Who Makes Me Laugh?

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WHO MAKES ME LAUGH?

The TCM Film Festival 2017 Red Carpet

Working the TCM Film Festival Red Carpet on April 6, 2017, afforded me the opportunity to ask celebrities, writers, actors, producers and TCM staff a question that follows the theme of the festival, Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies. I wanted to know who makes them laugh. Here’s what they said:

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TCM’s Kellie O’Neal: “Charlie Chaplan!”

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The Czar of Noir, the CEO of The Film Noir Foundation, and host of TCM’s Noir Alley on Sunday mornings, Eddie Muller: “My wife! That’s why I married her.”

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Diane Baker greets Martin Landau during the Red Carpet Rush on Thursday, April 6. Landau participated in a special interview during the festival.

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Actress and Educator Diane Baker, a close friend of the late TCM Host Robert Osborne: “The Golden Girls because it’s timeless, Betty White and her deadpan delivery, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Judy Dench in As Time Goes By.

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Actor Chris Tucker and the legendary Quincy Jones visit with credentialed media on the Red Carpet. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images for TCM)

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Martha Rogers pointed to the man standing to her left.

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“My husband, Dick Cavett, makes me laugh. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and says something hysterically funny!”

(Photo by Getty News for TCM)

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TCM’s Mark Wynns, who made the final film introduction on Sunday evening for Lady in the Dark at the Egyptian: “My three-year-old son!”

 

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Stathis Giallelis, who attended a screening of Elia Kazan’s America, America!: 

“Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and my family!”

(Photo by Getty News for TCM)

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TCM Producer Anne Wilson: “The people I work with!”


Sara Karloff: “Mel Brooks!”

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Keir Dullea: “Danny Kaye! He was hysterical.” Dullea attended a screening of David and Lisa. (Photo courtersy of Michelle Conte)

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TCM’s Charlie Tabesh: “Elaine May. I tried to get her to come to the festival. Mel Brooks, Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker…”

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Director Sean Cameron: “Steve Martin!”

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Cameron was the emcee for the evening and introduced special guests to the fan gallery.

Wyatt McCrea: “My uncle, Jody McCrea! He could make my grandfather (legendary actor Joel McCrea) fall on the floor laughing!” McCrea attended a screening of The Palm Beach Story.

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Actors Rusty Goffe, Julie Dawn Cole, and Paris Themmen attend the 50th anniversary screening of In the Heat of the Night and were in attendance for the poolside screening of Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.

Goffe:  “Mel Brooks!”

Cole: : “Mel Brooks!

Themmen: “Christopher Guest”

(Photo courstesy of Getty Images for TCM)

 

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TCM’s Pola Changnon: “My husband, Dustin Hoffman, and Jack Lemmon!”

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TCM’s host of Trailblazing Women, Illeana Douglas: “Jerry Lewis, Carl Reiner, and Albert Brooks, who is truly a genius!”

 

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Beau Bridges greets Lee Grant on the Red Carpet…

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images for TCM)

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Historian, writer and popular #TCMFF presenter Cari Beauchamp (with son Jake): “Sue Lloyd!” Beauchamp introduced 5 films, two of which were added as TBAs. Beauchamp wrote Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood and My First Time in Hollywood.

 

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TCM’s General Manager Jennifer Dorian, here greeting a fan: “My girlfriends!”

Actress, Thalians officer and friend of Debbie Reynolds, Ruta Lee chats and giggles during her interview on The Red Carpet. Lee once claimed Reynolds was one of the funniest ladies she’d ever met, and was in attendance at a screening of Singin’ In The Rain with Todd Fisher.

 

Historian, author, and host of Treasures From the Disney Vault on TCM, Leonard Maltin:

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“My wife and I have made each other laugh for 42 years! ”

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images for TCM)

Todd Fisher, sister of Carrie Fisher, and son of legendary triple-threat Debbie Reynolds was happy to talk to credentialed media on the #TCMFF Red Carpet. When told this reporter was a native Texan, Fisher replied “You know, my mother was from Texas, and she enjoyed acknowledging it. My mother was very funny. But I have to say that the funniest person I ever knew was my sister, Carrie.”

Fisher appeared at the TCM Film Festival for screenings of “Singin’In The Rain”and “Postcards From The Edge,” and participated in memorializing his mother and sister. During the pre-interview for the screening of “Postcards From The Edge” with Richard Dreyfuss, Dreyfuss broke down in tears, was unable to speak for a few moments, and admitted it was the first time he had “broken down”since Carrie Fisher’s death, even though he had been close to her.

The TCM Film Festival 2017 was dedicated to the memory of TCM Host Robert Osborne.

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Memorials for Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were also part of the festival events.

Robert Mitchum, The First Noir Cowboy….

Robert Mitchum’s Summer Under The Stars Celebration–The One and Only Noir Cowboy

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Blood on the Moon
Where a woman’s bullet kills as quick as a man’s!
When there’s blood on the moon, death lurks in the shadows
….

