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Entries in Natalie Wood (40)

Tuesday
Sep102019

The Wise Guy

A quick shout-out to the director Robert Wise, who was born 105 years ago this very day. He passed in 2005, by then a four-time Oscar winner for a couple little movies called The Sound of Music and West Side Story (he won for both directing and producing), although he was nominated a couple other times. I mean he edited Citizen Kane! Obviously he was nominated other times. 

I do love his nomination for directing Susan Hayward's 1958 melodrama I Want To Live!, a film which looks way overcooked to modern eyes (as does most of Hayward's output) but which I love all the same. But Wise should've had several more nominations, if you ask me -- in between his two musical masterpieces he only directed one of the greatest horror films of all time, The Haunting, still effective to this day. There didn't seem to be a genre he couldn't master. How many nominations would you have given Robert Wise?

Saturday
Aug252018

West Side Story, Pt 3: Tonight Won't Be Just Any Night

Occassionally Team Experience passes a movie around amongst the team for a retrospective. This month's installment is West Side Story (1961), one of the most popular films of all time and winner of 10 Oscars.

Part One - by Lynn Lee
Part Two -by Eric Blume

Part 3 by Nathaniel R

Growing up I watched West Side Story as often as I could. It was surely my most formative film though as a kid I didn't really know the hows and whys of movies, only how they made me feel. Some movies were good for laughing, others for crying, and a lot of them just to get caught up in adventures and stories. West Side Story was, no, IS, all the things a movie could be in one massive tuneful package. I devoured it every chance I got as a kid. 

When Eric left us in Part Two Maria and Tony had just symbolically wed, lit by heavenly golden light, as they finished singing "One Hand, One Heart". A soft, reverent hush fell over the scene as the lovers kissed and the music faded. Then an abrupt cut to:

01:34:59  This impossibly bold red sky. It's a hard image with a blaring aggressive music cue signalling a major shift within the movie.  From here on out: tragedy. The juxtaposition of the wedding with this image, remains to this day, one of the most violent cuts I've ever seen in a movie. Red is the only choice for it. The camera then swoops down to street level as the Jets begin to sing "Tonight"...

 

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Wednesday
Aug222018

West Side Story, Pt 1: Something's Coming at the Dance 

Three-Part Mini-Series
Occasionally we'll take a movie and baton pass it around the team. If you missed past installments we've gone long and deep on Rebecca (1940), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966),  Rosemary's Baby (1968), Cabaret (1972), Silence of the Lambs (1991), Thelma & Louise (1991), and A League of Their Own (1992). 

Team Experience is proud to present a three-part retrospective of Leonard Bernstein's masterpiece West Side Story (1961) to honor the composer's centennial. West Side Story premiered on Broadway in September 1957 (though a success, it lost the Best Musical prize to a bigger Broadway hit, The Music Man). Four years later in October 1961 the film version opened in movie theaters, becoming the the top-grossing film of its year, winning 10 Oscars and cementing the musical's place in the cultural consciousness forever.

Part 1 by Lynn Lee

There’s something about West Side Story that inspires obsession.  Blending high concept drama and musical theater at its very best, this classic American love story balances delicately between delirious romance and sharp-edged realism until the two collide in a tragedy so gutting it still reduces me to a puddle. What’s more, it’s all transferred so seamlessly to the screen, I’ve yet to see a stage production that equals the power of the film. What’s not to obsess about... 

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Friday
Jul202018

Showbiz History: Sandra Oh, Operation Valkyrie, and yet more Batman?

Since the right now is so depressing let us look back into showbiz history for (mostly) easier things to think about then the here and now.

wee Natalie Wood with cat

11 random things that happened on this day (July 20th) in relation to showbiz history...

1930 Sally Ann Howes born in London. She starred as "Truly Scrumptious" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She's one of the 200 oldest living screen stars. Happy 88th, Scrumptious!

1938 Natasha Gurdin born in San Francisco to immigrant parents. Five years later she makes her screen debut as "Natalie Wood" and becomes one of the rare child stars whose fame only grows as she ages...

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Wednesday
Jul112018

Tab Hunter (1931-2018)

by Nathaniel R

Tab at the beach in the early '50sApologies that we didn't say our goodbyes to one of Hollywood's best hunks, Tab Hunter, in a timelier fashion.

Tab's real name was Arthur Kelm but back in the studio days almost everyone got a catchier name to boost their celebrity appeal... and you can't really beat Tab Hunter for a memorable name, can you? (Sometimes we wonder why actors don't do that now. Benedict Cumberbatch as a stage name and so many actors use their real names even if their real name is  long and hyphenated and hard to imagine on a marquee!).

Though born in New York his sun-kissed blonde beauty was a perfect fit for sunny California and Hollywood and he rose through the ranks quickly in films. Despite a few well regarded performances peppered throughout his career he was never considered a particularly strong actor and his fame diminished with time. Until recently but we'll get to that in a minute.

Tab Hunter and Dorothy Malone in "Battle Cry" from 1955, the year that made him a big star.

Yours truly first learned of him in the 1980s due to young me's obsession with Natalie Wood (my first actressexual fixation). The studio though they'd make a terrific onscreen couple and threw them together for back-to-back pictures in 1956 -- Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind -- because each had had big hits the year before. Teenage Natalie, already a star, was hot off of her first Oscar nomination for Rebel Without a Cause, ample proof that her child-star status would transfer well to adult stardom. Tab had had two huge hits in 1955 (Battle Cry and The Sea Chase). While his films didn't endure like Natalie's (with the arguable exception of Damn Yankees!), Warner Bros was passionate about his bankability...

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Wednesday
Jun062018

Showbiz History: Dreamgirls vs Nine, Damien The Omen, and More.

Today is my birthday! Wish me well. Or better yet, donate to the site (see right hand sidebar) to keep it healthy. That's my only birthday request since I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and friends to  have weekend activities with and really that's the important stuff in the grand scheme of things so I'm hashtag blessed... without the icky religious connotations! My only church is the cinema.

Anyway,  here's what was happening in showbiz history on June 6th throughout the years!

1933 The first ever drive-in movie theater (location: Camden, New Jersey) opened starting a popular but now essentially lost tradition. 

1944 D-Day a World War II and inspiration for many filmmakers since.

1950 Director Chantal Akerman born in Belgium

1954 Multiple Tony winner and queer icon Harvey Fierstein is born in Brooklyn. I love that one of my heroes shares my special day. Credits include Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage Aux Folles, Hairspray, and more...

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