made with this question and many bets were won! Anyway, what the film is saying, if we take our violence into the planetary system, we will eventually be destroyed, but if we learn the value of love and peaceful living - the Universe is ours! This is a great movie for all to see. We have a valuable lesson to learn from it. Unfortunately, you can lead a horse to water, but - - - - -
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The First Full-Length Animated Feature Made
5 October 2006
Actually, Gullivers Travels was the first animated feature made. It was completed before Disney completed Snow White. The problem was that no one would take a chance with it. Like they said about Snow White, "No one will sit through a full-length cartoon!" Of course, Disney proved them wrong. Howard Hughes was no fool and that's why he took the chance and originally disturbed Snow White through his corporation R.K.O. Radio Pictures, but the animators for Gulliver were in contract with Paramount and when Snow White became a great big success, then Paramount finally released Guliver on the heels of Snow White figuring it finally would get the success it really deserved! So, just as Snow White's soundtrack was released on a three 78 rpm record album, Decca released the soundtrack from Guliver on a three 78 rpm album.

So, where did Disney get his idea for the multi-plane camera? Could it be that there were spy's at Paramount reporting to Disney that they had invented a two or three plane type of animation while they were producing Gulliver? But has anyone, today, known that Gulliver was produced in a 3-D version where you had to wear the 3-D glasses? For some reason it has never been shown in that format, the same as when 3-D was going out, they never played "The Day The Earth Stood Still" in the 3-D version and probably at this time it probably disintegrated long ago.

