Monday, July 25, 2016

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...We begin this week's roundup with sad news, the passing of the great singer Marni Nixon. Nixon's famed movie dubbing work included Deborah Kerr in THE KING AND I (1956), Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY (1961), and Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY (1964). She also sang on the soundtracks of Disney's CINDERELLA (1950), ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951), MARY POPPINS (1964), and MULAN (1998), and she was Sister Sophia in THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965). I was fortunate to see Nixon on stage in a nonsinging role as Henry Higgins' mother in MY FAIR LADY in 2008 (reviewed here); sadly, both Nixon and Christopher Cazenove, who played Higgins, have since passed on. Nixon's autobiography was I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT. She was 86.

...Another great singer, Barbara Cook, has just published a memoir, THEN AND NOW, cowritten with Tom Santopietro.

...New on DVD in the Universal Vault Series: IRON MAN (1951) with Jeff Chandler, Evelyn Keyes, Stephen McNally, and Rock Hudson. That goes on the "must have" list! Thanks to reader Ashley for the tip.

...At OUT OF THE PAST Raquel has reviewed the book INTO THE DARK: THE HIDDEN WORLD OF FILM NOIR 1941-1950 by Mark Vieira. I anticipate reviewing this myself in the fairly near future.

...At Java's Journey there's a fascinating review of the book SEARCHING FOR MY FATHER, TYRONE POWER by Romina Power.

...John McElwee recently ran a wonderful post on Harold Lloyd's GIRL-SHY (1924) at Greenbriar Picture Shows. He captures many of the reasons this sunny film is such a joy to watch.

...Jessica wrote a fun review of the TV-movie GIDGET GETS MARRIED (1972) at Comet Over Hollywood. Monie Ellis, the daughter of actress Mona Freeman, played the title role, with a great supporting cast including Macdonald Carey, Don Ameche, and Joan Bennett.

...Colin's latest post at Riding the High Country is a review of Rory Calhoun in APACHE TERRITORY (1958), reviewed at this site in 2013.

...Coming to the Warner Archive in August: Fitzpatrick Traveltalks Vol. 2! My review of Vol. 1 is here.

...For those who love classic kidlit, there's a new biography of the great writer-illustrator Lois Lenski, LOIS LENSKI: STORY CATCHER, by Bobbie Malone. There's more info at Publishers Weekly. My Lenski favorites include BLUEBERRY CORNERS, STRAWBERRY GIRL, PRAIRIE SCHOOL, and I LIKE WINTER, plus I love her wonderful illustrations for Maud Hart Lovelance's BETSY-TACY series.

...Notable Passings: Los Angeles sportswriter Melvin Durslag recently died at the age of 95. I have fond memories of reading him in the L.A. Herald Examiner as a young Dodger fan..."West Coast Jazz" pianist Claude Williamson has passed away at 89...Robert Mason Pollock, the DYNASTY scriptwriter who created THE COLBYS, has passed on at 99.

Have a great week!


Blogger KC said...

I love Marni Nixon's memoir. I think her death hit me harder because I remembered how much I liked her after reading the book.There is also the fact that she hosted a Seattle-based children's show for a few years in the 80s! Us local kids were definitely humming the theme song this morning. Great lady.

7:51 PM  
Blogger DKoren said...

Awwww, that is such sad news about Marni Nixon. Love her singing. I would love to read her memoir sometime!

6:16 AM  
Blogger John G. said...

Laura, thanks for the mention of Claude Williamson's passing and link to the obit. I have a few of his CDs and they're really good. I would say that it's odd I had to hear of his death on a movie blog instead of one of the music forums I frequent, but maybe not so strange since
many jazz fans don't consider "West Coast jazz" to be as real as that played by Miles, Coltrane, and others.

Not me, though. Some of my favorite jazz albums were recorded in a tiny Contemporary Records stockroom in Los Angeles (the sound quality they achieved in that little room is amazing). I wonder what's at that location nowadays...probably a Starbucks. Anyway, I shall spin a CD by Mr. Williamson tonight.

Thanks again for the link,


8:34 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

KC, I enjoyed the book too! That is so wonderful about her Seattle show, you have a special memory!

Deb, it's a good book. I'm glad to see how many people appreciate Marni Nixon. I couldn't begin to count the number of times I played LPs on which she sang over all these years, dating to earliest childhood.

