Hank & Jim by Scott Eyman is…… Sleek & Slim*


Hank & Jim is an enthralling double biography by Scott Eyman, author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend, and co-author with actor Robert Wagner on three books, the latest which is I Loved Her In The Movies. Eyman has crafted an entertaining history of unlikely friends who were brought together by the theatre and who further cemented their camaraderie while exploring their expertise as film actors. While Stewart was laid back in his approach to acting and life, Fonda fought to avoid being laid bare and revealing his innermost emotions. 


Agent turned producer Leland Hayward, Life photographer John Swope (husband of Fonda protégé Dorothy McGuire), and director Josh Logan all became close friends of Hank & Jim during their salad days in the University Players, “a bunch of stagestruck kids from the Ivy League and Seven Sisters.” Stewart’s and Fonda’s eventual gravitation to Hollywood led them to careers they never envisioned and their existences before World War II in California, like their pre-war films, had galvanized an established profession for both of them. When Stewart and Fonda returned home after the war, each had been deeply affected personally and professionally. Eyman successfully chronicles their twin journeys through the vagaries of Hollywood and the studio system, their personal lives, and professional successes and failures with an even-handed approach to fleshing out the demons and delights of both actor’s experiences.


Exploring the details of such a high profile closeness of two popular figures while meshing details and interviews reveals the author’s adept planning and execution of such an in-depth study. Eyman’s outline for his double biography might have taken a page from the latest October Psychology Today article entitled, “7 Traits of True Friendship” as he explores all aspects of successful friendship and applies the strictures to Fonda and Stewart. Empathy, selflessness, trustworthiness, interest-sharing, differing perspectives, humorousness, and being a team player illuminate all aspects of Hank &  Jim. They worked on hobbies together, they both loved gardening and talking about gardening, they socialized together, and they both had penchants for elaborate practical jokes. Even though Stewart was a Republican, and Fonda a liberal Democrat, the two loners both agreed to disagree and not explore politics in polite or formal conversation.

Actress Margaret Sullavan…

One of the most interesting aspects of Hank &  Jim is the specter of actress Margaret Sullavan who married Fonda, then Hayward, but also captured the hearts of Stewart and Swope. Her allure seems to light up passages of the book like her spirit must have engaged the men who adored her.


The Thursday Night Beer Club…

With comments from Kelly Stewart Harcourt, Jane Fonda, Brooke Hayward, Peter Fonda, Mark Swope, Burgess Meredith and other insiders, the lively times and loving bond between Hank & Jim make it worth a couple of lazy afternoons. Enjoying a lovely sunset after reading the last page of any good book would be something Hank and Jim would relish.

*Hank & Jim: Sleek & Slim- The writing is smooth and inviting, but the stories are so fascinating, readers will just want more…..

Resources for more reading…

The Retro Set-
More about the Fonda/Stewart buddyship : http://theretroset.com/5-ways-the-jimmy-stewart-henry-fonda-bromance-will-ruin-your-life/

Psychology Today-7 Traits of True Friendship: http://theretroset.com/5-ways-the-jimmy-stewart-henry-fonda-bromance-will-ruin-your-life/

“Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda’s friendship”: A valuable lesson for a divided nation:  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/01/jimmy-stewart-and-henry-fondas-friendship-valuable-lesson-for-divided-nation.html

Leonard Maltin reviews Hank & Jim: http://leonardmaltin.com/close-up-on-henry-fonda-and-james-stewart/

Where to purchase this book: https://www.amazon.com/Hank-Jim-Fifty-Year-Friendship-Stewart/dp/1501102176

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

The new documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, had its Texas premiere at the Dallas Docfest, held this weekend from Thursday, October 5, to Sunday, October 8, at the Studio Movie Grill. Director Alexandra Dean attended the screening and participated in a Q & A before the film on Friday evening at 7 p.m.


Bart Weiss, artistic director of VideoFest 30, and DocFest, Publicist Kelly Kitchens Wickersham, and an eager festival fan…

The 16 inspiring features included in this year’s Docfest, according to artistic director Bart Weiss, “has characters that –through strength, fortitude, and often humor-show by example a path to live during difficult times. While the issues and localities are dispersed all over the world, the persistence of each subject is matched by that of each filmmaker to document and shed light on and shape each subject.“ Weiss’s comments certainly exemplify the lengthy process by which director Alexandra Dean shaped her film, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

Several years of research and preparation has made the Lamarr narrative reverberate with sympathy, humor, and determination. Lamarr was often labeled the world’s most beautiful woman, but she also was a secret inventor whose idea of “frequency hopping’ provided a way to develop and revolutionize mobile communications all over the world. Her work directly led to the creation of secure communications for wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and Wifi technology, but in several ways, her beauty often derailed the results of her efforts.

