Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Mike or Joe ? Joe or Mike? No contest ...

KILLER JOE - what a blast from William Friedkin, firing on all cylinders again. Its everything MAGIC MIKE should have been, and I can't wait to see it again. Talk about scuzzy sleazy trailer trash lowlifes .... and then there is Gina Gershon going above and beyond the call of duty.

Chris a Texan drug dealer, heavily in debt decides the only solution is to murder his mother to collect the insurance money. Getting together with his equally deadbeat father, the ex-husband of Chris' mother, they decide to hire Joe Cooper a contract killer, who also happens to be a police detective. The plan is that the money will go to Chris' sister Dottie. However due to the size of the contract fee, Chris agrees that Joe can take Dottie as a retainer until the insurance comes through.

I think you would have to like off-the-wall movies like the McDonaghs' IN BRUGES or THE GUARD or Tanantino or Cronenberg at their best to really enjoy this. It does though contain one of the most sadistic scenes I’ve seen in a mainstream movie, which fits in with that down and dirty indie feel which is totally right here. Guiding it all is the performance of Matthew McConaughey, capping off a good year which gets him away from dreary romcoms. As the eponymous Joe, he’s a detective moonlighting as a hitman, brought in to end a redneck Texas mother so her son and ex-husband can collect on the insurance policy. Suggesting a second career playing heavies might be in the cards, he oozes dread; how hard must it be for an actor to convincingly play scary? He certainly accomplishes it here.

Friedkin (director, lets not forget, of THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE EXORCIST, not to mention BOYS IN THE BAND and CRUISING which I wouldn't see), aided by scriptwriter Tracy Letts (from his play) seems to be going for a fun juicy pulp noir here, like Welles having fun with TOUCH OF EVIL.

Stunning scenes include where Joe seduces Dottie and another scene which involves fried chicken won't see an advertising tie-in with KFC. There is also some extremely graphic violence but the pulpy sheer enjoyment of it all is infectious. I see it as a pitch black comedy noir which is outrageous and provocative throughout but also lots of fun.

MAGIC MIKE on the other hand was an extreme downer. I found nothing interesting about it at all and it presents a very odd view of the world of male strippers, as looked at by heterosexual men. The men are not presented as being in any way erotic, the dancing is kept to a minimum in the film. The story is trite as directed by Steven Soderberg  

Mike, an experienced stripper, takes a younger performer called 'The Kid' under his wing and schools him in the arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. 

I have not seen too much of Channing Tatum but he was interesting in his Roman adventure THE EAGLE (2000s label) where he was charismatic and had good chemistry with co-star Jamie Bell - but here he has no charisma with the camera at all - its supposed to be his story but he seems to go through it on autopilot. We hardly see any of the other dancers in the group, theres no back stories for them. Matt Bomer's best moment is his number (below) in the deleted extended dance extras.
The Kid and Dallas
The women are all a baying mob and the leading lady whom Mike wants to get involved with may well be the least charistmatic interesting female lead I have seen - and we cannot see why he would want to be with her. Its her brother The Kid (who turns out to be a real jerk) whom Mike introduces to the world of male stripping. But he has no conflict or concern about it - is it just another job to him? He (Alex Pettyfer) has a good body but does not register much. The movie finally comes alive when he gets on stage and just casually strips so Dallas, the group leader, shows him how to tease his audience and work to make the number come alive. McConaughey seizes his moment here as his sleazy Dallas shows how to work the room. Another long curiously uninvolving scene is played out in one take with people sitting around talking at a table as we simply lose interest as there is nothing visual going on and no editing or close-ups to involve us. I felt the same about Soderberg's previous CONTAGION which similarly did not involve me.  

Matt lets rip
THE FULL MONTY was much more involving as we understood the men's motivations for taking up stripping in the North of England background, due to economic reasons, and shared their worries with exposing their bodies, and their sexuality, with 2 of them getting involved with each other. MAGIC MIKE though presents a totally straight world where the strip routines are somehow antiseptic and not in the least erotic, as Mike sorts out his future and relationship with the Kid's sister (Cody Horn) after The Kid's drugs involvment has cost him dear. 

