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.

Still A Giant

The long awaited chronicle of the personal and professional journey of a 20th Century template for quintessential Hollywood male has arrived. The quest of Rock Hudson for acceptance and recognition has long since ceased, but the fascination with such a “gorgeous hunk of man” continues. All That Heaven Allows, the ultimate biography of Hudson by Mark Griffin and the title of one of Hudson’s more successful Hollywood films, is just the solution for readers and fans who still happen to be hoarding those Christmas and Valentine’s day gift cards. Those fans seeking a delicious read to fill those boring moments between the latest social media frenzy and a visit from the Sandman is just a click away on Amazon or a jaunt to the local page proprietor.

In-depth interviews with Hollywood insiders, friends and family of Hudson, and historians hold court to tell a tale of the rise to the summit of world-wide fame. Like one of the Rocky mountains of Colorado, Hudson’s professional summit was well-served by his own physical height and personal magnetism. Griffin’s research and details remind us of Rock’s charisma with onscreen partners like Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, and colleague John Wayne, and explores his more difficult moments on screen with the queen of clean, Julie Andrews. Detailed research and polished prose float the reader along the waves of Hudson’s peaks-and-valleys existence in the forefront of media hype and behind closed doors.

Hudson’s difficult childhood, his burgeoning, complicated sexuality, and his private life peopled with sybaritic sycophants spurred the late TCM host and friend Robert Osborne to frankly comment about Hudson’s final years. Piper Laurie, a close friend of Hudson’s for many years, reveals aspects of Hudson’s character to endear him even further to his fans.

In George Stevens’ film of Edna Ferber’s Giant, Bick Benedict, a thinly veiled alter ego of the larger-than-life Houston wildcatter Glenn McCarthy, lived large, but espoused a more traditional family man’s attitude, tempered with more acceptance by his wife Leslie, portrayed by future long-time friend Elizabeth Taylor. James Dean, as Jett Rink, played the darker, more emotionally plagued persona embedded in McCarthy’s complex personality.

It was no fluke that Hudson aligned with Benedict in the collective mind of Hollywood casting as he also lived large, albeit in varied social circles. Hudson initially charmed all he met, yet he continually struggled to become a success and stay one. At the end of his life, he still worried about his career, and refused to accept his own infallibility, just like any other traditional American hero.

 

Mark Griffin is the author of A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli.  Griffin, whose writing has appeared in scores of publications, including The Boston Globe, recently appeared in the documentary Gene Kelly: To Live and Dance.  He lives in Maine.

 

Mark Griffin’s website.

Interview with Mark Griffin on Vincent Minelli…

Interview with Mark Griffin on Rock Hudson and All That Heaven Allows on PBS’ Fresh Air….

All That Heaven Allows is soon to be a major motion picture!

#TCMFF Festival Themes…..2010-2019

Festival themes have intrigued us since the very first festival. In the first festival programming guide, beloved TCM Host Robert Osborne dubbed the first year as “four days of…classiccinemania!” That’s pretty much what it’s been since then!

In 2010, instead of one over-arching theme, there were “Programming Listings” featuring Discoveries, Essentials, The Film Foundation, The Hustons: A Hollywood Dynasty, Hollywood on Hollywood, Imports That Influenced Hollywood, Moguls & Movie Stars, Special Presentations, and Vanity Fair’s Tales of Hollywood. Festival App for Iphone arrives.

Seeing all of these celebrities: Tony Curtis, Luise Rainer, Tab Hunter, Hayley Mills, Esther Williams, Betty Garrett, Ernest Borgnine, Curtis Hanson, Martin Landau, Eva Marie Saint, Frank Capra III, Tom Capra, Buck Henry, Leonard Maltin, Peter Bogdanovich, Suzanne Lloyd, Cari Beauchamp, Stanley Donen, Nancy Olsen, Margaret Bodde, Illeana Douglas, Casey LaLonde, Eli Wallach, Cheryl Crane, Juanita Moore, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Donald Bogle, John Badham, Norman Lloyd, Danny Huston, and Anjelica Huston were guests.

My favorite moments from all of the festivals? Meeting new friends and connecting with virtual ones. Seeing Betty Garret look wistfully at the poolside screening of Neptune’s Daughter during the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” number and she watched from her Cabana patio. She smiled at me with tears in her eyes, turned around slowly, and went back inside her room. Sweet. Seeing Robert Osborne in person, interviewing Luise Rainer, Juanita Moore, and Susan Kohner was a joy. The Vanity Fair party rocked!