So, back to what I've said before: A lot of people who see these old movies, today, see them on television and not in the theaters as we did growing up. It's very easy to criticize an old movie like Gulliver's Travels and seeing what you might think are imperfections. Let's face the facts, when these features were made, they photographed on drawings that were about the size of a 21-inch television picture. You don't really see the beauty and entertainment value unless you see these old moves on the great big theater screen. None of you know what a marvel it was the first time you saw The Robe in Cinmascope with 3-channel stereophonic sound, or the thrill when Lowell Thomas said, "This Is Cinerama!" and how you sat there in awe while you felt you were actually on that roller-caster ride. Today, everything is wide-screen and an inferior stereophonic sound! It's just like going to another movie, except in our day to get in the movies you payed as a kid 10-cents and got a ten-cent bag of buttered popcorn with a newsreel, serial, previews of coming attractions, and 2 features. If you were an adult, you paid 25-cents and two bags of buttered popcorn would be 20-cents. So, you could take a date to the movies for 70-cents. We should have it so good today!
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Barbara Stanwycke Plays Gypsy Rose Lee
2 October 2006
Geeeeee! I just saw this on Turner Classics for the first time since I was a kid when you went to the movies 'cause there was no television in the homes in those days. Everything was radio, or a 78 rpm record player, and as teens we would sneak into the Gayety Burlesque House here in Cincinati to watch Rose La Rose perform. This may be going off on a tangent, but Bob Edwards, the head of A.G.V.A. (American Guild of Variety Artists in which I was a performing member; no, I was not in Burlesque) told me about the time that the manager of the Gayety called him and said the musicians went on strike and that he was needed. Of course, he didn't know what he could possibly do, but he told the manager to find something to play music so they hooked up a radio, and the dancers would dance to whatever kind of music they could find and Bob said he went down to the theater in hot pursuit. So, he got there just in time for the star stripper to do the finale to the show and just as she got ready to go into her bumps and grinds, the music stopped, and a voice came over the theater system saying, "Have you had a rough day? Has it made you tense? Then bare it all with Bayre Asprin!" Well, Bob said he grabbed the curtain backstage and almost tore it down trying to stand up and laugh at the same time. The star stripper was not amused! So, here we have Barbara playing Gypsy Rose Lee, of course, because it's known that the first first novel someone writes is always an autobiography with a changed name, and for Gypsy's G-String Murders turned into Lady of Burlseque. They had to change the name in those days! It's lucky that the books title got mentioned on the screen seeing the power that The Hayes Office had for decency in those days! So, we have a different Barbara here. We have her singing in Burlewque, yes that's her singing, and she's dancing, doing cartwheels and playing straight-man to all the comics and turning in quite a remarkable performance. There are only two movies that she has made that I really like, this one and Christmas in Conneticut which has become a Christmas Classic to enjoy during the Christmas Holiday! They tried to re-make Christmas in Conneticut a few years ago. Big flop! Please, will the God of Burlesque never let them re-make Lady of Burlesque? Between this movie and Gypsy with Rosland Russell and Natalie Wood playing Gypsy Rose Lee, these are my two favorite Burlesque movies of all time! It's just a shame that they didn't have a Guitar Playing Female Singer in the cast which reminds me of the time that I was doing this show and this girl was on before me and she was playing her guitar and singing and all of a sudden she broke one of the strings on her guitar and not realizing it, she said, "Oh, my God! I just broke my G-string!" Brought the house down and I'm suppose to go on after that? Ah, the trials and tribulations of show business! Those great days are gone forever, but great are the memories!
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Latin Lovers (1953)
The Merry Widow Goes To Brazil! Where's Fernanado?
27 September 2006
This movie came right on the heels of The Merry Widow and was suppose to reunite Lana and Fernando for one more film, but - uh - complications arose! So, Lana Turner tells it in her autobiography, they were at a party and Lex Barker asked Lana to dance with him, and she didn't know how jealous Fernando could be and she accepted, and after the dance, he thanked her and Fernando said something like "Why don't you take her in the bushes and f--- her!" Then they went home and an argument took place and Fernando beat her up and caused bruises all over body. So, she reported this to the studio with the claim that she would not make the movie with Fernanado, and so they replaced him with Ricardo Montalban a very devout Catholic and would not, in any way, have an affair with Lana. So, later on Fernando never knew why he was taken off the picture. Well, according to Esther Williams, who would later marry Fernando; in her autobiography she stated that Lana would yell out in her doorway of her dressing room, "Fernando, you get your f----ing Argentine ass in here!" And, also, according to Esther Williams, she placed a glass on the wall of her dressing room and heard Lana moaning "Ohhhhhh! Fernado!!!!!!" And that Lana at times would take a leather belt to her body and put the bruises on her legs and body herself and claim it was someone else! And to prove that Fernando didn't ever lay a hand on Lana, he successfully stayed married to Esther Williams until the day he died! Oh!!!! For those old days when we had these colorful genius that made those great movies! Where are these colorful genius' today? Don't have any! Anyway, true, this movie is very entertaining, but it's really just a rehash of The Merry Widow in many ways, and if you notice, when Lana hears Ricardo singing, the same lighting, the same look on her face before they do the Samba together. One thing that not too many people never knew about Lana Turner is that she was an excellent dancer, and only showed signs of it in The Merry Widow and Latin Lovers, but the ending is kinda unrealistic. If she "did" give the money to Ricardo, I'm sure she was smart enough to keep most of it for herself with him knowing about it! After all, he didn't know how money she had! By the way, that was not Ricardo singing. He can sing, but that wasn't his voice and you almost expect them to repeat "Baby It's Cold Outside" and of course, I'm surprised that in many of the scenes Lana never once said those famous lines, "Oh! Ricardo! No!" Oops! That was the line used by Esther Williams! And speaking of Esther Williams, since movies like this usually have guest movie stars in them, I'm surprised that Esther didn't do some kind of Brazilian Samba Water Ballet in it! Not Lana's best, but a nice diversion on a boring weekend afternoon with nothing to do!
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Mario Lanza's Best
5 September 2006
If anyone will notice, That Midnight Kiss and The Toast of New Orleans was the same movie with the same plot with maybe a change of characters. For instance, instead of Ethel Barrymore, we've got a male actor playing about the same thing that she did in Kiss, and there's still that Kathryn Grayson doesn't like Mario Lanza and Mario Lanza playing the brash singer. Same movie, same plot, same characters. So, along later comes Because You're Mine which is very entertaining without all that operatic music. Personally, I didn't care for The Great Caruso, although it's a odd thing that on the day that Caruso died, Mario Lanza was born. Now, I'm not saying that Mario Lanza was Caruso reincarnated, but it is a bit unusual that knowing this, Lanza played Caruso on the screen. It is probable that his family knew this and told this to him many times!

So, in Because You're Mine, you've got a great cast, great music with Mario Lanza singing Granada at the end of the movie looking like he was poured into his Army uniform which made him look a little larger than the uniform with the button about to pop, but we forgave him. Come on gang - this is Mario Lanza!

Now, we've got one problem with this movie. It's not a big problem but it's Doretta Morrow. Sure she can sing, beautifully, and she cat too. Well, no wonder. She was in the original Broadway cast of Kismet playing Marsinah in which Ann Blyth played the role in the movie version, but you couldn't see it on the stage, but Ms. Morrow always looked cross eyed on the screen, and after Lanza making a hit in Caruso singing Be My Love - did she really have too? At least they had the good sense not to make it a duet between here and Lanza.