Mike remains an amiable lunk who wants to leave stripping before he gets too old - but the tale lacks the bite and wit of AMERICAN GIGOLO or BOOGIE NIGHTS. The Kid's character has no redeeming qualities, and at the end has learned nothing from his bad behaviour ... THE END, until MAGIC MIKE 2 ?

Hitch or Hitch ?

Clever PSYCHO poster pastiche
Contrasting advance reviews on those 2 forthcoming movies about Alfred Hitchcock .... 
Good comments on the forthcoming HITCHCOCK on the making of PSYCHO (though they could not use any clips from the actual film...) Anthony Hopkins seems an ideal Hitch and there is a meaty role for Helen Mirren as his wife and collaborator Alma Reville, who was usually kept in the background. Scarlet Johannson though may have to work hard to suggest Janet Leigh ... and we also get impersonations of Vera Miles and Tony Perkins. I couldn't see where the drama here was going to be, Hitch was in total control of producing PSYCHO which he shot cheaply like one of his tv films and made millions from its enduring success, apparantly there's a manufactured supposed affair by his wife, to keep Dame Helen busy. One to watch for then!
Less praise so far for THE GIRL (Hitch's term for Tippi Hedren on set) detailing his obsession with the model he groomed and had on personal contract. Will the revered director be shown as a sex pest/abuser? Its based on the good Donald Spoto book SPELLBOUND BY BEAUTY on Hitch and his protege. Sienna Miller is Tippi here and Toby Jones is Hitch .... whatever the success of these they will certainly send us back to the original movies.  THE GIRL screens here in the UK over Christmas by the BBC. 
I have already done several pieces here on our Hitchcock Summer (thanks to the British Film Institute) and reviewed several Hitchs (PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, TOPAZ etc) at Hitchcock label.

"Time waits for no one" .....

The Stones in '71: GIMME SHELTER
Even the Rolling Stones had their comeback gig at the London O2 cut short when they - of course - began late and over-ran. Why can't concerts ever start on time? Surely they have all day to get ready - people have to get home too so need to get away while public transport still runs. Fans apparantly were left stranded at the O2 which happens quite a lot as public transport shuts down on time here.

The Stones though - a fascinating article in yesterday's paper by music commentator Mick Brown. But first, their set list: Wanna Be Your Man, Its All Over Now, Get Off My Cloud, Paint it Black, Gimme Shelter, Wild Horses, All Down The Line, Going Down, Out of Control, Doom and Gloom, Its Only Rock & Roll, Honky Tonk Woman, Before they make me run, Happy, Midnight Rambler, Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Sympathy for the Devil, You Cant Always Get What You Want and Jumping Jack Flash - they were going to finish with Satisfaction but couldn't ... what,  no Miss You or Emotional Rescue, 2 of their later songs I like.
That new documentary CROSSFIRE HURRICANE got me interested in the Stones again, as it highlights those crazy rock & roll tours or circuses of the '70s when the Stones were leading the pack.  I don't think I really need to see them now as they approach their 70s! Did we ever think back in '69 when they were producing that great run of albums (THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES, BEGGER'S BANQUET, LET IT BLEED (my 24th birthday present from my best friend Stan, as per his inscription) and STICKY FINGERS with that real zip on the cover , that they would still be going strong 40 years later!  I am amazed now that I threw out all my vinyl albums when moving house a few years ago - what was I thinking? - ok I may never have played the vinyl versions any more but they were part of  my history ... even selling them wouldn't have made any money .... those albums though were the sound of the era, as The Beatles broke-up and Jim Morrison exited ....

