WEIRDLAND: September 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kirsten Dunst covers Flare magazine, attends "Melancholia" UK premiere

Kirsten Dunst in a portrait for Brigitte Lacombe (2011)

Kirsten Dunst attends the UK premiere of Melancholia at The Curzon Mayfair on September 28, 2011 in London

Kirsten Dunst Covers 'Flare' November 2011

Kirsten Dunst in Behind the scenes from Flare magazine photoshoot

Two pictures more of Kirsten Dunst for Flare (behind the scenes) magazine, November 2011

Taylor Lautner talks about "Twilight 4 Breaking Dawn" in Paris

Taylor Lautner talks about his love-story with Renesmee in "Breaking Dawn" and reveals his favorite "Twilight" movie in Paris (September 27th 2011).
Watch the entire interview of Taylor Lautner in Paris on Teemix website:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan in All About 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' (UK) magazine

Scans of Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan in All About 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' (UK), September 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Robert Ryan: 'It's all in the eyes' - ('The Man I Love' video)

Still of Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan from "On dangerous ground" (1952) directed by Nicholas Ray

"It's all in the eyes", Robert Ryan once said of film acting. "That's where you do most of your work."

Take a close look at Ryan in The Set-Up or On Dangerous Ground and you'll get a sense of the relative frailty and delicacy of most male movie stars. In the post-war era, only Burt Lancaster was as physically imposing (Kirk Douglas was always fit but he was self-contained and self-motivated, even when he was coming unhinged; Night of the Hunter and Cape Fear aside, Robert Mitchum appeared less threatening than looming, dreamily approaching the ecstatic).

Robert Ryan - The Man I Love (Song by Dinah Shore)

Slideshow of Robert Ryan set to the song 'Do I Move You?' by Nina Simone. A superbly gifted actor, Robert Ryan often portrayed dark characters on screen; characters filled with violence, self-loathing and bigotry. Tirelessly supporting civil rights issues, Ryan's own politics were a world apart from the petty and reactionary prejudices of many of his on-screen personas. Perhaps this is the very reason WHY he portrayed them so convincingly. So great and fearless was Ryan's talent that he inhabited such characters from within and rather than give flat portrayals of these dark figures as villains of pure evil he imbued them with a crushing realism that highlighted their own distorted humanity; a humanity derailed by self-deception and a profound lack of self-worth.
He was also, of course, a fine figure of a man whose on-screen-persona as a passionate, flawed and potentially dangerous individual gave him his own certain sexual allure. It is this aspect of Ryan's screen image that this slideshow attempts to portray but the depths that lie beneath this image are there for us all to discover for ourselves if we wish to do so.

Robert Ryan, wife Jessica and kids Tim & Lisa in 1965

In the prime of his career, Robert Ryan, Jessica and their three children lived with an anti-Hollywood modesty. The parents took intense interest in the education of their children, going so far as to fund and construct, in 1953, The Oakwood School, a private learning center offering an alternative to crowded public schools and rich-kid country clubs. Conservative neighbors egged the building and painted crosses on its doors. A committed leftist, Ryan managed to elude persecution during the witchhunt; but by the mid-'s 50s he was active in the ACLU, a big supporter of the UN, and president of the Southern California branch of the United World Federalists.

Meanwhile, Ryan continued to portray the men he most despised -amoral racists like Reno Smith in "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1954). It was an updated Western in which Spencer Tracy played a one-armed vet who rides into a dusty desert town to present a Japanese farmer with his son's posthumous war medal. Surprise: a gang of rabid townsfolk, led by Ryan, has already murdered the old man in a fit of racism disguised as patriotism.

Robert Ryan as Earle Slater and Gloria Grahame as Helen in "Odds against Tomorrow" (1959) directed by Robert Wise

You'd think Ryan couldn't get much more evil than this, but somehow he upped the ante in Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), an exceptional film, and Peter Ustinov's salty adaptation of Melville's Billy Budd (1962). Films in Review called Ryan's turn as antagonistic master-at-arms John Claggart the "apotheosis of screen villainy".
Although he built a solid career foundation with the diligence of a stone-mason, Ryan felt trapped by the narrow confines of the parts he was offered. During the Fifties he poured his frustrations over ice and drank them down, becoming a functioning alcoholic. He believed his rejection of the Hollywood lifestyle was working against him. His daughter, Lisa Ryan recalls many occasions when her father would sit alone in the unlit kitchen, nursing one of many beverages, railing to the acting gods: "Goddamned 'B' pictures! That's all they give me. Goddamned 'B' pictures!"