So, when you come right down to it, the movie is very entertaining. Probably Mario Lana's best. He never sang better. And why isn't Kathryn Grayson in this movie instead of Doretta Morrow? Well, quite frankly, she and Mario Lanza did not like each other. In their two movies together, especially That Midnight Kiss, you could see something going on with her feelings for him, but they never made a match. Maybe she was personally afraid of him. Who knows? But there were a great singing team. It's a shame that they never made more movies together, but that was never to be! Once again, it's just a shame that movies like this cannot be seen on the big movie theater screen. That big screen makes the difference. Ask anyone who's recently seen The Wizard of Oz for the first time in a movie theater, or even one of you out there - then you'll know what I mean!
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More Stars Than In the Heavens - But !!!!!!!
24 August 2006
M.G.M was proud to say that they had more stars than in heaven, and this may be true, but boy - did I luck out! This movie has practically everyone in it that I don't like! Don't get me wrong. This is a very good movie for a couple hours entertainment in which you don't have to wonder how Scarlett will get Rhett back, that is, if she ever could, but talented as they all are, I just don't like Mickey Rooney, Marshall Thompson has always sounded like he's got mush in his mouth, Cyd Charisse - oh those legs, and can she dance, but there's something very snobbish about her. Gene Kelly, a fine artist, always reminded me of a truck driver trying to tap dance. There's something very annoying about Janet Leigh; just wish she would have stopped her career when she did her famous shower scene. Tom Drake acts like a mortician and expecting Judy Garland to save him, but never fear Tom, Ms Judy and her nervous-norvice psychotic bug-eyed performing is later in the movie with Mickey Rooney who should have been cast as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. I will admit that I like Perry Como, ex-barber turned singer, and the wonderful and talent Vera Ellen is not showed off for her extraordinary talent as she was in Three Little Words with Fred Astaire. Lena Horne - oh please - don't get me started on her. I was in the armed forces with Ethel Waters nephew, and he and his Autie had nothing very nice to say about Ms Horne in which she blew her horn to much with her wide-eyed psychotic look on her face while singing! I'd rather hear her sing on recordings. Then there's gravel voiced June Allyson who cried more than Doris Day did in her movies, and that's a lot of crying. I could go on, and on, and on, but you will see Alyne McLerie in the "In a Mountain Greenery" song that Perry Como sings, and she would later play with Doris Day in Calamity Jane. Gee was so talented. Ended up later on W.K.R.P. in Cincinnati playing the owner of the stations wife. What a talent she was. She made "The Desert Song" with Kathryn Grayson, and "Calamity Jane" with Doris Day and then just sort of disappeared until W.K.R.P. in Cincinnati, but at that time, musicals were starting to fade out the picture. This movie is very entertaining, but sadly I don't like most of the stars in this film but I can appreciate it for what it is. I can take this movie about every two years to watch, and I still cringe watching it!
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Coyote Ugly (2000)
But - Where's Rosanne?
14 August 2006
I accidentally tuned in on this movie on Cable over the weekend. What a pleasure this film was. This was an excellent relief from all the realism on the T.V. and in most of the movies today. Bette Davis was correct that in todays T.V. there's too much realism. I agree. Anyone can play realism in the movies or on T.V.. You see it on the streets and in the news. This is acting? Of course not. The problem with Coyote Ugly, with most people, is that it's just good old fashioned entertainment to take you out of this lousy world we live in with nothing but a bunch of psychotics and neurotics you have to deal with everyday of your life. The reason that I love the Jerry Springer show is that everyone on his program is so over-the-edge that it's entertaining, and that's what made the movies years ago so great to watch. They could take the worse script there is and make it believable because they knew their craft - acting! This film has everything in it. A girl down on her luck. Falls in love. Has a Father than doesn't like what she's doing, but comes around. Goes for the Gold in life, and finally succeeds. If you think about it, this movie is almost a modern remake, in many ways, of "The Jazz Singer".

