WEIRDLAND: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Orson Welles' memorabilia, back in time with Kyle Chandler, Noir's unfathomable universe

Orson Welles would have preferred making the memorabilia available to film buffs and fans as opposed to sending them to a museum. "It's about the last thing he would've wanted. He just did not believe in schooling, he did not believe in academic things," Beatrice Welles said in a telephone interview. "And museums kind of have that connotation and I thought 'No, this is not right for him.'" In all, she is handing more than 70 items over to Heritage Auctions, which will stage the auction on April 26.

"People are still talking about him decades after his death," Barrett said. "One of the enduring signs of fame is when young people know who someone is — someone who might have passed away decades ago." Barrett said she thinks Welles' old Bell & Howell movie camera will be one of the bigger sellers. According to his daughter, he used the camera for home movies.

Other items are reminders of Welles' more painful Hollywood experiences. Two scripts for "The Magnificent Ambersons," a 1942 film he wrote and directed, reveal two different endings Welles had in mind; neither ended up in the film. The movie, which centers on a spoiled heir's attempt to keep his mother from marrying her first love, was famously re-edited by someone else. "They kept on changing his pictures around and not letting him finish them. That hurt him," Beatrice Welles said. "The only one he was allowed to do completely from start to end was 'Citizen Kane.'"

Long considered Welles' masterpiece for its innovations in editing and cinematography, the 1941 "Citizen Kane" follows the lonely life of wealthy publishing magnate Charles Foster Kane. Not among the auction cache is any Rosebud-type childhood memento of Welles'. Rosebud was the name of the sled mourned by the titular character in "Kane" that burns at the end of the film. According to Beatrice Welles, director Steven Spielberg bought a version of the sled in 1982, also at auction, and was later teased by her father about its authenticity. Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

"Memories are radically unstable. Memories are always already re-visions of a past. Memories are also fixed as memorabilia, collections of ticket stubs, photographs, wine corks, baseball cards. Thought to preserve the memory in some platonic form (like Hume's idea of memory as a copy of an original experience), memorials and memorabilia (evidence verité) are better understood as refashioning past events and people for the present and future. Film is reconstituted and revised memory. It's a paradoxical living memory that emerges in present time." -"Persuasive Visions: Film and Memory" (2012) by Jessica Silbey

On August 14, 1945, the day the war ended, a raucous crowd who had been waiting in Washington’s Lafayette Square for official word, quickly swelled to fifty thousand when the news came. In New York the cork popped, and animal spirits foamed up. A laughing, screaming, yelling, dancing, singing, drinking, kissing crowd of more than 750,000 people packed Times Square. By Wednesday it would grow to 2 million. A Brooklyn war wife described the scene: 'All the streets were jammed with people, mostly servicemen, packed in tightly from curb to curb. Confetti and streamers were ankle deep and were being sold at every street corner. Policemen and M.P.s took no heed of the goings on like the sailors and soldiers grabbing every woman and girl in their arms and passionately kissing them in spite of kicking, screaming, and protesting.'

A nurse named Edith Shain heard the official announcement on the radio while on duty at Doctors Hospital on the Upper East Side. Without changing out of her white uniform, she and a coworker hurried to Times Square. She didn’t get very far down Broadway before a sailor grabbed her and mashed his lips on hers while bowing her back in a dance-floor dip [...] Hank Thompson was a performer who sang about straying men in songs like “Soft Lips” and “The Grass Is Greener Over Yonder”. He had a hugely popular hit in which a young man is drawn to the bars and dancehalls in the war towns. Called “The Wild Side of Life”, with a tune based on the old Carter Family song “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,” it contained the line “I didn’t know God made honky tonk angels/I might have known you’d never make a wife.” -"The Noir Forties (2012) by Richard Lingeman

Laura Leighton & Kyle Chandler in "Early Edition", Everybody Goes to Rick's (2000) episode: Gary travels back in time to 1929, and is the proprietor of a speakeasy at the location where McGinty's is currently located. Gary must try to prevent the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Kyle Chandler had extensive college theater experience and a love for the game of baseball. The Buffalo native grew up an Atlanta Braves fan, suffering through a pennant drought in the 1970s and '80s not unlike that of Cleveland Indian fans. He has been a familiar face since the early ‘90s, from his leading roles on the series 'Homefront' as injured Cleveland Indians outfielder Jeff Metcalf and 'Early Edition' as Gary Hobson, a stockbroker turned hero who had the ability to change the course of the future.

