“Forgotten Hollywood”- Head of the Class…

October 14th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`I am happy to once again appear on Celebrating Act 2 with John Coleman and Art Kirsch. We have a conversation about those iconic movie moguls during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#4, #3)…

October 13th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`It is time for the presentation of the understudy… the opening act… two can’t miss celluloid beauties. Both films provide poignant stories that make me shed tears each time I sit down to watch. These are two wonderful examinations on my Top Fifty favorite movies of the last two decades.

====================

~ #4 – STAN AND OLLIE (2018)

“`Two journeyman charactor actors take on the opportunity to portray the finest comedy team in cinematic history and they knock it out of the park. Such is the story of Stan & Ollie. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly capture the mannerisms and the iconic routines that made the team famous. The movie focuses Laurel and Hardy’s personal relationship while they embarked on a gruelling music hall tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland during 1953.

“`The production was ignored by the Oscars, but Reilly received a Golden Globes nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy.  Ironically, Laurel and Hardy earned an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Subject for their work on The Music Box in 1931;  extremely rare for film comedians.

“`Stan was the creator of their comedy bits, Ollie (also known as Babe) could also sing. Hal Roach paired the duo in 1927 in Putting Pants on Phillip. Some of their best remembered movies include Tit for Tat, Big Business, Sons of the Desert and Way Out West. In the latter flick, they performed one of their best moments on screen when they crooned Trail of the Lonesome Pine. This is beautifully recreated in Stan & Ollie. Other famous personalities featured include actors Jimmy Finlayson, Harry Langdon, and producer Bernard Delfont.

“`After Hardy suffered a heart attack in 1954, the remainder of the tour was cancelled.  They never performed together on stage again. After Babe’s passing in 1957, Stanley kept working on bits for the team. Curiously, his home phone number was listed in the Santa Monica phone book. He was called by a fellow who wanted to pay a visit to the iconic comedian. That person was Dick Van Dyke and it became the reason he entered show business. And so it goes…

   

~ #3 – LION (2016)

“`Lion tells the tale of a young man’s twenty-five year odyssey to find his birth family. An episodic motion picture that begins as a subtitled masterpiece and ends with tour-de-force performances by Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara. It is based on the 2013 non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. This is a production that has the feel of a Dickens novel with unsparing realism of its Indian first half, and a modern angle due to its reliance on Google Earth as part of the plot line.

“`Lion received six Oscar nods: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, and love for Patel and Kidman. Remarkably, Sunny Pawar (who plays the young Saroo) was snubbed during awards season.  He is the heart of the movie and his emotional strings tug at the most hardened of hearts. I was sorry to see him grow up.

“`The finale has a heartfelt punch. As a child, the protagonist mispronounces his name as Saroo. When reunited with his mother, she calls him Sheru; the English translation… LION! Hence the title of the film…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century Fave 50 Films (#6, #5)…

October 8th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`We are getting down to the nitty gritty of my  favorite fifty movies of the last two decades. Today’s choices are incredibly well-made productions. Sensational writing and outstanding acting make these a cut above average releases in any given year. Let us get to it…

====================

~ #6 – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)

“`Social media was in its adolescence when  The Social Network was released. It chronicles the rise of Mark Zuckerberg, who became the youngest media mogul on the globe. He refined the idea of how people would predominately communicate in the 21st century. In the spirit of cinema such as Network, A Face in the Crowd, and Citizen Kane, this production offers a glimpse of our collective future. It does not look pretty.

“`Without question, this is Aaron Sorkin’s essential work. EVERY word counts! The actors are handed volumes of word-heavy scripts. Jessie Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Max Minghella, and Armie Hammer (in dual roles) delivers. David Fincher creates a lightening paced narrative and he is one of two directors on my countdown who has two films in my Top 10 (The other – Mank). Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Eisenberg),  it garnered three; for Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing.

“`The Social Network is a snarky exploration of how Facebook was born and it is a searing indictment of what it inevitably became. Sorkin’s portrait of Zuckerberg was hardly flattering, but upon reflection after his many testimonies before Congress, the film may have been too sympathetic on the media giant.

“`The Social Network has earned a fierce reputation since its initial release, and is cited by critics as one of the most topical motion pictures of the century. A sequel is being discussed. Representatives of Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are holding their collective breath.