I loved every foot, minute, and second of this movie, but - with John Goodman playing the father, I almost expected Rosanne to show up and yell out, "Dannnnnnn! Becky's working in a trashy bar!"
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Rusty Gets Lucky in Las Vegas
10 August 2006
The first time I saw this movie was in the Army before it hit the movie theaters for the general public, and as all ye guys know, if a movie goes over in the Army - well, it's gotta become a big smash it, and with Elvis Presley wooing Ann Margaret, well - Ann Margaret was all the service guys had to see. The Hell with the rest of the show! The guys whistled, cheered, and that night probably dreamed that they were Lucky with Rusty! Anyone who doesn't like this movie is an old Grumpy! All right gang, so it's predictable and we've seen it many a-time in the movies. Guy sees girl, girl hates guy, guy still chases girl, and like Irving Berling wrote: "A Man Chases A Girl Until She Catches Him!" In the old Fred Astaire-Ginger Rodgers movies, Ginger always hated Fred until they had their first dance together and then the love affair started, and if you'll notice, the same thing happens here in Viva Las Vegas. Rusty doesn't like Lucky until they sing their first song together and then the love affair starts. This was the formula in those days. Funny thing: There was this story that went that in the Astaire-Rogers movies, Fred gave Ginger class and Ginger gave Fred sex! Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean. Astaire was not really the most sexiest looking of men, so he had to have the sexy lookin' gals around him to make the teaming work, but in Elvis and Ann-Margarets pairing, who was giving who sex? Song are great, dances numbers great, cast is very good, and it IS probably the best musical film that Presley ever made! He and Ann-Margaret was very wise never to appear again in a film. This was as far as I'm concerned a one time deal. Same thing as Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Partin in Rhinestone. It was a one time deal and the paring for one film was great and should not be repeated, but - sometimes I wonder what Barbra Striesand's "A Star Is Born" would have turned out like if she could have got her first choice for the film - Elvis Presley. What a dynamite of a movie that would have been, but - it was never to be!
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Love Is A Murderous Business
7 August 2006
It's quite obvious where the author got his idea for the novel "Where Love Has Gone". It's just a shame that the producers at Paramount didn't ask Lana Turner to play Valarie, but as it is, they hired Susan Haward, and with Hayward as Hethertons mother and Bette Davis as her Grandmother; no wonder the girl had problems. Couldn't you just see all three of them sharing on house at the same time in real life? Anyway, when Harold Robbins wrote Where Love Has Gone, it's quite obvious who and what he based his novel on. Lana Turner would not speak to him for many years, but it's quite interesting that in later years she would star on a television series written by Robbins. I guess all's forgiven in love and war after all! In one of the many Bette Davis biographies that have been written on her it has been reported that Hayward and Davis did not get along at all during the filming, and that at one point Hayward called Davis, in front of everyone on the set, an old witch, but she really said something that rhymes with witch. Davis was to have stood there speechless as Hayward stormed off the set, but it's also reported that Davis tried to get Hayward and her to get together and talk over their differences, but that was never to be, but maybe it's a good thing, because the strain of their private feelings for each other helped the relationship between daughter and mother in the movie! So, it's obvious that Susan and Bette would never, at one time in the movie, break out into song, singing, "We'll Always Be Busom Buddies"! I'm going to open myself up for something that maybe I shouldn't say, but I think that the reason why Lana Turner was so angry with Robbins for writing Where Love Has Gone is that he was too close to the truth of what really happened. Since everyone has passed away, I really believe that I can give my opinion that Cheryl, Turners daughter, took the fall for her mother, just as Hetherton took the fall for Hayward in the movie. It only stands to reason that if the truth be known, it could have ended Lana Turners career in Hollwyood, but we will never know the truth now - will we? Anyway, in one of the reviews of this movie it was said, "I guess the Big Brass at Paramount are patting each other on the backs simply because they had the good taste not to cast Lana Turner in the starring role!
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One Of The Great Bio-Pics
26 July 2006
What can I say about this movie that hasn't already been said, so how 'bout some background information. If you're up on your Hollywood History, you know that many stars who were chosen for a film were replaced for certain reasons, but if Jasmes Cagney had not been under suspension at Warners, he would have played Robin Hood instead of Errol Flynn. Barbra Streisand originally wanted Elvis Presley for her version of A Star Is Born and he would have been great and the film would have been a lot better, but the Colonel wouldn't have it. Judy Garland originally wanted Cary Grant for A Star Is Born and personally, I think he would have far better in the role of Norman Main. After Judy Garland was fired from Annie Get Your Gun, the first person that they wanted to play Annie was Betty Garrett, but because of her an-gent she lost out having the role of a lifetime in the movies, and after this happened, Betty Garble wanted to play Annie in the worst way, but 20th Century wouldn't lend her out, so finally after seeing Betty Hutton in The Perils of Pauline, she was hired to play Annie. Originally, Audrey Hepburn was the not the first choice for Breakfast at Tiffany's, instead they wanted Marily Monroe, and she would have been great, but her schedule wouldn't allow, and many others lost out to roles like these did. So, what does this have to do with Love Me Or Leave Me. In Jane Russells Autobiograpy she said that she was offered the part of Ruth Etting but had a choice between that project and another and her an-gent kept telling her, "Do Love Me Or Leave Me", but in the long run Doris Day was given the role. Personally, I can see Jane Russell playing Ruth Etting to the hilt. She would have been great. She would have matched Cagny scene for scene and been up to Cagney and his scene stealing, and she could have sung those songs, but, alas, Doris Day got the role and in the long run set her up at Metro for many years into the future! We're very proud of our Doris Kapplehoff, Price Hill girl, from here in Cincinnati, Ohio!
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I'll Get You My little Pretty and Your Little Dog Too!!!!!!
14 July 2006
Recently on Turner Classics, not only did they show the Judy Garland Version of The Wizard of Oz, but the 1925 silent version as well as the 1910 silent version starring a very young 9 year old Bebe Daniels who is remembered for her role of the star who breaks her leg in 40 Second Street only to be replaced by Ruby Keeler who becomes an overnight star because of Ms. Daniels bad luck.

