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.
Looking back at it The Hollywood Blacklist and The Hollywood 10 and the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee which was as Un-American as anything they were investigating and perhaps the most Un-American committee we’ve ever seen in Congress, looking back at The Hollywood Blacklist and The Hollywood 10 and the investigations that they were under simply for their ideological beliefs.
Because they were not just Socialists and some of them were simply Socialists and not Communists, but there were also Communists in this community. But they weren’t being investigated for being American traitors working for Communist Russia. They were investigated for being Communists, for having communist beliefs. This was the most extreme form of political correctness that we’ve seen in this country, at least in the 20th Century, because this wasn’t just people getting shouted down because they have what might be extreme political views, or just having political views that offend some political activist community that actually might not be extreme.
Which is today’s version of political correctness that the Far-Left (talk about Communists and Socialists) uses to try to shut up and censor right-wingers who they disagree with. But this is government-sponsored state-run political correctness. That says your (meaning Communists and Socialists) First Amendment rights aren’t as strong as people on the Right and Far-Right, simply because you’re Communists and Socialists.
If they were the KKK, Neo-Nazis, fundamentalist theocratic Christians who believe women’s place is in the home and it should even be illegal for them to work, or gays should be in jail and prison simply for being homosexual, well the argument from the fascist Far-Right would be there that they’re just expressing their First Amendment rights to free speech.
But if you’re a Socialist or Communist who believes in state-run health care and health insurance, having a state-run banking and even energy, but aren’t active politically in the sense that you’re running for office, or even campaigning for any Far-Left political candidates or politicians, or have any affiliations with Communists states, well you’re Un-American according to the fascist Far-Right. Who had this Leave it to Beaver 1940s and 1950s view of what it means to be a real American. Sort of the like 1940s version of the modern Tea Party today.
To put it plainly, political correctness really sucks. The only thing that was Un-American during these supposed investigations of Socialists and Communists in Hollywood, was the House Un-American Activities Committee itself. We have guaranteed free speech rights in America which means you can be on the Far-Left and believe in democratic socialism or even communism and believe that right-wing and perhaps even Center-Left political parties shouldn’t even have the right to exist.
Or you can be on the Far-Right and be a Far-Right Nationalist-Tribalist who believes your culture and faction in the country including ethnicity and race are the true Americans and the only people who will standup for America. And see everyone else as threats to your state and therefor aren’t deserving of the same constitutional rights as your culture and political faction. Or you can be religious theocrat who puts your religious beliefs over everything else including the U.S. Constitution and are so fundamentalist and have so much faith in your religious beliefs that you believe everything else should not only live under your cultural values, but be forced to live under them in some religious theocracy.
Just as long as the Far-Left and Far-Right aren’t violently acting on their beliefs even in an attempt to defeat or eliminate the opposition in order to accomplish their political beliefs. We have a right to free speech and belief, but not a constitutional right to violence short of self-defense. Americans have a constitutional right under the First Amendment to be stupid and even be assholes. Just as long as we’re not violent assholes and physically trying to hurt people simply because we disagree with them or even hate them. Our guaranteed right to free speech and beliefs the ability for every American to think for themselves is as American as anything we’ve ever had in this country and still have.
What’s Un-American are not political beliefs whatever they are, but trying to censor those views simply because you disapprove of them or are even offended by them. If Socialists and Communists want to hold political rallies attacking America with their rhetoric and call America the real evil empire in the world and argue that we’re some materialistic racist corporate state, because we allow wealth and don’t expect government to manage our daily lives for us, they have the guaranteed right to make those arguments and even publish articles, book, produce documentaries. Even if their nothing but great fiction, at best.
If the KKK, Neo-Nazis, want to argue that America is going to hell because of our non-European immigration in the country and that non-European-Americans are Un-American, they have can hold peaceful political rallies, publish articles and books, produce documentaries, making those arguments. And be treated by the public with the public’s free speech rights as the complete assholes that they are.
There’s nothing dangerous about free speech short of people telling others that certain people should be physically harmed, or have their property attacked, be falsely libeled and accused. What’s dangerous is trying to eliminate speech and thought in America simply because you disapprove of what the speaker is thinking and saying. Because the same thing can happen to you by the opposition when they don’t like your politics. The American way to confront speech and politics that you disagree with is to peacefully speak out and organize against it. Make the case as far as why the opposition is wrong. Publish articles, books, produce videos, documentaries, with the best available information that you can get about why the opposition is wrong. Which is as American our great diversity and melting pot that represents the entire world that we all call America.