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Tomorrow, Robert Mitchum is honored with a Summer Under The Stars Celebration, and in light of the Summer of Darkness highlighting film noir and the popular online film noir course taught by Professor Richard Edwards of Ball State University, I am happy that TCM is airing 1948’s Blood on the Moon.

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Shot outside of Sedona, Arizona, and directed by Robert Wise (1914-2005), a director most well-known for his nurturing of the Von Trapp Family Singers in The Sound of Music in 1965, Blood on the Moon would be part of the Western genre that Wise was completely unfamiliar with in his directorial career. Based on Luke Short’s 1941 novel, Gunman’s Chance, Blood on the Moon tested Wise’s unfamiliarity with the Western genre, and his lack of passion for it, but it may have proven an asset to the film’s success. Since this was Wise’s first A-budget film, he was obviously concerned that all would go well, and the weather proved to create some problems in Sedona, but Wise claimed that “we tracked the weather like we were at NASA at a rocket launching” receiving three different weather reports each day, and the crew would often follow the good weather through the valley. Wise’s dedication would pay off.

According to author David Meuel in The Noir Western: Darkness on the Range, 1943-1962, “While Wise was respectful of the genre’s traditions and conventions, he wasn’t married to them. He felt obliged to be true to the spirit of the western, but he also felt free enough to infuse this film with some of the elements of the norror and noir films he had recently done for RDO and which the studio (later nicknamed the “House of Noir) specialized in.”

A minor Out of the Past regrouping would see Mitchum and cinematographer Nicholas Musaraca using their creativity to infuse the Western with Robert Wise’s “craftsman’s soul,” according to Mitchum biographer Lee Server. “Synthesizing techniques he had gleaned from his two creative mentors, Val Lewton and Orson Welles, Wise set out to make Blood on the Moon a studied, uniquely atmospheric Western.”

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Meuel credits some of Blood on the Moon‘s success to “Robert Mitchum, an actor whose ability fo convey emotional complexity ad moral ambiguity made hin a noir icon and whose work her is as intriguing as his work in any of his oir crime films.”

The character of Jim Garry was just one more of Mitchum’s “outsider roles” by Server’s accounts, and “a solitary gunfighter-for-hire with a conscience, a script’s mysterious stranger about to be made even more msterious by the actor’s enigmatic style.” The other cast members rounded up for the location shoot included “architect Norman Bel Geddes’ refined young daughter, Barbara” (eventually ‘Miss Ellie’ on the primetime saga, Dallas), who had been “recently signed to a long-term contract; Robert Preston, playing his patented role of the corrupt best friend,” and “Walter Brennan as a grizzled homesteader.”

The film’s costumer, selected by Wise, was Joe De Young, a man who worked for Howard Hawks in Red River, and was a “specialist in Western attire.” According to Server, “De Young came up with the authentic but idiosyncratic, sometimes bizarre outfits (bearskin and gaudy plaid cots, derby hats) that would give the film another of its distinctive qualities.”
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When Mitchum strolled and strutted on the set ” in beard, greasy hair, high-domed Steson, and chaps” appeared to be “anything but the conventional well-groomed, respectable Western hero.” Server’s biography revealed that director Wise claimed “the first scene we shot after Mitch got outfitted was in the barroom. Walter Brennan was sitting at a table with a couple of pals, and Brennand was very intrested in the Old West, it was a hobby of his. And I’ll never forget when Bob came on the set, just standing there, wth the costume and the whle attitude that he gave to it, and Brennan got a look at him and was terribly impressed. He pointed at Mitchum and said, ‘That is the goddamndest realest cowboy I’ve ever seen!”

Meuel claims that the term “the noir western” is very “oxymoronic. On one hand, we have the bright, expansive, colorful landscapes; upright heroes; and nation-building exuberance we associate with most film westerns. On the other, we have the dark, claustrophobic, black-and-white (mostly black) cityscapes; flawed, compromised heroes; and bitter disillusionment of the classic noir crime dramas of the 1940s and 1950s.” It may be called a “sub-genre” but it also might be a “budding film form” in its own right. But Meuel also reveals that “the ‘Wild West’ of the movies was a darker, moodier, more complicated place” after World War II.

Nicholas Chennault’s synopsis, sums up the action concerning Blood on the Moon:

“Jim Garry (Robert Mitchum) is drifting from Texas, when he’s invited by old friend Tate Riling (Robert Preston, in his sleazy friend mode) to join him in a get-rich-quick scheme with corrupt Indian agent Jake Pindalest (Frank Faylen).

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John Lufton (Tom Tully) is the local cattle baron, who has long provided beef for the reservation while grazing his herds on reservation land. Pindalest, on Riling’s urging, has given Lufton notice that he’ll no longer be buying Lufton’s beef, and Lufton has to find new grazing land. He’s trying to move his cattle back to the basin where he used to graze, but now there are homesteaders there to resist, led by Riling. Kris Barden (Walter Brennan), who used to work for Lufton, is prominent among them.

