Monthly Archives: August 2010

Hollywood Beauty Through The Years

I just thought that I would make a post of how the idea of beauty in Hollywood had changed over time and by extension how societies idea of beauty had changed. Perhaps I am only doing this because I want to look at pictures of pretty girls (who doesn’t) or because I don’t understand how people can think that Angelina Jolie is the most beautiful woman in the world when she clearly isn’t. I guess that I wanted to see how she stacks up against the beauties of the past.

1920s

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks was not very big in Hollywood and ended up in a few German films such as Pandora’s Box where she played Lulu. She is considered a style icon now, thanks to her hairstyle, but back then she wasn’t well-known and only became discovered after her career had finished.

Louise Brooks

Clara Bow

Clara Bow was the “It” girl and was the representative of the flapper age. Her career ended when the talkies arrived. Rumour has it she was quite friendly with the 1927 University of Southern California football team.

Clara Bow

Anna Mae Wong

Was the first Asian star of the cinema but was often consigned to playing the stereotypical ‘dragon lady’. Started in Hollywood when she was very young and earned the nickname ‘CCC’ or curious Chinese child. Featured in th first colour film in 1922 but was considered too Asian to even play an Asian, as producers preferred to cast white actresses in ‘yellow-face’ over Anna Mae. Has been rediscovered in recent years and is considered a gay-icon.

Anna Mae Wong

1930s

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo’s career began in the silent age but her popularity grew in the 30s. She was one of the first Swedish actresses to hit Hollywood and was at times considered to be sexually ambiguous. Was the most famous star of the late 1920s and the 1930s.

Greta Garbo

Mae West

Mae West doesn’t really look all that sexy. She was almost 40 when she arrived in Hollywood. She was also short with big boobs, but she had a sexy attitude. She was the most controversial star of her day due to her outward sexuality. Famous for her double entendres.

Mae West

Marlene Dietrich

German actress who the American Film Institute named Dietrich the ninth greatest female star of all time. She was parodied so well by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles.

Marlene Dietrich

Jean Harlow

The platinum blonde. Died at the age of 26 of kidney failure.

Jean Harlow

Josephine Baker

Was more famous in France than America but did make one ‘color’ film in the states. When Baker returned to America in the 60s she was a war hero and an icon. Famous for the banana dance and dancing nude, she was portrayed by Lynn Whitfield in the 1991 movie The Josephine Baker story.

Josephine Baker

Fay Wray

The scream queen from King Kong and lots of other 1930s thrillers.

Fay Wray

1940s

Ingrid Bergman

Another Swedish actress whois ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute. Appears in classics such as Casablanca, Notorious and Gaslight but ended up causing a scandal when she by having an affair with Roberto Rosselini, which stalled her career for many years.

Ingrid Bergman

Jane Russell

Her first movie was The Outlaw which was made by Howard Hughes. The release of that film was delayed while censors decided how best to minimize Ms. Russell’s ample cleavage.

Jane Russell

Ava Gardner

Another Hollywood starlet who had affairs with many of her leading men. Was married to Mickey Rooney and had a tumultuous affair with Frank Sinatra.

Ava Gardner

Lana Turner

Lana Turner

1950s

Brigitte Bardot

The Parisian bombshell and still regarded as a sex symbol today.

Brigitte Bardot

Sophia Loren

An Italian sex symbol who is still sexy now in her 70s.

Sophia Loren

Audrey Hepburn

An icon of class and sophistication.

Audrey Hepburn

Grace Kelly

One of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. Attracted the eye of Prince Rainier of Monaco whom she married. Died in an auto accident in 1982.

Grace Kelly

Marilyn Monroe

Another icon whose life was tragically short. Still the best known sex symbol.

Marilyn Monroe

Gina Lollobrigida

Another Italian actress with big boobs.

Gina Lollobrigida

Jayne Mansfield

One of many Marilyn clones. Life cut short in a car accident but her daughter is Mariska Hargitay of Law And Order: SVU.

