About Christy's Inkwells

I love to write about topics that interest me like music, classic film, history, music, education, film reviews, spirituality, and travel. I'm an English professor, pianist, and Mom, and all my goddaughters call me their "Auntie Mame!"

Roundtable Discussion with Writer, Critic, and Historian Leonard Maltin

The Leonard Maltin Roundtable Discussion included journalists Bob Brauer from ABC Radio, Debra Levine from Artsmeme, Kami Spangenburg from Classic Couple, Carla Renata from The Curvy Film Critic, Manny Pacheco from Forgotten Hollywood, Jan Price from “The Jan Price Show” on iHeart Media, and Christy Putnam from Christy’s Inkwells.

Media writers gathered April 23rd in The Writer’s Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt to visit with film critic, writer, and historian Leonard Maltin before the evening of his Robert Osborne Award. Turner Classic Movies proudly pays tribute to its late host, Robert Osborne, with this award presented annually at the TCM Classic Film Festival to an individual whose work has helped preserve the cultural heritage of classic film for future generations. Leonard Maltin is definitely one of those individuals who has helped discuss, revere and preserve the cultural heritage of classic film.

Leonard Maltin sits at the head of the table as he takes questions from journalists…

TCM’s publicity release about Maltin reveals his singular devotion and experitise to classic film:

Widely respected among his peers and revered in popular culture for his career as a film critic and historian, Leonard Maltin served as the movie reviewer for Entertainment Tonight for thirty years and is perhaps best known for his indispensable book, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, and its companion volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide. First published in 1969 as TV Movies and updated multiple times under various titles, this comprehensive collection of thousands of capsule movie reviews has been a go-to source for cast listings, plot summaries, and Maltin’s own trustworthy star ratings, appearing long before the likes of film aggregation sites like IMDb. Maltin is known for his wealth of knowledge on Disney history and has served as TCM’s resident host of Treasures from the Disney Vault. He has contributed to various publications over his career, including Variety and TV Guide, and currently hosts The Maltin Minute for DirecTV and the Maltin on Movies podcast with his daughter, Jessie Maltin. He also teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, sits on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation, and is a voting member of the National Film Registry. Maltin has been awarded numerous honors from film festivals and societies for his work preserving the history of film, including the Telluride Film Festival, the California Independent Film Festival, the National Board of Review, and the American Society of Cinematographers. 

Maltin, humble and seemingly amazed at his own background of expertise, answered questions about his illustrious career.

Question: How did it all begin?

Maltin: I’m a child of the first TV generation, so every single day of my life I watched Laurel and Hardy and The Little Rascals. There were a finite number of those shorts, so eventually I watched them a second and third time…and an umpteenth time. I never got tired of them. In fact, quite the opposite. I wanted to learn more about them. It piqued my curiosity.

The restoration of Laurel and Hardy and The Little Rascals has been amazing, and it’s so long overdue. We are so lucky they were still able to rescue them.

Question: Since I spent a great deal of my formative years in Mexico, I was first acquainted with Laurel and Hardy as El Gordo and El Flaco, the name of the duo in Spanish-language presentations. Can you speak to their international fame?

Maltin: It is a fact. They were popular longer than many others. Their popularity extended into the television era here. It made them so widely visible again here. Theatrically, they never went away, in a sense, in several parts of the world.

Question: Can your latest book, Starstruck, be a love story?

Of me and my wife of 47 years. That is for sure. When we met, we talked about getting married the next day. An an unconditional love with my daughter, and now my granddaughter who lives under the same roof. We get to watch her everyday and that is a light into our lives.

Writer Debra Levine and Jessie Maltin, Leonard’s daughter.

And my love of movies which is unabated.

Question: Can you pick a favorite film choreographer?

Maltin: How do I pick my favorite? Is it Busby Berkely? In the Laserdisc era, Warner Home Video put out the Busby Berkely disc, and now that’s morphed into a Blu-ray where the quality is even better. I find such joy and fascination in what he did and what he accomplished. I don’t think I would have liked working for him, but the end result at first, is unmistakable. Talk about having a signature.

Other choreographers Maltin admitted that he admired include Stanely Donen, Gene Kelly, Jack Cole, and Michael Kidd. “I hosted a tribute to Mary Poppins at the Academy, maybe 20 years ago.”

(Several of the attendees who participated in the making of Mary Poppins, 11 or 12 by Maltin’s recollection, were present on stage or in the audience, including co-choreographer Didi Wood.)

