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How to Marry a Millionaire

11202578_431658560339164_2132403556351165392_nThere are several “inside” jokes in “How To Marry A Millionaire.” Among them, the fashion show sequence when Marilyn Monroe’s character, “Pola,” appears in a diamond-encrusted bathing suit and the mistress of the fashion house states that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” a reference to Monroe’s hit film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Pola’s complaint that “men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses” is a play on the famous Dorothy Parker quip “men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

While “Loco” Betty Grable) is in Maine with “Waldo,” they listen to the radio and she insists that the musician playing is Harry James, who in real life was married to Grable. When “Schatze” (Lauren Bacall) attempts to persuade “J. D.” that she prefers older men, she lists “that guy who was in The African Queen” as one of her crushes. The star of that film, Humphrey Bogart, was married to Bacall.

Other interesting tidbits: Background sequences for the film were shot in New York City and Sun Valley, ID. Fashion  designers Charles LeMaire and Travilla received  Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design (Color) for their work on How to Marry a Millionaire. The film, which garnered excellent reviews, was a smash hit and grossed approximately $8 million dollars worldwide, a very big deal in the early 1950’s.

An item in an April 1954 issue of Variety  states that a New York City resident named Eveyln Paige filed a libel and invasion-of-privacy suit against Twentieth Century-Fox, because of similarities between the character of “Schatze Page” and herself. There is no record of the outcome of the suit.

How to Marry a Millionaire is the tale of three women bound and determined to wed rich men. There’s  resourceful Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), spunky Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable), and ditzy Pola Debevoise (Marilyn Monroe) who rent a luxurious Sutton Place penthouse in New York City from seemingly wealthy Freddie Denmark (David Wayne), who is avoiding the IRS by living in Europe. The women plan to use the apartment as a man trap for millionaires and marry them.

When money grows tight, Schatze pawns some of Freddie’s furniture without his knowledge. To their dismay, as winter approaches, the furnishings continue to be sold off as they have no luck and find themselves in a drafty nearly-empty apartment.

One day, Loco carries groceries home, assisted by Tom Brookman (Cameron Mitchell). who is very interested in Schatze, but she dismisses him, thinking he is poor.  She tries repeatedly to brush him off as she sets her sights on the charming, classy widower J.D. Hanley (William Powell) whose worth is irreproachably large. All the while she’s stalking the older J.D., Tom, who is actually very wealthy, keeps after her. Following every one of their dates, Schatze tells him she never wants to see him again, refusing to marry a poor man again.

Meanwhile, Loco becomes acquainted with a grumpy businessman (Fred Clark). Although he’s married,she agrees to go to his lodge in Maine, mistakenly thinking she’s going to meet a bunch of Elks Club members. When they arrive, Loco is disappointed to find the businessman was hoping to have an affair with her in a dingy lodge instead of the glamorous surroundings  she was expecting. Loco attempts to leave but, unfortunately, comes down with the measles and has to stay put until cured.

She is nursed back to health with the help of strapping young Eben (Rory Calhoun), whom she thinks owns most of the surrounding land. She has no trouble transferring her affections to the handsome outdoorsman and they become engaged.Finding out he’s just a forest ranger, a disappointed Loco realizes she loves Eben and is willing to overlook his financial shortcomings.

Meanwhile Pola (Monroe)  is being romanced by a phony oil tycoon played by Alexander D’Arcy. Extremely nearsighted, she refuses to wear glasses where men might see her, living by the motto, “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses.” (a takeoff of Dorothy Parker’s “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”) She falls for the  phony tycoon, not knowing he’s really a crooked speculator,  agreeing to go away with him.

 Luckily, Pola boards the wrong flight at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and winds up on the way to Kansas City having misread the sign for Atlantic City. Sitting next to a man—also wearing glasses—who thinks she’s “quite a strudel, ” she’s encouraged to wear her specs, too.

It turns out that he is the mysterious Freddie Denmark on his way to settle the score with the crooked accountant who got him into all that IRS trouble. He doesn’t have much luck with that but does better with love and he and Pola marry.

As bridesmaids, Loco, and Pola are reunited with Schatze just before her wedding to J.D. When she finds herself unable to go through with it and confesses  her love for Tom, he graciously understands and agrees to call off the wedding. Tom just happens to be a wedding guest so the two reconcile and marry, with Schatze still unaware that he’s rich.

How to Marry a Millionaire ends happily with the three  couples dining on hamburgers at a greasy spoon. Schatze jokingly asks Eben and Freddie about their financial prospects – which, to no one’s surprise –  are slim. When she finally gets around to Tom, he casually admits a net worth of  around $200 million and lists an array of holdings, which none of the others appear to take seriously. Calling for the check, Tom casually pulls out an enormous wad of cash and peels off a $1,000 bill,  telling the chef to keep the change. At that, the three astonished women faint dead away  as Tom and the men raise a toast to their unconscious wives.

Streaming for free on MovieZoot: http://moviezoot.com/movies/how-to-marry-a-millionaire/

 

Penny Serenade

12828984_526065304231822_2470349699581770488_oApplejack Carney pulls from a shelf an album of records entitled “The Story of a Happy Marriage” and places the song “You Were Meant for Me” on the Victrola. Julie Adams, Applejack’s old friend and owner of the album, asks him to turn off the tune and announces that she is leaving her husband Roger.

After glancing at the nursery, Julie restarts the song and remembers meeting Roger years earlier: The same ballad is playing over the loudspeakers at the San Francisco music store where Julie works. When the record begins to skip, passerby Roger Adams enters the store and meets Julie. The two begin to date, and while at the beach one day, Julie breaks open a fortune cookie, which reads “you will get your wish –a baby.” Roger, a confirmed bachelor who has no patience with children, hides his fortune, which predicts a “wedding soon,” and replaces it with “you will always be a bachelor.”

Roger, a reporter, changes his mind, however, when he bursts into a New Year’s Eve party with the news that his paper is assigning him to a post in Japan and asks Julie to marry him that evening. Knowing that they will not see each other for three months until Roger can earn enough money for Julie’s passage to Japan, the newlyweds kiss goodbye in Roger’s train compartment. As they embrace, the train pulls out, and as a result, Julie stays in Roger’s compartment until the train stops the next morning.

Three months later, when Julie is reunited with Roger in Japan, she reports that she is pregnant. Julie becomes concerned for the future of her family when she learns that Roger has lavishly furnished their house by spending advances on his salary. Later, when Roger inherits a small sum of money and announces that he has quit his job so that they can travel the world, Julie, disturbed by her husband’s financial irresponsibility, goes upstairs to pack. At that moment, a violent earthquake strikes, demolishing the house and causing Julie to lose the baby.

Roger and Julie return to San Francisco, and while hospitalized there, Julie learns that she will never be able to have children. Roger tries to console her by telling her that he wants to settle down and buy a small town paper, but Julie responds that a baby is all she ever wanted. Soon after, Roger buys the Rosalia Courier Press , and the couple moves into the apartment above the newspaper office, which is equipped with a small nursery. Roger hires their friend Applejack to manage the paper, but despite their hard work, circulation remains low.

