Gilda, is a very good if not great movie that is sort of a great soap opera or dramatic comedy that has everything from mystery, to crime drama, to comedy even. But if you take Rita Hayworth out of the movie and replace her with an ordinary looking woman, or a woman who is pretty and maybe even sweet looking as well, but nothing special, I believe Gilda becomes a very mediocre movie. I believe there a lot of guys who could’ve played the Johnny character ( played by Glenn Ford ) and I believe Ford does a great job as well, but a lot of guys could’ve played Johnny.
Imagine Myra Breckinridge without Raquel Welch or Hart to Hart without Stefanie Powers, The Killers without Ava Gardner, they would still be good movies perhaps, Hart to Hart perhaps not because I don’t believe would be a good show without Stefanie Powers, but there certain actresses and actors that without them the complexion of the movie or show changes dramatically. Sort of like a great basketball team without a certain player on the team, because they have this presence that is not just memorable, but unforgettable.
Rita Hayworth wasn’t called The Love Goddess because someone in Hollywood went through a whole book of nicknames to give a random actress and decided that The Love Goddess was the best from the book to give any actress. She was The Love Goddess because millions of men in America and outside of America all wanted her and to be with her and be the Mr. Rita Hayworth the top pinup from the 1940s, a big reason why millions of American soldiers wanted to return from Europe and Japan in the 1940s and come back to America to see and listen to Rita Hayworth.
When think of Hollywood Babydoll Lana Turner, ( which is exactly what she was ) I think of the Queen of the Hollywood Soap Stars. Meaning, her only real experience in soap operas, was being on Falcon Crest in the 1980s, but she lived the life of a soap opera character and star. What would be called today a reality star. She lived on the tabloids with all her different marriages and breakups, she dated an Italian gangster putting her personal as well as her daughter Cheryl Crane’s safety always at risk every time she was seen with Johnny Stompanato.
Her daughter goes on trial for murdering Johnny Stompanato in the 1950s, even though it’s pretty clear she shot him in self-defense at their home. Lana’s whole life looked like one gigantic publicly stunt, except that it was real-life reality TV and not what’s supposed to pass a reality TV today. It’s as if her life and career was written by the best team of Hollywood script writers in the history of the world. You would have had to live her life to ever even attempt to try to believe the real-life that Lana Turner actually lived. And that it wasn’t just the best written movie, soap opera, or reality TV show that was ever written.
And then before she gets Falcon Crest in 1982, she had already done at least three soap opera movies in the 1950s and 60s. The Bad and The Beautiful, from 1952 with Kirk Douglas, that looks at the lives of three up incoming Hollywood workers. An actress, writer, and director where’s there’s constant backstabbing and screwing over in that movie, mostly by the Kirk Douglas character. That movie looked like one of the best episodes of Melrose Place that was ever written. Peyton Place, that was both a TV soap opera and movie soap opera. Love Has Many Faces from 1964, where she plays a woman who falls in love with multiple gigolos in the movie, perhaps her best movie. Madame X from 1966, where the plays the wife of a diplomat where her mother in-law pays her to get out of town, because she doesn’t want her around her son anymore.
Lana Turner, is very interesting for another reason. She’s one of the most underrated, as well as overrated actresses ever. She’s not the best actress who has ever worked, but not the worst either and when she hear people talk about her you get the idea that she could be the best or worst depending who who you’re talking to. I believe she’s one of the best soap actresses who has ever lived and a great comedic actress as well. It’s a damn shame that she never worked with Alfred Hitchcock or Neil Simon, because she was a great dramatic comedy actress with great sense of drama and comedic timing.
The great soap operas tend to be funny and the great soap actors and actresses, also tend to very funny. Melrose Place, but General Hospital are great examples of that. I believe she was limited to do dramatic comedy and soaps, but is one of the actresses to ever work in those genres and should get the respect more respect for that.