     

~ #5 – GET LOW (2009)

“`Get Low is the least-watched flick on my list, earning less than ten million in receipts.  Yet, critics who have sat through the movie found it to be visual poetry of the highest order. When released to cable platforms, PBS was the first to capitalize in presenting it to a viewing home audience.  High praise for truly forgotten cinema of recent history.  Like Harold and Maude, Get Low is destined to become a cult classic.

“`The eclectic cast includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, and Lucas Black. But, it was summarily ignored by the Oscar faithful. Duvall found the assignment so compelling, he co-produced the venture.

“`Get Low  takes place in the back-woods of 1930s Tennessee and it has the feel of hallowed cinema such as O Brother Where Art Thou? and To Kill a Mockingbird. Duvall’s character reminds us of Boo Radley, had he grown into full maturity. A multi-genre production, the film is an atmospheric mystery, tragic love story, and subtle comedy. Promising Young Woman and Parasite are recent examples of cinematic entertainment benefitting from a multi-genre approach.

“`When discussing the best actors of the last half-century, including De Niro, Hanks, Pacino, Bridges, and Day Lewis, Duvall certainly belongs in this conversation. And does Spacek and Murray ever make a bad movie? Just asking for a friend…

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Compliment to My Countdown…

October 4th, 2021

Manny P….

“`Art Kirsh and John Coleman allow me to promote my countdown of my favorite movies of the last two decades on Celebrating Act 2.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Gritcast…

October 4th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`You can get an intimate look at the behind-the-scenes and off-camera life of John Wayne. Ethan, the Duke’s son, is hosting a podcast about his dad. Called the John Wayne Gritcast.  The show promises to give listeners insight into the movie star that America idolized. New episodes drop every Thursday.

“`They promoted the show on the estate’s Instagram. The inaugural episode of the Gritcast dropped last week. It features an interview with Patrick Wayne, one of John Wayne’s oldest children.

“`Patrick, who starred with his dad in the western comedy McLintock!, talked about the film’s difficult shoot (including the famous mud scene),  and nearly freezing with his dad while being stuck in a terrible Arizona motel.

“`The Colt Single Action Army revolver that John Wayne used in True Grit and The Cowboys is up for auction later this week.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Best of California Visits the Alley…

October 3rd, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`So proud to join Pat Pattison on his Best of California cable program. Pat was on hand to witness the unveiling of the ChaplinKeatonLloyd Alley on Wednesday. His segment features the President of Cinecon – Stan Taffel; and the grandkids of two Hollywood legends – Charlie and Buster!

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#8, #7)…

October 1st, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The countdown continues of my favorite movies of the last two decades. Eddie Redmayne and Jeff Bridges are recent recipients for Oscars in great cinema: The Theory of Everything and Crazy Heart. They made a number of films over the last ten years, two of which are featured this week.

======================

~ #8 – MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (2011)

“`A sumptuous chronicle of the time when Marilyn Monroe traveled to England to co-star with Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl. My Week with Marilyn is based on two books by Colin Clark, the second assistant director who became a companion to Monroe.

“`The production features Monroe, Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Arthur Miller and Paula Strasberg, principal figures during this era of filmmaking. The movie’s cast includes Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Julia Ormand, Emma Watson, Derek Jacobi, and Redmayne (Colin Clark). Williams and Branagh received Oscar attention.

“`1957 was a transitional year for both Monroe and Olivier. Marilyn studied The Method Acting approach and yearned to be considered a serious thespian. Larry simply wanted to be a movie star by channeling Monroe and his wife Vivien as his vessels to stardom. Neither accomplished their desired goal with The Prince and the Showgirl. Career and personal setbacks make for compelling screen drama.

“`History tells us that Billy Wilder added to the Monroe mystique when he created Some Like It Hot, Marilyn’s next assignment. She received a Golden Globe for her work. Spartacus and The Entertainer were on Olivier’s horizon, with the latter earning Olivier another Oscar nod. Monroe would divorce Miller in 1961; Olivier left Leigh in 1960.

“`This moment in time represents a vanishing era of British filmmaking.

   

~ #7 – BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (2018)

“`A neo-noir thriller, Bad Times at the El Royale has the earmarks of a Quentin Tarantino production (it was not), without the feet. An ensemble cast with Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, John Hamm, and Chris Hemsworth. Sadly, the Oscars snubbed this flick.