Jayne Mansfield

1960s

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood

1970s

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Pam Grier

Pam Grier

1980s

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis

1990s

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts

Demi Moore

Demi Moore

Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman

2000s

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek

Halle Berry

Halle Berry

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

I also know that this post can be seen as somewhat sexist so I will be looking at the idea of masculinity in Hollywood throughout the years too, in a future post.


Back again

I thought that I had given up on this blog as I had a week off watching movies. I think that so far this year I have wached 123 movies, which is quite a lot.


The Dawn Patrol

Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by Jack Warner (executive producer)
Hal B. Wallis (executive producer)
Robert Lord (associate producer)
Written by John Monk Saunders (story)
Seton I. Miller
Dan Totheroh
Starring Errol Flynn
Basil Rathbone
David Niven
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Editing by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date December 24, 1938
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Dawn Patrol is an excellent film about the futility of war and the waste of human life that they cause. Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone are great in this but it is David Niven as Scotty who steals the film in my opinion. Scotty goes from being a happy-go-lucky pilot who thinks that war is an adventure and not really caring about anything. His persona slightly changes after he is recovered  and he briefly confronts the German who shot him down, but it is not until his own brother has enlisted and is sent up with the squadron to tackle the hated Von Richter and his men in what will be certain doomed for an inexperienced rookie that his character changes completely.

The film is not so much about war, although there are some great aerial scenes (many of which were taken from the 1930 Howard Hawks version), but about the way it changes the men who have to fight it.


The Smurfs And The Magic Flute

Directed byOriginal version:
Peyo
Jose Dutillieu
Eddie Lateste
English version:
John Rust
Produced by Original version:
Jose Dutilieu
English version:
Roger Guertin Written by Original version:
Peyo (based on his original Smurfs characters)
Yvan Delporte
English version:
John Rust

Cast

English version

  • Cam Clarke as Peewit
  • Durga McBroom
  • Patty Foley
  • Grant Gottschall
  • Mike Reynolds
  • Ted Lehman
  • Bill Capizzi
  • Ron Gans
  • X. Phifer
  • Dudly Knight
  • John Rust
  • Richard Miller
  • David Page
  • Robert Axelrod
  • Michael Sorich
  • Richard Ashley
  • Ed Devereaux
  • Harry Dickman
  • Paul Felber
  • Michael Fields
  • Kalman Glass
  • Stuart Lock
  • Anna Mackeown
  • Vernon Morris
  • Bill Owen
  • Richard Pescud
  • Yael O’Dwyer
Peyo signature

Image via Wikipedia

Music by Michel Legrand

Editing by Nebiha Ben Milad & Michèle Neny

Distributed by Atlantic Releasing (U.S. theatrical),
Vestron Video (VHS)
Release dates 1976 (Belgium)
November 25, 1983 (U.S.)
Running time 74 min.

Country Belgium
Language French

When I was 9 I loved the smurfs, I think that the love affair started because of BP, as they used to have the little figurines that you would get free when buying fuel. I must have had a hundred of those little guys. Little did I know then that the smurfs had been around since the 1950s in Belgian comic books or that the German company Schleich had been making those figurines for almost just as long. The smurfs may have been just a short-lived fad in the English-speaking world but they are huge in Europe. I must say that the smurf comic books that I have read seen to be pretty good and that it is a shame that so few have been translated into English.

My Dad must have loved us kids a lot, as when I was 9 he took us to Clayton drive in to watch The Smurfs And The Magic Flute. Unfortunately for us then, we got mixed up with the times and it wasn’t actually playing at the time that we arrived and we had to go home without seeing it, but the fact that my Dad was willing to take us to see such a horrible film is testament to his love for his children. I wouldn’t have done it. I think that today’s parents are blessed that they can take their kids to see animated movies and are also guaranteed to be entertained themselves, but in the 80s all animated films were strictly just for kids.