I saw The Frontrunner not this Saturday, but the previous Saturday in Silver Spring, Maryland because I wanted to see it obviously, ( no, I was kidnapped and forced to watch it ) but because of the subject matter. I was 11 years old and in the 5th grade in Bethesda, Maryland in the spring and early summer of 1987. Gary Hart’s presidential campaign for 1988 was so short that I’m not sure it even made it to the summer of 87, at least officially. It made Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign look like a Breaking Bad marathon on AMC. You would have to be familiar with her very brief presidential campaign, as well as Breaking Bad and AMC to get that reference, but it was very short.
So, when Senator Gary Hart was running for president in 1984 and 88, I was a very young kid and don’t remember much about his two campaigns. Both were fairly short, but at least for 84 Senator Hart made to January before falling out after finishing third, ( I believe in Iowa ) but going into 87 Democrats knew that they weren’t going to have to run against President Ronald Reagan again and the Reagan Administration had the Iran Contra scandal hanging over his head with a Democratic Congress in charge of it since they now controlled both the House and Senate and that those investigations could hurt both President Reagan and then Vice President George H.W. Bush, especially since George Bush was not only the Vice President, but was considered the Republican frontrunner for the 1988 campaign.
Gary Hart, was as very talented politician, as well as a very intelligent man both in foreign affairs and national security policy, but domestic policy as well. He was compared with John F. Kennedy for good reasons. He was very bright, good looking, and also had a tendency to tell people what he believed and what was on his mind. Very similar to Senator Joe Biden who also ran for President that year. He also had an ability to talk about serious and complicated issues, but do it in a way where you didn’t believe you needed a Russian or Chinese translator to translate what he was saying. He had a very common touch not that different from Bill Clinton, Ron Reagan, or even George W. Bush. And if his 1987-88 presidential campaign was about what he wanted to be about which was new ideas and time for a new generation, instead of what it became about, maybe he not only wins the 1988 Democratic nomination for President, but defeats Vice President Bush as well.
Which is my lead in to what The Frontrunner is about with actor Hugh Jackman playing Senator Gary Hart. It wasn’t the media, it wasn’t The Miami or The Washington Post, or NBC News that brought down Gary Hart. Only Gary Hart with his extra marital affair and his political suicidal mistake of daring the media to follow him around to see that he wasn’t having an affair. There were rumors going into 1987 that Senator Hart was a bit of playboy who cheated on his wife which was before he even meet Donna Rice the woman he had a brief affair with in the late spring or early summer of 87. And Hart was tired of getting those questions and truly believed that they were none of the media’s or the American people’s business what kind of relationship that he had with his wife and other women.
Gary Hart, perhaps in a split moment lost his cool at a local diner on one of his campaign stops having lunch with a Washington Post reporter and dared the media to follow him around to see if he was having an affair or not and that’s exactly what they did. That’s how they got pictures of him with Donna Rice on a boat together in Miami. As well as pictures of them together at his Georgetown townhouse in Washington. Because he invited the media to follow him around and didn’t just shoot himself in the foot politically, but shot his whole foot off and perhaps his brain and heart as well. Thanks to 1987, Gary Hart has never ran for political again and has never even served a Democratic President again.
As far as the movie, other than not looking much if at all like Senator Gary Hart, I believe Hugh Jackman did a great job of playing him. But I believe the people who played the reporters and the media officials were the real stars of the movie. As well as Senator Hart’s campaign staff including J.K. Simmons especially. Gary Hart, comes as naive when it comes to how the media reports on these stories about politicians and candidates and their relationships with women. Which is how Hart should’ve been portrayed because in real-life he wasn’t expecting the media to cover his affairs, just the substance of his campaign. Which of course is not how the real world in politics works.
Not all actors and actresses, but a lot of them and apparently Claudia Christian is a perfect example of this, but before they become stars they have bills to pay and have to support themselves. Especially if they already have kids and their spouse isn’t rich yet either. Just because you haven’t heard of a certain actor because become stars later in their careers, doesn’t mean they just suddenly appear out of nowhere or were sent down form Planet Venus or some other planet to become a star in Hollywood.
