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Entries in Shirley Jones (5)

Sunday
Jul212019

Smackdown '60: Glynis Johns, Janet Leigh, one Mary and two Shirleys

A lusty bar owner, a vengeful hooker, a teenage wallflower, a doomed secretary, and a sexually liberated suffragette made up the Best Supporting Actress quintet for 1960.

That shortlist found room for two established Hollywood stars (Glynis Johns and Janet Leigh), both overdue for their first nominations, two rising starlets named Shirley (Jones & Knight) and an acclaimed Scottish import (Mary Ure). They all caught Oscar's attention and it didn't hurt that their films were so popular (all but Dark at the Top of the Stairs were major contenders in multiple categories, and Dark surely intended to be, being a prestige transfer from Broadway). This resulted in one of the most homogenous lineups ever -- all blondes (though Glynis was a redhead for her role) and from their early 20s to mid 30s (average age: 29).

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS    

Here to talk about these five nominated turns and the movies that housed them (Psycho, The Sundowners, Sons and Lovers, Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and Elmer Gantry) are writer/director Leslye Headland (Russian Doll, Bachelorette), theater and screenwriter Peter Duchan (Dogfight), freelance critic Kyle Turner, and your Film Experience co-hosts Murtada Elfadl  and Nathaniel R

1960
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN + PODCAST  

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May092018

Stage Door: Joshua Henry Wows in "Carousel"

by Nathaniel R

"So that's why 'Carousel' is rarely revived... got it!"

Dear reader, I have a confession to make. I had never seen the golden age Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "Carousel" performed before this week. Nor had I ever seen the now rarely discussed film version Carousel (1956), starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. So when I sat down in Broadway's Imperial Theater for the 11-time Tony nominated revival, I really had no idea what to expect...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr122014

TCM's Opening Night Red Carpet: Jones, O'Hara, Novak, O'Brien

Diana reporting from TCM Film Festival's Opening Night Red Carpet. The classic stars came out and Anne Marie and I talked to them.

Oscar winner Shirley Jones with her husband and the Oklahoma! premiere. [Photo: David Buchan/Getty Images]

4 P.M. Hollywood Blvd.
The red carpet is rolled out in front of Grauman’s, but crewmembers are still finagling with the Oklahoma! stop-and-turns as the press begins to descend on the barricades. Within a few moments, we chosen not-so-few (journalists, cameramen, bloggers) swarm to our allocated spaces along the carpet, with The Film Experience smack dab in front of the Grauman’s entrance. Tip sheet in hand and audio recorder on standby, we stand and wait.

5 P.M. The Red Carpet Opens
We are told that Shirley Jones has arrived. In the distance and with some squinting, you can see the Oklahoma! songbird looking bubbly yet elegant in a dark pantsuit with Marty Ingels, her husband of 37 years (a fact highlighted by him carrying a placard reading “37 YEARS”), by her side. As Jones makes her way down the press line, we press are prepping and mentally repeating our opening lines (mine involved her splendid performance in the 2005 revival of 42nd Street and her recent one-woman show at a Maryland Boscov’s), but alas she is called to take photos with Robert Osborne and then bypasses our section.

Leonard Maltin stops by. Being a fledgling critic myself, I jump to ask his advice to young critics and film journalists. Maltin says simply, almost pointedly, that aspiring critics just need to write, and read, but mainly write. He elaborated that he began writing criticism as a by-product of his passion for film history and that if he could have, he would have stayed solely a film historian. In regards to the festival itself, Maltin is there in an official capacity, moderating multiple talks (including Friday’s Club TCM talk with Quincy Jones) and hosting the Hubley Animation tribute, but is also looking forward to seeing as many of the screenings as he can, including Zulu.

Hitchcock ladies Kim Novak (Vertigo) and Diane Baker (Marnie) hit the opening night

Tiffany Vasquez, the TCM Ultimate Fan winner, is brimming with excitement at not only being on the red carpet but being there as a guest programmer, she will be introducing the 1948 noir The Naked City. Like most TCM fans would be, she was very nervous and intimidated by working with Robert Osborne in her onscreen introduction, but Osborne was so welcoming and gracious that he immediately eased her nerves [insert warm, fuzzy feelings]. Funnily enough, the New York City native originally wanted to submit Sunset Boulevard as her TCM Ultimate Fan entry, but decided to utilize her location, with The Naked City springing to mind, and shot the whole thing on the border of Queens and Brooklyn.

6 P.M. The Clock is Ticking
With only a half hour until the show begins, two Hitchcock blondes whizz by with protective publicists/companions in tow -- Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren (both breathtaking and in pantsuits, the former’s dark and the latter’s light blue-and-green floral).

"Meet Me In St Louis"'s Margaret O'Brien who won the Juvenile Oscar of 1944 at the after party [Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage]

Margaret O’Brien, in a stunning royal blue full-length gown and with tinted blue hair to match, says hello. As tiny and peppy as Tootie, even 70 years later, she said that Meet Me in St. Louis was her favorite filming experience, her most challenging performance was in Little Women but because she adored the role of Beth so much from the book and wanted to do it justice more than anything else. Lining up nicely with the festival theme of “Family: The Ties That Bind,” she also credited her mother as her biggest support throughout her career.