In 'Man, This Joint Is Jumping' (Episode 9, Season 1) of 'Homefront': Everyone is jumping at the chance to win a local dance contest, hosted by Allan Carmichael. Ginger Szabo and Jeff Metcalf win the contest and are given the chance to go to Hollywood. "I was broke when I got the job," Chandler says, "the very first scene I did with Tammy Lauren was a love scene - the first one I'd ever done on film - and I was too nervous to know whether it really worked or not. But after that, I felt very comfortable in any scenes with her. We just hit it off from the start, like old buddies." Lauren knew when to throw a little weight around - she cleared the set to make Chandler more comfortable for that first kissing scene. He says the one thing about his 'Homefront' performances that galls him is his baseball swing. Although he played some little league baseball, "I think you can tell from my swing that I'm not a professional. It's very hard to duplicate a pro's style. -Cincinnati Enquirer (1993)

Answering the question "What is film noir?" is as slippery and as convoluted as the genre itself. The short answer is that it describes a type of black-and-white urban melodrama made after World War II in which a violent, duplicitous woman leads a gullible tough guy to his doom. So far, so good. But what of Leave Her to Heaven, one of the most beautiful Technicolor films ever made? Or Out of the Past, set primarily in the rustic eastern Sierras? The Maltese Falcon was released several months before Pearl Harbor, every woman in In a Lonely Place is absolutely respectable, and there are scores of noirs in which the hero emerges sobered but unscathed. It wasn't just the movies: the whole world was going cuckoo. Think of the mad drippings of Jackson Pollock, the rapid-fire discordance of Charlie Parker, the demented poetry of Tennessee Williams, the rising popularity of psychoanalysis and of existentialism —a philosophy that centers on "the plight of the individual in an unfathomable universe," a pretty fair summation of the best noirs ever made. Tough new hyper-realistic films from the rubble-filled streets of Rome had an immediacy that captivated U.S. audiences, and American filmmakers returning home from Midway and Anzio and Buchenwald would never make the same kind of movies again. Celluloid like that is combustible, but it will never die. Source: www.pacificsun.com

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Reluctant Heartthrobs: Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Kyle Chandler

There are handful of actors who will forever be ingrained in the canon of film history. John Wayne, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, James Dean, Gregory Peck, to name just a few. One of the most iconic actors of all time, Humphrey Bogart, gets his own four-movie Blu-ray collection this week. The four blu-rays included in “The Best of Bogart Collection” are literally just the four previously-available releases in a new case (and nowhere near as extensive career-wise as the DVD-only box set released for the legend a few years ago). The transfers are solid (although “Treasure” looks grittier than I remembered it being stand-alone) and the collection includes a remarkable array of special features when taken as a whole. There’s a reason we still watch Humphrey Bogart movies and likely will for decades to come. “The Humphrey Bogart Collection” proves why.

"Casablanca" (Special Features):
o Commentary by Roger Ebert
o Commentary by Historian Rudy Behlmer
o Introduction by Lauren Bacall Additional Scenes & Outtakes
o Scoring Session Outtakes
o Bacall on Bogart
o You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca
o Featurette As Time Goes By: The Children Remember
o Production Research Gallery
o Homage Cartoon Carrotblanca
o Who Hold Tomorrow? : Premiere Episode From 1955 Warner Bros. Presents TV Series Adaptation of Casablanca Audio-Only Bonus: Radio Production with the Movie’s 3 Key Stars
Source: www.hollywoodchicago.com

Kyle Chandler as Gary Hobson in Early Edition: "Everybody Goes to Rick's" (Episode 21, Season 4) - Chicago stockbroker Gary Hobson has lost everything he once considered precious; his job, his home, his wife, and now he thinks he might also be loosing his mind. When tomorrow's newspaper mysteriously arrives on his doorstep, delivered daily by an orange cat, Gary gets alarming a look into the future. In this episode, the paper transports Gary back to 1929 Chicago to save a young man from the St. Valentine's day massacre.


