Monday, June 27, 2016
The Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon, co-hosted by In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies, begins, appropriately enough, on Ms. de Havilland's 100th birthday, July 1.
Here's Olivia de Havilland, accepting her Academy Award for Best Actress from none other than Jimmy Stewart.
While only able to participate in a scant few of the numerous classic movie blogathons out there these days, we're happy to contribute a post to this 3 day look at the six decade career of Olivia de Havilland.
We at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog will take a break from doing 16mm film presentations, don our "wordsmith" hat and review the 1937 film The Great Garrick, just one among Miss de Havilland's numerous wonderful films and among several exceptional classic movies directed in the 1930's by a favorite of Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, James Whale (1889-1957).
At this writing, the lineup of entries for the Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon is as follows:
All Good Things: Government Girl
B Noir Detour: The Dark Mirror
Back To Golden Days: The Heiress, Happy 100th Birthday, Olivia de Havilland - a comprehensive look at her life and films and A Pictorial Tribute To Olivia de Havilland
Bewitched With Classic TV: Olivia de Havilland’s television appearances
Big V Riot Squad: Olivia De Havilland On the Air
Caftan Woman: The Male Animal
Christina Wehner: The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex
Cindy Bruchman: Olivia de Havilland is in The Snake Pit
Cinema Cities: Olivia de Havilland's Oscar-nominated performances
Cinema Monolith: Alibi Ike
The Cinematic Frontier: Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
Classic Film Observations & Obsessions: Elegance On Television - Olivia de Havilland on “What’s My Line”
Critica Retro: : The Strawberry Blonde
Danny Reviews: Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
Dark Lane Creative: Lady In A Cage
Defiant Success: The Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn collaborations
Define Dancing: Happy 100th Birthday To Olivia de Havilland!
Goose Pimply All Over: To Each His Own
Hamlette’s Soliloquy: The Proud Rebel
In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Happy 100th Birthday Olivia de Havilland; her movie career and life story
LA Explorer: Devotion
The Last Drive In: Wishing a Happy Grand Birthday to Olivia de Havilland!
Lauren Champkin: Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian
Meredy.com: Not As A Stranger
Moon In Gemini: Gone With The Wind - Melanie Wilkes Deconstructed
The Motion Pictures: 5 favorite Olivia de Havilland roles
Movie Classics: Hold Back The Dawn
Movie Rob: The Ambassador's Daughter
Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Analysis of The Private Lives Of Elizabeth & Essex
Old Hollywood Films: Light In The Piazza
Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: They Died With Their Boots On and Princess O' Rourke
Pop Culture Reverie: To Each His Own
Portraits By Jenni: Dodge City
A Shroud Of Thoughts: Olivia de Havilland in It's Love I'm After
Silver Screen Modes: My Cousin Rachel
Silver Screenings: The Snake Pit
Smitten Kitten Vintage: Santa Fe Trail
Stars and Letters: Don't mess with Olivia de Havilland!
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: Olivia de Havilland - Beautiful and Tough as Nails!
Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: In This Our Life
Friday, June 17, 2016
Where does one turn, at this point between ennui and activity that always marks the period between Spring's end and the Fourth Of July? Why, the awaited return of the indescribably delicious and good for you KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival at Foothill College, silly!
Yes, that means yet another hallucinatory excursion through the irritated bowels of 20th century popular culture!
16mm films, the vinyl of visuals, formerly unwanted and unloved, now presented for your entertainment! Robert Emmett, host of "The Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show" on KFJC, hosts the festivities with rapier-like wit and cheesy door prizes.
Our overstocked archive is bursting at the seams with new material that demands another show, to show-off some of the coolest odd-ball films you are likely to see.
Curators Sci Fi Bob Ekman, Paul F. Etcheverry and Scott Moon of Planet X Magazine present a delirious deluge drawn from Our Celluloid Past and shall plug the all-16mm celluloid extravaganza on the evening of June 20, from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. PST with host Robert Emmett on the KFJC 89.7 FM Thoughtline show.
