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sorry…It’s been a whole month since I last posted!! I promise I will try to get back on board soon!

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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!!

*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.

Just wanted to say a quick Happy Birthday to the late Paul Newman. Nominated for 10 Oscars (winning for The Color of Money), Newman shared his talent and ability with us for several decades.

I recently watched for the first time one of Newman’s best movies, The Sting. I hope to post my thoughts about it in the coming day or two.

I am finally catching up this blog and getting around to discussing some of the great films I got to watch over the Christmas holidays.

I’m beginning with my favorite: Anatomy of a Murder. This 1959 mystery/courtroom drama/ stars Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, and George C. Scott. This film was nominated for Best Picture in ’59, but lost out to Ben-Hur.

Anatomy tells the tale of attorney Paul Biegler (Stewart) who takes the case of Lt. Manion, a man accused of murdering bartender Barney Quill. Biegler’s challenge is to prove that Manion was temporarily insane when he murdered Quill because he had just learned that Quill raped his wife, Laura.

Biegler’s knows he will have another challenge convincing the jury that Laura Manion (Remick) was raped. Manion did not have the best reputation around the base and there was no proof of the rape other than her testimony. Biegler and his legal sidekick McCarthy must find witnesses and evidence to support their story before the assistant attorney general Dancer (played excellently by Scott) does the same to convict Lt. Manion.

Biegler is able to find a psychologist to support his temporary insanity defense, but the still lack evidence to support the rape portion of their case.

It may be easy to guess that Stewart’s character prevails in the end,  but I do not want to necessarily give the ending away altogether. There is so much more to say about this great film and this is one I believe that once you watch it once you will want to see it again and again.

This is one of the best dramas of the time and is full of suspense and moral questions. Anatomy also pairs two of the best actors of  the generation in Stewart and Scott.  Remick also gives a great performance as the sometimes vulnerable, sometimes provocative military wife.

Again, there is much more I can say about this great film that I am leaving out. Here are a few clips (keep a look-out for a certain musician!):

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