Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz (1939) is everybody's cherished favorite, perennial fantasy film musical from MGM during its golden years.
For many seasons, it was featured regularly on network TV as a prime time event (its first two showings were on CBS television on November 3, 1956 and in December, 1959) and then annually for Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or Easter time.
It soon became a classic institution, and a rite of passage for everyone, and probably has been seen by more people than any other motion picture over multiple decades. Initially, however, the film was not commercially successful (at $3 million), but it was critically acclaimed.

All of its images (the Yellow Brick Road, the Kansas twister), characters (e.g., Auntie Em, Toto, Dorothy, the Wicked Witch), dialogue (e.g., "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!", "We're not in Kansas anymore," "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," or the film's final line:
"There's no place like home"), and music ("Over the Rainbow") have become indelibly remembered, and the classic film has been honored with dozens of books, TV shows (such as HBO's dramatic prison series Oz), references in other films, and even by pop groups (singer Elton John with his Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road album, or Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon).

The film's plot is easily condensed: lonely and sad Kansas farmgirl Dorothy dreams of a better place, without torment against her dog Toto from a hateful neighbor spinster, so she plans to run away.
During a fierce tornado, she is struck on the head and transported to a land 'beyond the rainbow' where she meets magical characters from her Kansas life transformed within her unconscious dream state.
After travels down a Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz, and the defeat of the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy and her friends are rewarded by the Wizard of Oz with their hearts' desires - and Dorothy is enabled to return home to Kansas.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Monday, 7 December 2009

Bing Crosby-Silent Night

Bing Crosby-Oh Holy Night

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Merry Little Christmas-Frank Sinatra

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Burt Lancaster

Burt Lancaster was one of five children born to a New York City postal worker.
He was a tough street kid who took an early interest in gymnastics.
He joined the circus as an acrobat and worked there until he was injured.
It was in the Army during WW II that he was introduced to the USO and acting.
His first film was The Killers (1946), and that made him a star.
He was a self-taught actor who learned the business as he went along.
He set up his own production company in 1948 with Harold Hecht and James Hill to direct his career.
He played many different roles in pictures as varied as The Crimson Pirate (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), Elmer Gantry (1960) and Atlantic City (1980).

His production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, produced the such films as Paddy Chayefsky's Marty (1955) (Oscar winner 1955) and The Catered Affair (1956).
In the 1980s he appeared as a supporting player in a number of movies, such as Local Hero (1983) and Field of Dreams (1989).
However, it will be the sound of his voice, the way that he laughed, and the larger-than-life characters he played that will always be remembered.

According to Kate Buford in her biography "Burt Lancaster: An American Life," he felt competitive with Marlon Brando, who achieved stardom playing Stanley Kowalski on Broadway, a role Lancaster turned down.
A Top 10 box-office success in the early 1960s,
it was this sense of competition with Brando, who was known as both an actor's actor and a major movie star, that led Lancaster to plunge into art films and riskier fare such as Luchino Visconti's Il gattopardo (1963),
in order to prove himself as an actor and be known as an artist rather than just a movie star.
After this refocusing of his career, he slipped out of the Top 10 and never again was a major box office attraction.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Marilyn Monroe

Her mother was a film-cutter at RKO Studios who, widowed and insane, abandoned her to sequence of foster homes.
She was almost smothered to death at two, nearly raped at six. At nine the LA Orphans' Home paid her a nickel a month for kitchen work while taking back a penny every Sunday for church.
At sixteen she worked in an aircraft plant and married a man she called Daddy; he went into the military, she modeled, they divorced in 1946.
She owned 200 books (including Tolstoy, Whitman, Milton), listened to Beethoven records, studied acting at the Actors' lab in Hollywood, and took literature courses at UCLA downtown.
20th Century Fox gave her a contract but let it lapse a year later. In 1948, Columbia gave her a six-month contract, turned her over to coach Natasha Lytess and featured her in the B movie Ladies of the Chorus (1948) in which she sang two numbers.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz saw her in a small part in The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and put her in All About Eve (1950), resulting in 20th Century re-signing her to a seven-year contract. Niagara (1953) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) launched her as a sex symbol superstar.
When she went to a supper honoring her The Seven Year Itch (1955) she arrived in a red chiffon gown borrowed from the studio (she had never owned a gown). The same year she married and divorced baseball great 'Joe Dimaggio' (their wedding night was spent in Paso Robles, CA).
After The Seven Year Itch (1955), she wanted serious acting to replace the sexpot image and went to New York's Actors Studio.
She worked with director Lee Strasberg and also underwent psychoanalysis to learn more about herself. Critics praised her transformation in Bus Stop (1956) and the press was stunned by her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller.
True to form, she had no veil to match her beige wedding dress so she dyed one in coffee; he wore one of the two suits he owned.
They went to England that fall where she made The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) with Laurence Olivier, fighting with him and falling further prey to alcohol and pills.
Two miscarriages and gynecological surgery followed.
So did an affair with Yves Montand.
Work on her last picture The Misfits (1961), written for her by departing husband Miller was interrupted by exhaustion.
She was dropped from the unfinished Something's Got to Give (1962) due to chronic lateness and drug dependency.
Four months later she was found dead in her Brentwood home of a drug overdose, adjudged "probable suicide".

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

James Stewart

James Stewart (1908 199),American actor,know for his distintie drawl and enearing sincerity.
He was born James Maitland Stewart in pennsylvania .
In 1932 the year he graduated from college with a degree in architecture,Stewart made his professional theater debut in falmouth Massachusetts,with the university players
(a company including actors henry fonda,Jshua Logan,Margaret Sullavan) in good bye again.
He remained with the players for a time then made his way to broadway.

Stewarts first motion picture appearance was in 1935 in "he Murder Man".
He played a variety of supporting leads at Metro Goldwyn-Maye (MGM), which then began to feature him in such films as born to dance (1936), a film of adaptation by Fank Capra which led to two of Stewarts most famous roles.
Stewarts other notable films was Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and as Gregory Baily
in its a wonderful life (946).
He also played the role in The Philadelphia story (1940), which earned him an Academy Award for best actor.