And Maltin asked Wood the following question during the Academy event….

“It just occurred to me, Didi, was the chimney sweep sequence influenced at all by the barnraising in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? She said, ‘We stole everything from Michael Kidd.’ They were his assistants. She didn’t dispute it, she confirmed it.”

Question: What are your thoughts on the future of classic films?

Maltin: I think the future is good. Largely because of TCM and other institutions and devotees like you all who are writing about it and blogging about it, and having conversations about it. I don’t know if it’s a growth sector of our economy, but there are just enough people who are passionate about it to keep it alive and well.

Journalist Manny Pacheco asked Maltin about his relationship with Robert Osborne:

Maltin: Robert became the best ambassador to classic Hollywood anyone could possibly want or dream of. We were friendly, we were not close friends, and I absolutely admired him and what he pulled off. He was lucky enough to land this gig. He was the right guy. It was easy for viewers to embrace him as they did, and he had a great deal to do with launching TCM and expanding the audience.

As Maltin was a guest programmer one evening, Osborne told Maltin during a break that “I have no training for this.” Osborne, at times, still didn’t feel completely at ease reading those scripts. “But he was not a machine or a plastic corporate creation.” Maltin felt that Osborne was “the right guy. His look, his bearing, his manner, he was so at ease and so comfortable, and so dignified.”

Personally, Maltin revealed that he “loved the fact that Osborne lived in a building on 47th St. that bore his name.”

Question: What is Leonard Maltin’s favorite genre?

Maltin: Comedy, but in the classic era. I was weaned on Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton.

Question: Any advice for future critics?

Maltin: It’s never been easier to do it. Self-publishing and now you can reach an audience. If you’re good, the news starts to spread. Reaching out and writing to people who are established helps…

Question: Do you have any advice to the current TCM Hosts?

Maltin: They’re all doing a fine job. I wouldn’t presume to give them advice. They don’t need any coaching from me. That’s why this festival is so great. They get to interact with their viewers. They are surrogates and guides through classic films and Hollywood. Very few channels, if any, have that.

Maltin added that the hosts “each bring something of themselves to their comments” on TCM.

Journalist Jan Price asked Maltin what it meant to receive the Robert Osborne Award from actor and director Warrren Beatty….

Maltin: It means the world. There are not many who reached that plateau. There are stars, legends, and then there is Warren Beatty. I was a teenager when Bonnie and Clyde came out. …It made a deep and lasting impression on me, and I followed him ever since.

Question: What does legacy mean to you?

Maltin: I don’t think about legacy. I think about what I am doing next week.

Leonard Maltin’s latest book is Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood.

One April 23rd, Leonard Maltin received the Robert Osborne Award, presented to him by Actor and Director Warren Beatty at the American Legion Post #43 before a standing-room only crowd for a screening of Counselor at Law, a film hand-picked by Maltin for the occasion.

Girls on Film a Cause For Celebration…

Reflections on a Life in Cinema

The fans at #TCMFF in Hollywood celebrated Alicia Malone’s newest book, Girls On Film: Lessons from a Life of Watching Women in Movies.

Jeff Mantor, owner of Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the iconic, go-to venue for classic film-related books and memorabilia, completely SOLD OUT of Malone’s newest book during the #TCMFF….
Malone all decked out in blue sequins on the #TCMFF Red Carpet…
Malone greets fans at the closing night poolside party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel….
Singers and spouses Connie Smith and Marty Stuart with Alicia Malone on the #TCMFF Red Carpet. Stuart introduced High Noon with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly…
Fan Paula Forselles makes a point with Malone during the closing night poolside bash…

Malone’s latest book reveals her journey as a young film lover to a film writer and explores her innermost longings to share the delight of classic cinema the cinematic world at large. Her job as one of the hosts of Turner Classic Movies has allowed Malone to speak with authority about films she loves.

The 206-page text of her personal experiences reveals her first film at three-years old- The Never Ending Journey, The air-conditioned comfort of the theater in Canberra, Australia, began her interest in film and her obsession with horses. Her shyness and her ability to interpret her emotions reveals the deep-seated need for self-expression that has helped Malone move to the forefront of her profession. Malone’s teenage friend, the film that frightened her the most, how she organized her determination to become a host at TCM, and her latest inspirational project reveal the woman behind the hosting duties.

