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Entries in Shirley Maclaine (32)

Monday
Sep252017

The Furniture: Death by Excess in What a Way to Go!

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

Any excuse to talk about What a Way to Go! is a good excuse. But the centennial of Ted Haworth is an especially excellent excuse. He was nominated for six Oscars, starting with Marty in 1955. He won for 1957’s Sayonara. Highlights from the rest of his career include Some Like It Hot, The Beguiled, and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

But none of those movies could hold a candle to the astonishing level of creativity on display in What a Way to Go! The epic 1964 comedy of love and loss stars Shirley MacLaine as Louisa May Foster, a many-time widow and heiress.  Each husband, with one particularly tragic exception, begins the marriage as a near-pauper who wants nothing but love. But their passion inevitably leads them on a wild pursuit of wealth, which tends to end in a coffin. It should be noted, of course, that Louisa herself has little interest in cash.

There are far too many brilliant design elements to fit into a single column...

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Monday
Jul172017

"Being There" -- Essential Viewing For the Right Now

by Nathaniel R

Hal Ashby’s Being There (1979) is a fortune teller. And the future it foretells isn’t rosy. The classic film about a TV-loving cypher who Forrest Gumps his way into history is approaching its 40th anniversary, but its essential viewing for the right now.  Don't wait until 2019 to see it.

Among the film’s many queasy previews of life in the early 21st century is the proliferation of screens. Here that takes the shape of television, with Ashby frequent crosscutting to whatever is on the TV in a given scene. Though the content we see is recognizably dated, its intrusion is evergreen. 

Hidden within the prophecy of multiple screens replacing actual experience, is an even sharper notion of the screen as a mirror...

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Thursday
May182017

Beauty Break: Happy 90th Birthday to the Grauman's Chinese!

One of my favorite places in Hollywood turned 90 years old today. The Grauman's Chinese Theater, which often houses premieres and events, opened on this day in 1927, so its centennial is just ten years away. It's currently known as the TCL Theater and was called the Mann Theater before that but it's still popularly known as Grauman's. You can rename something as perks for modern corporations but sometimes the original name hangs around (as well as it should). Don't even get me started on beautiful Broadway theaters chucking their iconic stage giant names for "American Airlines Theater" or whatnot. DO NOT GET ME STARTED. 

The Grauman's most familiar pop culture aspect is its large collection of cement tiles out front bearing the handprints of movie stars from all eras. So it's time for a Beauty Break. Which of these ceremonies after the jump do you most wish you had been at? 

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Monday
May012017

Beauty vs Beast: Monkey Business

Jason from MNPP here for another round of "Beauty vs Beast" - today is the 86th anniversary of the grand opening of the Empire State Building, aka the most famous building in the world. And so in its honor we're finally tackling the movie that not only birthed its legend but also gave this series its name...

"It was beauty killed the beast."

The Empire State Building was opened on May 1st 1931. President Hoover pushed a button in the White House in DC and the lights to the tower in NYC flicked on for the first time. Just under two years later the movie King Kong would be released (director Merian Cooper supposedly came up with the idea of the plane battle at its top), immediately branding the iconic skyscraper and its most famous big monkey occupant - and his little blonde friend (Fay Wray) - onto every human brain, and forever thereafter.

PREVIOUSLY Last week's contest faced down the mother-daughter duo of Postcards From the Edge and once again proved you should never bet against Meryl Streep - she stomped right over birthday gal Shirley MacLaine with 61% of your vote. Although forever1267 really summed up my own thoughts on the question:

"Where is the "Both" button?"

Monday
Apr242017

Beauty vs Beast: Look Who's Still Here

Jason from MNPP with our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" fun-time - I'm surprised it didn't occur to me to do this one at the start of this year when we were mourning the epic loss of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (I even re-watched this film at that time) but perhaps the pain was too much. Anyway as Nat told you earlier it's Shirley MacLaine's birthday so the right time has revealed itself, and today we'll tackle Mike Nichols' glorious 1990 comedy Postcards From the Edge, starring MacLaine and some Meryl woman, based on Fisher's thinly veiled book about a drug-addict actress and her let's-say-ebuillent actress-mother. Mother-Actress? Actress-Singer-Mother? Well that's the question, isn't it?

PREVIOUSLY I'm shocked and flabbergasted by you people - hasn't Jennifer Garner suffered enough? We wished her a happy birthday last week with some 13 Going on 30 love and y'all rejected her star-making performance for Adorable Mark Ruffalo. I... well he is pretty damn adorable. Said Dave S:

"Ruffalo in this movie is top-tier among underwritten love interests; I think him ceding the stage for the female lead is actually a point in his favor. He gets to fill the somewhat vaguely defined dream guy role in a way we're more used to seeing actresses relegated to. See also: Aidan Quinn as the projectionist in "Desperately Seeking Susan"."

Monday
Apr242017

OTD: Babs, Shirley, and "Cool" from West Side Story

On this very gay day (4/24) in history as it relates to showbiz...

1873 Silent film director Robert Wiene, best known for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) born in Breslau (Note: other online sources disagree with the IMDb on this birthdate but it's always fun to think about Caligari)

1927 Oscar winning cinematographer Pasqualino de Santis born in Italy. Classics include Romeo and Juliet, The Damned, Death in Venice, and L'Argent

1930 Richard Donner, superstar director/producer of the 1980s, behind films like The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, and the first two Supermans. Apparently retired after 16 Blocks (2006) with Bruce Willis

1931 The Public Enemy starring James Cagney and Jean Harlow was enjoying its opening weekend at movie theaters. It was a big hit, ending in the top ten of its year. Variety claimed it was "low brow material" attempting to be high brow by its craftsmanship. If only critics knew in the moment -- they almost never do even now -- that "low brow" genres regularly produce classics.

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