While trying to conform with fellow students at the school, he (James Stark played by James Dean) becomes involved in a dispute with a local bully named Buzz Gunderson. While he tries to deal with Buzz (Corey Allen), he becomes friends with a 15-year-old boy, John, nick-named Plato (Sal Mineo), who was also at the police station the night of the opening scene for shooting puppies. Plato idolizes Jim, his real father having abandoned his family. Plato experiences many of the same problems as Jim, such as searching for meaning in life and dealing with parents who "don't understand."
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Los Angeles housewife and mother Mabel Longhetti (Gena Rowlands) loves her construction worker husband Nick (Peter Falk) and desperately wants to please him, but the strange mannerisms and increasingly odd behavior she displays while in the company of others has him concerned. Convinced she has become a threat to herself and others, he reluctantly commits her to an institution, where she undergoes treatment for six months. Left alone with his three children, Nick proves to be neither wiser nor better than his wife in the way he relates to and interacts with them or accepts the role society expects him to play.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wilder also made use of authentic locales. Joe Gillis's home in the Alto-Nido apartments was a real apartment block located in central Hollywood and often populated by struggling writers. The scenes of Gillis and Betty Schaefer on Paramount's backlot were filmed on the actual backlot and the interior of Schwab's Drug Store was carefully recreated for several scenes. The exterior scenes of the Desmond house were filmed in the vicinity of an old home on Wilshire Blvd. built during the 1920s, which by 1949 was owned by the former wife of J. Paul Getty. The (Getty Mansion on Irving) house was also featured in Rebel Without a Cause. It has since been demolished and an office building (parking lot) stands in its location.
-- wiki Back in the mid-1980s, I was trying to work as a Personal Manager/Agent and I took to representing comedians. I spent a lot of time at the clubs and met endless amounts of upcoming celebrities-in-training. For a brief period, I represented a female comedian who lived in the Alto-Nido Apartments. I thought she was pretty terrific and I'm surprised she hasn't become a household name. One night, she drove us to a stand up gig in the west valley somewhere I've long forgotten. Back in Hollywood, I left my car parked down the hill on Franklin, just north of the Alto-Nido Apartment building. When we returned to Hollywood after her performance, I returned to my car and found my front passenger window had exploded into 1000s of little pieces and my car stereo had been stolen. This was the second time my car had been broken into. The first time the car was parked near Gold's Gym in Venice and instead of breaking my window, the heartless thief thought it was better to cut open my sun roof to get to my car stereo. I guess if they weren't stupid, they wouldn't be criminals.
Back in the mid-1980s, I was trying to work as a Personal Manager/Agent and I took to representing comedians. I spent a lot of time at the clubs and met endless amounts of upcoming celebrities-in-training. For a brief period, I represented a female comedian who lived in the Alto-Nido Apartments. I thought she was pretty terrific and I'm surprised she hasn't become a household name. One night, she drove us to a stand up gig in the west valley somewhere I've long forgotten. Back in Hollywood, I left my car parked down the hill on Franklin, just north of the Alto-Nido Apartment building. When we returned to Hollywood after her performance, I returned to my car and found my front passenger window had exploded into 1000s of little pieces and my car stereo had been stolen. This was the second time my car had been broken into. The first time the car was parked near Gold's Gym in Venice and instead of breaking my window, the heartless thief thought it was better to cut open my sun roof to get to my car stereo. I guess if they weren't stupid, they wouldn't be criminals.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Maybe it was the summer of 1968 or the summer of 69, but we were on vacation with our extended family to attend the Del Mar Horse Racing meet. My dear Aunt Ruth's seventh (?) husband, was a horse trainer and invited us down for the summer. We rented a house in Solano Beach. I remember eating an incredible chicken dinner at a victorian restaurant (the Twin Inns?) that actually had chickens running freely around the property. Anyway, THE PLANET OF THE APES (1968) was playing at the local cinema. My parents took me to see the movie. I hadn't yet seen Kubrick's 2001, so this served as my introduction to science fiction in the new cinema.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The film offers a cynical look at Hollywood during the late 1930s and tells the tales of several of the residents of the dilapidated San Bernardino Arms: Faye Greener, a trashy aspiring actress with limited talent, and her father Harry, a former vaudevillian working as a door-to-door salesman; sexually repressed accountant Homer Simpson, who desperately loves and is fanatically devoted to Faye; and East Coast WASP Tod Hackett, an aspiring artist employed by the production department of a major studio, who also fancies Faye. It is filled with unusual and often bizarrely disturbing images: a middle-aged man sits in an untended garden staring at a large lizard that stares back at him; a young woman is transported into the film she's watching and finds herself portraying a harem girl in old Baghdad; a dwarf strokes a rooster, bleeding and dazed from a cock-fight, then tosses it back into the ring to its death; an androgynous child standing on the sidewalk beckons to a man through a window and performs a grotesque imitation of Mae West once his attention has been caught. These brief vignettes do little to advance the basic plot, but they serve to comment on the sleaziness of Hollywood and its varied inhabitants. Spectacle fills the screen - a set of the Waterloo battlefield collapses on the extras during the making of the film within the film, and in the film's climax, a world premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater evolves into a horrific riot culminating in gruesome tragedy.