Two years later, while Roger is working late one night, Applejack encourages Julie to adopt a child, and when Roger returns home, Applejack prods him into agreeing to consider adoption. When Julie writes to the orphanage to request a two-year-old boy with curly hair and blue eyes, Mrs. Oliver, the administrator, interviews the prospective parents and later pays a surprise visit to their home. At first disapproving because the Adams house is a cluttered mess, Mrs. Oliver is charmed by the little nursery and tells Julie that a five-week-old baby girl is available for adoption. When Julie and Roger protest that they wanted a two-year-old boy, the age their own baby would have been, Mrs. Oliver assures them that this is the child for them. Roger and Julie consent to see the infant, and when Julie falls in love with the baby, Mrs. Oliver allows them to take her home for a one-year probation period.

One year later, as the time for the adoption hearing approaches, Mrs. Oliver visits the family to update her records. When Julie admits that the paper has gone out of business and that Roger has no income, Mrs. Oliver solemnly caps her pen. Steeling themselves to return their baby, whom they have named Trina, to the orphanage, Roger bundles up the infant and proceeds to the judge’s chambers. When the judge denies the adoption, Roger, near tears, begs to keep the little girl, pleading that she is like his own child. Moved by Roger’s plea, the judge relents and grants the adoption, prompting Julie cheerily to proclaim that nothing can take Trina from them now.

Years pass, and Trina’s proud parents watch their daughter sing the echo to “Silent Night” in her school’s Christmas play. When Trina slips on a platform while onstage, she worries that she will not be allowed to play an angel in the play the following year.

The next Christmas, Mrs. Oliver receives a tragic letter from Julie, notifying her of Trina’s death after a sudden, brief illness. Julie confides that Roger is punishing himself for Trina’s fate and behaves like a stranger to her. At the Adams home, as Julie and Roger sit wordlessly in their living room, they hear a knock at the door. Julie answers it and finds a mother, frantic because her car is stalled and her son is due to perform in the school play. Julie and Roger offer to drive the mother and child to the play, and when the car arrives to the sound of children singing “Silent Night,” Roger gets out and proclaims that he never again wants to see anybody or anything that reminds him of Trina.

Julie’s thoughts return to the present, and she takes the record off the turntable just as Applejack climbs the stairs to deliver her train ticket. At that moment, Roger returns, despondent, but as he picks up Julie’s suitcase to drive her to the train station, the phone rings. It is Mrs. Oliver, calling to offer the couple a two-year-old boy, who is the image of the youngster they requested years earlier. Their faith and hope restored, Julie and Roger begin planning a new life with their son.

Applejack Carney pulls from a shelf an album of records entitled “The Story of a Happy Marriage” and places the song “You Were Meant for Me” on the Victrola. Julie Adams, Applejack’s old friend and owner of the album, asks him to turn off the tune and announces that she is leaving her husband Roger.

After glancing at the nursery, Julie restarts the song and remembers meeting Roger years earlier: The same ballad is playing over the loudspeakers at the San Francisco music store where Julie works. When the record begins to skip, passerby Roger Adams enters the store and meets Julie. The two begin to date, and while at the beach one day, Julie breaks open a fortune cookie, which reads “you will get your wish –a baby.” Roger, a confirmed bachelor who has no patience with children, hides his fortune, which predicts a “wedding soon,” and replaces it with “you will always be a bachelor.”

Roger, a reporter, changes his mind, however, when he bursts into a New Year’s Eve party with the news that his paper is assigning him to a post in Japan and asks Julie to marry him that evening. Knowing that they will not see each other for three months until Roger can earn enough money for Julie’s passage to Japan, the newlyweds kiss goodbye in Roger’s train compartment. As they embrace, the train pulls out, and as a result, Julie stays in Roger’s compartment until the train stops the next morning.

Three months later, when Julie is reunited with Roger in Japan, she reports that she is pregnant. Julie becomes concerned for the future of her family when she learns that Roger has lavishly furnished their house by spending advances on his salary. Later, when Roger inherits a small sum of money and announces that he has quit his job so that they can travel the world, Julie, disturbed by her husband’s financial irresponsibility, goes upstairs to pack. At that moment, a violent earthquake strikes, demolishing the house and causing Julie to lose the baby.

Roger and Julie return to San Francisco, and while hospitalized there, Julie learns that she will never be able to have children. Roger tries to console her by telling her that he wants to settle down and buy a small town paper, but Julie responds that a baby is all she ever wanted. Soon after, Roger buys the Rosalia Courier Press , and the couple moves into the apartment above the newspaper office, which is equipped with a small nursery. Roger hires their friend Applejack to manage the paper, but despite their hard work, circulation remains low.

Two years later, while Roger is working late one night, Applejack encourages Julie to adopt a child, and when Roger returns home, Applejack prods him into agreeing to consider adoption. When Julie writes to the orphanage to request a two-year-old boy with curly hair and blue eyes, Mrs. Oliver, the administrator, interviews the prospective parents and later pays a surprise visit to their home. At first disapproving because the Adams house is a cluttered mess, Mrs. Oliver is charmed by the little nursery and tells Julie that a five-week-old baby girl is available for adoption. When Julie and Roger protest that they wanted a two-year-old boy, the age their own baby would have been, Mrs. Oliver assures them that this is the child for them. Roger and Julie consent to see the infant, and when Julie falls in love with the baby, Mrs. Oliver allows them to take her home for a one-year probation period.

One year later, as the time for the adoption hearing approaches, Mrs. Oliver visits the family to update her records. When Julie admits that the paper has gone out of business and that Roger has no income, Mrs. Oliver solemnly caps her pen. Steeling themselves to return their baby, whom they have named Trina, to the orphanage, Roger bundles up the infant and proceeds to the judge’s chambers. When the judge denies the adoption, Roger, near tears, begs to keep the little girl, pleading that she is like his own child. Moved by Roger’s plea, the judge relents and grants the adoption, prompting Julie cheerily to proclaim that nothing can take Trina from them now.

Years pass, and Trina’s proud parents watch their daughter sing the echo to “Silent Night” in her school’s Christmas play. When Trina slips on a platform while onstage, she worries that she will not be allowed to play an angel in the play the following year.

The next Christmas, Mrs. Oliver receives a tragic letter from Julie, notifying her of Trina’s death after a sudden, brief illness. Julie confides that Roger is punishing himself for Trina’s fate and behaves like a stranger to her. At the Adams home, as Julie and Roger sit wordlessly in their living room, they hear a knock at the door. Julie answers it and finds a mother, frantic because her car is stalled and her son is due to perform in the school play. Julie and Roger offer to drive the mother and child to the play, and when the car arrives to the sound of children singing “Silent Night,” Roger gets out and proclaims that he never again wants to see anybody or anything that reminds him of Trina.

Julie’s thoughts return to the present, and she takes the record off the turntable just as Applejack climbs the stairs to deliver her train ticket. At that moment, Roger returns, despondent, but as he picks up Julie’s suitcase to drive her to the train station, the phone rings. It is Mrs. Oliver, calling to offer the couple a two-year-old boy, who is the image of the youngster they requested years earlier. Their faith and hope restored, Julie and Roger begin planning a new life with their son.