As Mick Brown says about the high ticket prices: "The Stones long ago set the benchmark for shameless cynical exploitation of "the brand"  .... . It is an odd paradox that while the Stones have not made an album worth listening to since TATTOO YOU in 1981 they are bigger business now than they ever were, the prime example of 60s and 70s rock music as heritage industry. It is a tired and familiar trope to to point out the irony of old rockers, who can barely make it to the stage unaided, singing the anthems of their rebellious youth - half The Who still going, Paul McCartney has become a national institution wheeled out at state occasions to sing the creaking Hey Jude .... surely its time to give it a rest? 

Watching CROSSFIRE HURRICANE reminded you of just how glamorous, how dangerous, how romantic the Stones were in their prime: a different species altogether from the cadavers who emerged, as if from creaking coffins, on the O2 stage. Jagger is as they say marvellous for his age .... surviving tax exile, two expensive divorces and, by his own account, "dozens" of paternity suits."

I may have to re-buy those classic 4 late '60s albums, which are cheap cds now, there's lots of tracks I like on them, rather than the latest 50 track compilation. I also got the re-issued EXILE ON MAIN STREET a few years ago - their following albums we also got at the time but GOATS HEAD SOUP, ITS ONLY ROCK & ROLL etc only had a few good tracks each..  I think the last item of theirs I bought was a CD single Saint of Me which had a bonus live version of Gimme Shelter or Midnight Rambler ...

The BBC programmer though had a sense of humour: CROSSFIRE HURRICANE was followed by the movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD...  
Well, thats done The Stones as well as The Beatles and Cream and the Joni Mitchell re-issues, Paul Simon, Pet Shop Boys etc (Music label) - who next? Pink Floyd ?, The Moody Blues ? Tamla Motown ? Atlantic? (seeing Aretha and Otis Redding etc), Disco, acid house, soul grooves and club music ... ?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Back to 1965: "Pussycat pussycat I love you" ...

THE PASSENGER from yesterday was a major trip down memory lane for me, so too is WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? from 1965, which I just found myself defending over at IMDB, where someone considered it one of the worst movies ever made. As I said: I can quite well accept its one of the worst films ever made but thats part of the attraction, if you were 19 in 1965 (as I was) and saw it at the cinema with your friends and we all laughed ourselves silly and liked the cast, it remains a cherished memory, and the height of mid-60s chic and zaniness. 

My pals and I adored it back in the '60s and returned to it several times. One friend and I used to quote lines from it to each other ("Miss Lefebvre [Capucine's real name...] your face is like the pale autumn moon" "What did you say?" etc; of course Sellers and Cap were also hilarious in the original PINK PANTHER). O'Toole, Sellers and Woody + the delirious quartet of Romy, Capucine, Paula and Ursula AND Fellini's Edra Gale ! (Ursula says "Whats that thing?" when she sees Edra in the Viking get-up, and as she says to Peter O'Toole "Come back to bed immediately...". Whats not to like ? - even my French favourite chanteuse Francoise Hardy pops up at the end after that madness at the country hotel and they all going off on go-karts!

I just can't believe its 47 years ago ... I had the funky Burt Bacharach soundtrack album as well...and I just love the look of it, as helmed by Clive Donner. For me it and MODESTY BLAISE are the mid-60s stylish comic peaks.
Even now the memory of Woody chasing Romy around, O'Toole and Capucine trapped in the elevator, Cap pretending to be the cleaner when Romy walks in, the language class repeating everything O'Toole and Romy say, Paula's suicide attempts .... and then they all running around the hotel etc.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Treats: a western, a Bette Davis classic and Antonioni