I don’t have much to offer about the movie High Noon, as least the original one from 1952. I did however see a movie with the same title from the Lifetime Network (of all places) in I believe 2009. But that is not what this piece is about. (Thank God!) Not a good movie and not trying to cure anyone’s insomnia by talking about the second High Noon movie. Not a good movie and not even very believable.
What I’m knowledgeable about and have read about and seen some documentaries about, is The Hollywood Blacklist from the 1940s and 1950s. Where workers out in the Hollywood industry who actually were Socialists and in some cases even Communists and even supported Communist Russia back then (known as the Soviet Union) but weren’t criminals and didn’t even have official relationships with the Soviet Government in Russia. They were simply on trial for their far-left political beliefs by crooked politicians in Congress who were simply trying to take advantage of the Red Scare and the start of the Cold War between America and Europe, against Russia and their allies in the East.
Hollywood professionals like writer Dalton Trumbo which there was a good movie made about him that came out in 2015 simply called Trumbo, were hauled in front of Congress at the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee simply because of their political beliefs. Not for any laws that they might have broken. But because they were Socialists and Communists who didn’t like the American liberal democratic form of government and instead wanted a socialist or communist state to replace our liberal democratic federal form of government.
The House Un-American Activities Committee, was exactly that which was Un-American. The idea that people could be hauled in front of Congress at first in the House and then later in the early 1950s to the Senate Investigation Committee chaired by Senator Joe McCarthy simply because of their politics and political beliefs and not for anything that they even may have done, is simply Un-American. So what if Dalton Trumbo was not just on the Far-Left in America, but was also a Communist! He was never going to have any political power in America, nor did he ever want any. And the Communist Party was never going to have any political power in America simply because they’re Communists and are illiberal. And oppose most of the liberal democratic values that most Americans love, like free speech and free elections, property rights, right to privacy, just to name a few.
Whether you’re a Communist on the furthest Left in American political or a Christian-Theocrat or Nationalistic-Tribalist on the furthest right in American politics, you have a right to believe what you believe. And express your beliefs in public and try to make the case for what you believe in public. Which is as American as our melting post and individualism. Which is what the so-called Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s which is what this nationalistic anti-communist movement opposed and tried to eliminate from American life.
Damn, if Craig Benzine could only talk faster and not have to take breaths in-between words, he could get a lot done. But seriously, this guy must have a year supply of free Red Bull or Starbucks coffee, because he makes speed freaks sound like comatose patients. I’m not saying I’ve never heard someone else talk faster and for a longer period of time, I just can’t name anyone right now. I would have to go through all of my memory banks and cash all them out and I might not be able to come up with another time where I heard a faster longer talker.
I’m not going to cover much of what Craig Benzine said there, because I don’t have slow-mo on my computer and he just went through all of these areas really fast. But the Golden Age of Hollywood really for me goes from the 1940s up until the 1970s or so. It was an era where movies were about writing, plot, directing, and acting. Not who swears the most and loudest and who is the biggest asshole in the movie. Catch phrases that make rookie no names actors stars overnight where everyone in country is using that catch phrase to describe whatever current situation they’re facing.
To succeed in the Golden Age of Hollywood, you really had to be able to write to make it as a writer. Unlike today where phrases and words are borrowed from other shows and movies and used for their shows and movies. The Golden Age of Hollywood wasn’t cookie-cutter, but originalist.
Movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington from 1939 with Jimmy Stewart and many others. You can’t really say there was a move like that before and there have been many attempts to make another great political movie and movie about Congress since, but most of them have come up weigh short. Mr. Smith came out in 1939 and almost either years later it’s still one of the best and most popular movies in Hollywood history.
North by Northwest- still my all-time favorite movie and I would argue at least is Alfred Hitchcock’s best movie, even though many others would argue for Notorious instead. There really isn’t another movie like North by Northwest. Yes it’s a Cold War movie involving the CIA trying to catch a traitor they believe is selling U.S. Government secrets to Russia and perhaps other communist states. So that by itself doesn’t make it original. But you have a movie where ordinary people become heroes. Again that doesn’t make it original, but it’s how it was done.
The closing action scene where the good guys defeat the bad guys takes place on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Can’t believe someone other than Alfred Hitchcock would come up with that. And then you have Cary Grant as the lead actor who arguably is the most handsome actor of all-time, but he also happens to be the best actor and also one of the funniest actors with incredible comedic timing. James Mason very similar to Cary Grant as far as what he brought to his parts, as the lead bad guy. Martin Landau playing a supporting role. The beautiful and adorable Eva Marie Saint who was also a great actress, as the lead actress.