I guess that if I had of seen this movie when I was 9 I would have enjoyed it, as 9 year olds are happy just to see images moving up and down on a screen and enjoy anything. Then again this film is not the same as the smurfs TV show and actually predates it by a number of years. This film was made in Belgium in 1976 and was directed by the creator of the smurfs, Peyo, whilst the American smurfs TV show didn’t start until the mid-80s. This film wasn’t released into the English-speaking world until 1983. The voice cast is horrible, the actors are different from the ones who did the voices in the American series. It seems almost as if when translating it into the English language they decided to give the characters the most annoying voices possible. The animation is Ok by 1970s standards but the songs featured in the film is horrible.

I see that this has just been released onto DVD here in Australia but I suggest that parents avoid this like the plague. Even if they are at all nostalgic for the smurfs avoid this at all costs and instead look for the DVD box sets of the TV series which can also be found.

By the way I have seen the trailer for the smurfs movie that is coming out next year. It looks like soon The Smurfs And The Magic Flute won’t be the worst smurfs movie ever made.

I do recommend that you buy the Smurfs graphic novels which can be pre-purchased from Amazon.


Talladega Nights – The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Directed by Adam McKay
Produced by Adam McKay
Will Ferrell
Judd Apatow
Jimmy Miller
Written by Adam McKay & Will Ferrell
Starring Will Ferrell
John C. Reilly
Leslie Bibb
Sacha Baron Cohen
Michael Clarke Duncan
Amy Adams
Jane Lynch
Gary Cole
Music by Alex Wurman
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Editing by Brent White
Studio The Apatow Company
Relativity Media
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date August 4, 2006
Running time Theatrical cut:108 min.
Unrated cut:122 min.
Country United States
Language English

First I must say that I love motor racing but hate NASCAR. I am more of a Formula 1 fan. I find NASCAR to be too American for me to like. It doesn’t help that NASCAR only turn one way, don’t brake or change gears.

The film is OK if you like Will Farrell. It’s a typical Farrell film and has a few good chuckles but nothing too hilarious. It’s really silly but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Bill

Written by Barry Morrow & Corey Blechman
Directed by Anthony Page
Produced by Mel Stuart
Starring Mickey Rooney
Dennis Quaid
Largo Woodruff
Anna Maria Horsford
Harry Goz
Music by William Humeke, William Kraft
Cinematography Mike Fash
Approx. run time 100 minutes
Distributed by CBS Television
Country United States
Language English
Release date December 22, 1981
Bill is a movie that I watched several times when I was a kid. It is the story of Bill Sackter, a man who has an intellectual disability who lived in an institution for 46 years but is now living in the community trying to make it on his own. I think that it is kind of ironic that I watched this film so often as a kid as for the last fifteen years I have made a career working with people with intellectual disabilities.

Bill is played by Mickey Rooney, who won an Emmy Award for the role. Naturally he is not subtle with his playing of Bill but that is not so bad here. It’s hard for me to make an unbiased judgement of this movie though as I work with people with disabilities and can tell that reality is very different from the movies. I can see how the film tries to manipulate the feelings of the viewer but the story is quite compelling and Rooney’s overacting of the part helps us feel empathy for Bill. I know that there is a documentary about the real Bill Sackter that has recently been released but this is still an OK watch.


The Wrestler

Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Produced by Darren Aronofsky & Scott Franklin
Written by Robert D. Siegel
Starring Mickey Rourke
Marisa Tomei
Evan Rachel Wood
Ernest Miller
Music by Clint Mansell
Cinematography Maryse Alberti
Editing by Andrew Weisblum
Studio Wild Bunch
Saturn Films
Protozoa Pictures
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures (USA)
Optimum Releasing (UK)
Release date United States: December 17, 2008 (limited)
January 23, 2009 (wide)
Running time 109 min.
Country United States
France
Language English
I’ve been watching professional wrestling ever since the first Wrestlemania back in 1984, so I am familiar with the sport/entertainment and some of the characters in it.
Whilst the movie is pure fiction and that Mickey Rourke’s Randy “The Ram” was never a real wrestler, I could see bits and pieces of other wrestlers in his make-up. There are several older past their prime wrestlers who still compete in school gymnasiums on the indy circuit. For example Abdullah the Butcher is 68 years old and still competes with no thoughts of retiring, while if you were one of the (very few) people who attended the Australian Hulkamania tour early this year you would have seen a main event consisting of 57-year-old Hulk Hogan and 61-year-old Ric Flair.
It is also very easy to believe that even a top wrestler from 20 years ago could now be broke, as evidenced by Ric Flair who rumour has it, never invested his money wisely, lived the lifestyle that he portrayed on TV, and has several ex-wives and children to support. Similarly Hulk Hogan has just been through a messy divorce and has tried to get his daughter into the music industry and has had to pay for his sons mistakes also.
It is easy to belive that a pro-wrestler could suffer from a heart attack despite being relatively (40s) young. Eddie Guerrero was just 38 years old when he died of a heart attack.
The best thing about the film is that the Ram character is believable and that the viewer believes that he could be a real person. We empathise with everything he is going through and we want him to succeed. He is not perfect but he is likable. I suppose that this film is very similar to Rocky.

