Kirk Douglas, the actor and the man

Film
A guest writer on the blog, Shannon Kelley, Head of Public Programs for the UCLA Film & Television Archive, contributes this appreciation of actor Kirk Douglas. The Archive is mid-stream in a comprehensive Douglas retrospective that runs through September. KIRK DOUGLAS: A CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, commemorates the career and the life of the great Hollywood star, ...

‘West Side Story’ feted, dissected, appreciated at the Academy

Dance · Film
Fascinating film lore revealed by producer Walter Mirisch, at Monday’s panel discussion prior to a special screening of West Side Story (1961) at the Academy. Apparently Jerome Robbins, WSS’s creator/co-director, was extremely resistant to the location shooting, in New York City, of the “Prologue” — the movie’s brilliant opening minutes when an overhead shot drills into ...

Worldly woman shocks small-town America! Pola Negri, you go girl.

Film
“A Woman of the World” (1925) stars Pola Negri in a comedy about a sophisticated European countess (do they make ’em unsophisticated?) who encounters culture shock during her visit to small-town America. Her continental freedoms — she smokes in public, she wears flashy makeup — clash with local morals. A crusading District Attorney enters the ...

Kirk! UCLA Film Archive kicks off sweeping centenary celebration

Film · Visual arts
Would not dream of missing Friday’s opening night — or viewing many of the 25 film titles featured therein — of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s centenary retrospective for actor Kirk Douglas (b. 1916). In his 60-year career he appeared in 90 movies, so claims Wikipedia. The massive movie star still lives among us. Kirk ...

Jets & Sharks rumble @ Laemmle Anniversary Classics WSS screening

Dance · Film
A great evening on Wednesday when film critic Stephen Farber interviewed Russ Tamblyn (“Riff”) at a 55th anniversary screening of “West Side Story” before a very full house at the Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts Theatre. A slew of dance royalty attended the screening: Dancer Bobby Banas (“Joyboy” in the movie), Barrie Chase of Fred Astaire ...

Kathryn Altman memorialized as gracious, effervescent

Film
Barely a week after savoring Kathryn Altman’s crystalline memories of the filming of McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), shared by the widow of director Robert Altman at an entrancing 45th anniversary screening of the precious movie, we learned that this elegant and classy woman had passed away. A shocker. So we’re very pleased to excerpt ...

‘Tooner’ trio tipped to tell ’bout time at Hanna-Barbera

Film · Visual arts
A trio of ‘tooners’: Tony Benedict, Willie Ito and Jerry Eisenberg, talented, original animators from the Hanna-Barbera Studio in the sixties, will share memories of working at the legendary animation house — the home of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, and the Flintstones. The ‘kid fun for grown-ups’ program will address how Bill Hanna and ...

Wyler’s ‘House Divided’ rises from the vaults @ MoMA

Film · Reviews
by 
A House Divided — it’s one of those handy generic titles that has lent itself to half a dozen movies and a whole lotta TV episodes over the years. Back in 1931, it was an especially apt name for an early talkie starring Walter Huston, neatly encapsulating the drama’s dark oedipal stew. It’s a work ...

We love Hollywood ballet

Dance · Film
‘Normal’ ballet is so boring: Petipa, Balanchine, Tudor, Robbins, Ratmansky.  Those guys never put girls in pointe shoes on pianos. We prefer fancy, Hollywood-style ballet, like this photo from KING OF JAZZ (1930) made at Universal Pictures and featuring dancing by Russell Markert dancers (Markert, who, not surprisingly, founded the Rockettes, is listed as the ...

The son rises again: Universal Pictures producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. canon @ MoMA

Film · Music
Our friends in the film department at The Museum of Modern Art are launching a truly groundbreaking and fascinating retrospective that highlights a decade of distinguished moviemaking at Universal Pictures, the Hollywood film factory often wrongly valued primarily as a purveyor of horror fodder. Writes Universal Pictures: Restorations and Rediscoveries, 1928–1937 film curator Dave Kehr: ...