It wasn’t a suspense movie. It wasn’t a thriller. It wasn’t an action movie. It wasn’t a mystery. It wasn’t a comedy. North by Northwest was all of those things in an action-packed movie with a lot of humor in it. That again was sell well-written, directed and delivered. Where the actors and crew knew they were part of something really special and wanted to be there and do their best work.
Today where in an era of Hollywood where TV and movies are about style and appearance. Who is up and who is down, who looks and sounds the hippest and has the most pop culture and reality TV appeal. Instead of who can actually act, who can improvise and be themselves and come off as likable and as someone who not only knows what they’re doing, but can bring something different in value that perhaps hasn’t been seen before. Where the biggest jerk (to put it mildly) who not only swears the most and puts people down as the most tends to be the most popular. Even if they’re no better than your average reality TV star as far as their ability to act.
Today if the public likes the performer and they’re so-called viral on social media and the internet, they’ll continue to work and make a good living in Hollywood. Even if all their shows and movies are garbage as far as the material. Their shows and movies will continue to sell even if the critics are beating the hell out of their performances and not taking those performers seriously, let alone respecting their work.
The Classic Hollywood era was anti-reality TV. Of course they loved their beautiful, sexy, and adorable actresses. Women like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, and many others were all big stars back then. And Hollywood loved their big handsome studs. Actors like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Sydney Poitier, and many others. But the difference being that the Hollywood goddess’s and gods, were more than their beautiful faces and bodies.
If you couldn’t act back then, if you didn’t show up for work, then you didn’t work. It wasn’t an era where Hollywood was trying to sell personality and popularity when it came to their characters, over substance. Classic Hollywood was a professional era where the professionals were in charge which is what makes it so great and classic. As long as reality TV is dominating TV and movies, we won’t see another great era in Hollywood again.
I haven’t seen To Have and Have Not in a while and perhaps I should have seen that movie again before I blogged about it. But this movie is classic Lauren Bacall-Humphrey Bogart. Their onscreen chemistry was very similar if not better than Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Both very sharp and very funny and perhaps sharing the exact sense of humor. Lauren Bacall if she’s 20 years old at this point, she just turned 20. And yet you could already see how great this young gorgeous baby-faced adorable women intelligent women was going to be. Bogie as the adorable Lauren Bacall called Humphrey Bogart, was of course already a star at this point. And old enough to be Lauren’s father.
Slim, as Bogie called Lauren Bacall, not just in this movie, but in their life together, was 19-20 years old. Playing a drifter who makes it to France. With very little if any money. Doesn’t sound that different from someone in their late teens early twenties in the 1960s. Who lets say grows up in Cleveland, Ohio and is somewhat lost and doesn’t know where they’re going or where they want to go in life. Who ends up in San Francisco and become a hippie. But hopefully never meets Charles. Which is sort of an inside joke. But Slim meets Harry Morgan, who sort of the definition of an American small businessman doing business in a foreign country. Not that different from Casablanca.
Slim and Harry get together, because basically they both need each other. They both need money. Harry’s client owes him money that Harry needs and he sees Slim pickpocket this guy that owes Harry money. And Harry sees her do that and that is how they get together. By making a deal with each other and helping each other out as they try to avoid having to deal with the Nazi-Germans who has just taken over France in 1940. There all sorts of crooked shady characters in this movie that Slim and Harry have to deal with. Including some adorable scenes featuring Lauren Bacall singing and doing other things. One of the best film-noir movies you’ll ever see.
I saw the entire Gilda movie for the first time last week and I really believe this is Rita Hayworth at her best. And she and Glenn Ford, are great together. Glenn Ford’s character in Gilda, reminds me of the Sam Rothstein character from Casino. Gilda, played by Rita of course, not that different from Ginger played by Sharon Stone in Casino. A women who marries rich to live well, but not in love at all her wealthy husband with her husband knowing that, but loves her to the point he plays like an over possessive father and not a husband. With Gilda almost being like a sixteen or seventeen-year old girl who wants to breakout and have her freedom.
Ginger, in Casino was not a singer, or an entertainer at all. More like a part-time gambler and former prosecute who gets Sam Rothstein’s attention played by Robert De Niro, at his casino. Gilda, played by Rita is a singer and dancer. Which a lot of Rita’s characters were. She was this red-hot adorable sexy goddess, with an incredible voice that helped keep her very young for a long time. She was great in Gilda again as a women who was really just trying to have a good time in Argentina and perhaps escape her past in America and live as well as she can. While having men around her that loved her perhaps too much and were very possessive of her. She does a great job in this video Put The Blame on Mame and just one reason to watch Gilda.