Streaming on MovieZoot.com: http://moviezoot.com/movies/penny-serenade/

Bus Stop

12697402_516653091839710_6826522936863091107_oIn the 1956 romantic comedy “Bus Stop,” a naive, rambunctious, overly enthusiastic and socially inept cowboy, Beauregard Decker, and his friend and father-figure Virgil Blessing take the bus from Timber Hill, Montana to Phoenix, Arizona, to participate in a rodeo. Virgil has encouraged the 21-year-old virgin, Beau, to take an interest in “girls.” Initially reluctant and frightened of the idea, Beau declares that he hopes to find an “angel” and will know her when he sees her. Making trouble everywhere they go, he continues his bad behavior in the Blue Dragon Café. There he imagines himself in love with the café’s singer, Chérie, a talentless but ambitious performer from the Ozarks with aspirations of becoming a Hollywood star. Her rendition of “That Old Black Magic” entrances him and he forces her outside, despite the establishment’s rules against it, kisses her and thinks that means they’re engaged. Chérie is physically attracted to him but resists his plans to take her back to Montana. She has no intention of marrying him and tells him so, but he’s too stubborn to listen.

The next day, Beau intends to marry Chérie after the rodeo, but she escapes. He tracks her down, and forces her on the bus back to Montana. On the way, they stop at Grace’s Diner, the same place the bus stopped on the way to Phoenix. Chérie tries to make another getaway while Beau is asleep on the bus, but the road ahead is blocked by snow and the bus won’t be leaving at all. They’re all stranded there. The bus driver, the waitress and the café owner by now all have learned that Beau is kidnapping and bullying the girl. Virgil and the bus driver fight him until he promises to apologize to Chérie and leave her alone. He, however, is unable to do so because he’s humiliated about having been beaten.

The next morning, the storm has cleared and everybody is free to go. Beau finally apologizes to Chérie for his abusive behavior and begs her forgiveness. He wishes her well and prepares to depart without her. Chérie approaches him and confesses that she’s had many boyfriends and is not the kind of woman he thinks she is. Beau confesses his lack of experience to her. Beau asks to kiss her goodbye and they share their first real kiss. All Chérie wanted from a man was respect, which she’d previously told the waitress when they sat together on the bus. This new Beau attracts Chérie. He accepts her past and this gesture touches her heart. She tells him she’ll go anywhere with him. Virgil decides to stay behind. When Beau tries to coerce him to go with them, Chérie reminds him that he can’t force Virgil to do what he wants. Having finally apparently learned his lesson, Beau offers Chérie his jacket and gallantly helps her onto the bus.

Streaming on MovieZoot.com: http://moviezoot.com/movies/bus-stop/

To Kill a Mockingbird

10-to-kill-a-mockingbird-mainThe film’s young protagonists, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch (Mary Badham) and her brother Jem (Phillip Alford), live in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930s. The story covers three years, during which Scout and Jem undergo changes in their lives. They begin as innocent children, who spend their days happily playing games with each other and spying on Arthur “Boo” Radley (Robert Duvall), who has not been seen for many years by anybody as a result of never leaving his house and about whom many rumors circulate. Their widowed father, Atticus (Gregory Peck), is a town lawyer and has a strong belief that all people are to be treated fairly, to turn the other cheek, and to stand for what you believe. He also allows his children to call him by his first name. Early in the film, the children see their father accept hickory nuts, and other produce, from Mr. Cunningham for legal work because the client has no money. Through their father’s work as a lawyer, Scout and Jem begin to learn of the racism and evil in their town, aggravated by poverty; they mature quickly as they are exposed to it.

The local judge appoints Atticus to defend a black man, Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), against an accusation of rape of a white teenaged girl, Mayella Ewell. Atticus accepts the case. Jem and Scout experience schoolyard taunts for their father’s decision. Later, a lynch mob, led by Mr. Cunningham, tries to lynch Robinson over Atticus’ objections. Scout, Jem and their friend, Dill, interrupt the confrontation. Scout, unaware of the mob’s purpose, recognizes Cunningham as the man who paid her father in hickory nuts and tells him to say hello to his son, who is her schoolmate. Cunningham becomes embarrassed and the mob disperses. It is undisputed that Tom came to Mayella’s home, at her request, to assist her with chopping up a chifforobe. It is also undisputed that Mayella showed signs of having been beaten around that time. Among Atticus’ chief arguments, he points out that Tom is crippled in his left arm, and that the supposed rapist would have had to make extensive use of his left hand in assaulting Mayella before raping her. At the same time Atticus demonstrates that Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell, is left handed, implying that he – rather than Tom – was the one who beat Mayella. Atticus also states that the girl had not even been examined by a doctor to check for signs of rape after the supposed assault. In his closing argument Atticus asks the all white, male jury to cast aside their prejudices and instead focus on Tom’s obvious innocence. In taking the stand in his own defense, Tom denies he attacked Mayella, but states she kissed him. He testifies he voluntarily assisted Mayella because he felt pity for her due to her circumstances. In a town where whites are viewed as superior to blacks, Tom’s sympathy for Mayella dooms his case, and he’s found guilty.

Atticus arrives home to discover from the sheriff that Tom has been killed by a deputy during his transfer to prison. The sheriff states that according to this deputy, Tom was trying to escape. The deputy reported that Tom ran like a “crazy” man before he was shot. Atticus and Jem go to the Robinson family home to advise them of Tom’s death. Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, appears and spits in Atticus’ face while Jem waits in the car. Atticus wipes his face and leaves.

Autumn arrives and Scout and Jem attend an evening Halloween pageant at their school. Scout wears a ham costume, portraying one of Maycomb county’s products. At some point during the pageant, Scout’s dress and shoes are misplaced. She’s forced to walk home without shoes and wearing her ham costume. While cutting through the woods, Scout and Jem are attacked by an unidentified man who has been following them. Scout’s costume, like an awkward suit of armor, protects her from the attack but restricts her movement and severely restricts her vision. Their attacker is thwarted and overcome by another unidentified man. Jem is knocked unconscious and Scout escapes unharmed in a brief but violent struggle. Scout escapes her costume in time to see a man carrying Jem home. Scout follows and runs into the arms of a concerned Atticus. Doc Reynolds comes over and treats the broken arm of an unconscious Jem.

When Sheriff Tate asks Scout what happened, she notices Arthur “Boo” Radley standing behind the bedroom door in the corner of Jem’s room; Scout recognizes Boo as the person who came to their aid against Ewell in the woods. Boo is also apparently the man who carried Jem home. The sheriff reports Bob Ewell was discovered dead at the scene of the attack with a knife in his ribs. Atticus assumes Jem killed Ewell in self-defense. Sheriff Tate, however, believes that Boo killed Ewell in defense of the children and tells Atticus that to drag the shy and reserved Boo into the spotlight for his heroism would be “a sin.” To protect Boo, Sheriff Tate suggests the conclusion that Ewell “fell on his knife.” Scout draws a startlingly precocious analogy to an earlier lesson from the film (hence its title) when she likens any public outing of Boo to the killing of a mockingbird. The film ends with Scout considering events from Boo’s point of view, and Atticus watching over the unconscious Jem.

