WEIRDLAND: Robert Rossen Anniversary, John Garfield, Gene Kelly, Film Noir Collection ("D.O.A.")

Friday, March 16, 2012

Robert Rossen Anniversary, John Garfield, Gene Kelly, Film Noir Collection ("D.O.A.")

Happy Anniversary, Robert Rossen! (March 16, 1908 in New York City - February 18, 1966 in Hollywood, California, USA)

Paul Newman as THE HUSTLER's "Fast" Eddie Felson - Paul Newman created a classic antihero, charismatic but fundamentally flawed, and nobody's role model. A pool player from Oakland, CA, as good as anyone who ever picked up a cue, Eddie has an Achilles' heel: arrogance. It's not enough for him to win: he must force his opponent to acknowledge his superiority.

The movie follows Eddie from his match against billiards champ Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) as he falls in love with Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie), an alcoholic would-be writer and sometime prostitute, and falls under the spell of Bert Gordon (George C. Scott), a successful gambler who offers to take Eddie under his wing and teach him how to play in the big time.

Piper Laurie and Paul Newman in “The Hustler” (1961) directed by Robert Rossen

Eddie: You don’t look like a college girl.
Sarah: I’m the emancipated type. Real emancipated.
Eddie: No, I didn’t mean that… whatever that means. I mean you just don’t look young enough.
Sarah: I’m not.
Eddie: So why go to college?
Sarah: Got nothing else to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Eddie: What do you do on the other days?
Sarah: I drink.

John Garfield and Priscilla Lane in "Dust Be My Destiny" (1939) directed by Lewis Seiler, written by Robert Rossen and Seton I. Miller, based on Jerome Odlum's novel.

Lizabeth Scott and Van Heflin in "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" (1946) directed by Lewis Milestone, written by Robert Rossen and Robert Riskin, based on John Patrick's story "Love Lies Bleeding"

Burt Lancaster and Lizabeth Scott in "Desert Fury" (1947) directed by Lewis Allen, with screenplay by Robert Rossen and A.I. Bezzerides, based on the racy novel "Desert Town" by Ramona Stewart. It was produced by Hal Wallis. Music was by Miklós Rózsa, and cinematography in Technicolor by Charles Lang.

Jean Seberg as Lilith Arthur in "Lilith" (1964) directed by Robert Rossen

Director Robert Rossen, who had been working in films since 1937, was to direct only one more film, "Lilith" (1964), before his death in 1966. In 1986, Paul Newman returned to the role of "Fast" Eddie in Martin Scorsese's "The Color of Money", for which he finally earned an Academy Award as Best Actor.

John Garfield as Charley Davis in the boxing drama "Body & Soul" (1947) directed by Robert Rossen, written by Abraham Polonsky.

Director Abraham Polonsky's expressionistic, politically-subversive "Force of Evil" (1948) starred John Garfield as a corrupt mob attorney.

More Definitive 40s Noirs: Early classic non-detective film noirs included Fritz Lang's steamy and fatalistic "Scarlet Street" (1945) - one of the moodiest, blackest thrillers ever made, about a mild-mannered painter's (Edward G. Robinson) unpunished and unsuspected murder of an amoral femme fatale (Joan Bennett) after she had led him to commit embezzlement, impersonated him in order to sell his paintings, and had been deceitful and cruel to him - causing him in a fit of anger to murder her with an ice-pick.

And the nightmarishly-dark, rapid-paced and definitive D.O.A. (1949) — from cinematographer-director Rudolph Maté — told the flashback story of lethally-poisoned and doomed protagonist Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien), a victim of circumstance who announced in the opening: "I want to report a murder - mine." Source:

Edmond O'Brien as Frank Bigelow in "D.O.A." (1950) directed by Rudolph Maté

Frank Bigelow: I want to report a murder.
Homicide Captain: Sit down. Where was this murder committed?
Frank Bigelow: San Francisco, last night.
Homicide Captain: Who was murdered?
Frank Bigelow: I was.

Film Noir Collection - 2 DVD Embossed Tin. This title will be released on May 1, 2012. Actors: Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Peter Lorre, Edward G. Robinson, Gene Tierney... Directors: Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, John Huston...

This collection: ("D.O.A", "Beat the Devil", "Impact", "The Stranger", "Scarlet Street", "Shock", "Port of New York", "They Made Me a Criminal", "Whirlpool", "Quicksand") brings together some of the best directors — Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, John Huston — and actors — Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Gene Tierney, Edward G. Robinson, Beverly Garland — in ten spine-tingling tales of hard-boiled detectives, seductive women, mistaken identity and suspense, in the best tradition of Film Noir! Run Time: 905 minutes

Pamela Britton and Edmon O'Brien in "D.O.A." (1950)

Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Pamela Britton in "Anchors Aweigh" (1945)

Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, John Garfield, and Maria Montez honor President Roosevelt’s birthday (January 30, 1943)

Lucille Ball and Gene Kelly in "Du Barry was a lady" (1943) directed by Roy Del Ruth

Danny Kaye, Phil Silvers and Gene Kelly campaigning for F.D. Roosevelt. On November 6, 1944, the night before the election (Truman vs Roosevelt) many artists participated in a CBS Radio Program conducted by Norman Corwin.

In Tinseltown, John Huston, then vice-president of the Directors Guild, met with director William Wyler and screenwriter Philip Dunne to create a group called the Committee for the First Amendment.

CFA organized Hollywood's liberals and left to resist HUAC, and lyricist Ira Gershwin hosted a star-studded anti-witch-hunt party that included Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, Danny Kaye, Billy Wilder and others. Their position was that the impending inquisition had nothing to do with communism per se but was about civil liberties, especially free speech.

CFA organized a flight of the stars aboard Howard Hughes' plane to fly to D.C. John Garfield, Sterling Hayden, Marsha Hunt, Jane Wyatt, Paul Henreid, June Havoc, Larry Adler and Evelyn Keyes joined Gershwin, Bogart, Bacall, Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye, etc. Gene Kelly, who had stopped over in Pittsburgh at his parents' home on the trip to Washington, had missed the photo taken before the Capitol.

In his autobiography “Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist”, Walter Bernstein (contributing writer for The New Yorker, and former screenwriter) claimed that while he was working at Columbia Pictures, he and Director Robert Rossen, would set out deliberately to include some leftist point of view in a particular scene.

Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark in "All The King's Men" (1949) directed by Robert Rossen, based on the Pulitzer Prize novel by Robert Penn Warren - published in 1946.

They left it up to studio head Harry Cohn to delete the unwanted scenes. Rossen, an overt Communist, was perturbed at his exclusion as one of the original Hollywood Ten! He never got over “being snubbed in such an unsavory manner!” -“Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist” by Walter Bernstein (1996)

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