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Entries in My Fair Lady (10)

Wednesday
Apr052017

On This Day: Pharrell Williams, "Out" Nominees, and the 1964 Oscars

On this day in showbiz history, some gay Oscar lore, lots of two time Oscar winners, and future Oscar winner Pharrell Williams (and much more)...

1883 Oscar favorite Walter Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) born in Toronto. Without him no Huston acting dynasty!

1887
Helen Keller learns "water" from teacher Anne Sullivan, the moment will serve as the emotional climax of the popular stage and screen drama The Miracle Worker

1900
 Two time Oscar winner Spencer Tracy (Boys Town, Captain Courageous) born...

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Monday
Mar212016

Stage Door: Revive This! (a musical lover's list)

This week I caught the Off Broadway hit Red Speedo about a swimmer who thinks he needs performance enhancement drugs. It was a totally solid thought-provoking play and if that sounds like faint praise it's only that because the raves have been so breathless. I had front row seats (not intentional) which is a weird angle with which to see this show because the pool part of the stage looms large in front of you (you do get splashed). I don't mind getting wet so I wished they'd used the pool part of the well designed stage a little more. The actors were uniformly terrific so if you're interested in the topic, by all means go. 

But back to Broadway itself. After finally seeing The King and I, one of last year's Tony winners, and the news that Hello Dolly will finally return (with Bette Midler!) after decades of invisibility, thoughts turned to shows that rarely get revived. Some shows like Les Miz & Gypsy & Fiddler on the Roof and a handful of others seem to return to the big stage every 4 or 5 years.  It begs the question of why others are never revived. So herewith a list!

10 Longest Running Shows That Have Not Been Revived in Over 20 Years 
Not a qualitative list but factual based on how long the show ran.

01 Oh! Calcutta! - the nude musical revue closed in 1989 after two very successful multiple-year runs. Why no third?

02 Life With Father -Broadway's longest running straight play ever closed way back in 1947 the same year the film version came out. Among its 1939 opening night cast was future Oscar winner Teresa Wright. 

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct202014

Curio: My Fair Lady at 50

Alexa here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of My Fair Lady. Although not my favorite movie musical, unlike the Smackdowners this summer,  I always have a blast returning to it.  Despite the many charms of Audrey Hepburn's performance, I love re-writing history and imagining how different a film it would be had Julie Andrews returned to the role.  Even more intriguing is imagining if Elizabeth Taylor (who wanted the role) had played Eliza.  For better or for worse, its Pygmalion story continues to be reinvented, with the latest incarnation being the ABC comedy Selfie (worth a watch for John Cho).

Some curios, vintage and handmade, to celebrate 1964's Best Picture after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul012014

Podcast Pt 1: A Smackdown Conversation w/ Melanie Lynskey

Presenting... for the first time ever a Smackdown Companion Podcast

A couple of months ago Joe suggested that we add a podcast segment or more conversation somehow to the Smackdown which by necessity has brief capsules from each panelist. And why not? There is always so much more to discuss after you've watched five Oscar-favored films from any given year.

So for this special tryout episode of the podcast (let us know if we should do it again for 1973) Nathaniel welcomes back the actress Melanie Lynskey, the original creator of the Smackdowns Brian Herrera (aka StinkyLulu), and regular podcast voices Joe Reid and Nick Davis. Our conversation ran long so it's in two segments.

Smackdown 1964 - A Companion Conversation Pt. 1
00:01 Introductions
01:00 Melanie on talking acting with other actors and one director's "witchcraft"
05:00 Zorba the Greek and undiagnosed cognitive disorders
11:45 Nick and Nathaniel share personal memories of My Fair Lady
16:20 Demystifying the mystifying Gladys Cooper nomination
19:00 The Chalk Garden. Melanie on connecting with the other actor in a scene.
24:00 Divisive Deborah Kerr (who starred in two of the features we watched)
30:00 To Be Continued...  

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments.

Smackdown 64 Companion. Part One

Monday
Jun302014

Smackdown 1964: Agnes, Lila, Gladys, Grayson and Dame Edith

Behold the Oscar-nominated Supporting Actresses of 1964: two wealthy matriarchs with strained relations to their children, one desperate widow who would very much like relations of any kind, an irritable church group leader watching your every move and one sweaty possessive housekeeper lurking around the corner.

THE NOMINEES

Moorehead, Evans, Kedrova, Cooper, Hall 

1964's shortlist is one of the most senior in any acting category ever with an average age of 61. This 50 year old Oscar contest also acted as a finale for three enduring character actresses who Hollywood adored (Cooper, Evans, and Moorehead) but never quite enough at the right time to hand them the gold man. (In truth Dame Edith Evans, who did not attend the ceremony, was nominated one last time and quite deservedly for The Whisperers but that nomination is sadly almost as forgotten as the confused woman she masterfully played.) 

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

The actress Melanie Lynskey (Happy Christmas, Heavenly Creatures) joins returning panelists Joe Reid, Nick Davis, Nathaniel R, Stinkylulu and You! We also tabulate reader votes and quotes from those ballots appear.

Without further ado, the main event...

1964
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun272014

Introducing... The Supporting Actress Nominees of 1964

You've met the panelists and this Monday (June 30th) the Smackdown arrives. So, let's meet the characters we'll be discussing.

As is our Smackdown tradition we begin by showing you how the performances begin. Do their introductions scream "shower me with gold statues!"? Do the filmmakers prepare us for what's ahead? Here's how the five nominees we'll be discussing are introduced (in the order of how quickly they arrive in their movies). Do any of these introductions make you want to see the movie?

THE INTRODUCTIONS

-Dr. Shannon
-Miss Fellowes 

7 minutes in. Meet "Judith Fellowes" (Grayson Hall in The Night of the Iguana)
After a prologue where Dr Shannon (Richard Burton) appears to have some sort of loss of faith mental breakdown in a church where he preaches, we see that he's now giving tours of Mexico. Enter Judith Fellowes with a gaggle of old women, immediately questioning his fees. Her gaze is direct (he doesn't return it) and they enter the bus where she leads her women in a sing-along. Dr Shannon doesn't appear to like her. At all. More friction is surely ahead on their travels.

Click to read more ...