“Ok, Future Boy. Who’s the president of the United States in 1985?”
“Ronald Reagan? The ACTOR? Then who’s Vice-President, Jerry Lewis? I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady!”
Audiences in 1985 rollicked with laughter at this irresistible jab at then-president Ronald Reagan in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future. The Great Communicator himself was a huge fan of the film (in his 1986 State of the Union address, he stole the famous line “where we’re going we don’t need roads”) and by all accounts, laughed so hard at the Ronald Reagan joke during a White House screening that he asked the projectionist to back it up and play it again.
Continue reading “5 Reasons Jane Wyman was SO MUCH more than Mrs. Ronald Reagan”
The tagline read “prepare yourself for a perfectly outrageous motion picture.” And sure, in 1976, the idea of a major television network exploiting the ravings of a deranged lunatic for network ratings was so debased it could only be thought of as outrageous satire. But screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky and director Sidney Lumet weren’t just creating satire—they … Continue reading Sidney Lumet’s NETWORK (1976)
This post is in conjunction with the Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon hosted by two of my favorite people in the blogosphere: Jessica Pickens of Comet Over Hollywood and Lindsay Affleck of Lindsay’s Movie Musings. Head on over and check out the terrific entries from a great roster of contributors.
When people think of fast-talking, hard-boiled reporters they think of Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in His Girl Friday; William Powell and Spencer Tracy in Libeled Lady; Barbara Stanwyck in Meet John Doe.
But my ultimate fast-talking reporter is Lee Tracy. Continue reading “Blessed Event (1932)”
It doesn’t seem possible that 72 years ago, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century was born. It was on a night the Nazi’s bombed Merseyside, and his Aunt risked the danger to run across town to be with her sister at the Green Street Hospital. (Her steely fearlessness would influence John in … Continue reading My 12 Favorite John Lennon Songs
So. Chances are you’re here, reading these words, because you have some sort of affinity for classic films. Black, white, color, VistaVision, CinemaScope, 35mm, 70mm, cinerama and even smell-o-vision. And as a fan of celluloid cinema (something facing extinction with the onslaught of the now commonplace DCP and the possibly soon-to-be commonplace 48 FPS) you … Continue reading The Director’s Cut: Past, Present & Future
Strictly entre nous: I’m not a fan of Jeanette MacDonald. I am a fan of opera, thank you very much indeed (I begged–and won–for my parents to take me to see Le Nozze di Figaro at the Los Angeles Opera at age 16) but I’d much rather listen to Irene Dunne’s falsetto’s than the fluttery … Continue reading San Francisco (1936) and The Art of Disaster
Today is James Cagney day on Turner Classic Movies and over at Sitting on a Backyard Fence, bloggers worldwide have rallied together to tip their hat to one of the biggest bad-asses ever to grace the screen. I love bad-asses. No, not this newfangled generation’s overinflated sense of importance that has managed to give every … Continue reading James Cagney: The Ultimate Bad-Ass
It’s day 6 of the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon, hosted by Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence, a month-long celebration of Turner Classic Movies’ much-loved Summer Under the Stars festival. Each day, the network is featuring a movie star with a marathon of their films, and each day Sittin on a Backyard Fence is playing … Continue reading My Man Van
Perhaps one of the many reasons I have such a deep admiration and respect for Marilyn is due to the fact that the first film I saw of hers, or rather, the first film I remember watching start to finish ( Marilyn’s films are so rooted in our cultural subconscious that someone can feel as … Continue reading The Birth of an Actress: Marilyn Monroe in Don't Bother to Knock
Movie Stars, as we’ve come to know them, no longer exist. They simply no longer exist. Oh sure, movie stars are still alive, from Debbie Reynolds to Robert Redford to Brad Pitt, but they are the last of an entire civilization that has since gone with the wind. 15-minute celebrity culture has gouged this once … Continue reading The Summer Under the Stars Blogathon!