The Devil at Your Heels

Directed by Robert Fortier Produced by Bill Brind, Robert Fortier, Barrie Howells and Adam Symansky Narrated by Gordon Pinsent Starring Ken Carter Distributed by Visionsmiths, Inc. Release date 1981 Running time 1 hr 43 minutes Language English
I think like most Australians I first saw this film in the early 1990s when it was presented by the D-Generation on the ABC. I taped it and watched this film several times but I think that someone eventually recorded over it, so I hadn’t seen this for a bout fifteen years.I have been looking for this ever since and finally acquired another copy of it.
The film is about Ken Carter, a stuntman who dreams of flying a rocket powered car across the St. Lawrence Seaway from Canada to the United States. For five years he tries to make his dream into reality but unfortunately for Ken, while he may have the ambition he does not have the money, resources or talent to do this, but that does not stop him from trying, although when it actually comes time for him to make the jump he loses his nerve.
Ken is a likeable sort of guy and unlike Evel Knievel is someone you’d actually like to have a beer with. Sure, he does seem to have a very high opinion of himself despite the fact that he never achieves even a fraction of what he sets out to do, but unlike the impression I got of Knievel in the Richard Hammond documentary Ken seems like a nice, eccentric guy. The documentary could have treated Ken as a fool but it at least gives him some dignity despite the fact that he does come off as a buffoon with some of what he says. Ken makes the film funny because he doesn’t know his limitations and despite the fact that even a blind man could see that he would not make the jump, Ken just cannot see it himself. Ken and everyone around him are too inept to make this a reality.Ken wasn’t even the one who attempted the jump as he lost his nerve and the backers got Ken’s friend Kenny Powers to do it with disastrous results.
It is a funny film about an awesomely eccentric but very inept guy.

The Wrestler?

Ooops… Wrong movie. I wanted to make a post about the Mickey Rourke film but instead find myself with a picture of the 1973 movie starring Ed Asner and Verne Gagne. I haven’t seen this movie but am interested in seeing if only because it has early appearances of the Iron Shiek and Ric Flair.


The Prisoner Of Zenda

Directed by John Cromwell
W.S. Van Dyke (uncredited)
Produced by David O. Selznick
Written by Anthony Hope (novel)
Edward Rose
Wells Root
John L. Balderston (screenplay)
Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue)
Ben Hecht (uncredited)
Sidney Howard (uncredited)
Starring Ronald Colman
Madeleine Carroll
C. Aubrey Smith
Raymond Massey
Mary Astor
David Niven
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Bert Glennon
Editing by James E. Newcom
Distributed by United Artists
Release date September 2, 1937
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English

This is a really great adventure film to watch. Probably almost as good as The Adventures Of Robin Hood which came out a year or so layer, although it’s action scenes don’t really come until the climax of the film.

Ronald Coleman stars in the dual role of Rudolf Rassendyll and King Rudolf. His performance from this film was memorably parodied by Don Adams in a couple of Get Smart episodes in the 60s, and I must say that Don was very accurate with his interpretation.

I think that the real stand out performance is that by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as the villainous Duke Rupert of Hentzau. He is very charming and likable but evil at the same time. David Niven is also in this film in an early role, but he really doesn’t do very much.

All in all this is a great film which they don’t make any more.