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The Whales of August

This look at the ‘adjustments’ of old age and the pain of nostalgia is a prime opportunity to admire a pair of legendary actresses. David Barry’s play observes the intersection of several interesting personalities on one glorious late-summer day. Bette Davis and Lillian Gish earn our full attention, backed by memorable turns from Ann Sothern and Vincent Price, directed by Lindsay Anderson.

The Whales of August

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1987 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 90 min. / 30th Anniversary Edition / Street Date December 19, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Ann Sothern, Vincent Price, Harry Carey Jr., Frank Grimes, Margaret Ladd, Tisha Stering, Mary Steenburgen.

Cinematography: Mike Fash

Film Editor: Nicolas Gaster

Production Design: Jocelyn Herbert

Original Music: Alan Price

Written by David Berry, from his play

Produced by Mike Kaplan, Carolyn Pfeiffer

Directed by Lindsay Anderson

Every once in a while a ‘sunset’ movie comes along, a picture seemingly
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Ruby

A major horror hit from ’77, Ruby surprised all that made it including its director Curtis Harrington, who struggled with an interfering producer for control of the set. Despite everything, star Piper Laurie still shines, and there’s some good atmosphere — for an Exorcist rip-off, it’s not bad.

Ruby

Special Elite Edition Blu-ray + DVD

Vci

1977 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 85 min. / Street Date September 12, 2017 / available at Vci Entertainment / 29.95

Starring: Piper Laurie, Stuart Whitman, Roger Davis, Janit Baldwin, Crystin Sinclair, Sal Vecchio, Len Lesser, Fred Kohler.

Cinematography: William Mendenhall

Film Editor: William P. Magee

Original Music: Don Ellis

Written by George Edwards, Barry Schneider story by Steve Krantz

Produced by George Edwards, Steve Krantz

Directed by Curtis Harrington

Curtis Harrington had as rough a directing career as anyone, but not without an artistic triumph or two. Fascinated by fantasy and horror, he was filming avant-garde short subjects while still a teenager. He also
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

TCM's Pride Month Series Continues with Movies Somehow Connected to Lgbt Talent

Turner Classic Movies continues with its Gay Hollywood presentations tonight and tomorrow morning, June 8–9. Seven movies will be shown about, featuring, directed, or produced by the following: Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Edmund Goulding, W. Somerset Maughan, Clifton Webb, Montgomery Clift, Raymond Burr, Charles Walters, DeWitt Bodeen, and Harriet Parsons. (One assumes that it's a mere coincidence that gay rumor subjects Cary Grant and Tyrone Power are also featured.) Night and Day (1946), which could also be considered part of TCM's homage to birthday girl Alexis Smith, who would have turned 96 today, is a Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant as a posh, heterosexualized version of Porter. As the warning goes, any similaries to real-life people and/or events found in Night and Day are a mere coincidence. The same goes for Words and Music (1948), a highly fictionalized version of the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical partnership.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Crazy Mama June 10th at Webster University ‘A Tribute to Jonathan Demme’

Crazy Mama screens Saturday, June 10th at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood). This is the second film in their ‘Tribute to Jonathan Demme’ The movie starts at 8:00pm.

A band of beauty shop desperadoes cartoonishly plunder their way from California to Arkansas to reclaim the old family farm in the 1975 hillbilly masterpiece Crazy Mama directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by Roger Corman, who made a whole series of these backwoods desperadoes flicks in the ’70s.

Cloris Leachman stars as Melba Stokes, who runs a beauty parlor in Long Beach, California with her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) and her daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl). When the shop is repossessed by banker Jim Backus (aka Thurston Howell III in a great little cameo) Melba and the ladies head back to Arkansas and the family farm which was stolen away from them when shea was a girl. Along for the ride is Cheryl’s boyfriend,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Guest Post: When a Woman Called the Shots at the Screen Writers Guild

Mary C. McCall Jr. with Maisie doll: Dwight Franklin

Guest Post by J.E. Smyth

Current debates in the media about women’s employment, representation, and visibility in Hollywood focus — perhaps predictably — on stars’ pay and the number of active female directors. Yet there’s also a sense that, however unequal the situation is now, things must have been far worse for women working in the film industry sixty, seventy, or eighty years ago under the studio system — and that women should be grateful for some small improvements.