Streaming on MovieZoot.com: http://moviezoot.com/movies/to-kill-a-mockingbird/

A Star Is Born

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In the star-studded original 1937 version of the romantic drama, “A Star is Born,”  Janet Gaynor, Frederick March and Adolph Menjou tell the tale of a young actress (Janet Gaynor) who arrives in Hollywood with hopes of stardom. A chance encounter places her under the wing of older actor Norman Maine (Fredric March). Adopting the stage name Vicki Lester, she co-stars with Norman in a major motion picture entitled “The Enchanted Hour.” The film makes her an overnight success, even as viewers continue to lose interest in Norman. Norman proposes to Vicki; she accepts when he promises to give up drinking. After the couple wed, Vicki’s fame continues to grow, but Norman descends into alcoholism, and she must decide between pursuing her dream and caring for him.

A stay at a sanatorium seems to cure Norman’s increasingly disruptive alcoholism, but a chance encounter with Libby gives the press agent an opportunity to vent his long-concealed contempt and dislike for Norman. Norman resumes drinking. Esther decides to give up her career in order to devote herself to his rehabilitation. After Norman overhears her discussing her plan with Oliver, he drowns himself in the Pacific Ocean.

Shattered, Vicki decides to quit and go home. Soon afterward, her grandmother shows up once she hears Vicki is quitting. Her grandmother tells her of a letter Norman sent her when they got married. The letter stated how proud he was of Vicki, and how much he loved her. Because of her grandmother’s words, and the reminder of Norman’s deep love, Vicki is convinced to stay in show business. At the premiere of her next film at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Vicki is asked to say a few words into the microphone to her many fans listening across the world; she announces, “Hello everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine.”

“A Star is Born” is streaming on MovieZoot.com: http://moviezoot.com/movies/a-star-is-born/

The Duke: A John Wayne Profile

John Wayne was the personification of a star.

John Wayne was the personification of a star.

By the mid-60s, after 25 years of stardom and superstardom, most people would mainly talk about John Wayne’s conservative politics, either pro or con, or about his having survived lung cancer, with the loss of part of a lung. Hardly anyone spoke of his acting, except to take it for granted or to minimize it by saying he “always plays himself.” But a surprising amount of care and work went into creating the persona known to the world as John Wayne.

Part of the charm of John Wayne, the man who was born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, in 1907, was his lack of pretension or self-importance. He had wanted, at one point, to be a lawyer.

The Iowa-born Morrison at one point wanted to be a lawyer.

The Iowa-born Morrison at one point wanted to be a lawyer.

First known as Duke Morrison (the nickname originated with a dog he loved named Duke), Wayne was very popular in school and college, a dedicated student, a football star, brought up under difficult and not wealthy conditions, who drifted into movies first as a goose-herder for John Ford’s “Mother Machree” (1928), and later as an all-around laborer, prop man, extra and bit player.

Duke Morrison was a good student, football player and popular in high school.

Duke Morrison was a good student, football player and popular in high school.

Then in 1930, the veteran director Raoul Walsh noticed Duke on the Fox lot, liked the way he moved and decided to cast him as the lead in an expensive, sweeping western epic, “The Big Trail,” one of the first films (and possibly the last for quite a while) photographed in wide screen.

Young Duke Morrison ...

Young Duke Morrison …

 

 

For his new job, Walsh decided the young man needed a better acting name than Marion Morrison, or even Duke Morrison; something more familiar, yet strong and decisive: And so John Wayne was born.

… becomes John Wayne.

… becomes John Wayne.

“Stagecoach” (1939) was the movie in which director John Ford — rejecting the producer’s choice, Gary ­Cooper, then a major box office attraction — decided to make John Wayne a big star. It was the picture that catapulted the actor overnight from grade-Z movies to the A-list. The opening scene was a very unusual shot for Ford, starting with a full figure of Wayne, saddle over his shoulder, a rifle in his hand. The camera then rushes into a close-up, and Wayne twirls and cocks the rifle in one flamboyant gesture.

John Wayne was picked over Gary Cooper for his breakout, starring role in "Stagecoach."

John Wayne was picked over Gary Cooper for his breakout, starring role in “Stagecoach.”

This film was the true beginning of Wayne’s amazing career, and of a series of leading-man performances in Ford pictures like “The Long Voyage Home,” “They Were Expendable” and “Fort Apache,” along with numerous other films. And then there was director Howard Hawks’s “Red River,” with Montgomery Clift (watch it on MovieZoot.com) in the older-man role that sharply altered his image and career. Said director Ford in amazement, “I never knew the big son of a bitch could act!”

"I never knew the big son of a bitch could act" was director John Ford's coment on Wayne's performance in "Red River."

“I never knew the big son of a bitch could act” was director John Ford’s coment on Wayne’s performance in “Red River.”

Wayne played a character a good 15 or more years older than he actually was, a single-minded man obsessed with a never-before-attempted, dangerous and exhausting cattle drive. It became the foundation for a series of performances that were a considerable distance from the easygoing good guy he had been accustomed to playing up to then.

Duke was cast in an even older role for “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949), and as the ultimate loner — in perhaps his greatest western, “The Searchers” (1956).

"The Searchers," thought to be Wayne's greatest role, also starred Natalie Wood and Wayne's son, Patrick.

“The Searchers,” thought to be Wayne’s greatest role, also starred Natalie Wood and Wayne’s son, Patrick.

Wayne’s innate likability came through to great advantage in the title role of his delightful and memorable Irish romantic comedy, starring with the late actress Maureen O’Hara in “The Quiet Man” (1952). Duke always complained that he had nothing to do in “The Quiet Man” until the big fight at the end; he was evidently not fully conscious of how much he brought to a role just by showing up. Though in other ways he was very well aware of what he was doing.

John Wayne with his 1970 Oscar win for "True Grit."

John Wayne with his 1970 Oscar win for “True Grit.”

Wayne won an Academy Award in 1969 for his role as Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.”

John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man."

John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in “The Quiet Man.”

 

 

Wayne and O’Hara attempted to reprise their roles and chemistry in the thinly-disguised set-in-the West “McClintock” (1963), which can be enjoyed on MovieZoot.com.

In 1957, at the peak of his career, he is reported to have said that the person on the screen wasn’t really him. “I’m Duke Morrison, and I never was and never will be a film personality like John Wayne. I know him well. I’m one of his closest students. I have to be. I make a living out of him.”

Wayne was a family man and patriarch of a large clan.

Wayne was a family man and patriarch of a large clan.

Next to his work, family life was another defining center of John Wayne’s existence. He was married three times and was the father of seven children. At the time of his death, in 1979, Wayne was the patriarch of a large clan, composed of seven children and twenty-one grandchildren.

John Wayne was wed three times.

John Wayne was wed three times.

Wayne’s first wife, Josephine Saenz, was the daughter of a Panamanian Consul in Los Angeles. They got married on June 24, 1933, and had four children: Michael in 1934, Toni in 1935, Patrick in 1938, and Melinda in 1940.

After a few years, the marriage was in trouble. Wayne practically lived for his work and was constantly unfaithful — most notably a twenty year affair with actress Marlene Dietrich — which his wife understandably found hard to accept. The couple separated in 1943 and a year later divorced

Belying his family-man image, Wayne carried on a twenty-year affair with actress Marlene Dietrich.

Belying his family-man image, Wayne carried on a twenty-year affair with actress Marlene Dietrich.

Wayne met his second wife, Esperanza Baur Diaz, nicknamed Chata, in Mexico, while vacationing there. They were married on January 17, 1946 and this marriage was rocky and volatile from the very start. Wayne met his third wife, Pilar Weldy (born Palette) in Lima, Peru in 1953, while he was scouting locations for “The Alamo.” It was part of a South-American tour, a gift from Howard Hughes, with whom he had a contract.