Lufton has two daughters, one of whom, Carol (Phyllis Thaxter), is romantically interested in Riling and the other, Amy (Barbara Bel Geddes), takes a few shots at Garry. After being fully informed of the set-up and participating in stampeding Lufton’s herd, Garry decides the scheme isn’t for him and saves Lufton from two of Riling’s gunmen. He’s hurt in a fight with Riling but gets Pindalest to tell the army to back off on the deadline for removing Lufton’s herd.

SPOILER ALERT

Riling, Pindalest and a couple of gunmen come after Garry, who’s wounded and holed up at Barden’s place. Amy Lufton shows up to give medical care and to help fight off the bad guys. (You can tell Riling’s sleazy because of the loud, plaid jacket he wears.) In the end Garry kills one of the gunmen, shoots it out with Riling, and gets Amy.”

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The fistfights were real. Server revealed that director Wise wanted both Mitchum and Preston to do their own stunts and the principal actors both agreed. They had both become fast friends on the set and spent a lot of time “getting under the skin of the girls, played by Bel Geddes and Phyllis Thaxter.

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“I wanted this to look like a real fight,” Wise said. He wanted it to have that “awkward, brutal look of a real fight, and when it was done for the winner to look as exhausted as the loser. And Mitch was excited about this. He knew exactly what I was going for. I think he probably knew more than I did about barroom fights like this one.” So the actors crashed around on the set for three days to orchestrate the film’s most realistic sequence. ” As for his work with Mitchum, Wise added that “Bob was just fine to work with” and that “he liked this part and he contributed a number of ideas… He never wanted to do too much. Just enough and then hold back a little, leave something a little unspecified. He was very bright, very facile, quick with language. But he likes to give the impression that he somehow wasn’t articulate.”
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If you want to enjoy Mitchum as one of the first noir cowboys directed by the genius of Robert Wise and photographed by the talented Nicholas Musaraca, your opportunity starts Wednesday at 12:30 central on TCM.

This post was created as part of the Summer Under The Stars Blogathon sponsored by Kristen Lopez and Journeys in Classic Film.

Resources:

David Meuel, The Noir Western: Darkness on the Range, 1943-1962, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2015.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Noir-Western-Darkness-1943-1962/dp/0786494522

Lee Server, Robert Mitchum, “Baby, I Don’t Care.” St. Martin’s Press, New York. 2001.
http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Mitchum-Baby-Dont-Care/dp/0312285434  

Nicholas Chennault, http://thegreatwesternmovies.com/2014/01/18/blood-moon/

TCM’s 20th Anniversary Collage of Memories…

Here are some close-ups of that fabulous montage created by TCM staffers for the 20th Anniversary Video featuring the 20 Guest Programmers. It was set up and organized in the lobby of the Chinese Mutliplex by TCM’s Kelli O’Neal and others during the TCMFF 2014 from April 10-11. Enjoy! I know I did…

Such an intricate grouping of iconic films and stars just fills me with all the myriad of emotions I felt from all the films that I’ve seen that are represented on this memory wall. What an exciting twenty years of programming and what an enjoyable five years of festivals. The collage validates the excitement, awe, and loyalty that TCM fans possess.


Well, Ann Blyth as “Veda” and Joan Crawford as “Mildred Pierce” just had to be here! And having Errol Flynn looking away from Joan is fairly appropriate. I don’t think they ever dated…


It’s indeed fitting that an image from the first film shown on TCM is featured closely to the TCM logo. Humphrey Bogart, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Bette Davis, and Ingrid Bergman seem especially luminated near the glow…


Sidney Poitier, Lana Turner, John Wayne…Yes, Louis B., more stars than there are in the heavens, and you’re not bothering them now! 🙂


There’s no place like home!


Lee Marvin, Henry Fonda, Harry Carey, Jr…..


I was happy to see Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz tucked nearby the little box that says “journey.” They’ve certainly given us a trip we will never forget.

As many of you can tell, I was mesmerized by the intricacy of detail and the scope of the celebrities and films represented. I hope you feel the same way!

I’ll also be participating in this summer’s John Ford Blogathon….

Don’t forget to have fun! 🙂

BLOG: https://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ … ue-sue-ii/
THE SSO: http://viewtopic.php?f=92&t=4260&p=144591#p144591

Actor Glenn Taranto chosen as TCM Guest Programmer for April 9


Actor Glenn Taranto is one of the 20 guest programmers selected from TCM’s Ultimate Fan Video contest, and will be introducing “Went The Day Well?,” a film released in 1942 concerning the occupation of an English village by disguised German paratroopers planning a secret invasion. Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti and produced by Ealing Studios in Great Britain, Went The Day Well? is a premiere film on the Turner Classic Movies channel. Director Cavalcanti is also known for They Made Me A Fugitive (1947) with Trevor Howard and Affairs of a Rogue (1948) with Jean Pierre-Aumont. Taranto selected Went the Day Well? for his guest programming choice after critic Leonard Maltin personally recommended it to him at the 2011 Turner Classic Film Festival. Taranto believes in the power of the film because “60 years after the fact, it still relates to Flight 91 that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11.”


