This orchestra is incredible. I did a review of a different concert they did in October of 2013, (See: Treasured Appearances #3) The gorgeously romantic piece performed below is from That Hamilton Woman composed by Miklos Rozsa.
Sterling Silver Dialogue From The Movies:
Do you know where they're from? Answers coming soon.
"How tall are you, Yolanda?"
(reply) "With heels or without?"
(response) "With anyone. Me, for instance."
“Young lady! Are you trying to show contempt for this court?”
(response) “No. I’m doin’ my best to hide it.”
(about to gamble at cards) "Is this a game of chance?"
(response) "Not the way I play it, no."
“I didn’t make disparaging remarks about your steak. I merely said that I hadn’t seen that old horse you use to keep outside around here lately.”
“You know I’ve been mad about you from the first time I laid eyes on you. Why, you’re my whole world! What do you want to do, drive me to the mad house?!”
(response) “No. I’ll call you a taxi.”
(announcing to several men at a bar) “It’s better to be looked over than overlooked”
“Great town St. Louis. You were born there?”
(response) “What part?”
(reply) “Why, all of me.”
"Ruby, I must have you... your golden hair, your fascinating eyes, your alluring smile, and lovely arms..."
(response) "Wait a minute. Is this a proposal, or are ya takin' inventory?"
“Are you in town for good?”
(reply) “I expect to be in town but not for good.”
"What if she's right - he didn't do it, and they give him the chair?"
(response) "Suppose they do? What difference does it make? There's too many people in the world anyway."
(reply) "What's the use of talking to you? You think everything's a joke."
(response) "My son, it is. If it weren't, life wouldn't be worth living."
(a substitute teacher announcing to his students) "It's gonna be a really tough project. You're gonna have to use your head, your brain, and your mind, too."
(to his “fellow” teachers during a meeting) “Those that cannot do, teach. Those that cannot teach, teach gym.”
(to his students) "Ok, here's the deal. I have a hangover. Who knows what that means?"
Frankie: "Doesn't that mean you're drunk?"
(teacher's response) "No. It means I was drunk yes-ter-day."
"What’s your nationality?"
(reply) "I’m a drunkard."
"Don't talk to me about self-respect. Self-respect is something you tell yourself you've got when you've got nothing else."
"Well, don't you even say 'Good night'?"
(response) "It's good-bye, and it's tough to say good-bye."
(reply) "Why is it? You've never seen me before tonight."
(response) "Every guy's seen you before somewhere. The trick is to find you."
"You see, if you make believe hard enough that something is true, then it is true for you."
Sterling Silver Dialogue #16: (Answers)Read More
Slavoljub "Slavko" Vorkapić (March 17, 1894 – October 20, 1976)
Slavko Vorkapich arrived in Hollywood in 1921. He was an actor, painter, film artist, editor and director, but most importantly to movie lovers and students who knew him, a Film Educator.Read More
I asked guest blogger Bob DiMucci if he would be so kind as to provide another of his informative and entertaining tributes to Lizabeth Scott and her cinematic accomplishments and he's come through like a champ. My sincerest thanks. (A.G.)
Born Emma Matzo in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Scott attended the Alvienne School of the Theatre. There she studied for 18 months, where she resisted attempts by the teachers to pitch her voice higher. During this time, Scott read Maxwell Anderson's "Mary of Scotland," a play about Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, from which she derived the stage name "Elizabeth Scott." She would later drop the "E" from Elizabeth.
Scott appeared in road companies of several productions before, in 1942, landing the position of understudy for Tallulah Bankhead in Thornton Wilder's then new play, "The Skin of Our Teeth." A rivalry developed between Bankhead and Scott, and Scott left the production when Miriam Hopkins was signed to replace Bankhead.
The Films of Lizabeth ScottRead More
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
To all of you lovers out there, my sincerest wishes for a most romantic and memorable Valentine's Day, Saturday February 14. (Perhaps the least this can do is serve as a reminder of a special day some may have otherwise forgotten about).
There are 3 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month:
The first is a film a few of you may have heard about: 1944's Academy Award Best Picture Winner Casablanca. This choice may come as a surprise to readers more familiar with my past articles since it is included on a list of "over rated" films, reviewed here. There is no denying the fact that this film casts a magical spell and is certainly capable of sweeping one up in its appealing blend of romance, sacrifice and political intrigue. Besides, for those who haven't seen it, or seen it enough, how are they to know if I'm right about my criticisms? This 1942 "classic", one of Hollywood's proudest, and a most appropriate choice for this month, airs Sunday February 8 at 7pm PST.