Stewart also served as bomber pilot during World War 11(1939 1945) and he later retained the rank of brigadier general in the United States Air Force Reserve.
After the war he returned he returned to the theater in Harvey (1947), a fantasy comedy about an affable alcoholic and his invisile companion a 6-foot rabbit he later re-created the role in (1950) film version and early 60s westerns ,
Begining with broken arrow (1950) continuing with six films for directory Anthony Mann ,
including winchester '73 (1950) Bend of the River (1952) ,The Naked Spur (1953), and The Far Country (1955) ; and ending with three films for director John Ford:
Two rode together (1961) , The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

Monday, 22 June 2009

Barbara Stanwyck

Today Barbara Stanwyck is remembered primarily as the matriarch of the family known as the Barkleys on the TV western "The Big Valley" (1965), wherein she played Victoria, and from the hit drama "The Colbys" (1985).
But she was known to millions of other fans for her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964, after which she appeared on television until 1986.
It was a career that lasted for 59 years.
She was born Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, in Brooklyn, New York.
She went to work at the local telephone company for $14 a week, but she had the urge (a dream--that was all it was) somehow to enter show business.
When not working, she pounded the pavement in search of dancing jobs.The persistence paid off. Barbara was hired as a chorus girl for the princely sum of $40 a week, much better than the wages she was getting from the phone company.
She was 17, and she was going to make the most of the opportunity that had been given her.
In 1928 Barbara moved to Hollywood, where she was to start one of the most lucrative careers filmdom had ever seen.
She was an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role. Barbara was equally at home in all genres, from melodramas, such as Forbidden (1932) and Stella Dallas (1937), to thrillers, such as Double Indemnity (1944),one of her best films, also starring Fred MacMurray (as you have never seen him before).
She also excelled in comedies such as Remember the Night (1940) and The Lady Eve (1941). Another genre she excelled in was westerns, Union Pacific (1939) being one of her first and TV's "The Big Valley" (1965) (her most memorable role) being her last.
In 1983, she played in the ABC hit mini-series "The Thorn Birds" (1983), which did much to keep her in the eye of the public.
She turned in an outstanding performance as Mary Carson.Barbara was considered a gem to work with for her serious but easygoing attitude on the set.
She worked hard at being an actress,and she never allowed her star quality to go to her head. She was nominated for four Academy Awards, though she never won.
She turned in magnificent performances for all the roles she was nominated for, but the "powers that be" always awarded the Oscar to someone else.
However, in 1982 she was awarded an honorary Academy Award for "superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting."Sadly, Barbara died on January 20, 1990, leaving 93 movies and a host of TV appearances as her legacy to us.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Best Follower Award

I would like to thank http://bluedreamer27.blogspot.com/ for this beautiful award & would like to pass it on to the people who have commented & been kind enough to follow my blog,please copy & paste the award & link back to my blog.Thanks blue.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda (1905-1982), American actor, best known for his convincing portrayals of characters of integrity.
Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, and raised in Omaha, Fonda attended the University of Minnesota for two years.
In 1925 he began to work in an Omaha community theater company, with which he remained for three years, serving for a time as its assistant business manager.
In 1928, while performing in summer stock theater in New England, Fonda met a group of young performers who had assembled their own theater company, the University Players.
He joined the group, which included such future luminaries as Josh Logan, Mildred Natwick, Margaret Sullavan (to whom Fonda was later briefly married), and James Stewart, and remained in it for seven years.

In 1934 Fonda made his Broadway debut in New Faces, soon followed by the title role in The Farmer Takes a Wife.
When the latter play was adapted as a motion picture in 1935, Fonda went to Hollywood, California, to repeat his performance and was placed under contract by producer Walter Wanger.
A string of films followed that rapidly made Fonda an established star: The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), You Only Live Once (1937; with Sylvia Sidney), The Mad Miss Manton (1938; with Barbara Stanwyck), and Jezebel (1938; with Bette Davis).

In 1939 Fonda signed a contract with the 20th Century-Fox film studio, where in his first two years he flourished under the influence of director John Ford,
for whom he made three of his most acclaimed motion pictures: Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939; title role),
and The Grapes of Wrath (1940), in which, as the dustbowl refugee Tom Joad, he gave what many critics consider to be his greatest performance.
His other notable films of the early 1940s include the comedies The Lady Eve (1941) and The Male Animal (1942) and the classic Western The Ox-Bow Incident (1943). In late 1942 Fonda enlisted in the United States Navy.
He served in World War II (1939-1945) as an intelligence officer and received a Bronze Star Medal and a presidential citation.
When he returned from the war, he resumed his motion-picture partnership with John Ford, making three Ford films in three years: My Darling Clementine (1946; as Wyatt Earp), The Fugitive (1947), and Fort Apache (1948).

Fonda returned to the stage in 1948 for his greatest theatrical success, in the comedy Mister Roberts, the title role of which he played for three years and later reprised in the film version in 1955. After the mid-1950s he alternated between the theater and motion pictures.
Fonda also worked in two television series and performed in numerous specials and television movies—notably The Red Pony (1973) and Gideon's Trumpet (1980).
He made three films in 1957— 12 Angry Men,The Wrong Man (under director Alfred Hitchcock), and The Tin Star. Among the best of his later performances are those in Advise and Consent (1962), The Best Man (1964), Fail Safe (1964), Yours, Mine and Ours (1968; with Lucille Ball), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), and There Was a Crooked Man (1970).
His memorable final film, On Golden Pond (1981; with Katharine Hepburn), was produced by his daughter, Jane Fonda, who also acted in it.
Henry Fonda won an Academy Award for best actor for this performance. Previously, at the 1981 Academy Award ceremonies,
Fonda had been honored with a special award saluting “his brilliant accomplishments and enduring contribution to the art of motion pictures.”
Three years earlier, in 1978, he had received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. He wrote an autobiography, My Life (1981).