In 2011, pass holders found Discoveries, Disney’s Musical Legacy, Essentials, A Celebration of Bernard Hermann, Nice Work If You Can Get it: The Film Music of George and ira Gershwin, Happy Trails: Roy Rogers’100th Birthday, The Silent Legacy and Special Presentations. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Peter O’Toole. My favorite moment? Shaking Peter O’Toole’s hand and meeting Lesley Caron. The Vanity Fair party was exciting!

2012 brought Built By Design: Architecture in Film, Deco Design, Discoveries, Essentials, The Films of Stanley Donen, The Legendary Costumes of Travis Banton, The Noir Style, The Paramount Renaissance, Special Presentations, and Universal’s Legacy of Horror. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Kim Novak. Favorite moments: Meeting A. C. Lyles in the lobby of the Chinese after a screening of Wings;Meeting Peggy Cummins as she arrived from London at the Roosevelt.

2013, Cinematic Journeys: Travel in the Movies, gave us Discoveries, Essentials, Festival Tributes, Journeys of Self-Discovery, A Journey to Italy, Lovers On The Run, Riding The Rails, River As Road, and Special Presentations. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Jane Fonda. Seeing Shirlee Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Peter Fonda walk over to their father’s Hand and Footprints impression, and Shirlee Fonda showing me a photo from the day Henry Fonda was honored in the Chinese Forecourt. Meeting Ann Blyth in the lobby of the TCL Chinese was a dream come true!

So much is going on in this photo: Margaret O’Brien, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak, and more!

Miss Theresa Madere Barrera on the Red Carpet 2014….

Families in the Movies, 2014, included titles relating to Single Mothers, Festival Tributes, Essentials, Discoveries, Daddy/Daughter Films, Aging Parents, Sister Acts, Dysfunctional Families, and Special Presentations. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Jerry Lewis. Meeting Maureen O’Hara for a brief moment, and hearing her interview with Robert Osborne.

Exciting lobby photo ops with media moguls and mavens….

2015 brought pass holders a Festival App. History According to Hollywood screened features focusing on History According to John Ford, Discoveries, Special Tributes, Fight The Power-Films About Revolution, History on Trial, and Herstory. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Christopher Plummer. The Peter Fonda interview in Club TCM, and The Picture Show Man, a fabulous Rod Taylor film discovery for me from Australia!

In 2016, Moving Pictures included topics like Inspirational Sports Movies, Animal Movies, Religious Films, Love and Loss, Coming-of-Age, Festival Tributes, Discoveries, Essentials. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Francis Ford Coppola. Fave moments: Meeting Carl Bernstein, Elliot Gould’s interview in Club TCM, Meeting Carl Reiner.

By 2017, it was time to Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies, bringing Dark Comedies, Divorce Remorse, Movie Spoofs, Nitrate, Hey-That’s Not Funny, Special Presentations, Discoveries, Essentials, and Festival Tributes. Hand and Footprint Honorees: Carl and Rob Reiner. Seeing Stalag 17 and Dr. Strangelove with my son who lives in L.A.

Last year’s theme for 2018, Powerful Words, The Page Onscreen illuminated Christie’s Mysteries, Hardboiled Hollywood, Shakespeare in the Dark, The Poet’s Corner, The Power of the Press, Writer’s Block, Special Presentations, Nitrate Films, Discoveries, and Special Tributes. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Cicely Tyson. Fave moments: Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor documentary, an interview I conducted at Larry Edmunds with Director Alexa Foreman, the Janes Ivory interview in Club TCM, a conversation with Gillian Armstrong, the screening of My Brilliant Career, a conversation with Robert Benton.

UPDATE AS OF August 28 at 11:15: The TCM Film Festival Theme for 2019 is…Follow Your Heart: Love At The Movies.

Inspiration For 2019–Turner Classic Movies Film Festival 2018!

The hurly-burly of hustling down Hollywood Boulevard hasn’t altered much from pass holder forays down the busiest street in LA in 2017. The hawkers and gawkers, snake-handlers and CD sellers, presenters and pass holders all navigate the obstacle course while snapping photos of their favorite star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  The haves are constantly juxtaposed against the have nots, and sometimes the have nots are not what they seem.

