Friday, April 30, 2010

Kate and Millie's survey

Finals are FINALLY over, I've been transported back home (not by my handy dandy teleportation device, unfortunately, rather a long process more akin to a marx brothers sketch entitled 'how much stuff can we fit in our car', more glamorous on screen I must say) and I'm ready for something fun to christen summer vacation and break free from my zombie like stupor. And what better than a survey put together by the rather mischievous and highly entertaining duo Kate and Millie? Nothing, clearly.

1. Which actors do you always (or did you always) mix-up? As a child I always mixed up Natasha Richardson and Emma Thompson. Now I occasionally see a picture of Hedy Lamarr and for a split second think it's Vivien Leigh. Hmm.

2. Gidget or Beach Party? I honestly don't know what this question is asking (eep!) so I'm going to go with ticker tape parade. It's the only logical choice.

3. Favorite Movie Outfit? The overall costume concept in the Ascot Opening Day sequence in My Fair Lady. If the new remake really gets made the new design can never compare to Cecil Beaton's brilliance. I'm holding my tongue on this one because I trust Emma Thompson. Don't let me down dear lady.

4. If you could be ANY character in ANY movie...who would you choose? Any role played by Eve Arden.

5. If you could marry ANY character in ANY movie...who would you choose? I love him because he's the kind of guy who gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk, and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears. I love him because he doesn't know how to kiss, the jerk! Prof. Bertram Potts in Ball of Fire (note: must be played by Gary Cooper. Ahem.)

6. If you could live in ANY movie...which would you choose? You Can't Take it With You. What a wonderful life that would be.

7. Black & White movies you wish were in Technicolor, or vice-versa? I think The Night of the Iguana would have been lovely in color.

8. Favorite Movie Soundtrack? An American in Paris (poke me with pins why don'tcha! I love too many)

9. Favorite Movie Dance Sequence?
I have many that change constantly, and though I would generally say either Dancing in the Dark or the Girl Hunt Ballet in
The Band Wagon, I am currently enamored with Marian the Librarian in The Music Man. I love the choreography, the way actions are made part of the score, and how the different characters are developed throughout. It looked like such fun to film!

10. Coolest Movie Star? (Cough, cough, BOBBY DARIN, cough, cough -Millie) Sorry Millie, but my vote has to go the king of cool Humphrey Bogart.

11. Sophia or Gina (Oh, how Kate enjoys replaying Gina's sad defeat OVER AND OVER! -Millie) I am not well enough informed! Therefore I say John Glenn, because yet again it's the only logical choice.

12. "Isn't It Romantic" in most Billy Wilder films, or "Red River Valley" Billy Wilder always and forever

13. If you could re-cast ANY role in ANY movie, what would it be? Oh me oh my. I'm inclined to say Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady in favor of Julie Andrews, lack of as yet to be proven star power be damned.

14. Favorite movie character with your first name? All the Meredith's that I know of are either whiny doctors on Greys Anatomy or the temptress in the parent trap remake, and I'm inclined to choose the latter.

15.One movie that should NEVER be remade? (under THE THREAT OF A SLOW, PAINFUL DEATH!) Gone With the Wind. Just don't even try, you will fail.

16. Actor or Actress who you would love to be best friends with? I would have loved to have been part of the Gracie Allen/George Burns/Jack Benny crowd. Also Deborah Kerr.

17. Are you an Oscar or a Felix? Felix!

18. Actor/Actress you originally hated and now love? Also Deborah Kerr. As explained here.

19.Actor/Actress you originally loved and now don't like? None to speak of.

20. Favorite performance that was looked over by Oscar? (Not to be confused with the aforementioned Oscar of Felix fame.) Judy Garland in A Star is Born. Incredible performance.

21. Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie? Bewitched! Agnes Moorehead cannot be beat.

22. Hannibal Heyes or Kid Curry? (Hint for those who don't know who they are: pick Hannibal Heyes.) Ok I'll pick Hannibal Heyes ;)

23. Favorite Style Icon: Fred Astaire or Cary Grant? Well I love Grant's mentality of not letting the clothes wear the man, but Fred had those adorable belts. I'll say Cary but only by a hair.

24. Single most favorite movie scene EVER? MY BRAIN IS EXPLODING RIGHT NOW. I'm inclined to say the scene at the end of Perfect Strangers (1945) when Deborah Kerr and Ronald Donat see each other again for the first time in their improved state after several years with him away at war, including the lead up to it (it's during a blackout so they can't see each other, it's brilliant). The middle section of the film is dull as tombs but it's just such a perfect sequence.

