All posts under Vintage

Big Fish

While the sold-out Danny Elfman/Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box is set to celebrate one of the most successful composer/director partnerships in film history, not every project has yielded the best in either artist. One such occasion is 2003’s BIG FISH. Albert Finney stars as Edward Bloom, a teller of tall tales, whose colorful life–full of giants and werewolves, Korean Siamese twins/lounge singers, a witch with a glass eye that can see the future, and a big fish that refuses to be caught–charms everyone except his son (Billy Crudup). With Bloom on…

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Pillow Talk

I unashamedly admit it…I love Doris Day! I love her voice and her bubbly personality in films such as PILLOW TALK. It’s shocking to think that something like this was once considered sophisticated humor, but the pairing of Doris and Rock Hudson led to a string of successful sex comedies that lasted for years. Doris stars as interior decorator Jan Morrow while Hudson is Broadway songwriter Brad Allen. The two share a party phone line much to the dismay of Jan since Brad is always on the phone seducing countless women…

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Cross Creek

For as much as the Academy Awards are deservedly chastised for some of their choices, occasionally they shine a light on a film that otherwise might have fallen through the celluloid cracks. Such a film is CROSS CREEK. Based on the memoirs of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Yearling, the film details her years in the Florida backwoods in the late 1920s and her relationship with the locals who inhabit the region. Filled with thoroughly engaging characters and performances, and vivid cinematography, one of the film’s chief…

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The Prince of Tides

In the time-honored tradition of directors ruining good books (see Steven Spielberg and THE COLOR PURPLE), producer/director/star Barbra Streisand insults the audience’s collective intelligence with the 1991 soap opera dud, THE PRINCE OF TIDES. Based on Pat Conroy’s engrossing bestseller, Nick Nolte stars as an unemployed teacher and football coach who travels from South Carolina to Manhattan after his sister (Melinda Dillon) commits suicide.  In the process of exposing his family’s buried skeletons to Savannah’s psychiatrist (Streisand), Tom heals his wounds and falls in love with the good doctor in…

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I Want To Live!

In 1958, while Miles Davis was furthering the art of jazz in film scoring in France, Johnny Mandel did his part in Hollywood, composing one of the all-time great jazz scores for I WANT TO LIVE! (The exclamation point is part of the title, not me over-emoting.) The film was Mandel’s first film score, at age 32, and starred Susan Hayward (in a savage, Oscar-winning performance) in the true-life story of prostitute and self-proclaimed “good-time girl” Barbara Graham, who was accused of murdering a woman during a botched robbery attempt and sentenced…

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Elevator to the Gallows

Miles Davis was there at “the birth of the cool.” And few film scores are cooler than Miles’ score for Louis Malle’s 1958 French thriller ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS. Lovers Florence (Jeanne Moreau) and Julien (Maurice Ronet) agree to murder her husband and make it look like a suicide. When Julien gets trapped in an elevator trying to retrieve an incriminating piece of evidence, Florence searches for him through the rain-swept Paris streets in an attempt to locate him before the police. Miles broke with film music tradition for Malles’ first feature,…

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“Houston, We Have a Problem!”

My first memory of news from the outside world is the death of Judy Garland on June 22, 1969. Let me tell you, Dorothy’s death rocked my little seven-year-old world. Less than a month later, my second “real life” memory came from something even more astonishing–man landed on the moon. I don’t remember sitting around the TV with my family (we weren’t the type to do that anyway); I just remember the accomplishment. That’s also my earliest memory of being fascinated by space, something that continues to this day. I…

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The Hours

If you’ll pardon the nose metaphor, sometimes you can just smell a winner. And THE HOURS (2002) is definitely a winner. Based on Michael Cunningham’s poetic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film tells the stories of three women linked through time to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, a novel about “a woman’s entire life in a single day.” Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman is unrecognizable as Woolf, whose madness and life provide the thread of the film. Julianne Moore is heartbreaking as a 1950s housewife who would rather leave her “happy” home life than suffer through…

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“I’m Not a Crook”

During the 1995 holiday season, the last thing audiences wanted to see was a controversial biopic about the most disgraced President in U.S. history. Oliver Stone’s NIXON captures the mystery and dichotomy behind the man and the turbulent era in which he led the country. But for all its Shakespearean tragedy, NIXON would have been a better film had Stone ditched his tricks for once. All the fancy camerawork and MTV-style editing only obscure what is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating characters in American history. John Williams’ underrated score…

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Life With Father

In our current world when it’s almost unheard of for a Broadway play to run more than a season, it must have come as quite a shock when Howard Russell and Lindsay Crouse’s Life With Father opened in 1939 and ran for over seven years, making it the longest-running play in Broadway history, an honor it still holds today. (Note, I said play not production. The Phantom of the Opera is still the longest-running Broadway production with no signs of closing anytime soon. Life With Father is number 14.) Based…

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