Her interpretation of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes highlights how Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw avoid competing with each other and support one another throughout all their adventures in the film. The Bad and The Beautiful, The Enchanted Cottage, many foreign films, and Imitation of Life are discussed with care and devotion. Malone also discusses working on press junkets and some of her brushes with well-known celebrities.

If you enjoy Alicia Malone’s films comments on TCM, or her other books, reading about the personal journey she embarked upon at an early age will be worth your time and money.

You can order a signed copy of Girls on Film from Larry Edmunds Bookshop.

#TCMFF Festival Friends 2022

Theresa and Joe…
Christy and Pam…
Sam and Eva….
With Wendy….
Pam and Karen….
Theresa and Karin….
Theresa and Christy ….
Paula and Alicia Malone…
Leonard Maltin and Christy….
Ángela and Kim….
Paula, Isabella, and Jeremy….
Theresa and Christy
Dan, Eileen, Shawn, and Carrie…
Disney legend Floyd Norman in Club TCM….
Sheryl and Glenn…
Monika and Larry…
Larry’s Brigade….
Theresa, Chris, and Christy….
Cora Sue With a fan….
West Coast Bloggers at Miceli’s….
Julia, Ed, and Alan…
Ruth with a fan….
Ed, the button man!
Monika and Karin….
TCM’s Charlie Tabesh with Ten-Timers at poolside….
Ten-timers!
Ted Donaldson with a fan at the pre-fest Hollywood Heritage party….
Jack Priest with family….
Paula, Sheryl, Sam, and Theresa….
Stephen and Laura…
Jack and Monika…
Ed, Kim and Joel with an enthusiastic fan…
Trudy and Michele…
Glenn, Jon, Lynn, and Larry….
With author Preston Neal Jones….
The end!

TCM ESSENTIALS: VOLUME II

TCM: The Essentials Volume 2, 52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold and Foreword by Ben Mankiewicz

Films from Volume I included a foreword by TCM Host Robert Osborne and highlighted the following selections:

The pleasure of knowing that TCM’s and Robert Osborne’s personal selections for classic films essential to the aficionados of national and international cinema circles would begin to be chronicled in book form, a physical media of which I am indeed fond, delighted me as well as many other friends of TCM.

Jeremy Arnold, an author awarded the honor of chronicling the first edition, also has taken the helm for the second edition, which includes a forward by Ben Mankiewicz, now a focal point of hosting responsibilities on the network since the death of TCM’s original host, Robert Osborne.

Mankiewicz also moonlights (or daylights) on CBS Sunday Morning with interviews of industry professionals like Mel Brooks, Elliot Gould, and most recently director of Mank, David Fincher, and star Amanda Seyfried.

Cohosts of TCM also include Noir Alley kingpin Eddie Muller, Writer Alicia Malone, Red Carpet Veteran Dave Karger, and Professor Jacqueline Stewart.

Stirred by my initial glance at the contents, I was pleased to discover more of my favorites appeared in Volume II than I recalled from Volume I. An added list of all films appearing on TCM’s Essentials programs is also included, which had not been added to Volume I, certainly a plus for the serious TCM fan who has been relatively faithful to the series.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a personal favorite of mine, and one that fans often claim for a top ten list, is highlighted with one of Robert Osborne’s quotes that seems unusually poignant considering how Tierney was one of Osborne’s delights. He even had the portrait of Tierney as Laura in his personal memorabilia collection:

“I’m a great, great, Gene Tierney fan; she can do no wrong. She had played a successful business woman in Laura and [was] strong in Leave Her to Heaven, and here she was, the number one dramatic sar at Twentieth CenturyFox, cast against type as a very gentle, very kind [and]compassionate woman….”

I was indeed happy that the low-budget, high-quality of Ride The High Country with Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott was featured in this book and garnered the recognition it deserves as the coda to two high-profile careers in the Western genre. The quote from Mariette Hartley is also a nice summary of her experiences with the two old pros. Is it a genre that actually deserves its own “Western Essentials” volume, Running Press?

Author Jeremy Arnold with Wyatt McCrea at the TCM Film Festival in 2018….

As for the addition of Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), I would have much rather have seen Auntie Mame, Stalag 17, Rebecca, The Blue Dahlia, Gilda, Meet John Doe, The African Queen, Gigi, The Bad and The Beautiful, or A Letter to Three Wives make Volume II. I’ve always been kind of “Meh” about Hannah and Her Sisters. A man disrespecting personal or emotional boundaries unsettles me and just sits a little to close to Allen’s own issues, personal or professional, even though I’ve enjoyed many of his other films.

