Movies

Movie Monday: To Hell and Back 1955

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To Hell and Back Image One
Image Credit: IMDB & Amazon

Sixty-five years ago, today, the war film To Hell and Back was released, originally in San Antonio. Directed by Jesse Hibbs and based on the book of the same name, it starred Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Charles Drake, Jack Kelly, Gregg Palmer, Paul Picerni, David Janssen, Denver Pyle, Brett Halsey (Admiral’s great-nephew) and Gordon Gebert as a young Audie.

IMDB Summary:

Biopic of the wartime exploits of Audie Murphy (played by himself), the most decorated US soldier in World War II. Starting with his boyhood in Texas, where he became the head of his family at a young age, the story follows his enrollment in [the] Army where he was assigned to the 3rd Division. He fought in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, before landing in southern France and, eventually, fighting in Germany. A Medal of Honor recipient, he also received battle honors from the French and Belgian government.

Rotten Tomatoes Summary:

The highly variable Audie Murphy delivers his best screen performance as “himself” in Universal‘s To Hell and Back. Based on the star’s autobiography, this is the story of how Murphy became America’s most-decorated soldier during WW II. After dwelling a bit on Murphy’s hard-scrabble Texas upbringing, the story moves ahead to 1942, when, as a teenager, Audie joined the army. Within a year, he was a member of the 7th Army, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and, ultimately, Germany and Austria. One by one, the members of Murphy’s Company B are killed in the war, until only three men from the original company are left. [The] others appear at the finale as ghostly images […]. The bulk of the film is given over to Murphy’s conspicuous acts of combat bravery and his killing of 240 enemy soldiers. Highlighted by excellent battle sequences, To Hell and Back is a serviceable tribute to a most complex individual.

Audie Murphy Image Two
Date: 1948
Photo Author: Fort Detrick
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Trivia Bits:
Filmed at Fort Lewis, WA, Yakima River, WA, Oak Creek Wildlife Area, WA and Universal Studios.
♦ Audie Murphy originally declined the opportunity to portray himself in the movie, not wanting people to think that he was attempting to cash in on his role as a war hero. Murphy initially suggested his friend Tony Curtis to play him.
♦ Audie Murphy’s war buddy Onclo Airheart was slated to play himself, but he declined due to the fact that the movie was to be shot during planting season.
♦ [Author] David Morell [sic] cites Audie Murphy as the inspiration for the character of John Rambo.
♦ In the movie, […] Murphy does his one-man standoff on top of a medium M-4 Sherman tank. [In] real life it happened on top of an M10 Wolverine tank destroyer.
♦ Audie Murphy’s feats of heroism and his much decorated status have been compared to those of his counterpart during World War I, Sgt. Alvin C. York […].

Murphy […] wrote poetry and songs, and, himself a sufferer, was among the first advocates for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He died on May 28, 1971, when the private airplane in which he was riding crashed.

Additional Reading:
To Hell and Back (American Film Institute)
To Hell and Back (Turner Classic Movies)
Alvin York (Wikipedia)
Audie Murphy (Wikipedia)

Song Saturday: Gates of the Country

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Black Lab 1998 Image
Photo Credit: Paul Durham (the blond)
June 1998
Wikipedia

“Somehow I see, there are ships in her eyes…”

This Saturday’s playlist submission was never released as a single and it never charted…anywhere. It’s the last track, number 12, on the original 1997 debut release of Your Body Above Me by Black Lab. An alternative rock band founded in San Franciso, CA, in 1995 by Paul Durham, the band’s name is an amalgam of band names Black Sabbath and Stereolab. The album did have two hits, one of which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

There is not a bad song on this album and I nearly wore out my CD. I took notice of them when an alternative rock station showcased their first track (the #6 hit). I love Paul Durham‘s voice and, the band has had many songs used in movies and television, most notably Spider-Man (2002), Blade: Trinity and Transformers.

Black Lab World (Official Site)
Paul Durham (Official Site)

Lyrics

Flick Friday: The Heiress 1949

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The Heiress Image One
Photo Credit: imdb.com

I couldn’t come up with any movie releases for today but, seventy years ago, on this date (as best as I can tell), the The Heiress was the most popular film at the box office. Directed, and produced, by William Wyler, it premiered in New York on October 6 and in Los Angeles on October 20. Based on the 1947 play of the same name by American playwrights Ruth and Augustus Goetz, it starred Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins and Vanessa Brown.

The Heiress Image Two
Image Credit: imdb.com

Summary:

Catherine Sloper is a shy and backwards young woman who lives with her father, Dr. Austin Sloper, in 1849 New York. By all accounts, Catherine’s mother was a beautiful and graceful creature with the charm of queens. Catherine never knew her mother since she died while in childbirth but, her father often reminds her of all the things her mother was and that she is not. Catherine inherited a great deal of money after her mother passed and will inherit twice as much more at the passing of her father. So, when a poor but handsome and well-bred man, Morris Townsend, begins to court Catherine, her father becomes suspicious that he must be after her money. After all, Catherine is plain and boring. What could she possibly offer to this young man other than her money? When she refuses to give up her new beau, her father threatens to disinherit her. Will her father eventually convince her to give him up and wait for a suitable husband? Will Catherine and Morris elope and, live on the money left to her by her mother? Or, could it be that Catherine finally finds all the grace and charm of her mother only to use it against the men in her life?

[Source]

Trivia Bits:
♦ Montgomery Clift was so unhappy with his performance, he walked out of the Premiere.
♦ Cary Grant was interested in playing Morris Townsend but, William Wyler turned him down.
♦ Montgomery Clift took some piano lessons for the scene where he sings “Plaisir d’Amour” to Olivia de Havilland.
♦ William Wyler wanted Erroll Flynn for the role of Morris Townsend.
♦ This movie was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1996.

Academy Awards & Nominations
Other Awards & Nominations

Wayback Wednesday: Garfield 1978

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Garfield Image One
Image Credit: aromaticcoffees.wordpress.com

Forty-one years ago, today, the Garfield Comic Strip debuted. Created by cartoonist Jim Davis, it chronicles the daily life and adventures of Garfield, a large orange (or ginger) Tabby cat, his human Jonathan Q. ‘Jon’ Arbuckle and, Odie, the dog, originally owned by Jon’s friend and roommate, Lyman. Davis named the cat after his grandfather, Jon Arbuckle came from a 1950s coffee commercial and Odie was based on a car dealership commercial written by Davis, which featured Odie the Village Idiot. Set in Muncie, Indiana (Jim Davis’s home), the strip showcases Garfield’s laziness, sarcastic humor, love of lasagna & coffee and, his dislike of Mondays.

In 2002, it became the most syndicated comic strip, reaching 263 million readers, worldwide. From 1978 to 1983, Garfield looked more like this picture but, went through some changes and became more cartoonish-looking from 1984, forward. Lyman was written out in 1982. Other notable characters are Dr. Liz Wilson (Garfield’s vet), Arlene (a pink stray cat), Pooky (Garfield’s teddy), Nermal (a grey Tabby kitten that Garfield is jealous of) and Jon’s family members.

Garfield Image Two
Image Credit: ucomics.com
Garfield’s First Appearance

On Television
Movies
Video Games

I bought his first book from 1978 and I still have it. It is a little worn but, it is in good condition. ~Vic

Garfield Image Three
Scanned from my book.
02-08-2015