Monday, 1 June 2009

Joan Fontaine

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, in what was known as the International Settlement.
Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and older sister Olivia de Havilland's recurring ailments the family moved to California in the hopes of improving their health.
Mrs. de Havilland and the two girls settled in Saratoga while their father went back to his practice in Japan.
Joan's parents did not get along well and divorced soon afterward. Mrs. de Havilland had a desire to be an actress but her dreams were curtailed when she married, but now she hoped to pass on her dream to Olivia and Joan.
While Olivia pursued a stage career, Joan went back to Tokyo, where she attended the American School. In 1934 she came back to California, where her sister was already making a name for herself on the stage.
Joan likewise joined a theater group in San Jose and then Los Angeles to try her luck there. After moving to L.A., Joan adopted the name of Joan Burfield because she didn't want to infringe upon Olivia, who was using the family surname.
She tested at MGM and gained a small role in No More Ladies (1935), but she was scarcely noticed and Joan was idle for a year and a half.
During this time she roomed with Olivia, who was having much more success in films. In 1937, this time calling herself Joan Fontaine, she landed a better role as Trudy Olson in You Can't Beat Love (1937) and then an uncredited part in Quality Street (1937).
Although the next two years saw her in better roles, she still yearned for something better. In 1940 she garnered her first Academy Award nomination for Rebecca (1940).
Although she thought she should have won, (she lost out to Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman (1940)), she was now an established member of the Hollywood set. She would again be Oscar-nominated for her role as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth in Suspicion (1941), and this time she won.
Joan was making one film a year but choosing her roles well.
In 1942 she starred in the well-received This Above All (1942). The following year she appeared in The Constant Nymph (1943).
Once again she was nominated for the Oscar, she lost out to Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette (1943).
By now it was safe to say she was more famous than her older sister and more fine films followed.
In 1948, she accepted second billing to Bing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz (1948).
Joan took the year of 1949 off before coming back in 1950 with September Affair (1950) and Born to Be Bad (1950).
In 1951 she starred in Paramount's Darling, How Could You! (1951), which turned out badly for both her and the studio and more weak productions followed.
Absent from the big screen for a while, she took parts in television and dinner theaters.
She also starred in many well-produced Broadway plays such as Forty Carats and The Lion in Winter. Her last appearance on the big screen was The Witches (1966) and her final appearance before the cameras was Good King Wenceslas (1994) (TV).
Joan, today, still appears on stage and the lecture circuit while traveling and writing in her spare time. She is, without a doubt, a lasting movie icon.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood, the daughter of Russian Immigrants, was born Natalia Zakharenko on July 20, 1938. Natalie got her first role at the age of 4 in a movie called Happy Land (1943).
She continued playing the roles of young girls until the age of 16, where she landed the role of Judy in the legendary film
Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
This role showed Hollywood and the world that she had grown up into a beautiful and very talented young woman.
For this role, she was nominated for her first Academy Award.
As a teenager, Natalie dated many big names in the entertainment business like
Elvis Presley, and Dennis Hopper.
However, on December 28th, 1957, Natalie married the love of her life
Robert Wagner (R.J. as Natalie called him). They divorced in 1962, later to remarry.
Natalie once commented about their divorce saying they were both scared, insecure, and listened to others that their marriage wouldn't work.
In the 1960s, Natalie's career boomed,
and she was nominated for two more Academy Awards, (Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963).
On May 30, 1969, Natalie married producer Richard Gregson.
They had a daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, on September 29, 1970.
She divorced Gregson in 1972 after finding out he was having an affair. R.J. and Natalie remarried on July 16, 1972.
On March 9, 1974, R.J. and Natalie had a daughter Courtney Wagner.
They lived happily as husband and wife until tragically, while sailing on their yacht Splendour, Natalie had an accident trying to board the dinghy belonging to the boat, fell into the water, and, while trying to recover, drowned.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Kirk Douglas

Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name give to his best-selling 1988 autobiography) of Russian-Jewish ancestry to become a bona fide superstar,
Kirk Douglas was actually born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York, in 1916. Although growing up in a poor ghetto,
Douglas was a fine student and a keen athlete and wrestled competitively during his time at St. Lawrence University.
However, he soon identified an acting scholarship as a way out of his meager existence, and was sufficiently talented to gain entry into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He only appeared in a handful of minor
Broadway productions before joining the US Navy in 1941, and then after the end of hostilities in 1945, returned to the theater and some radio work.
On the insistence of ex-classmate
Lauren Bacall movie producer Hal B. Wallis screen-tested Douglas and cast him in the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946).
His performance received rave reviews and further work quickly followed, including an appearance in the low-key drama I Walk Alone (1948), the first time he worked alongside fellow future screen legend
Burt Lancaster.
Such was the strong chemistry between the two that they appeared in seven films together, including the dynamic western
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), the John Frankenheimer political thriller Seven Days in May (1964) and their final pairing in the gangster comedy Tough Guys (1986).
Douglas once said about his good friend: "I've finally gotten away from Burt Lancaster. My luck has changed for the better. I've got nice-looking girls in my films now".

Douglas remained busy throughout the 1960s, starring in many films,. He played a rebellious modern-day cowboy in Lonely Are the Brave (1962), acted alongside
John Wayne in the World War II story In Harm's Way (1965),
again with The Duke in a drama about the Israeli fight for independence, Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), and once more with Wayne in the tongue-in-cheek western The War Wagon (1967). Additionally,
in 1963 he starred in an onstage production of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", but despite his keen interest, no Hollywood studio could be convinced to bring the story to the screen.
However, the rights remained with the Douglas clan, and Kirk's talented son
Michael Douglas finally filmed the tale in 1975, starring Jack Nicholson.
Into the 1970s Douglas wasn't as busy as previous years; however,
he starred in some unusual vehicles, including alongside a young
Arnold Schwarzenegger in the loopy western comedy The Villain (1979),
then with Farrah Fawcett in the sci-fi thriller Saturn 3 (1980) and then he traveled to Australia for the horse opera/drama
The Man from Snowy River (1982).

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Ingrid Bergman

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 29, 1915 - Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era.
Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema.
Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, second only to
Katharine Hepburn.

Before she came to Hollywood in 1939, she was already an established actress in Sweden. She had completed 11 Swedish films when producer David O. Selznick invited her to come to Hollywood to reprise her role in the American version of her biggest hit,
Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) opposite Leslie Howard.
Her performance in her American debut captured America's heart.
She later appeared in Adam Had Four Sons(1941), Rage in Heaven (1941) and
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941).
However, it was
Casablanca (1942) that launched her to superstardom, establishing her as a romantic leading lady.
The pairing with
Humphrey Bogart made them one of the best romantic cinema couples of all time and the film still vows audiences, more than 60 years after its release.
In 2002 the American Film Institute named
Casablanca (1942) as the top American love story of all time, beating such favorites as Gone with the Wind (1939) and West Side Story (1961). Ironically enough, both Bogart and Bergman tried to quit the film during shooting, feeling that the story was ridiculous and unbelievable.
Bergman herself said at the time that she hoped it would never be shown again after she died.

After Casablanca (1942), she became Hollywood's top box-office draw. All of her films became smash hits; she starred opposite
Gary Cooper in Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), which she cited as her personal favorite film.
She also gave an Oscar-winning performance as the persecuted wife of Charles Boyer in George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) and Leo McCarey's very popular
The Bells of St. Mary's (1945).
Later, she worked with the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946) with
Cary Grant and the less successful Under Capricorn (1949).