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.
I haven’t seen the Dalton Trumbo movie yet so I can’t really comment on it at least in a credible sense and I’m not going to take the word of J.T. Hayworth and Allan Ryskind on it as well. Who both come from a very heavy right-wing partisan slant on it to say the least. Whatever you think of Dalton Trumbo’s politics and I’m not a Socialist, democratic or otherwise, we’re still talking about his politics here. The only reason why he was brought up in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 was because of his politics.
The so-called Red Scare at the start of the Cold War that drove a lot of Americans crazy in believing that communism was so dangerous that a great liberal democracy like America, which is the opposite of communism, couldn’t survive in the same world as communism. That it wasn’t just communist policies and communist states that had to be defeated and destroyed, but communist beliefs as well. That you needed a fascist state coming from the Far-Right, where everyone looked at politics and the world from the same point of view and all shared the exact same values. That is not freedom and free speech, but a form of fascism.
Dalton Trumbo, wasn’t brought in front of HUAC because he was a communist agent for the Soviet Union or a spy or something like the Rosenberg’s. He was brought in front of HUAC because he was a Socialist in Hollywood and had a big mic and stage to get out his political beliefs. As much as the right-wing anti-Communist Warriors said they were defending freedom and liberty in the 1940s and 1950s, it would have been nice if only those things were true. Because instead they were defending what they claimed they were against. Which was fascism and statism.
You can say that Freedom of Speech is so important and that liberal democracy is so powerful that all views are welcomed to be expressed, because we’re so strong as a country that we can tolerate extreme views from both the Far-Left and Far-Right and that Americans will be able to make up their own minds on these issues. But these things don’t mean anything if you don’t actually believe in them. What you do instead is say that freedom and free speech is so important that we have to stand up for the right for everyone to have their own views and be able to express them. Even if they’re fringe and then hold them accountable for what they believe and say. But not try to shut them up and then we’ll have true freedom and free speech.
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.
This blog covers political correctness and how that is a threat to free speech on a regular basis. Especially in the last couple of years where political correctness had made a big comeback on the college left in America. With probably thousands of students if not more who believe that any criticism of minorities in America and even individuals is not only bigoted, but should be illegal. Which of course would be clearly unconstitutional if Congress ever passed some law protecting minorities in America from criticism through governmental force. But as most people know and believe fascism and political correctness just doesn’t come from the Far-Left and if anything has more support for it on the Far-Right. And used to put down Americans who simply see the world, country and live different lifestyles than the Christian-Right and others on the Far-Right in America.
Lets say that everything that Fred Barnes said about Dalton Trumbo is true and I’m not ready to grant him that. What was Dalton Trumbo guilty of? Failing to answer whether he was a Communist or not to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. He wasn’t even charged with being a Communist agent for Russia and working to destroy the American liberal democratic form of government, or anything like that. He was brought to HUAC simply for being under suspicion for at the very least having ties to Communists and having communist beliefs and even being a member of the Communist Party. He wasn’t charged with anything that is illegal in America. At the end of the day that is what this is about. Cold Warriors still living the Cold War wanting to eliminate communism at all costs even at the expense of rounding people up simply for having communist leanings.
I’m not a Communist obviously and I hate Communism as a political ideology and perhaps only see Islamism as a worst form of a big government statist philosophy. But to arrest someone for simply being a Communist and sharing that philosophy when they’ve done nothing illegal, is supporting something that Anti-Communists are supposed to be against. Which is big government fascism that says either you are with us hundred-percent of the time, or you’re with the enemy. Dalton Trumbo, was a Hollywood screenwriter and filmmaker who was also a member of the United States Communist Party. So what? We are a great liberal democracy with a constitutional guarantee of free speech. The most liberal free speech rights in the world, at least among large developed countries. We can are free to associate with any groups that we want as long as we aren’t involved in criminal activities.
Dalton Trumbo wasn’t brought to Congress to testify to the House about being a criminal and to talk about his criminal activities, because he wasn’t accused of being involved in any crimes. He was brought to Congress to talk about his possible membership with Communist USA. The Communist Party in America. And declined to answer whether he was a Communist or not, because he didn’t want to be charged with perjury, or have to worry about never working in Hollywood again and being blacklisted. Because the studios were scared as hell of Communists and Communism as well back in the 1940s and 1950s and didn’t want any suspicion of even being associated with Communists. Trumbo, was a Communist not a criminal and never should have been brought in front of the House to answer where he was a Communist or not in the first place. Movieclips Trailers: Trumbo Official Trailer