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Harvey Vincent (Paris, France)

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Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1950]
Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1950]
Dvd ~ William Holden
Price: £3.50

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And the winner is.....?, 7 Sep 2011
The three serious Oscar contenders for best actress of 1950 were Bette Davis for "All About Eve", Judy Holliday in "Born Yesterday" and (of course!) Gloria Swanson for "Sunset Boulevard". Surprisingly Holliday won. It was said that Davis and Swanson cancelled each other out because they both played actresses. At the time there was some carping that Swanson did not deserve the award because she was merely acting herself while Davis and Holliday gave striking interpretations. Now more than 60 years later perspectives have changed. Denigrating Gloria Swanson's work displayed ignorance in the art of acting. When presented with this argument, Swanson said that she used aspects of herself in the role which included her fabulous career as a silent film star as do all good film actresses, but in real life she was far from Norma Desmond. When looking at these three films today, it is clear to me that Swanson rated the Academy Award (as in horse racing: by a nose). Hers is a highly complex role bordering on the ridiculous. Without the masterful collaboration of writer-director Billy Wilder she could have easily gone off the rails. Her totally integrated performance is pure cinema. Note the canny use of her eyes, her hands, every majestic silent movie gesture, the unusually intense inner concentration. In "Born Yesterday" director George Cukor shrewdly guided Judy Holliday in her first starring role, but the movie remains a crafty reproduction of Holliday's successful Broadway comedy. Writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, as much a woman's director as Cukor, gave Bette Davis in "All About Eve" the most sophisticated original screenplay ever written and directed her to give an astonishing performance. The hair-splitting difference between Davis and Swanson is that while Bette Davis PLAYS Margo Channing to the hilt, Gloria Swanson IS the extraordinarily eccentric, dangerous Norma Desmond. At the end of "Sunset Boulevard" after killing her lover the psychotic Norma proclaims: "The stars are ageless." So is Gloria Swanson's legendary performance and the bitingly brilliant movie that frames it.


Orson Welles: Hello Americans: v. 2
Orson Welles: Hello Americans: v. 2
by Simon Callow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.64

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welles 2 works, 7 Sep 2011
Having been flabbergasted by Simon Callow's first volume on Orson Welles, I had to read the second and was with him all the way until his recounting of "The Lady From Shanghai". I was hoping he would detest it as much as I. He doesn't, allotting what seemed to me a tedious description of its turgid plot. We get a summary of the critical response but not told how the movie fared at the box-office. We know that "Journey Into Fear" was fun to make but we never learn if the public and the critics had as much enjoyment other than a brief phrase that it wasn't a smash hit on its release. I'm carping. "Hello Americans" is an important, always absorbing, sometimes thrilling biography. Callow skillfully and honestly - often with brio and panache - wrestles with and succeeds in bringing to life a very slippery and highly complex multi-personality; which he does with almost unflagging generosity and gusto. This American did not know of Welles' fierce commitment to a liberal political credo that in many radio broadcasts he expressed fearlessly. I agree with Callow's keenly observed insights on the unfortunate shortcomings in Welles' personality, particularly his pattern of flight when it was obvious that he should have stayed to fight. A pithy sentence says it all: 'He was not his own best friend.' A lot of us are eagerly waiting for the third and final volume.


Detour - A Hollywood Tragedy: My Life with Lana Turner, My Mother
Detour - A Hollywood Tragedy: My Life with Lana Turner, My Mother
by Cheryl Crane
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Courageously revealing autobiography, 7 Sep 2011
Lana Turner and her daughter Cheryl Crane had to suffer Harold Robbins' lurid fictionalized best-selling account of their lives, climaxing in the sensational murder by fourteen year old Cheryl of her mother's gangster lover, one of Hollywood's greatest scandals. In "Detour" Cheryl Crane valiantly and heroically settles the account. Often moving, always fascinating, this is a first-class autobiography.


Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies
Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies
by Cheryl Crane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.89

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift for Lana Turner fans from her daughter, 7 Sep 2011
Having been obsessed with Lana Turner from the age of 14 when I saw her in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" this beautifully edited, intelligently balanced, fact filled tribute from Lana's daughter Cheryl Crane is the perfect gift for anyone who loves Hollywood Golden Age memorabilia. The often stunning photographs, many drawn from the exclusive Lou Valentino collection (also an obsessive Lana lover) alone make this book worth owning. What makes this coffee table edition so unique is the special quality of a daughter's respect and admiration for her screen goddess mother that is amply displayed on every page.


Notorious [1946] [DVD]
Notorious [1946] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cary Grant
Price: £4.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Hitchcock's finest film, 20 Dec 2010
This review is from: Notorious [1946] [DVD] (DVD)
Why do I find myself more drawn to "Notorious" than any other Hitchcock film? One reason is the extraordinarily vulnerable performance of Ingrid Bergman's Alicia. She is the epitome of old fashioned femininity, the classic damsel in distress. Her love scenes with the super cool, hyper-masculine Cary Grant are incomparable. Because Hitchcock never took a writing credit, one can forget that he himself conceived the scenario of "Notorious" and tailored it for Grant and Bergman. Ben Hecht has the sole screenplay credit, but all of Hitchcock's favorte themes are there. I continue to marvel at his directing, how his camera is always in the right place, capturing in crisp black and white the subtle narrative and visual elements that hook the viewer from the opening scene. In addition to Bergman and Grant, every performance is elegant, including Claude Rains' suave and world-weary Sebastian, the fugitive Nazi hopelessly in love with his beautiful American spy wife (Bergman). My favorite scene: Sitting in his Nazi mother's bedroom, he wakes her up and confesses his horrifying discovery that he is married to an American agent. His mother, superbly acted by Madame Constantine, has my favorite line of dialogue. Intensely jealous of her new daughter-in-law, she calms her son's fears that he will be murdered by his Nazi collaborators when they discover his situation. "They will never find out," she assures him. "You are protected by the enormity of your stupidity." What a gem this movie is!
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The Star Machine (Vintage Vintage)
The Star Machine (Vintage Vintage)
by Jeanine Basinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie Lore that's Fun to Read, 10 Dec 2010
Jeanine Basinger is that rare Hollywood historian who combines a unique, refreshing style with authentic research. My favorite chapter is the one on Lana Turner.


Topsy Turvy [DVD] [2000]
Topsy Turvy [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Jim Broadbent
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £4.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorite movies!, 10 Dec 2010
This review is from: Topsy Turvy [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy" is an absolute joy! For lovers of Gilbert & Sullivan a bountiful gift. I have seen it countless times. Never has a screen biography been crafted with such love, skill and originality. All the performances, including Jim Broadbent's W.S. Gilbert and Lesley Manville as his wife, are memorable. Like his wonderful film Mike Leigh's DVD commentary beams with intelligence, warmth and generosity.


The Men Who Made Hollywood: The Lives of the Great Movie Moguls
The Men Who Made Hollywood: The Lives of the Great Movie Moguls
by Michael Freedland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.29

2.0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment!, 10 Dec 2010
I totally agree with this review. I wish I had read it before I bought the book. Freedland makes factual errors that are indeed glaring, including one about the extraordinarily unique Radio City Music Hall in New York (my native city). The quality of the writing is at best mediocre; the chapter on Harry Cohn an embarrassment.


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