A lot of actors before they became stars were already veteran actors and actresses. Dennis Haysbert, who played the President on 24, is a perfect example of that. He was already in his mid 40s when he got that role, but had already had big acting credits like appearing in Heat in 1995. George Clooney, was 33 when he became a star on ER, but had already been acting and supporting himself for 10 years before that.
And because all actors and actresses have to work to support themselves even if they’re not stars yet, they have to go where the money is and where they can get roles. Even if that means doing movies that a few years down the line after they’ve already made it look ridiculous to them. Thomas Howell, who became a star in the movie The Outsiders, has a laundry list of b-movies on his resume, because those were the only parts he could get. Acting on Impulse, from 1993 which is actually a pretty good movie, but almost no one has ever heard of it.
So actors and actresses have to keep working at least until they become stars and have some financial security. 30 years ago or so almost ten years before he got the part on ER and was still on The Facts of Life, George Clooney was in a movie called something like The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Flies. If you haven’t heard of that movie, you’re on a long waisting list of people who want to get into an overcrowded club of people who’ve also have never heard of that movie. But these are the roles that let’s say developing actors and actresses and prices that these people will pay to become a star in Hollywood and never have to worry about getting work again and be able to get quality roles in movies and on TV.
As far as Claudia Christian’s career, she’s been acting since 1984, but didn’t didn’t get the Babylon Five role until 1996 which made her a star in Hollywood. She made guest appearances on A-Team back in the mid 80s, appeared on the soap opera Dallas during that period, The Hidden in 1987, The Chase in 1994, which were al great roles for her, but also on that same resume before Babylon, Maniac Cop 2, Hexed, and a lot of other b if not c-movies that almost no one has even heard of, but kept her busy and working in Hollywood and gave major directors and producers a chance to see her so when a great part came around for her they would know about her and she would be ready for it. B-movies and b-roles are the prices that people pay to make it in Hollywood and Claudia Christian is just one example of that.
I’ll be the first to say, actually I would run to make sure I was the first person in line to say that A Guide For The Married Man is not a great movie. It’s also not a horrible movie, but perhaps I wouldn’t make the same effort to say that. It’s a good, funny movie with a great cast: Walter Matthau, Robert Morse, Inger Stevens, Lucile Ball, Phil Silvers, Art Carney, and someone named Jayne Mansfield. ( Perhaps you’ve heard of her as well ) Except for the bit part or cameo A Guide For The Married Man is right up Jayne’s dress, I mean ally for her. Comedy especially romantic comedy was her shtick and it would’ve been nice if she had a bigger role in this movie. Perhaps playing one of Robert Morse’s 10 girlfriends in the movie.
By 1967, Jayne Mansfield was doing most of her work and making most of her money outside of Hollywood. She literally was on the nightclub circuit and doing comedy and music all over America. Think about that for a second: one of the most popular Hollywood Goddesses from the 1950s reduced to singing and doing comedy at nightclubs by 1965 or so. She was also doing films in Britain and Europe, including in Italy. She was tired of doing comedy in Hollywood and by the early 1960s, wanted a newer role and do other things and expand her acting resume.
Which is sort of like saying that Michael Jordan or Larry Bird is tried of shooting the basketball and scoring points, so what they’re going to do instead is just rebound and play defense, pass the ball when they have it instead of leading their team in scoring and leading them to victory. Comedy for Jayne Mansfield, was like the passing game for the New England Patriots, it was her bread and butter, her go to offense and what made her famous and popular to go along with her goddess body and little girl adorable appearance. And ironic that her last trip back to Hollywood for work was to do another comedy which is what she was doing in the late 50s with movies like Will Success Spoil Rockwell Hunter and The Girl Can’t Help It.
If you want a full post or report on A Guide For The Married Man, I suggest you go somewhere else for that, because I’m really just interested in Jayne Mansfield’s role in it. She plays the comic relief in a movie that’s pretty funny to begin with but is so good at it playing the mistress of a man who is married and her wife catches them together in their bed and he and Jayne play it off like nothing is going on at all and the wife is completely imagining what she’s seeing. And the guy and Jayne just get out of bed, make the bed, get dressed while the wife is in the room and has already seen everything and Jayne leaves the room and house as if nothing had just happened. And they do it so perfectly that the wife starts actually believing that she’s imagining everything that she just saw. Great scene with Jayne just making a pretty funny movie even funnier.