I know I could probably get shot for saying so, but the script to The Wizard of Oz is horrible. I'm sure that the boys at M.G.M. probably thought to themselves, "What were we thinking when we agreed to this? We must have been drunk!" But, this shows what can be done by a very talented cast with great directions. There were many films like this that the heads of the studios thought would flop on its nose. Look at the Sound of Music. No one ever expected The Sound of Music to do what it did financially which saved 20th Century Fox to go under because of the Liz and Dick version of Cleopatra.

And to think that the studio bosses at M.G.M. wanted to delete Somewhere Over the Rainbow from the movie because they felt that the song stopped the film for no good reason at all. Of course, there were many headaches. Buddy Ebsen almost died from the Metalic Makeup. Gale Sondergaard want to look beautiful as the Wicked Witch much like the Queen in Disney's Snow White, but when they decided to make the Witch ugly, Sondergaard preferred her beauty - let her ego get in the way - and gave up beauty for characterization! Sad! I remember when the wide screens came out with stereophonic sound and the studios were trying to make films like The Wizard of Oz in a wide screen process. They were already recording stereophonic sound and didn't know it, so it was easy to remix the soundtracks into true stereophonic sound. There IS a wide screen version of The Wizard of Oz, but it is no longer available; the same as there IS a wide screen version of Gone With The Wind but no longer available.

But the talented cast with a talented director makes the script work and who knew that in the future this film would end up being a yearly event on television for all to see. Again, it's just a shame that this movie can't be enjoyed on the big screen in the movie theaters. That's a whole different ball game for all to really see what the Wizard of Oz is "really" all about!
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The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Aida (1989)
Season 14, Episode 1
The Nile, The Pyamids, and Buried Alive In A Tomb
30 June 2006
When I was a teenager, here in Cincinnati, Ohio, we had our Opera in the Cincinnati Zoo and it was billed as "Opera Under The Stars" and everyone from all over the world came to experience our Opera outdoors. The first Opera I saw as a teenager was "Aida" and then later in the season a rousing version of "The Merry Widow" where the opera performers let down their hair, showed off shamelessly, and at the end, the opera snobs stood to their feet cheering! Fauso Cleva was the conductor at all the operas. I had always been fascinated by anything Egyptian and despite my music teacher advising me to see a lighter opera for my first time; I refused. For some reason I just had to see Aida. So, to know what the story was all about, I studied the opera before seeing it. You could still obtain the original N.B.C. recording by Toscanini with his protégé Herva Nelli singing Aida, and low and behold, who do you think sang Aida at my first viewing and first opera? You got it! Herva Nelli, but at that time, the form divine didn't fit the form that appeared on stage. Ms. Nelli was very much overweight and my music teacher didn't think I was very funny when I said, "No wonder they buried her in a tomb at the end! Who would want something that looked like that to live!" My music teacher was not amused! The fascinating thing about Aida is that when Verdi's Aida was first performed, he was accused of copying the way Wagner composed music, and another thing is that there is no melody in the score to keep the singers on track. Everything is sung to music without a melody and it's very hard to keep singing in the key and keep in pitch that the music is written in. Very difficult unless you're a trained singer, and when you think of it; there are two opera's in Aida and could be played as two separate opera's. The second half could easily be called Amnerus, and speaking of the old gal; no one has ever played her part correctly in all the years that I've seen the opera or heard in on recording. Amneris at the end should be totally freaked out and having a complete nervous breakdown. Yelling and screaming! Blood, thunder and guts all over the stage even to the point of rolling on the stage in her breakdown because the man she loves is going to die of suffocation with her arch rival Aida whom she hates with all the hateful passion that she can muster up in her insanity! As far as Delores Zajick is concerned; at the end when she should be completely out of it, there's one place where she looks like she's sputtering and ready to do an imitation of Shirley Temple, looking at one of the Priest's and singing, "You're a very bad man!" But, for my money, the best Aida of all time was Renata Tebaldi! So, the production is great except for those silly skirts that the male dancers are wearing in the Triumph Scene. In other versions of this opera the mens dancing costumes - well, let's say, they might as well be wearing band aids, but I would like to see the tempo of the music a little faster and see the opera performers ham it up and have fun performing this wonderful opera to the point that it could be called a Classic Camp Opera! Everone is just too stiff and refeened! Yes, I spelled it right - refeened!
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Esher, Tom and Jerry, Fernando, and Where's Lana Turner?
25 June 2006
O.K.; so it's not a classic! So, it's not one of Esther's best, but - considering the over-all movie - it IS very entertaining! When I first saw this movie as as a teenager, I found myself singing "I Got Out of Bed on the Right Side" so much that the family finally said, "For God's sake! Will you SHUT UP?" So, sense of humor! No respect for Esther whom I adored and was in love with as ever other red-blooded American Teenager was at the time! Recently, I was happy to see it play on Turner Classics and the charm of the film has not diminished! I guess the best part of the film was when the whole cast got in on the song "Ain't Love So Grand"! And there's Charolotte Greenwood doing her dancing specialty at the end of the number. I guess this was the second to last that she ever danced in a film with "Oklahoma" being the last in which she played Aunt Eller. Originally, she was the first pick for playing Aunt Eller in Oklahoma on Braodway, but other commitments stopped her from doing it, so Rogers and Hammerstien were thrilled when they finally signed her up for the movie version. Greenwood was known for her eccentric dancing in which she had been a hit in an old move called "The Pip From Pittsburg". It's sad to see many of our characters in the business gone, but it's wonderful that we still have their performances on film to enjoy forever.