Dean deftly and doggedly pursued interviews with Lamarr’s son and daughter, and grandchildren, as well as garnering the final onscreen interview that popular Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne gave in order to honor his close friend, Hedy Lamarr. During the fascinating Q & A after the film, Dean revealed how much effort went in to revealing, explaining, and highlighting Lamarr’s detailed invention. Working with graphic artists to create visual renderings of Lamarr’s work took collaborators through several versions of the final visual interpretations seen during the film, but make the description of her inventive process easy for the unscientific audience member to understand. Dean’s determined manner and focused approach forced her to modify and restructure the narrative of her documentary several times until the final product became a more complete rendering of the true character and amazing accomplishments of an actress who was also a genius.


Director Alexandra Dean visits with a fan after the 7 p.m. screening….

Lamarr’s father, her muse and inspiration throughout her life, imbued her with an interest in invention and engineering, and as Lamarr admits during one of her taped interviews, chemistry was her favorite subject in high school.

Dean enjoys documentary filmmaking because she was trained as an investigative journalist, and she loves the treasure hunt and finding the wonderful pieces of archives that no one has seen before. Sometimes they shock even you. The beauty of history is really when you find that piece of primary research that no one has ever seen before. What we were so lucky with during the making of Bombshell is that we found these tapes that no one had ever heard before. That is what her story is based on. Hedy Lamarr is telling her story in her own words that the public had never heard before. That’s what fuels the work for me-trying to do something that no one has ever done before because nobody has found it.

Dean was happy to be in Dallas, Texas, for the very first time….


First stop for Director Alexandra Dean and adorable husband Chris, who live in New York City, was a BBQ feast with Publicist Kelly Wickersham, husband Mark, and yours truly at Pappas’ restaurant near the Studio Movie Grill prior to the screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story… Chris works for the BBC and one of his pet projects is the Brit Box…

(All photos by Christy)

 

 

 

Hedy Lamarr in Houston: http://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2012/02/when-hedy-lamarr-called-houston-home/
BritBox: https://www.britbox.com
Reframed Pictures: http://www.reframedpictures.com
Bombshell Review-The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-997292

What I Won’t Be Seeing At The TCM Classic Film Festival 2017…

Since this is my eighth TCM Film Festival, I’ve come to expect certain things. I always love the excitement and the Wednesday get-togethers with dear friends the night before the festival begins. That won’t change.  Seeing familiar faces, opening the flood gates on my  cinephiliac stream-of-consciousness to dear friends I’ve known since April of 2010, and friends I’ve known even before the first festival. We chatted on the TCM Message Boards and The Slver Screen Oasis. That won’t change, either.


I know I won’t be able to see In The Heat of the Night with Lee Grant, Norman Jewison, Quincy Jones, Walter Mirisch, and Sidney Poitier in attendance, and I would have enjoyed seeing this ground-breaking film. Since I am credentialed media with many of my fellow writers, bloggers, photographers, and journalists from the Fourth Estate, I am only able to attend events that Classic pass holders have access to.  I might be visiting with TCM Film Festival Special Guests on the Red Carpet, or writing about the historic Hand and Footprint ceremony, the first time a father and a son (Carl and Rob Reiner!) will be honored in the forecourt of the TCM Chinese Theatre. Incidentally, the famous theatre was once owned by that flaming-haired actress Rhonda Fleming’s husband, Ted Mann.

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Fleming will be featured in a 3D presentation of Paramount’s Those Redheads From Seattle with Agnes Moorehead, and Teresa Brewer.  I’ll probably be there at the Friday night screening at the Chinese Multiplex 6. My other choice? Laura. Nitrate. ‘Nuff said.


I won’t be seeing anything but The Incident Saturday night. Martin Sheen made his screen debut in director Larry Peerce’s UK-banned drama of terrorized passenger on a subway ride from hell. Both Peerce and Bruce Goldstein will be in attendance. Sheen has been dropped from or hasn’t been added to the Special Guest list, so I probably won’t be seeing him there, but he had been previously announced in an email from TCM. (I checked again right before posting this article.) There just might be a special guest or two in the audience. 

