Johnny Machine: Bugsy 1991- A Gangster Goes Hollywood

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Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: Johnny Machine: Bugsy 1991- A Gangster Goes Hollywood

Bugsy from 1991, is one of not my favorite films, but also one of my favorite gangster films. Right up there with Goodfellas, which could be my favorite gangster movie and Casino. This is a great film and even though it is not completely accurate and it doesn’t advertise itself that way anyway, this is a very funny film. Warren Beatty, makes Benjamin Bugsy Siegel, seem like a very funny charming guy. Not sure if Bugsy was that way in real-life, or Beatty just makes him look that way in the movie, because that is how he wanted to play him, because he’s a very funny charming guy. But Beatty makes Bugsy look like a cold-blooded killer with another side to him. That loves his family and the people he cares about as well. But won’t stop to kill someone who gets in his way.

Bugsy, is about the career of Benjamin Bugsy Siegel. Who is a Jewish mobster from New York who operates out of New York, who is sent to Los Angeles on business. To become partners with Italian gangsters over there. To actually buy out their business there and take it over with those people working for him and his bosses back in New York. When Bugsy gets to Hollywood, he can’t find anything he doesn’t like about it and decides he wants to go into films as well. Which is where he meets his long time mistress Virginia Hill, played by the beautiful and adorable Annette Bening. She’s not just an actress and mistress, but becomes his business partner as well. That is the legitimate side of his business dealing with gambling.

Bugsy, is then sent to Las Vegas, which was still a hick Southwestern town in the early 1940s when this movie first takes place. To check out a casino there and to report back on it. And instead passes on that dump of a casino there and discovers that he could develop a casino industry with his own casino-hotel there. And make millions if not billions of dollars there and make Las Vegas a gambling mecca. All this stuff in the movie is completely true. Bugsy Siegel, had a lot to do with the development and economic success of Las Vegas. And a big reason why it goes from a town of maybe ten-thousand people back in the 1940s, to a big city of over five-hundred-thousand people today and one of the fastest growing cities and metro areas in the country now.

Bugsy Siegel, was not a good guy at all. He was a cold-blooded killer who had witness’s whacked and personally murdered perhaps twenty people or more himself for getting in the way of his illegal business’s. But Warren Beatty, does a great job of giving Bugsy a very likable charming funny side. That people could actually like especially if they don’t know he’s a gangster and personally responsible of the murders of so many people. This is a two and a half-hour film that is worth every minute. With a lot of great lines, with a lot of humor and not just from Beatty, but Annette Bening does a great job and so does Harvey Keitel as Mickey Cohen and so many other great character and actors in this movie. This is truly one of Barry Levinson’s best movies.

Paramount Movies: Sunset Boulevard 1950- An Aging Silent Film Star Attempts a Comeback With a Hack Screenwriter

Sunset Boulevard

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I don’t like using the word-perfect that often, because perfect is almost never seen and heard of, but Sunset Boulevard along with North by Northwest, is about as close to a perfect movie as anyone could ever see.

Great plot about a young almost wannabe screenwriter who at this point is desperate for work, so he can make his car payment. Whose on the run from repossessors and stops off at what he believes is an abandoned house only to discover that one of the top actress’s ever in Hollywood lives there. Which is how Joe Gillis (played by William Holden) meets Norma Desmond, (played by Gloria Swanson) otherwise they probably never meet each other. Joe Gillis, is considering giving up Hollywood and going back to Ohio and getting a blue-collar job. Norma Desmond, hasn’t worked in a while and the Hollywood studios no longer want her.

Norma Desmond, finds out that Joe Gillis is a Hollywood writer, struggling at that and owes three months back rent on his apartment, as well as a car he can’t afford. She knows he needs money, which is what she has plenty of and needs a job, which she has one for him. She’s not working now as an actress and doesn’t have any roles coming her way and decides to write her own script and get back into movies that way. And hires Joe to be his proofreader and to fix up her script so someone would take it and make a movie from it. Joe, is not impressed with the script so far, but believes he can work with it. Still has friends in Hollywood and has one his friends Betty Schaefer (played by Nancy Olson) help him rewrite the script and they work on it together.