Video clips featuring the Valentine's Day Massacre theme. Original Scarface - 1932, Director: Howard Hawks, Actor: Paul Muni; Al Capone - 1959, Director: Richard Wilson; Actor: Rod Steiger; Some Like It Hot - 1959, Director: Billy Wilder, Actor: George Raft; The St. Valentine's Day Massacre - 1967, Director: Roger Corman, Actor: Jason Robards; Early Edition - 1996-2000 (Season 4, Episode 21: Everybody Goes to Rick's - 2000), Actor: Kyle Chandler

Frank Capra's 1946 fantasy is such staple viewing at Christmas that it's hard to comprehend its commercial failure. Many cite a crowded marketplace as the prime reason why It's a Wonderful Life suffered, but the tragic elements of the story could have deterred many from snapping up tickets. After all, when we encounter James Stewart's George Bailey, he's planning his own suicide on Christmas Eve - a premise that would be too dark for even a festive edition of EastEnders. Source: www.digitalspy.co.uk

-Kyle, how do you feel about being called this generations "Jimmy Stewart?"

-Kyle Chandler: That's a great compliment, I've been called a lot worse, I know that. I don't consider myself a Jimmy Stewart, but I appreciate the compliment. And I hope I'm doing good work. -TVGen/Yahoo! Chat Session with Alex Taub (October 15, 1998)

"I thought of myself as a good kid in high school. But I was misunderstood. I'd get into trouble - for drinking a beer in the parking lot or smoking a cigarette behind the gym - and people would look at me a lot differently. Especially the principal. He really didn't care for me. My father had died my first year in high school, and after that, when men would come down on me, I would feel cornered. I'd feel, 'No way, buddy. You ain't telling me nothing.' And I'd stand up to them and say, 'Wait a second. You explain to me what you're talking about, so I can understand you.' And the principal didn't appreciate that attitude coming from a 16 year-old kid. But he never tried to get to know me, either." I sort of wish he'd have patted me on the shoulder once in a while and said, 'If you need to talk to anyone, I'll talk to you.'" Did I ever try to be a better kid? yeah, I was always trying to be good and stuff. That's what was so frustrating. Because, as I said, I felt that I was a good kid. But maybe I'm forgetting all the bad things I did." -Kyle Chandler: Jeff Metcalf on ABC's Homefront (Fresh Voices TV, interview with Lynn Minton, 1992)

Born Kyle Martin Chandler on Sept. 17, 1965, the future star was one of five children born to Edward and Sally Chandler, who resided in Buffalo, NY. The clan moved twice during Chandler's childhood - once to Lake Forest, IL and later to Loganville, GA. While residing in the Peach State, the Chandlers lived on a remote farm with few neighbors, leaving the youngster to keep himself busy watching the sole television station that reached their home: a new UHF station owned by Ted Turner. Chandler quickly fell in love with the steady diet of classic Hollywood films, and entertained friends and family with skits based on the characters he saw and enjoyed.

His interest in performing developed even further while attending the University of Georgia. At the urging of some theater major friends, he auditioned for a role in a production of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" and landed the part. The experience inspired Chandler to declare theater his major. While still living in Georgia, he was contacted by an ABC talent scout who brought him to Los Angeles. Minor roles on TV series like "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991) in 1989 led to the supporting part of Pvt. William Griner on the Emmy-winning Vietnam-era drama, "Tour of Duty" (1987-1990).

This, in turn, led to another series regular role in another historical drama - this time as a baseball player in post-World War II America in the multi-award-winning, "Homefront." It was with the role of Jeff Metcalf, that Chandler first stood out from the competitive pack. Switching mediums, he made his NYC stage debut as the bare-chested drifter romancing Ashley Judd in the 1994 Broadway revival of "Picnic," a role previously played by the likes of Paul Newman and William Holden. "Early Edition" earned Chandler a Saturn Award for his efforts.

In 2006, Chandler earned rave reviews as a doomed bomb squad leader on a two-part episode of the popular medical drama, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC) - an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor and raised his profile considerably. Perhaps in part due to his memorable guest turn on "Grey's," that same year, Chandler was chosen to top-bill the small screen adaptation of Peter Berg's 2004 film, "Friday Night Lights" (NBC/DirecTV, 2006-2011).