Younger than Wayne by 22 years, Pilar came from an upper class family; her father was a Peruvian politician. On November 1, 1954, the very day Wayne’s divorce became final, the couple got married. Pilar took an active interest in his career. She herself was an actress, although she did not pursue her own career. She bore Wayne three children: Aissa in l956, John Ethan in 1962, and Marisa Carmella in 1966; he was then close to 60 years of age.

Wayne's third wife, Pilar, was twenty-two years his junior. She bore him three children in 1966 when he was close to 60 years old.

Wayne’s third wife, Pilar, was twenty-two years his junior. She bore him three children in 1966 when he was close to 60 years old.

The third marriage lasted seventeen years, but in November 1973, a trial separation was announced. Pilar complained about Wayne’s lengthy absences from home, even when he was not working; he simply said that they had lost interest in each other.

Wayne with son, actor Patrick Wayne.

Wayne with son, actor Patrick Wayne.

In his last years, Wayne lived with his secretary Pat Stacy, but this romantic involvement did not get any publicity in the press.

In his later years, John Wayne found happiness with his secretary Pat Stacy.

In his later years, John Wayne found happiness with his secretary Pat Stacy.

 

John Wayne may have been a major star and audience favorite from 1939 till his death, but in fact his popularity continued long after: 20 to 30 years later he remained among the top five American film stars of all time. On one occasion, he said, “I’ve played the kind of man I’d like to have been.” And he did, creating the legend of John Wayne that still exists today.

 

 

To learn more about John Wayne’s life and career, ZootScoop.com recommends:
JOHN WAYNE: The Life and Legend
By Scott Eyman
Illustrated. 658 pp. Simon & Schuster.

 

Alfred Hitchcock: Lady Killer Extraordinaire

Alfred Hitchcock is celebrated as one of Hollywood's most popular film makers.

Alfred Hitchcock is celebrated as one of Hollywood’s most popular film makers.

Alfred Hitchcock, who was born in Leytsonstone, London, on August 13, 1899, was celebrated throughout the world as a genius. Classics such as “Rear Window,” “Vertigo” and “Psycho” have made him one of the most popular and celebrated of all film makers. He was also one of the 20th-century’s most enthusiastic practitioners of the creepy and sometimes warped practical joke.

As a young man, Hitchcock trained as an engineer.

As a young man, Hitchcock trained as an engineer.

Hitchcock, who died at the age of 80 on April 29 1980, admitted to Francois Truffaut in 1966 that “I do have a weakness for practical jokes and have played quite a few in my time.” Alfred Joseph Hitchcock’s pranks varied from ostensively harmless japes, through mind games, and on to sadistic humiliation. Some pranks were simply amusing. Hitchcock would often enlist a colleague to whom he would tell a tantalizing story in a loud voice while they were in a packed elevator. He would perfectly time his exit just before the punch line and then bow politely to the eavesdropping, frustrated passengers.

Hithcock in action – the world he loved.

Hithcock in action – the world he loved.

His targets were often people he had privately identified as “phonies” and “big heads.” Pompous guests would be invited to dinner parties where he would slip whoopee cushions on to their chairs before they sat down. Sometimes, the food would be served in the wrong order,starting with dessert. At one lavish meal, guests were disturbed to find all the food laced with coloring. They found it hard to eat blue soup, blue trout, and even blue peaches and ice cream. Hitchcock was fascinated to see how they would react.

The famed director was a world-class prankster.

The famed director was a world-class prankster.

Actresses were often the target of his “jokes.” When one unsuspectingly revealed her fear of fire to Hitchcock, he later played an elaborate trick on her, getting a technician to pump smoke into a telephone box after the door had been surreptitiously locked.

Early childhood experiences may have shaped Hitchcock's erratic behavior.

Early childhood experiences may have shaped Hitchcock’s erratic behavior.

All sorts of theories have been aired to explain his behavior. Some suggest he was damaged as a child when – at about the age of five – he was sent by his father William (a greengrocer) with a note to a local police chief, who locked the little boy in a cell. After about 10 minutes, the policeman released Hitchcock, saying: “That’s what we do to naughty boys.” Hitchcock later said he could never forget the fear of such a humiliation.

 

The director was raised in an affluent yet strict family.

The director was raised in an affluent yet strict family.

There was certainly an element of bullying. Assistant cameraman Alfred Roome had been the target of one of his jokes but exacted revenge by putting a fake smoke bomb under Hitchcock’s car. “You never saw a fat man get out of a car quicker,” he recalled. “Hitch never tried anything on me again. He respected you if you hit back. If you didn’t, he’d have another go.”

Hitchcock put his cool blonde leading ladies through grueling situations.

Hitchcock put his cool blonde leading ladies through grueling situations.

But what a lady killer. There he is, lurking with rotund grandeur at the very forefront of film greatness. There are lots of reasons to love Hitchcock, of course: the style, the guile, the pace, the pitch. Hitch – as he wanted to be called – knew how to frame a shot. But when it came to the ladies, it’s slim pickings. Indeed, that is literally what his women do. We’ve seen Doris Day, Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh, Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, and Eva Marie Saint pick their way through a range of awful experiences and deceitful pathologies so extreme you’d be howling with laughter, were the art of cinema not so very serious. There’s the vamp, the tramp, the snitch, the witch, the slink, the double-crosser and, best of all, the demon mommy. Don’t worry, they all get punished in the end.

Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma on their wedding day.

Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma on their wedding day.

Perhaps he was just an unaccountably strange man. It’s telling that he was a fan of black satirical cartoonist Charles Addams – another man who liked practical jokes – and Hitchcock himself called it the “humor of the macabre.” He believed it was simply a typically London form of humor, and used to say as an example: “It’s like the joke about the man who was being led to the gallows, which was flimsily constructed, and he asked in some alarm, ‘I say, is that thing safe?’”

Though eccentric. Hitchcock appeared to live a normal family life. Shown here, with wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

Though eccentric. Hitchcock appeared to live a normal family life. Shown here, with wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

He was never really pressed in interviews about his behavior. Asked on a TV interview once in 1972 about his pranks, the then 72-year-old Hitchcock became rather defensive, saying that he had never meant to “harm” or “denigrate” anyone. His wife Alma (with whom he had a long but mostly celibate marriage) admitted his practical jokes made her “apprehensive.”

Hitchcock's lust for actress Tippi Hedren was well-documented. Here, a still from "Marnie," showing Hitchcock framing a scene with Hedren and Sean Connery.

Hitchcock’s lust for actress Tippi Hedren was well-documented. Here, a still from “Marnie,” showing Hitchcock framing a scene with Hedren and Sean Connery.

His ill-treatment of Tippi Hedren during the filming of “The Birds” is well documented – using live birds to attack her, and himself behaving like a sexual predator – but he extended the odd behavior to Hedren’s at-the-time six-year-old daughter and future actress, Melanie Griffith. He gave as a gift a painfully accurate wax doll figure of her mother in a miniature coffin, dressed in the same costume she wore in “The Birds.” Years later, a grown-up Griffith said of Hitchcock: “He was a mother–, and you can quote me.”

