Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Perhaps the Grant and Stewart personas with their constant sense of humour (even in serious roles) fitted in better with suit-and-tie mid-century America, and those Hitchcocks certainly helped, Gable and Coop seemed more at home at war or out west. Gable used to finish at 5.00pm every day regardless and seemed happy doing mainly routine fare, cast with the likes of Lana Turner, Jane Russell or Ava Gardner. At least his later films got him Doris Day, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe, and of course he had those constant revivals of GONE WITH THE WIND to keep his brand alive.
Monday, 25 May 2015
We have liked Varda, now 86 - right, ever since her CLEO 5 TO 7 and LE BONHEUR and her film about her husband Jacques Demy JACQUOT DE NANTES, and her later BEACHES OF AGNES. She has also been honoured this year at Brighton where she has had an exhibition.
Saturday, 23 May 2015
This remains one western one can enjoy anytime, it would probably get shown more often if it had been in colour.
Friday, 22 May 2015
Thursday, 21 May 2015
She tires of her current beau - Aleko - despite he having bought a piano for her; he later kills himself.. Once she and the sporty Mitso set eyes on each other, their passions erupt ...... We also get to know Stella's pals at the tavern, the girl who is jealous of her success with men and the older woman who tries to protect her. There is also a pertinent scene with Mitso's mother who makes it clear what her son expects in a wife and how it is best not to thwart him ... but Stella, like CARMEN will face her own destiny. Instead of going to her wedding she goes dancing with that 19 year old admirer dancing into a frenzy, as does Mitso back at the taverna ....
STELLA was at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 where Mercouri met Jules Dassin whom she married - their NEVER ON SUNDAY was that sensation in 1960 and all their work was at least interesting. The vivid music score here is by Manos Hadjidakis. Cacoyannis went on to several other fascinating movies like THE TROJAN WOMEN and odd misfires like THE DAY THE FISH CAME OUT in 1967 (Trash label), and of course the huge hit of ZORBA ...
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Renault reminds me of that other well-known 1950s lesbian: journalist and writer Nancy Spain (1917-1964), a Roedean girl who became a prominent writer for the Sunday papers, was on TV a lot, and was friends with Marlene Dietrich among others. She was also pals with fellow broadcaster and "What's My Line?" game show veteran, that gruff 'confirmed bachelor' Gilbert Harding. Nancy and her girlfriend were killed when their plane crashed near Aintree racecourse on their way to the races in 1964, pity she didn't get to comment on the rest of the '60s. She was a high-living gal and was a lot of fun and just 46. Her pal Noel Coward wrote in his diary: "It is cruel that all that gaiety, intelligence and vitality should be snuffed out when so many bores and horrors are left living." I've just had to splurge out on Rose Collis's book "A Trouser Wearing Character" on Nancy and her era. Collis also wrote that delicious bography of Coral Brown: "This Effing Lady". One can read more about Nancy here:
First comments are sensational - maybe this has been held back (it was filmed last year) to get over the success of Cate's BLUE JASMINE ? Cate of course does marvellous red carpet, what a dress she is wearing here ! and she can certainly work that '50s fashion plate look (as she did in THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY).
French director Agnes Varda, now 86, gets a well-deserved special award on Sunday.
Catherine Denueve always looks sensational at red carpet events - this year at Cannes was no different:
And we also wait until December for the film of Alan Bennett's play THE LADY IN THE VAN with Maggie Smith reprising her stage role. James Corden gets into this too .... (but of course he was one of Alan's HISTORY BOYS). Some winter goodies to look forward to then.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
BBC4 ran a fascinating documentary as well on French popular song - chanson - where a very spry Petula Clark, now 82, took us through the golden years of French popular song from Edith Piaf and Charles Trenet, including Petula's own French career, to that great early Sixties era, with Francoise Hardy and the others. Francoise was the Face of the early sixties, her Vogue 4-track EPs were the first records I bought, even before The Beatles. Utter bliss then. Francoise too is still going and still singing though the hair is short and silver grey now.