The next is a little gem of a film noir: 1950's Mystery Street directed by the very capable John (The Magnificent Seven) Sturges. For fans of forensic science or perhaps the various CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series, this early look into a similar type of crime analysis is a most fascinating must see. Lieutenant Peter Morales (an unassuming Ricardo Montalban) and Harvard Medical professor Dr. McAdoo (a stoic Bruce Bennett) have only the victim's months old bones left to uncover the perpetrator of a cold-blooded murder. Their combined detective work is ingenious and enthralling, care of Leonard Spigelgass' Academy Award Nominated Story and expert adaptation by Sydney Boehm and Richard Brooks. The exceptionally well crafted narrative is further enhanced by a wicked femme fatale (Jan Sterling, customarily dripping with cynicism) who gets more than her just desserts, a wrong-man (a suitably gullible Marshall Thompson) accused of murder, and Elsa Lanchester as a despicably brazen, blackmailing landlord. Mystery Street has the prerequisite dark and sinister noirish look care of master photographer John Alton, and loads of Hitchcockian suspense at its exciting conclusion. It airs Tuesday February 10 at 9:30am PST.
My final must-see TCM film recommendation is Italian director Vittorio De Sica's neo-realist masterpiece The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette), one of the most emotionally devastating films of all time (See: Top Ten World Cinema Treasures). No amount of superlatives can possibly describe the spiritual rewards one gleans from witnessing this simple but profound odyssey taken by a father and his dutifully loving son while desperately searching for a stolen bicycle. It airs on Wednesday February 11 at 9:15pm PST.
TCM's current schedule can be confirmed by clicking on any of the above images.
The soundtrack recommendation for this month is the glorious 2 CD soundtrack to Cleopatra, music composed by Alex North, which is reviewed in context to the film here. It is currently available directly from the manufacturer Varese Sarabande by clicking on the image.
I want to shout out a Happy Birthday to legendary cinematographer Douglas Slocombe who turns 102 on February 10! Check it out:
Another Happy Birthday greeting to Composer Gerald Fried who turns 87 February 13th. He composed the music for the first five films of his high school buddy Stanley Kubrick including one of my personal favourites, last month's video recommendation The Killing: A bold audacious score, that right from the (horse's) gate pushes its way into the driver's seat and never gives way. Oh and a note to all "Trekkies", Mr. Fried composed the distinctive music for the original TV Star Trek episodes: Shore Leave, Amok Time, Catspaw, Friday's Child, and The Paradise Syndrome.
This video recommendation is an all together different type of celebratory greeting most appropriate for the month: Roger Corman's little love letter from a Tommy gun: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre. This little "B" feature homage to the rip roaring gangster films of yesteryear features an "A" list cast, including Jason Robards (as Al Capone), George Segal (as Peter Gusenberg) and Ralph Meeker (as George Clarence 'Bugs' Moran) who all double chew up everything and everyone in sight. The entire talented cast is, however, upstaged by our unseen newsreel type commentator, the instantly recognizable voice of Paul ("On the last day of his life...") Frees. You gotta love it! This stylish little showdown between these notorious but colorful gangster bigwigs is making its Blu-ray debut February 10 on the Twilight Time label and is region free. It can be ordered from Screen Archives by clicking on the image below.
As an added treat I've included the above film's sensational trailer:
Ever since silent pictures were shown with live organ accompaniment, music has been a most important asset in enhancing the dramatic development of a cinematic story.Read More
The three wonderfully distinctive personalities I encountered and will mention in this series were all outspoken, eccentric to be sure, but full of passion for the unusual things in life. They all shared a sharp and wicked sense of humour and a youthful exuberance that probably presented itself to most who crossed their paths. I'm fairly certain of this because I had friends who encountered them as well. I feel extremely fortunate to have met all three. Sadly they have all passed on.
For many years when living in Los Angeles, I regularly frequented a "macrobiotic"/Japanese restaurant called Inaka (which means "country style"). I began my relationship with this small but popular restaurant as a customer, motivated by becoming healthier through a diet consisting primarily of cooked grains and vegetables (with some beans and seafood also permitted). Years later I began marketing a naturally sweet rice drink I invented called Amashake, and exclusively for Inaka, a pudding made from that drink that used seaweed as a thickener and maple syrup as a sweetener.
