Mitzi Gaynor fabulous in Jack Cole’s “I Don’t Care” 1

Dance · Film
I love everything about this amazing, high-spirited dance sequence choreographed by Jack Cole for The I Don’t Care Girl (1953). “I don’t care. I don’t care. What people think of me. I’m happy, go-lucky, men say that I’m plucky, so jolly and carefree!” From the first frames — the camera shooting upward through a mirror ...

Julius Garfinkle’s high integrity 5

Film
Blacklisted actor John Garfield, né Julius Garfinkle, was the subject of a curtain talk at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences following a screening of his enthralling boxing movie, Body and Soul (1947), part of the Academy’s screenwriter-driven film-noir series. Garfield’s unswerving dignity as a Jewish boxer (improbably named Charlie Davis) dominates the ...

Jack Cole to be celebrated at Jacob’s Pillow 2

Dance · Film
arts·meme‘s Debra Levine is proud to announce her participation, on Saturday, August 14, at 4 pm, in “Jack Cole, Unsung Genius” a celebration of the innovative jazz choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the summer dance camp for grown ups in Becket, Massachusetts. The Cole commemoration fits surprisingly well with Jacob’s Pillow history. In his ...

Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner, still kings of comedy 1

Film
“We didn’t know if they were after Communists, Jews, or just short people.” With that great one-liner, Mel Brooks, the funniest man in the world, defuses – no, ridicules – the McCarthy hearings and blacklist that terrorized the entertainment industry in the early 1950s. Together with his longtime friend and indispensable straight-man, Carl Reiner, Mel ...

As a dad, Alan Ladd walked tall 5

Film
Read this story on The Huffington Post. “He got pegged as being short, 5’2″. But he was actually 5’6″ or 5’7″,” said actor/producer David Ladd, himself a very tall man and one of actor Alan Ladd‘s four offspring to work in the film industry. Ladd spoke about his father following the absolutely fantastic screening of ...

Travis Banton undresses Miriam Hopkins

Film
We’re midway through Ian Birnie’s weekend film retrospective of the American-made comedies of Ernst Lubitsch at LACMA. Last weekend, we levitated in pleasure under the spell of “Design for Living“ (1933), the sophisticated German-born film director’s version of the Noel Coward play. Two Americans sharing a flat in Paris, playwright Tom Chambers (Frederic March) and ...

Love among the geniuses

Film · Music
Read this story on The Huffington Post. Two recent biopics portray the torrid love lives of great artists — one of our favorite subjects. First, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009), a chicly decorated French film about a purported love affair between the stern couturière and the equally rigorous modernist composer — all while Mme ...

All hail Travis Banton, Paramount Pictures costume designer

Fashion · Film
LACMA’s retrospective of Ernst Lubitsch comedies, made in America with a classy European sensibility, opened with the giddy perfection of the German-born director’s “Trouble in Paradise” (1932). Of all the ingredients simmering in this film’s sweet stew, it’s the pre-code evening gowns in which “Trouble”‘s two leading ladies circulate the sound stage dropping witty dialogue ...

Ernst Lubitsch’s 90-minute tour of paradise

Film
Tonight at LACMA — the launch of Ian Birnie’s 16-film retrospective of the American-made comedies of Ernst Lubitsch. Both films run a dreamy 90 minutes long! Let’ s see how much great entertainment the German expat could pack into 1.5 hours. Nicola Lubitsch, the director’s daughter, will be in the house for a curtain talk. ...

Second star to the right …

Film
Second star to the right … and straight on till morning. With that lovely language, Peter Pan ‘google-maps’ his Neverland address, informing his new buddy Wendy where he and the tribe of Lost Boys reside. The fetching 1924 silent-movie version of the J.M. Barrie classic charmed nearly 2,000 adults who poured into the Orpheum Theater ...