It's true that Esther married Fernando in real life, but from what I remember, Lana Tuner was married to Lex Barker, and Arlene Dahl was married to Fernando Lamas, and they were a happy foursome so much that Turner divorced Barker, Dahl divorced Fernando, and then Dahly married Lex Barker and Lana Turner married Fernando Lamas, but before the divorces Arlene Dahl gave birth to Lorenzo Lamas who would go on to a somewhat fame in movies and T.V. but not with the stature and popularity of his father. Then much later, after filming Dangerous When Wet Fernando started dating Esther and Esthers film career was beginning to go downhill, and she was pretty well tired of making movies and when Fernando asked her to marry him, he asked her, "Can you stop being Esther Willimas?" and she gladly said, "Yes!" and she kept her word to the day Fernando died and didn't have anything to do with a career in show-business! Much later, Lorenzo was on, I believe, The Johnny Carson Show, and Carson asked him what is was like having Esther as a mother, and he proudly answered, "How many kids can claim they were taught to swim by Esther Williams?"
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Jane Powels Swan Song
22 June 2006
This was the end of Jane Powells career in the movies. It's not a very good movie to end a brilliant career with, but it's entertaining, and the history of the cast should be mentioned: First we have Jane Powell who started out in movies as a child performer and made it to big time which is something that most child actors and actress' couldn't do. Very few made it such as Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds both born of April Fools Day, Natalie Wood, just to mention a few. Cliff Robertson was a known actor but never really made it to star-status. Keith Andes was a fine singer and had played the lead role in Kiss Me Kate on Broadway, but never really made it in Hollywood as an actor or the excellent singer that he was. Kaye Ballard was known for her cukoo comedy talents and had appeared as one of the Wicked-Step Sisters in the original Juile Andrews version of Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella on T.V., and played in the Mothers-In-Law on T.V. with the other Mother in Law Eve Arden. Una Merkel made herself into a star by playing secondary roles such as Kitty Kelly in The Merry Widow with Land Tuner and the housekeeper in Rich, Young, and Rretty, again, with Jane Powell. Kelly Brown appeared in the movie Oklahoma and Seven Brides for Seven Browthers as one of town-folks line-dancer, but if you were a dancer you knew who he was, and Tommy Noonan made himself into a star by playing secondary roles such as Marily Monores dim-witted husband to be in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but his best role was as the gum-chewing Pianist in A Star is Born with Judy Garland. In fact, Noonan showed that he was a fine actor by stealing the last scene from Judy Garland in A Star Is Born when he tells her how pitiful she's behaving since Norman Maine had committed suicide, but there is one person in the line-dancers that's had a history that no one knows about.