The series, which chronicled the trials and tribulations of a rural Texas high school football team, struggled to find its footing in the Nielsen ratings from the start. American Film Institute named it one of the best shows of the season. Chandler was widely praised for his performance, which earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2011. Source: www.tcm.com


"Homefront" - Episode 4, Season 1 'So All Alone': Jeff is hiding Ginger from everyone because she's just been humiliated by Caroline. Ginger has made the situation more embarrassing by announcing that Caroline uses spermicide. Jeff gets up and closes and locks the door to the attic. He comes back and takes Ginger's beer from her. A moment of awkwardness before their first kiss. They bump noses, finally kiss and fall to the bed. Scene fades away.

Book Analysis: "Friday Night Lights" & "Dare Me"

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream (2004) by H.G. Bissinger and Dare Me (2012) by Megan Abbott are similarly themed books, revolving around the professional sports milieu and the enthusiasts associated with it, both sharing a distinctively American thrill connected to the High School experience. While Dare Me establishes the more arresting plot and scenarios, Friday Night Lights is mostly based on true events and real characters (specifically about the Permian High School Panthers football team from Odessa, in the 1988 season).

Dare Me relocates the teen angst motif onto a squad of cheerleaders, presenting two central protagonists: Beth Cassidy (the captain and ‘top girl’) and her ‘fidus Achates’/best friend Addy Hanlon. Megan Abbott develops a very dark portrait of female friendship (loosely inspired by the 1988′s cult classic Heathers) and how their adolescent bonds will be tested and strained by a fiercely competitive environment. To complicate matters, Colette French becomes the new High School Coach in charge of the squad, soon exerting crippling pressure over the cheerleaders in order to transform them into adroit warriors. Beth is dethroned off her leadership by Colette and left alone to her own vengeful devices, whilst Addy ascends to the category of Coach’s protegeé.

On the other hand, Friday Night Lights examines the simple lives of Odessa’s citizens, focusing on the growth of local businesses and leisure spots in the area. This is a more elemental, testosterone-fueled territory, where authoritative male figures are invariably encircled by obsessive football fans and blind worshippers of the most prominent players. Following a similar pattern to End Zone (2011) by Don DeLillo, Bissinger’s chronicle is a veritable character study and exploration of ‘fandom as pathology’ (according to media scholar Joli Jensen), culminating with the whole town exhibiting every chronic symptom and the townsfolk feeling a surge of atavic eroticism linked to their team’s victory.

In the midst of this suffocating Texan atmosphere surrounding Dillon (a fictitious small town based on boom-bust Odessa), filled with religious fervor around the Friday Night’s game, an oddly distant Coach appears — played by Billy Bob Thornton in the 2004′s film version (directed by Peter Berg) and more iconically by Kyle Chandler in the FNL TV show (2006-2011). Connie Britton played the Coach’s dutiful wife in both big & small screen versions.

Bissinger’s recollection of memoirs is highly evocative, as well as a cautionary documentary of the intolerant attitudes within secluded communities, exposing a critical envisagement of the limiting scope from obsolete American dreams reliant on a rotary system of injured drop-outs and failed star players – [In Odessa] “they only have two things: football and oil, and there ain’t no more oil.”

Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor reflects on our collective yearning for fair play and honor, asserting his moral superiority in an unequivocally earnest fashion and creating a hearty image of genuine masculinity. A startling progression (if logical) by a prodigious performer who previously had played a baseball hero in Homefront TV show (1991–1993), Kyle Chandler won an Emmy in 2011 for one of the most honest on-screen portrayals: a stern Coach whose system of values brings our impulses of nobility to light.

On the contrary, in Dare Me, the men introduced in the story are mere pawns whose only function is to trigger female reactions or serve as a diffuse patriarchal background. Colette French represents the foreign taboo intruding on the cliqué of typically American ‘chiclet-toothed aloof goddesses’, using her sophisticated disingenuousness to seduce Addy and the rest of cheerleaders who fall prey inescapably to Colette’s Amazonian magnetism. It’s suggested throughout a string of personal incidents that the primal reference for a teenage girl is another woman whom the young admirer perceives as superior, so that indefinite attraction toward her heroine (whether platonic or sexual) will help shape up her ideals and provoke life-changing decisions: “Coach gave it all to us. We never had it before her. So can you blame me for wanting to keep it? To fight for it, to the end? She was the one who showed me all the dark wonders of the life I’d only seen flickering from the corner of my eye. Did I ever feel anything at all until she showed me what feeling meant?,” Addy anticipates in the beginning of the novel.