For a good look at Alfred Hitchcock’s life and work, ZootScoop recommends the following books:

Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light
by Patrick McGilligan

The Alfred Hitchcock Story
by Ken Mogg

Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock
by John Russell Taylor

Hitchcock
by François Truffaut

Spellbound in Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies
by Donald Spoto

… and the record album, “Alfred Hitchcock – Music to be Murdered By

Alfred Hitchcock’s Leading Ladies Part 5:
Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren, last of the classic Hitchcock leading ladies.

Tippi Hedren, last of the classic Hitchcock leading ladies.

Tippi Hedren was the last of the classic Hitchcock leading ladies and starred in the last of his great films. In “The Birds,” she was a wealthy young socialite who travels to a seaside California town in pursuit of a new beau (Rod Taylor), only to find herself among the townspeople being pecked to death by swarms of seagulls. She next starred opposite Sean Connery in “Marnie,” widely considered to be Hitchcock’s final masterpiece. Hedren played a troubled young woman with a penchant for theft, with Connery as her boss-turned-husband who begins digging into her dark past. Hedren was hailed as a promising newcomer thanks to both roles, but spent the rest of her career struggling to gain her due respect.

 

 

With Sean Connery in "Marnie," considered Hitchcock's final masterpiece.

With Sean Connery in “Marnie,” considered Hitchcock’s final masterpiece.

Born Nathalie Kay Hedren, she was best known as a model when Hitchcock saw her in a soft drink commercial and signed her to a seven-year contract. The celebrated director fashioned her into his favorite archetype of American womanhood, the cool blonde, and encouraged press coverage that labeled her “Hitch’s new Grace Kelly.”

 

 

 

Hedren was a successful model when Hitchcock signed her to a seven-year contract.

Hedren was a successful model when Hitchcock signed her to a seven-year contract.

Perhaps most famous for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” Tippi Hedren is an actress of formidable gifts. Hitch himself said, when directing her in that classic film, that Hedren had “a faster tempo, city glibness, more humor (than another frequent Hitchcock heroine, Grace Kelly). She displayed jaunty assuredness . . . and she memorized and read lines extraordinarily well.”

Tippi Hedren is most famous for her role in "The Birds."

Tippi Hedren is most famous for her role in “The Birds.”

 

Plenty has happened to Tippi Hedren between then and now. The 85-year old actress has seen the release of “The Girl,” an HBO film based on the Donald Spoto novel “Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies,” (click on the title for more information) which details the famous director’s relationships with several film actresses, including Hedren.

Hedren terms her relationship with Hitchcock "sexual blackmail."

Hedren terms her relationship with Hitchcock “sexual blackmail.”

In recent years, Hedren has publicly discussed her working relationship with Hitchcock; according to the actress, Hitchcock made several aggressive sexual advances toward her while they were working on “The Birds andMarnie,” and when she rejected him, he treated her coldly. Under an ironclad contract to Hitchcock, Hedren’s career nosedived because the director would not release her to do other films. As she put it, “it was sexual blackmail. No sex for him, no work for me.”The Girlstars Toby Jones (Alfred Hitchcock) and actress Sienna Miller (Hedren).

Hedren’s later films include “Roar (1981), which she also produced; “Deadly Spygames (1989); and “Citizen Ruth” (1996). Additionally, she has appeared in several television movies, including “Birds 2: The Land’s End (1994). More recently, Hedren was cast in the film “I Heart Huckabees (2004) and starred in the TV movie “Tribute (2009), which aired on the Lifetime network and also starred Brittany Murphy.

Hedren produced and starred in “Roar," a film born from her fascination with lions. She also authored "The Cats of Shambala."

Hedren produced and starred in “Roar,” a film born from her fascination with lions. She also authored “The Cats of Shambala.”

 

 

Tippi Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith and grandmother of Dakota Johnson, the young actress who underwent intense media scrutiny as a result of her starring role in the steamy “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Hedren was married to Peter Griffith, Melanie’s father, for nearly a decade, from 1952 to 1961. She has since been married twice, to Noel Marshall (1964-1982) and Luis Barrenechea (1985-1995), and is married to Dr. Martin Dinnes, a renowned veterinarian.

 

 

 

Tippi Hedren with her daughter Melanie Griffith and granddaughter Dakota Johnson.

Tippi Hedren with her daughter Melanie Griffith and granddaughter Dakota Johnson.

Outside of acting, Hedren has been involved in various projects. Among them, she has dedicated her life to animal rescue efforts. In 1972, she founded the Roar Foundation and Shambala Preserve, an animal preserve outside Los Angeles. It houses over 65 animals. Shambala also became the home for Michael Jackson’s two Bengal tigers after he closed his Neverland Zoo.

 

Hedren with Martin Dinnes, a renowned veterinarian.

Hedren with Martin Dinnes, a renowned veterinarian.

But her most significant contribution that has changed the lives of thousands occurred when Tippi Hedren visited a Vietnamese refugee camp in California 40 years ago and the Hollywood star’s long, polished fingernails dazzled the women there.

When she realized what was happening, Hedren flew in her personal manicurist to teach a group of 20 refugees the art of manicures. Those 20 women — mainly the wives of high-ranking military officers and at least one woman who worked in military intelligence — went on to transform the industry, which is now worth about $8 billion and is dominated by Vietnamese-Americans.

 

 

Tippi Hedren's work with Vietnamese women transformed their lives and the nail care industry.

Tippi Hedren’s work with Vietnamese women transformed their lives and the nail care industry.

“We were trying to find vocations for them,” says Hedren “I brought in seamstresses and typists — any way for them to learn something. And they loved my fingernails.”

Hope Village, the refugee camp, was in Northern California near Sacramento. Aside from flying in her personal manicurist, Hedren recruited a local beauty school to help teach the women. When they graduated, Hedren helped get them jobs all over Southern California.

“I loved these women so much that I wanted something good to happen for them after losing literally everything,” Hedren related in a recent BBC interview held in a museum she is building next to her home. The museum includes Hollywood memorabilia, a few photos of the women at Camp Hope and awards she’s won from the nail care industry.

“Some of them lost their entire family and everything they had in Vietnam: their homes; their jobs; friends — everything was gone. They lost even their own country.” The Vietnamese gave the nail salon business a radical makeover, makinga basic “mani-pedi” no longer a luxury but an affordable weekly beauty “must-have” for countless American women.

Decades after the fall of Saigon, 51% of nail technicians in the United States – and approximately 80% in California — are of Vietnamese descent. And many are direct descendants of that first class of women inspired by the nails of a Hitchcock blonde who was instrumental in transforming their lives.

Tippi Hedren's work on behalf of Vietnamese women was recognized at a special awards ceremony sponsored by Opi Nail Products.

Tippi Hedren’s work on behalf of Vietnamese women was recognized at a special awards ceremony sponsored by Opi Nail Products.

On October 8th Opi Nail Products honored Tippi Hedren for aiding Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War and in developing Vietnamese participation in the nail industry. Her work was highlighted in “Happy Hands,” a short documentary depicting her efforts. Hedren added this award to the nearly 100 she has received for her humanitarian efforts as well as in the film industry.