Here's in Cincinnati, Ohio, we have had our share of famous actors and actress' such as Doris Day, Tyrone Power, George Chikarus, Vera Ellen, and a very famous criminal with the initials of C.M. that we don't like to talk about. Harvey Evens is from our area. He had been studying dancing with Harris Rosedale, I know this to be a fact because I was there too, but his name was Harvey Honnacker. I guess he changed his last name to Evans because he couldn't get his last name up in lights. Too long. So, I remember one day he came into the studio and said, "I have nothing here" and went to study with Leo and Rita McNeil. Later he went to New York. Then he went to Hollywood where he did chorus work in The Pajama Game, West Side Story under his original name, and The Girl Most Likely. Later he did the T.V. version of Applause playing the gay hair-dresser and friend of Margo Channing played by Lauren Bacall. Since I knew LeRoy Reams who played the role originally, I asked LeRoy if he had recommended Harvey to play his role, and he said no; that he got it on his own. I'm not sure, but I heard through certain channels that Harvey passed away. What a talent he was. I remember seeing him in a dance recital given by the O'Neils when he was there and he sang a jazzed up version of Indian Love Call and did a dance ending up with his jumping up on the side on stage and back down like James Cagney did in Yankee Doodle Dandy. What a talent he was. It's just a shame he, like many others, were never allowed to show the full power of their talent in the entertainment field!
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Astaire Never Wanted To Make This Movie - But
19 June 2006
In Fred Astairs autobiography "Steps In Time" he admits that he had been avoiding making this film for years. He had retired from the movies, but came back to replace Gene Kelly in "Easter Parade" because, so the excuse goes, that he broke his ankle playing touch-football, but the fact was that Kelly just didn't want to do the film, so the broken ankle was just was it was - a ply to get out of making the movie! So, back on the M.G.M. lot, once again, Fred finally came to grips with the fact that he would have to, once and for all, make the film he was dreading to make, and if he had not come out of retirement, he would never have had the attempt making it.

So, what's wrong with Belle of New York? Acutually nothing. It was a fantasy and Astaire didn't feel to good about making a fantasy film. He admits in his autobiography that he believed that the film would play very well today. It was just the wrong timing, and here we go with the films that flop, like a bottle of wine, age with time and finally become the hit they should have in their initial release.

But, there are good songs and dance numbers. Once again, Anita Ellis ghost sings for Vera Ellen in "Naughty Butg Nice". Majorie Main is, well, Marjorie Main, but the dancing in the air over the city is a little much even for Fred Astair and at the end when he and Vera Ellen finally fall in love and dance over the city in the air, Astaire stated that he knew where they stood with this one when he and Vera Ellen are dancing in the air at the end and some woman watching the end said in earshot of Astaire, "Well, how silly can you get!" And Astaire said, "We then knew where we stood with this one!" But, he also said that even if the movie is a flop or not, at least you get paid, and how much did he admit to, "Once again, for making the film, I got a fortune!" It one of the That's Entertainment movies, Debbie Reynolds had us see how much of a perfectionist Astaire was by screening the different versions of "I Wanna Be A Dancin' Man" side by side, and in another That's Entertainment movie, Gene Kelly asked Fred Astaire, "Is it true that you once said that all you wanted to do was be a dancin' man, and Astaire said, "That's not true at all! I never said that!" And immediately, they played the number from "The Belle of New York"! But, Fred was right about one thing, the movie DOES play very well today, and is very entertaining. Once again, it was just too far ahead of its time and needed to age like a good bottle of wine! Guess what? It aged beautifully!
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If I Had A World Of My Own; Everything Would Be Nonsense
18 June 2006
I know I sound like I'm repeating myself all the time, but this movie is another example as to why today's society is not seeing this, and other films, in their glory because they don't work as well on the small television screens as they do the big magnificent movie house screens. To see films like this and The Wizard of Oz on the large movie house screen would make you feel like you're seeing these films for the first time.

When Alice first came out, there were just a few people, like myself, who really liked it, but in it's initial release it flopped at the box office, and it was years before Disney entertained the idea of ever releasing it again, but then something happened. There was a museum, forget which one it was, in New York City, that was having a Disney Film Festival and they asked people to request the Disney films that they would like to see, and an amazing thing happened that the most requested was Alice In Wonderland. So, after the overwhelming response, Disney re-released Alice and it finally gained the popularity that it deserves and it's charm has been charming audiences at home ever since.

But, this is typical of some films. In their initial release the were flops, but years later, like a good bottle of wine, the films age and finally become the hit films that they should be, but I think it goes further than just that. I believe that Disney's version of Alice In Wonderland was just too ahead of its time, and I think that that is what has made it such a hit today. Let's face it, the same thing happened to Fantasia that happened to Alice. Fantasia finally got the popularity that it really deserved when it played for many years in San Francisco, but that was because the pot smokers watched it under the influence and with the stereophonic sound, ran for many years! It may not have been the way Disney would have liked the movie to become famous, but nevertheless - it did!