UPDATE: Martin Sheen is listed on the official TCM Schedule as in attendance for the film, but still hasn’t been added to the Special Guest list.

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Rarely seen performances by Ruby Dee, Brock Peters, Jack Gilford, Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Ed McMahon, Donna Mills, and Thelma Ritter make The Incident a TCM Film Festival rarity.

What I won’t be seeing is Black Narcissus in nitrate. This conflict on my personal radar last screened at the festival with Thelma Schoonmaker. This season, its the nitrate version. Not sure who will be introducing this film on Friday at 9:30 in The Egyptian. But Black Narcissus is the film where Stewart Granger first spotted Jean Simmons and decided to seek her out.

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Kathleen Byron is witchy-spooky in this visual feast where Deborah Kerr first dons the nun’s habit with sincerity.

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I also won’t be seeing The Art of Subtitling, The Awful Truth, David and Lisa, or  The Great Dictator, and not because I don’t want to. I am seriously agonizing over this emotional slot in my “fest sked.” I find I am nervously vacillating and dithering over that Saturday afternoon nachtmahr:  The Last Picture Show, Rear Window, or the Michael Douglas interview.

All the other films I won’t see sort of pale in comparison to the tough choices. Laura in nitrate seems a must. So does Dr. Strangelove, Stalag 17, and The Jerk because I have a family member in attendance for these screenings. Festival presenters, besides the popular Ben Mankiewicz and Illeana Douglas, like author and historian Jeremy Arnold (Some Like It Hot) and author, historian, and documentarian Cari Beauchamp (Red-Headed Woman, The Palm Beach Story, Beat The Devil, David and Lisa, So This Is Paris) make the pre-screening intros fascinating and worth our undivided attention. Australian Alicia Malone is someone I have not seen present at the festival yet, but I predict  Dana Delany will be a popular guest for her intro to Love Crazy. There seem to be more historians, preservationists, and esteemed authors in attendance than ever before. Pass holders are fortunate. Fabulous celebrities and special guests make the screenings an exciting event every hour of the long-awaited-for schedule.

The most emotionally wrenching aspect of this TCM Film Festival is that we will not see TCM Host Robert Osborne. But pass holders will be able to “group-grieve”and attend a special memorial tribute to the man that gave his passion to his viewers and classic film lovers through his affiliation with Turner Classic Movies. Memorial tributes to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds have also been planned.

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It is indeed serendipitous that Debbie Reynolds, who advised Robert Osborne to choose a cable channel hosting position with TCM, and Osborne, who ultimately steered TCM to its 20th Anniversary in 2014, left their fans in the same year.

What will I be seeing? The tribute to Robert Osborne on Thursday.

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Let’s just pretend Debbie and Robert are waiting in the Green Room, preparing their opening lines, and checking their makeup.

Tribute to Robert Osborne: Thursday, 12:30 p.m., Chinese Multiplex House 1

Tribute screening to Debbie Reynolds with Todd Fisher in attendance: Singin’In The Rain, Sunday, 4:30, Chinese Theatre IMAX

Tribute screening to Carrie Fisher: Postcards from the Edge, Sunday, 2 p.m., Chinese Multiplex House 1

TCM Film Festival pass holders will be toasting and raising a glass or two to Robert, Debbie, and Carrie all over town. Join them in remembrance at Musso & Franks, or the Pig N’Whistle, or wherever you happen to be with friends during our annual time to  celebrate the classics. They would want us to “Sing In The Sunshine.”

 

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TCM Film Festival Memories Entice Pass Holders To Return In Larger Numbers Every Year…

TCM Film Festival Pass Holders always find the last two months before a festival begins to be anxiety-driven. What other films will be screened? Who will our special guests be? What kind of panels will be organized for club TCM? Which film will be the opening night Gala Premiere on Thursday? 


This year, festival fun unofficially begins with arriving passholders from all over the country and the world on Tuesday and Wednesday. Pass holders coming to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and other nearby accommodations eventually populate all the  lodgings,  restaurants, and entertainment venues near the center of activity on Hollywood Boulevard.


Social media bloggers and tweeters start spreading the news about their arrival, their planned screenings, and their friends before they even touch down at LAX.


Will pass holders experience some of the glory from previous festivals, like interviews with Betty Garrett and Esther Williams (with the Aqualillies) in 2010?