How very far from the truth this is.

In 1942, the year Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn earned higher salaries than President Roosevelt, the Screen Writers Guild elected a new president — Mary C. McCall Jr. She would be elected three times (1942–43, 1943–44, 1951–52), and for two decades was one of the most articulate and powerful advocates for screenwriters and their union. Before McCall came on the scene and helped broker the first contract with the producers, it was well known up and down Hollywood that the average writer made less per week than a secretary.

McCall worked to get the screenwriting profession its first minimum wage, unemployment compensation, minimum flat-price deals, maximum working hours, credit arbitration, and pay raises during WWII.

She specialized in films about women and was proud of it. She was less happy working at Warner Bros. In 1936, on loan out to Columbia, she was on the set every day working with director Dorothy Arzner, star Rosalind Russell, and editor Viola Lawrence on “Craig’s Wife.” It was Arzner who persuaded her to fight the misogynist atmosphere at Warner Bros. and commit to a serious career as a writer.

Two years later, she moved to MGM and crafted the sleeper hit of the year, “Maisie.” Ann Sothern’s never-say-die working woman became a cultural phenomenon and was one of the industry’s most successful franchises. During the war, McCall headed the Hollywood branch of the War Activities Committee, the Committee of Hollywood Guild and Unions, and the Screen Writers Guild.

But, being Hollywood’s top organization woman was only one part of her life. At the height of her career, she had and raised four children with two different husbands. She famously gave birth to twins 24 hours after her last story conference on 1935’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She was a firm believer in the Equal Rights Amendment, and a lifelong Roosevelt Democrat. Hollywood producers destroyed her career when she stood up against Howard Hughes and Rko pictures when they denied Communist writer Paul Jarrico credit on “The Las Vegas Story” during the blacklist.

You won’t find any of this in academic or popular histories of Hollywood. These days, she’s all but forgotten, while Dalton Trumbo and the other male Hollywood Ten are remembered and even get biopic makeovers.

Things are changing.

On March 16, the Writers Guild Foundation will be honoring McCall’s life and legacy with a 35mm screening of “Craig’s Wife” — which is still not available to the public on DVD — and “Reward Unlimited,” a 10-minute documentary short she wrote about women’s war work which hasn’t been screened since 1944. After the screenings, McCall’s daughters, television writer Mary-David Sheiner and former Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson, will sit down with me to discuss McCall’s career. The reception and event, held at the WGA theatre in Beverly Hills, are free.

When McCall came to Hollywood in the 1930s, women’s membership in the Screen Writers Guild hovered between 20 and 25 percent and was nearer a third during the war. But membership plunged for women in the 1960s down to the teens and shrunk further in the ’80s and ’90s. Since the millennium, numbers have slowly increased. Now, 24.9 percent of women are film guild members, but far fewer women writers are being hired for major productions now than the norm seventy or eighty years ago.

Why should we remember Mary C. McCall Jr.? Because she believed in women’s careers; because she believed in the importance of a union; because negotiation, compromise, and political moderation made her and her profession powerful. She is a role model to be reckoned with. And she proved two other things: that Hollywood’s women could call the shots in their careers and that seventy-five years ago, a woman could be president…

J. E. Smyth is Professor of History at the University of Warwick (UK) and the author of several books on American cinema, including “Edna Ferber’s Hollywood” and the BFI Classics volume on “From Here to Eternity.” Her book on Hollywood’s many high-powered career women — starring Mary McCall — will be published later this year by Oxford University Press.

Guest Post: When a Woman Called the Shots at the Screen Writers Guild was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Norman Brokaw, Innovative, Powerful Agent at William Morris, Dies at 89

Norman Brokaw, Innovative, Powerful Agent at William Morris, Dies at 89
William Morris agent Norman Brokaw, who rose from the mailroom of the fabled agency to chairman-ceo in a career that spanned seven decades, has died. He was 89.

Brokaw packaged talent for radio, paving the way for similar, highly lucrative agency efforts in television and, indeed, helped start Wma’s television division, luring major film stars to TV. His contract negotiations for actress Kim Novak led to increased profit participation deals for talent, and he guided the career of Bill Cosby. Brokaw was also a pioneer in signing sports stars to talent deals.