That means the usual suspects, starting with ancient commercials!
And the inevitable forgotten cartoons.
Cheesy Scopitones, of course, will be on hand.
As will uber-campy Soundies and Snader Telescriptions.
We'll also have serials (featuring psycho-robots and the hardest working guy in 1940's showbiz, Guy In A Gorilla Suit) trailers from schlocky B-films. . . no, make that Z-films.
Other KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival perennials include well-meaning but now ridiculous 1950's educational films.
Plus vintage movie theatre "snack bar" ads and kidvid gone wrong, terribly wrong.
Let's celebrate the Summer of 2016 the right way - Psychotronically! Bring your friends and have a blast!
The KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival
When: Saturday, June 25, 2016: 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Where: Room 5015, Foothill College campus
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills (El Monte exit off 280)
Why: We like cheesy movies.
How Much? $5 Donation Benefits KFJC. Bring $3 for Parking!
Parking: Lot #5
Public Transit: Cal Train and VTA
Info: Foothill College Transportation & Parking.
Arrive early, as the shows often sell out. Doors open at 6:00 PM.
Be there or be oblong!
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Totally stuck for a topic today, we'll go with monkeys (and Monkees) in the movies.
First and probably not foremost, there were the Snooky The Humanzee chimp comedies, noted in Steve Massa's Lame Brains And Lunatics: The Good, The Bad And The Forgotten Of Silent Comedy and a Trav S.D. post on Travalanche. Snooky wasn't the first ape headliner in movies - among many, there were Napoleon & Sally and Mr. & Mrs. Martin - but he was a hit. Chimp comedies were so big with moviegoers that there actually was a feature film titled Darwin Was Right, starring a simian trio.
The king of these monkeyshines was C.G. Chester's wildly popular Snooky The Humanzee series, which would be in demand through the 1920's, get reissued with music tracks well into the sound era, then sold to the home movie market via Castle Films and other 16mm purveyors.
To this we attribute the fact that, while Laurel & Hardy in Hats Off, horror guru Todd Browning's London After Midnight and F.W. Murnau's 4 Devils are still missing, lots of Snooky The Humanzee extravaganzas survive. As fate would have it, Huntley Film Archives has posted a slew of the chimp's adventures on YouTube.
Admittedly, Snooky's not exactly Chaplin or Keaton - or even Al Joy - in the comedy talent department, but there is something rather perversely funny about the simian's anti-social antics. The humor derives from the fact that Snooky is a bastard. No doubt the director of The Night Of The Bloody Apes grew up on this series.
In animation, of course, Walt Disney Productions, always on the cutting edge, preceded stop-motion genius Willis O'Brien's King Kong in riding the monkey bandwagon with this Silly Symphony.
Terrytoons in New Rochelle simply had to counter with a simian-filled epic, which looks pretty much indistinguishable from a 1927 Farmer Al Falfa cartoon, sans 15,000 Mickey Rats.
Then there's the Les Elton cartoon Monkey Doodle, starring Simon The Monk. Whatever Elton's independently produced cartoons lack in virtuoso drawing technique, they more than compensate for with imagination and originality. The animation of the dog in this cartoon reflects a certain oddball genius.
Also responsible for series starring monkeys: Paul Fennell's Cartoon Films Ltd., the modest but prolific Walter Lantz studio and the budget-busting former Disney animators Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, the 1920's Disney cohorts turned independent producers (for Warner Brothers, then MGM).
While the monkey stars of the Gran' Pop series by Cartoon Films Ltd. and Walter Lantz' Meany, Miny and Moe have the collective personality of a bologna sandwich, their cartoons are pleasantly enjoyable, if no great shakes (of a monkey's tail).
More interesting are Hugh Harman's Gothic and weirdly imaginative mini-series featuring the callow, innocent and obnoxiously moralistic "See No Evil See No Evil See No Evil" monkeys, who also possess the collective personality and charm of a liverwurst sandwich on pumpernickel bread.