It was during this later period that I really took notice of comedian, actor and entertainer Andy Kaufman, also a frequent diner. As a customer myself, I had seen him in the restaurant many times before, and knew he was a regular performer on a popular TV series called Taxi, but since I had never watched the show or seen his comedic performances, took little notice. When he became enamoured with my Amashake chocolate pudding I came to know him fairly well. If my memory serves correct, he'd be at the restaurant every one of those nights when I delivered the product, anxiously awaiting its arrival, having eaten half a dozen or so, perhaps even more, of the last delivery.
He was a strange one, always standing straight, looking a bit like he was in a trance. His typically shy, innocent demeanor (perfectly captured by Jim Carey in the excellent film Man on the Moon) also implied he knew something you didn't but, like a kid with a secret or a more subdued Harpo Marx, he wasn't gonna talk about it.
His questions to the staff working at Inaka about the chocolate pudding availability became so frequent, I had the temerity to put on the wall menu one night "Andy Kaufman's chocolate pudding" without asking his permission. On the next night, just after he arrived, Andy asked (of course) about the dessert, and then looked at the wall menu. Afraid that he'd find my gesture offensive, I tentatively said "I hope that's all right" and he immediately replied "No, I'm flattered."
We became friends. He would talk about his favourite movie, A Miracle in Milan, relationships, people he met and even play little jokes on the staff at the restaurant, several of whom he became quite close to. His was a warm, beautiful spirit. It almost seemed like he was personally drawn to those who were perhaps a little down on themselves and needed a lift. He provided that.
One night he was talking to the owner of Inaka and dropped, for us, a bombshell by saying he'd have a steak, chocolate cake at a well known L.A. hotspot and then come into Inaka to "balance it out." I remember Jay (the owner) and I in unison shouting "NO ANDY! It doesn't work that way!"
Even later, when he contracted what was diagnosed as cancer, he visited the restaurant, once in a wheelchair. The chemo and the disease it was designed to fight had taken its toll. Andy sadly lost that fight. I miss him.
I have included here Andy's first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (03/03/1977) so that one can get an idea of his offbeat sense of humour and amazing talent.
Of all the Elvis Presley impersonations, his was Elvis' personal favourite.
Sterling Silver Dialogue From The Movies:
Do you know where they're from? Answers coming soon.
"You've got a nasty reputation Mr. Gitts. I like that."
Jake Gittes: “How much are you worth?”
Noah Cross: “I have no idea. How much do you want?”
Jake Gittes: “I just wanna know what you’re worth. More than 10 million?”
Noah Cross: “Oh my, yes!”
Jake Gittes: “Why are you doing it?” How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can’t already afford?”
Noah Cross: “The future, Mr. Gitts! The future!”
"My purpose is madness....the only way you know what really happens in war. By lying you can open the door a little crack on the truth."
"Sure I know I've got lots of faults, but being in love with you isn't one of them, is it?"
"I am not putting the knock on dolls. It's just that they are something to have around only when they come in handy... like cough drops."
"You like money. You got a great big dollar sign there where most women have a heart."
"You have my sympathies, then. You have not yet learned that in this life you have to be like everyone else - the perfect mediocrity; no better, no worse. Individuality's a monster and it must be strangled in its cradle to make our friends feel confident. You know, I've often thought that the gangster and the artist are the same in the eyes of the masses. They are admired and hero-worshiped, but there is always present underlying wish to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory."
Fisher: "Sounds pretty mysterious. What's it all about?"
(response) "There are some things, my dear Fisher, which bear not much looking into. You have undoubtedly heard of the Siberian goat herder who tried to discover the true nature of the sun; he stared up at the heavenly body until it made him blind. There are many things of this sort, including love, and death, and... maybe we'll discuss this later today. Please remember to make that call if I'm not back at 6:30."
(as she’s dying) "It isn't fair. I never had anybody but you. Not a real husband. Not even a man. Just a bad joke without a punch line."
"What she meant we'll never know. It's what she said that counts."
"The fact is, Morgan is an uncivilized brute. Sometimes he drinks heavily. A night like this will set him going. Once he's drunk he's rather dangerous."
(recurring line) “Have a potato.”
"They were all godless here. They used to bring their women here - brazen, lolling creatures in silks and satins. They filled the house with laughter and sin, laughter and sin. And if I ever went down among them, my own father and brothers - they would tell me to go away and pray. They wouldn't tell Rachael to go away and pray. (she laughs) And I prayed - and left them with their lustful red and white women."
(feels the fabric of a guest’s low-cut gown) "That's fine stuff, but it'll rot."