In Sam Peckinpah's “The Wild Bunch” (1969) Ryan delivers a commanding performance as a one-time member of the outlaw gang headed by William Holden. The Ryan character breaks away from the bunch and joins up with the lawmen who are determined to track them down.

On July 11, 1973, he succumbed. Pete Hamill offered a lovely tribute: "There should be a poem of farewell for Robert Ryan. It should express his quiet presence through so many lonely years when few people were struggling to bring decency to the world... Life, death, loneliness, loss: these were some of the things we learned from the quiet art of Robert Ryan, who was a good man in a bad time". -"Dark City, the lost world of film noir" (1998) by Eddie Muller

Robert Ryan and Barbara Stanwyck as Earl and Mae in "Clash By Night" (1952) directed by Fritz Lang

Q: "The Set-Up" (1949) was another milestone of film noir.

Audrey Totter: It was exceptional. I was still at Metro, and they called me in and told me that I was wanted for this film at RKO. It was a boxing film. They told me Robert Wise was directing, and I didn’t know him at that time. I wasn’t too enthused, but they suggested I take the script home and read it. Well, it was wonderful ... a wonderful script, a good part, and a good concept. The picture was to be done in "real" time, which meant the action takes place in the same time frame as the length of the film.

Q: Any recollections of Robert Ryan?

Audrey Totter: He was so glad that I agreed to do the film. He had heard I was reluctant, and he thought I would be right for the part. In the picture, Robert plays an over-the-hill fighter, and I play his wife. He has a fight which his manager wants him to throw. He wins instead, and the mob works him over in the street. They break his hands so he’ll never fight again. But they couldn’t break his spirit. Robert Ryan was excellent in the role, and it is one of the best things he ever did. Everyone was so good in the picture. It still works today whenever it is shown. Source:

Bogart had been the cinema's most touching practitioner of hurt feelings, as evidenced in the sudden, forever alarming cut to a close-up when Rick sees Elsa for the first time in Casablanca: his face freezes and seems to decompose before our eyes, and we feel the sensation of a vast inner world coming to a dead halt. Ryan picked up the melody and reset it to a new rhythm for a new era.
Unlike Bogart's signature roles, there was nothing hip about the characters Ryan played: Monty the bigot in Crossfire, Stoker the washed-up fighter in The Set-Up, Joe the avenging vet in Act of Violence, Wilson in On Dangerous Ground, and Reno the small-town crime boss in Bad Day at Black Rock are all haunted by normalcy and equilibrium, trying to contain, correct or eradicate whatever plagues their existences. "Why do you make me do it?" cries Wilson in a quavering voice in the Ray film, before beating a gangster within an inch of his life. Something is always turning Ryan's characters horribly inside out, causing them to fight their way to the other side of anguish.

"The myth about the actor being one thing and portraying another is not true", Ryan said in a 1971 Films and Filming interview. "He may play a part which has nothing to do with his own life - but his size as a person shows through no matter what he does." Source:

Robert Ryan threatens Janet Leigh in "Act Of Violence" (1948) directed by Fred Zinnemann

Thierry Génin wrote in an article in the Film French periodical L'avant-scène that Ryan's screen persona expressed a "lacerated humanity" that was "strong, yet tormented", suggesting that Ryan had been through a lot and had survived. Génin concluded that his message concerned the dilemma of the human condition.

Robert Wise believed that Ryan had a talent for eliciting sympathy for the characters he played, and that "part of Bob's art made one feel that he was a victim in some way, and not just an out and out son of a bitch". "Bob was an intensely shy man", said Arvin Brown.