John, thanks so much for your note. You can thank my having grown up with a dad with a huge jazz collection -- he says to tell you he was buying those Contemporary Records right off the presses, so to speak, "back in the day." Since I occasionally share "miscellaneous musings" along with movie news, I wanted to share the obituary for jazz fans like yourself who might stumble across the info and find it of interest. Very glad I did. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Claude Williamson!

Best wishes,

2:07 PM  
Blogger John G. said...


If your dad doesn't have it and you're ever looking for a little gift for him, there's a really nice 4-CD hardcover book-style boxset titled "The Contemporary Records Story." The discs feature songs spanning the '50s through the '70s from the artists who recorded for the label.

The "book" measures 6 inches horizontally & 10 vertically with an inch-wide spine, and along with the discs there's a nice booklet with a lengthy essay and many pictures of the musicians at the recording sessions. So, a lot of value in a small package.

Amazon has one copy left at $35, but there's more on the Marketplace. Here's the link:

Have a good evening!

3:02 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Thank you for your thoughts on West Coast Jazz, John G.

Not being in the USA, it was a rare treat for us in South Africa to hear American jazz musicians perform in concert.

In 1958, a touring group calling itself "Jazz West Coast" came to Durban, and we local jazz fans were thrilled to hear its members, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, the recently deceased Claude Williamson, Don Prell and Chuck Flores with singer June Christy in person.

It was an occasion that none of us who are still around will ever forget.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, John! My dad says it's a great set and he has most of what's in it. Hope anyone interested who doesn't have it will take advantage of your suggestion.

Mel, what wonderful memories! My dad enjoyed hearing about that as well. Fantastic to think of you enjoying them live so far from here.

Best wishes,

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the new noir book which I must get.
Sad news indeed about Marni Nixon. She had such a beautiful voice. Would love to have seen her play Eliza in a 1964 production of My Fair Lady.

12:09 AM  
Blogger John G. said...

Speaking of West Coast jazz, is anyone else familiar with the 1960 movie, "The Subterraneans"? It's loosely based on Kerouac's book, and with its 5.2 IMDB rating not exactly Academy Award caliber (haha).

I was interested in the movie for two reasons that had nothing to do with how good it was or how closely or not it followed the book: Leslie Caron starred, and I don't think she ever looked better than she did here and in her other movies from the early '60s. And Andre Previn composed the score, and played with his trio at a club in the movie. Other famous jazzers performed, and Gerry Mulligan is cast as a reverend!

To my knowledge, the film hasn't had a legit DVD release. I got my copy from The Video Beat, which focuses on otherwise unavailable music-related movies from the '50s and '60s. Worth tracking down for jazz fans, and it's a bonus if you're a Leslie Caron fan like me.

5:57 PM  
Blogger mel said...

John G., being both a jazz fan and an enormous Leslie Caron fan like you, I have a copy of the movie but it's one of those that I haven't watched yet...

Thanks for mentioning it - I reckon I'd better pull it out and watch it. Normally I'd have watched a Leslie Caron movie on the turn, but in this case the source of the material kinda put me off.

1:07 AM  
Blogger john k said...

Hi Laura,

I've been playing "catch up" and a friend phoned me the other night to
say that you have reviewed a Buck Jones film neither us have seen
(BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY) so that's another film to add to the "must track down"
I did not read your review of COUNT THE HOURS because it was in my "to be watched"
stack.I know you don't do spoilers but I wanted to approach the film totally
fresh as I've never seen it.Anyway I watched the film last night and really
enjoyed it. I thought Adele Mara was,as you quiet rightly state,sensational in the
film.I wish more of her Republic films were more readily available.
Of course COUNT THE HOURS stars one of our fave "square" actors Macdonald Carey.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Vienna, glad to provide the link. Hope to have my own review up very soon!

As another Leslie Caron fan (got to meet her once!) I'm delighted by the twists and turns of the West Coast Jazz discussion! Don't have that one, sounds interesting.

John K, great to catch up! It gave me such a smile to think of someone in the UK phoning someone else there, so far away, to discuss my Buck Jones review. That is just awesome. Will email you about it.

Delighted to get your take on COUNT THE HOURS. Adele Mara really impressed me. Like you I would love to be able to see more of her Republic films!

Have a great weekend, all!

Best wishes,

4:20 PM  

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