(touches her skin above the neckline) "That's finer stuff still, but it'll rot too... in time!"
(recurring line) “No beds!”
"What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?"
(reply) "My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters."
(response) "The waters? What waters? We're in the desert."
(reply) "I was misinformed."
"Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"You know, I have the strangest feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful hatred."
Sterling Silver Dialogue #15: (Answers)Read More
Hidden Gem #70: Invasion of the Body Snatchers - The Director's Cut (1956, U.S.A.)
Director: Don Siegel
This very special cut of the film is without the studio imposed prologue and epilogue, but more importantly loses the useless irritating narration, so the previously "recollected" events are now much more suspenseful and horrifying especially in the profound way they affect the characters psychologically and emotionally in the present, elevating this film to masterpiece status.
Hidden Gem #69: The Invitation a.k.a. L'invitation (1973, Switzerland/France)
Director: Claude Goretta
An insurance company man inherits a small fortune and throws a big party at his new lavish home in the country for his work colleagues, revealing insights into their true morals and vulnerabilities, as the liberally dispensed alcohol goes to work on inhibitions in this brilliant homage to the other masterful observers of human foibles and frailties - directors' Bergman (Smiles of a Summer Night) and Renoir (The Rules of the Game).
Hidden Gem #68: Split Image (1982, Canada/U.S.A.)
Director: Ted Kotcheff
The sensational subject of a cult group's mind control of a young man is explored with precision by director Kotcheff who elicits strong performances from his ideal cast including James Woods as a confidently aggressive de-programmer, Brian Dennehy as the emotionally distraught father and a chillingly subdued Peter Fonda as the cult's leader.
Hidden Gem #67: Classe Tous Risques a.k.a. The Big Risk (1960, France)
Director: Claude Sautet
One of the two gangsters on the run (Lino Ventura) has his family in tow but that doesn't stop him or anyone else from committing ruthless, violent acts in this ultra-realistic criminal underworld of loyalty, sacrifice and betrayal; its gritty and explosive narrative twists and turns are courtesy of ex-con Jose Giovanni's sourced novel, and co-adaptation of the script.
Hidden Gem #66: Monkey On My Back (1957, U.S.A.)
Director: Andre De Toth
Compared to all of the films about famous boxers (Somebody Up There Likes Me, Raging Bull) or drug addiction (A Hatful of Rain, The Man with the Golden Arm) this true story of Barney Ross with its magnificent performance by Cameron Mitchell and underrated director at the helm is practically unheard of, but more engaging than any of the films in either category.
Hidden Gem #65: Scandal Sheet (1952, U.S.A.)
Director: Phil Karlson
Its plot is similar to The Big Clock and The Man Who Cheated Himself but this little potboiler has the added dynamite of Broderick Crawford in the lead, creatively trying to hide his murderous guilt from protege John Derek in this lean and mean noir adapted from a novel by director Samuel Fuller.
Hidden Gem #64: Never Take Candy (a.k.a. Sweets) from a Stranger (1960, U.K.)
Director: Cyril Frankel
This courageous, insightful, intelligently forthright story, which concerns a couple of young girls who fall victim to a pedophile, and the subsequent attempts to cover for the accused (since he's the town's rich, elderly benefactor), was shunned upon its release and has been unjustly neglected since.
Hidden Gem #63: Blonde Crazy (1931, U.S.)
Director: Roy Del Ruth
This little pre-code gem might as well have been titled "Slap Crazy" the way Joan Blondell dishes them out to James Cagney as a couple of cons who sizzle like bacon on the barbie.
Hidden Gem #62: Rebellion a.k.a. Samurai Rebellion a.k.a. Jôi-uchi: Hairyô tsuma shimatsu (1967, Japan)
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
This incredibly moving story pitting deeply felt emotional reason against an unjust higher authority is better known than some of the director's earlier works, but should still be held in higher regard like Kwaidan or Harakiri, especially as it's written by the finest screenwriter of all time, Shinobu Hashimoto (i.e., Ikiru, The Seven Samurai, Harakiri, Samurai Assassin).
Hidden Gem #61: The Landlord (1970, U.S.A.)
Director: Hal Ashby
One wouldn't expect a director's debut film about such important issues as wealth, class and racial divides in New York City to be so charming, funny and endearing but it is that and much more because the storytellers never shy away from the serious relationship problems depicted; instead they cleverly infuse them into a learning curve for our naive but lovable central character.