The way Abbott contrasts Beth’s resilient exhaustion against Coach French’s nascent madness is sheer mastery, highlighting a crisis of the feminine identity symbolized in the rupture from the toxic team-mates that were once proclaimed as role models. Dare Me signals the trappings of idol-worshipping, covering thorny issues like mental projection or addiction, and could stand for a sort of intellectual recension of Friday Night Lights. At one point, Natalie Portman was rumored to be in talks to play the icy Coach French, although a film version of Dare Me is still in the air and possibly another actress would be optioned for the lead character. Someone like Rooney Mara or Amy Adams would be perfect for such a demanding role.

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Friday Night Lights’ by H.G. Bissinger and ‘Dare Me’ by Megan Abbott on Blogcritics.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Win 'The Wolf of Wall Street' special Blu-Ray

GIVEAWAY: Win 'The Wolf of Wall Street' Blu-ray Signed by Leonardo DiCaprio. In addition, fans can win a Happy Hour Kit from director Martin Scorsese's Oscar-nominated dramatic comedy. Paramount Home Media Distribution released The Wolf of Wall Street on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD yesterday, giving fans a chance to relive this Oscar-nominated dramatic comedy from director Martin Scorsese, or watch it for the very first time. We have the perfect giveaway lined up in conjunction with this release, which will help you get the party started with a copy of the Blu-ray and a Happy Hour Kit. These prizes will be gone quicker than Leonardo DiCaprio can drop an F-bomb, so don't miss out on this opportunity to win big from The Wolf of Wall Street. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers "the best performance of his career" (Claudia Puig, USA Today) and earned a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a young stockbroker hungry for a life of non-stop thrills, where corruption is king and more is never enough. Based on an outrageous true story of American excess, The Wolf of Wall Street features a "razor-sharp" (Claudia Puig, USA Today) script by Terence Winter and "wild, exhilarating performances" (Richard Brody, NewYorker.com) from Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin and Margot Robbie.

  • Special Features: Feature film in high definition
  • The Wolf Pack - Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and other cast and crew discuss the incredible journey of making the film. Follow them as they reveal the real story behind Jordan Belfort's rise to power and how they depicted his world of lavish excess, perseverance and ultimately betrayal. Source: www.movieweb.com
KC: "My biggest goals when I came out to Los Angeles were to be married and have a family, and be able to afford to live as an actor. That's what I do now. And little by little, I keep working with these people. I'm not going to question it. I don't know what I'm going to do next, and I don't care. Everything just keeps going. Like my pop used to say, "Just listen to your gut." That's what I do. In for the long haul; the rest is all just trappings." Source: www.aintitcool.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Five Came Back: Five Legendary Film Directors and the Second World War" extracts

George Stevens's responsibilities as president of the Screen Directors Guild were considerable, and he was also under contract to make two more pictures for Columbia, which greeted any sign of wavering on his part by warning him that if he went off to war, his career would stall just when it was on the ascent. But Stevens felt increasingly consumed by a sense of duty, and resolved to work off his Columbia deal as quickly as he could manage.

Immediately after finishing 'Woman of the Year,' he began preparing 'The Talk of the Town,' a high-minded comedy-drama that was designed to give Columbia exactly the kind of semisophisticated, vaguely political, somewhat romantic crowd-pleaser it had sought since Capra left the studio. Stevens brought a light touch to the story of a prison escapee (Cary Grant) framed for arson and the Supreme Court nominee (Ronald Colman) who attempts to exonerate him. But during production, he retreated into himself more than ever, taking hours between scenes to contemplate each setup and driving his cast and crew half-mad with his impassive mien and stony silences.

Although critics applauded the results—the film became Stevens’s first Best Picture nominee—many of them noted that he was working in a vein that had already been well mined by Capra, a similarity that was only underscored by his use of the costar (Jean Arthur) and screenwriter (Sidney Buchman) of 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'. 'The Talk of the Town' was Stevens’s first attempt to go “a bit thicker” —it makes a political statement, but the statement is about the horror of lynch-mob rule and vigilante hysteria, which had been a favorite Hollywood subject since the mid-1930s and was by 1942 a relatively safe way for a film to be topical. Nelson Poynter, the young, progressive deputy of the BMP, praised Talk for dramatizing “one of the basic things we are fighting for —a decent social contract.”

