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Serving Cinema's Tastiest Treasures

Sterling Silver Dialogue #15

Sterling Silver Dialogue From The Movies:  

Do you know where they're from? Answers coming soon.



"You wanna be worshiped? Go to India and moo."



"You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word."


"Welcome to Chicago. This town stinks like a whorehouse at low tide."



"In the world of advertising, there's no such thing as a lie. There's only expedient exaggeration."


(Referring to the drinks they've already had) "We've gotten a head start here, Mr. Thornhill."

Roger Thornhill: (Just arriving) "That won't last long."


(singing) "I've grown accustom to my bourbon."


(on the telephone) "No. No, Mother, I have not been drinking. No. No. These two men, they poured a whole bottle of bourbon into me... No, they didn't give me a chaser."


"We'll get them. We'll throw the book at them. Assault and kidnapping. Assault with a gun and a bourbon and a sports car. We'll get them."



"You're marking time is what you are. You're backing off. You're hiding out. You're waiting for a bus that you hope never comes because you don't wanna get on it anyway because you don't wanna go anywhere."



"Two people dead, just so we can live without working!"


"We go together, Annie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together."



"I didn't want a house. I didn't want all those pots and pans. I didn't want anything but you. It's God's own blessing I didn't get you."

(reply) "Why?"

(response) "Cause I'm a loner clear down deep to my guts. Know what a loner is? He's a born cripple. He's a cripple because the only person he can live with is himself. It's his life, the way he wants to live. It's all for him. A guy like that, he'd kill a woman like you. Because he couldn't love you, not the way you are loved."



"I've had hangovers before, but this time, even my hair hurts."


"If there's anything worse than a woman living alone, it's a woman saying she likes it."



"You're told that the girl you were with last night was found in Benedict Canyon, murdered. Dumped from a moving car. What's your reaction? Shock? Horror? Sympathy? No... just petulance at being questioned. A couple of feeble jokes. You puzzle me, Mr. Steele."

Dixon Steele: "Well, I grant you, the jokes could've been better, but I don't see why the rest should worry you... that is, unless you plan to arrest me on lack of emotion."


"You know, Ms. Gray, you're one up on me - you can see into my apartment but I can't see into yours."

(reply) "I promise you, I won't take advantage of it."

(response) "I would, if it were the other way around."


"I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me."




Top Ten: Cinema's Most Treasured Images Part 5 (#41 - 50)

I'll continue with some of Cinema's most treasured images bound to invoke a strong emotional response. Like the previous selections, these will be listed in ascending order with #41 as the most iconic. The narratives' indelible moments are the primary reason these captures were selected. 

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Close Encounters of the Treasured Kind #6

I am honoured to introduce noted author Preston Neal Jones making his first contribution here.

What I Did With JOAN RIVERS On My Summer Vacation

The passing of Joan Rivers inevitably calls to mind the summer of 1966, my first college-age vacation, which I filled by serving (and I do mean serving) as a production assistant, AKA "go-fer," on the Burt Lancaster movie, The Swimmer.  Based on the John Cheever short story, The Swimmer was a Sam Spiegel production, written and directed respectively by Eleanor Perry and her husband Frank, and filmed on location at the swimming pools of Cheever country in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  This was the briar patch where I was born, and when I offered my services (and the use of our family car) to the production team they hired me on the spot. The Production Manager was Joe Manduke, (later a director), and on the morning of my first assignment he sat me down in his office and gave me what is still the best piece of film-making advice I ever received.  "Preston," he said, "This is a serious business.  If we send you out for a cup of coffee, don't come back with a trombone."


Burt Lancaster and Joan Rivers in 'The Swimmer'

Burt Lancaster and Joan Rivers in 'The Swimmer'

Several hundred coffee cups later, filming was well underway, mostly intimate two-character dialogue scenes between Lancaster's middle-aging suburban stud Ned Merrill and the various neighbors he encounters on his allegorical journey homeward via various swimming pools. Came the day, however, for a real mob scene, the pool party of a wealthy married couple and their friends.  One face in the crowd was a character named "Joan," played by Joan Rivers, the young and quickly-becoming-famous comedienne (as they used to  be called in those pre-P.C. days before actresses became actors).  The Perrys had befriended Miss Rivers, (who had been an actress well before  venturing into stand-up), and had written into the script this little vignette -- a fleeting flirtation -- especially for her.  If you've seen the film, perhaps you'll agree with me that Miss Rivers acquitted herself very well in the part, making the most of her brief moment to portray a touching portrait of a cute but wistful party-goer.