As Gomez Addams in “The New Addams Family”…

In an exclusive Examiner interview, Taranto revealed that it was “a whirlwind 48 hours in Atlanta. I arrived late Sunday, and went straight to the ‘W’ hotel, checked into my room, which had been generously provided by TCM, and then I had just enough time to change my clothes, freshen up, and head back to the lobby where all the other fan programmers were preparing to leave for a ‘meet and greet’ with TCM host Robert Osborne on the TCM set in Turner Studios.”

Taranto and some of his fans after a performance of The Donovan Affair at the Turner Classic Film Festival 2014 in The Egyptian…

Socializing on the set with Osborne and the other 19 guest programmers was energizing, and Taranto claims that “the excitement was palpable. I don’t think any of us could really believe we were going to be hosting a movie with Robert Osborne.” The ‘meet and greet’ also afforded the guest programmers to see the actual “big red chairs” that are employed when Osborne and his special celebrity hosts introduce classic films. Taranto was thrilled when he found out that each guest programmer would be photographed sitting in the famously iconic chairs

The photo on the wall in the background of the set that viewers often glimpse is actually an image of Colfax, Washington, Osborne’s hometown, according to Taranto. One of the fan programmers is Officer Byrd from Judge Judy’s court, whom Taranto claims “is a great guy. Byrd is nothing like he seems in the court room because he’s very friendly, likes to joke, and is always doing voices.”


Taranto on set ….

Visiting with Osborne was also a memorable moment for Taranto who was also surprised at the lovely gifts presented to each programmer like a canvas bag that had an autographed copy of Robert Osborne’s latest book, 85 Years of the Oscar, a beautiful fleece blanket, a leather-bound journal, and a coffee mug all of which are embossed with the TCM logo.

Taranto was with the group whose first day included a tour of Atlanta and its environs, and he enjoyed visiting the Atlanta Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Museum, and the home where Margaret Mitchell lived when she wrote Gone With The Wind. All programmers were treated to a formal dinner at Olmsted with all the TCM staff.
Taranto’s presentation of Went The Day Well? will air on Wednesday, April 9, at midnight EST, and 9 p.m. PFT on Turner Classic Movies.
Brenna and Brittany interview Glenn Taranto (1999): http://www.lkessler.com/addgtint.shtml

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A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS —TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon….


“With a little common sense, you could have made a statesman,” claims Orson Welles as Cardinal Wolsey as he redresses Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More for opposing him during a council meeting.

And that simple phrase sums up the worldly view of a man who had a conscience and an “intolerable moral squint.”

Robert Bolt’s play of the same name was adapted for the screen by the playwright himself, and he made adjustments to the script by adding a few scenes crucial to the narrative once he removed the play’s narrator, the Common Man, a role Leo McKern originated on the stage both in London and New York. McKern was then employed as “Master Cromwell,” who replaced Wolsey after Wolsey couldn’t perform the task of resolving the matter of King Henry VIII’s divorce.

But the showcase role, which earned Paul Scofield an Academy Award, was not initially awarded to Scofield. Sir Richard Burton was first considered, but he turned them down flat with his Welsh pragmatism. Even Sir Laurence Olivier regarded the role as that of Scofield’s and eventually the powers that be, who felt Scofield not a well-known enough actor required to carry such a financial expenditure, acquiesced.

A Renaissance man, Sir Thomas More, was confident in his beliefs about God and man, and refused King Henry’s demands for More’s oath of allegiance to the Act of Succession:

“I (state you name) do utterly testifie and declare in my Conscience, that the Kings Highnesse is the onely Supreame Governour of this Realme, and all other his Highnesse Dominions and Countries, as well in all Spirituall or Ecclesiasticall things or causes, as Temporall: And that no forraine Prince, Person, Prelate, State or Potentate, hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiorities, Preeminence or Authority Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme. And therefore, I do utterly renounce and forsake all Jurisdictions, Powers, Superiorities, or Authorities; and do promise that from henchforth I shall beare faith and true Allegiance to the Kings Highnesse, his Heires and lawfull Successors: and to my power shall assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Priviledges, Preheminences and Authorities granted or belonging to the Kings Highnesse, his Heires and Successors or united and annexed to the Imperial Crowne of the Realme: so helpe me God: and by the Contents of this Booke.”

More’s defense at his trial included references to the Magna Carta, The Bible, and the King’s own Act of Supremacy in 1535.

Director Fred Zinneman and Actor Paul Scofield on the set of A Man For All Seasons..

