john wayne

RANDOM SNAPSHOTS – PT7.

November 11, 2017 // 3 Comments

HARRY JAMES (1916-83)                                      Harry James was a very good trumpet-player and a successful bandleader. He was also a bona fide skirt-chaser all his life and wound up marrying America’s number one pin-up girl of the entire Second World War – Betty Grable. Harry carried around an ego the size of the Grand Canyon and it caused him [...]

ROBERT RYAN – A class act.

September 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

RYAN, Robert (1909 – 73) I recently had the pleasure of watching a terrific western named The Proud Ones (1956). It has gone completely unheralded, yet it is clearly a couple of cuts above the average western fare. I watched it for one simple reason, because Robert Ryan was its star and I cannot recall him ever appearing in a sub-standard movie. For that matter, I cannot remember him ever [...]

SNAPSHOTS Vol 2

September 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937)                                   I have watched Captains Courageous only twice because, frankly, I cannot abide Spencer Tracy’s portrayal of the Portuguese fisherman Manuel. In fact, I only watched it the second time because of Freddie Bartholomew’s superb performance and to see Lionel Barrymore ‘box his ears’ better than [...]

Casting Blunders Pt 1.

April 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

I often watch movies over and over again, just for the pleasure of re-visiting an extraordinary performance. Occasionally, as for instance with Double Indemnity (1944), it is not only an individual performance, but a combination of strong acting from more than one player, a fabulous script, seamless directing, and a score that seems to fit the overall production like a glove. Such combinations do [...]

Two forgotten beauties.

January 31, 2017 // 4 Comments

  Fans of the 1957 movie version of the musical South Pacific will well remember the enchanting Eurasian girl who played Liat. France Nuyen came out of nowhere (literally) and became the dream girl of many men around the world who saw her playing Bloody Mary’s daughter on Bali Hai, yet her life story reads like the script of a very bad B-movie. France as Liat in South Pacific She was [...]

On-set fatalities in Hollywood movies.

November 22, 2016 // 0 Comments

Movie-making has cost the lives of quite a few of those involved in the process. Stuntmen, cameramen, assistants, extras, plus the occasional director and actor have lost their lives down the decades. This is not a definitive list, not by a long shot, but it does demonstrate the perils that have always dogged the pursuit of excellence in the film industry. I have limited my list to actors, [...]

Past Oscar-winners – some observations – Pt 3.

October 9, 2016 // 0 Comments

    1949               All the King’s Men – Best Picture                         Broderick Crawford – Best Actor for All the King’s Men   Broderick Crawford Greg Peck as General Savage in Twelve O’Clock High Having seen all five nominated films for 1949, I am surprised that All the King’s Men came out on top. Darryl Zanuck’s [...]

PAST OSCAR WINNERS – Some observations – PT 2.

October 1, 2016 // 2 Comments

  1942                Mrs. Miniver – Best Picture   Well, World War Two was in full swing and America was now in it, so a war picture (or at least a flag-waver) was bound to win Best Picture. And one did. There were four of these nominated: Mrs. Miniver, Wake Island and The 49th Parallel were about the current conflict, and Yankee Doodle Dandy provided the flag-waving. I [...]

Did you know?

August 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

  Stephen Boyd Stephen Boyd was born the youngest of nine children of a Northern Ireland family in 1928 and will more than likely become immortalized in cinematic history because of his memorable performance as Messala in the enormously successful 1959 blockbuster Ben-Hur. Charlton Heston may have secured the Oscar in the title role, but an awful lot of fans (and critics) found Boyd’s [...]

Great character actors Pt 3.

March 9, 2016 // 2 Comments

    Eve Arden was born Eunice Quedens in California in 1908. Her folks divorced when she was young and she quit school at 16 to join a stock theatre company. She made her film debut in Song of Love in 1929 and her Broadway debut (as Eve Arden) in 1934 in that year’s Ziegfeld Follies Revue, but it was not until she played a wise-cracking, fast-talking, witty character who befriends a [...]
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