Sunday, August 31, 2014

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the Internet...the Labor Day Weekend edition!

...Fantastic news broke last week: the great Maureen O'Hara will receive an Honorary Academy Award. Also being honored is legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (THE WIND RISES). The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award goes to Harry Belafonte. The honorary awards will be presented at a dinner on November 8th.

...Calling Jack Webb fans! Toby's new blog, The Hannibal 8, will be hosting a Jack Webb blogathon from October 17th to 19. Visit The Hannibal 8 for details and to sign up! I'm going to be writing on the 1954 DRAGNET feature film, which has a fantastic cast.

...Please visit my latest column at ClassicFlix, on the great Irene Dunne. It includes a biographical sketch and recommendations of a dozen wonderful films starring an actress equally at home in dramas, comedies, or musicals.

...Over at Radio Spirits, Ivan has written a very informative piece on Anne Whitfield, whom I have only known as Susan in one of my favorite movies, WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). She had a very interesting career including playing the daughter of Phil Harris and Alice Faye on their radio show.

...Glenn Erickson reviews the new Twilight Time Blu-ray of Fritz Lang's MAN HUNT (1941) at DVD Savant. Walter Pidgeon, George Sanders, and Joan Bennett star.

...Coming from the Criterion Collection on November 18th: IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934). Love the cover art! My review of the film as seen at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival is here.

...Rick reviews Tyrone Power in THE MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER (1953) at the Classic Film & TV Cafe. Rick recently had the wonderful chance to interview leading lady Piper Laurie.

...Everything I've read about the Warner Archive's new OUT OF THE PAST (1947) Blu-ray is stellar. Here's KC's review at A Classic Movie Blog. Looking forward to reviewing it in the near future!

...Vienna's Classic Hollywood shares info on a book which looks quite interesting: DEATH ON THE CHEAP: THE LOST B MOVIES OF FILM NOIR by Arthur Lyons.

...Coming from the Warner Archive: Randolph Scott and James Garner in SHOOT-OUT AT MEDICINE BEND (1957), which I reviewed in 2011. RATON PASS (1951) with Dennis Morgan and Steve Cochran looks interesting too.

...Kristina has a terrific Dennis O'Keefe photo gallery at Speakeasy.

...Here's Seth Mandel on SPORTS NIGHT and the beauty of baseball at Commentary.

...David Hyde Pierce of FRASIER will play a recurring role in the upcoming sixth season of THE GOOD WIFE.

...Rodgers & Hammerstein's rarely seen 1947 musical ALLEGRO is being revived off Broadway this fall.

...My recent review of THE MAN FROM GALVESTON (1963) has been adapted and posted at MovieFanFare. My thanks to MovieFanFare for sharing my film writing with a wider audience!

...Hello Kitty isn't a cat? Say what? And did you know Hello Kitty has been around now for 40 years? A 40th anniversary Hello Kitty convention is coming to The Geffen Contemporary in the Little Toyko section of Los Angeles from October 30th through November 2nd, 2014. I admit I'm also fond of Chococat.

...It's time for college football! Our daughter is a sophomore sax player in the University of Oregon Marching Band. She's also Assistant Section Leader this year. Here's Oregon's schedule. Next Saturday is the big game against Michigan State. ESPN GameDay will be there filming bright and early, which means the band gets up at dark o'clock!

...Notable Passing: British actor-director-producer Richard Attenborough has died at 90. His acting credits included BRIGHTON ROCK (1947), MORNING DEPARTURE (1950), DUNKIRK (1958), THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963), THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (1965), and JURASSIC PARK (1993), to name but a few. He won Oscars as producer and director of GANDHI (1992). Below is TCM's tribute to Attenborough:

Have a great week!


Blogger Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Laura! It was nice to write about someone from that wonderful era who's still with us for a change.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Blake Lucas said...

I never enjoy interviews with Piper Laurie.

The reason is this--although I admire her as an actress, I have long tired of what I consider her completely wrongheaded view of her years as a contract player at Universal-International. She maintains this was not acting, and that she got to do real acting later after she broke away from that "prison." But the truth is that some of these roles were very rich and sophisticated--especially her troubled heroine in THE MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER, which was arguably the best role of her whole career--while playing convincingly in Arabian Nights type matinee movies requires achieving more suspension of disbelief than "realistic roles" and requires great artistry. For me, and many others, this was the best part of her career.

Yet no one ever calls her on this--when classic film fans like Rick interview her, they just accept this much-told story from her, which appears to be the premise of her autobiography (I haven't read it but have looked through it). In full disclosure, I was in the audience for an interview she had and in Q & A I could have taken the opportunity to dispute her and I didn't do it either. I kind of reproach myself that I didn't, because she is free to have the attitude she does but she should know there is another way to see it, and that some of us treasure those movies.

Ms. Laurie's attitude toward those years is the exact opposite of her friend Julie Adams, whose own contract years were the same. Even allowing that BEND OF THE RIVER was the best movie either ever made, their movies there were about equally good overall and I don't think Piper Laurie would have appreciated that role anymore than any of the others she had at the studio (and in that case the casting was for the best in any event). She could learn something from Julie Adams, who treasures those years and knows what a great opportunity they were for her as an actress.

I don't usually vent negative feelings on these blogs but I think about this whenever she comes up. Her derisive attitude toward that wonderful studio and those wonderful years is unbecoming and makes me really sad. I'm sorry that she doesn't appreciate the real beauty of those movies and what she contributed to them.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

thanks Laura, it's very easy to put together a terrific gallery of Dennis O'Keefe :) I have that Death on the Cheap book, it's nice for the UK and really-B noirs. About time Maureen gets that Oscar, and enjoyed your Irene post!

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention,Laura.
Great to hear Maureen O'Hara is to be Oscar honoured.
Enjoyed your article about Irene Dunne .

12:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm so glad to mention each of you and really appreciate your work! And thanks so much for the very nice feedback on my Irene Dunne piece.

Blake, thanks much for your note. I haven't yet read Piper Laurie's book but understand she's a fine writer, so I wonder if her writing is so persuasive, or her personality in personal interviews so engaging, that no one stops to think "Hey, wait a minute!" But I would really like her to know how much I appreciate her work in films like THE MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER or DAWN AT SOCORRO, which both gave me so much pleasure, and they will definitely be enjoyed again in the future. You make a great case for how good she was in her Universal films, including the adventure fantasies, and how much they mean. I hope she knows how much many of us treasure her work of that era.

Best wishes,

12:32 AM  

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