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Archive for October 5th, 2008

by Allan Fish

When a TWA Flight crashed into Table Rock Mountain in Nevada on 16th January 1942 Hollywood lost an irreplaceable star and it sent their self-proclaimed king, Clark Gable, into mourning.  He threw himself into fighting in World War II, with the attitude of a guy who didn’t seem to care if he came back alive to reclaim his career and throne in the palace of public affection, such was his loss.  Lombard was unique, a figure both before her time and very much of it, and the very epitome of the screwball princess who could switch from deadly serious to absolute wacky in the time it takes to click one’s fingers.  

She had worked with Gable before they married, in comedy No Man of Her Own, for which Gable was loaned out to Paramount like a naughty boy by MGM.  The film was only really remembered for the very fact it was their only film together – and for Carole’s appearances in her scanty pre-Code underwear – but around the same time as Gable was loaned out again by MGM – this time to Colombia for It Happened One Night – at the same studio Lombard was given her first green light to insanity, the role of actress Lily Garland in the genre defining screwball comedy Twentieth Century.  A quintessential Hawks heroine, she also gave John Barrymore, in his richest lead performance, a run for his money, with Barrymore having nothing but praise for his 25 year old co-star.  Pre-code musical comedies with George Raft followed, another star who warmed to her sincerity.  She was known for her somewhat less than lady-like vocabulary, “swearing like a trucker” as several friends warmly remembered, while Raft himself told a tale of how he’d once knocked on her dressing room door, been invited in to find her stark naked touching up her holiest of holies with milk and nonchalantly telling him to sit down, that she was just “making sure the cuffs and collar matched.”    (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USA 1984 228m) DVD1/2

An appointment at Fat Moe’s

p  Arnon Milchan  d  Sergio Leone  w  Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero de Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini, Stuart Kaminsky, Sergio Leone  novel  “The Hoods” by David Aaronson, Harry Grey  ph  Tonino delli Colli  ed  Nino Baragli  m  Ennio Morricone (with Giaocchino Rossini, Cole Porter, Joseph M.Lacalle, Lennon & McCartney)  art  Carlo Simi, James Singelis  cos  Gabriella Pescucci, Nino Baragli

Robert DeNiro (David “Noodles” Aaronson), James Woods (Max), Elizabeth McGovern (Deborah), Treat Williams (Jimmy O’Donnell), William Forsythe (Cockeye), Tuesday Weld (Carol), Burt Young (Joe), Danny Aiello (Police Chief Aiello), Joe Pesci (Frankie), Jennifer Connelly (Young Deborah), Larry Rapp (Fat Moe Markowitz), James Russo,

Once Upon a Time in America is Sergio Leone’s defining statement as a filmmaker, one that it effectively took him twelve years to conceive and make.  It wasn’t helped by the fact that Leone’s masterpiece was butchered in the US to 149m with the sort of careless glee not seen since Jack the Ripper roamed Whitechapel and, like so many other masterpieces of the eighties (see Kurosawa’s Ran and Bergman’s full Fanny and Alexander), it was made by a man a generation after his peak, but for me it’s the greatest film of its decade. 

            Noodles Aaronson has been summoned back to New York 35 years after all his friends were supposedly killed after a robbery went wrong.  He knows not why he’s been summoned or, apart from a name, who by, but he starts to piece together the pieces while looking back at his childhood before World War I in New York’s Jewish quarter. (more…)

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