But I must be grateful for A Face In The Crowd‘s inclusion with Andy Griffith’s stunningly attention-grabbing performance. TCM Remembers even though the Academy left Griffith out of their Oscar’s In Memoriam telecast sequence after his death. Night Of The Hunter‘s inclusion should also delight cinephiles and critics who enjoy Charles Laughton’s only directorial offering. The addition of William Wyler’s Dodsworth is also a highlight, a nod and a wave to Robert Osborne’s personal favorite. Another reason to cherish this edition is a photo of Thelma Ritter with Doris Day from Pillow Talk.

Former Essential Hosts Molly Haskell, Sally Field, Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, William Friedkin, Sydney Pollack, Carrie Fisher, Drew Barrymore, and current Essential Host Brad Bird have relevant comments sprinkled throughout the entries, as well as Robert Osborne’s archived mentions. The What To Look For feature is also included with all the entries with this edition.

I couldn’t have been so discerning about what I enjoyed and did appreciate with Volume II unless author Jeremy Arnold and the editors had added the full Essentials films list. I appreciate that inclusion in this volume as a complete reference list is a nicely added tool for readers.

If you have always been a fan of TCM’s The Essentials, Volume II should be added to your personal film collection bookshelf.

Today’s TCM Roundtable Discussion with General Manager Pola Changnon, Vice President of Programming Charlie Tabesh, and Host Ben Mankiewicz

Today’s TCM Roundtable Discussion with General Manager Pola Changnon, Vice President of Programming Charlie Tabesh, and Host Ben Mankiewicz

The logo for this year’s #TCMFF 2020….

In lieu of the traditional Meet TCM or our annual credentialed media informative sessions this year, TCM administrators have invited journalists to participate in a roundtable discussion with Pola Changnon, Charlie Tabesh, and Ben Mankiewicz.

Questions posed were asked by journalists in our audio conference call. As I am unsure if I have permission to post the names of the journalists, I will highlight or summarize their questions and the responses from administrators. My notes include only a portion of today’s comments, questions, and responses.

Question #1: The current emergency has affected many AMC has already hired counsel to discuss bankruptcy. Does TCM have any strategic ideas that they are working on to get people to go back into the movie theatres? Have you talked to Fathom or any other organizations you’ve worked with?

Pola Changnon: Thank you for that questions about the theaters. Obviously that is of paramount interest to us as well. The film festival reflects our interest in making sure people have an interest in seeing films in theaters with a community of people who love them and enjoy them. It’s concerning. As fans are concerned, we are absolutely in conversation with our Fathom partners. When people start going back to the theaters, how can we contribute to that by including programming for families, for example. We are absolutely looking at some of that because we know that while this is an incredibly difficult time for folks, we know that it is not going to be forever.

Question #2: How did this idea of the Special Home Edition come about? Does it involved any special introductions you are putting into it or are you taking older programming and programming it like you would normally program for TCM?  

Pola Changnon: It was about a month ago that we were all looking with concern with the situations evolving about health concerns and hot that might impact our festival dates. This time a month ago, it was clear that we were going to have to cancel the festival. We didn’t feel comfortable thinking about how we would even postpone it. You can just imagine how difficult it is to check availability of venues and rearrange the talent for the festival. Fortunately, many of the key folks were together in L.A. at the time, which isn’t always the case. We started the day off with an acknowledgement that we were going to have to cancel the festival. By the end of the day, Charlie felt confident that he could organize the festival on the network. We certainly wanted to still recognize that a lot of people, pass holders and staff alike, look forward to it all year long. At the end of the way, we had already begun to formulate how to program the festival on the network. We wanted it to be special enough to stand up to people’s expectations. Charlie came up with something so robust that it was beyond my wildest expectations.

Pola Changnon, TCM General Manager, and Charlie Tabesh, TCM Senior VP of Programming on the #TCMFF RED CARPET 2019…

Charlie Tabesh: It is true. One of the considerations was how do we make it different than what’s normally on TCM. We wanted that to be special, which meant including a lot of material that we wouldn’t normally include on TCM day to day. The first idea was to play a lot of the movies that we had previously scheduled for the festival. The problem was that you don’t have the guests, the tribute pieces, the traditional segments of the actual festival that were done over the years. We could make it special by Ben doing his intros talking about previous guests, or when we were there with certain stars or filmmakers. With the question about production, there is a lot of production that has gone into the creation of the Special Home Edition, but we had been limited about how we could do that by the circumstances. Our team has done an amazing job of working remotely, using Zoom, and also pulling together a lot of material that has been created over the years and reformatting it in a way around the screening of the films to really make it a film festival that you could do virtually. It’s all come together beautifully.