In 1943, the 15-year-old Brokaw was employed delivering mail for Morris at $25 a week, and he became the first employee to use this route to becoming an agent, paving the way for countless other agents and executives including Michael Ovitz, Barry Diller, Sue Mengers and David Geffen. He was the nephew of Morris agent Johnny Hyde and rose by getting to know the inner workings of
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Mike Barnett, Co-Founder of The Lettermen, Dies at 89

Mike Barnett, Co-Founder of The Lettermen, Dies at 89
Mike Barnett, a founder of hit vocal group The Lettermen, died Friday at his home in Camarillo, Calif., after suffering from heart problems. He was 89.

Born Roy Barnett in Oakland, Calif., he began singing and dancing in Las Vegas shortly after World War II. He was cast in the chorus as well as specialty spots in many shows in hotel casinos and backed female headliners like Ann Sothern. He used the name Mike Barnett professionally.

His wife Elaine came up with the name The Lettermen for a vocal trio in 1957; the group worked for 13 weeks in comedy writer Sid Kuller’s Jewish spoof of the Broadway smash hit “My Fair Lady” and called it “My Fairfax Lady” at Billy Gray’s Bandbox. They later worked in a second Kuller parody of the movie “Baby Doll,” in the same theater.

By August of 1957, after the last revue closed, Barnett set out
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Nyfcc Awards Have Boosted Academy Award Chances for 'Carol,' Stewart and 'Saul'

New York Film Critics Awards: Best Film winner 'Carol' with Cate Blanchett. 2015 New York Film Critics Awards have enlivened Oscar race Catching up with previously announced awards season winners that will likely influence the 2016 Oscar nominations. Early this month, the New York Film Critics Circle announced their Best of 2015 picks, somewhat unexpectedly boosting the chances of Todd Haynes' lesbian romantic drama Carol, Clouds of Sils Maria actress Kristen Stewart, and László Nemes' Holocaust drama Son of Saul. Below is a brief commentary about each of these Nyfcc choices. 'Carol' Directed by Todd Haynes, starring two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine) and Oscar nominee Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and adapted by Phyllis Nagy from Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt,[1] Carol won a total of four New York Film Critics awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Actress Marsha Hunt To Appear At "Pride And Prejudice" 75Th Anniversary Screening, L.A., December 8

  • CinemaRetro
By Todd Garbarini

Robert Z. Leonard’s 1940 film Pride and Predjudice, which stars Lawrence Olivier, Edmund Gwenn, Marsha Hunt, Greer Garson, and Maureen O’Sullivan, will be screened at the The Royale Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles. Based upon the novel by Jane Austen, the 118-minute film will be screened on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Actress Marsha Hunt, who played Mary Bennet in the film, is scheduled to appear in-person to discuss the film and answer audience questions.

From the press release:

This lush, Oscar-winning film from the heyday of MGM is the most entertaining of the many screen adaptations of Jane Austen’s best-loved novel. Laurence Olivier plays Mr. Darcy, Greer Garson is Elizabeth Bennet, and they give definitive performances as the archetypal battling lovers who set the model for almost every rom-com of the future. The supporting cast includes Edmund Gwenn, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Remembering Kubrick Actress Gray Pt.2: From The Killing to Leech Woman and Off-Screen School Prayer Amendment Fighter

Coleen Gray in 'The Sleeping City' with Richard Conte. Coleen Gray after Fox: B Westerns and films noirs (See previous post: “Coleen Gray Actress: From Red River to Film Noir 'Good Girls'.”) Regarding the demise of her Fox career (the year after her divorce from Rod Amateau), Coleen Gray would recall for Confessions of a Scream Queen author Matt Beckoff: I thought that was the end of the world and that I was a total failure. I was a mass of insecurity and depended on agents. … Whether it was an 'A' picture or a 'B' picture didn't bother me. It could be a Western movie, a sci-fi film. A job was a job. You did the best with the script that you had. Fox had dropped Gray at a time of dramatic upheavals in the American film industry: fast-dwindling box office receipts as a result of competition from television,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Actress Gray: Underappreciated Film Noir Heroine

