Monday, January 30, 2017

Giant 1956

          A 500pd. Burrito heavy on the beans, but still entertaining in parts even though it may give you the runs. This wilting yellow rose of Texas directed by George Stevens was one of the big hits and big money makers of 1956 probably because of the powerhouse cast and the sprawling epic look of it. It was nominated for 10 Oscars and won a best director Oscar for Stevens his 2nd one for directing a film that did not take home the best picture prize, the first was “A Place In The Sun” in 1951 which lost the Oscar to “An American In Paris.” The movie is very long and basically is a soap opera that spans the lives, loves triumphs and tragedies of one rich Texas family from the 1920’s to the late 40’s although the film’s 40’s look is strictly 1956.
             That’s ok and credit should be given to them for at least attempting a 20’s look while keeping the stars in a  semi contemporary look that movie fans always demanded of their movie stars. All three leads were in their 20’s and beautiful but age into their 60’s rather unconvincingly in the tedious and dull 2nd part of the film.
            Rock Hudson looking ravishing did a good job in the lead romantic role of Jordan Bick Benedict the big male honcho and owner of his sprawling ranch Reata. Hudson who was a better actor than given credit for,  shares the ownership with his very butch and probably gay sister Luz played by the commanding actress Mercedes McCambridge who leaves the film way to early for my liking and takes the tanginess she brought to the role with her. Too bad. The  film opens with Rock heading out to Maryland to pick up a thoroughbred horse for breeding. At dinner with the owner and his family,  Rock takes one look at his older daughter the ravishing Elizabeth Taylor (there’s a lot of ravishing in the movie) and he falls in madly in love with her.
          Soon they are on a slow train back to Texas married and cooing all over the place. Getting to Texas is dusty and strange for Liz but she does love that looming Victorian mansion set down in a vast brown and dry landscape but trouble is ahead for her with Mercedes who runs the house and pretty much everything else on the estate.
             I love this vast and detailed house and it’s really like a brooding character in the film, never mind that it was just a wooden facade with the interiors done on the Warner Bros. lot. Luz is soon bitching and complaining about Liz and you know there are going to be good fireworks coming down the pike.
          The next spark to show up is ah James Dean one of the great male beauties ever to appear in movies and who was dead and gone by the time the film wrapped up and his final scenes had to be partly dubbed by the actor Nick Adams. Dean is great of course as Jed Rink the moody ranch hand and just watching him walk and move in his tight and worn jeans is in itself one of the pleasures of the film. His performance is also riveting and is a mini class in great film acting. Dean was on his way reinventing, transposing and transporting film acting to a new level that hadn’t been this extreme and new since James Cagney exploded in “Public Enemy”. Dean along with Brando and Clift were giving us a new look and feel to male film acting and in this film Jimmy was pushing the envelope all the way down that dusty Texas road.
                  His scenes with Taylor are especially moving and memorable and for me are the most compelling scenes in the film, and maybe he was a little in love with her in real life. His making her tea in his little ramshackle little shack just before he hits the oil big on his little patch of land that was left to him by his only friend is very touching and honest.
              There are many strings and loose ends that Stevens does well with, after all he was a fine maker of movies going back to his comedy shorts and his work with Wheeler and Woolsey. This is the guy who also made what many consider the best Astaire and Rogers musical and gave Katherine Hepburn her Hepburn in “Alice Adams” and “Woman Of The Year.” George had style to go around but he sometimes spread it too thin. There are some nice stuff with the landscape, trains running, horses roaming and racism looming large and obvious, George was also liberal and very left for the time and sometimes found himself at odds with the more far right among his peers, the most notable being Cecil B. DeMille who tried to take him down and his presidency of the Directors Guild  but that’s another story. Meanwhile back at the ranch, children are born who grow up to be Carroll Baker very good and lovely and Dennis Hopper also very good and lovely.  Some go off to war and some don’t. Probably the most beautiful and moving scene in the film for me was the sad homecoming of  Sal Mineo one of the young Mexican children who is nourished and saved by the left leaning progressive Liz who has several arguments with Rock over her progressive views and ways.  If you get the De-Lux dvd release, there are many fun extras on it including the opening night premiere of the film at the Roxy Theatre where Dennis Hopper introduces his date for the night, a young and unknown Joanne Woodward one year away from stardom and an Oscar.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Emmannuelle Riva 1927-2017

Enough of this bullshit. Another lovely soul has left us and once again I scream why is Pat Robertson, sarah palin, Kellanne, betsy devos, mitch mcconnell, trump, ryan still walking this earth. Please universe give us something to believe in. I'm drowning is sorrow over these terrible loses these last view days.

John Hurt 1940-1977

One of our great actors has passed. I could praise his work in films all day long. Very sad, especially since Mitch McConnell still walks this earth. Unfair that this magnificent artist should pass and this pile of evil shit is still with us. No justice. I am not happy today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore 1936-2017

London Spy 2015

I came across this 5 part British mini-series the other day at my local public library, and can easily recommend it. I don't think this was shown on pbs because of the naughty language and the brief sexual scene between two men but I may be wrong. The premise is this. Two attractive young men meet by chance on an early morning in London and start a deep relationship. That's all I'm saying because any more would take away the fun you might or should have watching this twisty complex thriller. The cast is very good: Ben Whishaw who continues to be one of the best young actors around, the great and I mean great Jim Broadbent as his mentor, protector and friend, Charlotte Rampling and a young actor I've not seen before Edward Holcroft who is strikingly handsome. It does in my opinion fall apart in the last episode but for most of its running time its a highly enjoyable film. This one is perfect for a dark and nasty winter night of our souls.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Miguel Ferrer 1955-2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Notebook interior cover drawing January 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

postcard from the edge

went to check out my postcard in the "Postcards From The Edge" Show but it had already been sold. Nice. Here it is and anyone interested in buying one of my postcards let me know. Very reasonably priced. The show is a yearly benefit for Visual Aids which does great work.

Friday, January 13, 2017

my latest sculpture Botanical January 2017

Martha Swope 1928-2017

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

notebook drawing January 2017

First notebook drawing of the new year January 2017

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

John Berger-1926-2016

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