There are a lot of rags to riches success stories in America which is one thing that makes America great as well as exceptional. America tends to get stereotyped as a rich country that’s dominated by rich people who control so much of the country’s wealth and that all Americans are rich. And if you’re from a third world country and grew up poor before you came to America, you might believe that as well at least before you get to America.
But the fact is most Americans aren’t wealthy. Most of us aren’t poor either, but a lot of come from either middle class or working class families which is the overwhelming majority of Americans. Americans who aren’t poor or who are hungry, but struggle to survive, work hard, to pay their bills. Can’t afford to send their kids to college which means their kids have to work through college or get student loans, or both especially if they’re not on scholarship.
Susan Hayward growing up in New York City in the 1920s and 30s didn’t even have it that great. She came literally from nothing where her parents couldn’t afford to feed all of their kids at the same time. Sometimes couldn’t afford to even do laundry, couldn’t replace shoes and other clothing that were falling apart. What Susan Hayward did have going for her growing up and as a very young woman was that she hated poverty and wanted to escape it. As well as a talent and desire to succeed that would allow to her live well for the rest of her life.
When I think of Susan Hayward, I think of President Richard Nixon and his background growing in rural and poor California in the 1920s when a lot of America was actually doing very well economically, but where most of that economic wealth was in big cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, and other big cities not in rural California hundreds of miles out of Los Angeles. I think of President Nixon giving his farewell address where he says, “only when you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” President Richard Nixon from August, 1974 the day he left the White House after resigning the presidency, because of is involvement in the Watergate coverup.
Susan Hayward, was able to reach the mountaintop in Hollywood and to go down as not just one of the greatest actresses in her generation, but who ever worked in Hollywood because she grew up in the deepest valley in America. And to know what it was like to live on the bottom not knowing where your next meal was coming from and would you even have a home the next month. Not that I would recommend poverty to anyone, but when you have nothing is does teach you a few positive things like how important hard work and success are and what it means to earn what you get. As well as always knowing at least in the back of your head what it’s like to be poor and to know that you never want to live that way again. Susan Hayward, is a great rags to riches story who came from nothing to become one of the best actresses that America have ever known and a story that we should all celebrate.
If you’re familiar with the movie Where Love Has Gone with Susan Hayward and Mike Connors and many other great actors and actresses, you’re probably familiar with the Cheryl Crane-Johnny Stompanato story as well. Because Where Love Has Gone is based off the Crane-Stompanato story ( at least unofficially ) and is about a rough relationship between the Hayward character and her boyfriend with her daughter being present with it getting violent and the daughter believing she needs to step in to save her mother and herself and sees a gun and shoots and kills the boyfriend. The difference being in the Hollywood movie that case goes to trial and the girl ends up in a home for juveniles. The Crane-Stompanato case, never even goes to trial.
Lana Turner, as adorable as she was with always looking like she could still be a little girl in and outside of her movies, wasn’t as sweet and innocent in real-life as she appeared on screen. She lived the life not only of a wild child, but a soap opera character who always needed danger and drama in her life for her life to seem exciting enough for her. Which certainly explains why she was married seven times. Which might be more marriages than your typical soap character and would rival all of the marriages at least in numbers that another Hollywood Goddess and Babydoll Elizabeth Taylor had. Lana, was not only a Hollywood actress, but a real-life soap opera character no naturally she would be physically and personally involved with a Italian gangster like Johnny Stompanato or any other gangster.
Just because of the life that Lana lived and who Johnny Stompanato was in real-life, that Lana’s daughter Cheryl was just 14-15 at this point in 1958 and there is no evidence that the shooting was planned, I would have to assume that this was justifiable homicide and that Cheryl was simply trying to protect herself and her mother from an abusive gangster. The only detail that doesn’t make a lot of sense and isn’t very believable and looks more like a scene from a Hollywood soap opera or movie or soap movie like Where Love Has Gone is that you have a 14-15 year old girl who knows how to use a gun and acts immediately and uses it to shoot Stompantao who presumably at least was getting too physical with Lana. But every other detail about this case falls into place.