Will we run into anyone who actually attended Hollywood High and went on to have a high profile career in the entertainment industry?


Will we reconnect with our earlier values concerning The Bill of Rights and The Constitution once we watch a screening of Born Yesterday with Bill Holden and Billie Holliday? 

What screening will prove to be the sleeper hit of the festival? 

Will we unexpectedly find friends attending a Film Noir Festival event at The Egyptian?

Will we meet new friends while we watch the Red Carpet Guests?


Will me make new contacts while lining up for our favorite films?

Will Club TCM be where we meet that special someone?

Will we learn about new film books we want to read? Will there be some new book signings?



How many folks coming to the festival have never been there before? How many have been every year?

All that and more will soon be revealed in less than two months!
What do we know for sure?  


We’ve got a Peter Bogdanovich tribute and The Last Picture Show, as well as What’s Up Doc!
We’ve got Genevieve Bujold and King of Hearts!
Wonderful Kate MacMurray returns to introduce her father’s film with Claudette Colbert, The Egg & I.

“The fest also will showcase several world premiere restoration screenings, anniversary screenings and live music events.
Oscar nominees Peter Bogdanovich and Genevieve Bujold will be among the special guests. The fest will take place in Hollywood April 6-9.

Bogdanovich, the legendary writer, director and film historian, will appear at screenings of his films The Last Picture Show (1971) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972), while Bujold will introduce the U.S. restoration of King of Hearts (1966) in which she stars. Also in attendance at the fest will be Kate MacMurray, the daughter of the late actor Fred MacMurray, who will be part of the festivities surrounding the 70th anniversary world premiere of a restored version of her father’s film The Egg and I (1947).

Other special offerings include world premiere restoration screenings of The Court Jester (1955) and, in 3D, Those Redheads From Seattle (1955); 75th anniversary screenings of Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) and The Palm Beach Story (1942); screenings of pre-Code classics The Front Page (1931), Red-Headed Woman (1932) and Twentieth Century (1934); and two special presentations: The Great Nickelodeon Show and Beyond the Mouse: The 1930s Cartoons of UB IWerks.
Additionally, there will be special live music events: the Alloy Orchestra will return to the fest to accompany a screening of the Harold Lloyd classic Speedy (1928), while composer-musician Stephen Horne and musician Diana Rowan will accompany a screening of Stella Dallas (1925).

And don’t forget about upcoming Fathom Events on Sunday, February 12, and Wednesday, February 15, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in Leo McCarey’s An Affair to Remember.

Australian Classic Film Superfan John Sambuco Visits TCM Studios in Atlanta!

Australian classic film superfan John Sambuco spent the day of September 27 as a special international guest in the TCM Studios in Atlanta. Sambuco had been on an extended visit to the U.S.A. during the month of September, and when TCM staff heard he would be in Atlanta, he was invited to spend the day touring the studios with TCM staffers.

When did you first find out that you would be able to visit the TCM Studios?

About a week before I arrived in Atlanta. At the time I was visiting Washington, D.C.

Was the studio anything like you expected?
The studio was a lot bigger than I expected it to be. It was so exciting so to see so many people in one place, who are so passionate about classic film. Everyone had classic film posters and books around their desk. I found it to be such an inspiring working environment.

Did you get to have lunch with the staff?



Yes, I had lunch in the canteen with some of the staff members. During lunch, I tried sweet potato pie for the first time. This is something which isn’t commonly found in Australia.


John Sambuco outside Turner Studios in late September

Who met you and greeted you for the tour?
Two wonderful members of the social media team, Noralil Fores & Marya Gates. They both took me on an insightful tour of the office and studio.

Turner Studios, Atlanta….

Did you have a chance to meet TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz?
Ben was in the studio filming some introductions for the up-coming Christopher Lee star of the month. During a short break on the set, Ben introduced himself to me.

Did you meet the director?
Yes, briefly. The director was very kind allowing me to watch the filming shoot.