Paul Scofield’s performance, both staid and erudite, passive at moments, and passionate at others, reveals how a man of conscience deals with power mongers of any century. Originating the stage role in Bolt’s play, A Man For All Seasons, his portrayal of More on the boards received acclaim on both sides of the pond.

Richard Rich, the ambitious backwater politician, is seen as the man instigating the conflict and downfall of More at the hands of Cromwell, and John Hurt’s first screen role as Rich, makes us feel his burning ambition, and that anyone who steps in his path, even a man as righteous as More, will be undone. Hurt’s moment of high perjury as Rich is the catalyst for Scofield’s most impassioned speech during A Man For All Seasons, and without Hurt’s grabbing and scratching for supremacy in the theatre of men as Richard Rich, More’s shock at Rich’s blatancy evolved to the passion and erudition of More’s final speech before Parliament.

Scofield received many acting awards and honors during his lifetime, but was very selective about his screen choices. His 1962 performance of King Lear on the British stage was voted the best stage performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company in a poll encompassing 400 years of performances, and voters included some of the greatest stage actors of our times.(Judi Dench’s Lady Macbeth came in second.) Scofield did not seek the limelight, or awards, but he did seek to find roles that were memorable and rewarding, and viewers of A Man For All Seasons are the recipients of Scofield’s nuanced performance and dedication to his craft.

A portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein The Younger commissioned in 1527…

A Man For All Seasons won six Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinneman), Best Actor for Paul Scofield, Best Costume Design (Elizabeth Haffenden and Joan Bridge), Best Screenplay from another medium for Robert Bolt, and Best Cinematography (Ted Moore).

It’s on today on TCM! Check the schedule for local screenings: http://www.tcm.com/schedule/

Scofield’s biography: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0006890/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

A Man For All Seasons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Man_for_All_Seasons_(1966_film)

The Royal Shakespeare Poll: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1469918/Scofields-Lear-voted-the-greatest-Shakespeare-performance.html

More tropes about the play and film: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Theatre/AManForAllSeasons

The Trial of Sir Thomas More: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/more/more.html

A Facebook page and safe haven for all fans of A Man For All Seasons created by Sam Loomis: https://www.facebook.com/groups/267080256773209/


Part of the The 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon…

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Part 2: In The TCM Studio….


My day in the studio at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta was so much fun, and I was introduced to so many folks who have been integral to the success of the Atlanta productions for Turner Classic Movies. Many of the employees featured in my article often travel to L.A. to assist with the Turner Classic Film Festival every year.

Whenever the 20 Guest Programmers visit Atlanta to appear with Robert Osborne, they might meet some of these media industry professionals like …


Camera Operator Pam Ritzie, who was trained in the arts, enjoys being one of the few women hired as camera operators in the film industry, and loves working at TCM in Turner Studios…

The unmistakable allure of the dish garden provides services to over 100 branded channels in 30 languages beaming to 200 countries..

The Turner Studios wall of fame…
 
One of the many mini-homages to Ted Turner on the Turner History Retrospective outside one of the studios…

Ted Turner’s duplicate Hollywood Walk of Fame star in front of his former studios. (The original is located at 7000 Hollywood Blvd.)


Nick Berry, Lighting Assistant, was very busy, but stopped for a quick photo op…


Lighting Director Thomas Branch was so funny, and was very personable…


Production Assistant Jacob Griswell and Key Grip Roger Sherer were happy to smile for the camera. Both Jacob and Roger have multiple responsibilities and are constantly engaged in the production…


Part of the research library for the on-air wraparaounds…

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a photo with cute Peter McIntosh, whose official title is Utility Grip, but he did give me a copy of a lovely magazine, and one of his photos graces the cover.  Peter is the Staff Photographer at Georgia Mountain Laurel, which highlights entertainment, business and all subjects concerning travel to the exciting state of Georgia.

I also was lucky enough to visit with Senior Production Manager and Assistant Director Anne Wilson, and Sandi Winslow, who is in charge of the Teleprompter, but unfortunately didn’t have any photos of these lovely ladies.

Adorable Art Director Marty Kelly and Senior Research Whiz Alexa Foreman are good friends…


Alexa Foreman and Robert Osborne at Turner Studios during Foreman’s interview before a screening of one of her favorite films, The Last of Sheila. (Photo courtesy of TCM)

And what does Ben Mankiewicz think about those Oakland A’s this year?
Follow the link to find out: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XIEL7w-D3JE
(Photographed by Peter McIntosh)

My many thanks to the wonderful TCM Staff at Turner Studios, Senior Researcher Alexa Foreman and Host Ben Mankiewicz.

Contact Senior Researcher Alexa Foreman at ASK ALEXA on The Silver Screen Oasis, a website for fans of classic film, here: http://silverscreenoasis.com/oasis3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6338&start=60
Contact Peter McIntosh at McIntosh Mountains Photography: http://www.mcintoshmountains.com

GUN CRAZY THIS SATURDAY ON TCM’S THE ESSENTIALS….