Ingrid Bergman will always be remembered as Bogart's lost love Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942). It's sad because she also gave spectacular performances as Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Paula Alquist in Gasligt (1944), Dr. Constance Peterson in Spellbound (1945),
Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946),
the title role in Anastasia (1956), Gladys Aylward in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) and Charlotte in Höstsonaten (1978).
She worked in films, television and on the stage in New York, London, Paris, Rome and Stockholm.
She worked right up to her death. In 1999 she was ranked #4 in the American Film Institute's list of greatest female screen legends. As
Humphrey Bogart said, "Here's looking at you kid", and until this day, we are still looking at you, Ingrid!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Interesting Blog Award

Thank you so much blue for this amazing award,its very much appreciated

Monday, 11 May 2009

Sophia Loren

A child of the Neapolitan slums, Sophia Loren rose from a sea of troubles to become one of the cinema's great sex symbols.
In her, the world found an enticing, quintessentially European woman, who was also warm, earthy, even maternal.
As her fellow Italians might say, she was esuberante, radiating enough enthusiasm to fill the Colosseum.
But perhaps her greatest achievement has been the sheer longevity of this allure.

Sophia Loren was born Sofia Scicolone in a Roman charity ward to Romilda Villani, a poverty-stricken woman whose lover refused to marry her - although he later allowed Sophia and her younger sister Maria to use his last name.
Branded by Italian society as illegitimate, the four-year-old Sophia moved with her mother to Pozzuoli, a rundown suburb of Naples, where Romilda played piano in seedy cafes to keep bread on the table.
Work was not plentiful; Sophia was so skinny that her Catholic school classmates nicknamed her Stuzzicadente, the toothpick.

When the war and its deprivations came to Naples - the most frequently bombed city in Italy - Sophia lived a ragged existence that left indelible marks.
There was never enough food, and when the bombs rained down, the family sought shelter in train tunnels. Death and ruin were all around.
The absence of even such a scoundrel of a father as Riccardo Scicolone also left her vulnerable to the taunts of other children.

As her adolescence progressed, Sophia's waif-like form metamorphosed into traffic-stopping curves.
Her tall, lush body and exotically beautiful face became her ticket out of penury, her escape from the nightmare.
Those huge liquid eyes, that pillowy mouth and extravagant body, wrapped in a pink dress her mother had sewn from a window curtain, earned her second place in a beauty contest. Abandoning her teacher-training studies,
the fifteen-year-old journeyed to Rome with Romilda, herself a frustrated actress, to try for a movie career.
The two found minuscule parts in the 1951 epic Quo Vadis, but the thirty-three dollars they earned did not last very long.
Denied a modeling job by the very attributes that would later make her an international star, Sophia turned to 'acting' in the fumetti photo magazines with comic-strip-style stories featuring soap-opera plots and balloon dialogue.
Her character was most often that of a gypsy vamp, and her poses on one occasion earned her the attentions of the Italian police censor.
Still attempting to break into more legitimate show business, Sophia placed as a runner-up in the 1950 Miss Italy contest.
Later that year she took second place in the Miss Rome competition, but won a much bigger prize than the official one, for film producer Carlo Ponti was one of the judges.
Instantly struck by her quirky beauty,
he remained undaunted by her disastrous screen tests.
He did suggest, however, that perhaps something might be done about her oversized nose and hips. But the supremely confident teen ignored him.
"Everything I have,” she later boasted playfully to the American press, "I owe to spaghetti."

None of this affected Loren's burgeoning career. Houseboat (1958), with the abashed but still smitten Grant was a solid hit.
Nor did she abandon Europe, making fifteen Italian onscreen romances with Marcello Mastroianni, most notably Marriage Italian Style (1964).
She reached the zenith of her career with her performance in De Sica's 1961 Italian production La Ciociara, known in the States as Two Women.
For her portrayal of a wartime rape victim, she earned an Academy Award.

After several miscarriages, the actress finally bore two sons, Edoardo and Carlo, Jr., and for some time she made only promotional appearances, for her perfume, Sophia, and her line of eyewear.
Her subsequent movies, such as The Cassandra Crossing (1977), declined in quality, but she continued to attract attention. In 1982 she was back in the press when the Italian authorities forced her to serve nineteen days in prison for tax evasion.
Upon her release, 'La Simpatica' went back to work, making more TV movies. In 1994,
she co-starred in Pret-à-Porter - her last comedy with old friend Mastroianni and the next year, in Grumpier Old Men.
Loren was as sexy in both as she had been in her first film, forty years earlier.
She had explained her secret in 1990: "I still like me, inside and out.
Not in a vain way - I just feel good in my skin."

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Alan Bates

Alan Bates decided to be an actor at age 11. After grammar school in Derbyshire, he earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Following two years in the Royal Air Force, he joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre.
His West End debut in 1956, at 22, was also the company's first production.
In the same year Bates appeared in
John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger," a play that gave a name to a generation of postwar "angry young men."
It made Bates a star and launched a lifetime of his performing in works written by great modern playwrights -- Harold Pinter,
Simon Gray, Storey, Bennett, Peter Shaffer and Tom Stoppard (as well as such classic playwrights as Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and William Shakespeare).
Four years later Bates appeared in his first film, a classic:
The Entertainer (1960), in which he plays one of Laurence Olivier's sons. More than 50 film roles have followed, one of which, The Fixer (1968) (from a novel by Bernard Malamud) earned an Academy Award nomination for Bates.
He married Victoria Ward in 1970. Their twin sons, Benedick and Tristan, were born in 1971. Tristan died during an asthma attack in 1990; Ward died in 1992. Bates threw himself into his work to get through these tragedies, and spoke movingly about the effects of his losses in interviews.
He was the Patron of the Actors Centre in Covent Garden, London; Bates and his family endowed a theatre there in memory of Tristan Bates, who, like his father and brother, was an actor. With few exceptions, Bates performed in premium works, guided by intuition rather than by box office.
For each role he created a three-dimensional, unique person; there is no stereotypical Alan Bates character.
Women appreciate the sensitivity he brought to his romantic roles; gay fans appreciate his well-rounded, unstereotyped gay characters; and the intelligence, humor and detail - the smile that started in the eyes,
the extra pat or squeeze, the subtle nuances he gave to his lines, his beautiful, flexible voice - are Bates hallmarks that made him special to all his admirers.
The rumpled charm of his youth weathered into a softer but still attractive (and still rumpled) maturity.
In his 60s Alan Bates continued to divide his time among films, theatre and television. His 1997 stage portrayal of a travel writer facing life's big questions at the bedside of his comatose wife in Simon Gray's "Life Support" was called "a magnificent performance, one of the finest of his career" (Charles Spencer, Sunday Telegraph, 10 August 97).
His last two roles in New York earned critical praise and all the Best Actor awards
Broadway can bestow. He was knighted in January 2003, and only a few weeks later began treatment for pancreatic cancer.
He was positive that he would beat the disease, and continued to work during its course, only admitting to being "a bit tired."
His courage and strength were remarkable, and even in his final days his humor remained intact. After his death, there was an outpouring of affection and respect.
Ken Russell said in his Evening Standard tribute,
"The airwaves have been heavy with unstinted praise for Alan Bates since his untimely death . . . All the tributes were more than justified for one of the great actors ever to grace the screen and stage."

