WEIRDLAND: August 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Audrey Totter, Joan Bennett, Barbara Stanwyck, etc: a femme fatale controls her destiny


Movie Tension (1949) directed by John Berry, starred by Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter and Cyd Charisse
Richard Basehart and Cyd Charisse during the filming of Tension

"Audrey Totter, playing one of the meanest women the movies have ever seen this side of Claire Trevor's entire canon of work, is a riot, slithering into frame with the same trashy trumpet squawk accompanying her on the soundtrack. After she leaves her pharmacist husband for another man, the country's new contact lens craze gives the pussy-whipped David (Richard Basehart) the idea to create an alter ego in order to kill his wife Claire's (Audrey Totter) lover. The actress gives grotesque face, most hilariously during a David-versus-Goliath standoff at the beach that has Claire yelling out "You know how I want it" to her meathead boyfriend". Source: www.slantmagazine.com

"Adapted from Renoir’s La Chienne (once again, the European influence at work), the film observes a masochistic weakling who falls prey to the machinations of a particularly slovenly specimen of femme fatale, of a strain that would make Double Indemnity’s Phyllis Dietrichson seem downright genteel by comparison. Indeed, Bennett’s Kitty March — nicknamed ‘Lazy Legs’ by the smarmy, abusive pimp she dotes upon — had the dubious distinction of being the most graceless, classless and altogether vulgar piece of cheap fluff ever to make an appearance in high-grade film noir (due in no small part to the influence of Scarlet Street, she wouldn’t be the last.)
Lolling about her filthy walk-up in a tacky negligee, scattering candy wrappers and cigarette butts on the floor while waiting for her worthless boyfriend to materialize for rough sex and even rougher treatment, Lazy Legs is indolent to the point of inactivity; lack of ambition would be her most salient characteristic if not for her total lack of sensitivity or scruple. Stretching her whisky-soaked alto into a slatternly drawl, Bennett embellished the role with subversive flashes of humor; seductive and repellent at the same time, Lazy Legs is all the more alluring for her lack of any appealing trait beyond her beauty". Source: eddieonfilm.blogspot.com

Ivonne de Carlo and Dan Duryea as Anna and Slim Dundee in "Criss Cross" (1949) directed by Robert Siodmak

Duryea created a unique type of screen villainy. Richard Widmark and Lee Marvin became bigger stars playing similar roles, but not even they could replace Duryea in a film. He was a weird blend of weakness and menace, sex and slime, evil and smiles. This is all the more remarkable since in real life he was just Dan Duryea, husband and father. A charming man.

When asked who was one of his favorite actresses to work with, he replied: “Joan Bennett … she was a true professional and so easy to work with in the two films we made with Eddie Robinson: The Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street … and I found her very attractive and before you ask, Hedda, no, I did not have an ‘affair’ with her or any other of my co-stars … for one very good reason: I was very happily married and never broke my vows.”
Lang called Duryea “one of the best actors” he ever directed, in his press release of The Woman in the Window. Source: www.classicimages.com


Classic Femme Fatale A tribute to the femme fatale in classic films.

Ann Savage in "Detour" (1945)

Jean Gillie in "Decoy" (1946)

"In the restless middle of the 20th century, the femme fatale, the dark queen of film noir, jolted the silver screen with an electric sexuality and lethal cunning it had never seen before. She smoldered, she coveted, she hated, she schemed and, above all, she manipulated the men in her life — alternately offering and withholding the promise of love and a mind-blowing screw, playing the poor saps like puppets as the moment required.
Jane Greer plays Kathie Moffat in Out of the Past (1947) directed by Jacques Tourneur

Along the way, she provided a group of gifted, intrepid Hollywood actresses a chance to shine in a way few of their rivals ever did or could, which is to say darkly: Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944), Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946) and The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947) — unforgettable performances all, in every case a career zenith.

Marilyn Maxwell
Bette Davis
Ann Dvorak
Lana Turner
Gene Tierney
Audrey Totter
Peggy Cummins
Martha Vickers
Linda Darnell
Ivonne de Carlo
Jan Sterling
Irene Manning
Veronica Lake
Lizabeth Scott

"It was Stanwyck who scored the series’ first major triumph. (Mary Astor claimed the territory first, as the poisonous Brigid O’Shaughnessy in 1941’s The Maltese Falcon, but lacked the requisite sex appeal and, perhaps in consequence, enough screen time to make a lasting impression.) Stanwyck’s smoky-voiced Phyllis Dietrichson greets Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), an insurance salesman who fancies himself a fast talker, wearing what Neff calls “a honey of an anklet,” her shapely leg strategically outstretched for its display. Before he knows it — and he knows so little, until it’s too late — he’s her slave:
Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray as Phyllis Dietrichson and Walter Neff in "Double Indemnity" (1944) directed by Billy Wilder

"We’re both rotten", Phyllis tells Walter. “Only you’re a little more rotten,” he shoots back, but she has made her point. For all her lying, the femme fatale was a truth-teller, a bad woman whose real crime was to introduce a man to his own innate badness.