25. Movie you really "should" see, but have subconsciously avoiding for who knows what reason? The Shining because it looks terrifying!

26. Movie quote you find yourself most often repeating in real life? I can't recall what film it's from, but I often say 'Oh for the love of heaven' Katharine Hepburn style.

27. 50's Westerns or 60's Spies? (I can't even answer this myself...but you have to! MWAHAHAHA! - Millie) 50s westerns for me though this is an EVIL EVIL question.

28. Favorite splashy, colorful, obnoxious 50's musical? Not obnoxious, but Singin' in the Rain is the ultimate.

29. Favorite film setting (example: Rome, Paris, Seattle, Siberia, Chile, Sahara Desert, etc) All of these are pretty wonderful. I'll say Rome.

30. If you could own the entire wardrobe of any film, which would it be? Not a great film but Helen Mirren's costumes in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone are GLORIOUS.

31. Carol Burnette or Lucille Ball? Lucille! Though both are wonderful.

32. Favorite Voice. Ever. Period? Greer Garson. It's just so wonderful and bizarre at the same time.

33. Favorite movie that takes place in your home-state? My state generally doesn't get spotlighted in film, so I'll pick my almost home and say The More The Merrier.

34. Which actors would you want for relatives? (Mother, Father, Grandma, Crazy Aunt, annoying cousin, older brother, etc...) Ha! I'll say Debbie Reynolds as my grandmother, Fred Astaire as grandfather, Cary Grant as father, Deborah Kerr as mother (we would have a gilmore girls things going on, clearly) David Niven as my older brother, Hayley Mills as my younger sister, Katharine Hepburn and Angela Lansbury as my aunts and Humphrey Bogart for an uncle. Quite a family.

Monday, April 19, 2010

a grave error

There is something I must make the world aware of, a great travesty undertaken whilst we slumbered, serene in our ignorance.

The evidence:
But we all know there is only one Gable.

I plan to contact the proper authorities post-haste. God save our gracious King, long may he reign as the supreme definition in the dictionary that cometh with thine apple computer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The End of the Yellow Brick Road, and What I Found There

photograph taken from life goes to the movies

I am a shadow chaser with ear pressed to the ground, hoping to catch some faint footstep of the past. I am Nora Charles peering around the corner of the Myrna Loy building, led by an invisible Asta. I stumble over the ghosts that drift up from the seamless concrete, my hands full of stories that tumble to the ground and fall without sound. No one sees them, it’s like they were never here. And to the executives at Columbia, they never were.

I know right from the intro video that something is wrong. As I listen to the story of Harry Cohn, watch short silent montages of It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, hear the name Mayer mentioned once before it is slipped into a back pocket, I know their game. The winners rewrite the history and chain themselves to their bottom line, dogs behind a wire fence.

We are led to the old Irving Thalberg building, past the old offices right by the gate, the gate that had once roared its name, MGM, and the cool white building where the big white elevated desk once towered over hopes and dreams, teeth gleaming. Never more. We are led down the old main streets with new names like the Frank Capra bank, which I know Jean Arthur did not run past when she supposedly screamed I’m free, I’m free. We are led to a Foley studio, full of bottles and keys and fake grass and rugs and I finally know something lives here, something breathes here that recognizes it is a fake.

We see the old bungalows where Katharine Hepburn would throw rooftop parties, we stand in the vast cavern of stage 15 where the yellow brick road once stood, past stucco walls where Gene Kelly danced around a lamp post and an afraid of heights Red Skelton was supposedly forgotten in the rafters, a dummy thrown off the side as revenge. Sometimes I have to pull teeth for this information, and sometimes it is waved away with the flick of a wrist stamped by Columbia.

Something was here, I know it was, and I’ll yell it from the top of stage 6 till my face turns blue. The Columbia Cagneys’ll not tie me down; the faceless giants who poke fat fingers in my face. This is how it’s going to be, see? Nyah, nyah.
Shaded by trees, connected by paths, and surrounded by flowering shrubs, the bungalow dressing rooms of the stars gave an outward impression of an enclave of peace and tranquillity, but inside, as I was to learn, their walls bore the scars of countless exhibitions of temperament, noisy moments of triumph, and far too many lonely heartbreaks. I was also to learn that writers got drunk, actors became paranoid, actresses pregnant, and directors uncontrollable. Crises were a way of life in the Dream Factories, but by some extraordinary mixture of efficiency, compromising, exuberance,gambling, shrewdness, experience, strong-arm tactics, psychology, blackmail, kindness, integrity, good luck, and a firm belief that "the show must go on," the pictures came rolling off the end of the production lines. -David Niven
Something lived here, once. I know it. I just know it.