Tom joins the Hockney set
David Hockney is back in the news too with a new exhibition at the Annely Juda Gallery in London, with some fascinating new paintings. The artist, now 77, is selling that house in Bridlington in East Yorkshire, where his assistant Dominic Elliott died in 2013. His new work includes 'The Potted Palm' - below - which include Olympic diver Tom Daley and his partner scriptwriter Dustin Lance Black, who are now part of the Hockney circle, David said he likes Tom and praised his coming out last year, of course Tom does lots of diving into those blue pools, but not making "a bigger splash"! Hockney - subject of many posts here, see label - recently bemoaned the demise of what he calls Bohemia, the lifestyle once led by gays, who now want to get married, settle down and have children - he finds them boring and conservative, wanting to lead ordinary lives ... He now goes to bed at nine, and don't go to parties or films as he has got increasingly deaf. He continues to work though, as he says "When I'm painting, I feel 30. Of course I have no plans to retire, artists don't retire. So I'll go on until I fall over, dying ideally at the easel". One somehow feels that other blonde painter who smoked endlessly - Joni Mitchell, maybe still in a coma and also in her Seventies, would somehow agree. Hockney also said in another recent interview that "maybe" the love of his life was Gregory Evans, his 62 year old manager, they were lovers for over a decade but have worked together for 40 years - not Peter Schlesinger of A BIGGER SPLASH then ... The new paintings are certainly fascinating and sees Hockney going in a new direction.
Friday, 15 May 2015
That journey from share-cropping to being feted as the best blues musician of his era, with those plaintive songs and soaring guitar, can really never happen again. Like "Howlin' Wolf's London Sessions" album with Clapton and the others, B.B. also recorded with the likes of Clapton and U2. Aretha covered B.B.'s "The Thrill Is Gone" and terrific though it is, it can't match B.B. RIP indeed.
B.B. shows that playing the blues is a lifelong gig - he was doing over 100 concerts a year well into his 80s.
Thursday, 14 May 2015
Its like going back to those heady days of TAKE THREE GIRLS on the BBC.
A CD of two of their albums has just arrived - I suspect Colin had something to do with it. The notes include "Tripping the light fantastic of breezy west coast harmony pop mixed with atmospheric melodic folk pop - here are the third and fourth albums by the UK six piece vocal group whose sound was described as "the perfect musical accompaniment to a garden party in the blazing sunshine". Get ready for summer then .....
The group were together almost 8 years, they recorded more than 150 radio shows and appeared on more than 50 television shows. They also released five albums and thirteen singles. Sadly, a foundling member, Geoff Ramseyer, died aged 25 after leaving the group in 1976 - he is in the clip above, in the floral shirt. The rest of the group later disbanded and did different things - moving to Australia etc, but got together for their reissued recordings in 2011. Thanks again, Colin.
In a way it reminds me of this great vocal track from the 1990s, by another harmony group Innocence, and it also mixes in a hint of Pink Floyd ! Chill out then.
Comng soon: TEN SONGS OF MY LIFE - as based on Martin's Facebook item. I think it will be more than ten though, at least twenty ...
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
|Issue 3: December 1954|
|200th issue, May 1971|
|100th issue, Jan 1963|
Instead of being out on the
|1965 pop movies issue|
All magazines have their great era and "F&F" was great in the '50s and '60s, and up to about the mid-'70s (1974 being particularly good). But looking at a 1960 issue and a 1980 one the decline is sadly evident. It was certainly an achievement to have kept the magazine going during those great decades for movies charting the changing movie scene. They are still very readable and collectable. I trust my posts on it help keep the memory of the magazine alive.
As I said here back in 2010: it introduced so many of us to the potential of cinema as just more than mere entertainment - it covered the best of world cinema with interviews and features on and by all the leading players and directors. That 1961 Italian cinema issue is priceless now with its features by Antonioni, Visconti, Fellini, Pasolini etc. Interesting too seeing how the magazine changed from the staid '50s through the liberated '60s (when being the zeitgeist that it was, it became THE magazine for gay cineastes) to the mature '70s. I could spend hours going through those bound copies...
There are several histories of "Films and Filming" including at this link:
Below: the magazine's 30th anniversary tribute, an issue from each year from October 1954 to October 1984. (click images to enlarge...)