February 2010


I can’t believe today is almost over and I just realized that it’s Liz Taylor and Joanne Woodward’s birthdays!! I admire both of these ladies and their film careers. As somewhat of an aspiring journalist and seeing as how both of them are still living, I would LOVE to interview both of them. They have worked, and in Woodward’s case married, some of my favorite other actors and actresses!

Happy Birthday!!

Bleck….today was a crazy day…fortunately I got ahead on my schoolwork this week so I didn’t have to much to do….decided to finish up my story for next week’s paper and send it in so I could relax…..let’s just say Bogart and Bacall were calling my name….Mass Media Law research was not……So….Dark Passage won the day

The third Bogart/Bacall film, Dark Passage revolves around Vincent Parry (Bogart) a innocent man, jailed for killing his wife, who escapes from San Quentin Prison. Irene Jensen, whose own father was wrongly convicted, takes Parry in to her home.

Widely recognized after his face being plastered in the papers, Parry gets the idea to try plastic surgery from a talkative cabbie. He decides to go and see the cabbie’s doctor friend who then performs minor facial reconstruction.

While recuperating at Jensen’s, the two fall in love. Parry heals up enough and leaves her behind, only to be blackmailed by a man who had given him a short ride after he first arrived. He wants Jensen’s money and knows she will pay to keep Parry out of jail. After a struggle, Parry pushes the man over a small cliff and onto rocks below. But before, the man reveals knowledge of another car he had seen following Parry after his surgery. Parry realizes who it really was who killed his wife.

Bogart is at his best as he goes to confront his true enemy. I don’t want to exactly spoil it for you. Let’s just say after a heated confrontation and another accidental death, Parry is on the run again. He makes it out of the city.

While waiting for the bus to Arizona, Parry calls Irene and they plan a rendevou in Peru. They do meet up months later in a small cafe.

Everyone seems to be on Parry’s side in this film. Everyone from a cabbie to doctor believe he is innocent, or at least believe he did get a fair shake in the press.

Dark Passage is rather underrated, but Bacall and Bogart’s chemistry is as good as ever. The cinematography is also quite good; until Parry has his surgery, the film is seen through his eyes and you only mostly see Bogart’s hands. A different approach but it is handled wellThis film is definitely a gem that may get overlooked amongst their other films, but it is worth a watch!

*sigh*

I’m behind once again on posting. I’ve had the chance- ok so I’ve made time- to watch several great films over the past couple of weeks, but I have yet to get around to writing my thoughts about them.

While I have a moment, here is a couple of brief snippets of my thoughts of these films. Hopefully later I will get a chance to ramble on a little more.

First up: The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie

Eddie lines up a shot

Fast Eddie (Newman) is a hotshot pool shark who bites off more than he can chew when he takes on the equally legendary Minnesota Fast (Jackie Gleason-yes, from The Honeymooners TV show). After losing to Fats, Eddie goes a quest of sorts to regain his confidence and money. He runs across Gordon (Scott), a greedy manager that wants to use Eddie to make money. Eddie agrees to go along with him for awhile, but risks losing much including his girlfriend (Laurie).

This is one of Newman’s great performances and Laurie gives an equally performance as the messed up girl that tries to help Eddie but is in serious need of help herself. George C. Scott is great as always; he is manipulative and plays on Eddie’s weaknesses.

Hustler was nominated for almost every Oscar there is, but only winning for Best Art Direction and Cinematography. For anyone who loves a great rise-from-the-despair-to-win story, this movie is for you.

Tom and Matt talk over the upcoming, grueling cattle drive

Red River (1948) with Montgomery Clift, John Wayne, Joanne Dru

Making his feature film debut (although The Search made it to theaters first) Montgomery Clift c0-stars as Matt Garth, the adopted son of John Wayne’s Thomas Dunson.

Dunson is forced to drive his cattle from Texas to Missouri when the Civil War robs the South of money and there is noone to buy his beef. This seems to be an impossible task to undertake, but Wayne knows it is this or go completely broke. Along the way, someone suggests taking the shorter route to¬†Abilene¬†where there is rumored to be a new railroad. Dunson is set in his ways and forces to men to continue on the predetermined route. Garth decides to take the cattle and the willing men and go to Abilene instead. Dunson’s pride takes a hit and he vows to catch up with Matt and kill him for undercutting him. Matt and the men do make it to Abilene and find the rumors of the railroad to be true. They sell the cattle and wait for Dunson to catch up to them.

Joanne Dru stars as Tess Millay, a woman in a wagon train that Garth and his men help rescue from the Indians. After their brief encounter, Garth and Millay fall in love, but Garth continues on to Abilene. Dunson later meets her and brings her with him to Abilene. When Dunson finally confronts Matt in the street, Tess is the one who breaks up their fight, telling them they are stupid for fighting because everyone can see how much they truly love each other.

This Howard Hawks-directed film is a masterpiece of the Western genre. Wayne delivers his usual gruff, strong character with a hard shell but soft insides. Clift is magnificent is his debut and the scenes in which he has with Dru pave the way for his future romantic leading man roles. He is as comfortable as Wayne in the Western garb and backdrop. He did not try to outdo Wayne, which cannot really be done. But instead he played Matt with an ease and confidence that translated onscreen perfectly.

The plot has enough comedic spark mixed in and it has a good flow. I enjoyed seeing Walter Brennan star as the grumpy old cook and Dunson’s good friend. Brennan also stars with Wayne in another great Western Rio Bravo Not to spoil the anticipation, here’s a clip of the ending (sorry it’s not the best quality):

More to come….hopefully in the near future!

Who doesn’t love a good con-the-bad-guy-and-get-even movie? When that movie stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, you are bound to have a hit. Such as the case with The Sting.

Directed by George Hill and released in 1973, Sting tells the tale of Johnny Hooker, a small time con man who cons the wrong man, a big time racketeer named Doyle Lonnegan, and pays the price. Hooker’s friend and fellow con is killed and in retaliation, Hooker (Redford) consorts with retired con man Gondorff (Newman) to pull off the ultimate job and avenge their friend’s death.

They assemble a team of fellow artists and create a false racketeering business of their own to lure Lonnegan into chancing a large sum of his own money on horse racing.

Hooker and Gondorff are succuessful in their attempts to swindle Lonnegan but not without some bumps along the way. The plot does have some twists and turns as well, but the ending is satisfying.

Being paired only a few short years before in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Redford and Newman were destined to make another great film together. And they did with The Sting. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars, winning 7.

The Sting is a classic caper film sure to please audiences for many more years to come.

The films also features fantastic use of Joplin’s hit “The Entertainer”.

the great Clark Gable!

Best known for his role as Rhett Butler, Gable actually won the Oscar for his role in It Happened One Night.

You can’t help but love Gable, who, although he played a tough guy, always seemed to get the girl.