When not on camera, you won't be surprised to hear, Miss Rivers reverted to her comic persona, joking and riffing with the crew.  Amid her laugh-getting, self-deprecating autobiographical reminiscences, the one bit I still remember is in retrospect not a little ironic.  She told of sitting in an airplane seat next to the legendary Marlene Dietrich.  "She never said a word to me the whole flight," said Joan, then added in a throwaway, "Probably afraid of breaking the stitches."


How often I've thought of that moment watching Miss Rivers in later years, never more so than during the recent TV obituaries with many a split screen showing, on one side, the young Joan Rivers I remember fondly, and on the other, someone wearing a mask, resembling neither Joan Rivers nor any other human being.  The voice behind the mask, however, remained identical and inimitably hers.  But this is not the moment to dwell on such things as the sadness of a clown who titled her last book, "I Hate everyone... Starting With Me."  In the wake of her sudden exit from the scene, I'd rather remember the attractive young lady on location who acted with distinction on camera, and off camera, in the words of Joni Mitchell, "played real good for free."



"Now Listen To Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings:


After still recovering from the death of Robin Williams, we’re hit with another huge and tragic loss of an essential spokesperson of our collective comedic consciousness. And what a mind she possessed! Even if one found her distastefully offensive (which she actually counted on) her acerbic wit, sharper than a filed razor and delivered with such unique finesse, had to be acknowledged. Her long and successful career in comedy took a quantum leap, late in life, with her regular appearance on The Fashion Police. Her insults were insanely brilliant. We shared in her co-stars gobsmacked reactions at first, hilarity second and finally the admiration of ingenuity she displayed in comment after comment. In addition to her comedic brilliance including some of the most creatively shocking bombshells of put down humour ever heard on the planet, her humanity always seemed to shine through. This was especially demonstrated by her own outrageously funny self-deprecation and appreciation of a good joke by others even if she was the butt of it. For me personally another part of this sudden and tragic loss was the fact that she appeared briefly but so effectively in my favourite film The Swimmer. Oh God, this is really sad.

Joan and Burt in 'The Swimmer'

Joan and Burt in 'The Swimmer'


Joan Rivers dead at age 81. (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014) R.I.P.






Brian G. Hutton (January 1, 1935 - August 19, 2014) the multi-talented actor and director has died at age 79. His best films as a director are loads of fun, especially for the young at heart who appreciate bold and daring action-adventure films with a bit of fantasy or comedy thrown in. The director's fearless and commanding spirit really shines through in this genre. I'm speaking of Where Eagles Dare and Kelly's Heroes both with actor Clint Eastwood. After he made Kelly's Heroes actor Don Rickles remarked that his director liked to "blow things up," which the comedian might have thought was a totally inside joke but for us fans, a funny but honest compliment. Hutton's last film as a director was High Road to China with Tom Selleck. As an actor Hutton appeared in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, King Creole and Last Train from Gun Hill as well as numerous TV series.  

Andrew V. McLaglen (July 28, 1920 - August 30, 2014) the confident and capable director who worked with some of Hollywood's biggest names like John Wayne (McLintock!, Hellfighters), William Holden (The Devil's Brigade), Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark (The Way West) and Jimmy Stewart (Shenandoah, The Rare Breed, Fool's Parade) has died at age 94. For me the real stand out here is Fool's Parade, an odd but compelling film that defies all genre definitions. McLaglen learned the art of directing from amongst others, John Ford, who eventually gave him a job as assistant director on The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and co-starring his father Victor McLaglen. He also directed television shows like Have Gun - Will Travel and Gunsmoke.