This video gets off to a perfect start for me at least in the first few seconds with a clip from The Big Sleep with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Because you have Slim and Bogie together in the same movie, but when I think of great movie detectives I start with The Big Sleep with Bogie playing private eye Phil Marlowe in that great film noir movie.
Bogie plays a guy who is simply out to do his job and solve the case that he’s working on and doesn’t play the saint or devil in that movie, but a guy who is a lot more complicated than that who plays a no nonsense ( except for the great quips and wisecracks ) detective who is working on a case. And of course Lauren Bacall, is Lauren Bacall I would watch her driving a bus in a movie simply to watch her because she’s Lauren Bacall and a chance to see her gorgeous, adorable, sharp witty self doing anything.
And I think Michael McKeever is right where he says that you can’t assume the truth and that people are telling you the truth that what private eye and police detectives have in common is that they have to know what’s going in the case and know about the important players and the key evidence, simply because it’s their job. The detective profession is the last of the romantics and idealists where you would find people who are always looking for the best out of everyone and everything they see. Similar to reporters it’s their job to know exactly what’s going and make the best possible case about the case that they’re working on and then to report to who they’re working for whether it’s a private citizen or organization or a detective lieutenant or sergeant exactly what they found out.
When I think of great movie detectives I think of Humphrey Bogart and James Caan who both played Phil Marlowe, but in different movies. Bogie, played Marlowe in The Big Sleep and Caan played Marlowe in a not nearly as famous movie Poodle Springs from 1998. Where they both play guys who are simply out to do their jobs and aren’t looking to change the world and are very unromantic with who they go about their business.
The great TV and movie private detectives go about their business and do their jobs. This is their assignment, this is the important facts and evidence, these are the important players in the case. And it’s their job to find out what happened and how it happened and then report what they found out and turned up back to the people they’re working for. My two favorite TV detectives are Joe Mannix ( from Mannix ) and Jim Rockford ( The Rockford Files ) for the exact same reasons.
I think the main problem with current TV private eye shows and movies is what Michael McKeever ( New York City real-life private detective ) is talking about which gets to realism. When you’re talking about Hollywood they have TV shows and movies to sell and for them to do that they have to be popular and for them to be popular they have to be cool or awesome. And for that to happen their characters have to be cool or awesome with a lot of young viewers.
And for that to happen that means their shows and movies might have to look unrealistic with heavy usage of new technology, expensive style and taste, a lot of violence, the detective physically getting involved with one of the key players in the case, heavy focus on their perusal lives, etc or young hipsters won’t be into the show or movie. Back in the day these shows and movies were less fashionable, but better simply because they were more believable and the actors and material was also much better.
This Is Your Life Jayne Mansfield, is a short story in years, but a fascinating story that plays more like a long, but great soap opera for a woman who comes from very humble meanings at least in the sense that wasn’t known at all until she went to Hollywood and started landing parts in movies. But then hits it big in Hollywood in the mid 1950s with roles in The Burglar, Will Success Spoil Rockwell Hunter, The Girl Can’t Help it, making it clear to Hollywood that she was a good comedian and comedic actress with great timing including musical comedy. Had Jayne stayed on that track I believe we’re talking about one of the best comedians and musical comedians of her generation at least.
But by 1960 she was moving away from Hollywood because she was tired of just doing comedy and wanted to expand her career as an actress and move into drama. The problem that she had was that Hollywood just saw her as a comedian and as a sex symbol. A woman who was obviously gorgeous with the great body, yet who was also as cute as a little girl really up until she died in 1967. And they wanted to use her to sell movies with her sex appeal and comedy. But she wanted to move to drama instead which is who she ends up in Britain in the early 1960s with the movie Too Hot To Handle. But unless you’re a huge, dedicated fan of Jayne Mansfield or have lived in Britain, you probably haven’t heard of Too Hot To Handle.