Ben Mankiewicz talking with actress Meg Ryan on the #TCMFF Red Carpet 2019

Ben Mankiewicz, Shirley Jones, and TCM’s Mark Wynns…
Ben Mankiewicz with fans…

Ben Mankiewicz: We’ve filmed some segments in a way that I’ve never shot some things before. An unbelievably scaled-down crew and they didn’t come within 10 feet of me. We always write fresh intros, and these were all fresh intros related to the festival. This programming will look different because I won’t be on my set. People look forward to this all year, and that includes us. We look forward to it because of this incredibly warming connection that we offer to our fans. When Pola and Charlie and others made the decision that we couldn’t have the festival this year, they asked me to write something to say on the air. And I wrote it and filmed it one the air the next day, and in writing it and in delivering it, got very emotional. That first take I almost couldn’t get through it without crying. I didn’t expect that. But we wanted to let people know that there would be a festival next year. TCM is like all of us. We are going to get through this together.

#TCMFF Festival Fun through the years…
#TCMFF Festival Fun through the years….

A Ten-Timer Remembers the #TCMFF 2019

My trusty Super Shuttle driver from LAX was right on time on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Juggling my Ricardo’s of Beverly Hills trunk stuffed with ensembles and my roly-poly media bag, Miguel gave them the heave-ho onto the luggage rack without even a sigh. Unfortunately, the Super Shuttles are no longer viable transportation from LAX in 2020 as other, more popular services have managed to shutter the service.

I was on my way to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, home of exciting lobby meetups, media hounds, celebrities, bloggers, hangers-on, and classic film fans from all over the world. The excitement of meeting all my favorite valets and bell captains like Mark and Will made me realize it was another homecoming after 9 years of smooth arrivals and departures courtesy of the staff who made it all possible.

The first, most anticipated event for fans attending a 10th edition of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival would be breakfast at Mel’s Diner on Thursday morning!

The Hole in the Wall gang would gather together for a group reunion.

TCM staff Charlie Tabesh, Scott McGee, Mark Wynns and Jennifer Dorian were surprise guests at the event organized by Connie Crump and Jay….

Purchasing passes, airfare, hotel rooms, signed books from author events, munchies, meals and liquid refreshments were all part of the price of fun with classic film-loving friends. How many films did we see in 10 years? How many celebrities did we see, talk to, or share a margarita with through the years? All ten years worth of topics were on the table.

Another Mel’s Diner meetup is in the works again. See you in April!

Check out the Ten-Timers TCM Festival group on Facebook and see what Constance Crump has planned!

Cinematic Cities: The Big Apple On The Big Screen

Say “Noo Yawk City” to someone from Texas, and it might elicit a shudder. Images of chili with beans, a dearth of longnecks, biscuits and gravy without grits, hot dogs with sauerkraut, and a grimace instead of a friendly smile might just make a visitor turn around and head for the bus station.

But for cinema devotees, classic film buffs, movie lovers, and plain ole’ fans of classic films, or cinephiles, as the ‘auteur’ crowd refers, a collection of cafes, cantinas and film locations is a treasure trove of tidbits that tantalize.

Christian Blauvelt’s new book for TCM’s Running Press, highlights haunts of the rich and famous like The Chelsea Hotel, scenes of notoriety and a place of solace. Central Park, Katz’s Delicatessen, The Statue of Liberty, the brownstone where Moonstruck was filmed and many more well-known film locations are spotlighted in this in-depth study of how New York City is silently a character in hundreds of well-known films from the drawing board of Hitchcock to Andy Warhol’s factory productions.

And it has maps for the intrepid, seasoned traveler….

Lower Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan, Uptown Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn are revealed as some of the most recognizable places from America’s collective movie memory. Stylish watering holes like Tavern On The Green and The Russian Tea Room serve the fanciest liquid refreshments and the tastiest delicacies as well as being featured on the silver screen. The setting of Times Square, also included in the book, is the perfect New Year’s Eve haunt to watch annual numbers move forward with or without a magnum of champagne.