Annie Laurie Starr,

How could you ever become mixed up with a no good loser like Barton Tare?

Then it started something that nobody could stop!

A road trip…..

A woman he would do anything for…and I mean anything!

That first touch, that moment of love’s first blush….

The steamroller of passion. …

If you love noir and want to indulge the hidden pulp-novel voyeur lurking around in your cinematic soul, check out Peggy Cummins and John Dall in Gun Crazy on Saturday during The Essentials on TCM. It’s amazing what they did on the reported $400,000 budget, and if you’ve never seen it, it’s a must!

Miss Cummins flew in from London for the TCM Film Festival 2012, and I hope she knows how much we appreciated it!

An earlier screening of Gun Crazy on May 16, 2012, on TCM was a delight, and Robert Osborne’s introduction then included comments that I heartily agreed with. When Peggy Cummins attended the Turner Classic Movies Festival 2012, Mr. Osborne stated that she was “beautiful, trim, and a great guest,” and I completely concur. During my chats with Ms. Cummins, she revealed how she was still so personally surprised at the continued popularity of Gun Crazy, but was totally delighted about the fun she has had talking about it at festivals and screenings through the ensuing years since it’s first release.

At the 2012 festival, Ms. Cummins was bubbly, personable, and visited amicably with passholders, and always seemed to be cheerful and smiling every instance I saw her (3 or 4 times). Film Noir Foundation CEO Eddie Muller interviewed Ms. Cummins prior to the screening of Gun Crazy at the 2012 festival.

Senior TCM Researcher Alexa Foreman, Miss Peggy Cummins, and TCM Talent Coordinator Darcy Hettrick at the closing party in Club TCM, 2012…

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Pay special attention to the continuous long shot right before and during the robbery because it is amazing. According to one source, “the bank heist sequence was done entirely in one take, with no one outside the principal actors and people inside the bank aware that a movie was being filmed.” When John Dall (as Bart Tare) states, “I hope we find a parking space,” he really meant it, as there was no guarantee that there would be one available! Ultimately, during the final sequence of the bank robbery scene, someone in the background screams that there’s been “a bank robbery,” and it was actually a bystander who saw the filming and assumed the worst.*

And I also read somewhere that Joseph Lewis, the director, wanted an actor who was openly homosexual as John Dall was in order to emphasize the ambiguity and emasculation of the character of Bart Tare. During the first few moments of Gun Crazy when Bart is out in the yard and shoots the BB gun, and the little chick falls over, it sets up the entire scenario that reveals that when he has a gun, he achieves the ultimate in masculine power. And if he reaches the pinnacle of macho, he needs a dangerous equal like Peggy Cummins as Annie Laurie Starr.

But I enjoy watching John Dall. He always seems as if he’s concealing something that other characters present in his scenes never seem to realize, and he continually appears as if he knows the score, and everyone else is clueless. Ever notice all his screen moments in Spartacus? I can’t help but watch his e-ver-y move. Even the role he played in Rope seems tailor made for his abilities.

A better “Bonnie and Clyde” noir just doesn’t exist in classic filmdom.

Don’t miss it this Saturday night, September 28, on Turner Classic Movies’ ongoing series, The Essentials, with Host Robert Osborne and Actress/Producer/Director Drew Barrymore.

Read more about Peggy Cummins here:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0192033/?ref_=sr_1
And John Dall here:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0197982/?ref_=sr_1

*IMDB

ALEXA FOREMAN, SENIOR RESEARCHER AT TCM, VISITS THE SILVER SCREEN OASIS

The Silver Screen Oasis will welcome Alexa Foreman, Senior Researcher at Turner Classic Movies, on September 7 & 8. Come join us for a Question & Answer Forum to discuss her exciting job as a researcher for our favorite network!

Alexa Foreman has been employed as a researcher at TCM since the network began airing uncut and commercial free classic movies in the 1990’s. She worked with Robert Osborne on a daily basis, and when someone can’t find some information or needs to know how many Oscar nominations a film has earned, or how many husbands Elizabeth Taylor had, she is the perky go-to-gal. Foreman currently provides research for Ben Mankiewicz and other guest host wraparounds.

Foreman, whose motto just might be Sergeant Joe Friday’s most popular sound byte “Just the facts, Ma’am,” has been an employee of Turner Classic Movies since its initial broadcast in 1994.


ABOVE: TCM Senior Researcher and documentarian  Alexa F oreman, actress Peggy Cummins of Gun Crazy, Christy Putnam, and TCM Veep of Talent Darcy Hettrich, Talent Coordinator, at the TCMFF 2012 Farewell Party in Club TCM located in the historic Blossom Room, site of the first Academy Awards, in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

When writer Paul Booth featured Foreman a few months ago in his six-part series honoring prominent WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT, he shared his fascinating interview with Foreman, and what follows is an excerpt:

“This week we have a special treat for movie lovers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Turner Classic Movie’s Senior researcher Alexa Foreman. I think all classic film lovers enjoy TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz as they introduce our favorite classic films with a great story about actors like Audrey Hepburn and Steve McQueen, or behind the scenes tales of a movies turbulent production.