Robert Ryan and Marilyn Monroe in "Clash by Night" (1952). "I got the feeling she was a frightened little girl who was trying awfully hard. She always seemed to be so mournful-looking around the set, and I'd always try to cheer her up" -Robert Ryan on Marilyn

Ryan told screenwriter Millard Lampell about a number of passes that had been made toward him by actresses, among whom were powerful sex symbols, such as Joan Crawford and Rita Hayworth. Lampell noted that Ryan seemed to have feelings about women that were "a mixture of naiveté and boyishness, and a kind of old-fashioned sense of integrity and faithfulness to his wife".
Arvin Brown testified to his effect on women "they were tremendously attracted to Bob, much more than his screen presence would ever have led you to believe, a pretty lethal mixture of repressed energy and violence, combined with a real sweetness".
Brown believed that the paradox Ryan presented increased his sex-appeal: "The key thing was that Bob had this wonderful gentleness which was a real powerful attraction in a guy who seemed like he was maybe a dark force". -"Robert Ryan: A Biography and Critical Filmography" by Franklin Jarlett (1997)

Online Gambling and Poker experience in film: "The Prowler", "Roadhouse", "Casino", etc.

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 and other traditional table games such as blackjack or poker.

Sharon Stone as Ginger McKenna in "Casino" (1995) directed by Martin Scorsese.

Based on the book by Larry Shandling and Nicholas Pileggi, "Casino" was directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro as Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a character based on Frank Rosenthal, who ran casinos in Las Vegas in the 70’s, most notably the Stardust casino (gambling, poker games, etc.)

“The town will never be the same. After the Tangiers, the big corporations took it all over. Today it looks like Disneyland. And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior’s college money on the poker slots. In the old days, dealers knew your name, what you drank, what you played." —Ace Rothstein (Rober De Niro in "Casino")

Jodie Foster plays in "Maverick" (1994) a scheming southern belle and a skillful poker player. Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) is attempting to enter a five-card draw tournament to prove that he is the best poker player. He needs an additional $3,000 to participate in the $25,000 event. In the town of Crystal Rivers he meets two other poker players: Foster’s Annabelle and Angel, played by Alfred Molina.
The tournament hits a high point when it’s down to three players: Maverick, Angel and The Commodore: While the odds of Gibson’s Ace of Spades draw are low (52 cards in a deck) the Commodore has four of a kind (eights) and Angel has a low straight flush. In the third act, the poker fans will be delighted since the interactions are all secondary to the poker action, which is some of the best captured on film.

Paul Newman playing poker in "The Sting" (1973)

After Henry Gondorf (Paul Newman) and John Hooker (Robert Redford) spot Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), a high-stakes gambler during a poker game, they come up with a cunning method of manipulating him into placing sure bets on fixed horse races.

"The Sting" on Top 250 #99 in Imdb List won 7 Oscars in 1974 - Best Picture, Best Director: George Roy Hill, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published: David S. Ward, Best Film Editing: William Reynolds, Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Julia Phillips became the first female producer to win the Best Picture category.

The incorporation of gambling, casinos, poker and other games in movies goes all the way back to the 1930's with "Gambling Lady" starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Yvonne de Carlo and Dan Duryea playing the roulette in "River Lady" (1948) directed by George Sherman

Dan Duryea, the onetime advertising copywriter turned actor, became synonymous with a particularly decadent and insidious form of evil, Catch "Criss Cross" (1949) for a prototypical Duryea performance as Slim Dundee, a well-dressed gambler and syndicate boss who could teach Dennis Hopper a few tricks about sneering with nasty intent.

Duryea reserves his most chilling glares for Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster), the viral, young buck one married to Dundee's wife, Anna (Yvonne De Carlo) Sultry Anna longs to burn again in Steve's arms, but how can she manage without the money from her sugar daddy Slim?

Ida Lupino as the wise-cracking dame Lily Stevens in "Road House" (1948) directed by Jean Negulesco: Ida Lupino plays a barroom singer who loves to play poker solitaires and who shows her sangfroid as she tries to flee from Jefty’s increasingly unhinged grasp. And there’s a remarkable sexual transference of power when Lily takes matters —and Jefty’s gun— into her own hands.
Jefty (Richard Widmark) says of Lily as he falls to the ground: "I told you she was different".

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