No matter where you hail from, even the most seasoned aficionados will find a filmiliar fact or two to fascinate.

These sailors made it fashionable!

Cinematic Cities: New York is a detailed account of a popular place that would be a welcome addition to to any film lover’s library. And there are plenty of smiles to go around…

Find The Big Apple On The Big Screen here.

INTERVIEW WITH ACADEMY-AWARD WINNING CHUCK WORKMAN ABOUT –SUPERSTAR: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990)

Finding Andy Warhol

The Dallas Docufest 32 hosted several films whose directors were in attendance at Angelika Film Center screenings on the weekend of October 4-6. Docufest artistic director Bart Weiss also secured a Dallas visit with Academy-Award Winning Director of Precious Images (1986), Writer, and Editor Chuck Workman who came to be celebrated with “An Evening With Chuck Workman” on Saturday at 8:30.

Elizabeth Coffman, Director of Flannery, Director Chuck Workman, and Artistic Director of Dallas Videofest and Dallas Docufest Bart Weis at the Dallas Docufest’s Director’s Brunch….

Shortly after the director’s brunch at the Embassy Suites, Chuck Workman spoke with Houston writer Christina Putnam.

CP: I’m excited about seeing your documentary, Superstar, about the life of Andy Warhol.

CW: Well, his name was actually Andrew Warhola. He’s from Pittsburgh, the pits of Pittsburgh. His father worked in the steel mills, and his father disappeared or left when Andy was about 5, and the mother, whom he was very close with his whole life was highly spoken of. That was kind of their world, a small, small world. Andy kind of got sick a lot. It’s the story of many artists, and a lot of filmmakers. They get sick and they have nothing to do. And they do something interesting. He started drawing.

CP: And how did he begin to progress in his professional life?

CW: He left Pittsburgh, came to New York and became an important illustrator of shoes. And he did all this work in shoes. And he started saying that he could help with more commercial fine art works. Then he eventually decided to do pop art because it was coming in, and that sort of began his career, but he never really forsook Pittsburgh. We shot for a good week there and he went to Carnegie Mellon University which was called Carnegie Tech at the time and was an art student.  He put his mother up in the Upper East Side of New York. But he never really forgot his family. He would go back there all the time.

CP: Which was sweet.

CW: Yes. People say he was very difficult with money and didn’t share it, but in those days, and there were a lot of hangers on in the art community. They went to his place to hang out and do things that they could do for nothing.

CP: Some comments have been made through the years that he was very manipulative of some of the people that went through the factory. How do you feel about that?

CW: I think there is a lot of resentment among those people. You seem them everyday, you see them now, they’re a celebrity and they want to say ‘this one made a pass at that one,” took money from me, or I really did the work but got no recognition. I think there is more of that around Andy because he was so passive a personality. He hardly talked. He would just do his work. I have a scene in Superstar, the film I made about him, with everybody getting loaded, dancing, and Andy is there …working. Right in the middle of it, he’s drawing. Boy, I said to myself, it would be really great to show that, and there was the shot. Somebody had filmed the event, and I was able to use the footage. That’s why he was fun.

CP: It seems that he would always withdraw from conflict.

CW: Of course. He didn’t want to get involved in that at all. But he was also like a fan. He met William Burroughs. * He was so excited that he wanted his autograph. I have a clip of that in the film, too. He was a very smart guy, and just cared about his work about a lot of artists. His art is very well protected. He had died a few years before and the estate was large but nothing like today. There were no 5 million-dollar paintings or anything like that. The estate was very, very careful. They wouldn’t let me shoot here, they wouldn’t let me shoot there. They thought they would do their own film, and I was just trying to make a film for someone who was a fan of Andy Warhol’s. She had the money and wanted to make a film about him. I kept chasing an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s paintings. I kept going to exhibits, and they said they wouldn’t let me shoot it. But finally found other members of the family who had donated their own material and they said, “Yes, go shoot it.” They didn’t have any financial stake in it or they didn’t care. I ended up finally shooting the exhibit in England. That’s where I shot most of the art. I’m glad I did. I’m glad we really stuck with it.

CP: I enjoyed seeing the documentary about Agnes Varda last night, and come to find out, Varda had connected with Andy Warhol to secure the services of the actress Viva, who was part of Warhol’s coterie of actors.

CW. I didn’t know that. I liked Viva. When we did the film with her, we shot her in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, people were behind her, and no one cared what was going on. She had funny things to say. Most of the people [involved in The Factory] were very articulate who were close to Andy. Andy, of course, didn’t talk as much.