“`The El Royale is a hotel separated by the California-Nevada border. Each of six characters are placed in a metaphorical purgatory and each must decide which path will offer salvation. The tale takes place in 1969 during the time of the hippie movement and the Tate–LaBianca murders and draws inspiration on morality from the techniques used by the Coen brothers.

“`This is actually a worthy companion piece to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (hence the Tarantino reference). The soundtrack is 1960s pop music heaven, with such nuggets as He’s a Rebel, Hold On I’m Comin’, Bend Me Shape Me, The Letter, and Bernadette. The flaw with the production is El Royale was marketed as a kind of a slasher film. There is a tension of violence throughout the movie. However, the deadly scenes have more a Hitchcock-feel to its approach, a throwback to a time when gore was suggested.

“`They even showcase a mcguffin (a plot device that appears vital when introduced), common in films, especially thrillers. In this case, a film reel implicating famous people in compromising situations. Though never said out loud, one of the Kennedy brothers and Marilyn Monroe might be the subjects on the reel.  The El Royale is modeled after the Cal Neva Lodge and Casino, frequently visited by Monroe and the Kennedy family. The audience is left to wonder.

“`From start to finish, El Royale remains a fast-paced psychological exercise on celluloid that crackles to its suprise ending.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Stan and Manny…

September 30th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`With the ChaplinKeatonLloyd Alley dedication ceremony in the books, I cornered Stan Taffel of Hollywood Heritage to put in context the importance in preserving landmarks that help tell Hollywood’s story. Kudos to Tim Greenwood of Magnolia Street Productions for documenting this moment!

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Day at the Alley in Pictures…

September 29th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`A great time was had by all who attended the dedication ceremony of the newest landmark in Hollywood:  ChaplinKeatonLloyd Alley at 1640 Cahuenga Boulevard.  This iconic location was the backdrop during the Silent Era in many movies and two-reelers. The most famous of these productions made at this locale include The Kid, Cops, and Safety Last.

   

“`A little clambake preceded the ceremony. The dedication featured remarks from members of Hollywood Heritage including Board President Brian Curran and boardmember and President of Cinecon film festival, Stan Taffel. Also in attendance, Los Angeles City Councilman and the new President Pro-Tempore Mitch O’Farrell. Offering heartfelt remarks were grandchildren of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jackie Coogan, and Harold Lloyd.

             

                                                                                  KEITH COOGAN – MANNY PACHECO 

“`Fellow KNX 1070 AM weekend traffic reporter Tim Greenwood documented the festivities and produced the interviews you will be seeing in days to come. We present a taste in photos that reprises the day.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley Honored

September 24th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`After a successful GoFundMe campaign, Hollywood Heritage is dedicating an iconic alley in Tinsel Town this Wednesday (09/29). Three of the greatest silent comedies of all time:  Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) – Buster Keaton’s Cops (1922) – Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last (1923) were filmed in the heart of Los Angeles at the unnamed alley running just south of  Hollywood Boulevard, from Cahuenga to Cosmo. As of this week, it will always be called:

“`Dedicating this site honors the legacy of great filmmakers, generates publicity and goodwill and creates a Hollywood tourist attraction. Each film has been inducted into the National Film Registry of the  Library of Congress as a work of enduring importance to American culture. This humble spot honors Hollywood’s brightest stars in three of their most famous movies.

“`You are welcome to join Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, the descendants of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd and local dignitaries in celebration of National Silent Movie Day. Hollywood Heritage has partnered with local property owners, community leaders, and film historians to ensure that this forgotten locale is recognized as one of the most significant backdrops in early cinematic history. The event begins at 2p. Arrive early to proceed through Covid protocol.

“`Here is a trailer that shares the history of the alley and the process to make this moments a reality. Hollywood Heritage received permission to display photos from these iconic movies.

