Why film community matters

In this coming Sunday’s Los Angeles Times Calendar section you will find my article about choreographer Jack Cole who coached Marilyn Monroe in movement over the course of six of her films. Most famously, he choreographed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jack Cole also choreographed “Put the Blame on Mame” for Rita Hayworth in Gilda, at ...

LACMA cancels film program 1

This is a bizarre personal twist to a story affecting our community. On Tuesday July 28 I did something I have never done before. I sent a proposal for a series on dance and film to Ian Birnie, the erstwhile head of LACMA’s superb film program.  The subject was choreographer Jack Cole whom I have been researching for ...

Travis Banton turned tootsies into stars 1

Fashion · Film
I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with writer David Chierichetti, the film fashion expert. David is the biographer of the under appreciated film director Mitchell Leisen; costume designer Edith Head; and he is author of coffee table volume, Hollywood Costume Design. Driving in L.A. traffic en route to the Egyptian Theater, ...

Twins separated at birth

  He even stole my hairdo.    

film noir francais 1

Who knew? . . . when the American film establishment was hyping Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), that French director Rene Clement had filmed a superior version of Patricia Highsmith’s disturbing novel on location in Italy in 1960? And that Minghella’s version was a remake? Like, who knew that? I didn’t. arts•meme can’t ...

Liza with a Z at “Last Remaining Seats” 1

Architecture & Design · Film
I love the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats summer film festival on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Nothing in our city compares to it as a community event. (Lakers fans may disagree!) To sit in the faded remains of downtown’s glamorous vintage theaters, chock-a-block with an excited, engaged, clapping, laughing, appreciative audience, watching classic ...

La Barbra at BevHills Bergman tribute 2

Film · Music
Barbra Streisand is still a very big star. This was extremely evident at last night’s Alan & Marilyn Bergman tribute at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Wilshire Boulevard outpost. The tribute opened with a film clip of Barbra ogling Robert Redford in Sydney Pollack’s The Way We Were (1973). It closed with Babs, ten years later, ...

Groucho Marx thought Irv Brecher was funny 2

When asked who was quickest with a one-liner, Groucho responded: George S. Kaufman, Oscar Levant … and Irving Brecher. Now, that’s funny. Brecher was a comedian and screenwriter whose credits include the Marx Bros’s final two movies at MGM: At the Circus (1939) and Go West (1940). He was good buddies with Groucho but hung out with Harpo and Chico ...

Theodore Kosloff, ballet instructor 3

Dance · Film
The photo above (click on it for detail) shows the talented and charismatic Russian actor-dancer Theodore Kosloff coaching a barre-ful of Paramount Studio chorus girls circa 1922. The ballet master is giving hands-on instruction to silent film star Betty Compson with whom he co-starred in The Green Temptation that same year. Kosloff’s ballet training of Compson led to this ...

Wolf men and other men 2

“It’s rare to truly see a film anymore,” said Robert Boyle, opening a conversation at the Art Directors Society tribute at the Egyptian Theater Sunday night. The legendary art director followed that enigmatic statement by noting how television technique has infiltrated feature film production — in a bad way. According to Boyle, today’s movies are “all ...