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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


What a happy guy! What is he grinning about? If you know the film, you know what he is looking at. Go ahead and share the name of the movie this fellow appears in...just type the film title in the comment box below. 

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Art of Kim Novak

Last Sunday, the CBS Sunday Morning show aired a segment about Kim Novak and her rarely publicized hobby: painting. The beautiful actress - who is best known for her roles in Picnic ( 1955 ) and Vertigo ( 1958 ) - uses art to relax and to express herself. As she writes on her website, “I never dreamed of becoming an actress or a movie star. As a young girl I won two scholarships to the prestigious Chicago Art Institute where I hoped one day to become a great artist."

Ms. Novak left Hollywood in the late 1960s to focus on art and continues painting to this day, at the age of 86. Her work was recently part of a 2019 exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. The exhibit describes her work as "impressionistic and surrealistic, [having] a dynamic effect where surrealism meets traditional realism".

It was an interesting Sunday Morning clip ( you can view it here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-art-of-kim-novak/  ) and after watching it, I wanted to see more of her work. Fortunately, she shares many of her paintings on her website - https://www.kimnovakartist.com/ - along with verses that she wrote to go along with them. 

Her paintings have a Southern Californian air to them and flow in all directions, much like the tide hitting the sand upon a beach. They are bright and colorful and feature a lovely mixture of pastels and watercolor. Ms. Novak is a wonderful example of someone staying true to their first passion and following their dream.

All images were obtained from Kim Novak's website where prints can also be purchased.

The Magic of Music

Finding the Way Back Home
Transformation - Nelson Mandela
Vertigo - Vortex of Delusion
River Dancers
The Tides of Humanity
Self-Portrait

Monday, January 13, 2020

From the Archives: Paradise for Three ( 1938 )


Mary Astor and Frank Morgan, two great actors, are pictured here in this origianl publicity photo from the delightful MGM comedy Paradise for Three ( 1938 ). Mary Astor as Irene attempts to woo the elderly Mr. Tobler ( Morgan ) on their holiday in the Alps.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Moon-Spinners ( 1964 )

In 1963, Hayley Mills, one of the most popular child stars of the decade, set off for Greece to star in Walt Disney's family-friendly adaptation of Mary Stewart's thrilling novel "The Moon-Spinners".

Mills stars as Nikky Ferris, a young girl who is traveling throughout Europe with her Aunt Frances ( Joan Greenwood ) to record folk songs for the BBC. They arrive at The Moon-Spinners Inn on the island of Crete where they stumble into a dangerous web of intrigue involving a handsome young Englishman ( Peter McEnery ) and a desperate jewel smuggler named Stratos ( Eli Wallach ).

The Moon-Spinners is a delightful mystery-adventure that combines an exciting plot with marvelous Cretian atmosphere. In fact, it is the location filming and exotic setting of The Moon-Spinners that truly lends the film its appeal. 

"They cannot have lied. The stars cannot lie." - Stratos
"Everybody lies when it serves their purpose, even the stars." - Madame Habib
Mary Stewart was a prolific British novelist who developed the romantic-mystery genre. Her books, most of which took place in exotic locations throughout Europe, always featured a young heroine who would find romance in the midst of a dangerous situation. 

Hayley Mills was quickly growing out of her childhood film roles and this was an ideal production that helped transition her into more mature teen roles. Her character Nikki is head-strong and capable, yet vulnerable enough to need to be rescued by the handsome tourist Mark, portrayed by Peter McEnery. This young English actor was making his American film debut in The Moon-Spinners and - while he didn't have the charm of James MacArthur or Kurt Russell - he was perfect for this role. Disney liked this affable young gentleman so much that he starred him in another feature the following year: The Fighting Prince of Donegal. 

Like most Disney films, The Moon-Spinners features an excellent cast of supporting players. Eli Wallach, with his dark glaring eyes, is ideal as Uncle Stratos, a "much lousy man" who would willingly commit murder in his desperation for wealth. The beautiful Grecian actress Irene Papas is given a small but memorable role as Stratos' sister, the owner of The Moon-Spinners Inn. 

Joan Greenwood, with her delicious purring voice, is Nikki's aunt. She spends most of her vacation worrying about Nikki's whereabouts, not even knowing that there is a crime being committed right before her eyes. Also in the cast is Greenwood's husband Andre Morrell in a brief part as the captain of The Minotaur, the fabulous yacht owned by Madame Habib, a role that was portrayed by the great silent film star Pola Negri. Walt Disney personally coaxed her out of retirement to make an appearance in the film and she delivers a grand performance.
John Le Mesurier is perfect as the English consulate who lives in a palatial manor overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with his discontented wife, the tipsy "Angel of Eastbourne" portrayed by Sheila Hancock. Paul Stassino ( Thunderball ) is once again playing a villain but most entertaining of all the secondary roles in that of Alexis, delightfully portrayed by Michael Davis. The young Greek lad who aids Nikki and Mark in their escape is actually an American boy! Fancy that. 

The Moon-Spinners is a family favorite in our household, a film that we always seem to watch shortly after New Year's Day. It is unlike other Disney films of the era because it doesn't feature much humor or any musical interludes but it does feature plenty of adventure ( the windmill escape and the fantastic ride through the King Minos parade in a hearst are highlights ) and a memorable musical score by Ron Grainer. “The Moon-Spinners Song” is especially lovely, evoking the sounds of a traditional Greek folk melody. It was written by Terry Gilkyson and is beautifully performed over the title credits by Gilkyson, Carson and Van Dyke Parks and other members of the folk group The Easy Riders.