The time is fast approaching when movie buffs curious to learn about Hollywood’s “Golden Age” — that fabled time, more than a half-century ago, when studios were still run by moguls and employed directors and stars to churn out movies as if they were working on the production line of a dream factory — will be able to consult only second-hand sources.
Posts Tagged ‘Frank Sinatra’
By Sean O’Connell
It was the last film I managed to see at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
“Shame” reunites director Steve McQueen and his “Hunger” star Michael Fassbender for an intense study of a sex addict coping with his own unique hungers in the city that never sleeps. Fassbender’s performanceearned him the Coppa Volpi prize for best actor at the Venice Film Festival, and Fox Searchlight – which acquired the film for distribution at TIFF – hopes to push “Shame” through the Oscar circuit.
I was saddened to learn this morning that Betty Garrett, the great star of stage, screen, and TV, passed away yesterday at the age of 94 after suffering an aortic aneurysm.
Garrett was one of those rare people — like, say, Jack Valenti — who happened to be a witness to and/or participant in a remarkably high number of historic events of the 20th century. She was a member of Orson Welles’s famed Mercury Theatre company, and was with him on the night that he shook up America with his infamous radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” (1938); she was Frank Sinatra’s leading lady in two of the earliest great M-G-M musical-comedies, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1949) and “On the Town” (1949); her career was greatly hurt by the Hollywood Red Scare after her husband, the Oscar nominated actor Larry Parks, refused to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and blacklisted; she later came back and was a part of two classic TV shows, playing Archie Bunker’s liberal neighbor on “All in the Family” (from 1973-1975) and the singing landlady on “Laverne & Shirley” (from 1976-1981); and she was the beloved godmother of the Oscar winning actor Jeff Bridges and his siblings. Perhaps most remarkably, she was just as passionate about her craft at the end as she was at the beginning — in fact, she taught her regular musical-comedy class at Theatre West on Wednesday night before being stricken on Saturday. All in all, she was quite a lady.
I had the immense privilege and pleasure of interviewing Garrett at-length at her home in Studio City back on August 23, 2005, and I’d like to share with you the full transcript of our conversation.
If the Academy honors both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo with Oscars for their performances in “The Fighter,” as it is widely expected to do, it will mark only the eighth instance in Oscar history in which the best supporting actor and best supporting actress Oscars have been presented that those categories were won by performances from the same film. (Both categories have been presented for the past 73 years, meaning that it has occurred only 9.6% of the time.) The other seven…
- The Hollywood Reporter: Daniel Miller writes that sources close to the investigation into the murder of veteran Oscar publicist Ronni Chasen have told him that their “working theory” is that Chasen’s death “was planned in advance and not the result of road rage or a carjacking gone awry.” Apparently, “police have obtained relevant footage from one or perhaps multiple security cameras located at… the home of Sherry Hackett, widow of the late comedian and actor Buddy Hackett.”
- Deadline Hollywood: Pete Hammond documents this week’s frenzy of screenings and Q&As on both coasts for members of the WGA, PGA, DGA, SAG and countless media organizations. (Full disclosure: our own Scott Feinberg moderated two of this week’s New York Q&A’s, for “Frankie and Alice” with best actress hopeful Halle Berry and for “Black Swan” with best director hopeful Darren Aronofsky, best actress hopeful Natalie Portman, and best supporting actress hopeful Mila Kunis.) Pete notes that “one group that really has been making the rounds is the gang from ‘The Kids Are All Right,’” namely best director/best original screenplay hopeful Lisa Cholodenko, best actress hopefuls Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, and best supporting actor hopeful Mark Ruffalo (who told Pete, “I did six days working on this film and I have done 60 days of press”).
- The Wrap: Daniel Frankel reports that The Weinstein Company “has hired some big legal guns” to wage its battle against the MPAA over the hard-to-comprehend/audience-limiting ratings that the group gave to its awards hopefuls “Blue Valentine” (NC-17) and “The King’s Speech” (R). Studio co-chief Harvey Weinstein said in a statement, “While we respect the MPAA, I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultraviolent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language.”
- Esquire: John H. Richardson interviews best supporting actor hopeful Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) and learns that the notoriously temperamental actor would not choose to spend time with him or any other reporter if it was up to him. “I want to be able to just act and never do any interview, but I don’t have the balls to stand up to the studio and say, ‘I’m never going to do another interview in my life!’ So I tip my hat and go, ‘Okay, mister! All right, mister! I’ll go do the salesman job.” He further explains his resistance to interviews by noting, “If you know something about somebody, it gets in the way of just watching the guy as the character.”