On my first day, Tuesday, April 25, I found that a man who appeared to be in his mid-30s had asked me for money so he could buy food. I told him I would be happy to buy him a meal at the local fast-food establishment that I was preparing to patronize. He looked at me with disgust, waved me away, and obviously wasn’t as hungry as he appeared to be.  Of course, I shrugged off the incident. It might just happen again. The first rule of Hollywood Boulevard is… “don’t talk about Hollywood Boulevard.” Stick to the movies, the presenters, the high cost of a refreshing beverage poolside. We can always talk about Hollywood Boulevard later.

Mary Astor has fans celebrating her life and struggles in interviews and a documentary film by director Alexa Foreman, Scandal:The Trial Of Mary Astor, which had its world premiere at the TCM Film Fest….(photo courtesy of Miss Paula who chose the special Mary Astor brew at a local java joint in honor of the documentary screening)

Wednesday afternoon at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the premiere bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard, Director Foreman participated in an SRO Q & A with yours truly to celebrate the Mary Astor doc…

Andrew Yang, great grandson of Mary Astor, shared lifelike dolls of the classic film star with the audience, which are produced by his company…

Cora Sue Collins, Barbara Rush and author Meredith Ponedel wait for Kelly Kitchens’ social media party to commence. Actor Ted Donaldson also attended.

Social media garden party pass holders focus on an interview with Cora Sue Collins and Barbara Rush conducted by author Danny Miller…

Festival pass holders actually started dribbling into the Hollywood Roosevelt Lobby on Monday, and by Tuesday, the more dedicated had already plunked down their credit cards at the HRH Reservation Desk hoping they wouldn’t be charged for the entire contents of their mini-bar before they checked out. Notice the look of uncertainty and disbelief as the hotel guest signs the blank credit card authorization form the seconds before a digitized plastic room key is presented. Not only is their expression unsettling, but some of the signatures are even a little wobbly. But all fear and trepidation melts once the guest has left luggage in the room, and ridden down the elevator to greet friends schmoozing and lounging in the lobby.

Lobby love with writer and gadabout Kim Luperi and TCM’s ever effervescent Shannon Clute…

Media-fest pre-party finds TCM Backlot commercial cutie Beth Ann Gallagher and TCM Host Alicia Malone clinching before the fest frenzy…..

Host Scott McGee, Turner Portfolio 360 Brand Strategy and General Manager Jennifer Dorian, and FilmStruck Guru and Senior Vice President of Programming and Production, Charles Tabesh…

The first order of business at the TCM Film Festival is usually a Meet The TCM Panel, and this year was no different, only a few of the players changed.

Getting ready to par-tay with Julia Ricci, Priscilla’s hubby, Jeff Lundenberger, Priscilla Smith and Patrick Goff…

Chinese Multiplex Mania with Danny Reid, Joel Williams, Jessica Pickens, Kendahl Cruver, and Christy….

All anxieties disappear once pass holders greet old friends from previous festivals, reconnecting with a family of choosing instead of a group of genetic links who do not necessarily connect emotionally with classic film, travel, sitting in the dark for extended periods of time, or mountains of pre-popped popcorn and Twizzlers.

Andrew Yang, great-grandson of Mary Astor, with friend in Club TCM….

Hollywood legend Norma Weingarten Pisar, Diane Baker, actress and close friend of Robert Osborne, TCM Programmer Dennis Millay, and Kelly Brady lobbying for a photo-op. Pisar is the daughter of Jessie Marmestan, a USC/MGM doctor, goddaughter of Norma Shearer, step-daughter of Lawrence Weingarten, and ex-wife of Sam Pisar, and has been involved in many creative endeavors in LA.

Cinemaven Theresa Brown, perpetual TCMFF Florida Fan Sam Mahin, and Paula “Cinema Detroit,” #TCMParty doyenne grab a moment to pose in the Chinese Multiplex Lobby, always a popular gathering spot for fest-themed displays…

Fans ready for the Red Carpet Rumba near the entrance to the TCL Chinese Theater, formerly and always Grauman’s to classic film fans…

Credentialed Media mavens (L to R), Kim Luperi, Michelle Conte, a perky but unknown credentialed media gal, The Nitrate Diva’s Nora Fiore, and (Front) Journeys in Classic Film’s Kristen Lopez, gather for the race down the TCMFF Red Carpet 2018…

PR whiz Liz Kelly is ready for celebs!