What are some of your favorite classic films? Genres?
My favorite genres are MGM musicals, film noir, and screwball comedies. I have so many favorite classic films. I’ll list a few which are:

Meet Me In St. Louis(1944) – One of very few films which I would describe as “flawless”. Everything is perfect. The pacing, the direction, the cast. Margaret O’Brien literally steals every scene she is in.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) – the film which I think I’ve seen the most. As a child, I literally watched this a few times each week. Almost 80 years later, adults and children are still enjoying this brilliant film. This film truly exemplifies the word “Timeless.”
Gone With The Wind (1939) – Possibly the greatest example of storytelling on film. I’ve seen this film more than 30 times, and continue to be entertained with each viewing. Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel & Olivia de Havilland were all perfectly cast. On my visit to Atlanta, I also visited the Margaret Mitchell House, where Margaret Mitchell wrote most of the novel. Inside there are exhibits about the making of the movie as well as the film’s  premiere in Atlanta.
Kiss Me, Kate (1953) – In my opinion, this is the most underrated MGM musical. The film introduced me to the magic of Ann Miller, who soon became (and still is) my favourite classic movie star. Ann Miller literally steals the film from the rest of the cast. The Cole Porter songs are all wonderful. “Too Darn Hot” is my favourite musical number from a movie musical. I was fortunate enough to see the film in 3D a few months ago at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in Melbourne, Australia. It was a completely different experience to the standard 2D version. If you ever have the opportunity to see this in 3D at a theatre, I cannot recommend it enough.

I know that TCM in Australia has very different programming from its counterpart in the U.S.A. What would you like the American audience to know about TCM?

The American TCM audience is so fortunate to have such a wonderful network showing such a broad spectrum of classic films, with very exciting themed programming. I wish I had the ability to access the American TCM channel from Australia.

If you could introduce a film, what would you choose and why?

The Lady Vanishes (1938) –
Alfred Hitchcock is my favourite director, and this is my favourite Alfred Hitchcock film.

Although it was filmed very early in Hitchcock’s career, I love the way Hitchcock seamlessly integrates suspense, comedy, mystery, action and romance. All would become critical elements in his later work.

Whilst I know what is going to happen next, I find I always experience the same level of suspense and tension as I did the first time I saw the film. It’s the perfect film for the repeat film viewer.

Why did you became so interested in classic films?
I first discovered classic film when I was 14 years old during the late 1990s. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941) was the first classic film (aside from The Wizard Of Oz (1939) I had watched. It was 1998. I was 14 years old, and home unwell from school. This was being shown on TCM in Australia. I was bored, and there wasn’t much else on, so I gave it a shot. After seeing this, I became hooked on not only Bette Davis, but classic films in general. My other favourite Bette Davis films include, Now, Voyager (1942), The Letter (1940), Jezebel (1938), All About Eve (1950) & What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1961).

For me, classic films had a magical element which I felt was lacking in contemporary films. Classic film stars were naturally glamorous, and they knew how to act. For the first time ever, watching a film became more than just entertainment. For me, it was an experience. The fusion of music, lighting and the performances in these films gave me goosebumps, which always left me wanting more.

Do you have any theatres in your city which screen classic films?

Yes, in Melbourne, Australia (where I live), there are two theatres which regularly screen classic film:

ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) – ACMI is a film museum and theatre complex, which celebrates the moving image and brings many wonderful film exhibits to the city. Earlier in the year, ACMI displayed a retrospective of costumes by Orry-Kelly, and also hosted a Scorsese exhibition, which I heard will be coming to the Museum of Moving Image in New York next year.

The Astor Theatre – The Astor Theatre is a historic art-deco theatre from the 1930s, which still regularly shows classic films as part of its repertory programming. The Astor is my favourite place to watch movies, and over the years it’s given me the opportunity to see many of my favourite films on the big screen.

 

Do you enjoy classic Italian cinema?

I am Italian-Australian, so I have also have a big interest in classic Italian cinema. My favourite Italian film is Federico Fellini’s Amarcord (1973). I love the way he has accurately captured all of the characters from a typical Italian village, and respectfully presented them in a comedic form. The score by Nino Rota is one of my favourite film scores. I have shown the film to my grandparents who immigrated from Italy, and they indicated it is a very accurate portrayal of life in an Italian village during the 1940s.

Some of my other favourite Italian films include Il Decameron (1971), Rocco And His Brothers (1960), La Dolce Vita (1960), Pane, Amore e Fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams) (1953) and Tenebrae (1982).