Unable to decide whether Jean Arthur’s character should end up with the firebrand played by Grant or the older, more professorial Colman, Stevens put the question to moviegoers, wondering whether they would prefer a man of action or a man of intellect. The audience chose Grant, but for reasons Stevens hadn’t anticipated. “While there are men of draft age on the screen, the girls should marry them,” read a typical comment card. “Later on the mature men will have it all to themselves.” Another viewer, rooting for Colman, wrote, “Send Grant off to war without Arthur to stay true to life.” It was the beginning of the era of the 4-F movie hero—three years during which, if a young man appeared on screen in a contemporary film set in the United States, moviegoers wanted to know why he wasn’t in uniform.

The Talk of the Town had just opened when Stevens ran into Capra on the lot, and by then he had made up his mind. His agent, Charles Feldman, tried one last time to scare him out of leaving. “You go in, this war will last seven years, or five years —you’re finished as far as the films are concerned, if nothing worse happens to you,” he told his client.

Richard Gaines, director George Stevens and Jean Arthur between takes of 'The More the Merrier' (1943)

Stevens was undeterred. He informed a resigned Harry Cohn that his next picture for Columbia, a romantic comedy called 'The More the Merrier' in which he planned to reteam Grant and Arthur, would be his last. [Joel McCrea replaced Cary Grant] Stevens's active duty would begin just days after he finished work in the editing room. “The war was on... I wanted to be in the war,” he said later. “It’s hard to get a fifty-yard-line seat like that.” World War II was no longer a shock; it was an ongoing fact of life with no end in sight. Any hopes that an American victory would be swift had evaporated with daily headlines about fresh casualties and new combat zones in the Pacific. Over the summer, U.S. planes had flown their first, tentative missions over France, and the army would soon begin Operation Torch, opening a new front with its first major deployment of ground troops in North Africa. As summer turned to fall, nobody in Hollywood was calling the war an “adventure” any longer.


William Wyler and George Stevens came back to London at the end of October 1943, just as Huston and Capra were leaving. Wyler’s return was tense and urgent—the result of a summons by cable from Eighth Air Force commander General Eaker. In late August, the crew of the 'Memphis Belle' had finally ended its national rallying tour and arrived in Los Angeles to work on the picture. Wyler saw their visit as an occasion to honor their achievement, and as a treat, he threw them a welcoming party, asking each crewman in advance which Hollywood star he most wanted to meet.

Nobody turned down his invitation—by then, the ten flyers, the youngest of whom was only nineteen, were celebrities in their own right, and for an evening they happily chatted and flirted with Veronica Lake, HedyLamarr, Olivia de Havilland, and Dinah Shore. Wyler may have been in no hurry to finish the film, but he wasn’t lingering in Hollywood because of any eagerness to return to the movie business. When Sam Goldwyn asked him if he was ready to come home yet —studios and producers were increasingly anxious to get their top-tier talent back in the fold— Wyler told him he intended to stay in the war for the duration. Goldwyn then asked him to sign a punitive amendment to his contract which stipulated that he was to resume work in Hollywood within sixty days of his discharge and gave Goldwyn the right to terminate their deal. -"Five Came Back: Five Legendary Film Directors and the Second World War" (2014) by Mark Harris

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mad Men's Ending, Movie Stars' Masculinity

How to End ‘Mad Men’? Matthew Weiner Gives Final Season Sneak Peek - One positive development during the writing process has been the presence of legendary Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne, who joined Weiner’s team as a “sage advisor” late last year. “It’s like running a baseball team and someone says Babe Ruth wants to come one day a week and show people how to hit,” Weiner said. “He makes me work harder because I’m always trying to impress him. All of us are. You also know that if Robert Towne likes what you’re doing, then it’s probably good.” Weiner couldn't help but sounding a little sad when discussing the end of a series he's spent the last seven years of his life obsessing over.