“`I will be on hand to absorb the immense context of such a dedication.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#10, #9)…

September 23rd, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`We have reached the Top Ten of the countdown of my favorite fifty films of the last two decades. Ironically, the first two selections are in black-and-white, joining Cold War and Nebraska on my list. One of the two picks is also my top Best Picture film in the countdown. The other selection was my favorite movie last year.  Both are homages to the motion picture process. Let’s get to it…

====================

~ #10 – MANK (2020) 

“`A definitive look at Hollywood’s Golden Age, Tinsel Town’s golden child (Orson Welles), and possibly the finest movie ever made according to many critics and historians (Citizen Kane). Featured in this film are the likes of Welles, William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies, Louis B. Mayer, John Houseman, Irving Thalberg, and Herman and Joe Mankiewicz. It was directed by David Fincher, based on a screenplay by his late father Jack Fincher.

“`Despite its insider feel and snappy dialogue, Mank delivers first-rate cinema. Nominated for ten Oscars, it actually won more (two), Production Design and Cinematography, than Citizen Kane (one). It also received nods as a Best Picture nominee, for Best Director, and accolades for its stars, Gary Oldman (as Herman Mankiewicz) and Amanda Seyfried (as Marion Davies). Joe’s grandson (TCM host) Ben Mankiewicz has a cameo voiceover role.

“`Welles took credit for the penned work of Herman Mank and that is the premise of the work. Plus, the creative wing of Hollywood were constantly at odds with the financial sector. Citizen Kane caused a higher level of vitriol as Welles and Houseman directly targeted media magnet William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Davies. Hearst publicly campaigned against the film during award’s season and eventually derailed the career of Welles. One thing is sure… Welles and Hearst were both sides of the same narcissist coin.

“`As a dedicated cinephile, I offer that the essence of Mank is the stuff dreams are made of.

   

~ #9 – THE ARTIST (2011)

“`For decades, Hollywood has been re-imagining the What Price Hollywood? concept; the rise of one actor or filmmaker at the expense of another thespian who tumbles into ignominy. This premise is on display in each version of A Star is Born, Singing in the Rain, All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard, and the surprisingly sumptuous silent presentation of The Artist.

“`This tale focuses on the relationship between a rising young actress and an older film star as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by talkies. It stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. Both got Oscar attention, with Dujardin capturing a statuette. Like Mank, it collected ten nominations and won five:  Best Director, Best CinematographyBest Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. The initial silent production to take Best Picture was Wings in 1927; the previous black-and-white film to garner gold was Schindler’s List in 1993.

“`The screenplay took four months, inspired by the 1928 silent comedy Show People. The Artist evolved into a silent melodrama, the kind made famous by the likes of Mary Pickford, Lon Chaney, Gloria Swanson, and particularly, Douglas Fairbanks. The performance of Uggie the pooch is an obvious homage to the popularity to other screen dogs, such as Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, and especially, Asta in The Thin Man. The flick’s climax is set to Bernard Herrmann’s Scène d’amour from his score to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

“`Silence was golden in 2011!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- At Home in New Rochelle…

September 22nd, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Through the magic of radio, I spent the morning on John Mariani’s Almost Golden program. This airs every Wednesday at 11A (EDT) on WVOX 1460 AM in New Rochelle, New York. The topic of our conversation was the great movies of the 1950s.

“`Almost Golden remembers the past. The time was the 1950s and the places were the Bronx and Westchester County, in so many ways linked, in so many ways distinct. From rock and roll to country club dances, from Playland to Freedomland, from candy stores to college bars. John Mariani is an award-winning journalist who was born in the Bronx and moved with his family to Westchester. He was the long-time restaurant critic for Esquire Magazine, New York Times, USA Today, and the Westchester Gannett Newspapers.

“`The hour-long conversation focused on magnificent cinema, including  Singing in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Night of the Hunter, The Quiet Man, Around the World in Eighty Days, Anatomy of a Murder, Tweve Angry Men, Them!, All About Eve, Forbidden Planet, and more. Sometimes we agree on what were the best films, sometimes we disagree, and all with great fun!

“`WVOX is Westchester’s Soap Box, the last great community station in the nation. Click on the link below to enjoy the conversation.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

 

“Forgotten Hollywood”- One and Done…

September 21st, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`John Coleman and Art Kirsch have invited me to chat about one hit wonders; actors who win an Oscar and then disappear from cinema. The show of course… Celebrating Act 2

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- MGM Lovely is Gone…

September 16th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Jane Powell was part of the Studio Era as an actress, singer and dancer, who rose to fame in the 1940s with parts in various MGM musicals. Noted for her operatic soprano voice and a girl-next-door image, she was one of the last surviving actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Later in life, Powell was married to former child star, Dickie Moore.