Quite a good few days: another look at a superior western, plus one of Bette's 60's grand guignols and that last Antonioni masterwork ....
Movies one becomes obsessed by: at different times I was obsessed about EAST OF EDEN, and then about THE MISFITS, and BLOW-UP and KLUTE, and then the 1954 A STAR IS BORN and 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY etc - and those favourite Hitchcocks, Michael Powells, Wilders, Mankiewiczs, Hawks etc. When I was 30 in 1975 I became as obsessed about Antonioni's THE PASSENGER as I did about his Monica Vitti films and BLOW-UP (ZABRISKIE POINT not so much), THE PASSENGER has another screening today on our Film4 channel as part of its Jack Nicholson season. I was dazzled by THE PASSENGER then in 1975 and, as per The Passenger label, had a full page analysis of it published in a film magazine of the time, the very good FILMS ILLUSTRATED which gave readers a page each issue to talk about a film - quite good in that pre-internet age (whereas now we can write to our heart's content about whatever it is we want to...). The tone of the article makes me wince a bit now, but hey - it was 1975! (the full text is at the Antonioni label). Then the next year I became obsessed about TAXI DRIVER and OBSESSION and ....
My 1976 review,  see Passenger label
Back to THE PASSENGER: Antonioni's melancholy and languid existential anti-thriller becomes hypnotic as we watch and identify with Jack Nicholson as a soul-sick television reporter on assignment in North Africa who decides to assume the identify of the dead man in the hotel room next door and sees where it leads him, too late he realises he is now a gun runner ...  as we travel from Africa to Germany, London and Gaudi's Barcelona ... there is a stunning climax and that nice little coda. It remains a key '70s movie for me but was probably overshadowed by Nicholson's mega-hits of the time like CHINATOWN and CUCKOO'S NEST ... Jack in that check shirt and green combat trousers in that riveting African section at the start still looks as iconic as Hemmings in the white jeans in BLOW-UP (and after the cluttered muddy look of a modern film like MAGIC MIKE the clean sharp clear photography here is an absolute dream). I must play the Nicholson commentary on the dvd ...

I had not seen Robert Aldrich's HUSH ... HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE since its release in 1965, when Bette was back on a roll after BABY JANE (which I did not like at all really) and DEAD RINGER which I liked a lot in 1964 where she played the 2 sisters nice Edie and nasty Margaret (that one deserves a whole review of its own, soon then ...). Joan Crawford quit this gothic melodrama conceived to capitalise on the success of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, leaving the road clear for Bette to romp away with the show and she duly had a field day, and even managed to be quite moving at times. 
I remember critics like Kenneth Tynan being impressed with her work here, as the ageing Southern Belle whose life has been blighted by people thinking she had decapitated her married lover (a young Bruce Dern) 40 years earlier.  Bette's friend and co-star Olivia De Havilland sashayed into Crawford's role as scheming cousin Miriam and Olivia is in fact ideally cast here, while Agnes Moorehead's nutty housekeeper makes even Davis look as though she is underplaying. The icing on the cake is a final appearance for Bette's old co-star from THE GREAT LIE Mary Astor who has a couple of scenes, much older here of course, as the ideally named Jewel Mayhew who holds the secret as to what really happened all those years ago. Its unexpectedly gory for its era with some loopy hallucinations, but Bette is mesmerising here and achieves real pathos by the end. Just try looking away, even though it goes on far too long ...I reported before on seeing Olivia up close at the National Film Theatre in 1972 (at NFT label), marvellous that she is still here in her 90s, along with sister Joan ...

Back out west with another look at SEVEN MEN FROM NOW, the first of those westerns laconic star Randolph Scott make with director Budd Boetticher. This 1956 one was written by Burt Kennedy, who took up directing too and was produced for John Wayne's Batjac company. Wayne was meant to start in it but it seems got held up on THE SEARCHERS

Ex-sheriff Ben Stride tracks the seven men who held up a Wells Fargo office and killed his wife. Stride is tormented by the fact that his own failure to keep his job was the cause of his wife's working in the express office and thus he is partly responsible for her death. Stride encounters a married couple heading west for California and helps them. Along the way they are joined by two n'er-do-wells, Masters and Clete, who know that Stride is after the express-office robbers. They plan to let Stride lead them to the bandits, then make away with the loot themselves. But they aren't the only ones carrying a secret. 

