Monday, April 30

James Mason

The man we loved to hate.  He had a voice so recognizable that most people would have named him if they simply heard it without seeing him.  His demeanor was often patronizing and smacked of one that was insincere and sinister and could be equally authoritative and commanding.  As a child watching his movies, I remember being scared just listening to him.

Friday, April 27

Maurice: Favorite Movie #41

1987 Period Drama
From Cinecom Pictures and Four Star International
Directed by James Ivory

James Wilby
Hugh Grant
Rupert Graves
Phoebe Nicholls
Denholm Elliott
Billie Whitelaw
Judy Parfitt
Simon Callow
Ben Kingsley

Wednesday, April 25

Jean Simmons

I've been in a British mood for a few posts and we shall continue a bit longer with one of the world-class in that crowd... Jean Simmons.  I have loved her from the second film I ever saw her in and it has never changed.  I thought nearly all of her films were great but for the handful that may not warrant that compliment, she was always fabulous. 

Monday, April 23

Dame Julie

Few of the top actresses have had the soaring highs and the devastating lows in their careers as has Julie Andrews.  She started off by winning an Oscar for her first film.  Her third film knocked Gone with the Wind off its 26-year perch as the most financially successful film in U.S. history.  Her movie career, for all intents and purposes, is an American one.  Her most famous stage work began in America, too.  The American people have embraced her more than her own Brits.

Friday, April 20

A Room with a View: Favorite Movie #42

1985 Drama
From Goldcrest Films International
Directed by James Ivory

Maggie Smith
Helena Bonham Carter
Julian Sands
Denholm Elliott
Judi Dench
Simon Callow
Daniel Day-Lewis
Rupert Graves
Rosemary Leach

Wednesday, April 18

Dame Judi

I first heard of her in 1985 when she made A Room with a View.  She had already done a lot of work, particularly in her native Britain, but I wasn't into English films very much at the time.  She helped change that as did A Room With a View.  In it she had a minor part as a novelist.  She would come to work in many ensemble casts with as much excellence as she provided in some of her above-the-title roles.  Imagine, she was in her early 50s when most Americans became aware of her.  How rare is that?  I have been a huge fan ever since.

Monday, April 16

The Goddess

In her final film, High Society, Grace Kelly, as heiress Tracy Lord, is having verbal fisticuffs with her father played by Sidney Blackmer.  They have been sparring and he is outlining to her the kind of daughter he would like her to be, one by one reeling off traits that she could have that would make her acceptable to him.

"None of which, I have," she purrs.  "I'm just a cold goddess."

"If your vanity thinks in terms of goddesses," he sternly responds.  "You have a good mind, Tracy, you have a pretty face, a fine, disciplined body that does what you tell it.  You have everything it takes to make a lovely woman except the one essential... an understanding heart.

Friday, April 13

The Big Chill: Favorite Movie #43

1983 Comedy Drama
From Columbia Pictures
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan

Tom Berenger
Glenn Close
Jeff Goldblum
WIlliam Hurt
Kevin Kline
Mary Kay Place
Meg Tilly
JoBeth Williams
Don Galloway

Wednesday, April 11

Tarnished Golden Boy

November of 1981 was a bad month for me and my romance with everything that is movies.  In the middle of the month 63-year old William Holden, one of my favorite actors, died.  He seemed way too young and vital to have died, but it was the way he died that got everyone's attention.  At a gathering hosted by his former girlfriend, Stefanie Powers, Natalie Wood, another great favorite of mine, attended.  No one then knew that before month's end, she also would be dead and how she died would also be a cause for much attention and speculation.  It was a depressing month.

Monday, April 9

More Character Actors

The title says it all.  We are continuing our series (is that what it is?) on character actors.  We want to bring as many into the light as we can.  You will recognize their faces but may not know their names.  Oh yes, he is... um... um... I know that face.  He was in that one movie... um... oh, what was it called?  Well, we're gonna clear up some of that for you.  About the only things these three gentlemen have in common is that they all have double L's in their last names, none of them ever had a starring role to my knowledge, they have all sadly passed away and they were actors of such distinction that I find them irreplaceable.

Friday, April 6

This Property Is Condemned: Favorite Movie #44

1966 Drama
From Paramount
Directed by Sydney Pollack

Natalie Wood
Robert Redford
Charles Bronson
Kate Reid
Mary Badham
Alan Baxter

Wednesday, April 4

Laurence Harvey

He was a bastard

Oh, his parents were married alright.  I just used a vivid 7-letter word to say he was not a very nice man... and to get your attention.

Like his roles in Room at the Top and its sequel Life at the Top, Laurence Harvey ruthlessly climbed his way to the top.  He married older women for what they could do for him.  He slept with men for the same reason... anything to advance his career.  He was disliked by or had run-ins with many of his co-stars. 

Monday, April 2

REVIEW: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Directed by Lasse Hallström
1 hour 47 minutes
From CBS Films, BBC Films

Ewan McGregor
Emily Blunt
Kristin Scott Thomas
Amr Waked
Tom Mison
Rachael Stirling