It’s Hollywood where Jayne always belonged and if it was drama she wanted to do, then it was soap operas and dramatic comedy like working with Alfred Hitchcock where she should’ve been working. Instead of trying to do serious roles in TV and films. I tweeted on Twitter ( of all places ) a few weeks ago about Jayne Mansfield with one of my followers ( but not my only follower, ha, ha ) replying to me that she was never taken seriously and wasn’t a serious actress. Which is true, but I would qualify that by saying that she wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. She wasn’t a dumb blonde, but she wasn’t cut out for serious roles.
Similar to Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Bette Midler, and I’m sure other actresses and comedians she was a natural comedian who was born to entertain and to make people laugh. Which is what she should’ve been doing her whole career and would’ve had a great career in Hollywood as a comedian and not try to move away from that.
The Italian Goddess Sophia Loren, making it extremely clear that she isn’t just a great body with a hot baby face that she actually has not just a brain inside, but a big brain inside that’s always not just working, but working well to improve herself and people around her. Her quote here about education is a perfect example of that. Only the dumbest of the dumb people who had brain surgeries on them by people who were simply stealing brains with no intentions of fixing the brains and giving them back to the rightful owners, believe that education stops once we graduate college or in some cases still high school.
High school, is where we go to prepare ourselves for college and in some cases so we can get a job once we graduate from high school and make sure we have the basic skills down. Reading, writing, math, history, social studies, etc. College is where we go to prepare ourselves for life as adults and get the skills that we need to get ourselves a good job and be able to support ourselves in life with a good job. As well as to party, have a good time, meet people and other things as well. But life, is where we get the best and most important lessons about ourselves and where we really get to learn about ourselves and people around us. How to treat others and how others will treat us. Who we can trust, who we can count on, who we should look out for, so we don’t get too close to them, because they can’t be trusted.
There those old expressions that life is a journey or highway and as true as they are life is so much more than that. Life is an experience that starts when we’re born and doesn’t end until we die. You can also say that life is a roller coaster with all it’s ups and downs that is performed by the most imperfect of people known as human beings where we’re always trying new things and having new experiences and hopefully learning from them. The people who do best in life ride the fewest roller coasters and when they take risks they take calculated risks knowing that if it works out they’ll do very well, but if those calculated risks don’t work out there won’t be that heavy of price to pay for it at least not to the point that it can ruin their lives, because they’re acting on experience and knowledge and know going in what the risks and rewards were, because they did a real cost-benefit analysis.
The people who do best in life, the winners in life are the people who never get off the journey of life and are always moving forward and learning in life. Never too up and never too down, because even when they make mistakes they use them and take advantage of them by using them as opportunities for self-improvement. Instead of saying to themselves, “I really screwed up here, I’m never going to try that again!” Or acting as if their life is over and they’ll never recover from that mistake.
But when people are up they perhaps climbed that mountaintop and now feel they’re at the top, they take that for what it’s worth knowing that if they don’t continue to improve and to learn that the next stop for them can be only be down, because they stop learning and improving and become overconfident. People tend to make mistakes when they stop learning and improving and make decisions based on old information and what they’re done before and stop learning and improving. People are most likely to make mistakes in life when they’re either overconfident, or are out of control and acting on emotion instead of reason and intelligence.
It’s that old quote from President Richard Nixon during his last day as President in 1974 because he was forced to resign because of his involvement in Watergate, where he says, “only when you’ve been in the deepest valley can you know what it’s like to be on the highest mountain.” Life is an experience where we all go through our highs and downs and all at some point in our life have been at the valley at some point going through a really rough time. But the only people who’ve gotten to the highest mountain or at the top of any mountain are the people who’ve learned from their bad experiences and used them to improve themselves. And were never satisfied at being on the bottom or even in the middle of the pack, because they took advantage of what life has to offer which is really education about ourselves and the people around us. That is what I get from this Sophia Loren quote.