- New York Times: Frank Bruni — in a piece that has been compared with Gay Talese’s famous 1966 Esquire profile of Frank Sinatra — brings to life his recent visit with the legendary singer and Oscar winning actress Cher, who is now 64 years old and promoting the new film “Burlesque,” which includes her first big screen appearance in seven years (opposite Christina Aguilera in her motion picture debut). Cher tells him, “Look, I have a very narrow range… I’ve never tried anything more than playing who I am. If you look at my characters, they’re all me.”
- Thompson on Hollywood: Anne Thompson congratulates Alex Gibney, the Oscar winning documentary filmmaker, on both pieces of exciting news that he received on Thursday — first, “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” his doc about the former New York governor, made the Academy’s short-list of 15 films from which this year’s 5 best documentary feature Oscar nominees will be chosen; and second, he was named as this year’s recipient of the International Press Academy’s auteur award, which will be presented at the IPA’s Satellite Awards gala on December 19.
- Twitter: A spokesman for Zeitgeist Films, the small distributor of “Last Train Home” and “The Oath,” two of this year’s most acclaimed documentaries, Tweeted the studio’s great disappointment at the Academy’s exclusion of both films from the aforementioned documentary short-list. Blogger Peter Knegt suggested that members of the Academy’s documentary branch must have some “personal vendetta” against Zeitgeist, but the studio quickly rebutted that notion, noting that one of its films has previous won the best documentary feature Oscar — for “Nowhere in Africa” (2001) — while four others have garnered nominations in the category over the years.
- The Guardian: Xan Brooks passes along some recent remarks from British prime minister David Cameron suggesting that the UK film industry needs to make more films ‘Harry Potter’ if it is to survive and prosper. “We have got to make films that people want to watch and films which will benefit beyond themselves as they will also encourage people to come and visit our country,” Cameron stated. UK Film Council [UKFC] chief executive John Woodward later described the suggestion as “short-sighted and potentially very damaging.”
Photo: Ruffalo, Bening, and Moore in “The Kids Are All Right.” Credit: Focus Features.
Last week, I posted a piece about the legendary director Stanley Donen, 86, to whom the Film Society of Lincoln Center is paying tribute over the next week, featuring audio clips from my recent interview with Donen as well as video clips of the most memorable song-and-dance numbers that he has overseen over the course of his eight decades in the business: Gene Kelly dancing with his alter-ego in “Cover Girl” (1944); Kelly dancing with Jerry the Mouse in “Anchors Aweigh” (1945); Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munschin in the opening number of “On the Town” (1949); Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling in “Royal Wedding” (1951); Kelly singin’ in the rain in “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952); Howard Keel & Co. barn dance in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954); and Kelly dancing on rollerskates in “It’s Always Fair Weather” (1955).
On Wednesday, as part of the FSLC tribute, Donen participated in an extended Q&A at the Walter Reade Theater that was moderated by director Mike Nichols. One thing I was not able to share with you in my post was a recent photograph of Donen, but now, courtesy of FSLC, I am — the photo at the top of this post is of Donen answering a question during the Q&A, and the photo below the jump is Nichols making a remark about Donen during the Q&A. Enjoy…
- Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil raises the possibility that Justin Timberlake could win the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” and reminds us that it wouldn’t be the first time that a “heartthrob pop singer” won the category. See: Frank Sinatra in “From Here to Eternity” (1953).
- Deadline New York: Mike Fleming breaks yet another major deal out of Toronto, reporting that Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have teamed up to purchase Dan Rush’s drama “Everything Must Go,” which stars Will Ferrell.
- Variety: Pamela McClintock learns that Focus Features picked up Mike Mills‘s family drama “Beginners” before checking out of Toronto, culminating “the busiest acquisitions market in recent years for any festival.”
- The Hollywood Reporter: Borys Kit confirms that Joaquin Phoenix is — contrary to representations made in “I’m Still Here,” Casey Affleck‘s pseudo-documentary about his brother-in-law — not only not retired but also actively exploring future roles.
- Boing Boing: Xeni Jardin shares the news that Jean-Luc Godard has donated 1,000 euros to the defense fund of James Climent, a French citizen accused of illegally downloading over 13,000 MP3s, arguing, “There is no such thing as intellectual property.”
- The Hollywood Reporter: Gregg Kilday notes the passing of legendary Hollywood columnist James Bacon, 96, who became a close confidante of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and John Wayne over the course of his 75 year career.
- New York Times: Stephen Tobolowsky, who you might remember as the annoying Ned Ryerson (“Bing!”) in “Groundhog Day” (1993), pens an op-ed in which he describes the pros and cons of being a character actor, and pays tribute to several of the finest who recently passed away.
- Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells is excited to hear that TV satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be holding rallies in Washington, D.C. on October 30, just days before mid-term Election Day, apparently as a response to Glenn Beck‘s recent 8/28 rally.
Photo: Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network.” Credit: Columbia.