Coleen Gray actress ca. 1950. Coleen Gray: Actress in early Stanley Kubrick film noir, destroyer of men in cult horror 'classic' Actress Coleen Gray, best known as the leading lady in Stanley Kubrick's film noir The Killing and – as far as B horror movie aficionados are concerned – for playing the title role in The Leech Woman, died at age 92 in Aug. 2015. This two-part article, which focuses on Gray's film career, is a revised and expanded version of the original post published at the time of her death. Born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Nebraska, at a young age she moved with her parents, strict Lutheran Danish farmers, to Minnesota. After getting a degree from St. Paul's Hamline University, she relocated to Southern California to be with her then fiancé, an army private. At first, she eked out a living as a waitress at a La Jolla hotel
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Actress Gray: Underappreciated Film Noir Heroine

Coleen Gray actress ca. 1950. Coleen Gray: Actress in early Stanley Kubrick film noir, destroyer of men in cult horror 'classic' Actress Coleen Gray, best known as the leading lady in Stanley Kubrick's film noir The Killing and – as far as B horror movie aficionados are concerned – for playing the title role in The Leech Woman, died at age 92 in Aug. 2015. This two-part article, which focuses on Gray's film career, is a revised and expanded version of the original post published at the time of her death. Born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Nebraska, at a young age she moved with her parents, strict Lutheran Danish farmers, to Minnesota. After getting a degree from St. Paul's Hamline University, she relocated to Southern California to be with her then fiancé, an army private. At first, she eked out a living as a waitress at a La Jolla hotel
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Cancelled: "Crazy Mama" 40th Anniversary Screening, L.A., September 24

  • CinemaRetro
Notice: The Royal Laemmle Theatre In L.A Has Announced That This Screening Has Been Cancelled! Click Here

Jonathan Demme’s 1975 film Crazy Mama, which stars Cloris Leachman, Stuart Whitman, Ann Southern, and Jim Backus, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The Royale Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles will be holding a special one-night-only showing of the 83-minute film on Thursday, September 24th, 2015 at 7:30 pm.

Actress Cloris Leachman is scheduled to appear at the screening and is due to partake in a post-screening Q & A for a discussion on the making of the film.

From the press release:

Crazy Mama was one of the early movies directed by Oscar winner Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Melvin and Howard, Married to the Mob, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married). Produced by Roger and Julie Corman, the film follows three generations of women (played by Cloris Leachman, Ann Sothern as her mother,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Early Black Film Actor Has His Day

Rex Ingram in 'The Thief of Bagdad' 1940 with tiny Sabu. Actor Rex Ingram movies on TCM: Early black film performer in 'Cabin in the Sky,' 'Anna Lucasta' It's somewhat unusual for two well-known film celebrities, whether past or present, to share the same name.* One such rarity is – or rather, are – the two movie people known as Rex Ingram;† one an Irish-born white director, the other an Illinois-born black actor. Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” continues today, Aug. 11, '15, with a day dedicated to the latter. Right now, TCM is showing Cabin in the Sky (1943), an all-black musical adaptation of the Faust tale that is notable as the first full-fledged feature film directed by another Illinois-born movie person, Vincente Minnelli. Also worth mentioning, the movie marked Lena Horne's first important appearance in a mainstream motion picture.§ A financial disappointment on the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Scott Reviews Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s A Letter to Three Wives [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Review]

Like so many great American films of the era, A Letter to Three Wives has a touch of trash at its core. Writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz crafts well-rounded characters, thoughtful explorations of class via small-town postwar America, and snappy dialogue to spare. But this is still a story that really kicks off when three women receive a letter from another claiming to have run off with one of their husbands, timed to a daylong excursion where she knows they can’t do a damned thing about it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all.