A Cinecittá studios photo of John Sambuco from Rome, Italy. The sculpture in the background is a prop from the opening sequence of Fellini’s Casanova

On a recent trip to Rome, I was lucky enough to visit the classic Cinecittà film studios, which was very interesting. They have exhibits on the history of the Italian film industry, as well as a room dedicated to Fellini. Benito Mussolini originally built Cinecittà as a means to communicate fascist propaganda to the Italians, many of whom were illiterate during the 1930s. Popularity with the medium of film led to the growth of the industry, and the eventual development of the neorealist movement.
John visited the Margaret Mitchell House…

Zoo Atlanta…


The Aquarium…..

Centennial Park…
And many more sites of interest.
All photos provided by Australaian Superfan,  John Sambuco.

Thanks, John!

Garnering: The Best

James Garner always had that kind of optimistic cynicism that let the audience know he had the score, he felt like there was no point to all this nonsense, but that he was sticking around to see how everything was going to turn out. Such an attitude made viewers want to linger in front of the screen, whether television or silver, just to see what would happen, too.

This article is part of the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon on Journeys in Classic Film: https://journeysinclassicfilm.com/2016/07/14/the-2016-tcm-summer-under-the-stars-blogathon/



Garner first appeared in my orbit in episodes of Maverick on our bulky black and white entertainment center, and the cocky way he would push back his Gambler-style Stetson made me realize that I was as skeptical as his character was, but I was also sticking around to see what would transpire. Garner’s ability to shape shift, beginning on television, switching to film, and going back and forth between the medium for decades reveals his everlasting appeal as a performer and his undeniable versatility for decades. Since I am a cinephile and TCM enthusiast, I feel assured that everyone will find at least a few of their favorite Garner films on TCM today. 

What are my favorites? I always enjoy his films with Doris Day, and even Day remarked during her TCM interstitial that since she and Garner appeared so compatible with each other during The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling, fan actually thought Day and Garner were married. But my absolute delight over “The Americanization of Emily” always brings me hope that this film will be screened at a TCM Film Festival. Focusing on the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and other initiative in the European Theatre during World War II, the scenario, by ace scribe Paddy Chayefsky, reveals another tour-de-force performance by Melvyn Douglas, grandfather of TCM host Illeana Douglas. The palpable chemistry between Julie Andrews and Garner makes Chayefsky dialogue sizzle in Garner’s most romantic adult collaboration.

If you enjoy James Garner, here’s a viewer’s opportunity to revel in his good looks, his characterizations, and his ability to relate to the absurdities of life. TCM’s Summer Under The Stars Celebration has chosen to honor James Garner on Saturday, August, 27, with a special selection of Garner’s films, both serious, comical, and farcical with selections appearing from the website:
MISTER BUDDWING (1966)

A man suffering from amnesia confronts a series of women in his search for his memory.

Dir: Delbert Mann Cast: James Garner , Jean Simmons , Suzanne Pleshette .

SEARCHERS FOR A SPECIAL CITY (1966)
This short film focuses on how the production team for the movie “Mister Buddwing” (1966) scouted for filming locations in New York City

HOW SWEET IT IS (1968)

A married couple’s working vacation in Paris turns into a battle to stay faithful.

Dir: Jerry Paris Cast: James Garner , Debbie Reynolds , Maurice Ronet .

ACTION ON THE BEACH (1964)

This behind-the-scenes short offers a look at the D-Day special effects created in filming “The Americanization of Emily” (1964).

AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, THE (1964)
 A British war widow falls for an opportunistic American sailor during World War II.

Dir: Arthur Hiller Cast: James Garner , Julie Andrews , Melvyn Douglas .

THRILL OF IT ALL, THE (1963)
 A doctor tries to cope with his wife’s newfound stardom as an advertising pitch woman.

Dir: Norman Jewison Cast: Doris Day , James Garner , Arlene Francis .

36 HOURS (1964)

Nazis kidnap a key American intelligence officer and try to convince him that World War II is over.

Dir: George Seaton Cast: James Garner , Rod Taylor , Eva Marie Saint .

HOUR OF THE GUN (1967)
 Wyatt Earp tracks down the survivors of the Clanton Gang after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Dir: John Sturges Cast: James Garner , Jason Robards Jr. , Robert Ryan 

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969)
A cowboy drifts into a lawless town and brings things back together.

Dir: Burt Kennedy Cast: James Garner , Joan Hackett , Walter Brennan .

GREAT ESCAPE, THE (1963)

Thrown together by the Germans, a group of captive Allied troublemakers plot a daring escape.

Dir: John Sturges Cast: Robert Graf , Nigel Stock , Angus Lennie .