“`At five, Powell had appeared on the Portland children’s radio program Stars of Tomorrow. She began singing live on the local Portland radio station, KOIN, and traveled the state for two years, singing and selling Victory Bonds.

“`As a teenager, she relocated to Los Angeles, where she signed a film contract with MGM. Powell’s talents were on display in a number of musicals.  She made her cinematic debut in Song of the Open Road.  Powell also co-starred in  A Date with Judy, Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Hit the Deck. Powell traveled to theaters around the country doing a vaudeville act, appeared on radio programs, and even performed at the inaugural ball for President Harry S. Truman on January 20, 1949. She and Roddy McDowall became friends while shooting a film, and remained close until the end of his life.

“`In the 1960s, Powell began acting in national touring theatrical productions. She also guest-starred on television shows, such as  The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder She Wrote, and she had recurring roles on Growing Pains, and on the soap operas, Loving and As the World Turns. Powell filled in as a guest host on TCM for Robert Osborne when on a medical leave from July 17th–23rd, 2011.

“`Jane Powell was ninety-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#12, #11)…

September 14th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Today on my countdown of my favorite cinema of the last twenty years, I present the two movies that just missed the Top 10. This had me thinking… Which movies just missed my Top 50? Here are the five productions (that I happen to love) that bubbled under this list of fifty:

#55  THE BOOK THIEF (2013)  —  #54  DOWNTON ABBEY MOVIE (2019) 

#53  ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (2020)  —  #52  ON THE BASIS OF SEX (2018)

#51  MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (2020)

====================

~ #12 – SIDEWAYS (2004)

“`Sideways drew attention and increased tourism to the Santa Ynez Valley wine-growing region of California’s Central Coast. The film is a celebration of what vineyards do to grow, caress, and distribute that creates an imagination of the palate. Similar productions with a comparative goal include A Walk in the Clouds.

“`Director Alexander Payne establishes a blueprint for a leisurely comedy-drama that unfolds as slowly as you sip on your favorite pinot noir. Nebraska follows this blueprint to perfection a decade later. The delightful score is playful jazz that adroitly adds to the presentation.

“`The always superb Paul Giamatti is offered a rare chance to take the lead in this work and is sensationally supported by Virginia Madsen, Thomas Haden Church, and Sandra Oh. In one of the most romantic moments ever put on celluloid, Madsen describes her take on the existence of a bottle of wine. She brings delicacy, sincerity and soulful strength to a grounded individual and gives the film its emotional integrity.  Madsen and Church earned Oscar attention and the movie garnered additional mentions for Best Picture, Best Director, and winning Best Adapted Screenplay.

“`After the film’s release in October 2004, merlot sales dropped 2% while pinot noir increased 16% in the Western United States. The global effect was a rise in overall wine consumption. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked Sideways as the 90th greatest script ever written.

   

~ #11 – LINCOLN (2012)

“`During Hollywood’s Studio Era, Paul Muni was an actor known for his tireless preparation for a prestigious stable of characters. Comparisons can be drawn with the recent efforts by Daniel Day Lewis. Displaying a mercurial intensity, he would often remain in character throughout the shooting schedule, even if it affected his health. A historian has suggested that his depiction of the president’s high pitched voice, his awkward mannerisms and even how Lincoln walked was quite accurate. And what would any countdown of modern films be without at least one Steven Spielberg contribution.

“`Tony Kushner’s screenplay was based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 biography, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and covers the final four months of Lincoln’s life, focusing on his efforts in January 1865 to abolish slavery with passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

“`Lincoln  garnered twelve Oscar nods and won two:  Best Actor and Best Production Design. Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and longtime collaborator, composer John Williams also received attention by voters. My one complaint, David Strathairn was snubbed for his role as Secretary of State William H. Seward, a powerfully restrained performance.

“`The impact of this production is immeasurable. Even though the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted across the country in 1865,  Mississippi’s formal ratification actually occurred in 1995 and was not considered official because the country’s archivist was never notified.  Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann finally declared the ratification official in 2013 just after the release of the biopic. This is a clear case of man-bites-dog in a historically amazing way.

Until next time>                               “never forget”