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Friday
Jan112019

Showbiz History: Hitchcockian Cop, Blige Strippers, and Keanu Replicas

Today in showbiz history. Happy January 11th!

1914 Dorothy Jeakins, one of the most celebrated costume designers of all time in Hollywood (12 nominations and 3 Oscar wins) who designed classics like The Ten Commandments, The Sound of Music, and The Way We Were was born in San Diego

1919 One hundred years ago today Mort Mills, was born. He's the highway patrolman in Psycho that freaks Janet Leigh out with those black hole sunglasses -- it's like looking at a skull...

He's also in another Hitchcock (Torn Curtain) and in Orson Welles' classic Touch of Evil. But mostly he was a TV regular with other 140 credits to his name. 

1921 Kathleen Byron, who was robbed of an Oscar nomination for her sensationally psycho nun in Black Narcissus was born in London. If you've never seen that movie, get on that immediately.

1935 The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, an epic drama about British soldiers on the India starring Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone hits theaters. I'm sure it wouldn't be problematic at all if screened today (LOL). A year later it would be nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture (you used to be able to open in January and still be remembered by year's end! The Academy hadn't ironed out their system yet in their 8th year so there were categories of all shapes and sizes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 nominees in various categories and 12 nominees for Best Picture!

1944 Another Hitchcockian anniversary. 75 years ago today, Lifeboat, set entirely on a boat and starring Tallulah Bankhead (who many feel was robbed of an Oscar nomination), has its world premiere.

1991 Sally Field stars in Not Without My Daughter, new in theaters. One of the rare late 20th century movies whose title sounds like a 1950s melodrama starring Susan Hayward.

2013 Gangster Squad, the now forgotten middle pairing of Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling (between Crazy Stupid Love and La La Land) opens in theaters and promptly flops.

2019 Replicas, a sci-fi film starring Keanu Reeves opens in theaters today. As confusing as this is to type and probably to read, this film got a qualifying release for the Oscars in 2018 !!! It's on their eligible for Best Picture list. How odd is that? It currently has an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Upside and A Dog's Way Home also open today. Hey, it's January, what do you expect?

Former limited releases now nationwide today: If Beale Street Could Talk and On The Basis of Sex .

Today's Honorary Birthday Suit
Remember when two-time Academy Award nominee Mary J Blige played like a stripper queen or stripper boss of some kind in Rock of Ages?

I apologize for bringing this up. 

Also celebrating birthdays today: Actors Phyllis Logan, Aja Naomi King, Amanda Peet, Marc Blucas, Tom Ward, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Flora Cross, and Director Malcom D Lee (Girls Trip).

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Reader Comments (7)

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer is HELLA problematic now, it's true, but I've still watched it half a dozen times because Gary Cooper looks insanely good in it and it is intensely homoerotic. I'm cheap.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I love Dorothy Jeakins work in The Night of the Iguana. It's so modern for 1964.

Not Without My Daughter wouldn't survive twitter.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Fun fact! The author of the book The Lives of a Bengal Lancer was Francis Yeats-Brown, a yoga enthusiast and fascist. He bragged that the book was a favorite of Adolf Hitler. So, problematic indeed!

(Article about "Fascist Yogis":) http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10232347

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Also, Jason, you are NOT wrong about the homoeroticism. Not only is it rampant in the film, it was also an important part of Yeats-Brown's real life story. (See article above)

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

I've always had an affection for the 1935 Best Picture lineup, the way the 12 nominees divide up into 4 groups of 3: 3 prestigious literary knockoffs: Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Miserables, David Copperfield; 3 exotic action-adventures: Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Mutiny on the Bounty, Captain Blood; 3 lower budget character-driven films: Ruggles of Red Gap, Alice Adams, The Informer; and best of all 3 musicals (and each in a different style! Those were the days): Naughty Marietta, Top Hat, Broadway Melody of 1936. Maybe the homoeroticism of Lives of a Bengal Lancer is emphasized by the presence of the first Mr. Angela Lansbury, Donald Cromwell. Care to guess why that studio-arranged marriage failed?

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Yikes! That's Richard Cromwell, of course.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Black Narcissus.... one of the best films ever made and Kathleen Byron's performance is fucking ace.

Please no more videos from Rock of Ages. I believe that film is the reason why rock music is near-death right now.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

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