In the John Schlesinger, Jerome Hellman, Waldo Salt adaptation of the Nathanael West novel THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1975), veteran vaudevillian Harry Grenner dances his way up the high staircases of the estates found in Hollywood's WHITLEY HEIGHTS neighborhood to sell his patent medicine. He has no buyers. It is hot in Hollywood. Harry has a bad heart. Burgess Meredith was awesome. The novel and the film define the 1930s Hollywood experience. Not so different from today.
January 1982, I wound up hiking through the John Muir Woods north of San Francisco with a Columbia University Screenwriting student who had less hair than Jack Webb. She was doing the punk thing. She was not only brilliant; she was beautiful. A few months earlier in the fall, we had met during a screening at Melnitz (UCLA Film School) via the introduction from a New Yorker mutual friend of ours. She was renting the lower floor of a house in Whitley Heights. We went to a few museums and a few movies together. She was due back in NYC for start of the spring semester, but we took a brief trip together to San Francisco. After the hike through the John Muir Woods and a few days eating Chinese food and visiting museums, I remember saying goodbye at the airport. I never saw her again. Her Whitley Heights apartment had a fireplace and an incredible view of the city. But the moment I remember most is the mornings. I'm walking out to my car. It's parked slightly downhill, wheels turned to the curve, waiting for me. The sun blares from over my left shoulder as I face westward to put my key into my car door lock. The reflection of light from the Methodist Church on Highland is as blinding as the sun itself. It's a cool morning. There's a nice breeze. I feel refreshed and happy. I take in the moment, then drive down the hill to Sunset and across the westside to UCLA. I'm an adult. I'm a graduate student. And, life is good.
Friday, September 25, 2009
A Los Angeles private investigator named J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired to spy on Hollis Mulwray, the chief engineer for the city's water department. The woman hiring Gittes (Diane Ladd) claims to be Mulwray's wife Evelyn, suspecting him of adultery. But Mulwray spends most of his time investigating dry riverbeds and drainage outlets. He also has a heated argument in public with an elderly man. Gittes finally catches Mulwray during an outing with a young blonde and photographs the pair, which becomes a scandal in the press. After the story is published, Gittes is confronted by the real Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway). She threatens to sue. Jake's been duped by the phony. He needs to find out who did this and why.
Private Detective Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson, arrives at this apartment building, a classic Hollywood Bungalow style apartment building, searching for the truth, and finds the dead body of Ida Sessions, played by Diane Ladd, and the LAPD's Homicide Squad led by Lt. Escobar, played by Perry Lopez. Ida is dead and Jake's phone number is scralled on her kitchen wall. What's a private detective to do?
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Edward Davis Wood, Jr., better known as Ed Wood (10 October 1924 – 10 December 1978) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and editor, who often performed many of these functions simultaneously. In the 1950s, Wood made a run of cheap and poorly produced genre films, now humorously celebrated for their technical errors, unsophisticated special effects, large amounts of ill-fitting stock footage, idiosyncratic dialogue, eccentric casts and outlandish plot elements, although his flair for showmanship gave his projects at least a modicum of critical success.
Wood's popularity waned soon after his biggest 'name' star, Béla Lugosi, died. He was able to salvage a saleable feature from Lugosi's last moments on film, but his career declined thereafter. Toward the end of his life, Wood made pornographic movies and wrote pulp crime, horror, and sex novels. His posthumous fame began two years after his death, when he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. The lack of conventional filmmaking ability in his work has earned Wood and his films a considerable cult following.
Following the publication of Rudolph Grey's biography Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1992), Wood's life and work have undergone a public rehabilitation of sorts, with new light shed on his evident zeal and honest love of movies and movie production. Tim Burton's biopic of the director's life, Ed Wood, earned two Academy Awards.
One day, Ed meets his longtime idol Béla Lugosi, after spotting him trying out a coffin. Ed drives Béla home and the two become friends. Later, Ed decides to star Béla in the film and convinces Weiss that he is perfect to direct I Changed My Sex! because he is a transvestite.
In the film ED WOOD (1994), Ed, played by Johnny Depp, leaves Boardners and stops to look into one of the shops next door and spies his idol Bela Lugosi trying out a coffin. They walk outside and down the street together and become fast friends.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I recently met a Southern born gentleman and screenwriter who told me how important the film FORREST GUMP (1994) is to the Southern born. Coming from a New England family, I found this intriguing. I love the film myself. I consider Tom Hanks to be the Jimmy Stewart of this generation in his ability to represent the decent and earnest American man in each of his roles. (Perhaps, even the cross-dressing TV stuff.) I purposely watched the film again. The knowledge of the film's regional impact drove me to view it from an additional perspective than just mine. As a reward, I developed a deeper appreciation than before. Now, FORREST GUMP (1994) is on my list of movies I watch repeatedly. That list is short.