Disney artists were interviewed and they all claimed that Disney was very unhappy with the way the project was going, but the artists would look at the rushes and everyone ended up trying to out-do everyone else with making the characters out if left field, but through it all, the one who steals the show is the very laid back Cheshire Cat. "Can you stand on your head?" It's admitted that the score for Alice is the best that Disney had in any of his movies, and even though out of release until the Museams Art Festival, the score has always been very popular! True, this is not Disney's best, but - of all his movies, it's the most fun!
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A Tumbleweed Comedy
23 May 2006
Bette Davis, in her autobiography The Lonely Life, didn't have to much good to say about this film. It's true the critics thought that this film was beneath the talents of Davis and Cagney, but time proves otherwise. Some films just seem to age like a bottle of fine wine which makes this movie play better today than it did when it was first released. So, the story goes, our Bette was doing a lot of tear jerker's and I guess Warners thought it was time for her to take a breather and do a light comedy for a change of pace. What's amazing is that here we have two Acadamy Award winners playing hoke and camp with La Davis spending most of her time falling on top of cactus plants and screaming! The musical score by Max Stiener is just fine and dandy and the funniest part in the film is when Davis deiced she's going to run away from Cagney in an automobile that hardly can run after Henry Davenport locks Cagney up in the town jail. So, she and Davenport get in the car. The car starts down the hill with the song In My Merry Oldsmbile being played and Cagney laughing so bad that you have to laugh with him as the car makes all kinds of noise and sputtering when it finally turns over, and I'm surprised that somehow they didn't find a way for our Bette to fall on top of another cactus plant! Even though Davis said that they really didn't like making this movie, it seems to me, when viewing it, that Davis and Cagney, with the rest of the cast were having a lot of fun making it! You could never remake this film and make it work today. I mean, who would you get to play the roles? Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston? But, on second thought, it would be hilarious to see Aniston falling on top of cactus plants!
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Whatever Happned to Scarlett O'Hollis & Blanche Hudson?
1 May 2006
First of all; this movie deserves more than a 10; it's such a wonderful movie with what I jokingly call the All Star Warner Brothers Has-Been Cast! Every time someone appears on the screen, you know who they are from Bette to Grandma Walton, Ellen Corby, in a cameo part at the end of the movie! The only person that's really not cast properly is Olivia DeHavalland who is not really the murderous type even though I will admit did a fine job as Miriam. She even didn't want to play the part after Joan Crawford bowed out because of a supposed illness, and even said, "Oh, what I could have done with that part." And she was right. I remember reading about the problem that they had trying to figure out the actress that could take over for Joan. Viven Leigh said no and gave a catty remark that she could not possible face the face of Bette Davis at 6 in the morning, and, I do agree that Cyd Charisse would have been perfect 'cause she always had a sort of snooty-arrogant thing about her, but for my money, and she was still alive at the time, the perfect person would have been Miriam Hopkins! Now, that would have really set off some fireworks on and off the screen! There are, however, some scenes that were filmed, and I for one, would love to see what they were like, but Bette was very rude to Joan to the point that when they arrived in Baton Rouge, Joan came running into Bette's suite and yelled out that something dreadful had happened, and Bette, snidely asking Joan what it was, Joan said, "They've put me in a room that next to a garbage disposal. Bette did not comment! Propbly giggled to herself of such a happening for her friend Joan! I imagine that a whole movie could be made of Bette and Joans relationship on both films they did together, but if you want to read a great book about their supposed lives and feuds with one another, I highly recommend, "Bette and Joan; The Divine Feud"! It would make a great film someday! But the person who steals the show from everyone is Agnes Moorehead playing Velma Crouthers, Bette Davis' keeper in the mansion! She really goes to town in her characterization, especially when walking through the hall, scratching her behind, ignorantly saying, "Ahm gonna get the keys for the cellar!" Of course, the confrontation between Bette and Olivia at the dinner table is pure campy fun, and to think what the scene would have been like if it was Bette and Joan, but better still, Bette and Miriam Hopkins! That would have been great fun! Someone said you couldn't re-cast this film today, but - you could: Jewel Mayhew; Elizabeth Taylor, Charlotte Hollis; Debbie Reynolds, John Mayhew; Eddie Fisher, if he was alive and you know why, but if not alive, I'd settle for John Mayhew to be played by Colin Farrell; Charlotte Father; Bruce Willis; Velma Crouthers; Madoona, if she was willing, The Reporter; James Spader, The Sheriff; Leonardo DiCaprio, Miriam Dearing; Joline-What's her name that's married to Brad Pitt! Yes, it could be done, and it would be great, but not as good as the original cast! And I still say that Miriam Deering should have been played my Miriam Hopkins! What a fourth of July performance that would be between her and Bette; once again; for Auld Lang Syne! Old Aquaintences, indeed!
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