The following is my recommendation for those enjoying Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this September:


The Asphalt Jungle, Granddaddy of all caper films is one of America’s finest motion pictures. Its premise inspired numerous others, including Rififi from France and Big Deal on Madonna Street from Italy. Cool Breeze and The Badlanders were remakes. Every heist film is in its debt. Accomplished American director John Huston has given us his greatest and most substantial film from a resume of great films including The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The plot is fairly straightforward and concerns a jewel heist, well planned and executed. So why is this deserving of such high praise? It’s because of its unique characters and their many subtle personal details, expressed throughout in such creative and effective ways. These individual traits, so cleverly woven into the plot’s tapestry, overwhelmingly relate to the director’s favourite theme of shattered hopes and dreams. Their collective endeavour, which of course is purely selfish in nature, sets up the audience to believe they will act that way personally as well. We are therefore surprised when witnessing their various concerns for one another, their human frailties and even personal sacrifices. Their behaviour also contributes mightily to the suspense as we gradually become more concerned about each one’s tenuous fate.

The thieves’ success will depend on an unscrupulous lawyer who will act as their fence when the goods are delivered. But the lawyer has dreams of his own which motivate him to plan a double-cross.





The story builds to a shattering climax that rivals the emotional impact of the finale in Brahms’ First Symphony. In the preceding scene to this great and most satisfying conclusion, the Police Chief appears in front of reporters and speaks about the need for law enforcement, boasting of his investigative results. One is still out there, but the Commissioner proudly predicts “We’ll get the last one too. In some ways he’s the most dangerous of them all. A hardened killer. A hooligan. A man without human feeling or human mercy.” And then, in one of cinema’s most sensational and profoundly ironic story transitions we see the man he spoke of. Miklos Rozsa’s music, not heard since the opening credits, comes bursting to the fore with jabbing strings and rapidly rising runs in the woodwinds, perfectly and magnificently underscoring these final precious moments. Rozsa’s music and the actors’ emotional sincerity add beauty and pathos to a display of iconic imagery that will forever live in our memory. TCM has scheduled this important film to air on Wednesday September 17 at 3:30 am PST. The TCM schedule can be confirmed by clicking on the image below.


Television's Ray Donovan -  ('Walk This Way' Season 2, Episode 7) has now entered Breaking Bad territory: Previous episodes' deliberately paced, distinctively damaged personalities and conflicting self interests are masterfully juxtaposed and collide in maximum overdrive. The inspired writing and direction skillfully cut like a surgical team into each character, revealing subtle but incisive insights amidst a tightly controlled display of dramatic fireworks. Liev Schreiber's auspicious 'Wellesian' directorial debut for television should be rewarded with the chance to direct whatever he desires as long as the material approaches his impressively sophisticated perspective. Ann Biderman's superb script for this episode does justice to Schreiber's talent.




The Soundtrack recommendation for this month is Jerry Goldsmith's incredible score to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This was the very first movie made from the TV series:  Big, expensive looking and taking plenty of time to get where it's going. But that leisurely pace allows those of us who aren't looking for a simple good vs. evil shoot 'em up in space to soak up the incredible imagery and become increasingly engaged in the fascinating mystery at its core. Directed by the superb craftsman Robert Wise, using an idea borrowed from a previous television episode, the impressively expanded narrative looks like nothing we'd see on the small screen. The characters are of course familiar, and some of their scenes together have a highly enjoyable nostalgic factor, but their reactions to the threat at hand are compelling and sweep us up until all is revealed in a spectacular and profoundly philosophical conclusion. This epic mystery provides a wide, sprawling canvas for composer Goldsmith to do his thing and he paints it lavishly. From his opening heroic theme, to the excitingly rhythmic Klingon battle, through to the expansive spacial beauty of the Vegur flyover and Spock's walk, Goldsmith repeatedly dazzles and amazes us with his compositional prowess. This is one of the greatest scores composed for a motion picture, and one hell of an underrated motion picture at that: Thought by many to be inferior to the others in the series, but in reality the most mature and sophisticated of the lot. The soundtrack is for those who love big, bold orchestral scores and provides the perfect winning hand to any argument over whether or not movies should have them. The La La Land 3 CD soundtrack set is a limited but definitive release and is currently available from Intrada Records. It can be ordered by clicking on the image.      