This is a perfect little western, barely 80 minutes long with 3 great performances. Apart from Scott being his usual man of few words there is the young Lee Marvin coming into his prime, perfecting that persona that would serve him well in the '60s, and the very affecting Gail Russell is the lovely leading lady. Gail was a real charmer and is usually referred to in tragic terms. She died aged 36 from alcohol problems, alone in her Hollywood apartment. Like Linda Darnell it is one of the sadder Hollywood stories. She had been married though to Guy Madison for 5 years and was a friend of Wayne's with whom she made 2 films. 
Here she is the wife of the farmer heading west in their covered wagon whom Scott helps and travels with, before it all arrives at a satisfying conclusion. Scott and Russell have some nicely understated scenes together, before Marvin goes off like a firework. I like this one a lot, and must watch out for more of these Scott westerns (like COMMANCHE STATION, THE TALL T, BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, RIDE LONESOME etc)  and anything featuring Gail Russell. The young Stuart Whitman is here too.


Dinah Sheridan (1920-2012) -  92 is certainly a good run. Dinah was a delightful lady and of course the last survivor of GENEVIEVE which Kay Kendall stole, but Dinah is utterly delightful here too, her Wendy is an ideal high-spirited wife which she played to perfection and of course her ideal mother in THE RAILWAY CHILDREN - that will be getting its usual Christmas screening next month. She is also nice with Dirk Bogarde in APPOINTMENT IN LONDON among other roles. Left: with GENEVIEVE co-stars John Gregson, Kenneth More and Kay Kendall.  Right: with Kenneth More in that very '50s kitchen ...
She was on the stage in several plays in the '80s, I was once in a mini-supermarket (the long gone Civil Service Stores) in The Strand, London when a nice lady with a basket smiled at me as we passed each other in the aisle - it was Dinah who was appearing at one of the nearby theatres. 


Larry Hagman (1931-2012) The extraordinary success of DALLAS owed much to Hagman’s portrayal of the scheming JR – arguably the most memorable villain in television history. The character certainly made Hagman one of the most recognised actors on the planet. We all watched DALLAS back then. I caught one of his earlier roles this year, in Lumet's 1966 film THE GROUP where he was the equally reptilian husband of Joanna Pettet and he had a good scene with Candice Bergen. He had just returned in the new version of DALLAS ....

Chris Stamp (1942-2012), younger brother of Terence Stamp and one of the movers and shapers of the '60s pop scene, along with Kit Lambert he co-managed The Who during their great years and also signed Jimi Hendrix to his Track record label. He also enjoyed the rock and roll high life along with his acts ....

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Words & music

Sunday afternoon - a pot of coffee, the papers with gift guides, books of the year etc. Sorting out stuff to order ... as the Christmas season rushes at us. One of yesterday's papers here had a free Sinatra CD of Christmas songs ! - there is a month to go yet ....

A Marilyn no-no: this cover is eye-catching from those iconic last MM sessions, its an expensive new book (from Taschen) which mixes the text from Norman Mailer's 1973 essential book on Monroe with the photos from THE LAST SESSION, photographer Bert Stern's previous book on his sessions with Monroe in 1962. but Why ? Its simply another way to sell previous books and still make money out of Monroe, whose estate is now making more than it ever did while she lived. A big plus of the original Mailer book was that it brought together a lot of key photographs by the likes of Eve Arnold, George Barris, Milton Green, Cecil Beaton, Sam Shaw, Bob Willoughby and others as well as the text which re-defined Marilyn as a cultural icon. I also have the original Bert Stern book, so this one is just not necessary - avoid, I say. Anyway, I prefer the George Barris MM pictures ....

ANOTHER book on the Redgraves ! "A family epic" no less! On the heels of that Redgrave book by Tim Adler which was my summer trash classic read (Books, Trash labels) comes another biography of the theatre dynasty by established biographer Donald Spoto (whose book on Marilyn is among the best on her...) This blurb begins:
For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theater and film while captivating the public eye. Their history is a rich tapestry of singu­larly talented individuals whose influence is felt to this day, yet their story has never before been told. In The Redgraves, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto draws on his close personal relationships with the family and includes both his interviews and un­precedented personal access to them. The result is a groundbreaking account of this extraordinary clan and their circle ....