The bulk of the movie takes place in flashback, as each woman reflects on the more tumultuous moments in their relationships, and why each husband would be motivated to abandon ship for the highly-desirable Addie Ross. Addie seems to have gotten around often enough to have gotten around to those same husbands in some capacity.
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Top Father's Day Films Ever Made? Here Are Five Dads - Ranging from the Intellectual to the Pathological

'Father of the Bride': Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams. Top Five Father's Day Movies? From giant Gregory Peck to tyrant John Gielgud What would be the Top Five Father's Day movies ever made? Well, there have been countless films about fathers and/or featuring fathers of various sizes, shapes, and inclinations. In terms of quality, these range from the amusing – e.g., the 1950 version of Cheaper by the Dozen; the Oscar-nominated The Grandfather – to the nauseating – e.g., the 1950 version of Father of the Bride; its atrocious sequel, Father's Little Dividend. Although I'm unable to come up with the absolute Top Five Father's Day Movies – or rather, just plain Father Movies – ever made, below are the first five (actually six, including a remake) "quality" patriarch-centered films that come to mind. Now, the fathers portrayed in these films aren't all heroic, loving, and/or saintly paternal figures. Several are
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Watch: Lily Tomlin Salutes Her Comedic Influences at 'Grandma' Tribeca Talk

Watch: Lily Tomlin Salutes Her Comedic Influences at 'Grandma' Tribeca Talk
Read More: Lily Tomlin's 'Grandma' to Open La Film Fest; Tomlin and Gale Anne Hurd to Receive Laff Honors Between her acclaimed performance in Paul Weitz's "Grandma" and the highly anticipated Netflix series "Grace and Frankie," comedy legend Lily Tomlin is set to have quite the on-screen resurgence this year. During one of Indiewire and Apple's Tribeca Talks at the Apple Store in Soho, Manhattan, the outspoken actress gave a warm reflection on some of her earliest comedic influences, including Gene Carroll and Ann Sothern. Marking Tomlin's first leading role in 27 years, "Grandma" chronicles the road trip between Ellie (Tomlin), a lesbian poet whose long term life partner has died recently, and Sage (Julia Garner), her 18-year-old granddaughter. The two form a special bond along their travels as they come to terms with their individual troubles. Before screening at Tribeca, the comedy-drama premiered at the...
See full article at Indiewire »

Remembering Actress Simon Part 2 - Deadly Sex Kitten Romanced Real-Life James Bond 'Inspiration'

Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine' 1938: Jean Renoir's film noir (photo: Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine') (See previous post: "'Cat People' 1942 Actress Simone Simon Remembered.") In the late 1930s, with her Hollywood career stalled while facing competition at 20th Century-Fox from another French import, Annabella (later Tyrone Power's wife), Simone Simon returned to France. Once there, she reestablished herself as an actress to be reckoned with in Jean Renoir's La Bête Humaine. An updated version of Émile Zola's 1890 novel, La Bête Humaine is enveloped in a dark, brooding atmosphere not uncommon in pre-World War II French films. Known for their "poetic realism," examples from that era include Renoir's own The Lower Depths (1936), Julien Duvivier's La Belle Équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937), and particularly Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939).[11] This thematic and
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

First Best Actress and Best Actor Academy Award Winners Tonight

First Best Actor Oscar winner Emil Jannings and first Best Actress Oscar winner Janet Gaynor on TCM (photo: Emil Jannings in 'The Last Command') First Best Actor Academy Award winner Emil Jannings in The Last Command, first Best Actress Academy Award winner Janet Gaynor in Sunrise, and sisters Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge are a few of the silent era performers featured this evening on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its Silent Monday presentations. Starting at 5 p.m. Pt / 8 p.m. Et on November 17, 2014, get ready to check out several of the biggest movie stars of the 1920s. Following the Jean Negulesco-directed 1943 musical short Hit Parade of the Gay Nineties -- believe me, even the most rabid anti-gay bigot will be able to enjoy this one -- TCM will be showing Josef von Sternberg's The Last Command (1928) one of the two movies that earned
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Gardner, Crawford Among Academy's Career Achievement Award Non-Winners

Honorary Award: Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth among dozens of women bypassed by the Academy (photo: Honorary Award non-winner Gloria Swanson in 'Sunset Blvd.') (See previous post: "Honorary Oscars: Doris Day, Danielle Darrieux Snubbed.") Part three of this four-part article about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Honorary Award bypassing women basically consists of a long, long — and for the most part quite prestigious — list of deceased women who, some way or other, left their mark on the film world. Some of the names found below are still well known; others were huge in their day, but are now all but forgotten. Yet, just because most people (and the media) suffer from long-term — and even medium-term — memory loss, that doesn't mean these women were any less deserving of an Honorary Oscar. So, among the distinguished female film professionals in Hollywood and elsewhere who have passed away without
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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