CP: It seemed that people were always wanting something from him that he wasn’t ready or easily prepared to give.

CW: It was something almost a nuisance to him, although he didn’t show that. But he would just smile, and say something…

CP: Witty, urbane, or move on to the next subject?

CW: Not even as articulate as that.

CP: And we even had a stamp with Andy Warhol as the subject.

CW: I thought, great. Why not?  When I made the film, I know we premiered it in Berlin right after the wall went down and the idea of showing being a gay person in a movie even 25 or 30 years ago was difficult. I got a lot of it in there. But he was just a young gay man who wanted to do his work. Later on, I worked with someone who reminded me of Andy Warhol, and that was Michael Jackson. I was basically just dealing with his work. As far as his personal life, I didn’t know much about that.

CP: Like the controversy surrounding Jackson’s personal life…

CW: I never saw anything like that with Andy.

CP: I’m curious about your association with the Academy and all the work you’ve done with it.

CW: The Academy is interesting because the Academy supports a kind of cinema that I don’t feel comfortable being a part of, yet I’m so involved with them. How can you do a film about experimental film or artists and also work on the Oscars program. To me, it’s all work. John Ford would use the expression that “It was a job of work.”

CP: On of your “jobs of work” is that you teach experimental filmmaking.

CW: (smiling) I do. I teach at a school that eastern people and midwestern people don’t know about, but everybody in the west knows about Chapman University which is in Orange County, south of LA. They have a wonderful film school. It’s very highly rated. It’s 5th or 6th in the country in various ratings, called Dodge College. They attract a lot of Hollywood people. Almost everyone on the faculty lives in Los Angeles. I remember that there was some function at the academy and there was a whole meeting of all the faculty at Chapman. And someone asked if anyone had tickets to the Academy event, and about twenty of us raised our hands, so there are quite a few Academy members at Chapman. They had never had an experimental film class. They were mostly interested in Hollywood films. They weren’t interested in the artistic side of filmmaking. They had just recently come to documentary films, and I offered to teach the experimental class to one of the deans and he thought I was crazy, but one of the other deans was interested in experimental filmmaking and liked the idea, and the students like it.

CP: What does working with the students give back to you?

CW: Sometimes you see that they are very interested in what they’re doing, sometimes they are nodding off, so, I think, OK. I’d better change the subject. It’s very tricky. I was talking to Bart Weiss about that.  In this experimental class, actually it’s very interesting to see them watch the films. Duration is a big deal in experimental films. A long, long film about the same thing. Like Andy Warhol did. And I tell my students in advance, we’re going to watch the whole film. In other classes you might just get a clip, but I want them to feel that entire experience. And they do. They sit there. It’s interesting. I also assign them to make an experimental film and they like doing that.

CP: Chuck we are so happy that you are here at the Dallas Docufest.

CW: I’m happy that the director of the festival, Bart Weiss, has chosen little films of mine. I even did a montage of Bugs Bunny for his birthday, and various films of mine that are all different. And I like that. I feel that I’m a professional, and I go from one thing to another, and I try not to ever work down to the audience.

CP: We are so glad to have you here at the Dallas Docufest. Thank you so much for coming here to share your cinematic body of work with us.

CW: I’m, glad to be here.

At 8:30 Saturday, October 5, “An Evening With Chuck Workman” began as Artistic Director Bart Weiss introduced the Academy-Award Winning Director, Writer, and Editor, Chuck Workman.  Several of his short films, known for their mesmerizing montages, screened before Workman’s documentary about Andy Warhol, entitled Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol, 1990.

With an introduction to each short film, Weiss and Workman discussed the initial ideas, difficulty of editing such vast collections of images into a single movie, and highlighted Workman’s personal motivations for crafting his creations. His Oscar-winning short film, Precious Images (1987) became the first film screened on Turner Classic Movies when the channel premiered in 1994.

Chuck Workman continues to create and develop new projects, and enjoys spending time with his family.

Workman took time out from his hectic visit to Dallas to enjoy some BBQ….

Andy Warhol had also been featured in three other documentaries at the Dallas Docufest the first weekend in October: Varda By Agnes, directed by Agnes Varda; Letter to the Editor, directed by Alan Berliner; and Cunningham 3D, directed by Alla Kovgan.