Forrest runs across the country. When he reaches Santa Monica, he turns around and continues running.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Dude is enjoying a relaxing bath when he receives a message that his car has been found. Mid-message, three German nihilists invade the Dude's apartment, identifying themselves as the kidnappers. They interrogate and threaten him for the ransom money. The Dude returns to Maude's studio, where she identifies the German nihilists as Bunny's friends (including her pornographic co-star Uli Kunkel AKA "Karl Hungus")... Meanwhile, it is now clear that the kidnapping was itself a ruse: While Bunny took an unannounced trip, the nihilists (her friends) alleged a kidnapping in order to get money from her husband. The Dude and Walter arrive at the Big Lebowski residence, finding Bunny back at home, having returned from her trip. They confront the Big Lebowski with their version of the events, which he counters but does not deny. The affair apparently over, the Dude and his bowling teammates are once again confronted by the nihilists, who have set the Dude's car on fire. They are still demanding the million dollars. After telling the nihilists they know that they never kidnapped Bunny and that the Big Lebowski never gave him any money, the nihilists demand all the money in their pockets. Walter viciously fights them off, going so far as to bite off one nihilist's ear. However, their third teammate, Donny, suffers a fatal heart attack.
The nihilists are seen in a diner ordering pancakes. Peter Stormare, who plays the lead nihilist also appears in another Coen brothers movie (Fargo (1996)) where his character of Gaear Grimsrud loves pancakes (noted by the line to Steve Buscemi's character, "Where is the pancakes house?" during the drive from Fargo to Brainerd).Dinah's Family Restaurant
6521 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Westchester, Los Angeles, California
PERSONAL NOTE: I've sent dozens of hungry friends to eat at Dinah's. Great eats. Talk about COMFORT FOOD. Classic "tough broad" service.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Greystone Mansion: A Dec. 27, 2007 article in the Home section about the use of Greystone Mansion as a shooting location for "There Will Be Blood" said filmmakers chose the site based on scouting photos and prior knowledge that the basement contained a bowling alley. In fact, filmmakers visited the site, at which point they discovered the bowling alley. -- L.A. Times
The Doheny Mansion of Murder and Suicide
On February 16, 1929, four months after Ned Doheny, his wife Lucy and their five children moved into Greystone, Ned died in his bedroom in a murder-suicide with his secretary, Hugh Plunket. The official story indicated Plunket murdered Ned either because of a "nervous disorder" or inflamed with anger over not receiving a raise. Others point out that Ned's gun was the murder weapon and that Ned was not buried in a Catholic cemetery with the rest of his family, indicating that he had committed suicide. Both men were involved in the trial of Ned's father (Edward L. Doheny) in the Teapot Dome scandal.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Sergeant Jack Vincennes (Spacey) is a slick and likable Hollywood cop who works as the technical advisor of Badge of Honor, a popular Dragnet-type TV show. Vincennes is also connected with Sid Hudgeons of Hush-Hush magazine. Vincennes receives kickbacks for making celebrity arrests, often orchestrated, involving narcotics, that will attract even more readers to the magazine—and more fame and profit to him.-- wiki
In L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997), Kevin Spacey's Sergeant Jack Vincennes experiences a subtle change-of-heart while staring into his drink at the Frolic Room on Hollywood Boulevard, just east of Vine.
Los Angeles housewife and mother Mabel Longhetti loves her construction worker husband Nick and desperately wants to please him, but the strange mannerisms and increasingly odd behavior she displays while in the company of others has him concerned. Convinced she has become a threat to herself and others, he reluctantly commits her to an institution, where she undergoes treatment for six months. Left alone with his three children, Nick proves to be neither wiser nor better than his wife in the way he relates to and interacts with them or accepts the role society expects him to play.
In John Cassavetes' A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (1974), Mabel Longhetti, played by Gena Rowlands, has been abandoned by her hard-working and frequently absent husband Nick (Peter Falk). She's so lonely that she finds solace going to the FROLIC ROOM on Hollywood Boulevard to allow herself to be picked up by a stranger. She takes him home and confuses him with Nick.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
George Roy Hill's THE STING (1973) is set in Chicago. The Robert Redford character Johnny Hooker runs from the mob to hide out with fellow con artist Henry Gondorff, played by Paul Newman, who lives in a bordello located in a building with a Merry-Go-Round Carousel. The Santa Monica pier's carousel building served at the location.When Robert Redford's Johnny Hooker arrives, he bounds up the stairs on the side of the carousel building. The interior's vintage Merry-Go-Round is also used in the picture.This location, in fact all of the Santa Monica Pier, was used as a location for an episode of THE FUGITIVE titled "BRASS RING" (1963). The carousel building was also the setting for Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE (1961) starring Dennis Hopper.
Friday, September 18, 2009
In DIE HARD (1988), Bruce Willis' character Officer John McClane finds himself in the Nakatomi Plaza, an office building taken over by faux-terrorist thieves. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation used their own Fox Plaza building for the movie location.