Norma Desmond, is lonely and desperate to get back into movies and doesn’t want to live off her royalties and investments. She wants Joe to perhaps help her get back into the movies, but what I at least believe she’s looking for is male companionship and believes her script will get her back into movies. I don’t think it is ever clear that she thinks Joe Gillis, someone who she’s never heard of who can’t afford either his apartment or car and hasn’t worked in a while, is a talented writer and someone who has a future in Hollywood. Joe, needs a job obviously as well as money and I see them as basically using each other to meet their short-term interests. I don’t see them as a writing team that is going to write their own movie together.

Gloria Swanson, has just turned 50 at this point and so has her character in Sunset Boulevard. But Hollywood already sees her has washed up and way past her prime. Gives you an idea of how Hollywood sees the world different at least in the 1940s and 1950s than the rest of us. And in many ways this movie is pretty sad, because it shows how Hollywood treats its stars once they believe they no longer have any use for them and almost treat them like strangers and as people they don’t want to be seen with anymore. Gloria Swanson, is her beautiful and brilliant self now playing someone who s past her prime, but as an actress she still has everything going for her and is still the star of the movie. Bill Holden, is his usual charming and even funny self who mixes in clever humor in a very serious if not dark and depressing, but a great movie.

The Baltimore Movie Trailer Park: Airport 1970: The Start of The 1970s Disaster Movie Genre

Airport

Source: The Baltimore Movie Trailer Park: Airport 1970: The Start of The 1970s Disaster Movie Genre

The 1970s, was a crazy and very entertaining even with how gloomy and depressing a decade that it was. With the bad economy, Vietnam War, high crime rate and everything else. But one of few great things about that decade was the entertainment. Especially movies and TV. Terrorism was on the mind of millions of Americans, as well as what could happen if something went wrong with an airplane when it was in air and thousands of miles from a nearest airport. Soap operas were also very popular and common in the decade, as well as movies that combined several different genres and stories in one movie. Airport, isn’t a pure action movie, or action/thriller, or action/drama, or action/comedy, or soap opera. It was all of those things into one movie. With a great cast and a great director.

Airport, is essentially about what good decent intelligent people, who all have their own issues and problems outside of work, do when they’re all under extreme pressure. Like having a passenger on the plane who is so desperate, who is out-of-work and can’t hold onto a job, who needs money and believes there is nothing left he can do, but have himself killed so his wife can collect his life insurance. Van Heflin, plays a man named Guerro who manages to get a bomb on the plane. The General Manager (played by Burt Lancaster) of the airport, is no longer in love with his wife and as a result is now a workaholic who doesn’t want to go home at night, because he’s happier working all the time. Jacqueline Bisset, plays a head stewardess who is having an affair with a married pilot and is now pregnant with his baby. Dean Martin, plays the father of the head stewardess’s baby and his married and having an affair with that stewardess.

You have all of these decent intelligent people who are all very good at their jobs, but are all under enormous pressure and are all now dealing with an airplane that has a bomb on board by a man who is suicidal and wants to set the bomb off and the bomb does go. Off so you have all of these people who are already under enormous pressure now having to deal with a potential airplane disaster in horrible Upper Midwest weather in the winter, leaving from Chicago. And now also have to deal with the possibility of hundreds of people dying in a horrible plane crash. This is a very entertaining and very funny movie. Perhaps not so believable with all the side soap operas in it. But even great soap operas tend not to be very believable. And it is very entertaining and pretty funny movie with very funny people in it and a an all-star cast.

Movie Clips Classic Trailer Vault: 4 For Texas 1963- Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin Go West to Strike it Rich

Anita Ekberg, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ursula Andress
Anita Ekberg, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ursula Andress

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

To be completely honest with you, I only saw 4 For Texas and really only like it because Anita Ekberg Ursula Andress are in it and both look great in it. Anita Ekberg, Marilyn Monroe without the childish immature baggage of Marilyn and yet physically almost as adorable and might even be sexier. Because similar body and yet she comes off as a grown up. The same thing with Diana Dors, who is probably comparison with Anita than Marilyn. Not as familiar with Ursula, other than as Cat Woman from Batman, but she’s also a gorgeous sexy baby in this movie. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, are both funny in this movie, but what else is new, especially when they’re together. And they both have goddess’s for girlfriends. Frank, has Elya Carlson (played by Anita Ekberg) and Dean, has Maxine Richter. (Played by Ursula Andress) Good luck finding a movie where either Frank and Dean weren’t in where they weren’t working with a goddess.