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Norma Shearer

She won a beauty contest at age fourteen. In 1920 her mother, Edith Shearer, took Norma and her sister Athole Shearer (Mrs. Howard Hawks) to New York. Ziegfeld rejected her for his "Follies" but she got work as an extra in several movies.
She spent much money on eye doctor's services trying to correct her cross-eyed stare caused by a muscle weakness.
Irving Thalberg had seen her early efforts and, when he joined Louis B. Mayer in 1923, gave her a five year contract.
He thought she should retire after their marriage, but she wanted bigger parts. In 1927 she insisted on firing the director
Viktor Tourjansky because he was unsure of her cross-eyed stare. Her first talkie was in The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929); four movies later she won an Oscar in The Divorcee (1930).
She intentionally cut down film exposure during the thirties, relying on major roles in Thalberg's prestige projects:
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Romeo and Juliet (1936) (her fifth Oscar nomination). Thalberg died of second heart attack in September 1936, aged thirty-seven. Norma wanted to retire but MGM more-or-less forced her into a six-picture contract.
David O. Selznick offered her the part of Scarlett O'Hara, but public objection to her cross-eyed stare killed the deal. She starred in The Women (1939), turned down the starring role in Mrs. Miniver (1942), and retired in 1942.
Later that year she married Sun Valley ski instructor Martin Arrouge, twenty years younger than she (he waived community property rights). From then on she shunned the limelight; she was in very poor health the last decade of her life.

Even after retirement, Norma maintained her interest in the film industry. While staying at a ski lodge, she noticed a photo of the receptionist's daughter and recommended her to MGM - that girl, became the star known as
Janet Leigh.
She also discovered a handsome young businessman beside a swimming pool - now actor/producer
Robert Evans.
She is commemorated on one of a set of postage stamps (issued in 2008) honoring prominent Canadians in Hollywood. The other stamps feature
Marie Dressler, Chief Dan George and Raymond Burr.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman and descendant of a midshipman of HMS Bounty fame.
Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble.
When the family took up residence in England, Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in.
In his late teens he set out to find gold, but instead found a series of short lived odd jobs. Information is sketchy, but the positions of police constable, sanitation engineer, treasure hunter, sheep castrator, shipmaster for hire, fisherman, and soldier seem to be among his more reputable career choices.
Staying one jump ahead of the law and jealous husbands forced Flynn back to England. He took up acting, a pastime he had previously stumbled into when asked to play (ironically) Fletcher Christian in a film called
In the Wake of the Bounty (1933).
Flynn's natural athletic talent and good looks attracted the attention of Warner Brothers and soon he was off to America. His luck held when he replaced
Robert Donat in the title role of Captain Blood (1935).
He quickly rocketed to stardom as the undisputed king of swashbuckler films, a title inherited from
Douglas Fairbanks, but which remains his to this day.
Onscreen, he was the freedom loving rebel, a man of action who fought against injustice and won the hearts of damsels in the process. His off-screen passions; drinking, fighting, boating and sex, made his film escapades seem pale.
His love life brought him considerable fame, three statutory rape trials, and a lasting memorial in the expression "In like Flynn". Serious roles eluded him, and as his lifestyle eroded his youthful good looks, his career declined.
Troubles with lawsuits and the IRS plagued him at this time, eroding what little money he had saved. A few good roles did come his way late in life, however, usually aging alcoholics, almost mirror images of Flynn.
He was making a name as a serious actor before his death.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Greta Garbo

In "Anna Karenina" (1935) the train pulls into the Moscow train station, a cloud of steam envelopes the exit of a first class car and then a woman emerges from the cloud.

The figure is aristocratic, the face is a vision. But it's the eyes that enthrall the viewer and Vronsky who has expected his mother to be the first woman off the train.
Bosley Crowther, New York Times film critic from 1940 to 1967, had this to say about the Garbo eyes: "Set in the face of classic structure were large, sad, luminous eyes that expressed a limited but intense emotional range".

Crowther did not include this film in his short list of Garbo's major artistic achievements. His list: "Anna Christie" (1930) where Garbo "made the role of the cynical dockside ex- prostitute a thing of poetic beauty;" "Camille" (1936) where she played the Paris courtesan who had inspired novels, concertos and an opera with "alabaster loveliness;" "Ninotchka" (1939) where Garbo "demonstrated that she had the wit and flexibility to be a fine comedienne;" "Grand Hotel" (1932) where Garbo, then only 26, played a fading ballerina; and "Queen Christina" (1933) where Crowther was impressed by how she "deftly romped in masculine costumes".

All of Garbo's films were in black and white and black and white enhanced her mystery and romantic allure.
In real life, Garbo knew when to make her exit from Hollywood and the public eye.
Her sense of timing,
when to make her entrance and her exit -- perhaps she learned something from Tolstoy whose "Anna Karenina" must have been based on a woman just as real as Maureen O'Sullivan's Kitty in that film whom a man like Tolstoy won when Kitty lost Vronsky to a woman who could reveal so much through her eyes.

Marlon Brando

Brando was also an activist, lending his presence to many issues, including the American Civil Rights and American Indian Movements. He was named the fourth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
Brando's first screen role was as the bitter paraplegic veteran in The Men in 1950. True to his method, Brando spent a month in bed at a veterans' hospital to prepare for the role.

Marlon Brando was purported to be a hero for James Dean, who was said to have idolized him and copied his acting and persona.
Brando claimed in his autobiography Songs My Mother Taught Me that when Elia Kazan introduced him to James Dean on the set of East of Eden,
he remarked that 'He was nervous when we met and made it clear that he was not only mimicking my acting but also what he believed was my lifestyle.
He said he was learning to play the conga drums and had taken up motorcycling, and he obviously wanted my approval of his work.'
He later remarked in his book that 'In retrospect, I realize it's not unusual for people to borrow someone else's form until they find their own, and in time Jimmy did.'
William Bast, a famous screen writer at that time, compared Marlon's acting style to be "heavy as lead" while James was more "mercurial and light".

