Written woman-to-woman: Hedda to Hepburn

Film · Language & ideas
Citing her “gaity,” “gallantry,” and, oddly enough, her “gentlemanly way of expressing” herself, this fan mail from columnist Hedda Hopper to actress Katharine Hepburn is part of a treasure trove, a just-published compendium of personal communiques from-and-to the film industry … Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking. Basically, Hopper, consciously ...

Fred & Ginger (& Mark) do ‘The Continental’ 1

Dance · Film
mark sandrich, fred astaire do the continental, but not cheek to cheekphoto: MARC WANAMAKER/BISON ARCHIVES The wonderful shot of director Mark Sandrich and Fred Astaire palling around at RKO Studios comes courtesy of artsmeme friend Marc Wanamaker. Thank you, Marc! The director and dancer are collaborating on a crazy-long, Art Deco-drenched, epic dance sequence for ...

Clippings tour: ‘Dirty Dancing,’ original version 1

Dance · Film
42nd Street (1933) choreography by Busby Berkeley This month’s edition of “Dirty Dancing: The Original” dates to the 1930s. If you think the McCarthy era saw the birth of the Hollywood black list you got that wrong. A work ‘lock-out’ took place during the Depression when chorus girls did not (ahem) ‘put out’ — and ...

Gwen Verdon to critic: Don’t overlook my choreographer

Dance
Gwen Verdon, a woman with values, in a handwritten note from September 1958, mildly protests to Los Angeles Times film critic John L. Scott about a crazy oversight in his review of the film Damn Yankees. [Pause the slide show for easier reading.] Scott was sufficiently impressed by Verdon’s message that he saved the letter ...

Torturing Rock Hudson

Featured · Film · Language & ideas
Ed. note: Can a writer and her editors truly be so clueless? Or was this ‘hetero-normative’ article, excerpted below, part of the Hollywood cabal to cover up Hudson’s gayness? Whatever was the case, writer Jane Wilkie by-lined the following interview with Rock Hudson in ‘Modern Screen’ magazine, December 1954.  Excerpted here. BY JANE WILKIE ■ ...

Hardest hit on ‘White Christmas’ movie set? Dancers. 7

Dance · Film
The lyric may be “iconic,” but it’s also “ironic.” Robert Alton’s sumptuous dance duet, “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” a classy, flowing number for Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye, in White Christmas (1954) reveals the choreographer’s signature moves. Alton [Easter Parade, There’s No Business LIke Show Business, White Christmas] could move bodies around a ...

Ain’t there anyone here for love? Ladies, let’s do this! 1

Dance · Film
Okay, Messrs Weinstein, Schneiderman, R. Kelly, Richard Meier, Charlie Rose and the rest of you sexual predator power-guys! Formidable glamazon Marilyn Monroe, in Jack Cole’s “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953) wants to share her version of gender politics. A big boomerang of woman power heading your way, back at ...

Whatever happened to Robert Aldrich? FEUD’s pattern of distortion 2

Film
by 
Breaking news: On May 6, 2018, the California Supreme Court received a petition to review the California appeals court decision to dismiss Olivia de Havilland’s lawsuit against television network FX and Ryan Murphy which reversed her original legal win that she had grounds to pursue her fight against how she was depicted in FEUD. The ...

Farber on Film: the strong cinematic women of TCM Fest 2018

Film
by 
In the year of #MeToo, it seems only appropriate that some of the most resonant films shown at the TCM Classic Film Festival had strong women front and center. Both onscreen and off, 100-year-old Marsha Hunt has long been an inspiring figure. Known for her principled stand against the Hollywood blacklist, which damaged her career, ...

Bullock’s Wilshire former retail glory @ Art Deco Society talk & screening 1

Architecture & Design · Film
A beacon of Art Deco wonderment, the iconic Bullock’s Wilshire Department Store still stands on Wilshire Boulevard. Designed by Parkinson and Parkinson in 1928, the legendary building is considered a preservation success story; it is now repurposed as the Southwestern School of Law’s law library. Eh. Okay. They dare not tear it down because among ...