GRAND PRIX (1966)
Auto racers find danger and romance at the legendary European road race.

Dir: John Frankenheimer Cast: James Garner , Eva Marie Saint , Yves Montand .

SKIN GAME (1971)
Two western con artists team with a lady card shark to take on slavers.

Dir: Paul Bogart Cast: James Garner , Lou Gossett , Susan Clark .

MARLOWE (1969)

Detective Philip Marlowe probes the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles in search of a woman’s missing sister.

Dir: Paul Bogart Cast: James Garner , Gayle Hunnicutt , Carroll O’Connor .

RECOMMENDED: 
“Action on the Beach” is an informative interstitial with special effects and creative recreations that highlights the one-of-a-kind D-Day sequences for “The Americanization of Emily.” 

If you miss any of these films highlighted today, check out TCM Mobile for a replay. Read James Garner’s autobiography with Jon Winokur, The Garner Files, published in 2011.

More boffo blogosphere background :
A Shroud of Thoughts:
http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-late-great-james-garner-true.html

TCM’s Summer Under The Stars biography of that “lovable rogue:”
http://summer.tcm.com/day-27/james-garner/bio

Classic Film Observations and Obsessions: http://classicfilmobsessions.blogspot.com/2016/08/james-garner-in-hour-of-gun-western.html
Outspoken and Freckled: http://kelleepratt.blogspot.com/2014/03/james-garner-as-maverick-1957-1960.html
A Person in the Dark:
http://flickchick1953.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-cinemascope-blogathon-move-over.html

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 2016 S.F. Film Festival Offers Appetizing Selection

Nice festival play-by-play!

Beggars of Life.Glass Slide WEB“Beggars of Life,” courtesy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.


The just concluded Twenty First Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival featured a strong weekend of thoughtful and powerful films and music from all over the world. The diverse lineup revealed the deep emotional impact of well made, visually impressive silent films, motion pictures that still speak to the spirit today.

The Louise Brooks classic “Beggars of Life” opened the Festival Thursday, June 3. This spare but compelling William Wellman film speaks as much to today as it did the late 1920s, particularly with its hobos desperately looking for food and work. A simple line of dialogue gives the film its apt and effective title, describing how we all are “beggars of life.”

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Mysterious Island (1961)

  

I’m happy to be included in BLOG OF THE DARNED’S Sci-fi marathon, BLOGATHON FROM ANOTHER WORLD!


Mysterious Island
(1961) reverberates in some ways with Disney influences from Swiss Family Robinson, future references in popular television programs, and the frightful, but ever-mesmerizing special effects of stop-motion animation hero Ray Harryhausen.  

 
When I was 9 or 10 years old, I wasn’t thinking anything about those aspects of science-fiction filmmaking and didn’t have a clue who Harryhausen was. I was too busy playing outside, riding my bicycle, reading Nancy Drew books and creating my own Barbie doll dresses. 

The synopsis, completely courtesy of Cinematic Autopsy, reveals that the film centers around Union soldiers escaping in a gas balloon from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War. They end up crashing in the ocean, only to find themselves washed up on an unknown island where gigantic animals abound. It would later be revealed that the animals were the result of experiments by the presumed-dead Captain Nemo. He has been an unknown benefactor to the castaways as they struggled to survive on the island. The island’s volcano threatens to erupt. After a skirmish with pirates, the stranded group manages to escape from the island on the pirates’ ship as the volcano destroys

But one dreary, rainy afternoon, I had to stay inside, and I sat down to watch television. Mysterious Island was screened on the local afternoon movie channel.Bernard Hermann, Hitchcock’s hard-driving harmonizer, created a score that grabbed me right from the beginning, and I settled in for an uneasy journey from Civil War era America to an island somewhere out in the mist (but actually on the coast of Spain).

  

That spooky organ music in the salon of the Nautilus….

I remember Gary Merrill in this film with his Simian-like features and edgy, liberal attitude, and now I realize those were probably some of the qualities that attracted Bette Davis to him offscreen while they made onscreen love in All About Eve. But in Mysterious Island, he was the castaway with ideas about fixing huts, making fires, conserving water, and most other duties that would eventually be assigned to The Professor on Gilligan’s Island. 

