Tag Archives: Vincente Minnelli

Classic Hollywood Birthdays

Ferdinand_Gottschalk_in_King_Kelly_of_the_U.S.A.

Ferdinand Gottschalk, actor (1858-1944)

Geraldine Farrar, soprano opera singer & actress (1882-1967)
Ben Hecht, screenwriter, director, producer, playwright & novelist (1894-1964)
Marcel Pagnol, novelist, playwright & filmmaker (1895-1974)
Vincente Minnelli, director (1903-1986)
Sir Anthony Havelock-Allen, producer & screenwriter (1904-2003)
Barton Hepburn, actor (1906-1955)
Zero Mostel, actor (1915-1977)
Alfred Burke, actor (1918-2011)
Charles Durning, actor (1923-2012)
Stanley Baker, actor & producer (1928-1976)
Galvin Macleod, actor (1931- )
Tommy Tune, actor, dancer, singer, producer & choreographer (1939- )

Classic Hollywood Birthdays

Marcel_Pagnol_1931

Marcel Pagnol, novelist, playwright & filmmaker (1895-1974)

Ben Hecht, screenwriter, director, producer, playwright & novelist (1894-1964)
Vincente Minnelli, director (1903-1986)
Zero Mostel, actor (1915-1977)
Tommy Tune, actor, dancer, singer, producer & choreographer (1939- )

Classic Hollywood Birthdays

Zero Mostel

Zero Mostel, actor (1915-1977)

Ben Hecht, screenwriter, director, producer, playwright & novelist (1894-1964)
Marcel Pagnol, novelist, playwright & filmmaker (1895-1974)
Vincente Minnelli, director (1903-1986)
Tommy Tune, actor, dancer, singer, producer & choreographer (1939- )

The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)

The Bad and The Beautiful

Classic Movie Night Recommendation:

The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)

Saturday, January 4th

8:00PM (ET)

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The Bad and The Beautiful_7

Top: Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas)
Below: James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), and Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan)

Over the course of eighteen years producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) has shamelessly used people in his quest for success in Hollywood.  Actress Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), writer James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), and director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) are three of Shields’ victims.  However, despite their encounters with Shields, they found success in Hollywood mostly through their start with him.  Shields now has called the three of them together to work on a new project in an attempt recapture some of his former success.

The Bad and The Beautiful takes a scathing look at Hollywood and the Hollywood system.  The story was originally set around Broadway.  However, it was director, Vincente Minnelli, and producer, John Houseman that insisted the film would be more powerful if set in Hollywood.  Like other films that have held an introspective mirror to Hollywood, the film takes licenses with elements of the story that are reminiscent of the real Hollywood itself.  Jonathan Shields draws comparisons to great producers/directors who were at times known to be dictatorial such as David O. Selznick, Orson Welles, and Val Lewton.  The Shields-Amiel production of Doom of the Cat Men seems to have been inspired by Lewton’s Cat People.  One only has to hear them discuss the fact that the audience will not see the cat to still feel terrified, and you are instantly taken to the Lewton film.  Turner’s character Georgia Lorrison lives in the shadow of her father’s memory, memories that are very much like those of John Barrymore.  However some have also drawn parallels between Lorrison and Minnelli’s ex-wife Judy Garland.  Lorrison’s insecurity in her acting and reliance on drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressures of life are similar to the struggles that plagued Judy Garland.

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Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) is able to nurture Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner) into a great actress, much like Minnelli was able to direct Judy Garland to some of her best performances.

The Bad and The Beautiful_9

Gloria Grahame would win an Oscar for her performance in The Bad and the Beautiful.

The film holds the record for most Oscar wins without being nominated for best picture.  The Bad and The Beautiful received Academy Awards in the categories for Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design.  Gloria Grahame would win her only Academy Award for her supporting role in this film.  Typically known for film noir, it’s refreshing to see Grahame play a sociable Southern wife who is just a little too friendly upon arriving in Hollywood.  Kirk Douglas would receive his second of three Academy Award nominations in the Best Actor category.  The award would elude him till 1996 he was presented with an Honorary Award.

Follow the link for more images from The Bad and the Beautiful.  Pinterest Board: Classic Movie Night Recommendation

Images from: The Bad and the Beautiful Dir. Vincente Minnelli.  MGM, 1952.  DVD.

Classic Movie Night Recommendation: Meet Me in St. Louis

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

 

Meet Me in St. Louis_1

Meet Me in St. Louis_2

Family dinner in the Smith home is interrupted by a long distance phone call for Rose.

St. Louis in the summer of 1903 and the residents of the city are looking forward to the city becoming the focus of attention with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair of 1904.  The Smith family is not immune from this excitement with the film opening with different members of the family singing the title song, Meet Me in St. Louis.  The film follows the Smith family through a year in their life, many of the vignettes featuring the children of the family as they grow up and face trials of their own.  From “Tootie” (Margaret O’Brien) proving that she is no longer the baby of the family to Esther (Judy Garland) navigating falling in love for the first time with the boy next door.  In between it all, the family patriarch Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames) has accepted a new position in the bank which will relocate the family from their beloved St. Louis to New York.

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Garland and O’Brien performing together “Under the Bamboo Tree”

It’s been famously told that Vincente Minnelli when talking to Louis B. Mayer about this film described it as the year in the life of a family, and it is this family that makes the film so special.  Though an ensemble cast with Hollywood veterans such as Mary Astor, Marjorie Main, and Leon Ames, the film’s star is Judy Garland.  It’s hard to believe that the film that would become one of her biggest was the film that she did not want to make.  Garland, 21 at the time was eager to play more adult roles and break away from the juvenile characters that made her famous.  It was her collaboration with director Vincente Minnelli that would help her begin to create her image that would transition her into those adult roles.  However, despite Garland the film is almost stolen by a seven year old Margaret O’Brien.  O’Brien to this day talks fondly of her time making Meet Me in St. Louis and working with Garland.  Making this film marked a happy time in Garland’s life, and much like their characters in the film who were sisters, Garland treated O’Brien very much like a younger sister.

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“Meet Me in St. Louis” introduced audiences to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” which would become a holiday standard.

The story is based on a collection of short stories written by Sally Benson which were inspired by her own family and childhood growing up in St. Louis and later moving to New York.  After the rights were purchased by Arthur Freed  it took four different screenwriters to deliver what became the classic story that audiences loved and becoming the quintessential MGM musical from which later musicals would be based.  Though set around the basic premise of family life, the family and their events are so endearing that help this movie remains a classic for generations since its release.  The film also was the dose of the traditional American family which World War II audiences were craving.  The film also introduced audiences to songs such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which would become a holiday standard.

 

Follow the link for more images from Meet Me in St. Louis.  Pinterest Board: Classic Movie Night Recommendation

 

Images from: Meet Me in St. Louis Dir. Vincente Minnelli.  MGM, 1944.  DVD.

 

Classic Hollywood Birthdays

Zeromostel

Zero Mostel, actor (1915-1977)

Ben Hecht, screenwriter, director, producer, playwright & novelist (1894-1964)
Marcel Pagnol, novelist, playwright & filmmaker (1895-1974)
Vincente Minnelli, director (1903-1986)
Tommy Tune, actor, dancer, singer, producer & choreographer (1939- )

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