TCM’s Duchess Of Social Media Marya Gates, Raquel Stelcher, and Asbury Park, New Jersey’s Jeff Lundenberger….

And the celebs are off to the races!!

Juliet Mills and husband Maxwell Caulfield…

New TCM Host Dave Karger engages with media…

Author Alan K. Rode, Michael Curtiz: A Life In Film, greets a journalist and fan …

TCM VP and Brand Activation and Partnership whiz Genevieve McGillicuddy enjoys the cheering crowd with the RC Host…

Mario Van Peebles escorts his father, Melvin Van Peebles, who told yours truly that being at the TCMFF was ” the most love I ever had with my clothes on!”

TCM’s Jennifer Dorian reiterated the future vision for the network after Coleman Breland, President Of Turner Classic Movies and Turner Content Experiences, outlined the detailed plans for connecting with fan interests, expanding content choices and remembering the enormous impact that former TCM Host Robert Osborne had on the network…

Wyatt McCrea, grandson of classic film heartthrob Joel McCrea, laughs at a journalist’s comment..

Pola Changnon, TCM SVP Of Marketing, Creative and Brand Services, shared her excitement for this year’s special guests and screenings…

Noir Alley Kingpin Eddie Muller emotes…

Rosanna Arquette, happy about the Bill Cosby conviction earlier in the day stated, “Justice was done today!”

Writer and presenter Cari Beauchamp is interviewed by TCM’s Kristen Welch in front of the cheering fan gallery…

Actor and comedian Dennis Miller seriously readies for the next barrage of questions…

Writer, author and Treasures from the Disney Vault Host Leonard Maltin is always ready to share…

Animated Ruta Lee talked, laughed, and shared with all the journalists, the most energetic and democratic of special guests…

2018 Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges introduced Gigi at the festival…

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey shared their love for the epic Zeffirelli film, Romeo and Juliet…

First Robert Osborne Award recipient Martin Scorsese, founder of The Film Foundation and the World Cinema Project, rushes down the runway to prepare for the ceremony…

The opening night Red Carpet Gala Premiere of The Producers was preceded by a new event, heralding a memorial to an esteemed, honored man revered by all fans of Turner Classic Movies, Robert Osborne. The festival website defines the event:

Turner Classic Movies is proud to honor our late host, Robert Osborne, with the creation of the Robert Osborne Award. This annual award will be presented at the TCM Classic Film Festival to an individual whose work has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic films alive and thriving for generations to come.

The presentation of the first Robert Osborne Memorial Award, presented by Leonardo Di Caprio, went to esteemed director, writer, and film historian, Martin Scorsese. Scorsese walked down the Red Carpet quickly with an escort.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVt7yPeYe8o

Pass holders don’t care about the drunks, the drug addicts, the beggars or the trash up and down the street. Yes, they give out money, pay for food, and generally try to be respectful of the people in the parade that they constantly wish they could pass by. Die-hard fans attending the TCM Film Festival care about having a communal, family-oriented gathering with like-minded friends who share common ideas and beliefs. Strategizing the mine field of Hollywood Boulevard is nothing when we pass holders consider what will be shared at the end of a trek to the Egyptian or back up the boulevard to the Chinese. Walk, Don’t Run the next time an opportunity is offered to be with friends from all over the world who want to share experiences like the annual spring convention on Hollywood, Boulevard.

The world premiere screening of Scandal:The Trial Of Mary Astor saw Host Gary Freedman and Director Alexa Foreman wistful as they remembered their good friend Robert Osborne ….

Java jaunt before Stage Door’s screening at The Egyptian…

Director Sean Cameron showing some pass holder passion….

And there’s always the thrill of the Hand and Footprint Ceremony at the TCL Chinese Forecourt…

Academy-Award Winner Cicely Tyson waits for her moment in the hand and footprint sunshine with director, actor, and producer Tyler Perry….

Cicely Tyson listens to fans and photogs shouting “hurrahs” as she takes time to make it right…

Closing night party huzzahs in Club TCM…. and spilling into the lobby…

Marion Davies’ biographer and fest presenter Lara Fowler with credentialed media Kristin Sales…

Canada’s Heather Dagorne, The Bay Area’s Miss Paula, and Minnesota’s Vickie “Vickster” Gleason…

Christy with Disney historian and author J.B. Kaufman….

