End Credits #88: Cinema's 2019 Lost Treasures André Previn, Stanley Donen, Albert Finney / Capturing a Golden Moment #23: Miller's Crossing / Julie Adams
These are some of Cinema's sad departures of 2019 taken from my personal notes soon after the tragic events took place:
The enormously talented conductor, composer, pianist and song writer André Previn has died at age 89. His versatility was “off the charts”. He remained a master of all musical genres: jazz, classical, pop and motion pictures as a composer, conductor and pianist, for eight decades. In 1946, the German born Previn started working at MGM while attending Beverly Hills High School and although uncredited, was a music supervisor on the Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor film noir Undercurrent released that same year. He composed some uncredited music and performed piano solos for the comedy/musical It Happened in Brooklyn (1947), composed the main title music for The Bride Goes Wild (1948) and was an uncredited composing collaborator with Rudolph G. Kopp on the 1948 release Tenth Avenue Angel. Soon afterward, Previn received his first motion picture scoring credit for the family drama The Sun Comes Up (1949). Subsequently, he composed, amongst others, for the film noirs Scene of the Crime (1949), Tension (1949), Shadow on the Wall (1950), Dial 1119 (1950) and Cause for Alarm! (1951). One of Andre Previn’s best known film scores was for Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) which he followed with The Catered Affair (1956), The Fastest Gun Alive (1956) and House of Numbers (1957), these last two mentioned scores having just been cited as February’s CD soundtrack recommendation. Other notable motion picture compositions included Elmer Gantry (1960), The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962), Irma la Douce (1963), Dead Ringer (1964) and Inside Daisy Clover (1965). Previn was an 11 time nominated Academy Award recipient, winning for his music assistance on Gigi (1958), Porgy and Bess (1959), Irma La Douce (1963) and My Fair Lady (1964). Along with his second wife Dory Previn, who provided the lyrics, André composed songs for Pepe (1960, "Faraway Part of Town") Two for the Seesaw (1962, "Song from Two for the Seesaw - Second Chance") and Valley of the Dolls (1969, “Theme from Valley of the Dolls”) among others. He also provided numerous musical pieces often uncredited for motion pictures, just one notable example being the two dance numbers prominently heard in The Asphalt Jungle (1950, "Don't leave your guns" and "What about the dame")*. André Previn (April 6, 1929 - February 28, 2019) R.I.P.
* Here are the two aforementioned numbers (the first two heard over the jukebox) composed by André Previn for 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle:
The iconic film director and choreographer Stanley Donen has sadly passed away at age 94. He received an Academy Award Honorary Oscar in 1997. His directorial debut was one of his best known films: a collaboration with actor, dancer and choreographer Gene Kelly, 1949’s On the Town which starred Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Subsequently, Donen directed, among others, Royal Wedding (1951, starring another dancing legend Fred Astaire), Singin’ in the Rain (1952, co-directed with Kelly and probably his most beloved musical), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), It’s Always Fair Weather (1955, again co-directed with Kelly), Funny Face (1957, starring Astaire with Audrey Hepburn), The Pajama Game (1957, co-directed with George Abbott and starring Doris Day), Indiscreet (1958, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman), Damn Yankees (1958, co-directed with George Abbott), Charade (1963, starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn), Arabesque (1966, starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren), Two for the Road (1967, starring the recently departed Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn), Bedazzled (1967, starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore), Staircase (1969, starring Rex Harrison and Richard Burton), Movie Movie (1978, starring George C. Scott), Saturn 3 (1980, co-directed with production designer John Barry and starring Kirk Douglas) and his last feature-length theatrical film Blame It on Rio (1984, starring Michael Caine). Stanley Donen (April 13, 1924 – February 23, 2019) R.I.P.
The immensely talented, versatile and dynamic British actor Albert Finney has passed away at age 82. He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and was an understudy to Laurence Olivier. After a few TV movies and series such as a recurring role in the U.K. soap opera Emergency-Ward 10 (1959), Finney received his first motion picture part in the Laurence Olivier starrer The Entertainer (1960) directed by Tony Richardson with whom he had previously worked in the theatre. His subsequent role was particularly memorable, as the angry young working class rebel Arthur Seaton in Karel Reisz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960). Next, he was featured in what probably became his best known early film character, that of Tom Jones (1963, pictured above) in the Academy Award winning Best Picture period comedy of the same name, also directed by Richardson. Finney was nominated for Best Actor (but lost to Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field). The actor made some notable film appearances throughout the subsequent years but they were sparse compared to his preferred theatrical setting. Films such as Two For the Road (1967, a romantic comedy hit), Charlie Bubbles (1968, which he also directed), Scrooge (1970), Gumshoe (1971), Murder On the Orient Express (1974, as writer Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot), The Duellists (1974), Shoot the Moon (1982), Annie (1982, as Daddy Warbucks), The Dresser (1983, as a Shakespearean actor), Under the Volcano (1984, for director John Huston), Miller’s Crossing (1990, as a vividly authoritative mob boss written and directed by the Coen brothers), Erin Brokovich (2000, as attorney Ed Masry), Traffic (2000, like Erin Brokovich also for director Steven Soderbergh), The Gathering Storm (2002, a TV movie as Winston Churchill), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007, a real gut wrenching performance for director Sidney Lumet), The Bourne Legacy (2012) and his last, Skyfall (2012) all benefitted greatly from this superb actor’s skilful portrayals. I’m so glad I was able to meet this most gracious gentleman in Santa Barbara, California and tell him how much I enjoyed his performance in Miller’s Crossing. My sincerest condolences to family and friends. Albert Finney (May 9, 1936 - February 7, 2019) R.I.P.
In honour of actor Albert Finney here is a Golden Moment to share:
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
Director: Joel Cohen, Ethan Cohen
Scene: "Danny Boy"
These brief moments as much as any, cement Albert Finney’s iconic star status. Finney plays Irish mob boss Leo O’Bannon set during America’s Prohibition and there’s a contract killing ordered by rival Italian gangster Johnny Caspar that’s about to take place in his home. This violent scene is masterfully executed, stylishly delivered and provides the perfect testament to Leo’s resourcefulness and resiliency as well as Albert Finney’s everlasting endurance in cinema. *Warning: Some may find this scene's explicit violence disturbing.
Julie Adams, best known as a monster’s object of desire in Creature from the Black Lagoon (pictured above), has died at age 92. After appearing in a number of undistinguished “B” westerns, Adams signed with Universal Pictures, working with some of Hollywood’s brightest directors and stars in Bright Victory (1951, directed by Mark Robson, starring Arthur Kennedy), Bend of the River (1952, directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart), Horizons West (1952, directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Robert Ryan), The Lawless Breed (1953, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Rock Hudson), The Man from the Alamo (1953, also directed by Budd Boetticher, starring Glenn Ford), before landing her famous role in the horror classic Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson). She continued to co-star alongside some big names in The Private War of Major Benson (1955, with Charlton Heston) and The Gunfight at Dodge City (1959, with Joel McCrea). In addition she made numerous TV appearances in Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1958 - 1961), Perry Mason (1963 - 1965), The Jimmy Stewart Show (1971 -1972) and Murder, She Wrote (1987 - 1993) among others. Julie Adams (October 17, 1926 - February 3, 2019) R.I.P.