 

To read more about Tippi Hedren, ZootScoop suggests:

The Cats of Shambala
by Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren: Unauthorized and Uncensored
by R.B. Grimm

Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies
by Donald Spoto

The Tippi Hedren Handbook: Everything You Need to Know About Tippi Hedren
by Emily Smith

 

Alfred Hitchcock’s Leading Ladies Part 4:
Janet Leigh

janet leigh headshot

Blonde beauty Janet Leigh had 60-odd film and TV roles to her credit.

 

Janet Leigh‘s most famous movie scene was so terrifying it put her off showers for the rest of her life. Leigh, who died in 2004 at the age of 77, insisted she always locked the bathroom door after seeing the finished cut of Alfred Hitchcock‘s “Psycho,” in which her character was slashed to death in a motel shower in what may be the silver screen’s most memorable murder.

 

 

Janet Leigh's shower scene in "Psycho" won her an Oscar nomination.

Janet Leigh’s shower scene in “Psycho” won her an Oscar nomination.

 

The blond beauty had 60-odd film and TV roles in a career whose highlights included playing Frank Sinatra‘s romantic interest in “The Manchurian Candidate” and Charlton Heston‘s abducted bride in Orson Welles‘ “Touch of Evil.”

Yet the shower scene in “Psycho” became Leigh’s defining moment, the role earning her an Academy Award nomination for supporting actress.

Among her sixty starring roles, Janet Leigh starred with Frank Sinatra in "The Manchurian Candidate."

Among her sixty starring roles, Janet Leigh starred with Frank Sinatra in “The Manchurian Candidate.”

 

Leigh played embezzling office worker Marion Crane, who checks into the Bates Motel and never checks out. Dressed as his own mother, psychotic hotel clerk Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) repeatedly stabs Marion in the harrowing sequence, which was accompanied by the shrieking violins of composer Bernard Herrmann‘s score.

“‘Psycho’ scared the hell out of me when I saw it finished. Making it and seeing it are two different things,” Leigh told The Associated Press in 2001, when “Psycho” was picked No. 1 on the American Film Institute’s top 100 list of most thrilling U.S. movies. “That staccato music and the knife flashing. You’d swear it’s going into the body. I still don’t take showers, and that’s the truth.”

As shock value, part of Hitchcock's plan for the movie was to have Ms. Leigh ⎯ a major star ⎯ die early in the movie.

As shock value, part of Hitchcock’s plan for the movie was to have Ms. Leigh ⎯ a major star ⎯ die early in the movie.

The scene left countless moviegoers sneaking the occasional peak around the shower curtain to make sure the bathroom was clear of knife-wielding lunatics. It also was a drastic departure from Hollywood convention, defying expectations of audiences who until that point had identified with Leigh as the movie’s main character. Part of Hitchcock’s plan was having a big movie star playing the part and dying early in the movie. That was the shock value.

Leigh had a classic storybook introduction to Hollywood. Born in Merced, California on July 6, 1927, she was attending the University of the Pacific when retired screen star Norma Shearer saw her photograph at a ski resort. Shearer recommended the teenager to talent agent Lew Wasserman, who negotiated a contract at MGM for $50 a week.

Dubbed Janet Leigh (her birth name was Jeanette Helen Morrison) she starred at 19 in her first movie, “The Romance of Rosy Ridge,” opposite Van Johnson, and her salary was quickly boosted to $150 a week. She became one of MGM’s busiest stars, appearing in six movies in 1949.

Janet Leigh was just 19 when she starred with Van Johnson in her first film, "The Romance of Rosy Ridge."

Janet Leigh was just 19 when she starred with Van Johnson in her first film, “The Romance of Rosy Ridge . “

Among her films: “Act of Violence” (with Van Heflin), “Little Women,” “Holiday Affair” (Robert Mitchum), “Strictly Dishonorable” (Ezio Pinza), “The Naked Spur” (James Stewart), “Living It Up” (Martin and Lewis), “Jet Pilot” (John Wayne), “Bye Bye Birdie” (Dick Van Dyke) and “Safari” (Victor Mature).

With Dick Van Dyke in "Bye, Bye, Birdie," Ms. Leigh showed off her comedic talent.

With Dick Van Dyke in “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” Ms. Leigh showed off her comedic talent.

Leigh had been married twice before coming to Hollywood: to John K. Carlyle in 1942, the marriage later annulled; and Stanley Reames in 1946, whom she divorced two years later.

In 1951, she married Tony Curtis when their stardoms were at a peak. Both their studios, MGM and Universal, worried that their immense popularity with teenagers would be hindered if they were married.

Teen idols Janet Leigh wed Tony Curtis in 1951, increasing their popularity among the bobby sox set.

Teen idols Janet Leigh wed Tony Curtis in 1951, increasing their popularity among the bobby sox set.

 

 

Aided by a splurge of fan magazine publicity, their appeal rose. They appeared in four films together, including “Houdini” and “The Vikings.” The “ideal couple” divorced in 1963. In her 1984 autobiography, “There Really Was a Hollywood,” (click on the title for more information) she refrained from criticizing Curtis.

 

 

 

Following their marriage, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis made four films together. Pictured here, starring in "Houdini."

Following their marriage, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis made four films together. Pictured here, starring in “Houdini.”

“Tony and I had a wonderful time together; it was an exciting, glamorous period in Hollywood,” she said in an interview. “A lot of great things happened, most of all, two beautiful children (Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis).” Her 1964 marriage to businessman Robert Brandt, Leigh’s spouse at the time of her death, was longer lasting.

Janet Leigh recalls her marriage to Tony Curtis as "a wonderful time together and most of all, for daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis."

Janet Leigh recalls her marriage to Tony Curtis as “a wonderful time together and most of all, for daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis.”

 

 

 

 

 

Leigh appeared in Jamie Lee’s 1980 thriller “The Fog” and co-starred again with her daughter in one of her last roles in 1998’s slasher sequel “Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later.”

In recent years, Leigh was very choosy about acting projects and except for her daughter’s flicks, declined regular offers to trade on her “Psycho” fame with other horror roles. According to a spokesman, as Halloween approached every year, she would be approached to do something tied into the holiday. But she never did that because she thought it would have cheapened it.”

Janet Leigh in her self-described "most favorite role:” mother to daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis.

Janet Leigh in her self-described “most favorite role:” mother to daughters Jamie Lee and
Kelly Curtis.

To learn more about the movie, the director and its star, ZootScoop.com recommends:

“Psycho: Behind the Scenes of a Classic Thriller”
by Christopher Nickens and Janet Leigh.

“The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught Americans to Love Murder
by David Thomson.

“Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”
by Stephen Rebello.

“There Really Was a Hollywood: An Autobiography”
by Janet Leigh.

 

 

Alfred Hitchcock’s Leading Ladies Part 3:
Eva Marie Saint

eva marie saint head image 1

Oscar-winner Eva Marie Saint was the consummate Hitchcock blonde.

“We know people like to be frightened or scared in movies,” says Eva Marie Saint, the actress who won an Academy Award in 1955 for “On the Waterfront.” But there’s something about being scared by Alfred Hitchcock. It isn’t when, he always said. That’s not the scary part. It’s what leads up to the scary part.”

Though an Oscar-winner for her “Waterfront” performance, Eva Marie Saint was easily more identified for the role of Eve Kendall in “North By Northwest, her only Hitchcock film.

 

 

 

With Cary Grant on the set of North by Northwest.