In their silver screen debut, the "goodie goodie monkeys", whose motto is "not a single wild oat will we sew," co-star with none other than Satan, hot off an appearance with Krazy Kat in The Hot-cha Melody.
Good Little Monkeys is actually pretty darn entertaining and harkens back to such freewheeling Harman and Ising WB cartoons as I Like Mountain Music and Three's A Crowd.
The 1938 "goodie goodie monkeys" opus Pipe Dreams definitely anticipates the hippie era by almost three decades, especially the scene with the simian trio taking hits off a pipe like Dennis Hopper thirty years later.
Any letters between MGM brass to Harman demanding an explanation for this cartoon must be hilarious - and we all know darn well that Harman ignored them!
After the quixotic adventures in Pipe Dreams, the "See No Evil See No Evil See No Evil" monkeys would return for the 1939 spectacular Art Gallery, then be retired ignominiously.
Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog loves Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe - only every movie they ever made. Except for Marilyn, they get totally upstaged by a chimp in Howard Hawks' zany 1952 film Monkey Business. No doubt during production Cary had more than a few witticisms he uttered to friends regarding playing second fiddle to an ape.
One of this pop culture vulture's all-time favorites on TV was Nat Hiken's hilarious You'll Never Get Rich show a.k.a. Sgt. Bilko. The smart money is that the chimp in the following clip took direction far better than Joe E. Ross and Maurice Gosfeld.
Not exactly anyone's all-time TV favorite - other than the actors, writers and production crew that worked on the series and got regular paychecks - The Hathaways, starring Jack Weston, Peggy Cass and a bunch of chimps.
And speaking of the hippie era again. . . well, straight from The Wide World Of WTF, here's a musical number from Lancelot Link Secret Chimp. The show is funny, although we suspect that creators Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng took the 5th Amendment when asked about it. Frankly, it troubles this amateur musician that the chimps play the electric guitar than he ever did!
Hanna-Barbera's Banana Splits were to the Lancelot Link psychedelic band what The Turtles were to Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators.
The extremely funny punk rock band The Dickies made a career of playing cartoon theme songs enthusiastically and very very fast.
1960's popsters The Monkees were inspired by both The Beatles and the Marx Brothers and their very enjoyable TV show still holds up quite well (surprise surprise surprise, the surviving Monkees still sing and play most adeptly in 2016 and have a new album out). Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog has a soft spot for their feature film Head, especially the scene in which the Prefab Four are dandruff in Victor Mature's scalp.
Here they are in January 1967, then in a 1969 TV special co-starring Brian Auger & The Trinity. The latter in particular is a fitting showcase for Messrs. Jones, Dolenz, Tork and Nesmith.
The Goose Gossage style closer today will be a "monkeys in space" sketch from The Ernie Kovacs Show. Would happily follow it up with a "Pigs In Space" segment from The Muppet Show but it doesn't quite fit today's theme.
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Hot on the high heels of yet another very cool San Francisco Silent Film Festival, more fun and entertaining classic movie events shall rock San Francisco Bay Area screens in the month of June.
First and foremost, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum presents Charlie Chaplin Days on June 11-12.
As a prelude to the 19th Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival later this month, there will be great Chaplin programs at the museum, featuring Charlie's Essanay films, A Night Out (co-starring the hilarious Ben Turpin), The Champion, In The Park, A Jitney Elopement and The Tramp.
There will also be Little Tramp-related activities on picturesque Niles Boulevard all weekend. The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum has been doing terrific silent movie screenings and events for more than a decade and deserve your support! Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival is on June 24-26.
A week after Charlie Chaplin Days, on Saturday June 18, Bay Area Film Events will present the first of two Godzilla tribute programs - the second will be on July 30 - at The Historic Bal Theatre in San Leandro. We at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog love thunder lizards, providing they are not stepping on us or our cheap, crummy used cars - not to mention torching the cities we reside in.