Dallas Publicity whiz Kelly Kitchens Wickersham and Writer, Christy Putnam, author of Thelma Ritter: Hollywood’s Favorite New Yorker, to be published by University Press of Mississippi in late 2020….

To view Chuck Workman’s Precious Images (1986), visit here.

The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies (1995) screened on Turner Classic Movies.

 

 

*An American writer and visual artist who influenced art and literature, and was a primary figure of the Beat Generation.

THE OPPOSITE SEX: Are You Going To Sydney’s?

img_6134Are You Going to Sydney’s?

In 1956’s The Opposite Sex, Sydney’s is the spa salon standing in for New York’s Elizabeth Arden, when miracles occur and ladies transform themselves into carbon copies of the latest style icons….

 

Olga, played by Bewitched’s Alice Pearce, is the nail filer who dips her brush into a vat of poisoned Jungle Red. She sets off the sexy series of events with her gossipy updates for nosy clients whose sideline is undermining the status quo of the sanctioned social set.

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Clients come to Sydney’s be coiffed, patted, massaged and dried in the upscale haven for hellions on heels. Like everyone’s favorite Maleficent,* Sylvia is ready to spread dirt like a dragster at a tractor pull and  doesn’t disappoint. Stepping out of Roz Russell’s role in the original The Women, Dolores Gray rebirths the part as the Marvel Comics version of the evil twin, more stylish and more venomous than originally conceived. Hiding behind slick crepe de chine, chilly chiffon, and Belgian Lace helps the naughty keep the haughty.

IMG_0597Ann Miller, in a role where she doesn’t dance or sing, manages to enthrall us anyway with her snappy dialogue delivery and her winsome, well-dressed ways. Agnes Moorehead connects with her love of lavender and lilac in her Helen Rose creations and doesn’t see such colorful ensembles again until she greets Samantha as Endora.

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Agnes Moorehead gown…

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The singing, dancing June Allyson elicits our pity as Kay, and Leslie Nielsen plays it straight as her wandering Broadway-producer husband long before his comedic successes in Airplane and The Naked Gun films. Joan Collins creates her first cold-hearted, sexy vamp, which she revealed to Robert Osborne became the precursor to her Alexis iteration in Dynasty during her introduction to The Opposite Sex on TCM.

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Don’t miss that “Yellow Gold” number!

Three New York ladies hop the train to Reno, Nevada, one of the few places in the 1950’s where a six-week divorce can be granted for those women who need to move on with their lives, their wardrobes and their new sparklers. Charlotte Greenwood makes her final screen appearance in The Opposite Sex as the owner of the guest ranch where divorcees go to stow away for the waiting period. It ain’t easy keepin’ them gals from derailing their locomotives, leaving behind a memento, or keeping their gloves off of a handsome, singing ranch hand, like Buck Winston, played by former baseballer Jeff Richards.

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Ooh. Jeff Richards!

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Ooh! Look! A Bananyanaire!

 

Screenwriter Fay Kanin, who scripted such films as Rhapsody (1954) and Teacher’s Pet (1958), also crafted award-winning television movies like Heartsounds (1979) , Friendly Fire (1979) and Hustling (1975) to her credit. Kanin, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1979-1983, reportedly didn’t much care for the final film of The Opposite Sex, but made an appropriate update of Clare Booth Luce’s play for the attitudes of 1950’s. An activist for film preservation and a leader of the cinema community, her legacy as a woman of conviction and an arbiter of good taste lives on.

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Comparing this film with 1939’s The Women is an easy exercise in sharpening a reviewer’s more critical sense, but enjoying the musical romps, the flouncy Helen Rose creations, and the landscapes of Leslie Nielsen and Jeff Richards allows viewers to accept The Opposite Sex on its own terms, the only way to unabashedly relish this film. Stylish back-biting, shiny, red nails, and the underbelly of the upper crust always contrasts well with mermaid gowns, cowboys, and well-dressed redemption.

 

It’s a party!

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See you at the poolside screening of The Opposite Sex on Friday night 8 p.m. on April 11. Illeana Douglas and Dennis Miller are scheduled to introduce the film.

“The smog will be so refreshing!”

*SLEEPING BEAUTY  (1959) is screening at the #TCMFF2019 at noon on Friday in the Egyptian, too!

Learn more about The Opposite Sex (1956) and That Darn Smack from Christy’s Inkwells here.

More about the fabulous Fay Kanin here.

The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York compares and contrasts the 1939 and 1956 films, the designers and the stars here.