With Cary Grant on the set of North by Northwest.

She played a seemingly innocent woman on a train, who helps Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), a suave accountant wrongly accused of murder, hide from the police. Little does Thornhill know, she’s actually working for a shadowy syndicate that would like nothing more than to kill him. But when her own life becomes endangered by the same people, Eve and Thornhill conspire to stop a conspiracy involving hidden microfilm. And, of course, they fall in love. While Saint’s career was largely cast in the shadow of “North by Northwest,” she went on to further acclaim and decades later won an Emmy.

Eva Marie Saint doesn’t remember the first Hitchcock movie she ever saw, but the 90-year-old star does recall the most indelible Hitchcock movie moment. “I remember Janet (Leigh) and I were talking about it once, and she said she couldn’t take a shower without locking the door,” Saint told about “Psycho’s most infamous scene. “I said, I have a secret, I can’t either. I take baths. It was so dynamic and the music has so much to do with it.”

The musical score for "Psycho" cuts though the imagination like a knife.

The musical score for “Psycho” cuts though the imagination like a knife.

The music had everything to do with it thanks to the master of suspense and film composers such as Dimitri Tiomkin, Alfred Newman, and, of course, Bernard Herrmann, whose music for “Psycho slices like a steak knife through the popular imagination.

“When people think of a Hitchcock movie, it isn’t just the visual, it’s the sound,” Saint says. “It plays a crucial role in enhancing the movie’s tension.”

Eva Marie Saint has hosted Hitchcock's movie music concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.

Eva Marie Saint has hosted Hitchcock’s movie music concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.

In fact, according to Hitchcock himself, “There are so few good, honest murderers left. Most of them are hoodlums or neurotic wrecks with no sense of style or form and certainly no interest in good music. I realize there may be a few who whistle while they work but that is hardly the same thing. This modern notion that all murders should be performed a cappella simply has no historical basis. You don’t think Nero was fiddling for his own amusement, do you? Certainly not!”

Those are a portion of liner notes — written by Alfred Hitchcock — on a 1958 record album, titled “Music to be Murdered By.” Eventually, inevitably, it ended up on CD.

Alfred Hitchcock's "Music to be Murdered By" debuts October 5th.

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Music to be Murdered By” debuts October 5th.

But now this amusing oddity is back where it belongs, on vinyl. This week, “Music to Be Murdered By” (click on the title for more information) will be available on a big 33 1/3 record, with the original cover of the famed director holding a gun and a hatchet to his head.

The album has 20 tracks, including songs such as “I’ll Never Smile Again” … “After You’ve Gone” … “Body and Soul” … “Lover Come Back to Me” and the soundtrack to one of the great scare films of the era, “Circus of Horrors.”

Hitch doesn’t sing, but he does interrupt the tunes occasionally for some dry, morbid commentary, much like those famous interludes on his long-running TV show. With vinyl so big again, this is definitely one for the collectors.

In addition to “Psycho” Herrmann also scored Hitch’s, “North by Northwest.” It was the last of a string of classics the director made in the 50s, including Rear WindowandVertigo,” the films that are also famous for the string of “Hitchcock Blondes” like Grace Kelly, Doris Day, Vera Miles, and, in 1959, Saint, despite the studio’s insistence on using Cyd Charisse.

Says Saint: "Hitchcock didn't talk about acting. He worked with me from the outside in."

Says Saint: “Hitchcock didn’t talk about acting. He worked with me from the outside in.”

Saint recalls that “Hitchcock didn’t talk about acting. He worked with me from the outside in. My hair, my makeup, my shoes, my jewelry, my purse, my gloves, everything. And just from creating that exterior for me, he gave me the sense of a spy lady. But we never talked about emotion. He told me not to use my hands, I have a habit of doing that, and to lower my voice. And always, in my scenes with Cary Grant, look directly into his eyes, which was not difficult.”

 

 

By creating her exterior, Hitchcock gave Saint the sense of being a spy lady.

By creating her exterior, Hitchcock gave Saint the sense of being a spy lady.

When it came time to shoot her big kiss with Grant, Saint recalls she could only think of one thing. “I was hoping I wouldn’t step on his feet,” she confessed with a smile. “That was the scene on the train and we had to move like the train was moving and there was a still man taking photos while we were doing the scene. He was up about 12 or 15 steps, he got so involved in the kissing scene he fell off the ladder. He didn’t hurt himself so we can laugh about it. So then we had to do it again, which wasn’t bad.”

 

 

 

 

When it came to kissing Grant, Saint hoped she wouldn't step on his toes.

When it came to kissing Grant, Saint hoped she wouldn’t step on his toes.

Not bad at all for a woman who played opposite nearly every matinee idol of the 50s and 60s, from Paul Newman in “Exodus,” to Montgomery Clift in “Raintree County,” Warren Beatty in “All Fall Down,” and Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront.”

Her years studying first at the American Theatre Wing at the New School and later at the Actors Studio prepared her for that last one, an indelible collaboration with the Studio’s legendary founder, Elia Kazan, and American Theatre Wing alum Marlon Brando, who three years earlier had revolutionized acting in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

A Hitchcock happy ending.

A Hitchcock happy ending.

North by Northwestis one of Saint’s personal favorites. She still has a telegram she received from Grant and Hitchcock when the two legends were shooting the famous crop-dusting scene. “They sent a telegram from Bakersfield saying ‘Glad you’re not here.’”

 

 

 

With husband of 65 years, Jeffrey Hayden.

With husband of 65 years,
Jeffrey Hayden.

She and her husband, producer/director Jeffrey Hayden, will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. When asked what others can learn from their relationship, Saint isn’t sure how to answer. So she calls out to her husband. “My husband said ‘Patience, humor, and we’re all God’s children.’ I don’t know what that means,” she says, letting out a big laugh. “I am very patient. I take pride in being patient with my husband, my children, my grandchildren. I was patient about my career. I really did feel that if I worked hard, if I were out there every day making the rounds, something good would happen.”

 

 

 

"Patience, humor and we're all God's children," is Saint's husband, Jeffrey Hayden's formula for a successful relationship.

“Patience, humor and we’re all God’s children,” is Saint’s husband, Jeffrey Hayden’s formula for a successful relationship.

Saint continues to work and appeared last year in Akiva Goldsman’s film “Winter’s Tale,” a May-December romance opposite Colin Farrell. But she’ll always be best known for her work with Hitchcock and Elia Kazan. In a recent interview with NPR, she said that when she watches her old movies “It’s almost another person on the screen.”

In 2014, Eva Marie Saint starred with Colin Farrell in the May-December romance, "A Winter's Tale."

In 2014, Eva Marie Saint starred with Colin Farrell in the May-December romance, “A Winter’s Tale.”

 

 

 

When asked what the 30-year-old who appeared in Kazan’s “On the Waterfront would think of who she has become over the last 60 years, Saint responded “I think she’d be very proud. She was very fortunate. She met this wonderful man and they have this wonderful family and she is still with that wonderful man. I think the young girl would say ‘She worked hard. She kept her heart open for love in her life.’ And I think she’d be very happy for me because I’m very happy for me.”

Eva Marie Saint, at 90, considers herself very fortunate, both professionally and personally.

Eva Marie Saint, at 90, considers herself very fortunate, both professionally and personally.