His performance as Vito Corleone in 1972's The Godfather was a mid-career turning point. Director Francis Ford Coppola convinced Brando to submit to a "make-up" test, in which Brando did his own makeup (he used cotton balls to simulate the puffed-cheek look).
Coppola was electrified by Brando's characterization as the head of a crime family, but had to fight the studio in order to cast the temperamental Brando whose reputation for difficult behavior and demands was the stuff of backlot legend.
However, Paramount studio heads wanted to give the role to Danny Thomas in the hope that Thomas would have his own production company throw in its lot with Paramount.
Thomas declined the role and actually urged the studio to cast Brando at the behest of Coppola and others who had witnessed the screen test.
Brando's "sit down" scene between rival mobsters is generally described as one of the greatest moments in film history. Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Carole Lombard

Oct. 6, 1908
Jan. 16, 1942

Actress. Born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, one of three children, her parents separated and with her mother she moved to California. Her career spanned from the silent era to "talkies." An auto accident almost ended her life as well as acting by inflicting serious scars on her face.
Undaunted, she was able to cover the blemishes with the heavy use of cosmetics. She received her only Oscar nomination for Best Actress in "My Man Godfrey".
"No Man Of Her Own" put her opposite Clark Gable for the first and only time but their marriage was still seven years away when they became the ideal Hollywood couple known for their success in the film industry.
She did not see her final movie "To Be Or Not To Be" released.
With World War II raging in 1942,
Clark Gable journeyed to Nevada to join a search party seeking the wreckage of a TWA twin engine DC-3 airliner flying from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. Aboard were 22 passengers including Carole Lombard Gable and her mother.
She had wound up a war bond drive just before boarding.
There were no survivors.
The blonde film star of the 1930s best remembered for her "Screw Ball comedies" was gone. Clark Gable rode on the train that carried the bodies of his wife and mother-in-law back to Los Angeles. She had left specific instructions for her burial in the event of death.
Clark Gable purchased three crypts at Forest Lawn Cemetery, one for Carole, her mother and a reserve for himself.
She mandated a swift, direct interment in a mausoleum crypt at Forest Lawn with only her immediate family present. In the wake of her death at age 33,
the Army offered to conduct a military funeral to honor the first star to give her life while aiding the war effort.
They were refused and her wishes were carried out as specified.
However, a World War II Liberty Ship was christened in her honor.
She is interred next to Gable and to her mother,
Elizabeth Peters, who also perished in the crash.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Rex Harrison

Sir Reginald “Rex” Carey Harrison (5 March 1908 - 2 June 1990) was an English actor of stage and screen, who won both an Oscar and Tony Award.
Debonair and distinguished British star of stage and screen for more than 50 years,
Sir Rex Harrison is best remembered for playing charming, slyly mischievous characters.
Born Reginald Carey in 1908, he made his theatrical debut at age 16 with the Liverpool Repertory Theater, remaining with that group for three years.
Making his British stage and film debut in 1930,
Harrison made the first of many appearances on Broadway in Sweet Aloes in 1936.
He became a bona fide British star that same year when he appeared in the theatrical production French Without Tears,
in which he showed himself to be very skilled in black-tie comedy.
He served as a flight lieutenant in the RAF during World War II, although this interruption in his career was quickly followed by several British films.

Harrison moved to Hollywood in 1945, where his career continued to prosper. Among his many roles was that of the king in the 1946 production of
Anna and the King of Siam.
Harrison was perhaps best known for his performance as Professor Henry Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady,
a character he played on Broadway from 1956-1958 (winning a Tony award in 1957) and again in its 1981 revival, as well as for a year in London in the late '50s; in 1964, he won an Oscar for his onscreen version of the role.
He had previously received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Julius Caesar in
Cleopatra (1963).
Harrison continued to act on both the stage and screen in the 1970s and into the '80s.
He published his autobiography, Rex, in 1975, and, four years later,
edited and published an anthology of poetry If Love Be Love.
Knighted in 1989, he was starring in the Broadway revival of Somerset Maugham's The Circle (with Stewart Granger and Glynis Johns) until one month before he died of pancreatic cancer in 1990.
Three of Harrison's six marriages were to actressesLilli Palmer, Kay Kendall, and
Rachel Roberts.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Cary Grant

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant," Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."
His early years in Bristol, England, would have been an ordinary lower-middle-class childhood except for one extraordinary event. At age nine, he came home from school one day and was told his mother had gone off to a seaside resort.
The real truth, however, was that she had been placed in a mental institution, where she would remain for years, and he was never told about it (he never saw his mother again until he was in his late 20s).
He left school at 14, lying about his age and forging his father's signature on a letter to join Bob Pender's troupe of knockabout comedians.
He learned pantomime as well as acrobatics as he toured with the Pender troupe in the English provinces, picked up a Cockney accent in the music halls in London, and then in July 1920, was one of the eight Pender boys selected to go to the US.
Their show on
Broadway, "Good Times," ran for 456 performances, giving Grant time to acclimatize.
He would stay in America. Mae West wanted Grant for She Done Him Wrong (1933) because she saw his combination of virility, sexuality and the aura and bearing of a gentleman.
Grant was young enough to begin the new career of fatherhood when he stopped making movies at age 62.
One biographer said Grant was alienated by the new realism in the film industry.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, he had invented a man-of-the-world persona and a style--"high comedy with polished words."
In To Catch a Thief (1955), he and
Grace Kelly were allowed to improvise some of the dialogue.
They knew what the director,
Alfred Hitchcock, wanted to do with a scene, they rehearsed it, put in some clever double entendres that got past the censors,
and then the scene was filmed. His biggest box-office success was another Hitchcock 1950s film, North by Northwest (1959) made with Eva Marie Saint since Kelly was by that time Princess of Monaco.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Lorreta Young