ABOVE: Robert Osborne and Guest Programmer Alexa Foreman…

Alexa’s job is to gather the film facts for the script writers and Robert Osborne. She then double checks the final script, edits it for typos and adds any updates (deaths, Oscars or info since the last time TCM showed the movie). Alexa does this for all the intro and post-film segments we see on TCM. Her expertise in classic film history and her close working friendship with Robert Osborne has inspired her colleagues at TCM to call her “Mrs. Osborne.”

Paul Booth met her last year at TCM Classic Movies Film Festival 2012. At the same event this year they got together for a nice long talk about movies. So when it came time to do his “Women in Entertainment” series, he asked Alexa and she quickly (and graciously) agreed to be part of it.

Paul Booth: What movie made you know you wanted to spend your life involved with the history of Film?

Alexa Foreman: There was no single movie that did it for me. I saw classic movies on tv in Atlanta growing up and loved stars like Bette Davis, Paul Muni and Tyrone Power. Since those movies were not on video or playing in theaters at that time, I read everything I could on the history of the movies.

PB: Is there a Film you feel everyone should see? Even if they don’t like it, meaning the movie holds such a significant achievement in filmmaking?

AF: Again, there is no single movie but for significant achievement in filmmaking take a look at CITIZEN KANE (1941), NAPOLEON (1927), BLACK NARCISSUS (1947), SUNRISE (1927), GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933), and THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). And please see these on a big screen if possible.

PB: Do you have a favorite Genre/Studio/Studio-head or old studio director like Wilder, Capra, Ford or Hawks?

AF: Screwball comedy is my favorite genre. THE AWFUL TRUTH, LIBELED LADY, BRINGING UP BABY, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, BALL OF FIRE. I can watch them over and over.

RKO is my favorite studio -– and not because of Astaire and Rogers. The filmmakers and technicians did so much with so little. Producer Val Lewton and others paved the way for film noir with pictures set in night time and/or rain. They did it out of necessity to hide the fact that there was no big background set behind the action.

Directors that I love include William Wyler, Orson Welles, John Cromwell, Fred Zinnemann, Terrence Malick, John Frankenheimer, and I am sentimental about Ida Lupino’s efforts.

PB: How do you feel about the progression of “women in Film or television” as directors? (or Producers)?

AF: Well, I am glad that they are finally back!! The early days (1895 to 1930) were the great days of women directors, writers and producers until big financiers saw that there was money to be made and the women were gradually driven out.

PB: With the progression of digital cinema, do you ever feel it makes TCM’s job more important or do you feel TCM will transcend?

AF: We need to save and preserve older movies before we worry about the industry’s new formats. TCM will go on no matter which source we mine our jewels from – print paper, celluloid nitrate, videotape, DVD, etc. We show movies from the silents all the way to the present. Along with our most popular movies, we are always looking for lesser known gems to show, and thereby generating interest and reaction from our TCM audience. As to digital technology, our sharp eyed viewers appreciate the quality and texture of film –- from the dissolves and the scratches all the way to the circle in the right hand corner of the frame signifying a coming reel change. I know movie theaters are facing a challenge with this and I hope they will survive this latest technology.

PB: What quote or message would you like to give your fellow “Women in Entertainment” out there pursuing a goal or in the business already?

AF: It is a quotation from a telegram from Katharine Hepburn to director Dorothy Arzner (who was being honored by the Directors Guild in 1975): “Isn’t it wonderful you’ve had such a great career when you had no right to have a career at all?”
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In addition to Booth’s wonderful article about Foreman’s background and experiences with the network, I was able to find out a little more information about her varied trials and tribulations. As I was chatting with Foreman earlier this month, she revealed to me even more about her experiences with Turner Class Movies. One of her most difficult challenges occurred in 1994 when she was assigned the task of discovering “exactly” how many films John Ford made with John Wayne. Since there was no all-encompassing internet database access like there is today, Foreman states it “was a half day of work.” The research she was required to do for the 31 Days of Oscar a few years ago “nearly killed me!”

“Movie research,” Foreman claims, “is like a puzzle or a mystery that I have to solve every day.” And for the recent TCM Tour of famous New York City film locations, she learned that ” none of the footage from The Seven Year Itch in which Marilyn Monroe stands over the subway grate is in the picture. The footage was shot but Billy Wilder knew the crowd noise from the NYC crowd would make the footage useless. But what a way to get publicity! Wilder was a smart self-promoter. The footage you see in the movie is shot on the Fox back lot!”

Foreman on the job and in the fray of production at Turner Entertainment in Atlanta….