A sneaking suspicion overcomes me, and I feel that the writers on Gilligan’s Island had seen this film. There were a few too many parallels between Mysterious Island and the “Pass the Vegetables, Please” episode where the professor grows literally tons of radioactive vegetables with, what else? Radioactive seeds! Maryann’s eyesight improves 100-fold with all those carrots she’s eaten, but luckily the legumes didn’t rise up and attack the forlorn, coconut-juice swilling inhabitants of the ill-fated three-hour tour.

  
Ooh. Why didn’t I pay more ttention to Michael Craig as a Captain Cyrus Harding?

The characters in Mysterious Island have a different kind of luck with island fare. A giant crab, a huge, flesh-laden bird ripe for barbecuing, and menacingly bulbous-eyed bees relentlessly attack so as to keep the castaways well-fed by their tenacious, ruthless attacks on the oversized invaders. 

The film also began an early crush on scantly-clad Michael Callan which finally ended with his portrayal of an impulsive, sex-starved cowboy in Cat Ballou. (After Callan, Sean Connery assumed my attention.) Callan fights off huge bees to save the scantily-clad, ingenue-niece of Lady Mary, Elena (Beth Rogan), who has become the object of his desires.

  

Herbert Lom is excellent as an intense, globally-concerned Captain Nemo, evoking a bit of James Mason from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mason’s character in Pandora and The Flying Dutchman. But the most exciting aspect of Nemo is the fact that he could scuba dive with a huge conch shell. Watching him emerge from the ocean and begin his liaison with the ship-wrecked, balloon-tossed crew increased the moment of awe for me as I pondered how such things might be possible in my adolescent cognition. If I had a huge conch shell and strapped it to my back, could I descend deep into the ocean?

Joan Greenwood plays the civilizing influence and brings her no-nonsense, aristocratic British lady to smooth over the rough edges of the wilderness. Her performance as the self-seeking Sybilla in Kind Hearts and Coronets is unrelated to her compassionate hut-living, cave-sweeping survivor in this popular sci-fi offering.
  

But for me, the giant crab was the most fascinating. A few years after seeing this film, we moved to Florida, and I realized how delicious boiled crab could be, and the image of a huge, delicious crustacean stayed with me. I discovered I could ride around our island on my bike with my friends, and we could actually catch crabs, cook them and eat them. And I would spend every sunny, summer day crabbing, swimming, and soaking up the sun. For me, I actually found a Mysterious Island near Tampa, Florida, where we were to live for several years.  

The synopsis, completely courtesy of Cinematic Autopsy, reveals that “the film centers around Union soldiers escaping in a gas balloon from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War. They end up crashing in the ocean, only to find themselves washed up on an unknown island where gigantic animals abound. It would later be revealed that the animals were the result of experiments by the presumed-dead Captain Nemo. He has been an unknown benefactor to the castaways as they struggled to survive on the island. The island’s volcano threatens to erupt. After a skirmish with pirates, the stranded group manages to escape from the island on the pirates’ ship as the volcano destroys their habitat.

  
Having its 55th anniversary, the film still captures my imagination, and I feel grateful to have discovered one of Ray Harryhausen’s most unusual films. I’d love to experience on a larger theater screen at the TCM Classic Film Festival.
SOME SUGGESTIONS FROM THE LINKDOM OF MYSTERIOUS ISLAND:
Synopsis courtesy of…. http://www.cinematicautopsy.com/2011/11/mysterious-island-1961blu-raytwilight.html
Ken Turner on Ray Harryhausen’s legacy: http://kenturner.blogspot.com/2013/05/ken-turner-blog-series-influences-and_10.html
21 Essays devotion to the music of Ray Harryhausen: http://21essays.blogspot.com/search/label/Mysterious%20Island
Journalist Brian Sibley discusses the London exhibition celebrating Ray Harryhausen: http://briansibleysblog.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html
Selected screenshots from “Mysterious Island” highlighting Ray Harryhausen’s special effects: http://ukanimation.blogspot.com/2013/06/ray-harryhausen-in-uk-mysterious-island.html
Cinema Retro reviews the Blu-ray: http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/6632-BLU-RAY-REVIEW-MYSTERIOUS-ISLAND-1961-TWILIGHT-TIME-LIMITED-EDITION.html
What Jeff Stafford said about “Mysterious Island” on the TCM Database: http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/246633%7C28071/Mysterious-Island.html
 Crazy Film Guy Blogspot: http://crazyfilmguy.blogspot.com/2012/07/mysterious-island-1961.html