Yes, we admit it, we're suckers for drive-in movies starring rampaging irradiated dinosaurs - even the redundantly titled The Giant Behemoth.
If King Kong Meets Godzilla has not been chosen for Tokyo's version of the National Film Registry for sheer entertainment value, it should be!
We're happy to see that special screenings of King Kong Meets Godzilla shall benefit Curtain Call Performing Arts.
Tough to pick among the many thunder lizard epics, which are all quite the radiation blast in big screen glory with an enthusiastic audience. This correspondent's nod - well, at least today - goes to the matinee and Creature Features favorites, Attack Of The Mushroom People and Destroy All Monsters. Big time ridiculousness! Big time movie entertainment! Big time giant malevolent irradiated creatures!
Closing this veritable June bounty of pop culture mayhem and generally questionable entertainment, last but not least, will be the next KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival on Saturday, June 25. New And Improved like 1950's era dishwashing detergents, the program will bring Robert Emmett of KFJC, curator/perpetrators Sci Fi Bob Ekman, Paul F. Etcheverry and Scott "Planet X" Moon - and an unsuspecting audience - back to room 5015 on the Foothill College campus in Los Altos Hills for another delirious all-16mm extravaganza.
All this talk of monster movies and the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival brings to mind Joe Dante's Matinee and the trailer for the William Castle style drive-in epic within the film. It's a fitting signoff for today's post.
Thursday, June 02, 2016
Well, Memorial Day weekend has passed and that means not just the Sharks battling the Penguins for the Stanley Cup and the Warriors going mano-a-mano with the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, but classic movie events throughout the month of June. These include the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Charlie Chaplin Days and Broncho Billy Film Festival at Niles, Bay Area Film Events' tribute to Godzilla at the Bal Theatre and the return of the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival on June 25.
Unfortunately, we will not be attending nearly as many of the programs as in past years and shall leave the lengthy write-ups to the numerous classic movie bloggers active at present - all of whom compose lengthy essays in the time it takes this correspondent to make a cup of coffee and come up with a title.
We shall make as much of the big screen fun, featuring cool guest presenters, acclaimed historians and gifted accompanists, as possible. Looking forward to the morning Amazing Tales From The Archives program and of course, all of the films of Rene Clair, who just a few years later made some of this correspondent's favorite early talkies (Under The Roofs Of Paris).
Also on the bill will be a screening of Fritz Lang's Destiny and tribute to Lang's artistic collaborator and wife, scenarist Thea von Harbou, hosted by actress and author Illeana Douglas. All at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog enjoyed seeing Miss Douglas, film buff, historian and granddaughter of Melvin Douglas, talk classic movies on TCM, as well as on a recent episode of Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast.
Of course, we absolutely must get our laughs and they will be supplied in quantity - yet again - by our pals Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton.
Buster shares the bill with the last word in wanton pie-throwing, Laurel and Hardy in The Battle Of The Century. Piano accompaniment for the Saturday morning L&H and Keaton program shall be by Dr. Jon Mirsalis, the accompanist, Lon Chaney, Sr. expert and film collector who found the long lost reel of Stan & Babe's laugh riot in the collection of the late Gordon Berkow.
Between shows, there will be numerous wonderful books for sale, and it's as tempting for a diehard classic movie buff to drop a ton of money on them as is it is for a famished foodie to go stone broke at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers' Market or Bi-Rite. The following tome on movie comediennes won't be there (it's not out yet - will be in the fall) but numerous remarkable books covering far-flung corners of film history will be up there on the mezzanine for the buying!
We attend the 2016 festival noting the untimely passing of Cinecon organizer and incredibly knowledgeable silent film expert Bob Birchard at 66 a few days ago. Bob was a good friend and helpful colleague to many of the authors and presenters who will be at the Castro Theatre this weekend. Randomly pick just about any book about silent movies and the early history of cinema and there will very likely be a bunch of rare stills and lobby cards that came from the collection of Mr. Birchard. R.I.P.
Check out this year's lineup at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival website. Buy tickets here.