The video recommendation for the month of September is the only non-Pink Panther collaboration between Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers, 1968's The Party. Most of this funny and charming movie was reportedly improvised by the star playing one of his most endearing characters, the bumbling and unaccustomed to Western ways, Hrundi V. Bakshi. Before some get in a tizzy over Sellers' satirical impersonation of an East Indian, they should know that the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was very fond of repeating the line, "In India we don't think who we are, we know who we are!", Sellers' reply to an accusatory "who do you think you are?" His various responses to the subtle predicaments presented to him are an absolute joy to watch. The movie is belied by its experimental nature, looking fresh and naturally inspired by the works of French director Jacques Tati. A supporting turn by Steve Franken (See: End Credits) as a waiter who gets totally sloshed adds to the fun. Henry Mancini did the fabulous score including the very beautiful song Nothing to Lose which, like the film's final moments, is extremely poignant. The Blu-ray from Kino-Lorber is scheduled for release on September 16 and can be ordered from Amazon by clicking on the image.   



Top Ten Fool's Gold: The Over Rated Part 3

In this series I would like to provide my readers with a more critical perspective to consider, one that hopefully will not detract from a person's appreciation for the films under review. At the same time, I'd question whether these motion pictures really deserve the high accolades bestowed upon them by the critical community in general. (For a further introduction on this subject please see: Top Ten Fool's Gold: The Over Rated Part 1.)
These notices are meant for viewers familiar with the following motion pictures.

(They will be addressed in alphabetical order.)


Casablanca (1942, U.S.A.)

Director: Michael Curtiz

Unlike the previous motion pictures on this list whose reputations were built after a cult following, Casablanca has, for a much longer time and by a vastly greater audience, been embraced as a classic. Many have considered it to be one of the finest American films of all time. Though I'm a little nervous about placing it on this list, its lofty high status makes it at the very least a worthy candidate for a closer look.

The title refers to the Moroccan city which, during the Second World War before the U.S. became involved, is mainly overseen by the German controlled Vichy Government of France. Casablanca provides a gateway for those fleeing the Nazi encroachment, but at a price: These individuals, and those who prey on them, all seem to wind up at "Rick's Café Américain". The film’s opening explains this by way of a brilliant montage sequence, directed by none other than Don 'Dirty Harry' Siegel. Then it’s on to the various inhabitants of the city (22 speaking parts with hundreds of extras), who comprise an assortment of thieves, refugees, employees of Rick's, French, German and Italian Government officials, some of which are cast by distinguished supporting actors, but all of whom unfortunately act as stereotypes. The filmmakers soon discard some of these supporting characters after we observe their desperate attempts to leave Morocco, like Peter Lorre's Ugarte killed early on, or the couple Rick helps buy their way out of the country in his gambling parlour. Others are marginalized like Sydney Greenstreet’s competing club owner who’s given so little to do that anyone could have played his part. Even Claude Rains’ Captain Renault is repeatedly identified as a corrupt opportunist, nothing more. Since these mini-dramas are played out at the cafe, the various calamities that ensue are dealt with assuredly by proprietor Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart)....that is until she walks in. 


"She" is Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman who here expresses more heartfelt emotion with her eyes than any other actress has using her whole body. Ilsa was Rick's former lover who reluctantly left him in Paris after she found out that her husband Victor Lazlo, a Czech resistance leader, was not killed by the Nazis as she had believed. Lazlo is an archetype representing one of the most virtuous and noble characters ever seen on celluloid, always ready to personally sacrifice for a cause or another, without a speck of grey within and is portrayed by a perfectly dignified Paul Henreid. 


The dramatic thrust of the story will rest almost entirely on the former romance between Rick and Ilsa in Paris before the Nazi takeover. It will substantiate Rick's constant fretting and bitterness over his once having been abandoned, and give reason for his decision on how to use the valuable “letters of transit” (given to him by Ugarte) that allow two people totally unobstructed safe passage out of the country.* This past love between them will additionally account for Ilsa’s conflicted feelings for Rick and her realization over how deeply he was hurt, versus her loyalty to her husband and his freedom fighting cause. The other principal players are, dramatically speaking, reduced to either obstructing or abetting Rick's decision, depending on whether he resumes his relationship with Ilsa or lets go of his one true love for "the greater good." In order to give the prerequisite emotional impact to his final sacrifice at the airport, the filmmakers wisely provide a flashback to the couple’s "happier times" in Paris. But are they enough to give the big finale’ the emotional gravitas it deserves? I don’t think so.    