Spoto at least knows what he writes about - unlike the Redgraves' previous biographer who had not even seen BLOW-UP, Vanessa first key role in the cinema ... and was really all about her ex-husband Tony Richardson, but we have really covered all that already

I am currently reading Edna O'Brien's biography COUNTRY GIRL, which mines her Irish background once again as we return to her childhood in County Clare, and move to Dublin and getting involved with an older man, and then her literary life in London and the people she knew. Fascinating stuff if you know the O'Brien books - THE COUNTRY GIRLS etc and the films made from them: THE GIRL WITH GREEN EYES, and I WAS HAPPY HERE (which I have covered several times here, Ireland label). She doesn't mention the movies though, apart from the cheque arriving for the film that became the Rita Tushingham-Peter Finch 1964 GIRL WITH GREEN EYES. Redhead O'Brien wasn't called "the Maureen O'Hara of the literary world" for nothing, so its a fascinating story by a writer well-used to writing about her life and times, as per my previous post on her. 

Among other memoirs, Rupert Everett has got raves across the board for his latest slab of autobiography VANISHED YEARS, I enjoyed his first instalment, so we will have to get this too in due course. Good to see that Everett has now found his ideal role as Oscar Wilde, which he is continuing to play next year ... (as per review at theatre label). Grimmer fare is provided by reviews of other books which have caught my attention, we will have to investigate further items like SAVAGE CONTINENT: Europe in the aftermath of World War II, which covers that "descent into anarchy" as millions of displaced persons roamed the countryside (by Keith Lowe); TITANIC LIVES by Richard Davenport-Hines, among all the books on the Titanic centenary this one is about the passengers and crew who made that fateful voyage .... ; and IRON CURTAIN, another grim tale chronicling "The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956" (Anne Applebaum).
There is also Colm Toibin's new tale, a novella THE TESTAMENT OF MARY - if it is as good as his others one should be in literary heaven ...

On the music front I will have to get Alicia Keys latest GIRL ON FIRE which has some interesting tracks - is it really 10 years since her first hit "Falling"? we loved that first album. I am wondering if I really need GRRR, The Rolling Stones latest compilation (I have 2 already), I shall watch their documentary CROSSCUT HURRICANE first, its been recorded from television. One new (to me) singer I have invested in is Elina Garanca, the mezzo-soprano from Latvia, we heard good things about her new album ROMANTIQUE and I also got an earlier one of hers HABANERA with gypsy songs from CARMEN and others.Ole! 
I want a decent Mel Torme compilation too, I used to have his 45rmp single "Coming Home Baby" with "Right Now" as the B-side. It defined cool then and still does now ... his book on working with Judy Garland on her early '60s tv shows was a great, if settling scores, read too!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Rainy Saturday ....

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: Its back in cinemas after 50 years! A nice contrast to the bland epics of today with their shallow CGI effects, full of pantomime grotesques and token females. Lean's magesterial epic seen on the big screen may seriously damage your ability to enjoy anything else.

It was also great to see CLEOPATRA on the big screen on its general release back in 1964 .... will that get a 50th anniversary re-release too?

Good too to see AMOUR (the breakout arthouse hit of the year), ARGO, THE MASTER, RUST & BONE and SKYFALL among the top 10 films in London.

G is for Gina and for glamour

I like SOLOMON & SHEBA a lot, this blurb "A motion picture so vast it sweeps all before it" seems a rather forlorn hope though as in 1959 BEN HUR was the only epic everyone wanted to see. 
King Vidor's biblical though remains a guilty pleasure, its vastly entertaining, what with George Sanders, Harry Andrews and Jean Anderson as Sheba's servants, and that sizzling orgy scene as Sheba seduces Solomon, while the Old Testament God shows his displeasure by sending thunder and lightening to show Solomon the error of his ways .... this of course began in 1958 with Tyrone Power but he had that fatal heart attack and the film has to be re-shot with Yul Brynner. It remains one of the better 50s epics, Vidor was still able to create great visuals, like Sheba leaving the temple and facing the mob. 
Gina now seems the epitome of '50s European glamour, before the ascent of Bardot and Loren. Here she meets Marilyn in 1955 - they were practically the same age (MM born in 1926, Gina in '27 - Gina is still here in her 80s). Is that Rock Hudson behind her?