As far as the movie, Frank and Dean, both play bank robbers in Texas. Both going after the same hundred-thousand-dollars that is being transported by stagecoach in the 1870s in Galveston, Texas. Both have dreams of opening up their own casinos and going straight. (So to speak) The problem is they both want the same hundred-grand and don’t want to share it. Another problem that they have is that there’s this outlaw named Matson, (no first name given) who is after the same money. So Zach (played by Frank) and Joe (played by Dean) decide to become partners temporarily to knock off the Matson Gang. Again this is not a great movie, but because of the four stars in it and then add Charles Bronson and Victor Buono, the Three Stooges make a cameo and you’re talking about a very entertaining and even funny movie. But without Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress, I’m probably not watching much of it.
Movie Clips Trailer Vault: Four For Texas 1963 Trailer

Paramount Pictures: Where Love Has Gone 1964: What Happens to a Family When They Lose Their Love

Mike Connors, Joey Heatherton, Susan Hayward
Mike Connors, Joey Heatherton, Susan Hayward

Source: Paramount Pictures: Where Love Has Gone 1964: What Happens to a Family When They Lose Their Love

I haven’t thought about this, until I just read it, but if you’re familiar with the great Lana Turner, (as an actress and goddess) and you’re familiar with Where Love Has Gone from 1964, the story about Valerie Hayden’s daughter Danielle Miller (played by Joey Heatherton) who ends up killing her mother’s boyfriend, is very similar to Lana’s daughter Cheryl Krane, who ends up killing her mother’s boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. The Stompanato killing, happened in real-life and both killings happened when the killer’s mother is involved in a dispute with their boyfriend. I’m not an expert on Lana Turner, most of what I’ve learned about her has been in the last two years. But she lived a crazy life as if she was always drunk or something and didn’t know what the hell she was doing. Valerie Hayden, (played by the great Susan Hayward) lives a similar life as Lana in this movie.

As far as this movie. Great movie! It is very dramatic, if not traumatic when you’re talking about a family that is led by a very overprotective mother, (played by Bette Davis) who is always making moves regarding her daughter’s life and makes those moves on her behalf and rarely if ever consults her daughter about what she’s doing for her. And as a result her daughter even though she’s this gorgeous, baby-faced adorable, sexy, intelligent, talented women, ends up being somewhat immature and irresponsible. Because her mother has a lot of control over her own life. She meets World War II U.S. Army hero Luke Miller played by Mike Connors and falls in love with and perhaps hoping she can find some independence from her mother. They get married, but now Mrs. Hayden, (played by Bette Davis) wants to control her daughter and her new son-in law. And has him blacklisted so he has no other choice, but to work for her company.

Again, this is a very dramatic if not traumatic movie and yet its pretty funny as well. And maybe that just because of Susan Hayward, who had this Liz Taylor quality of being able to combine drama, with comedy and humor. Who plays a very adorable and immature irresponsible women, who goes too far, because now she’s married to man who has just gotten out of the U.S. Army and fought in World War II. Whose use to giving orders, not taking them. Who doesn’t have any patience for the games and soap opera tactics of her wife and mother in law. This was never a relationship that was designed to work out. The Miller’s, get divorced, Luke is out of the picture and has no input with how his daughter is raised and Valerie (played by Susan Hayward) finds a new man before she dumps her husband and that is how her boyfriend gets killed. Because she has a fight with him with her daughter stepping in to end the fight and kills her mother’s boyfriend.

I think Where Love Has Gone, is also a very entertaining and funny movie, especially if you’re familiar with life of Lana Turner, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. Gorgeous, adorable, talented and yet immature and irresponsible women. Whose always involved with the wrong man while having young daughter to take care of. In Lana’s case, Italian gangster Johnny Stompanato. Valerie, gets involved with a man after Luke Miller, who isn’t a good man and he ends up being killed by her daughter. Luke Miller, by most accounts is a good man, but he only gets back in his daughter’s life after she’s charged with her murder of her mother’s boyfriend. This movie looks like a great soap opera. With a lot of great drama, writing, acting and humor, which all great soap operas have and I’m a big fan of it.