Gretchen Young was born on January 6, 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the daughter of Gladys Royal Young and John Earl Young. When she was three,
her parents separated and her mother moved Gretchen and her two sisters to California and into the home of Gladys' sister.
Loretta's father later moved to join them. Gladys later found him with the maid and told him to get out. His children never saw him again. The family moved to a boarding house that Gladys ran.
Around that time Loretta and her cousin went to live with actress Mae Murray, whom they called "Aunt Mazi". After a year, they both returned to their mothers.
When Loretta was 10, her mother married one of her boarders, George Belzer. They had daughter Georgianna two years later.
When Lorreta Young was three years old, her mother took her and her sisters to Hollywood, where she established a boarding house.
Gretchen was appearing on screen as a child extra by the time she was four, joining her elder sisters, Polly Ann Young and Elizabeth Jane Young (later better known as Sally Blane), as child players.
Gretchen then left the screen to attend convent school, but returned at age 14 with a bit appearance in the Colleen Moore vehicle
Naughty But Nice (1927).
Changing her name to Loretta Young, letting her blond hair revert to its natural brown and with her blue eyes, satin complexion and exquisite face, she quickly graduated from bit player to ingénue to leading lady.
She made headlines in 1930 when she and Grant Withers, who was previously married and nine years her senior, eloped to Yuma, Arizona, with the 17-year-old Loretta. They had both appeared in Warner Bros.' The Second Floor Mystery (1930).
The marriage was annulled in 1931, the same year in which the pair would again co-star on screen in a film ironically titled
Too Young to Marry (1931).
Loretta always showed an elegant sort of beauty in her films, many of which were rather pedestrian fare. Yet she could act if called upon. Examples of her acting ability are her performances in
The Farmer's Daughter (1947) or in Come to the Stable (1949).
She retired from films in 1953 and began a second, equally successful career as hostess of "Letter to Loretta" (1953), a half-hour drama anthology series which ran on NBC from September 1953 to September 1961.
In addition to hosting the series, she frequently starred in episodes.
Although she is most remembered for her stunning gowns and swirling entrances, over the broadcast's eight-year run she also showed again that she could act. She won Emmy
awards for best actress in a dramatic series in 1954, 1956 and 1958.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Certified Greatest Entertainment Blogger Award & Interesting Blog~2009

Thank you blue dreamer for both these awards and all the support you give to my site.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Dirk Bogarde

Dirk Bogarde (1921-1999), British actor and writer. Born Derek Niven Van den Bogaerde in Hampstead, London, he was originally a scenic designer until his stage debut in 1939.He was born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde on March 28, 1921, to Ulric van den Bogaerde, the art editor of "The Times" (London) newspaper,
and actress Margaret Niven in the London suburb of Hampstead.
He was one of three children, with sister Elizabeth and younger brother Gareth. His father was Flemish and his mother was of Scottish descent.
Theatre roles in the post-war period brought him to the attention of the Rank Organisation, which made him a star for the first time in the film Esther Waters (1948).
Often cast as a spivvish type, Bogarde’s role in the comedy Doctor in the House (1954), a box-office success, encouraged Rank to cast him in several sequels and to mould him into a matinée idol.
He went against this character when he chose to play a homosexual in Victim (1961), the first major English-language film on the subject.
His portrayal of a valet in The Servant (1963) was the first of four films with the director Joseph Losey, and it gave serious impetus to his career, especially when he was given the Best Actor award for the role by the British Film Academy.

Bogarde’s first role in a Hollywood film was in Song Without End (1960), in which he played the composer Franz Liszt, but few of his American ventures were happy, with the possible exception of the underrated Justine (1969) by George Cukor.
Later that year he appeared in La Caduta Degli Dei (The Damned), a perverse group-portrait of a wealthy German family by Luchino Visconti.
Bogarde worked with Visconti again on Morte a Venezia (1971; Death in Venice), in which he played a musician so besotted with a youth that he cannot leave the plague-ridden city.
His few subsequent films, all made in Europe, were mostly less distinguished, although Daddy Nostalgie (1990; These Foolish Things) was a moving story of a dying man's reconciliation with his daughter, directed by Bertrand Tavernier.

Bogarde worked occasionally in radio dramas in his last years though he concentrated on his writing; both his volumes of autobiography and fiction were best-sellers.
He published his first volume of memoirs, A Postillion Struck by Lightning, in 1977, with the sixth and final volume appearing in 1995; he also wrote novels, including A Gentle Occupation (1980) and Jericho (1992).
His last book, For the Time Being, was published in 1998. He suffered a stroke in September 1996 and died of a heart attack on May 8, 1999. He was knighted in 1992.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Clara Bow

Clara Gordon Bow, destined to become The flapper of the 1920's, was born and raised in poverty in Brooklyn, New York, on July 29, 1905. Her family was also beset with violence.
Her mother tried to slit Clara's throat when she attempted to enter the film industry. She won a photo beauty contest which launched her movie career that would eventually number 58 films, from 1922 to 1933.
It was the movie It (1927), which was to define her career. The film starred Clara as a shop girl who was asked out by the store's owner.
As you watch the silent film you can see the excitement as she prepared for her date with the boss, her girlfriend trying hard to assist her.
She was trying to use a pair of scissors to modify her dress in order to look more "sexy".
This movie did a lot to change society's mores as there was only a few years between World War I and Clara Bow, but this movie went a long way in how society looked at itself. Clara was flaming youth in rebellion. In the film she was presenting a worldly wisdom that some how sex meant having a good time.
But you shouldn't be misled by the film, because she was still close to Lillian Gish in that when her boss tries to kiss her goodnight, she slaps him.
Yes, she, too, was a good girl and a first cousin of Trueheart Susie. At the height of her popularity she received over 45,000 fan letters a month.
She, too, was probably the most overworked and underpaid star in the industry. With the coming of sound, which did lend itself to her thick Brooklyn accent, her popularity waned.
Clara was also involved in several court battles ranging from unpaid taxes to being in divorce court for "stealing" women's husbands.
After the court trials, she made a couple of attempts to get back in the public eye. One was Call Her Savage (1932) in 1932. It was somewhat of a failure at the box office and her last was in 1933 in a film called Hoop-La (1933).
She, then, married cowboy star, Rex Bell at the age of 26 and retired from the film world at the age of 28. She was a doting mother of her two sons and would do anything to please them.
Haunted by a weight problem, and a mental imbalance, she never entered show business again.
Clara was confined to a sanitarium from time to time and was not allowed access to her loving sons she adored very much.
She died of a heart attack in West Los Angeles, on September 26, 1965. She was 60 years old. Today she is finding a renaissance among movie buffs, who are recently discovering the virtues of silent film.
The actress who wanted so much to be like the wonderful young lady in It (1927) has the legacy of her films to confirm what a wonderful lady she really was.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Humphrey Bogart