Foreman even secretly admits that she once, while preparing for an Osborne script, quickly called a screenwriter to listen to his answering machine so that she knew how to properly pronounce his name correctly because no one else could find out. So it would seem her experiences are not that far removed from a detective like Sgt. Joe Friday or Sam Spade.

One of her favorite film quotes “is from one of my top ten (or 20) favorites, The Awful Truth in 1937. Irene Dunne says to Cary Grant after seeing his not-so-talented girl friend perform at a night club: “I guess it was easier for her to change her name than for her whole family to change theirs.” She also favors Humphrey Bogart’s line from In A Lonely Place when he claims ‘I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.’ ”

Ms. Foreman would like me to share with our readers that “I have been at TCM since the very beginning, so don’t be shy about asking any questions…old Star of the Month pieces, documentaries, the Munchkins, anything!”

Update: Alexa Foreman has directed and produced SCANDAL: The Trial Of Mary Astor, which premiered at the TCM Film Festival 2018 on Friday night, April 27. Her Intimate Q & A at the popular Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Blvd. Wednesday, April 25, was standing room only.

The Silver Screen Oasis is happy to host Alexa Foreman September 7 and 8. Come join the fun!

TCMFF 2012: SECONDS to none…Salome Jens

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Salome Jens enthralling her audience as George Hamilton performs at the pulpit….

Richard Anderson’s introduction to Seconds also revealed that he felt Salome Jens was a wonderful actress. And viewing that film at the Turner Classic Film Festival 2012 peaked my interested in a woman whosecareer encompassed many film, television, and stage successes. Her face is familiar to many because of her myriad of guest starring roles in series like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, appearing as the Female Shapeshifter, or Melrose Place as Joan Campbell.

She also appeared in Tales From the Crypt, Falcon Crest, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Medical Center , Stoney Burke, The Outer Limits, The Untouchables, and one of the more unusual episodes of Gunsmoke,entitled “Captain Sligo,” with Richard Baseheart in the title role, staple character player Royal Dano, and director William Conrad, who was the original Matt Dillon on the CBS radio show.

Jens’ quirky, often off-beat characters did much to advance her incertain non-traditional roles, but her portrayal of Nora Marcus as thefree-wheeling, grape-stomping paramour of Rock Hudson’s reformed Arthur Hamilton enjoying his new found “freedom” in the up-and-coming Malibu  counterculture, is one of her signature roles. As Nora Marcus, she  is mysterious, passionate, and willing to lead Arthur Hamilton into allkinds of adventures, some of which occur on screen in the actual Malibu  home of Seconds director John Frankenheimer.

Her 1961 starring role in Paul Wendkos’s Angel Baby is considered Wendkos’ best directorial effort, and a cult favorite with fans of Salome Jens. Wendkos, famous for the Gidget franchise The Legend of Lizzie Borden, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, and A Woman Called Moses, starring Cicely Tyson, was hard-pressed not to release Angel Baby, and it was “shelved” for a year to help ensure the success of a similarly plotted Columbia effort entitled [b]Elmer Gantry[/b], which propelled Shirley Jones to her Oscar win as Lulu Bains.

Angel Baby not only marked the debut of Ms. Jens as a woman who believes she has been selected by God to alleviate the suffering of others with her healing skills, but it also allowed a young Burt Reynolds his first film credit before his stint as “Quint” on Gunsmoke a year or so later. George Hamilton, as Paul Strand, is a greedy promoter who supposedly cures Jens of her affliction, and Mercedes McCambridge is his wife who also exploits the innocent.

Salome Jens will star with Andrew Prine ( Bandolero, The Miracle Worker, Chisum) in Glendale Centre Theatre’s On Golden Pond, July 12-August 11. Jens has previously appeared in many productions, and the New York Times called her one-woman show  About Anne, incorporating the poems and words of Anne Sexton, ” a magnificent moment of theater” and states that her “rich and brilliant performance gleams in the memory.” (Anyone living near Glendale, California, might want to order tickets to see Jens and Prine emote in [b]On Golden Pond [/b]at 818-244-8481.)
Watching Seconds made me so curious about Salome Jens because I had seen her in so many movies and television classics, and I had to find out a little more about this fascinating feature player.

Discussing her performance with Geraldine Page in Barefoot in Athens, a play about the death of Socrates, which first appeared on Broadway,  and aired in 1966 on NBC,  Jens claimed Page  was “fierce” and always worked “on the edges.” She also  reveals she was “moved, moved  humanly” by Page’s performance. Barefoot in Athens also starred Peter Ustinov as Socrates. After watching the print of Seconds at the Turner Classic Film Festival in April, I feel that Jen’s performances move viewers humanly and motivated me to find outa little more about her and her performance in Seconds, which helped make it a classic, cult or otherwise.
Maybe Salome Jens will be asked to appear at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival 2013 to introduce another screening of Seconds, or even Angel Baby.