And then she was gone. By the early 1950s, the femme fatale all but disappeared from the big screen, displaced by the politely swooning housewives of Douglas Sirk and, later, empowered ass-kickers like Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. And although the femme fatale occasionally flickered to life in the decades to come — in homages like 1981’s Body Heat (with Kathleen Turner in a scintillating big-screen debut) and 1994’s The Last Seduction (with Linda Fiorentino), sensationalist hybrids like 1992’s Basic Instinct (with Sharon Stone), genre spoofs like 1993’s Fatal Beauty (with Sean Young) and the rare fresh take on the archetype (1995’s To Die For, with Nicole Kidman) — she was essentially dead.
But for every argument against the femme fatale as politically retrograde, there’s a counterargument for her as protofeminist forerunner. The femme fatale isn’t passive, waiting for her life to improve on its own. Instead she takes the initiative, attacking the problem with nerve, drive and intelligence. Yes, she uses cat’s-paws, rather than her own paws, to accomplish her goals. But whose fingerprints do you want on the smoking gun, yours or someone else’s? Yes, she uses her sexual power over a man to get what she wants, but power is power. She is the actor, he the acted upon. It’s she who controls her destiny, for better or worse". Source: www.obit-mag.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Big Combo (1955) by Joseph H. Lewis


The Big Combo (1955) is an American film noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis and stylistically photographed by cinematographer and noir icon John Alton with music by David Raksin.

Starring: Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy, Jean Wallace

Las Vegas: James Ellroy, "The Prowler", slots

Wayne Tedrow Jr. (Las Vegas, 6/14/68)
Wayne returned to Vegas. Pete B. moved to Vegas for a Carlos Marcello gig. It was January ‘64. Pete heard that Wendell Durfee had fled back to Vegas. He told Wayne. Wayne went after Wendell. Three colored dope fiends got in the way. Pete was hopped up on the Cuban exile cause. Vietnam was getting hot. Howard Hughes was nurturing crazy plans to buy up Las Vegas.


He’d rigged a lab in his hotel suite. Beakers, vats and Bunsen burners filled up wall shelves. A three-burner hot plate juked small-batch conversions. He hadn’t cooked dope since Saigon. He was a sergeant on Vegas PD. He was married. He had a chemistry degree. His father was a big Mormon fat cat. Wendell Durfee shivved a casino dealer. It didn’t matter. The Casino Operators’ Council wanted Wendell clipped. Vegas cops got those jobs. They were choice gigs with big bonus money. They were tests. -BLOOD’S A ROVER by James Ellroy

"Every time I hit Las Vegas take a good look at it just to make sure it's still there" -"The Prowler" (1951) directed by Joseph Losey

Officer Webb Garwood (Van Heflin) returns to Susan Gilvray's (Evelyn Keyes) residence initiating a romantic relationship game. With no prowler in sight, a looming Californian hacienda in front of him and a beautiful woman alone inside, Garwood decides to take on the titular role without even changing out of his uniform.

He and Susan reunite and Webb pledges both innocence and love. The couple gets married. Webb quits the police department and fulfills his dream: buying a truck stop motel next to a busy freeway in Las Vegas, Nevada! Garwood believes that his ship has finally come in. A closer view reveals that Webb's ambition isn't a gold bargain.

More than any other city, Las Vegas has long had the reputation of being the place to go for reinvention. From its humble land auction beginnings in 1905, people came to Las Vegas starting their lives over. Long before the gambling, neon and showgirls appeared, Las Vegas was a small town like thousands of others across the country. Slot and video poker machines provide the bulk of main revenues in Las Vegas, along with traditional casino games such as poker, blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, etc. It's a good advice to ask your dealer for help and strategies, and it's also polite to give your dealer a 'toke' (tip) particularly if you're winning, placing a chip on the layout (the area where you place your bet) for the dealer to collect if your bet at craps wins.

Slot-machine and video poker players earn comps by joining a casino player's club. Many casinos, armed with profitability studies developed by MBAs, were replacing their card tables with high limit slot machines. Unlike other traditional table games such as blackjack or poker, slots don't require any gambling knowledge, there is not an official slots guide to teach you how to play, and anyone can get in the slots game with a very small bet. No skills required to play the slot machine, no slots tips or winning strategies.

How the Slots Game works online:
Today's slots game are programmed by computer to continually select a set of numbers at random, most of the slots games are programmed using C language or Java, and more and more providers are moving to online browser based version which allows you to play the game without download or install game software on your desktop, just using your Flash plug-in installed in your browser to display the flash slots.