I remember my father taking me to TRAPEZE in 1956, when I was 10 .... the next year I was allowed to go to the movies on my own and simply loved THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME where Gina was a terrific Esmerelda, with her dancing and her pet goat. More on Gina at label, particularly LA LOI in 1959, and that trash classic GO NAKED IN THE WORLD. She is deliciously funny too with Rock in COME SEPTEMBER in '61, and with Connery and Ralph Richardson in WOMAN OF STRAW in '64. By 1960 Monica Vitti and Claudia Cardinale had joined Gina and Sophia as Italy's greatest exports .... we like her with Jean Sorel in LA BAMBOLE in '65 (below) and the 1968 comedy BUONA SERA MRS CAMPBELL is very amusing too,  as was Skolimowski's KING QUEEN KNAVE from Nabokov in 1972 (bottom),  we liked it a lot, and of course Gina with Dame Edna Everage in one of the Dame's shows was too funny. A lot of Gina's European films though never made it to London ... she later became a successful photographer/photo journalist.
G is also for (now that I have seen KILLER JOE) the stunning Gina Gershon whom you may have seen in SHOWGIRLS .... wait till you catch her in KILLER JOE !

John, Maureen, Clifton, Sophia ....

Rainy day doodlings: THE QUIET MAN was on again yesterday .... in a movie of magic moments I love that scene where Wayne's Sean Thornton first sees Mary Kate Danaher ..... we like Wayne in lots of movies: those Ford and Hawks classics - THE SEARCHERS with Jeff Hunter and Natalie Wood, RIO BRAVO with Feathers (Angie Dickinson) and Colorado (Ricky Nelson), and the bliss that is Hawks' HATARI; his Joe January in Hathaway's Sahara western LEGEND OF THE LOST with the blooming Sophia Loren in 1957 (Loren label), the still delighful NORTH TO ALASKA (Westerns label) also for Hathaway, and of course here in THE QUIET MAN with another of his perfect co-stars Maureen O'Hara.

Maureen's MIRACLE ON 34th STREET is on tomorrow, with the even younger Natalie Wood (I must get around to GYPSY and LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER soon) its one I am not that familiar with, I may only have seen it once ... so we will tune in again, particularly now with Christmas rushing at us. 
The Maureen one I do want to see though is SITTING PRETTY, her 1948 comedy with Clifton Webb as Mr Belvedere, the baby-sitter. This seems impossible to obtain now here in the UK.  I saw it when I was a kid though, at one of those Sunday matinee revivals, but obviously I would appreciate it a lot more now. Maureen's book was a good read and she is still going strong in her 90s ... 
I have done an 'appreciation' on Clifton here,  see label - particularly his Negulesco films I like, like WOMAN'S WORLD and BOY ON A DOLPHIN, with Sophia. There is also a book on Clifton, which I just had to order ... there was 1 copy left and I had to have it. Seems he began it himself and did the first half dozen chapters .... should be a fascinating look back at his career and that Hollywood gay era in the 40s and earlier ..... his early career as a dancer, and hits like LAURA, and his family movies like CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, to his later waspish roles. I particularly like his art collector in BOY ON A DOLPHIN (below, with Sophia), as mentioned before here ...
The Clifton book has got good comments - The Zanucks regarded him as "family": There has never been a replacement for him; he could do everything and did it in a singular style that could never be repeated. He was 20th Century Fox's most unlikely star ... who was also a meticulous and devoted friend".