PR gal Kelly Kitchens, Susan Godfrey, and Minnesota’s Vickie Gleason…

Everybody had to have their photo op with Sheryl Birkner…

Classic Movie Hub’s AnnMarie Gatti and cousin Doreen…

Theresa Brown, Sam Mahin, and Ana Eire…

Mark Wickersham, Kelly Kitchens Wickersham and Lawrence Kaplowitz…

TCM’s Dennis Millay and jet-setting fangirl Jackie Brady….

Authors Sloan De Forest, Must See Sci-Fi, and Jeremy Arnold, The Essentials- 52 Must See Movies. Warner’s new book about Christmas-themed films comes out soon …

Director Alexa Foreman and Dan from Florida…

Jocelyn Dunphy and good friend Lenore K…

Jasmine, Alan and Chris…

Diana Panda and yours truly…

Two Laura’s, one Mike, and one Jasmine…

Aurora Bugallo and Kaci Kielmar bookend a happy couple…

Larry and Monika Henreid dining in style…

Larry’s Brigade, almost all pals from The TCM Message Boards, The Silver Screen Oasis, and the first fest in 2010…

Beautiful Diane Baker….

Journeys in Classic Film’s Kristen Lopez and Christy….

Selfie with Karen Burroughs Hannsberry

Jeff Lundenberger, Christy, and Jeff Tambor of Larry Edmunds Bookshop …

Kelly Brady and Miss Paula….

With the ever kinetic Jack Fields…

Wendy Mahaffey and Heather Dagorne ready for next year…

Well, the party’s over for 2018. Pretty soon we’ll be partying like it’s 2019!

Living With Grace: Life Lessons From America’s Princess

Good Graces: The Legacy of Grace Kelly

Motion picture archivist, Hollywood historian, and writer Mary Mallory’s newest book, Living with Grace: Life Lessons From America’s Princess, published June 30 by Lyons Press, is the latest volume about a national fashion icon, and a real princess who grew up near the Eastern Atlantic shores in toney East Falls, Pennsylvania. With American Meghan Markle’s new title as Duchess of Sussex confirming that royal titles are not quite the forbidden territory they once seemed to be, Mallory’s new book may provide even more insight in how to prepare for a royal life even if the reader has no regal ambitions.

Evolving the tale of Grace Kelly’s rise to stardom and stylishness finds Mallory’s narrative revealing the more important aspects of Kelly’s personal and professional trajectory while including glossy images accompanied by timely quotes offset in pink type like:

“She was the least self-conscious actress I ever met,” Celeste Holm

Discussing Kelly’s style while including relevant images from all facets of her professional life illuminates how her persona transformed through her years as a young actress and model, to her more definitive, well-developed sense of what ensemble complemented the characters she played. Comments from former fiancé and couturier Oleg Cassini, and cinematic fashion designers Edith Head and Helen Rose reveal their admiration for her style and distinctive good taste. Those who would dismiss Kelly as a two-dimensional Disney princess exclude her life legacies as a dedicated actress, wife and mother who always tried to focus on kindness, professionalism, and civility.

Kelly’s acting colleagues, like director George Seaton or actor William Holden from The Country Girl, Clark Gable from Mogambo, James Stewart from Rear Window or friends Rita Gam and Judy Balaban Quine are just a sampling of the highlighted comments or quotes found nestled among the narrative. The photographs reminding readers or enchanting new fans continue to reveal how Kelly’s unobtrusive style-setting demeanor and lack of pretension helped her become a popular actress and a perpetually respected princess. Mallory also reveals Kelly’s playfulness and sense of humor off and on famous sound stages and proscenium arches.

The comments by Grace herself, some of which are not readily found anywhere else in published articles or books, breathe fresh sighs of tribute to the legacy of such a lovely actress, mother, wife, and princess.

I heartily recommend such a lovely book to look at, read, and enjoy. I’ll be ordering several as gifts for friends and family, and others might want to do the same.

Previous books:

Hollywood Celebrates The Holidays: 1920-1970

Hollywood At Play: The Lives of The Stars Between Takes

Living With Grace: Life Lessons From America’s Princess : Amazon Page

Amazon Author Page: Mary Mallory

Christina Putnam

Author:

THELMA RITTER: HOLLYWOOD’S FAVORITE NEW YORKER, University of Mississippi Press, 2019

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. Plus, they sound perfect for their nicknames, like comments Barbara Stanwyck might have made…

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

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.