“It’s hard for me not to imagine these characters anymore,” he said. “The loss is something I can’t really think about.” Source: www.thedailybeast.com

On whether the late ‘60s era is more challenging to portray: A lot of reasons that I started the show in 1960 was because it was so much the height of the ‘50s. I felt that there was a sort of constricted social environment based on manners that we’ve watched disintegrate and erode throughout the decade. The weirdest thing about getting to the late ‘60s is that it feels more like today. Other than saying “groovy” once in a while… there is not, in either watching the movies, or reading books, or reading interviews, or watching the news, it does not feel even slightly anachronistic. There is nothing to laugh at by the time you’re in the late ‘60s. It is very similar to right now, with the exception of technology.

The very first season someone said, ‘What’s Don Draper gonna think about Woodstock?’ Don Draper grew up in rural poverty during the Great Depression. I don’t know that this is going to be a particularly impressive event for him. He’s going to be happy that the music’s good, maybe. Source: tv.blog.imdb.net

Sam Shepard has been cast as Kyle Chandler's father in an upcoming Netflix drama. The still-untitled show, from Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, and Glenn Kessler, is about a family of adult siblings whose secrets resurface when their black-sheep brother returns. Shepard will play the dad; Sissy Spacek will play the mom; and Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz, and Ben Mendelsohn will play the kids, with Mendelsohn as said black sheep. Source: www.vulture.com

"In A Lonely Place" (1950) directed by Nicholas Ray, points not only to the emerging culture of psychology but also the emerging dramatic structure of middlebrow teleplays and an increased fascination with Method acting in Broadway and in Hollywood. This juxtaposition between the social necessity of self-presentation and the theatricality of acting as illustrated by Bogart's various mirror performances of Dixon Steele, suggests the continuing psycho-dramatic power of noir to explore, as Jay P. Telotte notes: "how film's seeming depths link up only with a false surface and can deprive us of any real experience of depth." According to James Gilbert, the preoccupation with masculinity in the 1950s in the US was particularly intense "because the period followed wartime self-confidence based upon the sacrifice and heroism of ordinary men." -"Post-World War II Masculinities in British and American Literature and Culture" (2013) by Stefan Horlacher and Kevin Floyd

If a movie actor, though, is someone who works in quick closeup detail, then a movie star is someone who creates a persona roomy enough to contain dozens of different roles. "High Sierra" and "The Maltese Falcon" had shown off Bogart the Actor; now "Casablanca" would confirm Bogart the Star.

Michael Curtiz' movie is first a metaphor for its age; set during the days before Pearl Harbor, it has Bogart representing a still uncommitted America, the desperate refugees in his club as symbols of every overrun country. "High Sierra" had given Bogie a stubborn sense of purpose; "The Maltese Falcon," a personal code. "Casablanca," though, added romantic self-sacrifice. It created a character who stuck his neck out "for nobody," who was "no good at being noble" — and yet who did risk, and was noble, when it counted. Who would eventually drop the cynical mask of indifference and do what was necessary, for the greater good. And it was that final heroic piece that turned Bogart into Bogie, and a true Hollywood icon. Source: www.nj.com

Kyle Chandler as Gary Hobson in "Everybody Goes To Rick's" episode from "Early Edition" (2000): Gary wakes up to get the newspaper and finds himself living in the past. It is 1929 and he is in an early business in the location of McGinty's. Gary tries to prevent the St Valentine's Day Massacre. "Everybody Comes to Rick's" was an American play written by Murray Burnett and Joan Allison in 1940, featuring the Cafe Americain in Casablanca owned by Rick Blaine. Eventually, Rick helps an idealistic Czech resistance fighter escape with the woman Rick loves. It was bought by Warner Brothers for $20,000. It was adapted for the movie "Casablanca" (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine.

Kyle Chandler: I don't place upon myself, "Oh, I'm going to be a movie star now." I don't even know what a movie star truly is, other than a movie star is someone in all the tabloids, and he's a great actor because he's a movie star!!! I don't know that I want to be a movie star in that sense. But if I can keep working with folks like this, and carry on in my career, and still have a family, and move on, I'll keep rolling along with the hits. There are some careers that I look at, but it's mostly for the longevity and the variety of work. I'm still learning. Each one of these is an acting class to me. I've got a long road to go. Source: www.aintitcool.com