Marilyn Monroe History: AMC’s Backstory: The Making Of The Seven Year Itch

Tom Ewell & Marilyn Monroe
Tom Ewell & Marilyn Monroe

Source: Marilyn Monroe History: AMC’s Backstory: The Making Of The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch is not one of my favorite movies. It’s a very good funny movie that is at least ten-years ahead of its time, but it’s not one of my favorites. But what I think I like most about it is that its a 1950s movie that takes on the 1950s. Here is this country called the United States of America that’s supposed to be this great land of freedom and everything and yet Americans back then weren’t free to be Americans. They couldn’t be themselves and didn’t have the freedom to be who they were and talk about what they were interested in and live their own lives for fear of censorship. And perhaps not being able to find jobs if they were who they actually were and moved away from the 1950s culturally conservative box where all Americans were supposed to be the same way.

Sex and adultery and of course humor about those things, of course they went on back then. They just weren’t done in public at least on TV and in films. The Seven Year Itch changed that by bringing out adultery and sex in the public. To show how men act and what they think about when their wife is out-of-town and they’re home alone and there’s a hot sexy women nearby whose very friendly. And who would essentially let the guy do whatever he wants with her, because she’s open to practically anything. The Seven Year Itch didn’t end the culturally conservative bubble of the 1950s. But it did show Americans that these things happen even though everyone knew that and that there wasn’t anything wrong with talking about it. The political correctness movement back then was basically dominated by what would be called the Christian-Right today and The Seven Year Itch took them on.

You could have a man with the most beautiful wife possible, who loves her and loves his kids and doesn’t want to lose them, or his wife. But we all think about other women especially hot sexy women like Marilyn Monroe, or anyone else and when our girlfriend, or wife is not there for whatever reason like perhaps visiting family out-of-town and another hot sexy women comes into the picture and she’s very friendly and shows an interest in him, or course the guy is going to think about her. And throw out ideas like, “I’ll have her over for one drink, who’ll be hurt by it? I’ll invite her out for dinner. It will be very neighborly. Besides my wife will never know anyway.” And that is what the Tom Ewell character does in this movie. He essentially fantasizes about what would life be like with another beautiful women.

Drew David: Myra Breckinridge AMC Backstory 2001: The Making of a Legendary Comedy

Myra Breckinridge
Myra Breckinridge

Source: Drew David: Myra Breckinridge AMC Backstory 2001: The Making of a Legendary Comedy

Myra Breckinridge is one of those movies that looks better as it ages, because it was so ahead of its time. I think the makers of the film calculated wrong thinking that this is a 1970 movie probably made in 1969 and that this movie would be perfect for its time in the 1960s and the cultural and sexual revolutions. With young Americans experimenting and trying all sorts of different things even when it came to their sexuality. But very few people were talking about transgender sexuality and sex changes back then. It was very new and then you throw in all the pornography in the movie (which I personally don’t have a problem with) and it was a tough movie for a lot of people to see which is why it was a financial flop when it came out.

If this movie came out 25-30 years later perhaps even 20 years I think this movie would have been very successful. (Especially on Cinemax) I’ve seen this movie like ten times now and have blogged about it multiple times and it was one of my favorite comedies. I’m laughing through most of this movie with Raquel Welch being at her hottest, sexiest and cutest, all in the same movie. She was so funny in this movie and this is where you really get to see her sense of humor and great comedic timing. John Huston playing Buck Naked, I mean Buck Loner in this movie a sex starved, or sex addict head of an acting school. (Of all things) Getting blow jobs and sexual massages on the job and trying to run his school at the same time.

And of course you can’t talk about Myra Breckinridge without talking about Mae West. Where she also plays a sex starved star in the movie a man-loving women who can’t spend more than five seconds with a young stud (Tom Selleck) without making a pass at him. And of course you get to see Mae sing Hard to Handle which was perfect for her and her character in this movie. And of course Gore Vidal with without his book with the same title this movie isn’t made. (Which might not have been a bad thing) But his great comedic ability and willingness to take big risks is how he writes the book that he did and how this movie gets made. I believe movies are judged by how they look as the years go by and later in history. And Myra Breckinridge to me looks like a great comedy.