Postage Paid: In Defense of Elia Kazan

October 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Elia Kazan 1979
Elia Kazan 1979

Between 1945 and 1957 Elia Kazan directed 10 crit­i­cally acclaimed motion pic­tures. He won Acad­emy Awards as best direc­tor for Gentleman’s Agree­ment (1947), and On the Water­front (1954). He was nom­i­nated for best direc­tor for two other films dur­ing that period, A Street­car Named Desire (1951), and East of Eden (1955). Kazan also directed two of the most pro­found and influ­en­tial dra­mas in Broad­way his­tory, A Street­car Named Desire (1947), and The Death of a Sales­man (1948). His novel The Arrange­ment, pub­lished in 1967, became a best seller.

Kazan came to the fore dur­ing the post-World War II years, arguably the most con­tro­ver­sial period in Hol­ly­wood his­tory. His films of the period con­tributed much to the rep­u­ta­tion of 20th Cen­tury Fox, and aug­mented fur­ther the lus­ter and bril­liance of Dar­ryl F. Zanuck. Kazan, nick­named “Gadge” was one of the great direc­tors of his time. His post-war films remain as pow­er­ful and com­pelling as any pro­duced in Amer­ica. For a period of 12 years Elia Kazan had no peer! Read more

The Best Actor Never To Win The Oscar

October 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Fred MacMurray, EGR, "Double Indemnity" 1944

Fred Mac­Mur­ray, EGR, “Dou­ble Indem­nity” 1944

That Edward G. Robin­son never got the Oscar he so richly deserved, not­ing espe­cially his chill­ing per­for­mance as Wolf Larsen in The Sea Wolf, is a pity! He must be regarded as one America’s finest film actors. In Cae­sar Enrico Ban­dello, he cre­ated the pro­to­type for the mod­ern Amer­i­can movie gang­ster. For the won­der­ful mem­o­ries he gave me, this post if ded­i­cated. Infor­ma­tion about Eddie is extremely dif­fi­cult to obtain. Any addi­tional infor­ma­tion on Edward G. Robin­son is wel­comed here.

Emanuel Gold­en­berg, force­ful, author­i­ta­tive char­ac­ter star of Hol­ly­wood films, mem­o­rable for his tough imper­son­ation of gang­ster boss Rico Ban­dello in Lit­tle Cae­sar (1930) and many other char­ac­ter­i­za­tions of under­world types in Warner’s crime cycle of the 1930s. In the US from age–10, he grew up on New York’s Lower East Side and gave up plans to become a rabbi or a lawyer in favor of act­ing dur­ing stud­ies at City Col­lege, where he was elected to the Eliz­a­bethan Soci­ety. He won a schol­ar­ship to the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Dra­matic Arts and, chang­ing his name to Edward G. (the G. for Gold­en­berg) Read more

Stanley Kubrick & Marie Windsor

September 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Marie Windsor

I didn’t know I was doing film noir, I thought they were detec­tive sto­ries with low light­ing! Even Kubrick, in 1955 dur­ing film­ing of The Killing, never used the term film noir to my knowledge.

Kubrick had all his shots laid out before he started, all sketched out by his wife, who was quite a good artist. He had them all around his office. I guess that’s why we made it in 21 days, with very few takes. The scene where I took my eye­lashes off we did in two takes.

He didn’t direct in front of any­body else. He’d say, Marie. Come over here a minute. We’d go behind the scenery, and he’d say, In this scene I want you to be really tired and lazy. I’d had some stage train­ing, and he was try­ing to get me not to use my big voice. Read more

Mystique: Humphrey Bogart, the Peak Years

August 4, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Humphrey Bogart 1941

Humphrey Bog­art 1941

From hard-boiled Sam Spade to cyn­i­cal Rick Blaine, from wise crack­ing shamus Philip Mar­lowe to down-on-his-luck Fred C. Dobbs, Humphrey Bog­art cre­ated a gallery of unfor­get­table char­ac­ters. Appear­ing in over 75 films, span­ning 26 years, Bog­art left an indeli­ble mark on Amer­i­can cinema.

Humphrey Bogart’s early career was hardly note­wor­thy. His roles ranged from rich play­boys to seedy hood­lums. In the film The Pet­ri­fied For­est (1936), Bog­art, on the insis­tence of his Broad­way co-star Leslie Howard, re-created his role of the cold-blooded killer Duke Man­tee. The film was a huge suc­cess and gave a tremen­dous boost to his career. Although his imme­di­ate roles remained con­strained to the hood­lums, and mal­con­tents he had por­trayed prior to The Pet­ri­fied For­est , he remained stead­fast in his pur­suit of excellence.

By 1941 Humphrey Bog­art was on the verge of cin­e­matic promi­nence. His sub­se­quent and now cel­e­brated roles were about to gar­ner Bog­art the accep­tance and adu­la­tion he so des­per­ately craved. A recog­ni­tion he rel­ished, as he set out for­tu­itously to cre­ate the now famous “Bog­art ” mys­tique, which would dom­i­nate the screen for the next decade. He was to remark later that there were few things about which he could feel gen­uine pride, and the 1941 clas­sic The Mal­tese Fal­con, was one of them. Read more