SPY GAMES: Frank Tashlin & Doris Day Go Undercover

In the late 1960s Doris Day starred in two spy spoofs directed by Frank Tashlin; THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT(1967) and CAPRICE (1968). At the time Day was 43-years-old and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars but her career was in sharp decline. Critics seemed to relish taking potshots at the movies she appeared in while launching full-blown attacks on … Continue reading SPY GAMES: Frank Tashlin & Doris Day Go Undercover

BARBIE GOES HOLLYWOOD

I have a confession to make. I like dolls. A lot. I’ve been a casual collector for many years and I’ve also written about dolls for a few publications. I usually keep my fascination with classic films and dolls separate but it’s not easy trying to compartmentalize your interests. The film fans I’ve met often … Continue reading BARBIE GOES HOLLYWOOD

Knock Down the House (2019)

Knock Down the House is a sobering and uplifting account of four formidable grassroots female candidates (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin, Amy Vilela and Cori Bush) running for office against Democratic incumbents during the 2018 primary. This intimate documentary illuminates the obstacles these working-class women faced on the campaign trail while trying to navigate a political … Continue reading Knock Down the House (2019)

ANIMAL PASSIONS: CAT PEOPLE (1942)

But black sin hath betrayed to endless night My worlds both parts, and both parts must die. - John Donne, Holy Sonnet V (as quoted in Cat People) This year marks the 75th anniversary of Cat People (1942). It is hailed as one of the most influential horror movies made during the 1940s and thanks to its vaunted reputation among film … Continue reading ANIMAL PASSIONS: CAT PEOPLE (1942)

TELEFILM TIME MACHINE: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1972)

Eleanor Parker in 1972 The holidays can be a very difficult time for some. I know from firsthand experience that when you don’t have any family to rely on or any kind of financial security to speak of Christmas can feel like a national nightmare inhabited by drunken revelers, crazed shoppers, and merciless merchants. This … Continue reading TELEFILM TIME MACHINE: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1972)

Geneviève Bujold is ISABEL (1968)

Paul Almond’s ISABEL (1968) begins with a train journey across a snow-covered landscape. We watch as the film’s star, Geneviève Bujold, sits awkwardly in her seat and squirms uncomfortably in front of the camera’s unrelenting eye. She is biding her time by shuffling through a small stack of books and papers in an effort to fend off … Continue reading Geneviève Bujold is ISABEL (1968)

TOSHIRO MIFUNE, JAPAN’S JOHN WAYNE

During Toshiro Mifune’s impressive career in front of the camera he was often referred to as the “John Wayne of Japan.” Like Wayne, Mifune was a powerful and commanding screen presence and one of his country’s biggest box-office stars. His rugged good looks and macho posturing seemed to represent a distinct kind of masculine ideal … Continue reading TOSHIRO MIFUNE, JAPAN’S JOHN WAYNE

NIPPON NOIR: SNOW TRAIL (1947)

Senkichi Taniguchi’s Snow Trail aka Ginrei no hate (1947) begins with a bang. A montage of shadowy figures and fragmented images bombards viewers during the film’s opening credits while guns fire, alarms ring, windows break, trains whistle and sirens scream. We soon discover that three desperate men (Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura and Yoshio Kosugi) have just robbed … Continue reading NIPPON NOIR: SNOW TRAIL (1947)

MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI (2015)

A quick search of Filmstruck brought up an impressive 24 films featuring the late great Toshirô Mifune including Drunken Angel (1948), Stray Dog (1949), Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957), The Bad Sleep Well (1960), Yojimbo (1961), Red Beard (1965) and Samurai Rebellion(1967). Mifune was a giant in the world of Japanese cinema and although I’ve written a little bit about his background in the past in pieces such as Toshiro Mifune, Japan’s … Continue reading MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI (2015)

CREATIVE COLLABORATION: JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. (1988)

When Jane Birkin (Blow-Up [1966], Wonderwall [1968], La Piscine [1968], Don Juan (or If Don Juan Were a Woman) [1973], Je t’aime moi non plus [1976], Death on the Nile [1978], La Belle Noiseuse [1991])) was getting ready to celebrate her 40th birthday in 1986 she confessed to filmmaker Agnès Varda, that she had reservations about growing older. Varda, who was almost 60-years-old at the time, told Birkin … Continue reading CREATIVE COLLABORATION: JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. (1988)

HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST WOMAN OF PHOTOGRAPHY: RUTH HARRIET LOUISE

You might not be familiar with her name but you’re probably familiar with her work. Ruth Harriet Louise’s glamorous photos of classic movie stars have graced countless magazines and book covers. Her photos helped launch the careers of many beloved actors and they offered fans an intimate look at some of Hollywood’s most celebrated icons. … Continue reading HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST WOMAN OF PHOTOGRAPHY: RUTH HARRIET LOUISE