The flashback scenes in Paris, which were not part of the unproduced stage play on which most of the film is based, were supposedly romantically enhanced by uncredited writer Casey Robinson and they look perfunctory. They are not narrated, nor do they have an engagingly clever way of being introduced like the flashbacks in Citizen Kane or Double Indemnity. Rick and Ilsa are already together. Their relationship seems rather casual and calm except for the impending Nazi invasion. Even Rick’s unfulfilled wait at the train station for Ilsa is foreshadowed and predictable.


And then there’s the famous last scene at the airport, where Rick pulls a gun, first on Captain Renault and then, before fatally shooting him, Major Strasser (played by Conrad Veidt as your typical cardboard cinematic Nazi). Rick then turns to Ilsa and makes a very poetic speech, curiously devoid of emotion and at a rapid clip making it sound rehearsed. As heroic a gesture as it is meant to be, his delivery, along with what we actually saw in Paris, sucks the life blood out of the moment surer than a starving vampire. After Ilsa and her husband leave, more iconic words are spoken by Rick to Captain Renault, although considering what we actually observed between these two, they don’t hold much weight either.


The narrative's episodic effect is probably due to the numerous writers and revisions which occurred well into its production. This is offset however, by an array of consummate performances, especially from Bergman, the dynamic Curtiz direction, patriotic fervor,** nostalgic ‘suspension of time’ moments especially those with Dooley Wilson as Sam, extraordinary photography and rousing music. Casablanca is brilliantly polished to a reflective shine, but in that reflection do we really see as much as promised? I’ll let you answer that.  



Next up, a completely different part of the cinematic map, Top Ten Fool's Gold #4: Chinatown       


*this was a totally fictitious and most useful invention by one of the play’s authors Joan Allison.

** the movie’s box office was significantly boosted by the Allied invasion of North Africa.



Casablanca can be best appreciated on on this 70th Anniversary Blu-ray and purchased here:

Casablanca (70th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman


Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Monte Blue













It is also available on DVD here:

Capturing a Golden Moment #10

In this series I'd like to present some exceptional scenes inspired by cinema's most gifted artists of yesteryear.


A Night at the Opera (1935)

Director: Sam Wood

Scene: "The Stateroom"

(Many writers contributed to this epic farce, including its two principals: George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. Even an uncredited Buster Keaton worked on developing this famous scene, however it was nearly scrapped because it wasn't getting any laughs. Once the Marx Brothers ignored the script and started ad-libbing the whole thing, it was transformed into one of the all-time comedy classics.)

A Night at the Opera is available on DVD here:

A Night at the Opera
Starring Chico Marx, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Margaret Dumont

It is also available in the box set along with 6 other Marx Brothers comedies here:

Top Ten: Cinema's Most Treasured Images Part 4 (#31 - 40)

I'll continue with some of Cinema's most treasured images bound to invoke a strong emotional response. Like the previous selections, these will be listed in ascending order with #31 as the most iconic. The narratives' indelible moments are the primary reason these captures were selected. 

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End Credits #21: Cinema's 2013 Lost Treasures Montage Part 5

Some of Cinema's 2013 Lost Treasures. The music by Stanley Myers is from the film Cold Heaven.

Top Ten: Cinema's Most Treasured Images Part 3 (#21 - 30)

I'll continue with some of Cinema's most treasured images bound to invoke a strong emotional response. Like the previous selections, these will be listed in ascending order with #21 as the most iconic. The narratives' indelible moments are the primary reason these captures were selected. 

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Top Ten: Western Treasures Part 3

Drama is conflict.

Nowhere is that better exemplified than in a less technologically advanced, austere Western setting. Practically since the dawn of Cinema itself, Westerns appeared on the scene with their comparatively short and simple narratives, befitting both the West's preceding closure and this amazing, new storytelling discovery. 

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Capturing a Golden Moment #8

In this series I'd like to present some exceptional scenes inspired by cinema's most gifted artists of yesteryear.


North by Northwest (1959)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Scene: "The Auction"

(Cary Grant cleverly gets himself out a jam in one of the master's best exercises in suspense courtesy of Ernest Lehman's ingenious, original sceenplay and the casts' perfect performances.)

North by Northwest is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon below:

North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition in Blu-ray Book Packaging)
Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau
North By Northwest
Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll

The original recording of Bernard Herrmann's fabulous score can currently be ordered by clicking on the image below. (Intrada ships worldwide).