Top 10: Best Movie Trailers
This is a list of previews that speak of their feature length wealth to come with #1 being the most promising:
The choices are by a young Mr. X.Read More
A record label that is able to last 35 years, let alone one that specializes in film music, has made quite an accomplishment. When you add to that these little advertised film music concerts they've produced with their comparatively small numbered fan base, it becomes even more impressive. For myself however, its most amazing achievement was delivering to attendees one of the most outstanding performances of film music I have ever heard. That's probably because this group of talented musicians didn't try to (here comes the pun) "classify" the music: Instead of blandly evening out all of its unique structure and dynamic surprises they "played it up" courageously honouring film music's best attributes.
What a programme! "Ambitious" hardly describes it. The concert opened with a dazzling "Halloween Overture" vigorously conducted and imaginatively arranged by Joseph ('Spartacus') LoDuca which consisted of composer John Carpenter's Halloween, Charles Bernstein's A Nightmare on Elm Street, Howard Shore's The Fly, Bernard Herrmann's Psycho and lastly Jerry Goldsmith's The Omen. It was a real treat to hear LoDuca's subtle arrangement tricks on a few of the more familiar selections here.
Next up was John Williams' breathtaking Dracula end titles music conducted by the GSPO's Maestro Steven Allen Fox, followed by guest conductor Brian Tyler conducting his creatively engaging music from Children of Dune.
The show's Producer and host is one of the most influential and prolific contributors to film music recordings, Varese Sarabande's Robert Townson. He introduced the next item with some rather shocking news of his own: Bernard Herrmann's sublime and monumental score to The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, as towering an achievement as anything written in the classical romantic idiom, was being performed live...for the first time...ever. Music that is so heavenly expressive, emotive and poignant as this never before performed live?! When one considers how many orchestras all over the world are struggling to stay afloat with their overly familiar repertoire and dwindling attendance, it's no wonder many of us there felt both stunned and privileged. It was performed flawlessly with guest conductor John Debney at the podium.
Television's infectious Beauty and the Beast theme composed by veteran Lee Holdridge was conducted by the composer who followed his own work with a lyrical suite from Georges Delerue's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Then it was guest conductor (and still another famous film composer in his own right) Cliff Eidelman's turn leading the orchestra in music composed by Jerry Goldsmith for the film Alien. This selection had my friend and I wincing before we heard it as we are huge fans of composer Goldsmith and his film music concerts, one in particular we formerly attended together that its performers struggled mightily with. Here the immense power and beauty came thorough in spectacular fashion with the GSPO's enthusiastically spot on performance featuring principal trumpet Dustin McKinney's splendid display of passionate playing.
After the intermission it was an all Beltrami spook suite consisting of scores to I Robot, Hellboy, Mimic and Knowing conducted by (guess who) Marco Beltrami of course. Mr Fox then returned to the podium to lead his troops in the immensely catchy and popular Game of Thrones main title composed by Ramin Djawadi.
Another Varese recording alumni, composer Randy Edelman conducted the next three selections. A deliciously fun and quirky suite from Elmer Bernstein's Ghostbusters which segues into a gorgeously romantic love theme, featured noted flautist Sara Andon's superb playing. Then it was the conductor's own thrilling music composed for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor followed by a suite from television's True Blood composed by the talented Nathan Barr who was also in attendance.
The show wrapped with a hair raising fusion of hard rock and thematic classical music that was unlike anything I've ever heard and it brought the house down: Christopher Young's score to Ghost Rider. The orchestra was augmented with the GSPO Choir and a powerhouse rock band consisting of Dave ('Slayer') Lombardo on drums, Gerry Nestler on guitar and Dan Lutz on bass. Inspired and exhilarating, it was the perfect closing number to leave the audience on an unbelievable high. Chris Young took the stage to joyously demonstrate his approval to the thunderous applause received from an elated standing audience.
The professionalism and verve displayed by the Golden State Pops Orchestra and the GSPO Chorale and its numerous conductors and soloists were as surprising as the images this incredible music was composed for, providing that "once in a lifetime" experience those in attendance will undoubtedly cherish for the rest of their lives.
P.S. Even though a video cannot possibly compare to what we heard live, I would be remiss in not posting this authorized recording of Chris Young's Ghost Rider, the performance described above. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
Varese Sarabande Records 35th Anniversary Halloween Concert Gala with the Golden State Pops Orchestra. Warner Grand Theatre. October 19, 2013. Robert Townson produced and hosted a Halloween-themed live concert tribute to the greatest film composers of the past and present who are featured on the label.