Like the traditional Slot Machine, Online Slots is a random game, regardless what programming language used to build the online slots games, a random-number generator is placed in the slots software. When the player click the "Spin" button or pull the handle, the computer spins the reels, and finally stops at the various symbols correspond to the number series generated by the random number generator.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Humphrey Bogart & Claire Trevor video (Dead End, Dr. Clitterhouse and Key Largo)

Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor and Humphrey Bogart in "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938)


A video featuring scenes starred by Humphrey Bogart & Claire Trevor in the films "Dead End" (1937) directed by William Wyler, "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938) directed by Anatole Litvak and "Key Largo" (1948) directed by John Huston

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jake Gyllenhaal Talks "End of Watch"

Jake Gyllenhaal on the Set of 'End of Watch' in Los Angeles on 2nd August 2011


The actor opens up about the intense training he's undergone to transform into his gritty new role as a cop. Listen in.

Exclusive Behind The Scenes: Taylor Lautner In ‘Abduction’









Go behind the scenes of “Abduction” as Taylor Lautner films his intense stunts for this thriller about a young man who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website. Source: www.accesshollywood.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alice Waters and Jake Gyllenhaal On 'Today' Show For Edible Schoolyard

Jake Gyllenhaal at the Today Show on August 23, 2011


"I grew up around gardens, growing my own food, and that was a real source of community growing up," said Gyllenhaal to Bush Hager. "More than anything, I really got to know my mother and father and my sister, and they got to know me at the dinner table."

In the segment, students worked in the garden with Gyllenhaal, before hauling the harvest into the kitchen to cook with Waters. Bush Hager asked Waters about the changes she's noticed in the students over the course of the program: "They really feel kind of empowered," she explained. "When kids grow it and cook it, they all want to eat it."

Maggie Gyllenhaal asks 'Why is sex fun?' for Discovery channel


CURIOSITY continues with WHY IS SEX FUN? Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 8PM e/p on Discovery. http://curiosity.discovery.com/#mkcpgn=ytdsc1 | In this Curiosity video we follow Maggie Gyllenhaal in exploring how female brain activity changes as a woman reaches orgasm.

The Gyllenhaal siblings sure like their Discovery Channel!

First Jake Gyllenhaal joins Bear Grylls for "Man vs. Wild" and now Maggie Gyllenhaal hosts the third episode of the first season of "Curiosity."
In her episode, which aired Sunday, Aug. 21, Gyllenhaal hosted a revealing investigation into the latest scientific research on orgasms and sexual pleasure. The press release says, "Sexual pleasure is among the most prized, meaningful and richest experiences known to man. But the orgasm is a true scientific puzzle."

Maggie sits with Selma Blair, Claire Danes and Parker Posey

There's a clip above of Maggie's episode and if you missed its first broadcast, it re-airs on Discovery Sunday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. ET, Monday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET and Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 3 a.m. ET Source: blog.zaq2it.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Blue Dahlia (1946) and Dahlia Noir (fragrance by Givenchy, 2011)

Sterling film noir from the pen of Raymond Chandler. Alan Ladd stars as a war veteran framed for the murder of his own wife. Veronica Lake plays the requisite femme fatale.

This Raymond Chandler-scripted slice of film noir may have been a bit overshadowed by Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep (released in the same year) but merits viewing nonetheless.


Ladd stars as Johnny Morrison, a disillusioned ex-servicemen who discovers the infidelities of his wife (Dowling) - he catches her kissing Eddie Harwood (De Silva), owner of the Blue Dahlia club - on the same night that she is murdered with his gun. Naturally he becomes prime suspect in the killing, not least because he'd pulled his gun on her before walking away.

Unexpected help comes in the shape of Joyce Harwood (a sultry Lake), a woman with a surprising connection to the murder - she's Eddie's ex for starters. She lends a spot of glamour to what is otherwise a very dark tale. The Blue Dahlia is smartly plotted and unpredictable enough to keep the killer's identity a secret. Classy stuff. Source: www.dvdbeaver.com


The Blue Dahlia (1946)


A tribute to the beautiful Veronica Lake - The peek a boo girl.
She was the actress who personified the word femme fatale.

During the 1940's Veronica was one of the most popular and sought-after actresses.

The clips in this video are from the movies;
The Blue Dahlia
This Gun For Hire
The Glass Key
So Proudly We Hail!
Sullivan's Travels


Givenchy is preparing an alluring new scent to enchant our senses and amp up seductiveness with a brand new fragrance. Called Dahlia Noir, the fragrance is set to be released in late August 2011.

The brand has already chosen the face of the first perfume to be released under the guidance of Riccardo Tisci: Italian super model Mariacarla Boscono, who has successfully represented the fashion house in the past.


Givenchy Dahlia Noir, een floraal poederige chypre eau de parfum. 'Fleur Fatale' voor 'La Femme Fatale' Givenchy Dahlia Noir.

The perfume bottle has a simple, classic design with minimalist touches. The name of the fragrance, Dahlia Noir, is elegantly displayed on a silver plate on top of the bottle in an inconspicuous manner, closely following the main concepts the perfume is based on. Source: www.bodycare.becomegorgeous.com