The son of a moderately wealthy Manhattan surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium) and a famed magazine illustrator, Humphrey Bogart was educated at Trinity School, New York City, sent to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in preparation for medical studies at Yale.
He was expelled from Phillips and joined the U.S. Naval Reserve.
From 1920 to 1922, he managed a stage company owned by family friend William A. Brady (the father of actress Alice Brady), performing a variety of tasks at Brady's film studio in New York.
He then began regular stage performances. Alexander Woollcott described his acting in a 1922 play as inadequate.
In 1930, he gained a contract with Fox, his feature film debut in a ten-minute short, Broadway's Like That (1930), co-starring Ruth Etting and Joan Blondell.
Fox released him after two years. After five years of stage and minor film roles, he had his breakthrough role in The Petrified Forest (1936) from Warner Bros.
He won the part over Edward G. Robinson only after the star, Leslie Howard, threatened Warner Bros,
that he would quit unless Bogart was given the key role of Duke Mantee, which he had played in the Broadway production with Howard.
The film was a major success and led to a long-term contract with Warner Bros. From 1936 to 1940, Bogart appeared in 28 films, usually as a gangster, twice in Westerns and even a horror film.
His landmark year was 1941 (often capitalizing on parts George Raft had stupidly rejected) with roles in classics such as High Sierra (1941) and as Sam Spade in one of his most fondly remembered films, The Maltese Falcon (1941).
These were followed by Casablanca (1942), The Big Sleep (1946), and Key Largo (1948). Bogart, despite his erratic education, was incredibly well-read and he favored writers and intellectuals within his small circle of friends.
In 1947, he joined wife Lauren Bacall and other actors protesting the House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunts.
He also formed his own production company, and the next year made The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
Bogie won the best actor Academy Award for The African Queen (1951) and was nominated for Casablanca (1942) and as Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny (1954), a film made when he was already seriously ill. He died in his sleep at his Hollywood home following surgeries and a battle with throat cancer.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Jean Harlow

Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife.
She eloped at age 16 with a young businessman and wound up in Los Angeles where she found work as an extra and bit player (examples: Moran of the Marines (1928) and Liberty (1929)) and somewhat more prominently in Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy shorts (Double Whoopee (1929), Bacon Grabbers (1929)).
Her first big break came in 1930 when Howard Hughes revamped his unreleased 1927 silent Hell's Angels (1930) into a sound version, replacing the heavy accented Swede Greta Nissen with Harlow, the girl who, with her divorce in 1929, had adopted her mother's maiden.
Hughes loaned her out for a number of movies which, like Frank Capra's Platinum Blonde (1931), featured her platinum hair and more than obvious sexuality.
In 1932 Hughes sold her contract to MGM, and her role in Red-Headed Woman (1932) for that studio led the Hays Office to forbid the depiction of unpunished adultery. She married Irving Thalberg's right-hand man, Paul Bern. The marriage ended after a few weeks: the day after his former Mrs. Bern was found floating in the Sacramento River, after allegedly committing suicide.
Harlow had another brief marriage, to cinematographer Harold Rosson, followed by an affair with William Powell. She made three films with Spencer Tracy and six with Clark Gable, receiving much improved critical acclaim for her acting, allure and comedic talent. During the filming of Saratoga (1937) she was hospitalized for uremic poisoning, and died on June 7 of cerebral edema at age 26.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Yul Brynner

Born Yuliy Borisovich Brynner, his mother Marusya Blagоvidova was the daughter of a Russian doctor and his father, Boris Brynner was an engineer and inventor.
Yul was named after his paternal grandfather, Jules Brynner.
After his father abandoned the family, his mother took Yul and his sister, Vera Bryner to China, where they attended a school run by the YMCA. They relocated again in 1934, this time to Paris.
He made an immediate impact upon launching his film career in 1956, appearing not only in the film version of The King and I that year, but also in major roles in,
"The Ten Commandments" opposite Charlton Heston and Anastasia opposite Ingrid Bergman.
However, he found his perfect role in The King And I.
The Academy Award-winning success that might have become a trap for a lesser star became the ongoing glory of his career, from the peak of his stardom to his untimely death.
He later appeared in such films as the Biblical epic Solomon and Sheba (1959), as Solomon, The Magnificent Seven (1960), and Westworld (1973).
He also co-starred with Marlon Brando in Morituri; Katharine Hepburn in The Madwoman of Chaillot and William Shatner in a film version of The Brothers Karamazov.
He starred with Barbara Bouchet in Death Rage, 1976. His final feature film appearance was in the sequel to Westworld, titled Futureworld with Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner, in 1976.
In 1977, Brynner embarked upon a stage revival of The King and I, and though he was dogged by tales of his outrageous temperament and seemingly petty demands during the tour, audiences loved the show.
Brynner was married four times, the first three ending in divorce.
He had three children and adopted two others. His fourth wife, Kathy Lee, was a dancer in The King and I shows. They married in 1983.
He developed lung cancer in the mid-1980s, he left a powerful public service announcement denouncing smoking as the cause, for broadcast after his death.
The cancer and its complications, after a long illness, ended his life.
Brynner was cremated and his ashes buried in a remote part of France, on the grounds of the Abbey of Saint-Michel de Bois Aubry, a short distance outside the village of Luzé.
He remains one of the most fascinating, unusual and beloved stars of his time.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Greta Garbo

Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden on September 18, 1905. She was 14 when her father died, leaving the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store. The store used her for her modeling abilities for newspaper ads.
She had no film aspirations until she appeared in an advertising short at that same department store while she was still a teenager. This led to another short film when Erik A. Petschler, a comedy director, saw the film. He gave her a small part in the film, _Luffarpetter (1922)_. Encouraged by her own performance she applied for and won a scholarship in a Swedish drama school.
While there she appeared in two films, Lyckoriddare, En (1921) and _Luffarpetter (1922)_ the following year. Both were small parts, but it was a start.
Finally famed Swedish director, Mauritz Stiller, pulled her from drama school for the leading role in Gösta Berlings saga (1924). At 18, Greta was on a roll. Following Die Freudlose Gasse (1925) both Greta and Stiller were offered contracts with MGM. Her first US film was Torrent (1926). It was a silent film where she didn't have to speak a word of English.
After a few more films, such as The Temptress (1926), Love (1927/I), and A Woman of Affairs (1928), Greta starred in Anna Christie (1930) (her first "talkie"), which not only gave her a powerful screen presence, but also gave her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.
Unfortunately she didn't win. Later that year she filmed Romance (1930) which was somewhat of a letdown, but bounced back as lead role in Susan Lenox (1931) with Clark Gable. The film was a hit and led to another exciting title role in Mata Hari (1931).
Greta continued to give intensified performances in whatever was handed her. The next year Greta was cast in another hit Grand Hotel (1932).
But it was MGM's Anna Karenina (1935) where she, perhaps, gave the performance of her life. She was absolutely breathtaking in the title role as a woman torn between two lovers and her son. Greta starred in Ninotchka (1939) which showcased her comedic side.
It wasn't until two years later she made what was to be her last film that being Two-Faced Woman (1941), another comedy. After World War II, Greta, by her own admission, felt that the world had changed perhaps forever and she retired, never again to face the camera.
Her films, she felt, had their proper place in history and would gain in value.
On April 15, 1990, Greta died of natural causes in New York and with it the "Garbo Mystique". She was 84.