Trying to lob at least one question at the legendary and still fiery Maureen O’Hara, I asked how her evening was going (sometimes small talk can work wonders in easing to a star’s red carpet schedule). “I won’t know until the evening’s over,” the quick wit threw back.

Alec Baldwin with the legendary Maureen O'Hara who turns 94 this summer

6:30 PM Closing Time
Everyone is getting settled in for Oklahoma! and here’s Anne Marie’s write-up on the screening itself. More on the festival to come!

 

Friday
Apr112014

TCM Film Festival: OKLAHOMA! is better than OK

“So it’s a film festival, but for old films? Why?”

When I told folks how excited I was to finally go to the 5th annual TCM Film Festival this year in Hollywood, I got this question a few times. This isn’t just about the old adage “see a film on the big screen, like it was meant to be seen.” This is about celebrating the old and new: old films for new audiences, new restorations for old classics, old audiences sharing the new experience, and at the center of it all, Turner Classic Movies, which turns 20 this year, thereby becoming something of an old classic itself.

Last night, TCM rolled out the red carpet and opened TCMFF with a brand new restoration of OKLAHOMA!(1955) starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. Diana and I were able to nab (literally) front row seats to the screening at the TCL Chinese Theater, and this may count as the first I’ve been glad to sit front and center. The reason for the hooplah surrounding OKLAHOMA! has to do with its history: When Twentieth Century Fox brought the Rogers & Hammerstein musical to the screen in 1955, they shot it twice: once in Todd AO 65mm widescreen, and once in a lesser 35mm widescreen. This is a fact that has mostly been relegated to behind-the-scenes trivia, and the difference between the two versions has been negligible in home theater viewings. I’ve seen one or the other a few times on TV (including TCM) over the years, so I thought I knew what to expect. And then the film started, the camera pushed through the corn as high as an elephant’s eye, and I realized how very important it is that we save moments like this.

Photo Credit: Mark Hill

Twentieth Century Fox provided a beautiful 4K restoration of the 65mm version, complete with a restored 6 track stereo score, to play on the Chinese Theater’s huge IMAX screen.  Speaking as someone who usually isn’t usually an OKLAHOMA!-lover, I fell in love. When Shirley Jones said Gordon MacRae was her favorite singer, surely she didn't imagine him on such a grand scale. The sheer power of it won me over. Personally, I'm usually a South Pacific kind of gal, but I've been whistling since I left the theater and I would feel like a bad cliche if not for the fact that my fellow Metro passengers nearly broke out into "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin" with me. If you can get cranky Angelenos on a rundown train to sing at 1AM, then you've clearly made an impression.

Film restoration is a tricky balance between preserving the original filmgoing experience while also using to best advantage modern digital tools. Turner Classic Movies has arguably been one of the most important commercial advocates for restoration, providing studios with large audiences via the small screen for 20 years. How grateful we can be to TCM that for a weekend in Hollywood they’re bringing back the oldschool via new methods.

Anne Marie is our resident classic movie freak. Follow her on Twitter and read her weekly series "A Year With Kate"

Saturday
Nov022013

Happy Centenial, Burt Lancaster!

Anne Marie here to celebrate a Hollywood icon on his 100th birthday.

November 2nd is the centennial of that charismatic giant of an actor, Burt Lancaster. He had Clark Gable's charisma, Cary Grant's charm, The Grin, a mop of hair that couldn't be tamed, and a voice that dripped sweetness from every syllable. With all of these admirable qualities, Lancaster could have settled into a career as a leading man, however he chose to pursue challenging roles and a career directing and producing as well. I first saw him in The Rainmaker starring opposite Katharine Hepburn. It takes something special to tear my attention away from Kate The Great, but the minute Lancaster appeared I was starstruck.

But if we're going to talk about iconic Lancaster performances, we have to start here:

 

While this particularly sexy kiss is what we all remember the film for, it's worth mentioning that Lancaster's also very good in the film. As Sgt. Warden, Lancaster balances military bravado, empathy for his soldiers, passion, vulnerability, and steeliness on his well-muscled shoulders. He was rightfully nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. [Trivia Note: From Here To Eternity is tied with 8 other pictures for "most acting nominations from one film" with 5 (!) an achievement that is now extremely rare, ending with Network (1976)] 

Lancaster wouldn't win the gold until Elmer Gantry in 1960...

Elmer Gantry is a role tailor-made for Lancaster's particular brand of charm. Gantry is a con man who starts starts evangelizing at revivals because he wants to get into the habit of Sister Sharon (Jean Simmons). Gantry is a bad man preaching the Good Book. But my goodness, I could listen to him read the phone book! It's impossible not to root for him or fall for him. Lancaster roars and cajoles and cries while he's preaching, but his quiet moments are equally powerful. One such quiet scene is between Gantry and a prostitute played by future Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones. Lancaster portrays Gantry's powerful personality with an equally potent physicality, so when the wordsmith is temporarily broken, you can see it in his shoulders as well as his eyes. Elmer Gantry is more a whirlwind than a simple performance.

Burt Lancaster's career was as long as it was diverse. He played pirates, preachers, thugs, Nazis, conmen, convicts, and cowboys. One thing's certain: he was definitely never dull. Happy Birthday, Burt!

What's your favorite Burt Lancaster movie?